posted less than an hour ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Register: The saga surrounding Arm's joint venture in China just took another intriguing turn: a mysterious firm named Lotcap Group claims it has signed a letter of intent to buy a 51 percent stake in Arm China from existing investors in the country. In a Chinese-language press release posted Wednesday, Lotcap said it has formed a subsidiary, Lotcap Fund, to buy a majority stake in the joint venture. However, reporting by one newspaper suggested that the investment firm still needs the approval of one significant investor to gain 51 percent control of Arm China. The development comes a couple of weeks after Arm China said that its former CEO, Allen Wu, was refusing once again to step down from his position, despite the company's board voting in late April to replace Wu with two co-chief executives. SoftBank Group, which owns 49 percent of the Chinese venture, has been trying to unentangle Arm China from Wu as the Japanese tech investment giant plans for an initial public offering of the British parent company. According to the South China Morning Post, Lotcap claimed in the press release that its proposed deal has "support" from Arm. We asked Arm about this, and despite a spokesperson saying in an email to The Register that the British chip designer is "not commenting at this time," the representative did say that an updated press release from Lotcap does not mention Arm or SoftBank supporting Lotcap's deal.

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posted about 1 hour ago on slashdot
The Google search engine collects data on users who think they can be anonymous if they use a "private browsing" mode, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton claimed on Thursday, filing an amended privacy lawsuit against the Alphabet unit. Reuters reports: Texas, Indiana, Washington State and the District of Columbia filed separate suits against Google in January in state courts over what they called deceptive location-tracking practices that invade users' privacy. Paxton's filing adds Google's Incognito mode to the lawsuit filed in January. Incognito mode or "private browsing" is a web browser function that Paxton said implies Google will not track search history or location activity. The lawsuit said Google offers the option of "private browsing" that could include "viewing highly personal websites that might indicate, for example, their medical history, political persuasion, or sexual orientation. Or maybe they simply want to buy a surprise gift without the gift recipient being tipped off by a barrage of targeted ads." The suit said "in reality, Google deceptively collects an array of personal data even when a user has engaged Incognito mode." Paxton previously alleged Google misled consumers by continuing to track their location even when users sought to prevent it. Google has a "Location History" setting and informs users if they turn it off "the places you go are no longer stored," Texas said.

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posted about 2 hours ago on slashdot
As part of its landmark campaign for its 75th anniversary celebrations, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is "opening up a large portion of its archives, making the first 50 years of its published records -- more than 117,500 documents dating from 1951 to 2000 -- accessible to the public without a login," writes Ernie Smith via Associations Now. From the report: Vicki L. Hanson, the group's CEO, noted that the ACM Digital Library initiative is part of a broader effort to make its archives available via open access by 2025. "Our goal is to have it open in a few years, but there's very real costs associated with [the open-access work]," Hanson said. "We have models so that we can pay for it." While the organization is still working through its open-access effort, it saw an opportunity to make its "backfile" of materials available, timed to the organization's 75th anniversary. "It's nice to link it to the 75th celebration year in general, but the emphasis was really coming from what it takes to get the Digital Library fully open," she said. "All those seminal articles from years ago can be made available to everyone." The collection has some of what you'd expect: technical documents, magazine articles, and research papers, many of which highlight the history of computing -- for example, one of the first documents ACM ever published was about the groundbreaking UNIVAC system. But the treasure trove also goes to the heart of ACM itself, with a number of pieces related to the creation of the organization and how it was run, with in-depth records from early conferences included within the digital library. The opening of ACM's digital backfile is one of many components to marking the organization's 75th anniversary -- the largest of which, a celebratory panel, will take place June 10 as a hybrid event that will bring together well-known figures in computer science, such as noted social media scholar danah boyd of Microsoft Research, Stanford University's Jure Leskovec, and Google chief economist Hal Varian. ACM is also highlighting its history on its social media channels, including by showcasing notable papers within its archives.

