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Përditësimi: 2 ditë 18 orë më parë

Evidence of Ancient Rainforests Found In Antarctica

Enj, 02/04/2020 - 9:00pd
mi writes: Researchers have discovered evidence that Antarctica supported a swampy rainforest as "recently" as 90 million years ago, according to a new study. "Even during months of darkness, swampy temperate rainforests were able to grow close to the South Pole, revealing an even warmer climate than we expected," said Tina van de Flierdt, study co-author and professor in the Imperial College London's Department of Earth Science and Engineering. The researchers took CT scans of a slice of the seafloor near the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers. They revealed pristine samples of forest soil, pollen, spores and even root systems so well preserved that they could identify cell structures. The researchers say that the warming effect caused by higher carbon dioxide levels created the right conditions for a rainforest environment. "The average daytime temperature was 53 degrees Fahrenheit," reports CNN. "River and swamp temperatures were likely around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. And the Antarctic summer temperature was likely around 66 degrees Fahrenheit. They estimate rainfall reached about 97 inches per year -- about the same as Wales today."

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California Governor Says 'We Need More Googles' As Company Offers Free Wi-Fi and Chromebooks To Students

Enj, 02/04/2020 - 5:30pd
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: Google will offer 100,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots and will donate 4,000 Chromebooks to students across the state of California, governor Gavin Newsom said during a news conference Wednesday. The internet access points are supposed to help improve broadband internet in rural households across the state where internet access is either limited or very slow. Students will get access to the free Wi-Fi for a minimum of three months.There are still many parts of the state that do not have access to high-speed internet, however. "This was a substantial enhancement that came just at the right time," Newsom said. "We need more Googles," he added. The latest move comes as Newsom announced that California schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year with many classes switching to online learning.

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New X-Ray Technique Images Soft-Tissue Tumors Clearer Than MRI

Enj, 02/04/2020 - 4:10pd
Researchers at Tohoku University have developed a new method of adapting X-ray to image soft tissue, "so that its higher resolution can reveal tumors or other problems earlier than other techniques," reports New Atlas. From the report: Elastography is a field of medical imaging that focuses on the stiffness or softness of tissues. Shear waves are sent through the body, and then an imaging technology like ultrasound or MRI is used to watch how they spread. The waves move through stiff tissue faster than they do through soft tissue, and since tumors, lesions and hardened arteries are all stiffer than surrounding tissue, the technique can highlight these signs of disease. X-rays usually work on a different mechanism, but recent research has suggested that they could be applied to elastography too. And if they were, the resulting images would be much higher resolution, able to spot things on the scale of microns instead of millimeters. And now, X-ray elastography has moved from principle to practice. The Tohoku team has taken the first images using the technique, and shown that it is able to identify the stiffness of different materials. The researchers imaged a polyacrylamide gel, with some samples containing harder particles of zirconium dioxide. Vibrations were then sent through these samples while X-ray images were taken. And sure enough, the X-ray elastography method was able to spot these tiny intruders. After showing that the concept does work, the researchers say that the next steps are to create 3D images, and eventually develop x-ray elastography equipment for medical diagnoses. The research was published in the journal Applied Physics Express.

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Early Meme Site YTMND Has Been Resurrected With the Help of Fans

Enj, 02/04/2020 - 3:30pd
The popular early internet meme machine YTMND.com is back online after shutting down last May due to declining ad revenue and the site creator's ill health. Motherboard reports: Launched in 2001, YTMND was one of the early internet's first sources of viral content. Users could attach a gif, often animated but not always, to a piece of looping sound. Users could vote on these animations, share, or remix them. Its death was sad, a piece of early internet, gone forever. But over the last year, [the site's creator Max Goldberg] said fans helped him test the new site, find bugs, and pushed him for regular updates. Goldberg said he rebuilt the site from the ground up, which is why it took the better part of a year. One of the biggest challenges was converting everything away from Flash, which Adobe is finally retiring this year. "That means YTMNDs play more reliably (and work on mobile phones!) and will also be future-compatible," Goldberg said. "The new player was written in a way that makes archiving a YTMND significantly easier, which opens up a lot of possibilities. I've also removed all social media and advertising from the site." He also replaced all the hardware that was running the site.

