Linux fréttir

TCP alternative QUIC reaches IETF's Standards Track after eight years of evolution

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-05-31 05:58
Google spawned it, Cloudflare backed it, Microsoft made its own cut. Boffins worry it didn't improve privacy

Quick UDP Internet Connections (QUIC) have graduated to Internet Engineering Task Force’s standards track.…

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Intel finds a couple more 11th-gen CPUs, one hits 5.0GHz in laptops

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-05-31 03:58
Teases Alder Lake architecture – which mixes different cores – and some 5G fun

Computex Intel has found another pair of 11th-gen CPUs and announced them at Taiwan’s Computex conference, then revealed its 12th-gen “Alder Lake” architecture is “just on the horizon”.…

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Facebook and Instagram Confront Historically Bad 'Reputational Crisis' in the Middle East

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-05-31 03:34
NBC News reports: Facebook is grappling with a reputation crisis in the Middle East, with plummeting approval rates and advertising sales in Arab countries, according to leaked documents obtained by NBC News. The shift corresponds with the widespread belief by pro-Palestinian and free speech activists that the social media company has been disproportionately silencing Palestinian voices on its apps — which include Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — during this month's Israel-Hamas conflict... Instagram has taken the greatest reputational hit, according to a presentation authored by a Dubai-based Facebook employee that was leaked to NBC News, with its approval ratings among users falling to a historical low. The social media company regularly polls users of Facebook and Instagram about how much they believe the company cares about them. Facebook converts the results into a 'Cares About Users' metric which acts as a bellwether for the apps' popularity. Since the start of the latest Israel-Hamas conflict, the metric among Instagram users in Facebook's Middle East and North Africa region is at its lowest in history, and fell almost 5 percentage points in a week, according to the research... Instagram's score measuring whether users think the app is good for the world, referred to as 'Good For World,' has also dropped in the region to its lowest level after losing more than 5 percentage points in a week... The low approval ratings have been compounded by a campaign by pro-Palestinian and free speech activists to target Facebook with 1-star reviews on the Apple and Google app stores. The campaign tanked Facebook's average rating from above 4 out of 5 stars on both app stores to 2.2 on the App Store and 2.3 on Google Play as of Wednesday. According to leaked internal posts, the issue has been categorized internally as a "severity 1" problem for Facebook, which is the second highest priority issue after a "severity 0" incident, which is reserved for when the website is down. "Users are feeling that they are being censored, getting limited distribution, and ultimately silenced," one senior software engineer said in a post on Facebook's internal message board. "As a result, our users have started protesting by leaving 1 star reviews." Internal documents connect the reputational damage to a decline in advertising sales in the Middle East. According to the leaked presentation, Facebook's ad sales in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Iraq dropped at least 12 percent in the 10 days after May 7. NBC adds that pro-Palestinian civil society group believe Israel is flooding Facebook with reports of violations. "The Israeli government is spending millions on digital tools and campaigns targeting social media content," said Mona Shtaya from 7amleh, a nonprofit that focuses on Palestinians' digital rights. The article points out that Israel "also funds a program that pays students to post and report content on social media in what is described as 'online public diplomacy.'"

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Vietnam asks Samsung to find it some COVID-19 vaccines

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-05-31 01:59
Double-mutant strain puts electronics factories at risk

Vietnam’s government has asked Samsung to find COVID-19 vaccinations to protect workers in provinces that are home to industrial parks, a request that reflects the co-dependence between the Korean Chaebol and the rapidly developing nation.…

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Will America Confront the Kremlin Over SolarWinds' Latest Massive Phishing Attack?

