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Bitcoin's Price Crashed 87% On Binance.US Thanks To a Bug

Slashdot.org - Fri, 10/22/2021 - 19:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Bitcoin is on a tear, reaching an all time high price of $67,000 for 1 BTC on Wednesday, buoyed by a series of approvals for Bitcoin futures funds on the stock market. But on one major U.S. exchange, the price flash-crashed 87 percent to roughly $8,200 on Thursday due to a bug in a trading algorithm. The crash occurred during a massive sell-off on the Binance.US exchange that occurred around 7:42 a.m. ET, Bloomberg reported. Binance is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, and its Binance.US exchange is meant to be compliant with U.S. regulations, although it is still banned in several states. According to a Binance.US spokesperson, the crash was due to an issue with a trading algorithm being run by one "institutional trader," which may indicate an investment fund of some sort. "One of our institutional traders indicated to us that they had a bug in their trading algorithm, which appears to have caused the sell-off," Binance.US told Bloomberg. "We are continuing to look into the event, but understand from the trader that they have now fixed their bug and that the issue appears to have been resolved." It's entirely possible that some lucky traders were at the right place at the right time and managed to snap up some incredibly cheap BTC, but mostly it's yet another example of weirdness along the edges of the crypto ecosystem.

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Amazon's Alexa Collects More of Your Data Than Any Other Smart Assistant

Slashdot.org - Fri, 10/22/2021 - 18:20
According to a survey from Reviews.org, Amazon's Alexa collects more data from users than any of the other digital assistants analyzed, which included the Google Assistant, Siri, Bixby, and Cortana. PCMag reports: All five services collect your name, phone number, device location, and IP address; the names and numbers of your contacts; your interaction history; and the apps you use. If you don't like that information being stored, you probably shouldn't use a voice assistant. In the survey, 60% of respondents were concerned about someone listening to their voice recordings, which is a real fear, since Google and Apple have both been caught doing just that. While Google Assistant and Siri now need your permission to record your interactions, the other options record you by default. Which option is the most invasive? Analysis by Reviews.org found that Alexa collects 37 of the 48 possible data points, the most data out of any other. Samsung's Bixby collected 34 points of data, and Cortana collects 32 data points. Meanwhile, Siri collects just 30, and Google's smart assistant takes only 28, making them the least invasive. While 76% of Americans report that they use smart assistants, 61% are concerned that these programs and devices are always listening to them in the background. And people have had a hard time alleviating those fearsâ"only 45% of users have tried to disable their smart assistant, with 38% reporting they couldn't figure out how.

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Leaked Email Allegedly Shows That Google Did Ask Roku For Special Treatment For YouTube

Slashdot.org - Fri, 10/22/2021 - 17:40
Yesterday, Roku told customers that it's unable to strike a deal to bring YouTube and YouTube TV apps to its channel store, citing anti-competitive demands in carriage agreements. These included "asking Roku to create a dedicated search results row for YouTube within the Roku smart TV interface and demanding certain features on Roku that they don't insist on getting from other streaming platforms," reports Axios. Now, a leaked email has surfaced allegedly showing that Google did in fact ask Roku for special search treatment for YouTube, an allegation that Google had previously called "baseless." 9to5Google reports: CNBC reports that an email from a Google executive to Roku called a "dedicated shelf for [YouTube] search results" a "must." The email was sent in 2019, well before the current fight between the two companies went public. Prior to this report, Roku has said on multiple occasions that "Google continues to interfere with Roku's independent search results." Google, in response, has denied those allegations and called them "baseless" while also claiming that it was Roku who decided to renegotiate the contract between the two companies. A previous statement from Google reads: "To be clear, we have never, as they have alleged, made any requests to access user data or interfere with search results. This claim is baseless and false." This email puts the statements of both companies in a new light. It's possible Google did end up dropping this request between when the email was sent in 2019 and when the contract negotiations started, but it's also very possible the company is bending the truth around this request. Whatever the case, Google said that it "never" made such a request, but this email allegedly proves otherwise. ["The email from the Google executive to Roku reads: 'YouTube Position: A dedicated shelf for YT search results is a must,'" reports CNBC.]

