Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

Log In

Log In

Create Account  |  Retrieve Password

Site News

Join our Folding@Home team:
Main F@H site
Our team page

Funding Goal
For period:
   2017-01-01 to 2017-06-30.
Base Goal: $3000.00
Progress So Far: $3000.00
Stretch Goal: $2000.00
Progress So Far:
Approximately: $504.18

Covers the period:
  2017-01-01 00:00:00 ..
  2017-05-28 14:01:42 UTC
  (SPIDs: [586..706]) --martyb

Support us: Subscribe Here and buy SoylentNews Swag

We always have a place for talented people, visit the Get Involved section on the wiki to see how you can make SoylentNews better.

How many natural languages do you know?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • more than 5

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:80 | Votes:271

posted by martyb on Tuesday May 30, @07:21AM   Printer-friendly

The conch shell is made of the same material as chalk, but unlike the crumbly rock, it's one of the toughest materials out there. If we can understand why it's so tough, we can mimic it to create nearly unbreakable materials that can be used for safety gear, and in construction, aerospace and other industries. Now, a team of researchers from MIT have developed a 3D printing technology that allowed them to duplicate the conch shell's structure and to test it more closely in the lab.

Conch shells have a complex, three-tiered structure with a zigzag matrix that makes them resistant to breakage. Small cracks don't typically lead to big ones, since they have to go through a maze to become bigger. However, to be able to replicate that quality, scientists need more data on how exactly cracks appear and spread.

That's why the team used the samples they printed to perform a series of drop tests. Since these samples are identical, unlike conch shells that have variations in quality, they gave the scientists a way to collect more accurate data. By the end of the testing period, the researchers were able to conclude that the shell's structure is 85 percent better at preventing cracks than the strongest base material and 70 percent better than a traditional fiber composite arrangement.

Source: ArsTechnica

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday May 30, @05:28AM   Printer-friendly
from the More-Moore? dept.

ARM has announced two new CPU cores, the Cortex-A75 and Cortex-A55. According to ARM, the A75 increases performance by around 22% over the A73 at the same level of power consumption. It can also scale to use more power per core (1-2 W rather than 0.75 W) which could slightly improve the performance of ARM laptops and tablets.

The smaller core, the Cortex-A55, increases performance by around 18% compared to the Cortex-A53, but also increases power consumption by 3%. Thus, power efficiency is about 14-15% better than the A53.

ARM's successor to big.LITTLE, DynamIQ, allows for up to 8 cores of any size (which for now means either the A75 or A55) inside of a single cluster. This means that a configuration including 1x Cortex-A75 and 7x Cortex-A55 cores would be possible, or even optimal according to ARM.

ARM also announced its Mali-G72 GPU, an incremental upgrade to the Mali-G71:

ARM says that the Mali-G72 will see a 25 percent boost to energy efficiency compared with the G71, meaning that SoC designers will have more power to play with to boost performance or increase battery life.

Similarly, the G72 offers 20 percent better performance density, meaning that manufacturers can pack more GPU cores into the same die area as before, giving further potential for a performance boost without an increase in cost. Previously ARM was targeting 16 to 20 Mali-G71 cores as the optimum for mobile, and expects to see the number push closer to the 32 shader core maximum supported by the G72 this time around.

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Tuesday May 30, @03:35AM   Printer-friendly

An Army veteran, a recent college graduate and a student who once won a poetry contest by condemning prejudice stirred up by the Sept. 11 attacks intervened as a man screamed anti-Muslim insults at two women in Portland, Ore., on Friday.

[...] Two of the men — Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, and Rick Best, 53 — died in the attack, which occurred on a commuter train. The third, Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, was treated on Saturday for injuries that the police said were serious but not life-threatening.

Jeremy Christian, 35, of North Portland, Ore., was charged with two counts of aggravated murder in the attack and could face additional charges when he is arraigned on Tuesday. Mr. Christian, who the authorities said had a history of making extremist statements on social media, was ranting at, and talking disparagingly about, the two women, one of whom was wearing a hijab.

Source: The New York Times

President Donald Trump has released his first official statement on the attack in Portland, Oregon, more than 48 hours after the two victims died.

"The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable," Mr Trump tweeted. "The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them."

Source: The Independent

Portland law enforcement leaders were tightlipped Saturday about the investigation into Friday's attacks that killed two men on a light rail train but a federal official did say it was too early to label the incident a hate crime.

