news

Montana Legislator Introduces Bills To Give His State His Own Science

Slashdot - Thu, 21/02/2019 - 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The legislator in question is Republican Joe Read, who represents an area north of Missoula, home of many fine scientists at the University of Montana. Read has eight bills under consideration in the current session of the legislature, and two of those focus on climate change. One of them focuses on his state's role in any greenhouse gas regulatory program that would be instituted under a future president. Read is apparently unaware of past legal precedent indicating that the federal government has the legal ability to regulate pollutants. Instead, the preamble of the bill seemingly argues that Montana's emissions are all due to commerce that takes place within the state, and thus "any federal greenhouse gas regulatory program in the form of law or rule violates the 10th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States." As a result, the bill would prohibit state agencies, officials, and employees from doing anything to cooperate with federal efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions. If passed, the Montana government "may not implement or enforce in any way any federal regulation, rule, or policy implementing a federal greenhouse gas regulatory program." But if you thought Read's grasp of constitutional law was shaky, you should check out his reason for objecting to doing anything about climate change. That's laid out in his second bill, which targets both science education and in-state programs designed to reduce carbon emissions. And it doesn't mince words, suggesting that pretty much all the scientists have it wrong: "the [US] National Climate Assessment makes the same errors as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the National Academy of Sciences is also fundamentally wrong about climate change."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Untitled Goose Game waddling onto screens later than expected

Eurogamer - Thu, 21/02/2019 - 13:15

Oh no! Everyone's most anticipated game of 2019 - which is obviously Untitled Goose Game - is coming out a little later than anticipated.

Originally intended for release in early 2019, Untitled Goose Game has been delayed to the vague time of "later" in 2019. Developer House House explained this is due to "circumstances beyond [its] control" - although that may also be referring to their fowl-mannered goose in the video.

If arsehole bird simulator has (somehow) passed you by, the basic premise is that you're an evil goose tasked with wrecking people's lives. That's pretty much it. I'm on-bird with this.

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Categories: Video Games

Resident Evil 2 mod strips Mr. X down to an Umbrella thong

Eurogamer - Thu, 21/02/2019 - 12:56

Here's a thong: have you considered what Mr. X from the Resident Evil 2 remake looks like underneath that trenchcoat and hat?

Wonder no more! There's a mod for that.

The Beachboy X mod, available to download from NexusMods, replaces Mr. X's coat with "fancy swimwear, flip-flops and sunglasses". In short: it gives Mr. X an Umbrella-themed thong.

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Categories: Video Games

Severe Vulnerabilities Uncovered In Popular Password Managers

Slashdot - Thu, 21/02/2019 - 12:00
chiefcrash shares a report from ZDNet: Independent Security Evaluators (ISE) published an assessment on Tuesday with the results of testing with several popular password managers, including LastPass and KeePass. The team said that each password management solution "failed to provide the security to safeguard a user's passwords as advertised" and "fundamental flaws" were found that "exposed the data they are designed to protect." The vulnerabilities were found in software operating on Windows 10 systems. In one example, the master password which users need to use to access their cache of credentials was stored in PC RAM in a plaintext, readable format. ISE was able to extract these passwords and other login credentials from memory while the password manager in question was locked. It may be possible that malicious programs downloaded to the same machine by threat actors could do the same. The report has summarized the main findings based on each password management solution. Here's what ISE had to say about LastPass and KeePass -- two of the most popular password managers available: "LastPass obfuscates the master password while users are typing in the entry, and when the password manager enters an unlocked state, database entries are only decrypted into memory when there is user interaction. However, ISE reported that these entries persist in memory after the software enters a locked state. It was also possible for the researchers to extract the master password and interacted-with password entries due to a memory leak." "KeePass scrubs the master password from memory and is not recoverable. However, errors in workflows permitted the researchers from extracting credential entries which have been interacted with. In the case of Windows APIs, sometimes, various memory buffers which contain decrypted entries may not be scrubbed correctly."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's loot box controversy highlights the tension between developer and publisher

Eurogamer - Thu, 21/02/2019 - 11:40

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has loot boxes now - and as the debate about the rights and wrongs of the game's controversial monetisation continues, we're getting a sense of the tension between developer and publisher.

Developer Treyarch has come under fire from Black Ops 4's increasingly disgruntled community over the way the full-price video game tries to make more money out of players. There's a £39.99 season pass, a Fortnite-style battle pass, cosmetics up for direct sale and, now, loot boxes.

