Gamer Geek News


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EFF Proposes Addressing Online Harms with 'Privacy-First' Policies

Long-time Slashdot reader nmb3000 writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a new white paper, Privacy First: A Better Way to Address Online Harms , to propose an alternative to the "often ill-conceived, bills written by state, federal, and international regulators to tackle a broad set of digital topics ranging from child safety to artificial intelligence." According to the EFF, "these scattershot proposals to correct online harm are often based on censorship and news cycles. Instead of this chaotic approach that rarely leads to the passage of good laws, we propose another solution." The EFF writes: What would this comprehensive privacy law look like? We believe it must include these components: No online behavioral ads.Data minimization.Opt-in consent.User rights to access, port, correct, and delete information.No preemption of state laws.Strong enforcement with a private right to action.No pay-for-privacy schemes.No deceptive design. A strong comprehensive data privacy law promotes privacy, free expression, and security. It can also help protect children, support journalism, protect access to health care, foster digital justice, limit private data collection to train generative AI, limit foreign government surveillance, and strengthen competition. These are all issues on which lawmakers are actively pushing legislation—both good and bad.

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Posted on 3 December 2023 | 4:34 pm

The Annual Emacs Conference 'EmacsConf' is Livestreaming Now

It's "the conference about the joy of Emacs and Emacs Lisp." Started in 2013, the volunteer-run EmacsConf accepted 44 talks for this year — and Day Two has just started streaming online now. Sunday kicks off with a talk counting on how the "hypertextual information manager" GNU Hyperbole can improve your Emacs productivity. (Click here for a list of all of Sunday's talks.) Or hang out in the #emacsconf channel on The Free Software Foundation provided fiscal sponsorship for this year's event, noting that "The conference has grown rapidly in the last few years" and "welcomes speakers of all backgrounds and all levels of experience from across the world. "EmacsConf is rooted in the active, passionate community surrounding GNU Emacs, and like Emacs itself, it is committed to user freedom. It is organized and run using an entirely free software stack."

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Posted on 3 December 2023 | 2:00 pm

Are Amazon Packages Disrupting Mail Services in Some Small Towns?

100 miles south of the Canadian border, the tiny town of Bemidji, Minnesota "has been bombarded by a sudden onslaught of Amazon packages" since early November, reports the Washington Post, "and local postal workers say they have been ordered to deliver those packages first." A spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service tells the Post that's not true, and that their service "does not prioritize the delivery of packages from Amazon or other customers." But whatever's going on, the Post reports that "The result has been chaos..." Mail is getting backed up, sometimes for days, leaving local residents waiting for checks, credit card statements, health insurance documents and tax rebates. Routes meant to take eight or nine hours are stretching to 10 or 12. At least five carriers have quit, and the post office has banned scheduled sick days for the rest of the year, carriers say... Dennis Nelson, a veteran mail carrier, said he got so frustrated watching multiple co-workers "breaking down and crying" that he staged a symbolic strike earlier this month outside the post office where he has worked for more than 20 years... Bemidji is not the only place where postal workers say they have been overwhelmed by packages from Amazon... Carriers and local officials say mail service has been disrupted in rural communities from Portland, Maine, to Washington state's San Juan Islands. The situation stems from a crisis at the Postal Service, which has lost $6.5 billion in the past year. The post office has had a contract with Amazon since 2013, when it started delivering packages on Sundays. But in recent years, that business has exploded as Amazon has increasingly come to rely on postal carriers to make "last-mile" deliveries in harder-to-reach rural locations. The Postal Service considers the contract proprietary and has declined to disclose its terms. But U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has said publicly that "increasing package volume" — not just from Amazon, but from FedEx and UPS as well — is key to the mail service's financial future. In a Nov. 14 speech to the Postal Service Board of Governors, DeJoy said he wants the post office to become the "preferred delivery provider in the nation...." In bigger cities, Amazon has its own distribution network, which takes some of the pressure off the post office. But in rural areas, where carriers drive miles of lonely routes in their personal vehicles, the arrangement has caused problems. In the mountains of Colorado, biologists in Crested Butte are struggling with the delay of time-sensitive samples, the Denver Post reported in September, while mail carriers in Carbondale say they are overwhelmed by Amazon packages. Other Minnesota towns including Brainerd and La Porte have been hit hard by Amazon in the past, carriers said... Partenheimer defended the post office's record in an email, while conceding "much work remains to be done...." An Amazon spokesperson told the Post "We work directly with the USPS to balance our delivery needs with their available capacity," and "we'll continue to collaborate on package volume each week and adjust as needed."

