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Robin Hood Hacker Donates $11,000 of Stolen Bitcoin to Help Fight ISIS
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '16 at 09:43 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's modern-life-robin-hood department:
An anonymous reader writes: A Kurdish region of Syria that borders territory held by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) has received an $11,000 donation in allegedly stolen bitcoin from a vigilante hacker. (paywalled, alternate source) The pseudonymous Phineas Fisher donated 25 bitcoins to a crowdfunding campaign set up by members of the Rojava region's economic committee, described by Fisher as "one of the most inspiring revolutionary projects in the world." Fisher claims that the bitcoin donation, recorded publicly on the blockchain ledger and listed on the crowdfunding campaign page, came from hacking into a bank. "The money did come from robbing a bank," Fisher said. "Bank robbing is more viable than ever, it's just done differently these days."Phisher adds: "Unfortunately, our world is backwards. You get rich by doing bad things and go to jail for doing good."

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Federal Judge Says Internet Archive's Wayback Machine A Perfectly Legitimate Source Of Evidence
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '16 at 08:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's reason-to-live-by department:
Tim Cushing, reporting for TechDirt (condensed): Those of us who dwell on the internet already know the Internet Archive's "Wayback Machine" is a useful source of evidence. So, it's heartening to see a federal judge arrive at the same conclusion, as Stephen Bykowski of the Trademark and Copyright Law blog reports.From the report: The potential uses of the Wayback Machine in IP litigation are powerful and diverse. Historical versions of an opposing party's website could contain useful admissions or, in the case of patent disputes, invalidating prior art. Date-stamped websites can also contain proof of past infringing use of copyrighted or trademarked content.From TechDirt: The defendant tried to argue that the Internet Archive's pages weren't admissible because the Wayback Machine doesn't capture everything on the page or update every page from a website on the same date. The judge, after receiving testimony from an Internet Archive employee, disagreed. He found the site to a credible source of preserved evidence -- not just because it captures (for the most part) sites as they were on relevant dates but, more importantly, it does nothing to alter the purity of the preserved evidence.

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Chromebooks Outsell Macs For the First Time In the US
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '16 at 08:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's get-things-done department:
An anonymous reader shares a report on The Verge: Google's low-cost Chromebooks outsold Apple's range of Macs for the first time in the U.S. recently. IDC analyst Linn Huang confirmed the milestone to The Verge. "Chrome OS overtook Mac OS in the US in terms of shipments for the first time in 1Q16," says Huang. "Chromebooks are still largely a US K-12 story." IDC estimates Apple's U.S. Mac shipments to be around 1.76 million in the latest quarter, meaning Dell, HP, and Lenovo sold nearly 2 million Chromebooks in Q1 combined. Chromebooks have been extremely popular in US schools, and it's clear from IDC's comments the demand is driving US shipments. Outside of the US, it's still unclear exactly how well Google's low-cost laptops are doing. Most data from market research firms like IDC and Gartner focuses solely on Google's wins in the US.

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Theranos Withdraws Two Years of Blood Test Results
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '16 at 06:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's 'house-of-cards' department:
Reader Major Blud writes: Theranos, the company valued at $9 billion that promised to revolutionize the way blood testing is done, has just announced that it has withdrawn all of the test done using its Edison machine performed in 2014 and 2015. The company recently come under fire from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the inaccuracy and unreliability of the machine, and threatened to revoke the company's license as well as ban CEO and founder Elizabeth Holmes, and its president and COO, Sunny Balwani, from blood testing.

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Filmmakers Ask 'Pirate' to Take Polygraph, Backtrack When He Agrees
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '16 at 06:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's making-a-case-without-much-ground department:
The makers of Dallas Buyers Club (a 2014 movie, which won three Academy awards) are going to great lengths to crackdown on BitTorrent pirates. According to a report on piracy news blog TorrentFreak, the filmmakers challenged an accused pirate to submit a polygraph test to prove that he didn't download a copyright infringing copy of their movie. The accused pirate, California resident Michael Amhari, insists that he did not download any pirated copy of the Dallas Buyers Club and agreed to take the polygraph test. Upon hearing this, the filmmakers, who had imposed a $100,000 fine on Amhari, retracted the offer. "When plaintiff's counsel then agreed to take such a test with the proviso that defense costs and attorney fees be covered, plaintiff then refused to pay costs and revoked his offer to conduct a polygraph," said Amhari's counsel Clay Renick. TorrentFreak reports: "After receiving exculpatory evidence and the sworn declaration of defendant, Mr. Davis then refused to file a dismissal and proceeded to demand that defendant appear in the action or he would file a default." The defendant's counsel added: âoeThis behavior is galling and it should not be permitted by the court.â Because of these dubious tactics the court should set aside the default that was entered earlier this month. According to Renick, Dallas Buyer's Club has nothing more than an IP-address to back up their infringement claims, which is not enough to prove guilt.

