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Facebook Backpedals From Its Original Ambitious Vision for Libra

Slashdot - Sat, 20/07/2019 - 16:34
An anonymous reader quotes Ars Technica: David Marcus, the head of Facebook's new Calibra payments division, appeared before two hostile congressional committees this week with a simple message: Facebook knows policymakers are concerned about Libra, and Facebook won't move forward with the project until their concerns are addressed. While he didn't say so explicitly, Marcus' comments at hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday represented a dramatic shift in Facebook's conception of Libra. In Facebook's original vision, Libra would be an open and largely decentralized network, akin to Bitcoin. The core network would be beyond the reach of regulators. Regulatory compliance would be the responsibility of exchanges, wallets, and other services that are the "on ramps and off ramps" to the Libra ecosystem. Facebook now seems to recognize its original vision was a non-starter with regulators. So this week Marcus sketched out a new vision for Libra -- one in which the Libra Association will shoulder significant responsibility for ensuring compliance with laws relating to money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes... [T]here's a pretty fundamental tradeoff between network openness and effective enforcement of regulations governing payment networks. If the Libra Association doesn't have a way to enforce compliance by wallet providers, criminals are likely to flock to wallet services that don't strictly enforce the rules -- or to download open source wallet software and use non-custodial accounts. But if the Libra Association does have a mechanism for forcing compliance, that inherently raises the bar for entering the market and makes the Libra network look more like conventional financial networks -- with all the red tape that entails. This could be particularly harmful for marginalized people in developing countries, since developers in those markets will have the fewest resources to jump through regulatory hoops.

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Employers Are Mining the Data Their Workers Generate To Figure Out What They're Up To, and With Whom

Slashdot - Sat, 20/07/2019 - 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal: To be an employee of a large company in the U.S. now often means becoming a workforce data generator -- from the first email sent from bed in the morning to the Wi-Fi hotspot used during lunch to the new business contact added before going home. Employers are parsing those interactions to learn who is influential, which teams are most productive and who is a flight risk. Companies, which have wide legal latitude in the U.S. to monitor workers, don't always tell them what they are tracking. [...] It's not just emails that are being tallied and analyzed. Companies are increasingly sifting through texts, Slack chats and, in some cases, recorded and transcribed phone calls on mobile devices. Microsoft Corp. tallies data on the frequency of chats, emails and meetings between its staff and clients using its own Office 365 services to measure employee productivity, management efficacy and work-life balance. Tracking the email, chats and calendar appointments can paint a picture of how employees spend an average of 20 hours of their work time each week, says Natalie McCollough, a general manager at Microsoft who focuses on workplace analytics. The company only allows managers to look at groups of five or more workers. Advocates of using surveillance technology in the workplace say the insights allow companies to better allocate resources, spot problem employees earlier and suss out high performers. Critics warn that the proliferating tools may not be nuanced enough to result in fair, equitable judgments. The report says that "U.S. employers are legally entitled to access any communications or intellectual property created in the workplace or on devices they pay for that employees use for work." Companies are getting smarter by analyzing phone calls and conference room conversations. "In some cases, tonal analysis can help diagnose culture issues on a team, showing who dominates conversations, who demurs and who resists efforts to engage in emotional discussions," the report says.

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Largest Hybrid Electric Plane Set To Take Flight

Slashdot - Sat, 20/07/2019 - 12:00
Ampair, a Los Angeles clean tech company in my neck of the woods, is set to begin accepting orders for a hybrid electric aircraft at the EAA AirVenture airshow in Wisconsin next week. Dubbed the EEL, the aircraft is in fact a retrofit of a Cessna 337, an aircraft that has a forward-mounted prop engine that pulls and a rear-mounted prop engine that pushes. Ampair's retrofit will replace one of those internal combustion engines with an electric motor powered by batteries. ZDNet reports: Ampair believes hybrid power may be a stopgap, providing fuel savings while still retaining many of the benefits of an internal combustion drivetrain. "The Ampaire Electric EEL is the first step in bringing lower emissions, lower-operating costs, and quieter operations to general aviation through electrification," according to the company's CEO Kevin Noertker. "The original Cessna 337 provided great utility, and this hybrid electric conversion retains those advantages while reducing fuel cost and maintenance by about 50 percent." The EEL is now undergoing a 30 month test program, which began in June. One of the tests will be demonstrating reliable single-engine climbs on each powerplant. Ampair expects the aircraft to be certified by 2021. Ampair's EEL aircraft will seat four or six passengers. The company says the aircraft cost will be competitive with comparable piston twins.

