By BeauHD from Slashdot's show-and-tell department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: On Thursday, Russian officials held a press conference to reveal that they have determined what caused last month's Soyuz mid-flight failure. The culprit: a damaged sensor on one of the rocket's four boosters responsible for stage separation. With the investigation complete, the officials announced that they will move up the date of the next crew launch to the International Space Station. Russian space agency officials confirmed that the faulty sensor, designed to signal stage separation, had caused one of the boosters to improperly separate. This led the first and second stages of the rocket to collide, which then triggered the vehicle's emergency abort system.
Video of the incident, released today by the space agency, shows the accident from the rocket's point of view. In it, the booster in question strikes the core of the rocket, causing a significant jolt, which triggered the abort. According to officials, the afflicted sensor rod was bent slightly during the assembly of the rocket. To check for any handling errors that might have also affected other rockets, Russian officials said that all assembled Soyuz rockets -- and their attached booster pack -- will be taken apart and put together anew.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's only-time-will-tell department
TTL0 shares a report from The Times of Israel: Iranian infrastructure and strategic networks have come under attack in the last few days by a computer virus similar to Stuxnet but "more violent, more advanced and more sophisticated," and Israeli officials are refusing to discuss what role, if any, they may have had in the operation, an Israeli TV report said Wednesday. "Remember Stuxnet, the virus that penetrated the computers of the Iranian nuclear industry?" the report on Israel's Hadashot news asked. Iran "has admitted in the past few days that it is again facing a similar attack, from a more violent, more advanced and more sophisticated virus than before, that has hit infrastructure and strategic networks." The Iranians, the TV report went on, are "not admitting, of course, how much damage has been caused." On Sunday, Gholamreza Jalali, the head of Iran's civil defense agency, said Tehran had neutralized a new version of Stuxnet, Reuters reported. Stuxnet penetrated Iran's nuclear program, "taking control and sabotaging parts of its enrichment processes by speeding up its centrifuges," the report notes. We'll update this story when more details become available.Read Replies (0)
NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Is Dead
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '18 at 11:50 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's bad-week-for-space-explorers department
NASA's Dawn spacecraft has run out of fuel, leading the agency to officially end its mission of exploring the two largest objects in the asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres. "Today, we celebrate the end of our Dawn mission -- its incredible technical achievements, the vital science it gave us and the entire team who enabled the spacecraft to make these discoveries," Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C., said in a statement. "The astounding images and data that Dawn collected from Vesta and Ceres are critical to understanding the history and evolution of our solar system," Zurbuchen added. Space.com reports: The $467 million Dawn mission launched in September 2007 to study the protoplanet Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres, which are about 330 miles (530 kilometers) and 590 miles (950 km) wide, respectively. Scientists regard these two bodies as leftovers from the solar system's planet-formation period, which explains the mission's name. Dawn arrived at Vesta in July 2011, then scrutinized the object from orbit for 14 months. The probe's work revealed many intriguing details about Vesta. For example, liquid water once flowed across the protoplanet's surface (likely after buried ice was melted by meteorite impacts), and Vesta sports a towering peak near its south pole that's nearly as tall as Mars' famous Olympus Mons volcano. Dawn left Vesta in September 2012. The mission team concluded that Dawn had run out of hydrazine after the probe missed scheduled communication check-ins yesterday (Oct. 31) and today. Hydrazine is the fuel used by Dawn's pointing thrusters, so the spacecraft can no longer orient itself to study Ceres, relay data to Earth or recharge its solar panels. Dawn will remain in orbit around Ceres for at least 20 years, and probably much longer than that. Mission team members have said there's a greater than 99 percent probability that the probe won't spiral down onto Ceres' frigid, battered surface for at least five more decades. It's been a rough week for space explorers as not only did Dawn run out of fuel, but the Kepler telescope did too and had to be retired.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's many-caveats-apply department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: For decades, health experts have struggled to determine whether or not cellphones can cause cancer. On Thursday, a federal agency released the final results of what experts call the world's largest and most costly experiment to look into the question. The study originated in the Clinton administration, cost $30 million and involved some 3,000 rodents. The experiment, by the National Toxicology Program, found positive but relatively modest evidence that radio waves from some types of cellphones could raise the risk that male rats develop brain cancer. But he cautioned that the exposure levels and durations were far greater than what people typically encounter, and thus cannot "be compared directly to the exposure that humans experience." Moreover, the rat study examined the effects of a radio frequency associated with an early generation of cellphone technology, one that fell out of routine use years ago. Any concerns arising from the study thus would seem to apply mainly to early adopters who used those bygone devices, not to users of current models. The lowest level of radiation in the federal