Geek

Radical Hydrogen-Boron Reactor Leapfrogs Current Nuclear Fusion Tech

Slashdot - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 21:02
HB11 Energy, a spin-out company originating at the University of New South Wales, claims its hydrogen-boron fusion technology is already working a billion times better than expected. Along with this announcement, the company also announced a swag of patents through Japan, China and the USA protecting its unique approach to fusion energy generation. New Atlas reports: The results of decades of research by Emeritus Professor Heinrich Hora, HB11's approach to fusion does away with rare, radioactive and difficult fuels like tritium altogether -- as well as those incredibly high temperatures. Instead, it uses plentiful hydrogen and boron B-11, employing the precise application of some very special lasers to start the fusion reaction. Here's how HB11 describes its "deceptively simple" approach: the design is "a largely empty metal sphere, where a modestly sized HB11 fuel pellet is held in the center, with apertures on different sides for the two lasers. One laser establishes the magnetic containment field for the plasma and the second laser triggers the 'avalanche' fusion chain reaction. The alpha particles generated by the reaction would create an electrical flow that can be channeled almost directly into an existing power grid with no need for a heat exchanger or steam turbine generator." HB11's Managing Director Dr. Warren McKenzie clarifies over the phone: "A lot of fusion experiments are using the lasers to heat things up to crazy temperatures -- we're not. We're using the laser to massively accelerate the hydrogen through the boron sample using non-linear forced. You could say we're using the hydrogen as a dart, and hoping to hit a boron , and if we hit one, we can start a fusion reaction. That's the essence of it. If you've got a scientific appreciation of temperature, it's essentially the speed of atoms moving around. Creating fusion using temperature is essentially randomly moving atoms around, and hoping they'll hit one another, our approach is much more precise." He continues: "The hydrogen/boron fusion creates a couple of helium atoms. They're naked heliums, they don't have electrons, so they have a positive charge. We just have to collect that charge. Essentially, the lack of electrons is a product of the reaction and it directly creates the current." The lasers themselves rely upon cutting-edge "Chirped Pulse Amplification" technology, the development of which won its inventors the 2018 Nobel prize in Physics. Much smaller and simpler than any of the high-temperature fusion generators, HB11 says its generators would be compact, clean and safe enough to build in urban environments. There's no nuclear waste involved, no superheated steam, and no chance of a meltdown. "This is brand new," Professor Hora tells us. "10-petawatt power laser pulses. It's been shown that you can create fusion conditions without hundreds of millions of degrees. This is completely new knowledge. I've been working on how to accomplish this for more than 40 years. It's a unique result. Now we have to convince the fusion people -- it works better than the present day hundred million degree thermal equilibrium generators. We have something new at hand to make a drastic change in the whole situation. A substitute for carbon as our energy source. A radical new situation and a new hope for energy and the climate."

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Diatrus to release a Cydia fork for checkra1n & unc0ver that works with Sileo

iDownloadBlog - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 21:00

Diatrus says that he will soon release a Cydia fork that can run alongside Sileo on the checkra1n jailbreak. This should be interesting...
Categories: Geek

Scientists Condemn Conspiracy Theories About Origin of Coronavirus Outbreak

Slashdot - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 20:25
hackingbear writes: A group of 27 prominent public health scientists from outside China, who have studied SARS-CoV-2 and "overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife" just like many other viruses that have recently emerged in humans, is pushing back against a steady stream of stories and even a scientific paper suggesting a laboratory in Wuhan, China, may be the origin of the outbreak of COVID-19. "The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumors and misinformation around its origins," the scientists, from nine countries, write in a statement published online by The Lancet . Many posts on social media have singled out the Wuhan Institute of Virology for intense scrutiny because it has a laboratory at the highest security level -- biosafety level 4 -- and its researchers study coronaviruses from bats; speculations have included the possibility that the virus was bioengineered in the lab or that a lab worker was infected while handling a bat. Researchers from the institute have insisted there is no link between the outbreak and their laboratory. Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance and a cosignatory of the statement, has collaborated with researchers at the Wuhan institute who study bat coronaviruses. "We're in the midst of the social media misinformation age, and these rumors and conspiracy theories have real consequences, including threats of violence that have occurred to our colleagues in China."

