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Airbus Reveals Plans For Zero-Emission Aircraft Fueled By Hydrogen

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 09:00
Airbus has announced plans for the world's first zero-emission commercial aircraft models that run on hydrogen and could take to the skies by 2035. The Guardian reports: The European aersospace company revealed three different aircraft concepts that would be put through their paces to find the most efficient way to travel long distances by plane without producing the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global heating. UK holidaymakers and business travellers could fly from London to the Canary Islands, Athens or eastern Europe without producing carbon emissions, should the plans become a commercial reality. All three of the aircraft concepts rely on hydrogen as a fuel because the only emissions produced when it is burned is water vapor, making it a clean fuel option for heavy vehicles such as planes, trains and trucks. The first of the Airbus concepts could carry between 120 and 200 passengers more than 2,000 nautical miles by using a turbofan design that includes a modified gas-turbine engine running on hydrogen, rather than jet fuel, which could be stored in tanks located behind the plane's rear pressure bulkhead. The second concept, a turboprop design, would also use a modified gas engine but could carry up to 100 passengers for 1,000 nautical miles on short-haul trips. The aviation giant's plans also include a plane with an "exceptionally wide" body that blends into the plane's wings to open up multiple options for hydrogen storage and the cabin layout. This plane could carry as many passengers as the turbofan design and travel as far too. [...] Airbus said hydrogen planes would also require airports to install hydrogen transport and refueling infrastructure, and government support to upgrade aircraft fleets to allow airlines to retire their older, less environmentally friendly aircraft sooner than planned.

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Pendragon review - an Arthurian legend of its own

Eurogamer - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 06:00

I only really understood Pendragon after I nearly lost it all. All the heroes I banked my hopes on had died. Lancelot, Morgana le Fey, Aonghas, Gawaine: all dead. How would I save King Arthur now? My story had fallen apart. But instead of giving up, I carried on.

And in doing so the story changed. It became about someone else, an unremarkable villager who survived through it all. Aida "the nervous lady", as the game called her. She made it to Arthur's side against great odds and although she didn't ultimately prevail against Mordred, Arthur's evil son, it didn't matter. It didn't matter because as her epilogue played out before me in a series of milestone events, I realised what truly mattered was the story I told.

Pendragon is the new game from inkle, the small studio behind 80 Days and Heaven's Vault and the Sorcery! adaptations - games which offer playful, nuanced spins on interactive fiction. Pendragon, in essence, is a roguelike in which you're riding to help King Arthur as he prepares for a climactic battle, and you play it on a series of tiled boards strung across a series of maps, each taking place in a different location and moving the narrative onwards.

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Categories: Video Games

Proposal Would Give EU Power To Boot Tech Giants Out of European Market

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The EU wants to arm itself with new powers to take on big technology companies, including the ability to force them to break up or sell some of their European operations if their market dominance is deemed to threaten the interests of customers and smaller rivals. EU Commissioner Thierry Breton told the Financial Times that the proposed remedies, which he said would only be used in extreme circumstances, also include the ability to exclude large tech groups from the single market altogether. In addition, Brussels is considering a rating system that would allow the public and stakeholders to assess companies' behavior in areas such as tax compliance and the speed with which they take down illegal content. "There is a feeling from end users of these platforms that they are too big to care," said Mr. Breton, who is leading the overhaul of digital rules in the bloc. "[Under] certain conditions we may also have the power to impose structural separation." The new EU legislation would increase Brussels' powers to scrutinize the way technology companies gather information on users, following concerns raised by independent researchers that the voluntary disclosures groups make are often misleading or partial. Mr. Breton confirmed that the EU would not remove the limited liability that companies have for the content published on their platforms. "The safe harbor of the liability exemption will stay," he said. "That's something that's accepted by everyone." Mr. Breton said draft legislation will be ready by the end of the year. Proposals are being finalized, and once they are agreed they will go through the European Parliament and the European Council.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Trump Pushes To Reap Biometric Data From Immigrants, Americans