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-05-31 01:34
In the latest SolarWinds mass-phishing attack, "The highest percentage of emails went to the United States, but [incident response firm] Volexity also saw a significant number of victims in Europe..." according to Security Week. In an article shared by Slashdot reader wiredmikey, they note that the attackers apparently compromised the Constant Contact account of USAID, an independent agency of the United States federal government that is primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid and development assistance — and then impersonated it in emails "to roughly 3,000 accounts across over 150 organizations in 24 countries." So what happens next? The Associated Press reports: The White House says it believes U.S. government agencies largely fended off the latest cyberespionage onslaught blamed on Russian intelligence operatives, saying the spear-phishing campaign should not further damage relations with Moscow ahead of next month's planned presidential summit. Officials downplayed the cyber assault as "basic phishing" in which hackers used malware-laden emails to target the computer systems of U.S. and foreign government agencies, think tanks and humanitarian groups. Microsoft, which disclosed the effort late Thursday, said it believed most of the emails were blocked by automated systems that marked them as spam. As of Friday afternoon, the company said it was "not seeing evidence of any significant number of compromised organizations at this time." Even so, the revelation of a new spy campaign so close to the June 16 summit between President Joe Biden and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin adds to the urgency of White House efforts to confront the Kremlin over aggressive cyber activity that criminal indictments and diplomatic sanctions have done little to deter. "I don't think it'll create a new point of tension because the point of tension is already so big," said James Lewis, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "This clearly has to be on the summit agenda. The president has to lay down some markers" to make clear "that the days when you people could do whatever you want are over." There's a famous story about Vladimir Putin meeting Joe Biden back in 2011. A decade earlier former U.S. president George W. Bush had said when he'd looked Putin in the eye, "I was able to get a sense of his soul." But as Biden tells it, when he'd met Putin (who was then Russia Prime Minister), "I said, 'Mr. Prime Minister, I'm looking into your eyes, and I don't think you have a soul.'" "He looked back at me, and he smiled, and he said, 'We understand one another.'"

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Viral TikTok Video Attracts 2,500 Teenagers to Rowdy California Birthday Party. 175 Arrested

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-30 23:53
A birthday party for 17-year-old Adrian Lopez turned into a viral TikTok event that drew thousands of unruly party-goers to Huntington Beach, California, reports the Los Angeles Times. Just not Adrian Lopez, "who in the days leading up to the party was increasingly nervous about all the attention." When it was over, more than 175 people were arrested, city officials and merchants were adding up the damage, and everyone was wondering who should be blamed and who should be billed... The high schooler's invitation was picked up by TikTok's "For You" algorithm and viewed by people across the country. The announcement was curious: Who was this mystery teen, and would anyone actually go to his party? Some TikTok users, including internet celebrities, began posting about it, and videos with the hashtag #adrianskickback have since drawn more than 326 million views. On Saturday night, roughly 2,500 teenagers and young adults — some who say they drove for hours or flew in from other states — converged on the Huntington Beach Pier and downtown area in a gathering that devolved into mayhem. Partygoers blasted fireworks into a mob in the middle of Pacific Coast Highway, jumped on police cars, scaled palm trees and flag poles and leapt from the pier into throngs of people below to crowd-surf. A window at CVS was smashed, businesses were tagged with graffiti, and the roof of Lifeguard Tower 13 collapsed after it was scaled... Authorities spotted the party announcement when it began circulating last week and immediately began staffing up in preparation for what was being billed as a weekend-long event. In all, more than 150 officers from nearly every police agency in Orange County were called out to the beach Saturday night to help get the crowd under control. Clashes with police broke out Saturday, and officers fired rubber bullets and pepper projectiles as they tried to disperse the crowd. Eventually, authorities issued an overnight curfew to clear the streets... The majority of those taken into custody over the weekend were not from Orange County, police said. One 53-year-old watching the crowd told the Times that "Literally they were playing in traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway." But the Times also got a quote from one 18-year-old attendee who "went to last Saturday's party but said he does not condone the debauchery that ensued." "People my age haven't gone out in a year... It was to get the ball rolling. This is the start of summer."

