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A Supercomputer In a 19th Century Church Is 'World's Most Beautiful Data Center'

Slashdot - 22 godziny 49 minut temu
"Motherboard spoke to the Barcelona Supercomputing Center about how it outfitted a deconsecrated 19th century chapel to host the MareNostrum 4 -- the 25th most powerful supercomputer in the world," writes Slashdot reader dmoberhaus. From the report: Heralded as the "most beautiful data center in the world," the MareNostrum supercomputer came online in 2005, but was originally hosted in a different building at the university. Meaning "our sea" in Latin, the original MareNostrum was capable of performing 42.35 teraflops -- 42.35 trillion operations per second -- making it one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe at the time. Yet the MareNostrum rightly became known for its aesthetics as much as its computing power. According to Gemma Maspoch, head of communications for Barcelona Supercomputing Center, which oversees the MareNostrum facility, the decision to place the computer in a giant glass box inside a chapel was ultimately for practical reasons. "We were in need of hundreds of square meters without columns and the capacity to support 44.5 tons of weight," Maspoch told me in an email. "At the time there was not much available space at the university and the only room that satisfied our requirements was the Torre Girona chapel. We did not doubt it for a moment and we installed a supercomputer in it." According to Maspoch, the chapel required relatively few modifications to host the supercomputer, such as reinforcing the soil around the church so that it would hold the computer's weight and designing a glass box that would house the computer and help cool it. The supercomputer has been beefed up over the years. Most recently, the fourth iteration came online in 2017 "with a peak computing capacity of 11 thousand trillion operations per second (11.15 petaflops)," reports Motherboard. "MareNostrum 4 is spread over 48 server racks comprising a total of 3,456 nodes. A node consists of two Intel chips, each of which has 24 processors."

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Project Alias Hacks Amazon Echo and Google Home To Protect Your Privacy

Slashdot - 23 godziny 32 minuty temu
fahrbot-bot writes: The gadget, called Alias, is an always-listening speaker, designed to fit on top of an Amazon Echo or Google Home, where it looks like a mass of melted candle wax. It's composed of a 3D-printed top layer, a mic array, a Raspberry Pi, and two speakers. It only connects to the internet during the initial setup process. Alias stays "off the grid" while you're using it, preventing your conversations from leaving the device. When the Alias hears its own (customizable) wake word, it'll stop broadcasting white noise and wake up Alexa or Google Assistant so you can use them as normal.

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US Now Says All Online Gambling Illegal, Not Just Sports Bets

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 23:40
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: The U.S. Justice Department's decision that all internet gambling is illegal will cast a pall on the industry as businesses and state lotteries evaluate the implications of the change and the government's plans to enforce it. The U.S. now says federal law bars all internet gambling, reversing its position from 2011 that only sports betting is prohibited under a law passed 50 years earlier. Although the federal law specifically prohibits transmission of wagers and related information across state lines, the Justice Department's new interpretation will impact all online gambling because as a practical matter it's difficult to guarantee that no payments are routed through other states, said Aaron Swerdlow, an attorney with Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro LLP in Los Angeles. The reversal was prompted by the department's criminal division, which prosecutes illegal gambling. The opinion issued about seven years ago that the 1961 Wire Act only banned sports gambling was a misinterpretation of the statute, according to a 23-page opinion by the department's Office of Legal Counsel dated Nov. 2 and made public Monday. The new reading of the law probably will be tested in the courts as judges may entertain challenges to the government's view of the law's scope, the Justice Department said. It may also affect states that began selling lottery tickets online after the 2011 opinion, as well as casinos that offer online gambling. In contrast, the Supreme Court last May "cleared the way [...] for states to legalize sports betting, striking down a 1992 federal law that had prohibited most states from authorizing sports betting."