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posted about 3 hours ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: One of the best things about electric cars, other than their power trains, immediate torque, and relaxing quiet, is the fact that as the electrical grid becomes cleaner, so too does every EV that uses that grid to charge. That process took a step forward this week with the news that by next year, the Electrify America (EA) charging network will be entirely offset by solar energy. On Wednesday, EA signed a 15-year agreement with Terra-Gen to purchase electricity from a 75 MW solar farm being built by the latter in San Bernardino County, California. The Electrify America Solar Glow 1 project will break ground later this year, and when it's fully operational in 2023, it should have an annual energy production of 225,000 MWh. That's more than enough to account for the annual energy use of the EA charging network. In fact, EA says that as of April, its electricity is already 100 percent renewable thanks to purchases from various suppliers, but with the commissioning of Solar Glow 1, the charging company should have complete confidence that it's putting more solar energy into the grid than it uses to charge our cars.

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posted about 3 hours ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader shares a report: In the late 1990s, Yoshitaka Murayama made a name for himself among a subset of video game fans by creating and directing Suikoden, a series of Japanese roleplaying games (RPGs) that became beloved for their scope and depth. A catchy way to think of them is "Game of Thrones" meets Pokemon. But in 2002, as the third Suikoden game was finishing development, Murayama quit his job at the game publisher Konami Holdings and went off on his own. In the two decades that followed, he didn't work on many games of note, leaving fans to wonder what had become of him. Eventually Konami abandoned the Suikoden franchise, perhaps believing that RPGs weren't lucrative enough. In the early 2010s, players started asking Murayama: why not fund a new RPG on Kickstarter? In the summer of 2020, Murayama finally answered fans' wishes. He raised 481.6 million yen (around $4.5 million at the time) from more than 46,000 backers, with a Kickstarter for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, a spiritual successor to the Suikoden series. It became the No. 1 video game on Kickstarter that year. Getting to that point was a long journey, Murayama told me in a recent interview. He said he only started seriously considering a Kickstarter after meeting up with some of his old collaborators, such as artist Junko Kawano, at a concert for Suikoden music. Murayama was also driven by the success of Nintendo's Octopath Traveler, which has sold more than 2.5 million copies since its release in 2018. The audience for turn-based RPGs had been "shrinking," Murayama said, but Octopath Traveler proved that âoethere is a promising marketâ for games like his.

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posted about 4 hours ago on slashdot
Match Group, the parent company of dating apps Tinder, Hinge and OkCupid, is getting along better with Google, just by a little bit. From a report: On Friday, Match withdrew its request for a temporary restraining order against the company, which it accuses of wielding unfair monopoly power in its mobile app marketplace. Match filed an antitrust lawsuit against the search giant earlier this month over the company's restrictions on Android in-app payments, which drive app users toward remaining in its mobile ecosystem. The company filed the temporary restraining order request a day after suing Google. Match cited a handful of "concessions" from Google in its decision to withdraw the restraining order request, including assurances that its apps would not be rejected or deleted from the Google Play Store for providing alternative payment options. The company will also place up to $40 million aside in an escrow account in lieu of paying fees to Google directly for Android app payments that happen outside of Google Play's payment system, arguing that those fees are "illegal under federal and state law." The escrow account will remain in place while the case awaits its day in court.

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posted about 5 hours ago on slashdot
An ancient forest has been found at the bottom of a giant sinkhole in China, with trees up to 40 metres (130ft) tall. From a report: Scientists believe it could contain undiscovered plant and animal species. Cave explorers in the Guangxi region of southern China alerted scientists when they found the sinkhole, which had a primitive forest inside. Among 30 sinkholes in Leye County this is the largest, at 306 metres long, 150 metres wide and 192 metres deep. Zhang Yuanhai, a senior engineer at the Institute of Karst Geology of the China Geological Survey, told the state news agency Xinhua that the site had three caves in its walls and a well-preserved primitive forest at the bottom. Scientists trekked for hours to reach the base of the sinkhole to see what it contained. Chen Lixin, who led the expedition team, said that as well as the trees there was dense undergrowth on the floor that came up to his shoulders.

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posted about 5 hours ago on slashdot
All new buildings in the EU would be fitted with solar panels on their roofs under plans to turbocharge a drive for renewable energy to replace the continent's need for Russian oil and gas. From a report: The European Commission wants half the bloc's energy to come from renewable sources by 2030, more than double the current figure. The total cost of achieving this would reach hundreds of billions of euros but be offset by an annual $88.6bn saving on imported fuel, according to a copy of the plan seen by the Financial Times and dubbed RepowerEU. One proposal is to "introduce an obligation to have rooftop solar installations for all new buildings and all existing buildings of energy performance class D and above [the most energy-intensive]." The original EU plan to cut carbon emissions by 55 per cent of their 1990 level by 2030 called for a target of 40 per cent renewables. But the war in Ukraine has spurred Brussels to seek energy independence from Russia, which accounts for 40 per cent of the region's gas and about 20 per cent of its oil supplies. Householders will pay an average of $326 extra a year under the plans.

