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Two Quantum Computing Bills Are Coming To Congress
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '18 at 02:20 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-space-race department:
Quantum computing has made it to the United States Congress. "Quantum computing is the next technological frontier that will change the world, and we cannot afford to fall behind," said Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) in a statement passed to Gizmodo. "We must act now to address the challenges we face in the development of this technology -- our future depends on it." From the report: The bill introduced by Harris in the Senate focuses on defense, calling for the creation of a consortium of researchers selected by the Chief of Naval Research and the Director of the Army Research Laboratory. The consortium would award grants, assist with research, and facilitate partnerships between the members. Another, yet-to-be-introduced bill, seen in draft form by Gizmodo, calls for a 10-year National Quantum Initiative Program to set goals and priorities for quantum computing in the US; invest in the technology; and partner with academia and industry. An office within the Department of Energy would coordinate the program. Another group would include members from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Energy, the office of the Director of National Intelligence to coordinate research and education activity between agencies. Furthermore, the draft bill calls for the establishment of up to five Quantum Information Science research centers, as well as two multidisciplinary National Centers for Quantum Research and Education.

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New Horizons Spacecraft Wakes Up To Prepare For Historic Flyby of Distant Object
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 11:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's to-boldly-go-where-no-one-has-gone-before department:
jwhyche writes: The New Horizons space probe has been in hibernation mode since Dec. 21. On June 5th, the spacecraft exited hibernation mode and began preparing for its next encounter. The spacecraft is currently 3.7 billion miles from Earth and will be spending the next few months preparing for its flyby of a small Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule (officially 2014 MU69). The craft is expected to pass by Ultima Thule during the New Year's holiday.

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Facebook Gave Some Developers Access To Users' Friends After Policy Changed
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 09:00 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's talk-is-cheap department:
Facebook granted a select group of companies special access to its users' records even after the point in 2015 that the company has claimed it stopped sharing such data with app developers. USA Today reports: According to the Wall Street Journal, which cited court documents, unnamed Facebook officials and other unnamed sources, Facebook made special agreements with certain companies called "whitelists," which gave them access to extra information about a user's friends. This includes data such as phone numbers and "friend links," which measure the degree of closeness between users and their friends. These deals were made separately from the company's data-sharing agreements with device manufacturers such as Huawei, which Facebook disclosed earlier this week after a New York Times report on the arrangement. Facebook said following the WSJ report it inked deals with a small number of developers that gave them access to users' friends after the more restrictive policy went into effect.

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Can Washington State Finally Put a Price On Carbon?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 06:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's taxes-and-fees department:
jwhyche writes: Beth Brunton walks around Seattle with a magenta umbrella. At 75 degrees and there not being a cloud in the sky, it gets peoples attention. What she is attempting to do is get people to sign a petition supporting Initiative 1631, known as the "Protect Washington Act." If this was to pass, Washington state would become the first state to adopt anything like a carbon tax. "The initiative proposes a 'fee on pollution' that would put a $15 charge on each metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted in Washington starting in 2020," reports Wired. "That charge would rise by $2 plus inflation every year until the state meets its climate goals, which include cutting its carbon footprint 36 percent below 2005 levels by 2035. The revenue raised would go toward investing in clean energy; protecting the air, water, and forests; and helping vulnerable communities prepare for wildfires and sea-level rise." The report mentions Washington's previous attempt at a "carbon tax" initiative, which was ultimately rejected. It would have initially charged businesses $25 per metric ton of emissions before ramping up over time.

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Intel: We 'Forgot' To Mention 28-Core, 5GHz CPU Demo Was Overclocked
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 05:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's how-convenient department:
At Computex earlier this week, Intel showed off a 28-core processor running at 5GHz, implying that it would be a shipping chip with a 5.0GHz stock speed. Unfortunately, as Tom's Hardware reports, "it turns out that Intel overclocked the 28-core processor to such an extreme that it required a one-horsepower industrial water chiller." From the report: We met with the company last night, and while Intel didn't provide many details, a company representative explained to us that "in the excitement of the moment," the company merely "forgot" to tell the crowd that it had overclocked the system. Intel also said it isn't targeting the gaming crowd with the new chip. The presentation did take place in front of a crowd of roughly a hundred journalists and a few thousand others, not to mention a global livestream with untold numbers watching live, so perhaps nerves came into play. In the end, Intel claims the whole fiasco is merely the result of a flubbed recitation of pre-scripted lines, with the accidental omission of a single word: "Overclocked." Maybe that's the truth, but there's a lot of room for debate considering how convenient an omission this is.

