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IndyWatch Science and Technology News Feed was generated at World News IndyWatch.

Thursday, 28 December


Japanese H-2A Rocket Lifts Off with Two Satellites SoylentNews

I thought people might be interested in some recent stories about work that other countries are doing in their space programs.

Two research satellites to probe Earth's climate patterns and test ion engine technology to counter atmospheric drag in an unusual low-altitude orbit launched Saturday on top of a Japanese H-2A rocket.

The two Japanese-built spacecraft rocketed away from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan at 0126:22 GMT Saturday (8:26:22 p.m. EST Friday) inside the H-2A's payload fairing.

Liftoff occurred at 10:26 a.m. Saturday Japan Standard Time.

Mounted on a dual-payload adapter fixture, the satellites were released into two distinct orbits a few hundred miles above Earth by the H-2A's upper stage.

[...] The Shikisai satellite carries a wide-area global imaging instrument package including a visible and near-infrared radiometer and an infrared scanner to extend climate observations made by Japan's ADEOS 2 spacecraft, which succumbed to a power failure and ended its mission in 2003.

During its planned five-year mission, the climate monitoring observatory will make "surface and atmospheric measurements related to the carbon cycle and radiation budget, such as clouds, aerosols, ocean color, vegetation, and snow and ice," according to a fact sheet released by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Scientists say Shikisai's observations will improve their understanding of climate change, and help numerical climate models predict future changes. The imager will also track phytoplankton, aerosol, and vegetation activity to map fisheries, monitor the transport of dust, and estimate crop yields, according to JAXA.


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Wednesday, 27 December


Looking Back at 2017: A Year in Rejuvenation Biotechnology Lifeboat News: The Blog

The end of the year is approaching, and as we prepare for the celebrations for the new year, what could be better than sitting down with a warm drink and recapping 2017 in the world of rejuvenation biotechnology?

Winter kick-off

This year has been pretty intense, with a lot going on both at LEAF and in the rest of the community. January saw the launch of the LEAF website, shortly followed by both the Lifeboat Foundation and Trust me Im a biologist partnering with us. Given that its been only a year, were amazed at how enthusiastic and supportive the community has beenand how fast it has grown, with nearly 30,000 Facebook followers late in December! Were also very grateful to our friends at Fight Aging! for their encouragement, support, and appreciation for our work, including honoring us by featuring it on their website!


Unigine 2.6.1 Pushes The Jaw-Dropping Visuals With This Cross-Platform Game/Sim Engine Phoronix

While Unigine Engine 2 has yet to be picked up by any major games besides Dual Universe, this highly advanced game engine continues advancing and its effort for industrial simulators appears to be paying off as well. Unigine Corp is ending out 2017 by having released Unigine 2.6.1...


The popular cryptocurrency exchange EtherDelta suffered a DNS attack Security Affairs

The popular cryptocurrency exchange EtherDelta was hacked, attackers conducted a DNS attack that allowed to steal at least 308 ETH ($266,789) as well as a large number of tokens.

The spike in cryptocurrency values is attracting cybercriminals, the last victim is the popular cryptocurrency exchange EtherDelta that announced a potential attack against its DNS server.

As result of the attack, the exchange suspended its service, below the tweet sent by the company that confirms that its server was hacked by attackers.

The attackers spoofed EtherDeltas domain to trick users into sending money.

At least 308 ETH ($266,789) were stolen, as well as a large number of tokens potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. reported Mashable.

EtherDelta posted another tweet to warn its users and explain that the impostors app had no chat button on the navigation bar, nor did it have an official Twitter feed on the bottom right. EtherDelta advised all users not to use the site.

On Dec. 22, the service was fully restored. The company clarified that users using the MetaMask or hardware wallet on EtherDelta were not affected by the attack, also users that had never imported their private key on the imposers phishing site are safe.



The Vulkan Moments Of 2017: More Games, Better Drivers & Continued Open-Source Adoption Phoronix

This year on Phoronix were more than 290 news articles on Phoronix about the Vulkan graphics API, not counting our dozens of Vulkan benchmarking articles, etc. Here's a look at the most popular Vulkan moments of the year...


War Stories | Ultima Online: The Virtual Ecology SoylentNews

ArsTechnica has a very interesting video (with transcript) that features Richard Garriot, co-creator of Ultima Online, discussing the virtual ecology of the game and how it went pear shaped as soon as the game was released.

