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In 'Bold Experiment', Facebook Creates Independent 'Oversight Board'' For Content Decisions
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '19 at 11:50 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's mod-points-on-steroids department:
Facebook is being applauded for a new "bold experiment" in content decision-making by tech journalist Larry Magid, a founding member (for the last 10 years) of what he describes as "the less powerful Facebook Safety Advisory Board, which is composed of safety experts mostly representing nonprofit organizations in several countries....

"We are not empowered to overrule Facebook's management."
Facebook is a company, not a government, but its user base is bigger than the population of any country in the world and the decisions made by its staff affect people in some of the same ways as decisions made by legislatures and courts in many countries. Nowhere is this more evident than in the way Facebook regulates speech. What it allows and forbids affects people's ability to communicate, but also impacts their safety, privacy, security and human rights... [W]hen it comes to some decisions, even Zuckerberg realizes that the stakes are too high for one person or one company to hold all the cards, and that's one of the reason's Facebook is in the process of putting together an Oversight Board for Content Decisions.

< article continued at Slashdot's mod-points-on-steroids department >

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After 25 Months, Debian 10 'buster' Released
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '19 at 09:10 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Linux-releases department:
"After 25 months of development the Debian project is proud to present its new stable version 10 (code name 'buster'), which will be supported for the next 5 years thanks to the combined work of the Debian Security team and of the Debian Long Term Support team."

An anonymous reader quotes Debian.org:

In this release, GNOME defaults to using the Wayland display server instead of Xorg. Wayland has a simpler and more modern design, which has advantages for security. However, the Xorg display server is still installed by default and the default display manager allows users to choose Xorg as the display server for their next session.

Thanks to the Reproducible Builds project, over 91% of the source packages included in Debian 10 will build bit-for-bit identical binary packages. This is an important verification feature which protects users against malicious attempts to tamper with compilers and build networks. Future Debian releases will include tools and metadata so that end-users can validate the provenance of packages within the archive.

For those in security-sensitive environments AppArmor, a mandatory access control framework for restricting programs' capabilities, is installed and enabled by default. Furthermore, all methods provided by APT (except cdrom, gpgv, and rsh) can optionally make use of "seccomp-BPF" sandboxing. The https method for APT is included in the apt package and does not need to be installed separately... Secure Boot support is included in this release for amd64, i386 and arm64 architectures and should work out of the box on most Secure Boot-enabled machines.

The announcement touts Debian's "traditional wide architecture support," arguing that it shows Debian "once again stays true to its goal of being the universal operating system." It ships with several desktop applications and environments, including the following:

Cinnamon 3.8 GNOME 3.30 KDE Plasma 5.14 LXDE 0.99.2 LXQt 0.14 MATE 1.20 Xfce 4.12
< article continued at Slashdot's Linux-releases department >

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John McAfee Hides in Cuba, Touts Cryptocurrency For Evading US Government's Sanctions
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '19 at 06:30 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's fugitive-libertarian-presidential-candidates department:
"On the run from U.S. tax authorities, tech guru John McAfee puffs a cigar aboard his towering white yacht in a Havana harbor," reports Reuters, "and says he can help Cuba evade the U.S. government too -- by launching a cryptocurrency that defeats a U.S. trade embargo."

Long-time Slashdot reader Aighearach shared their report:

McAfee in an interview touted the anonymity of the digital currency while also outlining his belief that income tax is illegal and plans to run from Cuba for the Libertarian Party nomination for U.S. president. "It would be trivial to get around the U.S. government's embargo through the use of a clever system of currency," the 73-year-old said Thursday. "So I made a formal offer to help them for free... on a private channel through Twitter." While Cuba had not responded, its Communist government said earlier this week it was studying the potential use of cryptocurrency to alleviate an economic crisis aggravated by tighter U.S. sanctions... Countries under U.S. sanctions such as Iran and Venezuela have floated the idea of using digital currency to trade although no scheme appears to have gotten off the ground.

"You can't just create a coin and expect it to fly. You have to base it on the proper blockchain, have it structured such that it meets the specific needs of a country or economic situation," said McAfee. "There are probably less than 10 people in the world who know how to do that and I'm certainly one of them...."

