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Even Years Later, Twitter Doesn't Delete Your Direct Messages
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '19 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's marked-for-deletion department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Twitter retains direct messages for years, including messages you and others have deleted, but also data sent to and from accounts that have been deactivated and suspended, according to security researcher Karan Saini. Saini found years-old messages in a file from an archive of his data obtained through the website from accounts that were no longer on Twitter. He also reported a similar bug, found a year earlier but not disclosed until now, that allowed him to use a since-deprecated API to retrieve direct messages even after a message was deleted from both the sender and the recipient -- though, the bug wasn't able to retrieve messages from suspended accounts.

Direct messages once let users "unsend" messages from someone else's inbox, simply by deleting it from their own. Twitter changed this years ago, and now only allows a user to delete messages from their account. "Others in the conversation will still be able to see direct messages or conversations that you have deleted," Twitter says in a help page. Twitter also says in its privacy policy that anyone wanting to leave the service can have their account "deactivated and then deleted." After a 30-day grace period, the account disappears, along with its data. But, in our tests, we could recover direct messages from years ago -- including old messages that had since been lost to suspended or deleted accounts. By downloading your account's data, it's possible to download all of the data Twitter stores on you. A Twitter spokesperson said the company was "looking into this further to ensure we have considered the entire scope of the issue."

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Huge Study Finds Professors' Attitudes Affect Students' Grades
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '19 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cause-and-effect department:
A huge study at Indiana University, led by Elizabeth Canning, finds that the attitudes of instructors affect the grades their students earned in classes. The researchers conducted their study by sending out a simple survey to all the instructors of STEM courses at Indiana University, asking whether professors felt that a student's intelligence is fixed and unchanging or whether they thought it could be developed. Then, the researchers were given access to two years' worth of students' grades in those instructors' classes, covering a total of 15,000 students. Ars Technica reports: The results showed a surprising difference between the professors who agreed that intelligence is fixed and those who disagreed (referred to as "fixed mindset" and "growth mindset" professors). In classes taught by fixed mindset instructors, Latino, African-American, and Native American students averaged grades 0.19 grade points (out of four) lower than white and Asian-American students. But in classes taught by "growth mindset" instructors, the gap dropped to just 0.10 grade points. No other factor the researchers analyzed showed a statistically significant difference among classes -- not the instructors' experience, tenure status, gender, specific department, or even ethnicity. Yet their belief about whether a students' intelligence is fixed seems to have had a sizable effect.

< article continued at Slashdot's cause-and-effect department >

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Samsung To Stop Making 4K Blu-Ray Players, Report Says
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '19 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sign-of-the-times department:
According to a report from Forbes, Samsung may be exiting the 4K Blu-ray player market. "After launching its first 4K players in 2017, the company didn't add any new players to its lineup in 2018," reports CNET. "A high-end player for 2019 along the lines of its UBD-M9500 was in the works, the report says, but has now been scrapped." From the report: One of the reasons for pulling out could be that the existing players' format support has lagged behind the rest of the industry. For example, instead of supporting Dolby Vision, Samsung created its own version of HDR10, HDR10+, which was designed for use in streaming and physical media. Competitor Oppo was the first company to support both HDR10 and Dolby Vision but announced it was ending production of its 4K Blu-ray players in April 2018. Meanwhile Sony announced the M2 player at CES 2019 with support for Dolby Vision and Panasonic recently released the high-end DP-UB9000 player in Europe and Australia.

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US Labor Organization AFL-CIO Urges Game Developers To Unionize In Open Letter
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '19 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's call-to-action department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gamasutra: In the wake of Activision Blizzard's massive layoff wave, a move that was announced in the same call as the company's record quarter, the union federation AFL-CIO has published an open letter to game developers urging members of the industry to organize. The AFL-CIO itself is the largest labor organization in the United States and counts 55 individual unions (and more than 12.5 million workers) among its affiliates. The letter, readable in full on Kotaku, calls out many of the issues that have prompted conversations about unionization in just recent years like excessive crunch, toxic work conditions, inadequate pay, and job instability. The industry, points out AFL-CIO's secretary-treasurer Liz Shuler, boasted sales 3.6 times greater than those of the film industry in 2018, yet much of that financial success isn't felt by the developers working on the games that generate those billions. "Executives are always quick to brag about your work. It's the talk of every industry corner office and boardroom. They pay tribute to the games that capture our imaginations and seem to defy economic gravity. They talk up the latest innovations in virtual reality and celebrate record-smashing releases, as your creations reach unparalleled new heights," says Shuler.

