- AI Trained On Old Scientific Papers Makes Discoveries Humans Missed
- YouTube Is Making It Much Easier For Creators To Deal With Copyright Claims
- It's Time To Ban All Government Use of Face Recognition, Says Digital Rights Group
- T-Mobile Says It Can't Be Sued By Users Because of Forced-Arbitration Clause
- The $280,000 Lab-Grown Burger Could Be a More Palatable $10 in Two Years
- GitHub Removed Open Source Versions of 'Deepfakes' Porn App DeepNude
- Skype Snap App Remains Hopelessly Outdated
- AT&T Will Automatically Block Fraud Calls For New Customers
- Firefox 68 Arrives With Darker Reader View, Recommended Extensions, and IT Customizations
- Mozilla Blocks UAE Bid To Become an Internet Security Guardian After Hacking Reports
- Raspberry Pi Admits To Faulty USB-C Design On the Pi 4
- Ross Perot, Founder and Former CEO of Electronic Data Systems and Perot Systems, Dies At 89
- WarnerMedia Announces HBO Max, Its Netflix Rival That Will Launch Next Year
- LinkedIn and the Art of Boastful Self-Promotion
- Apple Lowers Prices on the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro and Adds New Features
- Logitech Wireless USB Dongles Vulnerable To New Hijacking Flaws
- Trump Can't Block Critics From His Twitter Account, Appeals Court Rules
- IBM Closes Its $34 Billion Acquisition of Red Hat
- Apple Discontinues 12-inch MacBook
- Google Unveils 'Code With Google,' Awards $1 Million To CS Teachers Group
- Bitcoin Mining On an Apollo Guidance Computer: 10.3 Seconds Per Hash
- Moon Landing Could Have Infected the Earth With Lunar Germs, Say Astronauts
- Serious Zoom Security Flaw Could Let Websites Hijack Mac Cameras
AI Trained On Old Scientific Papers Makes Discoveries Humans Missed
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard:
In a study published in Nature on July 3, researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory used an algorithm called Word2Vec sift through scientific papers for connections humans had missed. Their algorithm then spit out predictions for possible thermoelectric materials, which convert heat to energy and are used in many heating and cooling applications. The algorithm didn't know the definition of thermoelectric, though. It received no training in materials science. Using only word associations, the algorithm was able to provide candidates for future thermoelectric materials, some of which may be better than those we currently use.
To train the algorithm, the researchers assessed the language in 3.3 million abstracts related to material science, ending up with a vocabulary of about 500,000 words. They fed the abstracts to Word2vec, which used machine learning to analyze relationships between words. Using just the words found in scientific abstracts, the algorithm was able to understand concepts such as the periodic table and the chemical structure of molecules. The algorithm linked words that were found close together, creating vectors of related words that helped define concepts. In some cases, words were linked to thermoelectric concepts but had never been written about as thermoelectric in any abstract they surveyed. This gap in knowledge is hard to catch with a human eye, but easy for an algorithm to spot. After showing its capacity to predict future materials, researchers took their work back in time, virtually. They scrapped recent data and tested the algorithm on old papers, seeing if it could predict scientific discoveries before they happened. Once again, the algorithm worked. "In one experiment, researchers analyzed only papers published before 2009 and were able to predict one of the best modern-day thermoelectric materials four years before it was discovered in 2012," the report adds.
YouTube Is Making It Much Easier For Creators To Deal With Copyright Claims
updating the way it handles manual copyright claims with changes that should make them much less of a headache for video creators. The Verge reports:
Owners of copyrighted content -- like a record label or a movie studio -- will now have to say exactly where in a video their copyrighted material appears, which they didn't have to do in the past when manually reporting infringement. That'll allow creators to easily verify whether or not a claim is legitimate and to then edit out the content if they don't want to deal with the repercussions, like losing revenue or having the video taken down. With this change, the whole system will be a lot clearer and should operate much smoother. Video creators will be able to see the chunk that's been claimed, and YouTube will allow them to mute the audio during that portion, replace the audio with a free-to-use song from YouTube's library, or cut out that chunk of the video. If they choose any of those options, the copyright claim will automatically be released. (All of those options were previously available, but creators had to figure out on their own what they needed to cut out.)
