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Foxconn Denies Looking To Transfer Chinese Workers To Incoming Wisconsin Factory
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '18 at 03:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's supply-and-demand department:
A Wall Street Journal article published this morning reported that Foxconn is looking to transfer some of its Chinese workers to Wisconsin in time for its new factory opening in Racine. The article says that these workers would likely be engineers and would fill a gap in prospective talent due to a tight labor market. Foxconn has since denied these claims. The Verge reports: In a comment to Gizmodo, Foxconn denied that it was recruiting Chinese workers. The company said: "We can categorically state that the assertion that we are recruiting Chinese personnel to staff our Wisconsin project is untrue. Our recruitment priority remains Wisconsin first and we continue to focus on hiring and training workers from throughout Wisconsin. We will supplement that recruitment from other U.S. locations as required."

In November 2017, Wisconsin pledged $3 billion in subsidies for the Taiwan-based company if it opted to open the factory in Wisconsin. In return, Foxconn said it would create 13,000 jobs and invest $10 billion. (The state subsidy came out to $230,000 per job.) The Wall Street Journal report suggests that the company is struggling to find qualified engineers in the area, though, as the unemployment rate in the state reached a record low at 3 percent, along with a recent national low at 3.7 percent.

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'Almost All' Pakistani Banks Hacked In Security Breach, Report Says
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '18 at 03:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's country-wide department:
The cybercrime wing of Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency has said data from "almost all" Pakistani banks was stolen in a recent security breach. FIA Cybercrimes Director retired Capt Mohammad Shoaib told Geo News that hackers based outside the country had breached the security systems of several local banks. "The hackers have stolen large amounts of money from people's accounts," he added. From a report: He said the FIA has written to all banks, and a meeting of the banks' heads and security managements is being called. The meeting will look into ways the security infrastructure of banks can be bolstered. "Banks are the custodians of the money people have stored in them," Shoaib said. "They are also responsible if their security features are so weak that they result in pilferage." It wasn't immediately clear when exactly the security breach took place. According to Shoaib, more than 100 cases are being investigated by the agency in connection with the breach.

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Three European Countries Block Tax On Tech Giants
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '18 at 02:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fragmented-market department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire's efforts to rally his European Union colleagues around a new tax on tech giants fell short, as countries skeptical of the plan doubled down on their opposition, and others, including Italy, said they'll push ahead with their own plans. Ministers from Denmark, Ireland and Sweden said they couldn't support the tax in its current form, casting doubt on the proposal's future, since unanimity is required to pass taxes in the EU. The plan on the table would impose a 3 percent levy on the European sales of the likes of Amazon and Facebook. A number of countries are already imposing taxes of their own, increasing the risk of fragmentation in the single market. Finance Minister Giovanni Tria said an Italian tax will kick in next year if there's no broader agreement by then. Spain and the U.K. have already announced their own levies.

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AT&T To Cut Off Some Customers' Service in Piracy Crackdown
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '18 at 02:32 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's extreme-measures department:
AT&T will alert a little more than a dozen customers within the next week or so that their service will be terminated due to copyright infringement, news outlet Axios reported, citing sources familiar with its plans. From the report: It's the first time AT&T has discontinued customer service over piracy allegations since having shaped its own piracy policies last year, which is significant given it just became one of America's major media companies. AT&T owns a content network after its purchase of Time Warner earlier this year, an entity now called WarnerMedia. Content networks are typically responsible for issuing these types of allegations to internet service providers (ISPs) for them to address with their customers.

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Oracle Says China Telecom Has Misdirected Internet Traffic, Including Out of the US, in Recent Years
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '18 at 01:12 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's stranger-things department:
Oracle's Internet Intelligence division has confirmed today the findings of a recently published academic paper that accused China of "hijacking the vital internet backbone of western countries." From a report: The research paper was authored by researchers from the US Naval War College and Tel Aviv University and it made quite a few waves online after it was published. Researchers accused China Telecom, one of China's biggest state-owned internet service providers, of hijacking and detouring internet traffic through its normally-closed internet infrastructure. Some security experts contested the research paper's findings because it didn't come from an authoritative voice in the world of internet BGP hijacks, but also because the paper touched on many politically sensitive topics, such as China's cyber-espionage activities and how China used BGP hijacks as a way to circumvent the China-US cyber pact of 2015. But today, Doug Madory, Director of Oracle's Internet Analysis division (formerly Dyn), confirmed that China Telecom has, indeed, engaged in internet traffic "misdirection." "I don't intend to address the paper's claims around the motivations of these actions," said Madori. "However, there is truth to the assertion that China Telecom (whether intentionally or not) has misdirected internet traffic (including out of the United States) in recent years."

