Thursday, 16 August

04:00 EDT

Hundreds Of Newspapers Denounce Trump's Attacks On Media In Coordinated Editorials [News : NPR]

The Boston Globe

Staff members of the editorial page at The Boston Globe coordinated a campaign for hundreds of papers to simultaneously publish opinion pieces defending the role of the free press.

(Image credit: Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images)

Dozens Overdose In Connecticut Park On Tainted Synthetic Marijuana [News : NPR]

A police officer speaks to a man on New Haven Green, where more than 70 people fell ill from suspected drug overdoses on Wednesday in New Haven, Conn.

More than 70 people fell ill in or around a historic park in New Haven, near the Yale University campus. Police believe the synthetic cannabinoid K2 laced with fentanyl caused the rash of overdoses.

(Image credit: Bill Sikes/AP)

02:00 EDT

Ford says slow-and-steady will win the self-driving car race [The Verge - All Posts]

Ford doesn’t want to be the first company to offer self-driving cars to the public; it it wants to be the brand most synonymous with the word “trust” — at least, that’s what the company says in its self-driving safety report, which it delivered to the US Department of Transportation Thursday. The 44-page document, entitled “A Matter of Trust,” outlines the technology and procedures Ford is using to safely deploy its fleet of autonomous test vehicles.

Ford’s overly cautious approach could help them win over consumers. Consumers were already skeptical about self-driving cars, but after an autonomous Uber vehicle struck and killed a 49-year-old woman in Tempe, Arizona, last...

Continue reading…

00:00 EDT

Climate Change Has Doubled the Frequency of Ocean Heatwaves [Slashdot]

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Nature: Scientists analyzed satellite-based measurements of sea surface temperature from 1982 to 2016 and found that the frequency of marine heatwaves had doubled. These extreme heat events in the ocean's surface waters can last from days to months and can occur across thousands of kilometers. If average global temperatures increase to 3.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, as researchers currently project, the frequency of ocean heatwaves could increase by a factor of 41. In other words, a one-in-one-hundred-day event at pre-industrial levels of warming could become a one-in-three-day event. The study has been published in the journal Nature.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Can organized skepticism do a more spectacular face-plant? [Pharyngula]

Jebus. Michael Shermer has just proudly announced that the next issue of Skeptic magazine will be dedicated to his fellow member of the Intellectual Dork Web, Jordan B. Peterson.

David Gorski has been scathing. I agree with him.

Whatever it is Shermer is peddling, it ain’t skepticism. It’s closer to cult-like dogma.

There was a time, in the ancient of days, when skeptical magazines would take a Cuisinart to the kind of incoherent babbling woo that Peterson spins. Now they dedicate whole issues to praising him.

Bwahahaha! [Pharyngula]

Evil Cat and I are made for each other, I guess. She follows me all over the house, and during the day, she lurks in my office glaring at me. She likes to lounge about on the carpet, like so:

But here’s the amusing part: she has those curved needle-like claws, like fish-hooks at the ends of her paws, and even though she must monitor me, that carpet snags her claws fiercely. She sometimes sits there, staring me down, and starts flexing those claws, in a hostile, intimidating way.

I wait for that and then leap out of my chair and stride purposefully from the room, as if I have something important to do, like opening a can of tuna, and she tries to follow, but she’s hooked — and then there follows lots of yowling and thrashing about as she tries to get free. Sometimes she rolls herself right up in the carpet with her struggles.

And I laugh, evilly.

See? We’re a pair.

Wednesday, 15 August

23:00 EDT

Father of Unite the Right leader yells "Get out of my room!" [Boing Boing]

Jason Kessler, the organizer of the failed “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Washington DC, recently suffered an additional humiliation.

As Kessler was livestreaming a broadcast, Kessler's father walked in and yelled “get out of my room!”

