Linux fréttir

Amazon Continues Work On Mobile Home Robot As It Preps New High-End Echo, Says Report

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-07-13 10:00
Citing a report from Bloomberg, The Verge reports that Amazon is working on a mobile home robot and a high-end Echo to compete against the Apple HomePod and Google Home Max. From the report: We first heard about Amazon's plans to build a wheeled home robot in April last year. The project is reportedly codenamed "Vesta" (after the Roman goddess of the hearth), and rumors suggest it's a sort of "mobile Alexa" that's able to follow users around their homes. Today's report doesn't add significantly to this picture, but it seems Amazon is still keen to build the mobile device. It was apparently slated to launch this year but wasn't ready for mass-production. Engineers have reportedly been pulled from other projects to work on Vesta, and Gurman reports that prototypes are "waist-high and navigate with the help of an array of computer-vision cameras." They can also be summoned using voice commands. Along with its mystery robot, Amazon is also reportedly working on a high-end Echo device that's due to be released next year. Bloomberg says the cylindrical speaker is wider than existing Echo products in order to fit in extra speaker components, and it could launch alongside a high-fidelity version of Amazon's music streaming service.

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Thousands of People Have Taken a Facebook Pledge To Storm Area 51

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-07-13 07:00
PolygamousRanchKid shares a report from CNN: Over 300,000 people have signed on to a Facebook event pledging to raid Area 51 in Nevada in a quest to "see them aliens." The event, titled "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us," is inviting users from around the world to join a "Naruto run" -- a Japanese manga-inspired running style featuring arms outstretched backwards and heads forward -- into the area. "We can move faster than their bullets," the event page, which is clearly written with tongue in cheek, promises those who RSVP for September 20. The mysterious Area 51 has been the focus of conspiracy theories for decades, and many people think it's where the U.S. government stores its secrets about aliens and UFOs.

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Literally rings our bell: Scotch eggheads take first-ever snap of quantum entanglement

TheRegister - Sat, 2019-07-13 05:47
'Spooky action' caught on camera – see it for yourself

Pic Physicists at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, have produced the first-ever image of a strong form of quantum entanglement, known as Bell entanglement.…

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Carbon Nanotube Device Channels Heat Into Light

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-07-13 03:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: Rice University scientists are designing arrays of aligned single-wall carbon nanotubes to channel mid-infrared radiation (aka heat) and greatly raise the efficiency of solar energy systems. Their invention is a hyperbolic thermal emitter that can absorb intense heat that would otherwise be spewed into the atmosphere, squeeze it into a narrow bandwidth and emit it as light that can be turned into electricity. The aligned nanotube films are conduits that absorb waste heat and turn it into narrow-bandwidth photons. Because electrons in nanotubes can only travel in one direction, the aligned films are metallic in that direction while insulating in the perpendicular direction, an effect called hyperbolic dispersion. Thermal photons can strike the film from any direction, but can only leave via one. Adding the emitters to standard solar cells could boost their efficiency from the current peak of about 22%. "By squeezing all the wasted thermal energy into a small spectral region, we can turn it into electricity very efficiently," he said. "The theoretical prediction is that we can get 80% efficiency." The study has been published in the journal ACS Photonics.

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Cloudflare Comes Clean On Crashing a Chunk of the Web Earlier This Month

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-07-13 02:50
Cloudflare has published a detailed and refreshingly honest report into precisely what went wrong earlier this month when its systems fell over and took a big chunk of the internet with it. The Register reports: We already knew from a quick summary published the next day, and our interview with its CTO John Graham-Cumming, that the 30-minute global outage had been caused by an error in a single line of code in a system the company uses to push rapid software changes. [...] First up the error itself -- it was in this bit of code: .*(?:.*=.*). We won't go into the full workings as to why because the post does so extensively (a Friday treat for coding nerds) but very broadly the code caused a lot of what's called "backtracking," basically repetitive looping. This backtracking got worse -- exponentially worse -- the more complex the request and very, very quickly maxed out the company's CPUs. The impact wasn't noticed for the simple reason that the test suite didn't measure CPU usage. It soon will -- Cloudflare has an internal deadline of a week from now. The second problem was that a software protection system that would have prevented excessive CPU consumption had been removed "by mistake" just a weeks earlier. That protection is now back in although it clearly needs to be locked down. The software used to run the code -- the expression engine -- also doesn't have the ability to check for the sort of backtracking that occurred. Cloudflare says it will shift to one that does. The post goes on to talk about the speed with which it impacted everyone, why it took them so long to fix it, and why it didn't just do a rollback within minutes and solve the issue while it figured out what was going on. You can read the full postmortem here.