It's Time To Ban All Government Use of Face Recognition, Says Digital Rights Group
Fight for the Future, the digital rights advocacy group,
is calling for a nationwide ban on government use of facial recognition. Fast Company reports:
The group says the technology is just too dangerous to civil liberties to allow government agencies to use it, even with regulation. It launched a website where people can contact their legislators and urge them to support a ban. "Imagine if we could go back in time and prevent governments around the world from ever building nuclear or biological weapons. That's the moment in history we're in right now with facial recognition," said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, in a statement. "This surveillance technology poses such a profound threat to the future of human society and basic liberty that its dangers far outweigh any potential benefits. We don't need to regulate it, we need to ban it entirely."
T-Mobile Says It Can't Be Sued By Users Because of Forced-Arbitration Clause
T-Mobile U.S. is
trying to force customers into arbitration in order to avoid a class-action lawsuit that accuses the phone carrier of violating federal law by selling its customers' real-time location data to third parties. Ars Technica reports:
T-Mobile yesterday filed a motion to compel arbitration in U.S. District Court in Maryland, saying that customers agreed to terms and conditions that require disputes to be handled in arbitration instead of courts. The two plaintiffs named in the lawsuit did not opt out of the arbitration agreement, T-Mobile wrote. "As T-Mobile customers, each Plaintiff accepted T-Mobile's Terms and Conditions ('T&Cs')," T-Mobile wrote in a memorandum of law. "In so doing, they agreed to arbitrate on an individual basis any dispute related to T-Mobile's services and to waive their right to participate in a class action unless they timely opted out of the arbitration procedure outlined in the T&Cs. Neither Plaintiff elected to opt out. Accordingly, Plaintiffs have brought their grievances to the wrong forum and their claims should be dismissed in favor of arbitration."
T-Mobile's terms and conditions say, "Thanks for choosing T-Mobile. Please read these Terms & Conditions ('T&Cs'), which contain important information about your relationship with T-Mobile, including mandatory arbitration of disputes between us, instead of class actions or jury trials. You will become bound by these provisions once you accept these T&Cs." Customers can opt out of arbitration by calling 1-866-323-4405 or online at
www.T-Mobiledisputeresolution.com, but action must be taken within 30 days of activating a new phone line. The customers who opted out of T-Mobile arbitration could file a similar lawsuit, but that would result in a much smaller pool of customers who could seek damages.
class-action complaint seeks financial damages and certification of a class consisting of every person who was a T-Mobile customer in the U.S. between May 3, 2015 and March 9, 2019. That's at least 50 million people, the class-action complaint says.
The $280,000 Lab-Grown Burger Could Be a More Palatable $10 in Two Years
Lab-grown meat, first introduced to the world six years ago in the form of a $280,000 hamburger,
could hit supermarket shelves at $10 a patty within two years, European start-ups told Reuters. From a report:
Consumers concerned about climate change, animal welfare and their own health are fueling interest in so-called clean meat, with the number of associated business start-ups climbing from four at the end of 2016 to more than two dozen two years later, according to the Good Food Institute market researcher. Plant-based meat alternatives are also booming. Shares in Beyond Meat have more than tripled in price since its initial public offering in May. Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods each sell 100% plant-based meat alternatives to retailers and fast food chains across the United States.
And cultured meat grown from animal cells could be next on the mainstream menu, with producers eyeing regulatory approval as they improve the technology and reduce costs. It was Dutch start-up Mosa Meat's co-founder Mark Post who created the first "cultured" beef hamburger in 2013 at a cost of 250,000 euros ($280,400), funded by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, but Mosa Meat and Spain's Biotech Meats say that production costs have fallen dramatically since then. "The burger was this expensive in 2013 because back then it was novel science and we were producing at very small scale. Once production is scaled up, we project the cost of producing a hamburger will be around 9 euros," a Mosa Meat spokeswoman told Reuters, adding that it could ultimately become even cheaper than a conventional hamburger.
