By msmash from Slashdot's what's-at-stake department
Wikimedia, which operates Wikipedia, chimes in on the EU copyright debacle: Our movement is working to promote freedom online for the benefit of all. Our efforts in this public policy realm are all the more important in an era of increasing restrictions on free speech and free access to knowledge across the globe, which directly threaten the mission and vision of Wikimedia and its projects, such as Wikipedia. This is why we strongly oppose the proposed EU Copyright Directives and urge the Members of the European Parliament to reconsider proceeding with the version recently adopted by the Legal Affairs Committee. We are concerned because these flawed proposals hurt everyone's rights to freedom of expression and Europe's ability to improve the welfare of its citizens online. Next week, we expect the European Parliament to vote in plenary on whether to proceed with the version adopted by the Committee. If the Members of the European Parliament reject it, there will be another opportunity to fix much of the current proposal's broken requirements. Now may be the last opportunity to improve the directive. The requirement for platforms to implement upload filters is a serious threat for freedom of expression and privacy. Our foundational vision depends on the free exchange of knowledge across the entirety of the web, and beyond the boundaries of the Wikimedia projects. A new exclusive right allowing press publishers to restrict the use of news snippets will make it more difficult to access and share information about current events in the world, making it harder for Wikipedia contributors to find citations for articles online. The proposal does not support user rights, is missing strong safeguards for the public domain, and does not create exceptions that would truly empower people to participate in research and culture. We believe that enactment of this copyright package will significantly decrease in the amount of content that will be freely accessible to all across the globe.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department
Apple hasn't given up on Maps. After a rough first impression, an apology from the CEO, several years of patching holes with data partnerships and some glimmers of light with long-awaited transit directions and improvements in business, parking and place data, Apple Maps is still not where it needs to be to be considered a world class service. Apple is aware of this, apparently, it told TechCrunch. From a report: Apple, it turns out, is aware of this, so It's re-building the maps part of Maps. It's doing this by using first-party data gathered by iPhones with a privacy-first methodology and its own fleet of cars packed with sensors and cameras. The new product will launch in San Francisco and the Bay Area with the next iOS 12 Beta and will cover Northern California by fall. Every version of iOS will get the updated maps eventually and they will be more responsive to changes in roadways and construction, more visually rich depending on the specific context they're viewed in and feature more detailed ground cover, foliage, pools, pedestrian pathways and more. This is nothing less than a full re-set of Maps and it's been 4 years in the making, which is when Apple began to develop its new data gathering systems. Eventually, Apple will no longer rely on third-party data to provide the basis for its maps, which has been one of its major pitfalls from the beginning.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's there-is-a-reward department
Exploit broker Zerodium is offering rewards of up to $500,000 for zero-days in UNIX-based operating systems like OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, but also for Linux distros such as Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, and Tails. From a report: The offer, first advertised via Twitter earlier this week, is available as part of the company's latest zero-day acquisition drive. Zerodium is known for buying zero-days and selling them to government agencies and law enforcement. The company runs a regular zero-day acquisition program through its website, but it often holds special drives with more substantial rewards when it needs zero-days of a specific category. The US-based company held a previous drive with increased rewards for Linux zero-days in February, with rewards going as high as $45,000. In another zero-day acquisition drive announced on Twitter this week, the company said it was looking again for Linux zero-days, but also for exploits targeting BSD systems. This time around, rewards can go up to $500,000, for the right exploit.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's in-the-works department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Kotaku: We haven't heard many specifics about Google's video game plans, but what we have heard is that it's a three-pronged approach: 1) Some sort of streaming platform, 2) some sort of hardware, and 3) an attempt to bring game developers under the Google umbrella, whether through aggressive recruiting or even major acquisitions. That's the word from five people who have either been briefed on Google's plans or heard about them secondhand.
So what is this streaming platform, exactly? Like Nvidia's GeForce Now, the Google service would offload the work of rendering graphics to beefy computers elsewhere, allowing even the cheapest PCs to play high-end games. The biggest advantage of streaming, as opposed to physical discs or downloads, is that it removes hardware barriers for games. Whispers have been quieter about Google's hardware, whatever that may look like, but the rumors we've heard suggest that it will link up with the streaming service in some way. We're not sure whether Google is looking to compete with the technical specs of the next PlayStation and Xbox or whether this Google console will be cheaper and low-end, relying on the streaming service to pull weight. The streaming platform, which is code-named Yeti, was first reported by the website The Information earlier this year.Read Replies (0)
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)