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WiFi Phishing Attacks Discovered Around Atlanta City Hall
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 05:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's beware department:
As Atlanta continues to fully recover from March's ransomware attack, new evidence discovered today by Coronet reveals hundreds of active Wi-Fi phishing attacks currently ongoing both inside of and in close proximity to Atlanta City Hall. From a report: The research also found attacks currently underway in Georgia's State Capitol Building, which is just a few blocks away. In total, Coronet identified 678 active threats within a 5-mile radius of Atlanta's City Hall. Specifically, Coronet has validated that an undetermined number of attackers are currently deploying advanced phishing techniques, including but not limited to Evil Twins, Captive Portals and ARP poisoning, in what is likely their attempt to gain unauthorized access to user credentials to cloud services that the government relies on for daily business operations and continuity.

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Bloomberg's Inside Look At Tesla's Model 3 Factory
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 03:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's inside-look department:
An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from an exclusive inside look at Tesla's Model 3 factory in Fremont, California: On the Model 3 body line on a Tuesday afternoon in early June, everything is still. Tesla is just coming off a week of downtime during which workers added a new production line, improved ventilation after a fire in the paint shop, and overhauled machines across the factory. But even after the changes, there are kinks to work out. Suddenly, dozens of robots snap into frenzied action, picking up door panels, welding window pillars, taking measurements, and on and on. This robotic dance is a visceral representation of what Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has dubbed "Alien Dreadnought," a code name for the factory that evokes an early 20th century warship, but with extraterrestrials. The stakes couldn't be higher for Tesla, which is sprinting to produce the Model 3 in quantities great enough to turn a profit. But so far, the plant's choreography has been choppy. The flow at the factory in Fremont, California, is constantly interrupted while robots and humans are trained, retrained, or swapped out. If Tesla can't make this dance work, it will be remembered as a lesson in the dangers of irrational exuberance for automation. Success, on the other hand, could transform the car industry.

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First 3D Printed Houses For Rent Will Be Built In the Netherlands This Year
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 03:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's home-sweet-home department:
Since there aren't enough construction workers in the country to keep up with housing demands, the city of Eindhoven in The Netherlands is turning to robots for help. The city will soon boast the world's first commercially-developed 3D-printed homes, a endeavor known as Project Milestone. The project is being handled by Dutch construction company Van Wijnen and researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology. Quartz reports: Construction on the first home begins this year and five houses will be on the rental market by 2019, project organizers say. Within a week of releasing images of the new homes, 20 families expressed interest in dwelling in these postmodern pods, according to the project website. the project website. "The first aim of the project is to build five great houses that are comfortable to live in and will have happy occupants," developers say. Beyond that, they hope to promote 3D concrete printing science and technology so that printed housing "will soon be a reality that is widely adopted."

The "printer" in this case is a big robotic arm that will shape cement of a light, whipped-cream consistency, based on an architect's design. The cement is layered for strength. The project developers say that the consistency of this concrete and the precision of the printer will make it possible to mix and use only as much cement as is needed, which makes it environmentally-friendly and less expensive than classic construction methods. The printer and unique cement will also allow them to create unusual forms that challenge conventional notions of home design.

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In a Blow To E-Voting Critics, Brazil Suspends Use of All Paper Ballots
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 02:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: In a blow to electronic-voting critics, Brazil's Supreme Court has suspended the use of all paper ballots in this year's elections. The ruling means that only electronic ballot boxes will be used, and there will be no voter-verified paper trail that officials can use to check the accuracy of results. In an 8-2 majority, justices on Wednesday sided with government arguments that the paper trails posed a risk to ballot secrecy, Brazil's Folha De S.Paulo newspaper reported on Thursday. In so doing, the justices suspended a requirement that 5 percent of Brazil's ballot boxes this year use paper. That requirement, by Brazil's Supreme Electoral Court, already represented a major weakening of an election reform bill passed in 2015. Speaking in support of Wednesday's decision, Justice Gilmar Mendes equated proponents of voter-verified paper trails to conspiracy theorists. "After the statements made here [by those who defend paper votes], we have to believe that perhaps we did not actually reach the moon," Mendes was quoted as saying. "There are beliefs and even a religion around this theme."

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Senator Makes Amtrak Hire Ticket Agents Because 30 Percent of His State Lacks Internet
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 02:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's ignoring-the-root-causes department:
McGruber writes: Joe Manchin, the senior Senator from West Virginia, has inserted language in the FY19 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies appropriations bill that will force Amtrak to employ at least one ticketing agent in every state that it serves. His reasoning? "Amtrak has told me that most of their sales are now online, but West Virginians buy far more tickets at the Charleston station than most places around the country. That's not surprising, as nearly 30% of West Virginia is without internet access, and mobile broadband access is also difficult in my state's rugged, mountainous terrain, making online ticket sales difficult." Manchin continued: "Our population includes many working class families and elderly residents who are less likely to have a credit card or another means to purchase tickets remotely, but rely heavily on the train as an alternative to driving or flying. Although Matt Crouch's job was terminated today, once the bill is passed by the House and Senate and signed by the President, Amtrak will have to reinstate a position in the state and I will do everything over the next few months to make sure that happens."