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 04:05
Six million would-be U.S. immigrants face expanded collection of their biometric data, including iris scans, palm-, and voice-prints, facial recognition images, and DNA, under a proposed federal rule. The Department of Homeland Security also for the first time would gather that data from American citizens sponsoring or benefiting from a visa application. Bloomberg Law reports: Years in the making, the biometrics immigration rule has garnered more than 160 comments since its Sept. 11 publication. The 30-day comment period closes on Oct 13. A final version could be in place by Inauguration Day. Immigration and privacy advocates have voiced concerns over who will have to comply with the new requirements, why President Donald Trump is making this push so late in his term, and what it means for a federal agency already claiming a lack of resources. The 300-plus-page plan updates current biometrics requirements so that "any applicant, petitioner, sponsor, beneficiary, or individual filing or associated with an immigration benefit or request, including U.S. citizens, must appear for biometrics collection without regard to age unless the agency waives or exempts the requirement." The DHS estimates an additional 2.17 million new biometrics submissions will be collected annually, an increase from the current 3.9 million, under the rule. The DHS already collects fingerprints from some visa applicants. The new rule would expand that biometrics-gathering to iris images, palm- and voice- prints. The agency wants authority to require or request DNA testing to prove familial relationships where kinship is in question. The DNA data could be stored indefinitely, under the proposed rule. The DHS essentially has until Dec. 20 to review and respond to public comments and draft a final proposal, said Doug Rand, who worked on technology and immigration policy in the Obama White House and then joined the Federation of American Scientists. "They're really running out of time. And the fact that you'd put out a final regulation on such a far-ranging new policy that touches the lives of millions of people, you're opening up to huge legal vulnerability because any plaintiff can point to the comment period of only 30 days."

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Quibi Reportedly Weighs Selling Itself Less Than 6 Months After Launching

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 03:25
According to The Wall Street Journal, the mobile streaming service Quibi is exploring strategic options including a possible sale. "It is also considering raising more money or going public through a merger with a specially formed company that could help it fund deals," adds CNET. From the report: It declined to comment directly on the report, but Quibi said in a statement that it "has successfully launched a new business and pioneered a new form of storytelling and state-of-the-art platform." It added that CEO Meg Whitman and founder Jeffrey Katzenberg "are committed to continuing to build the business in the way that gives the greatest experience for customers, greatest value for shareholders and greatest opportunity for employees."

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Pandemic Accelerated Cord Cutting, Making 2020 the Worst-Ever Year For Pay TV

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 02:45
According to new research from eMarketer, the cable, satellite and telecom TV industry is on track to lose the most subscribers ever. This year, over 6 million U.S. households will cut the cord with pay TV, bringing the total number of cord-cutter households to 31.2 million. TechCrunch reports: The firm says that by 2024, the number will grow even further, reaching 46.6 million total cord-cutter households, or more than a third of all U.S. households that no longer have pay TV. Despite these significant declines, there are still more households that have a pay TV subscription than those that do not. Today, there are 77.6 million U.S. households that have cable, satellite or telecom TV packages. But that number has declined 7.5% year-over-year â" its biggest-ever drop. The figure is also down from pay TV's peak in 2014, the analysts said. The pay TV losses, as you may expect, are due to the growing adoption of streaming services. But if anything, the pandemic has pushed forward the cord-cutting movement's momentum as the health crisis contributed to a down economy and the loss of live sports during the first part of the year. These trends may have also encouraged more consumers to cut the cord than would have otherwise. "Consumers are choosing to cut the cord because of high prices, especially compared with streaming alternatives," said eMarketer forecasting analyst at Insider Intelligence Eric Haggstrom. "The loss of live sports in H1 2020 contributed to further declines. While sports have returned, people will not return to their old cable or satellite plans," he added.

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Major Activision Hack Reportedly Compromises Over 500,000 Call of Duty Players

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 02:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Forbes: According to reports, more than 500,000 Activision accounts may have been hacked with login data being compromised. The eSports site Dexerto has reported that a data breach occurred on Sunday, September 20. The credentials to access these accounts are, Dexerto said, being leaked publicly, and account details changed to prevent easy recovery by the rightful owners. Activision accounts are mostly used by players of the hugely popular Call of Duty franchise. "This is a substantial breach," Martin Jartelius, CSO at Outpost24, said, "in parts, the clean-up will be a large undertaking for Activision, we can only hope backups allow restoring original contact data, resetting access and managing the users who still cannot regain access which should be a smaller group." Changing your password, if you still have access to your account, is vital, as is changing passwords at any other site or service where you use the same password. This should be to something long and strong, the use of a password manager will help you here. Developing...