[...] Loren Cannon, special agent in charge of the Portland FBI office, [...]

"It's too early to say whether last night's violence was an act of domestic terrorism or a federal hate crime," he said. "However, in the coming days, the FBI, PPB and the prosecutors will work together to share information, leverage resources and make determinations about future criminal charges."

[...] Leaders of the Muslim community said they were thankful for the men who gave their lives to save the girls from harm. They have raised $50,000 toward a goal of $60,000 to help support the victims and their families.

Source: The Oregonian

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Tuesday May 30, @01:50AM   Printer-friendly
from the hot-source dept.

Hackers used malware to steal customer payment data from most of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc's (CMG.N) restaurants over a span of three weeks, the company said on Friday, adding to woes at the chain whose sales had just started recovering from a string of food safety lapses in 2015.

Chipotle said it did not know how many payment cards or customers were affected by the breach that struck most of its roughly 2,250 restaurants for varying amounts of time between March 24 and April 18, spokesman Chris Arnold said via email.

A handful of Canadian restaurants were also hit in the breach, which the company first disclosed on April 25.

Source: Reuters

Original Submission

posted by CoolHand on Tuesday May 30, @12:19AM   Printer-friendly
from the we've-built-up-an-immunity-to-ibogaine-powder dept.

Submitted via IRC for Bytram


In West Africa, the roots of a native shrub contain a psychoactive substance called ibogaine. In small doses, ibogaine produces a mild euphoric effect somewhat comparable to other stimulant plants, like khat in the Horn of Africa or piri piri in the Amazon. But in large doses, its psychedelic effects are extraordinary.

[...] In Brazil, which has no such crisis, Gomes and his colleagues work with patients addicted to (predominately) crack cocaine. Though they'll meet with their patients a number of times, they'll administer ibogaine to each person only once. Speaking at the MAPS Psychedelic Science Conference in California late last month, Gomes said most people he sees are addicts for whom traditional therapy and the various Anonymous programs have failed. They tend to be impatient with the precursor meetings and adherence to controlled settings, wanting mostly to get the drug, take it, and leave cured.

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Monday May 29, @10:37PM   Printer-friendly
from the challenge-accepted dept.

Game studios that use digital rights management (DRM) tools tend to defend it to the death, even after it's been cracked. It prevents 'casual' piracy and cheating, they sometimes argue. However, Rime developer Tequila Works is taking a decidedly different approach. It claims that it'll remove Denuvo, the anti-tampering/DRM system on the Windows version of Rime, if someone cracks its island puzzle title. This is an odd promise to make, especially since it amounts to an inadvertent dare -- find a way to break in and the developers will eliminate the need for that crack.

This wouldn't be so unusual a statement if there weren't a history of Denuvo cracks. While it's harder to defeat this code than earlier schemes, it's definitely not impossible. Recent games like Resident Evil 7 and Prey had their Denuvo implementations broken within days of release, while developers have patched it out on titles like Doom and Inside. Tequila Works is aware that cracking is likely more a question of "when" than "if," but it appears to be optimistic about the challenge involved.

Source: ArsTechnica

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Monday May 29, @08:54PM   Printer-friendly
from the bigger-means-better dept.

After several years of planning and no shortage of financial anxiety, construction has officially started on the Extremely Large Telescope. Contractors are now building the main structure and dome of the Chile-based observer ahead of its initial service in 2024. That's a long time to wait, but this is no mean feat. With a 43-yard aperture, this promises to be the world's largest optical telescope for sometime, even compared to future or in-limbo projects like the Thirty Meter Telescope. Those gigantic dimensions will help it capture far more light, giving astronomers the chance to spot particularly distant galaxies, find small planets and capture more details of larger planets.

The ELT's full capabilities won't come until sometime after 2024, when the ESO starts a second construction phase. It could easily be another few years after that before the telescope lives up to its expectations.

Source: Engadget

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday May 29, @07:27PM   Printer-friendly
from the going-to-need-a-narrower-laptop dept.

In an interview on "Fox News Sunday," [U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John] Kelly said the United States planned to "raise the bar" on airline security, including tightening screening of carry-on items.

"That's the thing that they are obsessed with, the terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it's a U.S. carrier, particularly if it's full of U.S. people."

In March, the government imposed restrictions on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins on flights from 10 airports, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Turkey.

