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Want to breakthrough data bottlenecks? Pure Storage shows you how

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-05-10 06:32
Register now for Pure//Accelerate Digital 2021

Promo First you need to identify and unblock the data bottlenecks in your infrastructure, minimize complexity, and ensure your data is always safe – whether that’s safe from ransomware or careless staffers.…

Categories: Linux fréttir

‘Staggering’ cost of vintage Sun workstations sees OpenSolaris fork Illumos drop SPARC support

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-05-10 05:57
Dev team doesn’t have necessary hardware, and even if they could afford it eBay is empty

Open Solaris ‘spork’ Illumos has decided to deprecate support for SPARC CPUs.…

Categories: Linux fréttir

China to enforce social distancing on peak of Mount Everest

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-05-10 04:57
At least you won’t have to check in with a QR Code

China has revealed that it will enforce its border on the peak of Mount Everest, as a precaution against climbers transmitting the Coronavirus when they reach the summit.…

Categories: Linux fréttir

US Scrambles to Keep Fuel Flowing After Pipeline Cyberattack. Russian Cybercriminals Suspected

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-05-10 04:52
A ransomware attack affecting a pipeline that supplies 45% of the fuel supplies for the Eastern U.S. has now led U.S. president Biden to declare a regional emergency providing "regulatory relief" to expand fuel delivery by other routes. Axios reports: Friday night's cyberattack is "the most significant, successful attack on energy infrastructure" known to have occurred in the U.S., notes energy researcher Amy Myers Jaffe, per Politico. It follows other significant cyberattacks on the federal government and U.S. companies in recent months... 5,500 miles of pipeline have been shut down in response to the attack. The BBC reports: Experts say fuel prices are likely to rise 2-3% on Monday, but the impact will be far worse if it goes on for much longer... Colonial Pipeline said it is working with law enforcement, cyber-security experts and the Department of Energy to restore service. On Sunday evening it said that although its four mainlines remain offline, some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational... Independent oil market analyst Gaurav Sharma told the BBC there is a lot of fuel now stranded at refineries in Texas. "Unless they sort it out by Tuesday, they're in big trouble," said Sharma. "The first areas to be impacted would be Atlanta and Tennessee, then the domino effect goes up to New York..." The temporary waiver issued by the Department of Transportation enables oil products to be shipped in tankers up to New York, but this would not be anywhere near enough to match the pipeline's capacity, Mr Sharma warned. CNN reports that a criminal group originating from Russia named DarkSide "is believed to be responsible for a ransomware cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, according to a former senior cyber official. DarkSide typically targets non-Russian speaking countries, the source said... Bloomberg and The Washington Post have also reported on DarkSide's purported involvement in the cyberattack..." If so, NBC News adds some sobering thoughts: Although Russian hackers often freelance for the Kremlin, early indications suggest this was a criminal scheme — not an attack by a nation state, the sources said. But the fact that Colonial had to shut down the country's largest gasoline pipeline underscores just how vulnerable American's cyber infrastructure is to both criminals and national adversaries, such as Russia, China and Iran, experts say. "This could be the most impactful ransomware attack in history, a cyber disaster turning into a real-world catastrophe," said Andrew Rubin, CEO and co-founder of Illumio, a cyber security firm... If the culprit turns out to be a Russian criminal group, it will underscore that Russia gives free reign to criminal hackers who target the West, said Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of the cyber firm CrowdStrike and now executive chairman of a think tank, the Silverado Policy Accelerator. "Whether they work for the state or not is increasingly irrelevant, given Russia's obvious policy of harboring and tolerating cyber crime," he said. Citing multiple sources, the BBC reports that DarkSide "infiltrated Colonial's network on Thursday and took almost 100GB of data hostage. After seizing the data, the hackers locked the data on some computers and servers, demanding a ransom on Friday. If it is not paid, they are threatening to leak it onto the internet... " The BBC also shares some thoughts from Digital Shadows, a London-based cyber-security firm that tracks global cyber-criminal groups to help enterprises limit their exposure online: Digital Shadows thinks the Colonial Pipeline cyber-attack has come about due to the coronavirus pandemic — the rise of engineers remotely accessing control systems for the pipeline from home. James Chappell, co-founder and chief innovation officer at Digital Shadows, believes DarkSide bought account login details relating to remote desktop software like TeamViewer and Microsoft Remote Desktop. He says it is possible for anyone to look up the login portals for computers connected to the internet on search engines like Shodan, and then "have-a-go" hackers just keep trying usernames and passwords until they get some to work. "We're seeing a lot of victims now, this is seriously a big problem now," said Mr Chappell.