22:00 EDT

New sponge for cleaning harbor oil leaks has a successful real-world test [Ars Technica]

Enlarge / Seth Darling, Jeff Elam, and Ed Barry conduct research experiments with the Oleo Sponge in Santa Barbara, California. (credit: Argonne National Laboratory)

In March 2017, Ars wrote about a new material that could soak up oil like a sponge. The so-called Oleo Sponge could be wrung out, the oil could be collected, and the sponge could be used again. The material had just been developed at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) outside of Chicago, so it was still being tested in controlled environments.

Now, Argonne has announced a successful real-world test of the Oleo Sponge at an oil seep in a channel near Goleta, California.

The test, conducted in April, involved immersing the Oleo Sponge in the Coal Oil Point Seep Field in the Santa Barbara Channel. The oil seep field is natural and is one of the largest in the known world (PDF). Not only does it release lots of methane every day, but it also releases oil into the channel water. A press release from ANL notes, "the seeps have been active for at least 500,000 years and release roughly 40 tons of methane, 19 tons of other organic gases, and more than 100 barrels of liquid petroleum daily."

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1st Day Of School At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, 6 Months After Mass Shooting [News : NPR]

Students arrive Wednesday for their first day back at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, six months after the fatal shootings of Feb. 14.

Students returned to the campus for classes for the first time since 17 people were killed in a shooting rampage at the Florida school.

(Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

21:00 EDT

Police Bodycams Can Be Hacked To Doctor Footage, Install Malware [Slashdot]

AmiMoJo shares a report from Boing Boing: Josh Mitchell's Defcon presentation analyzes the security of five popular brands of police bodycams (Vievu, Patrol Eyes, Fire Cam, Digital Ally, and CeeSc) and reveals that they are universally terrible. All the devices use predictable network addresses that can be used to remotely sense and identify the cameras when they switch on. None of the devices use code-signing. Some of the devices can form ad-hoc Wi-Fi networks to bridge in other devices, but they don't authenticate these sign-ons, so you can just connect with a laptop and start raiding the network for accessible filesystems and gank or alter videos, or just drop malware on them.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

20:00 EDT

Google Patches Chrome Bug That Lets Attackers Steal Web Secrets Via Audio Or Video HTML Tags [Slashdot]

An anonymous reader writes: "Google has patched a vulnerability in the Chrome browser that allows an attacker to retrieve sensitive information from other sites via audio or video HTML tags," reports Bleeping Computer. The attack breaks CORS -- Cross-Origin Resource Sharing, a browser security feature that prevents sites from loading resources from other websites -- and will attempt to load resources (some of which can reveal information about users) inside audio and video HTML tags. During tests, a researcher retrieved age and gender information from Facebook users, but another researcher says the bug can be also used to retrieve data from corporate backends or private APIs. Ron Masas, a security researcher with Imperva, first discovered and reported this issue to Google. The bug was fixed at the end of July with the release of Chrome v68.0.3440.75.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Patrick Stewart signs on to narrate upcoming video game My Memory of Us [Boing Boing]

Scheduled for release on October 9th, My Memory of Us is a game that tackles a game that tackles a difficult subject: the lives of Jewish children in Nazi-occupied Poland during the Second World War. Engadget recently spoke with Mikołaj Pawłowski, the CEO of Juggler Games, about how a video game with such a dark backdrop will be presented in a way that respects the grim period of human history in which it’s set, while still making it something that folks might actually want to play. From Engadget:

The story tells of a friendship between and boy and a girl in a Jewish ghetto in Poland, made during some of history's darkest days. You venture outside, exploring what you can of your world now full of walls, decrees and exclusion, completing logic puzzles and looking for small pleasures along the way. The animation, reminiscent of old Disney cartoons, gives the gameplay even greater poignancy. "The story of My Memory of Us is a personal one to us, as our grandparents faced similar oppression World War 2. This game is our ode to them and the millions of others who lived and died during this time," says Pawłowski.
To add to the gravitas surrounding the project, Juggler’s recruited one of the best-known voice talents on the planet, Patrick Stewart, to narrate the game. Given Stewart’s involvement in a number of worthwhile humanitarian causes, including Amnesty International, I can only assume that the game will treat the delicate subject of the horrors and humiliations that Jews were forced to live in Nazi Germany’s ghettos with the utmost care and respect.

