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TSMC Accuses GlobalFoundries of Infringing 25 Patents For Node Processes

Sun, 2019-10-06 13:34
AmiMoJo quotes ZDNet: Semiconductor manufacturer Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd (TSMC) has filed multiple lawsuits against its competitor GlobalFoundries, saying the US company allegedly infringed upon 25 patents related to its node processes. TSMC said on Monday that the lawsuits are seeking injunctions to stop GlobalFoundries from manufacturing and selling semiconductor products that allegedly infringe upon the patents in question... The 25 TSMC patents in the complaints relate to technologies such as FinFET designs, shallow trench isolation techniques, double patterning methods, advanced seal rings and gate structures, and innovative contact etch stop layer designs, TSMC said. These technologies are used to create TSMC's 40nm, 28nm, 22nm, 14nm, and 12nm node processes.

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Twitter Executive Is Also A British Army 'Psyops' Solider

Sun, 2019-10-06 11:34
"The senior Twitter executive with editorial responsibility for the Middle East is also a part-time officer in the British Army's psychological warfare unit," reports Middle East Eye: The 77th Brigade uses social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as podcasts, data analysis and audience research to wage what the head of the UK military, General Nick Carter, describes as "information warfare". Carter says the 77th Brigade is giving the British military "the capability to compete in the war of narratives at the tactical level"; to shape perceptions of conflict. Some soldiers who have served with the unit say they have been engaged in operations intended to change the behaviour of target audiences. What exactly MacMillan is doing with the unit is difficult to determine, however: he has declined to answer any questions about his role, as has Twitter and the UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD). Responding to the article, the British army told Newsweek their brigade had no relationship with Twitter, "other than using Twitter as one of many social media platforms for engagement and communication." And Twitter reminded Newsweek that "We proactively publish all tweets and accounts relating to state-backed foreign information operations on the service -- regardless of the source. We built this industry-leading archive to promote better public understanding of these threats." Despite the assertions of Twitter and the British military, academics and researchers have said the division between the two is not so clear. David Miller -- a professor of political sociology in the School for Policy Studies at England's University of Bristol, who studies propaganda and public relations efforts concerning the British government -- is one such academic. He told Newsweek he believes a link is there, adding that it was a "threat to our democracy." "I would say I know a good amount about army propaganda and 'psyops' operations as they're called, but what is interesting is how little information we have 77th Brigade," he said." I suppose it means that all their work is covert, but what I would like to know is what they exactly are they doing? Are they just tracking accounts or are they trying to influence people's views? What we do know is that their account itself is hidden by Twitter so we assume they are trying to influence people under the operatives' own names. And because we know so little about exactly what they're doing, we have to look elsewhere for clues for example. The professor also argues that Twitter is deceiving us by "not acting as transparently as it could. If they are working with army personnel in this way, it is extremely damaging to our democracy. Given Twitter's closure of accounts alleged to be used by foreign governments, it's a very hypocritical stance of Twitter to take."

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Gizmodo's Disappearing Story Explains Why No One Trusts Facebook

Sun, 2019-10-06 07:34
"On Friday, Gizmodo uncovered shocking new evidence that Facebook is using its platform to suppress stories about CEO Mark Zuckerberg..." reports Gizmodo, adding "or maybe his janky, busted-ass website is just bugging out again for no reason. It's hard to say, really. That's sort of the problem..." For some reason, a story about Zuckerberg we posted to our Facebook page was hidden from many readers. The post was fully visible through web browsers in incognito mode, but an unclear percentage of users were told, "Sorry, this content is not available," when they tried to view it while signed in. In short, lots of people (including several Gizmodo staffers and at least one of their parents) could not see the story. By Friday afternoon, the issue seemed to resolve itself just as mysteriously. Was it a bug, a moderation error, or something more nefarious? Personally, I find it hard to imagine Zuckerberg furiously refreshing Gizmodo's page, just waiting to slam the giant red button on his desk labeled "WRONGTHINK." But it's easy to see why some people believe similar (if less cinematic) conspiracy theories. When Facebook acts strangely -- which is fairly often! -- users have to draw their own conclusions about what's happening. Like most big tech companies, Facebook doesn't offer a phone number to call if you're having issues. If you want a response from a social network about your specific problem, your best bet is to be a journalist, a celebrity, or someone else with the power to give headaches. To understand their experiences with social media, then, most people are left with two choices: trust the system (lol) or develop their own, potentially very wacky, explanations... Some may believe -- as Zuckerberg himself seems to -- that companies like Facebook are just too big to explain every little thing they do to their millions of users. Maybe so, but is it any surprise, then, that no one fucking trusts them?