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Chinese rocket plunges into Indian Ocean, still lands sharp rebuke from NASA

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-05-10 03:58
Long March 5B lands 45km from the Maldives

Bits of China's Long Match 5B rocket have returned to Earth without inconveniencing anyone, but did irritate NASA enough for the agency to issue a sternly-worded statement.…

Categories: Linux fréttir

China’s top three telcos advise of imminent delisting from New York Stock Exchange

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-05-10 02:22
Trump-era Executive Order gets China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile kicked off bourse

China’s top three telcos – China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom – have warned investors they are about to be delisted by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).…

Categories: Linux fréttir

Linus Torvalds Weighs in on Commercial Users of Open Source Code

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-05-10 01:52
This week Linus Torvalds continued a long email interview with Jeremy Andrews, founding partner/CEO of Tag1 (a global technology consulting firm and the second all-time leading contributor to Drupal). In the first part Torvalds had discussed everything from Apple's ARM64 chips and Rust drivers, to his own Fedora-based home work environment — and reflections on the early days of Linux. But the second part offers some deeper insight into the way Torvalds thinks, some personal insight, what he'd share with other project maintainers — and some thoughts on getting corporations to contribute to open source development: While open source has been hugely successful, many of the biggest users, for example corporations, do nothing or little to support or contribute back to the very open source projects they rely on. Even developers of surprisingly large and successful projects (if measured by number of users) can be lucky to earn enough to buy coffee for the week. Do you think this is something that can be solved? Is the open source model sustainable? Linus Torvalds: I really don't have an answer to this, and for some reason the kernel has always avoided the problem. Yes, there are companies that are pure "users" of Linux, but they still end up wanting support, so they then rely on contractors or Linux distributions, and those obviously then end up as one of the big sources of kernel developer jobs. And a fair number of big tech companies that use the kernel end up actively participating in the development process. Sometimes they end up doing a lot of internal work and not being great at feeding things back upstream (I won't name names, and some of them really are trying to do better), but it's actually very encouraging how many big companies are very openly involved with upstream kernel development, and are major parts of the community. So for some reason, the kernel development community has been pretty successful about integrating with all the commercial interests. Of course, some of that has been very much conscious: Linux has very much always been open to commercial users, and I very consciously avoided the whole anti-corporate mindset that you can most definitely find in some of the "Free Software" groups. I think the GPLv2 is a great license, but at the same time I've been very much against some of the more extreme forms of "Free Software", and I — and Linux — was very much part of the whole rebranding to use "Open Source". Because frankly, some of the almost religious overtones of rms and the FSF were just nutty, and a certain portion of the community was actively driving commercial use away. And I say that as somebody who has always been wary of being too tainted by commercial interests... I do think that some projects may have shot themselves in the foot by being a bit too anti-commercial, and made it really hard for companies to participate... But is it sustainable? Yes. I'm personally 100% convinced that not only is open source sustainable, but for complex technical issues you really need open source simply because the problem space ends up being too complex to manage inside one single company. Even a big and competent tech company. But it does require a certain openness on both sides. Not all companies will be good partners, and some developers don't necessarily want to work with big companies. In the interview Torvalds also thanks the generous education system in Finland, and describes what it was like moving from Finland to America. And as for how long he'll continue working on Linux, Torvalds says, "I do enjoy what I do, and as long as I feel I'm actually helping the project, I'll be around... "in the end, I really enjoy what I do. I'd be bored to tears without kernel development."