This week’s tabloids: They’re not lies. They’re just Trumpian thinking [Boing Boing]

This week’s tabloids offer a fascinating glimpse inside the mind of their greatest fan: Donald Trump. The president, who has gone on the record saying that the National Enquirer deserves a Pulitzer Prize, and who is bffs with tabloid publisher David Pecker, can politely be said to view events in a different way than the rest of the world perceives them. So it’s instructive to see this week’s tabloids offer a view of events that offer a unique perspective that some might say, in the manner of Donald Trump, bears little relation to reality as the rest of us understand it.

“Tom Gets Suri!” screams the cover of the National Enquirer, suggesting that Tom Cruise has won a battle with ex-wife Katie Holmes for custody of their daughter. But nothing has changed in their custody agreement. Cruise was long ago awarded ten days a month with his daughter. He simply hasn’t taken advantage of using all ten days monthly in the past. Now he’s seeking to have his daughter for the agreed ten days monthly, it’s no shock to anyone (except perhaps to Suri), and Cruise no more “Gets Suri” than before.

Hollywood legend Robert Wagner “Loots Natalie’s Grave!” claims another Enquirer cover headline about the actor’s late wife Natalie Wood. “Wagner Vandalizes Natalie’s Grave” yells the headline above the story. The story is true, if by “Vandalizes Natalie’s Grave” you mean Wagner has asked the cemetery to remove decomposing flowers left by fans after a day on her grave.

TV’s former Friends star Matthew Perry has only “six months to live,” claims the Enquirer, after his “intestines explode!" No, they didn’t. He suffered a “gastrointestinal perforation.” Painful, yes, and requiring surgery. But it’s not as if his gall bladder detonated, sending intestinal shrapnel throughout his abdomen.

Brad Pitt’s divorce from Angelina Jolie has left the actress with a "$50 million legal bill” that “could leave Angie broke!” reads another imaginative Enquirer headline. Yes, Beverly Hills attorneys are expensive, but Jolie would need to employ a team of high-powered lawyers for a decade to run up that sort of a bill. To put it in perspective, the state of New Jersey amassed a $50 million legal bill in its 12-year lawsuit against ExxonMobil in an anti-pollution lawsuit that concluded in 2015. What’s more, even a $50 million legal bill would not “leave Angie broke,” as her net worth is estimated at more than three times that sum. It’s just Trumpian thinking.

It gets worse in this week’s Globe, whose cover story about Royal newlyweds proclaims: “Meghan & Harry Adopt African Baby!” The “world exclusive” is capped by a photo of Prince Harry holding his new baby daughter, who the happy couple found in Botswana on their “secret honeymoon."

Would it be churlish to point out that this photo was taken when Harry visited the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados, on January 30, 2010 – six years before meeting Meghan? The hospital nurse who stood beside Harry has been replaced in the Globe by a smiling Photoshopped Meghan. Should I point out that their “baby girl from Africa” is actually a seven-week-old boy named Jordan in the photograph? Why let the facts ruin a good story?

Us magazine, which likes to think of itself as in a class above the supermarket tabloids, devotes its cover to Brad Pitt’s story: “Angie Is Putting Me Through HELL.” But nowhere in the story is there a single quote from Pitt about going through hell, or saying anything about how he is suffering in the divorce. Us throws in two quotes lifted from GQ magazine in May 2017, in which Pitt said he could outdrink a Russian, and had been reflecting on his “weakness and failures.” Not even an unnamed “friend” or “insider” or “source” says “Angie is putting Brad through hell.” It’s just more Trumpian thinking.