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How Reddit's CEO/Co-Founder Plans To 'Clean Up' Reddit

Sun, 2019-10-06 03:34
An anonymous reader quotes the Financial Times: After what the company acknowledges as its "wild" early days, the 35-year-old co-founder is now trying to clean up the edgy website known for provocative discussions and fringe groups, while revamping its advertising offering in a bid to woo big brands and move toward profitability.... [T]empering extreme conversation while also maintaining Reddit's reputation as a radical bastion of free speech is a delicate balance, especially as many among its 330 million users are quick to accuse it of censorship... despite his optimism, the chief executive now faces the unenviable task of convincing prospective clients that their ads will not be associated with any unsuitable content -- without upsetting users who value the site for its freedom of expression.... His approach for wary advertisers is to give them control over where and how their brand is placed. Reddit now has a human-approved "whitelist" of communities that are deemed safe, while advertisers can also opt for "negative targeting" -- requesting that their content not appear near a certain keyword, for example. More broadly, Reddit is looking to clean up its content by investing in a combination of machine learning tools that recognize suspicious or badly behaved accounts, working together with human moderators who oversee the entire site, Huffman said. The chief executive of the world's largest advertising company tells the newpaper that Reddit's new direction has now "helped make it a much more acceptable site for advertisers."

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Did a Poker Pro Use RFID Tags To Cheat?

Sun, 2019-10-06 01:34
CNBC reports that a popular Twitch poker star has been accused of cheating: Stones Gambling Hall in Sacramento, California says it will not livestream poker games pending an investigation into cheating allegations made against one of the game's players, Mike Postle... The original accusations were made by Veronica Brill, another poker player who has played with Postle on "Stones Live." Since then, others have come forward with similar complaints. Brill has no specific accusation of what Postle is doing and even admits that she can't be sure he is cheating. So why does she think he is cheating? His results are too good, according to Brill. She said (and several professional pokers players who talked to CNBC, agreed) no one could do as well as he has, for as long as he has, on these livestreamed games... It's not just that Postle is winning, it's how he's winning, that is drawing suspicion. Poker commentator Joey Ingram, poker pro Matt Berkey, and others have spent hours reviewing hands Postle played and found several times where Postle made a fold or a call that wouldn't seem "right" but happened to work out in his favor. Berkey said Postle made plays no pro would ever make, and he did them often, and they worked. Poker is a game of incomplete information. Berkey said Postle played "as if he had perfect information." Stones Gambling Hall said it has hired an independent investigator to look into the accusations. In a statement Stones Gambling Hall said: "We temporarily halted all broadcasts from Stones. We have also, as a result, halted the use of RFID playing cards." The RFID cards contain chips, that combined with readers in the poker table, transmit information about each player's hole cards, so that viewers can see the cards on the broadcast (which is on a 30-minute delay to protect game integrity). At this point, there is no specific allegation, no "smoking gun" as Berkey said. But many pros are pointing to those RFID cards and the hole card information, saying it's just not possible for Postle to play the way he does and win the way he does.

