IndyWatch Science and Technology News Feed Archiver

Go Back:30 Days | 7 Days | 2 Days | 1 Day

IndyWatch Science and Technology News Feed Today.

Go Forward:1 Day | 2 Days | 7 Days | 30 Days

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

Monday, 29 January


Senate Investigators Google Their Way to $766 Million of Fentanyl SoylentNews

With Google, Bitcoins, and USPS, Feds realize it's stupid easy to buy fentanyl

A congressional report released Wednesday lays out just how easy it is for Americans to buy the deadly opioid fentanyl from Chinese suppliers online and have it shipped to them via the government's own postal service. The report also lays out just how difficult the practice will be to stop.

After Googling phrases such as "fentanyl for sale," Senate investigators followed up with just six of the online sellers they found. This eventually led them to 500 financial transaction records, accounting for about $766 million worth of fentanyl entering the country and at least seven traceable overdose deaths.

[...] "Thanks to our bipartisan investigation, we now know the depth to which drug traffickers exploit our mail system to ship fentanyl and other synthetic drugs into the United States," Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio said in a statement. "The federal government can, and must, act to shore up our defenses against this deadly drug and help save lives."

Related: Opioid Addiction is Big Business
Heroin, Fentanyl? Meh: Carfentanil is the Latest Killer Opioid
Tip for Darknet Drug Lords: Don't Wear Latex Gloves to the Post Office
Cop Brushes Fentanyl Off Uniform, Overdoses
Congress Reacts to Reports that a 2016 Law Hindered DEA's Ability to go after Opioid Distributors
Opioid Crisis Official; Insys Therapeutics Billionaire Founder Charged; Walgreens Stocks Narcan

Original Submission

Read more of this story at SoylentNews.


Googles AI-powered Clips camera is now on sale TechWorm

Clips camera now available for pre-order in the Google Play Store

Back in October 2017 at the Made by Google hardware event, Google had announced an AI (artificial intelligence) powered camera called Clips that captures images and video on your behalf. The tech giant has now quietly put the Clips camera on sale.

This year, people will take about a trillion photos, and for many of us, that means a digital photo gallery filled with images that we wont actually look at, Google writes. This is especially true with new parents, whose day-to-day experience is full of firsts.

During moments that can feel precious and fleeting, users are drawn to their smartphone cameras in hopes of capturing and preserving memories for their future selves. As a result, they often end up viewing the world through a tiny screen instead of interacting using all their senses.

It measures just 2.0 x 2.0 x 0.8 and weighs a mere 1.5 ounces. The lightweight, autonomous, hands-free camera that is tiny is size comes with Moment IQ, a machine learning algorithm that lets it figure out whos important and the right time to capture images based on expressions, lighting and framing.

Google Clips is smart enough to recognize great expressions, lighting and framing. So the camera captures beautiful, spontaneous images. And it gets smarter over time, Googles website reads.

Google Clips camera has a low-light mode and automatically adjusts its resolution according to the situation. Further, the camera comes with a 130-degree lens to fit more of the scene in the frame and is protected with Gorilla Glass. It can capture up to 15 frames per second and later use machine intelligence to automatically select the best shots from that burst mode.

The square-shaped camera, which measures about 2-inch, comes with a 12-megapixel sensor and automatically shoots images and small video loops. There is also a manual shutter button and power can be controlled via twisting the lens. The most interesting part is that the camera comes with a clip stand, so that it can stand on its own. On the other hand, the camera can stand upright on its flat base even without the clip.

The camera comes with 16GB of internal storage, and a battery which can function for up to three hours of capture with a Wi-Fi Direct for transferring photos to the smartphone. Currently, the apps smartphone compatibility is limited and is compatible with the Google Pixel, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S8 running on Android 7.0 or greater, as well as iPhones 6 and up running on iOS 10 and greater. The device includes Bluetooth LE and a USB-C port, wherein the latter is used to recharge the camera.

What is interesting is that Google starts its processing on the Clips camera itself, rather than in the cloud. Everything is saved locally unless you decide to share it online. Eve...


Linux 4.15 Is Set To Sail Today With AMDGPU DC, Zen Temperature Monitoring, RISC-V Phoronix

After going through nine weekly release candidates, the Linux 4.15 kernel is set to be released today as the first major stable update of 2018...


Japan-based digital exchange Coincheck to refund to customers after cyberheist Security Affairs

Coincheck announced it will refund about $400 million to 260,000 customers after the hack, the company will use its own funds.

On Friday the news of the hack of the Japan-based digital exchange Coincheck caused the drop in the value of the major cryptocurrencies, the incident had a significant impact on the NEM value that dropped more than 16 percent in 24 hours.

The company suspended the operations of deposits and withdrawals for all the virtual currencies except Bitcoin, the exchange announced it was investigating an unauthorised access to the exchange.

According to the company, the hackers stole worth half a billion US dollars of NEM, the 10th biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

The hackers stole 58 billion yen ($530 million), an amount of money that is greater than the value of bitcoins which disappeared from MtGox in 2014.

Coincheck was founded in 2012, it is one of the most important cryptocurrency exchange in Asia.