“Jen & Ben Divorce Called Off” claims an Us headline about the Garner-Affleck marriage. Are they getting back together three years after filing for divorce? Of course not. It’s just a judge reminding them that if they can’t agree to terms in the split, the court can decide to chuck out the divorce and make them refile. Not quite the same thing.

People magazine meanwhile devotes a mind-numbing 16 pages to its "Back to School" edition, featuring celebrity lunch box tips, the best backpack for your kids, advice from “mommy bloggers” on organizing your child’s room, kid fashions and foods, and celebrities you’ve never heard of with their children you care about even less.

Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us magazine to tell us that Gwyneth Paltrow wore it best, that actress Jana Kramer loves “chips and dip,” that WWE wrestler Ronda Rousey carries Midol, Listerine, and Cortizone cream in her Henri Bendel leather backpack, and that the stars are just like us: they pick up dry cleaning, walk their dogs, feed parking meters, and eat food. Enlightening, as ever.

The biggest mystery in this week’s tabloids comes in the shape of an advertisement for a limited-edition figurine of Maya Angelou, which “stands an impressive 11-inches tall!” The ad appears in both the Globe and the National Examiner, hidden amid ads for a musical Elvis Presley Christmas Tree statuette, a Toy Story cuckoo clock, and ads for Botox substitutes, erectile dysfunction pills and powered wheelchairs.

Do these magazines, which have previously offered life-like figurines of President Trump and Elvis, hope to reach an entirely new demographic with the sale of Maya Angelou statuettes for only three installments of $33.33 (plus shipping and handling)? Are today’s tabloid readers secretly our unsung champions of freedom? Or perhaps Donald Trump might say there is poetry in every page of the tabloids?

Onwards and downwards . . .

Girl on a Sexist Bandwagon [Latest Articles]

Rosamund Pike as Amy in Gone Girl main image

Rosamund Pike staring creepily into the camera in Gone Girl

Rosamund Pike as Amy in Gone Girl (Photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox and Regency Enterprises)

When is chick lit not chick lit? When it’s a domestic thriller.

This women-driven literary genre is having “a moment,” as Joyce Carol Oates explains in a February story for The New Yorker. This year alone, Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney, She Was the Quiet One by Michele Campbell, Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell, Tips for Living by Renee Shafransky, Silent Victim by Caroline Mitchell, The Glass Forest by Cynthia Swanson, and Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt have all been released. Each of these books revolves around fraught interpersonal relationships, a central mystery, and a character who knows more than she’s (usually) telling. While Electra (written around 400 BCE), Sophocles’s family tragedy of murder, revenge, and conspiracy, pioneered the genre in many ways, the current resurgence is often pegged to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (2012), which sold 2 million copies in six months, topped the New York Times bestseller list for eight weeks, and was adapted into a 2014 movie. Gone Girl was inspired by the disappearance of Laci Peterson, though it also owes much to Tim O’Brien’s In the Lake of the Woods (1994) or, for that matter, Jane Eyre (1847) and Rebecca (1938).

But unlike Charlotte Brontë, who wrote as “Currer Bell,” women are assertively leading the current explosion—or in the case of Daniel Mallory, who wrote The Woman in the Window as A.J. Finn, men are using ambiguous pen names to tap into an engaged readership that’s driving sales for bestsellers like Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies (2015), Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train (2016), Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother (2018), and Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects (2018).

It’s not coincidental that these titles blend together: There’s a distinctly white, middle- to upper-middle-class flavor to books that revolve around troubled marriages or the stresses that come with parenting. They’re unsettling, creepy, and sometimes distressing, but not too much so; in many cases, they involve serious themes such as misogynistic violence, rape, self-harm, and molestation, but they are covered in a glossy veneer of “privileged people problems.” In these books, certain women are allowed to be messy, make mistakes, and commit heinous crimes while also being presented as anti-heroines who are simply ensnared in systems larger than themselves. In other words, these leading women are allowed to be like the male protagonists who have dominated the shelves for centuries. 

