This Week In Science & Technology

Fwiffo

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Global ransomware attack causes chaos

Oh lovely, I go out for lunch and this happens. As if the last time around it wasn't causing enough panic around here.

Andrei Barysevich, a spokesman for security firm Recorded Future told the BBC such attacks would not stop because cyber-thieves found them too lucrative.

"A South Korean hosting firm just paid $1m to get their data back and that's a huge incentive," he said. "It's the biggest incentive you could offer to a cyber-criminal."

-- who the #*@! authorised that. Now they have $1M to do stuff. This is like paying off ISIS so they don't annex your place into their caliphate.
 

Thruth

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Global ransomware attack causes chaos

Oh lovely, I go out for lunch and this happens. As if the last time around it wasn't causing enough panic around here.

Andrei Barysevich, a spokesman for security firm Recorded Future told the BBC such attacks would not stop because cyber-thieves found them too lucrative.

"A South Korean hosting firm just paid $1m to get their data back and that's a huge incentive," he said. "It's the biggest incentive you could offer to a cyber-criminal."

-- who the #*@! authorised that. Now they have $1M to do stuff. This is like paying off ISIS so they don't annex your place into their caliphate.
So your firm has been attacked? Or you personally? You and people are panicking over this?
 

Fwiffo

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So your firm has been attacked? Or you personally? You and people are panicking over this?
No, but we have an IT security department that is on a war path.

There is a little witch hunt going on revisiting the Windows 2000 and Windows Vista PCs that are lurking around. For example I know of a few that are used once every quarter by a certain department.

If you've got a cloud based system, say Microsoft 365, I imagine that your email systems would be protected in such scenario?
We're not using Office 365 for e-mail yet. The Germans wanted to use it and declared Dublin as the safe haven to store all our e-mail. When this was pitched innocuously to the Americas, the local legal counsels were up in arms because the States wanted their e-mails on American soil, Canadians on Canadian soil...I think Argentina said we'll go with whomever's laws are tougher. Since that is the impasse we're at, I reckon it will be introduced next year.
 

Lord Buckley

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We're not using Office 365 for e-mail yet. The Germans wanted to use it and declared Dublin as the safe haven to store all our e-mail. When this was pitched innocuously to the Americas, the local legal counsels were up in arms because the States wanted their e-mails on American soil, Canadians on Canadian soil...I think Argentina said we'll go with whomever's laws are tougher. Since that is the impasse we're at, I reckon it will be introduced next year.
We had the worse issues coming from the UK: the email system needed to be in a nuclear proof bunker somewhere in Widnes (in their control) because them damn yanks would be reading all our emails. Then they went full on Defcon 2 over Skype and that we needed to stop using it in case Uncle Sam was listening or watching, or both!

Most of our clients are the same: emails or phone calls only. A face-to-face meeting hardly ever now, as they're too embarrassed to show how many Third Worlders are now in the offices running amok. And by the way, that let's bring in loads of Indians on the equivalent B1 visas is going very pear shaped bigly at the moment. Who would have thought a country as truly great and magnificent as India, spending 2 Rupees a week on educating its children would not be producing graduates at the same level as the West.
 

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Voyager: Inside the world's greatest space mission

I always had a soft spot for Voyager 2 as the Neptune visit was one of the first pieces of astronomy I learnt about in school.

Of course everyone knows about the record disc explaining humanity to whomever finds it.

"Around a third of the music on the golden disk is by western composers, including Bach, Beethoven and Mozart." - really thought they missed out by not having Tchaikovsky

"Although Duke Ellington, Chuck Berry and Native American music are represented, Elvis Presley – who died shortly before the Voyager 2 launch – is not on the disk. 'I think it’s amazing when you look at what they put on in terms of American music,' says Stephanie Nelson, a professor at California State University in Los Angeles and a world music specialist. 'It’s [mostly] black American music, which is pretty interesting.'"

I'm not surprised at all. Those were worth listening to in the 1970s when the spacecraft was being designed.

I saw a brief on NBC network news that the record is being sold again.
 

Fwiffo

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Google Wants to Give Your Computer a Personality

"Now [its] future may hinge on teaching machines to perform a task that comes naturally to most people, but has proved to be profoundly difficult for computers: small talk.

...Germick doesn't seem daunted, though. And he isn't shy about Assistant's shortcomings. When I ask him which artificial intelligence from science fiction he hopes Assistant evolves into, he doesn't choose one of the super-advanced, all-knowing varieties like Jarvis in the Iron Man films or Samantha from the 2013 movie Her. He says he hopes to make Assistant like the perennially cheery character played by Ellie Kemper on Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt."