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Firefox 69 Will Disable Adobe Flash Plugin by Default

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 23:01
Mozilla will take the next major step in disabling support for the Adobe Flash plugin later this year when it releases Firefox 69. From a report: Firefox 69 will be Mozilla's third last step to completely dropping support for the historically buggy plugin, which will reach end of life on December 31, 2020. Flash is the last remaining NPAPI plugin that Firefox supports. Mozilla flagged the change, spotted by Ghacks, in a new bug report that notes "we'll disable Flash by default in Nightly 69 and let that roll out". Firefox 69 stable will be released in early September, according to Mozilla's release calendar.

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Apple Replaced 11 Million iPhone Batteries in Its $29 Program

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 22:21
Apple's $29 battery replacement program may have seriously dinged sales of its 2018 iPhone models. From a report: The company replaced 11 million iPhone batteries under the program, John Gruber of tech-focused blog DaringFireball reported Monday, citing Apple CEO Tim Cook at an all-hands meeting. Typically, the company replaces 1 million to 2 million batteries each year, DaringFireball noted. Cook cited the program's negative impact on Apple's revenue in a Jan. 2 sales warning to investors but didn't offer specific numbers.

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CERN's New Collider Design Is Four Times Larger Than the LHC

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 21:41
If built, the Future Circular Collider will be 10 times more powerful than the Large Hadron Collider, and could discover new types of particles. From a report: The 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson particle at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is widely considered to be one of the most important scientific breakthroughs in history. It validated a half-century of research about the basic building blocks of matter, and remains the crowning achievement of modern particle physics. Now, CERN wants to follow up on the LHC's smashing success with a super-sized structure called the Future Circular Collider (FCC). This next-generation particle accelerator would boast 10 times the observational power of the LHC and would stretch across 100 kilometers (62 miles), encircling the Swiss city of Geneva and much of the surrounding area. CERN published its first conceptual design report for the FCC on Tuesday. The four-volume roadmap was developed over five years by 1,300 contributors based at 150 universities, according to a statement.

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Microsoft is Preparing For Foldable Windows Devices, Report Says

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 21:01
Microsoft is working on adapting Windows to work on foldable devices, The Verge reported Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter. The report further added that the company is making foldable devices and dual-screen hardware a big investment area for both Windows and Surface. From the report: This investment includes adapting Windows itself and its many built-in apps to work across foldable displays and devices with dual screens. While Microsoft has been experimenting with its own hardware with dual-screens, codenamed Andromeda, the company has also been working with Intel and other OEMs to be ready for the next few years of experimentation. PC makers famously developed a range of 2-in-1 devices for Windows 8 more than five years ago, and we're expecting to see a similar effort for dual-screen and foldable devices for Windows in the coming years. Most of this work is related to Microsoft's Composable Shell (C-Shell) and Windows Core OS, a more modular version of the existing Windows Shell that powers many parts of Windows 10 today.

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Ajit Pai Gives Carriers Free Pass on Privacy Violations During FCC Shutdown

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 20:21
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai refused to brief a Congressional committee Monday about mobile carriers' ability to share their subscribers' location data with third parties. From a report: House Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) asked Pai for an "emergency briefing" to explain why the FCC "has yet to end wireless carriers' unauthorized disclosure of consumers' real-time location data," and for an update on "what actions the FCC has taken to address this issue to date." Pai's FCC could take action, despite the 2017 repeal of the commission's broadband privacy rules. Phone carriers are legally required to protect "Customer Proprietary Network Information [CPNI]," and the FCC's definition of CPNI includes location data. [...] Pai did not agree with Pallone, it turns out. "Today, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai refused to brief Energy and Commerce Committee staff on the real-time tracking of cell phone location[s]," Pallone said in a statement yesterday. "In a phone conversation today, his staff asserted that these egregious actions are not a threat to the safety of human life or property that the FCC will address during the Trump shutdown."