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Ransomware shuts US oil pipeline that pumps 100 million gallons a day

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-05-10 00:15
Colonial Pipeline says damage contained, some smaller lines already back, but has no timetable for resumption

One of the USA’s largest oil pipelines has been shut by ransomware .…

Categories: Linux fréttir

Are We Now Experiencing 'a Great Reassessment of Work'?

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-05-10 00:09
The Washington Post reports on "growing evidence — both anecdotal and in surveys — that a lot of people want to do something different with their lives than they did before the pandemic." In a piece titled "It's not a 'labor shortage.' It's a great reassessment of work," they argue that "The coronavirus outbreak has had a dramatic psychological effect on workers, and people are reassessing what they want to do and how they want to work, whether in an office, at home or some hybrid combination." A Pew Research Center survey this year found that 66 percent of the unemployed had "seriously considered" changing their field of work, a far greater percentage than during the Great Recession. People who used to work in restaurants or travel are finding higher-paying jobs in warehouses or real estate, for example. Or they want a job that is more stable and less likely to be exposed to the coronavirus — or any other deadly virus down the road... Economists describe this phenomenon as reallocation friction, the idea that the types of jobs in the economy are changing and workers are taking awhile to figure out what new jobs they want — or what skills they need for different roles... Even among those who have jobs, people are rethinking their options. Front-line workers are reporting high levels of burnout, causing some to seek a new career path. There's also been a wave of retirements as workers over 50 quit because they don't want to return to teaching, home health care or other front-line jobs. More affluent Americans say they are retiring early because their retirement portfolios have surged in the past year and the pandemic has taught them that life is short. They don't want to spend as much time at a desk, even if it is safe... [I]t's notable that the manufacturing sector has bounced back strongly, yet the industry has only added back about 60 percent of the jobs lost. This suggests many factories are ramping up automation in a way that allows them to do more with fewer workers. The overall expectation is still for hiring to pick up this summer as the economy reopens fully and more people are vaccinated. But the past year has fundamentally changed the economy and what many Americans want in their working life. This big reassessment — for companies and workers — is going to take awhile to sort out and it could continue to pop up in surprising ways.

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Unlike Clearview AI, this Facial-Recognition Search Engine is Open to Everyone

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-09 22:39
This week CNN investigated PimEyes, a "mysterious" but powerful facial-recognition search engine: If you upload a picture of your face to PimEyes' website, it will immediately show you any pictures of yourself that the company has found around the internet. You might recognize all of them, or be surprised (or, perhaps, even horrified) by some; these images may include anything from wedding or vacation snapshots to pornographic images. PimEyes is open to anyone with internet access. It's a stark contrast from Clearview AI, which became well-known for building its enormous stash of faces with images of people from social networks and limits its use to law enforcement (Clearview has said it has hundreds of such customers). PimEyes' decision to make facial-recognition software available to the general public crosses a line that technology companies are typically unwilling to traverse, and opens up endless possibilities for how it can be used and abused. Imagine a potential employer digging into your past, an abusive ex tracking you, or a random stranger snapping a photo of you in public and then finding you online. This is all possible through PimEyes: Though the website instructs users to search for themselves, it doesn't stop them from uploading photos of anyone. At the same time, it doesn't explicitly identify anyone by name, but as CNN Business discovered by using the site, that information may be just clicks away from images PimEyes pulls up... PimEyes lets users see a limited number of small, somewhat pixelated search results at no cost, or you can pay a monthly fee, which starts at $29.99, for more extensive search results and features (such as to click through to see full-size images on the websites where PimEyes found them and to set up alerts for when PimEyes finds new pictures of faces online that its software believes match an uploaded face)... Although PimEyes instructs visitors to only search for their own face, there's no mechanism on the site to ensure it's used this way... There's also no way to ensure this facial-recognition technology isn't used to misidentify people... The website currently lists no information about who owns or runs the search engine, or how to reach them, and users must submit a form to get answers to questions or help with accounts.

