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China Developing Manned Space Mission To the Moon

Slashdot - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 18:20
China is building a manned spacecraft capable of sending astronauts to the moon as well as near-Earth orbit flight, according to Chinese state media. From a report on CNBC: The official newspaper of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China cited system chief architect Zhang Bainan who claimed the craft is being designed to carry as many as six astronauts. The newspaper, Science and Technology Daily, quoted Zhang Bainan as saying China wished to catch up with international standards of space exploration. The fresh announcement follows a separate Chinese ambition to bring back samples from the moon before the end of this year.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Google Confirms Small Number of Pixel Phones Have Broken Microphones

Slashdot - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 17:40
An anonymous reader shares a report on The Verge: Google says that a small number of Pixel phones have broken microphones that need to be sent back for replacement. The issue is seemingly not that widespread. Google claims the issue is present on less than 1 percent of devices -- the company also announced that it would replace defective phones last month, and it went largely unnoticed until now. Google says the primary cause for Pixels having microphone issues is a "hairline crack in the solder connection on the audio codec," which causes all three of the device's mics to go out at once. The issue has apparently been known about for several months now. Google says it's been "taking additional steps to reinforce the connection" since January and that phones built or refurbished since then should be fine.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

How Wiretaps Actually Work

Slashdot - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 17:00
David Kris, assistant attorney general for national security from 2009 to 2011, has responded to the recent accusations made by president Donald Trump. On Saturday, Trump accused former president Obama of orchestrating a "Nixon/Watergate" plot to tap the phones at his Trump Tower headquarters in the run-up to last fall's election. He writes in an opinion piece for The Washington Post: First, the U.S. government needs probable cause, signatures from government officials and advance approval from a federal court before engaging in wiretapping in the United States. There are some narrow exceptions, for things such as short-term emergencies, which are then reviewed by a judge promptly after the fact. This is not something that the president simply orders. Under the law governing foreign intelligence wiretaps, the government has to show probable cause that a "facility" is being used or about to be used by a "foreign power" -- e.g., a foreign government or an international terrorist group -- or by an "agent of a foreign power." A facility is something like a telephone number or an email address. Second, there is no requirement that the facility being wiretapped be owned, leased or listed in the name of the person who is committing the offense or is the agent of a foreign power. [...] Third, government officials, including the president, don't normally speak publicly about wiretaps. Indeed, it is in some cases a federal crime to disclose a wiretap without authorization, including not only the information obtained from the wiretap, but also the mere existence of a wiretap with an intent to obstruct it. With respect to intelligence wiretaps, there is an additional issue: They are always classified, and disclosure of classified information is also generally a crime. The president enjoys authority over classified information, of course, but at a minimum it would be highly irregular to disclose an intelligence wiretap via Twitter.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Samsung Group Chief Denies All Charges as 'Trial of the Century' Begins

Slashdot - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 16:20
An anonymous reader shares a Fortune report: The head of South Korea's Samsung Group, Jay Y. Lee, denies all charges against him, his lawyer said on Thursday, at the start of what the special prosecutor said could be the "trial of the century" amid a political scandal that has rocked the country. Lee has been charged with bribery, embezzlement and other offenses in a corruption scandal that has already led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. Lee, who is being detained at Seoul Detention Centre, did not attend court. A defendant does not have to turn up during a preparatory hearing, held to organize evidence and set dates for witness testimony. The date of the next hearing will be decided next week. Lee's defense denied all charges against him on his behalf, saying that the special prosecution's indictment cites conversations, evidence or witnesses the prosecution did not actually hear, investigate or interview according to the rules -- or states opinions that are not facts.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

China Expresses Concern at Revelations in Wikileaks Dump of Hacked CIA Data

Slashdot - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 15:40
China has expressed concern over revelations in a trove of data released by Wikileaks purporting to show that the CIA can hack all manner of devices, including those made by Chinese companies. From a report on Reuters: Dozens of firms rushed to contain the damage from possible security weak points following the anti-secrecy organization's revelations, although some said they needed more details of what the U.S. intelligence agency was up to. Widely-used routers from Silicon Valley-based Cisco were listed as targets, as were those supplied by Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE and Taiwan supplier Zyxel for their devices used in China and Pakistan. "We urge the U.S. side to stop listening in, monitoring, stealing secrets and internet hacking against China and other countries," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Uber Admits Its Ghost Driver 'Greyball' Tool Was Used To Thwart Regulators, Vows To Stop

Slashdot - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 15:00
Uber has admitted it used a tool to thwart city regulators, and announced a review of its controversial Greyball technology. From a report on USA Today: Greyballing, a play on blackballing, was a way for Uber officials to remotely provide ghost driver information to a targeted individual. A March 3 report on the program in The New York Times cited a 2014 example where a regulator in Portland, Ore., a city in which Uber was operating without approval at the time, was unable to hail a car because of his Greyball-powered app. "We have started a review of the different ways this technology has been used to date," Joe Sullivan, Uber's chief security officer, wrote in a blog post. "In addition, we are expressly prohibiting its use to target action by local regulators going forward."