GitHub Removed Open Source Versions of 'Deepfakes' Porn App DeepNude
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard:
GitHub recently removed code from its website that used neural networks to algorithmically strip clothing from images of women. The multiple code repositories were spun off from an app called DeepNude, a highly invasive piece of software that was specifically designed to create realistic nude images of women without their consent. The news shows how after DeepNude's creator pulled the plug on his own invention late last month following a media and public backlash, some platforms are now stopping the spread of similar tools. "We do not proactively monitor user-generated content, but we do actively investigate abuse reports. In this case, we disabled the project because we found it to be in violation of our acceptable use policy," a GitHub spokesperson told Motherboard in a statement. "We do not condone using GitHub for posting sexually obscene content and prohibit such conduct in our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines."
The "Sexually Obscene" section of
GitHub's Community Guidelines states: "Don't post content that is pornographic. This does not mean that all nudity, or all code and content related to sexuality, is prohibited. We recognize that sexuality is a part of life and non-pornographic sexual content may be a part of your project, or may be presented for educational or artistic purposes. We do not allow obscene sexual content or content that may involve the exploitation or sexualization of minors."
Skype Snap App Remains Hopelessly Outdated
An anonymous reader shares a report:
The official Skype Snap app for Linux has not been updated in nearly six months, and Microsoft is yet to say why. When introducing the cross-distro build in early 2018, the company said the Skype Snap app would give it the "... ability to push the latest features straight to our users, no matter which device or distribution they happen to use." Clearly, not. Because at the time of writing this post the Skype Snap app sits on version 18.104.22.168, which the Snapcraft store reports was 'last updated' in November 2018. However, the "regular" Linux version available to download from the Skype website is on version 22.214.171.124, released June 2019.
AT&T Will Automatically Block Fraud Calls For New Customers
AT&T will start automatically
blocking fraud calls and issuing suspected spam call alerts for new phone customers at no extra cost. "You'll have to opt out if you don't want the company to screen calls this way," reports Engadget. "Existing customers, meanwhile, will see the feature automatically reach their accounts in the 'coming months.'" From the report:
If you like the capabilities, you can turn it on right now either by downloading the AT&T Call Protect app or enabling it through your myAT&T account settings. Although AT&T isn't charging extra, the FCC rules don't prevent it or others from using the auto-blocking as an opportunity to raise subscription rates. It may take a while to learn whether or not there are any pitfalls to what otherwise seems like a promising upgrade.
Firefox 68 Arrives With Darker Reader View, Recommended Extensions, and IT Customizations
Mozilla today launched Firefox 68 for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. Firefox 68 includes
a darker reader view, recommended extensions, IT Pro customizations, and more. From a report:
As part of this release, Mozilla has curated a list of recommended extensions "that have been thoroughly reviewed for security, usability, and usefulness." You can find the list on the Get Add-ons page in the Firefox Add-ons Manager (about:addons). While Firefox has had dark mode for months, the Reader View's dark contrast only covered the text area. Now, when you change the contrast to dark, all sections of the site (including sidebars and toolbars) will be immersed in dark mode.
With Firefox 60, Mozilla introduced an enterprise version of the browser that employers can customize. This let IT professionals configure Firefox for their organization, either using Group Policy on Windows or a JSON file that works across Windows, Mac, and Linux. With Firefox 68, Mozilla has added more enterprise policies -- to configure or remove the new tab page, turn off search suggestions, and so on.