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The Future of the Kilo: a Weighty Matter
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '18 at 01:12 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's last-remaining-empirical-SI-unit-standard department:
A lump of metal in a building near Paris has long served as the global standard for the kilogram. That's about to change. From a report: Later this month, at the international General Conference on Weights and Measures, to be held in France, delegates are expected to vote to get rid of this single physical specimen and instead plump to use a fundamental measurement -- to be defined in terms of an electric current -- in order to define the mass of an object. The king of kilograms is about to be dethroned. And crucially much of the key work that has led to the toppling of the Paris kilogram has been carried out at the National Physical Laboratory where the late Bryan Kibble invented the basic concepts of the device that will replace that ingot in the Pavillon de Breteuil. The Kibble balance works by measuring the electric current that is required to produce an electromagnetic force equal to the gravitational force acting on a mass. A second stage allows the electromagnetic force to be determined in terms of a fundamental constant known as the Planck constant which will, in future, be used to define a kilogram. These machines will provide the standard for weighing objects -- and that means no more dusting of old lumps of alloy to ensure they stay pure and accurate. [...] "One key reason for doing this work is to provide international security," says Robinson. "If the Pavillon de Breteuil burned down tomorrow and the kilogram in its vaults melted, we would have no reference left for the world's metric weights system. There would be chaos. The current definition of the kilogram is the weight of that cylinder in Paris, after all." [...] Another major motivation for the replacement of le grand K is the need to be able to carry out increasingly more and more precise measurements. "Pharmaceutical companies will soon be wanting to use ingredients that will have to be measured in terms of a few millionths or even billionths of a gram," says Prior. "We need to be prepared to weigh substances with that kind of accuracy." Suggested reading: A thread on Twitter which discusses SI units and the redefinition of the kilogram.

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Existing Laser Technology Could Be Fashioned Into Earth's 'Porch Light' To Attract Alien Astronomers, Study Finds
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '18 at 11:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's or-the-real-batman department:
If extraterrestrial intelligence exists somewhere in our galaxy, a new MIT study proposes that laser technology on Earth could, in principle, be fashioned into something of a planetary porch light -- a beacon strong enough to attract attention from as far as 20,000 light years away. From a report: The research, which author James Clark calls a "feasibility study," appears today in The Astrophysical Journal. The findings suggest that if a high-powered 1- to 2-megawatt laser were focused through a massive 30- to 45-meter telescope and aimed out into space, the combination would produce a beam of infrared radiation strong enough to stand out from the sun's energy. Such a signal could be detectable by alien astronomers performing a cursory survey of our section of the Milky Way -- especially if those astronomers live in nearby systems, such as around Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to Earth, or TRAPPIST-1, a star about 40 light-years away that hosts seven exoplanets, three of which are potentially habitable. If the signal is spotted from either of these nearby systems, the study finds, the same megawatt laser could be used to send a brief message in the form of pulses similar to Morse code.

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AMD Reveals Zen 2 Processor Architecture in Bid To Stay Ahead of Intel
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '18 at 11:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's further-expansion department:
AMD on Monday revealed the Zen 2 architecture for the family of processors that it will launch in the coming years, starting with 2019. The move is a follow-up to the competitive Zen designs that AMD launched in March 2017, and it promises two-times improvement in performance throughput. From a report: AMD hopes the Zen 2 processors will keep it ahead of or at parity with Intel, the world's biggest maker of PC processors. The earlier Zen designs enabled chips that could process 52 percent more instructions per clock cycle than the previous generation. Zen has spawned AMD's most competitive chips in a decade, including Ryzen for the desktop, Threadripper (with up to 32 cores) for gamers, Ryzen Mobile for laptops, and Epyc for servers. In the future, you can expect to see Zen 2 cores in future models of those families of chips. AMD's focus is on making central processing units (CPUs), graphics processing units (GPUs), and accelerated processing units (APUs) that put the two other units together on the same chip.