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Ubisoft CEO: Cloud Gaming Will Replace Consoles After the Next Generation
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 01:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's remote-control department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Better start saving up for that PlayStation 5, Xbox Two, or Nintendo Swatch (that last follow-up name idea is a freebie, by the way). That generation of consoles might be the last one ever, according to Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot. After that, he predicts cheap local boxes could provide easier access to ever-evolving high-end gaming streamed to the masses from cloud-based servers. "I think we will see another generation, but there is a good chance that step-by-step we will see less and less hardware," Guillemot said in a recent interview with Variety. "With time, I think streaming will become more accessible to many players and make it not necessary to have big hardware at home. There will be one more console generation and then after that, we will be streaming, all of us."

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US Once Again Boasts the World's Fastest Supercomputer
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 01:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's setting-a-score department:
The US Department of Energy on Friday unveiled Summit, a supercomputer capable of performing 200 quadrillion calculations per second, or 200 petaflops. Its performance should put it at the top of the list of the world's fastest supercomputers, which is currently dominated by China. From a report (thanks to reader cb_abq for the tip): Summit, housed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), was built for AI. IBM designed a new heterogeneous architecture for Summit, which combines IBM POWER9 CPUs with Nvidia GPUs. It has approximately 4,600 nodes, with six Nvidia Volta Tensor Core GPUs per node -- that's more than 27,000. The last US supercomputer to top the list of the world's fastest was Titan, in 2012. ORNL, which houses Titan as well, says Summit will deliver more than five times the computational performance of Titan's 18,688 nodes.

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China Hacked a Navy Contractor and Secured a Trove of Highly Sensitive Data on Submarine Warfare
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 11:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's breaking-news department:
Ellen Nakashima and Paul Sonne, reporting for The Washington Post: Chinese government hackers have compromised the computers of a Navy contractor, stealing massive amounts of highly sensitive data related to undersea warfare -- including secret plans to develop a supersonic anti-ship missile for use on U.S. submarines by 2020, according to American officials. The breaches occurred in January and February, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. The hackers targeted a contractor who works for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, a military organization headquartered in Newport, R.I., that conducts research and development for submarines and underwater weaponry. The officials did not identify the contractor. Taken were 614 gigabytes of material relating to a closely held project known as Sea Dragon, as well as signals and sensor data, submarine radio room information relating to cryptographic systems, and the Navy submarine development unit's electronic warfare library. The Washington Post agreed to withhold certain details about the compromised missile project at the request of the Navy, which argued that their release could harm national security.

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Cisco Removes Backdoor Account, Fourth Incident in the Last Four Months
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 11:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's get-your-things-together department:
For the fourth time this year, Cisco has removed hardcoded credentials that were left inside one of its products, which an attacker could have exploited to gain access to devices and inherently to customer networks. From a report: This time around, the hardcoded password was found in Cisco's Wide Area Application Services (WAAS), which is a software package that runs on Cisco hardware that can optimize WAN traffic management. This backdoor mechanism (CVE-2018-0329) was in the form of a hardcoded, read-only SNMP community string in the configuration file of the SNMP daemon. SNMP stands for Simple Network Management Protocol, an Internet protocol for collecting data about and from remote devices. The community string was there so SNMP servers knowing the string's value could connect to the remote Cisco device and gather statistics and system information about it.

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Copyright Law Could Put End To Net Memes
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 10:22 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Memes, remixes and other user-generated content could disappear online if the EU's proposed rules on copyright become law, warn experts. Digital rights groups are campaigning against the Copyright Directive, which the European Parliament will vote on later this month. The legislation aims to protect rights-holders in the internet age. But critics say it misunderstands the way people engage with web content and risks excessive censorship. The Copyright Directive is an attempt to reshape copyright for the internet, in particular rebalancing the relationship between copyright holders and online platforms. Article 13 states that platform providers should "take measures to ensure the functioning of agreements concluded with rights-holders for the use of their works." Critics say this will, in effect, require all internet platforms to filter all content put online by users, which many believe would be an excessive restriction on free speech. There is also concern that the proposals will rely on algorithms that will be programmed to "play safe" and delete anything that creates a risk for the platform.