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posted about 6 hours ago on slashdot
Consumers with low credit scores are falling behind on payments for car loans, personal loans and credit cards, a sign that the healthiest consumer lending environment on record in the U.S. is coming to an end. From a report: The share of subprime credit cards and personal loans that are at least 60 days late is rising faster than normal, according to credit-reporting firm Equifax. In March, those delinquencies rose month over month for the eighth time in a row, nearing their prepandemic levels. Rising delinquencies were inevitable following their decline during the pandemic, many lenders and analysts said. Even so, the increase is getting attention from investors partly because the Federal Reserve, facing the highest inflation since the early 1980s, is embarking on what is expected to be the sharpest series of interest-rate rises in years. Higher loan delinquency figures can indicate stress on the part of consumers whose spending is a significant driver of economic activity. Fears that rising rates will throw the economy into recession have fueled the worst start of the year for stocks in decades. A poor earnings season for major U.S. retail chains has intensified those concerns this week, prompting large declines in major retail shares and sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its steepest drop of the year Wednesday. Delinquencies on subprime car loans and leases hit an all-time high in February, based on Equifax's tracking that goes back to 2007. Many people, including those with less-than-perfect credit, paid off debts and built up savings during the pandemic, a surprising outcome considering that lenders at first thought borrowers would default en masse when Covid-19 hit. The government's response, including stimulus payments and child tax credits, boosted many families' financial health.

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posted about 7 hours ago on slashdot
An 18-year-old graduate student exploited a weakness in Indexed Finance's code and opened a legal conundrum that's still rocking the blockchain community. Then he disappeared. An excerpt from a report: On Oct. 14, in a house near Leeds, England, Laurence Day was sitting down to a dinner of fish and chips on his couch when his phone buzzed. The text was from a colleague who worked with him on Indexed Finance, a cryptocurrency platform that creates tokens representing baskets of other tokens -- like an index fund, but on the blockchain. The colleague had sent over a screenshot showing a recent trade, followed by a question mark. "If you didn't know what you were looking at, you might say, 'Nice-looking trade,'" Day says. But he knew enough to be alarmed: A user had bought up certain tokens at drastically deflated values, which shouldn't have been possible. Something was very wrong. Day jumped up, spilling his food on the floor, and ran into his bedroom to call Dillon Kellar, a co-founder of Indexed. Kellar was sitting in his mom's living room six time zones away near Austin, disassembling a DVD player so he could salvage one of its lasers. He picked up the phone to hear a breathless Day explaining that the platform had been attacked. "All I said was, 'What?'" Kellar recalls. They pulled out their laptops and dug into the platform's code, with the help of a handful of acquaintances and Day's cat, Finney (named after Bitcoin pioneer Hal Finney), who perched on his shoulder in support. Indexed was built on the Ethereum blockchain, a public ledger where transaction details are stored, which meant there was a record of the attack. It would take weeks to figure out precisely what had happened, but it appeared that the platform had been fooled into severely undervaluing tokens that belonged to its users and selling them to the attacker at an extreme discount. Altogether, the person or people responsible had made off with $16 million worth of assets. Kellar and Day stanched the bleeding and repaired the code enough to prevent further attacks, then turned to face the public-relations nightmare. On the platform's Discord and Telegram channels, token-holders traded theories and recriminations, in some cases blaming the team and demanding compensation. Kellar apologized on Twitter to Indexed's hundreds of users and took responsibility for the vulnerability he'd failed to detect. "I f---ed up," he wrote. The question now was who'd launched the attack and whether they'd return the funds. Most crypto exploits are assumed to be inside jobs until proven otherwise. "The default is going to be, 'Who did this, and why is it the devs?'" Day says. As he tried to sleep the morning after the attack, Day realized he hadn't heard from one particular collaborator. Weeks earlier, a coder going by the username "UmbralUpsilon" -- anonymity is standard in crypto communities -- had reached out to Day and Kellar on Discord, offering to create a bot that would make their platform more efficient. They agreed and sent over an initial fee. "We were hoping he might be a regular contributor," Kellar says. Given the extent of their chats, Day would have expected UmbralUpsilon to offer help or sympathy in the wake of the attack. Instead, nothing. Day pulled up their chat log and found that only his half of the conversation remained; UmbralUpsilon had deleted his messages and changed his username. "That got me out of bed like a shot," Day says.