Mozilla Blocks UAE Bid To Become an Internet Security Guardian After Hacking Reports
Firefox browser maker Mozilla is
blocking the United Arab Emirates' government from serving as one of its internet security gatekeepers, citing
Reuters reports on a
UAE cyber espionage program. From a report:
Mozilla said in a statement on Tuesday it was rejecting the UAE's bid to become a globally recognized internet security watchdog, empowered to certify the safety of websites for Firefox users. Mozilla said it made the decision because cybersecurity firm DarkMatter would have administered the gatekeeper role and it had been linked by Reuters and other reports to a state-run hacking program. Reuters reported in January that Abu Dhabi-based DarkMatter provided staff for a secret hacking operation, codenamed Project Raven, on behalf of an Emirati intelligence agency. The unit was largely comprised of former U.S. intelligence officials who conducted offensive cyber operations for the UAE government. Former Raven operatives told Reuters that many DarkMatter executives were unaware of the secretive program, which operated from a converted Abu Dhabi mansion away from DarkMatter's headquarters.
Raspberry Pi Admits To Faulty USB-C Design On the Pi 4
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica:
The Raspberry Pi 4 was announced two weeks ago as a major new upgrade to the line of cheap single-board hobbyist computers. The Pi 4 featured a faster CPU, options for up to 4GB of RAM, and a new, modern USB-C port for power delivery. The Pi 4 was the Raspberry Pi Foundation's first ever USB-C device, and, well, they screwed it up. As detailed by Tyler Ward, the Raspberry Pi 4 has a non-compliant USB-C charging port and doesn't work with as many chargers as it should. Thanks to the open nature of Raspberry Pi (even the schematics are online!), Ward was able to discover that Raspberry Pi just didn't design its USB-C port correctly. Two "CC" pins on a USB-C port are supposed to each get their own 5.1K ohms resistor, but Raspberry Pi came up with its own circuit design that allows them to share a single resistor. This is not a compliant design and breaks compatibility with some of the more powerful USB-C chargers out there.
Whether your USB-C charger works with the Pi 4 has to do with whether it uses an "e-marked" cable. E-marked cables are fully featured USB-C cables with chips inside that negotiate power management, accessory modes, data rates, and other communication specs. Since the Pi 4 USB-C port is wired incorrectly, these smart cables will detect the Pi 4 as an "Audio Adaptor Accessory" and refuse to charge them. Usually, e-marked cables are more expensive and come with larger, higher-powered items, like a USB-C laptop. After reports started popping up on the Internet, Raspberry Pi cofounder Eben Upton admitted to TechRepublic that "A smart charger with an e-marked cable will incorrectly identify the Raspberry Pi 4 as an audio adapter accessory and refuse to provide power." Upton went on to say, "I expect this will be fixed in a future board revision, but for now users will need to apply one of the suggested workarounds. It's surprising this didn't show up in our (quite extensive) field testing program."
Ross Perot, Founder and Former CEO of Electronic Data Systems and Perot Systems, Dies At 89
Ross Perot, a self-made billionaire, independent presidential candidate, and philanthropist,
has died at the age of 89 after a five-month battle with leukemia. Perot rose to fame after founding his first company, Electronic Data Systems, in 1962 with just $1,000 in savings. More than two decades later, he launched information technology services provider Perot Systems, which was
acquired in 2009 by Dell for $3.9 billion. CNBC reports on his political accomplishments:
As a disruptive third-party candidate for president, Perot ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility and protectionism. He won nearly 19% of the vote in the 1992 race -- by far the biggest slice of the electorate for a third-party candidate since Theodore Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party in the 1912 election. Perot stood out from the political crowd for his quirks as much as his business credentials and lack of experience in establishment politics. "I don't have any experience in running up a $4 trillion debt. I don't have any experience in gridlock government, where nobody takes responsibility for anything and everybody blames everybody else," he said in a 1992 presidential debate. The shifting of U.S. jobs to Mexico created a "giant sucking sound," he famously said during the campaign. Perot was also a bit of a pack rat,
collecting everything from whimsical toys to priceless artifacts. Perot owned the only Magna Carta ever allowed to leave Great Britain, which he loaned to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and in 2007, sold it for $20 million.
