Computers & Linux News

Homeless Man Tries to Steal Waymo Robotaxi in Los Angeles

SlashDot - Mon, 2024-03-04 03:34
A homeless man "was taken into custody on suspicion of grand theft auto," reports the Los Angeles Times, "after police said he tried to steal a Waymo self-driving car in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday night." The man entered and tried to operate a Waymo vehicle that had stopped to let out a passenger at the corner of 1st and Main at 10:30 p.m., Los Angeles Police Department detective Meghan Aguilar said. After the man, whom a Waymo spokesman described as an "unauthorized pedestrian," entered the vehicle, the company's Rider Support team instructed him to exit the car. When he did not, the company contacted the police, "who were then able to remove and arrest" the man, said Chris Bonelli, a Waymo spokesman... No injuries were reported by the rider, and there was no damage to the vehicle, Bonelli said. The car was stationary during the entire incident because an unauthorized person was identified by the company to be in the vehicle, according to Waymo.

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New Ratings for the 'Greenest' Car in America Might Surprise You

SlashDot - Mon, 2024-03-04 00:39
The Washington Post shares some surprising news from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, a 44-year-old nonprofit which works on government energy policies and produces its own research and analysis. The group "has rated the pollution from vehicles for decades," according to the article — but "says the winning car this year is the Toyota Prius Prime SE, a plug-in hybrid that can go 44 miles on electricity before switching to hybrid." "It's the shape of the body, the technology within it, and the overall weight," said Peter Huether, senior research associate for transportation at ACEEE. "And all different types of Priuses are very efficient...." [T]he Prius Prime also won out in 2020 and 2022. But with more and more electric vehicles on the market, the staying power of the plug-in hybrid is surprising. The analysis shows that simply running on electricity is not enough to guarantee that a car is "green" — its weight, battery size and overall efficiency matter, too. While a gigantic electric truck weighing thousands of pounds might be better than a gas truck of the same size, both will be outmatched by a smaller, efficient gas vehicle. And the more huge vehicles there are on the road, the harder it will be for the United States to meet its goal of zeroing out emissions by 2050. The GreenerCars report analyzes 1,200 cars available in 2024, assessing both the carbon dioxide emissions of the vehicle while it's on the road and the emissions of manufacturing the car and battery. It also assesses the impact of pollutants beyond carbon dioxide, including nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and particulate matter — all of which can harm human health. The Toyota Prius Prime received a score of 71, followed by several all-electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Mini Cooper SE with scores in the high 60s. The Toyota RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid SUV with 42 miles in range, got a score of 64. One gas hybrid, the Hyundai Elantra Blue, made the list as well — thanks to an efficient design and good mileage. At the bottom of the list were large gas-guzzling trucks such as the Ford F-150 Raptor R, with scores in the 20s. So was one electric car: the Hummer EV, which weighs 9,000 pounds and scored a 29... The Prius Prime outranked its competitors, Huether said, because of its small battery — which lowers the emissions and pollution associated with manufacturing — and its high efficiency. The vehicle's battery is less than one-tenth the size of the battery on the monstrous Hummer EV.

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Propose Class Action Alleges Apple's Cloud Storage is an 'Illegal Monopoly'

SlashDot - Sun, 2024-03-03 22:39
"Apple faces a proposed class action lawsuit alleging the company holds an illegal monopoly over digital storage for its customers," reports the Hill: The suit, filed Friday, claims "surgical" restraints prevent customers from effectively using any service except its iCloud storage system. iCloud is the only service that can host certain data from the company's phones, tablets and computers, including application data and device settings. Plaintiffs allege the practice has "unlawfully 'tied'" the devices and iCloud together... "As a result of this restraint, would-be cloud competitors are unable to offer Apple's device holders a full-service cloud-storage solution, or even a pale comparison." The suit argues that there are "no technological or security justifications for this limitation on consumer choice," according to PC Magazine. The class action's web site is arguing that "Consumers may have paid higher prices than they allegedly would have in a competitive market."

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How Will Reddit's IPO Change the Service?

SlashDot - Sun, 2024-03-03 20:39
"Reddit users have been reacting with deep gloom to the firm saying it plans to sell shares to the public..." the BBC recently reported: The company has said its plans are "exciting" and will offer the business opportunities for growth. However many users worry the move will fundamentally change the website... "When the most important customers shift from [users] to shareholders, the product always [suffers]," said one person. "It becomes 'what can we do this quarter to squeak out an additional point of revenue', instead of 'how can we make this product better'...." [T]he company has recorded losses every year since its start, including more than $90m last year. In the filing, Reddit said it had not started trying to make money seriously until 2018. It reported $804m in revenue last year, up more than 20% from 2022. Advertising accounted for nearly all of the revenue, but in a note to prospective investors chief executive Steve Huffman said he was excited about opportunities to make the platform a venue for commerce and license its content to AI companies.

