Linux fréttir

Engineers Grow Pancreatic 'Organoids' That Mimic the Real Thing

Slashdot - Tue, 2021-09-14 01:25
Researchers from MIT have developed a new way to grow tiny replicas of the pancreas, using either healthy or cancerous pancreatic cells. They believe that their "specialized gel" could also be useful for studying lung, colorectal, and other cancers, including how potential cancer drugs affect tumors and their environment. The findings have been published in the journal Nature Materials. MIT reports: Using a specialized gel that mimics the extracellular environment surrounding the pancreas, the researchers were able to grow pancreatic "organoids," allowing them to study the important interactions between pancreatic tumors and their environment. Unlike some of the gels now used to grow tissue, the new MIT gel is completely synthetic, easy to assemble and can be produced with a consistent composition every time. The researchers have also shown that their new gel can be used to grow other types of tissue, including intestinal and endometrial tissue. [...] About 10 years ago, [Linda Griffith, the School of Engineering Professor of Teaching Innovation and a professor of biological engineering and mechanical engineering, and her lab] started to work on designing a synthetic gel that could be used to grow epithelial cells, which form the sheets that line most organs, along with other supportive cells. The gel they developed is based on polyethylene glycol (PEG), a polymer that is often used for medical applications because it doesn't interact with living cells. By studying the biochemical and biophysical properties of the extracellular matrix, which surrounds organs in the body, the researchers were able to identify features they could incorporate into the PEG gel to help cells grow in it. One key feature is the presence of molecules called peptide ligands, which interact with cell surface proteins called integrins. The sticky binding between ligands and integrins allows cells to adhere to the gel and form organoids. The researchers found that incorporating small synthetic peptides derived from fibronectin and collagen in their gels allowed them to grow a variety of epithelial tissues, including intestinal tissue. They showed that supportive cells called stromal cells, along with immune cells, can also thrive in this environment. In the new study, Griffith and [Claus Jorgensen, a group leader at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute] wanted to see if the gel could also be used to support the growth of normal pancreatic organoids and pancreatic tumors. Traditionally, it has been difficult to grow pancreatic tissue in a manner that replicates both the cancerous cells and the supporting environment, because once pancreatic tumor cells are removed from the body, they lose their distinctive cancerous traits. Griffith's lab developed a protocol to produce the new gel, and then teamed up with Jorgensen's lab, which studies the biology of pancreatic cancer, to test it. Jorgensen and his students were able to produce the gel and use it to grow pancreatic organoids, using healthy or cancerous pancreatic cells derived from mice. "We got the protocol from Linda and we got the reagents in, and then it just worked," Jorgensen says. "I think that speaks volumes of how robust the system is and how easy it is to implement in the lab."

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Uber Drivers Are Employees, Not Contractors, Says Dutch Court

Slashdot - Tue, 2021-09-14 00:45
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Uber drivers are employees, not contractors, and so entitled to greater workers' rights under local labor laws, a Dutch court ruled on Monday, handing a setback to the U.S. company's European business model. It was another court victory for unions fighting for better pay and benefits for those employed in the gig economy and followed a similar decision this year about Uber in Britain. The Amsterdam District Court sided with the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions (FNV), which had argued that Uber's roughly 4,000 drivers in the capital are employees of a taxi company and should be granted benefits in line with the taxi sector. The court found drivers who transport passengers via the Uber app are covered by the collective labour agreement for taxi transportation. "The legal relationship between Uber and these drivers meets all the characteristics of an employment contract," the ruling said. Uber drivers are in some cases entitled to back pay, the court said. The judges also ordered Uber to pay a fine of 50,000 euros ($58,940) for failing to implement the terms of the labor agreement for taxi drivers. Uber said it would appeal against the decision and "has no plans to employ drivers in the Netherlands." They added: "We are disappointed with this decision because we know that the overwhelming majority of drivers wish to remain independent. Drivers don't want to give up their freedom to choose if, when and where to work." Last November, Uber, Lyft and other gig economy companies scored a decisive win in California when a majority of the state's voters passed a company-sponsored ballot measure that cemented workers' status as contractors, albeit with some benefits.