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Slack Launches Call Integrations For Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and More

Enj, 02/04/2020 - 2:50pd
Slack is launching a new app to integrate Microsoft Teams calling features into its chat app today. "Slack is also launching VoIP phone integration with Zoom, Cisco Jabber, RingCentral, and Dialpad," reports The Verge. "This will allow Slack users to use these VoIP calling providers to call phone numbers directly within the Slack interface." From the report: Slack users will be able to set Microsoft Teams Calls as the default calling provider and get to see who's already on a call and when it kicked off before joining a meeting. Event reminders from the Outlook Slack app will also support the ability to join Microsoft Teams calls direct from Slack. The new calling features will be available for all Slack users today, and you can already enable the new Microsoft Teams app in Slack from the company's website.

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Teardown of Huawei Flagship Phone Finds US Parts Despite Blacklisting

Enj, 02/04/2020 - 2:10pd
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Huawei is still using components made by U.S. companies in its newest flagship smartphone, a Financial Times teardown has found, despite the U.S. all but blacklisting the Chinese telecoms equipment manufacturer. The teardown was done by XYZone, a Shenzhen-based company that disassembles smartphones and identifies the suppliers of their components. The biggest surprise was that some parts from U.S. companies were still ending up in the newest Huawei smartphone, despite the U.S. all but banning its companies from selling to the Chinese tech company. The P40's radio-frequency front-end modules were, according to XYZone's teardown analysis, produced by Qualcomm, Skyworks, and Qorvo, three U.S. chip companies. RF front-end modules are critical parts of the phone that are attached to the antennas and required to make calls and connect to the Internet. The Qualcomm component is covered by a license from the U.S. Commerce Department, according to a person familiar with the company. [...] The "Entity List" designation means that U.S. companies have to apply for a license to export any U.S.-origin technologies to Huawei. The U.S. government has granted a "temporary general license" to its companies, allowing them to sell to Huawei to service existing products -- helping clients such as telecoms carriers that may need to replace parts of their wireless equipment. But the general license does not cover sales for the purpose of making new products, such as the P40 smartphone. For that, companies must seek individual licenses, and the Department of Commerce has not said which ones it has granted them to. A spokesperson for Huawei said the company has "always complied with any export control regulations of various countries, including the United States" and that "all the product materials are obtained legally from our global partners, and we insist on working with our partners to provide consumers with high quality products and services." Also missing from the P40 are parts from U.S. chipmaker Micron. "Micron made the storage devices called NAND flash memory chips for some batches of last year's P30 smartphone, and South Korea's Samsung made the same chips for other batches," reports Ars. "The FT's copy of this year's P40 Pro appears to have only Samsung NAND flash memory chips."

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Opera To Support Sites Using the<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.Crypto Top-Level Domain

Enj, 02/04/2020 - 1:30pd
Opera has updated its lightweight browser for Android so that it can access unofficial .crypto domains, primarily to exchange cryptocurrency. The Register reports: Support for .crypto in Opera will "bring the blockchain-browsing experience to a new level," the Norwegian software maker gushed on Monday. Crucially, dot-crypto simply doesn't exist in the global domain name system, and is not recognized by DNS overseer ICANN nor the world's DNS resolvers. It is a renegade generic top-level domain masterminded by Unstoppable Domains. By using a domain, such as sendmemoneee.crypto, linked to a blockchain, sending and receiving cryptocurrency becomes much easier as you only need to recall a domain name (ending in .crypto) rather than a long wallet ID. In its effort to carve a niche in the browser market, Opera has been embracing cryptocurrency. Back in December 2018, it added a built-in crypto wallet to its Android browser and then later to its desktop browser. It then extended that to allow for purchases with cryptocurrency. As such, adding a simple addressing system makes sense. It is also a vote of confidence in Unstoppable Domains and Ethereum's alternate root approach.

