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Mystery Solved: FBI Closed New Mexico Observatory to Investigate Child Porn

SlashDot - Sat, 2018-09-22 10:34
"The mysterious 11-day closure of a New Mexico solar observatory stemmed from an FBI investigation of a janitor suspected of using the facility's wireless internet service to send and receive child pornography, federal court documents showed..." An anonymous reader quotes the Washington Post: In July, FBI agents investigating child sexual exploitation traced the location of several IP addresses linked to child pornography activity to the observatory, according to a 39-page search warrant application. During an interview with federal authorities on Aug. 21, the facility's chief observer said he had found, on a number of occasions, the same laptop hidden and running in various seldom-used offices around the observatory. He described the contents of the laptop as "not good," according to court documents. A federal agent immediately went to the observatory, located deep within Lincoln National Forest, and took the laptop into evidence... Aside from continuing to "feverishly" search the facility, the documents state that the janitor said, "it was only a matter of time before the facility 'got hit,'" and that he "believed there was a serial killer in the area, and that he was fearful that the killer might enter the facility and execute someone." In response to the janitor's behavior, the management of the observatory, without input from the FBI, shut it down and evacuated its personnel. The facility's cleaning contract with the janitor's parents was also terminated. The warrant application specified that the janitor "has a key to the building and unlimited access to the building, and is familiar with which offices are used only a handful of times a year." It also says that the janitor was the only person in the facility at the time of the alleged downloads.

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Recommended Reading: The reality of sci-fi's AI immortality obsession

Engadget - Sat, 2018-09-22 10:00
Are Hosts, Replicants, and robot clones closer than we think? Jayson Greene, The Ringer Black Mirror already uncomfortably aligns with the real world, but we might be even closer to more advanced concepts from that show and others, like Westworld...

'Bombe' Replica Code-Breaking WW2 Computer Was Used To Decipher Message Scrambled By An Enigma Machine

SlashDot - Sat, 2018-09-22 09:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: Computer historians have staged a re-enactment of World War Two code-cracking at Bletchley Park. A replica code-breaking computer called a Bombe was used to decipher a message scrambled by an Enigma machine. Held at the National Museum of Computing (TNMOC), the event honored Polish help with wartime code-cracking. Enigma machines were used extensively by the German army and navy during World War Two. This prompted a massive effort by the Allies to crack the complex method they employed to scramble messages. That effort was co-ordinated via Bletchley Park and resulted in the creation of the Bombe, said Paul Kellar who helps to keep a replica machine running at the museum. Renowned mathematician Alan Turing was instrumental in the creation of the original Bombe. For its re-enactment, TNMOC recruited a team of 12 and used a replica Bombe that, until recently, had been on display at the Bletchley Park museum next door. The electro-mechanical Bombe was designed to discover which settings the German Enigma operators used to scramble their messages. As with World War Two messages, the TNMOC team began with a hint or educated guess about the content of the message, known as a "crib," which was used to set up the Bombe. The machine then cranked through the millions of possible combinations until it came to a "good stop," said Mr Kellar. This indicated that the Bombe had found key portions of the settings used to turn readable German into gobbledygook. After that, said Mr Kellar, it was just a matter of time before the 12-strong team cracked the message.

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The Morning After: Weekend Edition

Engadget - Sat, 2018-09-22 08:30
Hey, good morning! You look fabulous. Welcome to your weekend! We have the iPhone XS review you've been waiting for, plus some shocking news from Telltale Games.

The first Android phone was an ugly thing, and I loved it - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2018-09-22 08:00
Looking back on my contrarian T-Mobile G1, the anti-iPhone, a decade later.

9 great reads from CNET this week - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2018-09-22 08:00
Fallout shelters are the new real estate craze; Amazon wants Alexa to take over the world; and don't expect a 5G iPhone anytime soon.

Watch Android Auto and Apple CarPlay slug it out in a Mazda CX-9 - Roadshow

CNET News - Sat, 2018-09-22 08:00
YouTubers "The Straight Pipes" sit down to find out which platform is better now that Apple CarPlay supports Google Maps.