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US Defense Agency That Secures Trump's Communications Confirms Data Breach

Slashdot - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 19:45
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Forbes: The Department of Defense agency responsible for securing the communications of President Trump has suffered a data breach. Here's what is known so far. The U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) describes itself as a combat support agency of the Department of Defense (DoD) and is tasked with the responsibility for supporting secure White House communications, including those of President Trump. As well as overseeing Trump's secure calls technology, DISA also establishes and supports communications networks in combat zones and takes care of military cyber-security issues. It has also confirmed a data breach of its network, which exposed data affecting as many as 200,000 users. First picked up by Reuters, disclosure letters dated February 11 have been sent out to those whose personal data may have been compromised. Although it is not clear which specific servers have been breached, nor the nature of the users to whom the letters have been sent, that an agency with a vision to "connect and protect the war-fighter in cyberspace" should suffer such an incident is concerning, to say the least. While many of the details surrounding this breach are likely to remain, understandably, confidential, given the nature of the DISA work, the letter itself has already been published on Twitter by one recipient. Signed by Roger S. Greenwell, the chief information officer at DISA, the letter revealed the breach took place between May and July last year, and information including social security numbers may have been compromised as a result. It also stated that there is no evidence that any personally identifiable information (PII) has been misused as a result. The letter does, however, confirm that DISA will be offering free credit monitoring services to those who want it.

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Gopher's Rise and Fall Shows How Much We Lost When Monopolists Stole the Net

Slashdot - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 19:23
Science-fiction writer, journalist and longtime Slashdot reader, Cory Doctorow, a.k.a. mouthbeef, writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) just published the latest installment in my case histories of "adversarial interoperability" -- once the main force that kept tech competitive. Today, I tell the story of Gopher, the web's immediate predecessor, which burrowed under the mainframe systems' guardians and created a menu-driven interface to campus resources, then the whole internet. Gopher ruled until browser vendors swallowed Gopherspace whole, incorporating it by turning gopher:// into a way to access anything on any Gopher server. Gopher served as the booster rocket that helped the web attain a stable orbit. But the tools that Gopher used to crack open the silos, and the moves that the web pulled to crack open Gopher, are radioactively illegal today. If you wanted do to Facebook what Gopher did to the mainframes, you would be pulverized by the relentless grinding of software patents, terms of service, anticircumvention law, bullshit theories about APIs being copyrightable. Big Tech blames "network effects" for its monopolies -- but that's a counsel of despair. If impersonal forces (and not anticompetitive bullying) are what keeps tech big then there's no point in trying to make it small. Big Tech's critics swallow this line, demanding that Big Tech be given state-like duties to police user conduct -- duties that require billions and total control to perform, guaranteeing tech monopolists perpetual dominance. But the lesson of Gopher is that adversarial interoperability is judo for network effects.

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Company Buying<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.Org Offers To Sign a Contract Banning Price Hikes

