Taiwan Accuses Chinese Apple Supplier of Stealing Secrets, Charges 14

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Taiwan Accuses Chinese Apple Supplier of Stealing Secrets, Charges 14

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Taiwan Accuses Chinese Apple Supplier of Stealing Secrets, Charges 14

Link: https://slashdot.org/story/22/07/15/153 ... edium=feed

Taiwanese prosecutors on Friday accused a Chinese Apple supplier of stealing commercial secrets from a Taiwanese supplier and poaching its workforce to win orders from the U.S. company, saying it had charged 14 people. From a report: Taiwan has been stepping up efforts to stop what it views as underhand and illegal activities by Chinese firms to steal know-how and poach away talent in what Taipei's government views as a threat to the island's tech prowess. Prosecutors in New Taipei said after a year-and-a-half investigation they had found that China's Luxshare Precision had targeted Taiwanese competitor Catcher Technology "in order to quickly enter the Apple production chain to win orders." Luxshare "lured" Catcher's China based research and development team with promises of high salaries and stole business secrets from the Taiwanese firm, causing them big losses, the prosecutors said in a statement. Luxshare was doing this in order to be able to "quickly build factories and mass produce cases for iPhones, iPads and other products", the statement said.

A Super Fan Collected Every Super Nintendo Game Manual and Made Them Free

Link: https://games.slashdot.org/story/22/07/ ... edium=feed

A Twitch streamer has crowdsourced the manuals for upwards of 850 unique Super Nintendo games and made them free on an online archive. From a report: Video game consoles have come a long way since the Super Nintendo arrived in the U.S. in 1991 and launched a new generation of gamers, but sometimes there is no beating the classics. The console was wildly popular, with more than 700 games released for the system in the U.S., and Kerry Hays (aka "Peebs" on the Twitch streaming platform) has been working on beating every. single. one. "We had wondered, some of these games, had anyone ever even beaten them before? They were so weird and obscure or difficult," he said. And so, Hays turned to the manuals.

For those who weren't playing a lot of video games in the '90s, almost all of them came with a manual inside the case that had lots of helpful information. The manual was where you would find the buttons to push and how the console works. It could also include your lore, backstory, and maybe even a map. "And if you're really lucky, you get a little bit of a walkthrough that would tell you, like, the first 10% of the game," Hays said. [...] The collection is hosted on the Internet Archive and contains upwards of 850 unique Super Nintendo manuals -- and it's all free. Hays says he's not in it for the money.

More Than 200 Congressional Staffers Urge Pelosi and Schumer To Act on Climate

Link: https://politics.slashdot.org/story/22/ ... edium=feed

In a rare move, more than 200 congressional staffers have sent a letter to Democratic leadership in the House and Senate, demanding they close the deal on a climate and clean energy package and warning that failure could doom younger generations. From a report: "We've crafted the legislation necessary to avert climate catastrophe. It's time for you to pass it," the staffers wrote in a letter, sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday evening. The letter, which staffers signed anonymously with initials, was shared first with CNN.

"Our country is nearing the end of a two-year window that represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass transformative climate policy," the letter continues. "The silence on expansive climate justice policy on Capitol Hill this year has been deafening. We write to distance ourselves from your dangerous inaction." The staffers' grievances were delivered as Schumer negotiates with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia on a Democrat-only package that is expected to address inflation, the cost of prescription drugs, energy and the climate crisis. The climate and energy portion has remained the largest sticking point in negotiations, as Manchin has publicly stated he wants to lower gas prices by increasing US energy production.

Working All Day in VR Does Not Increase Productivity, Comfort or Wellbeing, Study Says

Link: https://tech.slashdot.org/story/22/07/1 ... edium=feed

A new study from Germany has found that working in virtual reality does not increase productivity, comfort, or wellbeing, but does say the report will help identify opportunities for improving the experience of working in VR in the future. From a report: The project was headed by Dr Jens Grubert, a specialist in human-computer interaction at Coburg University, Germany. It involved 16 people who had to work for five days, eight hours a week (with 45 mins lunch break), in VR. The participants used Meta Quest 2 VR headsets combined with a Logitech K830 keyboard and Chrome Remote Desktop. The equipment was chosen specifically to create a realistic scenario of what users would be using in today's world.

