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Crushable Runway Technology Saved Mike Pence's Plane ( 6

Mike Pence, Donald Trump's running mate said Friday he is "fine" following his plane skidding off the runway at LaGuardia Airport on Thursday night, adding there were about 10 seconds of "uncertainty." The Indiana governor said, "It was about 10 seconds of uncertainty last night, but we're just so grateful to the pilots and to the first responders on the scene and (that) everybody came off the plane safely." From a CNN report: The press pool in the back of the aircraft, a Boeing 737-700 chartered from Eastern Airlines that was painted with the campaign's logo, could also feel the plane fishtailing as it touched down and slid off the runway before coming to a very sharp halt in the grass off the side of the runway. Once the plane came to a full stop, the Indiana governor walked to the back of the plane to check on the press. As everyone on board deplaned, Pence could be seen speaking with emergency responders. Donald Trump said, I just spoke to our future vice president, and he's OK. Do you know he was in a big accident with the plane?" A report on Business Insider explains how "crushable runway technology" saved Pence's plane: The positive resolution to a potentially disastrous event can be attributed to the Engineered Material Arresting System located at the end of the runway. The system is designed to prevent a runaway airplane from careening into the roads, buildings, and bodies of water commonly found near many airports. EMAS is made up of massive blocks of material designed to collapse as the wheels of an airplane roll over it, sinking the plane into the runway and bringing it to a safe and gradual stop. The system is designed to be able to stop aircraft traveling at speeds up to 80 mph. The Federal Aviation Administration began studying the technology in the early 1990s in conjunction with the University of Dayton, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the company Zodiac Arresting Systems in New Jersey. According to the FAA, more than 60 US airports -- including JFK and LaGuardia in New York and O'Hare in Chicago -- have installed the technology.

FBI Probes Newly Discovered Hillary Clinton Emails and Reopens Investigation ( 166

The FBI said Friday it is reviewing newly discovered emails related to Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server to determine whether she properly handled classified emails. The reopening of the investigation comes after the FBI recently "learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the Clinton investigation," FBI director James Comey said. Comey added, however, that "FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant." It is also unclear "how ling it will take us to complete this additional work." FBI's announcement today is "certain" to become an issue in the final two weeks of the presidential campaign, however. Donald Trump is naturally pleased hearing the news, at New Hampshire, Trump said the new probe offered the FBI the chance to correct a "grave miscarriage of justice." He added, "We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office." Supporters responded with chants of "Lock her up!" Trump added that the email investigation is "bigger than Watergate."

WhatsApp-Facebook Privacy U-Turn Now Being Probed by EU Data Watchdog ( 15

European privacy regulators have fired a warning shot to Facebookâ(TM)s WhatsApp and Yahoo, saying they sent letters to the companies expressing concerns about possible violations of the bloc's data-protection rules. From a TechCrunch report: A seismic shift in privacy policy by messaging app WhatsApp this summer, when it said it would begin sharing user data with parent company Facebook including for ad targeting, has now attracted the attention of European's data protection watchdog group, the Article 29 Working Party. The WP29 group wrote to WhatsApp founder Jan Koum yesterday, setting out its concerns about the privacy policy U-turn -- including how the shift was communicated to users. "The Article 29 Working Party (WP29) has serious concerns regarding the manner in which the information relating to the updated Terms of Service and Privacy Policy was provided to users and consequently about the validity of the users' consent,"it writes. "WP29 also questions the effectiveness of control mechanisms offered to users to exercise their rights and the effects that the data sharing will have on people that are not a user of any other service within the Facebook family of companies."

Mozilla Announces Quantum, a New Browser Engine For Firefox ( 54

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla is currently working on a new browser engine called Quantum, which will take parts from the Servo project and create a new core for the Firefox browser. The new engine will replace the aging Gecko, Firefox' current engine. Mozilla hopes to finish the transition to Quantum (as in Quantum Leap) by the end of 2017. The first versions of Quantum will heavily rely on components from Servo, a browser engine that Mozilla has been sponsoring for the past years, and which shipped its first alpha version this June. In the upcoming year, Mozilla will slowly merge Gecko and Servo components with each new release, slowly removing Gecko's ancient code, and leaving Quantum's engine in place.
AI Shelves Self-Driving Device After Regulatory Warning ( 39 founder George Hotz, who has spent the good part of his past year criticizing competitors and their technologies, sent out a series of tweets Friday, saying that, a startup that aimed at offering semi-autonomous driving system, will be pulling out of the U.S. market in response to requests from federal regulators. From a Reuters report: The intervention, by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, came before began marketing its device. It is the latest signal that regulators want more control over the development and deployment of self-driving vehicle systems by vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, after a period in which they took a largely hands-off approach. The NHTSA on Friday disclosed an Oct. 27 letter to stating that the agency is investigating whether the company's device, called Comma One, complies with federal regulations. The letter and an accompanying special order demanded that provide the agency with information about the device and warned that the agency could prohibit the sale of the system if it were found to be defective.

