The Linkielist

Linking ideas with the world

FEMA Breach Exposes Personal Data and Banking Information of 2.3 Million Disaster Survivors

The Federal Emergency Management Agency may have put the personally identifying information of millions of disaster survivors at risk of fraud and identity theft, according to a recent report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General. The March 15 report said that during an audit of FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance program, it Read more about FEMA Breach Exposes Personal Data and Banking Information of 2.3 Million Disaster Survivors[…]

CheapAir.com’s 5th Annual Airfare Study Reveals the Best Time to Buy Airline Tickets | CheapAir

The CheapAir.com 2019 Annual Airfare Study is based on an analysis of 917 million airfares in more than 8,000 markets. Following the recommendations could save you hundreds of dollars on your travel this year. This report will break down: The average “best day” to buy your airline ticket The airfare booking “zones” – what you Read more about CheapAir.com’s 5th Annual Airfare Study Reveals the Best Time to Buy Airline Tickets | CheapAir[…]

Your AirPods Probably Have Terrible Battery Life – The Atlantic

Two years ago, Desmond Hughes heard so many of his favorite podcasters extolling AirPods, Apple’s tiny, futuristic $170 wireless headphones, that he decided they were worth the splurge. He quickly became a convert. Hughes is still listening to podcasters talk about their AirPods, but now they’re complaining. The battery can no longer hold a charge, Read more about Your AirPods Probably Have Terrible Battery Life – The Atlantic[…]

Wikipedia and Reddit Stage Eleventh-Hour Protest Against Alarming EU Copyright Plan

The European Union has been reconsidering its copyright laws for several years, and for months we’ve been trudging towards a final vote. Well, that vote is scheduled for Tuesday, and if approved it could mean the end of the open internet as we know it. Specifically, there are two troubling provisions in the EU’s new Read more about Wikipedia and Reddit Stage Eleventh-Hour Protest Against Alarming EU Copyright Plan[…]

Man Pleads Guilty in $100 Million Scam of Facebook and Google – colleagues not yet found

A Lithuanian man admitted he helped trick Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google into sending more than $100 million through a phishing scheme. Evaldas Rimasauskas, 50, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud before U.S. District Judge George Daniels on Wednesday under an agreement with prosecutors and will forfeit $49.7 million. Rimasauskas was extradited Read more about Man Pleads Guilty in $100 Million Scam of Facebook and Google – colleagues not yet found[…]

Researchers Create Fake Profiles on 24 Health Apps and Learn Most Are Sharing Your Data

Researchers in Canada, the U.S., and Australia teamed up for the study, published Wednesday in the BMJ. They tested 24 popular health-related apps used by patients and doctors in those three countries on an Android smartphone (the Google Pixel 1). Among the more popular apps were medical reference site Medscape, symptom-checker Ada, and the drug Read more about Researchers Create Fake Profiles on 24 Health Apps and Learn Most Are Sharing Your Data[…]

Boeing to make safety feature standard on troubled Max jets

Boeing will make standard on its troubled new airliner a safety feature that might have helped the crew of a jet that crashed shortly after takeoff last year in Indonesia, killing everyone on board. The equipment, which had been offered as an option, alerts pilots of faulty information from key sensors. It will now be Read more about Boeing to make safety feature standard on troubled Max jets[…]

Nokia phones caught spewing device IDs to China, software blunder blamed

An undisclosed number of Nokia 7 Plus smartphones have been caught sending their identification numbers to a domain owned by a Chinese telecom firm. The handsets spaffed the data in clear text over the internet to a server behind the domain vnet.cn, which appears to be owned by China Telecom. The HTTP POST requests from Read more about Nokia phones caught spewing device IDs to China, software blunder blamed[…]

Microsoft just booted up the first “DNA drive” for storing data

Microsoft has helped build the first device that automatically encodes digital information into DNA and back to bits again. DNA storage: Microsoft has been working toward a photocopier-size device that would replace data centers by storing files, movies, and documents in DNA strands, which can pack in information at mind-boggling density. According to Microsoft, all Read more about Microsoft just booted up the first “DNA drive” for storing data[…]

Facebook Stored Hundreds of Millions of User Passwords in Plain Text for Years and were searched by FB engineers

Hundreds of millions of Facebook users had their account passwords stored in plain text and searchable by thousands of Facebook employees — in some cases going back to 2012, KrebsOnSecurity has learned. Facebook says an ongoing investigation has so far found no indication that employees have abused access to this data. Facebook is probing a Read more about Facebook Stored Hundreds of Millions of User Passwords in Plain Text for Years and were searched by FB engineers[…]

Humans Built Complex Societies Before They Invented Moral Gods

The appearance of moralizing gods in religion occurred after—and not before—the emergence of large, complex societies, according to new research. This finding upturns conventional thinking on the matter, in which moralizing gods are typically cited as a prerequisite for social complexity. Gods who punish people for their anti-social indiscretions appeared in religions after the emergence Read more about Humans Built Complex Societies Before They Invented Moral Gods[…]

Hundreds of South Korean motel guests were secretly filmed and live-streamed online