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Posted on 3 December 2023 | 11:34 am

Varjo's XR-4: Why a Truly Useful Mixed Reality Headset Is Expensive

Long-time Slashdot reader BishopBerkeley writes: Varjo follows a completely different model from Apple and Meta for its new AR headset. Computing is done on a connected (via a cable) computer. The tradeoff is that the headset can use the extra computing power of the host computer to drive ultrahigh resolution displays that are far more pixel dense than Apple's Vision Pro. The net result is that the headset is truly useful for demanding applications like professional flight simulators, where $10,000 for a headset is a sensible investment. Furthermore, the headset has a longer life span because its PC resident hardware and software are upgradeable. From IEEE Spectrum: The Meta Quest 3 is a capable, accessible mixed-reality device. But if you're a mad scientist working on a secret project in an underground lab, it's not going to cut it. Finnish headset manufacturer Varjo has a solution: the XR-4, a new generation of flagship mixed-reality headsets built for unusually demanding users. Varjo, based in Helsinki, serves up displays with record-setting pixel counts, auto-focusing cameras, and a "Secure Edition" that looks like it was ripped straight from a Bond film. The goal? A photo-real mixed-reality experience that lets designers, researchers, and creatives build and work with objects that don't yet physically exist. "How do you design a car without a clay prototype? How do you sell a yacht you haven't built yet? How do you train a pilot to fly a plane that's still on the ground?" says Patrick Wyatt, Varjo's chief product officer. "Jobs you do right now with physical things, we're virtualizing those." Varjo's XR-4 headset comes in three different editions, each with escalating features (and price tags). The "entry-level" XR-4, which starts at €3,990 (about US $4,300), homes in on product design and data visualization work that requires crisp virtual reality alongside occasional use of mixed reality. Varjo achieves this with dual 4K displays that leapfrog even the resolution of Apple's upcoming Vision Pro headset... Simulators might benefit from the XR-4's more expensive sibling: the XR-4 Focal Edition. Priced at €9,990 (about $11,000), it justifies its cost with dual gaze-directed autofocus cameras... The Secure Edition is available with fixed-focused or autofocus cameras and priced at €7,990 and €13,990 ($8,700 and $15,200), respectively.

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Posted on 3 December 2023 | 8:34 am

Apple's Chip Lab: Now 15 Years Old With Thousands of Engineers

"As of this year, all new Mac computers are powered by Apple's own silicon, ending the company's 15-plus years of reliance on Intel," according to a new report from CNBC. "Apple's silicon team has grown to thousands of engineers working across labs all over the world, including in Israel, Germany, Austria, the U.K. and Japan. Within the U.S., the company has facilities in Silicon Valley, San Diego and Austin, Texas..." The latest A17 Pro announced in the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max in September enables major leaps in features like computational photography and advanced rendering for gaming. "It was actually the biggest redesign in GPU architecture and Apple silicon history," said Kaiann Drance, who leads marketing for the iPhone. "We have hardware accelerated ray tracing for the first time. And we have mesh shading acceleration, which allows game developers to create some really stunning visual effects." That's led to the development of iPhone-native versions from Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Mirage, The Division Resurgence and Capcom's Resident Evil 4. Apple says the A17 Pro is the first 3-nanometer chip to ship at high volume. "The reason we use 3-nanometer is it gives us the ability to pack more transistors in a given dimension. That is important for the product and much better power efficiency," said the head of Apple silicon, Johny Srouji . "Even though we're not a chip company, we are leading the industry for a reason." Apple's leap to 3-nanometer continued with the M3 chips for Mac computers, announced in October. Apple says the M3 enables features like 22-hour battery life and, similar to the A17 Pro, boosted graphics performance... In a major shift for the semiconductor industry, Apple turned away from using Intel's PC processors in 2020, switching to its own M1 chip inside the MacBook Air and other Macs. "It was almost like the laws of physics had changed," Ternus said. "All of a sudden we could build a MacBook Air that's incredibly thin and light, has no fan, 18 hours of battery life, and outperformed the MacBook Pro that we had just been shipping." He said the newest MacBook Pro with Apple's most advanced chip, the M3 Max, "is 11 times faster than the fastest Intel MacBook Pro we were making. And we were shipping that just two years ago." Intel processors are based on x86 architecture, the traditional choice for PC makers, with a lot of software developed for it. Apple bases its processors on rival Arm architecture, known for using less power and helping laptop batteries last longer. Apple's M1 in 2020 was a proving point for Arm-based processors in high-end computers, with other big names like Qualcomm — and reportedly AMD and Nvidia — also developing Arm-based PC processors. In September, Apple extended its deal with Arm through at least 2040. Since Apple first debuted its homegrown semiconductors in 2010 in the iPhone 4, other companies started pursuing their own custom semiconductor development, including Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Tesla. CNBC reports that Apple is also reportedly working on its own Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip. Apple's Srouji wouldn't comment on "future technologies and products" but told CNBC "we care about cellular, and we have teams enabling that."

