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New Study Finds Incredibly High Carbon Pollution Costs -- Especially For the US and India
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 08:30 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's climate-consensus department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: A new study led by UC San Diego's Katharine Ricke published in Nature Climate Change found that not only is the global social cost of carbon dramatically higher than the federal estimate ($37 per ton) -- probably between $177 and $805 per ton, most likely $417 -- but that the cost to America is around $50 per ton. That's the second-highest in the world behind India's $90, and is also higher than the current federal estimate for the global social cost of carbon. That's a remarkable conclusion worth repeating. Ricke's team found that the cost of carbon pollution to just the United States is probably higher than its government's current estimate of costs to the entire world. And the actual global cost is more than 10 times higher than the federal estimate. [The Guardian's Dana Nuccitelli] asked Ricke to describe her team's approach in this study: To calculate social cost of carbon, you need to answer four questions in sequence:
1. How would the economy change with no climate change (including GHG emissions)?
2. How does the Earth system respond to emissions of carbon dioxide?
3. How does the economy respond to changes in the Earth system?
4. How should we value losses today vs. in (for example) 100 years?

The team answered these questions using four "modules": a socio-economic module to answer the first question, a climate module to address the second, a damages module to investigate the third, and a discounting module to tackle the fourth.

< article continued at Slashdot's climate-consensus department >

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Half of US Uber Drivers Make Less Than $10 An Hour After Vehicle Expenses, Study Says
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 07:10 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's nickeled-and-dimed department:
Echoing a similar study by the JPMorgan Chase Institute, a new study finds the median hourly pay with tip for Uber drivers in the U.S. is $14.73, which includes tips and excludes expenses like insurance, gas and car depreciation incurred while working. The study was conducted by Ridester, a publication that focuses on the ride-hail industry. Recode reports: Using Ridester's low-end estimate of $5 per hour in vehicle costs, drivers would bring in $9.73 per hour and potentially much less. That implies a driver working 40 hours per week would make an annual salary of almost $31,000 before vehicle expenses, and about $20,000 after expenses (but still before taxes). That's below the poverty threshold for a family of three. It's also a far cry from the $70,000 to $90,000 Uber once claimed its drivers made in major markets.

The study, which was conducted this summer, asked drivers for a screenshot of their Uber app's earnings page from their last full day driving. The 719 valid screenshots they used show how many hours the drivers worked and how much they were paid after Uber's cut. It doesn't factor in other costs like taxes or healthcare. And -- worth noting -- the study only represents drivers who were motivated enough to send in their data and isn't necessarily representative of the geographical distribution of Uber drivers.

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The Rise of Netflix Competitors Has Pushed Consumers Back Toward Piracy
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 05:50 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cause-and-effect department:
A new study from network equipment company Sandvine finds that BitTorrent usage and piracy is increasing after years of declines. The reason appears to be due to "an increase in exclusivity deals that force subscribers to hunt and peck among a myriad of streaming services to actually find the content they're looking for," reports Motherboard. From the report: Sandvine's new Global Internet Phenomena report offers some interesting insight into user video habits and the internet, such as the fact that more than 50 percent of internet traffic is now encrypted, video now accounts for 58 percent of all global traffic, and Netflix alone now comprises 15 percent of all internet downstream data consumed. But there's another interesting tidbit buried in the firm's report: after years of steady decline, BitTorrent usage is once again growing.

According to Sandvine, file-sharing accounts for 3 percent of global downstream and 22 percent of upstream traffic, with 97% of that traffic in turn being BitTorrent. While BitTorrent is often used to distribute ordinary files, it remains the choice du jour for those looking to distribute and trade copyrighted content online, made easier via media PCs running Kodi and select plugins. Back in 2011, Sandvine stated that BitTorrent accounted for 52.01% of upstream traffic on fixed broadband networks in North America. By 2015, BitTorrent's share of upstream traffic on these networks had dipped to 26.83 percent, largely thanks to the rise in quality, inexpensive streaming alternatives to piracy. But Sandvine notes that trend is now reversing slightly, with BitTorrent's traffic share once again growing worldwide. That's especially true in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa, where BitTorrent now accounts for 32% of all upstream network traffic.

