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posted by martyb on Monday January 21, @03:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the we-should-get-together-some-time dept.

Paris informs Tokyo it wants Renault and Nissan to integrate[*]

A French government delegation has informed Tokyo that it would seek an integration of Renault and Nissan, most likely under the umbrella of a single holding company, the Nikkei reported on Sunday.

The delegation, which included French government-designated Renault director Martin Vial, also said that it wanted to name Nissan's next chairman, according to the report. Nissan was not immediately available for comment.

Nissan ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn, arrested and detained in Tokyo since Nov. 19, has been indicted in Japan on charges of under-reporting his salary for eight years through March 2018, and temporarily transferring personal investment losses to Nissan during the global financial crisis. Ghosn has denied all charges.

[*] Noscript caused issues for me; same story can be found at U.S. News & World Report.

Previously: Nissan Motor Chairman and Others Set to be Indicted

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday January 21, @12:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the That's-Entertainment! dept.


Streaming mogul Netflix claims Fortnite is now a bigger competitor than other media companies like Game of Thrones and True Detective producer HBO.

[...] It's a notable comparison that highlights not only how incredulously popular Epic's last-man-standing shooter has become, but also how its impact is now being felt by some of the biggest names outside of the games industry.

Indeed, it's easy to see why Netflix considers Fortnite a main rival. The free-to-play title is available on almost every platform imaginable, from consoles and PCs to smartphones, and hit 8.3 million concurrent players before Christmas.

Is Netflix right? Is gaming a bigger long-term threat to streaming services than the streaming services are to each other?

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday January 20, @10:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the Fee-Fie-Fou-Fhum-Fideism-Falafel dept.

Commentary at Salon!

Should you believe in a God? Not according to most academic philosophers. A comprehensive survey revealed that only about 14 percent of English speaking professional philosophers are theists. As for what little religious belief remains among their colleagues, most professional philosophers regard it as a strange aberration among otherwise intelligent people. Among scientists the situation is much the same. Surveys of the members of the National Academy of Sciences, composed of the most prestigious scientists in the world, show that religious belief among them is practically nonexistent, about 7 percent.

[...] Now nothing definitely follows about the truth of a belief from what the majority of philosophers or scientists think. But such facts might cause believers discomfort. There has been a dramatic change in the last few centuries in the proportion of believers among the highly educated in the Western world. In the European Middle Ages belief in a God was ubiquitous, while today it is rare among the intelligentsia. This change occurred primarily because of the rise of modern science and a consensus among philosophers that arguments for the existence of gods, souls, afterlife and the like were unconvincing. Still, despite the view of professional philosophers and world-class scientists, religious beliefs have a universal appeal. What explains this?

[...] First, if you defend such beliefs by claiming that you have a right to your opinion, however unsupported by evidence it might be, you are referring to a political or legal right, not an epistemic one. You may have a legal right to say whatever you want, but you have epistemic justification only if there are good reasons and evidence to support your claim. If someone makes a claim without concern for reasons and evidence, we should conclude that they simply don’t care about what’s true. We shouldn’t conclude that their beliefs are true because they are fervently held.

Another problem is that fideism—basing one’s beliefs exclusively on faith—makes belief arbitrary, leaving no way to distinguish one religious belief from another. Fideism allows no reason to favor your preferred beliefs or superstitions over others. If I must accept your beliefs without evidence, then you must accept mine, no matter what absurdity I believe in. But is belief without reason and evidence worthy of rational beings? Doesn’t it perpetuate the cycle of superstition and ignorance that has historically enslaved us? I agree with W.K. Clifford. “It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.” Why? Because your beliefs affect other people, and your false beliefs may harm them.

I am checking to see what the Church of the Flying Spagetti Monster has to say about all this.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday January 20, @08:13PM   Printer-friendly
from the Soyvertisment-Game-Ad-Alert-dept dept.

Mortal Kombat is back with it's 11th version this time with MMA badass Ronda Rousey as Sonya Blade with an ultra violent preview trailer. Given the progression of titles in the MK series it will take a significant boost to deliver a winner this time, something for which the preview shows it may have a good shot at. Assuming the preview isn't pure fluff.

