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 6-month period:
2017-07-01 to 2017-12-31
Base Goal: $3000.00
Progress So Far:
Approximately: $1105.50
Stretch Goal: $2000.00
Progress So Far:
Approximately: $0.00

Covers transactions:
2017-07-01 00:00:00 ..
2017-12-11 10:38:18 UTC
(SPIDs: [719..772])
Last Update:
2017-12-11 20:25:06 UTC

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.

Which browser do you use the most?

  • Chrome
  • Edge
  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer
  • Lynx
  • Pale Moon
  • Other -- Specify

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:71 | Votes:225

posted by martyb on Monday December 18, @06:53AM   Printer-friendly
from the hide-and-seek dept.

Sci-Hub is a web hydra, not unlike The Pirate Bay:

Sci-Hub is often referred to as the "Pirate Bay of Science," and this description has become more and more apt in recent weeks.

Initially, the comparison was made to illustrate that Sci-Hub is used by researchers to download articles for free, much like the rest of the world uses The Pirate Bay to get free stuff.

There are more parallels though. Increasingly, Sci-Hub has trouble keeping its domain names. Following two injunctions in the US, academic publishers now have court orders to compel domain registrars and registries to suspend Sci-Hub's addresses.

Although there is no such court order for The Pirate Bay, the notorious torrent site also has a long history of domain suspensions. Both sites appear to tackle the problem in a similar manner. They simply ignore all enforcement efforts and bypass them with new domains and other circumvention tools. They have several backup domains in place as well as unsuspendable .onion addresses, which are accessible on the Tor network.

Since late November, a lot of Sci-Hub users have switched to when other domains were suspended. And, when the .bz domain was targeted a few days ago, they moved to different alternatives. It's a continuous game of Whack-a-Mole that is hard to stop.

Don't forget Library Genesis .

Previously: The Research Pirates of the Dark Web
Sci-Hub, the Repository of "Infringing" Academic Papers Now Available Via "Telegram"
Elsevier Wants $15 Million Piracy Damages from Sci-Hub and Libgen
US Court Grants Elsevier Millions in Damages From Sci-Hub
Sci-Hub Faces $4.8 Million Piracy Damages and ISP Blocking
Virginia District Court Demands that ISPs and Search Engines Block Sci-Hub

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday December 18, @04:32AM   Printer-friendly
from the cue-the-monsoon-and-shark-comments dept.

Instead of using balloons or drones, Alphabet/Google X plans to create a backbone of fixed boxes that communicate using lasers in order to deliver Internet access in Andhra Pradesh. Users would connect to the end points wirelessly:

Alphabet's X Lab has cooked up yet another Internet connectivity scheme, according to a report from Reuters. Past efforts have involved floating Internet balloons and laying lots of fiber optic cable, but this Internet delivery system sends data over laser beams! This isn't an experimental system like Project Loon; India's Andhra Pradesh state government has signed an agreement with Alphabet to bring the technology to millions of people starting next year.

[...] Alphabet's rollout in India will involve fitting "2,000 boxes installed as far as 20 kilometers (12 miles) apart on posts and roofs" according to the report. The optical system is expected to hit 20 Gbit/s from box to box and would serve as a backbone, replacing more expensive technologies like fiber optics. The final connection to users would happen over Wi-Fi or cellular.

Related: Google May Test Balloon Internet Service Over the United States
Google Kills Off Titan Internet Drone "Moonshot"
Alphabet Deploys Project Loon Balloons to Puerto Rico
Balloons Provide Internet Service to 100,000 People in Puerto Rico

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday December 18, @02:11AM   Printer-friendly

This Japanese space startup raised $90.2 million to put the first billboard on the moon

iSpace[sic], a Tokyo-based startup company has raised $90 million Series A funding to send a spacecraft into lunar orbit by 2019, and then land a year later after orbiting the Moon. The funding was led by Japan Airlines Co. and Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings Inc. Other investors in the Series A funding included Development Bank of Japan, Konica Minolta, Shimizu, Real Tech Fund, KDDI, Suzuki Motor, SPARX, Dentsu and and Toppan Printing. The investors will also be providing technology and other support to ispace, said Takeshi Hakamada, founder and chief executive of ispace. According to Bloomberg, Ispace plans on offering a "projection mapping service" which will serve as a small billboard on the moon. The company hopes to complete this mission by the year 2020.