Participants were also asked specific VR-related questions ('do you feel sick?' or 'are your eyes starting to hurt?'). The research team also monitored the worker's heartbeats and typing speed. The published paper, entitled 'Quantifying the Effects of Working in VR for One Week' found "concerning levels of simulator sickness, below average usability ratings and two participants dropped out on the first day using VR, due to migraine, nausea and anxiety." The study found that, as expected, VR results in significantly worse ratings across most measures. Each test subject scored their VR working experience versus working in a physical environment, many felt their task load had increased, on average by 35%. Frustration was by 42%, the 'negative affect' was up 11%, and anxiety rose by 19%. Mental wellbeing decreased by 20%., eye strain rose 48%, and VR ranked 36% lower on usability. Participants' self-rated workflow went down by 14% and their perceived productivity dropped by 16%.

Cryptocurrency Flowing Into 'Mixers' Hits an All-Time High

Link: https://tech.slashdot.org/story/22/07/1 ... edium=feed

The amount of cryptocurrency flowing into privacy-enhancing mixer services has reached an all-time high this year as funds from wallets belonging to government-sanctioned groups and criminal activity almost doubled, researchers reported on Thursday. ArsTechnica: Mixers, also known as tumblers, obfuscate cryptocurrency transactions by creating a disconnect between the funds a user deposits and the funds the user withdraws. To do this, mixers pool funds deposited by large numbers of users and randomly mix them. Each user can withdraw the entire amount deposited, minus a cut for the mixer, but because the coins come from this jumbled pool, it's harder for blockchain investigators to track precisely where the money went. Some mixers provide additional obfuscation by allowing users to withdraw funds in differing amounts sent to different wallet addresses. Others try to conceal the mixing activity altogether by changing the fee on each transaction or varying the type of deposit address used. Mixer use isn't automatically illegal or unethical. [...].

"Mixers present a difficult question to regulators and members of the cryptocurrency community," researchers from cryptocurrency analysis firm Chainalysis wrote in a report that linked the surge to increased volumes deposited by sanctioned and criminal groups. "Virtually everyone would acknowledge that financial privacy is valuable, and that in a vacuum, there's no reason services like mixers shouldn't be able to provide it. However, the data shows that mixers currently pose a significant money laundering risk, with 25 percent of funds coming from illicit addresses, and that cybercriminals associated with hostile governments are taking advantage." Cryptocurrency received by these mixers fluctuates significantly from day to day, so researchers find it more useful to use longer-term measures. The 30-day moving average of funds received by mixers hit $51.8 million in mid-April, an all-time high, Chainalysis reported. The high-water mark represented almost double the incoming volumes at the same point last year. What's more, illicit wallet addresses accounted for 23 percent of funds sent to mixers this year, up from 12 percent in 2021.

Russia Ousts Boisterous Space Chief Dmitry Rogozin

Link: https://science.slashdot.org/story/22/0 ... edium=feed

Dmitry Rogozin, the blustering head of Russia's state space corporation, Roscosmos, is out of the position following a big shake-up in the Russian government. From a report: He is being replaced by Yury Borisov, Russian deputy prime minister of space and defense, bringing an end to Rogozin's dynamic reign as general director of the country's space program. Rogozin has been in charge of Roscosmos since his appointment as director general in 2018, though prior to that, he was deputy prime minister since 2011, overseeing space and defense. He's been a controversial figure for most of that tenure, resulting in strained relations with NASA -- Russia's largest partner in space. Rogozin was sanctioned by the United States in 2014 and barred from entering the country due to his time as a deputy prime minister during Russia's annexation of Crimea.

As the head of Roscosmos, Rogozin became known for making wildly outlandish statements and threats, many of which put NASA in rather uncomfortable positions. His bombast got renewed focus when Russia began its invasion of Ukraine this year, prompting Rogozin to go into overdrive and make ludicrous claims that many interpreted as threats against NASA and the US / Russian space partnership. For instance, at the start of the war, Rogozin seemed to hint that Roscosmos might pull out of the International Space Station partnership and cause the ISS to come crashing down to Earth. And, after declaring that Russia would no longer supply rocket engines to the United States, Rogozin said NASA astronauts could use "broomsticks" to get to orbit.

Dissecting Microsoft's Proposed Policy To Ban Commercial Open-Source Apps

Link: https://news.slashdot.org/story/22/07/1 ... edium=feed

Microsoft caused considerable consternation in the open source community over the past month, after unveiling a shake up to the way developers will be able to monetize open source software. From a report: There are many examples of open source software sold in Microsoft's app store as full-featured commercial applications, ranging from video editing software such as Shotcut, to FTP clients such as WinSCP. But given how easy it is for anyone to reappropriate and repackage open source software as a new standalone product, it appears that Microsoft is trying to put measures in place to prevent such "copycat" imitations from capitalizing on the hard work of the open source community.