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Sunday January 20, @05:52PM   Printer-friendly
from the high-windspeed-collision dept.

NASA's Juno spacecraft captures Jupiter's massive storms, revealing planet's 'striking blemish'

Deep in outer space, two powerful storms brewed near Jupiter's iconic Red Spot. And the planet's colorful, swirling clouds became even more mesmerizing — a feat space enthusiasts may not have imagined was possible.

NASA's Juno spacecraft captured the stunning sight during a recent flyby in late December, though the agency only just released the images on Thursday. The spacecraft was about 23,000 to 34,000 miles from the top of the planet's clouds at the time. [...] The photos show a huge storm called Oval BA hovering near the Great Red Spot. The "striking blemish" on Jupiter's surface is about twice as wide as Earth

All agree that Andrew Jackson was V.G.L. -- Very Good Looking. But this looks even better. Thinking of ordering the Hard Copy to hang in my office. Bye Andy!!!

Also at SWRI.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday January 20, @02:42PM   Printer-friendly
from the Eye-for-an-"i"-dept dept.

In April 2011, 17 year old Wang Shangkunsold a kidney to buy an iPhone. When asked why he did this, the man said “Why do I need a second kidney? One is enough,”.

The man subsequently developed complications and now needs regular dialysis to survive. The complications may have been caused by a lack of post operative care. The doctors involved have been arrested.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday January 20, @12:21PM   Printer-friendly
from the Fantastic-Voyage dept.

Smart microrobots that can adapt to their surroundings

One day we may be able to ingest tiny robots that deliver drugs directly to diseased tissue, thanks to research being carried out at EPFL [(École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)] and ETH Zurich [(Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich)] .

The group of scientists – led by Selman Sakar at EPFL and Bradley Nelson at ETH Zurich – drew inspiration from bacteria to design smart, biocompatible microrobots that are highly flexible. Because these devices are able to swim through fluids and modify their shape when needed, they can pass through narrow blood vessels and intricate systems without compromising on speed or maneuverability. They are made of hydrogel nanocomposites that contain magnetic nanoparticles allowing them to be controlled via an electromagnetic field.

[...] Fabricating miniaturized robots presents a host of challenges, which the scientists addressed using an origami-based folding method. Their novel locomotion strategy employs embodied intelligence, which is an alternative to the classical computation paradigm that is performed by embedded electronic systems. "Our robots have a special composition and structure that allow them to adapt to the characteristics of the fluid they are moving through. For instance, if they encounter a change in viscosity or osmotic concentration, they modify their shape to maintain their speed and maneuverability without losing control of the direction of motion," says Sakar.

These deformations can be "programmed" in advance so as to maximize performance without the use of cumbersome sensors or actuators. The robots can be either controlled using an electromagnetic field or left to navigate on their own through cavities by utilizing fluid flow. Either way, they will automatically morph into the most efficient shape.

Adaptive locomotion of artificial microswimmers (open, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau1532) (DX)

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday January 20, @10:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the just-eat-it dept.

Over the years, scientists have identified dams, pollution and vessel noise as causes of the troubling decline of the Pacific Northwest's resident killer whales. Now, they may have found a new and more surprising culprit: pink salmon.

Four salmon researchers were perusing data on the website of the Center for Whale Research, which studies the orcas, several months ago when they noticed a startling trend: that for the past two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years.

In a newly published paper, they speculate that the pattern is related to pink salmon, which return to the Salish Sea between Washington state and Canada in enormous numbers every other year — though they're not sure how. They suspect that the huge runs of pink salmon, which have boomed under conservation efforts and changes in ocean conditions in the past two decades, might interfere with the whales' ability to hunt their preferred prey, Chinook salmon.

Given the dire plight of the orcas, which officials say are on the brink of extinction, the researchers decided to publicize their discovery without waiting to investigate its causes.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday January 20, @07:39AM   Printer-friendly
from the that's-no-moon dept.

The first suspected exomoon may remain hidden for another decade

A good exomoon is hard to find. Proving that the first purported moon around an exoplanet actually exists could take up to a decade, its discoverers say.