Slashdot - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 19:02
Ethos Capital, the company controversially buying the .org top-level domain, says it will sign legally binding agreements banning steep fee increases for nonprofit domain holders and establishing an independent "stewardship council" that could veto attempts at censorship or inappropriate data use. "The rules would kick in if Ethos successfully acquires Public Interest Registry (PIR), a nonprofit organization that manages .org," reports The Verge. From the report: ICANN, which oversees the internet's top-level domains, is currently scrutinizing the acquisition. President and CEO Goran Marby previously expressed discomfort with the deal, and PIR announced today that it's extending the review period until March 20th. ICANN hasn't yet taken a position on the latest proposal. "We are in the process [of] analyzing the information we have received and therefore have no comment beyond the fact that we welcome Ethos' efforts to engage with the Internet Society community and .org customers, and look forward to the outcome of those discussions," said Marby in a statement to The Verge. PIR said it would "continue to work collaboratively" to address any outstanding issues with ICANN. In addition to the details above, Ethos and PIR committed to creating a "Community Enablement Fund" to support .org initiatives, and PIR promised to publish an annual transparency report. The price restrictions, meanwhile, would forbid Ethos from raising domain registration and renewal fees by more than 10 percent per year (on average) for the next eight years. Ethos and PIR's press release quotes Sullivan praising the new agreements. "Ethos shows that it has been listening to the questions some have raised. Ethos has responded by embedding its commitments on pricing, censorship and data use policies in a legally-binding contract, and giving ICANN and the community the ability to hold Ethos to its commitments," says the statement.

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9to5Rewards: Win iPhone 11 + Flash USB-C charger preorder deal [Giveaway]

9to5Mac - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 18:48

There’s just one week left to enter our iPhone 11 giveaway courtesy of Chargeasap. You can also still get the company’s new Flash 150W USB-C Powerbank & Wireless Charger at a special preorder price ahead of its launch for a limited time:

Preorder the Flash by Chargeasap now for $139 (Reg $299)

Head below to enter the giveaway:

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The post 9to5Rewards: Win iPhone 11 + Flash USB-C charger preorder deal [Giveaway] appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

AT&amp;T Loses Key Ruling In Class Action Over Unlimited-Data Throttling

Slashdot - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 18:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: AT&T's mandatory-arbitration clause is unenforceable in a class-action case over AT&T's throttling of unlimited data, a panel of U.S. appeals court judges ruled this week. The nearly five-year-old case has gone through twists and turns, with AT&T's forced-arbitration clause initially being upheld in March 2016. If that decision had stood, the customers would have been forced to have any complaints heard individually in arbitration. But an April 2017 decision by the California Supreme Court in a different case effectively changed the state's arbitration law, causing a U.S. District Court judge to revive the class action in March 2018. AT&T appealed that ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, but a three-judge panel at that court rejected AT&T's appeal in a ruling issued Tuesday. Judges said they must follow the California Supreme Court decision -- known as the McGill rule -- which held that an agreement, like AT&T's, that waives public injunctive relief in any forum is contrary to California public policy and unenforceable." AT&T claimed that the Federal Arbitration Act preempts the California law, but the appeals court had already ruled in Blair [another case involving the McGill rule] that this federal law doesn't preempt the McGill rule. The judges were also not persuaded by AT&T's argument that the court "abused its discretion in reconsidering its initial order compelling arbitration."

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Slickwraps Data Breach Exposing Financial and Customer Info

Slashdot - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 18:00
Slickwraps, a mobile device case retailer, has suffered a major data breach exposing employee resumes, personal customer information, API credentials, and more. Bleeping Computer reports: In a post to Medium, a security researcher named Lynx states that in January 2020 he was able to gain full access to the Slickwraps web site using a path traversal vulnerability in an upload script used for case customizations. Using this access, Lynx stated that they were allegedly able to gain access to the resumes of employees, 9GB of personal customer photos, ZenDesk ticketing system, API credentials, and personal customer information such as hashed passwords, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and transactions. After trying to report these breaches to Slickwraps, Lynx stated they were blocked multiple times even when stating they did not want a bounty, but rather for Slickwraps to disclose the data breach. "They had no interest in accepting security advice from me. They simply blocked and ignored me," Lynx stated in the Medium post. This post has since been taken down by Medium, but is still available via archive.org. Since posting his Medium post, Lynx told BleepingComputer that another unauthorized user sent an email to 377,428 customers using Slickwraps' ZenDesk help desk system. These emails begin with "If you're reading this it's too late, we have your data" and then link to the Lynx's Medium post. [...] In a statement posted to their Twitter account, Slickwraps CEO Jonathan Endicott has apologized for the data breach and promises to do better in the future. In the statement, though, Endicott says they first learned about this today, February 21st, while Lynx stated and showed screenshots of attempts to contact both Endicott via email and Slickwraps on Twitter prior to today.

