Chrissy Teigen and John Legend Shame Twitter Into Stripping Pizzagater's Verified Badge

Model Chrissy Teigen and singer John Legend got themselves dragged into the stupidest possible controversy this weekend when self-proclaimed “investigative journalist” and far-right activist Liz Crokin, who Twitter in their unending wisdom had decided to give a verified account, accused them of involvement in the…

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Source: Gizmodo – Chrissy Teigen and John Legend Shame Twitter Into Stripping Pizzagater’s Verified Badge

Hardly Anyone Wants to Ride the Las Vegas Monorail

Motherboard describes riding the Las Vegas monorail in 2008. “I was literally the only person on a train built to carry 222 people,” arguing that “the tale of the Las Vegas monorail is an allegory for almost every other monorail that exists on this planet.” An anonymous reader quotes their new report:
Las Vegas has struggled to deliver on its monorail promise since the 3.9-mile track opened in 2004. The track runs parallel to the Strip — behind all the massive, block-wide hotels. When the project was first proposed, promoters hoped to bring upwards of 20 million riders a year. In 2016, just 4.9 million monorail rides were taken. For reference, nearly 43 million people visited Las Vegas last year, according to the city’s visitor bureau, and the city has a population of about 632,000.
In 2010, the not-for-profit company in charge, named Las Vegas Monorail, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after failing to repay $650 million in construction loans. (It exited bankruptcy proceedings two years later.) But in true Las Vegas style, instead of taking the loss and heading home with its tail tucked between its legs, the company is doubling down. Now it’s anticipating spending an additional $100 million in private financing to extend the monorail from the MGM Grand to Mandalay Bay — a distance of less than a mile by foot. The company also asked the county to give it $4.5 million of public funds a year for 30 years to support the extension.
A Las Vegas newspaper got a succinct appraisal of the extended monorail’s prospects from the director of USC’s Transportation Engineering program: “I’m glad it’s not my money.” Next year ticket sales are expected to bring in just $21.4 million — “the lowest amount since 2014” — with the Monorail Co. blaming “additional competition” from Uber and Lyft.
But Motherboard argues that it’s not just a Las Vegas problem. “In most cities where monorails exist, most people can’t figure out what they’re good for. In Mumbai, India, a three-year-old monorail does just 17,000 daily rides — significantly short of the 125,000 to 300,000 passengers per day planners and backers anticipated.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Hardly Anyone Wants to Ride the Las Vegas Monorail

AMDGPU-PRO OpenCL Compiler Hacked Into Mesa's Clover

While AMD developers worked on the Radeon Gallium3D “Clover” OpenCL support for some time, that really hasn’t been the case in years with the AMD’s open-source OpenCL effort these days being focused upon their ROCm compute platform. Some within the community though still work on this OpenCL Gallium3D state tracker from time to time and this New Year’s weekend is an interesting project pairing Clover with AMD’s proprietary OpenCL compiler…

Source: Phoronix – AMDGPU-PRO OpenCL Compiler Hacked Into Mesa’s Clover

Telegram for Android now supports multiple accounts

Telegram has been busy parrying government attempts to collect user data over the past year, but it hasn’t forgotten its users. It’s ushering in 2018 with a handful of offerings you’ll likely find helpful if it’s your chat app of choice, starting wit…

Source: Engadget – Telegram for Android now supports multiple accounts

Moviegoing Is Expected to Hit a 22-Year Low

The movie industry is faltering due to bad sequels, rising ticket prices, and the ubiquity of streaming services. It is getting particularly bad for theaters, as tickets are projected to drop to numbers that haven’t been seen since 1995. Studios may want to strive for a little originality and quality, but most of them seem preoccupied with selling or buying each other out these days.

“You cannot pull a fast one on the audience,” said Greg Foster, chief executive of Imax Entertainment. “The tools that are available for consumers to decide how and where to spend entertainment dollars are so vast. Consumers know what works and what doesn’t long before the product becomes available.”