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Ganja believe it? Police make hash of suspected weed farm raid, pot bitcoin mine instead

TheRegister - Sun, 2021-05-30 23:46
Cops weren’t total dopes: chronic electricity theft means they still smoked crims

West Midlands Police in the UK has revealed that officers from Sandwell Police raided a suspected cannabis growing operation and ended up smoking a bitcoin mine run on stolen electricity.…

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Resale Prices Triple for NVIDIA Chips as Gamers Compete with Bitcoin Miners

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-30 22:52
"In the niche world of customers for high-end semiconductors, a bitter feud is pitting bitcoin miners against hardcore gamers," reports Quartz: At issue is the latest line of NVIDIA graphics cards — powerful, cutting-edge chips with the computational might to display the most advanced video game graphics on the market. Gamers want the chips so they can experience ultra-realistic lighting effects in their favorite games. But they can't get their hands on NVIDIA cards, because miners are buying them up and adapting them to crunch cryptographic codes and harvest digital currency. The fierce competition to buy chips — combined with a global semiconductor shortage — has driven resale prices up as much as 300%, and led hundreds of thousands of desperate consumers to sign up for daily raffles for the right to buy chips at a significant mark-up. To broker a peace between its warring customers, NVIDIA is, essentially, splitting its cutting-edge graphics chips into two dumbed-down products: GeForce for gamers and the Cryptocurrency Mining Processor (CMP) for miners. GeForce is the latest NVIDIA graphics card — except key parts of it have been slowed down to make it less valuable for miners racing to solve crypto puzzles. CMP is based on a slightly older version of NVIDIA's graphics card which has been stripped of all of its display outputs, so gamers can't use it to render graphics. NVIDIA's goal in splitting its product offerings is to incentivize miners to only buy CMP chips, and leave the GeForce chips for the gamers. "What we hope is that the CMPs will satisfy the miners...[and] steer our GeForce supply to gamers," said CEO Jansen Huang on a May 26 conference call with investors and analysts... It won't be easy to keep the miners at bay, however. NVIDIA tried releasing slowed-down graphics chips in February in an effort to deter miners from buying them, but it didn't work. The miners quickly figured out how to hack the chips and make them perform at full-speed again.

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One Startup's Quest to Take on Chrome and Reinvent the Web Browser

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-30 21:43
"The web browser is a crucial part of modern life, and yet it hasn't really been revised since the '90s," writes Protocol. "That may be about to change." The browser tab is an underrated thing. Most people think of them only when there are too many, when their computer once again buckles under Chrome's weight. Even the developers who build the tabs — the engineers and designers working on Chrome, Firefox, Brave and the rest — haven't done much to them. The internet has evolved in massive, earth-shaking ways over the last two decades, but tabs haven't really changed since they became a browser feature in the mid '90s. Josh Miller, however, has big plans for browser tabs. Miller is the CEO of a new startup called The Browser Company, and he wants to change the way people think about browsers altogether. He sees browsers as operating systems, and likes to wonder aloud what "iOS for the web" might look like. What if your browser could build you a personalized news feed because it knows the sites you go to? What if every web app felt like a native app, and the browser itself was just the app launcher? What if you could drag a file from one tab to another, and it just worked? What if the web browser was a shareable, synced, multiplayer experience? It would be nothing like the simple, passive windows to the web that browsers are now. Which is exactly the goal. The Browser Company (which everyone on the team just calls Browser) is one of a number of startups that are rethinking every part of the browser stack. Mighty has built a version of Chrome that runs on powerful server hardware and streams the browser itself over the web. Brave is building support for decentralized protocols like IPFS, and experimenting with using cryptocurrencies as a new business model for publishers. Synth is building a new bookmarks system that acts more like a web-wide inbox. Sidekick offers a vertical app launcher and makes tabs easier to organize. "A change is coming," said Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker. "The question is just the time frame, and what's actually required to make it happen." They have lots of different ideas, but they share a belief that the browser can, and should, be more than it is. "We don't need a new web browser," Miller said. "We need a new successor to the web browser." While he was at the White House, Chief Digital Officer (and Miller's boss) Jason Goldman said something Miller couldn't forget. "Platforms have all the leverage," is how Miller remembers it. "And if you care about the future of the internet, or the way we use our computers, or want to improve any of the things that are broken about technology ... you can't really just build an application. Platforms, whether it's iOS or Windows or Android or Mac OS, that's where all the control is."