Authors are confronting the social attitudes that trap women, and the patriarchy that punishes them no matter what they do, without flinching away from subjects like fighting over childcare responsibilities and wanting revenge on unfaithful spouses. They explore not just the darknesses of married life—and the public pressure to have a perfect marriage—but also the ins and outs of other kinds of relationships. The genre has recently expanded to confront the hidden tensions of friendships, especially among mothers, and highlight women’s very real desires to both write and read stories that speak to their actual experience. Unlike guy lit (so-called “manfiction”), these women are fully-fledged characters who can be complicated and sometimes deeply dislikable.  

The flip from Brontë hiding behind a masculine pseudonym to Flynn and other authors proudly asserting their femininity is a huge literary sea change wherein women authors are writing narratives about their own experiences and inner dramas. At the same time, they’re also asserting that these narratives are universal—not to be crammed into the oft-derided category of “chick lit,” a term that generally seems to be used to describe books written by, about, and for women, though some critics have tried out “chick noir” as a brand. These books are positioned for commercial success, with Gone Girl, Sharp Objects, and Big Little Lies being adapted for TV shows and movies.

Yet the resurgence of domestic thrillers comes with its own dark side. As publishers chase the next Gone Girl and market (white) likely suspects with prodigious budgets, the persistence of a formula leaves other fantastic books by women of color by the wayside.

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell, Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney, Silent Victim by Caroline Mitchell, and The Glass Forest by Cynthia Swanson

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell, Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney, Silent Victim by Caroline Mitchell, and The Glass Forest by Cynthia Swanson book covers

From left to right: Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell, Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney, Silent Victim by Caroline Mitchell, and The Glass Forest by Cynthia Swanson (Photo credit: Atria Books, Flatiron Books, Thomas & Mercer, and Touchstone)

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Thus, psychological thrillers such as Helen Oyeyemi’s White Is for Witching (2009), Tayari Jones’s Silver Sparrow (2012), and Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017) are left off roundups of creepy books with unreliable narrators in favor of glossy commercial titles that feature thin white women on the cover. Shobha Rao’s Girls Burn Brighter (2016) follows two best friends fighting patriarchy. In Little Fires Everywhere (2017), Celeste Ng explores the planned perfection of an Ohio community and the politics of transcultural adoption. (However, Little Fires Everywhere broke through the usual whiteness barrier with an upcoming TV adaptation.)

Conversations about diversity, or lack thereof, in fiction are not new, of course. But it’s disappointing to see a genre with such tremendous potential quickly subsumed in a wave of white-as-default as publishers and authors search for the next big commercial success in the same old places.  Positioning books by white women authors as “universally relatable” suggests that the experiences of white communities can be neatly mapped onto communities of color. That a fraught marriage or friendship between white people is instantly accessible to a woman in a biracial marriage, or two Latinas struggling with cultural and social pressures that affect their friendship, or a trans woman married to a cis lesbian and dealing with a dark family secret (that isn’t her gender). And while some explore mental health, they’re less likely to feature more nuanced disability politics.

The literary community should have learned something in recent years: There’s a market for diverse books, and readers are hungry for a broader spectrum of lived experience in their literature. Women want to read about themselves, and domestic thrillers represent an opportunity to dig deeply into the lives of women in a way that counters misogynistic trends in fiction, but the genre is falling short as it fails to dig deeper into the full spectrum of what it means to be a woman living in a man’s world.

A white person with short greying hair, wearing a voluminous blue scarf.
by s.e. smith
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s.e. smith is a writer, agitator, and commentator based in Northern California.