When creating Ultima Online, Richard Garriott had grand dreams. He and Starr Long planned on implementing a virtual ecology into their massively multiplayer online role-playing game. It was an ambitious system, one that would have cows that graze and predators that eat herbivores. However, once the game went live a small problem had arisen...

Source: [Ed-Requires ecmascript]

Original Submission

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Balance like a Mountain Goat on this Simple Stewart Platform Hackaday

No goats were harmed in the making of this 3-DOF Stewart platform for [Bruce Land]s microcontrollers course at Cornell.

[Bruce Land]s course is always a bonanza of neat projects that pop up in our tipline this time of year, like a POV box fan, a coin cell Rickrolling throwie, and a dynamometer for small electric motors.

Filed under: Microcontrollers


Intel Icelake Support Gets Further Into Shape For LLVM Clang 6.0 Phoronix

LLVM's Clang compiler support for the Intel Icelake processors that succeed Cannonlake is getting into better shape ahead of the LLVM/Clang 6.0 feature freeze in January...


BlueZ 5.48 Brings New Features Phoronix

The BlueZ Linux Bluetooth stack is out with a new feature update before ending out the year...


Raw: Battistelli Stacking the Deck of the Internal EPO Court Techrights

Original/full: English [PDF] | German [PDF]

Stacking the deck

Summary: A look back at how separation of powers was blatantly eliminated at the European Patent Office, courtesy of an insecure bully who was put in charge of the Office


Mozilla patches five issues in Thunderbird, including a critical flaw Security Affairs

Mozilla issued a critical security update to address five flaws in the popular open-source Thunderbird email client.

The latest release, Thunderbird 52.5.2 version, fixes the vulnerabilities, including two issues rated as high, one rated moderate and another low.

A buffer overflow occurs when drawing and validating elements using Direct 3D 9 with the ANGLE graphics library, used for WebGL content. This is due to an incorrect value being passed within the library during checks and results in a potentially exploitable crash. reads the security advisory published by the Mozilla Foundation.

The two security vulnerabilities rated as high were CVE-2017-7846 and CVE-2017-7847. The first one (CVE-2017-7846) affects the Thunderbirds RSS reader.

It is possible to execute JavaScript in the parsed RSS feed when RSS feed is viewed as a website, e.g. via View -> Feed article -> Website or in the standard format of View -> Feed article -> default format reads the advisory.

The second high-severity issue tracked as CVE-2017-7847 also affect the RSS reader.

Crafted CSS in an RSS feed can leak and reveal local path strings, which may contain user name. states the advisory.


The moderate issue tracked as CVE-2017-7848 also affects the RSS feed, while low issue tracked as CVE-2017-7829 impacts email.

It is possible to spoof the senders email address and display an arbitrary sender address to the email recipient. The real senders address is not displayed if preceded by a null character in the display string. reads Mozillas advisory.



Angola's First Communications Satellite Lifts Off from Kazakhstan SoylentNews

A Ukrainian-built Zenit booster and a Russian-made Fregat upper stage launched with an Angolan communications satellite Tuesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, heading for an orbital perch more than 22,000 miles above Earth.

A nearly 20-story-tall Zenit rocket lifted off with the Angosat 1 spacecraft at 1900 GMT (2 p.m. EST) Tuesday from Site 45 at the historic spaceport in Kazakhstan, where launch occurred at 1 a.m. Wednesday local time.

A live webcast of the launch provided by Roscosmos showed the Zenit booster climbing through low clouds over the frigid launch base, heading northeast over the Kazakh steppe.

Deployment of the 3,631-pound (1,647-kilogram) Angosat 1 satellite from the Zenit's Fregat upper stage is expected at 0354 GMT Wednesday (10:54 p.m. EST Tuesday) after three Fregat engine burns to place the spacecraft into a circular geostationary orbit nearly 22,300 miles (nearly 35,800 kilometers) over the equator.

[...] Angosat 1 is Angola's first communications satellite, the product of an inter-governmental agreement signed between the Angolan and Russian governments in 2009. Built by RSC Energia, a major Russian aerospace contractor, Angosat 1 is designed for a 15-year mission providing television broadcast, Internet, radio and other telecommunications services to Angola, the rest of Africa and parts of Europe.