McAfee said he did not pay income tax for eight years for ideological reasons and was indicted... To avoid trial, he left the United States in January for the Bahamas. He arrived in Cuba a month ago after suspecting that U.S. law enforcement was trying to extradite him from the Bahamas.

"With him on the yacht are his wife, four large dogs, two security guards and seven staff for his campaign 'in exile' for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination, McAfee said..."

< article continued at Slashdot's fugitive-libertarian-presidential-candidates department >

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Are Parts of India Becoming Too Hot For Humans?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '19 at 03:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's 123-degree-weather department:
"Intense heat waves have killed more than 100 people in India this summer and are predicted to worsen in coming years, creating a possible humanitarian crisis as large parts of the country potentially become too hot to be inhabitable," writes CNN.

An anonymous reader quotes their report:
Heat waves in India usually take place between March and July and abate once the monsoon rains arrive. But in recent years these hot spells have become more intense, more frequent and longer...

India is among the countries expected to be worst affected by the impacts of climate crisis, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say that even if the world succeeds in cutting carbon emissions, limiting the predicted rise in average global temperatures, parts of India will become so hot they will test the limits of human survivability...

In June, Delhi hit temperatures of 48 degrees Celsius (118 Fahrenheit), the highest ever recorded in that month. West of the capital, Churu in Rajasthan nearly broke the country's heat record with a high of 50.6 Celsius (123 Fahrenheit)... And forecasters believe it's only going to get worse. "In a nutshell, future heatwaves are likely to engulf in the whole of India," said AK Sahai and Sushmita Joseph, of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, in Pune in an email.

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'Kerfuffle' Erupts Around Newly-Proposed try() Feature For Go Language
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '19 at 03:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's try()-try()-again department:
Matt Klein, a member of the Go steering committee recently apologized for the angst caused to some people by "the try() kerfuffle... Change is hard, but sometimes it's for the best."

Tech columnist Mike Melanson covers the kerfuffle over the newly-proposed feature, while trying "not to over-dramatize what is happening."

There is disagreement and conflicting views, but working through those views is how the open source sausage is made, is it not? Of course, in the Go community, how the core team receives those opposing views may be a point of soreness among some who vehemently opposed the vgo package versioning for Go and felt that, in the end, it was rammed through despite their objections. As one Gopher points out, it is better to debate now than summarily accept and then later deprecate...

As Go makes its way to Go 2.0, with Go 1.14 currently taking center stage for debate, there is, again, as Klein points out, some kerfuffle about a newly proposed feature called try(), which is "designed specifically to eliminate the boilerplate if statements typically associated with error handling in Go." According to the proposal, the "minimal approach addresses most common scenarios while adding very little complexity to the language" and "is easy to explain, straightforward to implement, orthogonal to other language constructs, and fully backward-compatible" as well as extensible for future needs.

< article continued at Slashdot's try()-try()-again department >

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Hong Kong Protests 'Show The Dangers of a Cashless Society'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '19 at 02:31 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's surveillance-of-shoppers department:
"Allowing cash to die would be a grave mistake. A cashless society is a surveillance society," writes Reason, adding that "The recent round of protests in Hong Kong highlights exactly what we have to lose..."

schwit1 shared their report:

[T]ens of thousands of Hongkongers took to the streets to protest what they saw as creeping tyranny from a powerful threat. But they did it in a very particular way. In Hong Kong, most people use a contactless smart card called an "Octopus card" to pay for everything from transit, to parking, and even retail purchases. It's pretty handy: Just wave your tentacular card over the sensor and make your way to the platform. But no one used their Octopus card to get around Hong Kong during the protests. The risk was that a government could view the central database of Octopus transactions to unmask these democratic ne'er-do-wells. Traveling downtown during the height of the protests? You could get put on a list, even if you just happened to be in the area.

So the savvy subversives turned to cash instead. Normally, the lines for the single-ticket machines that accept cash are populated only by a few confused tourists, while locals whiz through the turnstiles with their fintech wizardry. But on protest days, the queues teemed with young activists clutching old school paper notes. As one protestor told Quartz: "We're afraid of having our data tracked." Using cash to purchase single tickets meant that governments couldn't connect activists' activities with their Octopus accounts. It was instant anonymity. Sure, it was less convenient. And one-off physical tickets cost a little more than the Octopus equivalent. But the trade-off of avoiding persecution and jail time was well worth it.

