'Lord of the Rings' Prequel Series Will Explore 'Unseen History' of Middle-Earth

The site GeekyTyrant is excited about Amazon’s upcoming eight-episode series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power — premiering September 2 and set in Middle-earth’s “Second Age,” thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings.)
With the film being set in a completely different age, I was expecting Middle-Earth to be very different than what we’ve seen in the past. As we’ve seen in the first trailer that was released, the show does has a similar visual style as Peter Jackson’s films, but things are definitely going to be different.
During a recent interview with Empire, Rings Of Power concept artist John Howe, teased some of the surprises that are in store:

“This isn’t the Middle-earth you remember. This is a world that’s very vibrant. The elves are not hidden away in Mirkwood or lingering in Rivendell. They’re busy constructing kingdoms. The dwarven kingdom of Moria is not an abandoned mine and the Grey Havens is not yet an abandoned city. I loved having the opportunity to explore that unseen history.”
He went on to share that the series will finally explore the oceans of Middle-Earth and says that there will be a set of seafaring elves.
Or, as Amazon’s press release puts it, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power “will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness….”

The Independent notes the show “has been in the works since 2017” — and that Prime Video bought the rights for $250m (£183m). And now Prime Video has even invited some JRR Tolkien fans to attent a preview screening of the show:

[F]ans of Middle Earth were nervous ahead of sitting down to watch footage from the show — but those nerves soon made way for excitement, with fans praising the series as well as the showrunners, JD Payne and Patrick McKay…. Fan Dr Maggie Parke said that the showrunners “kept up with the best of us”, stating: “Their passion & knowledge made me feel like they were one of us, they get it. I’m feeling very optimistic…!”

The newspaper quotes another preview attendee’s conclusion that “”We, as Tolkien fans, are in good hands! Above and beyond, I was absolutely blown away. I cannot wait to see more — it’s just beyond words.”

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Source: Slashdot – ‘Lord of the Rings’ Prequel Series Will Explore ‘Unseen History’ of Middle-Earth

Twitter Turns Its Privacy Policy Into a Videogame about a Dog

What did you think of Twitter Data Dash?
The Guardian describes it as “a Super Nintendo-style browser game that recaps Twitter’s private policy.”

And the Verge applauds the game — released Wednesday — for its “delightful pixel art aesthetic.”

“Welcome to PrivaCity!” reads a description of the game on the site. “Get your dog, Data, safely to the park.

“Dodge cat ads, swim through a sea of DMs, battle trolls, and learn how to take control of your Twitter experience along the way….”

The game itself is a pretty straightforward side-scrolling platformer. Each level is themed around what I can best describe as Twitter Things — one features cats wearing ad boards, another has you avoiding trolls — and your goal is to collect five bones as quickly as you can. If you get the bones, the game will explain something about Twitter’s privacy settings related to that level and even offer a button linking to Twitter’s settings. When you beat the cat ad level, for example, you’ll see a message about how Twitter customizes your experience on the platform and points to where you can turn personalized ads on or off….

Twitter introduced the game as part of a bigger push around its privacy policy, which the company has rewritten. “We’ve emphasized clear language and moved away from legal jargon,” Twitter said on its Safety account.

Gizmodo calls the game “adorable,” but also “buggy”. And they also have some quibbles with its ultimate message:
It’s a bit rich that Twitter made a game about avoiding faceless advertisers when the platform is actively doing everything it can to make ads tougher to avoid….
[A]fter watching our personas bounce from level to level with our lil blue dog in tow, it became clear that this game is less for us — or any Twitter user, really — and more for the company itself. It’s a way to paper over uncomfortable topics like “privacy” and “consent” and “ownership of our personal data” with a lil blue dog, collecting lil bones by hopping across lil stages. Just promise you won’t think about where those bones came from in the first place.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Twitter Turns Its Privacy Policy Into a Videogame about a Dog

Luna Cryptocurrency's Collapse Led to Multi-Million-Dollar Exploits, Closure of a Crypto Money Market

The Record reports that the decentralized money market Venus Protocol “announced on Thursday evening about $11 million had been lost due to people exploiting the historic collapse of the Luna cryptocurrency and its sister stablecoin UST.”
Venus Protocol and several other platforms use Chainlink to provide its users with real-time price estimations of the tokens on its platform that are available for lending and borrowing. But the tool began having issues with Luna on Thursday as the price continued to fall precipitously. “As a result, it was possible to deposit UST and LUNA as collateral and borrow other tokens, with an underpriced collateral valuation….” decentralized finance researcher Vali Dyor explained.
Venus Protocol says they became “aware of errant price behavior for LUNA,” and “Upon investigation, it was learned that the price feed had been paused by Chainlink due to extreme market conditions.”

