By BeauHD from Slashdot's come-and-get-it department
Starting this fall, Kroger will partner with driverless car company Nuro to deliver groceries using its autonomous vehicles. The Verge reports: A pilot will be rolled out to a yet-to-be-announced city later this fall. To start out, Nuro will use a fleet of self-driving test vehicles with human safety drivers to make deliveries for Kroger's grocery stores. Customers can track and interact with the vehicles via a Nuro app or Kroger's pre-existing online delivery platform. But if Nuro's human test drivers don't get out to help you, don't be mad because in our driverless future, we all need to pitch in and unload our own groceries.
Nuro is still tweaking its user experience, but for now it will go something like this: customers can place an order through Kroger's online delivery portal or using Nuro's forthcoming app. Kroger workers will load the items into Nuro's temperature-controlled compartments, at which point the vehicle will drive autonomously to its destination. Customers can track the vehicle throughout the trip using the app, and once it arrives, will need to meet the vehicle at the curb or in their driveway -- in other words, no more door-to-door service. They can use either a PIN code or some other verification system to retrieve their delivery. Nuro was reportedly working on a facial recognition system, but has since tabled that.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's safety-first department
Several Colorado lawmakers are trying to urge Congress to pass a bill that would make flying unmanned aerial vehicles over wildfires a felony, citing safety concerns. The Drive reports: On Wednesday, Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), and Representative Scott Tipton (R-Colorado) introduced the Securing Airspace For Emergency Responders Act, which would fine people for flying UAVs over wildfires without authorization, and potentially send them to jail for a year. "When an unauthorized drone flies over a wildfire, it poses a huge threat to aircraft working to suppress the fire and forces them to ground," said Tipton in a statement. Steve Hall, a spokesman for Colorado's office of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, staunchly echoed that sentiment, claiming that firefighters face enough of a challenge navigating smoky and turbulent conditions while piloting firefighting aircraft, that adding rogue drones to the mix would only increase danger and hamper their efforts. On top of that, Hall explained that once an unauthorized drone is observed during a wildfire, firefighters ground their planes. The Denver Post first reported the news (paywalled).Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's win-win-solutions department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A new study led by the University of California, Santa Cruz's Greg Rau highlights another tool for our CO2 removal toolbox: splitting seawater to produce hydrogen gas for fuel while capturing CO2 with ocean chemistry. In electrolysis, a device powered by electricity is used to split H2O, producing hydrogen gas. Several chemical modifications to this process have been proposed that can also grab CO2 from the atmosphere. Like the idea of using biofuels, this represents a "win-win" by producing an energy resource while capturing CO2, bringing the cost down. [T]he gist is that atmospheric CO2 goes into the ocean as bicarbonate -- which won't acidify the water or harm ecosystems. So if you power the electrolysis process with renewable energy, you can turn solar/wind/hydroelectric energy into hydrogen fuel while also removing CO2 from the air.
The new study focuses on a basic estimate of the cost and maximum potential of this technique. First, the researchers worked out its efficiency of CO2 capture -- about 0.3 tons captured per gigajoule of electricity input, including the losses from quarrying and crushing rock. That's around 10 times greater than biofuel schemes, but it depends on the assumption that there is demand for all the hydrogen fuel you make. The hydrogen can be used by vehicles, and there's the possibility of using hydrogen as a type of storage for the electric grid -- using excess power to make hydrogen that can run a power plant when needed. So it's not too farfetched that demand could rise to meet supply. The researchers' back-of-the-envelope estimate puts the cost of this system at between $3 and $161 per ton of captured CO2, depending on which type of renewable energy powers it. The study has been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's can't-be-unseen department
CaptainDork shares a report from Bleeping Computer: Starting yesterday, there have been numerous reports of people being infected with something called 'All-Radio 4.27 Portable'. After researching this heavily today, it has been determined that seeing this program is a symptom of a much bigger problem on your computer. If your computer is suddenly displaying the above program, then your computer is infected with malware that installs rootkits, miners, information-stealing Trojans, and a program that is using your computer to send send out spam.
Unfortunately, while some security programs are able to remove parts of the infection, the rootkit component needs manual removal help. Due to this, if you are infected with this malware, I strongly suggest that you create a malware removal help topic in our Virus Removal forum in order to receive one-on-one help in cleaning your computer. Some of the VirusTotal scans associated with this infection have also indicated that an information stealing Trojan could have been installed by this malware bundle as well. Therefore, it is strongly suggested that you change your passwords using a clean machine if you had logged into any accounts while infected.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's up-up-and-away department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the Seattle Times: A robot with true artificial intelligence is about to invade space. The large, round, plastic robot head is part of SpaceX's latest supply delivery to the International Space Station. Friday's pre-dawn liftoff also includes two sets of genetically identical female mice, 20 mousestronauts that will pick up where NASA's identical twin brother astronauts left off a few years ago. Super-caffeinated coffee is also flying up for the space station's java-craving crew.