"My question is this: what have you gotten in return? They get rich. They get notoriety. They get to be crowned visionaries and regarded as pioneers. What do you get? Outrageous hours and inadequate paychecks. Stressful, toxic work conditions that push you to your physical and mental limits. The fear that asking for better means risking your dream job. [...] Change will happen when you gain leverage by joining together in a strong union. And, it will happen when you use your collective voice to bargain for a fair share of the wealth you create every day. No matter where you work, bosses will only offer fair treatment when you stand together and demand it."

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GAO Gives Congress Go-ahead For a GDPR-like Privacy Legislation
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '19 at 01:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's now-we-wait-for-stars-to-align department:
An independent report authored by a US government auditing agency has recommended that Congress develop internet data privacy legislation to enhance consumer protections, similar to the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). From a report: The 56-page report [PDF] was put together by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), a bi-partisan government agency that provides auditing, evaluation, and investigative services for Congress. Its reports are used for hearings and drafting legislation. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which requested the GAO report two years ago, has scheduled a hearing for February 26, during which it plans to discuss GAO's findings and the possibility in drafting the US' first federal-level internet privacy law. If the committee's members would be to follow GAO's conclusions, a GDPR-like legislation should be coming to the US.

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US Investigators Probing Years of WikiLeaks Activities, Report Says
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '19 at 01:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department:
WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange are the subject of a long-running criminal investigation in the U.S., Reuters reported on Friday, citing sources familiar with the matter. Investigators have dug into the website's activities going back years, people who have been in contact with witnesses in the case say. From the report: American investigators are gathering information and pursuing witnesses involved in both recent WikiLeaks disclosures and the website's large-scale postings of U.S. military and diplomatic messages over several years from 2010. Officially, U.S. authorities have issued no public comments about the status of Wikileaks-related investigations. But a document which U.S. authorities said was mistakenly filed in open court in an unrelated case last November alluded to a sealed U.S. criminal complaint against Assange, though the document does not provide specifics regarding which laws U.S. prosecutors believe Assange violated.

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Robot Squeezes Suspected Nuclear Fuel Debris in Fukushima Reactor
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '19 at 12:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department:
A robot outfitted with remotely controlled pinchers poked at debris that's suspected to contain molten nuclear fuel at the bottom of one of Fukushima's nuclear reactors, World Nuclear News reports. From a report: The poking and prodding is part of the ongoing cleanup effort at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant, the site of a major nuclear accident in 2011. The dextrous robot was dangled into the Unit 2 reactor on February 13th, according to a news release from the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). Unit 2 is one of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant that overheated after a massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in 2011, which caused the reactor core to melt. TEPCO suspects that radioactive fuel may have melted through the bottom of the reactor vessel to fall into the containment structure surrounding it. The company has to find the radioactive debris and figure out how to remove them, so TEPCO has been sending in a series of robots to scout out the reactors. It's a dangerous journey that some of the robots haven't survived.

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Copyright Office Refuses Registration for 'Fresh Prince' Star Alfonso Ribeiro's "Carlton Dance"
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '19 at 12:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
The U.S. Copyright Office is skeptical about Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor Alfonso Ribeiro's ownership claim over the signature "Carlton Dance," which became famous after a 1991 episode of the Will Smith series. From a report: In correspondence last month that was surfaced on Wednesday in California federal court, Saskia Florence, a supervisory registration specialist in the Office's Performing Arts Division, told Ribeiro's attorney that registration must be refused because his claimed "choreographic work" was a "simple dance routine."