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posted about 7 hours ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader shares a report: Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 set the stage for the biggest Android smartphones of 2022, including Samsung's flagship Galaxy -- but it's about to be surpassed by a better "Plus" version that'll no doubt appear in buy-it-for-the-bragging-rights gaming phones and luxury handsets. It's called the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, which just rolls off the tongue, and Qualcomm says it'll offer 10 percent faster CPU performance, 10 percent faster GPU clocks, and -- get this -- use 15 percent less power for "nearly 1 hour" of extra gameplay or, say, 50 minutes of social media browsing. Technically, Qualcomm says it's achieved "up to 30 percent" better power efficiency from both the CPU and GPU, and 20 percent better AI performance per watt, but that doesn't necessarily all transfer into more battery life -- some of it's about performance, too. Qualcomm is particularly touting better sustained performance from the new chip too -- theoretically maintaining its clockspeed for longer as it heats up while gaming or tapping into 5G. Of course, that all depends on how phone manufacturers decide to cool the chip. The company's not breaking down where the extra performance and efficiencies are coming from, but you can see some of the chip's other features in the slide above, even though many of them (like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 10Gbps of theoretical 5G, and 8K HDR video capture) haven't changed from the original Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Qualcomm says it'll live alongside that older chip, so you can probably expect a price premium.

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posted about 8 hours ago on slashdot
Amazon.com is testing a service that uses the company's sprawling network of gig drivers to fetch packages from mall-based retailers and deliver them to customers. From a report: The program, should it become a permanent part of the e-commerce giant's delivery options, could help Amazon expand the variety of goods it has available for fast shipment. Shoppers who want same-day or quicker shipping could be shown products stocked by a local mall store. They order the item from the retailer on Amazon.com, and one of the Seattle-based company's contract drivers delivers it. The service was up and running by last year and relies on Amazon Flex drivers, who use their own vehicles to deliver packages. The geographic range of the pilot is unclear, but communications with drivers reviewed by Bloomberg reference malls with participating retailers in Chandler, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Tysons Corner, Virginia.

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posted about 9 hours ago on slashdot
A class action law firm sent a letter to the yield generation project Stablegains, demanding records on customer accounts, marketing and advertising strategies, and communications relating to the Terra stablecoin. Web3 is Going Great reports: [...] Unfortunately for their customers, it turned out that Stablegains was heavily invested in the Terra project's Anchor protocol, which collapsed along with the rest of the Terra ecosystem last week. Stablegains' website had stated they primarily generated yields through the asset-backed stablecoin USDC. However, after the collapse of Terra, Stablegains admitted that "All users' holdings are in UST" -- which lost over 90% of its value. Stablegains was part of Y Combinator's W22 batch and had received over $3 million in funding from several venture capital firms, including SNO Ventures, Moonfire and Goodwater Capital.

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posted about 9 hours ago on slashdot
Canada has banned the use of Huawei and fellow Chinese tech giant ZTE's equipment in its 5G networks, its government has announced. From a report: In a statement, it cited national security concerns for the move, saying that the suppliers could be forced to comply with "extrajudicial directions from foreign governments" in ways that could "conflict with Canadian laws or would be detrimental to Canadian interests." Telcos will be prevented from procuring new 4G or 5G equipment from the companies by September this year, and must remove all ZTE- and Huawei-branded 5G equipment from their networks by June 28th, 2024. Equipment must also be removed from 4G networks by the end of 2027. "The Government is committed to maximizing the social and economic benefits of 5G and access to telecommunications services writ large, but not at the expense of security," the Canadian government wrote in its statement.

