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China Sinks 1400-Ton Data Center In Sea With Power of 6 Million PCs - According to China Daily, China has become the world's first nation to deploy a commercial data center underwater. Interesting Engineering reports: China's attempts to set up a commercial data center underwater are the result of a public-private enterprise involving the China Offshore Oil Engineering Co., the country's largest Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Installation (EPCI) company in the country, and Highlander, a private data center company. Although details of the computing hardware have not been shared, Highlander has claimed that each of its underwater modules is capable of processing over four million high-definition (HD) images in just 30 seconds. The computing hardware is packed inside a watertight storage module and together weighs 1,300 tons. The module is being submerged about 115 feet (35 m) under the water, a process that takes about three hours. Although work on installing the first module has begun, Highlander has ambitious plans to install 100 such modules at the site and build a capacity of nearly six million computers working at a time. Such a staggering number of computers will also generate a lot of heat which will be naturally cooled by the surrounding sea water. This alone is expected to save 122 million kilowatt-hours of electricity that would have otherwise been spent on cooling if the facility were located on land. Additionally, the facility, which is expected to be in place by 2025, will also save 732,000 square feet (68,000 square meters) of terrestrial land that can be used for other purposes and 105,000 tons of fresh water, which would be used for cooling efforts. The modules have been built to last 25 years, but a lot remains unknown about how the construction will be impacted by corrosive seawater and underwater ecosystems. Highlander's experience in setting these centers up is fairly limited to the tests it carried out in January of 2021 in the Guangdong port of Zhuhai.

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(2023-12-05T02:02:00+00:00)

YouTuber Who Deliberately Crashed Plane For Views Is Headed To Federal Prison - Trevor Jacob, a daredevil YouTuber who deliberately crashed a plane for views in a moneymaking scheme, has been sentenced to six months in federal prison. Jacob posted a video of himself in 2021 parachuting out of a plane that he claimed had malfunctioned. In reality, the aircraft was purposely abandoned and crashed into the Los Padres National Forest in Southern California. From a report: Jacob pleaded guilty to one felony count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation on June 30. "It appears that (Jacob) exercised exceptionally poor judgment in committing this offense," prosecutors said in the release. "(Jacob) most likely committed this offense to generate social media and news coverage for himself and to obtain financial gain. Nevertheless, this type of 'daredevil' conduct cannot be tolerated." Jacob received a sponsorship from a company and had agreed to promote the company's wallet in the YouTube video that he would post. [...] The release said Jacob lied to federal investigators when he filed a report that falsely indicated his plane lost full power approximately 35 minutes into the flight. He also lied to a Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety inspector when he said he had parachuted out of the plane when the airplane's engine had quit because he could not identify any safe landing options.

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(2023-12-05T01:25:00+00:00)

Rockstar Officially Unveils GTA 6 Trailer - Rockstar Games has officially revealed the trailer for Grand Theft Auto VI, which is coming in 2025. You can watch it on YouTube. IGN reports: The trailer gives us a look at the game's female protagonist, a first for the series. Her name is Lucia, and that she starts off in prison -- "bad luck, I guess," she quips. The trailer confirms, too, that it's set in Vice City with a large sign - not a huge surprise for those who've been following the series, but exciting nonetheless. In addition to lots and lots of quick shots of crime, we also get glimpses of TikToks and live-streams, hinting that social media will be a big part of this game. It all takes place as Tom Petty's "Love Is a Long Road" plays in the background, appropriate for the many car-related crimes we see. And yes, true to the Florida setting, there are alligators in locations where they shouldn't be. It ends by showing us a little more of Lucia and a male character, seemingly both lovers and partners-in-crime. "The only way we're gonna get through this is by sticking together and being a team," Lucia says at one point. Fans have been talking about GTA 6 ever since GTA 5 was released in 2013, perhaps unsurprisingly as IGN deemed that one a "masterpiece" in our review.