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Is Natural Gas (Mostly) Good for Global Warming?

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-30 20:46
Natural gas "creates less carbon emissions than the coal it replaces, but we have to find ways to minimize the leakage of methane." That's the opinion of Vaclav Smil, a distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Manitoba and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, writing in IEEE's Spectrum (in an article shared by Slashdot reader schwit1): Natural gas is abundant, low-cost, convenient, and reliably transported, with low emissions and high combustion efficiency. Natural-gas-fired heating furnaces have maximum efficiencies of 95 to 97 percent, and combined-cycle gas turbines now achieve overall efficiency slightly in excess of 60 percent. Of course, burning gas generates carbon dioxide, but the ratio of energy to carbon is excellent: Burning a gigajoule of natural gas produces 56 kilograms of carbon dioxide, about 40 percent less than the 95 kg emitted by bituminous coal. This makes gas the obvious replacement for coal. In the United States, this transition has been unfolding for two decades. Gas-fueled capacity increased by 192 gigawatts from 2000 to 2005 and by an additional 69 GW from 2006 through the end of 2020. Meanwhile, the 82 GW of coal-fired capacity that U.S. utilities removed from 2012 to 2020 is projected to be augmented by another 34 GW by 2030, totaling 116 GW — more than a third of the former peak rating. So far, so green. But methane is itself a very potent greenhouse gas, packing from 84 to 87 times as much global warming potential as an equal quantity of carbon dioxide when measured over 20 years (and 28 to 36 times as much over 100 years). And some of it leaks out. In 2018, a study of the U.S. oil and natural-gas supply chain found that those emissions were about 60 percent higher than the Environmental Protection Agency had estimated. Such fugitive emissions, as they are called, are thought to be equivalent to 2.3 percent of gross U.S. gas production... Without doubt, methane leakages during extraction, processing, and transportation do diminish the overall beneficial impact of using more natural gas, but they do not erase it, and they can be substantially reduced.

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YouTube Takes Down Ads Showing Belarusian Blogger's Possibly-Forced Confession Video

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-30 19:07
Last Sunday Belarus "forcibly landed a Ryanair plane flying from Athens to Vilnius and arrested the opposition blogger Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend, who were on board," Reuters reports. By Tuesday the Guardian reports there was a "confession" video which the blogger's father said his son had clearly been physically coerced into recording. And then... YouTube ran advertisements featuring confession videos published by Belarusian authorities of detained journalist and activist Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega, according to a number of people on social media... The YouTube advertisements appear to have been purchased by a pro-government channel with less than 2,000 subscribers with a name which translates to "Belarus, country for life." The channel has published a number of viral videos about Belarus and its logo features the Belarusian presidential flag... Screenshots posted online suggest the ads displayed Protasevich's confession video to viewers and directed them to a pro-government Telegram channel with almost 80,000 subscribers. At least one person on Twitter also reported seeing another ad from the same channel featuring Sapega's confession tape. A spokesperson for Google, which owns YouTube, said the company had identified both of the ads and took action against them according to its inappropriate content policy. "YouTube has always had strict policies around the type of content that is allowed to serve as ads on our platform," the spokesperson said in an email. "We quickly remove any ads that violate these policies." YouTube generally allows advertisers to run political ads, but its rules around inappropriate content prohibit those that "single out someone for abuse or harassment; content that suggests a tragic event did not happen, or that victims or their families are actors, or complicit in a cover-up of the event." The advertisements raise questions about YouTube's ability to effectively moderate how its platform may be used to amplify questionable content in ads... Tadeusz Giczan, editor-in-chief of NEXTA, the independent media organization Protasevich previously worked for, said on Twitter that Belarus officials have long used YouTube advertisements to spread propaganda. "Fun fact: for almost a year Belarusian state news agency BelTA has been using hostage videos like the one with Roman Protasevich as paid ads on YouTube with links to their network of pro-govt telegram channels," he wrote. "We tried everything but YouTube says there's nothing wrong about it." Last year, several people complained online about YouTube advertisements promoting Belarusian government propaganda seemingly from the same channel. YouTube did not immediately answer follow-up questions about whether it had previously taken action against the "Belarus, country for life" account.