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Electric Vehicles May Drive a Lithium Supply Crunch

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-09 21:39
A carbon-free future "will require many millions of batteries, both to drive electric vehicles and to store wind and solar power on the grid," reports IEEE Spectrum. Unfortunately, today's battery chemistries "mostly rely on lithium — a metal that could soon face a global supply crunch." Recently, Rystad Energy projected a "serious lithium supply deficit" in 2027 as mining capacity lags behind the EV boom. The mismatch could effectively delay the production of around 3.3 million battery-powered passenger cars that year, according to the research firm. Without new mining projects, delays could swell to the equivalent of 20 million cars in 2030. Battery-powered buses, trucks, ships, and grid storage systems will also feel the squeeze... [T]he solution isn't as simple as mining more hard rock — called spodumene — or tapping more underground brine deposits to extract lithium. That's because most of the better, easier-to-exploit reserves are already spoken for in Australia (for hard rock) and in Chile and Argentina (for brine). To drastically scale capacity, producers will also need to exploit the world's "marginal" resources, which are costlier and more energy-intensive to develop than conventional counterparts... Concerns about supply constraints are driving innovation in the lithium industry. A handful of projects in North America and Europe are piloting and testing "direct lithium extraction," an umbrella term for technologies that, generally speaking, use electricity and chemical processes to isolate and extract concentrated lithium... In southwestern Germany, Vulcan Energy is extracting lithium from geothermal springs that bubble thousands of meters below the Rhine river. The startup began operating its first pilot plant in mid-April. Vulcan said it could be extracting 15,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide — a compound used in battery cathodes — per year. In southern California, Controlled Thermal Resources is developing a geothermal power plant and lithium extraction facility at the Salton Sea. The company said a pilot facility will start producing 20,000 metric tons per year of lithium hydroxide, also by 2024. Another way to boost lithium supplies is to recover the metal from spent batteries, of which there is already ample supply. Today, less than 5 percent of all spent lithium-ion batteries are recycled, in large part because the packs are difficult and expensive to dismantle. Many batteries now end up in landfills, leaching chemicals into the environment and wasting usable materials. But Sophie Lu, the head of metals and mining for BloombergNEF, said the industry is likely to ramp up recycling after 2028, when the supply deficit kicks in. Developers are already starting to build new facilities, including a $175 million plant in Rochester, N.Y. When completed, it will be North America's largest recycling plant for lithium-ion batteries. The Economic Times also argues that electric cars and renewable energy "may not be as green as they appear. Production of raw materials like lithium, cobalt and nickel that are essential to these technologies are often ruinous to land, water, wildlife and people. "That environmental toll has often been overlooked in part because there is a race underway among the United States, China, Europe and other major powers. Echoing past contests and wars over gold and oil, governments are fighting for supremacy over minerals that could help countries achieve economic and technological dominance for decades to come."

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Twitter and TikTok are Losing the War Against COVID Disinformation

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-09 20:39
America's leading social media companies "pledged to put warning labels on COVID-19 and COVID vaccines posts to stop the spread of falsehoods, conspiracy theories and hoaxes that are fueling vaccine hesitancy in the USA," reports USA Today. "With the exception of Facebook, nearly all of them are losing the war against COVID disinformation." That's the conclusion of a new report shared exclusively with USA TODAY. As the pace of the nation's immunizations slows and public health agencies struggle to get shots in arms, Advance Democracy found that debunked claims sowing unfounded fears about the vaccines are circulating largely unfettered on Twitter and TikTok, including posts and videos that falsely allege the federal government is covering up deaths caused by the vaccines or that it is safer to get COVID-19 than to get the vaccine. Twitter began labeling tweets that include misleading or false information about COVID-19 vaccines in March. It also started using a "strike system" to eventually remove accounts that repeatedly violate its rules. Yet none of the top tweets on Twitter using popular anti-vaccine hashtags like #vaccineskill, #novaccine, #depopulation and #plandemic had labels as of May 3, according to Advance Democracy, a research organization that studies disinformation and extremism. What's more, when USA TODAY searched these hashtags on Twitter, unlabeled posts were served up along with advertisements for major consumer brands including Cheetos, Volvo, CVS, even Star Wars... After coming under fire for its slow response to COVID-19 misinformation, Facebook has made significant progress in labeling COVID-19 posts, according to Daniel Jones, president of Advance Democracy... As of May 3, all of the top 10 posts discussing COVID-19 vaccines that used the #vaccineskill hashtag were labeled, compared to only two of the top 10 on March 28, Advance Democracy found... Facebook told USA TODAY it has removed more than 16 million pieces of content on Facebook and Instagram for violating its COVID and vaccine policies since the beginning of the pandemic.... As of May 3, TikTok failed to consistently apply labels to anti-vaccination hashtags used in videos with millions of views, the report said. Nine of the top 10 videos related to COVID-19 vaccines using the hashtag #NoVaccine did not have a label. Videos with the #NoVaccine label racked up 20.5 million views... The Advance Democracy research did not look at vaccine-related content on Facebook-owned Instagram or Google's YouTube. "Promises to address public health misinformation online are only consequential if there is action and follow through..." Jones told USA Today. "This pandemic is not over, and with the rate of vaccinations on the decline, directing users to reliable information on vaccines is more important than ever," Jones said.