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FBI Recommends Passphrases Over Password Complexity

Slashdot - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 17:40
An anonymous reader shares a report: For more than a decade now, security experts have had discussions about what's the best way of choosing passwords for online accounts. There's one camp that argues for password complexity by adding numbers, uppercase letters, and special characters, and then there's the other camp, arguing for password length by making passwords longer. This week, in its weekly tech advice column known as Tech Tuesday, the FBI Portland office leaned on the side of longer passwords. "Instead of using a short, complex password that is hard to remember, consider using a longer passphrase," the FBI said. "This involves combining multiple words into a long string of at least 15 characters," it added. "The extra length of a passphrase makes it harder to crack while also making it easier for you to remember."

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Bring back your Mac’s startup chime with this simple terminal command

9to5Mac - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 17:22

Apple’s Mac startup chime became an iconic signature of the company’s computers over the years and then in late 2016, it was removed for all Macs going forward with the exception of the 2017 MacBook Air. In a fun development today, there’s a short terminal command that’s been discovered that will bring back your Mac’s startup chime.

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The post Bring back your Mac’s startup chime with this simple terminal command appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

More Bosses Give 4-Day Workweek A Try

Slashdot - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 17:05
Companies around the world are embracing what might seem like a radical idea: a four-day workweek. From a report: The concept is gaining ground in places as varied as New Zealand and Russia, and it's making inroads among some American companies. Employers are seeing surprising benefits, including higher sales and profits. The idea of a four-day workweek might sound crazy, especially in America, where the number of hours worked has been climbing and where cellphones and email remind us of our jobs 24/7. But in some places, the four-day concept is taking off like a viral meme. Many employers aren't just moving to 10-hour shifts, four days a week, as companies like Shake Shack are doing; they're going to a 32-hour week -- without cutting pay. In exchange, employers are asking their workers to get their jobs done in a compressed amount of time. Last month, a Washington state senator introduced a bill to reduce the standard workweek to 32 hours. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is backing a parliamentary proposal to shift to a four-day week. Politicians in Britain and Finland are considering something similar. In the U.S., Shake Shack started testing the idea a year and a half ago. The burger chain shortened managers' workweeks to four days at some stores and found that recruitment spiked, especially among women. Shake Shack's president, Tara Comonte, says the staff loved the perk: "Being able to take their kids to school a day a week, or one day less of having to pay for day care, for example." So the company recently expanded its trial to a third of its 164 U.S. stores. Offering that benefit required Shake Shack to find time savings elsewhere, so it switched to computer software to track supplies of ground beef, for example.

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iOS developer community survey shows completely free apps remain a popular revenue option

iDownloadBlog - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 16:32

A huge survey reaching out to the iOS developer community shows some interesting results regarding dev interest in augmented reality, and popularity of revenue models for apps.
Categories: Geek

Finnish City Espoo Pioneers Civic AI With Education and Explainability

Slashdot - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 16:25
While civic leaders believe AI could help reinvent government services, they are also aware of citizens' profound privacy concerns. To navigate this challenge, the Finnish city of Espoo is conducting experiments that mix consultations, transparency, and limited use cases to demonstrate the potential of civic AI. From a report: Espoo has already conducted AI trials that initially required overcoming technical hurdles but ultimately improved city services. Over the long-term, the city is crafting a model that places ethics at the center of its AI plans by ensuring citizens can understand how these systems work and participate in debates about their implementation. Though the plan is still very much in its early stages, the city hopes to blaze a trail that other governments can follow. "I think Finns trust the government and the public sector more than [citizens] in any country in Europe," said Tomas Lehtinen, data analyst consultant for Espoo. "We wanted to keep that trust in the future. And so we wanted to be transparent about this project for citizens, but also because many of our employees also don't understand AI."