“The price on Venus was last listed at about $0.107 while the market price was $0.01. In order to de-risk this situation, the protocol was paused using PauseGuardian via multisig. Upon this desyncing event, it was discovered that 2 accounts had suspiciously deposited a sum of 230,000,000 LUNA valued at over $24,000,000. Assets were borrowed totalling around $13,500,000.”

Venus Protocol has a “Risk Fund” that will be used to cover the shortfall, the Record reports. But they added that Venus Protocol wasn’t the only one having problems:

As the price of Luna cratered overnight, exchanges and markets were forced to make difficult choices on how to approach the cryptocurrency. Binance stopped all trading of Luna and UST on its platform but the moves have done little to stop all cryptocurrency values from being depressed across the board.

DeFi platform Blizz Finance announced that it was attacked in the same way Venus Protocol was, but they did not release an estimate on the losses incurred. But they said the protocol was “drained” before it could stop the process.

And then Blizz Finance posted a post-mortem early Sunday morning:

Large amounts of LUNA were deposited and used to drain all available lendable assets… Prior to the incident the Chainlink team did attempt to notify us that the oracle would pause, however we did not receive the message in time. We were unaware of Chainlink’s minimum price circuit breaker. This behaviour is not mentioned anywhere within Chainlink’s documentation…

Blizz has no treasury or development fund and a significant portion of the stolen assets belonged to our team. As such we regret to announce the protocol has been paused and we do not intend to resume operations. We will be shutting down the front-end and closing official communication channels in the coming days….

We are very sorry for the losses incurred by our users. We thank the community for their support on this journey and deeply regret that this is how it came to an end.

They posted one additional detail on Twitter. “We are reaching out to a Chinese community who is believed to have doxxed individuals who participated in the attacks.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Luna Cryptocurrency’s Collapse Led to Multi-Million-Dollar Exploits, Closure of a Crypto Money Market

Georgia Gets a Second Electric Vehicle Facility? Hyundai Plans $7B Plant

Hyundai is expected to announce that it’s building “a massive electric vehicle plant near Savannah, Georgia,” reports the Associated Press, citing a U.S. official “familiar with the anticipated announcement.”

The plant is expected to bring thousands of new jobs to Georgia.
The plant could grow to include 8,500 employees and would be built on a 2,200-acre (890-hectare) site that state and local governments own near the hamlet of Ellabell, Georgia, said two people familiar with Georgia’s talks with Hyundai…. The second person said Hyundai would invest more than $7 billion and could also build some cars powered by gasoline engines at the site, with an announcement in Georgia set for May 20…

It would be the second massive electric vehicle plant announced in Georgia in less than a year. Rivian Automotive in December announced it would build a $5 billion, 7,500-job electric truck plant about 45 miles (70 kilometers) east of Atlanta.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Georgia Gets a Second Electric Vehicle Facility? Hyundai Plans B Plant

Downed Russian Fighters Said to Be Found With Basic GPS 'Taped To the Dashboards'

An anonymous reader quotes Business Insider:

Wrecked Russian fighter jets are being found with rudimentary GPS receivers “taped to the dashboards” in Ukraine because their inbuilt navigation systems are so bad, the UK’s defense secretary, Ben Wallace, said…. “[W]hilst Russia has large amounts of artillery and armor that they like parading, they are unable to leverage them for combined arms maneuver and just resort to mass indiscriminate barrages,” he added….

Last month, Ukrainian troops paraded what they said was a Russian drone that had been covered in duct tape and fitted with a generic plastic bottle top for a fuel cap. In March, Ukrainian troops found what appeared to be Russian army bandages dating to 1978 discarded on a battlefield. In his Monday speech, Wallace said Russian vehicles “are frequently found with 1980s paper maps of Ukraine in them” and that soldiers were using “pine logs as makeshift protection on logistical trucks” and attaching “overhead ‘cope cages’ to their tanks.”

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Source: Slashdot – Downed Russian Fighters Said to Be Found With Basic GPS ‘Taped To the Dashboards’

Report: 'Nvidia's LHR Limiter Has Fallen, But Gamers Shouldn't Worry'

Slashdot reader Hmmmmmm shared this report from Hot Hardware:

When Nvidia launched its Ampere Lite Hash Rate (LHR) graphics card with the feared Ethereum anti-mining limiter, the world knew it was only a matter of time before someone or a team cracked it. NiceHash, the company that designed the QuickMiner software and Excavator miner, has finally broken Nvidia’s algorithm, restoring LHR graphics cards to their 100% Ethereum mining performance….

Graphics card pricing has been plummeting, and we’re starting to see better availability at retailers, with some GPUs selling at or below Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price. So QuickMiner’s arrival shouldn’t influence the current state of the graphics market unless big corporations want to buy out everything in sight for the last push before Ethereum’s transition to Proof-of-Stake (PoS), often referred to as “The Merge,” is complete. We see that as unlikely, considering current profitability even on a 3080 Ti sits at around $3.50 per day and would still need nearly a year to break even at current rates. Initially scheduled for June, The Merge won’t finalize until “the few months after,” as Ethereum developer Tim Beiko has expressed on Twitter.

