Who, Me? Welcome back once again, dear reader, to the untidy corner of The Reg we call Who Me? in which readers' confessions are filed in the dusty shadows until rediscovered. At the top of the creaking pile of submissions this week we found a reader we'll Regomize as "Jock" who leaned way back on his rocking chair to recount for us a story of his younger years – in the 1960s. Yes, this tale comes from the era of free love, psychedelia, and banking certificates printed on gigantic tractor-fed dot-matrix printers that could only use perforated paper. Jock worked in a bank, so on the spectrum of the cultural revolution he was more at the heavy stock end than Woodstock. Aged 16 and keen to impress, Jock was helping the Ledgers clerk clear her desk before the Christmas break. Said clerk had to print out hundreds of end-of-year share certificates, which were delivered as "stacks of perforated, folded computer paper." Jock's role in the procedure should have been to separate the certificates and then place each in the appropriate customer files. Unfortunately, Jock tells us, the Ledgers clerk "forgot I was new and would have no idea what she meant when she told me to 'tear up the dividend certificates'." Shag pile PC earned techies a carpeting from HR Dear Stupid, I write with news I did not check the content of the [Name] field before sending this letter Sysadmin infected bank with 'alien virus' that sucked CPUs dry Mixing an invisible laser and a fire alarm made for a disastrous demo Let us now imagine the youthful zeal and enthusiasm Jock brought to this task. "I ripped each one into about 16 pieces before placing them in the trash," he told Who, Me. Next, he "carefully and conscientiously mixed them with lots of our other branch paper waste." Such a thorough job! When he finished, he proudly informed the clerk that no-one would ever be able to put them back together. But, dear reader, it seems he was mistaken about that. Not only could someone put them back together, someone had to. Guess who? Of course it was not only Jock. Bank rules required every single certificate to be completely reassembled and taped back tog
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Oh, this is new. It feels new anyway. In Super Raft Boat Together, which you can try out as part of the Steam Next Fest, you're in classic twin-stick territory. But your arena is a raft, out at sea, and the beasts you're up against can take chunks out of it. But! You can rebuild it! But! To do that you have to stop shooting for a bit. Gosh, it's hectic. Each game here is a properly exhausting thing as I gad about, defending my raft, rebuilding my raft, accidentally taking a seagull to the face. Those seagulls! Just like the real thing they like to wheel about in the air and then divebomb. Then there are fish which flop onto the deck and sharks that take pieces of the raft with them like they're eating a chocolate bar. If you can't tell by now, I'll just come out and say it: t
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I spend a lot of time – too much time – thinking about recycling and the main thing I think, over and over, is: it shouldn’t be this hard. Eighty per cent of UK households are “still unclear” about how to recycle effectively, according to research last year – and who can blame us?Labelling often requires a doctorate in semiotics to decode, kerbside collections are a postcode lottery and council recycling centres are often difficult to access without a car. At home, packaging piles up – no one knows what to do with toothbrushes or the cat’s treat packages, and we’re squabbling over pizza boxes. All of it amounts to us collectively wondering whether recycling is ultimately pointless because it’s all going to end up in landfill in the developing world.“We’ve made something that could be fairly simple really complicated,” says Libby Peake, of the environment thinktank Green Alliance. “And that’s quite frustrating for the public who want to do the right thing when it comes to recycling.”Things are changing, though, if much too slowly. “We have come a long way,” Steve Eminton of industry news website Let’s Recycle reminds me. “Ten years ago, places wouldn’t recycle milk bottles or yoghurt pots.” The findings of a government consultation on “consistent collections” are due imminently and the hope is that eventually this will mean not just plastic, glass, paper and card but also cartons (Tetra Paks and similar) will be collected from all homes.There’s also the proposed Deposit Return Scheme, under which consumers would pay a returnable deposit for plastic bottles and cans (and glass in Wales), but not until 2024 at the earliest. Eventually, technological advances will make a difference too: AI-enabled sorting, apps that allow you to scan packaging before you bin it, and a watermarking system for materials are all in the works, according to Archipelago, a fund investing in solutions for hard-to-recycle stuff.But in the meantime, what can we do? For a start, maybe fixate less on recycling. That’s an odd thing to say in an article about recycling, but it’s supposed to be a last resort: limiting waste has more impact and reuse is a better strategy where possible. As Peake says: “The messages of the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), I think, have been lost in a lot of ways, and we focused on the thing that is the least important but probably the easiest to grasp.”Next, don’t “wishcycle”: putting stuff in the recycling because you wish, or hope, it could be recycled causes more problems than if you chucked it in the bin. It’s also important to maintain pressure on manufacturers, retailers and government: things won’t improve unless we show we want them to.Subject to these caveats, here is a guide to what to do with some of the household items we struggle with, or don’t know how to recycle. If you’re still unsure, the Recycle Now website is a godsend. Managed by waste charity Wrap, it provides a guide to what can and can’t be recycled in your postcode.Should’ve gone to Specsavers … contact lens packaging. Photograph: Douglas Sacha/Getty ImagesThe depressing mountain of foil-topped plastic blister packs from my sons’ daily contacts launched me on this quest. There are solutions: Specsavers collects contact lenses and lens packaging in every store and recycles them in the UK with a company that turns them into construction materials. Boots Opticians will also take back lenses and packaging but theirs is recycled through TerraCycle. It’s fair to say the recycling world is agnostic at best when it comes to TerraCycle: BBC Panorama has reported on issues with the company’s supposed UK recycling ending up in Bulgaria or left to pile up with subcontractors, or possibly ending up in landfill in the US. I have suggested alternatives where they exist.GlassesLions International has recently expanded its scheme collecting spectacles at its Birmingham HQ, then partnering with charities to get them to eye centres and clinics in the developing world (currently the Gambia, Nigeria, Chad, Bangladesh and Mali). You can find out how to donate by emailing enquiries@lionsclubs.co.uk or calling free on 0345 8339502. Alternatively, Specsavers, Boots Opticians and Peep Eyewear take glasses for recycling.CosmeticsOne for the builders … lipstick tubes. Photograph: Tatiana Gromova/AlamyMascara, lipstick, makeup palettes, travel miniatures … Boots takes all of these in store, from any brand or source. They go to a UK-based recycler to be transformed into construction board. Boots guarantees nothing goes to landfill and nothing is incinerated.PumpsThe tops from soap, shower gel or other dispensers can’t go in your normal plastic recycling. Ideally, refill and reuse pump bottles as far as possible, but the Boots cosmetic recycling scheme also takes them.Dental stuffWhen it comes to toothbrushes, electric toothbrush heads, floss containers and those interdental brushes dentists love, there isn’t much good news currently. TerraCycle will accept them if you can find a dropoff point, with the reservations explained above. Toothpaste tubes can go in Boots cosmetic recycling boxes. For the rest, “reuse them as much as you can for cleaning or something”, advises Eminton. Conventional dental floss can’t be recycled, but there are now silk or plant-based flosses (I use a corn starch one) and glass dispensers that can be refilled indefinitely.Insulin pensBoots and Superdrug take these through the PenCycle scheme.Pill blister packsThis is tricky. “Because it’s pharmaceutical, it’s very stringent on what plastics you can use, so a lot of them are PVC and, from a recyclability perspective, that’s very difficult,” says Adam Herriott of Wrap. Superdrug runs a blister pack recycling scheme in stores where it has an in-store pharmacy – the store locator allows you to filter to find one. Returned packs are turned into boards for the construction industry.Some people report difficulty in having their blister packs accepted in stores: Superdrug says the scheme is still live, but it doesn’t have the capacity to cope with large-scale community collections, only individual drop-offs, which may be the issue. There may be an alternative local scheme in your area: a group of GP practices is running a pilot in mine.Black plastic containersProblem solved … black food packaging. Photograph: Kornienko Alexandr/AlamyFinally, some unequivocally good news. In the past, black plastic takeaway and ready meal containers could not be recycled. “It’s not an issue at all nowadays,” says Herriott. Even something that appears black is unlikely to use the problematic carbon that was the barrier to recycling in the past, and recycling equipment is perfectly able to deal with all widely used pigments these days. Recycle away.Bags and wrappersOne of the big innovations of recent years has been the front-of-store collection boxes for flexible plastic in supermarkets. They take salad bags, carrier bags, crisp and biscuit packets, ready meal film lids and more: if it springs back when you crumple it, it can go in there.At Co-op, recycling takes place in the UK, where material is sorted by polymer type and made into bin bags, rigid storage items and our old favourite, construction boards. One key point to make about this stuff: please do rinse, as food soiling is likely to make it impossible to recycle.Pizza boxesEminton puts this one to bed for me: “They can be recycled unless they’re really dirty – it’s just common sense.” Grease stains are fine.Food and pet food pouchesAll of these can go into the flexible plastic collection points in supermarkets, though it’s worth highlighting that they are among the most difficult plastics to recycle, because of their multiple layers. So they become – you guessed it – construction boards. Pets at Home will also recycle pet food pouches of any brand in its 320 stores – it asks that you rinse them out first.FoilIt’s worth checking on the RecycleNow website or directly if your council collects foil kerbside – I discovered mine does. Otherwise, your local recyc
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The UK government has come under further fire for dragging its feet on a national semiconductor strategy while other industrialized nations push ahead with investment in their own high-tech sectors. A committee of MPs within the House of Commons has reiterated its call for a semiconductor strategy to be published urgently in order to safeguard the local tech industry, expressing disappointment with the government's response to its earlier report on the state of the industry. The earlier report, "The semiconductor industry in the UK," was published at the end of November last year by MPs on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee. As detailed by The Register at the time, it laid out how the UK industry has strengths in some areas but does not have a complete end-to-end supply chain and is vulnerable to any future disruption in global supplies. It contained key recommendations including better cooperation with allies to safeguard supplies and to secure inward investment. The committee today indicated it was dismayed that its recommendations had not been fully addressed, and called for a full response to its report whenever an official strategy - due months ago - is finally published. "It's a poor excuse for the government to hide behind its failure to publish a semiconductor strategy for not responding to our practical recommendations fully," said committee chair Darren Jones, who is Labour MP for Bristol North West. Countries across the globe have grasped the importance of securing semiconductor supply chains for their futures, he said, yet "while others race ahead, ploughing billions into setting up fabs or industry support, we're not even at the starting line." Further delay would be an act of national self-harm, he added. In its response to the earlier report in November, the government said it agreed fully on the importance of the semiconductor industry, and there was a need for "timely, coherent and decisive action to be taken across the market." The government claimed it was already in initial talks with "like-minded nations on the future of the global semiconductor market," including the US, Japan, an
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While working on my master’s thesis, I investigated some recently proposed constructions that turn AEADs into key-committing or fully-committing ones. Key commitment has recently gotten a lot more attention and I, therefore, expect this post to be outdated quite soon, as new research emerges. This post serves as a quick collection of personal notes and pointers, that maybe could help someone looking to add key commitment to their AEAD schemes today. There exist constructions proposed in earlier work, but the ones covered herein are the ones I focused on primarily
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Microsoft will officially kill its legacy free Teams app for business, Teams Free (classic), on April 12, with all chats, files and other data lost unless you switch to a paid version. News of the premium push on Microsoft's productivity app was covered by The Reg in January, but we're told some sysadmins on the free plan are only now waking up to the fact that they'll either have to convince corporate to switch to a paid plan or manually migrate all of their company's Teams data. Microsoft has presented two paid options for moving off Teams Free (classic). The first is to shift to Microsoft
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South Sudan is facing the world’s most severe food insecurity crisis, yet the local groups most effective at delivering aid are not being directly funded, according to a new report.Only 0.4% of humanitarian funding meant for food is directly channelled towards South Sudanese NGOs, despite them being the most effective at tackling hunger, according to the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (Cafod).South Sudan has 7.7 million people facing acute malnutrition or starvation as it enters its fifth year of severe food insecurity, according to new research measuring the intensity of food insecurity across populations, produced by Cafod and anti-poverty group Development Initiatives.Humanitarian funding for food in South Sudan has been cut by 38% since 2020, according to the report, with the UK government alone cutting its budget for South Sudan by 59% in 2021.Floods, droughts and conflicts have fuelled the crisis and, according to Cafod, local organisations have been best placed to serve hard-to-reach populations. They often continue to work in high-risk areas, even after international organisations withdraw, while building more trust with the populations they serve.“The local organisations, who are on the frontline in responding to crises in areas where no one else can go, are too often ignored. If we are ever going to tackle entrenched humanitarian crises, we need to properly fund those on the frontline,” said Gloria Modong Morris of Titi Foundation in South Sudan.“The UN and international NGOs talk a good game about the best model to responding to a crisis being as local as possible, but the reality couldn’t be more different.”According to Cafod, local NGOs are usually given only short-term grants, which makes it hard for them to plan projects with lasting impact or invest in staff and systems for delivering support. The report said that while NGOs are often asked for information on conditions, they have only limited involvement in decision-making. This played a part in humanitarian responses failing to create long-term resilience, it concluded.skip past newsletter promotionafter newsletter promotionHoward Mollett, Cafod’s head of humanitarian policy, said that in the 11 years since South Sudan’s independence, international aid groups should have given more say to local NGOs.“Local organisations work in the most dangerous parts of South S