The company announced it will refund about $400 million to customers after the hack. 

Coincheck will use its own funds to reimburse about 46.3 billion yen to its 260,000 customers who were impacted by the cyberheist.

At 3 am (1800 GMT) today, 523 million NEMs were sent from the NEM address of Coincheck. Its worth 58 billion yen based on the calculation at the rate when detected, said Coincheck COO Yusuke Otsuka.

Were still examining how many of our customers are affected,

Experts believe that the Financial Services Agency will to take disciplinary measures against Coincheck.

It has been estimated that as many as 10,000 businesses in Japan accept bitcoin and bitFlyer, nearly one-third of global Bitcoin transactions in December were denominated in yen.The Cryptocurrencies, and in particular Bitcoin, are very popular in Japan, in April, the Bitcoin was proclaimed by the local authorities as legal tender.

According to Japanese bitcoin monitoring site, in November, yen-denominated bitcoin trades reached a record 4.51 million bitcoins, or nearly half of the worlds major exchanges of 9.29 million bitcoin.

Japanese media criticized the company blaming the management to have underestimated the importance o...


Is Torrenting Legal? TechWorm

Imagine this: You have a file that you wish to download to your computer. But it is so heavy it requires a high bandwidth. If you proceed to do it, it may take you hours or even days to complete the process.

How do you speed it up? This is where the idea of torrent comes in.

Torrenting (or using torrent) has been around for a couple of years, but because not many understand how it truly works, it has also been a favorite subject of controversy. Is it illegal to download files from the system? Before we answer the question, lets discuss its process.

How Torrents Work?

Torrents have been compared with the peer-to-peer system because they both involve sharing files. But they are two different methods.

In the peer-to-peer system, all the users make use of a program or a software to download the files. If you wish to download a file, you, therefore, reach out to other users who are hosting them.

The big problem with this setup is you can be on the losing end. If a person suddenly turns off his computer, for example, after he downloaded the file, you cannot complete the process. For this reason, the peer-to-peer software or program often penalizes the behavior usually by booting you out.

Torrenting came later. The objective is to hasten the downloading of what could have been a much heavier file by breaking it down, putting it in different places, and then piecing it all together simultaneously once you want to download it.

As an illustration, lets say you have file A, which is about 3 GB. In the torrent system, it becomes file A-1, A-2, A-3, etc. Different users host this file. Now you want to download it, the system then picks A-1, A-2, A-3, and all the others, putting them all together to complete the file. Because the process is simultaneous, it doesnt hurt the bandwidth, and it doesnt corrupt the file.

Torrent also has other advantages against the peer-to-peer system. It doesnt rely on a program, so it doesnt take eat a space in your memory. Rather, it is web-based. Second, it doesnt allow people to drop out once they already have the files through a rewards system: the more files you host and share, the faster the download process is.

Is Torrenting Legal?

Is Torrenting Illegal?

There are many ways to use torrent, but many of the users tend to depend on torrent for one reason: downloading of heavy content such as TV shows and movies....


Cool Cousin to Implement Blockchain in Order to Become World First P2P Travel Agency TechWorm

Tourism is an industry whose size and value creation can compete with any other industry in the world. People move around the world for different reasons and at different times, however, the unique cultures of travel locations remain peculiar and best understood by the locals.

The tourism industry is a combination of various other fields in smaller bits that determine the outcome of travel experiences, especially for people traveling to unfamiliar destinations.

People travel for different reasons such as work, vacation, exploration, e.t.c. Hence, depending on their specific reasons, individuals arriving to new destinations normally need some level of guidance either for their entire trip or at least the initial stages before they settle.

The impact of online agencies

Mainstream travel agencies have played significant roles in enabling tourists achieve convenience in their trips. However, the innovation introduced by online based platforms has taken the industry to new heights, placing it among the worlds largest industries with a market turnover of over $2.3 trillion in 2016 alone. A growth which saw the industrys user base experience an unprecedented growth of 220% in six months.

Cool Cousin to Implement Blockchain in Order to Become World First P2P Travel Agency

Online booking platforms have registered staggering figures that make the mainstream outlets look like childs play. Examples include, Priceline ($85B), Airbnb ($30B), Yelp ($3.5), TripAdvisor ($5B) among others. These platforms thrive on the globalized nature of the internet which affords the option of public reviews and opinions, thereby presenting the semblance of fairness in terms of ratings. However, the possibility of foul play puts the reliability of these platforms in question. The actions of centralized platforms that influence reviews to make their services attractive in a competitive market is a weakness that is currently hurting the industry.

Information overload and biased content in the centralized travel market, makes it impossible for travelers to find relevant info. No matter how hard they try to avoid dubious recommendations, much of their vacation time (and dime) is wasted on mediocre places that dont fit their vibe, says Itai Nagler, CEO and founder of Cool Cousin

Localized participation



The Tiniest Working 68K System Hackaday

68000 microprocessors appeared in the earliest Apple Macintoshes, the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST, and the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive among other familiar systems. If you were alive during the 16-bit era, there is a good chance that you will have owned a Motorola 68000 or one of its derivatives in a computer or game console. By the end of the 1990s it was clear that the 68K line had had its day on the desktop, but a new life for it at the consumer level was found in the PDA market. The first Motorola Dragonball was a 68000 series system-on-chip, and it was a few of these in a BGA package that [Plasmode] had in stock after ordering them in error believing them to be in a different package.