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Opinion: Artificial Intelligence Hits the Barrier of Meaning
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '18 at 10:32 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's hitting-the-limits department:
Machine learning algorithms don't yet understand things the way humans do -- with sometimes disastrous consequences. Melanie Mitchell, a professor of Computer Science at Portland State University, writes: As someone who has worked in A.I. for decades, I've witnessed the failure of similar predictions of imminent human-level A.I., and I'm certain these latest forecasts will fall short as well. The challenge of creating humanlike intelligence in machines remains greatly underestimated. Today's A.I. systems sorely lack the essence of human intelligence: understanding the situations we experience, being able to grasp their meaning. The mathematician and philosopher Gian-Carlo Rota famously asked, "I wonder whether or when A.I. will ever crash the barrier of meaning." To me, this is still the most important question. The lack of humanlike understanding in machines is underscored by recent cracks that have appeared in the foundations of modern A.I. While today's programs are much more impressive than the systems we had 20 or 30 years ago, a series of research studies have shown that deep-learning systems can be unreliable in decidedly unhumanlike ways. I'll give a few examples. "The bareheaded man needed a hat" is transcribed by my phone's speech-recognition program as "The bear headed man needed a hat." Google Translate renders "I put the pig in the pen" into French as "Je mets le cochon dans le stylo" (mistranslating "pen" in the sense of a writing instrument). Programs that "read" documents and answer questions about them can easily be fooled into giving wrong answers when short, irrelevant snippets of text are appended to the document. Similarly, programs that recognize faces and objects, lauded as a major triumph of deep learning, can fail dramatically when their input is modified even in modest ways by certain types of lighting, image filtering and other alterations that do not affect humans' recognition abilities in the slightest. One recent study showed that adding small amounts of "noise" to a face image can seriously harm the performance of state-of-the-art face-recognition programs. Another study, humorously called "The Elephant in the Room," showed that inserting a small image of an out-of-place object, such as an elephant, in the corner of a living-room image strangely caused deep-learning vision programs to suddenly misclassify other objects in the image.

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Did You Vote? Now Your Friends May Know
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '18 at 10:32 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's they-know department:
A look at VoteWithMe and OutVote, two new political apps that are trying to use peer pressure to get people to vote. From a story: The apps are to elections what Zillow is to real estate -- services that pull public information from government records, repackage it for consumer viewing and make it available at the touch of a smartphone button. But instead of giving you a peek at house prices, VoteWithMe and OutVote let you snoop on which of your friends voted in past elections and their party affiliations -- and then prod them to go to the polls by sending them scripted messages like "You gonna vote?" "I don't want this to come off like we're shaming our friends into voting," said Naseem Makiya, the chief executive of OutVote, a start-up in Boston. But, he said, "I think a lot of people might vote just because they're frankly worried that their friends will find out if they didn't." Whom Americans vote for is private. But other information in their state voter files is public information; depending on the state, it can include details like their name, address, phone number and party affiliation and when they voted. The apps try to match the people in a smartphone's contacts to their voter files, then display some of those details. The data's increasing availability may surprise people receiving messages nudging them to vote -- or even trouble them, by exposing personal politics they might have preferred to keep to themselves. Political campaigns have for years purchased voter files from states or bought national voter databases from data brokers, but the information has otherwise had little public exposure outside of campaign use. Now any app user can easily harness such data to make inferences about, and try to influence, their contacts' voting behavior.

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In These Eight Midterms Races, Health and Medicine Are Front and Center
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '18 at 09:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's what-to-watch department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: In Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah, voters will directly decide whether their states should expand their Medicaid programs. In Wisconsin, they could elect a candidate for governor who has pledged to sharply curtail drug prices. And across the country, Democratic congressional candidates are running on platforms highlighting their support for protecting insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and lowering drug prices. Health care is on the ballot across the country, with issues ranging from medical marijuana to abortion rights to insurance coverage dominating the conversation.

