Latest News

Last updated 25 Mar, 05:40 AM

BBC News - Home

Trump blames Democrats for failed healthcare bill - US President Donald Trump suffers a major setback as his healthcare bill is withdrawn from Congress.

London attack: Police appeal for information on Khalid Masood - Police seek the public's help in establishing if Westminster attacker Khalid Masood acted alone.

UN fears 200 died in coalition airstrike on Mosul - The UN looks into reports that 200 people, mostly civilians, died in an air strike in the past week.

Brexit 'clears way' for German domination claims Heseltine - Germany "lost" World War Two but is now being helped to "win the peace", veteran Tory politician says.

Red Nose Day 2017 raises £71m for Comic Relief - The cast of Love Actually, Mrs Brown and Ed Sheeran persuade viewers to part with cash for charity.

The Register

Ever visited a land now under Islamic State rule? And you want to see America? Hand over that Facebook, Twitter, pal - Uncle Sam turns up the heat on visa hopefuls US embassies have been told to examine social media accounts of visa applicants who have ever set foot in Islamic-State-controlled areas.…

After London attack, UK gov lays into Facebook, Google for not killing extremist terror pages - PM's spokesman and foreign secretary wave warning finger In the wake of a terror attack in the heart of London this week that left five dead, the UK government has turned its ire onto online companies – including Google and Facebook – for not doing enough to remove extremist webpages and other content from their services.…

'Windows 10 destroyed our data!' Microsoft hauled into US court - 'Dodgy' unwanted operating system update sparks potential class-action lawsuit Updated Three people in Illinois have filed a lawsuit against Microsoft, claiming that its Windows 10 update destroyed their data and damaged their computers.…

Pure Silicon Valley: Medium asks $5 a month for absolutely nothing - Think of it as being your own mini-VC without shares Analysis Silicon Valley prides itself on disrupting industries – but it has bitten off more than it can chew by trying to take on an already highly competitive market suffering from major money woes.…

GiftGhostBot scares up victims' gift-card cash with brute-force attacks - Software nasty can burn through 1.7 million account numbers per hour Cybercrooks are using a bot to automate the process of breaking into and draining online gift card accounts.…

New Scientist - News

Atomic clocks make best measurement yet of relativity of time - Einstein's relativity has survived another test, carried out using a network of synchronised atomic clocks in three European cities

Special glasses give people superhuman colour vision - A pair of spectacles filter light to trick the eyes into seeing colour differently, letting people distinguish between hues that look the same but aren't

Stray supermassive black hole flung away by gravitational waves - The Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a one-billion solar mass black hole fleeing its galaxy, showing supermassive black holes can probably merge

Virtual lemonade sends colour and taste to a glass of water - A tumbler that makes water look and taste like lemonade using LED lights and electrodes could allow people to share drinks on social media

Maths explains how pedestrians avoid bumping into one another - A model that takes into account sudden U-turns and other random behaviour by individuals in a crowd could be used to help prevent stampedes

Hacker News

APFS does not normalise unicode filenames - Comments

The Night Watch (James Mickens on Systems Programming) [pdf] - Comments

10,000 Games projects have been successfully funded on Kickstarter - Comments

Alpaca – Functional programming inspired by ML for the Erlang VM - Comments

Pythagorean Theorem proof in a 2100 year old Chinese book - Comments

Slashdot

Why You Should Care About the Supreme Court Case On Toner Cartridges - rmdingler quotes a report from Consumerist: A corporate squabble over printer toner cartridges doesn't sound particularly glamorous, and the phrase "patent exhaustion" is probably already causing your eyes to glaze over. However, these otherwise boring topics are the crux of a Supreme Court case that will answer a question with far-reaching impact for all consumers: Can a company that sold you something use its patent on that product to control how you choose to use after you buy it? The case in question is Impression Products, Inc v Lexmark International, Inc, came before the nation's highest court on Tuesday. Here's the background: Lexmark makes printers. Printers need toner in order to print, and Lexmark also happens to sell toner. Then there's Impression Products, a third-party company makes and refills toner cartridges for use in printers, including Lexmark's. Lexmark, however, doesn't want that; if you use third-party toner cartridges, that's money that Lexmark doesn't make. So it sued, which brings us to the legal chain that ended up at the Supreme Court. In an effort to keep others from getting a piece of that sweet toner revenue, Lexmark turned to its patents: The company began selling printer cartridges with a notice on the package forbidding reuse or transfer to third parties. Then, when a third-party -- like Impression -- came around reselling or recycling the cartridges, Lexmark could accuse them of patent infringement. So far the courts have sided with Lexmark, ruling that Impression was using Lexmark's patented technology in an unauthorized way. The Supreme Court is Impression's last avenue of appeal. The question before the Supreme Court isn't one of "can Lexmark patent this?" Because Lexmark can, and has. The question is, rather: Can patent exhaustion still be a thing, or does the original manufacturer get to keep having the final say in what you and others can do with the product? Kate Cox notes via Consumerist that the Supreme Court ruling is still likely months away. However, she has provided a link to the transcript of this week's oral arguments (PDF) in her report and has dissected it to see which way the justices are leaning on the issue. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