[...] Take-Two Interactive, publisher of the game NBA 2K, is now seizing upon the refusal in support of the argument that movements for the "Carlton Dance" are not protectable. Ribeiro is suing Take-Two as well as the publisher of Fortnite over special features that allow game players to have their avatars perform the dance. In a dismissal brief, Kirkland & Ellis attorney Dale Cendali makes some of the same arguments she did earlier in the week in an attempt to reject a similar lawsuit over Fortnite from the rapper 2 Milly. But there are particular contentions specifically directed at Ribeiro's claim.

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An Insect-bot Mimics Desert Ants by Looking at the Sky To Navigate
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '19 at 11:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's no-GPS-needed department:
From a report: A new robot can navigate without GPS, using the same light-sensing abilities as desert ants. Desert ants survive in searingly hot conditions in the Sahara. They sometimes have just a few minutes to forage for food before they risk burning to death. As a result, they are very efficient navigators, using bands of polarized light, invisible to humans, to get around. They also carefully count their steps. These two tactics help to keep them alive. AntBot: The bot, described this week in Science Robotics, is fitted with UV light sensors that can detect polarized light from the sun. This is known as a "celestial compass" and is designed to mimic the way desert ants see the sun's light. This helps it work out the direction it's going in. The robot also counts its steps, much like its desert muse. In tests, it successfully managed to complete an outdoor homing task, where it was required to go to several checkpoints and then return to a fixed location within a range of 14 meters.

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Amazon Will Pay $0 in Federal Taxes on $11.2 Billion Profits
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '19 at 11:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Those wondering how many zeros Amazon, which is valued at nearly $800 billion, has to pay in federal taxes might be surprised to learn that its check to the IRS will read exactly $0.00. From a report: According to a report published by the Institute on Taxation and Economic (ITEP) policy Wednesday, the e-tail/retail/tech/entertainment/everything giant won't have to pay a cent in federal taxes for the second year in a row. This tax-free break comes even though Amazon almost doubled its U.S. profits from $5.6 billion to $11.2 billion between 2017 and 2018. To top it off, Amazon actually reported a $129 million 2018 federal income tax rebate -- making its tax rate -1%.

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NASA's SPHEREx Mission Will Investigate the Origins of the Universe
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '19 at 09:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's marching-forward department:
NASA announced this week that it will create the Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer: SPHEREx for short. It'll look at how our universe has changed, and how common the ingredients of life are in the Milky Way. From a report: The space agency is aiming for a 2023 launch and has already earmarked $242 million for the project, not including launch costs, which is supposed to last for at least two years. Once SPHEREx is already in orbit, it will observe and collect data on over 300 million galaxies, some as far as 10 billion light-years away from Earth, and 100 million stars in our own Milky Way every six months. It will use technologies adapted from Earth satellites and Mars spacecraft to survey the sky in optical and near-infrared light. Since it will use 96 wavelengths in all, it will give NASA a way to create an extremely detailed sky map with a resolution that's much, much higher than previous ones.

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Venezuela's Government Appears To be Trying To Hack Activists With Phishing Pages
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '19 at 09:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-tension department:
Hackers allegedly working for the embattled Venezuelan government tried to trick activists into giving away their passwords to popular services such as Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and others, according to security researchers. From a report: Last week, the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido called for citizens to volunteer with the goal of helping international humanitarian organizations deliver aid into the country. President Nicolas Maduro is refusing to accept aid and has erected blocks across a border bridge with Colombia with the military's help. The volunteer efforts were organized around the website voluntariosxvenezuela.com. A week later, on February 11 someone registered an almost identical domain, voluntariosvenezuela[.]com. And on Wednesday, users in Venezuela who were trying to visit the original and official VoluntariosxVenezuela website were redirected to the newer one, according to security firm Kaspersky Lab, as well as Venezuelan users on Twitter.

