• Tuesday 23 May 2017 - 01:00
    With last year's triple album opus, Triangle, Swiss avant-garde metal outfit Schammasch gained wide international acclaim and defiantly raised the bar within the extreme metal scene. Doubtlessly one of the most daring, interesting and multidimensional bands of today's black metal oeuvre, their constant striving for artistic freedom makes them...
  • Tuesday 23 May 2017 - 00:45

    Enlarge / From Daimler's press page: "Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel in a conversation with Dieter Zetsche (Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars) and two employees of Accumotive accompanied by Minister President of Saxony Stanislaw Tillich as well as Markus Schäfer (Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain) and Frank Blome (Managing Director Deutsche Accumotive GmbH & Co. KG)." (credit: Daimler)

    On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the site of a future lithium-ion battery factory in the eastern German town of Kamenz. The factory is being developed by Mercedes-Benz manufacturer Daimler, which will devote approximately €500 million (or $562 million) to churning out batteries for electric vehicles and stationary storage.

    If the project seems similar to Tesla’s Nevada-based Gigafactory, you wouldn’t be alone in making that comparison. Tesla and Panasonic partnered to devote $5 billion to building a lithium-ion battery factory outside of Reno, Nevada, and the electric-car maker has said it hopes to produce 35 gigawatt-hours of auto and stationary batteries by 2018.

    Daimler didn’t give any projections for its factory’s potential capacity, but it did say that its investment would quadruple the size of an existing battery factory on the site, which is run by Accumotive, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler. The German automaker is also pledging another €500 million to expand battery production worldwide. And if all goes well at the Kamenz site, Daimler says it will “go into operation in mid-2018.”

    Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • Tuesday 23 May 2017 - 00:40
    Last July, researchers from Microsoft and the University of Washington said that they had successfully encoded about 200 megabytes of data onto synthetic DNA molecules. The company is now planning to take the technology commercial. "Computer architects at Microsoft Research say the company has formalized a goal of having an operational storage system based on DNA working inside a data center toward the end of this decade," reports MIT Technology Review. "The aim is a 'proto-commercial system in three years storing some amount of data on DNA in one of our four centers for at least a boutique application,' says Doug Carmean, a partner architect at Microsoft Research." From the report: Internally, Microsoft harbors the even more ambitious goal of replacing tape drives, a common format used for archiving information. Major obstacles to a practical storage system remain. Converting digital bits into DNA code (made up of chains of nucleotides labeled A, G, C, and T) remains laborious and expensive because of the chemical process used to manufacture DNA strands. In its demonstration project, Microsoft used 13,448,372 unique pieces of DNA. Experts say buying that much material on the open market would cost $800,000. According to Microsoft, the cost of DNA storage needs to fall by a factor of 10,000 before it becomes widely adopted. While many experts say that's unlikely, Microsoft believes such advances could occur if the computer industry demands them.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Tuesday 23 May 2017 - 00:30

    The Dish Network has launched a new Alexa skill that lets you control your DVR using nothing but your voice. Dish TV subscribers with a Hopper or Wally receiver can use the Alexa skill to change channel, search for particular shows, and pause, rewind, and fast-forward what’s playing. It seems not a week goes by without Alexa gaining a new set of skills. Unlike Liam Neeson’s character from Taken, Alexa doesn’t have a particular set of skills. Instead, she has a whole smorgasbord of them to choose from. Her latest trick is controlling your Dish TV receiver. Control Dish TV...

    Read the full article: You Can Now Control Dish TV Using Amazon Alexa

  • Tuesday 23 May 2017 - 00:30
    In 1983, Star Licks Productions created a series of instructional videos featuring well-known musicians demonstrating their unique musical styles and techniques. The portfolio debuted with a wide-ranging group of players including Steve Lukather of Toto, Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath), Al McKay (Earth, Wind & Fire) guitarist Albert Lee, and...
  • Tuesday 23 May 2017 - 00:17

    This is just a periodic reminder that these are the sort of people whose "experience" and "expertise" are routinely granted massive amounts of deference by judges (and stenographers pretending to be journalists). Warrant affidavits providing more detail about the requesting officer's law enforcement career than the target of the search are often rubberstamped into actionable pieces of paper. (But not always!) And yet, these experienced experts look far more mortal when their actions are given something more than a cursory examination.

    Exhibit A: the Odessa PD's crack team of trained experts who participated in a daring no-knock raid of an empty motel room.

    The search warrant was executed on Jan. 29 at the America's Best Value Inn, 3023 E. Highway 80.

    Police officials say the officers involved in executing the warrant "used an unauthorized cooperating individual," and the cooperating individual did not have the required file.

    The Professional Standards Unit Investigation also found that the officers involved failed to correctly identify and confirm the location of the criminal activity.

    During the search, officers entered room #225 which was vacant, according to previous reports.