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posted about 10 hours ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: An upgradeable laptop is only worthwhile if you can actually upgrade it [...], and Framework is making that possible starting today: The company is introducing a new iteration of the Framework Laptop's motherboard that uses 12th-gen Intel CPUs. A brand-new 12th-gen Framework Laptop starts at $1,049 for a Core i5-equipped base model, or $819 for a build-it-yourself kit with no memory or storage. These products will be available for preorder starting today, and shipping will start in July. The 12th-generation Core processors use Intel's latest Alder Lake CPU architecture, which combines high-performance P-cores and high-efficiency E-cores to maximize performance under heavy load and reduce power usage when your computer is mostly idle. The base Core i5-1240P CPU includes four P-cores and eight E-cores, a big boost in core count compared to the quad-core 11th-gen CPUs. The Core i7-1260P upgrade has the same CPU core count with boosted clock speeds and a small increase in integrated GPU performance, while the top-end Core i7-1280P option will get you six P-cores and eight E-cores. The rest of the Framework Laptop's hardware is staying mostly the same, though there are a few additional upgrades to be aware of. One is a 2.5Gbps Ethernet expansion card, the first wired LAN module to be available for the laptop. The card is based on Realtek's RTL8156 chipset and will be available "later this year." The company is also releasing a redesigned version of its top cover made with a new CNC manufacturing process that "substantially improv[es] rigidity." The new top cover will be the default option for all Framework Laptops going forward, though you can buy a new cover for your existing Framework Laptop for $89. You can view pricing and configuration info here.

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posted about 13 hours ago on slashdot
Thelasko shares a report from the BBC: Yury Borisov, the deputy prime minister in charge of military development, told Russian TV that a laser prototype called Zadira was being deployed in Ukraine and had burned up a Ukrainian drone within five seconds at a distance of 5km (three miles). [...] Little is known about the Zadira laser program, but in 2017 Russian media said state nuclear corporation Rosatom had helped develop it as part of a program to create weapons based on new physical principles, news agency Reuters reported. [...] However, an official with the US Department of Defense said he had not seen "anything to corroborate reports of lasers being used" in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky mocked the Russian claim, comparing it to the so-called "wonder weapons" that Nazi Germany claimed to be developing during World War Two. "The clearer it became that they had no chance in the war, the more propaganda there was about an amazing weapon that would be so powerful as to ensure a turning point," said Zelensky in a video address. "And so we see that in the third month of a full-scale war, Russia is trying to find its 'wonder weapon'... this all clearly shows the complete failure of the mission." There is at least one country which has developed a laser weapon though, notes the BBC. Earlier this year, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett unveiled prototype laser-based interceptors that would use lasers to super-heat incoming drones or rockets. "Within a year already the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) will bring into action a laser-based interception system, first experimentally, and later operationally, first in the south, then in other places," he said in a speech to Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies. "And this will enable us, as the years advance, to surround Israel with a wall of lasers which will protect us from missiles, rockets, UAVs and other threats." The U.S. Navy also deployed the world's first active laser weapon in the Persona Gulf in 2017. "It operates in an invisible part of the electromagnetic spectrum so you don't see the beam, it doesn't make any sound, it's completely silent and it's incredibly effective at what it does," said Lt. Cale Hughes, laser weapons system officer, at the time.

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posted about 16 hours ago on slashdot
Two satellites recently exchanged more than 200 gigabits of data over a distance of about 60 miles (100 kilometers) using laser communication in space. Gizmodo reports: Satellites generally don't communicate directly with each other. Instead, they use radio signals to transfer data down to a ground station on Earth, which then relays this data to another satellite. Optical terminals between satellites are considered to be faster and more secure. CACI International -- the company that developed the optical terminals for the space lasers -- announced the achievement on Tuesday in a press release. The two satellites, named Able and Baker, were launched last summer by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency as part of its Blackjack project. DARPA is seeking to build a constellation of small satellites in low Earth orbit for the purpose of supporting military operations. The two satellites successfully pulled off the 40-minute laser communications experiment on April 14, during which time Able and Baker used CACI's CrossBeam free-space optical terminals. Infrared lasers transmit data by encoding the message into an optical signal, which is then carried to a receiver. The experiment, known as Mandrake 2, was funded by the Space Development Agency (SDA) and the Air Force Research Laboratory. Mandrake 2 launched on June 30, 2021 as an early risk-reduction flight for DARPA's Blackjack constellation project. The Blackjack constellation aims to deploy an initial batch of 20 small satellites in low Earth orbit, which will connect with each other to form a mesh network in space. The idea is not to rival commercial satellite constellations such as SpaceX's Starlink, but rather to have a government-owned constellation that the military can use to connect to its bases, sensors, and weapons across the world. The SDA is planning to launch the 20 satellites this fall and then launch an additional 126 satellites by 2024, according to SpaceNews. The agency is seeking to create a full constellation that would include somewhere between 300 and 500 satellites in low Earth orbit. The satellites are being developed by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and York Space.

