The Linkielist

Linking ideas with the world

The Constellations | IAU

Over half of the 88 constellations the IAU recognizes today are attributed to ancient Greek, which consolidated the earlier works by the ancient Babylonian, Egyptian and Assyrian. Forty eight of the constellations we know were recorded in the seventh and eighth books of Claudius Ptolemy’s Almagest, although the exact origin of these constellations still remains Read more about The Constellations | IAU[…]

Google and Facebook might be tracking your porn history, researchers warn

Being able to access porn on the internet might be convenient, but according to researchers it’s not without its security risks. And they’re not just talking about viruses. Researchers at Microsoft, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pennsylvania analyzed 22,484 porn sites and found that 93% leak user data to a third party. Normally, Read more about Google and Facebook might be tracking your porn history, researchers warn[…]

Permission-greedy apps delayed Android 6 upgrade so they could harvest more user data

Android app developers intentionally delayed updating their applications to work on top of Android 6.0, so they could continue to have access to an older permission-requesting mechanism that granted them easy access to large quantities of user data, research published by the University of Maryland last month has revealed. The central focus of this research Read more about Permission-greedy apps delayed Android 6 upgrade so they could harvest more user data[…]

Humans may be able to live on Mars within walls of aerogel – a wonder material that can trap heat and block radiation

We may be able to survive and live on Mars in regions protected by thin ceilings of silica aerogel, a strong lightweight material that insulates heat and blocks harmful ultraviolet radiation while weighing almost nothing. Researchers at Harvard University in the US, NASA, and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland envision areas of Mars enclosed Read more about Humans may be able to live on Mars within walls of aerogel – a wonder material that can trap heat and block radiation[…]

Machine learning has been used to automatically translate long-lost languages

Jiaming Luo and Regina Barzilay from MIT and Yuan Cao from Google’s AI lab in Mountain View, California. This team has developed a machine-learning system capable of deciphering lost languages, and they’ve demonstrated it by having it decipher Linear B—the first time this has been done automatically. The approach they used was very different from Read more about Machine learning has been used to automatically translate long-lost languages[…]

Bulb smart meters in England wake up from comas miraculously speaking fluent Welsh

Smart meters in England are suddenly switching to Welsh language displays, much to the confusion of owners. Several people report that the meters, made by energy provider Bulb, are spontaneously opting for Welsh instead of English, sometimes after freezing and being restarted. This would be unhelpful even for many residents of Wales, but the problem Read more about Bulb smart meters in England wake up from comas miraculously speaking fluent Welsh[…]

Evite Invites Over 100 Million People to Their Data Breach – with cleartext passwords

“In April 2019, the social planning website for managing online invitations Evite identified a data breach of their systems. Upon investigation, they found unauthorised access to a database archive dating back to 2013. The exposed data included a total of 101 million unique email addresses, most belonging to recipients of invitations. Members of the service also Read more about Evite Invites Over 100 Million People to Their Data Breach – with cleartext passwords[…]

Good luck deleting someone’s private info from a trained neural network – it’s likely to bork the whole thing

AI systems have weird memories. The machines desperately cling onto the data they’ve been trained on, making it difficult to delete bits of it. In fact, they often have to be completely retrained from scratch with the newer, smaller dataset. That’s no good in an age where individuals can request their personal data be removed Read more about Good luck deleting someone’s private info from a trained neural network – it’s likely to bork the whole thing[…]

Galileo Satellite Positioning Service Outage

The Galileo satellite positioning service is currently unavailable, with all satellites marked as in outage . Galileo is the European-built and operated alternative to GPS. The outage is being attributed to problems at the Precise Timing Facility in Italy. The availability of multiple Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and the relative newness of Galileo (the Read more about Galileo Satellite Positioning Service Outage[…]

Microsoft Office 365: Banned in German schools over privacy fears

Schools in the central German state of Hesse have been have been told it’s now illegal to use Microsoft Office 365. The state’s data-protection commissioner has ruled that using the popular cloud platform’s standard configuration exposes personal information about students and teachers “to possible access by US officials”. That might sound like just another instance Read more about Microsoft Office 365: Banned in German schools over privacy fears[…]

Microsoft tells resellers: ‘We listened to you, and we have acted’ (PS: Plz keep making us money)

Faced with continued rumbles of discontent from its reseller network on the eve of its Inspire conference, Microsoft has climbed down from plans to pull free software licences from its channel chums. Doubtless fearful of a keynote sabotaged by a baying mob of angry resellers, Microsoft corporate veep for commercial partners Gavriella Schuster was tasked Read more about Microsoft tells resellers: ‘We listened to you, and we have acted’ (PS: Plz keep making us money)[…]

Bitpoint cryptocurrency exchange hacked for $32 million

Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitpoint announced it lost 3.5 billion yen (roughly $32 million) worth of cryptocurrency assets after a hack that happened late yesterday, July 11. The exchange suspended all deposits and withdrawals this morning to investigate the hack, it said in a press release. Thoroughly compromised In a more detailed document released by RemixPoint, Read more about Bitpoint cryptocurrency exchange hacked for $32 million[…]