    Officers then reportedly made a "split-second" decision and breached the next room (#226) at the hotel where suspects were located.

    When reviewing the warrant, officers realized that on the warrant room #225 had been listed, police say.

    The suspects in the room were held "pending the production of a second search warrant," police say in a release.

    Post-facto warrants are seldom as legally-sound as warrants obtained before a search. Sometimes affidavit errors are excused but this case involved a confidential informant of uncertain trustworthiness and a lack of proper documentation. The officers are being lightly disciplined for their Keystone SWAT effort, but the department has cleared itself of any wrongdoing after investigating itself.

    In the investigation, police determined that the breach of room #226 was "not illegal because the conduct of the officers prior to their entry into room #226 was lawful, there was no violation or threatened violation of the Fourth Amendment, and therefore the exigent circumstance rule applied and allowed for the entry and securing of room #226," the release reads.

    I imagine any evidence will be challenged in court, despite the PD's claim no Fourth Amendment violations took place during the department's botched raid. We'll see how much claims of officer training and experience will hold up under judicial examination. (Sadly, they'll probably hold up much better than they should. While typos are an inevitability, the use of a CI with no pedigree or paperwork puts the warrant on severely shaky legal footing.)

    Exhibit B: the cop who justified the frisk of someone with statements that immediately undermined the asserted justifications. Here's the court explaining to the officer why the frisk wasn't reasonable:

    Officer Kim’s testimony about seeing the handle of a gun protruding from Smith’s pocket is not credible. At the evidentiary hearing, Officer Kim testified that she could see the black handle of a gun protruding from Smith’s pocket. However, in her arrest report, written shortly after the incident, Officer Kim wrote “[t]he handgun was concealed inside his pocket in such a manner as not to be discernible by ordinary observation.” (ECF No. 18-1 at 3) This statement directly contradicts her testimony. It is unlikely that Officer Kim, approaching a poorly lit landing in the wee hours of the morning, would have been able to discern a black gun handle allegedly sticking out of Smith’s pocket.

    [...]

    Indeed, Officer Kim acknowledged in her police report she only became aware of the handgun after she began the pat down.

    The question that must be asked (but can't be answered) is: how many times has this sort of thing happened? Only a very small percentage of frisks receive courtroom challenges. And stop-and-frisk programs have been heavily criticized for their routine abuse of civil liberties. There's no expertise on display here: only the inability to work backwards from an illegal search, even when given a chance to "correct the record" post-search by aligning the paperwork with a less-unconstitutional narrative.

    And, finally, Exhibit C: Police chief vows to make the same horrendous mistake if that's what it takes to somehow make a dent in sex trafficking.

    "Everybody's like, 'Don't move, don't move or we'll shoot you,'" Noel Navarete told local 4 News. His brother Isaias, 18, said he was in the bathroom when police kicked down the door.

    According to family matriarch Maria Navarete, police told her to "shut up, you have no rights" when she asked what was happening. She claims police never showed her or anyone in the household a warrant.

    Police apologized, explaining that a mysterious heroin-addicted woman in a local hospital said she and several underage girls had been held against their will and forced into prostitution; the woman (visually) identified the Navarete's place as where it went down. That night, police began observing the house, soon witnessing two girls get dropped off by an SUV and go inside. Apparently, that was enough to warrant a furtive, middle-of-the-night raid on the place.

    The kicker here is the apology came packaged with the police chief's assertion he would handle things EXACTLY THE SAME WAY in the future. Somehow, this department will stamp out the scourge of sex trafficking using proven law enforcement tools like "mysterious heroin addicts" and several minutes of results-oriented investigation.

    These are just a few of the experienced experts serving the public -- men and women whose testimony is often considered unimpeachable and nigh unto God in terms of trustworthiness. Men and women whose errors ruin lives and whose shortcuts use the Constitution as a doormat.



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  • Tuesday 23 May 2017 - 00:00
    Ethereum is an open software platform based on blockchain technology that enables developers to build and deploy decentralized applications, according to Blockgeeks. It is currently the second most valuable cryptocurrency on the planet, but it could overthrow Bitcoin and become the most valuable cryptocurrency in the near future. Inc.com reports: If you aren't familiar, what Bitcoin does for payments, Ethereum does for anything involving programming and computing. While it utilizes its own version of a blockchain, it is functionally different from Bitcoin. For example, on the Ethereum platform you could host a crowdfunding campaign or any type of "smart contract." Ethereum's goal is to make a decentralized internet. And it has a very good shot at becoming "the new internet," literally. It could one day replace a lot of technology and ways that we host and execute code online. As of the time of writing, Ethereum has a market cap of over $17 billion. Bitcoin's market cap is $34 billion. This makes Ether (the name of Ethereum's token) the second most valuable cryptocurrency in the world. And that number jumped up over $3 billion just yesterday. It's making a major climb and has no end in sight, according to many. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance is what initially spiked major interest (and shot up the price). Just the other day, 86 new companies joined the alliance.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Tuesday 23 May 2017 - 00:00
    The creativity and productivity of German heavy metal trio Rage seems to have no limits. Only 14 months after the successful The Devil Strikes Again neckbreaker, Rage deliver their new, 23rd studio album, entitled Seasons Of The Black, out  on July 28th via Nuclear Blast. New single, "Blackened Karma" will...
  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 23:51
  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 23:44
    Guns N’ Roses will begin their European Not In The Lifetime Tour 2017 in Dublin, Ireland on Saturday, May 27th. The reunited band featuring Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan is teasing some sort of an announcement on Wednesday. Check out this teaser video below stating "We're just getting started...
  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 23:40