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Hospitals Tell Doctors They'll Be Fired If They Speak Out About Lack of Gear

Enj, 02/04/2020 - 12:50pd
schwit1 shares a report from Bloomberg, commenting: "And the claim that this is about protecting 'patient privacy' is b***shit." From the report: Ming Lin, an emergency room physician in Washington state, said he was told Friday he was out of a job because he'd given an interview to a newspaper about a Facebook post detailing what he believed to be inadequate protective equipment and testing. In Chicago, a nurse was fired after emailing colleagues that she wanted to wear a more protective mask while on duty. In New York, the NYU Langone Health system has warned employees they could be terminated if they talk to the media without authorization." Doctors are a famously independent profession, where individual medical judgment on what's best for the patient is prized over administrative dictates. That's reared its head during the Covid-19 outbreak, with many physicians, nurses and other health-care workers taking to social media to express deep concerns about the lack of protective gear or much-needed patient-care equipment like respirators. Some posts have gone viral and are being shared hundreds of thousands of times, often tagged with #GetMePPE. Privacy laws prohibit disclosing specific patient information, but they don't bar discussing general working conditions. The report notes that not all hospitals are blocking staff from talking to the press. "New York's Mount Sinai has been scheduling media interviews for nurses, physicians and trainees to help the public understand the severity of the crisis," reports Bloomberg. "The University of California San Francisco Medical Center has gotten hundreds of such calls and encouraged workers to talk to reporters."

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Microsoft President Calls Washington State's New Facial Recognition Law 'a Significant Breakthrough'

Enj, 02/04/2020 - 12:10pd
Microsoft President Brad Smith took a break from responding to the COVID-19 outbreak this week to praise Washington state's landmark facial recognition regulations. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Tuesday that establishes rules specifically governing facial recognition software. From a report: Smith called the law an "early and important model" and "a significant breakthrough" in a blog post published Tuesday. Some cities have enacted their own facial recognition rules, but Washington is the first to establish statewide regulations. "This balanced approach ensures that facial recognition can be used as a tool to protect the public, but only in ways that respect fundamental rights and serve the public interest," Smith said. The new law requires public agencies to regularly report on their use of facial recognition technology and test the software for fairness and accuracy. Law enforcement agencies must obtain a warrant before using facial recognition software in investigations unless there is an emergency. The bill also establishes a task force to study the use of facial recognition by government agencies. Under the bill, public entities using facial recognition software to make decisions that produce "legal effects" must ensure a human reviews the results. That category includes decisions that could affect a person's job, financial services, housing, insurance, and education.

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T-Mobile Officially Completes Merger With Sprint, CEO John Legere Steps Down

Mër, 01/04/2020 - 11:30md
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: After months of regulatory maneuvering, T-Mobile and Sprint officially completed their $26 billion merger today. The new combined parent company is called T-Mobile and will now trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol TMUS with Sprint no longer trading on the NYSE. For consumers, it will seemingly take a little time before the effects of the transition are meaningfully felt. T-Mobile did not comment on the future of the Sprint brand in today's announcement, but they have previously promised that subscribers will have access to "the same or better rate plans" for three years as part of the deal. Alongside news of the merger being finalized, T-Mobile shared that its CEO transition is taking place early. John Legere was supposed to stay on until the end of April, but Mike Sievert has been appointed CEO a month early, effective immediately. Sievert was previously T-Mobile's COO. Legere is still on the company's board of directors, but he'll be stepping down at the end of his term through June.

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Cloudflare Launches a DNS-Based Parental Control Service

Mër, 01/04/2020 - 10:50md
Cloudflare introduced today '1.1.1.1 for Families,' a privacy-focused DNS resolver designed to help parents in their efforts to safeguard their children's online security and privacyââââââ by automatically filtering out bad sites. From a report: This new tool makes it simple for parents to add protection from malware and adult content to the entire home network, allowing them to focus on working from home instead of worrying about their kids' online safety. "1.1.1.1 for Families leverages Cloudflare's global network to ensure that it is fast and secure around the world," Cloudflare's CEO Matthew Prince said in an announcement published today.