I have enough issues spending time to talk to real live human beings. Some conversations which I already believe is a waste of time - like walking down to procurement and making small talk about Poland's chances in the World Cup before getting which requisition form I need to fill out. Why in the hell would I want to spare what's left of my finite time as a human being to converse with an inanimate computer program who may or may not be here long after I depart planet Earth. "Google, go suck away some other person's time."
 

Fwiffo

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The place spacecraft go to die

"No one is in any danger because of this controlled re-entry into our atmosphere. The region is not fished because oceanic currents avoid the area and do not bring nutrients to it, making marine life scarce. One future visitor to this desolate place will be the International Space Station. Current plans are for it to be decommissioned in the next decade and it will have to be carefully brought down in the oceanic pole of inaccessibility. With a mass of 450 tonnes - four times that of the Mir space station - it will make a spectacular sight."

We're losing the space station too? No shuttles, no space stations..are we going back in time?
 

Fwiffo

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The astronaut fighting to save the ISS

"'Year by year, Russia is launching the fuel to fill up the tanks of the ISS service module to enable the space station to be deorbited,' says Foale. 'That’s the current plan – I think it’s a bad plan, a massive waste of a fantastic resource.'"

I didn't know decommission plans started already. It makes you wonder how much space is devoted to retiring the space station versus real science.
 

Fwiffo

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Amazon opens a supermarket with no checkouts

"In a move that could revolutionise the way we buy groceries, Amazon has opened a supermarket with no checkout operators or self-service tills."

Who stocks the store?

...more to that - if I wanted someone to butcher some meat, how is that handled? Is everything I'm going to buy stuck in a box?
 

Fwiffo

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Apparently we are still struggling with working remotely, artificial intelligence, and the paperless office. At this rate, I don't expect us to tackle working because you love to work till the 2040s.

 

Fwiffo

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http://www.cbc.ca/radio/quirks/marc...-human-who-lost-the-genetic-lottery-1.4588654

"'We found a high concentration of mutations that were in bone development: genes known to be associated with small stature, genes associated with elongated leg bones, genes that were associated with premature ossification, which is the basically the process by which bone hardens,' says Dr. Nolan. 'So basically, she rolled the lottery bad.'"

Thank God this Dr. Nolan is doctor because of his phd and not because he's an MD. Talk about brutally blunt diagnosis.
 

Rambo

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Pimpernel Smith

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This: ''In February this year, the company’s financial report said the freeze in the Indian market on the back of the disruptive transition from feed-in tariffs (FiT) to auctions was a major problem it faced.'' This is the same situation that will be encountered soon in Europe. The feed-in-tariffs are the subsidies and the auctions are when they must compete against conventional energy sources at cost per unit. The industry itself knows that once the drip of subsidies is removed it cannot compete againts the likes of gas and coal.
 

Rambo

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This: ''In February this year, the company’s financial report said the freeze in the Indian market on the back of the disruptive transition from feed-in tariffs (FiT) to auctions was a major problem it faced.'' This is the same situation that will be encountered soon in Europe. The feed-in-tariffs are the subsidies and the auctions are when they must compete against conventional energy sources at cost per unit. The industry itself knows that once the drip of subsidies is removed it cannot compete againts the likes of gas and coal.
doesn't that have, in large part, to do with the fact that gas and coal receive massive subsidies themselves in the form of various tax breaks and pricing fixes?
 

Pimpernel Smith

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doesn't that have, in large part, to do with the fact that gas and coal receive massive subsidies themselves in the form of various tax breaks and pricing fixes?
All hype aside, wind power produces next to nothing of the global energy consumption i.e. <1%. The figures that it's 16% are false, this is total renewables and includes biomass, etc. The increasing demand for energy means more reliant forms are needed. Wind itself is the problem, hence the end of transport by sail ships. They also need a couple of hundred times more material than a combined cycle gas turbine whose energy supply is the lowest polution emitting fossil fuel and in available in abundance.

The figures and boasts don't add up. There's a lot of talk now about EPC contractors and other companies divesting into wind farms, for us it's offshore windfarms, whose life expectancy is significantly shorter than the period it takes them to be financially viable. It's all it's going to be ''bigger than oil and gas.'' If so, the opportuntities and potential for wealth generation should be abundant, but dig beneath the surface and it's all subsidary driven and the industry in Europe is crapping itself for when the auctions begin and the subsidies stop 2022-2025.

Whilst the oil industry has a cartel and fixes the prices, this only artificially keeps the price high, the actual energy price ratio and what you can do with a barrel of oil, or chunk of coal is a lot more than what you can do with wind. You cannot power a commerical or fighter jet aeroplane on electricity or wind power. Gas is significantly more efficient and essential to running the national grid in the UK for example. Here in The Netherlands they're going full loco and stopping gas appliances in all new houses and so your central heating is going to become less efficient and significantly more costly.
 
