Japan's latest chance at private rocket launch ends in flames

Japan’s hopes for a thriving private spaceflight industry have been dashed once again. Interstellar Technologies’ second attempt at a rocket launch has ended in spectacular fashion, with its 33-foot MOMO-2 vehicle crashing (and bursting into flames)…

Source: Engadget – Japan’s latest chance at private rocket launch ends in flames

Is Google's Promotion of HTTPS Misguided?

Long-time software guru Dave Winer is criticizing Google’s plans to deprecate HTTP (by, for example, penalizing sites that use HTTP instead of HTTPS in search results and flagging them as “insecure” in Chrome). Winer writes:
A lot of the web consists of archives. Files put in places that no one maintains. They just work. There’s no one there to do the work that Google wants all sites to do. And some people have large numbers of domains and sub-domains hosted on all kinds of software Google never thought about. Places where the work required to convert wouldn’t be justified by the possible benefit. The reason there’s so much diversity is that the web is an open thing, it was never owned….
If Google succeeds, it will make a lot of the web’s history inaccessible. People put stuff on the web precisely so it would be preserved over time. That’s why it’s important that no one has the power to change what the web is. It’s like a massive book burning, at a much bigger scale than ever done before.
“Many of these sites don’t collect user data or provide user interaction,” adds Slashdot reader saccade.com, “so the ‘risks’ of not using HTTPS are irrelevant.” And Winer summarizes his position in three points.

The web is an open platform, not a corporate platform.
It is defined by its stability. 25-plus years and it’s still going strong.
Google is a guest on the web, as we all are. Guests don’t make the rules.
“The web is a social agreement not to break things,” Winer writes. “It’s served us for 25 years. I don’t want to give it up because a bunch of nerds at Google think they know best.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Is Google’s Promotion of HTTPS Misguided?

Here's how 'Wolfenstein II' manages to run on Nintendo Switch

Now that Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is available on the Switch, there’s a question many want answered: just how did Panic Button manage to squeeze such a visually intense game into a title you can play on the bus? You now have a clear answer….

Source: Engadget – Here’s how ‘Wolfenstein II’ manages to run on Nintendo Switch

US Intel Officials Allege North Korea Is Still Enriching Uranium After Trump-Kim Summit

Shocker: It turns out that President Donald Trump was perhaps not really being all that honest when he walked out of a summit with North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un this month and declared “There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.”

Read more…

Source: Gizmodo – US Intel Officials Allege North Korea Is Still Enriching Uranium After Trump-Kim Summit

T-Mobile now supports next-gen texting between carriers

American carriers have had support for RCS’ next-generation text messaging for a while, but it typically hasn’t been very useful outside of your home network. Unless you’re with Sprint, you haven’t had that universal support needed to chat between ne…

Source: Engadget – T-Mobile now supports next-gen texting between carriers

One Misplaced Line of JavaScript Caused the Ticketmaster Breach

An anonymous reader quotes ITWire:
Well-known British security researcher Kevin Beaumont says the breach of the British operations of American multinational ticket sales and distribution company Ticketmaster, that has led to the possible leak of tens of thousands of credit card details, was caused by the incorrect placement of a single line of code… Beaumont said Inbenta was providing a chat bot for website developers “by providing a single line of HTML which calls a JavaScript from Inbenta’s Web server….”
He pointed out that while Inbenta had provided Ticketmaster a customised JavaScript one-liner, the ticketing company had placed this chatbot code on its payment processing website without informing Inbenta it had done so. “This means that Inbenta’s webserver was placed in the middle of all Ticketmaster credit card transactions, with the ability to execute JavaScript code in customer browsers,” Beaumont said. This code had been altered by some malicious person back in February and the problems began at that point, he said.
Beaumont warns businesses to be cautious with third-party JavaScript code in sensitive processes. “Check your supply chain. Because attackers are.”
And he also highlights how anti-virus tools started flagging the the script months before Ticketmaster announced the breach. “I can see the Javascript file being uploaded to a variety of threat intelligence tools from April through just before the breach announcement, so clearly somebody was looking into it.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – One Misplaced Line of JavaScript Caused the Ticketmaster Breach

Government Study Says You're Washing Your Hands Wrong, Which Is Gross and You Should Fix It

Hey, did you wash your hands recently? Well, you probably did it wrong. CNN pointed out a recent government study found that 97 percent of the time, people fail to properly wash their hands—a problem that can lead to all sorts of unnecessary illnesses being spread.

Read more…

Source: Gizmodo – Government Study Says You’re Washing Your Hands Wrong, Which Is Gross and You Should Fix It

Gravitational waves and the slow pace of scientific revolutions

Enlarge / For years, people weren’t sure if gravitational wave were a necessary product of relativity. (credit: Fermilab)

LIGO’s detection of gravitational waves came almost exactly a century after Einstein had formulated his general theory of relativity and an ensuing paper mathematically describing the possibility of gravitational waves. Or at least that’s the story as it was presented to the public (including by yours truly). And in some ways, it’s even true.