The Dragonball 68328 has an interesting bootstrap mode allowing it to run with no external ROM or RAM, and with only a serial connection to the outside world. Recognising this as having the potential for the smallest possible 68K system, he proceeded to make it happen with some impressive soldering direct to the solder balls of an upturned BGA package.

On a piece of PCB material are simply the 68328, a 32.768kHz crystal and capacitors, a MAX232 circuit for an RS232 serial connection, a reset button, and a power regulator. Using the Motorola DOS debug software which is still available for download after all these years, he was able to connect to his tiny 68K computer and run code. Its not entirely useful, but of all the possible 68K configurations it has to be the smallest.

This isnt the first minimal computer using only a processor chip and serial link, in the past weve shown you a PDP-11 in the same vein.


Counting Patents is Not Measuring Innovation and Checking Patents is Often Assessing Vapourware Techrights

More patents mean patent maximalism, not necessarily innovation (an old myth like griffins)

Mythological creature

Summary: The tough reality about patents, which are basically pieces of paper with some text and drawings, not what corporate media wants us to think of them (innovation)

FIVE DAYS AGO we saw the headline South Dakotans got more patents in 2017 than any previous year (sounds great, doesnt it?).

As patent numbers generally increase at a growing pace (now at an all-time high at the USPTO), this is a pretty meaningless thing to note; its probably true in most US states, not just South Dakota. The subtle implication is a corny assertion that more patents directly lead to more innovation however one actually defines the term (some have made it synonymous with patents).

The subtle implication is a corny assertion that more patents directly lead to more innovation however one actually defines the term (some have made it synonymous with patents).Theres still this tendency in local media to glorify newly-granted patents in the area (here are a couple of new examples [1, 2]). Theres also the assumption that patents imply ongoing/imminent implementation of some product (here is a new example of Samsung [1, 2] and of Sony). In practice, as latest news from China serves to show [...


Mesa 18.0 Features Include Many OpenGL/Vulkan Improvements, Intel Shader Cache & Extras Phoronix

Mesa 18.0 is currently being prepared for release by mid-February and is yet another feature-packaged, quarterly update to this open-source 3D graphics driver stack with significant improvements for OpenGL and Vulkan support and performance.


AI Potentially Deciphers Voynich Manuscript SoylentNews

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Greg Kondrak, a computer scientist from University of Alberta's AI lab, claims to have begun decoding the mystery behind the unknown text with his novel algorithm, CTVNews reported.

[...] It is believed that the manuscript is somehow related to women's health but there is no solid clue, according to the report. People have made wild guesses regarding the code, with at least eight making firm claims only to be debunked later on.

Kondark, however, took a different approach towards solving the problem artificial intelligence. "Once you see it, once you find out the mystery, this is a natural human tendency to solve the puzzle," the computer scientist told CTVNews. "I was intrigued and thought I could contribute something new."

He and his co-author Bradley Hauer combined novel AI algorithms with statistical procedures to identify and translate the language. The approach, which had been used to translate United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 380 languages, came in handy and suggested the language was Hebrew, albeit with critical tweaks.

They found that the letters in every word had been reordered and the vowels were dropped in the code. The first complete sentence which the AI decrypted read, "She made recommendations to the priest, man of the house and me and people." One section of the text carries words that translate into "farmer", "light", "air", and "fire".

The translated line could be the starting of something big but it is a long way to go for Kondark, who stresses on the need of complementary human assistance. However, it is not clear how accurate the translation really is.

"Somebody with very good knowledge of Hebrew and who's a historian at the same time could take this evidence and follow this kind of clue," he said while highlighting the need of someone who could make sense of the translated text.

For those who may not be familiar with the manuscript, see Voynich Manuscript at Wikipedia, or read it yourself at (Javascript required).

Original Submission

Read more of this story at SoylentNews.


Open-Source Project Trying To Map Vulkan Onto Direct3D 12 & Metal Phoronix

While we are seeing exciting projects at the moment about mapping Direct3D 11 over Vulkan (as well as D3D9 and D3D12 over Vulkan projects too), there are new open-source projects for mapping Vulkan over Direct3D 12 and Metal...


Links 28/1/2018: New Fedora 27 ISO, New Release of Netrunner Rolling Techrights

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Maxim Burgerhout: User-friendly Windows

      So for some app my kids want to use, I needed to setup Windows. And a printer. I have a Samsung M2070W, and I have had it for years. It has not always been easy to use (hell no!), but it generally works after a few kicks in the groin.

      Ive used it with my iPad, with various Android devices, and various Linux distributions. And now, I needed to set it up in Windows.


      I guess. Unless you count the fact that many devices need vendor drivers to begin with, because Windows doesnt ship with them.

      Well any