It has emerged new Blackout characters added to Black Ops 4 as part of the Grand Heist operation are locked behind these loot boxes. This means the only way to obtain the coveted Vacation Hudson character, for example, is to buy loot boxes, or grind for reserve items through time played, and hope you hit the jackpot.

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Categories: Video Games

Anthem's big day one patch live now

Eurogamer - Thu, 21/02/2019 - 11:38

Anthem's much-needed day one patch is available to download now, and weighs in at around 5GB.

Whether you've been playing Anthem since EA's paid early access release on PC and Xbox One last Friday or are looking forward to the game's official launch tomorrow, you'll be pleased to hear the patch targets many common issues.

Specifically, the patch will improve loading times, and fix issues causing disconnects and crashes. It will also relax the restrictive "gather party" mechanic which can force you into further loading screens if someone zooms too far ahead.

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Categories: Video Games

Dirt Rally 2.0 review - Codemasters' finest driving game yet

Eurogamer - Thu, 21/02/2019 - 10:00

Now this is hardcore. After the 2017 detour of Dirt 4, an accessible and noble experiment in procedural track generation that nevertheless felt like it had gone too far in blunting the edges of the sport it simulated, this is a return to deep, satisfying driving with serious bite. To call Dirt Rally 2.0 a return to form would be underselling it a little; Dirt Rally was arguably Codemasters' first true sim, and in my mind the absolute pinnacle of the racing studio's achievements. This refines and improves that formula in smart, notable ways, for a markedly better game.

That 2.0 might evoke the much-loved sequel to Codemasters' Colin McRae Rally, but really it's a game bearing the name of another sadly departed British great that this commands comparisons to. It's been almost 14 years since Warthog Games' Richard Burns Rally, but it still remains peerless in its simulation of off-road driving, and while Dirt Rally came close its sequel comes closer still. As ever, it's down to a simple matter of taste whether Dirt Rally 2.0 manages to dethrone that all-time great, but for my money there's now no finer off-road sim out there.

Take any given car to any given stage and you'll soon understand what makes Dirt Rally 2.0 special. Take the forward wheel drive Lancia Fulvia around the rain-slicked tarmac of Spain's stages, say, and you can feel the 115 horses under the stubby bonnet slip their way through those front tyres as they spin beyond the edge of adhesion. You can feel the weight shift back as you accelerate up a crest, then feel it pile back on again as the car squirrels under downhill braking, and it's all so tangible, so pliable. The handling in this game, in short, is absolutely sublime.

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Categories: Video Games

NASA Eyes Colossal Cracks In Ice Shelf Near Antarctic Station

Slashdot - Thu, 21/02/2019 - 09:00
NASA is keeping an eye on the Brunt Ice Shelf, home to the British Antarctic Survey's Halley VI Research Station, which has growing cracks that are threatening to unload an iceberg soon. "NASA/USGS Landsat satellites are monitoring the action as the cracks grow," reports CNET. "When the iceberg calves, it could be twice the size of New York City. That would make it the largest berg to break off the Brunt ice shelf since observations of the area began in 1915." From the report: An annotated view of the ice shelf shows the cracks as they relate to the Halley VI station. The crack leading up the middle is especially concerning. It's been stable for 35 years, but NASA says it's now extending northward as fast as 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) per year. As of December, Halley station was home to around 30 science and technical staff on missions to study the ice shelf and climate change in the polar region. The BAS completed a relocation of the futuristic-looking Halley station in 2017, placing it farther away from the unpredictable cracking. "It is not yet clear how the remaining ice shelf will respond following the break, posing an uncertain future for scientific infrastructure and a human presence on the shelf that was first established in 1955," NASA says. NASA says iceberg calving is "a normal part of the life cycle of ice shelves, but the recent changes are unfamiliar in this area."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Israel To Launch First Privately Funded Moon Mission