What could protestors do in a cashless world...? If some of our eggheads had their way, the protestors would have had no choice.

< article continued at Slashdot's surveillance-of-shoppers department >

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DNA Data Storage Is Closer Than You Think
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '19 at 01:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's pair-of-comfy-genes department:
"Life's information-storage system is being adapted to handle massive amounts of information," reports Scientific American, reports Scientific American, calling it "an alternative to hard drives" and noting that DNA "is already routinely sequenced (read), synthesized (written to) and accurately copied with ease.

"DNA is also incredibly stable, as has been demonstrated by the complete genome sequencing of a fossil horse that lived more than 500,000 years ago. And storing it does not require much energy."

But it is the storage capacity that shines. DNA can accurately stow massive amounts of data at a density far exceeding that of electronic devices. The simple bacterium Escherichia coli, for instance, has a storage density of about 10**19 bits per cubic centimeter, according to calculations published in 2016 in Nature Materials by George Church of Harvard University and his colleagues. At that density, all the world's current storage needs for a year could be well met by a cube of DNA measuring about one meter on a side.

The prospect of DNA data storage is not merely theoretical. In 2017, for instance, Church's group at Harvard adopted CRISPR DNA-editing technology to record images of a human hand into the genome of E. coli, which were read out with higher than 90 percent accuracy. And researchers at the University of Washington and Microsoft Research have developed a fully automated system for writing, storing and reading data encoded in DNA. A number of companies, including Microsoft and Twist Bioscience, are working to advance DNA-storage technology... DNA bar coding is now being used to dramatically accelerate the pace of research in fields such as chemical engineering, materials science and nanotechnology.

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International Crime Ring Suspected in 7-Eleven App Breach
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '19 at 01:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's very-mobile-money department:
On Monday, 7-Eleven launched a smartphone payment service for its 20,000 stores in Japan. By Thursday $510,000 had been stolen from the people using it -- as many as 900 customers.

Long-time Slashdot reader shanen shared this follow-up article, which points out that it's also possible that email addresses and birth dates have been accessed from among the new app's 1.5 million registered users:
Tsuyoshi Kobayashi, president of Seven Pay Co., told a press conference in Tokyo that the company will compensate users for the losses caused by fraudulent access and that it has already suspended accepting new users or allowing users of the service to add money to its smartphone application. The estimated amount of losses the company announced is as of 6 a.m. Thursday and the damage could expand...

The parent company said someone, who had accessed their accounts and used the registered numbers of their credit or debit cards, purchased items at its convenience stores. The items included packs of cigarettes, which can be easily converted into cash, it said, adding there was a case in which a huge quantity worth 100,000 yen [$921] was purchased all at once at one of its outlets...

According to Seven & i Holdings, some customers reported their losses on Tuesday and unauthorized access from China and other locations outside Japan was confirmed... Police arrested two Chinese men on Thursday in connection with the problem, investigative sources said. They are suspected of illegally using the ID and password of a customer Wednesday in an attempt to buy electric cigarette cartridges worth around 200,000 yen [$1,843] at a 7-Eleven shop in Tokyo.

< article continued at Slashdot's very-mobile-money department >

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$500K Stolen From 7-Eleven Customers Using "Cashless" App In Japan
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '19 at 11:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's very-mobile-money department:
On Monday, 7-Eleven launched a smartphone payment service for its 20,000 stores in Japan. By Thursday $510,000 had been stolen from the people using it -- as many as 900 customers -- according to Japan Today.

Long-time Slashdot reader shanen shared the article, which points out that it's also possible that email addresses and birth dates have been accessed from among the new app's 1.5 million registered users:
Tsuyoshi Kobayashi, president of Seven Pay Co., told a press conference in Tokyo that the company will compensate users for the losses caused by fraudulent access and that it has already suspended accepting new users or allowing users of the service to add money to its smartphone application. The estimated amount of losses the company announced is as of 6 a.m. Thursday and the damage could expand...

The parent company said someone, who had accessed their accounts and used the registered numbers of their credit or debit cards, purchased items at its convenience stores. The items included packs of cigarettes, which can be easily converted into cash, it said, adding there was a case in which a huge quantity worth 100,000 yen [$921] was purchased all at once at one of its outlets...

