North America’s Glaciers Are Melting Four Times Faster Than They Were a Decade Ago

Across the world’s icy landscapes, climate change is spurring a major meltdown. That includes the western U.S. and Canada where not only is ice vanishing, but it’s doing so at a more rapid pace than it was just a decade ago, according to a new study released this week in Geophysical Research Letters.

Read more…



Source: Gizmodo – North America’s Glaciers Are Melting Four Times Faster Than They Were a Decade Ago

Damning court docs show just how far Sacklers went to push OxyContin

Damning court docs show just how far Sacklers went to push OxyContin

Enlarge (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

With the opioid epidemic raging, you may at this point be familiar with Purdue Pharma. It makes the powerful painkiller OxyContin and has been widely blamed for igniting the current crisis.

After debuting OxyContin in 1996, Purdue raked in billions using aggressive and deceptive sales tactics, including ratcheting up dosages of the addictive opioid while lying about its addictiveness. As OxyContin prescriptions soared, opioid overdose deaths increased six-fold in the US, killing more than 400,000 people between 1999 and 2017. Of those deaths, around 200,000 involved prescription opioids specifically.

In 2007, Purdue and three of its executives pleaded guilty in federal court to misleading doctors, regulators, and patients about the addictiveness of OxyContin. The company has seen a flurry of lawsuits making similar allegations since then.

Read 20 remaining paragraphs | Comments



Source: Ars Technica – Damning court docs show just how far Sacklers went to push OxyContin

ActionDash brings 'digital well being' tracking to more Android phones

Late last year Google released a Digital Wellbeing app that surfaced insights about exactly how much you’re using your phone, and in which apps. Apple installed a similar feature in iOS 12 with Screen Time, but on Android, Google’s app only works wit…

Source: Engadget – ActionDash brings ‘digital well being’ tracking to more Android phones

Review: Toyota Sienna minivan mixes the solid with the subpar

The Sienna resplendent in an elementary school parking lot.

Enlarge / The Sienna resplendent in an elementary school parking lot.

In the early 2000s, I was in the market for a big car. We needed something that could ferry our daughter and stuff around, carry drywall and other home-improvement stuff, and feel comfortable on cross-country trips to visit my family. Neither our Ford Taurus nor Saturn SL1 fit the bill, and we weren’t feeling the SUV love. As we started looking into minivans, it became clear that there were three models to look at seriously: the Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Town & Country, and Toyota Sienna.

Nearly 20 years later, not much has changed. Honda, Chrysler, and Toyota still rule the minivan market in terms of sales. We drove the Town & Country’s successor, the Pacifica, last year and came away very impressed. So when I found out there was a 2019 Toyota Sienna on the local press fleet, reviewing it was a no-brainer.

The Sienna got a new powertrain in 2017, and last year’s model saw some safety and ride quality improvements. Toyota Safety Sense, its suite of driver-assist technology, became standard on the Sienna. Toyota also tackled ride quality by making the cabin quieter. For 2019, support for CarPlay and Amazon Alexa has been added, and the all-wheel-drive powertrain is now available on the SE trim.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments



Source: Ars Technica – Review: Toyota Sienna minivan mixes the solid with the subpar

XGI Display Driver Finally On The Linux Kernel Chopping Block

XGI Tech, the nearly two decade old spin off from SiS that was short-lived and once aimed to be a competitor to ATI and NVIDIA, still has a Linux driver within the mainline kernel. But this frame-buffer driver is slated to soon be removed…

Source: Phoronix – XGI Display Driver Finally On The Linux Kernel Chopping Block

Inside DJI's 'Robomasters' Robotics Competition

pacopico writes: Every year, DJI hosts a robotics competition called Robomasters. It draws in hundreds of engineering students from around the world for two weeks of all out robotics mayhem. The students build and then control robotic vehicles that blast away at each other with rubber bullets, while drones strafe from overhead. Bloomberg Businessweek did a short documentary on the competition and everything that goes with it, including a reality TV show, an anime series, and final battle attended by thousands of people at a stadium in Shenzhen. The Chinese teams usually do the best, and the winners get some money and sometimes a job offer at DJI — all part of the country’s quest to dominate the robotics industry in the years to come.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Inside DJI’s ‘Robomasters’ Robotics Competition

Galaxy S10 leak suggests a lineup with three variants

Prolific phone leaker Evan Blass has already posted an image that appears to show the front of Samsung’s Galaxy S10, and now he’s tweeted a family photograph showing off three variants wrapped in cases. Left to right, you’re apparently looking at the…