It doesn't sound like the billboard is projected from an orbiter, but that it will involve a small display landed on the surface, photographed by the spacecraft:

Ispace[sic] says the initial business opportunity is mostly in marketing, including slapping corporate logos on its spacecrafts and rovers, and delivering images to be used in advertising. A successful landing will also let the company offer what it calls a "projection mapping service" -- a small billboard on the moon's surface. The startup says there will be demand from corporations looking to show off their logos with Earth in the background.

Hack that.

ispace, inc.'s website and its mission plans.

[Ed note: The proper capitalization of the company's name noted on their web site is "ispace, inc."]

Also at Space News and The Space Reporter.

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Sunday December 17, @11:50PM   Printer-friendly
from the small-study dept.

Drinking a cup of hot tea at least once a day may be linked to a significantly lower risk of developing the serious eye condition, glaucoma, finds a small study published online in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

But drinking decaffeinated and caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated tea, iced tea and soft drinks doesn't seem to make any difference to glaucoma risk, the findings show.

[...] After taking account of potentially influential factors, such as diabetes and smoking, hot tea-drinkers were 74 per cent less likely to have glaucoma.

But no such associations were found for coffee -- caffeinated or decaffeinated -- decaffeinated tea, iced tea or soft drinks.

This is an observational study so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, and the absolute numbers of those with glaucoma were small. Information on when glaucoma had been diagnosed was also unavailable.

Connie M Wu, Annie M Wu, Victoria L Tseng, Fei Yu, Anne L Coleman. Frequency of a diagnosis of glaucoma in individuals who consume coffee, tea and/or soft drinks. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 2017; DOI: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2017-310924


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday December 17, @08:46PM   Printer-friendly
from the it's-not-bricked-if-you-CAN-restore-it dept.

MacRumors reports Restoring a Bricked iMac Pro Requires a Second Mac and Configurator 2:

"If an iMac Pro becomes unresponsive and requires restoring, like if there's a power failure during a software update, there are a special set of instructions iMac Pro users must follow, which require a secondary Mac."

As outlined in an Apple Configurator 2 support page, an iMac Pro restore requires a second Mac running macOS High Sierra with internet access and Apple Configurator 2.6 or later installed.

[...] This restore process is similar to what must be done for an iPhone or iPad that is unresponsive, and it is necessary due to the extra security afforded by the Apple-designed T2 chip ... [which] integrates the system management controller, image signal processor for the camera, audio controller, SSD controller, a Secure Enclave, and a hardware encryption engine.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Sunday December 17, @06:25PM   Printer-friendly
from the that's-not-entirely-true-Mr.-President dept.

Glowing Auras and 'Black Money': The Pentagon's Mysterious U.F.O. Program

In the $600 billion annual Defense Department budgets, the $22 million spent on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program was almost impossible to find. Which was how the Pentagon wanted it. For years, the program investigated reports of unidentified flying objects, according to Defense Department officials, interviews with program participants and records obtained by The New York Times. It was run by a military intelligence official, Luis Elizondo, on the fifth floor of the Pentagon's C Ring, deep within the building's maze.

The Defense Department has never before acknowledged the existence of the program, which it says it shut down in 2012. But its backers say that, while the Pentagon ended funding for the effort at that time, the program remains in existence. For the past five years, they say, officials with the program have continued to investigate episodes brought to them by service members, while also carrying out their other Defense Department duties.

The shadowy program — parts of it remain classified — began in 2007, and initially it was largely funded at the request of Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who was the Senate majority leader at the time and who has long had an interest in space phenomena. Most of the money went to an aerospace research company run by a billionaire entrepreneur and longtime friend of Mr. Reid's, Robert Bigelow, who is currently working with NASA to produce expandable craft for humans to use in space. On CBS's "60 Minutes" in May, Mr. Bigelow said he was "absolutely convinced" that aliens exist and that U.F.O.s have visited Earth.

Working with Mr. Bigelow's Las Vegas-based company, the program produced documents that describe sightings of aircraft that seemed to move at very high velocities with no visible signs of propulsion, or that hovered with no apparent means of lift. Officials with the program have also studied videos of encounters between unknown objects and American military aircraft — including one released in August of a whitish oval object, about the size of a commercial plane, chased by two Navy F/A-18F fighter jets from the aircraft carrier Nimitz off the coast of San Diego in 2004.