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Posted on 3 December 2023 | 4:34 am

OpenZFS Fixes Data Corruption Issue

A pull request has been merged to fix a data corruption issue in OpenZFS (the open-source implementation of the ZFS file system and volume manager). "OpenZFS 2.2.2 and 2.1.14 released with fix in place," reports a Thursday comment on GitHub. Earlier this week, jd (Slashdot reader #1,658) wrote: All versions of OpenZFS 2.2 suffer from a defect that can corrupt the data. Attempts to mitigate the bug have reduced the likelihood of it occurring, but so far nobody has been able to pinpoint what is going wrong or why. Phoronix reported on Monday: Over the US holiday weekend it became more clear that this OpenZFS data corruption bug isn't isolated to just the v2.2 release — older versions are also susceptible — and that v2.2.1 is still prone to possible data corruption. The good news at least is that data corruption in real-world scenarios is believed to be limited but with some scripting help the corruption can be reproduced. It's also now believed that the OpenZFS 2.2 block cloning feature just makes encountering the problem more likely.

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Posted on 3 December 2023 | 2:34 am

EV Owners Report 'Far More' Problems Than Conventional Car Owners, Says Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports awarded a "recommended" rating to Tesla's Modey Y this year, "with owners reporting fewer issues with its suspension, in-car electronics and general build quality than in previous years". Tesla's Model 3 also earned a "recommended" rating. "Tesla's Model 3 and Model Y are now the sweet spot in the automotive industry when it comes to building electric cars," says Jake Fisher, the senior director of auto testing for Consumer Reports. "While Tesla is still a relatively new car company, it has more experience producing EVs than any other automaker." But how about the larger universe of all automakers? Electric vehicle owners continue to report far more problems with their vehicles than owners of conventional cars or hybrids, according to Consumer Reports' newly released annual car reliability survey. The survey reveals that, on average, EVs from the past three model years had 79 percent more problems than conventional cars... "Most electric cars today are being manufactured by either legacy automakers that are new to EV technology, or by companies like Rivian that are new to making cars," says Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports. "It's not surprising that they're having growing pains and need some time to work out the bugs." Fisher says some of the most common problems EV owners report are issues with electric drive motors, charging, and EV batteries... This year's survey data show that hybrids continue to be among the most reliable vehicle type: Hybrids have 26 percent fewer problems than conventional models, even though they have both a conventional powertrain and an electric motor and therefore more potential problem spots than conventional cars. "It might not seem that long ago, but Toyota launched the Prius hybrid about 25 years ago," Elek says. "Automakers have been making hybrids long enough that they've gotten really good at it. Plus, many hybrids are also made by manufacturers that tend to produce reliable vehicles overall, such as Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia." Hybrids also are not typically loaded with high-tech features like multiple customizable displays that can be problem-prone, which is why Fisher says they are great options for drivers who are more interested in getting ideal fuel mileage than they are in bells and whistles. "These vehicles are not necessarily a tour de force of technology, so there's just less that can go wrong with them," he says. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), which have both a battery for short-range electric driving and an internal combustion engine for long-range driving, are the least reliable category — 146 percent more problems than conventional cars. "PHEVs are sort of like an EV and a conventional car rolled into one, so by their nature they have more things that can go wrong with them," Fisher says. There are exceptions, notes the auto testing director. Toyota's RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid "is one of the most reliable models in our survey this year. Similarly, the Ford F-150 hybrid has transmission and other issues that buck the trend of strong hybrid reliability." Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader sinij for sharing the article.

