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Wildfires Threaten Nuclear Weapons Plant In Texas

Slashdot - 2 hours 33 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Independent: Wildfires sweeping across Texas briefly forced the evacuation of America's main nuclear weapons facility as strong winds, dry grass and unseasonably warm temperatures fed the blaze. Pantex Plant, the main facility that assembles and disassembles America's nuclear arsenal, shut down its operations on Tuesday night as the Windy Deuce fire roared towards the Potter County location. Pantex re-opened and resumed operations as normal on Wednesday morning. Pantex is about 17 miles (27.36 kilometers) northeast of Amarillo and some 320 miles (515 kilometers) northwest of Dallas. Since 1975 it has been the US's main assembly and disassembly site for its atomic bombs. It assembled the last new bomb in 1991. "We have evacuated our personnel, non-essential personnel from the site, just in an abundance of caution," said Laef Pendergraft, a spokesperson for National Nuclear Security Administration's Production Office at Pantex. "But we do have a well-equipped fire department that has trained for these scenarios, that is on-site and watching and ready should any kind of real emergency arise on the plant site."

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The Intercept, Raw Story, and AlterNet Sue OpenAI and Microsoft

Slashdot - 4 hours 38 min ago
The Intercept, Raw Story, and AlterNet have filed separate lawsuits against OpenAI and Microsoft, alleging copyright infringement and the removal of copyright information while training AI models. The Verge reports: The publications said ChatGPT "at least some of the time" reproduces "verbatim or nearly verbatim copyright-protected works of journalism without providing author, title, copyright or terms of use information contained in those works." According to the plaintiffs, if ChatGPT trained on material that included copyright information, the chatbot "would have learned to communicate that information when providing responses." Raw Story and AlterNet's lawsuit goes further (PDF), saying OpenAI and Microsoft "had reason to know that ChatGPT would be less popular and generate less revenue if users believed that ChatGPT responses violated third-party copyrights." Both Microsoft and OpenAI offer legal cover to paying customers in case they get sued for violating copyright for using Copilot or ChatGPT Enterprise. The lawsuits say that OpenAI and Microsoft are aware of potential copyright infringement. As evidence, the publications point to how OpenAI offers an opt-out system so website owners can block content from its web crawlers. The New York Times also filed a lawsuit in December against OpenAI, claiming ChatGPT faithfully reproduces journalistic work. OpenAI claims the publication exploited a bug on the chatbot to regurgitate its articles.

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Cloudflare Makes Pingora Rust Framework Open-Source

Slashdot - 5 hours 2 min ago
Michael Larabel reports via Phoronix: Back in 2022 Cloudflare announced they were ditching Nginx for an in-house, Rust-written software called Pingora. Today Cloudflare is open-sourcing the Pingora framework. Cloudflare announced today that they have open-sourced Pingora under an Apache 2.0 license. Pingora is a Rust async multi-threaded framework for building programmable network services. Pingora has long been used internally within Cloudflare and is capable of sustaining a lot of traffic while now Pingora is being open-sourced for helping to build infrastructure outside of Cloudflare. The Pingora Rust code is available on GitHub.

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European Parliament Bans Amazon From Its Premises

