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Google’s $999 Chromebook Pixel is discontinued ($1299 model still available)

Liliputing -

Since the first model launched in 2013 with a $1299 price tag, the Google Chromebook Pixel has always been the most expensive Chrome OS laptop money could buy. But in 2015 the company eased the pain a bit by introducing a new model with a starting price of $999.

Now that model is out of stock… and a Google representative tells me the company has no plans of re-stocking the $999 Chromebook Pixel with a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage.

Continue reading Google’s $999 Chromebook Pixel is discontinued ($1299 model still available) at Liliputing.

Weasel Apparently Shuts Down World's Most Powerful Particle Collider

Slashdot -

New reader mjnhbg1088 cites an article on NPR: A small mammal has sabotaged the world's most powerful scientific instrument. The Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile superconducting machine designed to smash protons together at close to the speed of light, went offline overnight. Engineers investigating the mishap found the charred remains of a furry creature near a gnawed-through power cable. "We had electrical problems, and we are pretty sure this was caused by a small animal," says Arnaud Marsollier, head of press for CERN, the organization that runs the $7 billion particle collider in Switzerland. Although they had not conducted a thorough analysis of the remains, Marsollier says they believe the creature was "a weasel, probably." The shutdown comes as the LHC was preparing to collect new data on the Higgs Boson, a fundamental particle it discovered in 2012. The Higgs is believed to endow other particles with mass, and it is considered to be a cornerstone of the modern theory of particle physics. CERN says the creature may have been a marten.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Master OpenStack with 5 new tutorials

LXer -

Returning from OpenStack Summit this week, I am reminded of just how vast the open source cloud ecosystem is and just how many different projects and concepts you need to be familiar with in order to succeed. Although, we're actually quite fortunate with the resources available for keeping up. In addition to the official documentation, many great educational tools are out there, from third party training and certification, to in-person events, and many community-contributed tutorials as well.read more

GCHQ Has Disclosed Over 20 Vulnerabilities This Year

Slashdot -

Joseph Cox, reporting for Motherboard: Earlier this week, it emerged that a section of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the UK's signal intelligence agency, had disclosed a serious vulnerability in Firefox to Mozilla. Now, GCHQ has said it helped fix nearly two dozen individual vulnerabilities in the past few months, including in highly popular pieces of software like iOS. "So far in 2016 GCHQ/CESG has disclosed more than 20 vulnerabilities across a number of software products," a GCHQ spokesperson told Motherboard in an email. CESG, or the National Technical Authority for Information Assurance, is the information security wing of GCHQ. Those issues include a kernel vulnerability in OS X El Captain v10.11.4, the latest version, that would allow arbitrary code execution, and two in iOS 9.3, one of which would have done largely the same thing, and the other could have let an application launch a denial of service attack.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Does the Lightning Network Threaten Bitcoin’s Censorship Resistance?

Bitcoin Magazine -

The Lightning Network may well be Bitcoin’s primary solution to the issue of scalability, but many skeptics believe there are unresolved issues with this layer-2 system for the blockchain. The possibility of too much centralization via so-called “supernodes” is one of the common criticisms of the Lightning Network, and attached to that is the fear of these new, mostly -centralized payment hubs having the capacity to censor transactions.

Bitcoin Magazine recently reached out to BitGo Engineer and Statoshi.info creator Jameson Lopp to get his thoughts on the possible privacy issues associated with the Lightning Network.

Lightning Network May Offer Better Privacy

Although a loss of privacy is sometimes mentioned as a possible, negative aspect of the Lightning Network, the reality is that it may offer better privacy than the current base layer of the Bitcoin blockchain. This is mainly due to the fact that the blockchain is an open, mostly -transparent ledger that can be viewed by anyone via a block explorer.

Lopp made this point during an interview with Bitcoin Magazine:

“I expect that privacy will actually be better on the Lightning Network than on-chain because transactions are not broadcast to the entire network. It will be much harder to collect analytics on the Lightning Network because routing nodes only know the hop before and the hop after when routing, not the entire route.”

Although not perfect, the Lightning Network does offer the advantage of keeping information related to specific transactions away from an open, transparent ledger. Whether the Lightning Network can offer better privacy than a traditional bank account (where only the bank and the parties involved in a transaction know about it) is an unknown at this point.