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Android Wear 2.0 Gets A Keyboard, Standalone Apps, Activity Recognition, New UI
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '16 at 05:21 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's better-than-ever department:
An anonymous reader writes: Google unveiled the biggest update to Android Wear yet at Google I/O -- Android Wear version 2.0. Google VP of Engineering for Android Wear David Singleton said the new version represents a "holistic pass across the design of the whole system" and focuses on providing users more glanceable information, improved messaging tools (including support for keyboards, handwriting recognition and smart replies), as well as new fitness and wellness features. The design features improved Material Design aesthetics with an emphasis on color. By default, the navigation drawer is always at the top of the screen and notifications themselves will always show up at the bottom. Android Wear 2.0 features standalone apps that communicate directly over the Internet via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or cellular. Apps are no longer exclusively relying on a tethered phone or cloud syncing. There's a Complications API, which allows developers to pass raw data to watch faces. Wear 2.0 adds two new input methods: a swipe-style keyboard for typing and a handwriting recognition mode to sketch letters on your watch's screen to spell out messages. There have also been various Google Fit-related improvements to make Android Wear watches better fitness trackers. Android Wear 2.0 is available today as a developer preview, with the finished product being released this fall.

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PornHub's 'Bangfit' Program Uses Sexy Exercise To Build Muscle
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '16 at 02:42 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's what-a-time-to-be-alive department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Mashable: A new program created by PornHub called "BangFit" features 'sexercises' that allow players to build and tone muscle. Instead of forcing people to go the gym, Bangfit users simply practice sexual exercises, otherwise known as actual sex. Finally, you can gyrate and hump your way to the body of your dreams. BangFit users follow along with videos as they execute positions like the "squat and thrust" and "missionary press." Players can sync their phones to the workout in order to track their progress and measure the amount of calories burned. While the concept sounds simply gimmicky, BangFit says they designed the app using real science and professionals in the field. PornHub is also retailing an adjustable band that keeps your smartphone closer to to your body, making it easier for the gyroscope to track your movements (judge your performance?). Anytime you complete a level, PornHub congratulates you on your success with a phrase like, "You're the gymanastiest," which is simultaneously rewarding and disgusting. You can watch the retro NSFW introduction video here.

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EgyptAir Flight 804 Missing
Posted by News Fetcher on May 19 '16 at 12:03 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's to-be-continued department:
dark.nebulae writes: An EgyptAir flight disappeared on it's way from Paris to Egypt resulting in loss of 56 passengers and 10 crew members. The plane was flying at 37,000 feet when it vanished shortly after entering Egyptian airspace. It was suppose to land in Cairo at 3:15 a.m. Thursday after leaving Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport at 11:09 p.m. local time. CNN's aviation correspondent Richard Quest said, "Planes just do not fall out of the sky for no reason, particularly at 37,000 feet." He said the plane vanished while cruising -- the safest part of the journey. We'll update the story as more details emerge.