According to Seven & i Holdings, some customers reported their losses on Tuesday and unauthorized access from China and other locations outside Japan was confirmed... Police arrested two Chinese men on Thursday in connection with the problem, investigative sources said. They are suspected of illegally using the ID and password of a customer Wednesday in an attempt to buy electric cigarette cartridges worth around 200,000 yen [$1,843] at a 7-Eleven shop in Tokyo.

< article continued at Slashdot's very-mobile-money department >

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Startup Aims To Turn Solar and Wind Power Into Carbon-Neutral Gasoline
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '19 at 11:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's cleaning-energy department:
"Last month, Rob McGinnis fired up a new machine that runs combustion in reverse, using electricity to weld carbon dioxide and water into liquid fuels," writes Slashdot reader sciencehabit:

McGinnis, a chemical engineer and entrepreneur, has launched a new start-up called Prometheus, in hopes that he will be able to synthesize fuels more cheaply than energy giants can drill for oil, ship it and refine it. If powered by solar, wind, or other renewable power sources, McGinnis' machine will churn out carbon neutral fuels, eliminating the fossil from fossil fuels. At the heart of McGinnis' machine is proprietary carbon nanotube-based filter that separates fuel molecules from water without the large energy input normally required for this job. Can a former Yale University theater major remake the $2 trillion liquid fuels industry?
The article adds that the startup signed its first deal last month, "to begin to sell carbon-neutral fuel to Boom Supersonic, a Denver company building a supersonic commercial airliner."

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Google Sued For Conspiring To Share Medical Records Against Patient Consent
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '19 at 10:31 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's user-preferences department:
schwit1 writes: A former University of Chicago medical patient filed a class-action lawsuit against the University of Chicago and Google, claiming that the University of Chicago Medical Center is giving private patient information to the tech giant without patients consent.

About two years ago, the university medical center
partnered
with Google with the hope of identifying patterns in patient health records to help predict future medical issues.

Now, former patient Matt Dinerstein is filing a
lawsuit
on behalf of the medical center's patients, alleging that the university violated privacy laws by sharing sensitive health records with Google from 2009 to 2016, aiding Google's goal of creating a digital health record system, according to the student newspaper of the University of Chicago.

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OpenPGP Keyserver Attack Ongoing
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '19 at 09:11 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's losing-your-keys department:
Trailrunner7 quotes Duo.com's Decipher blog: There's an interesting and troubling attack happening to some people involved in the OpenPGP community that makes their certificates unusable and can essentially break the OpenPGP implementation of anyone who tries to import one of the certificates.

The attack is quite simple and doesn't exploit any technical vulnerabilities in the OpenPGP software, but instead takes advantage of one of the inherent properties of the keyserver network that's used to distribute certificates. Keyservers are designed to allow people to discover the public certificates of other people with whom they want to communicate over a secure channel. One of the properties of the network is that anyone who has looked at a certificate and verified that it belongs to another specific person can add a signature, or attestation, to the certificate. That signature basically serves as the public stamp of approval from one user to another...

Last week, two people involved in the OpenPGP community discovered that their public certificates had been spammed with tens of thousands of signatures -- one has nearly 150,000 -- in an apparent effort to render them useless. The attack targeted [OpenPGP project developers] Robert J. Hansen and Daniel Kahn Gillmor, but the root problem may end up affecting many other people, too...

< article continued at Slashdot's losing-your-keys department >

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Elon Musk's Dream of An Onion-Like Media Empire
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '19 at 07:50 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's rise-and-fall-of-Thud department:
"Elon Musk wanted The Onion; he got Thud," reports the Verge, telling the wacky story of how Elon Musk gave $2 million to two former editors from the Onion to create "an ambitious, offbeat satire startup" that would focus on the real world instead of online, "with fake brands, fake products, and fake museum installations."

To Musk, satire is almost a "public good," [forner Onion/Thud leader Ben] Berkley said. It's something that can be used to nudge people in the right direction and make life a little more tolerable, and that may have been what really drew him to the project. "If it's on a global scale and it convinces people to change their mind about something or reconsider something," Berkley said, "it might have a small impact that could have a larger effect down the road...."

Unlike The Onion, Thud never planned to have a regularly updating homepage where all of its work came together -- its projects were all envisioned as being independent, floating out on the internet for you to stumble across. That's where part of the trouble lay. Thud came together in large part around the idea that it would have Musk behind it: both as a backer and a promoter. Berkley notes that Musk has a huge Twitter following of nearly 27 million people; losing him meant losing an enormous avenue for distribution.