Will Nodes Be Forced to Comply with AML and KYC Laws?

One of the main concerns associated with a Lightning Network that has a few entities running nearly all of the nodes is that these nodes will be forced to comply with Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations. To this point, Lopp responded, “I understand the AML/KYC fear, but routing nodes are non-custodial.”

Lopp went on to explain that BitGo has based its business around being non-custodial because it means it doesn’t have to deal with all of the regulatory issues associated with holding user funds.

The BitGo engineer also noted that the Lightning Network could still operate in an environment where the laws are changed to fit that regulation-avoiding model. Lopp believes that, much like the Internet, users could simply go around nodes with onerous requirements for routing payments. He added, “In that [scenario], we'll still see plenty of non-compliant nodes.”

A Never-Ending Battle of Privacy vs. Surveillance

It’s possible that the battle between privacy and surveillance will never end. Having said that, those attempting to break privacy on the Internet are usually responding to new technologies created by privacy-minded individuals and organizations.

At this point, it appears that an attack on the level of privacy offered by the Lightning Network would be similar to an attack on the Tor network. Lopp told Bitcoin Magazine, “I imagine that they would need to be a well-funded attacker in order to be able to watch a significant portion of traffic.”

Blockstream’s Rusty Russell and Lightning’s Olaoluwa Osuntokun have been working on bringing onion routing to the Lightning Network, and it’s clear that privacy is given the utmost respect by the developers working on this project.

“I foresee a Tor-style arms race in the future on two fronts,” Russell told Bitcoin Magazine. “One will be the battle against analytics (such as timing attacks) and bugs. The other will be against centralization, which as Bitcoin is learning, is a hard problem that, which is mainly met by (1) making it easy to decentralize, and (2) making sure people are aware of the danger.”

There are always tradeoffs between privacy and usability. Zcash appears to be the most privacy-conscious blockchain today, but there are a few issues with the system when it comes to efficiency. Open Transactions could also be used to implement truly anonymous digital cash, but the federated server model in that system is not as secure as a blockchain (or even the Lightning Network) when it comes to control over one’s funds.

The post Does the Lightning Network Threaten Bitcoin’s Censorship Resistance? appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Google’s OnHub routers get smart home features with IFTTT

Liliputing -

Google’s OnHub series routers are designed to be easy to use and attractive enough that you might not want to hide them underneath or behind furniture (which can actually improve performance since the signal won’t be obstructed).

But another thing that sets OnHub devices from Asus and TP-Link apart from most other routers is their support for automatic software updates… and the latest brings support for IFTTT (If this, then that).

The free service lets you create “recipes” that can trigger all sorts of actions, and in the case of the OnHub platform, IFTTT support sort of transforms your router into a smart home hub.

Continue reading Google’s OnHub routers get smart home features with IFTTT at Liliputing.

Microsoft Flow -- An IFTTT Alternative -- Aims To Connect Your Online Apps

Slashdot -

An anonymous user writes: Microsoft has unveiled a new product called Microsoft Flow, which is designed to better connect diverse services so that you could, if you were so inclined, put all your tweets into a spreadsheet or get an SMS alert when you receive an email. That example may be a solution in search of a problem, but there are other more useful possibilities. Flow could be set up so that any email from your boss triggers an SMS notification to your phone, for example. Or you could make sure any updated work documents get deposited in your team's SharePoint. To be sure, Microsoft is not first to this app-integration party. Many people already use If This Then That (IFTTT) or Zapier, which claims more than 500 app integrations, to knit their services together.Some IFTTT users must be breathing a sigh of relief.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Mean Girls Club – satirical social commentary or just flat out bonkers?