[...] Under Mr. Bigelow's direction, the company modified buildings in Las Vegas for the storage of metal alloys and other materials that Mr. Elizondo and program contractors said had been recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena. Researchers also studied people who said they had experienced physical effects from encounters with the objects and examined them for any physiological changes. In addition, researchers spoke to military service members who had reported sightings of strange aircraft.

Article comes with attached 34s (with audio) and 1m16s (no audio) videos.

Politico's coverage of this story was published nearly simultaneously with the New York Times.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Sunday December 17, @04:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the random-plugin-included-for-free dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow9228

Mozilla sneaked a browser plugin that promotes Mr. Robot into Firefox—and managed to piss off a bunch of its privacy-conscious users in the process.

The extension, called Looking Glass, is intended to promote an augmented reality game to "further your immersion into the Mr. Robot universe," according to Mozilla. It was automatically added to Firefox users' browsers this week with no explanation except the cryptic message, "MY REALITY IS JUST DIFFERENT THAN YOURS," prompting users to worry on Reddit that they'd been hit with spyware.

"I have no idea what it is or where it came from. I freaked out a bit and uninstalled it immediately," one user wrote on Reddit.

Without an explanation included with the extension, users were left digging around in the code for Looking Glass to find answers. Looking Glass was updated for some users today with a description that explains the connection to Mr. Robot and lets users know that the extension won't activate without explicit opt-in.

Mr. Robot is a TV series about hackers airing on USA Network.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday December 17, @01:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the gonna-need-more-popcorn dept.

A redacted copy of the letter that caused the Waymo v. Uber trial to be delayed (again) has been released:

At first glance, the Jacobs letter [is] an incredibly detailed accounting of multiple unlawful actions by the ride-hail company. He alleges that Uber's secretive Strategic Services Group (SSG) "frequently engaged in fraud and theft, and employed third-party vendors to obtain unauthorized data or information." He also accuses Uber security officers of "hacking" and "destruction of evidence related to eavesdropping against opposition groups." And he says Uber's ex-CEO Travis Kalanick knew about a lot of it.

Another Uber employee, Nicholas Gicinto, along with SSG, conducted "virtual operations impersonating protesters, Uber partner-drivers, and taxi operators." These Uber security employees went to great lengths to hide their surveillance activities from the authorities, Jacobs says. They used computers not purchased by Uber that ran on Mi-Fi devices, so the traffic wouldn't appear on Uber's network. They also used virtual public networks and "non-attributable architecture of contracted Amazon Web Services" to further conceal their efforts, Jacobs alleges. Who were they surveilling? Jacobs says SSG's targets included "politicians, regulators, law enforcement, taxi organizations, and labor unions in, at a minimum, the US."

And then there was Uber's innocuously named Marketplace Analytics team. Jacobs says this group was responsible for "acquiring trade secrets, codebase, and competitive intelligence... from major ridesharing competitors globally." According to Jacobs, Marketplace Analytics impersonated riders and drivers on competitor platforms, hacked into competitor networks, and conducted unlawful wiretapping.

In one of the weirder sections, Jacobs alleges that Uber's surveillance team infiltrated a private event space at a hotel and spied on the executives of a rival company so they could observe, in real time, their reactions to the news that Uber had received a massive $3.5 billion investment from Saudi Arabia. That eavesdropping was directed by ex-Uber security chief Joe Sullivan at the behest of Kalanick, Jacobs says.

Uber calls Richard "Ric" Jacobs "an extortionist", but the judge in the case disagrees.

Also at NYT and Recode.

Previously: Uber Evaded Law Enforcement With "Greyball"
Real-Life Example of Uber's Regulator-Evading Software
A Spectator Who Threw A Wrench In The Waymo/Uber Lawsuit

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday December 17, @11:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the generic-murder-case dept.

Deaths of Canada billionaire Barry Sherman and wife 'suspicious'

A Canadian billionaire and his wife have been found dead at their home in Toronto in circumstances that police described as "suspicious".

The bodies of Barry Sherman and his wife Honey were found in the basement by an estate agent, reports said.

Mr Sherman was the founder and chairman of pharmaceutical giant Apotex, which sells generic medicines around the world.

He was one of Canada's richest men and a prominent philanthropist.

There was no sign of forced entry to the property, police said in a statement Friday evening. Local media reported that investigators were not searching for a suspect at this time.

Detective Brandon Price told Canadian broadcaster CBC that investigators were still trying to determine if there was foul play involved.