19:00 EDT

DNA reveals ancient parrot breeder supplied US Southwest peoples [Ars Technica]

Enlarge / Chaco Canyon ruins in New Mexico. (credit: Erik Terdal / Flickr)

Lots of macaw parrot skeletons and feathers have turned up at human settlements in the southwestern US and northwestern Mexico dating back to at least 900 CE. Given that these sites are at least 1,000 kilometers north of the bird’s natural range, it has long been clear that there was an interesting story here. How were macaws traded between cultures and over such long distances, long before the arrival of the Spanish and their horses?

Between 1250 and 1450, a settlement discovered at Paquimé in Mexico seems to have hosted a macaw-breeding program that must have met the demand for this culturally significant bird in the region. But what about before Paquimé? Archaeologists have debated the possibilities: that traders frequently traveled the long route to bring back macaws, that birds were haphazardly traded between settlements, or that there was an earlier breeding post.

A study led by Penn State’s Richard George sought to answer this question using DNA from scarlet macaw skeletons found at New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon and Mimbres settlements. Techniques to recover fairly complete DNA sequences from archaeological specimens have advanced in recent years, allowing researchers to test hypotheses with much more confidence.

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SEC Sends Subpoena To Tesla In Probe Over Musk's Take-Private Tweets [Slashdot]

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sent Tesla a subpoena regarding Elon Musk's effort to take the company private, "indicating the regulatory scrutiny of his statements have reached a more serious stage," reports Bloomberg. Last week, Musk tweeted he was considering taking Tesla off the market and had "funding secured" for the deal. From the report: Musk exposed himself to legal risk by tweeting Aug. 7 that he had the funding for a buyout. Almost a week later, the chief executive officer said the basis for his statement was conversations with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which first expressed interest in helping take the company private in early 2017. Tesla's board has since clarified that it hasn't received a formal proposal from Musk, who's also chairman, nor has it concluded whether going private would be advisable or feasible. Tesla may face potential regulatory challenges beyond the SEC investigation. The company probably will need approval of U.S. national security officials if Saudi Arabia finances the effort to take the company private, and President Donald Trump's administration has been stepping up scrutiny of foreign investment in American technology.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Investor Sues AT&T Over Two-Factor Security Flaws, $23 Million Cryptocurrency Theft [Slashdot]

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fast Company: Crypto investor Michael Terpin filed a $224 million lawsuit against AT&T in California federal court Wednesday alleging that the phone company's negligence let hackers steal nearly $24 million in cryptocurrency from him, Reuters reports. He's also seeking punitive damages. Terpin says hackers were twice able to convince AT&T to connect his phone number to a SIM card they controlled, routing his calls and messages to them and enabling them to defeat two-factor authentication protections on his accounts. In one case, he says hackers also took control of his Skype account and convinced one of this clients to send money to them rather than Terpin. The second hack came even after AT&T agreed to put an additional passcode on his account, when a fraudster visited an AT&T store in Connecticut and managed to hijack Terpin's account without providing the code or a "scannable ID" as AT&T requires, he says.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Customer sues AT&T for negligence over SIM hijacking that led to millions in lost cryptocurrency [The Verge - All Posts]

US entrepreneur and cryptocurrency investor Michael Terpin is suing AT&T for negligence and fraud that he claims resulted in millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency tokens being stolen from his account. Terpin says AT&T was his mobile carrier when criminals accessed his cellphone account by carrying out SIM swap fraud. They then stole the tokens and allegedly transferred his account to an international criminal gang. Terpin is suing for the $23.8 million and an additional $200 million in punitive damages. AT&T told Reuters in a statement that it disputed these allegations.

SIM hijacking occurs when a phone number is transferred to a different SIM card than the account owner’s without authorization or approval. Having access to a...

Continue reading…

18:00 EDT

Diablo III’s Switch version leaked ahead of official unveil, coming “2018” [Ars Technica]

Enlarge / An artist's approximation of what Diablo III: Eternal Collection may look like when it arrives on Nintendo Switch by year's end. (credit: Blizzard / Aurich Lawson)

Blizzard's first-ever video game for the Nintendo Switch, Diablo III, was unveiled on Wednesday following an article's apparent accidental publication.