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'We've an Unexpected Manufacturing Advantage For the First Time Ever': Intel's Manufacturing Glitch Opens Door For AMD
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 10:22 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's fighting-back department:
Over at The Information (paywalled), reporter Aaron Tilley has a splendid interview of Forrest Norrod, a senior executive who joined AMD four years ago. Mr. Norrod describes the challenge AMD has faced over the years and how, for the first time ever, it sees a real shot at making a significant dent in the desktop market. From the report: Advanced Micro Devices' battle with chip giant Intel has often seemed like a gnat fighting an elephant, with AMD struggling in recent years to gain even a tenth of the market for the chips that power PCs and data center servers. Forrest Norrod, a senior executive who joined AMD four years ago, says the company suffered from "little brother syndrome" where it tried and failed to compete with Intel on lots of different chips. Now, though, AMD may have a shot at coming out with a faster, more powerful chip than Intel for the first time. Intel in April said it was delaying the release of a more advanced chip manufacturing process until sometime in 2019. AMD has its own new, advanced chip, which it will now be able to release earlier than Intel, potentially giving it an edge in the market for high-performance chips for PCs and data center computers. It's a market opportunity worth around $50 billion. That's what Intel makes from selling chips for PCs and data center servers, and it dominates both markets. The data center market is particularly important because of the growth of new technologies like artificial intelligence-related applications, much of which is handled in the cloud. Companies that buy chips for data centers or PCs could gravitate to AMD chips as a result of Intel's delay. "I think we have a year lead now," said Mr. Norrod, who oversees AMD's data center business. AMD now has "an unexpected [manufacturing] advantage for the first time ever," he added.

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Blockchain's Once-Feared 51% Attack Is Now Becoming Regular
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 09:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's ruining-things-for-everyone department:
Monacoin, bitcoin gold, zencash, verge and now, litecoin cash. At least five cryptocurrencies have recently been hit with an attack that used to be more theoretical than actual, all in the last month. From a report: In each case, attackers have been able to amass enough computing power to compromise these smaller networks, rearrange their transactions and abscond with millions of dollars in an effort that's perhaps the crypto equivalent of a bank heist. More surprising, though, may be that so-called 51% attacks are a well-known and dangerous cryptocurrency attack vector. While there have been some instances of such attacks working successfully in the past, they haven't exactly been all that common. They've been so rare, some technologists have gone as far as to argue miners on certain larger blockchains would never fall victim to one. The age-old (in crypto time) argument? It's too costly and they wouldn't get all that much money out of it. But that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. NYU computer science researcher Joseph Bonneau released research last year featuring estimates of how much money it would cost to execute these attacks on top blockchains by simply renting power, rather than buying all the equipment. One conclusion he drew? These attacks were likely to increase. And, it turns out he was right. "Generally, the community thought this was a distant threat. I thought it was much less distant and have been trying to warn of the risk," he told CoinDesk, adding: "Even I didn't think it would start happening this soon."

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Google's Free Wifi is Becoming a Way of Life in India
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 09:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's connecting-people department:
Sushma U N, writing for Quartz: American internet search giant Google has completed the rollout of one of the world's biggest public wifi projects in India. On June 07, Google said it now offers free high-speed public wifi at 400 railway stations in Asia's third-largest economy, in partnership with the government-owned Indian Railways and RailTel, which operates a fibre network along the country's massive network of train tracks. The company had announced the initiative back in 2015 during prime minister Narendra Modi's visit to its headquarters in Mountain View, California. The Mumbai Central station in India's financial capital was the first to get the facility in January 2016. Now, over 8 million people use the service, Google said in a blog post. "On average, people consume 350MB of data per session, roughly the size of a half-hour television episode, and over half of the people using Google Station engage in multiple online sessions a day," the company said.

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Oath is Killing Off Yahoo Messenger on July 17
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 07:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
Yahoo Messenger is to be discontinued in just over a month. Yahoo owner Oath has announced that it is killing off its famous Messenger service on July 17. From a report: After this date, chatting will no longer be available, and users have just six months to download their chat histories. At the moment, there is no direct replacement for Yahoo Messenger, but users are being advised that they can request an invite for the beta version of the invite-only group messaging app Yahoo Squirrel. In an FAQ about the announcement, Yahoo addresses why the decision to shutter the service was taken. "We know we have many loyal fans who have used Yahoo Messenger since its beginning as one of the first chat apps of its kind. As the communications landscape continues to change over, we're focusing on building and introducing new, exciting communications tools that better fit consumer needs."

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Netherlands Will Welcome Its First Community of 3D-Printed Homes
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '18 at 07:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
An anonymous reader writes: The Netherlands' first functional 3D-printed home will be ready to welcome occupants as early as next year. According to The Guardian's Daniel Boffey, the one-story, two-bedroom house is the first and smallest of five 3D-printed concrete homes set for construction in the Dutch city of Eindhoven. The five-year initiative, known as Project Milestone, aims to combat the country's shortage of skilled bricklayers and revitalize the architectural industry. Project Milestone emerged as a collaboration between the Eindhoven University of Technology, a global leader in 3D printing, and Dutch construction company Van Wijnen. Real estate manager Vesteda, materials company Saint Gobain-Weber Beamix and engineering firm Witteveen+Bos also contributed to the project.

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