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The real purpose of escape rooms

Eurogamer - Sat, 20/07/2019 - 09:00

Being locked in a room never sounds terribly fun. Let alone paying for the privilege. Despite this, there's currently a huge spate of experiences designed to test your ability to find keys hidden in some skeleton's chest cavity: escape rooms.

The only times I can remember being locked in a room occurred when I was young, and my dad put a bolt on the top of the door of my room when I flat-out refused to stay in there when I was being punished. It feels odd to think of locking a kid in a room now; it seems like a different time, or a horror movie plot device. We've moved on from smacking, and parents don't even bother to cook Brussels sprouts any more, perhaps because the only way you can get adults to contemplate putting them in their mouths is if there is almost as much thick cut bacon as there is, er, Brussels. Or if they're those chocolate ones they sometimes have at M&S cash registers over Xmas.

I digress.

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Quantum Leap From Australian Research Promises Super-Fast Computing Power

Slashdot - Sat, 20/07/2019 - 08:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Simmons, a former Australian of the Year, and her team at the University of New South Wales announced in a paper published in Nature journal on Thursday that they have been able to achieve the first two-qubit gate between atom qubits in silicon, allowing them to communicate with each other at a 200 times faster rate than previously achieved at 0.8 nanoseconds. A two-qubit gate operates like a logic gate in traditional computing, and the team at UNSW was able to achieve the faster operation by putting the two atom qubits closer together than ever before -- just 13 nanometers -- and in real-time controllably observing and measuring their spin states. A scanning tunneling microscope was used to place the atoms in silicon after the optimal distance between the two qubits had been worked out. The research has been two decades in the making, after researchers in Australia opted to build a quantum computer on silicon material.

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Professor Patrick Winston, Former Director of MIT's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Dies At 76

Slashdot - Sat, 20/07/2019 - 05:30
Patrick Winston, a beloved professor and computer scientist at MIT, died on July 19 at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He was 76. MIT News reports: A professor at MIT for almost 50 years, Winston was director of MIT's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory from 1972 to 1997 before it merged with the Laboratory for Computer Science to become MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). A devoted teacher and cherished colleague, Winston led CSAIL's Genesis Group, which focused on developing AI systems that have human-like intelligence, including the ability to tell, perceive, and comprehend stories. He believed that such work could help illuminate aspects of human intelligence that scientists don't yet understand. He was renowned for his accessible and informative lectures, and gave a hugely popular talk every year during the Independent Activities Period called "How to Speak." Winston's dedication to teaching earned him many accolades over the years, including the Baker Award, the Eta Kappa Nu Teaching Award, and the Graduate Student Council Teaching Award.

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James Bond Was Going To Fight Robot Sharks With Nukes In New York's Sewers

Slashdot - Sat, 20/07/2019 - 04:03
dryriver writes: The line "sharks with fricking lasers" was once popular on Slashdot. It sounds like a joke, but a never-made James Bond movie co-written back in the day by Sean Connery was actually going to feature robotic sharks carrying stolen NATO nukes in order to attack New York. Bond was going to stop the sharks inside the New York sewer system, waterski out of the sewers, paraglide up to the Statue of Liberty's head, then fight a Bond villain inside said head, with the villain's "blood trickling out of the Statue of Liberty's eye like tears" at the end of the fight. All this was going to happen without the consent of Cubby Broccoli, the official producer of the Bond movies. Why did the movie never get made? The producers of competing Bond movies were fighting in court over who has what rights to the franchise and characters. In the end, "Bond fights robot sharks with nukes" was scrapped, and "Never Say Never Again," a remake of "Thunderball," was made instead. This featured stolen nukes as well, but unfortunately no robot sharks or other "Austin Powers" style silliness.