It will be interesting to see if Nvidia responds to this with updated drivers or implements LHRv3 in the remaining GPUs. However, it’s perhaps not worth the effort at this point, and all existing LHRv2 and earlier cards can just stay on current drivers for optimized mining performance.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Report: ‘Nvidia’s LHR Limiter Has Fallen, But Gamers Shouldn’t Worry’

Why This California Commission Unanimously Rejected a New Water Desalination Plant

Calfornia already has 12 water desalination plants — with 15 more proposed, one local news station reported last year. “These plants, which experts say weren’t viable or aren’t as needed as they were 20 years ago, are being looked at now in a more critical light in the struggle to adapt to less rainfall and climate change.”

In 2015 Slashdot covered the launch of a desalination plant in in Carlsbad, California. “56 million gallons a day,” brags its web site now. “The Pacific is now on tap.” And this year the same company, Poseidon Water, had wanted to build another desalination plant 60 miles north.

But the Associated Press reports it just hit a roadblock with the state’s Coastal Commission.

Poseidon’s long-running proposal was supported by Governor Gavin Newsom but faced ardent opposition from environmentalists who said drawing in large amounts of ocean water and releasing salty discharge back into the ocean would kill billions of tiny marine organisms that make up the base of the food chain along a large swath of the coast. “The ocean is under attack” from climate change already, Commissioner Dayna Bochco said. “I cannot say in good conscience that this amount of damage is OK.”
Other critics said the water would be too expensive and wasn’t urgently needed in the area where it would be built, which is less dependent on state and federal water due to an ample aquifer and water recycling program.
Commissioners cited those issues in following a staff recommendation and rejecting the proposal. They also cited the energy cost of running the plant and the fact that it would sit in an earthquake fault zone.
The vote against the plant was unanimous, CNN reports. And yet…

Commission staff did acknowledge in the report that its findings do not mean that the project is “unapprovable,” nor that it is completely against desalination, writing: “Staff acknowledge the need to develop new, reliable sources of water in southern California, and believe that well-planned and sited desalination facilities will likely play a role in providing these supplies.”

But CNN also notes California has other options:
Research by the Pacific Institute, a water-focused think tank, found California could substantially reduce its urban water use by 30 to 48% with existing and cutting-edge technologies. In its recent report, the institute argued that “water efficiency opportunities can be found across the state but are highest in the South Coast hydrologic region.” It pointed to solutions that cost very little compared to desalination, including increased wastewater recycling and stormwater capture — with about two-thirds of the region’s potential water savings coming from the residential sector.
“Seawater desalination is among the most expensive water supply options,” Heather Cooley, Pacific Institute’s director of research, told CNN. “From a cost perspective, from an environmental one, from an energy perspective, doing these other alternatives first makes the most sense for California.”

Thanks to Slashdot reader schwit1 for submitting the article!

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Source: Slashdot – Why This California Commission Unanimously Rejected a New Water Desalination Plant

How Industrial Light & Magic Helped Resurrect ABBA with Digital ABBA-Tars

“After they broke up four decades ago, ABBA famously refused all kinds of money for reunion ABBA-tars and performances,” writes Rolling Stone.

“But a few years ago, British entrepreneur Simon Fuller pitched an idea that piqued the Swedish superstars’ interest…”

“We got sort of turned on by the thought that we could actually be onstage without us being there,” ABBA singer-songwriter Benny Andersson says over Zoom.

The band, along with Fuller and their producers Ludvig Andersson (Benny Andersson’s son) and Svana Gisla (music-video producer for the likes of Radiohead and Beyoncé), initially explored reproducing themselves by hologram technology, but that didn’t pan out. They finally realized a grander dream: ABBA Voyage, the 196-show concert residency at newly built ABBA Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park that begins May 27. Made with help from George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic, digital avatars (also known as ABBA-tars) embody the stars in their Seventies prime, performing a 22-song set alongside a flesh-and-blood backing band assembled by James Righton of the Klaxons and including U.K. singer Little Boots on keys….

The band and the team and ILM realized early on that an existing venue wasn’t going to work for the residency. There are 1,000 visual-effects artists on ABBA Voyage, making it the biggest project ILM has done, according to Gisla (and this is the company behind Star Wars, Marvel, and Jurassic Park). The roof of ABBA Arena was reengineered three times to fit the complicated lighting system. Where many concerts might use only one lighting rig, this one uses 20.