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Interviews: Ask Social Network Minds.com CEO and Founder Bill Ottman a Question
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '19 at 08:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's ask-away department:
As you may have noticed, Facebook is not cool anymore. The social juggernaut has been mired in controversies -- infamous privacy scandals or company's ruthless "grow fast and break things" approach to gain users, to name a few. Luckily enough, some people are trying to build new social networks and are coming up with interesting original ideas. Minds.com is one such social network.

The open source social network, which has been operational since 2012, works on a point-earning/exchange system to give users full control over the reach of their posts. One of the complaints people have with Facebook and Twitter is that they feel their posts are not being seen by all of their friends. Minds.com lets users earn points and then trade those points to boost their posts on the platform. Users earn tokens by being active on the platform and engaging in uploading, voting, commenting and other similar activities. They can then use these tokens, which can be exchanged within the platform, to boost the reach of their posts. The company last year launched a cryptocurrency reward program based on the ethereum blockchain for all users on the platform. Minds says it does not determine what should be censored. Users are free to post whatever they want. (You can follow us on Minds.)

We are excited to announced that Minds founder and chief executive Bill Ottman has agreed to do an interview with us. If you have a question about Minds.com for him or his take on the current social networking space, feel free to ask it in the comments section below.

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Visa, Mastercard Mull Increasing Fees For Processing Transactions: Report
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '19 at 08:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
Visa and Mastercard, the two biggest U.S. card networks, are preparing to increase certain fees levied on U.S. merchants for processing transactions that will kick in this April, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. From a report: Some of the changes relate to so-called interchange fees, the report said. Interchange fees are what merchants pay to banks when consumers use a credit or a debit card to make a purchase from their store. Fees that Mastercard and Visa charge financial institutions, such as banks, for processing card payments on behalf of merchants are also set to increase, the report said.

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After Calls For an Edit Button, Twitter Says it is Considering a 'Clarification' Feature
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '19 at 07:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
Despite years-long calls from power users for an "edit" button, Twitter is considering how it could enable 'clarifications' of tweets, CEO Jack Dorsey said Thursday at Goldman Sachs' tech conference in San Francisco. From a report: "One of the concepts we're thinking about is clarifications," Dorsey said, saying that it could function similarly to a quote tweet. "Kind of like retweet with comment.. to add some context and some color on what they might have tweeted, or what they might have meant."

People already often use the quote tweet option for this kind of thing, but the two tweets may not always have the same reach, Dorsey noted. But if the person had opted to "clarify" that tweet, then the original tweet could always appear with the subsequent clarification. Dorsey cautioned that the feature is still just something the company is thinking about, not necessarily something that would launch. But he said such a feature could help people feel more comfortable with Twitter.

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Nvidia CEO Foresees a Great Year for PC Gaming Laptops
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '19 at 07:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Nvidia has predicted that the year ahead would be a good one for the company, with demand for laptop gaming gear remaining strong. From a report: Looking forward, Huang said it would be a big year for gaming laptops, as Nvidia knows that more than 40 Turing-based gaming laptops (based on the GeForce RTX 2060) are poised to launch during the year. Those laptops use mid-range RTX cards based on graphics processing units (GPUs) using Nvidia's new Turing architecture -- the GeForce RTX graphics cards that can do real-time ray tracing -- that are battery efficient.

Huang acknowledged that visibility is limited. I asked him if cloud gaming would be a disruptive force during the year. But he noted that Nvidia had been providing its own cloud gaming solution, GeForce Now, with relatively little impact on the market for three years. So he said it remains to be seen if cloud gaming and the "Netflix of games" would make an impact on the market. In the meantime, he said that gaming laptops would launch.

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Facebook Settlement With FTC Could Run Into the Billions
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '19 at 05:50 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's that's-a-lot-of-zeros department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission are discussing a settlement over privacy violations that could amount to a record, multibillion-dollar fine, according to three people with knowledge of the talks. The company and the F.T.C.'s consumer protection and enforcement staff have been in negotiations over a financial penalty for claims that Facebook violated a 2011 privacy consent decree with the agency, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is private. In 2011, Facebook promised a series of measures to protect user privacy after an investigation found it had harmed consumers with its handling of user data. The current talks have not yet reached the F.T.C.'s five commissioners for a vote and it is unclear how close the two sides are to wrapping up the nearly 11-month investigation. The commissioners met in mid-December and were updated by staff members that they had at that point found considerable evidence of violations of the 2011 consent decree. The FTC investigation into Facebook began after it was reported that the information of 87 million users had been harvested by a British political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, without their permission. The agency could seek up to $41,000 for each violation found.