Epson's latest LCD projector does 4K for $2,000

Engadget - Sat, 2018-09-22 07:32
If you need another option for a 4K projector that won't completely break the bank, Epson recently introduced this Home Cinema 4010. Like the BenQ HT-2550 projector we reviewed earlier this year, it's doing a bit of trickery to hit that 4K-resolution...

iPhone XS vs. sidewalk: Did it survive our drop test? - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2018-09-22 07:00
We dropped a brand-new gold iPhone XS onto the sidewalk four times to find out how durable the glass is on both sides.

Streaming Accounts For 75 Percent of Music Industry Revenue In the US

SlashDot - Sat, 2018-09-22 06:00
Mallory Locklear reporting via Engadget: The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has released music industry revenue statistics for the first half of 2018 in the U.S., and on average, revenue growth has slowed. While overall revenue was up 10 percent compared to the same time last year, clocking in at $4.6 billion, that rate is only around half of the increase observed between the first halves of 2016 and 2017. Streaming revenue growth slowed as well, though it was still up 28 percent compared to last year. Notably, streaming accounted for the vast majority of revenue so far this year, with 75 percent of overall revenue coming from streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal. The numbers also show that more people continue to join paid subscription services, with subscription rates growing by about one million per month. But while streaming revenue is still on an upward trend, the news isn't so good for digital downloads and CD sales. Digital downloads have only made up 12 percent of overall revenue so far this year, down from 19 percent last year, and CD sales saw a whopping 41 percent drop in revenue. To compare, during the same time last year, CD sales were only down three percent from the year before. Vinyl revenue, however, is up 13 percent.

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Bluetooth key fob for Tesla Model 3 spotted in FCC pictures

Engadget - Sat, 2018-09-22 03:42
Among the quirks of the Tesla Model 3 is that unlike most cars, it doesn't come with a traditional key or key fob at all. Instead, it relies mostly on a Bluetooth Low Energy link to its owner's nearby iPhone or Android device, with keycards available...

Japan Has Attempted To Land Two Tiny Rovers On a Distant Asteroid

SlashDot - Sat, 2018-09-22 03:00
On Friday, Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft attempted to deploy two miniature rovers on an asteroid that it's been orbiting since mid-August. Ars Technica reports: Each weighed only about a kilogram, and after separating from the main spacecraft they approached the asteroid named Ryugu. Japanese mission scientists think the rovers touched down successfully, but are not completely sure. Communication with the two landers stopped near the moment of touchdown. This is presumably because Ryugu's rotation took the rovers out of view from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft, but scientists won't know for sure until later Friday (or Saturday morning, in Japan) when they attempt to download images from the rovers. And thus we are left with a suspenseful situation.

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Massive Undersea Walls Could Stop Glaciers From Melting, Scientists Say

SlashDot - Fri, 2018-09-21 23:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN: Building walls on the seafloor could prevent glaciers from melting and sea levels rising due to global warming, scientists say. Barriers of sand and rock positioned at the base of glaciers would stop ice sheets sliding and collapsing, and prevent warm water from eroding the ice from beneath, according to research published this week in the Cryosphere journal, from the European Geosciences Union. The audacious idea centers on the construction of "extremely simple structures, merely piles of aggregate on the ocean floor, although more advanced structures could certainly be explored in the future," said the report's authors, Michael Wolovick, a researcher at the department of geosciences at Princeton University, and John Moore, professor of climate change at the University of Lapland in Finland. Using computer models to gauge the probable impact of walls on erosion of the Thwaites glacier in Antarctica, one of the world's largest, Wolovick and Moore hoped to test the efficiency of "a locally targeted intervention." They claimed the simplest designs would allow direct comparison with existing engineering projects. "The easiest design that we considered would be comparable to the largest civil engineering projects that humanity has ever attempted," they said. "An ice sheet intervention today would be at the edge of human capabilities." For example, building four isolated walls would require between 0.1 and 1.5 cubic km of material. "That is comparable to the 0.1 km3 that was used to create Palm Jumeirah in Dubai ($12 billion)...(and) the 0.3 km3 that was used to create Hong Kong International Airport ($20 billion)," the report said. The authors say there's only a 30% probability of success due to the harsh environment, but did mention that the scientific community could work on a plan that was both achievable and had a high probability of success.