Source: [H]ardOCP – Moviegoing Is Expected to Hit a 22-Year Low

The Song Ends for Microsoft's Groove Music Services Today

Today is the day that Microsoft is killing all of its streaming music offerings. If you had ever bought any music through Groove, you’ll want to download it right away. The only good news is that the app will continue to function as a local music player. There is also a way for Spotify users to easily transfer their library over.

Almost three months ago, Microsoft announced that it will be shutting down its Groove Music services, and today is the day. After today, you’ll no longer be able to access your Music Pass library or download any of the music that you’ve purchased. The Groove app will continue to exist, and you still won’t be able to uninstall it from your Windows 10 PC for the foreseeable future.


Source: [H]ardOCP – The Song Ends for Microsoft’s Groove Music Services Today

Kansas Swatting Perpetrator 'SWauTistic' Interviewed on Twitter

“That kids house that I swatted is on the news,” tweeted “SWauTistic” — before he realized he’d gotten somebody killed. Security researcher Brian Krebs reveals what happened next.

When it became apparent that a man had been killed as a result of the swatting, Swautistic tweeted that he didn’t get anyone killed because he didn’t pull the trigger. Swautistic soon changed his Twitter handle to @GoredTutor36, but KrebsOnSecurity managed to obtain several weeks’ worth of tweets from Swautistic before his account was renamed. Those tweets indicate that Swautistic is a serial swatter — meaning he has claimed responsibility for a number of other recent false reports to the police. Among the recent hoaxes he’s taken credit for include a false report of a bomb threat at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that disrupted a high-profile public meeting on the net neutrality debate. Swautistic also has claimed responsibility for a hoax bomb threat that forced the evacuation of the Dallas Convention Center, and another bomb threat at a high school in Panama City, Fla, among others.

After tweeting about the incident extensively Friday afternoon, KrebsOnSecurity was contacted by someone in control of the @GoredTutor36 Twitter account. GoredTutor36 said he’s been the victim of swatting attempts himself, and that this was the reason he decided to start swatting others. He said the thrill of it “comes from having to hide from police via net connections.” Asked about the FCC incident, @GoredTutor36 acknowledged it was his bomb threat. “Yep. Raped em,” he wrote. “Bomb threats are more fun and cooler than swats in my opinion and I should have just stuck to that,” he wrote. “But I began making $ doing some swat requests.”

Krebs’ article also links to a police briefing with playback from the 911 call. “There is no question that police officers and first responders across the country need a great deal more training to bring the number of police shootings way down…” Krebs argues. “Also, all police officers and dispatchers need to be trained on what swatting is, how to spot the signs of a hoax, and how to minimize the risk of anyone getting harmed when responding to reports about hostage situations or bomb threats.”
But he also argues that filing a false police report should be reclassified as a felony in all states.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Kansas Swatting Perpetrator ‘SWauTistic’ Interviewed on Twitter

Silicon Valley's Next Big Idea: Untreated Drinking Water

The new obscure health trend among the rich is drinking “raw” water, which is water that hasn’t been filtered or treated in any way. Experts are warning about potential hazards such as bacteria and parasites, yet Silicon Valley is eager to support the startups out there delivering and popularizing untreated water.

After his widely-maligned startup Juicero shut down in September, founder Doug Evans immediately hopped on a much more obscure health trend. While at Burning Man, he went on a 10-day cleanse drinking only “raw” water — that is, water that is unfiltered and untreated in any way. Now, the company that supplied Evans’ water, Live Water, is among those attracting attention and investment from Silicon Valley’s health-conscious elite.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Silicon Valley’s Next Big Idea: Untreated Drinking Water

Iran Blocks Instagram and Telegram App after Protests

Iran has opted to block social media as a means of curbing the nationwide protests that are taking place against its government. Instagram and Telegram have thus far been targeted; authorities claim that both are being used to spread violence, fear, and terror.

