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A Drone Will Rescue Three Dogs Trapped By La Palma Volcanic Eruption

Slashdot - Thu, 21/10/2021 - 00:20
Three dogs that are trapped near the erupting Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Canary Islands may soon be saved by a drone. Gizmodo reports: The poor, emaciated pups have been stuck in a yard surrounded by lava for a month. The volcano began erupting in September for the first time in 50 years, forcing thousands of people to evacuate, and the eruption is still ongoing. Spanish drone operator Aerocamaras said last Thursday that it had a plan to rescue the dogs. It could fly drones over to the yard with food for the pups and a camera that could help operators on the ground find the best to airlift them. Once the animals had some time to get used to the machines, the drones would drop cargo nets over them to pick them up one by one and carry them to safety. On Wednesday, Aerocamaras' Jaime Pereira confirmed that the company had officially received permission from authorities to carry out the rescue mission. To get the state's blessing, the firm had to complete a test mission that consisted of a quarter-mile (1.2-kilometer) flight with the drone supporting a load of 33 pounds (15 kilograms), which it did successfully. Still, the mission will be treacherous. "It is very difficult, technically it is the most complicated thing we have done by far," Pereira told the Spanish broadcaster Telecinco. "We are risking a lot." For one, the cargo net for the rescue mission is designed to hold about 50 pounds (24 kilograms), enough to transport one dog at a time. The operators have to be sure to time their lift-off perfectly to avoid picking up more than one dog and having them fall. Pereira also told Reuters that the drone only has 8 minutes of battery life, meaning the trips will have to be meticulously planned and executed: The operator will have only 4 minutes to get the dog into the net, and another 4 minutes to fly them back to safe ground. "What we don't want is to run out of battery when flying over the lava," he said. The expedition will mark a series of high-stakes first. "It's the first time an animal is being rescued with a drone and the first time it has to be captured," Pereira told Reuters.

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Investors Use AI To Analyze CEOs' Language Patterns and Tone

Slashdot - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 23:40
CEOs and other managers are increasingly under the microscope as some investors use artificial intelligence to learn and analyze their language patterns and tone, opening up a new frontier of opportunities to slip up. Reuters reports: In late 2020, according to language pattern software specialist Evan Schnidman, some executives in the IT industry were playing down the possibility of semiconductor chip shortages while discussing supply-chain disruptions. All was fine, they said. Yet the tone of their speech showed high levels of uncertainty, according to an algorithmic analysis designed to spot hidden clues in -- ideally unscripted -- spoken words. "We found that IT sector executives' tone was inconsistent with the positive textual sentiment of their remarks," said Schnidman, who advises two fintech companies behind the analysis. Within months of the comments, companies including Volkswagen and Ford were warning about a severe shortage of chips hitting output. Share prices in auto and industrial firms fell. IT executives now said there was a supply squeeze. Schnidman holds that computer-driven quant funds accessing scores assigned to the tone of the managers' words, versus scores assigned to the written words, would have been better positioned before the industry turmoil. Some investors nonetheless see the technology -- known as natural language processing (NLP) -- as one new tool to gain an edge over rivals, according to Reuters interviews with 11 fund managers that are using or trialling such systems. They say traditional financial data and corporate statements are so heavily mined nowadays that they offer little value.

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Uncle Sam to clip wings of Pegasus-like spyware – sorry, 'intrusion software' – with proposed export controls

The Register - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 23:09
Surveillance tech faces trade limits as America syncs policy with treaty obligations

More than six years after proposing export restrictions on "intrusion software," the US Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has formulated a rule that it believes balances the latitude required to investigate cyber threats with the need to limit dangerous code.…

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Man Arrested For Uncensoring Japanese Porn With AI In First Deepfake Case

Slashdot - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 23:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Japanese police on Monday arrested a 43-year-old man for using artificial intelligence to effectively unblur pixelated porn videos, in the first criminal case in the country involving the exploitative use of the powerful technology. Masayuki Nakamoto, who runs his own website in the southern prefecture of Hyogo, lifted images of porn stars from Japanese adult videos and doctored them with the same method used to create realistic face swaps in deepfake videos. But instead of changing faces, Nakamoto used machine learning software to reconstruct the blurred parts of the video based on a large set of uncensored nudes and sold the content online. Penises and vaginas are pixelated in Japanese porn because an obscenity law forbids the explicit depictions of genitalia. Nakamoto reportedly made about $96,000 by selling over 10,000 manipulated videos, though he was arrested specifically for selling 10 fake photos at about $20 each. Nakamoto pleaded guilty to charges of copyright violation and displaying obscene images and said he did it for money, according to NHK. He was caught when police conducted a "cyber patrol," the Japanese broadcaster reported. "This is the first case in Japan where police have caught an AI user," Daisuke Sueyoshi, a lawyer who's tried cybercrime cases, told VICE World News. "At the moment, there's no law criminalizing the use of AI to make such images." For example, Nakamoto was not charged with any offenses for violating the privacy of the actors in the videos.