However, at the crux of the issue was the specific wording of Microsoft's new policy, with section 10.8.7 noting that developers must not: ...attempt to profit from open-source or other software that is otherwise generally available for free, nor be priced irrationally high relative to the features and functionality provided by your product. In its current form, the language is seemingly preventing anyone -- including the project owners and maintainers -- from charging for their work. Moreover, some have argued that it could hold implications for proprietary applications that include open source components with certain licenses, while others have noted that developers may be deterred from making their software available under an open source license.

DARPA Is Worried About How Well Open-Source Code Can Be Trusted

Link: https://tech.slashdot.org/story/22/07/1 ... edium=feed

An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: "People are realizing now: wait a minute, literally everything we do is underpinned by Linux," says Dave Aitel, a cybersecurity researcher and former NSA computer security scientist. "This is a core technology to our society. Not understanding kernel security means we can't secure critical infrastructure." Now DARPA, the US military's research arm, wants to understand the collision of code and community that makes these open-source projects work, in order to better understand the risks they face. The goal is to be able to effectively recognize malicious actors and prevent them from disrupting or corrupting crucially important open-source code before it's too late. DARPA's "SocialCyber" program is an 18-month-long, multimillion-dollar project that will combine sociology with recent technological advances in artificial intelligence to map, understand, and protect these massive open-source communities and the code they create. It's different from most previous research because it combines automated analysis of both the code and the social dimensions of open-source software.

Here's how the SocialCyber program works. DARPA has contracted with multiple teams of what it calls "performers," including small, boutique cybersecurity research shops with deep technical chops. One such performer is New York -- based Margin Research, which has put together a team of well-respected researchers for the task. Margin Research is focused on the Linux kernel in part because it's so big and critical that succeeding here, at this scale, means you can make it anywhere else. The plan is to analyze both the code and the community in order to visualize and finally understand the whole ecosystem.

Margin's work maps out who is working on what specific parts of open-source projects. For example, Huawei is currently the biggest contributor to the Linux kernel. Another contributor works for Positive Technologies, a Russian cybersecurity firm that -- like Huawei -- has been sanctioned by the US government, says Aitel. Margin has also mapped code written by NSA employees, many of whom participate in different open-source projects. "This subject kills me," says d'Antoine of the quest to better understand the open-source movement, "because, honestly, even the most simple things seem so novel to so many important people. The government is only just realizing that our critical infrastructure is running code that could be literally being written by sanctioned entities. Right now." This kind of research also aims to find underinvestment -- that is critical software run entirely by one or two volunteers. It's more common than you might think -- so common that one common way software projects currently measure risk is the "bus factor": Does this whole project fall apart if just one person gets hit by a bus? SocialCyber will also tackle other open-source projects too, such as Python which is "used in a huge number of artificial-intelligence and machine-learning projects," notes the report. "The hope is that greater understanding will make it easier to prevent a future disaster, whether it's caused by malicious activity or not."

As Y Chromosomes Vanish With Age, Heart Risks May Grow

Link: https://science.slashdot.org/story/22/0 ... edium=feed

A new paper, published in the journal Science, found that when the Y chromosome was gone from blood cells in male mice genetically engineered to lose their Y chromosomes, scar tissue built up in the heart, leading to heart failure and a shortened life span. The New York Times reports: Because there was a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the loss of Y and ailments of aging in the mice, the study bolsters the notion that the same thing can happen in human males. Researchers have documented an increase in risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer related to loss of the Y chromosome in many studies over the years, including the new one, which used data from a large genetic study of the British population. The loss of Y could even account for some of the difference between the life spans of men and women, the authors of the Science study say.

At least 40 percent of males lose the Y chromosome from some of their blood cells by age 70. And by age 93, at least 57 percent have lost some of it. The chromosome is lost sporadically from blood cells during cell division, when it is kicked out of some cells and then disintegrates. The result is what researchers call a mosaic loss of Y. There is no way, other than to stop smoking, to reduce the risk of losing the Y chromosome. And the condition is unrelated to men having lower levels of testosterone in their bodies as they age. Taking testosterone supplements would have no effect, nor would it reverse the consequences. [...]

It is too soon to say what men should do -- other than to stop smoking -- to protect themselves from losing their Y chromosomes or to alleviate the consequences. Those in [the researcher's] group found they could protect the hearts of the mice without Y chromosomes by blocking TGF-beta, a key molecule involved in the production of scar tissue. Dr. Stephen Chanock, the director of the division of cancer epidemiology and genetics at the National Cancer Institute, said the mouse study was "really cool." But he noted that there was no evidence yet that drugs to block TGF-beta would be effective in men who lost their Y. And, for now, there is little point in testing men for loss of Y, Dr. Chanock said, adding, "the over-interpretation of these data for monetary purposes worries me deeply."