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Why Doctors Hate Their Computers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '18 at 09:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Digitization promises to make medical care easier and more efficient. But are screens coming between doctors and patients? Here's an excerpt by Atul Gawande of The New Yorker, which talks about the deployment of Epic, a new medical software which cost Partners HealthCare a staggering $1.6 billion, panned out: On May 30, 2015, the Phase One Go-Live began. My hospital and clinics reduced the number of admissions and appointment slots for two weeks while the staff navigated the new system. For another two weeks, my department doubled the time allocated for appointments and procedures in order to accommodate our learning curve. This, I discovered, was the real reason the upgrade cost $1.6 billion. The software costs were under a hundred million dollars. The bulk of the expenses came from lost patient revenues and all the tech-support personnel and other people needed during the implementation phase. In the first five weeks, the I.T. folks logged twenty-seven thousand help-desk tickets -- three for every two users. Most were basic how-to questions; a few involved major technical glitches. Printing problems abounded. Many patient medications and instructions hadn't transferred accurately from our old system. My hospital had to hire hundreds of moonlighting residents and pharmacists to double-check the medication list for every patient while technicians worked to fix the data-transfer problem. Many of the angriest complaints, however, were due to problems rooted in what Sumit Rana, a senior vice-president at Epic, called "the Revenge of the Ancillaries." In building a given function -- say, an order form for a brain MRI -- the design choices were more political than technical: administrative staff and doctors had different views about what should be included. The doctors were used to having all the votes. But Epic had arranged meetings to try to adjudicate these differences. Now the staff had a say (and sometimes the doctors didn't even show), and they added questions that made their jobs easier but other jobs more time-consuming. Questions that doctors had routinely skipped now stopped them short, with "field required" alerts. A simple request might now involve filling out a detailed form that took away precious minutes of time with patients.

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Ask Slashdot: How To Fix an Outdated College Tech Curriculum?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '18 at 07:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's a-question-many-want-an-answer-to department:
An anonymous reader writes: As a student, what's the best way to bring change to an outdated college tech curriculum? The background on this is that I have 15 years of experience in the field and a very healthy amount of industry-recognized training and certifications. I'm merely finishing up my degree to flesh out my resume -- I haven't learned much from the program that I don't already know. However, the program would have benefited me greatly 15 years ago. It's a great program, except for a biometrics class that is absolutely behind the curve. The newest publication on the syllabus is from 2009. This is simply teaching the students outdated and often wrong information. Additionally, a lot of the material seems like it was stretched to make a full semester class in biometrics in the first place -- most of the material, honestly, could be compressed to about two hours of lecture and still be delivered at a reasonable rate. What's the best way for a student in my situation to get this fixed so the school stops wasting student's time with outdated and wrong information?

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Mystery Math Whiz and Novelist Advance Permutation Problem
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '18 at 07:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's marching-forward department:
A new proof from the Australian science fiction writer Greg Egan and a 2011 proof anonymously posted online are now being hailed as significant advances on a puzzle mathematicians have been studying for at least 25 years. Erica Klarreich, writing for Quanta Magazine: On September 16, 2011, an anime fan posted a math question to the online bulletin board 4chan about the cult classic television series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya . Season one of the show, which involves time travel, had originally aired in nonchronological order, and a re-broadcast and a DVD version had each further rearranged the episodes. Fans were arguing online about the best order to watch the episodes, and the 4chan poster wondered: If viewers wanted to see the series in every possible order, what is the shortest list of episodes they'd have to watch? In less than an hour, an anonymous person offered an answer -- not a complete solution, but a lower bound on the number of episodes required. The argument, which covered series with any number of episodes, showed that for the 14-episode first season of Haruhi, viewers would have to watch at least 93,884,313,611 episodes to see all possible orderings. "Please look over [the proof] for any loopholes I might have missed," the anonymous poster wrote. The proof slipped under the radar of the mathematics community for seven years -- apparently only one professional mathematician spotted it at the time, and he didn't check it carefully. But in a plot twist last month, the Australian science fiction novelist Greg Egan proved a new upper bound on the number of episodes required. Egan's discovery renewed interest in the problem and drew attention to the lower bound posted anonymously in 2011. Both proofs are now being hailed as significant advances on a puzzle mathematicians have been studying for at least 25 years. Mathematicians quickly verified Egan's upper bound, which, like the lower bound, applies to series of any length. Then Robin Houston, a mathematician at the data visualization firm Kiln, and Jay Pantone of Marquette University in Milwaukee independently verified the work of the anonymous 4chan poster. Now, Houston and Pantone, joined by Vince Vatter of the University of Florida in Gainesville, have written up the formal argument. In their paper, they list the first author as "Anonymous 4chan Poster."