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Posted on 2 December 2023 | 11:34 pm

Tiny Living Robots Made From Human Cells Surprise Scientists

"Scientists have created tiny living robots from human cells," reports CNN. The mini-bots "can move around in a lab dish and may one day be able to help heal wounds or damaged tissue, according to a new study. " The study's lead author tells CNN, "We don't realize all the competencies that our own body cells have." A team at Tufts University and Harvard University's Wyss Institute have dubbed these creations anthrobots. The research builds on earlier work from some of the same scientists, who made the first living robots, or xenobots, from stem cells sourced from embryos of the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis)... The scientists used adult human cells from the trachea, or windpipe, from anonymous donors of different ages and sexes... The tracheal cells are covered with hairlike projections called cilia that wave back and forth. They usually help the tracheal cells push out tiny particles that find their way into air passages of the lungs. Earlier studies had also shown that the cells can form organoids — clumps of cells widely used for research. Study coauthor Gizem Gumuskaya experimented with the chemical composition of the tracheal cells' growth conditions and found a way to encourage the cilia to face outward on the organoids. Once she had found the right matrix, the organoids became mobile after a few days, with the cilia acting a bit like oars... "In our method, each anthrobot grows from a single cell." It's this self-assembly that makes them unique. Biological robots have been made by other scientists, but they were constructed by hand by making a mold and seeding cells to live on top of it, said study author Michael Levin... They survived up to 60 days in laboratory conditions. The experiments outlined in this latest study are at an early stage, but the goal is to find out whether the anthrobots could have medical applications, Levin and Gumuskaya said. To see whether such applications might be possible, researchers examined whether the anthrobots were able to move over human neurons grown in a lab dish that had been "scratched" to mimic damage. They were surprised to see the anthrobots encouraged growth to the damaged region of the neurons, although the researchers don't yet understand the healing mechanism, the study noted.

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Posted on 2 December 2023 | 10:34 pm

Java Tries a New Way to Use Multithreading: Structured Concurrency

"Structured concurrency is a new way to use multithreading in Java," reports InfoWorld. "It allows developers to think about work in logical groups while taking advantage of both traditional and virtual threads." Available in preview in Java 21, structured concurrency is a key aspect of Java's future, so now is a good time to start working with it... Java's thread model makes it a strong contender among concurrent languages, but multithreading has always been inherently tricky. Structured concurrency allows you to use multiple threads with structured programming syntax. In essence, it provides a way to write concurrent software using familiar program flows and constructs. This lets developers focus on the business at hand, instead of the orchestration of threading. As the JEP for structured concurrency says, "If a task splits into concurrent subtasks then they all return to the same place, namely the task's code block." Virtual threads, now an official feature of Java, create the possibility of cheaply spawning threads to gain concurrent performance. Structured concurrency provides the simple syntax to do so. As a result, Java now has a unique and highly-optimized threading system that is also easy to understand... Between virtual threads and structured concurrency, Java developers have a compelling new mechanism for breaking up almost any code into concurrent tasks without much overhead... Any time you encounter a bottleneck where many tasks are occurring, you can easily hand them all off to the virtual thread engine, which will find the best way to orchestrate them. The new thread model with structured concurrency also makes it easy to customize and fine-tune this behavior. It will be very interesting to see how developers use these new concurrency capabilities in our applications, frameworks, and servers going forward. It involves a new class StructuredTaskScope located in the java.util.concurrent library. (InfoWorld points out that "you'll need to use --enable-preview and --source 21 or --source 22 to enable structured concurrency.") Their reporter shared an example on GitHub, and there's more examples in the Java 21 documentation. "The structured concurrency documentation includes an example of collecting subtask results as they succeed or fail and then returning the results."