Slashdot - 5 hours 18 min ago
Longtime Slashdot reader Kant shares a report from Euractiv: The European Parliament decided to ban Amazon representatives from accessing its buildings on Tuesday (February 27), due to multiple events where the global retailing giant did not attend meetings requested by members of the European Parliament, the European Parliament press service confirmed Euractiv. "In line with rule 123/3 and at the request of the [Employment and Social Affairs] Committee, the Quaestors have authorized the Secretary General [Alessandro Chiocchetti] to withdraw the long-term access badges of the interest representatives of Amazon." It is now the responsibility of the secretary general to concretely initiate the process of withdrawing their badges and to determine the duration of the ban, a European Parliament source close to the matter told Euractiv. According to the EMPL chair Dragos Pislaru, who signed the letter, the US e-commerce company refuses to attend more than one meeting with EU lawmakers to discuss the condition of Amazon workers. Four cases are mentioned in the letter. The first occurred in May 2021, when Amazon did not attend a parliamentary committee meeting on "Amazon attacks on fundamental workers' rights and freedoms: freedom of assembly and association, and the right to collective bargain and action." The second event concerns the refusal by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to attend an exchange of views with EU lawmakers -- instead, the company sent a written answer. The last two episodes happened in December 2023 and January 2024. In the former event, Amazon refused access to its facilities in German and Poland to a MEP, while on the latter, the company did not attend another parliamentary committee meeting dedicated to Amazon workers' conditions. In a statement to Euractiv, an Amazon spokesperson said: "We are very disappointed with this decision, as we want to engage constructively with policymakers. [...] Our commitment continues despite this decision. Amazon regularly participates in activities organized by the European Parliament and other EU institutions -- including Parliamentary hearings -- and we remain committed to participating in balanced, constructive dialogue on issues that affect European citizens."

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StarCoder 2 Is a Code-Generating AI That Runs On Most GPUs

Slashdot - 6 hours 1 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Perceiving the demand for alternatives, AI startup Hugging Face several years ago teamed up with ServiceNow, the workflow automation platform, to create StarCoder, an open source code generator with a less restrictive license than some of the others out there. The original came online early last year, and work has been underway on a follow-up, StarCoder 2, ever since. StarCoder 2 isn't a single code-generating model, but rather a family. Released today, it comes in three variants, the first two of which can run on most modern consumer GPUs: A 3-billion-parameter (3B) model trained by ServiceNow; A 7-billion-parameter (7B) model trained by Hugging Face; and A 15-billion-parameter (15B) model trained by Nvidia, the newest supporter of the StarCoder project. (Note that "parameters" are the parts of a model learned from training data and essentially define the skill of the model on a problem, in this case generating code.)a Like most other code generators, StarCoder 2 can suggest ways to complete unfinished lines of code as well as summarize and retrieve snippets of code when asked in natural language. Trained with 4x more data than the original StarCoder (67.5 terabytes versus 6.4 terabytes), StarCoder 2 delivers what Hugging Face, ServiceNow and Nvidia characterize as "significantly" improved performance at lower costs to operate. StarCoder 2 can be fine-tuned "in a few hours" using a GPU like the Nvidia A100 on first- or third-party data to create apps such as chatbots and personal coding assistants. And, because it was trained on a larger and more diverse data set than the original StarCoder (~619 programming languages), StarCoder 2 can make more accurate, context-aware predictions -- at least hypothetically. [I]s StarCoder 2 really superior to the other code generators out there -- free or paid? Depending on the benchmark, it appears to be more efficient than one of the versions of Code Llama, Code Llama 33B. Hugging Face says that StarCoder 2 15B matches Code Llama 33B on a subset of code completion tasks at twice the speed. It's not clear which tasks; Hugging Face didn't specify. StarCoder 2, as an open source collection of models, also has the advantage of being able to deploy locally and "learn" a developer's source code or codebase -- an attractive prospect to devs and companies wary of exposing code to a cloud-hosted AI. Hugging Face, ServiceNow and Nvidia also make the case that StarCoder 2 is more ethical -- and less legally fraught -- than its rivals. [...] As opposed to code generators trained using copyrighted code (GitHub Copilot, among others), StarCoder 2 was trained only on data under license from the Software Heritage, the nonprofit organization providing archival services for code. Ahead of StarCoder 2's training, BigCode, the cross-organizational team behind much of StarCoder 2's roadmap, gave code owners a chance to opt out of the training set if they wanted. As with the original StarCoder, StarCoder 2's training data is available for developers to fork, reproduce or audit as they please. StarCoder 2's license may still be a roadblock for some. "StarCoder 2 is licensed under the BigCode Open RAIL-M 1.0, which aims to promote responsible use by imposing 'light touch' restrictions on both model licensees and downstream users," writes TechCrunch's Kyle Wiggers. "While less constraining than many other licenses, RAIL-M isn't truly 'open' in the sense that it doesn't permit developers to use StarCoder 2 for every conceivable application (medical advice-giving apps are strictly off limits, for example). Some commentators say RAIL-M's requirements may be too vague to comply with in any case -- and that RAIL-M could conflict with AI-related regulations like the EU AI Act."