    Enlarge / All those Lawbreakers characters had better be playing on the same platform...

    After years of online gaming being strictly segregated by platform, recent months have seen a resurgence in the idea of playing with friends and rivals on different hardware. That includes some hesitant attempts by game makers to cross the PC/console barrier with cross-play between players using a mouse/keyboard and those using handheld controllers, even in first-person shooters.

    At least one major developer is not a fan of the emerging trend, though. "We made the decision not to do cross-play, and there are a lot of people with this pipe dream of PC and console cross-play," Lawbreakers lead developer Cliff Bleszinski told PCGamesN while announcing a PS4 port of what was formerly a PC exclusive. "It's like, 'No, be the best console game you can be, or be the best PC game you can be.' Because then you get PC players getting angry that there's aim assist on console, or with balance issues."

    The announcement follows on a Eurogamer interview Bleszinski gave a year ago, in which he commented on a then-theoretical console version. "The thing about the controller is it's going to be tricky," he said at the time. "We've played around with the controller a little bit and, thing is, if we get around to doing console ports, I don't want to do cross-play. Some people think that's the holy grail for a lot of games, and I'm like, 'no.' If you have somebody with a keyboard and mouse versus somebody with a controller, I'm sorry, but the person with the keyboard and mouse is going to win nine times out of 10."

    Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 23:30
    The call went out. Time for a new Mr. Big album. They convened in a Los Angeles studio and in a matter of six days, the boundless result of all that musical talent is Defying Gravity, with the release of their ninth original studio album and start of a new...
  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 23:27

    Enlarge / Little touches like these, before and after fights, really give the game personality. (credit: NetherRealm Studios)

    There’s a lot going on in Injustice 2—maybe more than the game itself can keep track of, at times. But thanks to developer NetherRealm’s ongoing commitment to making the most accessible fighting games this side of Divekick, Injustice 2 is only occasionally overwhelming.

    That permissiveness begins with Injustice 2’s single-player campaign, which just might set a new gold standard for such modes in fighting games. Granted, that’s a low bar to clear, and NetherRealm is mostly competing with itself. But the cinematic unfolding of alternate-universe comic-book antics in Injustice 2 is wildly fun in its own right.

    In the Injustice-verse, Superman is a villain. The first Injustice ended with the last son of Krypton locked up and awaiting trial for murdering both criminals and “potential” wrongdoers without hearings of their own. Just as Batman and his “no-kill club” allies are returning things to normal, a Superman-level threat invades Earth in the form of Brainiac. The alien machine-man wants the Kryptonian for his own personal collection, and perhaps the only one that can stop the invasion is Superman himself. Punching ensues.

    Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 23:20
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Amid a national shortage of a critical medicine, US hospitals are hoarding vials, delaying surgeries, and turning away patients, The New York Times reports. The medicine in short supply: solutions of sodium bicarbonate -- aka, baking soda. The simple drug is used in all sorts of treatments, from chemotherapies to those for organ failure. It can help correct the pH of blood and ease the pain of stitches. It is used in open-heart surgery, can help reverse poisonings, and is kept on emergency crash carts. But, however basic and life-saving, the drug has been in short supply since around February. The country's two suppliers, Pfizer and Amphastar, ran low following an issue with one of Pfizer's suppliers -- the issue was undisclosed due to confidentiality agreements. Amphastar's supplies took a hit with a spike in demand from desperate Pfizer customers. Both companies told the NYT that they don't know when exactly supplies will be restored. They speculate that it will be no earlier than June or August. With the shortage of sodium bicarbonate, hospitals are postponing surgeries and chemotherapy treatments. A hospital in Mobile, Alabama, for example, postponed seven open-heart surgeries and sent one critically ill patient to another hospital due to the shortage.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 23:00
    Amazon has transformed businesses including retailing, filmmaking and data storage. But no one anticipated the bananas. It started with a brainstorm from founder and CEO Jeff Bezos that Amazon should offer everyone near its headquarters -- not just employees -- healthy, eco-friendly snacks as a public service. After considering oranges, Amazon picked bananas, and opened its first Community Banana Stand in late 2015. However, not everyone is pleased with the ecommerce giant's effort. From a report: Although there is no money in Amazon's community banana stands -- where the company has been offering free fruit to both workers and locals in Seattle since 2015 -- the tech giant's largesse is changing the banana landscape for some nearby businesses. [...] Thus far, the company says it's handed out more than 1.7 million free banana, reports The Wall Street Journal. But while many folks are fans of the free bananas, others say it's changing banana consumption in the community: Some workers say it's harder to find bananas at local grocery stores, while nearby eateries have also stopped selling as many banana as they used to.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 23:00
    Multi-Platinum Rockers Candlebox ended their power packed performance at the Ohio Spring Fest with a fitting tribute to the late ‘90s icon Chris Cornell with a stirring rendition of “Say Hello To Heaven”.   While it was only their first time performing the song, lead vocalist Kevin Martin’s heart felt...
  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 22:51