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Aerion Shuts Down, Halts Work On Proposed Supersonic Business Jet

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-30 18:04
Despite $11.2 billion worth of orders, and partners like Boeing, General Electric and Berkshire Hathaway, Aerion says it still couldn't raise enough money to head into production "in the current financial environment," according to a Flying magazine shared by schwit1: The Aerion SST — the most promising effort in years to represent the next step in supersonic travel since the demise of the Anglo-French Concorde — has reached the end of the line after the company said it had run short of cash. The Reno, Nevada-based aircraft builder said Friday it is closing its doors for good according to a story in Florida Today... In March 2021, NetJets offered Aerion a vote of confidence by ordering 20 of the SSTs as well as agreeing to become the exclusive fractional business jet operator for the new aircraft. Each AS2 was priced at $120 million in today's dollars.

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Space Plane Startup Promises One-Hour Rides to Anywhere on Earth at 9,000 MPH

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-30 17:34
"Traveling in a space plane is a lot like traveling in a regular plane, except for the middle part," quips Bloomberg Business Week: After reaching cruising altitude, the pilot hits the rocket boosters and blasts the aircraft to the edge of space at more than 9,000 mph, or about 12 times the speed of sound. The plane travels at that speed for about 15 minutes, then glides against the atmosphere to slow itself down, cruising back to Earth to land at a conventional airport. Venus Aerospace Corp., a startup pursuing a hypersonic space plane, is aiming to use this technique to ferry people from Los Angeles to Tokyo in about an hour. The company was started by two former Virgin Orbit LLC employees: Sarah "Sassie" Duggleby, a code-writing launch engineer, and her husband, Andrew, who managed launch, payload, and propulsion operations... Venus now has 15 employees, most veterans of the space industry, and has received investment from venture capital firms including Prime Movers and Draper Associates. "Every few decades humans attempt this," says Andrew Duggleby, in a tacit acknowledgment of the idea's repeated failure. "This time it will work...." Still, flights aren't imminent. The shape of the aircraft is a work in progress, and the company will begin testing three scale models this summer. The Dugglebys, who've secured a small research grant from the U.S. Air Force and are pursuing additional funding from the Department of Defense, expect the project to take a decade or more.

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Florida Health Department's Actions Investigated as Fired Data Manager Now Granted 'Whistleblower' Status

