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Some of China's '996' Tech Tribe Quit, Seek Less Stress

Thu, 2019-05-16 14:40
An increasingly growing number of millennials in China are beginning to question the value of working long hours in the tech sector and deviate from the longstanding 996 work environment (working 9am to 9pm for six days a week) that many local companies religiously follow. From a report: In April, protests from tech employees against excessive overtime surfaced online, sparking an equal pushback from industry magnates such as billionaire Jack Ma of e-commerce giant Alibaba. The protests point to a mindset shift in the tech industry, whose penchant for long hours has been praised by Western executives as a reason for China's economic rise. But the shift could also have a cost for tech firms, venture capitalists and analysts say. According to job-hunting site Maimai, the tech sector was the only industry out of thirteen surveyed to see more people leave than join between October 2018 and February 2019. "One of the highest costs in an organization is high employee turnover. A culture that is less focused on hours put in, may also become more effective if the focus is turned to output versus input," said Rui Ma, a San Francisco-based investor who has funded startups in China and North America. For some companies and employees, working 996 became a badge of honor and Silicon Valley heavyweights such as Sequoia Capital's Mike Moritz highlighted it as a competitive advantage over the United States. But a 996 backlash surfaced publicly in April, when a group of programmers launched an online protest against the practice. Supporters published a crowdsourced list of companies that engage in long overtime hours, which included big tech names such as Baidu, Tencent Holdings, and delivery service app Ele.me. The protest prompted a public debate about work hours in China's tech industry, and spurred reactions from at least 10 Chinese tech moguls, including Ma, who initially defended the practice. Chinese state media said 996 violated the country's labor laws, which mandate an average working week of 44 hours.

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Categories: Linux fréttir

No, Someone Hasn't Cracked the Code of the Mysterious Voynich Manuscript

Thu, 2019-05-16 13:00
An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report via Ars Technica: The Voynich manuscript is a famous medieval text written in a mysterious language that so far has proven to be undecipherable. Now, Gerard Cheshire, a University of Bristol academic, has announced his own solution to the conundrum in a new paper in the journal Romance Studies. Cheshire identifies the mysterious writing as a "calligraphic proto-Romance" language, and he thinks the manuscript was put together by a Dominican nun as a reference source on behalf of Maria of Castile, Queen of Aragon. Apparently it took him all of two weeks to accomplish a feat that has eluded our most brilliant scholars for at least a century. So case closed, right? After all, headlines are already trumpeting that the "Voynich manuscript is solved," decoded by a "UK genius." Not so fast. There's a long, checkered history of people making similar claims. None of them have proved convincing to date, and medievalists are justly skeptical of Cheshire's conclusions as well. What is this mysterious manuscript that has everyone so excited? It's a 15th century medieval handwritten text dated between 1404 and 1438, purchased in 1912 by a Polish book dealer and antiquarian named Wilfrid M. Voynich (hence its moniker). Along with the strange handwriting in an unknown language or code, the book is heavily illustrated with bizarre pictures of alien plants, naked women, strange objects, and zodiac symbols. It's currently kept at Yale University's Beinecke Library of rare books and manuscripts. Possible authors include Roger Bacon, Elizabethan astrologer/alchemist John Dee, or even Voynich himself, possibly as a hoax. "Cheshire argues that the text is a kind of proto-Romance language, a precursor to modern languages like Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian, Catalan, and Galician that he claims is now extinct because it was seldom written in official documents," the report adds. "If true, that would make the Voynich manuscript the only known surviving example of such a proto-Romance language." Lisa Fagin Davis, executive director of the Medieval Academy of America, is dubious of Cheshire's claim, tweeting: "Sorry, folks, 'proto-Romance language' is not a thing. This is just more aspirational, circular, self-fulfilling nonsense."

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Categories: Linux fréttir

GozNym Cyber-Crime Gang Which Stole Millions Busted

Thu, 2019-05-16 12:12
An international crime gang which used malware to steal $100m from more than 40,000 victims has been dismantled. From a report: A complex police operation conducted investigations in the US, Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The gang infected computers with GozNym malware, which captured online banking details to access bank accounts. The gang was put together from criminals who advertised their skills on online forums. The details of the operation were revealed at the headquarters of the European police agency Europol in The Hague. It said that the investigation was unprecedented, especially in terms of cross-border co-operation.