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Microsoft Might Bring Its Edge Browser To Linux

Sat, 2019-10-05 23:34
Microsoft appears to be porting its Edge browser to Linux, reports ZDNet: "We on the MS Edge Dev team are fleshing out requirements to bring Edge to Linux, and we need your help with some assumptions," wrote Sean Larkin, a member of Microsoft's Edge team.... Chrome, of course, is already available for Linux, so Microsoft should be able to deliver Chromium-based Edge to Linux distributions with minimal fuss.... [I]n June Microsoft Edge developers said there are "no technical blockers to keep us from creating Linux binaries" and that it is "definitely something we'd like to do down the road". Despite Chrome's availability on Linux, the Edge team noted there is still work to be done on the installer, updaters, user sync, and bug fixes, before it could be something to commit to properly. Slashdot reader think_nix shared a link to the related survey that the Edge team has announced on Twitter. "If you're a dev who depends on Linux for dev, testing, personal browsing, please take a second to fill out this survey."

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Aliens May Have Bugged Co-Orbital Space Rocks To Spy On Earth, Scientist Says

Sat, 2019-10-05 22:34
dryriver shared this article from NBC News' science blog Mach: Picture this: A hundred million years ago, an advanced civilization detects strange signatures of life on a blue-green planet not so far away from their home in the Milky Way. They try sending signals, but whatever's marching around on that unknown world isn't responding. So, the curious galactic explorers try something different. They send a robotic probe to a small, quiet space rock orbiting near the life-rich planet, just to keep an eye on things. If a story like this played out at any moment in Earth's 4.5 billion-year history, it just might have left an archaeological record. At least, that's the hope behind a new proposal to check Earth's so-called co-orbitals for signs of advanced alien technology. Co-orbitals are space objects that orbit the sun at about the same distance that Earth does. "They're basically going around the sun at the same rate the Earth is, and they're very nearby," said James Benford, a physicist and independent SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) researcher who dreamed up the idea that aliens might have bugged Earth via these co-orbitals while he was at a conference in Houston last year. If he's right, the co-orbitals could be a way to detect alien activity that occurred before humans even evolved, much less turned their attention toward the stars. To be clear, even SETI researchers who like the idea of checking out Earth's co-orbitals acknowledge that it's a long shot... "How likely is it that alien probe would be on one of these co-orbitals, obviously extremely unlikely," said Paul Davies, a physicist and astrobiologist at Arizona State University who was not involved in Benford's new paper on the idea, published Sept. 20 in The Astronomical Journal. "But if it costs very little to go take a look, why not? Even if we don't find E.T., we might find something of interest...." Seeking signs of intelligent extraterrestrials close to Earth is informative even if the search comes up empty, Benford said. That no one's heard or seen any extraterrestrial signals in 50 years or so doesn't mean much, given the mind-boggling time span of Earth's history. A lack of evidence spanning hundreds, millions or even billions of years would be much more convincing. "If we don't find anything, that means no one has come to look at the life of Earth for over billions of years," Benford said. "That is a big surprise, a stunning thing." The search has already begun. In April China's space agency announced plans to send a probe to Earth's nearest co-orbital.

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Researchers Repurpose Failed Cancer Drug Into Printable Semiconductor

Sat, 2019-10-05 21:34
Long-time Slashdot reader sandbagger shared this news from the University of Illinois at Urbana, where researchers have made a surprising new discovery in a well-studied bioactive molecule: The molecule, which inserts itself into DNA to prevent replication, was once explored as a potential anti-cancer agent... "While examining these pharmaceutical molecules, we noticed that their molecular structures looked much like the organic semiconductors..." said chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Ying Diao. These molecules, called DNA topoisomerase inhibitors, are flat and contain neatly stacked columns of electrically conductive molecular rings -- features that make a good semiconductor. Distinct from a typical semiconductor, these molecular columns are linked together by hydrogen bonds that can move charges from column to column, forming bridges that transform the entire molecular assembly into a semiconductor -- something rarely seen before this study, the researchers said. "These molecules can interact with biological material with high specificity, making them good candidates for use in biosensors," Diao said. "They are also easily printable but will require new solvents because they are chemically different than other organic semiconductors. The fabrication infrastructure is already in place...." Organic semiconductors are responsible for things like flexible electronics and transparent solar cells, but researchers are working to expand their use in biomedicine and devices that require interaction between electrically active molecules and biological molecules... The team printed and tested the semiconductors and acknowledge that their efficiency and performance need improvement. Diao said the real excitement regarding this advance will come from the possibility of discovering similar molecules. "We envision partnering with researchers in machine learning who can train computers to spot the unique characteristics of these molecules," Diao said. "They can mine the vast pharmaceutical databases available today in search of molecules with similar, or maybe even better semiconducting properties."