The satellite carries 16 C-band and six Ku-band transponders, and controllers will position it along the equator at 13 degrees east longitude to start its mission.

Airbus Defense and Space reportedly supplied the communications payload for the Angosat 1 satellite.

Russian engineers also helped construct and activate a satellite control center near the Angolan capital of Luanda on the southwest coast of Africa, where officials will oversee Angosat 1 operations.

The launch of Angosat 1 aboard a Zenit rocket is a rare example of cooperation between Russia and Ukraine, whose relations have soured since 2014 with Russia's annexation of Crimea and involvement in an ongoing civil war.


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Raw: Battistellis Behaviour is Not Only Dangerous for the EPO Staff But is Also Putting the Reputation of the Organisation at Risks. Techrights

Reputation of the swastika (long used in India) was OK before the Nazis hijacked it

A swastika florist

Summary: The Central Staff Committee of the European Patent Office has long been concerned about the managements misguided direction and the number of Administrative Council Delegations considering that Mr Battistelli is becoming a liability for the Organisation is increasing, it said

Dear colleagues,

The organizers of the IFLRE initiative have recently requested the Central Staff Committee to forward to the President a letter calling for strikes even though the President refused to organize a ballot in accordance with Circular 347. The organizers did not sign the letter individually. Understandably, they wish to remain anonymous, to be protected from any possible management retaliation.

The President has sent to the Chairman of the CSC his position on the matter (now also made available to staff in Communiqu 42 in the Intranet). The CSC invites you to read it carefully.

We take note of the threats which the President makes towards staff and towards the CSC. We also note that the President remains unwilling to follow the EPO regulations, even those he recently imposed upon staff, and which have contributed to deteriorate the social atmosphere at the EPO.

We are greatly concerned about the Presidents and the higher echelons of DG4s propensity for an autocratic and repressive approach to human resource management.

Therefore, in the current circumstances we advise staff not to take unnecessary risks and make themselves too easy a target for repressive management.

The lawfulness of the recently introduced strike regulations and of their consequences for staff should soon be clarified: legal actions in front of national courts are pending in Germany and The Netherlands, and the President might have to change his position soon (the decision of the Dutch judge should be available early January 2014).

The number of Administrative Council Delegations considering that Mr Battistelli is becoming a liability for the Organisation is increasing. The Presidents behaviour is not only dangerous for the EPO staff but is also putting the reputation of the Organisation at risks.

The CSC makes a point of keeping the Delegations well informed of what is happening in the Office.

The Central Staff Committee


PS4 4.05 Kernel Exploit Released, Full Jailbreak Round the Corner TorrentFreak

Most custom hardware is seriously locked down these days, with many corporations viewing any tinkering with their machines as unacceptable at best, illegal at worst.

When people free computing hardware so-called jailbreaking it can be used for almost any purpose. The famous Cydia, for example, created a whole alternative iOS app store, one free of the constraints of Apple.

Of course, jailbreaking has also become synonymous with breaking fundamental copy protection, allowing pirated software to run on a range of devices from cellphones to todays cutting-edge games consoles. The flip side of that coin is that people are also able to run so-called homebrew code, programs developed by hobbyists for purposes that do not breach copyright law.

This dual use situation means that two separate sets of communities get excited when exploits are found for key hardware. Thats been the case for some time now with two sets of developers Team Fail0verflow and Specter revealing work on a kernel exploit for firmware 4.05 on Playstation 4.

In November, Wololo published an interview with Specter and two days ago received direct confirmation that the exploit would be published soon. That moment has now arrived.

As noted in Specters tweet, the release is available on Github, where the developer provides more details.

In this project you will find a full implementation of the namedobj kernel exploit for the PlayStation 4 on 4.05, Specter writes.

It will allow you to run arbitrary code as kernel, to allow jailbreaking and kernel-level modifications to the system.

The news that the exploit can enable a jailbreak is huge news for fans of the scene, who will be eagerly standing by for the next piece of the puzzle which is likely to be just around the corner.



The Unitary Patent is Dying or Dead, But Team UPC Might Rebrand Again and Reattempt Techrights

Politicians like to rename controversial bills (legislation) in an effort to confuse/defuse the opposition

An opinion in a newspaper

Summary: 2017 was a terrible year for the Unified Patent Court (UPC); expect 2018 to be no better

VARIOUS high-profile (and reliable) people have already described the UPC as a Trojan horse for all sorts of things, including software patents in Europe. Those who dont know about it could use their search skills, for some are evidently still in denial about it.