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Reddit Discloses Bitcoin and Ether Investments In IPO Filing

Slashdot - 6 hours 43 min ago
As part of its IPO filing with the SEC, Reddit disclosed that it has invested some of its excess cash in bitcoin, ether and Polygon. From a report: Based on the document, the firm now holds BTC and ETH in its balance sheet. Notably, Reddit filing came as part of the IPO registration statement with the SEC. Apart from ETH and BTC, the filing revealed Reddit's investment in Polygon (MATIC). According to the document, the social media platform plans to use both Ether and Polygon as a form of payment for digital goods. Further, Reddit noted that the amount of Polygon and Ethereum from virtual goods is currently immaterial. However, it indicated the possibility of a continuous addition of Bitcoin and Ethereum to its treasury. Also, it plans to keep trying out its passion for virtual goods. Moreover, the document revealed that Reddit made the investments using some of its excess cash reserves. However, the firm didn't disclose details of the crypto investments it made. Reddit's filing document revealed why the popular social media platform dabbled into crypto. According to the firm, it holds Bitcoin and Ethereum to enable its engineering and product teams to use them. Further, it cited the present regulatory stance that suggests these two assets are potentially non-securities under US laws. Also, Reddit disclosed its plans to expand its crypto holding by including other digital assets in its balance sheet. However, it highlighted that such a move will depend on future regulations that exempt crypto as a security.

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KDE Plasma 6 Released

Slashdot - Thu, 29/02/2024 - 00:40
"Today, the KDE Community is announcing a new major release of Plasma 6.0 and Gear 24.02," writes longtime Slashdot reader jrepin. "The new version brings new windows and desktop overview effects, improved color management, a cleaner theme, better overall performance, and much more." From the announcement: KDE Plasma is a modern, feature-rich desktop environment for Linux-based operating systems. Known for its sleek design, customizable interface, and extensive set of applications, it is also open source, devoid of ads, and makes protecting your privacy and personal data a priority. With Plasma 6, the technology stack has undergone two major upgrades: a transition to the latest version of the application framework, Qt 6, and a migration to the modern Linux graphics platform, Wayland. We will continue providing support for the legacy X11 session for users who prefer to stick with it for now. [...] KDE Gear 24.02 brings many applications to Qt 6. In addition to the changes in Breeze, many applications adopted a more frameless look for their interface.

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SBF Asks For 5-Year Prison Sentence, Calls 100-Year Recommendation 'Grotesque'

Slashdot - Thu, 29/02/2024 - 00:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Convicted FTX fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded for a lenient prison sentence in a court filing yesterday, saying that he isn't motivated by greed and "is already being punished." Bankman-Fried requested a sentence of 63 to 78 months, or 5.25 to 6.5 years. Because of "Sam's charitable works and demonstrated commitment to others, a sentence that returns Sam promptly to a productive role in society would be sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to comply with the purposes of sentencing," the court filing (PDF) said. Bankman-Fried's filing also said that he maintains his innocence and intends to appeal his convictions. A presentence investigation report (PSR) prepared by a probation officer recommended that Bankman-Fried be sentenced to 100 years in prison, according to the filing. "That recommendation is grotesque," SBF's filing said, arguing that it is based on an erroneously calculated loss of $10 billion. The $10 billion loss asserted in the PSR is "illusory" because the "victims are poised to recover -- were always poised to recover -- a hundred cents on the dollar" in bankruptcy proceedings, SBF's filing said. The filing urged the court to "reject the PSR's barbaric proposal" of 100 years, saying that such sentences should only be for "heinous conduct" like terrorism and child sexual abuse. The founder and ex-CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Bankman-Fried was convicted on seven charges with a combined maximum sentence of 110 years after a monthlong trial in US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The charges included wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud, commodities fraud, and money laundering. US government prosecutors are required to make a sentencing recommendation by March 15, and US District Judge Lewis Kaplan is scheduled to issue a sentence on March 28.