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-30 16:34
In March of 2020, Florida's governor was assuring the state that there was no evidence of Covid-19 in Florida, remembers the Washington Post. But there was — as far back as January. The Miami Herald reports that when questioned Florida's Department of Health told its data manager to hide that data from public view, "emails from within the agency reviewed by the Miami Herald and others show." Eventually that data manager was fired, and within months her home had been raided by gun-toting police officers. But that's not the end of the story. The latest development? That data manager is now instead "officially a whistleblower under Florida law, the Office of the Inspector General told her attorneys Friday," the Miami Herald reports. The Inspector General now says the data manager has indeed shown "reasonable cause to suspect that an employee or agent of an agency or independent contractor has violated [a] federal, state or local law, rule or regulation." Slashdot reader whoever57 notes the move "will grant her certain protections." The Miami Herald reports: Rebekah Jones, who was responsible for building the COVID-19 data dashboard for the Florida Department of Health, was fired last year after raising concerns about "misleading data" being presented to the public, according to the complaint, which was reviewed by the Miami Herald. In the complaint, filed July 17, 2020, Jones alleged she was fired for "opposition and resistance to instructions to falsify data in a government website." She described being asked to bend data analysis to fit pre-determined policy and delete data from public view after questions from the press — actions she claimed "represent an immediate injury to the public health, safety, and welfare, including the possibility of death to members of the public." On Friday, the Office of the Inspector General informed Jones that "the information disclosed does meet the criteria for whistleblower status as described by ... Florida statutes," according to the email obtained by the Herald... "It's pretty huge," Jones told the Herald in response to the news. "This isn't vindication but this is a start. It's a big push forward...." A department spokesperson said at the time that Jones was fired for "insubordination." There's now an ongoing investigation into Jones' allegations. And in December Florida's Sun-Sentinel newspaper cited other issues with the state government's transparency: The Florida Department of Health's county-level spokespeople were ordered in September to stop issuing public statements about COVID-19 until after the Nov. 3 election. State officials withheld information about infections in schools, prisons, hospitals and nursing homes, relenting only under pressure or legal action from family members, advocacy groups and journalists. The governor highlighted statistics that would paint the rosiest picture possible and attempted to cast doubt on the validity of Florida's rising death toll. "Unfortunately, the possibility of the Department of Health manipulating information is not a stretch," writes the editorial board of the Miami Herald. For that reason, they write that Jones' whistleblower victory "stands to be a win over state secrecy for the rest of us."

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Millions Can Now Run Linux GUI Apps in Windows 10

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-30 15:34
"You can now use GUI app support on Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)," Microsoft announced this week, "so that all the tools and workflows of Linux run on your developer machine." Bleeping Computer has already tested it running Gnome's file manager Nautilus, the open-source application monitor/task manager Stacer, the backup software Timeshift, and even the game Hedgewars. Though it's currently available only to the millions who've registered for Windows 10 "Insider Preview" builds, it's already drawing positive reviews. "With the Windows Subsystem for Linux, developers no longer need to dual-boot a Windows and Linux system," argues the Windows Central site, "as you can now install all the Linux stuff a developer would need right on top of Windows instead." Finally formally announced at this week's annual Microsoft Build conference, the new functionality runs graphical Linux apps "seamlessly," according to Tech Radar, calling the feature "highly anticipated." Arguably, one of the biggest, and surely the most exciting update to the Windows 10 WSL, Microsoft has been working on WSLg for quite a while and in fact first demoed it at last year's conference, before releasing the preview in April... Microsoft recommends running WSLg after enabling support for virtual GPU (vGPU) for WSL, in order to take advantage of 3D acceleration within the Linux apps.... WSLg also supports audio and microphone devices, which means the graphical Linux apps will also be able to record and play audio. Keeping in line with its developer slant, Microsoft also announced that since WSLg can now help Linux apps leverage the graphics hardware on the Windows machine, the subsystem can be used to efficiently run Linux AI and ML workloads... If WSLg developers are to be believed, the update is expected to be generally available alongside the upcoming release of Windows. Bleeping Computer explains that WSLg launches a "companion system distro" with Wayland, X, and Pulse Audio servers, calling its bundling with Windows 10 "an exciting development as it blurs the lines between Linux and Windows 10, and fans get the benefits of both worlds."