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Decades-Old Missing Person Mystery Solved After Relative Uploads DNA To GEDMatch

SlashDot - Sun, 2024-03-03 19:47
In 1970 an Oregon man discovered a body with "clear signs of foul play". NPR reports that "The identity of the young woman remained a mystery — until Thursday." State authorities identified the woman as Sandra Young, a teenager from Portland who went missing between 1968 and 1969. Her identity was discovered through advanced DNA technology, which has helped solve stubborn cold cases in recent years. The case's breakthrough came last year in January, when a person uploaded their DNA to the genealogy database GEDMatch and the tool immediately determined that the DNA donor was a distant family member of Young.... From there, a genetic genealogist working with local law enforcement helped track down other possible relatives and encouraged them to provide their DNA. That work eventually led to Young's sister and other family members, who confirmed that Young went missing around the same time. Thanks to Slashdot reader Tony Isaac for sharing the news.

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Mysterious Decades-Old Missing Person Case Solved After Relative Uploads DNA To GEDMatch

SlashDot - Sun, 2024-03-03 19:47
In 1970 an Oregon man discovered a body with "clear signs of foul play". NPR reports that "The identity of the young woman remained a mystery — until Thursday." State authorities identified the woman as Sandra Young, a teenager from Portland who went missing between 1968 and 1969. Her identity was discovered through advanced DNA technology, which has helped solve stubborn cold cases in recent years. The case's breakthrough came last year in January, when a person uploaded their DNA to the genealogy database GEDMatch and the tool immediately determined that the DNA donor was a distant family member of Young.... From there, a genetic genealogist working with local law enforcement helped track down other possible relatives and encouraged them to provide their DNA. That work eventually led to Young's sister and other family members, who confirmed that Young went missing around the same time. Thanks to Slashdot reader Tony Isaac for sharing the news.

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The 5 Best Magnesium Supplements of 2024 - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2024-03-03 19:30
Most adults aren’t getting enough magnesium. These are the best magnesium supplements to fill the gap.

I've Traveled All Over the World. These Are 7 Things I Always Pack - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2024-03-03 19:00
These are the best travel gadgets for your next adventure.

Road-Embedded Sensors to Find Street Parking Tested in Taiwanese City

SlashDot - Sun, 2024-03-03 17:47
Taiwan doesn't have parking meters, writes long-time Slashdot reader Badlands, "but rather roving armies of maids on electric scooters that cruise their area with their smartphone and take a pic of your license plate and timestamp it, leaving a receipt under your windshield wipers." But now one city will try "smart parking" services — which will also help drivers find vacant parking spots, according to Taiwan News: The service will utilize 3,471 geomagnetic sensors installed along 122 stretches of roadway in Banqiao, Yonghe, Zhonghe and Xindian Districts, according to a press release. The sensors will be linked to a publicly available online database to indicate where open parking spaces are available. The "New Taipei Street Parking Inquiry Service" will be accessible through a main website run by the Department of Transportation. The service is also linked to two smartphone applications... Payments can be made automatically by linking one's app profile to their smartphone's telecommunications provider... For drivers that use spaces without linking their phone and vehicle to the smart network, cameras located along the street where the sensors are installed will allow the city to identify and bill drivers via mail, based on their vehicle's registration information.

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NASA Shutters $2B Satellite Refueling Project, Blames Contractor For Delays.

SlashDot - Sun, 2024-03-03 16:45
"NASA said Friday it is shutting down a $2 billion satellite refueling project," reports UPI, "after criticizing the project's contractor for poor performance." The agency in a statement said it will discontinue the On-orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing 1 project after nearly a decade of work due to "continued technical, cost, and schedule challenges, and a broader community evolution away from refueling unprepared spacecraft, which has led to a lack of a committed partner." [...] The spacecraft would have utilized an attached Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot (SPIDER) to refuel the Landsat, assemble a communications antenna and demonstrate in-space manufacture of a 32-foot carbon fiber composite beam to verify the capability of constructing large spacecraft structures in orbit... An audit from NASA's Inspector General, however, found OSAM-1 was on track to exceed the projected $2.05 billion budget and would not make its December 2026 launch date, laying the blame on the "poor performance of Maxar." "NASA and Maxar officials acknowledged that Maxar underestimated the scope and complexity of the work, lacked full understanding of NASA technical requirements, and were deficient in necessary expertise," the report read. The report also noted Maxar was "no longer profiting from their work on OSAM-1," after which the xproject appeared not "to be a high priority for Maxar in terms of the quality of its staffing." Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader schwit1 for sharing the news.