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Intel Puts 1nm Process (10A) on the Roadmap For 2027

Slashdot - Wed, 28/02/2024 - 23:21
Intel's previously-unannounced Intel 10A (analogous to 1nm) will enter production/development in late 2027, marking the arrival of the company's first 1nm node, and its 14A (1.4nm) node will enter production in 2026. The company is also working to create fully autonomous AI-powered fabs in the future. Tom's Hardware: Intel's Keyvan Esfarjani, the company's EVP and GM and Foundry Manufacturing and Supply, held a very insightful session that covered the company's latest developments and showed how the roadmap unfolds over the coming years. Here, we can see two charts, with the first outlining the company's K-WSPW (thousands of wafer starts per week) capacity for Intel's various process nodes. Notably, capacity typically indicates how many wafers can be started, but not the total output -- output varies based on yields. You'll notice there isn't a label for the Y-axis, which would give us a direct read on Intel's production volumes. However, this does give us a solid idea of the proportionality of Intel's planned node production over the next several years. Intel did not specify the arrival date of its coming 14A node in its previous announcements, but here, the company indicates it will begin production of the Intel 14A node in 2026. Even more importantly, Intel will begin production/development of its as-yet-unannounced 10A node in late 2027, filling out its roster of nodes produced with EUV technology. Intel's 'A' suffix in its node naming convention represents Angstroms, and 10 Angstroms converts to 1nm, meaning this is the company's first 1nm-class node. Intel hasn't shared any details about the 10A/1nm node but has told us that it classifies a new node as at least having a double-digit power/performance improvement. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger has told us the cutoff for a new node is around a 14% to 15% improvement, so we can expect that 10A will have at least that level of improvement over the 14A node. (For example, the difference between Intel 7 and Intel 4 was a 15% improvement.)

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EU Lawmakers Back Draft Rules on Patents for Connected Cars, Telecom Equipment

Slashdot - Wed, 28/02/2024 - 22:40
EU lawmakers on Wednesday approved draft rules governing patents key to technologies for telecom equipment and connected cars in the face of criticism from Nokia, Ericsson and other patent holders. From a report: The draft rules proposed by the European Commission in April last year seek to end costly and lengthy litigation over patents used in technologies for telecom equipment, mobile phones, computers, connected cars and smart devices. The European Parliament will now have to thrash out the details of the proposed rules with EU countries before it can become law. Nokia, Ericsson and Siemens in a letter to EU lawmakers in January, highlighted concerns from the European Patent Office, standard-setting body ETSI and other bodies on the draft rules. Lobbying group IP Europe, which counts Nokia, Ericsson and Qualcomm as its members, reiterated its opposition to the draft rules. "The beneficiaries would not be SMEs as claimed but big tech," IP Europe's managing director Patrick McCutcheon said ahead of the lawmakers' vote.