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Fake News Posters In Singapore Will Face Fines, Prison Sentences Under New Law

Sat, 2019-10-05 20:34
dryriver quotes CNN: Singapore's sweeping anti-fake news law, which critics warn could be used to suppress free speech in the already tightly controlled Asian city state, came into force Wednesday. Under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill, it is now illegal to spread "false statements of fact" under circumstances in which that information is deemed "prejudicial" to Singapore's security, public safety, "public tranquility," or to the "friendly relations of Singapore with other countries," among numerous other topics. Government ministers can decide whether to order something deemed fake news to be taken down, or for a correction to be put up alongside it. They can also order technology companies such as Facebook and Google -- both of which opposed the bill during its fast-tracked process through parliament -- to block accounts or sites spreading false information. The act also provides for prosecutions of individuals, who can face fines of up to 50,000 SGD (over $36,000), and, or, up to five years in prison. If the alleged falsehood is posted using "an inauthentic online account or controlled by a bot," the total potential fine rises to 100,000 SGD (around $73,000), and, or, up to 10 years in prison. Companies found guilty of spreading "fake news" can face fines of up to 1 million SGD (around $735,000).

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Attackers Exploit New 0-day Vulnerability Giving Full Control of Android Phones

Sat, 2019-10-05 19:34
"Attackers are exploiting a zero-day vulnerability in Google's Android mobile operating system that can give them full control of at least 18 different phone models," reports Ars Technica, "including four different Pixel models, a member of Google's Project Zero research group said on Thursday night." The post also says there's evidence the vulnerability is being actively exploited. An anonymous reader quotes Ars Technica: Exploits require little or no customization to fully root vulnerable phones. The vulnerability can be exploited two ways: (1) when a target installs an untrusted app or (2) for online attacks, by combining the exploit with a second exploit targeting a vulnerability in code the Chrome browser uses to render content. "The bug is a local privilege escalation vulnerability that allows for a full compromise of a vulnerable device," Stone wrote. "If the exploit is delivered via the Web, it only needs to be paired with a renderer exploit, as this vulnerability is accessible through the sandbox...." Google representatives wrote in an email: "Pixel 3 and 3a devices are not vulnerable to this issue, and Pixel 1 and 2 devices will be protected with the October Security Release, which will be delivered in the coming days. Additionally, a patch has been made available to partners in order to ensure the Android ecosystem is protected against this issue." The use-after-free vulnerability originally appeared in the Linux kernel and was patched in early 2018 in version 4.14, without the benefit of a tracking CVE. That fix was incorporated into versions 3.18, 4.4, and 4.9 of the Android kernel. For reasons that weren't explained in the post, the patches never made their way into Android security updates.

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Libertarian Accused of Faking 1.5M Net Neutrality Comments Using Data-Breached Addresses