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Giant Batteries and Cheap Solar Power Are Shoving Fossil Fuels Off the Grid

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-07-13 02:10
sciencehabit quotes a report from Science Magazine: This month, officials in Los Angeles, California, are expected to approve a deal that would make solar power cheaper than ever while also addressing its chief flaw: It works only when the sun shines. The deal calls for a huge solar farm backed up by one of the world's largest batteries. It would provide 7% of the city's electricity beginning in 2023 at a cost of 1.997 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for the solar power and 1.3 cents per kWh for the battery. That's cheaper than any power generated with fossil fuel. The new solar plus storage effort will be built in Kern County in California by 8minute Solar Energy. The project is expected to create a 400-megawatt solar array, generating roughly 876,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity annually, enough to power more than 65,000 homes during daylight hours. Its 800-MWh battery will store electricity for after the sun sets, reducing the need for natural gas-fired generators.

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US Mayors Resolve Not To Pay Hackers Over Ransomware Attacks

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-07-13 01:30
More than 225 U.S. mayors have signed on to a resolution not to pay ransoms to hackers. It's a collective stand against the ransomware attacks that have crippled city government computer systems in recent years. CNET reports: The resolution was adopted at the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting, which took place late June and early July in Honolulu. "The United States Conference of Mayors stands united against paying ransoms in the event of an IT security breach," the resolution reads. This could give city leaders across the US some leverage against hackers. The 227 mayors who attended the meeting agreed to adopt the resolution, but the US Conference of Mayors represents more than 1,400 cities with populations over 30,000.

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A New Study Uses Camera Footage To Track the Frequency of Bystander Intervention

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-07-13 00:50
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CityLab: It's one of the most enduring urban myths of all: If you get in trouble, don't count on anyone nearby to help. Research dating back to the late 1960s documents how the great majority of people who witness crimes or violent behavior refuse to intervene. Psychologists dubbed this non-response as the "bystander effect" -- a phenomenon which has been replicated in scores of subsequent psychological studies. The "bystander effect" holds that the reason people don't intervene is because we look to one another. The presence of many bystanders diffuses our own sense of personal responsibility, leading people to essentially do nothing and wait for someone else to jump in. Past studies have used police reports to estimate the effect, but results ranged from 11 percent to 74 percent of incidents being interventions. Now, widespread surveillance cameras allow for a new method to assess real-life human interactions. A new study published this year in the American Psychologist finds that this well-established bystander effect may largely be a myth. The study uses footage of more than 200 incidents from surveillance cameras in Amsterdam; Cape Town; and Lancaster, England. The study finds that in nine out of 10 incidents, at least one bystander intervened, with an average of 3.8 interveners. There was also no significant difference across the three countries and cities, even though they differ greatly in levels of crime and violence. The study actually found that the more bystanders there were, the more likely it was that at least someone would intervene to help. "This is a powerful corrective to the common perception of 'stranger danger' and the 'unknown other,'" reports CityLab. "It suggests that people are willing to self-police to protect their communities and others."

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Judge Dismisses Oracle Lawsuit Over $10 Billion Pentagon JEDI Cloud Contract

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-07-13 00:10
Last year, Oracle filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government complaining about the procurement process around the Pentagon's $10 billion, decade-long JEDI cloud contract. "They claimed a potential conflict of interest on the part of a procurement team member (who was a former AWS employee)," reports TechCrunch. "Today, that case was dismissed in federal court." From the report: In dismissing the case, Federal Claims Court Senior Judge Eric Bruggink ruled that the company had failed to prove a conflict in the procurement process, something the DOD's own internal audits found in two separate investigations. Judge Bruggink ultimately agreed with the DoD's findings: "We conclude as well that the contracting officer's findings that an organizational conflict of interest does not exist and that individual conflicts of interest did not impact the procurement, were not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law. Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the administrative record is therefore denied." Today's ruling opens the door for the announcement of a winner of the $10 billion contract, as early as next month. The DoD previously announced that it had chosen Microsoft and Amazon as the two finalists for the winner-take-all bid.

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Ex-NASA Mars InSight contractor sets legal eagles on JPL over whistleblower sacking

TheRegister - Sat, 2019-07-13 00:01
Hot on heels of $1.5m win against his employers

The former Mars InSight Lander engineer who won $1.5m from his employer after it sacked him for whistleblowing is now suing NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab for its part in his professional downfall.…

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Amazon Becomes Fastest-Growing Music Streaming Service

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-07-12 23:30
The music app that is adding subscribers to its service at the fastest rate is not Apple Music or Spotify or Google Music, it is Amazon, Financial Times reported this week [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source]. From the report: The number of people subscribing to Amazon Music Unlimited has grown by about 70 per cent in the past year, according to people briefed on its performance. In April Amazon had more than 32m subscribers to all its music services including Unlimited and Prime Music. By contrast, Spotify, the world's largest streaming service with 100m subscribers, is growing at about 25 per cent a year. "Amazon is the dark horse [in music]," said Mark Mulligan, an analyst at Midia Research. "People don't pay as much attention to it [as to Apple and Spotify], but it's been hugely effective." [...] Amazon has gained momentum in recent months, propelled by its ubiquity with consumers and Alexa, its popular intelligent assistant, which can play music through voice commands issued to its wireless Echo speaker.