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Kape Technologies Agrees to Buy ExpressVPN for $936 Million

Slashdot - Tue, 2021-09-14 00:20
Kape Technologies Plc agreed to buy ExpressVPN in a $936 million deal that will more than double the cybersecurity company's customer base and expand its tools for private web surfing. Bloomberg reports: Kape will pay $354 million in cash when the deal closes and the equivalent of $237 million in shares, which can be sold after a 24-month lockup, the company said in a statement on Monday. Another $345 million in cash will be paid in two installments, 12 months and 24 months after the close. The deal still needs approval from regulators.

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NASA's Perseverance rover nabs two Martian rock samples for scientists on Earth to study one day

TheRegister - Tue, 2021-09-14 00:08
Too early to confirm ancient alien life, but a 'potentially habitable sustained environment,' though...

NASA scientists can breathe a sigh of relief now that Perseverance has successfully collected not one but two Martian rock specimens, after its first attempt to obtain and store a sample failed.…

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Sony Is Nickel-and-Diming PS5 Owners On Upgrades For Games They Already Own

Slashdot - Tue, 2021-09-14 00:02
According to Insider, Sony is charging a $10 upgrade fee to bring cross-generational games from a PS4 to a PS5. From the report: When new game consoles launch nowadays, a variety of games on that new console are also available on the previous generation of consoles. The next major PlayStation 5 exclusive game, for instance, is also headed to the PlayStation 4: "Horizon Forbidden West" launches in early 2022, and millions of players will get it on the last generation console. [..] Unfortunately, when PlayStation 4 owners do finally find and purchase a PlayStation 5, those cross-generational games don't automatically make the leap with them. Instead, Sony intends to charge $10 apiece for that upgrade -- and that's only after fans criticized Sony for an even stranger policy. "Thursday was to be a celebration of 'Horizon Forbidden West' and the amazing team at Guerrilla working to deliver it on February 18, 2022," PlayStation leader Jim Ryan said in an update on a Sony blog post earlier this month. "However, it's abundantly clear that the offerings we confirmed in our pre-order kickoff missed the mark." Ryan was referring to a previously announced pre-order announcement for "Horizon Forbidden West" that revealed the only way to get both the PS4 and PS5 versions of the game was to order an $80 "digital deluxe" edition -- a $20 increase over the base level $60 price of a PS4 video game. Sony had previously announced that any PlayStation 5 games in the "launch window" would only need to be purchased on one console to own both the PS4 and PS5 versions. "Horizon Forbidden West" has been delayed repeatedly, which pushed it out of the ambiguous "launch window" Sony set for the PlayStation 5 (which launched in November 2020). When PlayStation fans cited this, Sony caved. Moreover, Ryan laid out a clear upgrade path for the future -- albeit one that's still open to scrutiny. "Moving forward, PlayStation first-party exclusive cross-gen titles (newly releasing on PS4 & PS5) -- both digital and physical -- will offer a $10 USD digital upgrade option from PS4 to PS5," Ryan said. "This will apply to the next 'God of War' and 'Gran Turismo 7,' and any other exclusive cross-gen PS4 & PS5 title published by Sony Interactive Entertainment." Microsoft's policy, on the other hand, states that if you owned a game on a previous Xbox console, you own it on the current consoles. If there's a newer version of that game for your newer console, that's the version you get when you buy and download the game.

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A Horrifying New AI App Swaps Women Into Porn Videos With a Click

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-09-13 23:20
Karen Hao, reporting for MIT Technology Review: The website is eye-catching for its simplicity. Against a white backdrop, a giant blue button invites visitors to upload a picture of a face. Below the button, four AI-generated faces allow you to test the service. Above it, the tag line boldly proclaims the purpose: turn anyone into a porn star by using deepfake technology to swap the person's face into an adult video. All it requires is the picture and the push of a button. MIT Technology Review has chosen not to name the service, which we will call Y, or use any direct quotes and screenshots of its contents, to avoid driving traffic to the site. It was discovered and brought to our attention by deepfake researcher Henry Ajder, who has been tracking the evolution and rise of synthetic media online. For now, Y exists in relative obscurity, with a small user base actively giving the creator development feedback in online forums. But researchers have feared that an app like this would emerge, breaching an ethical line no other service has crossed before. From the beginning, deepfakes, or AI-generated synthetic media, have primarily been used to create pornographic representations of women, who often find this psychologically devastating. The original Reddit creator who popularized the technology face-swapped female celebrities' faces into porn videos. To this day, the research company Sensity AI estimates, between 90% and 95% of all online deepfake videos are nonconsensual porn, and around 90% of those feature women.

