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Last updated 15 May, 05:40 PM

BBC News - Home

Israel-Gaza conflict rages as US envoy visits - Strike on a Gaza refugee camp kills children, and a man dies in a rocket attack in Israel.

Covid: Plea to get the jab in variant hotspot areas - Eligible people in areas where the Indian virus variant is spreading are urged to get vaccinated.

Santander services recovering after problems accessing online accounts - The bank insists no customers will be out of pocket as it works to fix problems accessing accounts.

Teenage girl found in boat drifting for 22 days at sea - Aicha, 17, was one of only three people to survive out of 59 passengers in the boat.

Universal basic income to be tested in Wales - It means adults regardless of income, will be given money to cover essential living costs.

The Register

China says its first Mars rover Zhurong has landed on the Red Planet - 'An important step in our country’s interstellar exploration journey' – state media Updated China's Zhurong rover today touched down on Mars from the Tianwen-1 orbiter, the nation's state media says.…

Google leads Big Tech effort to ensure H-1B spouses can continue working in America - Coalition of 41 organizations oppose labor rule challenge Google is spearheading an effort to save a visa rule that allows the spouses of H-1B visa holders awaiting green cards to work in the US.…

AMD promises to spend $1.6bn on 12nm, 14nm chips from GlobalFoundries - Also wriggles out of exclusivity deal Amid fears the global semiconductor crisis may last until 2023, AMD has opted to extend its purchase agreement with GlobalFoundries, giving it access to a greater proportion of the fabricator's output.…

Audacity's new management hits rewind on telemetry plans following community outrage - Sorry for trying to add it or sorry for cocking up the comms? Amid the smell of burning rubber, the new managers of open-source audio editor Audacity have announced a U-turn on plans to introduce "basic telemetry" into the product.…

Apple's expert witness grilled by Epic over 'frictionless' spending outside the app - How easy would it be for customers to depart the walled garden, legal eagles ask economist Epic Games' lawyers had a chance to put Apple's expert witness through the wringer in the latest from its California bench trial.…

New Scientist - News

Covid-19 news: England proceeds with step 3 despite surging variant - The latest coronavirus news updated every day including coronavirus cases, the latest news, features and interviews from New Scientist and essential information about the covid-19 pandemic

Early signs of Parkinson’s disease could be spotted in the nose - A nasal swab, similar to those used in coronavirus testing, may be able to detect the first signs of Parkinson’s disease by identifying misfolded proteins

Pigs can breathe oxygen via their rectum, so humans probably can too - Piping an oxygen-rich liquid into a pig's rectum can boost their blood oxygen, a step towards doing the same thing in people as a treatment to restore lung function

Astronomers may have found black holes that formed soon after big bang - We have now detected gravitational waves from 47 pairs of black holes smashing together, and nearly a third of them may be strange primordial black holes

Depression and inflammation appear to be linked – but it's unclear why - People with depression have higher levels of inflammation in their bodies than those without, but it is unclear whether this link is purely genetic or also influenced by people's behaviour

Hacker News

Modern Javascript: Everything you missed over the last 10 years (2020) - Comments