Kelly said the move would be part of a broader airline security effort to combat what he called "a real sophisticated threat." He said no decision had been made as to the timing of any ban.

"We are still following the intelligence," he said, "and are in the process of defining this, but we're going to raise the bar generally speaking for aviation much higher than it is now."

Airlines are concerned that a broad ban on laptops may erode customer demand. But none wants an incident aboard one of its airplanes.


Fox News has a transcript of the interview (archived copy).

Previous stories:
President Trump Revealed Classified Information to Russia; and Tweets it to the World [Updated]
"Sources" Fear Terrorists will get Past Airport Security with Laptop Bombs
US Bans Tablets and Laptops on Flights From Eight Muslim-Majority Countries

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday May 29, @05:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the miSPERforMance dept.

Researchers at U.C. Berkeley have found a birth control that is hormone free, fully natural, resulted in no known side effects so far, is harmless to eggs and sperm, could be used both in the long- and short-term, and it can be used either before or after conception, from ancient Chinese folk medicine. "Because these two plant compounds block fertilization at very, very low concentrations -- about 10 times lower than levels of levonorgestrel in Plan B -- they could be a new generation of emergency contraceptive we nicknamed 'molecular condoms,'" team leader Polina Lishko, an assistant professor of molecular and cell biology, said in a press release.

The active compounds are pregnenolone sulfate — and the two plant-derived inhibitors pristimerin and lupeol. According to the publication.

And they work by blocking ABHD2 that signals to sperms to move faster. However these compounds hit a target that is important for many cell types in the body. So these compounds are no "magic bullet" and a better comparison is that of carpet bombing.

The chemicals they studied are supposedly extracted from mangoes and dandelion roots.

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1700367114 — a full pre-print is available.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday May 29, @03:41PM   Printer-friendly
from the Looks-Better==Is-Better? dept.

Consumer Reports is running an article titled Free Over-the-Air TV Is Going to Get Better. They're rolling out a new standard, ATSC 3.0.

According to the article, you'll be able to watch OTA (over the air) TV on your phone or tablet! I wrote an article a few years back wondering why you couldn't already.

It's a fairly long and very informative article, but very much worth a read. It only talks about American broadcasts, no word about when or if it will reach other countries, but my guess is it won't be long.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday May 29, @01:47PM   Printer-friendly
from the Drain-The-Swamp dept.

There is a federal law saying that lobbyists need to be granted a waiver to work in the administration. This is overseen by the Office of Government Ethics. Historically, for both Democrat and Republican administrations, the White House has complied with providing these waivers.

The Trump Administration has not provided these waivers. Walter Shaub, the director of the OGE, has set a deadline of June 1 to provide these documents. The White House Council has provided instructions to employees to not provide this documentation, claiming providing them would be an undue administrative burden. This raises the question of why it would be an undue burden: due to the number of people provided waivers or the extent of the waivers granted.

Editorializing a bit, it is both heartening that the head of the office for Ethics is willing to proverbially "walk the talk" by putting his own position at risk to do the right thing, as well as depressing that such behavior is the laudable exception rather than the accepted norm.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday May 29, @12:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the You're-the-product dept.

A look inside the company and its astonishing reach into our daily lives through a series of studies conducted by Share Labs, first reported by the BBC but without linking directly to the material posted by Share Labs.

Share Lab is a research team based in Yugoslavia: "Where indie data punk, meets media theory pop to investigate digital rights blues"

For those of us born and raised before Facebook, life has many different aspects: work, family, hobbies. In each context we may behave differently and other people might have a different impression of our personality but Facebook, by mixing it all together, is causing a "context collapse", no longer partitioning our lives.

However, one of Zuckerberg's fears is "context restoration" whereas users become aware of the Panopticon and choose to "behave" in Facebook withholding essential data and thus ruining Facebook's algorithms. It may become a LinkedIn type of site, where everything posted is highly curated for professional purposes and the "social" migrates to other platforms, such as Instagram.

It is possible that in the near future Facebook and LinkedIn will be competing for the same market: professional or skilled traders and lose some of its potency. That is why Facebook is extending its reach to other websites, tracking both Facebook users and others to keep harvesting data about our daily activities and testing algorithms to influence every decision we make.