Slashdot - Thu, 21/02/2019 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: A team of Israeli scientists is to launch what will be the first privately funded mission to land on the moon this week, sending a spacecraft to collect data from the lunar surface. Named Beresheet, the Hebrew word for Genesis, the 585kg (1,290lb) robotic lander will blast off from Florida at 01.45 GMT on Friday, propelled by one of Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets. Once it touches down, in several weeks, it will measure the magnetic field of the moon to help understand how it formed. Beresheet will also deposit a "time capsule" of digital files the size of coins containing the Bible, children's drawings, Israel's national anthem and blue and white flag, as well as memories of a Holocaust survivor. While it is not a government-led initiative, the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) corporation joined as a partner. If the mission is successful, Israel will become the fourth country, after Russia, the U.S. and China, to reach the moon. "This is the lowest-budget spacecraft to ever undertake such a mission," an IAI statement said of the $100 million project. "The superpowers who managed to land a spacecraft on the moon have spent hundreds of millions." It added that although it was a private venture, Beresheet was a "national and historic achievement."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Cybersecurity Expert Questions Existence of Embedded Camera On SIA's Inflight Entertainment Systems

Slashdot - Thu, 21/02/2019 - 04:10
Vitaly Kamluk, an information security expert and a high-ranking executive of cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab, went on Twitter with concerns about an embedded camera in Singapore Airlines' (SIA) inflight entertainment systems. He tagged SIA in his post on Sunday, asking the airline to clarify how the camera is being used. Yahoo News reports: SIA quickly allayed his fears of unwanted surveillance by assuring Kamluk that the cameras have been disabled, with no plans to use them in the future. Not all of their devices sport the camera, though -- SIA explained that only some of its newer inflight entertainment systems come with cameras embedded in the hardware. In another tweet, SIA affirmed that the cameras were already built in by the original equipment manufacturers in newer inflight entertainment systems. Kamluk recommended that it's best to disable the cameras physically -- with stickers, for example -- to provide better peace of mind. In 2017, entertainment device developer Panasonic Avionics said it was studying how eye tracking can be used for a better passenger experience. As the report mentions, "Cameras can be used for identity recognition on planes, which in turn, would allow for in-flight biometric payment (much like Face ID on Apple devices) and personalized services."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Britain and Germany Will Not Ban Huawei, Citing Lack of Spying Evidence

Slashdot - Thu, 21/02/2019 - 03:30
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes from a report via Reuters: Despite persistent U.S. allegations of Chinese state spying, Britain said it is able to manage the security risks of using Huawei telecom equipments and has not seen any evidence of malicious activity by the company, a senior official said on Wednesday. Asked later whether Washington had presented Britain with any evidence to support its allegations, he told reporters: "I would be obliged to report if there was evidence of malevolence [...] by Huawei. And we're yet to have to do that. So I hope that covers it." At the same time, German officials have told The Wall Street Journal that the country has made a "preliminary decision" to allow Huawei to bid on contracts for 5G networking. Catering to the surging populism, the U.S. has accused Huawei and other Chinese telecom equipments, along with European cars, as national security risks, even though the National Security Agency, American's cyber spying agency, was found to have wiretapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel, conducted economic espionage against France, and hacked into Chinese networks. Earlier this week, beleaguered Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei described the continued investigations by the U.S. into the Chinese firm -- including the arrest of his daughter and company CFO, Meng Wanzhou -- as politically motivated.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Google Is Expected To Reveal Game Streaming Service At GDC In March

Slashdot - Thu, 21/02/2019 - 02:50
Google has sent out invites to this year's Game Developers Conference (GDC) press event, where the company is expected to unveil a new game streaming product. ExtremeTech reports: There have been rumors about a Google game stream product or service for several years. Initially, leaks pointed to a hardware platform called Yeti that would stream games to a connected display. In late 2018, Google rolled out a game streaming test called Project Stream. To publicize the demo, it worked with Ubisoft to give everyone free access to the new Assassin's Creed Odyssey. Google wrapped up Project Stream in early 2019, offering players a free copy of Assassin's Creed Odyssey as thanks. Of course, you'd need a real gaming PC to run that version. Google's GDC event will take place on March 19th at 10 AM Pacific. All we know for sure is that Google is there to talk about a gaming project. It just seems extremely likely that it will be a new phase for Project Stream. It might remain browser-only, but Google does have a giant network of TV's out there with Chromecast streaming dongles plugged in. If it could leverage those to stream games, it could instantly have as many eyeballs as Sony or Microsoft.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Vox Lawyers Briefly Censored YouTubers Who Mocked the Verge's Bad PC Build Video

