Google Sponsors 2 Full-Time Devs To Improve Linux Security

Worried about the security of Linux and open-source code, Google is sponsoring a pair of full-time developers to work on the kernel’s security. From a report: The internet giant builds code from its own repositories rather than downloading outside binaries, though given the pace at which code is being added to Linux, this task is non-trivial. Google’s open-source security team lead Dan Lorenc spoke to The Register about its approach, and why it will not use pre-built binaries despite their convenience. But first: the two individuals full-time sponsored by Google are Gustavo Silva, whose work includes eliminating some classes of buffer overflow risks and on kernel self-protection, and Nathan Chancellor, who fixes bugs in the Clang/LLVM compilers and improves compiler warnings. Both are already working at the Linux Foundation, so what is new?

“Gustavo’s been working on the Linux kernel at the Linux Foundation for several years now,” Lorenc tells us. “We’ve actually been sponsoring it within the Foundation for a number of years. The main change is that we’re trying to talk about it more, to encourage other companies to participate. It’s a model that works, we’re trying to expand it, find contributors that want to turn this into a full-time thing, and giving them the funding to do that.” It is in the nature of open source that Google’s funding benefits other Linux users, and it is also in the company’s interests. How important is Linux to Google? “It’s absolutely critical. Google started on Linux. We use it everywhere,” says Lorenc. That being the case, why can Google only manage “Gold” membership of the Linux Foundation ($100,000 per annum), whereas others including Microsoft, Intel, Facebook, and Red Hat are “Platinum”, which contributes $500,000 annually? “I’m not sure about that stuff. There are dozens of sub-foundations which we are also members of,” he adds. Google is ahead of AWS, which is a mere “Silver” member ($20,000 a year).

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Source: Slashdot – Google Sponsors 2 Full-Time Devs To Improve Linux Security

How To Keep Your Expiring Travel Rewards Points

After a year of travel restrictions, nearly a third of all credit card holders have not redeemed their credit card rewards. But will these rewards expire before you’re ready to use them? Fortunately, most cards don’t have a hard cutoff date, although that comes with one caveat—some rewards eventually expire if you…

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Source: LifeHacker – How To Keep Your Expiring Travel Rewards Points

AMD will announce its next Radeon RX 6000 GPU on March 3rd

Excited to learn about more GPUs you probably won’t be able to buy anytime soon? Us too. And thankfully AMD is about to oblige. After promising at CES it had more desktop GPUs on the way for the first half of the year, the company announced today it…

Source: Engadget – AMD will announce its next Radeon RX 6000 GPU on March 3rd

Researchers Develop High-Speed Data Interface To Replace Fiber And Copper Cables

Researchers Develop High-Speed Data Interface To Replace Fiber And Copper Cables
In a day and age where everything is connected, there is a growing need for high-speed and energy-efficient data transfers.  A technology that fits this bill could be used in anything from consumer applications to future spacecraft and space stations. Amazingly, this mysterious and powerful technology may not be just an idea, thanks to researchers

Source: Hot Hardware – Researchers Develop High-Speed Data Interface To Replace Fiber And Copper Cables

Lone high-energy neutrino likely came from shredded star in distant galaxy

The remains of a shredded star formed an accretion disk around the black hole whose powerful tidal forces ripped it apart. This created a cosmic particle accelerator spewing out fast subatomic particles.

Enlarge / The remains of a shredded star formed an accretion disk around the black hole whose powerful tidal forces ripped it apart. This created a cosmic particle accelerator spewing out fast subatomic particles. (credit: DESY, Science Communication Lab)

Roughly 700 million years ago, a tiny subatomic particle was born in a galaxy far, far away, and began its journey across the vast expanses of our universe. That neutrino finally reached the Earth’s South Pole last October, setting off detectors buried deep beneath the Antarctic ice. A few months earlier, a telescope in California had recorded a bright glow emanating from the friction of that same distant galaxy—evidence of a so-called “tidal disruption event” (TDE), most likely the result of a star being shredded by a supermassive black hole.

According to two new papers (here and here) published in the journal Nature Astronomy, that lone neutrino was likely born from the TDE, which serves as a cosmic-scale particle accelerator near the center of the distant galaxy, spewing out high-energy subatomic particles as the star’s matter is consumed by the black hole. This finding also sheds light on the origin of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays, a question that has puzzled astronomers for decades.

“The origin of cosmic high-energy neutrinos is unknown, primarily because they are notoriously hard to pin down,” said co-author Sjoert van Velzen, a postdoc at New York University at the time of the discovery. “This result would be only the second time high-energy neutrinos have been traced back to their source.”

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Source: Ars Technica – Lone high-energy neutrino likely came from shredded star in distant galaxy

Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Nano Takes the Lightest Laptop Crown

As we lean into a few more months of WFH life, none of us are looking for the thinnest and lightest laptops out there. The road warriors hunting for something slightly lighter than a cinder block are stuck inside, and couch surfing is now usually done on the phone, not on some wafer-thin slab of plastic and silicon.…

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Source: Gizmodo – Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Nano Takes the Lightest Laptop Crown

Is Paramount+ Worth It?

Not to be outdone by Disney+ and HBO Max, Viacom recently announced its own streaming service, creatively named Paramount+, will launch on March 4. The unrelenting number of newer streaming services—Disney+, Discovery+, Apple TV+ and all the plus-es you can think of—when placed alongside legacy companies like Hulu and…

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Source: LifeHacker – Is Paramount+ Worth It?