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AI, Drones, Security Cameras: San Francisco Mayor's Arsenal To Fight Crime

Slashdot - Wed, 28/02/2024 - 22:10
San Francisco will vote next week on a divisive ballot measure that would authorize police to use surveillance cameras, drones and AI-powered facial recognition as the city struggles to restore a reputation tarnished by street crime and drugs. From a report: The Safer San Francisco initiative, formally called Proposition E, is championed by Mayor London Breed who believes disgruntled citizens will approve the proposal on Tuesday. Although technology fueled the Silicon Valley-adjacent city's decades-long boom, residents have a history of being deeply suspicious. In 2019, San Francisco, known for its progressive politics, became the first large U.S. city to ban government use of facial recognition due to concerns about privacy and misuse. Breed, who is running for re-election in November, played down the potential for abuse under the ballot measure, saying safeguards are in place. "I get that people are concerned about privacy rights and other things, but technology is all around us," she said in an interview. "It's coming whether we want it to or not. And everyone is walking around with AI in their hands with their phones, recording, videotaping," Breed said. Critics of the proposal contend it could hurt disadvantaged communities and lead to false arrests, arguing surveillance technology requires greater oversight.

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White House Looks To Curb Foreign Powers' Ability To Buy Americans' Sensitive Personal Data With Executive Order

Slashdot - Wed, 28/02/2024 - 20:01
President Joe Biden will issue an executive order on Wednesday aimed at curbing foreign governments' ability to buy Americans' sensitive personal information such as heath and geolocation data, according to senior US officials. From a report: The move marks a rare policy effort to address a longstanding US national security concern: the ease with which anyone, including a foreign intelligence services, can legally buy Americans' data and then use the information for espionage, hacking and blackmail. The issue, a senior Justice Department official told reporters this week, is a "growing threat to our national security." The executive order will give the Justice Department the authority to regulate commercial transactions that "pose an unacceptable risk" to national security by, for example, giving a foreign power large-scale access to Americans' personal data, the Justice Department official said. The department will also issue regulations that require better protection of sensitive government information, including geolocation data on US military members, according to US officials. A lot of the online trade in personal information runs through so-called data brokers, which buy information on people's Social Security numbers, names, addresses, income, employment history and criminal background, as well as other items. "Countries of concern, such as China and Russia, are buying Americans' sensitive personal data from data brokers," a separate senior administration official told reporters. In addition to health and location data, the executive order is expected to cover other sensitive information like genomic and financial data. Administration officials told reporters the new executive order would be applied narrowly so as not to hurt business transactions that do not pose a national security risk. The White House's press release.

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Klarna Claims AI Is Doing Agents' Jobs

Slashdot - Wed, 28/02/2024 - 19:22
Buy-now-pay-later lender Klarna said its AI assistant, powered by OpenAI, is doing the equivalent work of 700 full-time agents and has had 2.3 million conversations, equal to two-thirds of the company's customer service chats, within the first month of being deployed. The AI tool resolved errands much faster and matched human levels on customer satisfaction, Klarna said.

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The Strange and Turbulent Global World of Ant Geopolitics

Slashdot - Wed, 28/02/2024 - 18:40
Over the past four centuries quadrillions of ants have created a strange and turbulent global society that shadows our own. An excerpt from an Aeon article: In their native ranges, these multi-nest colonies can grow to a few hundred metres across, limited by physical barriers or other ant colonies. This turns the landscape to a patchwork of separate groups, with each chemically distinct society fighting or avoiding others at their borders. Species and colonies coexist, without any prevailing over the others. However, for the 'anonymous societies' of unicolonial ants, as they're known, transporting a small number of queens and workers to a new place can cause the relatively stable arrangement of groups to break down. As new nests are created, colonies bud and spread without ever drawing boundaries because workers treat all others of their own kind as allies. What was once a patchwork of complex relationships becomes a simplified, and unified, social system. The relative genetic homogeneity of the small founder population, replicated across a growing network of nests, ensures that members of unicolonial species tolerate each other. Spared the cost of fighting one another, these ants can live in denser populations, spreading across the land as a plant might, and turning their energies to capturing food and competing with other species. Chemical badges keep unicolonial ant societies together, but also allow those societies to rapidly expand.