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Pfizer Blocks The Use Of Its Drugs In Executions
Posted by News Fetcher on May 18 '16 at 08:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's right-and-wrong department:
HughPickens.com writes: Erik Eckholm reports in the NYT that the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has announced that it has imposed sweeping controls on the distribution of its products to ensure that none are used in lethal injections, a step that closes off the last remaining open-market source of drugs used in executions. "Pfizer makes its products to enhance and save the lives of the patients we serve," the company says, and "strongly objects to the use of its products as lethal injections for capital punishment." "With Pfizer's announcement, all F.D.A.-approved manufacturers of any potential execution drug have now blocked their sale for this purpose," says Maya Foa. "Executing states must now go underground if they want to get hold of medicines for use in lethal injection." The mounting difficulty in obtaining lethal drugs has already caused states to furtively scramble for supplies. Some states have used straw buyers or tried to import drugs from abroad that are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, only to see them seized by federal agents. Other states have experimented with new drug combinations, sometimes with disastrous results, such as the prolonged execution of Joseph Wood in Arizona in 2014, using the sedative midazolam. A few states have adopted the electric chair, firing squad or gas chamber as an alternative if lethal drugs are not available. Since Utah chooses to have a death penalty, "we have to have a means of carrying it out," said State Representative Paul Ray as he argued last year for authorization of the firing squad.

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Nintendo May Start Selling 'Computer Software'
Posted by News Fetcher on May 18 '16 at 06:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rumors-and-speculation department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Nintendo's most recent fiscal-year disclosure made headlines for announcing a release window for the new "Nintendo NX" console and yet another Zelda game delay, but it also included news of serious corporate restructuring. The short version: Nintendo will soon involve a supervisory committee in making top-level executive decisions. A Tuesday announcement included the company's amended articles of incorporation, expected to be approved by shareholders this June, and it included three new entries in its "business engagement" list: restaurants, medical and health devices, and "computer software." The choice of adding "computer software" to that list, on the other hand, seems particularly curious -- especially since Nintendo's existing list of engaged businesses includes terms that sound very much like computer software, particularly the broad term of "contents such as games, images, and music." That list also revised an entry that used to say that the company would license the "use or reproduction of copyrighted works" and "trademarks." Now, Nintendo will license its "intellectual property rights." That shift to the term "intellectual property" includes copyrighted works and trademarks in an umbrella that also may include such Nintendo-owned concepts as patents.

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Updated Skimer Malware Infects ATMs Worldwide
Posted by News Fetcher on May 18 '16 at 05:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's back-at-it-again department:
An anonymous reader writes: Researchers at Kaspersky have discovered an improved version of Backdoor.Win32.Skimer infecting ATM machines worldwide. The new Skimer allows criminal access to card data, including PIN numbers, as well as to the actual cash located in the machine. The malicious installers use the packer Thermida to disguise the Skimer malware which is then installed on the ATM. If the ATM file system is FAT32, the malware drops the file netmgr.dll in the folder C:WindowsSystem32. If the ATM has an NTFS file system, netmgr.dll is placed in the executable file of the NTFS data stream, which makes detection and analysis of the malware more difficult. Skimer may lie dormant for months until it is activated with the phsyical use of a "magic card," which gives access control to the malware, and then offers a list of options that are accessed by inputing a choice on the pin pad. The user can then request the ATM to: show installation details, dispense money, start collecting the details of inserted cards, print collected card details, self delete, enable debug mode, and update. Here's a video of the Skimer malware in action.

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Google's Tensor Processing Unit Could Advance Moore's Law 7 Years Into The Future
Posted by News Fetcher on May 18 '16 at 05:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's Moore's-Law department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via PCWorld: Google says its Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) advances machine learning capability by a factor of three generations. "TPUs deliver an order of magnitude higher performance per watt than all commercially available GPUs and FPGA," said Google CEO Sundar Pichai during the company's I/O developer conference on Wednesday. The chips powered the AlphaGo computer that beat Lee Sedol, world champion of the game called Go. "We've been running TPUs inside our data centers for more than a year, and have found them to deliver an order of magnitude better-optimized performance per watt for machine learning. This is roughly equivalent to fast-forwarding technology about seven years into the future (three generations of Moore's Law)," said Google's blog post. "TPU is tailored to machine learning applications, allowing the chip to be more tolerant of reduced computational precision, which means it requires fewer transistors per operation. Because of this, we can squeeze more operations per second into the silicon, use more sophisticated and powerful machine learning models, and apply these models more quickly, so users get more intelligent results more rapidly." The chip is called the Tensor Processing Unit because it underpins TensorFlow, the software engine that powers its deep learning services under an open-source license.