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A California Bill Could Destroy Uber's Unsustainable Business Model

Slashdot - Sat, 20/07/2019 - 03:25
Last week, the California Senate's Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee held a hearing and passed Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), which promises to make it harder for companies to claim workers are independent contractors and increase the operating expenses of Uber, Lyft, and other on-demand companies that already find themselves unable to turn a profit. Motherboard reports: Written by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzelez (D-San Diego), AB5 codifies the California Supreme Court's unanimous May 2018 ruling in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles where an "ABC test" was introduced to determine whether a worker was an employee or an independent contractor. Individuals with sufficient control over how and when they did their work are independent contractors, while workers without much control are employees. While AB5 easily passed in the Assembly this May, 53-11, it has a long and ugly fight ahead of as it must pass multiple votes in the Senate then be signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. Each step of the way is an opportunity for companies like Uber and Lyft to intervene and extract concessions. Uber has never made a profit and has actually lost over $14 billion in the last four years alone. In the prospectus, Uber insists that these five major metropolitan markets are essential to its path to profitability. In reality, what Uber actually relies on is the $20 billion in funding raised over the past decade and the $8 billion in new investments after going public in May. This investor welfare covers the cost of low prices that render each rideshare trip unprofitable, of driver incentives to combat the high turnover rate of drivers, and of promotions used to drive up demand. Equity research analysts at Barclays project Uber is on track to lose $3.9 billion in 2019 and if AB5 were passed, it would cost the company upwards of an additional $500 million. A drop in the bucket. But if AB5 were to become law and other states follow California's example and pass similar laws, it could constrict these companies' already narrow paths to profitability.

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New York Signs Biggest Offshore Wind Project Deal In the Nation

Slashdot - Sat, 20/07/2019 - 02:45
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: New York has signed the biggest-ever deals for offshore wind power in U.S. history, a key part of the state's plan to get all of its power from emissions-free sources by 2040. On Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo awarded contracts for two projects off Long Island that will total 1,700 megawatts in capacity. Equinor ASA and a joint venture between Denmark's Orsted A/S and Massachusetts-based Eversource Energy were chosen to build the farms, which will supply enough power to light up a million homes. Cuomo is counting on the wind projects to achieve the most aggressive clean energy goal in the U.S., and signed the state's 100% renewable energy target into law right after announcing the wind contracts. New York's ultimate plan is to get enough turbines erected off its shores to generate 9,000 megawatts by 2035. The contracted wind farms will be completed by 2024, he said. Based on cost estimates from BloombergNEF, the projects may be valued at more than $5 billion.

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Alaska's Engineering Colleges Prepare To Slash Programs, Lay Off Faculty

Slashdot - Sat, 20/07/2019 - 02:25
In response to Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy's dramatic budget cuts to the state's only public institution of higher education, the University of Alaska's engineering colleges in Fairbanks and Anchorage are preparing to cut faculty members and slash a number of programs. "Dozens of engineering faculty, researchers, and staff could see their positions eliminated, and even tenured faculty members could lose their jobs. Students may not be able to finish their degrees in the programs or locations in which they started," reports IEEE Spectrum. "Many engineering students have already lost merit-based scholarships promised to them via the Alaska Performance Scholarship program." From the report: On 28 June, Gov. Dunleavy vetoed US $130 million in state funding for the University of Alaska system for the fiscal year that began on 1 July -- a step he said was necessary to contend with the state's $1.6 billion budget deficit, inflicted in large part by sluggish oil prices. Those cuts came on top of a $5 million reduction proposed by Alaska's legislature. Overall, state funding for the University of Alaska has been reduced by $136 million [PDF], or 41 percent, for the fiscal year that began 1 July. That translates to a 17 percent reduction to the University of Alaska's total operating budget. Citing reputational damage caused by these cuts, the University of Alaska's Board of Regents expects tuition, grant funding, and charitable donations to also drop, adding to a total loss of more than $200 million [PDF] in funding for the current fiscal year. The University of Alaska is now widely expected to declare financial exigency [PDF], an emergency status that would allow administrators to take extreme measures to reduce costs by closing campuses, slashing salaries and programs, or laying off tenured faculty. However, closing the university's flagship Fairbanks campus would still not be enough to cover the shortfall. In response to budget cuts in previous years, the university has already suspended or discontinued more than 50 degree programs and certificates, including its MS in Engineering Management program.