    Watch stone carver Anna Rubincam as she goes from measuring a live person (essentially creating a geometric model of their face) to a clay model to a finished stone portrait in three weeks.

    On a human face, even though there’s a change in pigment, there’s no end. Like, you come to the end of the lips and it just carries on going. And if you try and make it a stark difference, then the face will look strange. The skin is sort of a continuous surface that undulates and has tension in certain places and slack in other places.

    I got so anxious watching her carving the stone piece from the clay model. One false move and… *bites nails* More about how the film was made. (via digg)

    Tags: Anna Rubincam   art   video
  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 22:41

    The launch of a Pukguksong-2 solid-fuel missile from a mobile launcher on May 21 may signal a new level of worries for the US, Japan, and South Korea. (credit: KCNA (North Korean state media))

    On Sunday, the North Korean military conducted a second, successful test of the Pukguksong-2, a solid-fuel intermediate range ballistic missile based on a design derived from the country's submarine-launched ballistic missile. While this might seem like just more saber-rattling from Pyongyang's leadership given the relatively continuous chain of test launches since President Donald Trump's inauguration (a total of 10 so far this year), this launch and the launch on May 13 carry a bit more weight.

    According to North Korea's government media, Sunday's test shows that the Pukguksong-2 is now ready to be "mass-produced." If true, that development would substantially increase the threat posed by North Korea's missile force—the Pukguksong-2 can be deployed on tracked mobile launchers, and it uses a "cold-launch" system that requires much less preparation time, which provides much less of an opportunity for the US and allies to detect an impending attack. The tracked launchers also increase the potential number of locations from which the missile could be launched. And the range of the missile appears to be greater than originally estimated.

    Sunday's missile test was tracked by US Pacific Command. The test missile flew in a high-lofting path from North Korea's west coast across the country and toward Japan, landing in the Sea of Japan. The missile flew approximately 500 kilometers (310 miles) and reached an altitude of about 560 kilometers (about 350 miles). It has an estimated range of 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) or more. If launched from within North Korea, the missile could potentially strike all of Japan, South Korea, and even US forces in Guam. By comparison, the Pukguksong-1 submarine-launched missile is believed to have a 1,000 kilometer (620 mile) range.

    Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 22:40
    The full impact of self-driving cars on society is several decades away -- but when it hits, the job losses will be substantial for American truck drivers, according to a new report from Goldman Sachs. From a report: When autonomous vehicle saturation peaks, U.S. drivers could see job losses at a rate of 25,000 a month, or 300,000 a year, according to a report from Goldman Sachs Economics Research. Truck drivers, more so than bus or taxi drivers, will see the bulk of that job loss, according to the report. That makes sense, given today's employment: In 2014, there were 4 million driver jobs in the U.S., 3.1 million of which were truck drivers, Goldman said. That represents 2 percent of total employment.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 22:30
    Dead Cross, the hardcore band featuring Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, Misfits), Justin Pearson (The Locust, Retox), Michael Crain (Retox, Festival of Dead Deer) and Mike Patton (Faith No More, Tomahawk), have announced their first North American tour dates. “Everything about Dead Cross screams aggression, said Lombardo. “I have...
  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 22:25

    Spotify has so many albums. I wanna shuffle all of them. I know he does covers and don't wanna hear those.

    Edit: what 3-5 albums should I add to a playlist. I like upbeat/poppy stuff. But really just looking for his most well known stuff so I can learn him

    submitted by /u/DAREdidnotwork
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  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 22:25

    Historic Harrison County Courthouse, Marshall, Texas. (credit: Joe Mullin)

    The US Supreme Court ruled (PDF) today on how to interpret the patent venue laws, and the controversial business of "patent trolling" may never be the same.

    In a unanimous decision, the justices held that the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which handles all patent appeals, has been using the wrong standard to decide where a patent lawsuit can be brought. Today's Supreme Court ruling in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods enforces a more strict standard for where cases can be filed. It overturns a looser rule that the Federal Circuit has used since 1990.