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White House Urges Devs To Switch To Memory-Safe Programming Languages

Slashdot - Wed, 28/02/2024 - 18:00
Tontoman shares a report: The White House Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) urged tech companies to switch to memory-safe programming languages, such as Rust, to improve software security by reducing the number of memory safety vulnerabilities. Such vulnerabilities are coding errors or weaknesses within software that can lead to memory management issues when memory can be accessed, written, allocated, or deallocated. They occur when software accesses memory in unintended or unsafe ways, resulting in various security risks and issues like buffer overflow, use after free, use of uninitialized memory, and double free that attackers can exploit. Successful exploitation carries severe risks, potentially enabling threat actors to gain unauthorized access to data or execute malicious code with the privileges of the system owner. "For over 35 years, this same class of vulnerability has vexed the digital ecosystem. The challenge of eliminating entire classes of software vulnerabilities is an urgent and complex problem. Looking forward, new approaches must be taken to mitigate this risk," ONCD's report says. "The highest leverage method to reduce memory safety vulnerabilities is to secure one of the building blocks of cyberspace: the programming language. Using memory safe programming languages can eliminate most memory safety errors."

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Meta Wants Llama 3 To Handle Contentious Questions as Google Grapples With Gemini Backlash

Slashdot - Wed, 28/02/2024 - 17:21
An anonymous reader shares a report (paywalled): As Google grapples with the backlash over the historically inaccurate responses on its Gemini chatbot, Meta Platforms is dealing with a related issue. As part of its work on the forthcoming version of its large language model, Llama 3, Meta is trying to overcome a problem perceived in Llama 2: Its answers to anything at all contentious aren't helpful. Safeguards added to Llama 2, which Meta released last July and which powers the artificial intelligence assistant in its apps, prevent the LLM from answering a broad range of questions deemed controversial. These guardrails have made Llama 2 appear too "safe" in the eyes of Meta's senior leadership, as well as among some researchers who worked on the model itself, according to people who work at Meta. [...] Meta's conservative approach with Llama 2 was designed to ward off any public relations disasters, said the people who work at Meta. But researchers are now trying to loosen up Llama 3 so it engages more with users when they ask about difficult topics, offering context rather than just shutting down tricky questions, said two of the people who work at Meta. The new version of the model will in theory be able to better distinguish when a word has multiple meanings. For example, Llama 3 might understand that a question about how to kill a vehicle's engine means asking how to shut it off rather than end its life. Meta also plans to appoint someone internally in the coming weeks to oversee tone and safety training as part of its efforts to make the model's responses more nuanced, said one of the people. The company plans to release Llama 3 in July, though the timeline could still change, they added.

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Google CEO Calls AI Tool's Controversial Responses 'Completely Unacceptable'

Slashdot - Wed, 28/02/2024 - 16:40
Google CEO Sundar Pichai addressed the company's Gemini controversy Tuesday evening, calling the AI app's problematic responses around race unacceptable and vowing to make structural changes to fix the problem. The memo: I want to address the recent issues with problematic text and image responses in the Gemini app (formerly Bard). I know that some of its responses have offended our users and shown bias -- to be clear, that's completely unacceptable and we got it wrong. Our teams have been working around the clock to address these issues. We're already seeing a substantial improvement on a wide range of prompts. No AI is perfect, especially at this emerging stage of the industry's development, but we know the bar is high for us and we will keep at it for however long it takes. And we'll review what happened and make sure we fix it at scale. Our mission to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful is sacrosanct. We've always sought to give users helpful, accurate, and unbiased information in our products. That's why people trust them. This has to be our approach for all our products, including our emerging AI products. We'll be driving a clear set of actions, including structural changes, updated product guidelines, improved launch processes, robust evals and red-teaming, and technical recommendations. We are looking across all of this and will make the necessary changes. Even as we learn from what went wrong here, we should also build on the product and technical announcements we've made in AI over the last several weeks. That includes some foundational advances in our underlying models e.g. our 1 million long-context window breakthrough and our open models, both of which have been well received. We know what it takes to create great products that are used and beloved by billions of people and businesses, and with our infrastructure and research expertise we have an incredible springboard for the AI wave. Let's focus on what matters most: building helpful products that are deserving of our users' trust.