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Emotion-Detection Applications Are Built On Outdated Science, Report Warns

Slashdot - Sat, 20/07/2019 - 02:03
maiden_taiwan writes: Can computers determine your emotional state from your face? A panel of senior scientists with backgrounds in neuroscience, psychology, computer science, electrical engineering, biology, anthropology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and public affairs spent two years reviewing over 1,000 research papers on the topic. Two years later, they have published the most comprehensive analysis to date and concluded: "It is not possible to confidently infer happiness from a smile, anger from a scowl, or sadness from a frown, as much of current technology tries to do when applying what are mistakenly believed to be the scientific facts.... [How] people communicate anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise varies substantially across cultures, situations, and even across people within a single situation." Neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett, author of the book How Emotions are Made and behind a popular TED talk on emotion, who was an author on the paper, further elaborates: "People scowl when angry, on average, approximately 25 percent of the time, but they move their faces in other meaningful ways when angry. They might cry, or smile, or widen their eyes and gasp. And they also scowl when not angry, such as when they are concentrating or when they have a stomach ache. Similarly, most smiles don't imply that a person is happy, and most of the time people who are happy do something other than smile." The American Civil Liberties Union has also commented on the impact of the study. "This paper is significant because an entire industry of automated purported emotion-reading technologies is quickly emerging," writes the ACLU. "As we wrote in our recent paper on 'Robot Surveillance,' the market for emotion recognition software is forecast to reach at least $3.8 billion by 2025. Emotion recognition (aka 'affect recognition' or 'affective computing') is already being incorporated into products for purposes such as marketing, robotics, driver safety, and (as we recently wrote about) audio 'aggression detectors.'"

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Netflix's "very adult" Witcher television adaptation gets its first trailer

Eurogamer - Sat, 20/07/2019 - 01:26

After months of teasing, cast announcements, and costume reveals, Netflix's television adaption of Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher novels has received its first trailer, giving fans the best indication yet of what to expect from the finished article.

As you'd imagine, the new trailer - rather modestly described as a "teaser", despite being almost two minutes long - offers a decent slice of The Witcher's principal characters in action, meaning the internet will no doubt soon be alive with debate on whether Henry Cavill (as Geralt of Rivia), Anya Chalotra (as Yennefer) and Freya Allan (as Ciri) are up to the task.

As someone with only limited experience of the characters in either their game or book forms, I couldn't possibly speak to the authenticity of their portrayals, but the atmospheric trailer certainly looks the part, sporting the kind of lavish production you'd expect from Netflix - and would certainly want in order to do justice to The Witcher's epic fantasy spectacle.

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QuickBooks Cloud Hosting Firm iNSYNQ Hit In Ransomware Attack

Slashdot - Sat, 20/07/2019 - 01:20
Cloud hosting provider iNSYNQ says it was hit with a ransomware attack that shut down its network and left customers unable to access their accounting data for the past three days. "Unfortunately for iNSYNQ, the company appears to be turning a deaf ear to the increasingly anxious cries from its users for more information about the incident," reports Krebs On Security." From the report: Gig Harbor, Wash.-based iNSYNQ specializes in providing cloud-based QuickBooks accounting software and services. In a statement posted to its status page, iNSYNQ said it experienced a ransomware attack on July 16, and took its network offline in a bid to contain the spread of the malware. "The attack impacted data belonging to certain iNSYNQ clients, rendering such data inaccessible,"; the company said. "As soon as iNSYNQ discovered the attack, iNSYNQ took steps to contain it. This included turning off some servers in the iNSYNQ environment." iNSYNQ said it has engaged outside cybersecurity assistance and to determine whether any customer data was accessed without authorization, but that so far it has no estimate for when those files might be available again to customers.