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Only Nuclear Energy Can Save the Planet

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 19:41
Joshua S. Goldstein, a professor emeritus of international relations at American University, and Staffan A. Qvist, an energy engineer and consultant, writing for The Wall Street Journal: Climate scientists tell us that the world must drastically cut its fossil fuel use in the next 30 years to stave off a potentially catastrophic tipping point for the planet. Confronting this challenge is a moral issue, but it's also a math problem -- and a big part of the solution has to be nuclear power. Today, more than 80% of the world's energy comes from fossil fuels, which are used to generate electricity, to heat buildings and to power car and airplane engines. Worse for the planet, the consumption of fossil fuels is growing quickly as poorer countries climb out of poverty and increase their energy use. Improving energy efficiency can reduce some of the burden, but it's not nearly enough to offset growing demand. Any serious effort to decarbonize the world economy will require, then, a great deal more clean energy, on the order of 100 trillion kilowatt-hours per year, by our calculations -- roughly equivalent to today's entire annual fossil-fuel usage. A key variable is speed. To reach the target within three decades, the world would have to add about 3.3 trillion more kilowatt-hours of clean energy every year. Solar and wind power alone can't scale up fast enough to generate the vast amounts of electricity that will be needed by midcentury, especially as we convert car engines and the like from fossil fuels to carbon-free energy sources. Even Germany's concerted recent effort to add renewables -- the most ambitious national effort so far -- was nowhere near fast enough. A global increase in renewables at a rate matching Germany's peak success would add about 0.7 trillion kilowatt-hours of clean electricity every year. That's just over a fifth of the necessary 3.3 trillion annual target.

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WordPress To Show Warnings on Servers Running Outdated PHP Versions

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 19:02
The WordPress open-source content management system (CMS) will show warnings in its backend admin panel if the site runs on top of an outdated PHP version. From a report: The current plan is to have the warnings appear for sites using a PHP version prior to the 5.6.x branch (5.6 or lower). The warnings will contain a link to a WordPress support page with information on how site owners can update their server's underlying PHP version. In instances where site owners are running their WordPress portals on top of tightly-controlled web hosting environments, the web host has the option to change this link with a custom URL pointing at its own support site. [...] Around 66.7 percent of all Internet sites run an unsupported PHP version, according to W3Techs. Almost a quarter of all internet sites run on top of a WordPress CMS.

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There's No Such Thing as a Safe Tan

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 18:21
H. Peter Soyer, Professor of Dermatology, and Katie Lee, Research assistant at The University of Queensland, write: There's a lot to be said for sunshine -- both good and bad. It's our main source of vitamin D, which is essential for bone and muscle health. Populations with higher levels of sun exposure also have better blood pressure and mood levels, and fewer autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. On the other hand, excess UV exposure is estimated to contribute to 95% of melanomas and 99% of non-melanoma skin cancers. These skin cancers account for a whopping 80% of all new cancers each year in Australia. Like any medicine, the dose counts. And in Australia, particularly in the summer, our dose of UV is so high that even short incidental exposures -- like while you hang out the washing or walk from your carpark into the shops -- adds up to huge lifetime doses. Fortunately, when it comes to tanning, the advice is clear: don't. A UV dose that's high enough to induce a tan is already much higher than the dose needed for vitamin D production. A four-year-long study of 1,113 people in Nambour, Queensland, found no difference in vitamin D levels between sunscreen users and sunscreen avoiders. Further reading: Is Sunscreen the New Margarine?

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Giant Leaf For Mankind? China Germinates First Seed on Moon

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 17:41
A small green shoot is growing on the moon after a cotton seed germinated onboard a Chinese lunar lander, scientists said. From a report: The sprout has emerged from a lattice-like structure inside a canister after the Chang'e 4 lander touched down earlier this month, according to a series of photos released by the Advanced Technology Research Institute at Chongqing University. "This is the first time humans have done biological growth experiments on the lunar surface," said Xie Gengxin, who led the design of the experiment, on Tuesday. Plants have been grown previously on the International Space Station, but this is the first time a seed has sprouted on the moon. The ability to grow plants in space is seen as crucial for long-term space missions and establishing human outposts elsewhere in the solar system, such as Mars.