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posted about 20 hours ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Interesting Engineering: In 1958, a combine carrying a full load of freshly harvested crops might weigh 8,800 pounds (4000 kg). Today, a fully loaded combine can clock in at 80,000 pounds (36,000 kg). The story of increasingly large farm vehicles isn't necessarily bad. The invention of these huge machines -- along with advances like new fertilizers and genetically modified crops -- mean that today's farmers can grow far more food than ever before. But there's reason to worry that equipment manufacturers have begun pushing the envelope too far. In a paper published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal PNAS, researchers show that farm equipment has grown so large that its heft can damage the soil that lies more than 20 inches (0.5 m) below the surface. It's been obvious for a long time that the weight of farm vehicles driving over fields causes the upper layers of soil to compact. Engineers have mitigated this by putting progressively bigger tires on heavier farm vehicles. They've also used more flexible materials that make it possible to inflate the tires to lower pressure. Those changes increase the amount of surface area contact between the vehicle and the ground. These measures have enabled engineers to build larger and larger vehicles without increasing the amount of contact stress on the upper layers of soil. It's not just the upper layers of soil that farmers need to worry about. In their analysis, the researchers found that "subsoil stresses under farm vehicles have affected progressively deeper soil layers over the past six decades." In the 1940s, '50s, and '60s, farm vehicles weren't heavy enough to compress soil below the level that's tilled each year. But that's no longer the case. Pressure from tractors, combines, and other pieces of equipment "has now penetrated deeper into the subsoil, thus potentially affecting untilled crop root zones," the authors write. Those layers of subsoil may be hidden from view, but they play an important role in what happens at the surface. The researchers say the consequences can combine to result in "a persistent decline in crop yields." This isn't a niche problem either. According to the researchers, "The fraction of arable land that is presently at high risk of subsoil compaction is about 20% of global cropland area, concentrated in mechanized regions in Europe, North America, South America, and Australia." They say the issue could be addressed if "future agricultural vehicles [are] designed with intrinsic soil mechanical limits in mind to avoid chronic soil compaction."

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posted about 21 hours ago on slashdot
On Thursday, Twitter announced a new policy for dealing with misinformation during a period of crisis, establishing new standards for gating or blocking the promotion of certain tweets if they are seen as spreading misinformation. The Verge reports: "Content moderation is more than just leaving up or taking down content," explained Yoel Roth, Twitter's head of safety and integrity, in a blog post detailing the new policy, "and we've expanded the range of actions we may take to ensure they're proportionate to the severity of the potential harm." The new policy puts particular scrutiny on false reporting of events, false allegations involving weapons or use of force, or broader misinformation regarding atrocities or international response. Hoax tweets and other misinformation regularly go viral during emergencies, as users rush to share unverified information. The sheer speed of events makes it difficult to implement normal verification or fact-checking systems, creating a significant challenge for moderators. Under the new policy, tweets classified as misinformation will not necessarily be deleted or banned; instead, Twitter will add a warning label requiring users to click a button before the tweet can be displayed (similar to the existing labels for explicit imagery). The tweets will also be blocked from algorithmic promotion. The stronger standards are meant to be limited to specific events. Twitter will initially apply the policy to content concerning the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, but the company expects to apply the rules to all emerging crises going forward. For the purposes of the policy, crisis is defined as "situations in which there is a widespread threat to life, physical safety, health, or basic subsistence."