Bitcoin Can Be Bought With Cash At Swiss Railway Ticket Machines ( 54

In what is seen as a move that could help boost the spread of Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency will be available to purchase from Swiss railway ticket machines starting next month. Reader Mickeycaskill writes: Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) has more than 1,000 ticket machines and has partnered with regulated financial intermediary SweePay to distribute Bitcoin. Customers need to select mobile top up on the machines, scan the QR code on their Bitcoin digital wallet and enter the number of Swiss Francs, up to 500 CHF, in to the machine, confirm the offer of Bitcoins they receive then identify themselves using a mobile number and a security code sent to their smartphone. While the machine can pay out Bitcoin, for the time being, it will not accept payments made with the cryptocurrency. Furthermore, credit card cannot be used with the machines to buy Bitcoins, SBB is effectively providing a way to swap local currency for a digital version that can be used anywhere around the world, thereby bypassing unfavourable exchange rates"From 11 November 2016, customers will be able to obtain Bitcoin at all SBB ticket machines. Until now, there have only been limited opportunities to purchase Bitcoin in Switzerland," the company was quoted as saying.

Google's AI Created Its Own Form of Encryption ( 102

An anonymous reader shares an Engadget report: Researchers from the Google Brain deep learning project have already taught AI systems to make trippy works of art, but now they're moving on to something potentially darker: AI-generated, human-independent encryption. According to a new research paper, Googlers Martin Abadi and David G. Andersen have willingly allowed three test subjects -- neural networks named Alice, Bob and Eve -- to pass each other notes using an encryption method they created themselves. As the New Scientist reports, Abadi and Andersen assigned each AI a task: Alice had to send a secret message that only Bob could read, while Eve would try to figure out how to eavesdrop and decode the message herself. The experiment started with a plain-text message that Alice converted into unreadable gibberish, which Bob could decode using cipher key. At first, Alice and Bob were apparently bad at hiding their secrets, but over the course of 15,000 attempts Alice worked out her own encryption strategy and Bob simultaneously figured out how to decrypt it. The message was only 16 bits long, with each bit being a 1 or a 0, so the fact that Eve was only able to guess half of the bits in the message means she was basically just flipping a coin or guessing at random.ArsTechnica has more details.

Seoul Considers Messaging Ban After Work Hours ( 68

An anonymous reader writes: The city legislature of Seoul, South Korea, is considering implementing a law that would ban after work messaging to employees, in an effort to reduce work-related stress among employees. Members of the Seoul Metropolitan Council proposed a revision to a public ordinance that would ban after-work messaging to employees of the city's government. The new rule is an attempt to guarantee employees the right to restand states that employee privacy must not be subject to employer contact outside of work hours. If passed, it would ban managers from contacting public sector employees after work hours through phone calls, text messaging, or social networking. Kim Kwang-soo, one of the councilors who submitted the ordinance revision, said that the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) must guarantee the rights of city workers by protecting them from undue stress. He said, "Of course SMG officials must always be prepared for the needs of citizens, but many of them are working under conditions that infringe on their right to rest."

Red Cross Blood Service Admits To Personal Data Breach Affecting Half a Million Donors ( 30

The personal data of 550,000 blood donors that includes information about "at-risk sexual behaviour" has been leaked from the Red Cross Blood Service in what has been described as Australia's largest security breach. From an ABC report:The organisation said it was told on Wednesday that a file containing donor information was placed on an "insecure computer environment" and "accessed by an unauthorised person." The file contained the information of blood donors from between 2010 and 2016. The data came from an online application form and included "personal details" and identifying information including names, gender, addresses and dates of birth, a Red Cross statement said. Red Cross Blood Service chief executive Shelly Park said "due to human error" the unsecured data had been posted on a website by a contractor who maintains and develops the Red Cross website.