I was an astrologer – here's how it really works - Comments

Parsix: Parse Don't Validate - Comments

Cryptoqueen: A woman scammed the world, then vanished (2019) - Comments

Offline-First PWA for Plotly Visualization of CSV via SQLite - Comments


Is Computer History Also a History of Physical Pains? - "Decades before "Zoom fatigue" broke our spirits, the so-called computer revolution brought with it a world of pain previously unknown to humankind," argues Laine Nooney (in a condensed version of a chapter in the 2022 book Abstractions and Embodiments: New Histories of Computing and Society.) Slashdot reader em1ly shares its observation that "There was really no precedent in our history of media interaction for what the combination of sitting and looking at a computer monitor did to the human body..." Forty years later, what started with simple complaints about tired eyes has become commonplace experience for anyone whose work or school life revolves around a screen. The aches and pains of computer use now play an outsized role in our physical (and increasingly, our mental) health, as the demands of remote work force us into constant accommodation. We stretch our wrists and adjust our screens, pour money into monitor arms and ergonomic chairs, even outfit our offices with motorized desks that can follow us from sitting to standing to sitting again. Entire industries have built their profits on our slowly curving backs, while physical therapists and chiropractors do their best to stem a tide of bodily dysfunction that none of us opted into. These are, at best, partial measures, and those who can't afford extensive medical interventions or pricey furniture remain cramped over coffee tables or fashioning makeshift laptop raisers. Our bodies, quite literally, were never meant to work this way... As both desktop computers and networked terminals proliferated in offices, schools, and homes over the 1980s, chronic pain became their unanticipated remainder: wrist pain, vision problems, and back soreness grew exponentially... To consider the history of computing through the lens of computer pain is to center bodies, users, and actions over and above hardware, software, and inventors. This perspective demands computer history to engage with a world beyond the charismatic object of computers themselves, with material culture, with design history, with workplace ethnography, with leisure studies... This is not the history of killer apps, wild hacks, and the coding wizards who stayed up late, but something far quieter and harder to trace, histories as intimate as they are "unhistoric": histories of habit, use, and making do. That pain in your neck, the numbness in your fingers, has a history far more widespread and impactful than any individual computer or computing innovator. No single computer changed the world, but computer pain has changed us all... [T]he next time you experience "tired eyes," wrists tingling, neck cramps, or even the twinge of text neck, let it serve as a denaturalizing reminder that the function of technology has never been to make our lives easier, but only to complicate us in new ways. Computer-related pain, and the astounding efforts humans went to (and continue to, go to), to alleviate it, manage it, and negotiate it, provide one thread through the question of how the computer became personal. The introduction of computers into everyday routines, both at work and at home, was a historic site of vast cultural anxiety around the body. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Russia Races to Beat Tom Cruise and NASA With First Movie Filmed in Space - Which country will shoot the first movie in outer space? Russia is now "in a race with the United States to claim the achievement," reports NBC News. 36-year-old actress Yulia Peresild and 37-year-old director Klim Shepenko will complete Russia's cosmonaut-training program, ultimately taking two of the three seats aboard the October launch of Russia's Soyuz mission to the International Space Station: The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, announced Thursday that it had selected its crew to headline the film, which will be called "Challenge..." Very little is known about the plot, which in many ways seems secondary to the spectacle. When Russia announced the project last year, Konstantin Ernst, the head of Russia's Channel One — which is working with Roscosmos on the film — said that it would not be a science fiction film, but a realistic depiction of near-term space travel. "It's a movie about how a person in no way connected with space exploration, due to various reasons and personal debt, ends up a month later in orbit," Ernst said in a September 2020 interview. "That's all I can tell you...." The decision to fill the October Soyuz flight with a movie crew comes at an uncertain time for Russia's space program... In October, NASA paid for its final flight aboard Soyuz... Russia is now left to look for other means to help subsidize launch costs. One of those obvious sources — beyond funding from the state television network Channel One — is space tourism. Another Soyuz will launch in December, and rather than fill those seats with Russian cosmonauts, Moscow announced Thursday that two Japanese space tourists will take the ride. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Three Students Sue Lambda School Alleging False Advertising - Lambda School -- incubated at Y Combinator -- raised $130 million in venture funding from several investors including Google Ventures. Its original business model involved six-month virtual computer science courses for $30,000, remembers TechCrunch, "with the option of paying for the courses in installments based on a sliding scale that only kicks in after you land a job that makes at least $50,000." But this week three former students "filed lawsuits against the company in California, claiming misleading financial and educational practices." The suits — which are being brought by the nonprofit National Student Legal Defense Network on behalf of Linh Nguyen, Heather Nye and Jonathan Stickrod — go back to a period of between 2018 and 2020, and they focus on four basic claims. First, that Lambda School falsified and misrepresented job placement rates. Second, that Lambda School misrepresented the true nature of its financial interest in student success (specifically, there are question marks over how Lambda handles its Income-Share Agreement contracts and whether it benefits from those). Third, that it misrepresented and concealed a regulatory dispute in California that required the school to cease operations. And fourth, that it enrolled and provided educational services and signed Income-Share Agreement contracts in violation of that order... Some of the issues that are raised in the lawsuits have also been resolved since then. For example, the prominent display of over 80% of students finding jobs can no longer be found on the Lambda site, and in California you no longer get an Income-Share Agreement but a retail installment contract (similar but different). But as is the way of litigation, lawsuits based on past issues from people who were impacted by them when they were still active, are, in many ways, the next logical, unsurprising step. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