Source: Engadget – Galaxy S10 leak suggests a lineup with three variants

Asteroid Strikes 'Increase Threefold Over Last 300 Million Years,' Survey Finds

According to a survey of asteroid craters at least 6.2 miles wide, the number of asteroids slamming into Earth has nearly tripled since the dinosaurs first roamed. “Researchers worked out the rate of asteroid strikes on the moon and the Earth and found that in the past 290 million years the number of collisions had increased dramatically,” reports The Guardian. “Before that time, the planet suffered an asteroid strike about once every 3 million years, but since then the rate has risen to once nearly every 1 million years.” From the report: The findings suggest that the dinosaurs may have been unfortunate in evolving 240 million years ago, just as the odds of being wiped out by a stray asteroid were ramping up. It was one of those impacts, on top of other factors, that did for the beasts 66 million years ago. Many scientists had assumed that asteroid strikes were a rare but constant threat in Earth’s deep history, but the latest study challenges that belief.

Writing in the journal Science, the researchers describe how they turned to the moon to examine the violent history of Earth. The Earth and moon are hit by asteroids with similar frequency, but impact craters on Earth are often erased or obscured by erosion and the shifting continents which churn up the crust. On the geologically inactive moon, impact craters are preserved almost indefinitely, making them easier to examine. Using images from Nasa’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the scientists studied the “rockiness” of the debris surrounding craters on the moon. Rocks thrown up by asteroid impacts are steadily ground down by the constant rain of micrometeorites that pours down on the moon. This means the state of the rocks around a crater can be used to date it. The dates revealed that the moon, and by extension the Earth, has suffered more intense asteroid bombardment in the past 290 million years than at any time in the previous billion. On Earth there are hardly any impact craters older than 650 million years, most likely because they were eroded when the planet became encased in ice in an event known as Snowball Earth.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Asteroid Strikes ‘Increase Threefold Over Last 300 Million Years,’ Survey Finds

NetBSD Exploring LLVM's LLD Linker For Lower Memory Footprint

The NetBSD project has been making good progress in utilizing the LLVM compiler stack not only for the Clang C/C++ compiler but also for the different sanitizers, the libc++ standard library for C++, and other improvements most of which are working their way into the upstream code-bases. One area of NetBSD’s LLVM support being explored most recently is using the LLD linker…

Source: Phoronix – NetBSD Exploring LLVM’s LLD Linker For Lower Memory Footprint

DNC claims Russians launched more phishing attacks after midterms

The New York Times cites court documents filed by the Democratic National Committee that said it believes a Russian group launched a hacking attempt against it after last year’s midterm elections. The lawsuit alleges a conspiracy between President Tr…

Source: Engadget – DNC claims Russians launched more phishing attacks after midterms

Researchers Created Artificial Cells That Can Communicate With Each Other

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: Friedrich Simmel and Aurore Dupin, researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), have for the first time created artificial cell assemblies that can communicate with each other. The cells, separated by fatty membranes, exchange small chemical signaling molecules to trigger more complex reactions, such as the production of RNA and other proteins. Scientists around the world are working on creating artificial, cell-like systems that mimic the behavior of living organisms. Friedrich Simmel and Aurore Dupin have created such artificial cell assemblies in a fixed spatial arrangement. The highlight is that the cells are able to communicate with each other.

Gels or emulsion droplets encapsulated in thin fat or polymer membranes serve as the basic building blocks for the artificial cells. Inside these 10- to 100-micron units, chemical and biochemical reactions can proceed uninhibited. The research team used droplets enclosed by lipid membranes and assembled them into artificial multicellular structures called micro-tissues. The biochemical reaction solutions used in the droplets can produce RNA and proteins, giving the cells a of a kind of gene expression ability. Small signal molecules can be exchanged between cells via their membranes or protein channels built into the membranes. This allows them to couple with each other temporally and spatially. The systems thus become dynamic, as in real life. Chemical pulses thus propagate through the cell structures and pass on information. The signals can also act as triggers, allowing initially identical cells to develop differently. “Our system is the first example of a multicellular system in which artificial cells with gene expression have a fixed arrangement and are coupled via chemical signals. In this way, we achieved a form of spatial differentiation,” says Friedrich Simmel, Professor of Physics of Synthetic Biosystems at Technical University of Munich.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Researchers Created Artificial Cells That Can Communicate With Each Other