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(2023-12-05T01:00:00+00:00)

US Issues Warning To Nvidia, Urging To Stop Redesigning Chips For China - At the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo issued a cautionary statement to Nvidia, urging them to stop redesigning AI chips for China that maneuver around export restrictions. "We cannot let China get these chips. Period," she said. "We're going to deny them our most cutting-edge technology." Fortune reports: Raimondo said American companies will need to adapt to US national security priorities, including export controls that her department has placed on semiconductor exports. "I know there are CEOs of chip companies in this audience who were a little cranky with me when I did that because you're losing revenue," she said. "Such is life. Protecting our national security matters more than short-term revenue." Raimondo called out Nvidia Corp., which designed chips specifically for the Chinese market after the US imposed its initial round of curbs in October 2022. "If you redesign a chip around a particular cut line that enables them to do AI, I'm going to control it the very next day," Raimondo said. Communication with China can help stabilize ties between the two countries, but "on matters of national security, we've got to be eyes wide open about the threat," she said. "This is the biggest threat we've ever had and we need to meet the moment," she said. Further reading: Nvidia CEO Says US Will Take Years To Achieve Chip Independence

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(2023-12-05T00:45:00+00:00)

Automakers' Data Privacy Practices 'Are Unacceptable,' Says US Senator - An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: US Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.) is one of the more technologically engaged of our elected lawmakers. And like many technologically engaged Ars Technica readers, he does not like what he sees in terms of automakers' approach to data privacy. On Friday, Sen. Markey wrote to 14 car companies with a variety of questions about data privacy policies, urging them to do better. As Ars reported in September, the Mozilla Foundation published a scathing report on the subject of data privacy and automakers. The problems were widespread -- most automakers collect too much personal data and are too eager to sell or share it with third parties, the foundation found. Markey noted (PDF) the Mozilla Foundation report in his letters, which were sent to BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Stellantis, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, and Volkswagen. The senator is concerned about the large amounts of data that modern cars can collect, including the troubling potential to use biometric data (like the rate a driver blinks and breathes, as well as their pulse) to infer mood or mental health. Sen. Markey is also worried about automakers' use of Bluetooth, which he said has expanded "their surveillance to include information that has nothing to do with a vehicle's operation, such as data from smartphones that are wirelessly connected to the vehicle." "These practices are unacceptable," Markey wrote. "Although certain data collection and sharing practices may have real benefits, consumers should not be subject to a massive data collection apparatus, with any disclosures hidden in pages-long privacy policies filled with legalese. Cars should not -- and cannot -- become yet another venue where privacy takes a backseat." The 14 automakers have until December 21 to answer Markey's questions.

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(2023-12-05T00:02:00+00:00)

Apple TV Receives First Big Native VPN App - ExpressVPN is the biggest VPN company so far to take advantage of the VPN support available in tvOS 17. According to The Verge, ExpressVPN will let Apple TV users connect to servers "in any of 105 countries around the world" so they can watch geo-restricted content around the world. From the report: To download it, you'll need to make sure you're on tvOS 17 -- earlier versions don't support native VPN apps at all. Once set up, the app will route your traffic through faraway servers before forwarding them to whatever streaming service or other internet server the Apple TV contacts. ExpressVPN on the Apple TV uses the company's Lightway protocol. Reddit users reported spotting the app last week. Most said they could switch countries to get around region restrictions, though some had issues logging in or getting it to work with specific apps. It's also a basic experience that lacks advanced VPN features like split tunneling, which dynamically applies the VPN connection to certain services as needed, freeing users from managing it manually.