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8-Character Windows NTLM Passwords Can Be Cracked In Under 2.5 Hours
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '19 at 03:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's that-didn't-take-long department:
HashCat, an open-source password recovery tool, can now crack an eight-character Windows NTLM password hash in less than 2.5 hours. "Current password cracking benchmarks show that the minimum eight character password, no matter how complex, can be cracked in less than 2.5 hours" using a hardware rig that utilizes eight Nvidia GTX 2080Ti GPUs, explained a hacker who goes by the pseudonym Tinker on Twitter in a DM conversation with The Register. "The eight character password is dead." From the report: It's dead at least in the context of hacking attacks on organizations that rely on Windows and Active Directory. NTLM is an old Microsoft authentication protocol that has since been replaced with Kerberos. According to Tinker, it's still used for storing Windows passwords locally or in the NTDS.dit file in Active Directory Domain Controllers. It's dead at least in the context of hacking attacks on organizations that rely on Windows and Active Directory. NTLM is an old Microsoft authentication protocol that has since been replaced with Kerberos. According to Tinker, it's still used for storing Windows passwords locally or in the NTDS.dit file in Active Directory Domain Controllers. Tinker estimates that buying the GPU power described would require about $10,000; others have claimed the necessary computer power to crack an eight-character NTLM password hash can be rented in Amazon's cloud for just $25.

< article continued at Slashdot's that-didn't-take-long department >

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James Cameron's Alita: Battle Angel Released After Sixteen Years
Posted by News Fetcher on February 14 '19 at 11:10 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's yay-or-nay department:
Slashdot reader Drakster writes: Hollywood producer and writer James Cameron, who is best known for his first two Terminator films, Titanic, Avatar, and Aliens, has released his most recent film this week, Alita: Battle Angel, to mostly mixed to positive reviews. First announced in 2003, based on Yukito Kishiro's Gunnm manga series, it was stuck in development for several years, finally starting production in 2008. Slashdot last discussed this fifteen years ago, so now that it's finally here. For those who have seen it, what did you think? Met or surpassed your expectations, or not worth the wait?

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Renewables Will Be World's Main Power Source By 2040, Says BP
Posted by News Fetcher on February 14 '19 at 08:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's vision-of-the-future department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: In a not-too-distant future, renewable energy becomes the world's biggest source of power generation. A quarter of the distances that humans travel by vehicle will be in electric cars. U.S. dominance in the oil market begins to wane, and OPEC's influence is resurgent, as crude demand finally peaks. That is the vision laid out by British oil and gas giant BP on Thursday in its latest Annual Energy Outlook. The closely followed report lays out a vision through 2040 for Earth's energy future, provided government policy, technology and consumer preferences evolve in line with recent trends. BP forecasts that the world's energy demand will grow by a third through 2040, driven by rising consumption in China, India and other parts of Asia. About 75 percent of that increase will come from the need to power industry and buildings. At the same time, energy demand will continue to grow in the transportation sector, but that growth will slow sharply as vehicles become more efficient and more consumers opt for electric cars. But despite the increase in supply, BP thinks two-thirds of the world's population will still live in places with relatively low energy consumption per head. The takeaway: The world will need to generate more energy. The report says natural gas consumption will grow by 50 percent over the next 20 years, increasing in virtually every corner of the globe. "Throughout most of that time, the world will continue to consume more oil year after year, until demand ultimately peaks around 108 million barrels per day in the 2030s," reports CNBC. "This year, OPEC expects global oil demand to reach 100 million bpd."

< article continued at Slashdot's vision-of-the-future department >

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