Dont believe people who say that the UPC can start in 2018. Those people might as well admit that they still believe in Santa Claus.The UPC would further accentuate some of the very worst elements at the EPO, with Battistelli as their embodiment. The deadline for constitutional complaint comments in Germany is only 4 days away and it can take several years for the case to conclude. In the meantime, the Conservatives-led government of the UK does a shambolic job with Brexit and UPC is hardly even on the agenda. Without both of these countries on board, the UPC is dead. The whole thing might, some day, need to be rewritten and redone. And even then, Germany may continue to reject it on constitutional grounds. Will we one day hear of a Continental Patent Court (CPC)? Acronym collision notwithstanding?

Dont believe people who say that the UPC can start in 2018. Those people might as well admit that they still believe in Santa Claus. Theyre either deeply delusional or theyre attempting to sell services (i.e. they lie for income).

The only reform the Office needs is a return to the way things used to be the way which made it the worlds best patent office, not an assembly line of low-quality patents for the UPC till (docket).So absurd is the idea that the European Commission wants a UPC-type system from the same Office which is so rife with corruption and injustice, where the President is alleged to have vested/personal interests (and his country too) in UPC, where nepotism is utterly blatant and truth is treated like treason (truth tellers find leaflets and sports equipment cast as Nazism and weapons* while betrayers of the EPC get promoted**).

We shall continue to release new information and documents about the EPO. The goal is justice, not sabotage. The only reform the Office needs is a...


Crispr Isnt Enough Any More. Get Ready for Gene Editing 2.0 Lifeboat News: The Blog

Usually, when weve referred to Crispr, weve really meant Crispr/Cas9a riboprotein complex composed of a short strand of RNA and an efficient DNA-cutting enzyme. It did for biology and medicine what the Model T did for manufacturing and transportation; democratizing access to a revolutionary technology and disrupting the status quo in the process. Crispr has already been used to treat cancer in humans, and it could be in clinical trials to cure genetic diseases like sickle cell anemia and beta thalassemia as soon as next year.

But like the Model T, Crispr Classic is somewhat clunky, unreliable, and a bit dangerous. It cant bind to just any place in the genome. It sometimes cuts in the wrong places. And it has no off-switch. If the Model T was prone to overheating, Crispr Classic is prone to overeating.

Even with these limitations, Crispr Classic will continue to be a workhorse for science in 2018 and beyond. But this year, newer, flashier gene editing tools began rolling off the production line, promising to outshine their first-generation cousin. So if you were just getting your head around Crispr, buckle up. Because gene-editing 2.0 is here.


Aireon Hitchhikes on Iridium to Track Airplanes Hackaday

SpaceX just concluded 2017 by launching 10 Iridium NEXT satellites. A footnote on the launch was the hosted payload on board each of the satellites: a small box of equipment from Aireon. They will track every aircraft around the world in real-time, something that has been technically possible but nobody claimed they could do it economically until now.

Challenge one: avoid adding cost to aircraft. Instead of using expensive satcom or adding dedicated gear, Aireon listen to ADS-B equipment already installed as part of international air traffic control modernization. But since ADS-B was designed for aircraft-to-aircraft and aircraft-to-ground, Aireon had some challenges to overcome. Like the fact ADS-B antenna is commonly mounted on the belly of an aircraft blocking direct path to satellite.

Challenge two: hear ADS-B everywhere and do it for less. Today we can track aircraft when they are flying over land, but out in the middle of the ocean, there are no receivers in range except possibly other aircraft. Aireon needed a lot of low-orbit satellites to ensure you are in range no matter where you are. Piggybacking on Iridium gives them coverage at a fraction of the cost of building their own satellites.

These Iridium launches also create exactEarth, a maritime counterpart to Aireon that track ships via their AIS broadcast. The remaining Iridium NEXT satellites and with them, these listening nodes will launch next year to complete the network. Hopefully mysteries like Malaysia Airlines 370 will never happen again.

You dont need a satellite network to join in the fun. You can listen to these data signals right where you are. We have a guide for receiving ADS-B sent by airplanes, and a guide for receiving AIS sent by ships.

Filed under: Network Hacks,