Apotex is a Canadian pharmaceutical corporation. Founded in 1974 by Dr. Bernard Sherman, the company is the largest producer of generic drugs in Canada, with sales exceeding $1 billion (CAD) a year. The company produces more than 300 generic pharmaceuticals in approximately 4,000 dosages, and has 500 molecules under development. Apotex exports products to over 115 countries around the globe. There are more prescriptions filled with Apotex products in Canada than that of any other pharmaceutical company, close to 90 million per year.

Also at CBC.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Sunday December 17, @09:01AM   Printer-friendly
from the tngaled,-tangeld,-er-tanglde dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow8317

Bitcoin isn't the only cryptocurrency on a hot streak—plenty of alternative currencies have enjoyed rallies alongside the Epic Bitcoin Bull Run of 2017. One of the most intriguing examples is also among the most obscure in the cryptocurrency world. Called IOTA, it has jumped in total value from just over $4 billion to more than $10 billion in a little over two weeks. But that isn't what makes it interesting. What makes it interesting is that it isn't based on a blockchain at all; it's something else entirely.

[...] Instead of a blockchain, IOTA uses a "tangle," which is based on a mathematical concept called a directed acyclic graph. Sønstebø says his team pursued an alternative approach after deciding that blockchains are too costly—it has recently cost as much as $20 per Bitcoin transaction because of high demand—and inefficient to operate at the scale required for the Internet of things.

[...] So IOTA has dispensed with the miners. Instead, when a user issues a transaction, that individual also validates two randomly selected previous transactions, each of which refer to two other previous transactions, and so on. As new transactions mount, a "tangled web of confirmation" grows, says Sønstebø.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Sunday December 17, @07:11AM   Printer-friendly
from the that-sums-it-up dept.

The answer should be NO, but, do you think this would work ?

Good scientists are not only able to uncover patterns in the things they study, but to use this information to predict the future. Meteorologists study atmospheric pressure and wind speed to predict the trajectories of future storms. A biologist may predict the growth of a tumor based on its current size and development. A financial analyst may try to predict the ups and downs of a stock based on things like market capitalization or cash flow.

Perhaps even more interesting than the above phenomena is that of predicting the behavior of human beings. Attempts to predict how people will behave have existed since the origins of humankind. Early humans had to trust their instincts. Today, marketers, politicians, trial lawyers and more make their living on predicting human behavior. Predicting human behavior, in all of its forms, is big business. So, how does mathematics do in predicting our own behavior in general? Despite advances in stock market analytics, economics, political polling and cognitive neuroscience – all of which ultimately endeavor to predict human behavior – science may never be able to do so with perfect certainty.

[...] As technology develops, scientists may find that we can predict human behavior rather well in one area, while still lacking in another. It's very difficult to give an overall sense of the limitations. For instance, facial recognition may be easier to emulate because vision is one of many human sensory processing systems, or because there are only so many ways faces can differ. On the other hand, predicting voting behavior, especially based on the 2016 presidential election, is quite another story. There are many complex and not yet understood reasons why humans do what they do.

Still others argue that, theoretically at least, that perfect prediction will someday be possible. Until then, with any luck, mathematics and statistics may help us increasingly account for what people, on average, will do next.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday December 17, @05:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the George-Orwell-Says-Hi! dept.

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden words are "vulnerable," "entitlement," "diversity," "transgender," "fetus," "evidence-based" and "science-based."

You don't say!

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday December 17, @02:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the improved-outlook dept.

Study: Suicidal Thoughts Rapidly Reduced with Ketamine

Ketamine was significantly more effective than a commonly used sedative in reducing suicidal thoughts in depressed patients, according to researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). They also found that ketamine's anti-suicidal effects occurred within hours after its administration.

The findings were published online last week in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Ketamine for Rapid Reduction of Suicidal Thoughts in Major Depression: A Midazolam-Controlled Randomized Clinical Trial (DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.17060647) (DX)

The reduction in SSI score at day 1 was 4.96 points greater for the ketamine group compared with the midazolam group (95% CI=2.33, 7.59; Cohen's d=0.75). The proportion of responders (defined as having a reduction ≥50% in SSI score) at day 1 was 55% for the ketamine group and 30% for the midazolam group (odds ratio=2.85, 95% CI=1.14, 7.15; number needed to treat=4.0). Improvement in the Profile of Mood States depression subscale was greater at day 1 for the ketamine group compared with the midazolam group (estimate=7.65, 95% CI=1.36, 13.94), and this effect mediated 33.6% of ketamine's effect on SSI score. Side effects were short-lived, and clinical improvement was maintained for up to 6 weeks with additional optimized standard pharmacotherapy in an uncontrolled follow-up.