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Posted on 2 December 2023 | 9:34 pm

Why Mexico Wants You to Virtually Adopt an Axolotl Salamander

It can regenerate bits of its body. Ancient Mexicans revered it as a mischievous, shape-shifting god. They named it axolotl — translation: "water monster" — and it's a "salamander with a Mona Lisa smile," reports the Washington Post, "an alien-looking creature with a permanent grin and a crown of feathery gills". But while there's over a million in the world's scientific laboratories, back in its only natural habitat — the canals of Lake Xochimilco in Mexico City — it's on the brink of extinction. In hopes of preventing the annihilation of a species with mystifying traits, ecologists at Mexico's National Autonomous University are giving the public the chance to virtually adopt an axolotl. For $30, $180 or $360, donors can choose the sex, age and name of the little buddy they get to call theirs for a month, six months or a year, respectively. The axolotls stay in Mexico, but donors receive an adoption kit with an infographic, the axolotl's identification card, a certificate of adoption and a personalized thank-you letter. The campaign also includes options to buy an axolotl a meal for $10 or to fix up one of their homes for $50. And for those wanting to splurge a bit more, participants can adopt the axolotl's refuge of chinampas — the artificial islands that dot Lake Xochimilco — for one, six or 12 months starting at $450. The funds will go toward building refuges for the axolotl and restoring its habitat, which has been devastated by the effects of Mexico City's urbanization over the last decades, said Luis Zambrano, an ecologist at Mexico's National Autonomous University. "A species can't be a species without its habitat," Zambrano said. Axolotls have "helped scientists understand how organs develop in vertebrates, uncover the causes of the birth defect spina bifida and discover thyroid hormones..." "The salamanders have also become beloved exotic pets — to the point that 'there's claw machines in Japan that let you pick up an axolotl to take home,' Zambrano added."

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Posted on 2 December 2023 | 8:34 pm

Investing $30 Billion, the UAE Announces the World's Largest Climate-Focused Investment Fund

Tuesday the New York Times reported that while hosting the global climate summit, the United Arab Emirates also hoped to lobby for oil and gas deals around the world. But Friday the United Arab Emirates announced that they'd also started a $30 billion climate fund, reports Reuters, and that fund "aims to attract $250 billion of investment by the end of the decade." The New York Times notes the fund started just months ago, and "at least 20 percent of the funds, would be earmarked for projects in the developing world, where it is especially difficult to finance clean energy projects because interest rates are high and lenders shy away from what they perceive as risky investments." The Washington Post notes that "It immediately becomes one of the world's largest climate-focused investment funds." "This is a big deal," said Mona Dajani, global head of renewables, energy and infrastructure at the law firm Shearman and Sterling. "We have seen other programs previously, but not at this level. They were too scattered, too small, not aligned to the broader financial sector." The lack of cash feeds into other challenges that can make it impossible to scale up clean energy in some countries. Without a steady pipeline of projects, there are no established supply chains, and nations find themselves locked out of markets for key components that are in high demand elsewhere, such as solar cells and critical minerals used to make giant batteries that store renewable power. The Global South will need an immense amount of such battery storage by the end of the decade, according to the Rockefeller Foundation, enough to store about as much power as is produced by 90 large nuclear plants. The storage is used to bottle wind and solar power and distribute it back into grids after dark and when the wind dies down. The Post also reports that "the money to fund the projects will come largely from oil revenue." While the UAE framed its initiative as a call to global action, it is at least partly geared toward generating returns. It is one of several forays the UAE is making into clean-energy finance as it seeks to diversify its economy amid predictions the demand for oil will slump in coming years... The new initiative puts a spotlight on the UAE's evolving role in the fight against climate change. The country is at once one of the world's biggest contributors to warming, pumping massive amounts of oil into the global economy, while also using its fossil fuel wealth to put itself on the vanguard of energy innovation.