Boing Boing -

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Mean Girls Club
by Ryan Heshka
Nobrow Press
2016, 24 pages, 6.8 x 9.1 x 0.1 inches
$6 Buy a copy on Amazon

If your understanding of what a Mean Girls Club consists of is defined by the 2004 Lindsay Lohan film, then Ryan Heshka’s new release from Nobrow Press (as part of their wonderful 17 x 23 series) is going to blow your mind. In Mean Girls Club, Pinky, Sweets, Blackie, McQualude, Wendy, and Wanda aren’t the popular girls in an Illinois high school, rather they are a gang of sociopaths who revel in murder, mayhem, pill popping, and depraved dereliction. Heshka’s 1950s bombshells start their day with ceremonial insect venom transfusions, snake worship, a pill buffet, and a fish slap fight, then go on to wreck havoc in a hospital, movie theater, boutiques, and the streets, only to finish off by jacking a lingerie truck, kidnapping patients and nurses along the way.

In a nod to the pulps and pin-ups of the past and rendered in fluorescent pinks and inky blacks, Heskha upends the conventional idea of the B-movie Vixen by adding a layer of such over-the-top brutality and vehemence that it transcends the possible, bringing the trope into the post-ironic age where we have lost the ability to discern what we are meant to take seriously.

Is Mean Girls Club to be read as satirical social commentary? Is it just flat out bonkers? Or is it a combination of both? When viewed through various critical lenses, Mean Girls Club demands that the reader ask certain questions: issues of gender and power, fringe vs center, entertainment vs social order. But this sort of critical response probably misses the point of Heskha’s intent.

Heskha doesn’t seem to care how we approach his work; this book swings to its own pop-culture rhythm, flat and full of energy and horror – perhaps the perfect narrative for precarious times. The viciousness in this book stands starkly in contrast to the stylized elegance of Heskha’s lines and layouts. Its publisher, Nobrow Press, says it has “A vintage throwback appeal with modern sensibilities ... with appeal to an alternative subculture eager for art that continues to subvert the conventions of the old guard of comics.” It’s all this and more. But one thing for sure, in Mean Girls Club we have an artist making the art he wants to make. And although it may be a bit uncomfortable for some of us to read, it may just be the art we deserve. – Daniel Elkin

How to disable MAC learning in a Linux bridge

LXer -

An Ethernet bridge is a network component which interconnects multiple Ethernet networks by forwarding packets from one network to another. Linux has a software implementation of the Ethernet bridge (called "Linux bridge") incorporated into the kernel since 2.6. A Linux bridge is often used to set up a transparent proxy/firewall, or to work as a virtual switch which interconnects multiple virtual machines and containers created on a host.

1944 memo from manager sick of "gobbledygook"

Boing Boing -

From Futility Closet: In 1944, manager Maury Maverick sent this memo to the workers at his government agency. This is the first known usage of gobbledygook to refer to obscure jargon. It wouldn’t be the last.(From the National Archives.)

From Wikipedia:

The term gobbledygook was coined by Maury Maverick, a former congressman from Texas and former mayor of San Antonio. When Maverick was chairman of the Smaller War Plants Corporation during World War II, he sent a memorandum that said: "Be short and use Plain English. . . . Stay off gobbledygook language." Later, writing in the New York Times Magazine, he defined gobbledygook as "talk or writing which is long, pompous, vague, involved, usually with Latinized words." The allusion was to a turkey, "always gobbledygobbling and strutting with ridiculous pomposity."

US Calls Switzerland An Internet Piracy Haven

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes: The Office of the United States Trade Representative has published its annual Special 301 Report calling out other nations for failing to live up to U.S. IP enforcement standards. This year European ally Switzerland has been placed on the Watch List for protecting file-sharers and playing host to many pirate sites. "Generally speaking, Switzerland broadly provides high-levels of IPR protection and enforcement in its territory. Switzerland makes important contributions to promoting such protection and enforcement internationally, including in bilateral and multilateral contexts, which are welcomed by the United States," the USTR writes in its assessment.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Out-takes from the closing credits of the Peter Sellers' "Being There"

Boing Boing -

Here are the best parts of Peter Sellers' Being There.

The series of out-takes behind the closing credits of 'Being There' -- the Peter Sellers classic -- must be one of the funniest sequences on film. I have included a couple of clips from the body of the movie to provide some context. The premise is that Sellers, a simple-minded gardener who has lived his life in his employer's mansion, is forced to leave when the employer dies. He has no experience of the world outside, other than television. (Note his attempt to use his TV remote to change the channel of reality.)

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