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Doctors Turn To Twitter and TikTok To Share Coronavirus News

Mër, 01/04/2020 - 10:10md
In a sign of the times, doctors are effectively waging a two-pronged fight against coronavirus: one part takes place in overcrowded hospitals and the other takes place on noisy social media platforms as they work to combat what the World Health Organization has declared an infodemic with accurate, authoritative voices. From a report: All of that means doctors, some of whom were once reluctant to embrace social media, are wading deeper into platforms that are rife with fake news, unproven medical advice and mass panic. "Social media is the disease and the cure. It is responsible for the dissemination of misinformation as much as it needs to be a tool for repairing that," said Rick Pescatore, an emergency room physician and public health expert in the Philadelphia area, who is active on Twitter and Facebook and has treated Covid-19 patients. "It's incumbent upon physicians, who want to get real information out there, to meet these patients where they are -- and that's social media." Perhaps nowhere is this shift more striking than on TikTok, a short-form video platform beloved by teens that is best known for lip syncing, dance routines and comedy skits. In one TikTok video viewed more than 416,000 times, a registered nurse named Miki Rai does a choreographed dance involving a lot of hand motions as facts about Covid-19 flash on the screen, such as how long the virus stays on different surfaces. In another TikTok video, set to soothing elevator music, Dr. Rose Marie Leslie demonstrates proper handwashing: Wet hands. Lather up. Start washing for 20 seconds. Scrub under your nails and between fingers. Rinse. Leslie, a resident physician specializing in family medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School, created a TikTok account about a year ago, with the aim of reaching a younger demographic with health education information. Soon after coronavirus cases started emerging, she began creating TikToks about the issue. Now, she works to debunk myths about the virus for her more than 500,000 followers.

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Cash App Scammers Are Using Coronavirus To Exploit People

Mër, 01/04/2020 - 9:30md
An anonymous reader shares a report: Reyna is a teenager in Florida whose family is strapped for cash amid the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus. When the uber-popular beauty influencer Jeffree Star tweeted that he'd be giving out $30,000 via payment service Cash App to a random person who retweeted him, she did just that. Star's offer seems to have been legitimate -- and drummed up a lot of attention for the influencer. A woman actually won the $30,000, and Reyna missed out. But then another Twitter user messaged Reyna asking whether she wanted to get $250, she told Quartz. "My goal is to help those in need or need emergency cash," the person said. The catch was that she'd have to pay $25 first. "Your deposit along with our other earnings allows us to immediately send you your payment," the person said. Reyna sent the cash, and that's when the Twitter user blocked her, and her money was gone, she said. What happened to Reyna is a popular Cash App scam called "cash-flipping," according to Satnam Narang, researcher at the cybersecurity company Tenable. Con artists are taking advantage of the coronavirus by pretending they are helping the needy. While Reyna simply got a direct message to lure her in after she expressed interest in a legitimate giveaway, other scammers have been promoting fake giveaways in public tweets adding "#coronavirus" in order to reach more people. Sometimes they will request money through Cash App pretending that it's a verification mechanism. "They'll say, you won this giveaway, send us $10 to verify to win 500 bucks," Narang said. The scammers say they have a special way of modifying the transactions through payment applications like Cash App, Paypal, Zelle, Venmo, or Apple Pay, Narang wrote in a blog post explaining the scams. "All they ask for is that the recipient share the initial cut with them for providing them this so-called service." This, of course, is all made up.

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Ted Chiang Explains the Disaster Novel We All Suddenly Live In