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Pricing updates for businesses based in the European Economic Area [pdf] Starting 10 April 2023, fees for card processing, disputes, and USD currency payouts will be higher due to increases in network costs (in recent years, major card networks have introduced several new fees and increased existing fees), as well as increases in underlying service costs. Please refer to the following details to understand how these changes may impact your business. Changes for card processing Card fees today Card fees starting 10 April 2023 All EU cards: 1.4% + €0.25 per transaction Standard EU cards: 1.5% + €0.25 per transactionPremium EU card: 1.9% + €0.25 per transaction International cards: 2.9% + €0.25 per transactionUK cards: 2.5% + €0.25 per transaction International cards: 3.25% + €0.25 per transactionUK cards: 2.5% + €0.25 per transaction (no changes) If you have an account located in an EEA country that has not adopted the Euro, here are the fixed fees of €0.25 in local currencies: Bulgaria: ЛВ0.50; Czech Republic: 6.50Kč; Denmark: 1.80kr; Hungary: 85Ft; Liechtenstein: 0.30CHF, Poland: 1zł; Romania: 1LEU, Sweden: 1.80kr. What are standard cards? Consumer cards issued by Visa and Mastercard All cards issued by American Express, Discover, Diners Club, Maestro, Cartes Bancaires, UnionPay What are premium cards? Commercial, corporate, or business cards issued by Visa and Mastercard You can read more on the differences between Standard and Premium cards here. How does Stripe determine when a card is standard or premium? We determine whether a card is standard or premium based on the information available from card networks at point of charge. The accuracy of this mapping is regularly reviewed to ensure the appropriate fee is applied to all card transactions. Changes for disputes Dispute fees (also known as chargebacks) will increase from €15 to €20. Due to costs for managing dispute evidence submissions (regardless of outcome), we'll no longer refund this fee if the customer's bank resolves the dispute in your favor. If you or your users have an account located in an EEA country that has not adopted the Euro, here are the fixed fees of €20 in local currencies: Bulgaria: ЛВ40; Czech Republic: 550Kč; Denmark: 200kr; Hungary: 7,000Ft; Liechtenstein: 20CHF, Poland: 90zł; Romania: 100LEU, Sweden: 200kr. Fee for USD alternative currency payouts Businesses in the EEA who are paying out in USD to a US-domiciled bank account will now incur a 1% fee, with a minimum fee of US$2.50 per payout. Are there lower cost alternatives to cards? If you are using Stripe Checkout or the Payment Element, you can easily turn on over 25 payment methods from the Dashboard with zero additional engineering work. Stripe will automatically surface the right payment method to help you increase conversion based on where your user is located. Below are a few commonly used low cost payment methods: Link, Stripe’s one-click checkout experience, can be used to process all domestic cards for 1.2% + €0.25 per transaction. Bank transfers can be used to process large, one-off transactions for 0.5% per transaction, capped at €5.00. SEPA Dir
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Apparently it took Michelangelo a little over four years to paint the 343 figures on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. He was in his mid-30s at the time and not entirely sure he was the right man for the job, given he was primarily a sculptor. “Every gesture I make is blind and aimless,” he lamented in a poem published in 1509. “I am not in the right place – I am not a painter.”All the best transformations rely on a similar holy trinity of time, patience and, crucially, persistence. Which is why Italy’s vibrant performance against France at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday made for such absorbing viewing. Yes, they should have kept calmer towards the end of their 29-24 loss. Yes, they gave the French too much of a head start. But it was their ability to give it a real go that really stood out. Making up the numbers? Not any more.It was a refreshing contest in other ways as well. For years there have been questions about Italy’s place in the Six Nations, which they joined in 2000. How wearing it must have been to endure all those barren years of routine disappointment. How difficult to blood new players when the more experienced heads guiding them are mostly accustomed to defeat.So let us not minimise the effort involved in dragging the Azzurri up off the piazza floor and encouraging all concerned to embrace a higher vision. They have beaten Wales in Cardiff last March and Australia in Florence in November. Last Friday, Italy’s Under-20 team outscored France Under-20s by five tries to two in Treviso, only to miss four conversions and go down 28-27. Last year, they beat England’s Under-20s and secured three wins in their five matches. There is youthful talent that should shortly make the national squad even more competitive.In short, the Italians are gathering momentum under their impressive young captain, Michele Lamaro. His was the first appointment made by the head coach, Kieran Crowley, when he took charge in November 2021, the idea being to look forward rather than endlessly backwards. “There had been so much negativity around their results, and the players feel that,” said Crowley.Crowley’s other main focus has been to encourage his squad to enjoy their rugby more, hence the “attack, attack” style that is increasingly their default setting. “We needed to find a way to play and we had to find an identity,” the New Zealander said last year. “By an identity I mean we had to be known for the way we play and what we bring to the table. If you do that consistently, you get some credibility and respect. That’s been our driving force. If you get better and better at what you do, the results will come your way.”In the case of a wonderful attacking talent like Ange Capuozzo, who added another fine finish on Sunday to his increasingly spectacular showreel that has already yielded a lucrative contract with a Top 14 club. France’s players, particularly their Toulouse contingent, now know Capuozzo well, but even they could not stop him. If England thought Duhan van der Merwe was a handful, something even more deadly is lurking just around the corner.Which is all the Six Nations ever needs. Even if the tradi
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File the decision to withdraw free access to its API under "Twitter doing dumb things" because owner Elon Musk has partially walked back on it mere days later. Last month, third-party Twitter clients suddenly stopped functioning without explanation. This caused the death of numerous projects, including the popular Twitterific app, and bot accounts ceased activity too. Twitter later pasted a bunch of new rules into its Developer Agreement as justification. Last week, the Twitter Dev account announced: "Starting February 9, we will no longer support free access to the Twitter API, both v2 and v1.1. A paid basic tier will be available instead." The backlash was severe and immediate, wit
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Almost exactly one year ago I wrote the first commit for rules_xcodeproj. Like a lot of software engineers, I’m pretty bad at estimating, and thought that I would be able to finish 1.0 in 2 to 4 mon
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Recriminations have broken out among EU officials after a possible visit by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to Brussels was leaked, raising concerns over his security.Zelenskiy was reported to be planning a trip to Brussels this Thursday to meet EU leaders in person at a summit and address the European parliament in an extraordinary session.He is thought to have only left Ukraine once since Russia’s invasion last February: he made a surprise visit to Washington in December, where he addressed a joint session of the US Congress and urged more military support. That trip was planned in top secrecy because of concerns for his safety, although details leaked the day before.About 48
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Discover the lost legacy of Sir Reginald Sharkingston Some of my favourite games involve visiting a fantast
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Google's Chromium developers have begun work on an experimental web browser for Apple's iOS using the search giant's Blink engine. That's unexpected because the current version of Chrome for iOS uses Apple's WebKit rendering engine under the hood. Apple requires every iOS browser to use WebKit and its iOS App Store Review Guidelines state, "Apps that browse the web must use the appropriate WebKit framework and WebKit Javascript." So Google's project, a content_shell iOS port, would not be allowed on iOS if it were turned into a release-ready browser. Yet, Google, for some reason, is pursuing this. Apple's rules have been a sore point among competitors and the web development community for years. Critics have argued that Apple's browser restrictions – which turn every iOS browser into a Safari clone, more or less – make web applications less capable and less attractive. That steers developers toward writing native platform apps for iOS, over which Apple has gatekeeping and monetary powers. Over the past two years, however, Apple's platform autarchy has become more fragile as legal and regulatory challenges have proliferated. The latest questioning of Apple's authority came from the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which has just issued a report calling for changes to the mobile app ecosystem to promote competition. The NTIA report echoes concerns raised by other regulators like the UK Competition and Markets Authority, and competition authorities in Australia and Japan. What's more, the European Digital Markets Act, which comes into effect next year, is expected to force Apple to allow third-party app stores and perhaps to alter its WebKit requirement. US government calls foul on Apple and Google over walled gardens for apps Chrome bug bedevils file storage in the cloud Apple sued for promising privacy, failing at it Apple preps for 'third-party iOS app stores' in Europe Google presumably is aware of the possibility of pending changes but the company insists there's nothing to see here. The creator of the bug report describing the project explained, "This experimental applicat
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Rufus Sewell is to star in the eagerly awaited drama fictionalising Prince Andrew’s infamous interview on the BBC’s flagship current affairs show, Newsnight.The film, which starts shooting in London this month, will also feature Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis, the then-lead presenter on the show, who conducted the interview, widely perceived to be a remarkable coup for the programme and an ill-advised move by the prince.Billie Piper stars as Sam McAlister, the producer who secured and oversaw the interview, and who wrote the book – Scoops: Behind the Scenes of the BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews – on which the film is based. Meanwhile, Keeley Hawes will play Amanda Thirsk, former private secretary to Prince Andrew.Rufus Sewell will play Prince Andrew in Netflix drama Scoop. Photograph: Andrew H Walker/Rex/ShutterstockIn the interview, broadcast in November 2019, Prince Andrew sought to clear himself of wrongdoing linked to his association with Jeffrey Epstein, who had been found dead in his jail cell three months before.Maitlis examined the relationship between the royal and the convicted offender, as well as his associate Ghislaine Maxwell, who is currently serving a 20-year sentence for sex trafficking.The prince expressed regret in the interview about his continued
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A New York man who developed several stalkerware apps has been ordered to pay $410,000 in civil fines to settle a court case against him, and must modify the apps to let people know they are being monitored. The NY Attorney General's Office this month announced the agreement with Patrick Hinchy, who sold the apps through more than a dozen companies in New York and Florida. AG Letitia James' office said Hinchy's stalkerware let users secretly monitor the activity of other people's devices, including text messages, location, Gmail activity, messages in WhatsApp and Skype, call logs, and social media activity. Hinchy set up at least 16 companies to promote his apps. All told buyers that the apps were legal, but the software didn't notify those whose devices were being monitored that the stalkerware was running and reporting on their activities, breaking state and federal laws, according to James. As part of the agreement [PDF], the apps must be modified to alert people when their device is being monitored by the software. In addition, Hinchy and the companies – which used names including Data, DDI Data Solutions, Highster Data Services, and PhoneSpector – also misrepresented their refund and data security policies, didn't tell buyers that the apps could harm the devices they were installed on, and published fake reviews on sham sites created by Hinchy. Stalkerware proliferates "Snooping on a partner and tracking their cell phone without their knowledge isn't just a sign of an unhealthy relationship, it is against the law," James said in a statement. "These apps and products put New Yorkers at risk of stalking and domestic abuse." The Coalition Against Stalkerware, which launched in 2019, said such software is part of a larger problem of people using software to track others. In the US, one in four victims of stalking said technology played a role in the harassment they experienced and 21 percent of victims in France said their harassers used stalkerware. Between 2017 and 2020, NortonLifeLock identified more than 1,000 apps that could enable users to stalk people and that it was detecting about 1,250 infected mobile devic