Pornhub Offers To Buy Vine Because 'Six Seconds Is More Than Enough' ( 54

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: Earlier on Thursday Twitter announced it was ending Vine's short run, and the adult site was quick to come to the rescue -- maybe. In a letter from Pornhub VP Corey Price to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that was shared with CNET, Price lays out the rationale: "We figure since Twitter has dropped (Vine) and is having significant layoffs, that you and your stakeholders could benefit from a cash infusion from the sale of Vine. Not to mention we would be saving Vine gems like 'Damn Daniel,' 'Awkward Puppets' and many more." Pornhub also promises to "restore Vine to Its NSFW glory," saying that clips "of porn in six seconds is more than enough time for most people to enjoy themselves." Unless pointing out a company's recent hardships in a letter and sharing it with a reporter is the latest Silicon Valley negotiating tactic, it seems pretty clear that the offer is a tongue-in-cheek jab at Twitter and its decision to shutter the video looping platform that has caused so much joy and often humiliation. But who knows, maybe Twitter will be willing to deal with Pornhub.

First-Ever Dinosaur Brain Tissue Found Preserved In a Pebble ( 42

sciencehabit quotes a report from Science Magazine: A decade ago, a fossil hunter was combing the beach in southeastern England when he found a strange, brown pebble. The surface of it caught his eye: It was smooth and strangely undulating, and also slightly crinkly in some places. That oddly textured pebble, scientists report today, is actually an endocast -- an impression preserved in the rock -- that represents the first known evidence of fossilized brain tissue of a dinosaur (likely a close relative of Iguanodon, a large, herbivorous type of dinosaur that lived about 133 million years ago). Human brains and bird brains are packed tightly into the brain case, so that their convolutions leave an impression of the inside of the case. But dinosaur (and reptile) brains are more loosely fitted; they are surrounded within the brain case by membranes called meninges, tough sheaths that protect and support the brain. So an endocast of a dinosaur brain might be expected to show those structures -- and it did. But beneath them, remineralized in calcium phosphate, the researchers also spied a pattern of tiny capillaries and other cortical tissues -- the sort of fabric you'd expect for the cortex of a brain. That those textures were pressed up against the brain case doesn't necessarily mean that dinosaurs were bigger-brained and smarter than we thought, however: Instead, the dinosaur had likely simply toppled over and been preserved upside down, its brain tissue preserved by surrounding acidic, low-oxygen waters that pickled and hardened the membranes and tissues, providing a template for mineralization. The structure of the brain, studied with scanning electron microscopes, reveal similarities to both birds and crocodiles. The researchers reported their findings in a Special Publication of the Geological Society of London.

Star Trek Discovery Gets Delayed After Losing Showrunner Bryan Fuller ( 155

It looks like we're going to have to wait even longer for CBS's upcoming Star Trek Discovery series, as the production's showrunner, Bryan Fuller, is stepping back. He will however still remain the show's executive producer. Variety reports: The decision was made late last week to hand the day-to-day showrunning reins to "Star Trek" exec producers Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts as "Discovery" gears up for the start of filming next month and a May 2017 premiere date. Fuller, who will remain an executive producer, will still be involved in breaking stories, and the show will continue to follow his vision for the universe that this latest "Trek" series will inhabit. Writer-director Akiva Goldsman is also expected to join "Discovery" in a top creative role. He's envisioned as serving as producing support for Berg and Harberts, Fuller and exec producer Alex Kurtzman as they juggle the demands of the series that CBS is counting on to be the marquee selling point for subscriptions to its CBS All Access SVOD service. Sources said there had been some strain between "Star Trek" producer CBS Television Studios and Fuller over the progress of production on the show, as Fuller is also juggling the final weeks of shooting and post-production duties on Starz's upcoming drama "American Gods" and prepping a reboot of "Amazing Stories" for NBC. Fuller has penned the first two scripts for "Discovery" and has hammered out the broader story arc and mythology for the new "Trek" realm. But it became clear that he couldn't devote the amount of time needed for "Discovery" to make its premiere date and with production scheduled to start in Toronto next month.