A Coming Copper Shortage Could Derail the Energy Transition, Report Finds

Link: https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/22/ ... edium=feed

An all-electric future depends heavily on copper, and looming supply shortfalls could hamper nations' goals of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, according to a new report from S&P Global. Unless significant new supply becomes available, climate goals will be "short-circuited and remain out of reach," the report says. CNBC reports: Electric vehicles, solar and wind power, and batteries for energy storage all run on copper. An EV requires 2.5 times as much copper as an internal combustion engine vehicle, according to S&P Global. Meanwhile, solar and offshore wind need two times and five times, respectively, more copper per megawatt of installed capacity than power generated using natural gas or coal. Copper is also key to the infrastructure that transports renewable energy, thanks in part to its electrical conductivity and low reactivity. Its uses include cables, transistors and inverters.

The report forecasts copper demand nearly doubling to 50 million metric tons by 2035. By 2050, demand will reach more than 53 million metric tons. To put this figure in perspective, S&P Global noted that that's "more than all the copper consumed in the world between 1900 and 2021." Renewable energy deployment will account for much of the demand spike. S&P Global forecasts copper needed for EVs, wind, solar and batteries tripling by the middle of the next decade. This will happen alongside demand growth from other areas, pushing copper's demand to never-before-seen levels.

S&P Global offers two future scenarios in an effort to forecast how short the market will be. Under the "Rocky Road Scenario" -- in which production continues largely as is -- annual supply shortfall will reach almost 10 million metric tons in 2035. In the more optimistic "High Ambition Scenario" -- in which mines increase utilization and ramp up recycling -- the market will still be in a deficit for most of the 2030s. "Under either scenario, there would not be enough supply to meet the demand of Net-Zero-Emissions by 2050," the report concludes. The report notes that it takes, on average, 16 years for a new copper mine to get off the ground. "For the time being, increasing utilization at existing mines and ramping up recycling can fulfill some of the higher demand," it says.

UK's Online Safety Bill On Pause Pending New PM

Link: https://news.slashdot.org/story/22/07/1 ... edium=feed

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: A major populist but controversial piece of U.K. legislation to regulate internet content through a child safety-focused frame is on pause until the fall when the government expects to elect a new prime minister, following the resignation of Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader last week. PoliticsHome reported yesterday that the Online Safety Bill would be dropped from House of Commons business next week with a view to being returned in the autumn. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) denied the legislation was being dropped altogether but the fate of the bill will clearly now rest with the new prime minister -- and their appetite for regulating online speech.

Reached for comment, DCMS confirmed that the bill's final day of report stage will be rescheduled to after the summer recess -- suggesting it had lost out to competing demands for remaining parliamentary time (without specifying to what). The department also made a point of reiterating that the legislation intends to deliver on the government's manifesto commitment to make the U.K. the safest place in the world to be online while defending freedom of speech. But critics of the bill continue to warn it vastly overreaches on content regulation while saddling the U.K.'s digital sector with crippling compliance costs.

Some Beijing Travelers Asked To Wear COVID Monitoring Bracelets

Link: https://science.slashdot.org/story/22/0 ... edium=feed

Some Beijing residents returning from domestic travel were asked by local authorities to wear COVID-19 monitoring bracelets, prompting widespread criticism on Chinese social media by users concerned about excessive government surveillance. Reuters reports: According to posts published on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning on microblogging platform Weibo, some Beijing residents returning to the capital were asked by their neighborhood committees to wear an electronic bracelet throughout the mandatory home quarantine period. Chinese cities require those arriving from parts of China where COVID cases were found to quarantine. Authorities fit doors with movement sensors to monitor their movements but until now have not widely discussed the use of electronic bracelets.

The bracelets monitor users' temperature and upload the data onto a phone app they had to download, the posts said. "This bracelet can connect to the Internet, it can definitely record my whereabouts, it is basically the same as electronic fetters and handcuffs, I won't wear this," Weibo user Dahongmao wrote on Wednesday evening, declining to comment further when contacted by Reuters. This post and others that shared pictures of the bracelets were removed by Thursday afternoon, as well as a related hashtag that had garnered over 30 million views, generating an animated discussion on the platform.