There was a lot of work put into making the ABBA-tars — which, the band stresses, are not holograms, but digital versions of the members that look like real, physical performers. Not too long before the pandemic put things to a near-halt, the four members of ABBA met from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, for four and half weeks straight, performing for 200 cameras and a crew of nearly 40 people while wearing motion-capture suits. They posted up in a sound studio within the Swedish Film Institute, playing all the songs they had carefully curated for their first show in 40 years. “It was really a pleasure for all of us,” Andersson says.

Back in London, body doubles emulated the performances, but with a younger energy. “We are sort of merged together with our body doubles. Don’t ask me how it works because I can’t explain that,” Andersson continues. “If you’re 75, you don’t jump around like you did when you were 34, so this is why this happened.”
Producer Ludvig Andersson adds: “We hear often, ‘This is the dawn of a new era in live entertainment.’ I think that’s an incorrect statement. I don’t think it is. This is unique.”

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Source: Slashdot – How Industrial Light & Magic Helped Resurrect ABBA with Digital ABBA-Tars

Surprise: Microsoft Has a Second Internal-Use-Only Linux Distro

ZDNet reports there’s more than just the one Microsoft-created Linux distribution for internal use only called CBL (Common Base Linux) Mariner.

“It turns out there’s another Microsoft-developed Linux distribution that’s also for internal use that’s known as CBL-Delridge or CBL-D.”

I discovered the existence of CBL-D for the first time this week in a rather round-about way. I stumbled onto a February 2 blog post from Hayden Barnes. a Senior Engineering Manager at SuSE who led the Windows on Rancher engineering team, which traced his steps in discovering and building his own image of CBL-D. Barnes noted that Microsoft published CBL-Delridge in 2020, the same year that it also published CBL-Mariner. The main difference between the two: Delridge is a custom Debian derivative, while Mariner is a custom Linux From Scratch-style distribution.

CBL-D powers Azure’s Cloud Shell. The Azure Cloud Shell provides a set of cloud-management tools packaged in a container. In a note on the GitHub repo for the Cloud Shell, officials noted that “the primary difference between Debian and CBL-D is that Microsoft compiles all the packages included in the CBL-D repository internally. This helps guard against supply chain attacks….”

CBL-Mariner and CBL-Delridge are just two of the Microsoft-developed Linux-related deliverables from the Linux Systems Group. Others include the Windows Subsystem for Linux version 2 (WSL2), which is part of Windows 10; an Azure-tuned Linux kernel which is designed for optimal performance as Hyper-V guests; and Integrity Policy Enforcement (IPE), a proposed Linux Security Module (LSM) from the Enterprise and Security team.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Surprise: Microsoft Has a Second Internal-Use-Only Linux Distro

Facing High Demand, Texas Asks 26 Million to Use Less Electricity This Weekend

Friday a heat wave hit Texas — prompting the non-profit that manages power for Texas’s 26 million customers to…ask them to use less of it.

“The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) made the appeal in a statement Friday, saying that soaring temperatures increased demand and caused six power generation facilities to trip offline,” reports CNN. “That resulted in the loss of about 2,900 megawatts of electricity.”

The statement asks Texans “to conserve power when they can by setting their thermostats to 78-degrees or above and avoiding the usage of large appliances (such as dishwashers, washers and dryers) during peak hours between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. through the weekend.” CNN reports:

The appeal comes as record temperatures across most of the southern U.S. this weekend are expected to worsen a deepening drought. From Phoenix to Amarillo, Texas, record temperatures are expected to reach triple digits, with a chance for some parts of Texas to break daily records over the next seven days.

ERCOT came under scrutiny last year after record cold temperatures in February caused the state’s highest electricity demand and more than 200 people died during the power crisis, with the most common cause of death being hypothermia. In March 2021, ERCOT’s president and CEO, Bill Magness, was fired following widespread power outages during a series of winter storms that left many residents in the dark for days. Now the heat is testing Texas’ power grid….

Temperatures from the mid-90s to the low 100s are expected on Sunday, with much of central and western Texas reaching 100 to 105 degrees — approximately 10 to 15 degrees above average.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Facing High Demand, Texas Asks 26 Million to Use Less Electricity This Weekend

How Ukraine Uses Facial Recognition Technology to Identify Dead Russian Soldiers and War Criminals

“Ukraine is using facial recognition technology to identify bodies of Russian soldiers killed in war,” reads the chyron on CNN’s latest video report. It explains how Ukraine is using the technology “both to help with this difficult task and help advance their aims in the propaganda war with Moscow.” And it may even help identify suspected war criminals.

But first Ukraine’s chief civil-military liaison officer tells CNN that Geneva Convention rules mandate storing the bodies of the enemy (to be exchanged after the end of active combat) — but also that they make an attempt to first identify the dead.

From CNN’s report:

This is where the Ministry of Digital Transformation comes in. “We have identified about 300 cases,” says Mykhailo Fedorov [Ukraine’s vice prime minister and Minister of Digital Transformation]. They do it by using a myriad of techniques, but the most effective has been facial recognition technology. They upload a picture of a face, the technology scrubs all the social networks… Once they have a match, they go one step further. “We send messages to their friends and relatives.”