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The reasons businesses and consumers like contactless payment transactions – high security and speed – are what make those systems bad for cybercriminals. If miscreants want to get back to stealing data and committing fraud, they need to find a way to force transactions away from tap-to-pay systems like Apple Pay and Google Pay and get people putting their credit cards back into the point-of-sale (POS) PIN devices. According to Kaspersky researchers, that's what the Brazilian operators behind the Prilex POS malware have done. Kaspersky discovered two new Prilex variants in early 2022 and found a third in November that can target NFC-enabled credit cards and block contactless transactions, forcing payers over to the less-secure PIN machines. "The goal here is to force the victim to use their physical card by inserting it into the PIN pad reader, so the malware will be able to capture the data coming from the transaction," the researchers write in a report published this week. The malware's new capabilities build on those that already make Prelix the most advanced POS threat, they add. It has a unique cryptographic scheme and can patch target software in real time, force protocol downgrades, run GHOST transactions, and run credit card fraud, including on the most sophisticated CHIP and PIN technologies. Once the buyer puts the credit card into the PIN machine, all those techniques can go into action. Prelix started off in 2014 targeting ATMs and within a couple of year brought POS systems into the mix. Yet contactless payments made stealing data from victims much more difficult and the adoption of the tool accelerated during the pandemic, when people became more wary of handling cash. The tap-to-pay system activates the card's RFID chip, which sends a unique ID number and transaction to the terminal, neither of which can be used again. There is nothing for a cybercriminal to steal. "Contactless credit cards offer a convenient and secure way to make payments without the need to physically insert or swipe the card," the researchers wrote. "But what happens if a threat can disable these payments in the EFT [elec
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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) complained that the U.S. military didn’t do enough to snatch the suspected Chinese spy balloon from the sky instead of shooting it down.“We had plenty of capacity to scoop that balloon out of the air,” he said on Fox News on Monday. “We used to do it all the time.” But Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) ― who served in the Air Force ― was standing by with a fact-check, writing on Twitter: Having served on active duty, I know for a fact the US does not have a balloon scooper aircraft. Newt Gingrich, who never served in the military, has no idea what he is talking about.Also, unlike the Trump Administration, the Biden Administration shot down the CCP balloon. https://t.co/domZOAxnsp— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) February 7, 2023Gingrich mentioned past
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Qualcomm reported a 12 percent year-on-year slide in revenue for the first quarter of its fiscal 2023 amid weakening global demand in the smartphone market. The telecoms chipmaker generated $9.46 billion worth of sales for the quarter ended December 25 2022, down from $10.7 billion a year ago. Its net income was $2.23 billion, a reduction of 34 percent. Qualcomm shares were down 3 percent after an extended trading session following the results. However, it wasn't all bad - for company execs and investors - thanks to continued growth in Qualcomm's automotive and IoT business sectors, according to president and CEO Cristiano Amon. "In the current quarter, combined auto and IoT revenues represented 27 percent of total QCT revenues reflecting continued progress on
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The mother of a missing woman who vanished more than a month ago with her newborn baby and her convicted sex offender boyfriend has issued an open letter to her daughter.Virginie de Selliers pledged to stand by Constance Marten, 35, and her grandchild, telling her: “You are not alone in this situation. We will support you in whatever way we can.”Marten and her partner, Mark Gordon, 48, have been travelling around the UK by taxi since their car was found burning on the M61 in Bolton, Greater Manchester, on 5 January.Police believe the couple are sleeping rough in a blue tent and fear for the safety of the baby, who has not had any medical attention since birth in early January.In the letter, sent to the PA Media news agency by a representative for the family, De Selliers writes: “Open Letter to My Darling Daughter Constance.“I know you well enough; you are focused, intelligent, passionate and complex with so much to offer the world. So many of your friends have come forward to say such positive things about you, assuring us of their warmest love and support for you and your family.“You have made choices in your personal adult life which have proven to be challenging, howev
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Image source, Getty ImagesEnergy giant BP has reported record annual profits after oil and gas prices surged last year following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.The company's profits more than doubled to $27.7bn (£23bn) in 2022, compared with $12.8bn the year before.Other energy firms have seen similar rises, with Shell reporting record earnings of nearly $40bn last week.The profits have led to calls for energy firms to pay more tax as many households struggle with rising bills.BP boss Bernard Looney said the British company was "helping provide the energy the world needs" and investing the transition to green energy.Energy prices had begun to climb following the end of Covid lockdowns but rose sharply in March last year after Russia invaded Ukraine, sparking concerns about global supplies.The price of Brent crude oil reached nearly $128 a barrel, but has since fallen back to about $80. Gas prices also spiked but have come down from their highs. It has led to bumper profits for energy companies, but also fuelled a rise in energy bills for households and businesses. Last year, the ministers introduced a windfall tax - called the Energy Profits Levy - on the "extraordinary" profits being made at energy companies.The rate was originally set at 25%, but has now been increased to 35%, and only applies to profits made from extracting UK oil and gas. BP said its UK business, which accounts for less than 10% of its global profits, will pay $2.2bn in tax for 2022, including $700m due to the Energy Profits Levy. 'Windfalls of war'Andrew Griffith, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the windfall tax struck the "right balance" between helping families
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UK house prices were roughly flat in January, having fallen in the previous four months, according to Halifax.Average prices were stable at £281,684 last month, the lender said, after sharp falls of 1.3% in December and 2.4% in November.However, the pace of annual growth in house prices slowed to 1.9% from 2.1% in December, marking the lowest rate since October 2019, as higher mortgage rates and the wider cost of living crisis have dampened demand. The average house price is about £12,500, or 4.2%, below its peak in August, although it remains about £5,000 higher than a year ago.The housing market has slowed across all nations and regions and is expected to slow further this year, and many forecasters expect price falls of up to 20%. Halifax predicts a drop of 8% this year.“We expected that the squeeze on household incomes from the rising cost of living and higher interest rates would lead to a slower housing market, particularly compared to the rapid growth of recent years,” the director of Halifax Mortgages, Kim Kinnaird, said. “As we move through 2023, that trend is likely to continue as higher borrowing costs lead to reduced demand.”She said that lower prices could make it more affordable for people to get on the housing ladder as the year went on.“For those looking to get on or up the housing ladder, confidence may improve beyond the near term. Lower house prices and the potential for interest rates to peak below the level being anticipated last year should
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We have a thing for DOOM, and we admit it. The source was released, and clever hackers have ported the engine to every system imaginable. It’s a right of passage, when hacking a machine, to run DOOM on it — be it a VoIP phone, or tractor. But the original 1993 release does have a few notable tricks, and there’s something to be said for recreating that experience on period hardware. And that’s what we’re covering today: [Tech Tangents] discovered DOOM’s multi-monitor support, and built a 4-computer cluster to show it off. There is a catch, of course. DOOM 1.1 ha
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Olivia (Madelaine Petsch, a regular from streaming series Riverdale) is a senior at an exclusive all-girls high school in an unidentified but posh-looking US suburb. Clearly hothoused from a young age by her bougie parents, Olivia’s one burning, all-consuming ambition is to get into Stanford University. To that end, she has turned herself into hard-working, top-stream student, captain of the debating society and all that jazz. She has even bought sweatshirts with the name Stanford emblazoned across the chest. But she has checked the numbers and knows that the admissions board will probably o
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AI Alfred can summarize your articles in 1 single click.  You just need to go to the web articles' URL and open the AI Alfred extension. 1. Browse the content you want to summarize Summarize whatever you want by going on the articles you want. 2. Open our Extension or Copy the link Once you're on the article you want to summarize, you just need to open our Extension (Chrome), or you can copy and paste the URL inside the app Your summary is ready.  Save it, edit it, or copy it in 1 click. Why you should choose AI Alfred AI Alfred can help you save hours thanks to o
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A senior official at the World Health Organization warned Monday the death toll from the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria could rise “eightfold” as rescue efforts continue.Catherine Smallwood, WHO’s senior emergency officer for Europe, told the AFP injuries and fatalities linked to severe earthquakes often rise “significantly” in the week after the disaster. She made the comments when the estimated toll was 2,600 people, meaning the eventual death toll could rise to more than 20,000.“There’s continued potential of further collapses to happen so we do often see in the order of eightfold increases on the initial numbers,” Smallwood told the news agency. “We always see the same thing with earthquakes, unfortunately, which is that the initial reports of the numbers
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Key eventsThe BBC’s Chris Mason has more on the proposed changes to the departmental infrastructure around Whitehall.The three existing departments expected to face restructuring are business, international trade and culture.There will also be a Science, Innovation&Technology department. The existing Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will retain responsibility for online safety. There will also be a reshuffle of government ministers, with names to be confirmed later.— Chris Mason (@ChrisMasonBBC) February 7, 2023 The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which is led by Michelle Donelan, is expected to keep responsibility for the online safety bill, even if a new science and digital department is created, my colleague Jessica Elgot reports.Source at DCMS sayi
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Perennial search engine also-ran Bing looks set to get a massive shot in the arm amid reports that operator Microsoft is preparing to announce some kind of ChatGPT integration for the service later today. News of the event seemed to have spooked Google, with the search giant making the surprise announcement on Monday that it’s working on its own “experimental conversational AI service.” The Verge will be in attendance at Microsoft’s event, so stay tuned for all the details as they’re announced.And speaking of new Eras, my colleague Chris Welch has a scoop on Sonos’ upcoming speaker lineup set to debut in the coming months. We now know that they’re set to be branded as “Era,” with specific models including the Era 300 and Era 100. The former will apparently focus on spatia
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Nurses are to continue industrial action on Tuesday as the government was accused of being “on strike” itself during the biggest walkout in NHS history.Nurses are set to strike at 73 trusts in England, up from 55 during January’s strike days and 44 in December.The bitter dispute shows no sign of a resolution in England as unions and ministers appear to be at loggerheads over 2022-23 pay for NHS staff.On Monday, the junior minister Will Quince answered an urgent question on the strikes in parliament, prompting accusations from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) that senior government figures including the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, and health secretary, Steve Barclay, were “missing in action”.“People may wonder if the government is also on strike,” Pat Cullen, the Royal Coll
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Former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele called out Fox News host Tucker Carlson for an on-air meltdown over President Joe Biden’s selection of judges. Specifically, Carlson seems to think Biden isn’t appointing enough white men. “Out of 97 federal judges confirmed under Joe Biden, total number of white men: Five,” he griped on Monday night. “Twenty-two are Black women, so this is race-based hiring. It’s illegal!” The federal judiciary is overwhelmingly white and male. The American Bar Association said last year that 70 percent of all sitting Article III federal judges are male while 78 percent are white. In addition, the organization said 16 states have no federal trial judges of color at all.The problem only got worse under Donald Trump, who appointed the s
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The All Blacks coach Gilbert Enoka, who introduced what he called a “no dickheads policy” into the New Zealand set-up, has joined Chelsea on a short-term consultancy basis, the rugby team said on Tuesday.Enoka has worked with the All Blacks since 2000 in a number of roles. He has spent the past seven years as their leadership manager after 15 years as mental skills coach.Quick GuideHow do I sign up for sport breaking news alerts?ShowDownload the Guardian app from the iOS App Store on iPhone or the Google Play store on Android by searching for 'The Guardian'.If you already have the Guardian app, make sure you’re on the most recent version.In the Guardian app, tap the Menu button at the bottom right, then go to Settings (the gear icon), then Notifications.Turn on sport notifications.Hi
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✨ About us ✨PhotoRoom develops cutting-edge technology that empowers entrepreneurs, small businesses, and merchants to easily create images that sell - leveraging deep learning. Our ambition: power the internet’s commerce images.Our first consumer product, the PhotoRoom app, is already a leader in mobile photo editing: we serve 7M+ users across more than 180 countries monthly and our app was awarded as the Best App of 2021 by Android and named Editor’s Choice by Apple.Our company is profitable, and our lean team is made of world-class experts in deep learning, product, and marketing with backgrounds at Apple, Algolia, Google, or Bumble. We are a diverse team of entrepreneurs building for entrepreneurs.TL;DR🤓 PhotoRoom is looking for their first API Engineer. You will work on a p
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Mozilla is planning for the day when Apple will no longer require its competitors to use the WebKit browser engine in iOS. Mozilla conducted similar experiments that never went anywhere years ago but in October 2022 posted an issue in the GitHub repository housing the code for the iOS version of Firefox that includes a reference to GeckoView, a wrapper for Firefox's Gecko rendering engine. Under the current Apple App Store Guidelines, iOS browser apps must use WebKit. So a Firefox build incorporating Gecko rather than WebKit currently cannot be distributed through the iOS App Store. As we reported last week, Mozilla is not alone in anticipating an iOS App Store regime that tolerates browser competition. Google has begun work on a Blink-based version of Chrome for iOS.