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Steam Link Finally Comes To iOS, One Year After Apple Initially Rejected It

Thu, 2019-05-16 10:00
Valve's Steam Link app, which brings streaming games to your mobile device, is now available as a free download for iOS and Apple TV. The iOS launch comes nearly one year after Apple rejected the app due to "business conflicts." GameSpot reports: The Steam Link app promises to bring "desktop gaming to your iPhone or iPad." Users can pair a Steam controller or any MFI (Made-for-iPhone/iPad) controller to play games over a network connection provided they are on the same local network. The Steam Link app is effectively a replacement for the physical Steam Link device that Steam discontinued in 2018. Steam Link is already available on Android. As the Verge notes in their report, the biggest difference between the iOS and Android versions is that the iOS Steam Link app "doesn't allow users to purchase games from the Steam store, unlike on Android." You can download Steam Link from iTunes here.

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City Residents Live With Mental Illness At Higher Rates Than General Population

Thu, 2019-05-16 07:00
Dating back to the 1930s, researchers have discovered that mental illnesses are more common in densely populated cities than in greener and more rural areas, but it wasn't until recently that scientists have started to seriously study the mechanisms through which exposure to various environmental stressors could be wounding our mental health. Popular Science reports: Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, director of the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany, and his research partner Matilda van den Bosch, an environmental health researcher at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, recently reviewed the scientific evidence for these and a number of other physical stressors to find out whether they contribute to depression. The pair searched for studies concerning a wide range of substances and situations that people might run across in everyday life. They discovered that while many of these factors were particularly abundant in cities, they weren't limited to urban environments. For example, air pollution isn't only found within city borders. Another potential danger was pesticides, which farm workers in particular come into contact with. Still, a key part of improving our collective mental health will be making our cities more livable, says Meyer-Lindenberg. He and van den Bosch published their findings this year in the journal Annual Review of Public Health. More than half the world's population already lives in cities and this number is expected to rise to nearly 70 percent by 2050. In their review, Meyer-Lindenberg and van den Bosch found that some potential threats had been examined more thoroughly than others. For some, including pollen, there wasn't enough information yet to show a convincing link to depression. However, the team did find a number of studies suggesting that heavy metals like lead, pesticides, common chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA), and noise pollution may contribute to depression, although further research is still needed to confirm that this is the case. Even more compelling was the evidence condemning air pollution. In addition to causing respiratory and cardiovascular problems that kill millions of people each year, this particular menace raises our risk for a number of psychiatric problems. Poor air quality has been associated with depression, anxiety, and psychotic experiences such as paranoia and hearing voices. Obviously if you live in a city, these studies don't mean that you will develop depression or anxiety. Rather, they suggest that hazards like air pollution and pesticides will increase a person's overall risk, especially for those who are already vulnerable for other reasons. "For people in poor communities, though, the impact is likely especially potent; not only does financial stress contribute to depression, but low-income neighborhoods face disproportionately high levels of air and noise pollution and lead exposure," the report adds. It goes on to say that people can fight back by spending more time in nature, which has been shown to calm activity in several brain regions involved in rumination, the tendency to obsess over one's mistakes and troubles that is a common feature of disorders like depression and anxiety.

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Scientists Create World's First Living Organism With Fully Redesigned DNA

Thu, 2019-05-16 03:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Scientists have created the world's first living organism that has a fully synthetic and radically altered DNA code. In a two-year effort, researchers at the laboratory of molecular biology, at Cambridge University, read and redesigned the DNA of the bacterium Escherichia coli (E coli), before creating cells with a synthetic version of the altered genome. The artificial genome holds 4m base pairs, the units of the genetic code spelled out by the letters G, A, T and C. Printed in full on A4 sheets, it runs to 970 pages, making the genome the largest by far that scientists have ever built. The DNA coiled up inside a cell holds the instructions it needs to function. When the cell needs more protein to grow, for example, it reads the DNA that encodes the right protein. The DNA letters are read in trios called codons, such as TCG and TCA. The Cambridge team set out to redesign the E coli genome by removing some of its superfluous codons. Working on a computer, the scientists went through the bug's DNA. Whenever they came across TCG, a codon that makes an amino acid called serine, they rewrote it as AGC, which does the same job. They replaced two more codons in a similar way. More than 18,000 edits later, the scientists had removed every occurrence of the three codons from the bug's genome. The redesigned genetic code was then chemically synthesized and, piece by piece, added to E coli where it replaced the organism's natural genome. The result, reported in Nature, is a microbe with a completely synthetic and radically altered DNA code. Known as Syn61, the bug is a little longer than normal, and grows more slowly, but survives nonetheless.

