Linus Torvalds Calls Intel Patches 'Complete and Utter Garbage'

An anonymous reader writes:
On the Linux Kernel Mailing List, Linus Torvalds ended up responding to a long-time kernel developer (and former Intel engineer) who’d been describing a new microcode feature addressing Indirect Branch Restricted Speculation “where a future CPU will advertise ‘I am able to be not broken’ and then you have to set the IBRS bit once at boot time to *ask* it not to be broken.”
Linus calls it “very much part of the whole ‘this is complete garbage’ issue. The whole IBRS_ALL feature to me very clearly says ‘Intel is not serious about this, we’ll have a ugly hack that will be so expensive that we don’t want to enable it by default, because that would look bad in benchmarks’. So instead they try to push the garbage down to us. And they are doing it entirely wrong, even from a technical standpoint. I’m sure there is some lawyer there who says ‘we’ll have to go through motions to protect against a lawsuit’. But legal reasons do not make for good technology, or good patches that I should apply.”

Later Linus says forcefully that these “complete and utter garbage” patches are being pushed by someone “for unclear reasons” — and adds another criticism.
The whole point of having cpuid and flags from the microarchitecture is that we can use those to make decisions. But since we already know that the IBRS overhead is huge on existing hardware, all those hardware capability bits are just complete and utter garbage. Nobody sane will use them, since the cost is too damn high. So you end up having to look at “which CPU stepping is this” anyway. I think we need something better than this garbage.

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Source: Slashdot – Linus Torvalds Calls Intel Patches ‘Complete and Utter Garbage’

More Wall Street Pundits Caution Against Investing In Bitcoins

Peter Boockvar is the Chief Investment Officer of Bleakley Financial Group, a $3.5B wealth management firm — and he predicts “an epic crash will hit the cryptocurrency market,” according to CNBC. “He isn’t sure if it’ll come to a grinding halt or be a slow and steady drop — but he says it’s coming.”
“When something goes parabolic like this has, it typically ends up to where that parabola began,” he said on CNBC’s “Futures Now.” Boockvar, a CNBC contributor, contends bitcoin is in danger of dropping 90 percent from current levels. He calls it a classic bubble. “I wouldn’t be surprised if over the next year it’s down to $1,000 to $3,000,” he added. That’s where bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency player, was trading less than 12 months ago. Friday afternoon it was trading above $11,000.
Meanwhile, today the International Business Times chronicled the predictions of tech billionaire Mark Cuban.
In June of last year as bitcoin was climbing toward the $3,000 threshold, Cuban cautioned potential investors about jumping in on the bandwagon… “[C]rypto is like gold. More religion than asset. Except of course gold makes nice jewelry.” He told his followers at the time that he wasn’t questioning the value of Bitcoin but was questioning the “valuation” and said , “I think it’s in a bubble. I just don’t know when or how much it corrects.” Cuban suggested that when everyone is “bragging about how easy they are making [money],” that indicates there is a bubble happening…
Still, the Dallas Mavericks owner was open to the idea of using cryptocurrencies as a volatile investment vehicle. “If you’re a true adventurer and you really want to throw the Hail Mary, you might take 10 percent and put it in Bitcoin or Ethereum,” he said. Cuban also cautioned, “If you do that, you’ve got to pretend you’ve already lost your money”… Showing just have far Cuban has come on bitcoin and cryptocurrency, he announced earlier this week that his Dallas Mavericks will accept bitcoin and Ethereum as a method to pay for tickets starting next season. Even if the tech investor doesn’t fully believe in cryptocurrency, he’s clearly willing to try to profit off it…

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Source: Slashdot – More Wall Street Pundits Caution Against Investing In Bitcoins

Netflix's 'The Crown' earns the lone streaming win at the SAG Awards

With each new awards season, more streaming series and movies make their way to the list of nominees. In fact, one category at tonight’s 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Female Actor in a Drama Series, was comprised entirely of nominees from H…

Source: Engadget – Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ earns the lone streaming win at the SAG Awards

Will We One Day Use Tractor Beams In Manufacturing?

An anonymous reader quotes CNET:
Engineers from the University of Bristol have been able to trap (essentially levitate) objects using an acoustic tractor beam that is larger than the wavelengths of sound used by the device… [A]pplications could include touchless control of drug capsules or micro-surgical implements inside the human body using sonic tractor beams. It could also become possible to move and manipulate fragile items in a whole new way. “I’m particularly excited by the idea of contactless production lines where delicate objects are assembled without touching them,” said Bristol’s Bruce Drinkwater, who oversaw the work.
Futurism.com adds that other researchers are also working on tractor beams in manufacturing, including one at the University of Glasgow. “The group demonstrated the process by assembling a pattern of solder beads using an optoelectronic trap, taking the liquid away, then applying heat to fuse the beads together and forge electrical connections,” they report, adding “It should be possible to manipulate as many as 10,000 beads at the same time.”

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Source: Slashdot – Will We One Day Use Tractor Beams In Manufacturing?