Climate Change Rate To Turn Southern Spain To Desert By 2100, Report Warns ( 235

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Southern Spain will be reduced to desert by the end of the century if the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked, researchers have warned. Anything less than extremely ambitious and politically unlikely carbon emissions cuts will see ecosystems in the Mediterranean change to a state unprecedented in the past 10 millennia, they said. The study, published in the journal Science, modeled what would happen to vegetation in the Mediterranean basin under four different paths of future carbon emissions, from a business-as-usual scenario at the worst end to keeping temperature rises below the Paris climate deal target of 1.5C at the other. Temperatures would rise nearly 5C globally under the worst case scenario by 2100, causing deserts to expand northwards across southern Spain and Sicily, and Mediterranean vegetation to replace deciduous forests. Even if emissions are held to the level of pledges put forward ahead of the Paris deal, southern Europe would experience a "substantial" expansion of deserts. The level of change would be beyond anything the region's ecosystems had experienced during the holocene, the geological epoch that started more than 10,000 years ago. The real impact on Mediterranean ecosystems, which are considered a hotspot of biodiversity, could be worse because the study did not look at other human impacts, such as forests being turned over to grow food. The researchers fed a model with 10,000 years of pollen records to build a picture of vegetation in the region, and used that to infer previous temperatures in the Mediterranean. They then ran the model to see what would happen to the vegetation in the future, using four different scenarios of warming, three of them taken from the UN's climate science panel, the IPCC. Only the most stringent cut in emissions -- which is roughly equivalent to meeting the Paris aspiration of holding warming to 1.5C -- would see ecosystems remain within the limits they experienced in the Holocene.

Feds Charge 61 People In Indian-Based IRS Phone Scam Case ( 122

BUL2294 writes: Following the arrests earlier this month in India of call center employees posing as IRS or immigration agents, USA Today and Consumerist are reporting that the U.S. Department of Justice has charged 61 people in the U.S. and India of facilitating the scam, bilking millions from Americans thinking they were facing immediate arrest and prosecution. "According to the indictment (PDF) -- which covers 20 individuals in the U.S. and 32 people and five call centers in India -- since about 2012 the defendants used information obtained from data brokers and other sources to call potential victims impersonating officers from the IRS or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services," reports Consumerist. The report adds: "To give the calls an air of authenticity, the organization was able to 'spoof' phone numbers, making the calls appear to have really come from a federal agency. The callers would then allegedly threaten potential victims with arrest, imprisonment, fines, or deportation if they did not pay supposed taxes or penalties to the government. In instances when the victims agreed to pay, the DOJ claims that the call centers would instruct them to go to banks or ATMs to withdraw money, use the funds to purchase prepaid stored value cards from retail stores, and then provide the unique serial number to the caller. At this point, the operations U.S.-based counterparts would use the serial numbers to transfer the funds to prepaid reloadable cards. The cards would then be used to purchase money orders that were transferred into U.S. bank accounts of individuals or businesses. To make matters worse, the indictment claims that the prepaid debit cards were often registered using personal information of thousands of identity theft victims, and the wire transfers were directed by the organizations using fake names and fraudulent identifications. The operation would then use 'hawalas' -- a system in which money is transferred internationally outside of the formal banking system -- to direct the pilfered funds to accounts belonging to U.S.-based individuals.

Apple's New MacBook Pro Requires a $25 Dongle To Charge Your iOS Device ( 319

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Network World: As Phil Schiller explained during today's event, Apple's new MacBook Pros feature four Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports, and conveniently, each of these can be used to charge the machine. Now, USB-C is incredibly versatile, and Apple will use the advanced port for power charging, HDMI and much more. However, with USB-C the only game in town, you might reasonably be wondering: How in the world do I connect my iPhone to my sleek new MacBook Pro? The frustrating answer is that you won't be able to do so out of the box. Instead, you'll have to buy a dongle. This is especially frustrating because many people use their notebooks for a) charging purposes when an outlet isn't necessarily handy and b) for transferring photos and other data. Now, you might reasonably state that you can just rely upon the cloud for items like data transfer, but there's no getting around the fact that Apple's efforts in the cloud still leave much to be desired. How much will it cost to connect your iPhone to your brand new MacBook Pro? Well, Apple sells a USB-C to Lightning cable on its website for $25. While this is undoubtedly frustrating, we can't say that it's entirely unexpected given Apple gave us a preview of its preference for USB-C when it released its 12-in. MacBook last year. Still, it's a funky design choice for a decidedly Pro-oriented device where the last thing a prospective consumer would want to do is spend some extra cash for a dongle after spending upwards of $2,399. Lastly, while we're on the topic of ports, it's worth noting that the new MacBook Pros also do away with the beloved MagSafe connector.

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