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John Carmack Pushes Out Unlocked OS For Defunct Oculus Go Headset

Slashdot.org - Fri, 10/22/2021 - 17:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Oculus may have officially discontinued its low-end Oculus Go headset last year, but the company has one more "official" update to help future-proof the hardware. On Thursday, Oculus released an unlocked build of the Oculus Go operating system, allowing for "full root access" on more than 2 million existing units. Oculus "Consulting CTO" (and former id Software co-founder) John Carmack announced his plans for this update last month, saying it was something he had "been pushing on for years." In part, the unlocking is an attempt to guarantee that Go hardware will continue to be fully functional well into the future, allowing for "a randomly discovered shrink wrapped headset twenty years from now [to] be able to update to the final software version, long after over-the-air update servers have been shut down," Carmack wrote. Before that, though, the update will allow tinkerers to "repurpose the hardware for more things today," as Carmack puts it. Go hardware running the unlocked OS will no longer check for a Facebook signature at the kernel level, meaning developers can create new versions of low-level system software for the entire Android-based OS. That could allow for custom versions of low-level features like the app launcher and the removal of otherwise locked system apps. The update also allows for easy sideloading of apps outside of Go's store interface, though this was already possible on older OS versions.

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A Math Teacher is Putting Calculus Lessons on Pornhub

Slashdot.org - Fri, 10/22/2021 - 16:25
An anonymous reader shares a report: It's safe to assume that few Pornhub visitors are looking for hour-long calculus videos (by a fully-clothed instructor), but Taiwanese math teacher Changhsu puts them there anyway. His channel is filled with over 200 decidedly unsexy chalkboard lessons about topics like differential equations. The 34-year-old math tutor found the YouTube market for math explainers to be saturated, so he decided to expand his reach into Pornhub. He told Mel Magazine that he wants to reach a new market of mathematics learners.

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Intel Open-sources AI-powered Tool To Spot Bugs in Code

Slashdot.org - Fri, 10/22/2021 - 15:44
Intel has open-sourced ControlFlag , a tool that uses machine learning to detect problems in computer code -- ideally to reduce the time required to debug apps and software. From a report: In tests, the company's machine programming research team says that ControlFlag has found hundreds of defects in proprietary, "production-quality" software, demonstrating its usefulness. "Last year, ControlFlag identified a code anomaly in Client URL (cURL), a computer software project transferring data using various network protocols over one billion times a day," Intel principal AI scientist Justin Gottschlich wrote in a blog post on LinkedIn. "Most recently, ControlFlag achieved state-of-the-art results by identifying hundreds of latent defects related to memory and potential system crash bugs in proprietary production-level software. In addition, ControlFlag found dozens of novel anomalies on several high-quality open-source software repositories." The demand for quality code draws an ever-growing number of aspiring programmers to the profession. After years of study, they learn to translate abstracts into concrete, executable programs -- but most spend the majority of their working hours not programming. A recent study found that the IT industry spent an estimated $2 trillion in 2020 in software development costs associated with debugging code, with an estimated 50% of IT budgets spent on debugging.

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Updating our job posting guidelines to improve quality of results for job seekers

GoogleWebmasterCentral - Fri, 10/22/2021 - 15:35
Searching for a job can be a time consuming process and the outcome of the application may be life changing. That's why providing job seekers with authentic, fresh, and trustworthy content when they come to Google Search is our top priority. Today we are announcing a new structured data property and new editorial content policy.
Categories: Web

Search at Google I/O 2021

GoogleWebmasterCentral - Fri, 10/22/2021 - 15:35
Google I/O is our annual developers festival, and this year it was all virtual. But as with any events, virtual, or in-person, a lot of information was covered over the three-day event. In case you missed it, here is a list of some Search-related news and announcements that might be of interest to you.
Categories: Web