Without a homepage for repeat visitors, Thud also lacked anything that could even begin to resemble a traditional business model. There was no subscription to sell and no articles to run ads on. Only one of Thud's first four websites -- for a fake, always-firing gun -- sold merch: T-shirts and hats that went for up to $30 a piece. The option to buy them was later removed.

< article continued at Slashdot's rise-and-fall-of-Thud department >

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Why Is Slack Retaining Everyone's Chat History?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '19 at 07:50 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's slacking-on department:
The associate director of research at the Electronic Frontier Foundation published a new warning in the Opinion section of the New York Times this week, calling Slack the only unicorn going public this year "that has admitted it is at risk for nation-state attacks" and saying there's a simple way to minimize risk -- that Slack has so far refused to take:

Right now, Slack stores everything you do on its platform by default -- your username and password, every message you've sent, every lunch you've planned and every confidential decision you've made. That data is not end-to-end encrypted, which means Slack can read it, law enforcement can request it, and hackers -- including the nation-state actors highlighted in Slack's S-1 -- can break in and steal it...

Slack's paying enterprise customers do have a way to mitigate their security risk -- they can change their settings to set shorter retention periods and automatically delete old messages -- but it's not just big companies that are at risk... Free customer accounts don't allow for any changes to data retention. Instead, Slack retains all of your messages but makes only the most recent 10,000 visible to you. Everything beyond that 10,000-message limit remains on Slack's servers. So while those messages might seem out of sight and out of mind, they are all still indefinitely available to Slack, law enforcement and third-party hackers...

Slack should give everyone the same privacy protections available to its paying enterprise customers and let all of its users decide for themselves which messages they want to keep and which messages they want to delete. It's undeniably Slack's prerogative to charge for a more advanced product, but making users pay for basic privacy and security protections is the wrong call. It's time for Slack to step up, minimize the amount of sensitive data hanging around on its servers and give all its users retention controls.

< article continued at Slashdot's slacking-on department >

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French Lawmakers Approve 3 Percent Tax On Online Giants
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '19 at 05:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's closing-the-loopholes department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from AP News: France's lower house of parliament approved Thursday a small, pioneering tax on internet giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook -- and the French government hopes other countries will follow suit. The bill aims to stop multinationals from avoiding taxes by setting up headquarters in low-tax EU countries. Currently, the companies pay nearly no tax in countries where they have large sales like France. The bill foresees a 3% tax on the French revenues of digital companies with global revenue of more than $847 million, and French revenue over $28 million. The bill adopted by the National Assembly goes to the Senate next week, where it is expected to win final approval. The French government estimates that the tax will raise about $566 million this year, and considerably more next year.

While France failed to persuade EU partners to impose a Europe-wide tax on online giants, the favorite to become Britain's next prime minister, Boris Johnson, indicated his support for similar proposals in the UK. "In October, Chancellor Philip Hammond said the UK would tax 2% of British user-generated revenue in a new 'digital services tax,' which could bring in up to $502 million a year for the Treasury," reports Business Insider. "Johnson appears to like the idea."

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Bladder Cancer 'Attacked and Killed By Common Cold Virus'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '19 at 02:30 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's very-promising department:
A new study from the University of Surrey suggests that a strain of the common cold virus can infect and kill bladder cancer cells. "All signs of the disease disappeared in one patient, and in 14 others there was evidence that cancer cells had died," reports the BBC. From the report: In this study, 15 patients with the disease were given the cancer-killing coxsackievirus (CVA21) through a catheter one week before surgery to remove their tumors. When tissues samples were analyzed after surgery, there were signs the virus had targeted and killed cancer cells in the bladder. Once these cells had died, the virus had then reproduced and infected other cancerous cells - but all other healthy cells were left intact.

What the virus does is special, says study leader Prof Hardev Pandha, from the University of Surrey and Royal Surrey County Hospital. "The virus gets inside cancer cells and kills them by triggering an immune protein - and that leads to signaling of other immune cells to come and join the party," he said. Normally, the tumors in the bladder are "cold" because they do not have immune cells to fight off the cancer. But the actions of the virus turn them "hot," making the body's immune system react. The plan is now to use the common cold virus with a targeted immunotherapy drug treatment, called a checkpoint inhibitor, in a future trial in more patients.