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When it comes to staffing the tight end position, NFL teams definitely have a type. A standout player combines ox-like strength with deer-like speed and hops. He excels at blocking and catching. He seems like the kind of guy who would judge another man by his calf size, or babble on about his crypto killing when he’s not swilling beer upside down from a keg. With his shirt off. You know the type: A real bro.This weekend’s Super Bowl pits two of the league’s best tight ends against each other. On one side there’s Philadelphia’s Dallas Goedert – a labradoodle of a man with charisma and retrieving knack for days. On the other, there’s Kansas City’s Travis Kelce, a probable Hall of Fame who is the standard-bearer in stats and swagger. It’s no surprise that either man could be
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Peter Hutterer peter.hutterer at who-t.net Tue Feb 7 00:28:41 UTC 2023 Previous message (by thread): ANN: luit-20230201 Next message (by thread): [ANNOUNCE] xorg-server 21.1.7 Messages sorted by: [ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ] X.Org Security Advisory: February 07, 2023 Security issue in the X server ============================== This issue can lead to local privileges elevation on systems where the X server is running privileged and remote code execution for ssh X forwarding sessions. * CVE-2023-0494/ZDI-CAN-19596: X.Org Server DeepCopyPointerClasses use-after-free A dangling pointer in DeepCopyPointerClasses can be exploited by P
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I am a married woman in my 50s who enjoys an active and enjoyable sex life. Unfortunately, I can’t climax any more without a great deal of drama, including moaning, heavy breathing, even crying or shouting. We have teenage children and I worry about the embarrassment that I might cause them. Do you think they are likely to be adversely affected? And do you have any tips for how to have quieter sex?Rather than trying to gag your natural response, it might be better to do what many people do in family households – find time to have sex when your children are not at home, or find an alternative location. Some people believe that making love should be spontaneous, and are unwilling to plan it, but in fact, making preparations can actually enhance the experience.In your case it would be ver
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Jürgen Klopp takes a seat in the press conference room at Molineux and answers questions about Liverpool’s latest defeat. He looks a little haggard these days, like a homeless wizard: the face worn and weathered, a thick Arctic forest of a beard hanging from him. Deep breaths. Voice cracked and familiar. Baseball cap drawn low over sad eyes. On the walls at Liverpool’s training ground there are photos from his arrival, a younger and handsomer man staring him down every day he comes into work. Seven years. How has it only been seven years? How has it already been seven years? Somebody asks a question about Liverpool’s slow starts. Something about mentality. Suddenly he recognises a face, a name, some words, a feeling. A brief and powerful memory flickers and ignites inside him.“It
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Like many of us, Suzan-Lori Parks thought the Covid-19 shutdown would last a few weeks.The Pulitzer prize-winning playwright, writer, musician, and all around multi-hyphenate, was on the set of Genius: Aretha, a season in National Geographic’s anthology series that focused on the life of singer Aretha Franklin.“They said, ‘[It’ll be] a couple of weeks, you know, go home, put your feet up right. We’ll be back,’” said Parks to the Guardian.But soon, weeks turned into months, and months turned into over a year of lockdown with her young son and husband in their one-bedroom New York apartment. Parks did what she always does: stayed present and wrote.“I believe that in the moment is the point of power,” said Parks on the importance of writing in real time while quarantining.The culmination of material is what makes up Plays for the Plague Year, Parks’ latest show set to reopen this spring at the off-Broadway Public Theater’s Joe’s Pub. Parks and her family have since moved out of the apartment. The playwright, the first Black woman to receive the Pulitzer prize for drama, has other upcoming projects, including an original musical based on the 1972 film the Harder They Come.But, for Parks, the desire to look, to stay connected, to “pay attention” remains. Parks was warm and overflowing, as she detailed her year-long writing process on a Zoom call.From March 2020 to April 2021, Parks wrote a short play a day. Sometimes, Parks would write multiple. Other times, Parks would write fragments of a song, eventually creating 23 original songs for the theatrical piece that charts the family’s journey through the pandemic.One song Parks wrote, RIP The King,
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Jacobean manor, KentBoys Hall, a gorgeous Jacobean house in Ashford, Kent, has been restored as a restaurant with rooms. There are five suites with original four-poster beds, window seats and roll-top baths; three doubles with en suite bathrooms; and two smaller doubles with shower rooms. The oak-beamed dining room looks out on to the walled garden and serves dishes inspired by classic British comfort food: fillet of venison with spinach and smoked garlic (£32), say, followed by beef suet sticky toffee pudding (£9). There is also a wood-panelled pub serving Kentish ales and posh bar snacks such as confit duck eclairs. The Grade II-listed hall, built in 1616, has more than a hectare of landscaped grounds; treatment rooms and luxury cabins around the pond are in the pipeline.Doubles from £160 B&B, boys-hall.comHikers’ haven, Derbyshire Photograph: Adrian Ray PhotographyBike and Boot, whose first hotel opened in Scarborough in 2020, is opening a second outpost in the Peak District this spring. Like the original, B&B Derbyshire is design-conscious but relaxed, welcoming dogs, bikes and muddy boots. The new hotel, which is between Hathersage and Hope, has 60 rooms, a bar/restaurant/cafe, a 24-hour lounge with free hot drinks all day and cake at teatime, facilities such as bike storage and services including dog grooming. There is also a free cinema club showing three films a day. Future plans include hotels in Wales and Scotland.Doubles from £99, opens in May, bikeandboot.comBudget beach stay, CarmarthenshireA long-awaited budget beach hotel is finally opening this spring after setbacks including the pandemic and storm damage. The Caban, a 14-room hotel sleeping with dou
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Few public figures alive today have done more to reduce the stigma around HIV than Gareth Thomas. Since he declared his status in 2019 (saying he had been forced to, following threats of blackmail by a tabloid newspaper), the former rugby player has campaigned to promote better understanding of the virus.It’s regrettable that such a popular figurehead recently found himself at the centre of a legal controversy. Last week, it was announced that Thomas had settled a case brought by his ex-partner, Ian Baum, who in a civil claim accused Thomas of hiding his HIV status while they were a couple between 2013 and 2016. Baum alleged that Thomas “deceptively” transmitted the virus to Baum, hiding his HIV medication and “coercing” him into unprotected sex. While agreeing to pay a settlement of £75,000, Thomas made no admission of liability or guilt, and has always denied that he gave Baum HIV. However, he has confirmed that he did not tell Baum about his HIV status because he “genuinely and reasonably” believed that it was undetectable at the time because his viral load was so low that the virus could not be passed on. He acknowledges now that this belief was mistaken.There is no law that says you have to tell your partner if you have HIV, but it is possible to be prosecuted for “reckless” or “intentional” transmission. The Thomas case has brought up old questions over what the norms around sharing HIV statuses should be, and whether the law should take a stance on HIV at all. But any discussion should bear in mind that the epidemic has shifted dramatically in the decade since Baum and Thomas began their relationship. Today, while the law is unchanged, the majority of people living with HIV are undetectable (and so have a viral load so low that the virus cannot be passed on). Meanwhile, the HIV-prevention drug PrEP has become widely adopted in the gay community. Thanks to these advances, which are driven by people taking personal responsibility and creating a supportive environment for people living with HIV, there has been a massive decrease in transmissions among gay and bisexual men.If it is not possible that you will transmit to another person d
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We have now heard for the first time from David Carrick’s victims – the women a serving Met police officer raped, controlled, threatened and abused. Their victim statements, read out by prosecutor Tom Little during Carrick’s sentencing hearing on Monday, painted a picture of terror, violence and control; of being made to feel “worthless”, “degraded”, “ashamed”, “like a piece of dirt on his shoe”.I hope that Carrick’s sentencing for his 49 offences will bring some sense of closure to his victims. But it should offer no sense of an ending to the Metropolitan police. Because a running thread in the victims’ statements was Carrick’s job. He was not just a police officer who happened to be a rapist – he used his badge, his status, and even his police firearm to threaten and coerce women. “Every time I see a police car,” one victim said, “I freeze and hold my breath.” The Met failed to properly vet Carrick, and failed to take action following eight complaints about his conduct with women.More than 30 years ago, I voiced my own experiences as a female detective chief inspector (DCI) to the writer Lynda La Plante, to inform her groundbreaking TV drama, Prime Suspect, and its lead character, DCI Jane Tennison (played by Helen Mirren). I recounted the
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Angeline Nyabieli cooks at home on her grass island in Paguir village. Four consecutive years of heavy rains and flooding have left about two-thirds of South Sudan under water. ‘If the floods increase I will stop my children going to school because there will be no funds,’ she says Nyachuana Lok dismantles her damaged home in the village to reuse the materials on drier land. The floods have wiped out acres of farmland across Fangak county, leaving people struggling for food Biel Koryom in his hut perched on a tiny manmade island. His wife and children are sick. ‘It is five days now since they have been in hospital,’ he says. The UN has warned that more than 7.7 million people in South Sudan will face severe food shortages during the lean season between April and July, because of the floods and exacerbated by the violence in parts of the country
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The UK government has set up a delivery body tasked with building a prototype fusion energy plant to be sited at West Burton in Nottinghamshire. Announced today by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the newly established UK Industrial Fusion Solutions Ltd (UKIFS) will have responsibility for delivering the prototype nuclear fusion facility, known as the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP). The STEP project, which was first revealed just over a year ago, is expected to have completed construction by 2040, so don't hold your breath for the "near limitless, low-carbon energy" the program promises to deliver as part of a path to net-zero carbon dioxide emissions and driving economic growth across the UK. Nevertheless, the government is enthusiastic about the project, stating that the program is intended to pave the way for the commercialization of fusion and the potential development of a fleet of future plants around the world, which could "drive forward the UK's global leadership in this innovative sector." The site, at the West Burton power station in Nottinghamshire, was announced last October after being whittled down from an initial list of 15 prospective locations. The government is supposed to be providing £220 million ($264 million) in funding for the first phase of STEP, which will involve the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) producing a concept design by 2024, as we reported at the time. On a visit to the site, Science Minister George Freeman urged energy companies and investors to recognize the advantages fusion energy could have for both the UK and the wider world. "Fusion energy now has the potential to transform our world for the better by harnessing the same process powering the sun to provide cheap, abundant, low-carbon energy across the world," he said in a statement. Claiming the UK as a world leader in fusion science and technology, Freeman said the program aims to turn fusion from cutting edge science into a "billion-pound clean energy industry" that could potentially create thousands of UK jobs across the UK and grow exports, as well as lead to regeneration
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An encrypted messaging service that has been on law enforcement's radar since a 2019 raid on an old NATO bunker has been shut down after a sweeping series of raids across Europe last week.  In a search of 79 properties in German, The Netherlands, Belgium and Poland last Friday, Authorities in those four countries arrested 48 people who were users, operators and administrators of the Exclu crypto communications service.  Exclu, which still has an operational website that appears to still accept payments of €500 ($537/£446) or €900 ($966/£804) for three and six month licenses, respectiv
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BP’s annual profits more than doubled to $28bn (£23bn) in 2022 as a sharp increase in gas prices linked to the Ukraine war boosted its earnings, adding fuel to calls for a toughened windfall tax.The huge profit is likely to anger consumer and green groups, as oil companies reap rewards from higher gas prices while many households struggle to cope with a sharp rise in energy bills.The Labour party last week asked for Britain’s energy profits levy to be revamped to capture more of the exceptional earnings made by oil and gas firms, after Shell’s profits more than doubled to $40bn, the big
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Microsoft wants everyone to know that it isn't looking to invade their privacy while looking through their Windows PCs to find out-of-date versions of Office software. In its KB5021751 update last month, Microsoft included a plan to scan Windows systems to smoke out those Office versions that are no longer supported or nearing the end of support. Those include Office 2007 (which saw support end in 2017) and Office 2010 (in 2020) and the 2013 build (this coming April). The company stressed that it would run only one time and would not install anything on the user's Windows system, adding that the file for the update is scanned to ensure it's not infected by malware and is stored on highly secure servers to prevent unauthorized changes to it. The update caused some discussion among users, at least enough to convince Microsoft to make another pitch that it is respecting user privacy and won't access private data despite scanning their systems. The update collects diagnostic and performance data so that it can determine the use of various versions of Office and how to best support and service them, the software maker wrote in an expanded note this week. The update will silently run once to collect the data and no files are left on the user's systems once the scan is completed. Microsoft sweeps up after breaking .NET with December security updates Microsoft Office 365 Cloud has a secret lining Microsoft closes another door to attackers by blocking Excel XLL files from the internet Microsoft is checking everyone's bags for unsupported Office installs "This data is gathered from registry entries and APIs," it wrote. "The update does not gather licensing details, customer content, or data about non-Microsoft products. Microsoft values, protects, and defends privacy." Microsoft then gives a link to the company's privacy page for further reading. The more detailed explanation tries to address some of the shortcomings of the original update notice that we detailed, including how it will gather the information regarding the Office versions being run, any other system information being collected via the update, and if anything is left behind after the update is completed. Microsoft is delivering the update to users who have opted to receive updates for its products and who have Office 2007, 2010, or 2013 installed. Users who
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Alison Dunne – stage name Fish – has formed a punk band at the age of 58 because, as she said: “I’ve got no fucks to give any more about what anyone thinks of me.”She does care about one thing though: “This is definitely not a ‘cutesy grannies have a go at punk’ band – this is serious fun,” she said. “We write our own music and we’ve got a lot to say about everything we’re angry about. I’ve been enraged for years,” she added.Fish is just one of the older women from all classes and ethnicities who have joined the the Leicester-based, Unglamorous Music project. Founded last year by 61-year-old Ruth Miller, the aim is to create a local punk scene for older, all-female bands who write their own music. Prior musical experience is immaterial – enthusiasm is everything.Unglamorous Music, a collective of 11 all-women punk/garage bands in Leicester. Photograph: Fabio De Paola/The Guardian“There is a very limited range of hobbies that are acceptable as an older woman,” said Miller. “If you like music, for example, then you’re expected to join a choir.“The genius of punk is that you don’t need to have played an instrument before starting. The main thing is your lyrics,” she added. “Most bands are young, white men aged 19 to 23 and their lyrics are about their experiences. But put together women whose ages range from late 20s to early 70s, and their experience of life, their humour, their anger – these songs are absolutely brilliant.”The success of the project has, Miller says, been “overwhelming”. At a gig on International Women’s Day last March – just three months after setting up the project – Miller put five bands on s
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January went quite nicely, at first. Jazzer and Tracy finally got engaged despite much fumbling interference from Brad and Chelsea. Justin, for reasons as yet mysterious, decided to put himself forward for shifts in the village shop. Sales of chenin blanc and luxury truffles have never been higher.The Archers has long had a thing with brothers. Of the Cain-and-Abel, Romulus-and-Remus, chalk-and-cheese variety: William and Ed; Rex and Toby; David and Kenton. This January, it was the turn of Jakob, the “easy on the eye” (Lilian’s words) veterinary surgeon, to produce a sibling.Erik, who parked himself in the Rookery for a few days in Jakob’s absence, proved to have all the aesthetic appeal of his brother, combined with a flirtatious charm entirely lacking in Jakob. Kirsty invited him for a swim in the Am. (I know! Wild swimming! It’s Guardian-reading, tofu-eating wokery gone mad!) Despite the hypothermic chill, they kissed afterwards over hot chocolate and a crackling bonfire. Later, they memorably scaled Lakey Hill together. One wished them well.And so the month meandered on. Until it juddered, shockingly, suddenly and without warning, into something else: Jennifer Aldridge is dead.Is it normal to weep recklessly in the kitchen because of a story on the radio? I know I was not alone. “Jenny darling” – as Brian so often called her – was at the heart of The Archers. She was born in 1945 to Peggy and Jack Archer, and her voice has been part of my life as far bac
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Halfway through Paul Harding’s new novel, This Other Eden, a reporter, a photographer, two doctors and three local councillors visit an isolated island somewhere along the coast of Maine. They have travelled there as part of an official survey committee and are being escorted by a white missionary teacher, Matthew Diamond, who wants to teach Latin and Shakespeare to the island’s racially diverse residents but also feels a “visceral, involuntary repulsion… in the presence of a living Negro”. The story is set in the early-20th century US, when anti-black prejudices were frequently mistaken for scientific truths, and the two doctors in the surveying group could brazenly become members of the “Section on Eugenics in the American Breeders’ Association”. The doctors go about measuring every inch of the islanders’ breathing bodies with calipers and metal rulers, as if they were mere lab specimens. At one point, someone in the group shows a little black girl photographs of a train engine, a telephone, the then American president William Taft, and asks her to identify the images. Despite his racist views, Diamond is upset by the impertinence of the committee and nearly ends up telling them that the little girl “could answer your questions in Latin”.Harding’s novels are rife with such carefully calibrated moments, when a character briefly transcends their desires and deficiencies, when a sentence lays them bare as hauntingly human. In Tinkers, his Pulitzer prize-winning debut, an old man wonders if, decades after his death, he will be “no more than the smoky arrangement of a set of rumours” to his descendants. In Enon, a grieving father spends so many nights awake beside his daughter’s grave that he starts to doubt if the cemetery and the adjoining hills are real or a “large, elaborate set”. I can’t help thinking, however, that Harding’s gifts have found their fullest expression in This Other Eden. Pick any excerpt from these 200 pages and you will find that each sentence contains multitudes and works well by itself, and yet the chapters, the paragraphs, have also been sewn together into a numinous whole.The story opens on Apple Island, named because of the trees once planted there by the first settlers: a runaway slave, Benjamin Honey, and his Irish wife, Patience. A hundred years later, their descendants and a couple of neighbouring families get by on scraps of food and tobacco from the mainland and drink “mulchy black tea to nip morning, noon and suppertime pangs”. The governor of Maine resolves to evict them from their inherited land, apparently for the sake of “humanity and public health”. The children, Diamond’s pupils, will end up scattered across the country, either institutionalised or dead.But this tragic outline, albeit inspired by true events, does not quite capture the novel’s ambition. Harding is not striving for historical credibility but something more poetic, more fragmentary: what it was like being alive on the island, moment after moment. His New England characters are refreshingly attuned to half-apprehended things – what the poet Emily Dickinson once summed up as the condition of
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This tool provides utilities for interacting with OpenAI APIs and storing the results in a SQLite database. See Semantic search answers: Q&A against documentation with GPT3 + OpenAI embeddings for background on this project. Installation Install this tool using pip: pip install openai-to-sqlite Configuration You will need an OpenAI API key to use this tool. You can create one at https://beta.openai.com/account/api-keys You can then either set the API key as an environment variable: export OPENAI_API_KEY=sk-... Or pass it to each command using the --token sk-... option. Embeddings The embeddings command can be used to calculate and store OpenAI embeddings for strings of text. Each embedding has a cost, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the pricing for the embedding model. The command can accept data in four different ways: As a JSON file containing a list of objects As a CSV file As a TSV file By running queries against a SQLite database For all of these formats there should be an id column, followed by one or more text columns. The ID will be stored as the content ID. Any other columns will be concatenated together and used as the text to be embedded. The embeddings from the API will then be saved as binary blobs in the embeddings table of the specified SQLite database - or another table, if you pass the -t/--table option. JSON, CSV and TSV Given a CSV file like this: id,content 1,This is a test 2,This is another test Embeddings can be stored like so: openai-to-sqlite embeddings embeddings.db data.csv The resulting schema looks like this: CREATE TABLE [embeddings] ( [id] TEXT PRIMARY KEY, [embedding] BLOB ); The same data can be provided as TSV data: id content 1 This is a test 2 This is another test Then imported like this: openai-to-sqlite embeddings embeddings.db data.tsv Or as JSON data: [ {"id": 1, "content": "This is a test"}, {"id": 2, "content": "This is another test"} ] Imported like this: openai-to-sqlite embeddings embeddings.db data.json In each of these cases the tool automatically detects the format of the data. It does this by inspecting the data itself - it does not consider the file extension. If the automatic detection is not working, you can pass --format json, csv or tsv to explicitly specify a format: openai-to-sqlite embeddings embeddings.db data.tsv --format tsv Importing data from standard input You can use a filename of - to pipe data in to standard input: cat data.tsv | openai-to-sqlite embeddings embeddings.db - Data from a SQL query The --sql option can be used to read data to be embedded from the attached SQLite database. The query must return an id column and one or more text columns to be embedded. openai-to-sqlite embeddings content.db \ --sql "select id, title from documents" This will create a embeddings table in the content.db database and populate it with embeddings calculated from the title column in that query. You can also store embeddings in one database while reading data from another database, using the --attach alias filename.db option: openai-to-sqlite embeddings embeddings.db \ --attach documents documents.db \ --sql "select id, title from document
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Nature: Wales, friend’s house, 2011‘I made hundreds of photographs over this time, setting up scenarios that invited other subjects to trigger the shutter – birds, apples, balls, my dog and finally, the lights and sounds of the darkroom. Here a TriggerSmart fires the camera shutter when something breaks the infra-red beam. I set up the beam, link the boxes to the camera and place seed on the perch. Birds land, they break the beam and photograph the inside of the room. I’m in there, with my camera, and photograph them as they unknowingly photograph me’
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The WINE Project has reached version 8.0 and DXVK version 2.1 of its Vulkan-based DirectX translation layer. If you'd give Linux a go except for one or two pesky but necessary apps, it's worth a try.