Mo'Nique accuses Netflix of gender and race pay gaps

Pay gaps in the entertainment industry might not be limited to conventional productions. Actress and comedienne Mo’Nique has called for a boycott against Netflix after accusing the service of gender- and race-based pay gaps. It reportedly offered M…

Source: Engadget – Mo’Nique accuses Netflix of gender and race pay gaps

Speedy DNA nanorobot could lead to molecular factories

DNA-based robots promise all kinds of microscopic machinery, but there’s a major obstacle: they’re slow. Existing designs that use biochemical processes for movement can take hours to shuffle molecules around, which makes them utterly impractical fo…

Source: Engadget – Speedy DNA nanorobot could lead to molecular factories

Facebook Reopens Probe Into Russian Involvement in Brexit

An anonymous reader quotes TechCrunch:
Facebook has said it will conduct a wider investigation into whether there was Russian meddling on its platform relating to the 2016 Brexit referendum vote in the UK. Wednesday its UK policy director Simon Milner wrote to a parliamentary committee that’s been conducting a wide-ranging enquiry into fake news — and whose chair has been witheringly critical of Facebook and Twitter for failing to co-operate with requests for information and assistance on the topic of Brexit and Russia — saying it will widen its investigation, per the committee’s request. Though he gave no firm deadline for delivering a fresh report — beyond estimating “a number of weeks”.
It’s not clear whether Twitter will also bow to pressure to conduct a more thorough investigation of Brexit-related disinformation. At the time of writing the company had not responded to our questions either. At the end of last year committee chair Damian Collins warned both companies they could face sanctions for failing to co-operate with the committee’s enquiry — slamming Twitter’s investigations to date as “completely inadequate”, and expressing disbelief that both companies had essentially ignored the committee’s requests… Independent academic studies have suggested there was in fact significant tweet-based activity generated around Brexit by Russian bots.”
Theresa May has said Russia’s attempts to “sow discord” in the West could not go unchallenged, and warned Vladimir Putin, “We know what you are up to.”

Facebook’s response complained that a new investigation “requires detailed analysis of historic data by our security experts, who are also engaged in preventing live threats to our service.”

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Source: Slashdot – Facebook Reopens Probe Into Russian Involvement in Brexit

Be a More Confident Public Speaker By Incorporating a Story Into Your Presentation

Public speaking is rough. Even people who give public presentations al the time can still get struck with a bit a stage fright. While the age-old tip of picturing everyone in the room can certainly help (or hurt depending on who you are), Fast Company has another idea for combating a difficult public speaking event:…

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Source: LifeHacker – Be a More Confident Public Speaker By Incorporating a Story Into Your Presentation

Can A New Open Photo File Format Replace JPEGs?

Got lossless compression? An anonymous reader quotes CNET:
Google, Mozilla and others in a group called the Alliance for Open Media are working on a rival photo technology. In testing so far, the images are 15 percent smaller than Apple’s HEIC photo format, said Tim Terriberry, a Mozilla principal research engineer working on the project. But smaller sizes are just the beginning… it’s got a strong list of allies, an affinity for web publishing and modern features that could make it the best contender yet for overcoming JPEG’s 1990s-era shortcomings… JPEG isn’t just limited by needlessly large file sizes. It’s also weak when it comes to supporting a wider range of bright and dark tones, a broader spectrum of colors, and graphic elements like text and logos…
The HEIC’s new rival is from the Alliance for Open Media, a group whose top priority is a video compression technology called AV1 that’s free of patent licensing requirements. It’s got heavy hitters on board, including top browser makers Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and the most recent new member, Apple — though Apple’s plans haven’t been made public. And it’s got major streaming-video companies, too: Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Facebook, videoconferencing powerhouse Intel and Google’s YouTube. And with the support of chip designers Intel, Nvidia and Arm, AV1 should get the hardware acceleration that’s crucial to making video easy on our laptop and phone batteries.
To use Apple’s HEIC, “makers of software, processors and phones must jump through a lot of hoops to license patents,” which CNET predicts “means HEIC will have trouble succeeding on the web: patent barriers are antithetical to the web’s open nature.”

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Source: Slashdot – Can A New Open Photo File Format Replace JPEGs?

Glasses could prevent motion sickness in self-driving cars

Never mind festooning a self-driving car in lights and other devices to fend off motion sickness — you might just have to slip on some eyewear. University of Michigan researchers have patented a system that could use glasses or a headset to prevent…

Source: Engadget – Glasses could prevent motion sickness in self-driving cars

Intel Graphics On Ubuntu: GNOME vs. KDE vs. Xfce vs. Unity vs. LXDE

For those wondering how the Intel (U)HD Graphics compare for games and other graphical benchmarks between desktop environments in 2018, here are some fresh benchmarks using GNOME Shell on X.Org/Wayland, KDE Plasma 5, Xfce, Unity 7, and LXDE.