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Microsoft Announces App Mirroring To Let You Use Any Android App On Windows 10
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 05:50 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cross-platform department:
At its Surface launch event, Microsoft announced a new feature for Windows 10 that will let Android users use any app on their device on a Windows 10 desktop. Microsoft is referring to the feature as app mirroring, and it appears to only be available for Android users. "It looks to be a significant step in helping bridge Windows 10 and the mobile ecosystem after the demise of Windows Phone," reports The Verge. From the report: We didn't see an extensive demo onstage, but we did get a look at a user exchanging Snapchat messages with a friend on a Surface device using the app mirroring feature. Microsoft says the feature will be available in the new Windows 10 October update.

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Google's First Urban Development Raises Data Concerns
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's big-data department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Washington Post: A unit of Google's parent company Alphabet is proposing to turn a rundown part of Toronto's waterfront into what may be the most wired community in history -- to "fundamentally refine what urban life can be." Sidewalk Labs has partnered with a government agency known as Waterfront Toronto with plans to erect mid-rise apartments, offices, shops and a school on a 12-acre (4.9-hectare) site -- a first step toward what it hopes will eventually be a 800-acre (325-hectare) development. High-level interest is clear: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alphabet's then-Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt appeared together to announce the plan in October. But some Canadians are rethinking the privacy implications (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source) of giving one of the most data-hungry companies on the planet the means to wire up everything from street lights to pavement. And some want the public to get a cut of the revenue from products developed using Canada's largest city as an urban laboratory.

< article continued at Slashdot's big-data department >

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AmigaOS 3.1.4 For Classic Amigas Released
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's blast-from-the-past department:
Mike Bouma shares the announcement from Hyperior Entertainment, which holds exclusive rights to AmigaOS: The new, cleaned-up, polished Amiga operating system for your 68K machine fixes all the small annoyances that have piled up over the years. Originally intended as a bug-fix release, it also modernizes many system components previously upgraded in OS 3.9. Contrary to its modest revision number, AmigaOS 3.1.4 is arguably as large an upgrade as OS 3.9 was, and surpasses it in stability and robustness. Over 320K of release notes cover almost every aspect of your favorite classic AmigaOS -- from bootmenu to datatypes. Some of the highlights mentioned include: Over 20 Kickstart ROM modules and many more disk-based core OS components were fixed, updated, or added; Support for large hard disks; A modernized Workbench; and A colorful, professionally designed icon set is included, along with the traditional four-color icons.

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'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Negative Buzz Amplified By Russian Trolls, Study Finds
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's commence-panic department:
bestweasel writes: The Hollywood Reporter highlights an academic paper which finds that half of the criticism aimed at director Rian Johnson over Star Wars: The Last Jedi was politically motivated. From the report: [Researcher Morten Bay's paper] titled Weaponizing The Haters: The Last Jedi and the strategic politicization of pop culture through social media manipulation, examines the online response to the movie that has come to be considered controversial amongst the larger fanbase of the franchise. Bay suggests that reputation may not be earned, and instead "finds evidence of deliberate, organized political influence measures disguised as fan arguments." He continues, "The likely objective of these measures is increasing media coverage of the fandom conflict, thereby adding to and further propagating a narrative of widespread discord and dysfunction in American society. Persuading voters of this narrative remains a strategic goal for the U.S. alt-right movement, as well as the Russian Federation." The paper analyzes in depth the negative online reaction, which is split into three different camps: those with a political agenda, trolls and what Bay calls "real fantagonists," which he defines as genuine Star Wars fans disappointed in the movie. His findings are fascinating; "Overall, 50.9% of those tweeting negatively [about the movie] was likely politically motivated or not even human," he writes, noting that only 21.9% of tweets analyzed about the movie had been negative in the first place. "A number of these users appear to be Russian trolls," Bay writes of the negative tweets. In response to a tweet announcing the release of the paper, Last Jedi director Rian Johnson shared the tweet, adding, "Looking forward to reading it, but what the top-line describes is consistent with my experience online."

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Tesla Produced Over 80,000 Cars In Third Quarter, Beating Estimates
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's keep-em-coming department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Electrek: Tesla has now confirmed the official record production numbers of 80,000 vehicles. The automaker has also confirmed Q3 deliveries of 83,500 vehicles. Yesterday, Electrek reported the production numbers, which Tesla has now confirmed to be exactly 53,239 Model 3 vehicles and 26,903 Model S and X vehicles. Tesla elaborated on the Model 3 production ramp-up: "During Q3, we transitioned Model 3 production from entirely rear wheel drive at the beginning of the quarter to almost entirely dual motor during the last few weeks of the quarter. This added significant complexity, but we successfully executed this transition and ultimately produced more dual motor than rear wheel drive cars in Q3. In the last week of the quarter, we produced over 5,300 Model 3 vehicles, almost all of which were dual motor, meaning that we achieved a production rate of more than 10,000 drive units per week." Tesla delivered a total of 83,500 vehicles during the third quarter: 55,840 Model 3, 14,470 Model S, and 13,190 Model X. Here's what Tesla had to say about the Model 3 deliveries: "Our Q3 Model 3 deliveries were limited to higher-priced variants, cash/loan transactions, and North American customers only. There remain significant opportunities to grow the addressable market for Model 3 by introducing leasing, standard battery and other lower-priced variants of the car, and by starting international deliveries."