Forbes published an article on Wednesday confirming that the developer's popular slash-and-loot series would arrive on Nintendo Switch by the end of 2018 in the form of an "Eternal Collection." The outlet quickly removed the article from its site, but its copious details (screengrabbed by Reddit members) appear legitimate, and publications like Kotaku confirmed that Forbes' article ran one day before Blizzard's official unveil scheduled for Thursday of this week.

As you might imagine from a name like "Eternal Collection," this version of Diablo III will include all of the 2012 game's subsequent paid expansions, including Reaper of Souls and Rise of the Necromancer, along with all of the game's free updates and patches up to this point. It will launch at an MSRP of $59.99.

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The Next Flagship iPhone Will Support Apple Pencil and 512GB Flash Storage, Says Report [Slashdot]

Next month, Apple is expected to unveil three new iPhones, each with differing specs/features. According to analyst firm Trendforce, the large 6.5-inch "flagship" model will support up to 512GB of onboard flash storage. Apple Pencil support will also be "offered as an option," although the company didn't specify which models will support the stylus. Apple Insider reports: The company expects that the the 6.1-inch LCD version will come with Face ID, Dual-SIM technology. The firm expects it to retail for between $699 and $749. The 5.8-inch OLED iPhone will be priced at $899 to $949. The 6.5-inch device will come in storage capacities up to 512GB, with one variant of the size potentially having dual-SIM support and expected to be "limited within $1,000 threshold as to encourage purchasing from consumers," according to Trendforce. Both the 5.8- and 6.5-inch OLED models are expected to have 4GB of RAM. The 6.1-inch LED devices will have 3GB of RAM, the same as the iPhone X. The analyst firm believes that all three models are expected to ship in September and October.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Senior Chinese Monk Resigns After Sexual Misconduct Allegations [News : NPR]

Buddhist monk Xuecheng, shown here at a conference in 2014, has resigned from his post after sexual misconduct allegations.

A top Buddhist monk in China was accused by multiple nuns in a report that circulated on social media. He has publicly denied the reports of misconduct.

(Image credit: Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)

New Zealand Bans Home Sales To Most Foreigners: 'It's Not A Right, It's A Privilege' [News : NPR]

A plot of land for sale in Auckland, New Zealand, seen in 2015. At the time, the choice sliver of land — which measured just a tenth of an acre — was on sale for $840,000.

Squeezed by high prices and low homeownership, the country's housing market has become a big concern for New Zealanders. As part of their solution, lawmakers took aim at buyers beyond their borders.

(Image credit: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

Purged By Turkey, An Ex-NATO Officer Speaks Out About Detention Under Erdogan [News : NPR]

Former Turkish naval officer Cafer Topkaya, purged from his NATO job and jailed for more than a year, looks back through diary entries he made while in Sincan prison near Ankara. Topkaya escaped Turkey while on conditional release from prison and returned to Belgium.

Cafer Topkaya describes how he went from unassuming Turkish NATO officer to one of the thousands of targets in the Turkish government's sweeping crackdown after the 2016 coup attempt.

(Image credit: Teri Schultz)

17:00 EDT

MIT scientists crack the case of breaking spaghetti in two [Ars Technica]

The trick to breaking spaghetti in half is to bend and twist, new MIT study says. (credit: Tom Smith / EyeEm: Getty Images)

Pasta purists insist on plonking dry spaghetti into the boiling pot whole, but should you rebel against convention and try to break the strands in half, you'll probably end up with a mess of scattered pieces.

Now, two MIT mathematicians have figured out the trick to breaking spaghetti strands neatly in two: add a little twist as you bend. They outlined their findings in a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This isn't the first time scientists have been fascinated by the physics of breaking spaghetti. The ever-curious Richard Feynman famously spent hours in his kitchen one night in a failed attempt to successfully break spaghetti strands neatly in half. It should have worked, he reasoned, because the strand snaps when the curvature becomes too great, and once that happens, the energy release should reduce the curvature. The spaghetti should straighten out and not break any further. But no matter how hard he tried, the spaghetti would break in three or more pieces.