WarnerMedia Announces HBO Max, Its Netflix Rival That Will Launch Next Year
There's HBO Go, HBO Now, and soon,
there will be HBO Max. For WarnerMedia and parent company AT&T, the latter is most important, as it will become the subscription video service that they position against Netflix, Hulu,
the upcoming Disney+,
Apple's upcoming TV+, and a range of other paid video offerings. From a report:
"Anchored with and inspired by the legacy of HBO's excellence and award-winning storytelling, the new service will be 'Maximized' with an extensive collection of exclusive original programming (Max Originals) and the best-of-the-best from WarnerMedia's enormous portfolio of beloved brands and libraries," the company wrote in a press release today. (The emphasis there is from WarnerMedia, of course.) So you'll get all the stuff you'd expect from having HBO -- TV series, on-demand movies, watching some primetime HBO shows live -- plus a huge serving of content from basically every other WarnerMedia property. More relevant to you is that WarnerMedia also confirmed that HBO Max will have exclusive streaming rights to every episode of Friends when it launches in spring 2020; that'll be after the hugely popular sitcom departs Netflix. Friends is set to leave in 2019, so there might be a gap where the show disappears from streaming altogether until HBO Max's debut.
LinkedIn and the Art of Boastful Self-Promotion
Harry Barnes runs a Twitter account called
The State of LinkedIn with more than 100,000 followers. On it, he tweets a
curated selection of the most egotistical, self-unaware, jargon-ridden posts from LinkedIn members
[Editor's note: the link may be paywalled]. From a report:
Recent gems range from the boastful "You call it luck, I call it 80 hours a week", to the baffling "How easy is it to hire me? I interviewed myself", as well as the awful-wonderful morning routine which begins "I wake up. Instantly. From the fogginess of dreams, to the readiness of full consciousness..." Humble brags, including Mr Barnes's favourite, in which a man is pictured playing pool while a supercar just happens to be parked in the background, also feature regularly. Mr Barnes, who has worked in social media but runs the account as a hobby, says the idea is to poke fun at the ridiculous world of workplace self-promotion, rather than individuals. "All the content is sent to me," he says. "I don't trawl LinkedIn looking for it."
Mr Barnes is not the only one enjoying the lighter side of LinkedIn. There is also the @CrapOnLinkedIn Twitter feed and parody LinkedIn accounts, such as the "demotivational speaker" Mike Winnet. Unlike other social networks, however, humour is not the norm for LinkedIn, which has always been a more grown-up, professional place. For better or for worse, that may be changing.
Apple Lowers Prices on the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro and Adds New Features
Apple today announced updates to the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. The
MacBook Air price is being lowered to $1,099, but it will be offered to college students for $999. From a report:
It will be sold in the same configurations as before, starting with 128GB of storage, but Apple updated the screen with new TrueTone technology. That means it sets the colors on the screen to match the lighting of the room for a more comfortable viewing experience. It also includes the updated keyboard design that Apple first launched in updated MacBook Pros back in May. It should help to prevent some of the sticky key problems experienced in Apple's MacBooks. But this is not the full keyboard refresh that's rumored to ship with an entirely new keyboard configuration. The new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro starts at $1,299 (or $1,199 for college students.) and includes a quad-core processor in the entry-level model for the first time and improved graphics performance. Like the refresh in May, the entry-level models now also come with new keyboard materials to help prevent sticking keys.
Logitech Wireless USB Dongles Vulnerable To New Hijacking Flaws
A security researcher has publicly disclosed new vulnerabilities in the USB dongles (receivers) used by Logitech wireless keyboards, mice, and presentation clickers. New submitter
raikoseagle shares a report:
The vulnerabilities allow attackers to sniff on keyboard traffic, but also inject keystrokes (even into dongles not connected to a wireless keyboard) and take over the computer to which a dongle has been connected. When encryption is used to protect the connection between the dongle and its paired device, the vulnerabilities also allow attackers to recover the encryption key. Furthermore, if the USB dongle uses a "key blacklist" to prevent the paired device from injecting keystrokes, the vulnerabilities allow the bypassing of this security protection system. Marcus Mengs, the researcher who discovered these vulnerabilities, said he notified Logitech about his findings, and the vendor plans to patch some of the reported issues, but not all.