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Posted on 2 December 2023 | 7:34 pm

US Announces AI Hackathons to Strengthen Critical Mineral Supply Chains

This week the White House announced a series of "AI hackathons to strengthen critical mineral supply chains," starting in February of 2024. There's 50 critical minerals are used in everything from electric motors and generators to the fuselage and wings of an airplane. So now the "Critical Mineral Assessments with AI Support" contest aims to "significantly speed up the assessment of the nation's critical mineral resources by automating key steps" using AI and machine learning tools, according to a DARPA announcement on X, pointing to details on a new DARPA web page: Clean energy infrastructure, along with many other next-generation technologies, consume more critical minerals than traditional energy sources, and expected demand for critical minerals used in clean energy will quadruple by 2040... The goal of this AI exploration effort is to transform the workflow from a serial, predominantly manual, intermittently updated approach, to a highly parallel, continuous AI-assisted capability that is comprehensive in scope, efficient in scale, and generalizable across an array of applications... The challenge is that critical mineral assessments are labor intensive and using traditional techniques, assessing all 50 critical minerals would proceed too slowly to address present-day supply chain needs. An AI-assisted workflow could enable the U.S. Geological Survey to accomplish its mission, produce high-quality derivative products from raw input data, and deliver timely assessments that reduce exploration risk and support decisions affecting the management of strategic domestic resources. While the primary focus will be critical minerals, it is expected that the resulting technologies and resulting data products will be valuable for a wide variety of U.S. government mission areas ranging from water resource management, to potential new clean energy sources. It all started back in 2022, when the resource-identifying U.S. Geological Survey acknowledged that "The U.S. is under-mapped." They'd hoped an online contest could close the gap — with a first prize of $10,000 (with $3,000 and $1,000 for the second- and third-place winner). Working with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the government-supporting research nonprofit MITRE, DARPA and the U.S. Geological Survey all teamed up for the big "AI for Critical Mineral Assessment" competition. Participants were given images of maps from somewhere in North America — along with a list of points without their latitude-longitude coordinates (just a pair of numbers indicating their position within that image). They'd have to find a way to automate the determination of real-world latitudes and longitudes. The contest recommended using other features on the map as reference points — like roads, streams, and elevation-indicating topographic lines, as well as government boundary lines (and the names of places on the map). And last December during the awards ceremony a DARPA official said they were "really really pleased at the response we got." The new 2024 AI hackathons are now intended to build on the challenges from that 2022 competition. One competitor had described it as a "well-organized competition, really engaging," adding "I think the complexity of the maps that were part of the data set just made it a really interesting and engaging kind of problem." They noted that in the past we've always indicated data with maps — but that now, we're trying to turn maps back into data...

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Posted on 2 December 2023 | 6:34 pm

Does TikTok Censor Content Critical of China? CNN Investigates

Long-time Slashdot reader destinyland summarizes a video report from CNN: : CNN anchor Jake Tapper interviewed TikTok's head of public policy last year, asking if they censored content critical of the Chinese party. "We do not censor content on behalf of any government," the spokesperson answered. But this week CNN reviewed data the total number of hashtags on both Instagram and on TikTok for topics that might be embarrassing to the Chinese government — and found stark differences. — Hashtag #Uyghurs appears in 10.4X more posts on Instagram than on TikTok. — Hashtag #Tiananmen (referencing the 1989 pro-democracy protests) is 153 more likely to appear on Instagram than on TikTok. "So yes, the content exists on TikTok, but there's far less of it on TikTok than on other social media apps," CNN's Tapper says. "And that seems very convenient for the Chinese Communist Party."

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Posted on 2 December 2023 | 5:34 pm

Rust Foundation Plans Training/Certification Program. Security Initiative Funded Through 2024