Slashdot - Thu, 21/02/2019 - 02:10
An anonymous reader writes: In case you missed the latest drama to take place in the YouTube tech community, Ars Technica reports how Vox Media attempted to copyright strike two reaction videos that mocked The Verge's terrible PC build guide video that could have ruined a $2,000 system for a beginner PC builder. That effort failed when the tech community sounded the alarms; YouTube removed the copyright strikes and Vox Media had to retract their takedown notice. From the report: "Last week, The Verge got a reminder about the power of the Streisand effect after its lawyers issued copyright takedown requests for two YouTube videos that criticized -- and heavily excerpted -- a video by The Verge. Each takedown came with a copyright 'strike.' It was a big deal for the creators of the videos, because three 'strikes' in a 90-day period are enough to get a YouTuber permanently banned from the platform. T.C. Sottek, the Verge's managing editor, blamed lawyers at the Verge's parent company, Vox Media, for the decision. 'The Verge's editorial structure was involved zero percent in the decision to issue a strike,' Sottek said in a direct message. 'Vox Media's legal team did this independently and informed us of it after the fact.' The move sparked an online backlash. Verge editor Nilay Patel (who, full disclosure, was briefly a colleague of mine at The Verge's sister publication Vox.com), says that when he learned about the decision, he asked that the strike be rescinded, leading to the videos being reinstated. Still, Patel defended the lawyers' legal reasoning, arguing that the videos 'crossed the line' into copyright infringement. It's hard to be sure if this is true since there are very few precedents in this area of the law. But the one legal precedent I was able to find suggests the opposite: that this kind of video is solidly within the bounds of copyright's fair use doctrine."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

A Psion Palmtop Successor Has Arrived and It Runs Android and Linux

Slashdot - Thu, 21/02/2019 - 01:30
dryriver writes: A lot of people probably remember the 1990s palmtop computers made by Psion fondly. The clamshell-design palmtops were pocketable, black and white, but had a working stylus and a fantastic tactile foldout QWERTY keyboard that you could type pretty substantial documents on or even write code with. A different company -- Planet Computers -- has now produced a spiritual successor to the old Psion palmtops called the Gemini PDA that is much like an old Psion but with the latest Android smartphone hardware in it and a virtually identical tactile keyboard. It can also dual boot to Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, Sailfish) alongside Android. The technical specs are a MediaTek deca-core processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage (plus microSD slot), 4G, 802.11c Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, eSIM support, and 4,220mAh battery. The screen measures in at 5.99-inches with a 2,160 x 1,080 (403ppi) resolution. The only thing missing seems to be the stylus -- but perhaps that would have complicated manufacturing of this niche-device in its first production run.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Red Dead Online gets competitive fishing, new Showdown Modes, and more next week

Eurogamer - Thu, 21/02/2019 - 01:07

Red Dead Online's rendition of the Wild West is poised to get a little bit wilder next week, when Rockstar expands its cowboy beta with new weapons, new Showdown Modes and, wildest of all, competitive fishing.

All this will be introduced as part of Red Dead Online's next update on Tuesday, February 26th. This is the same update, incidentally, that will attempt to tackle "destructive player behaviour" in-game. If you're the sort that appreciates additional detail, however, then you're in luck, as Rockstar has broken down next week's update still further in its latest news post.

Top of the list is the new Fool's Gold Free Roam Event, which sees players competing to control a "gaudy and protective" suit of Golden Armour. Anyone managing to defeat the armour-wearer during play is awarded points, and also has the pleasure of donning the glistening outfit themselves. The armour-wearer, meanwhile, gets points for annihilating other players.

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Categories: Video Games

Glorious rhythm game Voez gets 16 free new songs on Switch

Eurogamer - Thu, 21/02/2019 - 00:51

Developer Rayark is updating its superb Switch rhythm game Voez once more, this time adding 16 free new songs to the already gargantuan 185-strong track list.

Version 1.6, as the update is known, pushes Voez's song roster over the 200 mark, doubling its size since the game's launch on Switch in March 2017 - not bad for an initial outlay of £20, particularly given that all updates have been completely free.

You can hear snippets from all 16 new songs - which cover a fairly diverse range of genres, from perky pop and techno to lilting ballads and metal - in the announcement trailer below.

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Categories: Video Games

Are We Ready For 5G Phones?