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Samsung Cancels Developer Conference Due To Ongoing Pandemic

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 01:20
Samsung announced today it has canceled its annual developer conference citing the need to prioritize the safety of its employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. XDA Developers reports: There had been speculation that the South Korean tech giant would axe the show, not just due to the ongoing pandemic but because there isn't much to announce. In previous years, Samsung had used the event to announce updates to its software services like its digital assistant Bixby, but these software additions have never caught on with consumers. There have also been rumblings that Google and Samsung are negotiating a deal to replace many of Samsung's native software apps -- think the Galaxy App store or "Samsung Daily" news feed -- with Google ones.

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Chinese Leaders Split Over Releasing Blacklist of US Companies

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 00:41
Beijing has sped up development of a blacklist that could be used to punish American technology firms, but officials say leaders are hesitating to pull the trigger, with some arguing a decision on the list should wait till after the U.S. election. From a report: The debate highlights Beijing's continued grappling with how to respond to the Trump administration without driving the relationship closer to collapse. So far, the Chinese leadership has tried to respond in kind to Washington's actions but has tried to avoid measures that go beyond those of the U.S. A well-timed strike can sometimes work in Beijing's and Chinese companies' favor. After President Trump's campaign for a U.S. company to take over video-sharing app TikTok, Chinese regulators rolled out new export-control rules that have helped TikTok parent ByteDance set terms that could help it avoid losing control of the platform's U.S. operations or crucial technology. China first announced its plan to create a blacklist of U.S. entities in May 2019, soon after the U.S. restricted telecom giant Huawei Technologies's access to U.S. components and technology. But Beijing refrained from specifying any companies or individuals for the list as both countries' trade negotiators were engaged in the talks that eventually led to the signing of a "phase one" trade agreement in January. As the Trump administration has intensified its attacks on some of China's best-known companies -- also including Tencent Holdings, which runs the WeChat messaging and payments app -- the list has gained urgency. In recent weeks, according to people with knowledge of the matter, an interagency group led by Vice Premier Hu Chunhua, who oversees foreign investment and trade, has stepped up finalization of the "unreliable-entity" list -- China's answer to the U.S.'s list of Chinese entities it is targeting for sanctions.

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New and improved Security Update Guide!

Microsoft Security Response Blog - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 00:24
We’re excited to announce a significant update to the Security Update Guide, our one-stop site for information about all security updates provided by Microsoft. This new version will provide a more intuitive user experience to help protect our customers regardless of what Microsoft products or services they use in their environment. We’ve listened to your feedback and incorporated many …

New and improved Security Update Guide! Read More »

Categories: IT

Facebook Will Let People Claim Ownership of Images and Issue Takedown Requests

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 00:00
Facebook is going to let people take more control over the images they own and where they end up. The Verge reports: In an update to its rights management platform, the company is starting to work with certain partners today to give them the power to claim ownership over images and then moderate where those images show up across the Facebook platform, including on Instagram. The goal is to eventually open this feature up to everyone, as it already does with music and video rights. The company didn't give a timeline on when it hopes to open this up more broadly. Facebook didn't disclose who its partners are, but this could theoretically mean that if a brand like National Geographic uploaded its photos to Facebook's Rights Manager, it could then monitor where they show up, like on other brands' Instagram pages. From there, the company could choose to let the images stay up, issue a takedown, which removes the infringing post entirely, or use a territorial block, meaning the post stays live but isn't viewable in territories where the company's copyright applies. To claim their copyright, the image rights holder uploads a CSV file to Facebook's Rights Manager that contains all the image's metadata. They'll also specify where the copyright applies and can leave certain territories out. Once the manager verifies that the metadata and image match, it'll then process that image and monitor where it shows up. If another person tries to claim ownership of the same image, the two parties can go back and forth a couple times to dispute the claim, and Facebook will eventually yield it to whoever filed first. If they then want to appeal that decision, they can use Facebook's IP reporting forms.

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JRPG classic The World Ends With You's anime adaption gets a new trailer

Eurogamer - Mon, 21/09/2020 - 23:59

Back in June, Square Enix announced its much-loved fighting-and-fashion JRPG, The World Ends With You, would be getting the anime treatment, and now, ahead of its launch next year, the show has received a brand-new trailer.