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Chrome 76 Prevents NYT and Other News Sites From Detecting Incognito Mode

Slashdot - Sat, 20/07/2019 - 00:40
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Google Chrome 76 will close a loophole that websites use to detect when people use the browser's Incognito Mode. Over the past couple of years, you may have noticed some websites preventing you from reading articles while using a browser's private mode. The Boston Globe began doing this in 2017, requiring people to log in to paid subscriber accounts in order to read in private mode. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and other newspapers impose identical restrictions. Chrome 76 -- which is in beta now and is scheduled to hit the stable channel on July 30 -- prevents these websites from discovering that you're in private mode. Google explained the change yesterday in a blog post titled, "Protecting private browsing in Chrome." Google wrote: "Today, some sites use an unintended loophole to detect when people are browsing in Incognito Mode. Chrome's FileSystem API is disabled in Incognito Mode to avoid leaving traces of activity on someone's device. Sites can check for the availability of the FileSystem API and, if they receive an error message, determine that a private session is occurring and give the user a different experience. With the release of Chrome 76 scheduled for July 30, the behavior of the FileSystem API will be modified to remedy this method of Incognito Mode detection." If websites find new loopholes to detect private mode, Google said they will close those, too. "Chrome will likewise work to remedy any other current or future means of Incognito Mode detection," Google's blog post said.

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Smart Money Said 'Skip Bitcoin, Bet on Blockchain.' Not Any More

Slashdot - Sat, 20/07/2019 - 00:05
As cryptocurrency prices tumbled across the board last year, venture capitalists focused their attention on the promise of the underlying technology, the ledger known as blockchain. That, many said, was the smarter bet. Now, the tables have turned. From a report: While Bitcoin's price has rebounded this year, a fresh batch of data shows the flow of cash into blockchain startups dropped dramatically. So far, traditional venture capital investments in blockchain companies have totaled $784 million via 227 deals, according to CB Insights. At that pace, businesses focusing on that technology may only draw $1.6 billion this year, down roughly 60% from a record $4.1 billion in 2018, the research firm said. Money coming from corporations is on "an even sharper decline," despite interest from companies such as Facebook in creating their own digital coins, CB Insights said. Maturing startups are drawing less support, while young startups are faring better, it said.

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Arctic Summer Melt Shows Ice Is Disappearing Faster Than Normal

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 23:26
Ice covering the Arctic Ocean reached the second-lowest level recorded for this time of year after July temperatures spiked in areas around the North Pole. From a report: The rate of ice loss in the region is a crucial indicator for the world's climate and a closely-watched metric by bordering nations jostling for resources and trade routes. This month's melt is tracking close to the record set in July 2012, the Colorado-based National Snow & Ice Data Center said in a statement. This year's heatwave in the Arctic Circle has led to record temperatures in areas of Alaska, Canada and Greenland, extending long-term trends of more ice disappearing. Ice flows are melting faster than average rates observed over the last three decades, losing an additional 20,000 square kilometers (12,427 miles) of cover per day -- an area about the size of Wales. Ice begins melting in the Arctic as spring approaches in the northern hemisphere, and then it usually starts building again toward the end of September as the days grow shorter and cooler. The U.K.'s Met Office said that the chance of a record low by September "is higher than it has been in the previous few years." This summer, several dramatic images showing the pace and extent of Arctic ice melt have been seen around the world underlining the harsh reality of global warming and the struggle governments face in trying to slow it down. Globally, June was the hottest year on record, according to the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service.

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City builder Anno 1800's sizeable Sunken Treasure DLC expansion out this month

Eurogamer - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 23:12

Acclaimed Industrial Revolution city builder, Anno 1800, gets its first paid DLC expansion this month in the form of Sunken Treasure, and developer Blue Byte has detailed the new activities, including shipwreck hunting and crafting, it will bring when it arrives on 30th July.

Sunken Treasure, which can be purchased individually or part of Anno 1880's season pass, introduces a new, six-hour storyline with "dozens" of new quests - accessible as soon as players reach the 700 artisans milestone - and a new continental session known as Cape Trelawney.

Trelawney's primary new landmass (which is joined by small, medium, and large islands) is packed with fertile earth and resources, and is three times the size of Anno 1800's current largest island. Blue Byte says it's been designed specifically, at the behest of the community, to deliver a more sandbox-like space that enables players to experiment more liberally, free from the space and resource restrictions of existing locations, as they build a prosperous metropolis.