Google Faces Renewed Protests and Criticism Over China Search Project

On Friday, a coalition of Chinese, Tibetan, Uighur, and human rights groups organized demonstrations outside Google’s offices in the U.S., U.K., Canada, India, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Sweden, Switzerland, and Denmark, protesting the company’s plan to launch a censored version of its search engine in China. The Intercept reports: Google designed the Chinese search engine, code-named Dragonfly, to blacklist information about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest, in accordance with strict rules on censorship in China that are enforced by the country’s authoritarian Communist Party government. In December, The Intercept revealed that an internal dispute had forced Google to shut down a data analysis system that it was using to develop the search engine. This had “effectively ended” the project, sources said, because the company’s engineers no longer had the tools they needed to build it.

But Google bosses have not publicly stated that they will cease development of Dragonfly. And the company’s CEO Sundar Pichai has refused to rule out potentially launching the search engine some time in the future, though he has insisted that there are no current plans to do so. The organizers of Friday’s protests — which were timed to coincide with Internet Freedom Day — said that they would continue to demonstrate “until Google executives confirm that Project Dragonfly has been canceled, once and for all.” Google “should be connecting the world through the sharing of information, not facilitating human rights abuses by a repressive government determined to crush all forms of peaceful online dissent,” said Gloria Montgomery, director at Tibet Society UK. “Google’s directors must urgently take heed of calls from employees and tens of thousands of global citizens demanding that they immediately halt project Dragonfly. If they don’t, Google risks irreversible damage to its reputation.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Google Faces Renewed Protests and Criticism Over China Search Project

Firmware Vulnerability In Popular Wi-Fi Chipset Affects Laptops, Smartphones, Routers, Gaming Devices

Embedi security researcher Denis Selianin has discovered a vulnerability affecting the firmware of a popular Wi-Fi chipset deployed in a wide range of devices, such as laptops, smartphones, gaming rigs, routers, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. According to Selianin, the vulnerability impacts ThreadX, a real-time operating system that is used as firmware for billions of devices. ZDNet reports: In a report published today, Selianin described how someone could exploit the ThreadX firmware installed on a Marvell Avastar 88W8897 wireless chipset to execute malicious code without any user interaction. The researcher chose this WiFi SoC (system-on-a-chip) because this is one of the most popular WiFi chipsets on the market, being deployed with devices such as Sony PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Surface laptops, Samsung Chromebooks, Samsung Galaxy J1 smartphones, and Valve SteamLink cast devices, just to name a few.

“I’ve managed to identify ~4 total memory corruption issues in some parts of the firmware,” said Selianin. “One of the discovered vulnerabilities was a special case of ThreadX block pool overflow. This vulnerability can be triggered without user interaction during the scanning for available networks.” The researcher says the firmware function to scan for new WiFi networks launches automatically every five minutes, making exploitation trivial. All an attacker has to do is send malformed WiFi packets to any device with a Marvell Avastar WiFi chipset and wait until the function launches, to execute malicious code and take over the device. Selianin says he also “identified two methods of exploiting this technique, one that is specific to Marvell’s own implementation of the ThreadX firmware, and one that is generic and can be applied to any ThreadX-based firmware, which, according to the ThreatX homepage, could impact as much as 6.2 billion devices,” the report says. Patches are reportedly being worked on.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Firmware Vulnerability In Popular Wi-Fi Chipset Affects Laptops, Smartphones, Routers, Gaming Devices

Holy Crap, Drew Struzan Did Three Incredible Posters For the How To Train Your Dragon Trilogy

A franchise has to be pretty damn special to have a trilogy of Drew Struzan posters. There’s Star Wars (twice), Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, and maybe one or two others (such as Police Academy, if you can believe it). That’s quite the list—and now, you can add How to Train Your Dragon to it.

Read more…



Source: io9 – Holy Crap, Drew Struzan Did Three Incredible Posters For the How To Train Your Dragon Trilogy

Multiple Executives Reportedly Out at Snap Following Shake-Up Over Alleged Affair

Snap has reportedly ousted multiple high-ranking employees after an investigation into an alleged scandal involving its now former head of global security Francis Racioppi, the Wall Street Journal’s Maureen Farrell reported Friday.

Read more…



Source: Gizmodo – Multiple Executives Reportedly Out at Snap Following Shake-Up Over Alleged Affair