The World Ends With You: The Animation, as the new anime adaptation is known, takes its narrative lead from the original, wonderfully compelling 2007 Nintendo DS game, beginning when protagonist Neku Sakuraba awakens in Tokyo's fashionable Shibuya district, only to discover that reality has gone decidedly askew.

"Now an unwilling participant in the mysterious 'Reapers' Game'," explains Square Enix's official synopsis (thanks Gematsu), "Neku must partner up with a girl named Shiki in order to survive. Together, they complete missions and defeat monsters known as 'Noise' as they gradually uncover the true nature of this twisted Game."

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Categories: Video Games

iOS 14 Resets iPhone's Default Apps To Apple's Safari and Mail After Reboot

Slashdot - Mon, 21/09/2020 - 23:24
Users have found a major bug in Apple's iOS 14 iPhone software. The free software upgrade, which Apple made publicly available last week, includes features many users had long asked for, such as better ways to organize apps, living programs called widgets on the home screen, and the ability to change which default apps the phone uses to browse the web or send an email. That last one doesn't appear to work. From a report: A growing chorus of Twitter users has been posting about the bug in Apple's default email and default web browser options. What happens is that whenever they set the default browser to Google's Chrome, for example, it works as expected, and tapping any link in an app or browser will open Chrome on the iPhone. But then if they restart the phone, iOS 14 changes that default back to Apple's Safari. "We are aware of an issue that can impact default email and browser settings in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. A fix will be available to users in a software update," Apple said in a statement.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Blizzard announces digital BlizzCon for February 2021

Eurogamer - Mon, 21/09/2020 - 23:12

Blizzard will be holding a digital version of its BlizzCon showcase next February, following the cancellation of its 2020 event as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

A new post on the BlizzCon website confirms next year's digital event - which Blizzard has given the snappy title of BlizzConline - will run from 19th-20th February, and will aim to "channel the spirit of BlizzCon into the form of an online show".

To that end, Blizzard says it will be hosting a special Community Showcase as part of BlizzConline, encompassing a cosplay competition and exhibition, art contest, digital storytelling contest, talent spotlight and more, with submissions for each category now open.

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Categories: Video Games

Gig Economy Company Launches Uber, But For Evicting People

Slashdot - Mon, 21/09/2020 - 22:40
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: SINCE COVID-19 MANY AMERICANS FELL BEHIND IN ALL ASPECTS," reads the website copy. The button below this statement is not for a GoFundMe, or a petition for calling for rent relief. Instead, it is the following call to action, from a company called Civvl: "Be hired as eviction crew." During a time of great economic and general hardship, Civvl aims to be, essentially, Uber, but for evicting people. Seizing on a pandemic-driven nosedive in employment and huge uptick in number-of-people-who-can't-pay-their-rent, Civvl aims to make it easy for landlords to hire process servers and eviction agents as gig workers. Civvl aims to marry the gig economy with the devastation of a pandemic, complete with signature gig startup language like "be your own boss," and "flexible hours," and "looking for self-motivated individuals with positive attitudes:" "FASTEST GROWING MONEY MAKING GIG DUE TO COVID-19," its website says. "Literally thousands of process servers are needed in the coming months due courts being backed up in judgements that needs to be served to defendants." The company, at first glance, appears to be some kind of _Nathan For You-_esque prank: siccing precarious gig jobs onto vulnerable people. But Civvl is connected to a larger -- and real -- gig economy company called OnQall, which describes itself as an app that provides "on-demand task services to non-urban communities beyond main city areas." OnQall is the developer behind other, more believable TaskRabbit-esque apps, like LawnFixr, CleanQwik, and MoveQwik. Given the fact that Civvl is advertising all over the country and that OnQall, though not popular, does exist, it seems as though Civvl actually is an attempt to simplify the process of evicting people who cannot pay their rent during a pandemic.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Nikola Founder Trevor Milton Steps Down as Chairman in Battle With Short Seller