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posted about 22 hours ago on slashdot
Paul Sawers writes via VentureBeat: It has been a frosty few years for Elastic and Amazon's AWS cloud computing arm, with the duo frequently locking horns over various issues relating to Elastic's ex-open-source database search engine -- Elasticsearch. To cut a War and Peace-esque story short, Amazon had introduced its own managed Elasticsearch service called Amazon Elasticsearch Service way back in 2015, and in the intervening years the "confusion" this (among other shenanigans) caused in the cloud sphere ultimately led Elastic to transition Elasticsearch from open source to "free and open" (i.e., a less permissive license), exerting more control over how the cloud giants of the world could use the product and Elasticsearch name. In response, Amazon launched an Elasticsearch "fork" called OpenSearch, and the two companies finally settled a long-standing trademark dispute, which effectively meant that Amazon would stop associating the Elasticsearch brand with Amazon's own products. This was an important final piece of the kiss-and-make-up puzzle, as it meant that customers searching for Elastic's fully-managed Elasticsearch service (Elastic Cloud) in the AWS Marketplace, wouldn't also stumble upon Amazon's incarnation and wonder which one they were actually looking for. Fast-forward to today, and you would hardly know that the two companies were once at loggerheads. Over the past year, Elastic and Amazon have partnered to bring all manner of technologies and integrations to market, and they've worked to ensure that their shared customers can more easily onboard to Elastic Cloud within Amazon's infrastructure. Building on a commitment last month to make AWS and Elastic work even better together, Elastic and AWS today announced an even deeper collaboration, to "build, market and deliver" frictionless access to Elastic Cloud on AWS. In essence, this means that the two companies will go full-throttle on their "go-to-market" sales and marketing strategies -- this includes a new free 7-day trial for customers wanting to test-drive Elastic Cloud directly from the AWS Marketplace. On top of that, AWS has committed to working with Elastic to generate new business across Amazon's various cloud-focused sales organizations -- this is a direct result of Elastic joining the AWS ISV Accelerate program. All of this has been made possible because of the clear and distinct products that now exist -- Amazon has OpenSearch, and Elastic has Elasticsearch, which makes collaboration that much easier. What does Amazon get for all of this? "Put simply, companies accessing Elastic's services on AWS infrastructure drive a lot of cloud consumption -- which translates into ka-ching for Amazon," adds Sawers.

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posted about 23 hours ago on slashdot
Canada is planning to ban Huawei from working on Canada's fifth-generation networks. CBC.ca reports: The move puts Canada in line with key intelligence allies like the United States which have expressed concerns about the national security implications of giving the Chinese tech giant access to key infrastructure. [...] Critics have warned that Huawei's participation in Canada's 5G networks could give the company an inside look at how, when and where Canadians use internet-connected devices -- and that the Chinese government could force the company to hand over that personal information. China's National Intelligence Law says Chinese organizations and citizens must support, assist and co-operate with state intelligence work. [...] Huawei insists it is a fiercely independent company that does not engage in espionage for anyone, including Beijing. Huawei already supplies some Canadian telecommunications firms with 4G equipment. As Global News has reported, telecommunication companies spent hundreds of millions of dollars on Huawei equipment while the federal government's review of 5G was ongoing -- although that number has waned over the years. It's not clear whether Ottawa's decision to bar Huawei from 5G will require those companies to rip out existing Huawei equipment, or whether compensation would be provided.

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posted about 23 hours ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Seeking Alpha: Microsoft shares remained near their breakeven point in late trading, Thursday, amid a report that the company has started censoring Bing searches in the U.S. for certain Chinese names considered to be politically sensitive. According to the Wall Street Journal, the cybersecurity research organization Citizen Lab found that Microsoft's Bing search engine had been adjusted to not automatically fill in suggestions for the names of some prominent Chinese dissidents, and national political leaders. The autofill feature is common on Bing and other search engines and makes suggestions for terms after a few letters have been typed into a search query field. Citizens Lab said it first noticed the issue last fall when names such as that of Chinese President Xi Jinping and the late human rights activist Liu Xiaobo failed to automatically fill in in either English or Chinese in Bing searches. The Journal reported that Microsoft had corrected the issue, which it attributed to a "technical error."