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Amazon Seeks Permission To Launch 3,236 Internet Satellites
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '19 at 11:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's globe-spanning department:
Amazon is asking the FCC for permission to launch 3,236 satellites that would be used to establish a globe-spanning internet network. Seeking Alpha reported that Amazon expects "to offer service to tens of millions of underserved customers around the world" via the network, which the company is developing under the codename Project Kuiper. Tom's Hardware reports: So what does this plan to offer space internet with a weird name actually involve? Amazon explained in April: "Project Kuiper is a new initiative to launch a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites that will provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved communities around the world. This is a long-term project that envisions serving tens of millions of people who lack basic access to broadband internet. We look forward to partnering on this initiative with companies that share this common vision."

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Netflix Could Lose Almost a Quarter of Its Subscribers If It Started Running Ads, Study Shows
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '19 at 10:30 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's don't-you-dare-do-it department:
According to a recent Hub Entertainment Research survey, twenty-three percent of respondents said they would definitely or probably drop their Netflix subscription if it began running ads at its current price point or a dollar cheaper. "That percentage would represent a loss of nearly 14 million subscribers from Netflix's 60 million paid subscribers in the U.S," reports CNBC. From the report: Respondents were more forgiving of the ads if Netflix dropped prices. Only 14% of respondents said they would definitely or probably drop their subscription if it were $2 cheaper than they currently pay. That number fell to 12% at a $3 discount. The study's findings were based on a survey of 1,765 U.S. TV consumers between ages 16 and 74 who watch at least one hour of television a week and have broadband in the home. The Hub study comes as advertising insiders speculate Netflix will make advertising a core part of its business someday. At a panel during IAB's Digital Content NewFronts in April, Joshua Lowcock of media agency UM said he "can't imagine a world where Netflix will be ad-free forever."

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Safer Nuclear Reactors Are On the Way
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '19 at 07:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's coming-soon-to-a-city-near-you department:
Nuclear power plant manufacturers, such as Westinghouse and Framatome, are developing safer nuclear reactors that use so-called accident-tolerant fuels that are less likely to overheat -- and if they do, will produce very little or no hydrogen. As Scientific American reports, commercial reactors use small pellets of uranium dioxide stacked inside long cylindrical rods made of zirconium alloy, which "allows the neutrons generated from fission in the pellets to readily pass among the many rods submerged in water inside a reactor core, supporting a self-sustaining, heat-producing nuclear reaction." The problem is that if the zirconium overheats, it can react with water and produce hydrogen, which can explode. From the report: In some of the variations, the zirconium cladding is coated to minimize reactions. In others, zirconium and even the uranium dioxide are replaced with different materials. The new configurations could be slipped into existing reactors with little modification, so they could be phased in during the 2020s. Thorough in-core testing, which has begun, would have to prove successful, and regulators would have to be satisfied. In a bonus, the new fuels could help plants run more efficiently, making nuclear power more cost-competitive -- a significant motivation for manufacturers and electric utilities because natural gas, solar and wind energy are less expensive.

< article continued at Slashdot's coming-soon-to-a-city-near-you department >

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Tor Project To Fix Bug Used For DDoS Attacks On Onion Sites For Years
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '19 at 06:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's it's-about-time department:
An anonymous reader writes: "The Tor Project is preparing a fix for a bug that has been abused for the past years to launch DDoS attacks against dark web (.onion) websites," reports ZDNet. "Barring any unforeseen problems, the fix is scheduled for the upcoming Tor protocol 0.4.2 release." The bug has been known to Tor developers for years, and has been used to launch Slow Loris-like attacks on the web servers that run the Tor service supporting an .onion site. It works by opening many connections to the server and maxing out the CPU. Since Tor connections are CPU intensive because of the cryptography involved to support the privacy and anonymity of the network, even a a few hundreds connections are enough to bring down dark web portals. A tool to exploit the bug and to automate DDoS attacks has been around for four years, and has been used by hackers to extort dark web marketplaces all spring. At least two markets selling illegal products have shut down after refusing to pay attackers. To get the bug fixed, members of a dark web forum banded together and donated to the Tor Project to sponsor the bug's patch.

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