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FDA Approves Mixing COVID Vaccines

Slashdot - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 22:27
U.S. regulators on Wednesday signed off on extending COVID-19 boosters to Americans who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine and said anyone eligible for an extra dose can get a brand different from the one they received initially. The Associated Press reports: The Food and Drug Administration's decisions mark a big step toward expanding the U.S. booster campaign, which began with extra doses of the Pfizer vaccine last month. But before more people roll up their sleeves, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will consult an expert panel later this week before finalizing official recommendations for who should get boosters and when. The latest moves would expand by tens of millions the number of Americans eligible for boosters and formally allow "mixing and matching" of shots -- making it simpler to get another dose, especially for people who had a side effect from one brand but still want the proven protection of vaccination. Specifically, the FDA authorized a third Moderna shot for seniors and others at high risk from COVID-19 because of their health problems, jobs or living conditions -- six months after their last shot. One big change: Moderna's booster will be half the dose that's used for the first two shots, based on company data showing that was plenty to rev up immunity again. For J&J's single-shot vaccine, the FDA said all U.S. recipients should get a second dose at least two months following their initial vaccination.

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Global IT spending to hit $4.5 trillion in 2022, says Gartner

The Register - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 22:03
The future's bright, and expensive

Corporate technology soothsayer Gartner is forecasting worldwide IT spending will hit $4.5tr in 2022, up 5.5 per cent from 2021.…

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Google Removes Support for FTP and Old-gen U2F Security Keys in Chrome 95

Slashdot - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 21:41
Google today released Chrome v95, the latest version of its popular web browser and a version that contains several changes that will likely cause problems for a considerable part of its users. The problematic changes include: removing support for File Transfer Protocol (FTP) URLs -- ftp:// removing support for the Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) standard, used in old-generation security keys (Chrome will only support FIDO2/WebAuth security keys going forward) adding file size limits for browser cookies removing support for URLs with non-IPv4 hostnames ending in numbers, such as http://example.0.1 In addition to breaking changes, Chrome 95 also comes with a new UI component called the "Side Panel," which can be used to view the Chrome browser's Reading List and Bookmarks.

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Facebook is Planning To Rebrand the Company With a New Name

Slashdot - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 21:03
Facebook is planning to change its company name next week to reflect its focus on building the metaverse, The Verge reports, citing an unnamed source. From the report: The coming name change, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to talk about at the company's annual Connect conference on October 28th, but could unveil sooner, is meant to signal the tech giant's ambition to be known for more than social media and all the ills that entail. The rebrand would likely position the blue Facebook app as one of many products under a parent company overseeing groups like Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and more.

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Memory maker Micron moots $150bn mega manufacturing moneybag

The Register - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 20:55
AI and 5G to fuel demand for new plants and R&D

Chip giant Micron has announced a $150bn global investment plan designed to support manufacturing and research over the next decade.…

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Giant Retailers Pledge To Leave Fossil-fueled Ships Behind

Slashdot - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 20:22
Major retailers, including Amazon and Ikea, are beginning to clean up their shipping pollution. From a report: A group of companies pledged yesterday that by 2040, they'll only contract ships using zero-carbon fuels to move their goods. Both Ikea and Amazon were among the 15 companies responsible for the most maritime import pollution in 2019, according to one recent analysis. Joining Amazon and Ikea in the commitment are Unilever, Michelin, and clothing retailer Inditex, which owns Zara and other brands. German retailer Tchibo, Patagonia, sports gear company Brooks Running, and FrogBikes are part of the deal, too. The aim is to leave behind heavy fuel oil in favor of alternatives that don't release planet-heating carbon dioxide emissions. But there will still be plenty of hurdles ahead to rein in shipping pollution. "This will be a catalyzing force and a game-changer for the industry to really push for the decarbonization of the sector," says Kendra Ulrich, shipping campaigns director at the environmental nonprofit Stand.earth, which was one of the authors of the 2019 import pollution report.

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China to allow overseas investment in VPNs but Beijing keeps control of the generally discouraged tech

The Register - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 20:03
Foreign ownership capped at 50%

After years of restricting the use and ownership of VPNs, Beijing has agreed to let foreign entities hold up to a 50 per cent stake in domestic VPN companies.…

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Eco-friendly, Lab-grown Coffee is On the Way, But It Comes With a Catch

Slashdot - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 19:44
Beanless brews can cut deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions dramatically -- but what will happen to workers in traditional coffee-growing regions? From a report: Heiko Rischer isn't quite sure how to describe the taste of lab-grown coffee. This summer he sampled one of the first batches in the world produced from cell cultures rather than coffee beans. "To describe it is difficult but, for me, it was in between a coffee and a black tea," said Rischer, head of plant biotechnology at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, which developed the coffee. "It depends really on the roasting grade, and this was a bit of a lighter roast, so it had a little bit more of a tea-like sensation." Rischer couldn't swallow the coffee, as this cellular agriculture innovation is not yet approved for public consumption. Instead, he swirled the liquid around in his mouth and spit it out. He predicts that VTT's lab-grown coffee could get regulatory approval in Europe and the US in about four years' time, paving the way for a commercialized product that could have a much lower climate impact than conventional coffee. The coffee industry is both a contributor to the climate crisis and very vulnerable to its effects. Rising demand for coffee has been linked to deforestation in developing nations, damaging biodiversity and releasing carbon emissions. At the same time, coffee producers are struggling with the impacts of more extreme weather, from frosts to droughts. It's estimated that half of the land used to grow coffee could be unproductive by 2050 due to the climate crisis. In response to the industry's challenges, companies and scientists are trying to develop and commercialize coffee made without coffee beans. VTT's coffee is grown by floating cell cultures in bioreactors filled with a nutrient. The process requires no pesticides and has a much lower water footprint, said Rischer, and because the coffee can be produced in local markets, it cuts transport emissions. The company is working on a life cycle analysis of the process. "Once we have those figures, we will be able to show that the environmental impact will be much lower than what we have with conventional cultivation," Rischer said.