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On SNL Elon Musk Reveals He Has Asperger Syndrome - and Tanks the Price of Dogecoin

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-09 19:39
NBC News reports on what exactly happened during Elon Musk's appearance on Saturday Night Live — starting with a surprisingly personal monologue: "I don't always have a lot of intonation or variation in how I speak," Musk said, "which I'm told makes for great comedy." He admitted he's socially awkward and said he was the first person with Asperger syndrome to host the show — "or at least the first to admit it." "I know I sometimes say or post strange things but that's just how my brain works," Musk, 49, said. "I reinvented electric cars and I'm sending people to Mars on a rocket ship. Did you think I was also going to be a chill, normal dude?" ET Canada notes that Twitter users later pointed out that former SNL castmember (and later episode host) Dan Aykroyd has also said he was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. But NBC notes that Saturday's show was focused on the interests and eccentricities of Elon Musk. His mother, Maye Musk, appeared as part of the show's pre-celebration of Mother's Day. "I'm excited for my Mother's Day gift," she said, before mentioning a form of cryptocurrency hyped by her son. "I just hope it's not Dogecoin." "It is," said Musk, a big investor in the cryptocurrency... And later in a skit with Michael Che, Musk had also played a fictional cryptocurrency expert who's asked repeatedly to explain Dogecoin. "It actually started as a joke based on an internet meme but now it's taken over in a very real way," Musk said. "It's the future of currency." Asked again by Che, he said, "I keep telling you, it's a cryptocurrency you can trade for conventional money." "Oh," Che said. "So it's a hustle." "Yeah," Musk said, "it's a hustle...." Dogecoin tracker Darren Rovell tweeted that the cryptocurrency had, at one point, lost $30 billion in value during the show. In fact, by early Sunday Dogecoin was down 40%, trading as low as 44 cents, reports CNN: It's unclear what was driving the dogecoin selloff. Perhaps investors wanted Musk to say something more supportive of the cryptocurrency. But more likely, there was some "buy the rumor / sell the news" strategy, trying to capitalize on investors' predictions coming true by selling high. Dogecoin traded so actively that Robinhood announced early Sunday morning it was having issues processing crypto trades and was working to resolve the problem.

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Can Apple's AirTags Be Used to Track Another Person?