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X-ray specs: Signal whizz JMA Wireless claims to have solved indoor 5G, everyone

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-07-12 23:28
But how will it compare against Wi-Fi 6?

American mobile connectivity biz JMA Wireless claims to have completed the design of a 5G product stack designed specifically to provide wireless networking within buildings.…

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Amazon brings serverless pie to Visual Studio Code party

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-07-12 23:14
AWS extension for debugging Lambda shuffles out of preview

Amazon emitted the AWS toolkit for Microsoft's Visual Studio Code yesterday in an effort to nudge developers keen on the open-source editor toward its cloud.…

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Cough up, like, 1% of your valuation and keep up the good work, says FTC: Facebook won't have to change a thing in latest privacy settlement

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-07-12 23:03
US senator dubs sweetheart deal over Cambridge Analytica brouhaha as ‘a mosquito bite’

Facebook will be asked to fork out $5bn in a settlement with America's trade watchdog, the FTC, following last year's Cambridge Analytica fiasco, it was reported Friday.…

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Monroe College Hit With Ransomware, $2 Million Demanded

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-07-12 22:50
A ransomware attack in New York City's Monroe College has shut down the college's computer systems at campuses located in Manhattan, New Rochelle and St. Lucia. The attackers are seeking 170 bitcoins or approximately $2 million dollars in order to decrypt the entire college's network. Bleeping Computer reports: According to the Daily News, Monroe College was hacked on Wednesday at 6:45 AM and ransomware was installed throughout the college's network. It is not known at this time what ransomware was installed on the system, but it is likely to be Ryuk, IEncrypt, or Sodinokibi, which are known to target enterprise networks. The college has not indicated at this time whether they will be paying the ransom or restoring from backups while gradually bringing their network back online. "The good news is that the college was founded in 1933, so we know how to teach and educate without these tools," Monroe College spokesperson Jackie Ruegger told the Daily News. "Right now we are finding workarounds for our students taking online classes so they have their assignments."

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A Feud Between Japan and South Korea Is Threatening Global Supplies of Memory Chips

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-07-12 22:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN: South Korea has warned that an escalating trade dispute with Japan could hurt the global tech industry. President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday that Japan's decision to restrict exports to South Korea of materials used in memory chips are a "blow to the economy" and threaten to disrupt global supplies. Japan announced earlier this month that companies would need a government license to export three materials to South Korea. The materials -- fluorinated polyamides, photoresists and hydrogen fluoride -- are used to make memory chips and smartphones. The export controls are a massive headache for South Korean firms Samsung and SK Hynix, who between them control over 63% of the global memory chip market, according to the latest figures from the Korea International Trade Association. South Korean firms sourced 94% of fluorinated polyamides, 92% of photoresists and about 44% of hydrogen fluoride from Japan In the first quarter of this year, data from the association showed. Samsung, the world's biggest seller of smartphones, said in a statement to CNN Business that it was "assessing the current situation and reviewing a number of measures to minimize the impact on our production."

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US border cops' secret racist Facebook group a total disgrace, says patrol chief. She should know, she was a member

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-07-12 21:59
Contrary to honor and integrity

When it emerged that border patrol agents were posting racist, sexist and abusive content on a secret Facebook group, the chief of the agency did the right thing and condemned the behavior.…

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Billions of Air Pollution Particles Found in Hearts of City Dwellers

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-07-12 21:32
The hearts of young city dwellers contain billions of toxic air pollution particles, research has revealed. The Guardian: Even in the study's youngest subject, who was three, damage could be seen in the cells of the organ's critical pumping muscles that contained the tiny particles. The study suggests these iron-rich particles, produced by vehicles and industry, could be the underlying cause of the long-established statistical link between dirty air and heart disease. The scientists said the abundance of the nanoparticles might represent a serious public health concern and that particle air pollution must be reduced urgently. More than 90% of the world's population lives with toxic air, according to the World Health Organization, which has declared the issue a global "public health emergency." The scientists acknowledged some uncertainties in their research, but Prof Barbara Maher, of Lancaster University, said: "This is a preliminary study in a way, but the findings and implications were too important not to get the information out there." Maher and colleagues found in 2016 that the same nanoparticles were present in human brains and were associated with Alzheimers-like damage, another disease linked to air pollution. While all ages were affected, Maher said she was particularly concerned about children.

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Cloudflare comes clean on crashing a chunk of the web: How small errors and one tiny bit of code led to a huge mess

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-07-12 21:28
The culprit? .*(?:.*=.*)

Cloudflare has published a detailed and refreshingly honest report into precisely what went wrong earlier this month when its systems fell over and took a big wedge of the internet with it.…

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Congrats, Nvidia and Google: You're still the best (out of four) at training neural networks

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-07-12 21:00
ML Perf could do with more entrants' results

Analysis Nvidia and Google continue to dominate in AI hardware, according to the latest benchmarking results from the ML Perf project published this week.…

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