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At the weekend I bought an advance ticket on the LNER website for a trip on 1 February from King’s Cross to Retford which I did not realise at the time was a day when there would be a rail strike.On its website LNER says cancellations are non-refundable but for a further £10 (the ticket cost £40) I could change the booking to a different day. This is no use to me because I could only meet the person I was meeting on Wednesday.How can the railways sell tickets for travel on trains they know will not be running and then refuse to give you a refund?I can’t be the only person who has made this mistake during the recent train strikes and it must add up to thousands of pounds being taken fro
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Consent10pm, Channel 4Emma Dennis-Edwards has written a queasy drama about sexual abuse and harassment in schools that gets under the skin and is excruciating from beginning to end. Set in a private s
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Labour plans to reach thousands of people with addiction or mental health issues “written off” by the Department for Work and Pensions to help them back into employment, with personalised support offered through treatment centres.Visiting a centre in Nottingham which offers wraparound treatment, benefits and employment support, the shadow work and pensions secretary, Jon Ashworth, said it was wrong to assume those undergoing treatment for drug and alcohol addiction did not want to find ways to work.He said employment support should start at the beginning of treatment, rather than only as an end goal.“If you can support people in the first weeks or the first couple of months of the worklessness because of ill health, you’re more likely to help those people return to work than if they’ve been out of work for at least two years. But what’s happening at the moment is the government has written off a generation.”A number of clients dealing with alcoholism, drug addiction and mental health crises told Ashworth they felt rejected by the central system, which no longer offered help after a limited capability assessment. All said they would not be able to find work under the current offer from JobCentre Plus.Two of those using the services at the hub, Daniel and Tom, said they had been assessed by the DWP as not being required to seek work, but said they did not want to be left behind.Jonathan Ashworth talking to Tom at the Wellbeing Hub. Photograph: Fabio De Paola/The GuardianTom, who had experience of addiction starting from childhood, said he had been in care, prison and a mental health unit but wanted to take steps to find fulfilling work. “I don’t want to be part of the street life, I want to have a positive role.”Daniel, who said he had now been clean a number of years, said he wanted to return to work as a forklift driver but needed support to find a job that would make the right adaptations.One of the support specialists, Lily Cragg, said many of her clients had fallen off the jobcentre’s radar. “I have one of my clients actually got a phone call essentially saying, congratulations, you never have to look for work again. But the individual did want to work, just finding work that suited his mental health at the time was difficult.”In the Nottingham Wellbeing Hub, those accessing treatment already get tailored support going back into potential employment or training, without penalties if appointments are missed or steps to take on limited hours in employment do not work out.Ashworth said there were “potentially millions of people who are out of work either because of reasons of ill health or sickness or because of caring responsibilities … many of whom want to return to work”.“A whole cohort of people, as we were hearing, who feel they are written off. I thought that was very striking when we heard that, who feel like they are not given a chance.”Ashworth has already pledged more security for those with mental health problems or other disabilities who take steps into employment having previously been on long-term benefits which do not require them to look for work.skip past newsletter promotionafter newslette
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Irish film-maker Treasa O’Brien has created a valuable and empathic documentary essay project about history, memory and community; it is executive produced by The Act of Killing’s Josh Oppenheimer, whose influence is detectable in one verbatim-cinema-type “dream re-enactment” scene (although I must say that this is the one creative avenue that doesn’t really go anywhere).Town of Strangers is set in the town of Gort in County Galway, perhaps best known for being the site of Coole House, the home of Lady Gregory and the Irish literary revival of Yeats, Synge, O’Casey and Shaw. None o
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I have a great GP. I’m not saying that to show off, or to rub anyone’s nose in anything. I’m not saying it to undermine the case overall that general practice is on its knees, in the middle of a recruitment crisis, nationwide burnout and deliberate, long-range underfunding. It just feels as if patients have been backed into a corner where, if we complain about our access to general medicine, some tax-avoiding Tory pops up to suggest that we should pay for appointments, while, if we say it’s fine, they say: “There you go – it’s all going great and nobody knows what doctors are com
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Key eventsShow key events onlyPlease turn on JavaScript to use this featureRussia almost certainly now lacks the munitions and manoeuvre units required for successful offensives, UK Ministry of Defence saysMoscow will continue to demand sweeping advances, but it remains unlikely that Russia can build up the forces needed to substantially affect the outcome of the war in the coming weeks, according to the UK Ministry of Defence’s latest intelligence update.The update comes as Russia pours reinforcements into eastern Ukraine ahead of a new offensive that could begin next week.The update said:Russian forces have only managed to gain several hundred metres of territory per week. This is almost certainly because Russia now lacks the munitions and manoeuvre units required for successful offensives. Senior commanders likely make plans requiring undermanned, inexperienced units to achieve unrealistic objectives due to political and profession pressure.The update said it’s highly likely Russia has been attempting to re-start offensive operations in Ukraine since early January this year, and almost certainly with the goal of capturing the remaining Ukrainian-held parts of Donetsk oblast.Here are some of the latest images from the frontline in Ukraine.A member of the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade (Azov Unit) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine near Bahmut, in Donetsk region. Photogrpah: Marko Djurica/Reuters Photograph: Marko Đurica/ReutersUkrainian servicemen stand at a self-propelled howitzer near the frontline town of Toretsk, Donetsk region. Photographer: Yevhen Titov/Reuters Photograph: ReutersRelatives and friends grieve next to a coffin of a Ukrainian serviceman Eduard Shtraus, who was killed near Bakhmut, where fierce fighting is underway. Photograph: Roman Pilipey/Getty Images Photograph: Roman Pilipey/Getty ImagesTetiana Bessonova, who sells her homemade local food, pirozhki and chebureki everyday, dances with her dog after selling all the food in Ozerne. Photograph: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP. Photograph: AFP/Getty ImagesDan SabbaghLabour to pledge rapid action on replenishing UK weapon stocksLabour will seek to shift defence procurement to an “urgent operational footing” to help buy fresh arms for Ukraine and replenish stockpiles depleted by previous gifts of military aid if it wins the next election.The opposition party believes it has taken too long for the Ministry of Defence to buy fresh munitions, citing a near year-long wait to agree a contract to replace the 4,000-plus Nlaw anti-tank bazookas sent to Kyiv before and in the early stages of the war.In a speech on Tuesday, John Healey, the shadow defence secretary, will argue that Britain’s defence purchasing is wasteful and in need of an urgent overhaul to support Ukraine in its war with Russia.More on this story here:Russia says protection structures at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant near completionThe construction of protective structures for key facilities at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southeast Ukraine is nearing completion, Reuters reports.The report first appeared in Russia’s state TASS news agency reported on Tuesday, citing an adviser to the head of Russia’s nuclear plants
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Unable to get the power it needs to feed its growing datacenter footprint, Amazon plans to transition some of its Oregon datacenters over to natural gas fuel cells. First reported by local media, Amazon's initial plan would involve installing just shy of 75 megawatts of fuel cell capacity across three datacenters with the option to expand that to four additional sites in the future. Fuel cells extract electricity from a fuel like natural gas or hydrogen without the need for combustion. With hydrogen, the only byproducts of this reaction are electricity and water vapor, but with natural gas, CO2 — a potent greenhouse gas — is still produced. The ability to produce power without combustion has made hydrogen fuel cells a popular source of power in spacecraft and other advanced power-tech systems but more recently datacenters have adopted this tech as an alternative to diesel backup generators in the event of an outage. For Amazon, these natural gas fuel cells will be used as the primary energy supply, delivering 24.3 megawatts of power to each of the three datacenter sites. "We are investing in fuel cells as a way to power a small number of our operations in Oregon," an Amazon spokesperson told The Register in an email. "We continually innovate to minimize our impact on our neighbors, local resources, and the environment and this technology provides a pathway for less carbon intensive solutions in the region." An infrastructure problem Continuing to use fossil fuels to power its datacenters is at odds with Amazon's stated sustainability goals — which include transitioning facilities to 100 percent renewable energy by 2025. However, sources familiar with the matter tell The Register that Amazon's decision to use natural gas fuel cells was made in part due to challenges associated with power transmission infrastructure in the region. Oregon Live notes that the e-tail giant has had problems with landowners, who have objected to having high-voltage transmission lines cross their properties. Fuel cells provide Amazon a way to circumvent these headaches by generating the power onsite. However, regulators are concerned that the decision could actually increase Amazon's carbon footprint in the region as the power supplied by local utilities includes a mix of hydroelectric power. In documents filed with the state, it's estimated the fuel cells would generate 250,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. Draft climate law threatens fines for datacenters that don't cut their carbon count Amazon's carbon footprint spread 18% in 2021 Amazon adds 2.7 gigawatts of renewable energy to its operations Massive solar project in Tennessee is all about Google Of course, Amazon clearly doesn't have a problem growing its greenhouse gas emissions if it also means growing its business. In 2021, Amazon said its total carbon footprint increased by 18 percent blaming its continual growth, especially with regard to its cloud business, for the increase in emissions. A cleaner future? While Amazon plans to use natural gas to run the fuel cells, there's technically nothing stopping them from using hydrogen or bio-gasses, li
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UK regulators are investigating a cyberattack against financial technology firm ION, while the LockBit ransomware gang has threatened to publish the stolen data on February 4 if the software provider doesn't pay up. According to a statement posted on ION Market's website, its ION Cleared Derivatives division "experienced a cybersecurity event" on January 31.  "The incident is contained to a specific environment, all the affected servers are disconnected, and remediation of services is ongoing," the notice said. "Further updates will be posted when available." LockBit, a ransomware group with ties to Russia, has since said it pulled off the data heist, and promised to publish "all available data," according to a screenshot posted by Emsisoft threat analyst Brett Callow. #LockBit has listed #ION. The #RoyalMail has not been listed. The reason for that is not known. pic.twitter.com/7p5nZNttjm — Brett Callow (@BrettCallow) February 2, 2023 This is the crime gang that may or may not have also attacked Royal Mail last month. Despite claiming one of its affiliates compromised the postal service, Royal Mail hasn't been listed on LockBit's leak site, as Callow noted. While the ION security alert didn't provide any additional details, but according to media reports the attack affected 42 of ION's customers, which likely included ABN Amro Clearing and Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy's biggest bank, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, some European and US banks and brokers had to pull the pens and paper out of storage. ION's software automates trading processes, and Bloomberg reported the outage forced these banks and brokers to manually process derivative trades. The attack prompted the Futures Industry Association (FIA) to weigh in on the security snafu, which it said has affected ION clients "across global markets." The industry association, which represents futures dealers, investors and exchanges, said it was working with its member organizations, "including clearing firms and exchanges, as well as market regulators and others, to assess the extent of the impact on trading, processing, and clearing." Royal Mail, cops probe 'cyber incident' that's knackered international mail LockBit: Sorry about the SickKids ransomware, not sorry about the rest LockBit 3.0 malware forced NHS tech supplier to shut down hosted sites LockBit threatens to leak confidential info stolen from California's beancounters Additionally, a spokesperson for the UK's Financial Conduct Authority told The Register that the FCA is "aware of this incident and we will continue to work with our counterparts and the firms affected." The FCA regulates British banks and financial services companies. While ION, as a third-party software provider, isn't an FCA-regulated business, it does provide services to several firms that do fall under the agency's purview.  As such, the FCA is working with its counterparts to help affected financial services firms. US downplays risk The US Treasury Department also confirmed the ransomware attack against ION, but said it didn't post a "systematic risk" to industry. "The issue is currently isolated to a small number of
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Chinese web giant Baidu, which has “AI” in its name and has made AI the focus of its hyperscale cloud, has revealed it will launch a generative AI chatbot later this year. Chinese media reported the launch and Baidu confirmed it to The Register. “The company plans to complete internal testing in March before making the chatbot available to the public,” a Baidu spokesperson wrote. The bot will be named “Wenxin Yiyan文心一言” or "ERNIE Bot" in English. The spokesperson added that the bots are based on the Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration (Ernie) model first proposed in 2019. We were told Ernie “expands into a series of advanc
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It is midday, and in New York the costume designer Patricia Field is gearing up to talk about Sex and the City. A “costume person and a fashion person”, Field, who turns 82 this week, is best know
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India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has commenced the process to ban and block 138 betting apps and 94 loan lending apps with Chinese links, but has drawn criticism for a lack of transparency and the inclusion of several non-Chinese platforms. The ban has reportedly been executed on behalf of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) after app operators granted substantially large loans and then engaged in extortion, harassment, and other nasty measures to achieve repayment at annual interest rates up to 3,000 percent. The Indian government began investigating lending apps last year and also issued an advisory in October 2022 against betting and gambling platforms.