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Riot Games Issues New Company Values In Wake of 'Bro' Culture Accusations

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 17:01
An anonymous reader writes: Riot Games, the maker of the enormously popular League of Legends multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) PC game, has issued a new set of company values on its web site. They're the result of some soul searching after the company was accused by many of its own employees last year of having a sexist "bro" culture. The company said that these new values replace the company's Manifesto from 2012 and reflects conversations with more than 1,700 Rioters about "what we want our company to be."

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Windows Leak Site BuildFeed Closes Down

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 16:20
Mark Wilson writes: After five years of leaking information about unreleased builds of Windows, BuildFeed has shut its shop. Over the weekend, the site posted a slew of build numbers including references to onecore and shell_devices_foldable. But there will be no more leaks coming from the BuildFeed. Citing 'extensive internal pressures and external pressures', site founder Thomas Hounsell says that he has terminated his project with immediate effect.

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Netflix To Raise Prices By 13% To 18%

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 15:31
Netflix is raising its U.S. prices by 13 percent to 18 percent, its biggest increase since the company launched its streaming service 12 years ago. From a report: Its most popular plan will see the largest hike, to $13 per month from $11. That option offers high-definition streaming on up to two different internet-connected devices simultaneously. Even at the higher price, that plan is still a few dollars cheaper than HBO, whose streaming service charges $15 per month. The extra cash will help to pay for Netflix's huge investment in original shows and films and finance the heavy debt it has assumed to ward off rivals such as Amazon, Disney and AT&T. This marks the fourth time that Netflix has raised its U.S. prices; the last hike came in late 2017. But this is the first time that higher prices will hit all 58 million U.S. subscribers, the number Netflix reported at the end of September.

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Huawei CEO Says Company Doesn't Spy For China and Praises Trump in Rare Appearance

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 15:00
Huawei would never allow China's government to access customer data, even if Beijing requested it, the CEO and founder of the company repeatedly emphasized Tuesday, amid continued political pressure on the Chinese technology giant. From a report: In a rare sit down with international media, Ren Zhengfei addressed concerns raised by the U.S. government, which has warned that the company's equipment could allow the Chinese government to have a backdoor into a nation's telecommunications network. Ren, speaking Mandarin and using a company-provided translator, told the group that Huawei has never handed data to Beijing. "When it comes to cybersecurity and privacy protection we are committed to be sided with our customers. We will never harm any nation or any individual," Ren told the journalists assembled at Huawei's headquarters in Shenzhen, China. "China's ministry of foreign affairs has officially clarified that no law in China requires any company to install mandatory back doors. Huawei and me personally have never received any request from any government to provide improper information," Ren added. [...] But Ren actually praised the U.S. president. "For President Trump as a person, I still believe he is a great president," he said. "In the sense that he was bold to slash taxes. And I think that's conducive for the development of industries in the United States."

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Verizon Charges New 'Spam' Fee For Texts Sent From Teachers To Students

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 14:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A free texting service used by teachers, students, and parents may stop working on the Verizon Wireless network because of a dispute over texting fees that Verizon demanded from the company that operates the service. As a result, teachers that use the service have been expressing their displeasure with Verizon. Remind -- the company that offers the classroom communication service -- criticized Verizon for charging the new fee. Remind said its service's text message notifications will stop working on the Verizon network on January 28 unless Verizon changes course. (Notifications sent via email or via Remind's mobile apps will continue to work.) The controversy cropped up shortly after a Federal Communications Commission decision that allowed U.S. carriers' text-messaging services to remain largely unregulated. Verizon says the fee must be charged to fund spam-blocking services. Remind said in a statement: "To offer our text-messaging service free of charge, Remind has always paid for each text that users receive or send. Now, Verizon is charging Remind an additional fee intended for companies that send spam over its network. Your Remind messages aren't spam, but that hasn't helped resolve the issue with Verizon. The fee will increase our cost of supporting text messaging to at least 11 times our current cost -- forcing us to end free Remind text messaging for the more than 7 million students, parents, and educators who have Verizon Wireless as their carrier."