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150K Nature Illustrations Spanning Hundreds of Years Are Now Free Online

Slashdot - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 15:45
The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) has uploaded more than 150,000 images of biological sketches, some dating back to the 15th century, onto the internet. A report adds: They're all in the public domain, and free for anyone who wants them. The images are pulled from journals, research material, and libraries, altogether more than 55 million pages of literature. BHL is "the world's largest open access digital library for biodiversity literature and archives," according to its website. On top of public domain content, BHL also works with rights holders to get permission to make copyrighted materials available under a Creative Commons license.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Largest public iOS developer survey highlights Swift’s progress, interest for each of Apple’s platforms, more

9to5Mac - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 15:21

The largest public iOS developer community survey wrapped up last month and the results are now live. Among the findings, the survey of over 2,000 Apple devs highlights how Swift is doing, how much interest there for each of Apple’s platforms, what revenue models are most popular, and much more.

more…

The post Largest public iOS developer survey highlights Swift’s progress, interest for each of Apple’s platforms, more appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Global Telcos Join Alphabet, SoftBank's Flying Cellphone Antenna Lobbying Effort

Slashdot - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 15:01
Alphabet and SoftBank's attempts to launch flying cellphone antennas high into the atmosphere have received backing from global telcos, energizing lobbying efforts aimed at driving regulatory approval for the emerging technology. From a report: Loon, which was spun out of Google parent Alphabet's business incubator, and HAPSMobile, a unit of SoftBank Group's domestic telco, plan to deliver high speed internet to remote areas by flying network equipment at high altitudes. Lobbying efforts by the two firms, which formed an alliance last year, are being joined by companies including aerospace firm Airbus, network vendors Nokia and Ericsson and telcos China Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica and Bharti Airtel.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Daily Deals: save big on Samsung devices, eero mesh Wi-Fi routers, and much more

iDownloadBlog - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 14:42

Welcome to our Daily Deals column, where we round up the best tech deals from around the web. Here you’ll find discounts on everything from Apple products to accessories, video games and much more. But you better hurry, these prices won’t be around forever!
Categories: Geek

Best Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C displays for MacBooks and iPad Pro in 2020

9to5Mac - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 14:34

We’re into 2020 and USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 display options are growing. It’s great to see Apple’s Pro Display XDR on the market but it’s likely not the best fit for the majority of users with a starting price of $5,000 without a stand. Let’s take a look at some of the best USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 displays available for MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and iPad Pro in the $400-$1,300 range.

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The post Best Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C displays for MacBooks and iPad Pro in 2020 appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

The CIA Won't Admit It Uses Slack

Slashdot - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 14:21
Given its traditional missions, which include subverting democracy around the world and providing U.S. leaders with unreliable intelligence analysis, it's understandable that the Central Intelligence Agency would be among our less transparent federal agencies. From a report: Now, though, it's gripping even more tightly to inconsequential information about what it gets up to than the ultra-secretive National Security Agency -- and for no evident reason. Last year, VICE filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking for any Slack domains in use by the CIA. The NSA, responding to a similar request, admitted that it had records responsive to the request -- that the agency uses the demonic chat app, in other words -- but said it couldn't release them because they were a state secret. Recently, the CIA replied to our request by saying this: "CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of records responsive to your request. The fact of the existence or nonexistence of such records is itself currently and properly classified." In its response to our request, the CIA cited broad provisions in federal law that allow it to keep all sorts of information from the public by claiming it has to do with "intelligence sources and methods," which can mean anything from the identity of a spy in a foreign leader's inner circle to the podcasts a random bureaucrat listens to while driving to work. The agency is within its rights to do this, but it's just another in a long list of examples of why federal classification laws should be changed to give more weight to the public's right to get answers to even stupid questions relative to the right of public employees to keep what they do and how they do it entirely secret.

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