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Apple emergency patches fix zero-click iMessage bug used to inject NSO spyware

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-09-13 23:06
Separate flaw in WebKit also under attack squashed, too – and two zero-days in Chrome, as well

Updated Apple on Monday issued security patches for its mobile and desktop operating systems, and for its WebKit browser engine, to address two security flaws, at least one of which was, it is said, used by autocratic governments to spy on human rights advocates.…

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Facebook: Some High-Profile Users 'Allowed To Break Platform's Rules'

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-09-13 22:42
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Facebook gives high-profile users special treatment, which includes immunity from its rules for some, and allowed Brazilian footballer Neymar to post nude pictures of a woman who had accused him of rape, according to a report. The XCheck or "CrossCheck" system steers reviews of posts by well-known users such as celebrities, politicians and journalists into a separate system, according to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal. Under the program, some users are "whitelisted" -- not subject to enforcement action -- while others are allowed to post material that violates Facebook rules, pending content reviews that often do not take place. People are placed on the XCheck list -- where they are given special scrutiny -- if they meet criteria such as being "newsworthy," "influential or popular" or "PR risky." Names on the XCheck program included Donald Trump, US senator Elizabeth Warren and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, although the report does not state whether those names were whitelisted at any point. By 2020 there were 5.8 million users on the XCheck list, the Wall Street Journal said. In one example cited by the WSJ, Brazilian football star Neymar responded to a rape accusation in 2019 by posting Facebook and Instagram videos defending himself, which included showing viewers his WhatsApp correspondence with his accuser. The WhatsApp clips included the accuser's name and nude photos of her. Instagram and WhatsApp are owned by Facebook. Instead of immediately deleting the material, which is Facebook's procedure for "nonconsensual intimate imagery," moderators were blocked for more than a day from removing the video, according to the WSJ. The WSJ investigation details the process known as "whitelisting," where some high-profile accounts are not subject to enforcement at all. An internal review in 2019 stated that whitelists "pose numerous legal, compliance, and legitimacy risks for the company and harm to our community." The review found favoritism to those users to be both widespread and "not publicly defensible." "We are not actually doing what we say we do publicly," said the confidential review. It called the company's actions "a breach of trust" and added: "Unlike the rest of our community, these people can violate our standards without any consequences." According to another internal document, enforcement procedures and rule-drafting were subject to interventions from members of Facebook's public-policy team and senior executives. One 2020 memo from a Facebook data scientist added: "Facebook routinely makes exceptions for powerful actors." The WSJ also reported that the system suffered from enforcement delays that allowed posts to stay up before they were eventually prohibited. In 2020, posts being reviewed by XCheck were viewed at least 16.4 billion times before being removed. A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement: "A lot of this internal material is outdated information stitched together to create a narrative that glosses over the most important point: Facebook itself identified the issues with cross check and has been working to address them. We've made investments, built a dedicated team, and have been redesigning cross check to improve how the system operates."

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Amazon abuses dominance to keep wholesaler prices high, says DC AG in updated antitrust complaint

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-09-13 22:10
Minimum Margin Agreement policy is anticompetitive, it is claimed

Amazon has been accused of pressuring wholesalers into selling goods at inflated prices on rival marketplaces through anticompetitve agreements, thus unfairly cementing its market dominance.…

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Intuit Confirms $12 Billion Deal To Buy Mailchimp

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-09-13 22:03
It was teased earlier this month and now it's confirmed: Intuit said on Monday it would buy email marketing company Mailchimp for about $12 billion in a cash-and-stock deal. Reuters reports: The deal, expected to close by the second quarter of fiscal 2022, will be financed through cash on hand and new debt of about $4.5 billion to $5.0 billion, Intuit said. The deal for Atlanta-based Mailchimp, which operates a marketing platform for small and mid-market businesses, will help Intuit expand its product base for small businesses. California-based Intuit's products include TurboTax, a software that helps Americans file income tax returns, and QuickBooks, a cloud-based application that helps small businesses manage payments.