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Windows 10 October 2018 Update Is Now Available; Features 'Your Phone' Android Messaging App, Dark Theme For File Explorer, and Other Tweaks
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department:
Microsoft today announced that the Windows 10 October 2018 update is now available. While the update is fairly minor, it does offer a number of interesting new features. TechCrunch reports: The most interesting of these is probably the new "Your Phone" app, which allows you to text from your PC using an Android phone that also runs Microsoft's mobile companion app. In later iterations, that app will also sync notifications to your desktop, but for now, that's not an option. There also are tools for continuing your workflow as you switch from your phone to PC (or vice versa). These features work for iOS users, too. As far as syncing between devices goes, it's worth noting that the update also will allow you to share your clipboard between PCs.

Since everybody likes a dark mode these days, the Windows 10 File Explorer now also includes a dark theme. There's also a revamped search experience, as well as a new screenshot tool. While the release includes plenty of other tweaks, both in terms of functionality and design, the most anticipated feature, Sets, didn't make it into this release. Sets is probably the biggest change to the overall Windows user experience since the release of Windows 10, so maybe it's no surprise that Microsoft is trying to perfect this. And perfection takes a while. ZDNet has highlighted many of the "smaller" new features, such as the improved Windows search functionality, battery details for Bluetooth devices, and a built-in Clipboard manager that can sync clips across devices signed into the same Microsoft account.

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Some Apple Laptops Shipped With Intel Chips In 'Manufacturing Mode'
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 01:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
An anonymous reader writes: Apple has quietly fixed a security issue affecting some laptops that shipped with Intel chips that were mistakenly left configured into "manufacturing mode." The issue was discovered by two security researchers bug hunting for security flaws in Intel's Management Engine. While digging around through the tens of ME configuration options, the two spotted a feature that they believed could lead to problems, if left enabled by accident on Intel chips. The configuration they eyed was named Manufacturing Mode, and it's an Intel ME option that desktop, server, laptop, or mobile OEMs can enable for Intel chips and use it for testing ME's remote management features. As the name implies, this configuration option should be enabled only on manufacturing lines to enable automated configuration and testing operations, but disabled before shipping the end product. Leaving an Intel ME chip in Manufacturing Mode allows attackers to change ME settings and disable security controls, opening a chip for other attacks. The two researchers said they only tested Lenovo and Apple laptops for the presence of Intel ME chips in Manufacturing Mode. Other laptops or computers may also be affected. Instructions on how to spot Intel ME chips in Manufacturing Mode and how to disable it are available here. Apple fixed the issue in June, with the release of macOS High Sierra 10.13.5, and Security Update 2018-003 for macOS Sierra and El Capitan.

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Microsoft Unveils Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Pro 6
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 01:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's new-hardware-lineup department:
Microsoft said Tuesday it was refreshing the Surface Laptop and Surface Pro lineups with new models that offer updated specs and a black color option. The price tags have changed slightly: the Surface Laptop 2 starts at $999 (same as the Surface Laptop) while the Surface Pro 6 starts at $899 (up $100 from its predecessor). From a report: Both devices come with 8th-generation Intel Core processors (upgradeable all the way up to quad-core) and start at 128GB of SSD storage (upgradable to 1TB). The Surface Laptop 2 starts at 8GB of RAM (upgradeable to 16GB) while the Surface Pro 6 still comes with 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB of RAM. Panos Panay, head of engineering for all of Microsoft's devices, said the Surface Laptop 2 is 85 percent faster than the original Surface Laptop. He also mentioned that the screen features more than 3.4 million pixels, a 1,500:1 contrast ratio, and happens to be the lightest touchscreen panel on the market. Panay said the Surface Pro 6 is 67 percent more powerful than its predecessor (which oddly enough was just called Surface Pro). Surface Pro 6 still gets 13.5 hours of battery life, weighs 1.7 pounds, and has a 267ppi screen with "the highest contrast ratio" Microsoft has ever delivered.