But the reality of how relativity progressed to the point where people accepted that gravitational waves are likely to exist and could possibly be detected is considerably more complicated than the simple narrative described above. In this week’s Nature Astronomy, a group of science historians lays out the full details of how we got from the dawn of relativity to the building of LIGO. And, in the process, the historians show that ideas about scientific revolutions bringing about a sudden, radical shift may sometimes miss the point.

Has your paradigm shifted?

The popular conception of scientific revolutions (to the extent that it exists) was shaped by Thomas Kuhn. Kuhn described a process where data gradually pushes an existing theory into crisis, allowing nearly everyone to see it doesn’t work. After a period of crisis, a revolution takes place and a new theory emerges. The theory’s ability to solve all the problems that precipitated the crisis quickly draws support, and a new period of theory-driven—in Kuhn’s language, “paradigm-driven”—science begins.

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Source: Ars Technica – Gravitational waves and the slow pace of scientific revolutions

Thousands of Uber Drivers Scammed Out of Millions of Dollars

CNET reports on what happened when a new Uber driver received a call from Uber telling him to cancel the trip and verify his account:

The caller asked for his email. He gave it. The caller asked for his Uber account password. He gave him that, too, after a brief hesitation. Then the caller said to tell him the confirmation code he’d be receiving shortly via text. The driver told him the code once he got the text. This was the two-factor authentication needed to get into the driver’s Uber account. “Nothing happened for the rest of the week,” the driver says. “I didn’t think anything of this again until Saturday.” But in those following three days, the scammer had changed the driver’s account settings and waited for the perfect time to withdraw money…. By Saturday night, his $653.88 in earnings from that week had been nabbed from his account…
Apparently the scam has hit thousands of ride-hail drivers, and millions of dollars have been diverted from their accounts, according to a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York’s federal court last November… [A] couple of key elements about Uber make it possible. When passengers hail a ride with Uber, they see the name of the driver and the car’s make, model and license number, and they get an anonymized phone number to call the driver. All of this ensures passengers safely connect with the right driver. But it also makes it possible for the wrong people to see lots of information about drivers.
When one of the scam victims complained to Uber, he “was told he had to wait until Monday when he could talk to a representative in person at one of its driver hubs,” although eventually Uber “agreed to credit the $653.88 back to his account as a ‘one-time repayment courtesy.'”
Other scammers have gone after Uber directly, CNET reports, using GPS-spoofing apps to simulate long rides as “a way to pocket money via stolen credit cards, essentially using Uber as a makeshift money laundering service.” Uber’s data science manager spotted the fake rides because “weird” altitude coordinates indicated that the drivers were flying through the sky.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Thousands of Uber Drivers Scammed Out of Millions of Dollars

Netflix martial arts series will feature 'The Raid' star Iko Uwais

Netflix has given yet another original the go-ahead to shoot 10 episodes: this time, it’s a martial arts sci-fi crime drama called Wu Assassins, and it will star Indonesian actor Iko Uwais. The name will most likely sound familiar to fans of the genr…

Source: Engadget – Netflix martial arts series will feature ‘The Raid’ star Iko Uwais

We've Reached 'Peak Screen'. So What Comes Next?

An anonymous reader quotes the New York Times:
We’ve hit what I call Peak Screen. For much of the last decade, a technology industry ruled by smartphones has pursued a singular goal of completely conquering our eyes. It has given us phones with ever-bigger screens and phones with unbelievable cameras, not to mention virtual reality goggles and several attempts at camera-glasses. Tech has now captured pretty much all visual capacity. Americans spend three to four hours a day looking at their phones and about 11 hours a day looking at screens of any kind.

So tech giants are building the beginning of something new: a less insistently visual tech world, a digital landscape that relies on voice assistants, headphones, watches and other wearables to take some pressure off our eyes. This could be a nightmare; we may simply add these new devices to our screen-addled lives. But depending on how these technologies develop, a digital ecosystem that demands less of our eyes could be better for everyone — less immersive, less addictive, more conducive to multitasking, less socially awkward, and perhaps even a salve for our politics and social relations. Who will bring us this future? Amazon and Google are clearly big players, but don’t discount the company that got us to Peak Screen in the first place. With advances to the Apple Watch and AirPods headphones, Apple is slowly and almost quietly creating an alternative to its phones… If it works, it could change everything again.

Warning that screens are insatiable vampires for your attention, the piece argues we should be using our phones more mindfully — and exploring “less immersive ways to interact with the digital world” like Google and Amazon voice assisants.
“The sooner we find something else, the better.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – We’ve Reached ‘Peak Screen’. So What Comes Next?