AMD's Mainstream Radeon RX 6000 RDNA 2 Card To Be Revealed March 3, What To Expect

AMD's Mainstream Radeon RX 6000 RDNA 2 Card To Be Revealed March 3, What To Expect
We’ve been hearing about a new mid-range RDNA2 card from AMD for months, and it now looks as though the wait is nearly over. AMD tweeted this morning that it will hold a special event on March 3rd at 11 am during which it will announce the latest member of the Radeon RX 6000 family.

Although AMD doesn’t delve into any specifics, we’re sure

Source: Hot Hardware – AMD’s Mainstream Radeon RX 6000 RDNA 2 Card To Be Revealed March 3, What To Expect

Survival game 'Valheim' sold four million copies in three weeks of early access

It’s only been three weeks since Iron Gate Studio, a five-person team in Sweden, released Valheim and it already has a massive hit on its hands. The co-op Viking survival game has sold over four million copies even though it’s still in early…

Source: Engadget – Survival game ‘Valheim’ sold four million copies in three weeks of early access

What to Know About Johnson & Johnson's One-Shot Covid-19 Vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to soon grant an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Johnson & Johnson’s covid-19 vaccine, possibly as early as this weekend. That decision would make it the third such vaccine to become available to Americans. So it’s as good a time as any to go through the similarities…

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Source: Gizmodo – What to Know About Johnson & Johnson’s One-Shot Covid-19 Vaccine

Ukraine says Russia hacked its document portal and planted malicious files

Ukraine says Russia hacked its document portal and planted malicious files

Enlarge (credit: Oleksii Leonov)

Ukraine has accused the Russian government of hacking into one of its government Web portals and planting malicious documents that would install malware on end users’ computers.

“The purpose of the attack was the mass contamination of information resources of public authorities, as this system is used for the circulation of documents in most public authorities,” officials from Ukraine’s National Coordination Center for Cybersecurity said in a statement published on Wednesday. “The malicious documents contained a macro that secretly downloaded a program to remotely control a computer when opening the files.”

Wednesday’s statement said that the methods used in the attack connected the hackers to the Russian Federation. Ukraine didn’t say if the attack succeeded in infecting any authorities’ computers.

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Source: Ars Technica – Ukraine says Russia hacked its document portal and planted malicious files

Facebook bowed to demands from Turkey to block one of its military opponents

When Turkey launched its Afrin offensive in early 2018 to dislodge Kurdish minorities from Northern Syria, the country ordered Facebook to block the page of a prominent militia group in the area known as the People’s Protection Units or YPG. Forced t…

Source: Engadget – Facebook bowed to demands from Turkey to block one of its military opponents

What Parents Need to Know About Discord

If you—or your teenager—are into gaming, you’ve likely at least heard of Discord, even if you haven’t used it yourself. It’s one more way for teenagers to connect with their friends and chat about gaming or other topics via private or public servers, individual messages, or group chats. But, as with any social network…

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Source: LifeHacker – What Parents Need to Know About Discord

Jon Favreau Digs Deep Into The Mandalorian's Krayt Dragon Sequence

One thing is for certain. Star Wars’ Anakin Skywalker and Jon Favreau do not agree about sand. Anakin says it’s coarse, rough, and gets everywhere. Favreau thinks it’s what made his season two episode of The Mandalorian work so well.

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Source: io9 – Jon Favreau Digs Deep Into The Mandalorian’s Krayt Dragon Sequence

From Blackest Night to Brightest Day: How the Present Has Seen the Glorious Rise of the Black Superhero

Editor’s Note: The Rise of the Black Superhero is a three-part series breaking down the past, present and future of Black superheroes across comics, film, and tv. This is part 2

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Source: Kotaku – From Blackest Night to Brightest Day: How the Present Has Seen the Glorious Rise of the Black Superhero

Gigabyte Aorus GeForce RTX 3060 Elite Brings A Dual BIOS Design For Overclocking Action

Gigabyte Aorus GeForce RTX 3060 Elite Brings A Dual BIOS Design For Overclocking Action
We have just one more day to go before NVIDIA releases its GeForce RTX 3060 to retail, which will be the most affordable version of Ampere thus far. Well, provided retailers and NVIDIA’s add-in-board (AIB) partners stick to the MSRP, or thereabouts. As it pertains to the latter, Gigabyte has introduced an Aorus GeForce RTX 3060 Elite graphics

Source: Hot Hardware – Gigabyte Aorus GeForce RTX 3060 Elite Brings A Dual BIOS Design For Overclocking Action

EA, Bioware cancel Anthem’s sweeping overhaul

The face of a video game character has been photoshopped too look like a clown.

Enlarge / Tears of an Anthem clown. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Bioware / Getty Images)

The story of EA and Bioware’s beleaguered action-RPG Anthem has apparently ended. According to an official Bioware blog post, the ambitious jetpack-combat game’s “overhaul” project is dead. The staff that had been assigned to rebuild the game into a better shape has been reassigned to work on other Bioware projects, particularly Dragon Age 4 and the next Mass Effect game.

From what we saw in the game’s March 2019 launch version, EA and Bioware clearly intended for the game to receive regularly updated content, but negative reviews (including my own) made clear that Bioware needed to go back to the drawing board. Despite some good ideas and fun flight controls, the game’s basic core needed serious touching-up before we’d return to the game.

No more singing of the Anthem

Then-general manager Casey Hudson made a February 2020 statement acknowledging those criticisms. After listing aspects of the game that needed work, he offered a pledge to fans: that Bioware would complete “fundamental work… to bring out the full potential of the experience… specifically working to reinvent the core gameplay loop with clear goals, motivating challenges, and progression with meaningful rewards—while preserving the fun of flying and fighting in a vast science-fantasy setting.”

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Source: Ars Technica – EA, Bioware cancel Anthem’s sweeping overhaul