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Method For Fooling Cancer Cells Into Fat Cells Can Stop Cancer's Spread

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 11:00
Researchers from the University of Basel in Switzerland have discovered that they can prevent the formation of metastases by fooling breast cancer cells into fat cells. The proof-of-concept study was published in the journal Cancer Cell. Technology Networks reports: Malignant cells can rapidly respond and adapt to changing microenvironmental conditions, by reactivating a cellular process called epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), enabling them to alter their molecular properties and transdifferentiate into a different type of cell (cellular plasticity). Cancer cells can exploit EMT -- a process that is usually associated with the development of organs during embryogenesis -- in order to migrate away from the primary tumor and form secondary metastases. Cellular plasticity is linked to cancer survival, invasion, tumor heterogeneity and resistance to both chemo and targeted therapies. In addition, EMT and the inverse process termed mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) both play a role in a cancer cell's ability to metastasize. Using mouse models of both murine and human breast cancer the team investigated whether they could therapeutically target cancer cells during the process of EMT -- whilst the cells are in a highly plastic state. When the mice were administered Rosiglitazone in combination with MEK inhibitors it provoked the transformation of the cancer cells into post-mitotic and functional adipocytes (fat cells). In addition, primary tumor growth was suppressed and metastasis was prevented. Since both drugs used in the preclinical study were FDA-approved the team are hopeful that it may be possible to translate this therapeutic approach to the clinic.

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First 5G Remote Surgery Completed In China

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 08:00
According to local reports, the world's first remote surgery equipment using 5G networks was successfully tested in China. "The test involved a doctor in the southeastern province of Fujian removing the liver of a laboratory test animal at a remote location," reports Ubergizmo. "The doctor performed the surgery by controlling robotic surgical arms over a 5G connection." From the report: The lag time was said to be only 0.1 seconds between the control device of the doctor and the robot in the surgical room. The researchers said that this high speed can reduce the risk of potentially deadly medical mistakes. They hope that 5G enabled remote surgery will soon become reliable enough that it can be used safely on humans as well. This could end up saving countless lives as skilled surgeons will be able to operate on patients in remote locations in a safe manner. The South China Morning Post published a video that shows the doctor performing the surgery.

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DerbyCon Will Hold Its Last InfoSec Conference in September This Year

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 05:55
DerbyCon 9.0, the upcoming edition of the popular InfoSec conference in September, will be its last. From an official announcement: When we first started DerbyCon, our goal was to create a conference where we could all come together to collaborate and share as a community, but most importantly as a profession. DerbyCon 1.0 was a huge gamble for us both personally and financially, but we believed in what we were doing, and it worked. For those that don't know the history of DerbyCon, it started off inside of a pizza shop as an idea between a few friends. Our goal was to create an affordable conference that shared a lot of what we had experienced in our early days in security. The ideas of collaboration, community, and the betterment of the industry and the safety of technology were at the forefront. At the end of DerbyCon 1.0, we realized that the conference was a huge success and our dream became a reality. [...] What we have had to deal with on the back-end the past few years is more than just running a conference and sharing with friends. The conference scene in general changed drastically and small pocket groups focus on outrage and disruption where there is no right answer (regardless of how you respond, it's wrong), instead of coming together, or making the industry better. There is a small, yet vocal group of people creating negativity, polarization, and disruption, with the primary intent of self-promotion to advance a career, for personal gain, or for more social media followers. Individuals that would have us be judge, jury, and executioner for people they have had issues with outside of the conference that has nothing to do with the conference itself. Instead of working hard in research, being a positive force in the industry, or sharing their own unique experiences (which makes us better as a whole), they tear others down in order to promote themselves. This isn't just about DerbyCon, it is present at other conferences as well and it's getting worse each year. We've spoken with a number of conference organizers, and each year it becomes substantially more difficult to host a conference where people can come together in large group settings. It's not just conferences either. This behavior is happening all over the place on social media, in our industry, targeting people trying to do good. As a community, we add fuel to fire, attack others, and give them a platform in one massive toxic environment. We do this all in fear of repercussions from upsetting others. Until this pattern changes, it will continue to get worse.

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