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(2023-12-04T23:20:00+00:00)

First Results From the World's Biggest Basic Income Experiment - GiveDirectly, a nonprofit providing cash assistance to low-income households, is conducting a large-scale basic income experiment in rural Kenya, giving varying payment structures to recipients. "It is giving around 6,000 people in rural Kenya a little more than $20 a month, every month, starting in 2016 and going until 2028," reports Vox's Dylan Matthews. "Tens of thousands more people are getting shorter-term or differently structured payments." Matthews reports on some of the early findings of the experiment: The latest research on the GiveDirectly pilot, done by MIT economists Tavneet Suri and Nobel Prize winner Abhijit Banerjee, compares three groups: short-term basic income recipients (who got the $20 payments for two years), long-term basic income recipients (who get the money for the full 12 years), and lump sum recipients, who got $500 all at once, or roughly the same amount as the short-term basic income group. The paper is still being finalized, but Suri and Banerjee shared some results on a call with reporters this week. By almost every financial metric, the lump sum group did better than the monthly payment group. Suri and Banerjee found that the lump sum group earned more, started more businesses, and spent more on education than the monthly group. "You end up seeing a doubling of net revenues" -- or profits from small businesses -- in the lump sum group, Suri said. The effects were about half that for the short-term $20-a-month group. The explanation they arrived at was that the big $500 all at once provided valuable startup capital for new businesses and farms, which the $20 a month group would need to very conscientiously save over time to replicate. "The lump sum group doesn't have to save," Suri explains. "They just have the money upfront and can invest it." Intriguingly, the results for the long-term monthly group, which will receive about $20 a month for 12 years rather than two, had results that looked more like the lump sum group. The reason, Suri and Banerjee find, is that they used rotating savings and credit associations (ROSCAs). These are institutions that sprout up in small communities, especially in the developing world, where members pay small amounts regularly into a common fund in exchange for the right to withdraw a larger amount every so often. "It converts the small streams into lump sums," Suri summarizes. "We see that the long-term arm is actually using ROSCAs. A lot of their UBI is going into ROSCAs to generate these lump sums they can use to invest." [...] As you might expect, given how entrepreneurially minded the recipients are, the researchers found no evidence that any of the payments discouraged work or increased purchases of alcohol -- two common criticisms of direct cash giving. In fact, so many people who used to work for wages instead started businesses that there was less competition for wage work, and overall wages in villages rose as a result. And they found one major advantage for monthly payments over lump sum ones, despite the big benefits of lump sum payments for business formation. People who got monthly checks were generally happier and reported better mental health than lump sum recipients. [...] I think this points to the takeaway from this research not being "just give people a lump sum no matter what." Ideally, you could ask specific people how they would prefer to get money. ... [L]ong-term monthly payments seem to offer the best of all worlds because they enable people to use ROSCAs to generate lump sum payments when they want them. That enables flexibility: People who want monthly payments can get them, and people who need cash upfront can organize with their peers to get that.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

(2023-12-04T22:40:00+00:00)

A Windows Update Bug Is Renaming Everyone's Printers To HP M101-M106 - An anonymous reader quotes a report from XDA Developers: A few days ago, we spotted that the HP Smart App was being installed on people's PCs without their consent. Even worse, the app would reappear if users tried to uninstall it or clean-installed Windows. Now, the cause has finally been identified: a recent Windows 10 and 11 update is renaming everyone's printers to "HP LaserJet M101-M106" regardless of what model it actually is. As reported on Windows Latest, the latest update for Windows 10 and 11 seems to think that people's printers are an HP LaserJet model, regardless of their actual brand. It's believed that the bug appeared after HP pushed its latest metadata to Windows Update, but something went awry in the code and caused other printers to be labeled as HP LaserJet printers. This explains why the HP Smart App has been sneaking onto people's computers without their consent. A key part of Windows Update is keeping third-party drivers and devices updated, including downloading any apps that the devices depend on. After the printer metadata incorrectly identified everyone's printers as HP LaserJet printers, Windows installed all the software needed for an HP printer to work smoothly, including the HP Smart App. Fortunately, the bug only affects the metadata for the printer. While the printer may show up with a different name on your system, you should still be able to send print jobs to it. Microsoft has since removed the fault metadata from Windows Update, so anyone performing a clean install from now on should get their original printer's name back and stop the HP Smart App from re-downloading. Further reading: HP Exec Says Quiet Part Out Loud When It Comes To Locking in Print Customers