Slashdot - Mon, 21/09/2020 - 22:05
Nikola founder Trevor Milton has stepped down as executive chairman after a short seller accused Milton and the hydrogen and electric truck startup of misleading investors and overstating the value of a business deal. From a report: Milton has also resigned from the company's board, Nikola said in a statement on Sunday. The company has previously denied the allegations and threatened legal action against the research company that made them. Stephen Girsky, a former vice chairman of General Motors (GM) and current board member at Nikola, will take over as chairman, effective immediately. "The focus should be on the company and its world-changing mission, not me. I intend to defend myself against false accusations leveled against me by outside detractors," Milton said in a statement posted on Twitter. As part of the transition agreement that Nikola filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, Milton agreed to revise any references to the positions he held at Nikola on his social media profiles so it's clear he no longer holds them. He also agreed to check with lawyers for Nikola before posting anything about the company. By late Monday morning, Milton had made his Twitter account private, but his LinkedIn account remained public and active.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Earth-Size 'Pi Planet' Rocks a 3.14-Day Orbit

Slashdot - Mon, 21/09/2020 - 21:22
An anonymous reader shares a report: Everyone's favorite mathematical constant has received an inadvertent tribute from the universe. A team led by MIT researchers discovered a distant planet that orbits its star every 3.14 days, mirroring the famous first three digits of pi. MIT described the rocky Earth-sized planet K2-315b as "baking hot" and "likely not habitable" in a statement on Monday. "The planet moves like clockwork," said MIT graduate student Prajwal Niraula, lead author of a paper on the planet published in the Astronomical Journal this week. The team found the exoplanet (a planet located outside our solar system) in data gathered in 2017 by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope K2 mission. The planet-finding telescope was put into a permanent sleep mode in 2018. The researchers confirmed the planet's existence by taking another look with the ground-based Speculoos telescope network. "Speculoos" stands for "Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars." It's also a fun reference to a type of spiced cookie.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

WHO Says No Change To COVID-19 Transmission Guidance After US Draft Change

Slashdot - Mon, 21/09/2020 - 20:45
The World Health Organization has not changed its policy on aerosol transmission of the coronavirus, it said on Monday after U.S. health officials published draft new guidance by mistake warning that it can spread through airborne particles. From a report: Mike Ryan, executive director of the UN agency's emergencies programme, said he would follow up with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the next 24 hours after it said COVID-19 could spread through airborne particles that can remain suspended in the air and travel beyond six feet. "Certainly we haven't seen any new evidence and our position on this remains the same," he said in a briefing. The CDC said a draft version of changes to its recommendations were posted in error on its website while it was in the process of updating its guidance.

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Mozilla WebThings IoT Platform Spun Out As an Independent Open Source Project

Slashdot - Mon, 21/09/2020 - 20:05
tola writes: Following a round of layoffs at Mozilla, their WebThings IoT platform is being spun out as an independent open source project by former employees, with a new commercial sponsor. WebThings is an open platform for monitoring and controlling devices over the web, built on W3C Web of Things standards. It includes WebThings Gateway which is a software distribution for smart home gateways focused on privacy, security and interoperability and the WebThings Framework which is a collection of re-usable software components to help developers build their own web things. The project will be renamed from "Mozilla WebThings" to "WebThings" and will move to a new home at https://webthings.io/ Users will be able to opt-in to receive software updates from the new community run update servers and be offered the opportunity to transition to a replacement remote tunnelling service before Mozilla servers are shut down at the end of the year.

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GNOME Gets New Versioning Scheme

Slashdot - Mon, 21/09/2020 - 19:21
AmiMoJo writes: The GNOME 3 desktop environment was officially released in 2011, and in 2020 we are still on version 3.x. Yeah, despite many massive changes over the last (almost) decade, we have been stuck with point releases for GNOME 3. For instance, just last week, GNOME 3.38 was released. Historically, the stable releases all ended in even numbers, with pre-release versions ending in odd. For fans of the DE, such as yours truly, we have simply learned to live with this odd versioning scheme. Well, folks, with the next version of GNOME, the developers have finally decided to move on from version 3.x. You are probably thinking the new version will be 4.0, but you'd be very wrong. Actually, following GNOME3.38 will be GNOME 40. "After nearly 10 years of 3.x releases, the minor version number is getting unwieldy. It is also exceedingly clear that we're not going to bump the major version because of technological changes in the core platform, like we did for GNOME 2 and 3, and then piling on a major UX change on top of that. Radical technological and design changes are too disruptive for maintainers, users, and developers; we have become pretty good at iterating design and technologies, to the point that the current GNOME platform, UI, and UX are fairly different from what was released with GNOME 3.0, while still following the same design tenets," says Emmanuele Bassi, The GNOME Foundation.

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