"We're running into some difficult problems in terms of confirming the presence of this thing," said astronomer Alex Teachey of Columbia University at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society on January 10.

[...] That uncertainty is partly because the purported moon seems to be about the size of Neptune, much larger than moon formation theories predict. And the researchers can't rule out that the evidence of the moon isn't actually evidence of a second planet. "We're trying to be very careful about not calling this a discovery, that we've got this beyond a shadow of a doubt," Teachey said.

[...] Ground-based telescopes are trying to confirm if the object is a moon or a second planet based on the object's gravitational tugs on the known planet. That's a much slower process than looking for dips in light from exoplanets and exomoons passing in front of their stars, which is what the Hubble and Kepler data reveal, and could take five to 10 years, Teachey says.

Headline News: Object Not Found.

Previously: First Exo-Moon Discovered?
First Known Exomoon May Have Been Detected: Kepler 1625b i
New Evidence Supports Existence of Neptune-Sized Exomoon Orbiting Kepler-1625b

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday January 20, @05:18AM   Printer-friendly
from the gaited-community? dept.

RoboFossil Reveals Locomotion of Beast from Deep Time

Some 290 million years ago a four-legged, plant-eating creature the size of large dog roamed what is now central Germany. It did not carry itself like most other tetrapods known from that time, belly low to the ground and limbs splayed out to the sides; instead it walked taller, tucking its limbs under its body for a more erect posture. That is the portrait emerging from a new multidisciplinary study that has reconstructed the locomotion of this long-extinct animal, called Orobates pabsti—in part by developing a robot version of the beast to test the physics of various gaits. And it adds to a growing body of evidence that the textbook account of when and how four-limbed animals conquered terra firma needs revision.

Interactive demo.

Reverse-engineering the locomotion of a stem amniote (DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0851-2) (DX)

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday January 20, @02:57AM   Printer-friendly
from the "Sea-Salt"-is-already-a-thing dept.

Desalination pours more toxic brine into the ocean than previously thought

Technology meant to help solve the world's growing water shortage is producing a salty environmental dilemma.

Desalination facilities, which extract drinkable water from the ocean, discharge around 142 billion liters of extremely salty water called brine back into the environment every day, a study finds. That waste product of the desalination process can kill marine life and detrimentally alter the planet's oceans, researchers report January 14 in Science of the Total Environment.

"On the one hand, we are trying to provide populations — particularly in dry areas — with the needed amount of good quality water. But at the same time, we are also adding an environmental concern to the process," says study coauthor Manzoor Qadir, an environmental scientist at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health in Hamilton, Canada.

I would take some salt, but it probably contains microplastics.

The state of desalination and brine production: A global outlook (DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.12.076) (DX)

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday January 20, @12:36AM   Printer-friendly
from the when's-the-next-election? dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

US Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has proposed a federal privacy law that would preempt tougher privacy rules issued by states.

Rubio's announcement Wednesday said that his American Data Dissemination (ADD) Act "provides overdue transparency and accountability from the tech industry while ensuring that small businesses and startups are still able to innovate and compete in the digital marketplace."

But Rubio's bill establishes a process for creating rules instead of issuing specific rules right away, and it allows up to 27 months for Congress or the Federal Trade Commission to write the actual rules.

In addition, the bill text says it "shall supersede" any provision of a state law that pertains to the same consumer data governed by Rubio's proposed federal law. That includes names, Social Security numbers, other government ID numbers, financial transactions, medical histories, criminal histories, employment histories, user-generated content, "unique biometric data, such as fingerprint, voice print, retina or iris image, or other unique physical representation," and other personal data collected by companies.

[...] Rubio's bill wouldn't do much to protect Americans' data privacy, consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge said. The Rubio bill uses the Privacy Act of 1974 as its framework; the 1974 law applies to federal agencies, but Rubio's bill would apply similar rules to the private sector.

[...] The Act "can generally be characterized as an omnibus 'code of fair information practices' that attempts to regulate the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of personal information by federal executive branch agencies," the DOJ says in an overview last updated in 2015. "However, the Act's imprecise language, limited legislative history, and somewhat outdated regulatory guidelines have rendered it a difficult statute to decipher and apply."