CNN: These are often gruesome photos of dead soldiers. Why do you send them to the families in Russia?

Fedorov: There are two goals. One is to show the Russians there’s a real war going on here, to fight against the Russian propaganda, to show them they’re not as strong as shown on TV, and Russians really are dying here. The second goal is to give them an opportunity to pick up the bodies in Ukraine.

They do get responses from Russian families.
CNN: They’re responding with, basically saying “You will be killed. I will come and I will also take part in this war.”
Fedorov: 80% of the familes’ answers are, We’ll come to Ukraine ourselves and kill you, and you deserve what’s happening to you.
CNN: What about the other 20%?

Fedorov: Some of them say they’re grateful, and they know about the situation. And some would like to come and pick up the body.

The technology is not just being used on the dead. It is also being used to identify Russian soldiers who are alive, some of whom are being accused of war crimes.

Ukraine chief regional prosecutor Ruslan Kravchenko: We have established the identity of one military man.

“We have a lot of materials – irreputable evidence,” this prosecutor says.
[Kravchenko] says he was caught on video in Belarus trying to sell items he had looted from Ukrainian homes. But his alleged crimes go far beyond that. The soldier is accused of taking part in the execution of four Ukrainian men, with their hands bound behind their backs…. Prosecutors say the soldier was first identified by the technology, and then by a Ukrainian citizen who said the soldier tortured him after entering his home.

Kravchenko: We showed these photos to the witnesses and victims.

They identified the specific person who was among other Russian military personnel who killed four people in this particular place, the prosecutor said. The end result of all their investigations, they hope, will be a full record of what happened in Ukraine. And the proof they need to prosecute those who committed crimes against its pepole.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – How Ukraine Uses Facial Recognition Technology to Identify Dead Russian Soldiers and War Criminals

Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Alternative to Google's Search Results?

“I first heard about Google here on Slashdot,” writes Captain Chad (Slashdot reader #102,831).

“At the time I was using AltaVista for web searches, but Google immediately proved its superiority.”

Now 20+ years later I struggle with Google’s latest system. It appears to be interpreting the perceived intent of my search request instead of using the very specific keywords I provide. I’m often getting results that aren’t on the same topic as what I’m looking for, and adding more keywords seems to make it worse. Even using double quotes doesn’t help much any more. Google Search has become too “intelligent” for me to use effectively.

So I’m looking for a replacement search engine, one that searches for what I tell it to search for, like Google used to do. With that in mind, what search engine(s) do you recommend?
The question’s already drawn several responses. Khopesh (Slashdot reader #112,447) points out that ironically “Doing a Google search for “google alternatives” comes up with a pretty decent list, including DuckDuckGo (powered mostly by Bing) and Brave Search (powered by its own crawler), which are both privacy-first items that do not customize queries to the individual.

Also consider Startpage (powered by anonymized Google queries, see their Wikipedia article).

Other readers shared their own complaints. “Even if no one has a good alternative can someone tell me why pretty much all internet search has become crapified?” asks Slashdot reader Iamthecheese.

My biggest gripe is how Google’s search results are technically all referrer URLs — so if you right-click to copy the link, it’s never what you expect. (And that when I search for something that sounds like a product, several rows of the top results are always ads.)

Anyone else? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments.

And what’s best alternative to Google’s search results?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Ask Slashdot: What’s the Best Alternative to Google’s Search Results?

Red Hat CEO: Remote Working is 'Just Another Day' to the Open Source World

Red Hat’s CEO/president Paul Cormier assessed the last two years in a speech at this week’s Red Hat Summit. “Globally we saw nearly every industry go to 100% remote working overnight.”

Regardless of industry and size, organizations learned to operate virtually and on-demand. Companies needed to deliver goods and services to customers without a set brick-and-mortar footprint. We saw new tech hubs emerge in unlikely places because workers we no longer bound by needing to be based in specific cities. Newly-remote workers realized that they didn’t have to be tied to a physical office, and organizations focused on hiring new talent based on skill and not location.

These are not insignificant achievements, and while this way of working was unfamiliar to those who were forced to adapt during the pandemic, to the open source world, it was just another day.

Every open source project is worked on remotely and has been since their inception. Just look at the Linux Foundation, which supports more than 2,300 projects. There were more than 28,000 active contributors to these projects in 2021, adding more than 29 million lines of code each week and with community participants coming from nearly every country around the globe. Most of these contributors will never meet face to face, but they are still able to drive the next generation of open technologies.

Whether we realized it or not, our accomplishments during the pandemic brought us closer to the open source model, and this is why open source innovation is now driving much of the software world. Through this new way of working, we saw new revenue streams, found new ways to become more efficient, and discovered new ways to engage with our customers. As we approach what, hopefully, is the tail end of an incredibly difficult few years, it’s time to accelerate. It’s time to take the lessons that we learned and applied as we transformed to digital-first and use them to improve our businesses, cultures and global communities.