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Google Turns Firebase Into Its Unified Platform For Mobile Developers
Posted by News Fetcher on May 18 '16 at 04:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's unified-platform department:
An anonymous reader writes: Google has announced a plethora of new features to Firebase, its cloud services provider that mobile developers can use to power their apps. TechCrunch reports: "In its previous incarnation, Firebase was somewhat similar to Facebook's now-defunct Parse in that it offered a database service, user authentication features and hosting tools. In this new version, Firebase takes many of Google's existing developer tools, like Google Cloud Messaging, and combines them with new and existing Firebase services. With this update, Google is turning Firebase into a unified app platform for its now 470,000 developers on the service (up from 110,000 when it acquired Firebase)." The new Firebase features deeply integrated analytics services, allowing developers to track specific parts of their apps with fine-grained events. Firebase can build audience segments and allow developers to analyze their behavior in even more detail than before, and view how their advertising campaigns are performing. With these audience segments, developers can make remote configuration changes in apps and take advantage of Firebase's new notifications system. This feature is based on Google Cloud Messaging, which is now changing its name to Firebase Cloud Messaging. Google is offering all Firebase users free and unlimited notifications with support for iOS, Android and the Web. They're also integrating its Cloud Test Lab into Firebase for testing mobile apps on real hardware, renaming it the Firebase Test Lab. Other new features include crash reporting, the ability to create dynamic deep links into your app, Firebase Invites for allowing app users to share referral codes, Firebase App Indexing for bringing app content into Google Search, and integration with Google's AdWords and AdMob advertising platforms. Last but not least, Google is introducing new pricing plans for Firebase, including a new free plan, a fixed-rate plan, and a pay-as-you go plan.

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Scientists Find A 'Weak Spot' In HIV That May Pave The Way To A Vaccine
Posted by News Fetcher on May 18 '16 at 04:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's promising-results department:
iONiUM quotes a report from Futurism: Research conducted by a team from the National Institutes of Health reported a new vulnerable site on HIV for vaccines to target. It is based on an antibody from the blood of an HIV-infected patient that binds with the virus and also prevents it from infecting a cell. A recent press release reports that a team of scientists led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has discovered a new "weak spot" in HIV that vaccines can target. The area, called the fusion peptide, is a simple structure of eight amino acids that helps the virus fuse with a cell. According to the study, the team used a particularly powerful antibody, called VRC34.01, taken from the blood of an unnamed HIV-positive patient that caught the weak spot in the virus. It's not only capable of binding with the virus through the fusion peptide but also preventing it from infecting an entire cell.

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Google Announces New Virtual Reality Platform 'Daydream'
Posted by News Fetcher on May 18 '16 at 02:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's immerse-yourself department:
ErnieKey writes: At Google I/O today, the company announced what they are calling "Google Daydream." This is their upcoming virtual-reality platform that takes Google Cardboard several steps further. Daydream is a platform that will provide guidance for both hardware and software developers to create truly immersive Android N compatible VR hardware, games and experiences. The first hardware will be available this Fall. Companies such as HTC, Samsung, ASUS and others are working on smartphone handsets and VR headsets that are Daydream compatible. Game developers like EA and Ubisoft are already working on compatible games. Google is also releasing reference devices including a headset and controller to encourage developers and companies to develop content for Daydream. In addition to Daydream, Google announced Allo, Duo, Instant Apps, and a stable Android N developer preview.

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Europa's Ocean Chemistry Could Be Earth-Like
Posted by News Fetcher on May 18 '16 at 02:41 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's in-search-of-life department:
An anonymous reader writes: Alien life in the universe could be close to home, swimming around Europa's ocean. The idea has been floating around scientific minds for more than a decade: beneath the icy surface of the Jovian moon could slosh a deep, wide ocean with the perfect environment for life to develop. In new research published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, NASA scientists studied how the chemical composition of the Europan ocean may have evolved and what chemicals it possibly contains, assuming similar geochemical processes as on Earth are at play. Europa is thought to possess a rocky core fractured with deep cracks that have filled with water. Since the formation of the moon, the core has continued to cool, creating more cracks and exposing more rocks to chemical processes with this water."We're studying an alien ocean using methods developed to understand the movement of energy and nutrients in Earth's own systems," said planetary scientist Steve Vance, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "The cycling of oxygen and hydrogen in Europa's ocean will be a major driver for Europa's ocean chemistry and any life there, just it is on Earth."