Sat, 2019-10-05 18:34
BuzzFeed says they've identified two firms which "misappropriated names and personal information as part of a bid to submit more than 1.5 million statements" pretending to oppose net neutrality regulations: The anti-net neutrality comments harvested on behalf of Broadband for America, the industry group that represented telecommunications giants including AT&T, Cox, and Comcast, were uploaded to the FCC website by Media Bridge founder Shane Cory, a former executive director of both the Libertarian Party and the conservative sting group Project Veritas. Cory has claimed credit for "20 or 30" major public advocacy campaigns in recent years, including, he says, record-setting submissions to the IRS, Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and "probably a handful of others." On Media Bridge's website, the company has described itself as having expertise in "overwhelming government agencies" with avalanches of public submissions, and has publicly dubbed its approach to marshaling comments the "Big Hammer." In the FCC campaign, Cory was working for Ralph Reed -- a high-powered political strategist and titan of the Christian right who himself was working for Broadband for America. Cory, in turn, enlisted LCX Digital to find the commenters... BuzzFeed News ran large samples of the email addresses in those files through Have I Been Pwned, a website that identifies whether an address has been exposed in any of hundreds of major data breaches. The results were stark: In one particular group of 1.9 million comments, according to BuzzFeed News' analysis, 94% of the email addresses belonged to people who had fallen victim to a hack known as the Modern Business Solutions data breach, in which millions of people's personal information, including full names, birthdates, home addresses, and email addresses, had been stolen... All these comments were uploaded by Cory, using his Media Bridge email address. (Some of the comments were full duplicates; after removing them, there were just over 1.5 million comment-and-email combinations.) In its letter to BuzzFeed News, Media Bridge contested the idea that email addresses showing up in breached databases were a sign of improprieties. In fact, it said, a "high match rate" is a sign of validity, since most Americans appear in breached databases.... Two of the commenters were named Luke Skywalker and Boba Fett -- and yet mysteriously "the names and street addresses were exactly as they appeared in that breach... A separate spot check by BuzzFeed News of 100 randomly selected Media Bridge comments revealed a similar pattern -- even down to a street address that used underscores instead of spaces." In addition, Buzzfeed found that "almost all" of the remaining 6% appears to just be "recycled" identities drawn from comments left in 2016 when the FCC was considering a new rule that would allow cable consumers to use their own set-top boxes -- a regulation that the cable industry opposed. "One year later, 99.9% of those exact same names and addresses appeared on the FCC's website, weighing in on an entirely different policy debate -- net neutrality. They were uploaded by Media Bridge."

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Google Finds Hundreds Of Data-Race Conditions In The Linux Kernel

Sat, 2019-10-05 17:34
Google has been testing the Linux kernel with its "sanitizer" testing software that hunts for memory corruption bugs and undefined behaviors. Now Phoronix reports on Google's newest sanitizer: Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer (KCSAN) is focused on discovering data-race issues within the kernel code. This dynamic data-race detector is an alternative to the Kernel Thread Sanitizer. In their testing just last month, in two days they found over 300 unique data race conditions within the mainline kernel. There was a recent discussion about the Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer on the LKML.

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Chrome Promises 'No More Mixed Messages About HTTPS '

Sat, 2019-10-05 16:35
"Today we're announcing that Chrome will gradually start ensuring that https:// pages can only load secure https:// subresources," promises an announcement on the Chromium blog. It notes that Chrome users already make HTTPS connections for more than 90% of their browsing time, and "we're now turning our attention to making sure that HTTPS configurations across the web are secure and up-to-date." In a series of steps outlined below, we'll start blocking mixed content (insecure http:// subresources on https:// pages) by default. This change will improve user privacy and security on the web, and present a clearer browser security UX to users... HTTPS pages commonly suffer from a problem called mixed content, where subresources on the page are loaded insecurely over http://. Browsers block many types of mixed content by default, like scripts and iframes, but images, audio, and video are still allowed to load, which threatens users' privacy and security. For example, an attacker could tamper with a mixed image of a stock chart to mislead investors, or inject a tracking cookie into a mixed resource load. Loading mixed content also leads to a confusing browser security UX, where the page is presented as neither secure nor insecure but somewhere in between. In a series of steps starting in Chrome 79, Chrome will gradually move to blocking all mixed content by default. To minimize breakage, we will autoupgrade mixed resources to https://, so sites will continue to work if their subresources are already available over https://. Users will be able to enable a setting to opt out of mixed content blocking on particular websites... Starting in December of 2019, Chrome 79 will include a new setting to unblock mixed content on specific sites. "This setting will apply to mixed scripts, iframes, and other types of content that Chrome currently blocks by default..." Then in Chrome 80, mixed audio and video resources will be autoupgraded to https://, and if they fail to load Chrome will block them by default.