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-09 18:34
As Mother's Day approached, CNN Business Editor Samantha Murphy Kelly clipped a keychain with one of Apple's tiny new "AirTag" Bluetooth trackers onto her son's book bag, in an experiment that "highlighted how easily these trackers could be used to track another person." Location trackers aren't new — there are similar products from Samsung, Sony and Tile — but AirTags' powerful Ultra Wideband technology chip allows it to more accurately determine the location and enables precise augmented reality directional arrows that populate on the iPhone or iPad's screen. While AirTags are explicitly intended for items only, Apple has added safeguards to cut down on unwanted tracking. For example, the company does not store location data, and it will send an alert to an iOS device user if an AirTag appears to be following them when its owner is not around. If the AirTag doesn't re-tether to the owner's iOS device after three days, the tracker will start to make a noise. "We take customer safety very seriously and are committed to AirTag's privacy and security," the company said in a statement to CNN Business. "AirTag is designed with a set of proactive features to discourage unwanted tracking — a first in the industry — and the Find My network includes a smart, tunable system with deterrents...." The safeguards are a work in progress as the software rolls out and users begin interacting with the devices. When my babysitter recently took my son to an appointment, using my set of keys with an AirTag attached, she was not informed that she was carrying an AirTag — separated from my phone. (She hadn't yet updated her phone's software to iOS 14.5.) Non-iPhone users can hold their phones close to the AirTags and, via short-range wireless technology, information pops up on how to disable the tracker, but that's if the person knows they're being tracked and locates it. In addition, three days is a long time for an AirTag to keep quiet before making a noise.... Apple said one of the main reasons it spent so much time developing safeguards was the sheer size of its Find My app network. But it's the AirTags' reliance on that broader network that creates much of the need for the safeguards in the first place, said Albert Fox Cahn, founder and executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project and a fellow at the NYU School of Law. "That's because Apple is turning more than a billion iOS devices into a network for tracking AirTags, while Tile will only operate when in range of the small number of people using the Tile app.... The benefits of finding our keys a bit quicker isn't worth the danger of creating a new global tracking network."

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Millennials are Taking Governments to Court over Climate Change. And They're Starting to Win

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-09 17:34
CNN tells the story of Luisa Neubauer, a 25-year-old woman who took the German government to court last year — and won: On April 29, the country's Supreme Court announced that some provisions of the 2019 climate change act were unconstitutional and "incompatible with fundamental rights," because they lacked a detailed plan for reducing emissions and placed the burden for future climate action on young people. The court ordered the government to come up with new provisions that "specify in greater detail how the reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions" by the end of next year. The decision made headlines across the world... "This case changes everything," she said. "It's not nice to have climate action, it's our fundamental right that the government protects us from the climate crisis...." Climate lawsuits are becoming an increasingly popular and powerful tool for climate change activists. A January report released by the United Nations Environment Programme found that the number of climate litigation cases filed around the world nearly doubled between 2017 and 2020. Crucially, the governments are starting to lose. Neubauer's victory came just months after a court in Paris ruled that France was legally responsible for its failure to meet emission cutting targets. Another similar case involving six young people from Portugal was fast-tracked at the European Court of Human Rights last October... The cases are most often centered around the idea that future generations have a right to live in a world that is not completely decimated by the climate crisis. Long-time Slashdot reader AmiMoJo shares an Ars Technica story noting that in addition to the German suit, "A similar lawsuit in the U.S. has been winding its way through the courts." First filed in 2015 on behalf of a group of children and teenagers, the suit accused the U.S. government of violating the plaintiffs' constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property by not taking stronger action on climate change.

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Linux Foundation Launches Open Source Agriculture Infrastructure Project

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-09 16:34
"The Linux Foundation has lifted the lid on a new open source digital infrastructure project aimed at the agriculture industry," reports VentureBeat: The AgStack Foundation, as the new project will be known, is designed to foster collaboration among all key stakeholders in the global agriculture space, spanning private business, governments, and academia. As with just about every other industry in recent years, there has been a growing digital transformation across the agriculture sector that has ushered in new connected devices for farmers and myriad AI and automated tools to optimize crop growth and circumvent critical obstacles, such as labor shortages. Open source technologies bring the added benefit of data and tools that any party can reuse for free, lowering the barrier to entry and helping keep companies from getting locked into proprietary software operated by a handful of big players... The AgStack Foundation will be focused on supporting the creation and maintenance of free and sector-specific digital infrastructure for both applications and the associated data. It will lean on existing technologies and agricultural standards; public data and models; and other open source projects, such as Kubernetes, Hyperledger, Open Horizon, Postgres, and Django, according to a statement. "Current practices in AgTech are involved in building proprietary infrastructure and point-to-point connectivity in order to derive value from applications," AgStack executive director Sumer Johal told VentureBeat. "This is an unnecessarily costly use of human capital. Like an operating system, we aspire to reduce the time and effort required by companies to produce their own proprietary applications and for content consumers to consume this interoperably."