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Tesla's Solar Factory Is Exporting Most of Its Cells

Thu, 2019-05-16 02:10
Most of the solar cells Tesla is producing at its Gigafactory in upstate New York "are being sold overseas instead of being used in the company's trademark 'Solar Roof' as originally intended," reports Reuters. "The exporting underscores the depth of Tesla's troubles in the U.S. solar business, which the electric car maker entered in 2016 with its controversial $2.6 billion purchase of SolarCity." From the report: Tesla has only sporadically purchased solar cells produced by its partner in the factory, Panasonic Corp, according to a Buffalo solar factory employee speaking on condition of anonymity. The rest are going largely to foreign buyers, according to a Panasonic letter to U.S. Customs officials reviewed by Reuters. When the two firms announced the partnership in 2016, the companies said they would collaborate on cell and module production and Tesla would make a long-term commitment to buy the cells from Panasonic. Cells are components that convert the sun's light into electricity; they are combined to make solar panels. The situation raises new questions about the viability of cash-strapped Tesla's solar business. Musk once called the deal a "no brainer" - but some investors panned it as a bailout of an affiliated firm at the expense of Tesla shareholders. Before the merger, Musk had served as chairman of SolarCity's board of directors, and his cousin, Lyndon Rive, was the company's CEO. [...] Panasonic also produces traditional solar panels at the Buffalo plant for Tesla, but has been selling many of them to other buyers since at least last year due to low demand from the California car company, Reuters reported in August 2018. Tesla last month reported a 36 percent slide in its overall solar sales in the first quarter, adding to previous big drops since the SolarCity acquisition.

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Epic Plans More Exclusives For Its Games Store

Thu, 2019-05-16 01:30
DarkRookie2 shares a report from Ars Technica: If you thought Epic was done adding to the growing pile of PC games exclusively available on its own Games Store, well... I'd like to know where you got that impression. In any case, you should think again, because Epic has announced it will "reveal brand-new material for several games, including some exclusives, coming to the Epic Games store" at next month's Electronic Entertainment Expo. Epic also confirmed the platform's first storewide sale will be announced in the coming days. "That confirmation came after a few eagle-eyed Fortnite players noticed a news-feed ad for the 'Epic Games Store Mega Sale' when launching the game," reports Ars Technica. The message promised that users could "Sign up for 2FA in order to get $10 to spend in the store."

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Trump Signs Executive Order Barring US Companies From Using Huawei Gear

Thu, 2019-05-16 00:50
schwit1 shares a report from Reuters: President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order declaring a national emergency and barring U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms posing a national security risk, paving the way for a ban on doing business with China's Huawei. The executive order invokes the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the president the authority to regulate commerce in response to a national emergency that threatens the United States. The order directs the Commerce Department, working with other government agencies, to draw up a plan for enforcement within 150 days. The order, which has been under review for more than a year, is aimed at protecting the supply chain from "foreign adversaries to the nation's information and communications technology and services supply chain," said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

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Internet Meme Pioneer YTMND Shuts Down

Thu, 2019-05-16 00:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from PC Magazine: You're the Man Now Dog, a pioneer in the internet meme space, has shut down. The online community at YTMND.com allowed users to upload an image or a GIF and pair it with audio for hilarious results. Traffic to the website, however, dried up years ago with the rise of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. In 2016, site creator Max Goldberg said YTMND would likely shut down soon due to declining ad revenue and his ill health. "It seems like the internet has moved on," Goldberg told Gizmodo at the time. The dates back to 2001 when Goldberg paired a looping audio clip of Sean Connery uttering the line "You're the man now, dog!" with some text and placed it all on a webpage, Yourethemannowdog.com.

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Division 2 Multiplayer and Single-Player Campaign Broken By Latest Update

Wed, 2019-05-15 23:30
Longtime Slashdot reader Andy Smith writes: Gamers enjoying the single-player campaign in The Division 2 have been bitten by a bug in the latest update that spawned a range of server connection issues. While you might expect this to affect only multiplayer games, The Division 2 controversially requires a continuous server connection for the single-player campaign to work. Since Tuesday, campaign players have reported being kicked out of the game and losing their items, skills, and mission progress. Not surprisingly, developer Massive has been inundated with complaints . The company said: "We are aware of the connectivity issues some players are experiencing. We are investigating and working on a solution."