'Moore's Law' For Carbon Would Defeat Global Warming - An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: A streamlined set of goals for reducing carbon emissions could simplify the way nations approach the quest to reduce human impact on the planet. A group of European researchers have a refreshingly straightforward solution that they call a carbon law -- or, as the Guardian has coined it, a "Moore's law for carbon." The overarching goal is simple: globally, we must halve carbon dioxide emissions every decade. That's essentially it. The rule would ideally be applied "to all sectors and countries at all scales," and would encourage "bold action in the short term." Dramatic changes would naturally have to occur as a result -- from quick wins like carbon taxes and energy efficiency regulations, to longer-term policies like phasing out combustion-engine cars and carbon-neutral building regulations. If policy makers followed the carbon law, adoption of renewables would continue its current pace of doubling energy production every 5.5 years, and carbon dioxide sequestration technologies would need to ramp up in order for the the planet to reach net-zero emissions by the middle of the century, say the researchers. Along the way, coal use would end as soon as 2030 and oil use by 2040. There are, clearly, issues with the idea, not least being the prospect of convincing every nation to commit to such a vision. The very simplicity that makes the idea compelling can also be used as a point of criticism: Can such a basic rule ever hope to define practical ideas as to how to change the world's energy production and consumption? The study has been published in the journal Science. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft Delivers Secure China-Only Cut of Windows 10 - Earlier this week, CEO of Microsoft Greater China, Alain Crozier, told China Daily that the company is ready to roll out a version of Windows 10 with extra security features demanded by China's government. "We have already developed the first version of the Windows 10 government secure system. It has been tested by three large enterprise customers," Crozier said. The Register reports: China used Edward Snowden's revelations to question whether western technology products could compromise its security. Policy responses included source code reviews for foreign vendors and requiring Chinese buyers to shop from an approved list of products. Microsoft, IBM and Intel all refused to submit source code for inspection, but Redmond and Big Blue have found other ways to get their code into China. IBM's route is a partnership with Dalian Wanda to bring its cloud behind the Great Firewall. Microsoft last year revealed its intention to build a version of Windows 10 for Chinese government users in partnership with state-owned company China Electronics Technology Group Corp. There's no reason to believe Crozier's remarks are incorrect, because Microsoft has a massive incentive to deliver a version of Windows 10 that China's government will accept. To understand why, consider that China's military has over two million active service personnel, the nation's railways employ similar numbers and Microsoft's partner China Electronics Technology Group Corp has more than 140,000 people on its books. Not all of those are going to need Windows, but plenty will. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

US Scientists Launch World's Biggest Solar Geoengineering Study - In what will be the world's biggest solar geoengineering program to date, U.S. scientists part of the $20 million Harvard University project are going to send aerosol injections 20km (~12.4 miles) into the earth's stratosphere "to establish whether the technology can safely simulate the atmospheric cooling effects of a volcanic eruption," The Guardian reports. From the report: Scientists hope to complete two small-scale dispersals of first water and then calcium carbonate particles by 2022. Future tests could involve seeding the sky with aluminum oxide -- or even diamonds. Janos Pasztor, Ban Ki-moon's assistant climate chief at the UN who now leads a geoengineering governance initiative, said that the Harvard scientists would only disperse minimal amounts of compounds in their tests, under strict university controls. Geoengineering advocates stress that any attempt at a solar tech fix is years away and should be viewed as a compliment to -- not a substitute for -- aggressive emissions reductions action. But the Harvard team, in a promotional video for the project, suggest a redirection of one percent of current climate mitigation funds to geoengineering research, and argue that the planet could be covered with a solar shield for as little as $10 billion a year. Some senior UN climate scientists view such developments with alarm, fearing a cash drain from proven mitigation technologies such as wind and solar energy, to ones carrying the potential for unintended disasters. If lab tests are positive, the experiment would then be replicated with a limestone compound which the researchers believe will neither absorb solar or terrestrial radiation, nor deplete the ozone layer. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Venezuelan Developers Are Using Bitcoin, Rare Pepe Trading Cards To Fight Against a Dismal Economy - According to Crypto Insider, Venezuelan developers have been selling "rare pepes" -- trading cards that contain unique illustrations and photoshops of the character Pepe the Frog. While the trading cards started out as nothing more than a joke, many of them have been traded for thousands of dollars on the Counterparty platform, which is built on top of Bitcoin, and have provided a way for many developers to sustain themselves in Venezuela's poor economy. From the report: The basic idea behind the issuance of rare pepes on top of the Counterparty platform is that it enables scarcity in a digital world. Each rare pepe card is linked to a little bit of bitcoin through a practice known as coin coloring. Whoever owns the private keys associated with the address where the bitcoins that represent a specific rare pepe card is located is the one who owns that particular trading card. Now, a group of developers in Venezuela are building games similar to Hearthstone and Pokemon where the rare pepe trading cards will play an integral role. If you go to rarepepe.party right now, you're mainly presented with a video of what the first game based on the Rare Pepe digital trading cards will look like. The concept is similar to Hearthstone or Magic: The Gathering where players essentially do battle with their opponents via characters on trading cards, which have specific stats and features. In this case, the characters are various rare pepes. With many rare pepes already released (you can view them in the official rare pepe directory), the developers behind Rare Pepe Party are attempting to provide a use case for these new trading cards. While some rare pepe cards already have stats on them, the developer who chatted with Crypto Insider says those stats may not mean much when it's time to play the game. While rare pepes are nothing more than fun and games for much of the developed world, they're a matter of survival in Venezuela. "We're based in Venezuela, and our business has been saved by bitcoin many times," said the developer. The developer claims roughly 80 percent of the offices around the area where Rare Pepe Party is being developed have shut down over the past year. The biggest businesses on their street have also dropped as much as 90 percent of their employees. Read more of this story at Slashdot.