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Harvard Researchers Suggest Interstellar Object Might Have Been From Alien Civilization
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '18 at 06:32 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's consume-with-pinch-of-salt department:
A strange interstellar object that invaded our solar system and passed close to Earth in the fall of 2017 could have been an artificial object, a piece of a spacecraft from an alien civilization, Harvard researchers are suggesting in a new paper [PDF]. From a report: "There is data on the orbit of this object for which there is no other explanation. So we wrote this paper suggesting this explanation," said Professor Avi Loeb, chairman of the Harvard astronomy department. "The approach I take to the subject is purely scientific and evidence-based. As far as I know, there is no other explanation. You can rule it out or in, based on additional data." He said the study had been accepted for publication in the The Astrophysical Journal Letters on Nov. 12. The paper, written by Loeb and postdoctoral researcher Shmuel Bialy, suggests the object might be a light sail, or solar sail -- a proposed method of powering spacecraft that uses a sail to catch radiation pressure and propel the spacecraft, just as a normal sail uses the wind to propel a boat. The object 'Oumuamua -- Hawaiian for "messenger from afar arriving first" -- is the first ever observed intruding in the orbits of our planets. It was picked up by telescopes in October 2017 at the University of Hawaii's Haleakala Observatory, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said. It is on its way out of the solar system and expected to never return. Scientists say other "interstellar" objects may have sailed by in the past, undetected. The object raised eyebrows. It was monitored for signs of radio signals as weak as one-tenth of a cellphone-strength signal, but nothing was detected. Researchers said in December 2017 that it appeared to be a naturally formed, icy object covered with a dry crust. Further reading: Interstellar Visitor 'Oumuamua Is a Comet After All (June 2018), Scientists say mysterious 'Oumuamua' object could be an alien spacecraft, and Cigar-shaped interstellar object may have been an alien probe, Harvard paper claims.

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Energy Cost of 'Mining' Bitcoin More Than Twice That of Copper Or Gold
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '18 at 05:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's electricity-per-dollar department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: The amount of energy required to "mine" one dollar's worth of bitcoin is more than twice that required to mine the same value of copper, gold or platinum, according to a new paper, suggesting that the virtual work that underpins bitcoin, ethereum and similar projects is more similar to real mining than anyone intended. One dollar's worth of bitcoin takes about 17 megajoules of energy to mine, according to researchers from the Oak Ridge Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio, compared with four, five and seven megajoules for copper, gold and platinum.

Other cryptocurrencies also fair poorly in comparison, the researchers write in the journal Nature Sustainability, ascribing a cost-per-dollar of 7MJ for ethereum and 14MJ for the privacy focused cryptocurrency monero. But all the cryptocurrencies examined come off well compared with aluminium, which takes an astonishing 122MJ to mine one dollar's worth of ore. [...] To account for the wild fluctuations in cryptocurrency price, and therefore effort expended by miners, the researchers used a median of all the values between January 1, 2016 and June 30, 2018, and attempted to account for the geographic dispersal of bitcoin miners. "Any cryptocurrency mined in China would generate four times the amount of CO2 compared to the amount generated in Canada," they write, highlighting the importance of such country-dependent accounting.

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Researchers 'Break' Microsoft's Edge With Zero-Day Remote Code Exploit
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '18 at 02:32 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's proof-of-concept department:
Exploit developers Yushi Laing and Alexander Kochkov have teased a zero-day exploit for Microsoft's Edge browser that can allow a malicious actor to run commands on a user's machine. "Laing teased the 'stable exploit' for the Microsoft-developed web browser last week with an image that appeared to show the Windows Calculator app launched from a web browser, after working on the project for just under a week," reports IT PRO. From the report: The researcher had initially been looking into three remote code execution bugs for Firefox as part of an 'exploit chain', but struggled to establish code for the third. He then found two similar flaws on Microsoft Edge using the Wadi Fuzzer app developed by SensePost. Laing told BleepingComputer the pair wanted to develop a stable exploit for Microsoft Edge and escape the sandbox, termed as an exploit that force-crashes and incorrectly reloads an app with manipulated permissions.