    The ruling may well signal the demise of the Eastern District of Texas as a favorite venue for patent lawsuits, especially those brought by "patent trolls," which have no business outside of licensing and litigating patents.

    Read 20 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 22:16

    The FBI (and other US government agencies) are already moving forward with facial recognition technology, which will allow law enforcement to scan people like license plates, if everything goes to plan. So far, consultation with the meddling public has been kept to a minimum, as have any government efforts to address civil liberties concerns.

    Just because the public's been kept out of the loop (except for, you know, their faces and other personal information), doesn't mean members of the public aren't working hard to ensure police officers can start running faces like plates, even when there's no legitimate law enforcement reason for doing so.

    Digital Barriers, a somewhat ironically-named tech company, is pushing its latest law enforcement offering -- one that supposedly provides real-time face scanning.

    The software can pick out and identify hundreds of individual faces at a time, instantly checking them against registered databases or registering unique individuals in seconds.

    Demonstrating the software at the Forensics Europe Expo 2017, vice president of Digital Barriers Manuel Magalhaes said the company was introducing the technology to UK forces.

    He said: “For the first time they (law enforcement) can use any surveillance asset including a body worn camera or a smartphone and for the first time they can do real time facial recognition without having the need to control the subject or the environment.

    “In real time you can spot check persons of interests on their own or in a crowd."

    But why would you? Just because it can be done doesn't mean it should be done. This will basically allow officers to run records checks on everyone who passes in front of their body-worn cameras. There is nothing in the law that allows officers to run checks on everyone they pass. They can't even stop and/or frisk every member of the public just because they're out in public. Expectations of privacy are lowered on public streets, but that doesn't make it reasonable to subject every passerby to a records check. And that's without even factoring in the false positive problem. Our own FBI seems to feel a 15% bogus return rate is perfectly acceptable.

    Like so much surveillance equipment sold to law enforcement agencies, Digital Barrier's offering was developed and tested in one of our many war zones. The head of the company is inordinately proud of the product's pedigree, which leads to a statement that could be taken as bigoted if it weren't merely nonsensical.

    Mr Magalhaes continued: “If we can overcome facial recognition issues in the Middle East, we can solve any facial recognition problem here in the United Kingdom.

    Hopefully, this just refers to the sort of issues normally found in areas of conflict (hit-and-miss communications infrastructure, harsher-than-usual working conditions, etc.), rather than hinting Middle Eastern facial features are all kind of same-y.

    Taking the surveillance out of the Middle East isn't going to solve at least one logistical problem keeping this from becoming a day-to-day reality for already heavily-surveilled UK citizens. As is pointed out by officers in the discussion thread, Digital Barrier's real-time face scanning is going to need far more bandwidth than is readily available to law enforcement. One commenter notes they can't even get a strong enough signal to log in into their email out in the field, much less perform the on-the-fly facial recognition Digital Barrier is promising.

    The other pressing issues -- according to the law enforcement members discussing the post -- is one far more aligned with the general public's. A couple of members point out no one PNC's entire crowds (referring to the UK's law enforcement database: the Police National Computer) and that doing so might not even be legal.

    Unfortunately, the rank-and-file rarely get to make these decisions. These choices will be made by people who think the public needs to give til it hurts when safety and security are on the line. Dropping this capability into body cameras will make them more of an intrusion on the lives of citizens and far less likely to result in police accountability. Faces being linked automatically to databases full of personal info creates complications in obtaining camera footage. It won't result in improved policing, even though there are plenty of supporters who mistakenly believe "easier" is synonymous with "better."



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  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 22:04

    Audi

    There's a danger with SUVs, but not the kind you might suspect. Should any lingering doubts exist that SUVs have inherited the automotive Earth, chew on this: Audi, the most recent luxury brand to the SUV playpen in the US, now counts 24 percent of all its USA sales from the Q5 column. But that's not dangerous. One other luxury car brand offers a staggering five different SUV models. But even that's not dangerous.

    The danger is that, through better suspension (including sophisticated electronics that change to your whim or situational input) and better tires, SUVs are getting closer and closer in performance level to sports sedans. The danger is that even though the SUV already killed the American station wagon market, it's not satisfied. The SUV is coming after the hot sports sedan.

    Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 22:00
    Frontiers Music Srl has announced the signing of legendary rockers Nazareth to the label for the release of a brand new studio album in 2018.   The current line-up of the band consists of Jimmy Murrison (longest serving guitarist in the band’s history), Lee Agnew (drummer since Darrel Sweet’s death...
  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 22:00
    Reader mirandakatz writes: Typography is having a bit of a moment: Suddenly, tons of people who don't work in design have all sorts of opinions about it, and are taking every opportunity to point out poor font choices and smaller design elements. But they're missing the bigger picture. As Medium designer Ben Hersh writes at Backchannel, typography isn't just catchy visuals: It can also be dangerous. As Hersh writes, 'Typography can silently influence: It can signify dangerous ideas, normalize dictatorships, and sever broken nations. In some cases it may be a matter of life and death. And it can do this as powerfully as the words it depicts.' Don't believe him? He's got ample visual examples to prove it.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 21:51

    Enlarge (credit: BenGrantham)

    For years, Yahoo Mail has exposed a wealth of private user data because it failed to update widely used image-processing software that contained critical vulnerabilities. That's according to a security researcher who warned that other popular services are also likely to be leaking sensitive subscriber secrets.