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China's 'Artificial Sun' Fusion Reactor Just Set a New World Record

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-30 14:34
The South China Morning Post reports that China "has reached another milestone in its quest for a fusion reactor, with one of its 'artificial suns' sustaining extreme temperatures for several times longer that its previous benchmark, according to state media." State news agency Xinhua reported that the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak in a facility in the eastern city of Hefei registered a plasma temperature of 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds on Friday. It also maintained a temperature of 160 million degrees Celsius for 20 seconds, the report said... The facilities are part of China's quest for fusion reactors, which hold out hope of unlimited clean energy. But there are many challenges to overcome in what has already been a decades-long quest for the world's scientists. Similar endeavours are under way in the United States, Europe, Russia, South Korea. China is also among 35 countries involved in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) megaproject in France... Despite the progress made, fusion reactors are still a long way from reality. Song Yuntao, director of the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the latest results were a major achievement for physics and engineering in China. "The experiment's success lays the foundation for China to build its own nuclear fusion energy station," Song was quoted as saying. NASA notes that the core of the Sun is only about 15 million degrees Celsius. So for many seconds China's fusion reactor was more than 10 times hotter than the sun.

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Guess Who Opposes Federal Funding for Broadband Internet Services Run by City Governments?

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-30 11:34
U.S. President Joe Biden has proposed federal funding for local internet services run by nonprofits and city governments, according to Bloomberg. "That's not sitting well with Comcast, AT&T, Verizon Communications, and other dominant carriers, which don't like the prospect of facing subsidized competitors." Pleasant Grove, Utah shows why established carriers might be vulnerable. With 38,000 residents, it's nestled between the Wasatch Range and the Great Salt Lake Basin, just south of Salt Lake City. When it asked residents about their broadband, almost two-thirds of respondents said they wouldn't recommend their cable service. Almost 90% wanted the city to pursue broadband alternatives... [The city-owned ISP Utopia Fiber] will also reach areas not served by current providers... When the city council voted unanimously to approve Utopia's $18 million build-out in April, the mood was a mix of giddy and vengeful. "I'll be your first customer that signs up and says goodbye to Comcast," said one council member moments before the body voted. "I'm right behind ya," another added. The events in Pleasant Grove jibe with the rhetoric coming out of the White House. Biden says he wants to reduce prices and ensure that every household in the U.S. gets broadband, including the 35% of rural dwellers the administration says don't have access to fast service. To connect them as well as others languishing with slow service in more built-up places, the president wants to give funding priority to networks from local governments, nonprofits, and cooperatives. Established carriers are pushing back against the proposal; they have long criticized municipal broadband as a potential waste of taxpayer funds, while backing state-level limits on it. Almost 20 states have laws that restrict community broadband, according to a tally by the BroadbandNow research group. The carriers say the administration and its Democratic allies are calling for blazing upload speeds that have little practical use for consumers, who already get fast downloads for videos and other common web uses... Republicans want to bar spending on municipal networks and have criticized Biden's broadband plan as too expensive. In response the administration scaled back its plan to $65 billion, from $100 billion. The article notes that local governments in the U.S. are already offering about 600 networks that serve about 3 million people, according to Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks program at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Yet it also cites statistics showing that in 14 of America's 50 states, less than 85% of the population has access to broadband.

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Jerusalem Post: Israel's Gaza Strip Bombing Was 'World's First AI War'