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SpaceX gives us a glimpse of its Mars base vision

Engadget - Fri, 2018-09-21 23:16
SpaceX chief Elon Musk has tweeted two photos that give us a peek into the company's Martian dreams. One of the images shows the BFR, the massive rocket SpaceX is developing for deep space missions, while the other shows the BFR and what he called "M...

Belkin's wireless charging dock handles your iPhone XS and Apple Watch

Engadget - Fri, 2018-09-21 22:45
While we wait to see if Apple's AirPower mat will ever make an appearance, owners of new iPhones and Apple Watches who want to charge both at the same time could consider this Belkin dock. The BOOST↑UP Wireless Charging Dock works with iPhone 8...

Southern California Sees Its Longest Streak of Bad Air In Decades

SlashDot - Fri, 2018-09-21 22:05
According to state monitoring data, Southern California violated federal smog standards for 87 consecutive days -- the longest stretch of bad air in at least 20 years. "The streak is the latest sign that Souther California's battle against smog is faltering after decades of dramatic improvement," reports San Francisco Chronicle. From the report: The ozone pollution spell began June 19 and continued through July and August, with every day exceeding the federal health standard of 70 parts per billion somewhere across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. It didn't relent until Sept. 14, when air pollution dipped to "moderate" levels within federal limits for ozone, the lung-damaging gas in smog that triggers asthma and other respiratory illnesses. It's not unusual for Southern California summers to go weeks without a break in the smog, especially in inland communities that have long suffered the nation's worst ozone levels. But environmentalists and health experts say the persistence of dirty air this year is a troubling sign that demands action. Regulators blame the dip in air quality in recent years on hotter weather and stronger, more persistent inversion layers that trap smog near the ground.

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Lawmakers want to expand AMBER Alerts to US territories

Engadget - Fri, 2018-09-21 21:50
Two US lawmakers have introduced legislation that would help expand the AMBER Alert system to all territories, which include American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Marianas Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Established nationally in 2003, t...

Amazon Is Making It Easier To Set Up New IoT Gadgets

SlashDot - Fri, 2018-09-21 21:25
At an event yesterday where the company unveiled a range of new Echo smart speakers and other Alexa-enabled devices, the company announced a new way to easily set up internet of things (IoT) devices. The Verge reports: Called Wi-Fi Simple Setup, the system will use Amazon's Wi-Fi Lockers to store your Wi-Fi credentials and share them with compatible smart home devices. Amazon is debuting this tech with TP-Link and Eero, with the idea that customers can reuse network credentials in order to set up new devices. This means devices will connect on their own instead of you having to manually set up each smart product. According to Amazon, it's as easy as plugging in a Wi-Fi Simple Setup-enabled device. The device will automatically look for the Wi-Fi Simple Setup Network and connect once it receives encrypted credentials. Amazon says the process should take no longer than 30 seconds. The ecommerce company also announced a "plug-and-play smart home kit called Alexa Connect Kit. "It starts with a module that has Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi and a real-time OS that companies can put in their products in order to make them smart," reports The Verge.

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Romanian Ransomware Suspect Pleads Guilty To Hacking CCTVs In Washington DC

SlashDot - Fri, 2018-09-21 20:45
gosand writes: "A Romanian woman [named Eveline Cismaru] has admitted running a ransomware operation from infected Washington DC's CCTV systems just days before President Trump was sworn into office in the U.S. capital," The Register reports. The U.S. Department of Justice stated: "This case was of the highest priority due to its impact on the Secret Service's protective mission and its potential effect on the security plan for the 2017 Presidential Inauguration." She could face a max of 25 years if convicted. She and her cohort (who is still jailed in Romania) made the classic hacker mistake of using their personal Gmail accounts for the campaign, even accessing them from one of the compromised PCs. Cismaru hacked "into 123 of the 187 high-tech CCTV cameras dotted around the city," reports The Register. "The hijacked devices, used by DC's Metropolitan Police Department, then spammed up to 180,000 email addresses with ransomware-laden messages."

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