    Chris Evans, the researcher who discovered the vulnerabilities and reported them privately to Yahoo engineers, has dubbed them "Yahoobleed" because the vulnerabilities caused the site to bleed contents stored in server memory. The easy-to-exploit flaws resided in ImageMagick, an image-processing library that's supported by PHP, Ruby, NodeJS, Python, and about a dozen other programming languages. One version of Yahoobleed was the result of Yahoo failing to install a critical patch released in January 2015. A second Yahoobleed vulnerability was the result of a bug that ImageMagick developers fixed only recently after receiving a private report from Evans.

    The vulnerability discovered by Evans could be exploited by e-mailing a maliciously manipulated image file to a Yahoo Mail address. After opening the 18-byte file, chunks of Yahoo server memory began leaking to the end user. Evans called this version of the attack "Yahoobleed1." "Yahoobleed2" worked by exploiting the vulnerability fixed in January 2015.

    Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 21:35

    Enlarge / Agent Dale Cooper is very much back. (credit: Suzanne Tenner / Showtime)

    Warning: This post contains some spoilers for Twin Peaks: The Return alongside references to details from the original series.

    “Is it future, or is it past?”

    -Mike (a benign spirit inhabiting a shoe salesman sitting in an extra-dimensional waiting room)

    It almost goes without saying that Twin Peaks felt like nothing else on TV back when it debuted on ABC in the early 1990s. Excitingly, the same applies to last night’s premiere of Twin Peaks: The Return on Showtime and Sky Atlantic. A beloved cult-classic has surfaced 25 years later, and it immediately throws both old and new viewers into the deep-end without the slightest hint of a flotation device.

    Don't expect any “here’s what happened a quarter-century ago” catch-up sequences. Laura Palmer gets no explanation. Margaret the Log Lady gets no explanation. And the dual Dale Coopers/Red Room/extra-dimensional lodges/otherworldly spirits sure as hell get no explanations. Ostensibly, Twin Peaks: The Return aims to please fans by making such choices, but going into the series blind in 2017 probably doesn’t leave you that far behind, even if it’ll make those Dale Cooper-Red Room sequences extra surreal and obtuse.

    Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 21:34
    Gojira have announced North American headline dates with special guests Pallbearer and Oni. The summer trek is set to get underway July 30th at the UC Theatre in Berkeley, CA. Presale tickets for the new headline shows will be available beginning Tuesday, May 23th at 10 AM local, with general...
  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 21:29

    Enlarge

    The shortlist for board game's biggest international award, the Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year), has just been announced by the German critics' association that awards the prize. The main Spiel des Jahres award is currently reserved for lighter, family-style games, while the more complex Kennerspiel des Jahres honors deeper or more strategic games.

    The final decision will be made this summer, but for now, if you're looking for something new to play with friends or family, this list provides a nice starting point.

    Ars Cardboard's own recommendations from the list are, in order of complexity, Kingdomino (light), Exit—The Game (light-medium, very puzzle-y), and Terraforming Mars (medium-heavy, thinky).

    Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 21:20
    An anonymous reader shares an article: IT professionals are becoming an increasingly common presence outside of the traditional IT departments, new research has found. According to CompTIA, it seems executives are calling for specialized skills, faster reflexes and more teamwork in their workers. According to the report, a fifth (21 percent) of CFOs say they have a dedicated tech role in their department. Those roles include business scientists, analysts, and software developers. There are also hybrid positions -- in part technical, but also focused on the business itself. "This isn't a case of rogue IT running rampant or CIOs and their teams becoming obsolete," says Carolyn April, senior director, industry analysis, CompTIA. "Rather, it signals that a tech-savvier workforce is populating business units and job roles."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 21:15
    Happy 10th Birthday OZZY OSBOURNE's Black Rain - May 22nd, 2007 Happy 67th Birthday Bernie Taupin (ELTON JOHN) - May 22nd, 1950 Happy 53rd Birthday Graham Woodcock (THE QUEST) - May 22nd, 1964 Happy 51st Birthday Kenneth Shaun Hickey (TYPE O NEGATIVE, SEVENTH VOID) - May 22nd, 1966 Happy 41st Birthday Daniel John Erlandsson...
  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 21:00

    Apple has a new iOS app for making short videos to share on social networks, called Clips. It’s simple enough to use and free to download, but we thought we’d explore the features a little deeper to see what the app is really capable of. Before you can download Clips you’ll need to update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS 10, which includes a few notable improvements over the last version. Photos, Videos, and a Little Bit of Snapchat One of the more puzzling aspects of Clips is trying to figure out why it exists at all. An app for making short videos and slideshows...