This would allow a user to run functions, and access other apps, beyond its normal permissions, as well as access data from other applications. They were also looking for a way to effectively seize control of a machine by escalating execution privileges to "system." They published a proof-of-concept for the Edge exploit in a short clip which shows the team using the browser to open the landing page for Google Chrome via Firefox.

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SpaceX's Helipad-Equipped Boat Will Bring Astronauts Safely Home
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '18 at 11:50 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's better-safe-than-sorry department:
Next year when SpaceX starts shuttling astronauts to and from the ISS, the company will be using its Go Searcher ocean vessel to recover SpaceX's crewed Dragon capsules that splash down in the Atlantic Ocean. "The ship is now equipped for a worst-case-scenario with medical treatment facilities and a helipad, in case returning astronauts need to be evacuated quickly to a hospital," reports The Verge. From the report: Go Searcher is part of a fleet of ocean vessels that SpaceX has acquired over the years to aid in its spaceflight efforts. The most famous of these are SpaceX's autonomous drone ships, which are used as landing pads when the company's Falcon 9 rockets are recovered in the ocean after launches. Go Searcher used to accompany these drone ships when they were tugged back to shore as a support vessel. But at the end of summer, SpaceX gave Go Searcher a suite of upgrades -- including the addition of a helipad and a radar dome -- to make sure the boat can swiftly recover Dragon capsules that carry astronauts back to Earth.

As part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, SpaceX has been developing the Crew Dragon capsule to take astronauts to the ISS. And the company is also responsible for getting these crews safely back to Earth. When astronauts need to return home, the plan is for the Crew Dragon to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. During an ideal mission, Go Searcher will lift the Crew Dragon out of the water with a crane, attached to the end of the boat, according to NASA. The capsule will then be hauled onto the deck of Go Searcher, and the astronauts will be evaluated by doctors from SpaceX and NASA. But if something goes awry during the landing, astronauts can be airlifted directly off the boat via helicopter and taken to a hospital. The helicopter will also carry medical emergency personnel.

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Voting Machine Manual Instructed Election Officials To Use Weak Passwords
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '18 at 07:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's didn't-get-the-safety-memo department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: An election security expert who has done risk-assessments in several states since 2016 recently found a reference manual that appears to have been created by one voting machine vendor for county election officials and that lists critical usernames and passwords for the vendor's tabulation system. The passwords, including a system administrator and root password, are trivial and easy to crack, including one composed from the vendor's name. And although the document indicates that customers will be prompted periodically by the system to change the passwords, the document instructs customers to re-use passwords in some cases -- alternating between two of them -- and in other cases to simply change a number appended to the end of some passwords to change them.

The vendor, California-based Unisyn Voting Solutions, makes an optical-scan system called OpenElect Voting System for use in both precincts and central election offices. The passwords in the manual appear to be for the Open Elect Central Suite, the backend election-management system used to create election definition files for each voting machine before every election -- the files that tell the machine how to apportion votes based on the marks voters make on a ballot. The suite also tabulates votes collected from all of a county's Unisyn optical scan systems. The credentials listed in the manual include usernames and passwords for the initial log-in to the system as well as credentials to log into the client software used to tabulate and store official election results.

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US Regulator Demands Companies Take Action To Halt Robocalls
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '18 at 06:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's can't-come-soon-enough department:
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Monday wrote the chief executives of major telephone service providers and other companies, demanding they launch a system no later than 2019 to combat billions of "robocalls" and other nuisance calls received by American consumers. Reuters reports: In May, Pai called on companies to adopt an industry-developed "call authentication system" or standard for the cryptographic signing of telephone calls aimed at ending the use of illegitimate spoofed numbers from the telephone system. Monday's letters seek answers by Nov. 19 on the status of those efforts.

The letters went to 13 companies including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Alphabet, Comcast, Cox, Sprint, CenturyLink, Charter, Bandwith and others. Pai's letters raised concerns about some companies current efforts including Sprint, CenturyLink, Charter, Vonage, Telephone and Data Systems and its U.S. Celullar unit and Frontier. The letters to those firms said they do "not yet have concrete plans to implement a robust call authentication framework," citing FCC staff. The authentication framework "digitally validates the handoff of phone calls passing through the complex web of networks, allowing the phone company of the consumer receiving the call to verify that a call is from the person supposedly making it," the FCC said.

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