FTC Fines Facebook $5 Billion for Cambridge Analytica – not  very much considering earnings – and does not curtail future breaches

The Federal Trade Commission, which has been investigating Facebook in the wake of its massive Cambridge Analytica scandal, has voted to approve levying a massive $5 billion fine against the social media giant, according to reporting in both the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. It’s the single largest fine against a tech company Read more about FTC Fines Facebook $5 Billion for Cambridge Analytica – not  very much considering earnings – and does not curtail future breaches[…]

Palantir’s Top-Secret User Manual for Cops shows how easily they can find scary amounts of information on you and your friends

Through a public record request, Motherboard has obtained a user manual that gives unprecedented insight into Palantir Gotham (Palantir’s other services, Palantir Foundry, is an enterprise data platform), which is used by law enforcement agencies like the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center. The NCRIC serves around 300 communities in northern California and is what is Read more about Palantir’s Top-Secret User Manual for Cops shows how easily they can find scary amounts of information on you and your friends[…]

It turns out Bystanders do Help Strangers in Need

Research dating back to the late 1960s documents how the great majority of people who witness crimes or violent behavior refuse to intervene. Psychologists dubbed this non-response as the “bystander effect”—a phenomenon which has been replicated in scores of subsequent psychological studies. The “bystander effect” holds that the reason people don’t intervene is because we Read more about It turns out Bystanders do Help Strangers in Need[…]

Carbon nanotube device channels heat into light, could increase solar panel efficiency

The ever-more-humble carbon nanotube may be just the device to make solar panels—and anything else that loses energy through heat—far more efficient. Rice University scientists are designing arrays of aligned single-wall carbon nanotubes to channel mid-infrared radiation (aka heat) and greatly raise the efficiency of solar energy systems. Gururaj Naik and Junichiro Kono of Rice’s Read more about Carbon nanotube device channels heat into light, could increase solar panel efficiency[…]

Reddit Is Down as the Summer of Outages Continues

Users began to report outages a little over an hour ago. For this writer, the problem first presented as weirdness with Reddit’s login server and front page timeline, but it quickly worsened. Now navigating to reddit.com is rewarding many with 503 errors. The outage seems to have hit users visiting Reddit on desktop the hardest. Read more about Reddit Is Down as the Summer of Outages Continues[…]

Microsoft stirs suspicions by adding telemetry spyware to security-only update

Under Microsoft’s rules, what it calls “Security-only updates” are supposed to include, well, only security updates, not quality fixes or diagnostic tools. Nearly three years ago, Microsoft split its monthly update packages for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 into two distinct offerings: a monthly rollup of updates and fixes and, for those who are want only those Read more about Microsoft stirs suspicions by adding telemetry spyware to security-only update[…]

Windows 10 SFC /scannow Can’t Fix Corrupted Files After Update

Starting today, Windows 10 users are finding that the /sfc scannow feature is no longer working and that it states it found, but could not fix, corrupted Windows Defender PowerShell files. The Windows System File Checker tool, commonly known as SFC, has a /scannow argument that will check the integrity of all protected Winodws system files and Read more about Windows 10 SFC /scannow Can’t Fix Corrupted Files After Update[…]

Apple removes Zoom’s dodgy hidden web server on your Mac without telling you – shows who really pwns your machine

Apple has pushed a silent update to Macs, disabling the hidden web server installed by the popular Zoom web-conferencing software. A security researcher this week went public with his finding that the mechanism used to bypass a Safari prompt before entering a Zoom conference was a hidden local web server. Jonathan Leitschuh focused largely on Read more about Apple removes Zoom’s dodgy hidden web server on your Mac without telling you – shows who really pwns your machine[…]

Apple disables Walkie Talkie app due to vulnerability that could allow iPhone eavesdropping

Apple has disabled the Apple Watch Walkie Talkie app due to an unspecified vulnerability that could allow a person to listen to another customer’s iPhone without consent, the company told TechCrunch this evening. Apple has apologized for the bug and for the inconvenience of being unable to use the feature while a fix is made. Read more about Apple disables Walkie Talkie app due to vulnerability that could allow iPhone eavesdropping[…]

‘Superhuman’ AI Crushes Poker Pros at Six-Player Texas Hold’em

Computer scientists have developed a card-playing bot, called Pluribus, capable of defeating some of the world’s best players at six-person no-limit Texas hold’em poker, in what’s considered an important breakthrough in artificial intelligence. Two years ago, a research team from Carnegie Mellon University developed a similar poker-playing system, called Libratus, which consistently defeated the world’s Read more about ‘Superhuman’ AI Crushes Poker Pros at Six-Player Texas Hold’em[…]

Google admits leaked private voice conversations, decides to clamp down on whistleblowers, not improve privacy

Google admitted on Thursday that more than 1,000 sound recordings of customer conversations with the Google Assistant were leaked by some of its partners to a Belgian news site. […] “We just learned that one of these language reviewers has violated our data security policies by leaking confidential Dutch audio data,” Google product manager of Read more about Google admits leaked private voice conversations, decides to clamp down on whistleblowers, not improve privacy[…]