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Facebook Unveils Superpack, a New Compression Technique

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-09-13 21:25
An anonymous reader writes: Facebook unveiled a new compression technique they call 'Superpack compression.' In a blog post written by software engineer Sapan Bhatia, they claim that their compression improves Android app size by 20% over the default Zip compression used by Android. The post gives an overview of the compression ideas. The basis of these ideas is called out to be a key insight in Kolmogorov Complexity, that any data can be represented in the form of programs that generate that data. Facebook's tool, Superpack, mines out such small programs and optimizes them using compiler techniques.

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The IT Talent Gap is Still Growing

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-09-13 20:45
IT executives see the talent shortage as the most significant adoption barrier to 64% of emerging technologies, according to a new Gartner survey. From a report: Across compute infrastructure and platform services, network, security, digital workplace, IT automation, and storage and database, respondents cited a lack of qualified candidates as a leading factor impeding tech deployment at their companies. "The ongoing push toward remote work and the acceleration of hiring plans in 2021 has exacerbated IT talent scarcity, especially for sourcing skills that enable cloud and edge, automation, and continuous delivery," Gartner research VP Yinuo Geng said in a press release. "As one example, of all the IT automation technologies profiled in the survey, only 20% of them have moved ahead in the adoption cycle since 2020. The issue of talent is to blame here." The talent gaps are particularly acute for IT automation and digital workplace solutions, according to the executives surveyed -- a reflection of the demand for these technologies. According to McKinsey, nearly half of executives say their embrace of automation has accelerated, while digital and technology adoption is taking place about 25 times faster than before the pandemic. For example, Brain Corp reported that the use of robots to clean retail stores in the U.S. rose 24% in Q2 2020 year-over-year, and IBM has seen a surge in new users of its AI-driven customer service platform Watson Assistant.

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How a glitch in the Matrix led to apps potentially exposing encrypted chats

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-09-13 20:22
Forget Agent Smith, we want to see Neo fighting implementation bugs

The Matrix.org Foundation, which oversees the Matrix decentralized communication protocol, said on Monday multiple Matrix clients and libraries contain a vulnerability that can potentially be abused to expose encrypted messages.…

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Apple Patches a NSO Zero-Day Flaw Affecting All Devices

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-09-13 20:00
Apple has released security updates for a newly discovered zero-day vulnerability that affects every iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. Citizen Lab, which discovered the vulnerability and was credited with the find, urges users to immediately update their devices. From a report: The technology giant said iOS 14.8 for iPhones and iPads, as well as new updates for Apple Watch and macOS, will fix at least one vulnerability that it said "may have been actively exploited." Citizen Lab said it has now discovered new artifacts of the ForcedEntry vulnerability, details it first revealed in August as part of an investigation into the use of a zero-day vulnerability that was used to silently hack into iPhones belonging to at least one Bahraini activist. Last month, Citizen Lab said the zero day flaw -- named as such since it gives companies zero days to roll out a fix -- took advantage of a flaw in Apple's iMessage, which was exploited to push the Pegasus spyware, developed by Israeli firm NSO Group, to the activist's phone. Pegasus gives its government customers near-complete access to a target's device, including their personal data, photos, messages and location.

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NYC subway SNAFU probably caused by someone turning it off accidentally, say reports

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-09-13 19:30
OK, so you're halfway there. Now have you tried switching the network back on again?

An outage that knocked out half of New York's subway system and left hundreds of passengers stuck in tunnels was likely caused by someone in a control centre pressing the wrong button and turning off part of the network, according to reports by New York Governor Kathy Hochul.…

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Firm Raises $15 Million To Bring Back Woolly Mammoth From Extinction

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-09-13 19:25
Ten thousand years after woolly mammoths vanished from the face of the Earth, scientists are embarking on an ambitious project to bring the beasts back to the Arctic tundra. From a report: The prospect of recreating mammoths and returning them to the wild has been discussed -- seriously at times -- for more than a decade, but on Monday researchers announced fresh funding they believe could make their dream a reality. The boost comes in the form of $15m raised by the bioscience and genetics company Colossal, co-founded by Ben Lamm, a tech and software entrepreneur, and George Church, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School who has pioneered new approaches to gene editing. The scientists have set their initial sights on creating an elephant-mammoth hybrid by making embryos in the laboratory that carry mammoth DNA. The starting point for the project involves taking skin cells from Asian elephants, which are threatened with extinction, and reprogramming them into more versatile stem cells that carry mammoth DNA. The particular genes that are responsible for mammoth hair, insulating fat layers and other cold climate adaptions are identified by comparing mammoth genomes extracted from animals recovered from the permafrost with those from the related Asian elephants. These embryos would then be carried to term in a surrogate mother or potentially in an artificial womb. If all goes to plan -- and the hurdles are far from trivial -- the researchers hope to have their first set of calves in six years.