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New Universal Basic Income Experiment Finds 40% of Money Spent On Food

Sat, 2019-10-05 15:34
"The first data from an experiment in a California city where needy people get $500 a month from the government shows they spend most of it on things such as food, clothing and utility bills," reports the Associated Press: The 18-month, privately funded program started in February and involves 125 people in Stockton.... But critics say the experiment likely won't provide useful information from a social science perspective given its limited size and duration. Matt Zwolinski, director of the Center for Ethics, Economics and Public Policy at the University of San Diego, said people aren't likely to change their behavior if they know the money they are getting will stop after a year and a half. That's one reason why he says the experiment is "really more about story telling than it is about social science." Plus, he said previous studies have shown people don't spend the money on frivolous things. "What you get out of a program like this is some fairly compelling anecdotes from people," he said. "That makes for good public relations if you are trying to drum up interest in a basic income program, but it doesn't really tell you much about what a basic income program would do if implemented on a long-term and large-scale basis." The researchers overseeing the program, Stacia Martin-West at the University of Tennessee and Amy Castro Baker at the University of Pennsylvania, said their goal is not to see if people change their behavior, but to measure how the money impacts their physical and mental health. That data will be released later.... Since February, when the program began, people receiving the money have on average spent nearly 40% of it on food. About 24% went to sales and merchandise, which include places like Walmart and discount dollar stores that also sell groceries. Just over 11% went to utility bills, while more than 9% went to auto repairs and fuel. The rest of the money went to services, medical expenses, insurance, self-care and recreation, transportation, education and donations.... "People are using the money in ways that give them dignity or that gives their kids dignity," Castro-Baker said, noting participants have reported spending the money to send their children to prom, pay for dental work and buy birthday cakes.

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NASA Will Soon Start Testing Its First All-Electric X-Plane

Sat, 2019-10-05 14:34
The first all electric X-plane, the X-57 Mod II, has arrived at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California and is now ready to undergo some rigorous testing. Engadget reports: X-planes are the aircraft the agency uses to test and evaluate new technologies -- NASA plans to put this plane's electric propulsion system through testing, with the intention of sharing "valuable lessons learned along the way" in order "to inform the growing electric aircraft market." NASA will begin by conducting ground tests on the Mod II to prepare for the project's next phases, which will include taxi and, eventually, flight tests. It's not entirely clear when those will take place, but the Mod III and IV configurations of the plane will have wings unlike the current iteration. When a flight test does happen, it will make history as the first crewed X-plane in two decades. X-57 Project Manager Tom Rigney said: "The X-57 Mod II aircraft delivery to NASA is a significant event, marking the beginning of a new phase in this exciting electric X-plane project. With the aircraft in our possession, the X-57 team will soon conduct extensive ground testing of the integrated electric propulsion system to ensure the aircraft is airworthy. We plan to rapidly share valuable lessons learned along the way as we progress toward flight testing, helping to inform the growing electric aircraft market."

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Cars All But Banned On One of Manhattan's Busiest Streets

Sat, 2019-10-05 13:00
An anonymous reader shares a report from The New York Times: On Thursday, New York City transformed one of its most congested streets into a "busway" that delighted long frustrated bus riders and transit advocates but left many drivers and local businesses fuming that the city had gone too far. Passenger cars, including taxis and Ubers, were all but banned from 14th Street, a major crosstown route for 21,000 vehicles a day that links the East and West Sides of Manhattan. It was New York's most ambitious stand yet against cars since the first pedestrian plazas were carved out of asphalt more than a decade ago. Roads that were once the exclusive domain of cars have been squeezed to make way for bike and bus-only lanes. Prime parking spots have been turned into urban green spaces. Traffic lights give pedestrians a head start crossing intersections. And making a vital artery nearly off limits to cars could be the beginning of a new wave of sweeping moves. "From now on, drivers are allowed onto 14th Street only to make deliveries and pick up and drop off passengers from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week," the report adds. "They can travel just a block or two before they have to turn right off the street. No left turns are allowed. The police will give out warnings at first and surveillance cameras will be watching."

