SpaceX just launched a Falcon 9 loaded with Starlink internet satellites

After a pair of scrubbed launch attempts last week, SpaceX’s first rocket loaded with 60 Starlink satellites has successfully taken off from Cape Canaveral. One hour and two minutes after the 10:30 PM ET launch the satellites begin deployment, headin…

Source: Engadget – SpaceX just launched a Falcon 9 loaded with Starlink internet satellites

GitHub Launches Sponsors, Lets You Pay Your Favorite Open-Source Contributors

GitHub today launched Sponsors, a new tool that lets you give financial support to open-source developers through recurring monthly payments. Developers will be able to opt into having a “Sponsor me” button on their GitHub repositories and open-source projects will also be able to highlight their funding models, no matter whether that’s individual contributions to developers or using Patreon, Tidelift, Ko-fi or Open Collective. TechCrunch reports: The mission here, GitHub says, is to “expand the opportunities to participate in and build on open source.” That’s likely to be a bit controversial among some open-source developers who don’t want financial interests to influence what people will work on. And there may be some truth to that as this may drive open-source developers to focus on projects that are more likely to attract financial contributions over more esoteric projects that are interesting and challenging but aren’t likely to find financial backers on GitHub.

The program is only open to open-source developers. During the first year of a developer’s participation, GitHub (and by extension, its corporate overlords at Microsoft) will also match up to $5,000 in contributions. For the next 12 months, GitHub won’t charge any payment processing fees either (though it will do so after this time is over). GitHub tells me that developers will be able to set up multiple sponsorship tiers with benefits that can be set by the developer, too. In many ways, then, this isn’t all that different from sponsoring a Twitch streamer, for example, with monthly payments and special benefits depending on how much you pay.

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Source: Slashdot – GitHub Launches Sponsors, Lets You Pay Your Favorite Open-Source Contributors

Snapchat employees reportedly snooped on users with 'SnapLion' tool

A bombshell Motherboard report reveals that employees across several departments at Snapchat can view user location information, saved Snaps, phone numbers and email address through a tool known as SnapLion. It’s not clear exactly how widespread abus…

Source: Engadget – Snapchat employees reportedly snooped on users with ‘SnapLion’ tool

Senate Passes Bill Cracking Down On Robocalls

The Senate on Thursday passed a bill that aims to crack down on unwanted robocalls. “The legislation would impose stiffer fines of as much as $10,000 per call on robocallers who knowingly flout the rules on calls and would increase the statute of limitations to three years, up from one year,” reports CNN. “It also instructs the Federal Communications Commission to develop further regulations that could shield consumers from unwanted calls.” From the report: The legislation would accelerate the rollout of so-called “call authentication” technologies the industry is currently developing, which could cut down on the number of calls coming from unverified numbers. Proponents say the new industry standards — known as SHAKEN/STIR — could increase phone users’ confidence in their caller ID. The protocols are designed to authenticate callers who are using their rightful phone numbers and to eliminate calls from spammers who are using phone numbers they don’t rightfully own.

The legislation passed the Senate 97-1, with Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky casting the lone dissenting vote. The legislation must still pass the House and be signed by President Donald Trump. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged House lawmakers to vote on the bill immediately. The legislation’s passage follows a move by the FCC last week to clarify that phone companies may legally block unwanted robocalls and can even apply the technologies to their customers’ accounts by default. But lawmakers want the FCC to do more.

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Source: Slashdot – Senate Passes Bill Cracking Down On Robocalls

Tiny Little GameCube Works, Is Asking To Get Its Cheeks Pinched

When Nintendo gets around to releasing a GameCube Mini—remember, all tiny console releases to this point have been mere preparation for what will be the greatest collection of 20-30 titles in video game history—I really hope it’s as small and cute as this custom-made console.

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Source: Kotaku – Tiny Little GameCube Works, Is Asking To Get Its Cheeks Pinched

Popular Twitch Streamer Tfue's Contract With FaZe Leaks As Public Dispute Rages On

Earlier this week, Turner “Tfue” Tenney, a 21-year-old Fortnite pro who is one of the most popular streamers on Twitch, sued FaZe, the esports organization to which he is currently signed. The suit says that the contract between Tenney and FaZe is “oppressive” and “illegal,” arguing that FaZe is in violation of…

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Source: Kotaku – Popular Twitch Streamer Tfue’s Contract With FaZe Leaks As Public Dispute Rages On

Deepfakes Can Now Be Made From a Single Photo

Samsung has developed a new artificial intelligence system for creating deepfakes — fabricated clips that make people appear to do or say things they never did — that only needs as little as one photo. CNET reports: The technology, of course, can be used for fun, like bringing a classic portrait to life. The Mona Lisa, whose enigmatic smile is animated in three different videos to demonstrate the new technology, exists solely as a single still image. A Samsung artificial intelligence lab in Russia developed the technology, which was detailed in a paper earlier this week. Here’s the downside: These kinds of techniques and their rapid development also create risks of misinformation, election tampering and fraud, according to Hany Farid, a Dartmouth researcher who specializes in media forensics to root out deepfakes.