    Read the full article: Make Videos for Any Social Network With Apple Clips

  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 20:53
    If you've witnessed a performance featuring world-renowned drummer Gene Hoglan within the past decade or so, chances are you've seen him perform with his Pearl Masters Custom Set (pictured below) - utilized on Ozzfest, tours with Opeth, Strapping Young Lad, Unearth, and on Hoglan's first DVD, The Atomic Clock. The...
  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 20:50

    Trailer for tonight's episode of Year Million. (video link)

    If you're interested in where science and technology might take humanity over the next million years, you might want to check out a new series from National Geographic called Year Million. Part science fiction, part speculative commentary, the show explores what could happen to humanity if we actually achieve some of today's scientific moonshots, like extreme longevity, human-equivalent AI, fully immersive VR, and space colonization.

    The series' advisers included futurists like George Dvorsky and Michio Kaku, as well as science fiction writers like N.K. Jemisin. Their commentary is interspersed with the story of a family whose members go through all the changes created by technology. Thanks to life extension, they get to live for a million years and see the Earth and humanity utterly transformed.

    Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 20:43

    Five Energy Expansions

    Since life first formed on Earth billions of years ago, the ability of organisms to use more powerful and efficient energy sources has been key in driving the diversity and complexity of life. According to this provocative piece in Nature by Olivia Judson, the history of life on Earth can be divided into five energetic epochs characterized by the following energy sources: geochemical energy, sunlight, oxygen, flesh and fire.

    The first two were present at the start, but oxygen, flesh and fire are all consequences of evolutionary events. Since no category of energy source has disappeared, this has, over time, resulted in an expanding realm of the sources of energy available to living organisms and a concomitant increase in the diversity and complexity of ecosystems. These energy expansions have also mediated the transformation of key aspects of the planetary environment, which have in turn mediated the future course of evolutionary change. Using energy as a lens thus illuminates patterns in the entwined histories of life and Earth, and may also provide a framework for considering the potential trajectories of life-planet systems elsewhere.

    Organisms formed on Earth and changed the planet, which led to the formation of new organisms more suited to the new environment. For instance, when a type of bacteria evolved to turn sunshine into oxygen, it completely changed the planet.

    In the absence of a biotic source of oxygen, trace quantities of the gas can be generated abiotically: water molecules can be split by sunlight or radioactive decay. However, these abiotic processes are much less efficient than their biotic equivalent. Had cyanobacteria, or something like them, never evolved, oxygen would never have built up in the atmosphere of the Earth.

    But build up it did. Between 2.45 and 2.32 Ga, significant quantities of oxygen began to accumulate in the air, an episode known as the Great Oxidation Event. Before the Great Oxidation, atmospheric oxygen levels were less than 10^-5 of the present atmospheric level of ~21%. By ~2 Ga, they had risen to perhaps 0.1-1% of the present atmospheric level. Although the subsequent history of oxygen is complex and many details are uncertain, Earth’s atmosphere has contained an appreciable level of the gas ever since. (Full oxygenation of the oceans, however, would not happen until around 1.8 billion years after the Great Oxidation.)

    The original piece in Nature is fairly readable for a science journal, but this summary in The Atlantic is worth a look if you’re short on time or attention. (via @CharlesCMann)

    Tags: biology   Earth   energy   evolution   Olivia Judson
  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 20:43

    Another Supreme Court case on patents, and another complete smackdown of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), the court that is supposed to be the "expert" on patent cases. This morning the ruling on the TC Heartland case came out, and it could help put an end to jurisdiction shopping for patent cases. As you've probably heard, for years now patent trolls and other aggressive patent litigants have been filing their cases in East Texas, as it's become a jurisdiction that is ridiculous friendly to patent holders. The towns of Marshall and Tyler, Texas have practically built up industries around the fact that they are "patent friendly" jurisdictions. In the past few years, a second favored jurisdiction has popped up: Delaware, after a few academic studies showed that the courts there may have been even more friendly than East Texas. The TC Heartland case was about a case filed in Delaware, and raised the issue of whether or not this kind of patent forum shopping was okay. CAFC, in its usual CAFC manner, said "sure, that's great, we love jurisdiction shopping and have since our 1990 ruling in VE Holding v. Johnson Gas. This was kind of ironic, as one of the key justifications given for setting up CAFC in the first place was to put an end to jurisdiction shopping in patent cases.