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Credit card skimmers now need to fear the Reaper [Ars Technica]

Enlarge / The SkimReaper, shown here with a sample card-skimming device, can help law enforcement find and shut down card skimming operations. (credit: Sean Gallagher)

BALTIMORE—At the USENIX Security Symposium here today, University of Florida researcher Nolen Scaife presented the results of a research project he undertook with Christian Peeters and Patrick Traynor to effectively detect some types of "skimmers"—maliciously placed devices designed to surreptitiously capture the magnetic stripe data and PIN codes of debit and credit cards as they are inserted into automated teller machines and point-of-sale systems. The researchers developed SkimReaper, a device that can sense when multiple read heads are present—a telltale sign of the presence of a skimmer.

Nolen and his fellow researchers worked with data provided by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to assess the types of credit-card-skimming gear currently in the wild. They uncovered four broad categories of skimming gear:

  • Overlays—devices that get placed on top of the slot for the ATM or point-of-sale system. They can be modeled to match a specific ATM type's card slot or, in some cases, overlay an entire device such as a credit card reader at a retail point of sale. Overlays on ATM machines are sometimes accompanied by a keypad that is placed atop the actual keypad to collect PIN data.
  • Deep inserts—skimmers engineered to be jammed deep into the card reader slots themselves. They're thin enough to fit under the card as it is inserted or drawn in to be read. An emerging version of this is a "smart chip" skimmer that reads EMV transactions passively, squeezed between the card slot and the EMV sensor.
  • Wiretap skimmers—devices that get installed between a terminal and the network they connect to. This suggests there's a fundamental security problem to begin with.
  • Internal skimmers—devices installed in-line between the card reader of a terminal and the rest of its hardware. These, Scaife said, are more common in gas-pump card readers, where the attacker has a greater chance of being able to gain access to the internals without being discovered.

Overlays and deep inserts are by far the most common types of skimmers—and are increasingly difficult to detect. Police, Scaife noted, often find them only by looking for the cameras used by skimmers to capture PIN numbers, because most of the common detection tips—including trying to shake the card slot to see if it dislodges—are ineffective.

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Australian gov’t wants to force tech firms to weaken crypto [Ars Technica]

Enlarge / Police attend the scene of a suspected murder on August 10, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (credit: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)

A new proposal by the Australian government that would mandate its ability to access encrypted data held by companies both foreign and domestic has been met with fierce opposition from many in the privacy and technology communities.

The bill, known as the "Assistance and Access Bill 2018," seeks to overcome what American authorities have spent years calling the "going dark" problem. The notion, as Canberra explains it, is to enhance "the ability of our law enforcement and security agencies to access the intelligible data necessary to conduct investigations and gather evidence."

It would create a new type of warrant that would allow what governments often call "lawful access" to thwart encryption, something that the former Australian Attorney General proposed last year.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Valve Seems To Be Working On Tools To Get Windows Games Running On Linux [Slashdot]

"Valve appears to be working on a set of 'compatibility tools,' called Steam Play, that would allow at least some Windows-based titles to run on Linux-based SteamOS systems," writes Kyle Orland from Ars Technica. From the report: Yesterday, Reddit users noticed that Steam's GUI files (as captured by SteamDB's Steam Tracker) include a hidden section with unused text related to the unannounced Steam Play system. According to that text, "Steam Play will automatically install compatibility tools that allow you to play games from your library that were built for other operating systems." Other unused text in the that GUI file suggests Steam Play will offer official compatibility with "supported tiles" while also letting users test compatibility for "games in your library that have not been verified with a supported compatibility tool." That latter use comes with a warning that "this may not work as expected, and can cause issues with your games, including crashes and breaking save games."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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