As Douglas Rushkoff puts it:

"Facebook will market you your future before you've even gotten there, they'll use predictive algorithms to figure out what's your likely future and then try to make that even more likely. They'll get better at programming you – they'll reduce your spontaneity. "

As we all know, your social media profile has become of interest to would-be employers, law-enforcement and of course, advertisers. Some have started to demand wages for using Facebook, as we are creating the "product" they sell.

Those afraid of Big Government should be very afraid of behemoths like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple and others which are not hindered by the constitution or human rights. It appears that we can run but no hide.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday May 29, @10:21AM   Printer-friendly
from the If-only-s/he-provided-an-e-mail-address dept.

Hello! I fairly recently wrote MailTask, an email client that fits my needs better than the ones that had previously existed, and which I hope may be useful to other people as well. I think the program has the potential to be especially useful for other people who have to deal with a lot of email on a day-to-day basis and for power users, a category which I'm sure most of SoylentNews's readership falls into.


When you start MailTask, the program puts up a window allowing you to view any of the top-level "folders" recognized by the program. These folders include the INBOX and Sent folders of any IMAP accounts you have the program configured to use, allowing you to view any emails in these folders, and also the "Tasks" folder, which is where the program expects you'll be spending most of your time.

The "Tasks" folder is a list of tasks, not of emails. A task contains a title, any notes-to-self related to the task, any number of unsent draft email messages related to the task, and any number of links to received or already sent email messages related to the task.

General Workflow of MailTask:

First, an email comes in. MailTask puts this message in the appropriate INBOX folder and either attaches this email to an existing task it can tell is related to the received email -- for instance, perhaps the received email is a reply to an email an existing task links to -- or it creates a new one and puts a link to the just-received message in the just-created task. The user looks at the task that has either been created or activated, looks at and possibly revises any notes-to-self, looks through the thread of related messages, composes a draft response to the received message, and sends the response. MailTask at this point will hide the task in question so that it doesn't clutter the view (there's a shortcut that lists you see hidden tasks), but will only make it visible again if new emails come in that are related to it. If an email ever comes in that doesn't need a response, you can manually hide or delete the task that was activated or created. Thus, the "Tasks" folder should ideally only ever contain "stuff you have to deal with and haven't".

Of course, the program is more flexible than that. You can create tasks that aren't related to any emails at all -- like a shopping list, for instance. You can set a task to be related to a meeting. If you do, the meeting will be added to your Google Calendar, the meeting task will go to the top of the task list so you don't miss it, and the meeting task can be used to hold notes for the upcoming meeting, unsent drafts related to the upcoming meeting, and sent/received emails related to the upcoming meeting. You can do a similar thing with tasks that are not meetings but have deadlines of some kind. You can also blacklist a certain sender, so emails from that sender are never added to tasks in the task list unless you do it manually. Alternatively, you can blacklist an entire account, but whitelist particular senders so that emails from them don't get blacklisted just because they were received by the blacklisted account.

The Code:

The code itself is extensible, so, if you're a Python programmer, the sky is the limit. The code related to dealing with incoming emails is all dispatched from a single function in the file You don't need to know the entire internals of MailTask to add new features to the task handler. I added support for Google Calendar and blacklists/whitelists after the original design was long finished, and the support was easy to add. I also added support for adding a note to a created task stating which class of mine a student is in, based on the sender address of the email, since they almost never tell me. One thing I haven't done yet but know would be very easy to do is an autoreply feature.

A little bit more on the internals. The program itself is actually three related Python scripts. is an IMAP client, and is in charge of syncing the other components with regard to emails that come in and tasks that are changed. is the program that brings up the GUI and that the user interacts with -- it's expected there may be multiple clients running at a time, one on each of the user's computers. is the "utility client" which is in charge of updating the tasks in the task list based on newly received and sent emails. Both and are "clients" in that they need to connect to the server run by over TCP/IP. needs to open two ports for the clients to connect to; the numbers of these two ports are configurable.

The UI:

The user interface is entirely keyboard shortcuts. If you look for the definition of valid_shortcuts in, these shortcuts and their actions should be reasonably self-explanatory. If you have questions, please comment, and I'll answer them.


To install the program, you'll need Python 2.7, the FLTK library, pyFLTK, which is a Python binding for the FLTK library. The hardest one of these to get working seems to be pyFLTK. I've successfully run the program on both Linux and MacOS X, and I expect Windows and other UNIXes will also work, but Windows is untested and there could possibly be problems. Comment if you have trouble, tell me what OS you're on, and I'll do my best to help.