Trump Can't Block Critics From His Twitter Account, Appeals Court Rules
President Trump has been violating the Constitution by blocking people from following his Twitter account because they criticized or mocked him,
a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday. The ruling could have broader implications for how the First Amendment applies to the social-media era. From a report:
Because Mr. Trump uses Twitter to conduct government business, he cannot exclude some Americans from reading his posts -- and engaging in conversations in the replies to them -- because he does not like their views, a three-judge panel on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled unanimously. Writing for the panel, Judge Barrington D. Parker noted that the conduct of the government and its officials are subject today to a "wide-open, robust debate" that "generates a level of passion and intensity the likes of which have rarely been seen." The First Amendment prohibits an official who uses a social media account for government purposes from excluding people from an "otherwise open online dialogue" because they say things the official disagrees with, he wrote.
IBM Closes Its $34 Billion Acquisition of Red Hat
IBM closed its $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat,
the companies announced Tuesday. From a report:
The deal was originally announced in October, when the companies said IBM would buy all shares in Red Hat for $190 each in cash. The acquisition of Red Hat, an open-source, enterprise software maker, marks the close of IBM's largest deal ever. It's one of the biggest in U.S. tech history. Excluding the AOL-Time Warner merger, it follows the $67 billion deal between Dell and EMC in 2016 and JDS Uniphase's $41 billion acquisition of optical-component supplier SDL in 2000. Under the deal, Red Hat will now be a unit of IBM's hybrid cloud division, according to the original announcement. The companies said Red Hat's CEO, Jim Whitehurst, would join IBM's senior management team and report to CEO Ginni Rometty. IBM previously said it hoped its acquisition of Red Hat will help it do more work in the cloud, one of its four key growth drivers, which are also social, mobile and analytics. The company lags behind Amazon and Microsoft in the cloud infrastructure business. IBM has seen three consecutive quarters of declining year-over-year revenue. But some analysts are hopeful about the Red Hat deal's opportunity to bring in new business.
Apple Discontinues 12-inch MacBook
Apple has stopped selling the 12-inch MacBook just four years after introducing the laptop as the slimmest in its lineup. From a report:
The previous generation MacBook Air -- the one without a Retina display -- is no longer available in Apple Stores either. The 12-inch MacBook hadn't been updated in two years, but it still filled a spot that stood out from other models: it was thinner and lighter, though that also came with being less powerful. At $1,299, its price put it directly up against the entry-level MacBook Pro, which outperformed it, with only a small gain in weight and size.
Google Unveils 'Code With Google,' Awards $1 Million To CS Teachers Group
TechCrunch reports that Google kicked off the 2019 Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Conference in style with the announcement of Code with Google, a new coding resource for teachers which collects Google's own free course curriculum on teaching computer science and coding. Google also announced a $1 million grant to the teachers group alongside the unveiling of Code with Google. To hear Google tell it, Code with Google -- much like bacon -- makes everything better. An English and Language Arts teacher, blogs Google Education VP Maggie Johnson, "didn't know much about computer science, but wanted her students to get familiar with coding because it can help with other skills, such as critical thinking and collaboration. So she tried a [Google] CS First activity where students coded different endings [video] to the story they read in class. Melissa says that, in a short time, 'the kids were problem solving, troubleshooting, and helping one another. It was incredible to hear the conversations about coding and the other concepts we were learning in the room.'" Johnson is also on the Board of tech-bankrolled Code.org, which reported it had spent $91.4 million (thru Dec. 2018) to get CS into K-12 schools (Google is a $3+ million Code.org Gold Sponsor). Not too surprisingly, one of the CSTA 2019 keynotes will be delivered by employees of Platinum Conference Sponsor Google, including a former CSTA Executive Director (CSTA is currently led by Code.org's former Director of State Government Affairs -- it's a small K-12 CS world!).