Source: Phoronix – Intel Graphics On Ubuntu: GNOME vs. KDE vs. Xfce vs. Unity vs. LXDE

Church Elder/'Jeopardy' Champion Charged With Computer Crimes

Stephanie Jass, a record-setting, seven-time winner on Jeopardy, has been charged with two felonies for accessing the email accounts of two executives at the college where she worked as an assistant professor. An anonymous reader quotes MLive:
Jass was able to access the accounts because of an April 24 issue with the college email system, hosted by Google. Frank Hribar, vice president for enrollment and student affairs, said there was network outage caused by loss of power. On April 25, users received a text message with a generic, standard passcode: “Please attempt to login to Gmail using this password. You should be prompted to change password after login…” Not everyone, however, was prompted to do so. Some did make the change using a tutorial. Some received an error and were unable to create a new password, the timeline states. Others did not alter the password at all. The method “worked just fine, had there not been manipulation of the system,” said Hribar…
Jass, 47, of Tecumseh was charged in December with unauthorized access to a computer, program or network, and using a computer to commit a crime, both felonies… On May 5, the college deactivated Jass’ email account and access to all other college software. The locks to her office door were changed and her desktop computer was confiscated, according to the timeline.
The police report “indicates Jass accessed emails while using an internet network at First Presbyterian Church of Tecumseh, where she served as an elder.”

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Source: Slashdot – Church Elder/’Jeopardy’ Champion Charged With Computer Crimes

South Korean Prosecutors Are Investigating Apple Over the iPhone Throttling Controversy

Prosecutors in South Korea’s capital of Seoul said on Friday that they plan to investigate allegations tech giant Apple deliberately slowed down older models of iPhone to push customers towards purchasing pricier newer versions, the Korea Herald reported.

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Source: Gizmodo – South Korean Prosecutors Are Investigating Apple Over the iPhone Throttling Controversy

US coal industry saw little growth in 2017 despite White House push

The Trump administration has been eager to prop up the US coal industry despite evidence that it’s in a steep decline. But did it have much of an effect? Not really. Reuters has obtained preliminary Mining Health and Safety Administration data sho…

Source: Engadget – US coal industry saw little growth in 2017 despite White House push

Report: Tesla Is Dead Last in the Driverless Vehicle Race

According to market research and consulting team Navigant Research, Tesla is actually doing the worst out of all 19 companies currently involved with automated driving systems. Their report claims that autopilot has regressed; the latest version (V2) has lost functionality that was present in the original.



Navigant ranked the 19 major companies developing AV technology based on 10 criteria, including vision, market strategy, partnerships, production strategy, technology, product quality and staying power. According to the report, General Motors and Waymo, the auto unit of Alphabet, are the top two AV investment opportunities in the market today.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Report: Tesla Is Dead Last in the Driverless Vehicle Race

Microsoft Fights Search Warrants for Overseas Emails in the Supreme Court

Microsoft’s Chief Legal Officer writes about “the landmark Microsoft case that will decide whether the U.S. government can use a search warrant to force a company to seize a customer’s private emails stored in Ireland and import them to the United States.”
On Thursday, 289 different groups and individuals from 37 countries signed 23 different legal briefs supporting Microsoft’s position that Congress never gave law enforcement the power to ignore treaties and breach Ireland’s sovereignty in this way. How could it? The government relies on a law that was enacted in 1986, before anyone conceived of cloud computing… When the U.S. government requires a tech company to execute a warrant for emails stored overseas, the provider must search a foreign datacenter and make a copy abroad, and then import that copy to the United States. This creates a complex issue with huge international consequences. It shouldn’t be resolved by taking the law to a place it was never intended to go…
The U.S. Department of Justice’s attempt to seize foreign customers’ emails from other countries ignores borders, treaties and international law, as well as the laws those countries have in place to protect the privacy of their own citizens… It’s also a path that will lead to the doorsteps of American homes by putting the privacy of U.S. citizens’ emails at risk. If the U.S. government obtains the power to search and seize foreign citizens’ private communications physically stored in other countries, it will invite other governments to do the same thing. If we ignore other countries’ laws, how can we demand that they respect our laws?
Amicus briefs supporting Microsoft have been filed in the U.S. Supreme Court by Ireland, France, and the European Commission and European privacy regulators. Microsoft even notes that on this issue, “Fox News agreed with the American Civil Liberties Union.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Microsoft Fights Search Warrants for Overseas Emails in the Supreme Court

Doomsday Torpedo Detailed in Pentagon Document

Leaked Pentagon documents provide detail on “Kanyon,” a Russian undersea autonomous torpedo that is being described as “nightmare fuel”: the payload is a 100-megaton thermonuclear weapon, equivalent to 100,000,000 tons of TNT. It is supposedly capable of penetrating ballistic missile defenses.



Kanyon is designed to attack coastal areas, destroying cities, naval bases, and ports. The mega-bomb would also generate an artificial tsunami that would surge inland, spreading radioactive contamination with the advancing water. To make matters worse there are reports the warhead is “salted” with the radioactive isotope Cobalt-60. Contaminated areas would be off-limits to humanity for up to 100 years.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Doomsday Torpedo Detailed in Pentagon Document