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'Mushrooms on Mars is a Hoax. Stop Believing Hacks'

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-09 15:34
Several science web sites are strongly disputing a China-based journal's claim that time-lapse photos of Mars show growing mushrooms. TNW Neural headlined their story "Mushrooms on Mars is a hoax — stop believing hack 'scientists'" If you believe those images demonstrate fungus growing on Mars, I'm about to blow your frickin' mind. Check out this pic. You see that? To heck with fungus, that's an entire highway growing out of the sand in front of a moving bus. You can clearly see that the Earth's sandy crust is being broken apart as the expanding highway organism grows beneath it. Or, if you're the "Occam's Razor" type: the wind is just blowing sand around. I've never been to Mars, but I'm led to believe there are rocks, dust, and wind. Do we really need to go any further in debunking this nonsense? They also link to Retraction Watch's page about the story's lead author, Rhawn Gabriel Joseph. IFL Science picks up the story: Nicknamed the Space Tiger King — due to the photographs posted on his frankly ridiculous personal website — Joseph has spent decades erroneously claiming that life has already been discovered on other planets. Back in the 1970s, he began alleging that NASA's Viking lander had found biological matter, despite the agency stating the exact opposite of this. After setting up his own journal in an attempt to air his unscientific assertions, he later filed a lawsuit against NASA in order to force them to investigate a structure which he claimed resembled a "putative biological organism", but which later turned out to be a rock. CNET adds: "Claiming that mushrooms are sprouting all over Mars is an extraordinary claim that requires better evidence than an analysis of photographic morphology by a known crank who has claimed, on the basis of the same kind of analysis, that he has seen fields of skulls on Mars," says Paul Myers, a developmental biologist at the University of Minnesota, Morris, who has followed Joseph's work in the past... After being alerted to the new paper on Wednesday, I sent emails to the associate editors-in-chief of Advances in Microbiology, asking for clarification around the peer review process. They have not responded to requests for comment. I also emailed members of the editorial board listed on SCIRP's website, including Jian Li, a microbiologist at Monash University in Australia. He says he has not been on the journal's editorial board "for at least five to six years" and has not handled any of the papers in the journal. The "mushrooms" theory was also dismissed by several actual scientists, reports Futurism: "The conditions on Mars are so extreme that you're not going to see fungi or any kind of life growing at that sort of speed under conditions like coldness and low air pressure," Jonathan Clarke, president of Mars Society Australia, told the South China Morning Post. "Life can barely survive, let alone thrive." Clarke also took issue with the paper claiming that mushrooms were actually growing on Mars. "It's just like if you go to a beach and there are shells," he told the newspaper. "If the wind blows, the sand moves and exposes more shells. But we won't say the shells are growing there, it's just that they become visible..." "We have more than photos, records, instruments that tell us what these materials are made of," David Flannery, lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology who is a member of NASA's Mars 2020 mission science team, told SCMP. "And we have models for the features we see around us.... Robots are sending back huge amounts of data," he added. "We have plenty of information but it's just that no one is interpreting the features that we see as something like fungi. There's zero evidence for that." "This paper, which is really not credible, will be ignored by the scientific community," Flannery said.

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New Study Again Finds Mediterranean Diet Lowers Symptoms of Brain Aging