About 1,600 people have been secretly filmed in motel rooms in South Korea, with the footage live-streamed online for paying customers to watch, police said Wednesday. Two men have been arrested and another pair investigated in connection with the scandal, which involved 42 rooms in 30 accommodations in 10 cities around the country. Police said Read more about Hundreds of South Korean motel guests were secretly filmed and live-streamed online[…]

Google Hit With $1.7 Billion Fine in Europe for Abusing Advertising Dominance

“Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites,” EU antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager said on Wednesday. “This is illegal under EU antitrust rules. The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits Read more about Google Hit With $1.7 Billion Fine in Europe for Abusing Advertising Dominance[…]

Scientists grow mini-brain that can contract muscle, connect to spinal cord

Scientists have grown a miniature brain in a dish with a spinal cord and muscles attached, an advance that promises to accelerate the study of conditions such as motor neurone disease. The lentil-sized grey blob of human brain cells were seen to spontaneously send out tendril-like connections to link up with the spinal cord and Read more about Scientists grow mini-brain that can contract muscle, connect to spinal cord[…]

Apple Spat With Spotify Is a Fight for Its Future—and It’s Failing to Make Its Case

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been more than clear that services like the iOS App Store are an essential part of the company’s future as consumers hang onto devices for longer and longer periods between upgrades. When Spotify filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple this week, it fired a direct shot at the tech giant’s Read more about Apple Spat With Spotify Is a Fight for Its Future—and It’s Failing to Make Its Case[…]

17 Scientists call for global moratorium on gene editing of embryos – where’s the fun in that?

The move is intended to send a clear signal to maverick researchers, and the scientific community more broadly, that any attempt to rewrite the DNA of sperm, eggs or embryos destined for live births is not acceptable. Beyond a formal freeze on any such work, the experts want countries to register and declare any plans Read more about 17 Scientists call for global moratorium on gene editing of embryos – where’s the fun in that?[…]

MtGox bitcoin founder gets suspended sentence for data tampering

A Japanese court sentenced the former high-flying creator of the MtGox bitcoin exchange to a suspended jail sentence of two and a half years Friday after finding him guilty of data manipulation. The Tokyo District Court convicted Mark Karpeles, a 33-year-old computer whizz from France, for tampering with computer data but acquitted him over charges Read more about MtGox bitcoin founder gets suspended sentence for data tampering[…]

US Air Force buys new  build 70s era vintage F-15EX fleet because F-35 is too expensive

The new-build F-15 was not part of the service’s original budget plans, but was added because the type has lower lifetime operating costs, the USAF acknowledges. The service is committed to buying 72 fighters per year, but cannot afford to purchase only F-35As because of that aircraft’s high operating costs – which average about $35,000 Read more about US Air Force buys new  build 70s era vintage F-15EX fleet because F-35 is too expensive[…]

Physicists reverse time using quantum computer

Researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology teamed up with colleagues from the U.S. and Switzerland and returned the state of a quantum computer a fraction of a second into the past. They also calculated the probability that an electron in empty interstellar space will spontaneously travel back into its recent past. The Read more about Physicists reverse time using quantum computer[…]

Nonprofit OpenAI looks at the bill to craft a Holy Grail AGI, gulps, spawns commercial arm to bag investors’ mega-bucks – the end of Open in OpenAI?

OpenAI, a leading machine-learning lab, has launched for-profit spin-off OpenAI LP – so it can put investors’ cash toward the expensive task of building artificial general intelligence. The San-Francisco-headquartered organisation was founded in late 2015 as a nonprofit, with a mission to build, and encourage the development of, advanced neural network systems that are safe Read more about Nonprofit OpenAI looks at the bill to craft a Holy Grail AGI, gulps, spawns commercial arm to bag investors’ mega-bucks – the end of Open in OpenAI?[…]

Scientists have discovered a shape that blocks all sound–even your co-workers

A team of Boston University researchers recently stuck a loudspeaker into one end of a PVC pipe. They cranked it up loud. What did they hear? Nothing. How was this possible? Did they block the other end of the pipe with noise canceling foams or a chunk of concrete? No, nothing of the sort. The Read more about Scientists have discovered a shape that blocks all sound–even your co-workers[…]

Radio gaga: Techies fear EU directive to stop RF device tinkering will do more harm than good

EU plans to ban the sale of user-moddable radio frequency devices – like phones and routers – have provoked widespread condemnation from across the political bloc. The controversy centres on Article 3(3)(i) of the EU Radio Equipment Directive, which was passed into law back in 2014. However, an EU working group is now about to Read more about Radio gaga: Techies fear EU directive to stop RF device tinkering will do more harm than good[…]

Why Is Customer Service So Bad? Because It’s Profitable.

American consumers spend, on average, 13 hours per year in calling queue. According to a 2010 study by Mike Desmarais in the journal Cost Management, a third of complaining customers must make two or more calls to resolve their complaint. And that ignores the portion who simply give up out of exasperation after the first Read more about Why Is Customer Service So Bad? Because It’s Profitable.[…]