Suggestions for improvement are greatly appreciated. I hope you like it! :)

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday May 29, @08:38AM   Printer-friendly
from the hand-over-your-wallet-and-no-one-gets-e-coli dept.

Chris Bing from CyberScoop notes:

"A sophisticated hacking group with suspected ties to cybercrime gangs operating in Eastern Europe is now actively targeting and breaching prominent brand-name restaurants in the U.S. More than 20 U.S.-based hospitality companies — the sector that includes hotels and restaurants — have been successfully hacked by FIN7 since the summer of 2016..." (Javascript required.)

FIN7 is also linked to the Carbanak APT and was accused a string of bank cyber-heists possibly totalling US $1 billion:

This group has been described as "the first international cybermafia, a group of cybercriminals from Russia, Ukraine and other parts of Europe and China." and are suspected to have been involved with an SEC impersonation email campaign:

"In the phishing emails, FIN7 spoofed the sender email address as "EDGAR" in an email with an attachment reading disguised as a word doc entitled "Important_Changes_to_Form10_K.doc" " -

Two other methods are also said to have been used in their attacks: fileless malware and fake windows compatibility patches

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday May 29, @06:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the deadly-trolleys dept.

A new study suggests that smartphone users may be more apt to employ utilitarian reasoning in resolving moral problems, rather than adhering to absolute moral principles.

The study, which is published in Computers in Human Behavior, is one of the first studies into the impact of the digital age on moral judgments, and suggests that moral judgments depend on the digital context in which a dilemma is presented and could have significant implications for how we interact with computers.

To investigate how moral judgements are affected by smartphones and PCs, the researchers recruited 1,010 people and presented them with a classic moral dilemma known as the 'Trolley Problem'.

The Trolley Problem typically involves a runaway trolley that will kill a certain number of people on the tracks, unless some action is taken. (It has recently come to broader attention in discussions of the ethics of autonomous vehicles.) In the original version, a switch is present that will allow the trolley to be diverted; but in doing so, it will kill an otherwise innocent bystander who is on the diversion track. In the so-called "fat man" variant, the dilemma allows the possibility of pushing an obese man in front of the trolley to stop it and save a larger number of people down the line.

Before reading further, stop for a moment to think of what you would do.

Studies generally show that many people use utilitarian reasoning and flip the switch in the first scenario to save the larger number of people. But fewer people in studies are generally willing to push the fat man onto the tracks. Philosophers consider this latter response to be a type of deontological reasoning, which values a moral principle above utilitarian calculations (i.e., it is wrong to murder someone, even to save others).

In the new study, participants were required to have both a smartphone and PC to participate. They were randomly assigned to use one or the other for the experiment. There was no statistically significant difference between their responses for the "switch" scenario to the trolley problem (80.9% for the smartphone users vs. 76.9% for the PC users), but a significantly larger number of smartphone users were willing to sacrifice the fat man (33.5% vs. 22.3% for PC users). When under time pressure in a follow-up experiment with 250 new participants, the fat man scenario difference increased (45.7% for smartphone users vs. 20% for PC users).

Dr Albert Barque-Duran, a researcher from the Department of Psychology at City, University of London and lead author of the study, said:

"What we found in our study is that when people used a smartphone to view classic moral problems, they were more likely to make more unemotional, rational decisions when presented with a highly emotional dilemma. This could be due to the increased time pressures often present with smartphones and also the increased psychological distance which can occur when we use such devices compared to PCs.

"Due to the fact that our social lives, work and even shopping takes place online, it is important to think about how the contexts where we typically face ethical decisions and are asked to engage in moral behaviour have changed, and the impact this could have on the hundreds of millions of people who use such devices daily."

Perhaps due to the lead author's characterization of utilitarian reasoning as "rational," a number of news outlets have portrayed the study as concluding that smartphone users are "more rational." (See, for example, coverage at The Daily Mail and Engadget.) However, the conclusion of the full study challenges that idea, noting that the enhanced distinction for smartphone users under time pressure does not accord with the theory that avoiding killing the fat man is only a quick "gut reaction" governed by emotions.

Alternatively, in the past some have argued that trolley problem research is flawed anyway because many respondents find the scenarios silly and may not take them seriously.

Link to original study

Original Submission