As intriguing as identical space siblings and turbo-charged space coffee may be, it's the German robot -- named Cimon, pronounced Simon, after a genius doctor in science fiction's "Captain Future" -- that's stealing the show. Like HAL, the autonomous Cimon is an acronym: it stands for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion. Its AI brain is courtesy of IBM. German astronaut Alexander Gerst, who arrived at the orbiting lab a month ago, will introduce Cimon to space life during three one-hour sessions. Already savvy about Gerst's science experiments, the self-propelling Cimon will float at the astronaut's side and help, when asked, with research procedures. To get Cimon's attention, Gerst will need only to call its name. Their common language will be English, the official language of the space station.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
How many exclamation points does it take to exclaim something? One, a human of sound mind and a decent grasp of punctuation might say. But, on the internet, it often doesn't. The Atlantic: Not anymore. Digital communication is undergoing exclamation-point inflation. When single exclamation points adorn every sentence in a business email, it takes two to convey true enthusiasm. Or three. Or four. Or more. I noticed this in my own social circles recently. Multiple exclamation points were popping up in mundane places, not attached to hyperbole or any kind of frenzied emotion. A simple work email might yield a "Sounds good!!!" I find myself doing it, too. "All of these quirks of social media -- that would include exclamation points, and all caps, and repetition of letters, those are the three main ones that show enthusiasm -- people use more of them," says Deborah Tannen, a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University. This sort of inflation is a natural linguistic phenomenon that regularly happens to words, like how awesome was once reserved for that which truly struck awe into a quavering heart and is now scarcely more than a verbal thumbs up. But this time it's happening to punctuation.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's gift-that-keeps-giving department
A security failure in a popular quiz app on Facebook left millions of people's data exposed for almost two years, a cybersecurity activist revealed Thursday. From a report: The application, called Nametests.com, has run Facebook quizzes for years, but it left unprotected the personal data of Facebook users taking such a quiz on its website, allowing third parties to read and steal the data, the activist said. The leak was discovered by Belgian hacker Inti de Ceukelaire, who published his findings in a blog post. "There was a security leak at one of the most popular quiz apps that was accessible for at least two years," De Ceukelaire told POLITICO. "I can only note that Facebook didn't see this." He added that the data exposed included pictures, status updates, friends lists and more.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's privacy-woes department
You've probably never heard of the marketing and data aggregation firm Exactis. But it may well have heard of you. And now there's also a good chance that whatever information the company has about you, it recently leaked onto the public internet, available to any hacker who simply knew where to look. From a report: Earlier this month, security researcher Vinny Troia discovered that Exactis, a data broker based in Palm Coast, Florida, had exposed a database that contained close to 340 million individual records on a publicly accessible server. The haul comprises close to 2 terabytes of data that appears to include personal information on hundreds of millions of American adults, as well as millions of businesses. While the precise number of individuals included in the data isn't clear -- and the leak doesn't seem to contain credit card information or Social Security numbers -- it does go into minute detail for each individual listed, including phone numbers, home addresses, email addresses, and other highly personal characteristics for every name. The categories range from interests and habits to the number, age, and gender of the person's children. "It seems like this is a database with pretty much every US citizen in it," says Troia, who is the founder of his own New York-based security company, Night Lion Security. Troia notes that almost every person he's searched for in the database, he's found. And when WIRED asked him to find records for a list of 10 specific people in the database, he very quickly found six of them. "I don't know where the data is coming from, but it's one of the most comprehensive collections I've ever seen," he says.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department
By msmash from Slashdot's outages-report department
ProtonMail, a secure email service provider used by more than two million users and references of which has been made in shows like Mr. Robot, has been facing outages for the last two days as it fights numerous DDoS attacks. "The attacks went on for several hours, although the outages were far more brief, usually several minutes at a time with the longest outage on the order of 10 minutes," a ProtonMail spokesperson told BleepingComputer, adding that it has tracked the attack to a group that claims to have ties to Russia. But things are more complicated than that, and it appears ProtonMail users, who are already annoyed at the frequent outages over the last few days, are up for more such downtimes in the coming days. BleepingComputer: But in reality, the DDoS attacks have no ties to Russia, weren't even planned to in the first place, and the group behind the attacks denounced being Russian, to begin with. Responsible for the attacks is a hacker group named Apophis Squad. In a private conversation with Bleeping Computer today, one of the group's members detailed yesterday's chain of events. The Apophis member says they targeted ProtonMail at random while testing a beta version of a DDoS booter service the group is developing and preparing to launch. The group didn't cite any reason outside "testing" for the initial and uncalled for attack on ProtonMail, which they later revealed to have been a 200 Gbps SSDP flood, according to one of their tweets. "After we sent the first attack, we downed it for 60 seconds," an Apophis Squad member told us. He said the group didn't intend to harass ProtonMail all day yesterday or today but decided to do so after ProtonMail's CTO, Bart Butler, responded to one of their tweets calling the group "clowns." This was a questionable response on the part of the ProtonMail CTO, as it set the hackers against his company even more. "So we then downed them for a few hours," the Apophis Squad said. Subsequent attacks included a whopping TCP-SYN flood estimated at 500 Gbps, as claimed by the group.Read Replies (0)