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"The developer of the open source email client FairEmail pulled all of his applications from Google Play and announced that he would stop development," reports gHacks. The announcement comes shortly after the developer received an email from Google stating that they believed the app was spyware. From the report: FairEmail was a popular email client for Google's Android operating system that was free to use. It was privacy-friendly, had no limitations in regards to email accounts that users could set up in the app, supported unified inbox, conversation threading, two-way synchronizing, support for OpenPGP, and a lot more. Marcel Bokhorst, the developer of the application, announced major changes to the project yesterday on XDA Developers. Earlier that week, Bokhorst received a policy violation email from Google stating that Google believed that the FairEmail application was spyware. The full statement has not been published, but Bokhorst believes that Google might have misinterpreted the use of favicons in the app. He resubmitted a new version of the application that had the use of favicons removed. The appeal he received as a response "resulted in a standard answer". While the content of the answer is unclear, it appears to have been a generic answer that Google Play Store developers have been frustrated with for a long time. Bokhorst decided to pull the application and all of his other applications from the Google Play Store. The apps won't be maintained and supported anymore according to the info. Other factors played a role in Bokhorst's decision, including the discrepancy between answering thousands of support questions per month and the application's revenue, and the inability to do something against unfair reviews in the Google Play Store. He considered keeping the applications on GitHub, but this would result in an 98% loss of audience. Google also recently forced Total Commander's developer to remove the ability to install APKs from the File Manager. If you're looking for an alternative email client, gHacks recommends the open-source app K-9 Mail.

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Vangelis, the Greek composer and musician whose synth-driven work brought huge drama to film soundtracks including Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire, has died aged 79. The Guardian reports: Born Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou in 1943, Vangelis won an Oscar for his 1981 Chariots of Fire soundtrack. Its uplifting piano motif became world-renowned, and reached No 1 in the US charts, as did the accompanying soundtrack album. [...] Chariots of Fire became inextricable from Vangelis's timeless theme, and the music became synonymous with slow-motion sporting montages. "My music does not try to evoke emotions like joy, love, or pain from the audience. It just goes with the image, because I work in the moment," he later explained. His score to Blade Runner is equally celebrated for its evocation of a sinister future version of Los Angeles, where robots and humans live awkwardly alongside one another, through the use of long, malevolent synth notes; saxophones and lush ambient passages enhance the film's romantic and poignant moments. "It has turned out to be a very prophetic film -- we're living in a kind of Blade Runner world now," he said in 2005. Later in the decade he scored the Palme d'Or-winning Costa-Gavras political drama Missing, starring Jack Lemmon; the Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins drama The Bounty; and the Mickey Rourke-starring Francesco. He worked again with the Blade Runner director, Ridley Scott, on 1992 film 1492: Conquest of Paradise, and elsewhere during the 1990s, soundtracked Roman Polanski's Bitter Moon and documentaries by Jacques Cousteau. [...] A fascination with outer space found voice in 2016's Rosetta, dedicated to the space probe of the same name, and Nasa appointed his 1993 piece Mythodea (which he claimed to have written in an hour) as the official music of the Mars Odyssey mission of 2001. His final album, 2021's Juno to Jupiter, was inspired by the Nasa probe Juno and featured recordings of its launch and the workings of the probe itself in outer space.

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: WhatsApp is continuing its push into the business market with today's news it's launching the WhatsApp Cloud API to all businesses worldwide. Introduced into beta testing last November, the new developer tool is a cloud-based version of the WhatsApp Business API -- WhatsApp's first revenue-generating enterprise product -- but hosted on parent company Meta's infrastructure. The company had been building out its Business API platform over the past several years as one of the key ways the otherwise free messaging app would make money. Businesses pay WhatsApp on a per-message basis, with rates that vary based on the region and number of messages sent. As of late last year, tens of thousands of businesses were set up on the non-cloud-based version of the Business API including brands like Vodafone, Coppel, Sears Mexico, BMW, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Iberia Airlines, Itau Brazil, iFood, Bank Mandiri and others. This on-premise version of the API is free to use. The cloud-based version, however, aims to attract a market of smaller businesses and reduces the integration time from weeks to only minutes, the company had said. It is also free. Businesses integrate the API with their back-end systems, where WhatsApp communication is usually just one part of their messaging and communication strategy. They may also want to direct their communications to SMS, other messaging apps, emails and more. Typically, businesses would work with a solutions provider like Zendeks or Twilio to help facilitate these integrations. Providers during the cloud API beta tests had included Zendesk in the U.S., Take in Brazil and MessageBird in the E.U. "The best business experiences meet people where they are," said Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, during its "Conversations" live event today. "Already more than 1 billion users connect with a business account across our messaging services every week. They're reaching out for help, to find products and services, and to buy anything from big-ticket items to everyday goods. And today, I am excited to announce that we're opening WhatsApp to any business of any size around the world with WhatsApp Cloud API." Meta also claims the Cloud API "will help partners to eliminate costly server expenses and help them provide customers with quick access to new features as they arrive," adds TechCrunch.

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