Mër, 01/04/2020 - 8:50md
The esteemed science fiction author, best known for movie "Arrival" that is based on his novel, on how we may never go "back to normal" -- and why that might be a good thing. From an interview on Electric Literature: EL: Do you see aspects of science fiction (your own work or others) in the coronavirus pandemic? In how it is being handled, or how it has spread? TC: While there has been plenty of fiction written about pandemics, I think the biggest difference between those scenarios and our reality is how poorly our government has handled it. If your goal is to dramatize the threat posed by an unknown virus, there's no advantage in depicting the officials responding as incompetent, because that minimizes the threat; it leads the reader to conclude that the virus wouldn't be dangerous if competent people were on the job. A pandemic story like that would be similar to what's known as an "idiot plot," a plot that would be resolved very quickly if your protagonist weren't an idiot. What we're living through is only partly a disaster novel; it's also -- and perhaps mostly -- a grotesque political satire. EL: This pandemic isn't science fiction, but it does feel like a dystopia. How can we understand the coronavirus as a cautionary tale? How can we combat our own personal inclinations toward the good/evil narrative, and the subsequent expectation that everything will return to normal? TC: We need to be specific about what we mean when we talk about things returning to normal. We all want not to be quarantined, to be able to go to work and socialize and travel. But we don't want everything to go back to business as usual, because business as usual is what led us to this crisis. COVID-19 has demonstrated how much we need federally mandated paid sick leave and universal health care, so we don't want to return to a status quo that lacks those things. The current administration's response ought to serve as a cautionary tale about the dangers of electing demagogues instead of real leaders, although there's no guarantee that voters will heed it. We're at a point where things could go in some very different ways, depending on what we learn from this experience.

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Apple's iOS 14 May Turn iCloud Keychain Into a True 1Password and LastPass Competitor

Mër, 01/04/2020 - 8:10md
Apple's native iOS password manager may be getting an overhaul later this year with the presumed release of iOS 14 that will make it more competitive with third-party options like 1Password and LastPass, reports 9to5Mac. From a report: Right now, iCloud Keychain can store your passwords and help autofill them on the iPhone, where copying and pasting long strings of letters and numbers or manually doing so has been a headache since the advent of the mobile touchscreen. But it doesn't have reminders for changing those passwords like competitors do, and it doesn't support two-factor authentication (2FA) options. That means users are still stuck using potentially insecure methods like SMS or email in the event that they do have 2FA set up.

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America's FDA Grants Emergency Approval for a 15-Minute Coronavirus Test

Sht, 28/03/2020 - 6:42md
While many coronavirus tests provide results within hours or days, America's Food and Drug Administration "has authorized the emergency use" of a new rapid coronavirus test from medical device manufacturer Abbott that could results in less than 15 minutes, reports NBC News: The FDA told Abbott it authorized the test's use after determining that "it is reasonable to believe that your product may be effective in diagnosing COVID-19," based on the scientific evidence presented. The agency added that the "known and potential benefits" of the test outweigh potential risks, such as false positives or negatives. The technology being used for the new test is similar to the one found in rapid flu tests, according to the FDA's authorization letter and Abbott. The FDA also said Friday it has issued at least 19 other emergency use authorizations for diagnostic tests to detect COVID-19, and that it is working with more than 220 test developers who are expected to submit emergency-use authorization requests soon... Abbott said it is ramping up production to deliver 50,000 tests to the U.S. health care system starting next week.

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Physicists Disagree Over New Dark Matter Claim

Sht, 28/03/2020 - 5:34md
sciencehabit shared this article from Science magazine: For decades, astrophysicists have thought some sort of invisible dark matter must pervade the galaxies and hold them together, although its nature remains a mystery. Now, three physicists claim their observations of empty patches of sky rule out one possible explanation of the strange substance — that it is made out of unusual particles called sterile neutrinos. But others argue the data show no such thing. "I think that for most of the people in the community this is the end of the story," says study author Benjamin Safdi, an astroparticle physicist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. But Kevork Abazajian, a theoretical physicist at the University of California, Irvine, says the new analysis is badly flawed. "To be honest, this is one of the worst cases of cherry picking the data that I've seen," he says. In unpublished work, another group looked at similar patches of sky and saw the very same sign of sterile neutrinos that eluded Safdi... Alexey Boyarsky, an astroparticle theorist at Leiden University, is unconvinced. "I think this paper is wrong," he says. Boyarsky says he and his colleagues performed a similar, unpublished analysis in 2018, also using images from XMM-Newton, and did see a 3.5-keV glow from the empty sky, just expected from peering through a halo of sterile neutrinos.

