Archive for December, 2020

A Port of windows-exploit-suggester to Python3 and supported libraries

December 31st, 2020
submitted by /u/PwnistryCR
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Microsoft Reveals That Russian Attackers Accessed Some of Its Source Code

December 31st, 2020
Malicious SolarWinds Orion backdoor installed in Microsoft's network led to the attackers viewing some of its source code.

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New battery chemistry results in first rechargeable zinc-air battery

December 31st, 2020
Image of three chunks of zinc metal.

Enlarge (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Most of the disposable batteries you'll come across are technically termed alkaline batteries. They work at high pH and typically use zinc as the charge carrier. Zinc is great because it's very cheap, can be used to make one of the two electrodes, and, in the right context, allows the use of air at the other electrode. These latter two items simplify the battery, allowing it to be more compact and lighter weight—so far, attempts to do similar things with lithium batteries have come up short.

The problem with all of this is that the batteries are disposable for a good reason: the chemistry of discharging doesn't really allow things to work in reverse. Carbon dioxide from the air reacts with the electrolyte, forming carbonates that block one electrode. And the zinc doesn't re-deposit neatly on the electrode it came from, instead creating spiky structures called dendrites that can short out the battery.

Now, an international team has figured out how to make zinc batteries rechargeable. The answer, it seems, involves getting rid of the alkaline electrolyte that gave the batteries their name.

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Posted in batteries, chemistry, materials science, science, zinc | Comments (0)

How to Build Cyber Resilience in a Dangerous Atmosphere

December 31st, 2020
Our polarized climate and COVID-19 are putting the nation's cybersecurity in imminent danger, and it's past time to act.

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Dungeons & Dragons’ Racial Reckoning Is Long Overdue

December 31st, 2020
The tabletop game's storylines are infused with regressive stereotypes about race and power. Players are on a quest to rewrite the narrative.

Posted in culture, roll initiative | Comments (0)

The Coolest Hacks of 2020

December 31st, 2020
Despite a pandemic and possibly the worst cyberattack campaign ever waged against the US, the year still had some bright spots when it came to "good" and creative hacks.

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Activist hedge fund advises Intel to outsource CPU manufacturing

December 31st, 2020
Activist hedge fund advises Intel to outsource CPU manufacturing

(credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Activist hedge fund Third Point has taken a stake of nearly $1 billion in Intel and called on the chipmaker to consider shedding its manufacturing operations, throwing a core part of its strategy into question.

The firm with $15 billion in assets run by Daniel Loeb made a number of demands in a letter sent to Intel’s chairman Omar Ishrak on Tuesday and seen by the Financial Times.

In the letter, Mr Loeb said that Intel was “once the gold standard for innovative microprocessor manufacturing” but had fallen behind manufacturing competitors in East Asia such as TSMC and Samsung.

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Posted in Biz & IT, chip fab, CPUs, Intel, Tech, x86 | Comments (0)

How Tech Could Help Us Contemplate Our Own Mortality

December 31st, 2020
Monks stared at skulls to ponder the inevitability of death. We stare at our phones.

Posted in culture, Culture / Digital Culture, memento mori | Comments (0)

Basking shark families go on road trips in search of fine dining

December 31st, 2020
Basking sharks in the aquarium, Loro Parque, Tenerife, Canary Islands, 2007.

Enlarge / Basking sharks in the aquarium, Loro Parque, Tenerife, Canary Islands, 2007. (credit: Heritage Images | Getty Images)

Picture the scene. Swimming off Scotland’s west coast during a summer holiday you notice a large dark shark nearly 10 metres long headed towards you. A prominent triangular dorsal fin cuts the surface, the powerful rhythmically beating tail driving it silently through the cloudy green depths. You’re transfixed by a cavernous mouth large enough to swallow a seal.

Musing this may be your last swim, it might be surprising to learn this leviathan of the deep is a harmless yet endangered gentle giant. It has little interest in humans, focusing on some unseen bounty of the warmer summer waters: zooplankton, the tiny creatures found near the surface of the ocean.

This is the basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus), once common off western Europe, feeding on the annual plankton bonanza of the European shelf.

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Posted in science | Comments (0)

Timnit Gebru’s Exit From Google Exposes a Crisis in AI

December 31st, 2020
The situation has made clear that the field needs to change. Here’s where to start, according to a current and a former Googler.

Posted in Ideas, Opinion | Comments (0)