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-09 14:34
CNN reports that a new study has again found that Mediterranean diets can lower your risk of dementia "by interfering with the buildup of two proteins, amyloid and tau, into the plaques and tangles that are hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease." "The mountain of evidence continues to build that you are what you eat when it comes to brain health," said Dr. Richard Isaacson, who directs the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian Hospital... "For every point of higher compliance with the diet, people had one extra year less of brain aging. That is striking," Isaacson added. "Most people are unaware that it's possible to take control of your brain health, yet this study shows us just that...." What is the Mediterranean diet...? The true diet is simple, plant-based cooking, with the majority of each meal focused on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and seeds, with a few nuts and a heavy emphasis on extra-virgin olive oil. Fats other than olive oil, such as butter, are consumed rarely, if at all. And say goodbye to refined sugar or flour. Meat can make a rare appearance, but usually only to flavor a dish. Instead, meals may include eggs, dairy and poultry, but in much smaller portions than in the traditional Western diet. However, fish, which are full of brain-boosting omega-3's, are a staple. The study, published Wednesday in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, examined 343 people at high risk of developing Alzheimer's and compared them to 169 cognitively normal subjects... After adjusting for factors like age, sex and education, the study found that people who did not follow the diet closely had more signs of amyloid and tau buildup in their spinal fluid than those who did adhere to the diet... "These results add to the body of evidence that show what you eat may influence your memory skills later on," said study author Tommaso Ballarini, a postdoctoral fellow at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn, Germany, in a statement... This isn't the first research to find a link between brain health and the Mediterranean diet or one of its plant-based cousins. A study of nearly 6,000 healthy older Americans with an average age of 68 found those who followed the Mediterranean or the similar MIND diet lowered their risk of dementia by a third. After reviewing the new study, Isaacson told CNN that "The strongest factor to really move the needle was regular fish consumption."

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Capitol Rioters Identified Using Facial Recognition Software, Cellphone Records - and Social Media Posts

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-09 10:34
NBC News reports more than 440 Americans have now been charged with storming the U.S. Capitol building on January 6th, with charges now filed against people from 44 of America's 50 states. They describe it as "one of the largest criminal investigations in American history." The largest number come from Texas, Pennsylvania, and Florida, in that order. Men outnumber women among those arrested by 7 to 1, with an average age of 39, according to figures compiled by the Program on Extremism at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. A total of 44 are military veterans. Hundreds of arrests happened because rioters later bragged online: In nearly 90 percent of the cases, charges have been based at least in part on a person's own social media accounts. A New York man, Robert Chapman, bragged on the dating app Bumble that he'd been in the Capitol during the riot. The person he was seeking to date responded, "We are not a match," and notified the FBI. In fact, the investigative agency has now received "hundreds of thousands" of tips from the public, and has even posted photos of people who participated in the riots online asking for the public's help to identify them. But NBC also reports that technology is being used to identify participants: "Investigators have also used facial recognition software, comparing images from surveillance cameras and an outpouring of social media and news agency videos against photo databases of the FBI and at least one other federal agency, Customs and Border Protection, according to court documents." Investigators "have also subpoenaed records from companies providing cellphone service, allowing agents to tell whether a specific person's phone was inside the Capitol during the siege."

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China's Out-of-Control Rocket Plunges Out of Orbit, Crashes Into Ocean

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-05-09 06:34
An out-of-control Chinese rocket plunged out of orbit and reentered Earth's atmosphere in the Indian Ocean (just west of the Maldives), reports CNN, citing China's space agency: Most of the rocket was "destroyed" on reentry to the atmosphere, the space agency said. The rocket, which is about 108 feet tall and weighs nearly 40,000 pounds, had launched a piece of a new Chinese space station into orbit on April 29. After its fuel was spent, the rocket had been left to hurtle through space uncontrolled until Earth's gravity dragged it back to the ground. Generally, the international space community tries to avoid such scenarios. Most rockets used to lift satellites and other objects into space conduct more controlled reentries that aim for the ocean, or they're left in so-called "graveyard" orbits that keep them in space for decades or centuries. But the Long March rocket is designed in a way that "leaves these big stages in low orbit," said Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Astrophysics Center at Harvard University. In this case, it was impossible to be certain exactly when or where the booster would land. The European Space Agency had predicted a "risk zone" that encompassed "any portion of Earth's surface between about 41.5N and 41.5S latitude" — which included virtually all of the Americas south of New York, all of Africa and Australia, parts of Asia south of Japan and Europe's Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. The threat to populated areas of land was not negligible, but fortunately the vast majority of Earth's surface area is consumed by oceans... The rocket is one of the largest objects in recent memory to strike the Earth after falling out of orbit, following a 2018 incident in which a piece of a Chinese space lab broke up over the Pacific Ocean and the 2020 reentry of an 18-metric-ton Long March 5B rocket [also launched by China].

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