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Government of Canada's Plan To Improve Cybersecurity? Be Less Attractive
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 12:30 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's find-someone-better department:
darthcamaro writes: Though Justin Trudeau is the envy of many world leaders for his likeability, the head of of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security at the Canadian Security Establishment (CSE), which helps to protect federal government networks says that his agency is trying to make Canada less attractive -- to hackers. Speaking at the SecTor conference in Toronto Scott Jones said:"By doing the basics, you're making the adversaries that come after you deploy more advanced tools and techniques, and you just might not be worth the expense," Jones said. "My ultimate goal is to make Canada unattractive to cyber-criminals and data hackers, because our community is vigilant and engaged so much so that threat actors aren't enticed to even attack us."

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DARPA Is Researching Quantized Inertia, a Theory Many Think Is Pseudoscience
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 12:30 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's getting-to-the-bottom-of-things department:
dmoberhaus writes: DARPA just awarded a $1.3 million contract to an international team of researchers to study quantized inertia or QI. This is a controversial theory that many physicists think is pseudoscience, but according to the physicist that created it, QI may be the foundation for light-powered space travel that could open the door for interstellar travel. Motherboard looks at the fact and fiction of QI, its relationship to the 'impossible' EmDrive being developed by NASA and how these physicists are going to create experimental light-powered engines. Quantized inertia (QI) is an alternative theory of inertia, a property of matter that describes an object's resistance to acceleration. QI was first proposed by University of Plymouth physicist Mike McCulloch in 2007, but it is still considered a fringe theory by many, if not most, physicists today. McCulloch has used the theory to explain galactic rotation speeds without the need for dark matter, but he believes it may one day provide the foundation for launching space vehicles without fuel. The DARPA grant will allow McCulloch and a team of collaborators from Germany and Spain to undertake a series of experiments that will apply QI in a laboratory setting for the first time.

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Ask Slashdot: Why Does Almost Nothing Come With a Proper Printed Manual Anymore?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 11:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's dude,-where's-my-manual? department:
OpenSourceAllTheWay writes: As someone who grew up with 1980s and 1990s computers and electronics and still has whole boxes of lovingly prepared printed computer, peripheral, game and software manuals from that era, I am continually surprised by how just many products ship without a proper printed manual these days. Case in point would be things like Android phones. Android has quite a few not-entirely-obvious functions built into it. And a lot of people aren't even aware they exist. No Android phone I've bought has ever had a printed manual included in its little product box. Not even a small one. Even expensive laptops ranging in price from 2,000 to 5,000 Dollars often come only with a few sheets of printed paper in the box -- warranty card, where to register the device, URL for downloading drivers and so on. Why is this? It can't be environmental concern -- the electronics devices themselves, when thrown away, are a hundred times (if not worse) more harmful to the environment than a little 50 to 100 page recycled paper booklet would be. So where are the manuals? Is it the cost of preparing the manuals? The cost of printing them? Is it a few grams of extra weight added to the product box? Is everyone supposed to look up everything online now, even in places where there is no internet connection? And why can't there be a print manual option -- e.g. pay 3 to 5 Dollars extra, and get a full, printed manual you can study on a couch?

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SuperSU, a Popular Root App For Android, Disappears From Google Play Store
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 11:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's end-of-an-era department:
Corbin Davenport, writing for AndroidPolice: For years, SuperSU was one of the most popular root applications for Android. Chainfire, the creator of SuperSU, handed over development to CCMT in 2015. He ended his involvement with the app last year, so CCMT has been in full control of it since then. For reasons currently unknown, SuperSU has now vanished from the Play Store. The app's Twitter and Google+ accounts for SuperSU haven't made a post since last year, the Facebook page has been inactive since March, and the official forum is currently offline. As such, it seems like the app was largely abandoned. The latest version available from APKMirror was published in January. Further reading: End of an era: Chainfire is halting development on all root-related apps.