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Best Webcam Deals: Save Over $105 on Razer, Logitech, NexiGo and More - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2024-03-03 16:01
If you need a new webcam, there are a lot of great options that you can pick from, whether you want something a bit more budget-friendly or something high-end.

Meal Kits Are Basically Free When You Use This Hack - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2024-03-03 15:59
We hacked the system and got several months of healthy meal kits at more than 50% off. Here's how we did it.

Researchers Create AI Worms That Can Spread From One System to Another

SlashDot - Sun, 2024-03-03 15:45
Long-time Slashdot reader Greymane shared this article from Wired: [I]n a demonstration of the risks of connected, autonomous AI ecosystems, a group of researchers has created one of what they claim are the first generative AI worms — which can spread from one system to another, potentially stealing data or deploying malware in the process. "It basically means that now you have the ability to conduct or to perform a new kind of cyberattack that hasn't been seen before," says Ben Nassi, a Cornell Tech researcher behind the research. Nassi, along with fellow researchers Stav Cohen and Ron Bitton, created the worm, dubbed Morris II, as a nod to the original Morris computer worm that caused chaos across the Internet in 1988. In a research paper and website shared exclusively with WIRED, the researchers show how the AI worm can attack a generative AI email assistant to steal data from emails and send spam messages — breaking some security protections in ChatGPT and Gemini in the test environments [and not against a publicly available email assistant]... To create the generative AI worm, the researchers turned to a so-called "adversarial self-replicating prompt." This is a prompt that triggers the generative AI model to output, in its response, another prompt, the researchers say. In short, the AI system is told to produce a set of further instructions in its replies... To show how the worm can work, the researchers created an email system that could send and receive messages using generative AI, plugging into ChatGPT, Gemini, and open source LLM, LLaVA. They then found two ways to exploit the system — by using a text-based self-replicating prompt and by embedding a self-replicating prompt within an image file. In one instance, the researchers, acting as attackers, wrote an email including the adversarial text prompt, which "poisons" the database of an email assistant using retrieval-augmented generation (RAG), a way for LLMs to pull in extra data from outside its system. When the email is retrieved by the RAG, in response to a user query, and is sent to GPT-4 or Gemini Pro to create an answer, it "jailbreaks the GenAI service" and ultimately steals data from the emails, Nassi says. "The generated response containing the sensitive user data later infects new hosts when it is used to reply to an email sent to a new client and then stored in the database of the new client," Nassi says. In the second method, the researchers say, an image with a malicious prompt embedded makes the email assistant forward the message on to others. "By encoding the self-replicating prompt into the image, any kind of image containing spam, abuse material, or even propaganda can be forwarded further to new clients after the initial email has been sent," Nassi says. In a video demonstrating the research, the email system can be seen forwarding a message multiple times. The researchers also say they could extract data from emails. "It can be names, it can be telephone numbers, credit card numbers, SSN, anything that is considered confidential," Nassi says. The researchers reported their findings to Google and OpenAI, according to the article, with OpenAI confirming "They appear to have found a way to exploit prompt-injection type vulnerabilities by relying on user input that hasn't been checked or filtered." OpenAI says they're now working to make their systems "more resilient." Google declined to comment on the research.

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Best Beats Headphone Deals: Save Up to $150 on Studio Pro, Powerbeats Pro and More - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2024-03-03 15:30
All the Beats headphones are on sale right now at some of the lowest prices we've seen this year.