Telegram’s CEO, Pavel Durov, earlier said it had blocked access to the popular Amadnews channel after, he said, it had “started to instruct their subscribers to use Molotov cocktails against police”. A source in Iran told the Guardian the state has started blocking access to Telegram, but it is not covering all provinces yet, while the block appeared to be affecting only those accessing it on cellular networks.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Iran Blocks Instagram and Telegram App after Protests

UK may tax internet giants to get more help fighting online extremism

The UK still isn’t convinced that internet giants are doing enough to curb online extremism, and it’s now considering hitting those companies where it really hurts: their bank accounts. In an interview with the Sunday Times, security minister Ben Wa…

Source: Engadget – UK may tax internet giants to get more help fighting online extremism

Follow These Tried-and-True Tips to Budget Your Food Spending in 2018

Food spending has always been my go-to for budgetary belt-tightening. Not everyone is laying out for luxuries that can be cut, but everyone eats, and almost everyone could spend a little less doing it.

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Source: LifeHacker – Follow These Tried-and-True Tips to Budget Your Food Spending in 2018

America's Doctors Are Performing Expensive Procedures That Don't Work

“The proportion of medical procedures unsupported by evidence may be nearly half,” writes a professor of public policy at Brown University. An anonymous reader quotes his article in Vox:

The recent news that stents inserted in patients with heart disease to keep arteries open work no better than a placebo ought to be shocking. Each year, hundreds of thousands of American patients receive stents for the relief of chest pain, and the cost of the procedure ranges from $11,000 to $41,000 in US hospitals. But in fact, American doctors routinely prescribe medical treatments that are not based on sound science.

The stent controversy serves as a reminder that the United States struggles when it comes to winnowing evidence-based treatments from the ineffective chaff. As surgeon and health care researcher Atul Gawande observes, “Millions of people are receiving drugs that aren’t helping them, operations that aren’t going to make them better, and scans and tests that do nothing beneficial for them, and often cause harm”… Estimates vary about what fraction of the treatments provided to patients is supported by adequate evidence, but some reviews place the figure at under half.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – America’s Doctors Are Performing Expensive Procedures That Don’t Work

UK Threatens to Tax Tech Giants If They Do Not Help Combat Terrorism

The UK wants to hit Google, Facebook, and other tech companies with tax fines if they fail to take action against extremism. Officials claim that they are “ruthless profiteers” who let terrorists run amok on their platforms while law enforcement and security services are spending millions in an effort to keep the country safe.

Ben Wallace accused tech firms of being happy to sell people’s data but not to give it to the government which was being forced to spend vast sums on de-radicalization programs, surveillance and other counter-terrorism measures. “If they continue to be less than co-operative, we should look at things like tax as a way of incentivizing them or compen­sating for their inaction,” Wallace told the Sunday Times newspaper in an interview.


Source: [H]ardOCP – UK Threatens to Tax Tech Giants If They Do Not Help Combat Terrorism

DHS Allocating $1 Billion to Illegally Scan Americans' Faces at Airports

The DHS has announced a new biometrics program that will see facial recognition scanners installed at major airports. Critics are saying that the hardware, which will cost $1 billion in taxpayer funding, doesn’t even work all that well: thousands of people could be flagged as potential criminals due to the cameras’ error rates.

DHS’ biometric exit program also stands on shaky legal ground. Congress has repeatedly ordered the collection of biometrics from foreign nationals at the border but has never clearly authorized the border collection of biometrics from American citizens using face recognition technology. Without explicit authorization, DHS should not be scanning the faces of Americans as they depart on international flights—but DHS is doing it anyway.


Source: [H]ardOCP – DHS Allocating Billion to Illegally Scan Americans’ Faces at Airports

Iran Moves to Block Social Media Apps, Mobile Networks as Protests Spread

The government of Iran has shut down mobile internet access and blocked apps including Telegram and Instagram after days of protests that exploded into widespread civil unrest. According to the Washington Post, at least two people are reported dead during the demonstrations, “the largest in Iran since an uprising over…

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Source: Gizmodo – Iran Moves to Block Social Media Apps, Mobile Networks as Protests Spread