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This Solar-Powered, 'Low Tech' Website Goes Offline When It's Cloudy
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 09:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Every website and product connected to the internet would not be able to exist without a vast network of wireless routers, fiber optic cables running underground and underwater, and data centers that house the servers which bring the internet to life. Data centers in the U.S. alone eat up 70 billion kilowatts of energy per year, according to a 2016 estimate from the Department of Energy -- that's 1.8 percent of all energy use across the country. The internet is not ethereal, and a new project from the blog Low-Tech Magazine aims to make that issue more tangible. Low-Tech Magazine -- a blog operated by Kris De Decker that has run on Wordpress since 2007 -- launched a "Low-Tech," solar version of the site that's designed from the ground-up to use as little energy as possible. (Check out the solar version of the site here.) In a Skype call with Motherboard, De Decker said that he doesn't think people don't care about how much energy it takes they use the internet, they just don't understand the extent of the problem. "There's this idea that the internet is immaterial, it's somewhere floating in clouds," he said. "Of course, it's a very material thing that uses resources, materials, energy -- and quite a lot actually."

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Netflix Eats Up 15% of All Internet Downstream Traffic Worldwide, Study Finds
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 09:50 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
When it comes to devouring bandwidth online, no company can hold a candle to Netflix. From a report: Netflix remains the 800-pound gorilla of the streaming world: Video from the service consumes a significant 15% of all internet bandwidth globally, the most of any single application. That's according to the latest Global Internet Phenomena Report from Sandvine, a vendor of bandwidth-management systems. Netflix was followed by HTTP media streams, representing 13.1% of all downstream traffic; YouTube (11.4%); web browsing (7.8%); and MPEG transport streams (4.4%). In the Americas, Netflix grabs an even bigger slice of the bandwidth pie, accounting for 19.1% of total downstream traffic. Here's an interesting wrinkle: In this Americas, Amazon Prime Video consumes more data (7.7% of downstream traffic) than YouTube (7.5%), per Sandvine. During peak evening hours, Netflix usage can spike as high as 40% of all downstream traffic on some wireline operator networks in the Americas, per the study, which remains consistent with past studies Sandvine has conducted. Further reading: File-sharing Site Openload Generates More Traffic Than Hulu or HBO Go, and the source study: Sandvine.

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California Governor Jerry Brown Signs a Bill That Bans Bots From Pretending To be Real People
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 08:30 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's marching-forward department:
California governor Jerry Brown signed a bill last week that bans automated accounts, more commonly known as bots, from pretending to be real people in pursuit of selling products or influencing elections. From a report: Automated accounts can still interact with Californians, according to the law, but they will need to disclose that they are bots. The law comes as concerns about social media manipulation remain elevated. With just more than a month to go before the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, social media companies have pledged to crack down on foreign interference. A big part of that effort has been targeting bots that spread misinformation and divisive political rhetoric. Twitter said it took down 9.9 million "potentially spammy or automated accounts per week" in May and has placed warnings on suspicious accounts. Dorsey has even publicly floated the idea that Twitter may try to identify bots and label them as such. Bots are also not limited to social media. Google caught the attention of the tech industry in May when it rolled out Google Duplex, a new voice assistant that could talk over the phone with humans to schedule appointments or make restaurant reservations -- complete with "ums," "ahs" and pauses just like a human.

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Hackers Are Selling Facebook Credentials on the Dark Web For $3
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 08:30 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department:
Hackers are selling Facebook logins for just $3 on the dark web, according to new research. From a report: The study by Money Guru found that Facebook logins can be bought for as little as 2.30 Pound ($3), with the report coming just hours after it was revealed that an enormous data breach has left at least 50 million Facebook accounts compromised. The research also found that hacked email logins are also being flogged on dark web marketplaces, which are easily accessible to anyone with the right browser and web addresses. Even financial data is being sold cheaply, with credit card information available for as little as $14 and debit card information for $19.50. The research was looking into the availability of logins for sale for the 26 most commonly used online accounts.

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Internet Archive Says It Has Restored 9 Million Broken Wikipedia Links By Directing Them To Archived Versions in Wayback Machine
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '18 at 08:30 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's better-web department:
Mark Graham, the Director of Wayback Machine at Internet Archive, announces: As part of the Internet Archive's aim to build a better Web, we have been working to make the Web more reliable -- and are pleased to announce that 9 million formerly broken links on Wikipedia now work because they go to archived versions in the Wayback Machine. For more than 5 years, the Internet Archive has been archiving nearly every URL referenced in close to 300 wikipedia sites as soon as those links are added or changed at the rate of about 20 million URLs/week. And for the past 3 years, we have been running a software robot called IABot on 22 Wikipedia language editions looking for broken links (URLs that return a '404', or 'Page Not Found'). When broken links are discovered, IABot searches for archives in the Wayback Machine and other web archives to replace them with. Restoring links ensures Wikipedia remains accurate and verifiable and thus meets one of Wikipedia's three core content policies: 'Verifiability.'

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