The term “new normal” is now used like it’s pre-determined and static. It isn’t. You get to define your new normal. What do you want your business to look like? How do you want to embrace the next generation of IT?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Red Hat CEO: Remote Working is ‘Just Another Day’ to the Open Source World

Gunman Livestreams Killing of 10 On Twitch – After Radicalization On 4chan

Slashdot reader DevNull127 writes: 10 people were killed in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York this afternoon — and three more were injured — by a guman who livestreamed the massacre on Twitch. “A Twitch spokesperson said the platform has investigated and confirmed that the stream was removed ‘less than two minutes after the violence started,'” reports NBC News.

The Raw Story reports that the 18-year-old suspected gunman had also apparently posted a 106-page manifesto online prior to the attack. A researcher at George Washington University program on extremism studied the manifesto, and points out that the suspected shooter “states that he was radicalized online on 4chan and was inspired by Brenton Tarrant’s manifesto and livestreamed mass shooting in New Zealand.”

The suspect reportedly used an assault rifle.

Less than two weeks ago, Slashdot posted the following:

28-year-old Brenton Tarrant killed 51 people in New Zealand in 2019. The Associated Press reports that at that point he’d been reading 4chan for 14 years, according to his mother — since the age of 14.
The year before, 25-year-old Alek Minassian, who killed 11 people in Toronto in 2018, namechecked 4chan in a pre-attack Facebook post.

But the Guardian now adds another a story from nine days ago — when a 23-year-old shooter with 1,000 rounds of ammunition opened fire from his apartment in Washington D.C. “Just two minutes after the shooting began, someone under the username “Raymond Spencer” logged onto the normally-anonymous 4chan and started a new thread titled ‘shool [sic] shooting’. The newly published message contained a link â” to a 30-second video of images captured from the digital scope of Spencer’s rifle….”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Gunman Livestreams Killing of 10 On Twitch – After Radicalization On 4chan

Elon Musk Warns Twitter Users, 'You Are Being Manipulated by the Algorithm'

Twitter’s potential new owner just made this announcement to his 93.1 million followers. “Very important to fix your Twitter feed,” the annoncement began:

1. Tap home button.
2. Tap stars on upper right of screen.
3. Select “Latest tweets”.

You are being manipulated by the algorithm in ways you don’t realize.

Easy to switch back & forth to see the difference.

Currently it’s been pinned to the top of Elon Musk’s Twitter feed. And minutes later, he added this reply to his own tweet. “This message brought to you by the Illuminaughty.”
Musk’s motivation isn’t clear — but just minutes earlier he’d tweeted a reply to own tweet from Friday that had suggested Twitter users check a sample of 100 Twitter accounts for the percentage of fake/spam/duplicate accounts. “I picked 100 as the sample size number,” Musk had added as a reply Friday, “because that is what Twitter uses to calculate less than 5% fake/spam/duplicate.” Musk’s follow-up tweet today?

“Twitter legal just called to complain that I violated their NDA by revealing the bot check sample size is 100! This actually happened.”

The tweets follow three more from the last 24 hours which all apparently comment wryly on Musk’s planned acquisition of Twitter. “Whoever thought owning the libs would be cheap never tried to acquire a social media company!” Musk tweeted earlier this afternoon. “At least, that’s what the lib hivemind thinks haha.”

And an earlier tweet appeared to allude to his recently-expressed interest in the number of fake/spam accounts on Twitter. Friday night, Elon Musk tweeted:

“The bots are angry at being counted.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Elon Musk Warns Twitter Users, ‘You Are Being Manipulated by the Algorithm’

Nuclear Energy: the Case Against

“We do not need to plunge headlong into a nuclear future,” argues Serhii Plokhy, author of the book Atoms and Ashes: From Bikini Atoll to Fukushima.
He notes Belgium’s adding a 10-year extension to the life of two of its nuclear reactors, France’s program to build 14 new reactors, and Boris Johnson’s pledge to create supply 25% of the UKs power needs with nuclear energy by 2050.
On the surface, the switch to nuclear makes sense. It would not only enable European countries to meet their ambitious net zero targets, since it produces no CO2. It would also make them less vulnerable to Russian threats, and allow them to stop financing the Russian war machine….

What the Russian takeover of [Ukraine] nuclear facilities exposed is a hazard inherent in all nuclear power. In order for this method of producing electricity to be safe, everything else in society has to be functioning perfectly. Warfare, economic collapse, climate change itself — all of these increasingly real risks make nuclear sites potentially perilous places. Even without them, the dangers of atomic fission remain, and we must ask ourselves: are they really worth the cost…?