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Spy Chief: Foreign Hackers May Be Targeting Presidential Candidates
Posted by News Fetcher on May 18 '16 at 01:12 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's overseas-threats department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via NBC News: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warned Wednesday that foreign hackers may be targeting the campaigns of U.S. presidential candidates. The FBI and Homeland Security are working with the campaigns to tighten security and prevent cyber intruders from penetrating their defenses, said Clapper. "We have already had some indications of that, and a combination of DHS, FBI are doing what they can to educate both candidates of potential cyber threats," Clapper said, without specifying which candidates they were advising. "I anticipate as the campaigns intensify we will probably have more of it." A senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC News that they are "most worried about Trump, who has no experience with government computer systems or protocols." Foreign hacking against American political candidates is nothing new, Clapper said. Prior to the 2008 presidential election, Chinese cyber spies had targeted the presidential campaigns of then Sen. Obama and Sen. John McCain in order to read emails and policy papers. The hackers successfully compromised some emails, including private correspondence from McCain, NBC News reported. Also, both Obama's and GOP candidate Mitt Romney's campaigns were hit by Chinese cyber-attacks during the 2012 election. The Office of the DNI clarified Clapper's remarks tweeting: "We're aware that campaigns and related organizations and individuals are targeted by actors with a variety of motivations -- from philosophical differences to espionage -- and capabilities -- from defacements to intrusions. We defer to FBI for specific incidents."

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Snapchat Faces An Outcry Against 'Whitewashing' Filters
Posted by News Fetcher on May 18 '16 at 01:12 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's playing-with-fire department:
Last month Snapchat was thrown under the bus for a feature that many found downright racist. The photo-sharing app had added a face-altering filter that made users look like Bob Marley. Less than a month to it, Snapchat is getting blasted over another controversial feature. Several users are reporting about a "whitewash" filter that aims to "beautify" their looks. Mashable reports: Users of the app have noticed that many of the face-altering filters "whitewash." Upset Snapchatters point to the flower crown filter and the beautifying filter, both of which seem to lighten skin and eyes and contour the face to make one's chin and nose appear smaller. Since the debut, and subsequent popularity, of the Coachella-inspired filter, Snapchat users have taken to forums to voice their disproval with the app.

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iOS 9.3.2 Bricking Some 9.7-inch iPad Pro Devices With 'Error 56' Message
Posted by News Fetcher on May 18 '16 at 11:58 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's apple,-software,-and-bugs department:
An anonymous reader writes: iOS 9.3.2 is causing problems for some 9.7-inch iPad Pro owners, with multiple users reporting issues shortly after installing the update over the air. Affected users are seeing an "Error 56" message that instructs them to plug their devices into iTunes. Apple has issued a statement to iMore, simply stating the company is "looking into a small number of reports" regarding this issue. The statement reads: "We're looking into a small number of reports that some iPad units are receiving an error when updating the software. Those unable to restore their device through iTunes should contact Apple support."

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Google Announces Allo, Duo, Stable Android N Preview, Instant Apps
Posted by News Fetcher on May 18 '16 at 11:58 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's yummy-Google-updates department:
Also at the conference, Google announced Allo, a new smart messaging app, and Duo, a high-definition video chat app for Android and iOS devices. TechCrunch reports: Why the decision to launch two separate apps? A couple of reasons, it seems. The first is to keep the experiences simple and lightweight; and the second: to do something a little different from the rest of the pack. Facebook, for example, has supercharged Messenger with smart bots, as well as voice and video calling and more on top of its basic text messaging service. Allo leverages Google's assistant bot to prompt interesting and relevant responses to texts. Duo is a one-to-one video chatting app with a number of interesting features including "Knock Knock" which lets you see the real-time video of the person calling you. Google has also released the third preview of Android N. The company says that it is now safe enough to be used on your primary smartphone and tablet. The new update comes with a feature called "Seamless Updates" which will install system updates in the background. The company also announced Instant Apps, a feature that will allow users to tap an Instant App URL, and run the app without installing it. Clicking on Instant App URL, Google says, only gleans the parts of the app that you need for a specific purpose. The feature will work on all phones running Android 4.2 or newer version, and will be available starting later this year.

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