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Close To 735K Fraudulently Obtained IP Addresses Have Been Uncovered and Revoked

Wed, 2019-05-15 22:50
The American Registry for Internet Numbers, Ltd. (ARIN) has won a legal case against an elaborate multi-year scheme to defraud the Internet community of approximately 735,000 IPv4 addresses, the organization has revealed. An anonymous reader writes: While the specifics of the findings are not released, John Curran, ARIN President and CEO said the fraud was detected as a result of an internal due diligence process. ARIN is a nonprofit member-based organization responsible for distributing Internet number resources in the US, Canada, and parts of the Caribbean. The emerging IPv4 address transfer market and increasing demand have resulted in more attempts to obtain IPv4 addresses fraudulently. This is the first arbitration ever brought under an ARIN Registration Services Agreement, and related proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. ARIN was able to prove an intricate scheme to fraudulently obtained resources that included many falsely notarized officer attestations sent to ARIN.

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White House Launches Tool To Report Political Bias On Social Media Sites

Wed, 2019-05-15 22:10
On Wednesday, the White House launched a new tool for people to use if they feel they've been wrongly censored, banned, or suspended on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. "No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump," the site reads. The Verge reports: The tool asks users for screenshots and links regarding specific enforcement actions, specifying Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube as platforms of interest. (None of the companies immediately responded to a request for comment.) The tool also collects significant personal information from the user, and near the end invites users to opt into email newsletters from President Trump, "so we can update you without relying on platforms like Facebook and Twitter." A separate question points users to an extensive user agreement, and makes clear that "you understand this form is for information gathering only."

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Microsoft Open-Sources a Crucial Algorithm Behind Its Bing Search Services

Wed, 2019-05-15 21:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Microsoft today announced that it has open-sourced a key piece of what makes its Bing search services able to quickly return search results to its users. By making this technology open, the company hopes that developers will be able to build similar experiences for their users in other domains where users search through vast data troves, including in retail, though in this age of abundant data, chances are developers will find plenty of other enterprise and consumer use cases, too. The piece of software the company open-sourced today is a library Microsoft developed to make better use of all the data it collected and AI models it built for Bing . With the Space Partition Tree and Graph (SPTAG) algorithm that is at the core of the open-sourced Python library, Microsoft is able to search through billions of pieces of information in milliseconds. Vector search itself isn't a new idea, of course. What Microsoft has done, though, is apply this concept to working with deep learning models. First, the team takes a pre-trained model and encodes that data into vectors, where every vector represents a word or pixel. Using the new SPTAG library, it then generates a vector index. As queries come in, the deep learning model translates that text or image into a vector and the library finds the most related vectors in that index. The library is now available under the MIT license and provides all of the tools to build and search these distributed vector indexes. You can find more details about how to get started with using this library -- as well as application samples -- here.

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Categories: Linux fréttir

LED Light Can Damage Eyes, Health Authority Warns

Wed, 2019-05-15 20:50
The "blue light" in LED lighting can damage the eye's retina and disturb natural sleep rhythms, France's government-run health watchdog said this week. From a report: New findings confirm earlier concerns that "exposure to an intense and powerful [LED] light is 'photo-toxic' and can lead to irreversible loss of retinal cells and diminished sharpness of vision," the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) warned in a statement. The agency recommended in a 400-page report that the maximum limit for acute exposure be revised, even if such levels are rarely met in home or work environments. The report distinguished between acute exposure of high-intensity LED light, and "chronic exposure" to lower intensity sources. While less dangerous, even chronic exposure can "accelerate the ageing of retinal tissue, contributing to a decline in visual acuity and certain degenerative diseases such as age-related macular degeneration," the agency concluded. Long-lasting, energy efficient and inexpensive, light-emitting diode (LED) technology has gobbled up half of the general lighting market in a decade, and will top 60 percent by the end of next year, according to industry projections.