Technological developments, growing international cooperation and rising safety standards did indeed do a great deal to ensure that no major nuclear accident occurred for 25 years after Chernobyl. But the Fukushima explosions demonstrated that such improvements have not eradicated the dangers surrounding nuclear power plants…. Can anything be done to make reactors safer? A new generation of smaller modular reactors, designed from scratch to produce energy, not to facilitate warfare, has been proposed by Bill Gates, and embraced, among others, by Macron. The reactors promised by Gates’s TerraPower company are still at the computer-simulation stage and years away from construction. But his claim that in such reactors “accidents would literally be prevented by the laws of physics” must be taken with a pinch of salt, as there are no laws of war protecting either old or new reactors from attack.

There is also serious concern that the rapid expansion in the number of plants, advocated as a way of dealing with climate change, will increase the probability of accidents. While new technology will help to avoid some of the old pitfalls, it will also bring new risks associated with untried reactors and systems. Responsibility for dealing with such risks is currently being passed on to future generations.

This is the second great risk from nuclear power: even if a reactor runs for its lifetime without incident, you still have a lot of dangerous material left at the end of it. Fuel from nuclear power plants will present a threat to human life and the environment for generations to come, with the half-life of some radioactive particles measured in tens of thousands of years…. Nuclear power plants generally have no alternative to storing their high-level radioactive waste on site….If what we bury today in the New Mexico desert — the waste created by our nuclear ambitions — is so repulsive to us, why do we pass it on to others to deal with?

The author’s counter-proposal: expanding the use of renewable energy:
New research should be encouraged, grid infrastructure should be built up, and storage capacity increased. Billions that would otherwise go to new nuclear infrastructure, with all the attendant costs of cleanup that continue for decades and beyond, should be pumped instead into clean energy.

In the meantime, we obviously have an existing nuclear industry, and the solution is not to run away in panic, but to take good care of the facilities that already dot our countryside. We must not abandon the industry to its current state of economic hardship, as that would only mean inviting the next accident sooner rather than later.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Nuclear Energy: the Case Against

America's FAA Shifts Gears Slightly on Certifying Future 'Flying Taxi' Pilots

Flying cars — or even electric flying taxis — are the dream of several well-funded manufacturers building “electric vertical-takeoff and landing aircraft” (or eVTOLs).
But will they face stricter government regulations than anticipated? Long-time Slashdot reader
wired_parrot reports that America’s Federal Aviation Administration has shifted gears — “revising it certification requirements for eVTOLS from small aircraft to a powered-lift category.” (The original submission cites a “growing number” of issues for the industry to resolve — and asks whether this raises concerns about the viability of the whole potential eVTOL market.)

Meanwhile, AVWeb reports:
According to a Reuters report, the impetus for the shift came from an ongoing audit by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General. The IG said so-called Urban Air Mobility vehicles present the FAA with “new and complex safety challenges….”

In a written response to a request for clarification, an FAA spokesperson told AVweb:

“The FAA’s top priority is to make sure the flying public is safe. This obligation includes our oversight of the emerging generation of eVTOL vehicles. The agency is pursuing a predictable framework that will better accommodate the need to train and certify the pilots who will operate these novel aircraft.
“Our process for certifying the aircraft themselves remains unchanged. All of the development work done by current applicants remains valid and the changes in our regulatory approach should not delay their projects. As this segment of the industry continues to grow, we look forward to certifying innovative new technologies that meet the safety standards that the public expects and deserves.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – America’s FAA Shifts Gears Slightly on Certifying Future ‘Flying Taxi’ Pilots

Should Social Networks Let You Take Your Followers to Other Services?

The Washington Post reports on the “My Friends My Data” coalition, a group of start-up founders “working to push tech giants to adopt a new industry-wide standard that would allow users to transfer their followings from one app to another, thereby creating more competition between platforms.”

“Large social media companies are intentionally holding our personal contact information hostage,” said Daniel Liss, founder and CEO of Dispo, a photography-based social network. “This limits consumer choice, stymies competition and inhibits free speech. We are committed to giving our community members control of their friend data….”

MFMD’s founding members include a who’s who of buzzy social apps like Dispo, Itsme, Clash App, Muze, Spam app and Collage, which together have received more than $100 million in venture funding and amassed tens of millions of downloads. The group has issued letters to Meta, TikTok, Snap, Twitter and other large social platforms calling on them to join their crusade. As the start-ups have found, competing with tech giants like Meta or YouTube is difficult when the top talent on the Internet is essentially locked in to specific platforms because of their inability to take followers elsewhere.

