SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

New developments in research etc.

Mint 18 review: “Just works” Linux doesn’t get any better than this


Mint 18.x is well poised to continue to drive Mint's popularity. It's a solid release with some big changes, most of which won't cause the average user any problems. Both Cinnamon and MATE look and behave more or less as they always have with a number of incremental improvements.

Mint 18 has a lot of updates under the hood, most of which the average desktop user can safely ignore. However, there is one change that will mean an extra installation step for many users. Mint 18 is the first Mint release to ship without patent-encumbered codecs and plugins. The change is a result of legal and copyright issues in some countries, particularly the United States.
READ MORE: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/08/mint-18-review-jus...

The Tragedy of the Google

In 1833 the Victorian economist William Forster Lloyd published Two Lectures on the Checks to Population, which introduced an idea we later understood as the Tragedy of the Commons. The example used was of a common grazing area and how the interests of the people using this “free” public land would inevitably work at odds with one another in maintaining the public land. Everyone had an incentive to take as much as they could, as quickly as they could, but no one had an incentive to put back.

Today this is best understood in the management of fisheries. You can’t own parcels of the ocean and even if you can assign areas to particular fishermen, the fish don’t pay attention to these boundaries. The fisherman has no incentive to limit his cod harvest because the fish he does not catch will simply swim over to the next guy, who will catch them.
READ MORE: http://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=8222

Are piracy kill switches in operating systems the key to stopping illegal downloads?

In order to combat the issue proactively, a new report published by Black Market Watch and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime has detailed an approach just so wild it might actually work.

Rather than trying to combat the issue online, the report suggests there should be mandatory blocking of pirated content on the operating system level.

“Other players that possess the potential ability to limit piracy are the companies that own the major operating systems which control computers and mobile devices such as Apple, Google and Microsoft,” the report reads.
READ MORE: http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/piracy/are-piracy-kill-switches...

Windows 10 Anniversary Update Borks Dual-Boot Partitions

Windows 10 Anniversary Update may affect and even delete other partitions on the same disk, OMGUbuntu is reporting, citing several complaints by users. "Broken boot loaders on an update are one thing but losing data, even entire partitions?" asks the author. Microsoft-centric news blog WindowsReport is corroborating on the report, adding that in some cases, the new OS was not able to detect some partitions.
READ MORE: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2016/08/windows-10-anniversary-update-delete-...

FSB Detects Cyberattacks on 20 Russian Organizations, Including Military Targets

Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) exposed planting of malicious software designed for cyber espionage in computer networks of about 20 Russian institutions, including government and military bodies, FSB press service said Saturday.

"Instances of planting of malicious software designed for cyber espionage in computer networks of some 20 organizations located on the territory of Russia have been exposed… Information resources of public authorities, scientific and military institutions, enterprises of the military — industrial complex and other objects of country's critical infrastructure were contaminated," the statement read.
READ MORE: http://sputniknews.com/russia/20160730/1043780821/fsb-cuber-attacks.html

New attack bypasses HTTPS protection on Macs, Windows, and Linux

The attack can be carried out by operators of just about any type of network, including public Wi-Fi networks, which arguably are the places where Web surfers need HTTPS the most. It works by abusing a feature known as WPAD—short for Web Proxy Autodisovery—in a way that exposes certain browser requests to attacker-controlled code. The attacker then gets to see the entire URL of every site the target visits. The exploit works against virtually all browsers and operating systems. It will be demonstrated for the first time at next week's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas in a talk titled Crippling HTTPS with Unholy PAC.
READ MORE: http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/07/new-attack-that-cripples-https-c...

You will use Cortana, Microsoft says


Surprise, surprise. If things remain as they are, Windows 10 users who upgrade to the Anniversary Update won't be able to turn off Cortana anymore using the Cortana settings.

If you compare the start menu settings of Cortana of the current version of Windows (version 1511) with those of the Anniversary Update (version 1607) you will notice that Cortana's off switch is no longer available (thanks Ian Paul @ PC World for spotting that)

Cortana, the digital assistant that Microsoft touts as one of the major features of Windows 10 supports interaction via touch, typing, ink and voice.
READ MORE: http://www.ghacks.net/2016/07/26/you-will-use-cortana-says-microsoft/

Scientists just made it cheaper to produce hydrogen from water

A hydrogen-fuel economy could finally become a reality with the recent discovery of a cheap, stable and efficient means of getting hydrogen from water.

If a cheap, stable and efficient way could be found to produce hydrogen from water, a hydrogen-fuel economy could finally become a reality.

Scientists at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm now report that they have unlocked one major barrier to exploiting this renewable energy source.
READ MORE: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160627095937.htm

Forget fingerprints, ROUTERS could soon help police solve crimes

Fingerprints and DNA are key evidence in identifying criminals, but crime scene investigators of the future may add Wi-fi to their toolkit for tracking down lawbreakers.

If police were able seize Wi-fi devices at the scene of a crime, they could have access to vital information which could place people at the scene at the time an incident took place.

Dan Blackman, a PhD candidate at Edith Cowan University in Australia, and technical adviser to Western Australia Police, thinks police are missing out by not using this key source of information.
READ MORE: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3393878/Forget-fingerprin...

Dutch govt says no to backdoors, slides $540k into OpenSSL without breaking eye contact

The Dutch government has formally opposed the introduction of backdoors in encryption products.

A government position paper, published by the Ministry of Security and Justice on Monday and signed by the security and business ministers, concludes that "the government believes that it is currently not appropriate to adopt restrictive legal measures against the development, availability and use of encryption within the Netherlands."

The conclusion comes at the end of a five-page run-through of the arguments for greater encryption and the counter-arguments for allowing the authorities access to the information.
READ MORE: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/01/04/dutch_government_says_no_to_back...

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