Bitcoin Mining On an Apollo Guidance Computer: 10.3 Seconds Per Hash
volvox_voxel shares an excerpt from
the latest blog post from software engineer Ken Shirriff, who is well known for his work on restoring some of the rarest computing hardware to its working condition:
We've been restoring an Apollo Guidance Computer1. Now that we have the world's only working AGC, I decided to write some code for it. Trying to mine Bitcoin on this 1960s computer seemed both pointless and anachronistic, so I had to give it a shot. Implementing the Bitcoin hash algorithm in assembly code on this 15-bit computer was challenging, but I got it to work. Unfortunately, the computer is so slow that it would take about a billion times the age of the universe to successfully mine a Bitcoin block. He wasn't kidding about how long it would take to successfully mine a Bitcoin block. "The Apollo Guidance Computer took 5.15 seconds for one SHA-256 hash," writes Shirriff. "Since Bitcoin uses a double-hash, this results in a hash rate of 10.3 seconds per Bitcoin hash. Currently, the Bitcoin network is performing about 65 EH/s (65 quintillion hashes per second). At this difficulty, it would take the AGC 4x10^23 seconds on average to find a block. Since the universe is only 4.3x10^17 seconds old, it would take the AGC about a billion times the age of the universe to successfully mine a block."
Moon Landing Could Have Infected the Earth With Lunar Germs, Say Astronauts
PolygamousRanchKid quotes a report from The Independent:
A mistake made during the Apollo 11 moon landing could have brought lunar germs to the Earth, astronauts have revealed. When the three astronauts flew to the Moon and back, exactly 50 years ago this month, NASA worked hard to ensure that no bugs were brought back from the lunar surface. All three of the Apollo 11 crew were put into special clothes, scrubbed down and taken to a quarantine facility where they lived until scientists could be sure the Earth would not be contaminated. But interviews from a new documentary -- filmed by PBS and revealed by Space.com -- show that the plan to keep Earth could easily have failed, and that space bugs could have got into the Earth's atmosphere despite Nasa's best efforts. The astronauts noted that Nasa did not think there would be anything alive on the Moon that could be brought back down to the Earth. But the precautions were taken in case there were. "Look at it this way," astronaut Michael Collins said. "Suppose there were germs on the moon. There are germs on the moon, we come back, the command module is full of lunar germs. The command module lands in the Pacific Ocean, and what do they do? Open the hatch. You got to open the hatch! All the damn germs come out!"
Serious Zoom Security Flaw Could Let Websites Hijack Mac Cameras
Security researcher Jonathan Leitschuh has
publicly disclosed a serious zero-day vulnerability for the Zoom video conference app on Macs that
could allow websites to turn on user cameras without permission. The Verge reports:
He has demonstrated that any website can open up a video-enabled call on a Mac with the Zoom app installed. That's possible in part because the Zoom app apparently installs a web server on Macs that accepts requests regular browsers wouldn't. In fact, if you uninstall Zoom, that web server persists and can reinstall Zoom without your intervention. Leitschuh details how he responsibly disclosed the vulnerability to Zoom back in late March, giving the company 90 days to solve the problem. According to Leitschuh's account, Zoom doesn't appear to have done enough to resolve the issue. The vulnerability was also disclosed to both the Chromium and Mozilla teams, but since it's not an issue with their browsers, there's not much those developers can do. The report notes that you can "patch" the vulnerability by making sure the Mac app is up to date and also disabling the setting that allows Zoom to turn your camera on when joining a meeting. "Again, simply uninstalling Zoom won't fix this problem, as that web server persists on your Mac," reports The Verge. "Turning off the web server requires running some terminal commands, which can be found at the bottom of
the Medium post."