Wikipedia's entry on midazolam notes:

Midazolam, marketed under the trade name Versed, among others, is a medication used for anesthesia, procedural sedation, trouble sleeping, and severe agitation. It works by inducing sleepiness, decreasing anxiety, and causing a loss of ability to create new memories. It is also useful for the treatment of seizures

Related: 4/20: The Third Time's Not the Charm
Study Suggests Psilocybin "Resets" the Brains of Depressed People

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday December 17, @12:34AM   Printer-friendly
from the WHO? dept.

The Schedule I status of cannabis and component compounds like cannabidiol (CBD) is being undermined yet again:

The US Drug Enforcement Administration has long held that the non-psychoactive component of marijuana, cannabidiol, is a schedule I drug. That is, a drug that has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. But according to a preliminary report embraced by the World Health Organization this week, the DEA's long held stance is tripping.

In a preliminary report last month, the WHO's Expert Committee on Drug Dependence concluded—and WHO agreed—that clinical and pre-clinical studies of CBD show no evidence of a potential for users to abuse the drug or suffer any harms. Moreover, the experts found plenty of inklings that CBD has medical benefits, particularly for treating epilepsy. In its conclusion, the ECDD declared that the current data "does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol."

The ECDD's report is just a first glance, however. The committee, which is generally tasked with assessing which drugs should be internationally controlled (scheduled) and how, will take a more extensive look in May of 2018. Then, it will review cannabis overall, as well as other cannabis compounds.

CBD has shown promise in a trial as a treatment for psychosis:

An ingredient in cannabis called cannabidiol or CBD has shown promise in a clinical trial as a potential new treatment for psychosis, scientists said on Friday. Scientists conducted a small trial of people with psychosis and found patients treated with CBD had lower levels of psychotic symptoms than those who received a placebo. Psychosis is characterized by paranoia and hallucinations.

[...] In the trial, 88 patients with psychosis received either CBD or placebo for six weeks, alongside their existing antipsychotic medication. Beforehand and afterwards, the scientists assessed symptoms, functioning and cognitive performance, and the patients' psychiatrists rated their overall condition overall. "The study indicated that CBD may be effective in psychosis: patients treated with CBD showed a significant reduction in symptoms, and their treating psychiatrists rated them as having improved overall," said Philip McGuire, who co-led the trial.

Also at The Conversation.

Cannabidiol (CBD) as an Adjunctive Therapy in Schizophrenia: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial (DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.17030325) (DX)

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday December 16, @10:13PM   Printer-friendly
from the known-by-the-state-of-California dept.

California recommends keeping cellphones/smartphones away from your body, as well as "reducing the use of cell phones to stream audio or video, or to download or upload large files":

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a warning against the hazards of cellphone radiation this week. Yes, the thing we are all addicted to and can't seem to put down is leaking electromagnetic radiation and now California has some guidance to safeguard the public.

The CDPH asks people to decrease their use of these devices and suggests keeping your distance when possible. "Although the science is still evolving, there are concerns among some public health professionals and members of the public regarding long-term, high use exposure to the energy emitted by cell phones," said CDPH director Dr. Karen Smith.

The warning comes after findings were offered up this week from a 2009 department document, which was published after an order from the Sacramento Superior Court. A year ago, UC Berkeley professor Joel Moskowitz initiated a lawsuit to get the department to release the findings after he started looking into whether mobile phone use increased the risk of tumors. A draft of the document was released in March, but the final release is more extensive.

Separately, a new study has linked non-ionizing radiation to an increased risk of miscarriage:

A study of real-world exposure to non-ionizing radiation from magnetic fields in pregnant women found a significantly higher rate of miscarriage, providing new evidence regarding their potential health risks. The Kaiser Permanente study was published today in the journal Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group).

Non-ionizing radiation from magnetic fields is produced when electric devices are in use and electricity is flowing. It can be generated by a number of environmental sources, including electric appliances, power lines and transformers, wireless devices and wireless networks. Humans are exposed to magnetic fields via close proximity to these sources while they are in use.

Exposure to Magnetic Field Non-Ionizing Radiation and the Risk of Miscarriage: A Prospective Cohort Study (open, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-16623-8) (DX)

Also at Environmental Working Group.

Original Submission