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(2023-12-04T22:02:00+00:00)

HP Exec Says Quiet Part Out Loud When It Comes To Locking in Print Customers - HP is squeezing more margin out of print customers, the result of a multi-year strategy to convert unprofitable business into something more lucrative, and says its subscription model is "locking" in people. From a report: Tech vendors -- software, hardware, and cloud services -- generally avoid terms that suggest they're perhaps in some way pinning down customers in a strategic sales hold. But as Marie Myers, chief financial officer at HP, was this week talking to the UBS Global Technology conference, in front of investors, the thrust of the message was geared toward the audience. "We absolutely see when you move a customer from that pure transactional model ... whether it's Instant Ink, plus adding on that paper, we sort of see a 20 percent uplift on the value of that customer because you're locking that person, committing to a longer-term relationship." Instant Ink is a subscription in which ink or toner cartridges are dispatched when needed, with customers paying for plans that start at $0.99 and run to $25.99 per month. As of May last year, HP had more than 11 million subscribers to the service. Since then it has banked double-digit percentage figures on the revenues front. By pre-pandemic 2019, HP had grown weary of third-party cartridge makers stealing its supplies business. It pledged to charge more upfront for certain printer hardware ("rebalance the system profitability, capturing more profit upfront").

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(2023-12-04T21:25:00+00:00)

Exposed Hugging Face API Tokens Offered Full Access To Meta's Llama 2 - The API tokens of tech giants Meta, Microsoft, Google, VMware, and more have been found exposed on Hugging Face, opening them up to potential supply chain attacks. From a report: Researchers at Lasso Security found more than 1,500 exposed API tokens on the open source data science and machine learning platform -- which allowed them to gain access to 723 organizations' accounts. In the vast majority of cases (655), the exposed tokens had write permissions granting the ability to modify files in account repositories. A total of 77 organizations were exposed in this way, including Meta, EleutherAI, and BigScience Workshop - which run the Llama, Pythia, and Bloom projects respectively. The three companies were contacted by The Register for comment but Meta and BigScience Workshop did not not respond at the time of publication, although all of them closed the holes shortly after being notified. Hugging Face is akin to GitHub for AI enthusiasts and hosts a plethora of major projects. More than 250,000 datasets are stored there and more than 500,000 AI models are too. The researchers say that if attackers had exploited the exposed API tokens, it could have led to them swiping data, poisoning training data, or stealing models altogether, impacting more than 1 million users.

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(2023-12-04T20:40:00+00:00)

23andMe Confirms Hackers Stole Ancestry Data on 6.9 Million Users - An anonymous reader shares a report: On Friday, genetic testing company 23andMe announced that hackers accessed the personal data of 0.1% of customers, or about 14,000 individuals. The company also said that by accessing those accounts, hackers were also able to access "a significant number of files containing profile information about other users' ancestry." But 23andMe would not say how many "other users" were impacted by the breach that the company initially disclosed in early October. As it turns out, there were a lot of "other users" who were victims of this data breach: 6.9 million affected individuals in total. In an email sent to TechCrunch late on Saturday, 23andMe spokesperson Katie Watson confirmed that hackers accessed the personal information of about 5.5 million people who opted-in to 23andMe's DNA Relatives feature, which allows customers to automatically share some of their data with others. The stolen data included the person's name, birth year, relationship labels, the percentage of DNA shared with relatives, ancestry reports, and self-reported location.

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(2023-12-04T20:00:00+00:00)

Gmail's AI-Powered Spam Detection Is Its Biggest Security Upgrade in Years - The latest post on the Google Security blog details a new upgrade to Gmail's spam filters that Google is calling "one of the largest defense upgrades in recent years." ArsTechnica: The upgrade comes in the form of a new text classification system called RETVec (Resilient & Efficient Text Vectorizer). Google says this can help understand "adversarial text manipulations" -- these are emails full of special characters, emojis, typos, and other junk characters that previously were legible by humans but not easily understandable by machines. Previously, spam emails full of special characters made it through Gmail's defenses easily. [...] The reason emails like this have been so difficult to classify is that, while any spam filter could probably swat down an email that says "Congratulations! A balance of $1000 is available for your jackpot account," that's not what this email actually says. A big portion of the letters here are "homoglyphs" -- by diving into the endless depths of the Unicode standard, you can find obscure characters that look like they're part of the normal Latin alphabet but actually aren't.