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EU open source study highlights economic benefits but says Union is 'on the back foot' with industrial policy

TheRegister - Mon, 2021-09-13 18:45
'There is already too much time gone' researcher tells The Reg

Interview A new EU study of the economic impact of open source has mixed news. The economic benefits are huge, it said, but the EU is "on the back foot" when it comes to implementation.…

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Brazil's President Bans Social Networks From Removing Some Posts

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-09-13 18:45
President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil is temporarily banning social media companies from removing certain content, including his claims that the only way he'll lose next year's elections is if the vote is rigged -- one of the most significant steps by a democratically elected leader to control what can be said on the internet. From a report: The new social media rules, issued this week and effective immediately, appear to be the first time a national government has stopped internet companies from taking down content that violates their rules, according to internet law experts and officials at tech companies. And they come at a precarious moment for Brazil. Mr. Bolsonaro has used social media as a megaphone to build his political movement and make it to the president's office. Now, with polls showing he would lose the presidential elections if they were held today, he is using sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to try to undermine the legitimacy of the vote, following the playbook of his close ally, former President Donald J. Trump. On Tuesday, Mr. Bolsonaro repeated his claims about the election to thousands of supporters in two cities as part of nationwide demonstrations on Brazil's Independence Day.

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Inside the Shadowy World of Disinformation-for-Hire in Kenya

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-09-13 18:05
New research by Mozilla Fellows Odanga Madung and Brian Obilo reveals that Kenyan journalists, judges, and other members of civil society are facing coordinated disinformation campaigns on Twitter -- and that Twitter is doing very little to stop it. Highlights of the investigation include: Disinformation campaigns are a lucrative business. One interviewee revealed that disinformation influencers are paid roughly between $10 and $15 USD to participate in three campaigns per day. Payments are made directly to the influencers through the mobile money platform MPESA. Twitter's trending algorithm is amplifying these campaigns, and Twitter is placing ads amid all this misinformation. Eight of the 11 campaigns examined reached the trending section of Twitter. The campaigners we spoke to told us that this is their number one target, as it affords them the amplification they seek. These campaigns run like a well-oiled machine. One of the influencers who researchers spoke to explained a complex system of using Whatsapp groups to coordinate and synchronize tweets and messaging. Anonymous organizers use these groups to send influencers cash, content, and detailed instructions. These campaigns are increasingly targeting individuals. No longer focusing on just broad issues and events, disinformation campaigns are increasingly identifying and targeting individuals, like members of the Linda Katiba movement and the Kenyan judiciary. This work is also beginning to border on incitement and advocacy of hatred, which is against Kenyan Law. Verified accounts are complicit. One influencer we spoke to claimed that the people who own coveted "blue check" accounts will often rent them out for disinformation campaigns. These verified accounts can improve the campaign's chances of trending.

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Technology Giant Olympus Hit by BlackMatter Ransomware

Slashdot - Mon, 2021-09-13 17:33
Olympus said in a brief statement that it is "currently investigating a potential cybersecurity incident" affecting its European, Middle East and Africa computer network. From a report: "Upon detection of suspicious activity, we immediately mobilized a specialized response team including forensics experts, and we are currently working with the highest priority to resolve this issue. As part of the investigation, we have suspended data transfers in the affected systems and have informed the relevant external partners," the statement said. But according to a person with knowledge of the incident, Olympus is recovering from a ransomware attack that began in the early morning of September 8. The person shared details of the incident prior to Olympus acknowledging the incident on Saturday. A ransom note left behind on infected computers claimed to be from the BlackMatter ransomware group. "Your network is encrypted, and not currently operational," it reads. "If you pay, we will provide you the programs for decryption." The ransom note also included a web address to a site accessible only through the Tor Browser that's known to be used by BlackMatter to communicate with its victims. Brett Callow, a ransomware expert and threat analyst at Emsisoft, told TechCrunch that the site in the ransom note is associated with the BlackMatter group.

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