Well, This Japanese Private Rocket Launch Certainly Could Have Gone Better

Saturday’s test of the MOMO-2 unmanned rocket, which was scheduled to be the first privately funded Japanese rocket to reach space, went very poorly for Interstellar Technologies’ Takafumi Horie, a convicted securities fraudster who a 2014 Financial Times profile dubbed “Japan’s enfant terrible.” Footage of the event…

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Source: Gizmodo – Well, This Japanese Private Rocket Launch Certainly Could Have Gone Better

Fallout 76 Won't Have Multiplayer Cross-Play, And We Can Blame Sony For This Travesty

Fallout 76 Won't Have Multiplayer Cross-Play, And We Can Blame Sony For This Travesty
Sony sure does know how to ruin a good party. As if infuriating scores of Fortnite fans by blocking cross-play and cross-progression with the PlayStation 4 and other competing consoles (i.e. Xbox One and Nintendo Switch) wasn’t enough, we’re now learning that Sony is also the reason why cross-play won’t be enabled on Bethesda’s upcoming Fallout

Source: Hot Hardware – Fallout 76 Won’t Have Multiplayer Cross-Play, And We Can Blame Sony For This Travesty

Graphics Card Prices Expected to Drop in July

Echoing “sources from the upstream supply chain,” DigiTimes reports that graphics card prices are expected to see an average drop of around 20% in July. This is all thanks to the declining interest in cryptocurrency mining: small-to-medium mining firms are bowing out due to dwindling profits, while large mining firms have also cut spending for new hardware.

Currently, the worldwide graphics card market has an inventory of around several million units and Nvidia has around a million of GPUs waiting to be released, said the sources. With cryptocurrency miners also expected to begin selling their used graphics cards to the retail channel, vendors are expected to introduce major price cuts to compete.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Graphics Card Prices Expected to Drop in July

Drake smashes single-day Apple Music and Spotify records (again)

Drake is back to breaking streaming music records, although this time he’s getting a helping hand. To start, Apple has confirmed that the man from the 6 smashed his own single-day record on its music service, with his album Scorpion resulting in over…

Source: Engadget – Drake smashes single-day Apple Music and Spotify records (again)

Massive New 'Salesforce Tower' Light Sculpture: AI, Ubuntu, Fog, and a MacBook

The new tallest building on the San Francisco skyline — and the tallest building in America west of the Mississippi — includes a nine-story electronic sculpture that’s been called the tallest piece of public art on Earth. It uses 11,000 LED bulbs reflected off the tower-topping aluminum panels — each pixel created by a set of red, green, blue and white lights controlled by 8-bit PIC microcontrollers. “On a clear night, the show is visible for 30 miles,” reports IEEE Spectrum.

Slashdot reader Tekla Perry shares their article about “the technology involved in the light show at the top of Salesforce Tower. Electrical engineer and artist Jim Campbell explains it all — and how the window-washer problem stumped him for nearly a year.”
“[O]n the 62nd floor, a central PC-based computer runs Ubuntu Linux, sending instructions to a communications control system that splits the data and sends it at 11 Mbit to the 32 enclosures using a custom communications protocol… We will capture images throughout the day, sending them to Amazon’s cloud, and run some algorithms designed to identify visual interesting-ness. For example, at its simplest, when we look at the sky, if it’s all blue, it’s boring, if it’s all white, it’s boring, if it has white and blue it is likely to be interesting. We’ll chose the best half hour of the day at each camera, based on movement and color, to display….”

And finally, when the main display shuts down late at night, another system designed by Campbell will kick in. In this static display, a set of 36 white LEDs will create a three-dimensional constellation of lights that will look like stars. “It’s quieter, it has a random aspect to it,” he says.

“Since construction started, the tower has emerged as an icon of the new San Francisco — techie, ambitious, perhaps a little grandiose,” writes the New Yorker, capturing the moment when Campbell finally unveiled his four-year project — while fighting stomach flu and a chest cold, on a night which turned out to be prohibitively foggy. The executive vice-president of Boston Properties told him cheerily, “Jim! Look on the brighter side. We’ve got every night for the rest of our lives.”

“There was a long silence from the people on the terrace. The fog was thick. At last, someone exclaimed, ‘Woo-hoo!,’ and a volley of cheers followed.” Although the colors they were seeing came from the celebratory fireworks and not from Jim’s light sculpture.
Are there any San Francisco-area Slashdotters who want to weigh in on the Salesforce Tower?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Massive New ‘Salesforce Tower’ Light Sculpture: AI, Ubuntu, Fog, and a MacBook

Smart Home Security Camera Sends Footage to Wrong Person, Is Maybe Not So Smart After All

Internet-connected devices are known for having their fair share of security issues—especially when it comes to cameras. But here’s a new one: the BBC reported this week that a smart home security camera started sending video clips to the wrong person.

Read more…

Source: Gizmodo – Smart Home Security Camera Sends Footage to Wrong Person, Is Maybe Not So Smart After All