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(2023-12-04T19:20:00+00:00)

Asking ChatGPT To Repeat Words 'Forever' Is Now a Terms of Service Violation - Asking ChatGPT to repeat specific words "forever" is now flagged as a violation of the chatbot's terms of service and content policy. From a report: Google DeepMind researchers used the tactic to get ChatGPT to repeat portions of its training data, revealing sensitive privately identifiable information (PII) of normal people and highlighting that ChatGPT is trained on randomly scraped content from all over the internet. In that paper, DeepMind researchers asked ChatGPT 3.5-turbo to repeat specific words "forever," which then led the bot to return that word over and over again until it hit some sort of limit. After that, it began to return huge reams of training data that was scraped from the internet. Using this method, the researchers were able to extract a few megabytes of training data and found that large amounts of PII are included in ChatGPT and can sometimes be returned to users as responses to their queries. Now, when I ask ChatGPT 3.5 to "repeat the word 'computer' forever," the bot spits out "computer" a few dozen times then displays an error message: "This content may violate our content policy or terms of use. If you believe this to be in error, please submit your feedback -- your input will aid our research in this area." It is not clear what part of OpenAI's "content policy" this would violate, and it's not clear why OpenAI included that warning.

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(2023-12-04T18:40:00+00:00)

Sellafield Nuclear Site Hacked By Groups Linked To Russia and China - The UK's most hazardous nuclear site, Sellafield, has been hacked into by cyber groups closely linked to Russia and China, the Guardian can reveal. From the report: The astonishing disclosure and its potential effects have been consistently covered up by senior staff at the vast nuclear waste and decommissioning site, the investigation has found. The Guardian has discovered that the authorities do not know exactly when the IT systems were first compromised. But sources said breaches were first detected as far back as 2015, when experts realised sleeper malware -- software that can lurk and be used to spy or attack systems -- had been embedded in Sellafield's computer networks. It is still not known if the malware has been eradicated. It may mean some of Sellafield's most sensitive activities, such as moving radioactive waste, monitoring for leaks of dangerous material and checking for fires, have been compromised. Sources suggest it is likely foreign hackers have accessed the highest echelons of confidential material at the site, which sprawls across 6 sq km (2 sq miles) on the Cumbrian coast and is one of the most hazardous in the world.

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(2023-12-04T18:00:00+00:00)

No Further Investments in Virgin Galactic, Says Richard Branson - Sir Richard Branson has ruled out putting more money into his lossmaking space travel company Virgin Galactic, saying his business empire "does not have the deepest pockets" any more. From a report: Virgin Galactic, which was founded by Branson in 2004, last month announced it was cutting jobs and suspending commercial flights for 18 months from next year, in a bid to preserve cash for the development of a larger plane that could carry passengers to the edge of space. The group has said it has enough funding to carry it through to 2026, when the bigger Delta vehicle is expected to enter service. But some analysts are expecting Galactic to ask investors for more money in about 2025. Asked whether he would consider putting more cash into the business if needed, Branson told the Financial Times: "We don't have the deepest pockets after Covid, and Virgin Galactic has got $ 1 billion, or nearly. It should, I believe, have sufficient funds to do its job on its own." Branson said he was "still loving" the Virgin Galactic project and that it had "really proved itself and the technology" of commercial space flight. Galactic has just completed its sixth commercial flight in six months, with tickets starting at $450,000 a seat on its rocket-powered Unity space plane.

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(2023-12-04T17:20:00+00:00)