study was equal to the maximum exposure that federal regulations allow for cellphone users. That level of exposure rarely occurs in typical cellphone use, the toxicology agency said. The highest level was four times higher than the permitted maximum. The rodents in the studies were exposed to radiation nine hours a day for two years -- far longer even than heavy users of cellphones. For the rats, the exposures started before birth and continued until they were about 2 years old. Some 2 to 3 percent of the male rats exposed to the radiation developed malignant gliomas, a deadly brain cancer, compared to none in a control group that received no radiation. Many epidemiologists see no overall rise in the incidence of gliomas in the human population. "The study also found that about 5 to 7 percent of the male rats exposed to the highest level of radiation developed certain heart tumors, called schwannomas, compared to none in the control group," the NYT reports. It's worth nothing that the rats were exposed to radiation at a frequency of 900 megahertz, the frequency used in the second generation of cellphones that prevailed in the 90s, when the study was first conceived. For comparison, fourth generation (4G) and fifth generation (5G) phones employ much higher frequencies, which are "far less successful at penetrating the bodies of humans and rats," the NYT reports.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's future-is-now department
Imperial College London will be using holograms of lecturers to teach students from afar. "Imperial will initially limit its use to its Business School's activities but expects the technology could eventually become common," reports the BBC. From the report: Strictly speaking, the illusions are not holograms but neither are they the Pepper's Ghost effect used by politicians including French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well the entertainment industry. Instead, they use a technique developed by a Canadian company, Arht Media. "The problem with Pepper's Ghost is that it can be intricate to set up and can cost about $200,000 to run an event," said Dr David Lefevre, director of Imperial's Edtech Lab. "This is simpler -- you project upon a glass screen, and a backdrop behind it uses software to give it an illusion of depth. "It runs at the low thousands each time, so for the first time universities can afford it." To send their image, lecturers need to use a "capture studio," which involves filming them against a black backdrop while being lit from both sides.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rendered-useless department
Two new zero-day vulnerabilities called "Bleeding Bit" have been revealed by security firm Armis, impacting Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) chips used in millions of Cisco, Meraki, and Aruba wireless access points (APs). "Developed by Texas Instruments (TI), the vulnerable BLE chips are used by roughly 70 to 80 percent of business wireless access points today by way of Cisco, Meraki and Aruba products," reports ZDNet. From the report: The first vulnerability, CVE-2018-16986, impacts Cisco and Meraki APs using TI BLE chips. Attacks can remotely send multiple benign BLE broadcast messages, called "advertising packets," which are stored on the memory of the vulnerable chip. As long as a target device's BLE is turned on, these packets -- which contain hidden malicious code to be invoked later on -- can be used together with an overflow packet to trigger an overflow of critical memory. If exploited, attackers are able to trigger memory corruption in the chip's BLE stack, creating a scenario in which the threat actor is able to access an operating system and hijack devices, create a backdoor, and remotely execute malicious code.
The second vulnerability, CVE-2018-7080, is present in the over-the-air firmware download (OAD) feature of TI chips used in Aruba Wi-Fi access point Series 300 systems. The vulnerability is technically a leftover development backdoor tool. This oversight, the failure to remove such a powerful development tool, could permit attackers to compromise the system by gaining a foothold into a vulnerable access point. "It allows an attacker to access and install a completely new and different version of the firmware -- effectively rewriting the operating system of the device," the company says. "The OAD feature doesn't offer a security mechanism that differentiates a "good" or trusted firmware update from a potentially malicious update."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's don't-let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-way-out department
mspohr shares a report from Ars Technica: In September 2018, Shipping & Transit LLC (formerly known as ArrivalStar) filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy -- voluntary liquidation -- but no one seems to have noticed until the Electronic Frontier Foundation pointed it out on October 31. The company claimed that it held the patent on vehicle tracking and related alerts. But about 15 months ago, judges began to rule against Shipping & Transit for the first time. That seems to have put a damper on its entire business model.
Now, according to Shipping & Transit LLC's federal bankruptcy filings, its global patent holdings (34 in the United States and 29 elsewhere) are worth a whopping $2. Meanwhile, it owes more than $423,000 to numerous creditors, including banks, law firms, and something called the "West African Investment Trust," based in Geneva, Switzerland.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's money-fight department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Telecompaper: AT&T has blocked its HBO and Cinemax channels for Dish and Sling TV customers over a carriage dispute. This is the first channel blackout for HBO in its 40 years of operation. Pay-TV provider Dish and OTT services Sling TV said AT&T is making "untenable demands designed specifically to harm customers, particularly those in rural areas, as well as damage competing pay-TV providers" and that at the time of the merger, no guidelines were set in place to ensure AT&T "played fair" for HBO and Cinemax subscribers, regardless of their pay-TV provider.