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Fwiffo

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https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-44531132

IBM’s machine argues, pretty convincingly, with humans

As if I don't spend enough time arguing with real live human beings, IBM decided to invent a machine that will argue with me. Shut the f@'k up and go do what you're programmed to do. What's next? I shut down the computer and it protests it needs to keep updating?
 

Fwiffo

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Cosmic 'hotspots' may be evidence of a universe that existed before ours

"Roger Penrose isn’t one of them. For more than a decade, the University of Oxford physicist has been honing his theory that the Big Bang was not the beginning of the universe but merely a single stage in an eternal cycle of creation and recreation. And now he claims he has the evidence to back it up."

"'Suppose you were an astronaut in a space capsule that could keep you alive for some ridiculous period of time,' Penrose says. 'After a while, the mass fadeout would start to come in. Your spaceship would start to disintegrate, you would start to disintegrate, and in the limit you would become massless things. The changeover to the next aeon is not something you can experience.' But while people and objects can’t cross over, energy can. That is how Penrose thinks he sees signs of what has come before."

If you want to live beyond this universe's lifetime you need to become a massless piece of energy. Then again it would be pretty lonely. Mass fadeout seems like a good dieting technique for the obese though.
 

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https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-45827813/ai-painting-to-go-under-the-hammer

"Created by French art collective Obvious, the AI system compares its own portraits against ones made by humans and keeps working on them until it is unable to tell the difference between the two."

Artificial intelligence is going to kill creativity and turn art into this reductive copying of past works. Who or what inspired that first spark for man?
 

Fwiffo

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Machine learning 'causing science crisis'

"The 'reproducibility crisis' in science refers to the alarming number of research results that are not repeated when another group of scientists tries the same experiment. It means that the initial results were wrong. One analysis suggested that up to 85% of all biomedical research carried out in the world is wasted effort.
...
Machine learning systems and the use of big data sets has accelerated the crisis, according to Dr Allen. That is because machine learning algorithms have been developed specifically to find interesting things in datasets and so when they search through huge amounts of data they will inevitably find a pattern."

I've veered far away from the sciences but isn't there usually another study doing the same things with another sample to guarantee results can be repeated. I completely forgot what it was called in high school science.
 

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WhatsApp discovers 'targeted' surveillance attack

"It involved attackers using WhatsApp's voice calling function to ring a target's device. Even if the call was not picked up, the surveillance software would be installed, and, the FT reported, the call would often disappear from the device's call log.

WhatsApp told the BBC its security team was the first to identify the flaw, and shared that information with human rights groups, selected security vendors and the US Department of Justice earlier this month."

Should I stop saying my credit card number in front of my mobile? Should I stop having sex in front of my mobile?
 

Fwiffo

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Why the WhatsApp spies may have eyes on Iran

"He's unlikely to sign up to another war in the Middle East, certainly not this side of the 2020 election, unless he is seriously provoked. That would require being able to pin some very bad action on Tehran. The best way to do that is to gather intelligence. And the best way to gather intelligence is for all your allies to be spying on as many people in the region as you can. One of the best ways to do that is to hack into the Trojan horse we all voluntarily carry with us, our smartphones."

...except all Iranians use Telegram.
 

Fwiffo

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Baby gene experiment 'foolish and dangerous'

"The problem is CCR5 has a bigger role in the body than just making people vulnerable to HIV.

It is active in the brain and in fighting off other infections, particularly flu.

The study, at the University of California, Berkeley, looked at nearly 410,000 people in the UK.

It showed those who had only the mutated version of CCR5 were 20% more likely to die before they turned 78.

'In this case, it is probably not a mutation that most people would want to have,' said Prof Rasmus Nielsen, from UC Berkeley.

'You are actually, on average, worse off having it.'"

Anyone else up for some cheap dodgy Chinese health care?
 

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To the Moon and beyond

"Orion’s four flight computers can run pretty much everything on the spacecraft without intervention from humans, making the spacecraft very self-sufficient...Orion is one big part of the Moon return plan. Another is the rocket that will carry it into space. The Space Launch System (SLS) is taller than a 30-storey building and will be able to launch payloads of up to 130 metric tonnes...The SLS re-uses technology developed for the space shuttle. But the new rocket is a completely different beast. The huge core stage is based on the external tanks that fed propellant to the shuttle’s main engines. Its two solid rocket boosters are also modified shuttle elements. "

Looks like NASA has it all figured out.
 
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