Memes About COVID-19 Helped Us Cope With Life in a Pandemic, a New Study Finds

Slashdot.org - Fri, 10/22/2021 - 15:05
Does a meme a day keep the doctor away? Not quite, but it looks like it might help, according to one recent study. From a report: Researchers with Pennsylvania State University and the University of California Santa Barbara found that memes helped people cope with life during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published this week in the Psychology of Popular Media journal. Researchers found that those who viewed memes -- a type of humor they described as funny or cute pictures that reference pop culture -- reported "higher levels of humor" and more positive feelings, according to a news release from the American Psychological Association, which publishes the journal. They surveyed 748 people online last December: 72% of those who responded were white, 54% identified as women, 63% didn't hold a college degree, and their ages ranged from 18 to 88, the release states. They were shown a variety of meme types, with different kinds of photos and captions, and asked to rate the cuteness, humor and emotional responses prompted by the materials, as well as how much the memes in question made them think about COVID-19. Those who viewed memes that specifically referenced the pandemic felt less stress than those who viewed non-pandemic-related memes. They also felt more capable of coping with the COVID-19 crisis and were better at processing information, according to the study. And they were also less likely to be stressed about the pandemic than those who didn't view memes related to COVID-19 at all, researchers concluded.

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China Conducted Two Hypersonic Weapons Tests this Summer

Slashdot.org - Fri, 10/22/2021 - 14:25
The Chinese military conducted two hypersonic weapons tests over the summer, raising US concerns that Beijing is gaining ground in the race to develop a new generation of arms. Financial Times: On July 27 the Chinese military launched a rocket that used a "fractional orbital bombardment" system to propel a nuclear-capable "hypersonic glide vehicle" around the earth for the first time, according to four people familiar with US intelligence assessments. The Financial Times this week reported that the first test was in August, rather than at the end of July. China subsequently conducted a second hypersonic test on August 13, according to two people familiar with the matter. Three people familiar with the first test in July said it stunned the Pentagon and US intelligence because China managed to demonstrate a brand new weapons capability, although they declined to elaborate on the details. One person said government scientists were struggling to understand the capability, which the US does not currently possess, adding that China's achievement appeared "to defy the laws of physics." Space and missile experts have been debating the Chinese test since the FT revealed the event at the weekend. Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear weapons expert at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, said China appeared to have developed a new innovation, but stressed the need to maintain a degree of scepticism. "We should be open to the reality that China is also capable of technological innovation," he said.

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ISPs Want More Money Because So Many People Are Streaming Squid Game

Slashdot.org - Fri, 10/22/2021 - 13:43
ISPs around the world claim the unprecedented bandwidth demands Netflix's Squid Game is placing on their broadband networks means they should be getting more money. From a report: But experts say that's not how telecom networks work, suggesting that already cash-flush telecom giants are just positioning themselves for an underserved hand out. The popular South Korean thriller, a not so thinly-veiled critique of late-stage capitalism, tracks a group of indebted people who compete in deadly children's games for cash. According to Netflix, Squid Game is the most popular show in company history, the number one program in 94 countries, and has been watched by 142 million households. ISPs around the world also claim the show's popularity is driving a massive surge in bandwidth consumption, and they want their cut. In South Korea, Internet service provider SK Broadband sued Netflix earlier this month, claiming that between May and September the ISP's network traffic jumped 24 times to 1.2 trillion bits of data processed every second. This surge is Netflix's fault, the ISP insists, and Netflix should be held financially responsible. In the UK, British Telecom executives have been making similar complaints, insisting that Netflix should be forced to help pay for the surge in network traffic caused by the show. But broadband experts say that's not how broadband networks actually work. "It makes no sense for ISPs to cry victim because they provide a popular service, and are expected to provide it," John Bergmayer, telecom expert at consumer group Public Knowledge told Motherboard. "People subscribe to broadband to do things like stream video, and it's broadband customers who are requesting all these Squid Game streams. They are not somehow imposed on ISPs by Netflix."

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Epic Games Ends Alternate-Friday Vacation Policy, Angering Staff

Slashdot.org - Fri, 10/22/2021 - 13:03
Epic Games is ending a pandemic-inspired policy of granting every other Friday off, sparking an uproar among staff. From a report: An internal Slack channel was filled with pleas from employees for the game publisher to reconsider. Several people said the extra vacation days had helped their mental health, allowed them to be better parents and even improved their productivity while working on updates for Fortnite, which is one of world's most popular games. Epic said the policy was always meant to be temporary and that the company's goal was to allow employees and contractors to take paid time off on their own schedules. The company also closes for two-week breaks in the summer and winter. "Right now, we are seeing lots of Fridays off for deep work, and lots of people who must work Fridays anyways," Chief Operating Officer Daniel Vogel wrote in an email to staff reviewed by Bloomberg. "This meant that many people were not benefiting from this policy equally." But in a survey of 581 employees reviewed by Bloomberg, 93% said they had found the alternating Fridays off to be "extremely beneficial" and 61% said they felt worried, guilty or stressed when taking separate vacation days. Almost 90% of employees said they wanted to keep Fridays off as a standard.