How AI is Taking Water From the Desert

SlashDot - Sun, 2024-03-03 14:03
Microsoft built two datacenters west of Phoenix, with plans for seven more (serving, among other companies, OpenAI). "Microsoft has been adding data centers at a stupendous rate, spending more than $10 billion on cloud-computing capacity in every quarter of late," writes the Atlantic. "One semiconductor analyst called this "the largest infrastructure buildout that humanity has ever seen." But is this part of a concerning trend? Microsoft plans to absorb its excess heat with a steady flow of air and, as needed, evaporated drinking water. Use of the latter is projected to reach more than 50 million gallons every year. That might be a burden in the best of times. As of 2023, it seemed absurd. Phoenix had just endured its hottest summer ever, with 55 days of temperatures above 110 degrees. The weather strained electrical grids and compounded the effects of the worst drought the region has faced in more than a millennium. The Colorado River, which provides drinking water and hydropower throughout the region, has been dwindling. Farmers have already had to fallow fields, and a community on the eastern outskirts of Phoenix went without tap water for most of the year... [T]here were dozens of other facilities I could visit in the area, including those run by Apple, Amazon, Meta, and, soon, Google. Not too far from California, and with plenty of cheap land, Greater Phoenix is among the fastest-growing hubs in the U.S. for data centers.... Microsoft, the biggest tech firm on the planet, has made ambitious plans to tackle climate change. In 2020, it pledged to be carbon-negative (removing more carbon than it emits each year) and water-positive (replenishing more clean water than it consumes) by the end of the decade. But the company also made an all-encompassing commitment to OpenAI, the most important maker of large-scale AI models. In so doing, it helped kick off a global race to build and deploy one of the world's most resource-intensive digital technologies. Microsoft operates more than 300 data centers around the world, and in 2021 declared itself "on pace to build between 50 and 100 new datacenters each year for the foreseeable future...." Researchers at UC Riverside estimated last year... that global AI demand could cause data centers to suck up 1.1 trillion to 1.7 trillion gallons of freshwater by 2027. A separate study from a university in the Netherlands, this one peer-reviewed, found that AI servers' electricity demand could grow, over the same period, to be on the order of 100 terawatt hours per year, about as much as the entire annual consumption of Argentina or Sweden... [T]ensions over data centers' water use are cropping up not just in Arizona but also in Oregon, Uruguay, and England, among other places in the world. The article points out that Microsoft "is transitioning some data centers, including those in Arizona, to designs that use less or no water, cooling themselves instead with giant fans." And an analysis (commissioned by Microsoft) on the impact of one building said it would use about 56 million gallons of drinking water each year, equivalent to the amount used by 670 families, according to the article. "In other words, a campus of servers pumping out ChatGPT replies from the Arizona desert is not about to make anyone go thirsty."

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Best Phone Deals: Save Up to $1,000 on Trade-In Offers and Direct Discounts - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2024-03-03 14:00
If you're looking to grab yourself a new phone but don't know where to start, then be sure to check out our favorite phone deals below.

'Communications of the ACM' Is Now Open Access

SlashDot - Sun, 2024-03-03 12:34
Long-time Slashdot reader theodp writes: CACM [Communications of the ACM] Is Now Open Access," proclaims the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) in its tear-down-this-CACM-paywall announcement. "More than six decades of CACM's renowned research articles, seminal papers, technical reports, commentaries, real-world practice, and news articles are now open to everyone, regardless of whether they are members of ACM or subscribe to the ACM Digital Library." Ironically, clicking on Google search results for older CACM articles on Aaron Swartz currently returns page-not-found error messages and the CACM's own search can't find Aaron Swarz either, so perhaps there's some work that remains to be done with the transition to CACM's new website. ACM plans to open its entire archive of over 600,000 articles when its five-year transition to full Open Access is complete (January 2026 target date). "They are right..." the site's editor-in-chief told Slashdot. "We need to get Google to reindex the new site ASAP."

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Best Internet Providers in Santa Ana, California - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2024-03-03 12:30
There are surprisingly few internet providers in Santa Ana, but nearly every address can get fast speeds.

Layla Hybrid Mattress Review: A Supportive Bed With a Flippable Design - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2024-03-03 12:00
Editor's Choice: Boasting two firmness levels, this the Layla Hybrid mattress offers comfort and versatility. But is it worth the money? Here's our verdict.

Huawei's New CPU Matches Zen 3 In Single-Core Performance

SlashDot - Sun, 2024-03-03 11:34
Long-time Slashdot reader AmiMoJo quotes Tom's Hardware: A Geekbench 6 result features what is likely the first-ever look at the single-core performance of the Taishan V120, developed by Huawei's HiSilicon subsidiary (via @Olrak29_ on X). The single-core score indicates that Taishan V120 cores are roughly on par with AMD's Zen 3 cores from late 2020, which could mean Huawei's technology isn't that far behind cutting-edge Western chip designers. The Taishan V120 core was first spotted in Huawei's Kirin 9000s smartphone chip, which uses four of the cores alongside two efficiency-focused Arm Cortex A510 cores. Since Kirin 9000s chips are produced using SMIC's second-generation 7nm node (which may make it illegal to sell internationally according to U.S. lawmakers), it would also seem likely that the Taishan V120 core tested in Geekbench 6 is also made on the second-generation 7nm node. The benchmark result doesn't really say much about what the actual CPU is, with the only hint being 'Huawei Cloud OpenStack Nova.' This implies it's a Kunpeng server CPU, which may either be the Kunpeng 916, 920, or 930. While we can only guess which one it is, it's almost certain to be the 930 given the high single-core performance shown in the result. By contrast, the few Geekbench 5 results for the Kunpeng 920 show it performing well behind AMD's first-generation Epyc Naples from 2017.

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