A community worker at Tiantongyuan, Beijing's northern suburb, confirmed to state-backed news outlet Eastday that the measure was in effect in the neighbourhood, though she called the practice "excessive." A Weibo post and a video published on the official account of Eastday.com was removed by Thursday afternoon. Weibo user Dahongmao wrote on Thursday afternoon his neighbourhood committee had already collected the bracelets, telling him that "there were too many complaints."

Microsoft Moves To New Windows Development Cycle

Link: https://tech.slashdot.org/story/22/07/1 ... edium=feed

Microsoft is shifting to a new engineering schedule for Windows which will see the company return to a more traditional three-year release cycle for major versions of the Windows client, while simultaneously increasing the output of new features shipping to the current version of Windows on the market. Zac Bowden writes via Windows Central: The news comes just a year after the company announced it was moving to a yearly release cadence for new versions of Windows. According to my sources, Microsoft now intends to ship "major" versions of the Windows client every three years, with the next release currently scheduled for 2024, three years after Windows 11 shipped in 2021. This means that the originally planned 2023 client release of Windows (codenamed Sun Valley 3) has been scrapped, but that's not the end of the story. I'm told that with the move to this new development schedule, Microsoft is also planning to increase the output of new features rolling out to users on the latest version of Windows.

Starting with Windows 11 version 22H2 (Sun Valley 2), Microsoft is kicking off a new "Moments" engineering effort which is designed to allow the company to rollout new features and experiences at key points throughout the year, outside of major OS releases. I hear the company intends to ship new features to the in-market version of Windows every few months, up to four times a year, starting in 2023. Microsoft has already tested this system with the rollout of the Taskbar weather button on Windows 11 earlier this year. That same approach will be used for these Moments, where the company will group together a handful of new features that have been in testing with Insiders and roll them out to everyone on top the latest shipping release of Windows. Many of the features that were planned for the now-scrapped Sun Valley 3 client release will ship as part of one of these Moments on top of Sun Valley 2, instead of in a dedicated new release of the Windows client in the fall of 2023.

Base Model MacBook Air With M2 Chip Has Slower SSD Speeds In Benchmarks

Link: https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/22/ ... edium=feed

According to The Verge's review of the new MacBook Air with the M2 chip, the $1,199 base model equipped with 256GB of storage has a single NAND chip, which will lead to slower SSD speeds in benchmark testing. MacRumors reports: The dilemma arises from the fact that Apple switched to using a single 256GB flash storage chip instead of two 128GB chips in the base models of the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. Configurations equipped with 512GB of storage or more are equipped with multiple NAND chips, allowing for faster speeds in parallel. In a statement issued to The Verge, Apple said that while benchmarks of the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro with 256GB of storage "may show a difference" compared to previous-generation models, real-world performance is "even faster":

"Thanks to the performance increases of M2, the new MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro are incredibly fast, even compared to Mac laptops with the powerful M1 chip. These new systems use a new higher density NAND that delivers 256GB storage using a single chip. While benchmarks of the 256GB SSD may show a difference compared to the previous generation, the performance of these M2 based systems for real world activities are even faster." It's unclear if Apple's statement refers explicitly to real-world SSD performance or overall system performance.

Panasonic To Build $4 Billion Battery Plant In Kansas To Meet Tesla Demand

Link: https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/22/ ... edium=feed

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Nikkei Asia: Panasonic will invest $4 billion in a second U.S. electric vehicle battery factory in Kansas, its subsidiary Panasonic Energy announced on Thursday, confirming an earlier Nikkei report. The factory is expected to hire as many as 4,000 employees and supply a new high-capacity battery for Tesla. The decision follows Tesla's April opening of a second American EV factory in Texas to meet brisk demand.

Panasonic aims to triple or quadruple EV battery production capacity by fiscal 2028 from the current level of roughly 50 gigawatt-hours per year. It plans to install two production lines at a battery component factory in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, in fiscal 2023 and begin manufacturing its new high-capacity model, the 4680. That investment is expected to total roughly 80 billion yen ($580 million). Panasonic had said it would determine whether to build new manufacturing facilities after seeing how production at the Wakayama plant fared in terms of profitability.

Increasing production demands from Tesla, a leading source of the Japanese electronics group's earnings, were likely a factor in the decision for a new U.S. plant, along with Panasonic's progress on the new technology. Prototypes started to ship in May. Emanuel noted that Panasonic's investment plan of up to $4 billion will create as many as 4,000 American jobs. Panasonic's first U.S. plant in Nevada, the Gigafactory 1, is jointly operated with Tesla. The Japanese company invested roughly 200 billion yen in that facility, which only began turning a profit in the year ended March 2021 as high defect rates kept mass production from getting off the ground.
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