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Matt Fearnley’s charity owes almost £1m in rent to its landlord – but that bill is likely to keep growing unless his long list of complaints ranging from black mould to leaking ceilings is addres
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The premier of one of Solomon Islands’ most populous provinces and one of the most vocal critics of the country’s relationship with China has been ousted in a vote of no confidence.The move led to protests in Auki, Malaita province on Tuesday. Police confirmed to the Guardian that they had used teargas to disperse protesters and said one police officer had been injured, but said the situation was now under control.Malaita provincial premier Daniel Suidani has been one of the most outspoken critics of the country’s relationship with China. He objected to the national government signing a controversial security pact with China last year, as well as the decision to break ties with Taipei in favour of Beijing in 2019.He faced a vote of no confidence at the provincial assembly on Tuesday. The motion filed in the assembly alleged Suidani had illegally solicited money from a Chinese-owned mining company, inappropriately used government finances to pay the wages of his personal security guards and of financial mismanagement.The vote passed unanimously after the premier and his executive walked off the floor of the provincial assembly meeting, boycotting the motion.The national minister for provincial government Rollen Seleso said that Suidani’s government had tried unsuccessfully to object to the legality of the motion of no confidence, but that the high court had ruled in favour of the provincial speaker and declared the vote could go ahead.“They proceeded with the motion which now led to the defeat of the incumbent Suidani,” said Seleso. “Following the defeat, nominations of the candidates should go on for 48 hours, and the provincial assembly speaker should convene a full assembly meeting to elect the new premier on Friday this week.”Suidani has not spoken to the press following the vote and could not immediately be reached for comment. However, earlier this week he issued a statement calling the vote of no confidence a “blatant disregard of the law” and “attacks against the people of Malaita are in clear daylight”.Tensions between the provincial government in Malaita and the national government based in Honiara have been high in recent years.
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An escalation of gang violence, political instability and a deadly cholera outbreak in Haiti has left half its children relying on humanitarian aid to survive, Unicef says.At least 2.6 million are expected to need immediate lifesaving assistance this year as the overlapping crises leave Haiti’s children in the worst position since the earthquake of 2010, Unicef’s Haiti representative, Bruno Maes, told the Guardian.“Haitian children don’t just face challenges accessing food and potable water while the health system collapses around them,” Maes said. “There is also a lack of protection. Children are being abused, young girls are being raped and services are not there at the scale they should be for their survival and development.”Gang violence has escalated in Haiti since President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in July 2021, and the Caribbean country’s economy and security order is in freefall. Gangs have seized control of two-thirds of the capital, bringing human rights abuses, unprecedented malnutrition and the return of cholera.A mother and daughter run past a roadblock during police protests in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, late January. Photograph: Odelyn Joseph/APHaiti is experiencing the worst level of hunger in its history, with 4.7 million people suffering from
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Microsoft is continuing to change how diagnostic data from Windows devices is processed and controlled to keep its place in the European market amid stringent privacy and security regulations. IT administrators enrolling devices in the Windows diagnostic data processor configuration option had been able to use a range of policies for each system, such as allowing for a commercial data pipeline and for desktop analytics processing. As part of a larger effort announced in May 2021 to enable European entities to process and store their data in Europe, the software giant is ending the use of policies to configure the processor option and instead is offering a configuration for an entire organization based on Azure Active Directory to set Microsoft's role in processing data. "We're making this change to help ensure the diagnostic data for all devices in an organization is processed in a consistent way, and in the same geographic region," the company wrote. Two years ago, Brad Smith, Microsoft's vice chair and president, said that the company would ensure European companies using its cloud services – not only Azure, but also Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 – could keep all their data within European Union borders. The diagnostic data change started in Windows preview builds and is now reaching latest versions of the operating systems. In 2018, after years of debate and warnings, the EU implemented the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which set strict rules for protecting data from Europe or EU citizens and threatened heavy fines for companies that violated those rules. Citizen Coder? Happiness Concierge? Here come 2023's business cards US commerce bosses view EU rules as threat to its clouds Microsoft 365 faces more GDPR headwinds as Germany bans it in schools France says non to Office 365 and Google Workspace in school Windows devices with the diagnostic data tool turned and connected to an Azure AD tenant with a billing address in the EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland – will see the diagnostic data automatically configured for the processor option and th
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As the government lurches between screw-ups, sleaze and scandals, it is ironic that one of its key policy agendas is based on the premise that the rest of us aren’t working properly. The chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, has highlighted the “economically inactive” as a key issue facing the UK. The number of working-age people either unable or unwilling to take a job has increased by about 630,000 since 2019, according to government estimates, resulting in a staggering 9 million people missing from the job market.Broadly, Hunt is concerned about two camps: the over-50s who took early retirement during the pandemic, and the increasing number of people who can’t work because of long-term health conditions and disabilities – a state of affairs put down to factors ranging from soaring NHS waiting lists to long Covid.Hunt’s strategies to bring the two groups back into the workforce, however, are stark in their differences. Ministers are reportedly looking into a “midlife MOT” to coax older workers back to at least part-time roles, including financial incentives and mentoring schemes. The Treasury is also reportedly considering exempting over-50s who return to work from income tax for up to a year.Contrast this with their tactics towards people who are off work through no choice of their own due to illness or disability. The government is obliging 600,000 claimants on universal credit to meet a “work coach” so they can increase their hours or earnings, even though many will have health problems or caring responsibilities. Meanwhile, ministers are said to be planning to target the partners of people on benefits to push them into paid work. Stay-at-home mums whose partners receive universal credit could be “blitzed” with an ad campaign to get them into the labour market. Middle-class mums, presumably, will be permitted to stay at home. Then there’s the new anti-fraud drive. Just as long-term sickness shot up, the government announced £280m of fresh investment to “crack down” on benefit fraud and errors for the next two years – despite that accounting for just 4% of total benefit expenditure last year.If you’re off work because you’re spending
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MIT recently announced its research on toroidal propellers to create quieter drones. That got [Major Hardware] thinking about noisy PC fans. The obvious solution was to adapt the toroidal shape for a PC fan. He was familiar with the idea from similar screws on boats that are commercially available. You can see his tests in the video below. The shape of the blades on the MIT drones is visible in video and pictures, but there were no available 3D models. [Major] did a design and 3D printed the blades. Watching the comparison with a conventional fan using smoke was pretty impressive. The fan appeared to work pretty well, but the stock fan worked better. Oddly, the stock fan was also a little quieter overall, but the MIT-inspired blade was quieter at high frequencies. Stat
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A “significant number” of households in Great Britain received financial support they did not need through the government’s £69bn package to cushion the blow of rising energy bills, the public spending watchdog has said.A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) said the blanket nature of the financial support meant it helped a “deadweight” of households and businesses that could have afforded to absorb the price rises. It also warned that the speed at which it was distributed left the schemes open to fraud.The government has provided billions of pounds in household and business support through a string of policies designed to limit the impact of huge increases in energy bills, pushed up by rising gas prices linked to the war in Ukraine.The NAO estimates that the support, first
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The already-sour relationship between ex-Pink Floyd bandmates Roger Waters and David Gilmour seemed to take an irreparable turn on Monday. Gilmour’s wife, novelist and lyricist Polly Samson, fired off a tweet accusing Waters of being “antisemitic to your rotten core” and called him “a Putin apologist and a lying, thieving, hypocritical, tax-avoiding, lip-synching, misogynistic, sick-with-envy, megalomaniac.”It’s not clear what specifically prompted the message, but it may have been an interview Waters did with Germany’s Berliner Zeitung newspaper in which he said he stood by comments comparing modern Israel to Nazi Germany for its treatment of Palestinians, accused the Israelis of genocide and defended his boycott of the nation. Waters, who quit Pink Floyd nearly 40 years ago, also wrote on his website that the “Israel lobby” is trying to silence him via a “despicable smear campaign” while he insisted he’s not antisemitic. He also posted another message in response to Samson, calling her comments “incendiary and wildly inaccurate,” and implied he was considering legal action. Gilmour, who posts only very occasionally on social media, hit back later in th
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Generative AI models can memorize images from their training data, possibly allowing users to extract private copyrighted data, according to research. Tools like DALL-E, Stable Diffusion, and Midjourney are trained on billions of images scraped from the internet, including data protected by copyright like artwork and logos. They learn to map visual representations of objects and styles to natural language. When they're given a text description as input, they generate an image matching the caption as output. The new technology has sparked a fresh legal debate over copyright: do these tools violate intellectual property rights since they ingested copyrighted images without permission? Lawsuits have been filed against makers of the most popular generative AI tools for infringing copyright. Companies building text-to-image models argue that since their software generates unique images, their use of copyright data is fair use. But artists who have seen their styles and work imitated by these tools believe they've been ripped off. Now research led by researchers working at Google, DeepMind, the University of California, Berkeley, ETH Zurich, and Princeton University demonstrates that images used to train these models can be extracted. Generative AI models memorize images and can generate precise copies of them, raising new copyright and privacy concerns. Some examples of images the researchers managed to extract from Stable Diffusion "In a real attack, where an adversary wants to extract private information, they would guess the label or caption that was used for an image," co-authors of the study told The Register. "Fortunately for the attacker,
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Residents retrieve an injured man from the rubble of a collapsed building in the town of Jandaris, near Syria’s northwestern city of Afrin. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images Residents search for victims and survivors amid destroyed buildings in the village of Besnaya in Syria’s north-western Idlib province. Photograph: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images
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Seth Meyers is calling for a more appropriate name for the alleged Chinese “spy” balloon that dominated headlines before and after it was shot down in U.S. airspace over the weekend. “We should stop calling it a Chinese spy balloon when a far more accurate name is shitty Chinese spy balloon,” the “Late Night” host said Monday. “The only way this balloon could’ve had a higher profile is if it had its own Instagram account.”“There’s something about it being a balloon that just makes it very hard to take seriously,” he added. “Like, it would be one thing to send a fleet
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Pakistan’s years-long whack-a-mole attempts to prevent its citizens seeing some content online gone up a level, after the nation’s prime minister intervened to overturn a fresh ban on Wikipedia. As The Register has recently reported, Pakistan's Telecommunications Authority (PTA) last week downgraded access to the crowdsourced encyclopedia after demanding supposedly blasphemous material be removed, and threatened a ban if it was not taken down. A ban duly followed, prompting the Wikimedia Foundation – operator of Wikipedia – to protest and point out that Pakistani authorities should re
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Event TimelineThere are a very large number of changes, so older changes are hidden. Show Older Changeslibcxx/include/__algorithm/sort.h 128libcxx/include/__algorithm/sort.h 187–191libcxx/benchmarks/algorithms.bench.cpp 27–28 libcxx/include/__algorithm/sort.h 152 160 187–191 libcxx/test/libcxx/algorithms/robust_against_copying_comparators.pass.cpp 192Comment Actionslibcxx/benchmarks/algorithms.bench.cpp 27–28 libcxx/test/libcxx/algorithms/robust_against_copying_comparators.pass.cpp 192libcxx/include/__algorithm/sort.h 127libcxx/include/__algorithm/sort.h 127libcxx/benchmarks/algorithms
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An episode of the Simpsons that references “forced labour camps” in China has been removed from Disney+ streaming services in Hong Kong.The episode is the second in the long-running US cartoon’s latest season. One Angry Lisa sees Marge buy an interactive training exercise bike, similar to a Peloton bike. On an interactive tour, the guide takes Marge to the Great Wall of China with its wonders of “bitcoin mines, forced labour camps where children make smartphones, and romance”.China’s government has long faced accusations of operating forced labour camps, particularly with Uyghur workers from the Xinjiang region.The Guardian has confirmed, as first reported by the Financial Times, that One Angry Lisa is not available in Hong Kong, with the streaming platform showing all other ep
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Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) has, again, appeared to pray for the demise of President Joe Biden.In a sermon streamed by the Storehouse Dallas church in Texas over the weekend, Boebert preached politics to attendees, repeating comments that attracted fierce backlash last June.“Joe Biden’s president. We don’t know what to do, Lord!” Boebert said. “It’s all right, we pray for our presidents. You know, it says, ‘Let his days be few and another take his office.’”The audience was heard laughing after the remark.“That’s why I filed articles of impeachment for Joe Biden,” Boebert added. “Unfortunately, he does have a really great insurance policy named Kamala Harris.”A church congregation cheered as Lauren Boebert said she prays for Joe Biden's demise: "May his days be
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Human rights abuses committed by security forces and economic deprivation are among the most important drivers of recruitment to extremist groups in Africa, a survey has found.Researchers working for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) interviewed more than 1,000 active or recent militants across eight countries in Africa in the pioneering study.Their report – Journey to Extremism in Africa: Pathways to Recruitment and Disengagement – is one of the biggest anywhere in the world on the motivations of militants, and comes against a background of increasing extremist violence across a swath of the continent.Though deaths worldwide from terrorism have declined over the past five years, attacks in sub-Saharan Africa have more than doubled since 2016, and in 2021 they comprised almost half o
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Low-income women in some cities are more likely than their wealthier counterparts to be targeted by Google ads promoting anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers when they search for abortion care, researchers at the Tech Transparency Project have found.The research builds on previous findings detailing how Google directs users searching for abortion services to so-called crisis centers – organizations that have been known to pose as abortion clinics in an attempt to steer women away from accessing abortion care.The researchers set up test accounts in three cities – Atlanta, Miami and Phoenix, Arizona – for women of three different income groups suggested by Google: average or lower-income rate, moderately high-income rate and high-income rate. They then entered search terms like “ab
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Clip: BBC News In the Arctic, in space, and at international research centres such as CERN, scientists have collaborated with colleagues from around the world to push the boundaries of human knowledge. Since the invasion of Ukraine last February some of that work has come under threat, as Russia’s ongoing role in scientific projects and institutes has come under scrutiny. Ian Sample speaks to physicist Prof John Ellis, who has spent much of his career at CERN, and Arctic governance expert Svein Vigeland Rottem about how the invasion has affected these organisations and the role of science in global diplomacy.