Many creators are already on board with MFMD’s initiative. Some learned lessons about ownership the hard way after the fall of Vine. Many top Vine stars were overleveraged, investing all their energy in building out their following on the short-form video platform. When the app shuttered in 2016 those who hadn’t used Vine to springboard to other apps like YouTube were left without access to the massive fandoms they had built….
[Liss] said that in addition to putting public pressure on the tech giants he hopes the MFMD can be a political force as well. “I’m very comfortable engaging in the political process on behalf of what we think is right,” Liss said. “Not just for our companies but also for the next generation of consumer start-ups.”
Eugene Park, a gaming Twitch streamer in Los Angeles with 300,000 followers, likes the idea of making followers transferrable to other services, telling the Post it “would be taking power from the tech companies and putting it in the hands of creators who really make up these giant platforms.”

In the meantime, the article points out, TikTok users “have taken to referring to other apps like Instagram and YouTube using ‘algospeak’ pseudonyms, because they say even uttering the name of a competitor can downrank your content.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Should Social Networks Let You Take Your Followers to Other Services?

CentOS Successor Rocky Linux Gets $26M to Fund Push Into Enterprise Space

“CIQ has landed $26 million in funding to support its plans to expand the use of Rocky Linux in the enterprise space,” reports ZDNet.

Last year, Red Hat decided to stop supporting CentOS 8 and shifted focus to CentOS Stream. CentOS had some huge enterprise users, among them Disney, GoDaddy, RackSpace, Toyota, and Verizon. In response, Greg Kurtzer, one of CentOS’s founders, kicked off Rocky Linux in December 2020…. Kurtzer says Rocky Linux adoption has been “massive”, with monthly downloads of OS images typically 250,000, reaching 750,000 in a bumper month. “Within two months we had 10,000 developer and contributors trying to be part of this project….”

The project has gained the support of Greg Kroah-Hartman, the maintainer of the main-line stable Linux kernel, to meet community demands for Rocky Linux to run on a more modern, optimized kernel, Kurtzer said. Kroah-Hartman is leading Rocky Linux special interest group (SIG) for the kernel to create an optional enhanced kernel for Rocky Linux. “He’s working closely with us to make sure the kernel we use is blessed by him. He’s in the loop as bugs come up and help us manage that kernel in Rocky Linux,” says Kurtzer.

“Moreover, today’s news follows shortly after CIQ inked a major deal with Google to help support companies looking to deploy Rocky Linux on Google’s cloud infrastructure,” reports VentureBeat.

Kurtzer tells the site that Rocky Linux “has been a rocket ship in terms of uptake across the enterprise and cloud.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – CentOS Successor Rocky Linux Gets M to Fund Push Into Enterprise Space

Hackers Are Exploiting WordPress Tools to Hawk Scams

“If you’ve visited a website in recent days and been randomly redirected to the same pages with sketchy “resources” or unwanted ads, it’s likely the site in question was 1) built with WordPress tools and 2) hacked,” reports Gizmodo.
Details come from this blog post by researchers at Sucuri (a security provider owned by GoDaddy):
As outlined in our latest hacked website report, we’ve been tracking a long-lasting campaign responsible for injecting malicious scripts into compromised WordPress websites. This campaign leverages known vulnerabilities in WordPress themes and plugins and has impacted an enormous number of websites over the year — for example, according to PublicWWW, the April wave for this campaign was responsible for nearly 6,000 infected websites alone. Since these PublicWWW results only show detections for simple script injections, we can assume that the scope is significantly larger.
We recently investigated a number of WordPress websites complaining about unwanted redirects. Interestingly enough, they were found to be related to a new wave of this massive campaign and were sending website visitors through a series of website redirects to serve them unwanted ads. The websites all shared a common issue — malicious JavaScript had been injected within their website’s files and the database, including legitimate core WordPress files… This JavaScript was appended under the current script or under the head of the page where it was fired on every page load, redirecting site visitors to the attacker’s destination…. Domains at the end of the redirect chain may be used to load advertisements, phishing pages, malware, or even more redirects….

At the time of writing, PublicWWW has reported 322 websites impacted by this new wave… Considering that this count doesn’t include obfuscated malware or sites that have not yet been scanned by PublicWWW, the actual number of impacted websites is likely much higher. Our team has seen an influx in complaints for this specific wave of the massive campaign targeting WordPress sites beginning May 9th, 2022, which has impacted hundreds of websites already at the time of writing….
We expect the hackers will continue registering new domains for this ongoing campaign as soon as existing ones become blacklisted.

“It’s important to note that these hacks are related to themes and plugins built by thousands of third-party developers using the open source WordPress software, not WordPress.com, which offers hosting and tools to build websites,” Gizmodo points out.
But this also cite this warning from Sucuri malware analyst Krasimir Konov:
“This page tricks unsuspecting users into subscribing to push notifications from the malicious site. If they click on the fake CAPTCHA, they’ll be opted in to receive unwanted ads even when the site isn’t open — and ads will look like they come from the operating system, not from a browser,” Konov wrote.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Hackers Are Exploiting WordPress Tools to Hawk Scams