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Microsoft Is Spamming Windows 10 File Explorer With Ads For OneDrive Storage

Slashdot - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 14:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Digital Trends: While Microsoft is addressing some other complaints about Windows 10 in the upcoming Creators Update -- such as privacy concerns over the data that's being transmitted and issues regarding how the operating system updates itself -- the company seems intent on retaining Windows 10's advertising functionality. In fact, it has apparently been adding OneDrive commercials to File Explorer, ExtremeTech reports. Basically, you might start seeing a new promotion for OneDrive when you're perusing your file structure in Windows 10. OneDrive is baked into Windows 10 and can't easily be uninstalled, and Microsoft wants to make sure you know that the 5GB of free OneDrive storage can be easily upgraded to significantly more space. Turning off the OneDrive advertising isn't without consequences. You can go to the View menu in File Explorer, then Options, and select "Change folder and search options." In the next window, select the View menu, then scroll down to and uncheck the "Show sync provider notifications" option. Note that while this should disable the OneDrive ads, it will also stop you from seeing potentially important notifications from OneDrive. The report notes that, while these OneDrive ads aren't new, "they seem to be showing up more often for more people."

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Representative Line: The Installer Configuration

The Daily WTF - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 12:30

John N supports a C# project that, on first run, needs to initialize a database. It pulls that data from a dbInstallFilePath, controlled by the application .config file. This brings us to our representative line:

<add key="dbInstallDbFilePath" value="C:\TestData\" />

Isn't that just terrible? Aren't you just cringing, or calling for the responsible developer to be sacked? Oh, wait, you're sitting here, scratching your head, wondering about how this is a WTF, aren't you? Let me provide a little more context.


<!-- Stephen - 18th July 2013 ## ## IMPORTANT - DON'T put a backslash at the end of the path below!!!!! ## I don't know why, but it sometimes makes a difference that the DbFilePath config has to be specified WITHOUT the trailing backslash It seems that if a database is created using a path specifiecation that includes a single backslash, and an attempt is made to restore the database in-place (using WITH MOVE ... REPLACE), then it will fail if the restore command uses double backslash in the path, and similarly, restoring a database that was created with double backslash in the path will only restore safely if the restore specifies double backslash. REALLY DON'T PUT A BACKSLASH. EVER. --> <add key="dbInstallDbFilePath" value="C:\TestData\" /> hljs.initHighlightingOnLoad();

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Categories: Fun/Other

Study Suggests Potatoes Can Grow On Mars

Slashdot - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 11:00
The International Potato Center (CIP) has launched a series of experiments to discover if potatoes can grow under Mars' atmospheric conditions, as well as under extreme conditions on Earth. The CIP placed a potato inside a "specially constructed CubeSat contained environment" that simulates Mars temperature, air pressure, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. They then used sensors and live-streaming cameras to record the soil and monitor the status of the potato. Preliminary results are positive as cameras inside the container show sprouts. Phys.Org reports: "We have been looking at the very dry soils found in the southern Peruvian desert. These are the most Mars-like soils found on Earth." Chris McKay of NASA ARC. "This [research] could have a direct technological benefit on Earth and a direct biological benefit on Earth," says Chris McKay of NASA ARC. From the initial experiment, CIP scientists concluded that future Mars missions that hope to grow potatoes will have to prepare soil with a loose structure and nutrients to allow the tubers to obtain enough air and water to allow it to tuberize. "It was a pleasant surprise to see that potatoes we've bred to tolerate abiotic stress were able to produce tubers in this soil," Amoros said. He added that one of the best performing varieties was very salt-tolerant from the CIP breeding program for adaptation to subtropical lowlands with tolerance to abiotic stress that was also recently released as a variety in Bangladesh for cultivation in coastal areas with high soil salinity. Amoros noted that whatever their implications for Mars missions, the experiments have already provided good news about potato's potential for helping people survive in extreme environments on Earth.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

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