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The name Monet conjures up pictures of water lilies, Rouen Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament and French haystacks, some of European art’s best known works.Now a Paris exhibition will focus on another, lesser known, Monet: Léon Monet, the artist Claude Monet’s long overlooked elder brother who supported him when he was poor and struggling to make his name.It will be the first time an event – which also includes previously unseen works and sketches by the painter known as the ‘father of impressionism’ – has focused on the elder sibling.Léon Monet, a chemist and industrialist, has been largely ignored by posterity but was one of the first patrons of the blossoming impressionist movement in the 19th century. He not only supported his brother but also helped his painter friends
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Just like in the Harry Potter books and movies, you can choose your house in Hogwarts Legacy through a Sorting Hat quiz. For the uninitiated, the four Hogwarts houses are Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. Gryffindors are brave and daring, Slytherins are cunning and ambitious, Ravenclaws are eccentric and intelligent, and Hufflepuffs are trustworthy and hardworking. However, like the characters of the series, your house doesn’t define you. For instance, Hermione Granger is seen as one of the most intelligent students at Hogwarts, yet she is a Gryffindor and not a Ravenclaw. By understanding how Hogwarts Legacy’s sorting quiz works — or by using the account link feature before playing — you can end up in the house of your choosing. How house sorting works in Hogwa
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What’s a witch or wizard without their wand? In Hogwarts Legacy, you’ll start off with a hand-me-down wand, but you’ll soon make your way to Ollivanders to find the right wand for you. You can keep the wand that chose you, or you can customize your wand’s style, wood, flexibility, length, and core. Keep reading to see all of the options you can choose from, and if your wand affects your in-game strength. Wand selection in Hogwarts Legacy explained After arriving at Ollivanders in Hogwarts Legacy, you’ll go through a series of wands only to find yourself incompatible with them. Ollivander will find one last wand that is perfect for you. If you’ve linked your Harry Potter Fan Club and WB Games accounts, as well as your house choice, you’ll be presented with the wand associa
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It’s worth linking your Harry Potter Fan Club and WB Games accounts for a more personalized Hogwarts Legacy experience. This involves a couple of quizzes to find which Hogwarts house you belong to and the right wand for you. Though you can do this in the game, connecting your accounts ahead of time means you can get the ball rolling now. After your accounts are linked, you’ll be sorted into your house and you’ll bring your wand into the game — and receive bonus rewards. How to link Harry Potter Fan Club and WB Games accounts in Hogwarts Legacy Create a WB Games account and a Harry Potter Fan Club account if you don’t already have them. Head over to the Hogwarts Legacy account linking page, and log in with your Harry Potter Fan Club account or create a profile. Click the “
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Bruce Knuteson writes: Prompted by your blog post this morning, I attach a plot from Figure 3 of They Still Haven’t Told You showing overnight and intraday returns to AIG (with logarithmic vertical scale, updated with data through the end of October). If you invested $1 in AIG at the start of 1990 and received only intraday returns (from market open to market close), you would be left with one-twentieth of a penny, suffering a cumulative return of -99.95%. If you received only overnight returns (from market close to the next day’s market open), you would have $1,017, achieving a cumulative return of roughly +101,600%. You can easily reproduce this plot yourself. Data are publicly available from Yahoo Finance. AIG is just one of many stocks with a suspiciously divergent tim
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Human psychology may prevent people from realizing the benefits of artificial intelligence, according to a trio of boffins based in the Netherlands. But with training, we can learn to overcome our biases and trust our automated advisors. In a preprint paper titled "Knowing About Knowing: An Illusion of Human Competence Can Hinder Appropriate Reliance on AI Systems," Gaole He, Lucie Kuiper, and Ujwal Gadiraju, from Delft University of Technology, examine whether the Dunning-Kruger effect hinders people from relying on recommendations from AI systems. The Dunning-Kruger effect (DKE) dates back to research from 1999 by psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, "Unskilled and unaware of it: How difficulties in recognizing one's own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments."
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The hack of SolarWinds' software more than two years ago pushed the threat of software supply chain attacks to the front of security conversations, but is anything being done?. In a matter of days this week, at least four disparate efforts to shore up supply chain security were declared, an example of how front-of-mind such risks have become and a push from vendors and developers to reduce them. The threat is growing. Gartner expects that by 2025, 45 percent of organizations globally will have experienced a software supply chain attack, a three-fold jump from 2021. It's not a surprise, according to Neatsun Ziv, CEO of startup Ox Security that's building an open MITRE ATT&CK-like framework for enterprises to check software supply chains. "These kinds of attacks become super, super l
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Prof. Abraham Lempel's groundbreaking work in the field of data compression helped pioneer technologies widely popular to this day; 'few are the researchers whose work has had such a broad impact on technological progress and our daily lives'Famed Israeli computer scientist Prof. Abraham Lempel, whose revolutionary work on lossless data compression algorithms served as a precursor of ubiquitous file formats such as MP3 and ZIP, passed away on Sunday at 86.Lempel’s innovative work together with electrical engineer Prof. Jacob Ziv helped transform the field of computer science and is considered one of the most significant technological breakthroughs in the history of the State of Israel and the Technion, the leading research institute where he was professor emeritus.2 View gallery Prof. Abraham Lempel (Photo: Technion)Technion President Prof. Uri Sivan eulogized Lempel as one of the most consequential researchers in the university’s history."The late Prof. Emeritus Lempel was a source of inspiration for all of us, and was among the greatest researchers the Technion has produced in its hundred years," he said.“The Lempel-Ziv algorithm has contributed to the world, free of charge, an unprecedented technology that enables the transfer of data quickly and without loss of data.In his professional life, Prof. Lempel embodied the connection between deepening in basic science and excelling in applied research. Few are the researchers whose work has had such a broad impact on technological progress and our daily lives. May his memory be a blessing".Prof. Lempel was born in Poland in 1936 and began his studies at the Technion in 1959. He completed his three academic degrees in
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A powerful earthquake struck southern Turkey and northern Syria in the early hours of Monday morning. The shockwaves were so strong they were felt as far away as Lebanon and Cyprus, and the death toll continues to rise. Abdurrahman Alomar , a Syrian doctor living in southern Turkey tells Hannah Moore how he and his family fled their home and sheltered in their car for fear their building would collapse. He explains his worries for those on the other side of the border, where civil war had already decimated infrastructure. The journalist Ruth Michaelson describes the extent of the damage the earthquake has wrought and explains how political instability, a cholera outbreak and a harsh winter will exacerbate the disaster. Photograph: Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images
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South Korea’s Financial Services Commission yesterday revealed plans to regulate crypto assets as if they are securities. An announcement from the Commission’s Capital Market Division argues that investors should expect that tokenised assets enjoy the same protection as conventional securities, because they meet the same definitions South Korea applies to other securities. The document also notes that there are many types of securities traded in South Korea without the involvement of institutions or exchanges, such as shares in private companies. The regulator therefore does not believe that defining crypto tokens as securities creates a new class of securities. Or as the machine translation of the document puts it: “The food does not change no matter what container it is served in.” The Commission extends that metaphor by noting “You cannot use anything as a container for food” and “Suitable bowls may vary depending on the type of food.” Tokenized assets, the regulator argues, are a new form of container suitable for a new class of security. The document also suggests that the same blockchain tech powering tokenised assets could be used to create new containers that “improve the issuance and transaction of existing securities more efficiently and conveniently”. South Korea makes crypto crackdown a national justice priority FBI catches up with infosec and crypto communities, blames Lazarus Group for $100 million heist North Korea hits new low by using Seoul Halloween tragedy to exploit Internet Explorer zero-day Amid FTX's burning wreckage, Japan outpost promises asset withdrawals in February Interestingly, the document appears not to mention the use of blockchain based assets as currency. It does, however, envisage some self-regulation with exchanges asked to decide when tokens they trade are securities and when that treatment is not needed. The regulator has also pointed out that South Korea’s laws, and the opinions expressed in this document, apply to tokenised assets issued and created overseas. The regulator intends to submit amendments to relevant South Korean statutes later in 2023, in t
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When it comes to portable power, lithium-ion batteries are where it’s at. Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of work being done to better understand how to maximize battery life and usable capacity. Red electrolytic solution, which should normally be clear. While engaged in such work, [Dr. Michael Metzger] and his colleagues at Dalhousie University opened up a number of lithium-ion cells that had been subjected to a variety of temperatures and found something surprising: the electrolytic solution within was a bright red when it was expected to be clear. It turns out that PET — commonly used as an inert polymer in cell assembly — releases a molecule that leads to self-discharge of the cells when it breaks down, and this molecule was responsible for the color change. The molecule is called a redox shuttle, because it travels back and forth between the cathode and the anode. This is how an electrochemical cell works, but the problem is this happens all the time, even when the battery isn’t connected to anything, causing self-discharge. As [Dr. Metzger] points out, this came as a surprise in part because no one was paying much attention to “inert” components like PET. PET is present in the plastic foils and tapes that make up a battery’s internals, and
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It’s a familiar sight every weekday morning and afternoon all over Japan: children as young as six creaking under the strain of a leather backpack crammed with textbooks.The randoseru – a Japanese derivation of ransel, the obsolete Dutch word for backpack – is a fixture of primary school education, a repository for everything a child needs to get through a day at school.But now the children themselves are speaking out, complaining that their backpacks are so heavy that they leave them with sore backs and shoulders.More than 90% of children aged 6-12 who use randoseru say the weight is a problem, according to a recent survey by Footmark, a Tokyo-based manufacturer of swimwear for schoolchildren.In a report on the survey of 1,200 parents and their first-, second- and third-grade children, the Yomiuri Shimbun said 93% of pupils thought their bags were too heavy – an opinion shared by 90% of parents.The bags, initially introduced to encourage children to walk to and from school, are made to last pupils through their first six years of compulsory education.But their durability and roomy proportions come at a price.According to the Yomiuri, the average weight of a randoseru filled with books and other paraphernalia is 4.28kg, up from 3.97kg in 2022. Some children struggle with backpacks weighing more than 10kg, the newspaper added.Almost one in four children who mentioned the weight issue complained of shoulder or back pain, while 65% of all respondents said they would like to trade in their randoseru for something lighter.Parental complaints about the items have traditionally centred on their hefty price tag. They cost an average of ¥56,425 (£353/$425) in 2022, according to a survey by the Randoseru Kogyokai industrial association. The price has risen nearly ¥20,000 over the past decade.Originally used by Japanese foot soldiers, randoseru were first taken up by schoolchildren in the late 1800s. Today’s versions, made from a combination of soft and hard leather, come in an array of colours, although red remains the most popular among girls, with black the norm among boys.Some local education authorities have addressed the weight issue by allowing children
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On Monday, Google unveiled an AI chatbot, Bard, that will be integrated into its search engine soon in the face of rising competition from Microsoft's Bing and OpenAI's ChatGPT. Talk of Microsoft revamping its search engine Bing with a massive investment in OpenAI's upcoming large language model GPT-4 has kicked Google into building its own rival service. Large language models have rapidly improved and are better at generating text, summarizing knowledge, and answering questions. They aren't perfect, however, and can still produce toxic and false information. But folks are fascinated and drawn to the new technology and a recent report from analysts at UBS claimed ChatGPT had reached 100 million monthly users to become the fastest-growing internet app in history.  Will users suddenly turn their backs on Google and flock to Bing if Microsoft juices up web search with an even more powerful language model? This remains to be seen, but it's clear the times they are a-changin' in AI and search. Google dominates in the search market, and uses its power to reap billions in online advertising - Alphabet's largest source of revenue. As Microsoft threatens to eat into these profits, Google has had to come up with its own answer for AI-powered search, and quickly.  "Two years ago we unveiled next-generation language and conversation capabilities powered by our Language Model for Dialogue Applications (or LaMDA for short)," CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post. "We've been working on an experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA, that we're calling Bard." Pichai said Bard processes information from the internet to generate output responses for input user queries. Bard can, for example, do things like explain new discoveries from NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to children, provide up-to-date information on the best strikers in football and come up with training exercises to help people improve their health. Google to present AI-powered search features next week in live event Microsoft boffins contemplate equipping Excel with AI ChatGPT (sigh) the fastest-growing web app in history (sigh) claim analysts GPT-4 co