    Either way, CAFC once again blessed the ability of patent holders to sue in plaintiff friendly locations, and the Supreme Court -- which has spent the past decade reteaching patent law to CAFC every chance it gets -- has done so again. Once again, the decision was unanimous, with the court voting 8 - 0 that trolls can't just file over and over again in East Texas (Gorsuch, having just joined the court after the case was heard, did not take part). The opinion, written by Justice Thomas, goes through the history of jurisdiction issues related to where one can bring lawsuits, noting that historically, where a company was incorporated was the proper jurisdiction.

    While most of the ruling is deep in the weeds about definitions in the law, and whether or not Congress intended to change certain definitions, here's a simplified version of what happened: some have interpreted patent law to mean that a patent holder can sue an alleged infringer anywhere that a product is sold/available. In the age of the internet, this generally means "anywhere." Thus, as long as your product was available in Texas or Delaware, trolls could sue in those locations -- even if the company was nowhere near those locations. Here, however, the Court has said that the lawsuits are supposed to be filed where the company "resides," which it says is the state where the company is incorporated. This is a huge win for companies who are targeted by patent trolls. Rather than being dragged across the country to courts like East Texas or Delaware, which have built up large practices and reputations for supporting patent trolls over actual innovators, now cases will need to be filed where the alleged infringer is actually incorporated.

    Expect to see the usual whining from patent trolls and their supporters about this -- but just remember: if they have a serious case of infringement, they should be fine filing it wherever the defendants actually are. Their concern is not about how this is somehow bad for patent owners. It's really about how certain courts were biased in their favor and they can no longer take advantage of that. Of course, this might mean that the ice rink in Marshall, Texas needs to find a new sponsor.



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  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 20:40
    A worn-out welcome: The city rolled out the red carpet as a host to Uber's driverless car experiments, but nine months later its mayor and residents have built up a list of grievances with the public-private partnership. From a report: While our experience in one of the autonomous vehicles was thankfully pretty safe, it wasn't long before reports of accidents and wrong-way driving began to surface during the first month of the operation. Nine months later, the relationship continues to sour, according to a report in the New York Times. The things Uber promised in return for the city's support -- including free rides in driverless cars, backing the city's $50 million federal transportation grant and jobs for a neighborhood nearby Uber's testing track -- have not materialized. The situation was an issue during the mayoral primary, too, with critics calling out incumbent Bill Peduto for not getting these agreements in writing from the ride-sharing company.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Monday 22 May 2017 - 20:37

    Advanced Tokens Manager is a free program for Microsoft Windows devices that enables you to backup Windows and Office activation tokens.

    The main purpose of the program is to restore the activation tokens after you install Windows anew, run into activation issues after the system activated successfully, or restore backups.

    If a system won't activate anymore, you may be asked to contact Microsoft by phone, or run an online activation to activate the product again.

    Advanced Tokens Manager may be used to restore the activation data instead, so that the operating system activates without having to activate it online or by phone.

    Backup Windows and Office Activation tokens

    windows activation backup

    The program itself is dead easy to use. You can start it directly from the location you extracted it to. It displays Windows Activation information right on start including the license product key, license status, and token information.

    You can hit the Activation Backup button right away to save the activation tokens to the program folder.

    The following limitations apply:

    1. Restore works only if major hardware has not been changed.
    2. Only permanent activations are supported. Limited activations, e.g. test copies are not supported.
    3. The installation of a retail copy of the operating system is required for upgrade activations.
    4. The author suggests that the driver status at the time of the creation of the backup is used to avoid activation problems.

    Advanced Tokens Manager creates a new folder called Windows Activation Backup in the root of the program folder.

    You may use the backup to restore the activation of the operating system at a later point in time. This is done in the same way, but works only when the program detects that the license status is not activated.

    The Office activation backup works in pretty much the same manner. Click on Office Activation Backup in the interface, and information such as the Office product key and license status are displayed.

    Click on the activation backup button, confirm the prompt, and wait for the activation tokens to be saved to Advanced Tokens Manager's program folder.

    The application ships with some handy features. It checks the integrity of backups, and whether the backup is valid for the operating system that is loaded. Also, it may be used to activate the product from x86 to x64 and vice versa if the same edition is used.

    The program is available as a release candidate currently. Windows 10 is not listed as a supported operating system yet, and for Windows 8.1 only activation data that was activated by phone will be restored properly according to the developer's website.

    The program has not been updated in a while unfortunately, and it seems dead right now. So, if you want to use it, only use it for Windows 7 or older versions of Windows, or phone activated windows 8.1 and maybe also Windows 10 operating systems.

    OPA Backup for Office activation backups, and ABR have the same limitations. Windows 10 users may link a Microsoft Account to a Windows 10 license.

    Now You: Did you ever run into activation troubles? How did you resolve them?

    Ghacks needs you. You can find out how to support us here or support the site directly by becoming a Patreon. Thank you for being a Ghacks reader.

    The post Backup Windows and Office Activation tokens appeared first on gHacks Technology News.