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-30 09:34
"For the first time, artificial intelligence was a key component and power multiplier in fighting the enemy," says a senior officer in the intelligence corps of the Israeli military, describing the technology's use in 11 days of fighting in the Gaza Strip. They're quoted in a Jerusalem Post article on "the world's first AI war": Soldiers in Unit 8200, an Intelligence Corps elite unit, pioneered algorithms and code that led to several new programs called "Alchemist," "Gospel" and "Depth of Wisdom," which were developed and used during the fighting. Collecting data using signal intelligence, visual intelligence, human intelligence , geographical intelligence, and more, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has mountains of raw data that must be combed through to find the key pieces necessary to carry out a strike. "Gospel" used AI to generate recommendations for troops in the research division of Military Intelligence, which used them to produce quality targets and then passed them on to the IAF to strike... While the IDF had gathered thousands of targets in the densely populated coastal enclave over the past two years, hundreds were gathered in real time, including missile launchers that were aimed at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The military believes using AI helped shorten the length of the fighting, having been effective and quick in gathering targets using super-cognition. The IDF carried out hundreds of strikes against Hamas and PIJ, including rocket launchers, rocket manufacturing, production and storage sites, military intelligence offices, drones, commanders' residences and Hamas's naval commando unit. Israel has destroyed most of the naval commando unit's infrastructure and weaponry, including several autonomous GPS-guided submarines that can carry 30 kg. of explosives. IDF Unit 9900's satellites have gathered geographical intelligence over the years. They were able to automatically detect changes in terrain in real time so that during the operation, the military was able to detect launching positions and hit them after firing. For example, Unit 9900 troops using satellite imagery were able to detect 14 rocket launchers that were located next to a school... One strike, against senior Hamas operative Bassem Issa, was carried out with no civilian casualties despite being in a tunnel under a high-rise building surrounded by six schools and a medical clinic... Hamas's underground "Metro" tunnel network was also heavily damaged over the course of several nights of airstrikes. Military sources said they were able to map the network, consisting of hundreds of kilometers under residential areas, to a degree where they knew almost everything about them. The mapping of Hamas's underground network was done by a massive intelligence-gathering process that was helped by the technological developments and use of Big Data to fuse all the intelligence.

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Twitter and Facebook Admit They Wrongly Blocked Millions of Posts About Gaza Strip Airstrikes

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-30 07:34
"Just days after violent conflict erupted in Israel and the Palestinian territories, both Facebook and Twitter copped to major faux pas: The companies had wrongly blocked or restricted millions of mostly pro-Palestinian posts and accounts related to the crisis," reports the Washington Post: Activists around the world charged the companies with failing a critical test: whether their services would enable the world to watch an important global event unfold unfettered through the eyes of those affected. The companies blamed the errors on glitches in artificial intelligence software. In Twitter's case, the company said its service mistakenly identified the rapid-firing tweeting during the confrontations as spam, resulting in hundreds of accounts being temporarily locked and the tweets not showing up when searched for. Facebook-owned Instagram gave several explanations for its problems, including a software bug that temporarily blocked video-sharing and saying its hate speech detection software misidentified a key hashtag as associated with a terrorist group. The companies said the problems were quickly resolved and the accounts restored. But some activists say many posts are still being censored. Experts in free speech and technology said that's because the issues are connected to a broader problem: overzealous software algorithms that are designed to protect but end up wrongly penalizing marginalized groups that rely on social media to build support... Despite years of investment, many of the automated systems built by social media companies to stop spam, disinformation and terrorism are still not sophisticated enough to detect the difference between desirable forms of expression and harmful ones. They often overcorrect, as in the most recent errors during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or they under-enforce, allowing harmful misinformation and violent and hateful language to proliferate... Jillian York, a director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group that opposes government surveillance, has researched tech company practices in the Middle East. She said she doesn't believe that content moderation — human or algorithmic — can work at scale... Palestinian activists and experts who study social movements say it was another watershed historical moment in which social media helped alter the course of events... Payment app Venmo also mistakenly suspended transactions of humanitarian aid to Palestinians during the war. The company said it was trying to comply with U.S. sanctions and had resolved the issues.

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Robots and AI Will Guide Australia's First Fully Automated Farm

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-30 04:34
"Robots and artificial intelligence will replace workers on Australia's first fully automated farm," reports Australia's national public broadcaster ABC. The total cost of the farm's upgrade? $20 million. Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga will create the "hands-free farm" on a 1,900-hectare property to demonstrate what robots and artificial intelligence can do without workers in the paddock... The farm will use robotic tractors, harvesters, survey equipment and drones, artificial intelligence that will handle sowing, dressing and harvesting, new sensors to measure plants, soils and animals and carbon management tools to minimise the carbon footprint. The farm is already operated commercially and grows a range of broadacre crops, including wheat, canola, and barley, as well as a vineyard, cattle and sheep.

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