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“Daily Show” guest host and comedian Chelsea Handler tore into Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) after the conspiracy theorist complained that her job is “practically year-round” and doesn’t allow lawmakers to be “regular people.”Handler was left in disbelief. “First of all, you’re not a ‘regular person,’ you moron. You’re a congressperson because you campaigned and somehow won, which requires you to work year-round,” she fired back. “I also don’t want to work year-round, and that’s why I don’t.”Greene, who last year spoke at a white nationalist event, als
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Mark Pomerantz, a former Manhattan prosecutor who investigated Donald Trump’s business holdings, said Sunday that everyone who looked into the former president’s business dealings agreed he had lied about his assets to appear billions of dollars richer than he actually was.Pomerantz served as a special assistant district attorney in New York investigating Trump’s businesses, spending a year homing in on reports he had inflated his assets to seek favorable loans from banks. He resigned in protest a year ago, after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg decided not to seek an indictment o
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Don't buy an Android phone in China, boffins have warned, as they come crammed with preinstalled apps transmitting privacy-sensitive data to third-party domains without consent or notice. The research, conducted by Haoyu Liu (University of Edinburgh), Douglas Leith (Trinity College Dublin), and Paul Patras (University of Edinburgh), suggests that private information leakage poses a serious tracking risk to mobile phone customers in China, even when they travel abroad in countries with stronger privacy laws. In a paper titled "Android OS Privacy Under the Loupe – A Tale from the East," the trio of university boffins analyzed the Android system apps installed on the mobile handsets of three popular smartphone vendors in China: OnePlus, Xiaomi and Oppo Realme. The researchers looked specifically at the information transmitted by the operating system and system apps, in order to exclude user-installed software. They assume users have opted out of analytics and personalization, do not use any cloud storage or optional third-party services, and have not created an account on any platform run by the developer of the Android distribution. A sensible policy, but it doesn't seem to help much. The pre-installed set of apps consists of Android AOSP packages, vendor code and third-party software. There are more than 30 third-party packages in each of the Android handsets with Chinese firmware, the paper says. These include Chinese input apps like Baidu Input, IflyTek Input and Sogou Input on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11. On the OnePlus 9R and Realme Q3 Pro, there's Baidu Map as a foreground navigation app and the AMap package, which runs continuously in the background. And there are also various news, video streaming, and online shopping apps bundled into the Chinese firmware. Inflation to kill growth prospects for smartphone sales To cut off all nearby phones with these Chinese chips, this is the bug to exploit White House pushes for total ban on US exports to Huawei Should open source sniff the geopolitical wind and ban itself in China and Russia? Within this limited scope, the researchers found that Android handsets from the three named vendors "send a worrying amount of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) not only to the device vendor but also to service providers like Baidu and to Chinese mobile network operators." The tested
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“There is a family I know under the rubble,” Omer El Cuneyd said, standing amid the chaos of the shattered city of Sanliurfa.“Until 11am or noon, my friend was still answering the phone. But she no longer answers. She is down there. I think her battery ran out,” he said, hoping against hope, for a miracle.On the road, a stream of cars crawled north out of the city, taking traumatised residents away from the scene of Turkey’s most powerful earthquake in decades.Nearby, a distraught family walked in the freezing rain, their belongings piled into a pram, look for a shelter to spend the night in.Sanliurfa, an historic, once-bustling city in southeastern Turkey, was devastated by the series of massive earthquakes that struck southern Turkey early on Monday morning, claiming more than 4,300 lives across the mostly Kurdish regions of the country and in neighbouring Syria.The disaster felled thousands of buildings across the two countries, injuring tens of thousands, and leaving an unknown number trapped under debris.The sheer scale of the disaster appears overwhelming.On one of Sanliurfa’s main boulevards, dozens of rescuers searched for survivors among the remains of what was once a seven-storey building, reduced in an instant to mounds of dirt and debris.Crews try to reach a woman under the rubble of a collapsed building in Sanliurfa. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesAt least 30 people are known to have died in this province alone, where 200 buildings crumbled from the 7.8-magnitude pre-dawn quake, a second, 7.7-magnitude tremor, and incessant waves of aftershocks.In front of Omer El Cuneyd lay the gutted remains of a sofa, a chair with splintered metal legs,
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In brief Google has hinted it will unveil AI-powered products and features in a live event next week. Online search and advertising are Google's biggest sources of income. The potential that its business could be threatened by Microsoft incorporating OpenAI's GPT-4 into the Bing search engine has raised alarm bells internally.  Google has pulled engineers from other projects to work on building a rival AI chatbot-powered search, and CEO Sundar Pichai promised to produce results soon. "I'm excited by the AI-driven leaps we're about to unveil in search and beyond," Pichai said in a statement, reported by Bloomberg.  Google's AI model – LaMDA – will be made available "in the coming weeks and months," and Pichai promised that people will soon be able to use language models "as a companion to search." How AI-powered search has been incorporated Google Search, Maps, and more will be unveiled next week, according to an invite for a live event on February 8 received by The Verge.  The presentation will reportedly reveal "the power of AI to reimagine how people search for, explore and interact with information, making it more natural and intuitive than ever before to find what you need." No sign of Cruise and Waymo slowing down driverless cars soon Transport officials are wary of driverless cars operating in San Francisco, but Cruise and Waymo's fleets are logging more miles than ever. Cruise and Waymo operate fully driverless autonomous cars in Sa
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Sooner or later, everything ends up in Microsoft Excel. The 37-year-old spreadsheet has been used to run Doom and Pac-Man, stop-motion animation, a turn-based role playing game, chess, and a neural network, among other things. Excel's latest trick comes courtesy of Microsoft's own software developers: "FLAME: A small language model for spreadsheet formulas." It's detailed in a preprint paper from Microsoft researchers Harshit Joshi, Abishai Ebenezer, José Cambronero, Sumit Gulwani, Aditya Kanade, Vu Le, Ivan Radiček, and Gust Verbruggen. The paper describes an assistive AI system called FLAME. It's a small language model that can improve the creation and maintenance of Excel formulas. Large language models like OpenAI's ChatGPT are all the rage at the moment. These are statistical models trained on vast amounts of text that can predict a likely output based on a text prompt input. The problem with large language models is that they're, well, large – training requires lots of input data and money, and using the resulting model for inference also demands a lot of hardware. For example, the researchers cite Incoder 6.7B, a model trained for code infilling on 159GB of source code over a period of 24 days with 248 Nvidia V100 GPUs. Lambda Labs has estimated the cost to train GPT-3, a 175B parameter model, comes to about $4.6 million using Tesla V100 instances. Weighing in at a mere 60M parameters, FLAME is "the first language model designed exclusively for Excel formulas." While the research paper does not explicitly state that FLAME is an acronym representing "First LAnguage Model for Excel," we speculate that this is the case. Microsoft to offer ChatGPT-as-a-service from Azure real soon now Microsoft injects AI into Teams so no one will ever forget what the meeting decided GPT-4 could pop up in Bing, as Google races to build chatbot search products It's your human hubris holding back AI acceptance Despite its modest size, FLAME manages to outperform much larger models tuned for completing lines of code (code infilling), including CodeT5 (220M), Codex-Cushman (12B), and Codex-Davinci (175B). FLAME is designed to autocomplete Excel formulas or repair malformed ones, and to handle syntax reconstruction, a technique for stripping delimiters (eg, curly braces) out of a formula so models can more easily recognize and reconstruct the full formula. So in some future version of Excel, once FLAME has been wired into the software, entering a buggy formula like this… =IF('Jan 13'!B2="", 'Feb 13'!B2="", 'Mar 13'!B2="", 'Apr 13'!B2="", yes, no) …could end up looking like this with the help of FLAME's corrective ability. =IF(AND('Jan 13'!B2="", 'Feb 13'!B2="", 'Mar 13'!B2="", 'Apr 13'!B2=""), "yes", "no") And being able to do so with two orders of magnitude less training data than Codex or other large language models means Microsoft should find FLAME much more affordable to deploy when it's ready. For those who have to maintain large spreadsheets with lots of formulas, your humble vulture has to say, FLAME looks pretty cool. ®
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The UK's health service has confirmed it will require winners of the procurement for a Federated Data Platform (FDP) to migrate existing dashboards from the current platform by US spy-tech firm Palantir. Palantir, which made its name creating data analytics technologies for the CIA and US immigration agency ICE, is said to be making the competition a "must-win." The company got a foothold in the National Health Service (NHS) during the pandemic, when it was one of a number of suppliers to build a "data store" to detail information about the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on the NHS, one of the world's largest healthcare providers. It won a £23 million ($28 million) contract without competition to extend its work on the platform, built on its Foundry product. The deal, which was extended without competition in January, was subject to threats of judicial review, after which the NHS agreed not to extend it without public consultation. Also in January, NHS England and NHS Improvement launched the competition for a new £480 million ($580 million) data platform which promised to provide "the connectivity [which] will enable us to rapidly scale and share innovative solutions that directly addresses the challenges most pressing for the NHS," according to an NHS England blog. Potential suppliers of the new system have questioned whether Palantir has an unfair advantage in the competition given it built the existing dashboards and data platform the NHS expects to migrate to the FDP. In November 2022, supplier documents showed that existing services based on the NHS implementation of Foundry were "within the scope of the requirement for the Federated Data Platform and would be transitioned to the FDP as part of its implementation in place of the existing platform." In response to a Parliamentary question late last week, Nicholas Francis Markham, member of the House of Lords and under-secretary of state in the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), confirmed existing dashboards within Foundry would be interoperable. "Over the coming months, an assessment will be undertaken to determine which dashboards will be migrated to the new Federated Data Platform and which will be decommissioned. The format of the specifications for these dashboards will be developed as part of the planned transition activities of the programme," he said. That NHS England patient data platform procurement, FDP, is live. And worth up to £480m Government tech spending in England more than doubles in five years NHS England Palantir contract extension could result in further legal threats Palantir's Covid-era UK health contract extended without competition The precise meaning of that statement can be open to technical interpretation. It is possible the technology in Foundry, a proprietary system, may be interoperable without necessarily offering a level playing field to alternative suppliers hoping to replicate its dashboards. Last week, NHS Digital, a wing of the DHSC responsible for digital strategy in the health service, finally bit the dust. It officially merged with NHS England, completing a move first announced by then h
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Kevin McCarthy, the House speaker, called on Joe Biden to agree to compromises and spending cuts, as the two remain deadlocked over raising the nation’s $31.4tn debt ceiling.McCarthy spoke on Monday before Biden gives the annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, aiming to get ahead of the president and reinforce his role as the leading congressional negotiator.The White House has said Biden will discuss federal spending cuts with Republicans, but only after the debt ceiling is lifted, while McCarthy has said Republicans will only lift the ceiling if Biden agrees to spending cuts. While the two sides disagree on the order of the subjects they are tackling
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Announcing Rust Magazine 2022-12-10
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podman provides an integrated auto-update mechanism, which I recently applied to all of my containers running on feldspaten. The mechanism is nice, but at first appears a bit counter-intuitive. In this post ’m trying to explain how you can use the mechanism and what to watch out for. I’ll start with the trap I think most people fall for. Most people’s path to containers starts with docker, which by itself is an amazing tool. I see podman as an improvement/modernization step of docker because it can run daemonless, rootless and thereby integrates well with systemd. The last part is in my experience a stumbling block, most people fall over at first. When you deply your ap
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Dude, where’s your chemistry?Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher proved to be the antithesis of Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac on the red carpet during two recent film premiere appearances.The ac
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