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China's VPN Market Now Open To Foreign Investment

Slashdot - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 19:06
The central government of China in Beijing has announced a decision to allow foreign entities to invest in the ownership of VPN (virtual private network) services in the country. From a report: Under this new policy, foreign investors can only own up to 50% of China-based VPN companies. This allows China to retain state control over local and approved products while still offering a significant incentive for investment. Apart from VPNs, the policy update also includes changes in the investment caps on information services for app stores, internet connection services, and more. This comes as somewhat of a surprise for a country that has been fighting foreign VPNs for years now, hindering their presence in China and imposing fines and other penalties to users who ignored the banning orders.

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We don’t want to be critical, but humans alone aren’t enough to protect your ICS

The Register - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 19:00
If you want to know the solution, join this Regcast

Sponsored  We know for sure that ransomware attackers and sundry dark forces want to break into critical infrastructure. Ransomware attacks on industrial environments have increased by 500 per cent since 2018.…

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Mark Zuckerberg Has Been Added To a DC Lawsuit Over the Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Slashdot - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 18:25
District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine is adding Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to a lawsuit over the Cambridge Analytica data-mining scandal. From a report: Racine announced the addition on Twitter this morning, saying his investigation had revealed that Zuckerberg was "personally involved in decisions related to Cambridge Analytica and Facebook's failure to protect user data." The 2018 lawsuit accuses Facebook (and now Zuckerberg) of misrepresenting its policies around third-party data access and compromising user privacy with lax protections. The attorney general's office alleges that Facebook violated the Consumer Protection Procedures Act and seeks civil damages for the offense. A judge allowed the case to proceed despite Facebook's efforts to halt it in 2019.

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Sinclair Broadcast Hack Linked To Notorious Russian Cybergang

Slashdot - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 18:05
A weekend cyberattack against Sinclair Broadcast Group was linked to one of the most infamous Russian cybergangs, called Evil Corp, Bloomberg reports. From the report: The Sinclair hackers used malware called Macaw, a variant of ransomware known as WastedLocker. Both Macaw and WastedLocker were created by Evil Corp., according to the two people, who requested anonymity to discuss confidential matters. Evil Corp. was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2019. Since then, it has been accused by cybersecurity experts of rebranding in an attempt to avoid the sanctions. People in the U.S. are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with sanctioned entities, including paying a ransom. "Sinclair appears to have been hit by Macaw ransomware, a relatively new strain first reported in early October," said Allan Liska, a senior threat analyst at the cybersecurity firm Recorded Future Inc. "There have not been any other Macaw victims publicly reported."

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Microsoft unveils Android apps for Windows 11 (for US users only)

The Register - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 18:01
Windows Insiders get their hands on the Windows Subsystem for Android

Microsoft has further teased the arrival of the Windows Subsystem for Android by detailing how the platform will work via a newly published document for Windows Insiders.…

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Software Freedom Conservancy sues TV maker Vizio for GPL infringement

The Register - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 17:05
Companies using GPL software should meet their obligations, lawsuit says

The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), a non-profit which supports and defends free software, has taken legal action against Californian TV manufacturer Vizio Inc, claiming "repeated failures to fulfill even the basic requirements of the General Public License (GPL)."…

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PayPal Exploring a Purchase of Pinterest, Valuing Social Media Firm at $39 Billion

Slashdot - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 16:58
PayPal is exploring an acquisition of social media company Pinterest, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday. From a report: San Jose, California-based PayPal has recently approached Pinterest about a potential deal, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. The companies have discussed a potential price of around $70 a share, which would value Pinterest at roughly $39 billion, one of the people said.

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Micron To Build $7 Billion Plant in Japan To Expand DRAM Production

Slashdot - Wed, 20/10/2021 - 16:25
U.S. memory chip maker Micron Technology will build a new factory at its Japanese production site in Hiroshima at a cost of 800 billion yen ($7.0 billion), the Nikkan Kogyo newspaper reported on Wednesday. Reuters: The new facility will make DRAM chips, which are widely used in data centres, with production set to begin in 2024, the report said, without citing sources. COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home demand for electronic devices is causing shortages of non-memory chips that has forced some manufacturers, such as automakers and smartphone makers, to curtail production. That has also reduced sales of DRAM memory chips, but some industry watchers expect demand to rebound helped by an expansion of data centres.

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