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My Browser, the Spy: How Extensions Slurped Up Browsing Histories From 4M Users

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 22:45
Dan Goodin, reporting for ArsTechnica: When we use browsers to make medical appointments, share tax returns with accountants, or access corporate intranets, we usually trust that the pages we access will remain private. DataSpii, a newly documented privacy issue in which millions of people's browsing histories have been collected and exposed, shows just how much about us is revealed when that assumption is turned on its head. DataSpii begins with browser extensions -- available mostly for Chrome but in more limited cases for Firefox as well -- that, by Google's account, had as many as 4.1 million users. These extensions collected the URLs, webpage titles, and in some cases the embedded hyperlinks of every page that the browser user visited. Most of these collected Web histories were then published by a fee-based service called Nacho Analytics, which markets itself as "God mode for the Internet" and uses the tag line "See Anyone's Analytics Account." Web histories may not sound especially sensitive, but a subset of the published links led to pages that are not protected by passwords -- but only by a hard-to-guess sequence of characters (called tokens) included in the URL. Thus, the published links could allow viewers to access the content at these pages. (Security practitioners have long discouraged the publishing of sensitive information on pages that aren't password protected, but the practice remains widespread.) Further reading: More on DataSpii: How extensions hide their data grabs -- and how they're discovered.

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A Rust-Based TLS Library Outperformed OpenSSL in Almost Every Category

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 22:05
A tiny and relatively unknown TLS library written in Rust, an up-and-coming programming language, outperformed the industry-standard OpenSSL in almost every major category. From a report: The findings are the result of a recent four-part series of benchmarks carried out by Joseph Birr-Pixton, the developer behind the Rustls library. The findings showed that Rustls was 10% faster when setting up and negotiating a new server connection, and between 20 and 40% faster when setting up a client connection. But while handshake speeds for new TLS connections are important, most TLS traffic relies on resuming previously negotiated handshakes. Here, too, Rustls outperformed the aging OpenSSL, being between 10 and 20% in resuming a connection on the server-side, and being between 30 and 70% quicker to resume a client connection. Furthermore, Rustls also fared better in sheer bulk performance -- or the speed at which data is transferred over the TLS connection. Birr-Pixton said Rustls could send data 15% faster than OpenSSL, and receive it 5% faster as well.

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Researchers Have Teamed Up in India To Build a Gigantic Store of Texts and Images Extracted From 73M Journal Articles

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 21:25
A giant data store quietly being built in India could free vast swathes of science for computer analysis -- but whether it is a legal pursuit remains unclear. From a report: Carl Malamud is on a crusade to liberate information locked up behind paywalls -- and his campaigns have scored many victories. He has spent decades publishing copyrighted legal documents, from building codes to court records, and then arguing that such texts represent public-domain law that ought to be available to any citizen online. Sometimes, he has won those arguments in court. Now, the 60-year-old American technologist is turning his sights on a new objective: freeing paywalled scientific literature. And he thinks he has a legal way to do it. Over the past year, Malamud has -- without asking publishers -- teamed up with Indian researchers to build a gigantic store of text and images extracted from 73 million journal articles dating from 1847 up to the present day. The cache, which is still being created, will be kept on a 576-terabyte storage facility at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi. "This is not every journal article ever written, but it's a lot," Malamud says. It's comparable to the size of the core collection in the Web of Science database, for instance. Malamud and his JNU collaborator, bioinformatician Andrew Lynn, call their facility the JNU data depot. No one will be allowed to read or download work from the repository, because that would breach publishers' copyright. Instead, Malamud envisages, researchers could crawl over its text and data with computer software, scanning through the world's scientific literature to pull out insights without actually reading the text. The unprecedented project is generating much excitement because it could, for the first time, open up vast swathes of the paywalled literature for easy computerized analysis. Dozens of research groups already mine papers to build databases of genes and chemicals, map associations between proteins and diseases, and generate useful scientific hypotheses. But publishers control -- and often limit -- the speed and scope of such projects, which typically confine themselves to abstracts, not full text. Researchers in India, the United States and the United Kingdom are already making plans to use the JNU store instead. Malamud and Lynn have held workshops at Indian government laboratories and universities to explain the idea. "We bring in professors and explain what we are doing. They get all excited and they say, 'Oh gosh, this is wonderful'," says Malamud. But the depot's legal status isn't yet clear. Malamud, who contacted several intellectual-property (IP) lawyers before starting work on the depot, hopes to avoid a lawsuit.

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