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Some Researchers are Trying Mass Testing for Covid-19 Antibodies

Sht, 28/03/2020 - 4:34md
An anonymous reader quotes Wired: Next week, blood banks across the Netherlands are set to begin a nationwide experiment. As donations arrive — about 7,000 of them per week is the norm — they'll be screened with the usual battery of tests that keep the blood supply safe, plus one more: a test for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Then, in a few weeks, another batch of samples will get the same test. And after that, depending on the numbers, there could be further rounds. The blood donors should be fairly representative of Dutch adults ages 18 to 75, and most importantly, they'll all be healthy enough for blood donation — or at least outwardly so... Identifying what proportion of the population has already been infected is key to making the right decisions about containment... [B]ecause no Covid-19-specific serological [antibody] tests have been fully vetted yet, the FDA's latest guidance is that they shouldn't be relied upon for diagnoses. But in epidemiology circles, those tests are a sought-after tool for understanding the scope of the disease. Since February — which was either three weeks or a lifetime ago — epidemiologists have been trying to get the full scope of the number of infections here in the U.S... [A]s the disease has continued to spread and a patchwork of local "stay at home" rules begins to bend the course of the disease, projecting who has the disease and where the hot spots are has become more difficult for models to capture. Instead, you need boots-on-the-ground surveillance. In other words, to fill the gap created by a lack of diagnostic tests, you need more testing — but of a different sort. This time you have to know how many total people have already fought the bug, and how recently they've fought it. "Of all the data out there, if there was a good serological assay that was very specific about individuating recent cases, that would be the best data we could have," says Alex Perkins, an epidemiologist at the University of Notre Dame. The key, he says, is drawing blood from a representative sample that would show the true scope of unobserved infections... Another motivation to develop better blood tests is the potential to develop therapeutics from antibody-rich blood serum. Wired is currently providing free access to stories about the coronavirus.

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Are There Exceptions to the Rule that Going Electric Reduces Emissions?

Sht, 28/03/2020 - 3:34md
"Averaged over the globe, electric vehicles (EVs) already represent about a 31-percent emissions savings" writes Ars Technica, noting results from a study which also found similar savings from energy-efficient home-heating pumps. "Even in the scenario where these technologies are promoted but the grid isn't cleaned up much, there's a substantial benefit through 2050." But the researchers also separated the world into 59 regions, then used data on the "greenness" of each country's electricity grids, considering the full range of available vehicle types and home-heating methods as well as their predicted "uptake" of green technologies from 2015 to 2050. And this did identify a handful exceptions, Ars Technica reports: Compare, for example, Switzerland's exceptionally low-carbon grid to Estonia's, which runs primarily on oil shale. Swapping an internal combustion vehicle for an electric one in Switzerland cuts emissions by 70 percent, and a heat pump will cut them by about 88 percent. But in Estonia, an electric vehicle would increase emissions by 40 percent and a heat pump pushes that to an eye-watering 120 percent. A more significant exception can be found in Japan. In the scenarios with little progress on grid emissions, a decade from now, the combination of Japan's dirtier grid and preference for hybrid vehicles means that swapping in EVs doesn't quite pay... As time goes on, emissions from manufacturing electric vehicles accounts for a larger share of their total life cycle emissions, the researchers note. You can make the vehicle efficient and the grid clean, but you'll also have to clean up industry to keep shrinking that carbon footprint. The article notes that the researchers also predict continued improvements in the efficiency of electric vehicles -- with an unintended side effect. "As time goes on, emissions from manufacturing electric vehicles accounts for a larger share of their total life cycle emissions, the researchers note. "You can make the vehicle efficient and the grid clean, but you'll also have to clean up industry to keep shrinking that carbon footprint."

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School Quits Video Calls After Naked Man 'Guessed' the Meeting Link

Sht, 28/03/2020 - 2:00md
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: A school in Norway has stopped using popular video conferencing service Whereby after a naked man apparently "guessed" the link to a video lesson. According to Norwegian state broadcaster NRK, the man exposed himself in front of several young children over the video call. The theory, according to the report, is that the man guessed the meeting ID and joined the video call. One expert quoted in the story said some are "looking" for links. Last year security researchers told TechCrunch that malicious users could access and listen in to Zoom and Webex video meetings by cycling through different permutations of meeting IDs in bulk. The researchers said the flaw worked because many meetings were not protected by a passcode.

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