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PayPal Withdraws Support For Facebook's Libra Cryptocurrency

Sat, 2019-10-05 10:00
PayPal is withdrawing from the Libra Association, the 28-member nonprofit organization formed in June 2019 to oversee the cryptocurrency's creation and eventual consumer rollout. The Verge reports: The company doesn't cite a specific reason, saying only in a statement to The Verge that it decided "to forgo further participation in the Libra Association at this time and to continue to focus on advancing our existing mission and business priorities as we strive to democratize access to financial services for underserved populations." "We remain supportive of Libra's aspirations and look forward to continued dialogue on ways to work together in the future," the statement continues. "Facebook has been a longstanding and valued strategic partner to PayPal, and we will continue to partner with and support Facebook in various capacities." However, a report published by the Financial Times yesterday said PayPal had begun distancing itself from the project amid increasing regulatory scrutiny. The company reportedly signaled its intention to skip a meeting in Washington, DC scheduled for today, and the FT reports that at least one primary concern for PayPal has been the lack of attention Facebook executives have paid to Libra's considerable backlash. Another key concern is how the platform will combat money laundering activity.

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Monty Python's 50th Anniversary Celebrated With 'Extremely Silly' Event

Sat, 2019-10-05 07:00
The Monty Python character known as the Gumby would often be found saying "My brain hurts". Now Reuters reports: In what is billed as an "extremely silly" event, hordes of Monty Python fans will gather in full Gumby attire in London on Saturday to celebrate the British comedy troupe's 50th anniversary. Kitted out in rubber boots, sleeveless sweaters, rolled-up trousers and with knotted handkerchiefs on their heads, they will attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Gumbys. "It's all so excitingly pointless," said Python Terry Gilliam, who will host the event. Meanwhile, the Guardian reports on recently-rediscovered documents from the BBC's archives about the show's launch in 1969: The BBC response, the archives make clear, was far less positive. At the weekly meeting where senior managers discussed the output, the head of factual had found Python "disgusting", arts had thought it "nihilistic and cruel", while religion objected to a Gilliam animation in which "Jesus... had swung his arm". The BBC One controller sensed the makers "continually going over the edge of what is acceptable". The Guardian also tracked down 69-year-old Doug Holman who remembers John Cleese giving him tickets to watch a filming of the show when he was 19. ("Doug, boldly, writes back, saying he is part of a large group of friends who want to go. Cleese contacts the BBC to request a further 14 tickets...") 50 years later, Holman seems to remember the filming as being wonderfully chaotic. "There was a restaurant scene but I think the producer abandoned it when Cleese -- seemingly unhappy about having no lines -- disrupted each take by performing random Tourette-like impressions of a mouse being strangled by a psychotic cat. I remember it being total anarchy yet excruciatingly funny, in the literal sense. We all experienced genuine pain from extended bouts of uncontrollable laughter."

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Apple Reverses Ban On App That Allowed Hong Kong Protestors to Track Police Movements

Sat, 2019-10-05 05:30
UPDATE (10/4/2019): "Apple has reportedly reversed its decision to ban the app HKmap.live," reports BoingBoing. Apple had banned the app, which allows Hong Kong protesters to track protests and police movements in the city state, despite increasing international condemnation against the violence used by the authorities, MacRumors had reported: According to The Register, Apple has told the makers of the HKmap Live app that it can't be allowed in the App Store because it helps protestors to evade the police. "Your app contains content - or facilitates, enables, and encourages an activity - that is not legal ... specifically, the app allowed users to evade law enforcement," the American tech giant told makers of the HKmap Live on Tuesday before pulling it. Opposition to the Chinese state and the Hong Kong authorities has grown louder, driven by an escalation in violence against protesters over the past week. On Wednesday, thousands of people took to the streets of Hong Kong to denounce the shooting of an unarmed teenage student by police. Tsang Chi-kin was shot in the chest at point-blank range on Tuesday. He remains in hospital in stable but critical condition after surgery to remove the bullet, which narrowly missed his heart.

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