The system starts with a lengthy “meta-learning stage” in which it watches lots of videos to learn how human faces move. It then applies what it’s learned to a single still or a small handful of pics to produce a reasonably realistic video clip. Unlike a true deepfake video, the results from a single or small number of images fudge when reproducing fine details. For example, a fake of Marilyn Monroe in the Samsung lab’s demo video missed the icon’s famous mole, according to Siwei Lyu, a computer science professor at the University at Albany in New York who specializes in media forensics and machine learning. It also means the synthesized videos tend to retain some semblance of whoever played the role of the digital puppet. That’s why each of the moving Mona Lisa faces looks like a slightly different person. […] The glitches in the fake videos made with Samsung’s new approach may be clear and obvious. But they’ll be cold comfort to anybody who ends up in a deepfake generated from that one smiling photo posted to Facebook.

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Source: Slashdot – Deepfakes Can Now Be Made From a Single Photo

Fake cryptocurrency apps on Google Play try to profit on bitcoin price surge

Fake cryptocurrency apps on Google Play try to profit on bitcoin price surge

Enlarge (credit: Google)

Google’s official Play Store has been caught hosting malicious apps that targeted Android users with an interest in cryptocurrencies, researchers reported on Thursday.

In all, researchers with security provider ESET recently discovered two fraudulent digital wallets. The first, called Coin Wallet, let users create wallets for a host of different cryptocurrencies. While Coin Wallet purported to generate a unique wallet address for users to deposit coins, the app in fact used a developer-owned wallet for each supported currency, with a total of 13 wallets. Each Coin Wallet user was assigned the same wallet address for a specific currency.

“The app claims it lets users create wallets for various cryptocurrencies,” ESET Malware Researcher Lukas Stefanko wrote in a blog post. “However, its actual purpose is to trick users into transferring cryptocurrency into the attackers’ wallets—a classic case of what we named wallet address scams in our previous research of cryptocurrency-targeting malware.”

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Source: Ars Technica – Fake cryptocurrency apps on Google Play try to profit on bitcoin price surge

30 Years Of Driving Around The Same Video Game Race Track

Silverstone has been home to the British Grand Prix for most of the race’s history, meaning there are over 30 year’s worth of games that let you drive around it. So Chris Rae had the brilliant idea of doing just that, driving one lap around the circuit in eight different games, the first released in 1984, the last in…

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Source: Kotaku – 30 Years Of Driving Around The Same Video Game Race Track

5G Could Mean Less Time To Flee a Deadly Hurricane, Heads of NASA and NOAA Warn

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: As reported by The Washington Post and CNET, the heads of NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warn [5G wireless networks] could set back the world’s weather forecasting abilities by 40 years — reducing our ability to predict the path of deadly hurricanes and the amount of time available to evacuate. It’s because one of the key wireless frequencies earmarked for speedy 5G millimeter wave networks — the 24 GHz band — happens to be very close to the frequencies used by microwave satellites to observe water vapor and detect those changes in the weather. They have the potential to interfere. And according to NASA and NOAA testimony, they could interfere to the point that it delays preparation for extreme weather events. Last week, acting NOAA head Dr. Neil Jacobs told the House Subcommittee on the Environment that based on the current 5G rollout plan, our satellites would lose approximately 77 percent of the data they’re currently collecting, reducing our forecast ability by as much as 30 percent.

“If you looked back in time to see when our forecast skill was 30 percent less than today, it’s somewhere around 1980. This would result in the reduction of hurricane track forecast lead time by roughly 2 to 3 days,” he said. If we hadn’t had that data, Jacobs added, we wouldn’t have been able to predict that the deadly Hurricane Sandy would hit. A European study showed that with 77 percent less data, the model would have predicted the storm staying out at sea instead of making landfall. Jacobs said later that we currently have no other technologies to passively observe water vapor and make these more accurate predictions. On April 19th, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine made similar comments to the House Science Committee. “That part of the electromagnetic spectrum is necessary to make predictions as to where a hurricane is going to make landfall,” he told the committee. “If you can’t make that prediction accurately, then you end up not evacuating the right people and/or you evacuate people that don’t need to evacuate, which is a problem.”

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Source: Slashdot – 5G Could Mean Less Time To Flee a Deadly Hurricane, Heads of NASA and NOAA Warn

MSI crams an unlocked, desktop-class Core i9 into its new laptop

MSI’s Titan-series laptops can only be described as an Absolute Unit, and with a laptop this beefy, you need a chip that can keep up. That’s why the new GT76 Titan is packing an unlocked, desktop-class Core i9 into its hefty frame.

Source: Engadget – MSI crams an unlocked, desktop-class Core i9 into its new laptop

How to Train Your Yeti

Dreamworks has released the first trailer for Abominable, the latest in a string of animated films about the icebound Bigfoot. It might sound recognizable because of all the yeti films we’ve gotten in the past, including the one where Zendaya was Meechee—but it’s also similar for another reason. Does this yeti look…

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Source: io9 – How to Train Your Yeti

Panasonic 'Suspends Transactions' With Huawei After US Ban

Japan’s Panasonic has said it is scrutinizing whether any of its products break U.S. restrictions on trading with Huawei. “Panasonic announced in [an] internal notification that it should suspend transactions with Huawei and its 68 affiliates that were banned by the U.S. government,” the company said in a statement provided to the BBC. From the report: Panasonic caused confusion earlier by appearing to announce that it had suspended business with Huawei. But it later said that business operations that were not in breach of U.S. regulations would continue to trade normally with Huawei. “Panasonic will continue to strictly abide by the laws and regulations of the countries and regions in which we conduct business,” it said.

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Source: Slashdot – Panasonic ‘Suspends Transactions’ With Huawei After US Ban