'How Lies on Social Media Are Inflaming the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict' - The New York Times reports on misinformation that's further inflaming the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: In a 28-second video, which was posted to Twitter this week by a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip appeared to launch rocket attacks at Israelis from densely populated civilian areas. At least that is what Mr. Netanyahu's spokesman, Ofir Gendelman, said the video portrayed. But his tweet with the footage, which was shared hundreds of times as the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis escalated, was not from Gaza. It was not even from this week. Instead, the video that he shared, which can be found on many YouTube channels and other video-hosting sites, was from 2018. And according to captions on older versions of the video, it showed militants firing rockets not from Gaza but from Syria or Libya. The video was just one piece of misinformation that has circulated on Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media this week about the rising violence between Israelis and Palestinians, as Israeli military ground forces attacked Gaza early on Friday. The false information has included videos, photos and clips of text purported to be from government officials in the region, with posts baselessly claiming early this week that Israeli soldiers had invaded Gaza, or that Palestinian mobs were about to rampage through sleepy Israeli suburbs. The lies have been amplified as they have been shared thousands of times on Twitter and Facebook, spreading to WhatsApp and Telegram groups that have thousands of members, according to an analysis by The New York Times. The effect of the misinformation is potentially deadly, disinformation experts said, inflaming tensions between Israelis and Palestinians when suspicions and distrust have already run high. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Cloudflare Wants To Kill the CAPTCHA - An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: Cloudflare is testing out the possibility of security keys replacing one of the most irritating aspects of web browsing: the CAPTCHA. CAPTCHAs are used to catch out bots that are trawling websites and are often implemented to prevent online services from being abused. "CAPTCHAs are effectively businesses putting friction in front of their users, and as anyone who has managed a high-performing online business will tell you, it's not something you want to do unless you have no choice," Cloudflare says. To highlight the amount of time lost to these tests, Cloudflare said that based on calculations of an average of 32 seconds to complete a CAPTCHA, one test being performed every 10 days, and 4.6 billion internet users worldwide, roughly "500 human years [are] wasted every single day -- just for us to prove our humanity." On Thursday, Cloudflare research engineer Thibault Meunier said in a blog post that the company was "launching an experiment to end this madness" and get rid of CAPTCHAs completely. The means to do so? Using security keys as a way to prove we are human. According to Meunier, Cloudflare is going to start with trusted security keys -- such as the YubiKey range, HyperFIDO keys, and Thetis FIDO U2F keys -- and use these physical authentication devices as a "cryptographic attestation of personhood." This is how it works: A user is challenged on a website, the user clicks a button along the lines of "I am human," and is then prompted to use a security device to prove themselves. A hardware security key is then plugged into their PC or tapped on a mobile device to provide a signature -- using wireless NFC in the latter example -- and a cryptographic attestation is then sent to the challenging website. Cloudflare says the test takes no more than three clicks and an average of five seconds -- potentially a vast improvement on the CAPTCHA's average of 32 seconds. You can access to try out the system. Read more of this story at Slashdot.