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Japan Prepares To Ban Flying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Under the Influence of Alcohol

Wed, 2019-05-15 20:08
Drinking and droning? It could soon cost you up to a year in jail in Japan, where an amendment to the country's civil aeronautics law being debated in the Diet would make it illegal to operate unmanned aerial vehicles while under the influence of alcohol. From a report: According to the transport ministry, there were 79 incidents involving drones in the last financial year. None of them involved a drunk operator but tighter restrictions were nonetheless regarded as a necessary pre-emptive move. "There are lots of different types of accidents that are reported each year but the majority are relatively minor and involve, for example, a drone operating on a predetermined route making an accidental landing," a ministry official said, adding that there were 63 reports of accidents in 2017 and 55 the previous year. "We have no records of someone causing an accident with a drone while drinking, but we do know that in the US about three years ago, a drunk person landed a drone in the grounds of the White House," the official said. "We obviously want to avoid that sort of situation, so these new laws are designed to stop something before it happens." Under the new rules, a drone operator will be legally required to carry out preflight checks of the vehicle and authorities will carry out on-the-spot inspections when an accident occurs.

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A Bizarre Form of Water May Exist All Over the Universe

Wed, 2019-05-15 19:28
New submitter jimminy_cricket writes: Recently at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics in Brighton, New York, one of the world's most powerful lasers blasted a droplet of water, creating a shock wave that raised the water's pressure to millions of atmospheres and its temperature to thousands of degrees. X-rays that beamed through the droplet in the same fraction of a second offered humanity's first glimpse of water under those extreme conditions. The x-rays revealed that the water inside the shock wave didn't become a superheated liquid or gas. Paradoxically -- but just as physicists squinting at screens in an adjacent room had expected -- the atoms froze solid, forming crystalline ice. "You hear the shot," said Marius Millot of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, and "right away you see that something interesting was happening." Millot co-led the experiment with Federica Coppari, also of Lawrence Livermore. The findings, published this week in Nature, confirm the existence of "superionic ice," a new phase of water with bizarre properties. Unlike the familiar ice found in your freezer or at the north pole, superionic ice is black and hot. A cube of it would weigh four times as much as a normal one. It was first theoretically predicted more than 30 years ago, and although it has never been seen until now, scientists think it might be among the most abundant forms of water in the universe.

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Firms That Promised High-Tech Ransomware Solutions Almost Always Just Pay the Hackers

Wed, 2019-05-15 18:48
As ransomware attacks crippled businesses and law enforcement agencies, two U.S. data recovery firms claimed to offer an ethical way out. Instead, they typically paid the ransom and charged victims extra. From a report: Proven Data promised to help ransomware victims by unlocking their data with the "latest technology," according to company emails and former clients. Instead, it obtained decryption tools from cyberattackers by paying ransoms, according to Storfer and an FBI affidavit obtained by ProPublica. Another U.S. company, Florida-based MonsterCloud, also professes to use its own data recovery methods but instead pays ransoms, sometimes without informing victims such as local law enforcement agencies, ProPublica has found. The firms are alike in other ways. Both charge victims substantial fees on top of the ransom amounts. They also offer other services, such as sealing breaches to protect against future attacks. Both firms have used aliases for their workers, rather than real names, in communicating with victims. The payments underscore the lack of other options for individuals and businesses devastated by ransomware, the failure of law enforcement to catch or deter the hackers, and the moral quandary of whether paying ransoms encourages extortion. Since some victims are public agencies or receive government funding, taxpayer money may end up in the hands of cybercriminals in countries hostile to the U.S. such as Russia and Iran.

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So Long Dual-Booting Windows on a Chromebook: Project Campfire is deprecated

Wed, 2019-05-15 18:08
An anonymous reader shares a report: Project Campfire turned up in the Chromium world this past August. The intent was to let a Chromebook boot not just into Chrome OS but directly into another operating system such as Linux or Windows. I thought the latter was a positive outcome since it would allow Chromebooks to natively run Windows desktop apps on a Chromebook, and add value to devices. Unfortunately, the project is shutting down. Spotted in code, there are comments and code removals that make it clear Project Campfire is being deprecated.

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Google Recalls Its Bluetooth Titan Security Keys Because of a Security Bug

Wed, 2019-05-15 17:28
Google today disclosed a security bug in its Bluetooth Titan Security Key that could allow an attacker in close physical proximity to circumvent the security the key is supposed to provide. From a report: The company says that the bug is due to a "misconfiguration in the Titan Security Keys' Bluetooth pairing protocols" and that even the faulty keys still protect against phishing attacks. Still, the company is providing a free replacement key to all existing users. The bug affects all Titan Bluetooth keys, which sell for $50 in a package that also includes a standard USB/NFC key, that have a "T1" or "T2" on the back.

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