Despite the DOJ saying the law is confusing, Rubio argued in an op-ed for The Hill that the Privacy Act of 1974 is "widely considered one of the seminal pieces of privacy law in effect today."

[...] Congressional Democrats recently proposed a much stricter privacy law, which could issue steep fines to companies and send their top executives to prison for up to 20 years if they violate Americans' privacy.

-- submitted from IRC

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Saturday January 19, @10:15PM   Printer-friendly
from the advertising-yourself dept.

Ignorance may be bliss for Facebook's users. About 74 percent of adults in the US who use Facebook didn't know the social network keeps a list of their interests and traits for ad targeting, says a study released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center.

About half of Facebook users said they weren't comfortable that the company compiled this information.

The world's largest social network came under fire in 2018 for a series of scandals over data privacy and security. The episodes caused concern about whether Facebook does enough to let users know what information it tracks and how it uses the data.

Facebook knows your age, gender and location, along with what you post, the pages you like and the businesses you check into on the social network. All that information helps the company determine what ads to show its 2.3 billion users.

Facebook users can view their "ad preferences" page to see what the social network thinks their interests are and why they're seeing a given ad. This list can include users' political leanings, hobbies and even the type of smartphone they use. Facebook users can also remove an interest from that list to change the type of ads they see on the social network.

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Saturday January 19, @07:42PM   Printer-friendly
from the there's-lots-more-where-that-came-from dept.

Security maven Brian Krebs, possibly best known for his blog Krebs On Security, recently posted an article that puts a damper on the kerfluffle about a huge e-mail and password breach that has been recently announced: 773M Password 'Megabreach' is Years Old:

My inbox and Twitter messages positively lit up today with people forwarding stories from Wired and other publications about a supposedly new trove of nearly 773 million unique email addresses and 21 million unique passwords that were posted to a hacking forum. A story in The Guardian breathlessly dubbed it "the largest collection ever of breached data found." But in an interview with the apparent seller, KrebsOnSecurity learned that it is not even close to the largest gathering of stolen data, and that it is at least two to three years old.

The dump, labeled "Collection #1" and approximately 87GB in size, was first detailed earlier today by Troy Hunt, who operates the HaveIBeenPwned breach notification service. Hunt said the data cache was likely "made up of many different individual data breaches from literally thousands of different sources."

[...] Collection #1 offered by this seller is indeed 87GB in size. He also advertises a Telegram username where he can be reached — "Sanixer." So, naturally, KrebsOnSecurity contacted Sanixer via Telegram to find out more about the origins of Collection #1, which he is presently selling for the bargain price of just $45.

Sanixer said Collection#1 consists of data pulled from a huge number of hacked sites, and was not exactly his "freshest" offering. Rather, he sort of steered me away from that archive, suggesting that — unlike most of his other wares — Collection #1 was at least 2-3 years old. His other password packages, which [...] total more than 4 terabytes in size, are less than a year old, Sanixer explained.

tl;dr: What you've seen recently mentioned in the press is old hat, and nothing to be too terribly concerned about. On the other hand, there are other collections -- over 5 times larger -- that are even newer. That is something to be concerned about.

What to do? The old advice still applies: Don't reuse passwords. Do use long passphrases or passwords. Do enable two-factor authentication. Do use a password manager. Avoid putting your e-mail out on the web in plain text for bots to find.

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Saturday January 19, @03:39PM   Printer-friendly
from the Eat-at-Joe's dept.

Submitted via IRC for Sulla


Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A startup is planning to use a constellation of tiny satellites to create glowing ads. The satellites would light up different messages for up to six minutes at a time at about 250 miles above Earth.

Also at Futurism.

Related: Company Will Create an "Artificial Meteor Shower" Over Hiroshima, Japan in 2019
Japanese Company Could Put "Billboard" on the Moon
Japanese Company ispace Plans Two Missions to the Moon
Another Highly Reflective Art Object Will be Launched Into Orbit in November
First Artificial Meteor Shower Might Outshine Nature

Original Submission