The Linux Foundation's own "Open Software Security foundation" has an associated project called Alpha-Omega funded by Microsoft, Google, and Amazon with a mission to catalyze sustainable security improvements to critical open source projects and ecosystems. It was established nearly two years ago in February of 2022 — and this month announced plans to continue supporting the Rust Foundation Security Initiative: 2022 was also the first full year of operation for the Rust Foundation — an independent nonprofit dedicated to stewarding the Rust programming language and supporting its global community. Given the considerable growth and rising popularity of the Rust programming language in recent years, it has never been more critical to have a healthy and well-funded foundation in place to help ensure the safety and security of this important language. When the Rust Foundation emerged, OpenSSF recognized a shared vision of global open source security baked into their organizational priorities from day one. These shared security values were the driving force behind Alpha-Omega's decision to grant $460k USD to the Rust Foundation in 2022. This funding helped underwrite their Security Initiative — a program dedicated to improving the state of security within the Rust programming language ecosystem and sowing security best practices within the Rust community. The Security Initiative began in earnest this past January and has now been in operation for a full year with many achievements to note and exciting plans in development. While security is a clear priority of the Rust language itself and can be seen in its memory safety-critical features, the Rust Project cannot reasonably be expected to foster long term, sustainable security without proper support and funding. Indeed, there is still a pervasive attitude across technology that cybersecurity is being managed and prioritized by "someone else." The unfortunate impact of this attitude is that critical security work often falls on overburdened and under-resourced open source maintainers. By prioritizing the Security Initiative during their first full year in operation, the Rust Foundation has taken on the responsibility of overseeing — and supporting — security improvements within the Rust ecosystem while ensuring meaningful progress... Alpha-Omega is excited to announce our second year of supporting the Rust Foundation Security Initiative. We believe that this funding will build on the good work and momentum established by the Rust Foundation in 2023. Through this partnership, we are helping relieve maintainer burdens while paving an important path towards a healthier and more secure future within the Rust ecosystem. Meanwhile, this month the Rust Foundation announced that downloads from Rust's package repository have now reached 45 billion — and that the foundation is "committed to facilitating the healthy growth of Rust through funding and resources for the community and the Project. "After conducting initial planning and research and getting approval from our board of directors, we are pleased to announce our intention to help fulfill this commitment by developing a Rust Foundation training and certification program." We continue to be supportive of anyone creating Rust training and education materials. In fact, we are proud to have provided funding to a few individuals involved in this work via our Community Grants Program. Our team is also aware that commercial Rust training courses already exist and that global training entities are already developing their own Rust-focused programs. Given the value of Rust in professional open source, this makes sense. However, we are eager to introduce a program that will allow us to direct profits back into the Rust ecosystem. As a nonprofit organization, we sit in a unique position thanks to the tools, connections, insights, administrative support, and resources at our disposal — all of which will add value to course material aimed at professional development and adoption. We see our forthcoming program as one tool of many that can be used to verify skills for prospective employers, and for those employers to build out their professional teams of Rust expertise. We will remain supportive of existing training programs offered by Rust Foundation member companies and we'll look for ways to ensure this remains the case as program development progresses... There is no set launch date for the Rust Foundation training and certification program yet, but we plan to continue laying high-quality groundwork in Q4 of 2023 and the first half of 2024.

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Posted on 2 December 2023 | 4:34 pm

Tesla's New Cybertruck Includes a 'Powershare' Bidirectional Charging Feature

Tesla's new Cybertruck is more than their first new model since 2020, reports the Verge: Tesla announced a new "Powershare" vehicle-to-load charging capability, only available on the new Cybertruck. The feature will allow Cybertruck owners to power their camping equipment, power tools, or even their entire home during a blackout, just by using their electric truck as a mobile generator. The truck also features a 240-volt outlet in the rear bed that can be used to charge other EVs. An image on Tesla's website shows the Cybertruck charging a Model Y. The Cybertruck can put out as much as 11.5kW, which is more than the Ford F-150 Lightning's 9.6kW of onboard power or the GMC Sierra Denali EV's 10.2kW. Tesla has been talking about manufacturing vehicles with bidirectional charging capabilities for several years now, first teasing the feature at its Battery Day event in 2020. Since then, many of its competitors have adopted the feature for their EVs, including Ford, GM, Hyundai, Kia, and others... In essence, it treats high-capacity lithium-ion batteries not only as tools to power EVs but also as backup storage cells to charge other electric devices, an entire home, or even to send power to the electrical grid for possible energy savings... Customers who want to take advantage of the Powershare feature in their homes will need a Tesla Powerwall (of course) and a Wall Connector for the most seamless connection. Tesla held a launch event for the vehicle on Thursday, and demand appears to be high. Jalopnik reports Tesla is now offering people who'd reserved a Cybertruck a $1,000 discount if they'll instead order another Tesla model.

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Posted on 2 December 2023 | 3:34 pm