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Internet Service Providers Collect, Sell Horrifying Amount of Sensitive Data, Government Study Concludes

Slashdot.org - Fri, 10/22/2021 - 12:25
An anonymous reader shares a report: Over the last few years the justified fixation on the bad behavior of Google, Amazon, Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants has let the abuses of the telecom sector fly under the radar. But a new FTC report showcases how when it comes to consumer privacy, broadband providers are every bit as terrible as you thought they were. The new FTC report studied the privacy practices of six unnamed broadband ISPs and their advertising arms, and found that the companies routinely collect an ocean of consumer location, browsing, and behavioral data. They then share this data with dodgy middlemen via elaborate business arrangements that often aren't adequately disclosed to broadband consumers. "Even though several of the ISPs promise not to sell consumers personal data, they allow it to be used, transferred, and monetized by others and hide disclosures about such practices in fine print of their privacy policies," the FTC report said. The FTC also found that while many ISPs provide consumers tools allowing them to opt out of granular data collection, those tools are cumbersome to use -- when they work at all. "Many of the ISPs also claim to offer consumers choices about how their data is used and allow them to access such data," the FTC said. "The FTC found, however, that many of these companies often make it difficult for consumers to exercise such choices and sometimes even nudge them to share even more information." ISPs often provide privacy-specific website portals proclaiming to provide users with a wide variety of opt out options but these choices are often "illusory," the FTC found.

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Walmart Shoppers Can Now Buy Bitcoin at 200 Kiosks in Its Stores

Slashdot.org - Fri, 10/22/2021 - 11:43
Walmart has started a pilot program in which shoppers can buy Bitcoin at Coinstar kiosks in some of its U.S. stores. From a report: The test with Coinstar, which is known for the machines that let customers exchange U.S. coins for paper bills or gift cards, began earlier this month, Walmart spokeswoman Molly Blakeman said Thursday. The pilot includes 200 kiosks in Walmart stores. That's part of a broader initiative by Coinstar, which has teamed up with a cryptocurrency cash exchange called Coinme to offer Bitcoin at more than 8,000 kiosks. The pilot includes 200 kiosks in Walmart stores. "Bitcoin ATMs have been around for a while, including in many supermarkets," said Sam Doctor, chief strategy officer and head of research at BitOoda, a regulated crypto brokerage. "Walmart expands Bitcoin access to more people, though, and gives it further legitimacy among skeptics, should they roll it out beyond an initial pilot." Walmart is testing the service weeks after a high-profile hoax in which a fake press release said the retailer would start letting customers pay with a cryptocurrency called Litecoin. While that announcement was false, Walmart is assessing the future of crypto in its operations. It advertised a job in August to develop "the digital currency strategy and product roadmap" while identifying "crypto-related investment and partnerships."

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Police Can't Demand You Reveal Your Phone Passcode and Then Tell a Jury You Refused

Slashdot.org - Fri, 10/22/2021 - 11:08
EFF: The Utah Supreme Court is the latest stop in EFF's roving campaign to establish your Fifth Amendment right to refuse to provide your password to law enforcement. Yesterday, along with the ACLU, we filed an amicus brief in State v. Valdez, arguing that the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination prevents the police from forcing suspects to reveal the contents of their minds. That includes revealing a memorized passcode or directly entering the passcode to unlock a device. In Valdez, the defendant was charged with kidnapping his ex-girlfriend after arranging a meeting under false pretenses. During his arrest, police found a cell phone in Valdez's pocket that they wanted to search for evidence that he set up the meeting, but Valdez refused to tell them the passcode. Unlike many other cases raising these issues, however, the police didn't bother seeking a court order to compel Valdez to reveal his passcode. Instead, during trial, the prosecution offered testimony and argument about his refusal. The defense argued that this violated the defendant's Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, which also prevents the state from commenting on his silence. The court of appeals agreed, and now the state has appealed to the Utah Supreme Court.

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