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Zurich Paid 30,000 Workers Double In $200 Million Bank Glitch

Slashdot - Wed, 28/02/2024 - 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fortune: Zurich authorities have apologized to city employees after a technical glitch caused a double payment of monthly salaries that local officials are now trying to claw back. About 175 million francs ($200 million) was sent in error on Monday, which was the payday for February, according to a statement. Workers can't keep the money, and officials are trying to devise a streamlined process so that the 30,000 employees affected can easily return it. A technical error at state-owned Zuercher Kantonalbank, which handles the city's salary transfers, is to blame. The bank itself said that faulty software from one of Swisscom AG's contractors caused the glitch. "Swisscom is aware of the seriousness of this incident and apologizes for the inconvenience caused," the telecommunications company said in a statement shared by the bank. The unexpected windfall prompted a flurry of employees calling up the city's offices to ask about the extra money, according to Swiss newspapers. Others mockingly described it as "inflation compensation" on the city's intranet, and demanded a repeat.

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Antarctica's 'Doomsday Glacier' Began Melting In Mid-20th Century, Study Finds

Slashdot - Wed, 28/02/2024 - 11:00
According to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, West Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier began rapidly receding in the 1940s -- much earlier than scientists had previous thought. The Hill notes that it's often referred to as the "doomsday glacier" due to the potentially catastrophic consequences of its hypothetical collapse. From the report: While scientists had already observed the glacier's accelerated retreat by the 1970s, they did not know when it began. Coupled with earlier research about Thwaites's neighboring Pine Island Glacier, the study also provides new, potentially alarming, insight into the cause of the glacier's melting. Scientists tried to reconstruct the glacier's history using analysis of the marine sedimentary record, and they found the Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers both lost contact with the seafloor highs in the 1940s -- at around the same time. These significant changes happened against the backdrop of a massive El Nino weather phenomenon, the scientists found, showing the glaciers "were responding to the same driver(s)." "The synchronous ice retreat of these two major ice streams suggests that, rather than being driven by internal dynamics unique to each glacier, retreat in the Amundsen Sea drainage sector results from external oceanographic and atmospheric drivers, which recent modeling studies show are modulated by climate variability," the study read. The scientists note that the glaciers' continued retreat shows how difficult it can be to reverse some of the consequences of naturally occurring weather events -- which they say is made even more difficult by human activity. "That ice streams such as Thwaites Glacier and Pine Island Glacier have continued to retreat since then indicates that they were unable to recover after the exceptionally large El Nino event of the 1940s," the scientists wrote. "This may reflect the increasing dominance of anthropogenic forcing since that time but implies that this involved large-scale, in additional to local, atmospheric and ocean circulation changes."

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Amazon Aggregator Thrasio Files For Bankruptcy

Slashdot - Wed, 28/02/2024 - 10:39
Thrasio, which acquires third-party Amazon sellers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and received commitments for $90 million in new financing from existing shareholders, it said on Wednesday. From a report: Thrasio also entered into a restructuring agreement with some of its lenders to reduce debt of $495 million from its existing debt pile, it said in a statement. It listed its estimated assets in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion and estimated liabilities of $500 million to $1 billion, according to a document filed with the New Jersey bankruptcy court. Billions of dollars, primarily in loans and other debt instruments, were invested into newly-formed startups aggregating third-party merchants on Amazon's marketplace during the COVID-19 pandemic as investors bet heavily on a prolonged explosion in online shopping. But as lockdowns eased and consumers returned to brick-and-mortar stores, sales growth on Amazon slowed, leaving these heavily-indebted "roll-up" companies struggling to service interest payments.

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