Dish said AT&T is demanding it pay for a guaranteed number of subscribers, regardless of how many people actually want to subscribe to HBO. The company noted that during the arbitration process, AT&T will have to restore its channels to Dish customers. The company and Sling TV will credit customers on their bill for the time they do not receive either HBO or Cinemax. Dish added that it is also offering customers a free preview of HDNET Movies. An HBO spokesperson said in a statement: "During our forty-plus years of operation, HBO has always been able to reach agreement with our valued distributors and our services have never been taken down or made unavailable to subscribers due to an inability to conclude a deal. Unfortunately, Dish is making it extremely difficult, responding to our good faith attempts with unreasonable terms. Past behavior shows that removing services from their customers is becoming all too common a negotiating tactic for them. We hope the situation with Dish changes soon but, in the meantime, our valued customers should take advantage of the other ways to access an HBO subscription so they can continue to enjoy our acclaimed programming."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's child's-play department
A series of benchmark results have shown up on Geekbench for the new iPad Pro, and its new eight-core A12X Bionic chip is truly a powerhouse. From a report: The new iPad Pro achieved single-core and multi-core scores of 5,025 and 18,106 respectively based on an average of two benchmark results, making it by far the fastest iPad ever and comparable even to the performance of the latest 15-inch MacBook Pro models with Intel's six-core Core i7 chips. We've put together a chart that compares Geekbench scores of the new iPad Pro and various other iPad, Mac, and iPhone models. That the new iPad Pro rivals the performance of the latest 15-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.6GHz six-core Core i7 processor is impressive, but even more so when you consider that the tablet starts at $799. The aforementioned MacBook Pro configuration is priced at $2,799, although with 512GB of storage. Even the new 11-inch iPad Pro with 512GB of storage is only $1,149, less than half that of the Core i7-equipped MacBook Pro.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's bug-trackers department
Emil Protalinski, writing for VentureBeat: After upgrading to Android Pie, most users have either seen a slight improvement in battery life or reported no perceivable difference. But soon after we published our story, some users told us that they are experiencing the opposite: significantly higher battery drain after upgrading to Pie. We've been tracking this issue for the past few months, during which the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL launched with Android Pie out-of-the-box and new device owners reported similar problems. Some Android Pie users simply don't expect their phones to make it through the day. Users on Reddit, the Pixel forums, and Google's issue tracker have been discussing battery life issues on existing devices after upgrading to Android Pie, and some even on new devices (although there are naturally fewer of those cases). VentureBeat was able to independently confirm the issue on a Pixel 2 XL and a Pixel 3 -- we sent the details to Google. Given that Adaptive Battery is the main feature highlight when it comes to battery improvement in Android Pie, many suspected it could be the culprit. Users have reported, however, that turning it off didn't help the situation much, if at all. We were also able to independently verify that Adaptive Battery is not the cause. Adaptive Battery is only available in Pie, but in our tests battery life only drained faster with the feature off. We did, however, confirm that the problem is unique to Android Pie. Users have reported significant battery drain when their phones are idle, anywhere between 10 percent to 20 percent drained in an hour.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department
Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google, and dozens of other tech companies have come together to condemn discrimination against transgender people in the face of actions President Donald Trump is reportedly considering to reduce their legal protections. From a report: The move is a response to an Oct. 21 New York Times report that the Trump administration is considering limiting the definition of gender to birth genitalia. "Sex means a person's status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth," the Department of Health and Human Services proposed in a memo obtained by the Times. If legislation were to move forward, it would jeopardize legal protections for an estimated 1.4 million Americans who identify as a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth, the Times said. The statement from the companies, which have nearly 4.8 million employees, said diversity and inclusion are good for business. "Transgender people are our beloved family members and friends, and our valued team members," the statement said. "What harms transgender people harms our companies."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's beware department
With iOS 12.1, Apple introduced a bunch of new features like Group FaceTime and dozens of new emoji. But the company also elected to add a controversial new performance management feature to the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. From a report: For the uninitiated, back in December 2017, Apple confirmed that it would sometimes slow down older iPhones through a software update in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns. The result was that certain models -- iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, 7, and 7 Plus -- would often perform poorly after being updated to the newest version of iOS. Users had long suspected Apple was throttling older iPhones, but it wasn't until Geekbench published an expose that the company publicly admitted it was, indeed, slowing down older iPhones -- albeit, for a good reason. Apple said in its explanation of the throttling issue that its goal was "to deliver the best experience for customers" and essentially argued the practice of throttling was a feature -- not a bug as it had been reported. Apple's solution was to give iPhone owners some extra control over the feature and offer a reduced cost for battery replacements.Read Replies (0)