Slashdot - Thu, 21/02/2019 - 00:50
Next-generation 5G networks are very much in their infancy right now, but that's not stopping smartphone manufacturers from teasing new 5G phones. At Samsung's Galaxy S10 launch event today, Samsung teased the Galaxy S10 5G, a top-tier model of the Galaxy S10 that offers 5G mobile data connectivity. "The device, which has a larger screen and battery than the S10 Plus, will temporarily be a Verizon Wireless exclusive before expanding to other carriers in the weeks after launch," reports The Verge. "It will go on sale sometime 'in the first half of 2019." Late last year, LG confirmed that its first U.S. 5G phone would debut on Sprint "in the first half of 2019," just as Sprint launches its 5G network. At around the same time, Lenovo unveiled the Moto Z3, a phone that only connects to 5G with a MotoMod modular accessory. It too is expected to arrive early this year -- but there's no mention of how much it'll cost. OnePlus, Nokia, and Huawei are also working on 5G phones expected to arrive sometime this year. The question is: are we ready for 5G phones? Three of the four largest carriers in the U.S. have only just started offering 5G service in select cities. Sprint, the fourth largest U.S. telecommunications company, hasn't even reached this step. Just like the first 4G phones to hit the market, these first-of-their-kind 5G devices look to merely symbolize what the next decade of mobile computing has in store.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Disney, Nestle, and Others Are Pulling YouTube Ads Following Child Exploitation Controversy

Slashdot - Thu, 21/02/2019 - 00:11
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Disney is said to have pulled its advertising spending from YouTube, joining other companies including Nestle, after a blogger detailed how comments on Google's video site were being used to facilitate a "soft-core pedophilia ring." Some of the videos involved ran next to ads placed by Disney and Nestle. All Nestle companies in the U.S. have paused advertising on YouTube, a spokeswoman for the company said Wednesday in an email. Video game maker Epic Games and German packaged food giant Dr. August Oetker KG also said they had postponed YouTube spending after their ads were shown to play before the videos. Disney has also withheld its spending. On Sunday, Matt Watson, a video blogger, posted a 20-minute clip detailing how comments on YouTube were used to identify certain videos in which young girls were in activities that could be construed as sexually suggestive, such as posing in front of a mirror and doing gymnastics. Watson's video demonstrated how, if users clicked on one of the videos, YouTube's algorithms recommended similar ones. By Wednesday, Watson's video had been viewed more than 1.7 million times. Total ad spending on the videos mentioned was less than $8,000 within the last 60 days, and YouTube plans refunds, the spokeswoman said. Two years ago, Verizon, AT&T, Johnson & Johnson and other major companies pulled their ads from YouTube after learning that some of their ads surfaced next to extremist and violent content. Yesterday, YouTube released an updated policy about how it will handle content that "crosses the line" of appropriateness. "Any content -- including comments -- that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube. We took immediate action by deleting accounts and channels, reporting illegal activity to authorities and disabling violative comments," a spokeswoman for YouTube said in an email.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Facebook Now Lets Android Users Block Background Collection of Location Data

Slashdot - Wed, 20/02/2019 - 23:30
Facebook has rolled out an update to Android users that gives them a greater degree of control over the sharing of location data with the social network. From a report: Specifically, the update makes it possible to stop Facebook from using tracking your location in the background when you are not using the app. The change brings parity to the iOS and Android Facebook apps. In introducing the new finer-grained controls, Facebook insists that it is "not making any changes to the choices you've previously made nor are we collecting any new information."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Employees and Contractors Expose Information Online in 98 Percent of Organizations

Slashdot - Wed, 20/02/2019 - 22:50
An anonymous reader shares a report: Employees and contractors are exposing confidential and sensitive information online and in the cloud in some 98 percent of organizations. This is found primarily in Dropbox, Google, and Microsoft SharePoint. This is among the findings of a new report from insider threat specialist Dtex Systems which has analyzed information from work-issued endpoints and more than 300,000 employee and contractor accounts. All of the assessments detected employees and contractors transferring confidential and sensitive data via unencrypted USB drives, personal email accounts, and cloud applications, an increase of 10 percent over 2018. In addition 97 percent of assessments detected employees and contractors who were flight risks, a class of insider threat that often steals data and IP. This is an increase of 59 percent over 2018. 95 percent detected employees and contractors attempting to bypass or circumvent security controls via anonymous browsing, VPN and TOR usage, up 35 percent over 2018.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff
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