Beware of hacked ISOs if you downloaded Linux Mint on February 20th, 2016

Anonymous Coward
in security on (#14SDS)
Linux Mint installation media briefly compromised:
I'm sorry I have to come with bad news. We were exposed to an intrusion today. It was brief and it shouldn't impact many people, but if it impacts you, it's very important you read the information below.

What happened? Hackers made a modified Linux Mint ISO, with a backdoor in it, and managed to hack our website to point to it.

Does this affect you? As far as we know, the only compromised edition was Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon edition. If you downloaded another release or another edition, this does not affect you. If you downloaded via torrents or via a direct HTTP link, this doesn't affect you either.

Finally, the situation happened today, so it should only impact people who downloaded this edition on February 20th.
More information: Linux Mint Blog, ycombinator, reddit, LWN

Meet the ‘rented white coats’ who defend toxic chemicals

in science on (#14NME)
The emails offer a rare glimpse into a world where corporate interests can dictate their own science and scientists for hire willingly oblige. It's a phenomenon that's grown in recent decades as government-funded science dwindles. Its effects are felt not only in courtrooms but also in regulatory agencies that issue rules to try to prevent disease. The National Institutes of Health's budget for research grants has fallen 14 percent since its peak in 2004, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. With scarce resources, there's little money for academics to study chemicals that most already deem to be toxic. Yet regulatory officials and attorneys say companies have a strong financial interest in continuing to publish research favorable to industry.

Gradient belongs to a breed of scientific consulting firms that defends the products of its corporate clients beyond credulity, even exhaustively studied substances whose dangers are not in doubt, such as asbestos, lead and arsenic. Nearly half of Gradient's articles that are peer-reviewed are published in two journals with strong ties to industry, Critical Reviews in Toxicology and Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. Gradient's scientists rarely acknowledge that a chemical poses a serious public health risk. The Center for Public Integrity analyzed 149 scientific articles and letters published by the firm's most prolific principal scientists. Ninety-eight percent of the time, they found that the substance in question was harmless at levels to which people are typically exposed. "They truly are the epitome of rented white coats."

Many Australian Organisations Want Unlimited Citizen Metadata Access

Anonymous Coward
in legal on (#148WG)
story imageAustralians love their internet. They love their phones. Their government loves to suck up all of the juicy metadata generated by all Australian internet and phone devices to store for two years. Now, 61 organizations want their metadata feeding trough back. Unhappy with the recent law changes which has denied these organizations their seat at the Australian Metadata FreeForAll Feast they have all submitted their pitch to be hooked back up to the golden river of free access to everyone's movements down to who they talk to and when.

The question I have is: Why do multiple betting and racing organizations feel that they need everyone's private communication records? To track them down to pay off debts? The rest of the list is just as strange, except perhaps for defense.

More links: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

Google Is Finally Killing Picasa

Anonymous Coward
in google on (#144YN)
story imageGoogle is finally killing off Picasa in favor of their more cloud based Google Photos. Picasa was a desktop application that allowed you to view and organize your offline photo collection.
As of March 15, 2016, we will no longer be supporting the Picasa desktop application. For those who have already downloaded this-or choose to do so before this date-it will continue to work as it does today, but we will not be developing it further, and there will be no future updates. If you choose to switch to Google Photos, you can continue to upload photos and videos using the desktop uploader at
Will users move their photo collections to the cloud as Google hopes? Or is this just another attempt to push more computing applications from the desktop to online services?

Scientists Create Atomically Thin Metallic Boron "Borophene"

in science on (#1421G)
story imageA team of scientists has, for the first time, created a two-dimensional sheet of boron. This new 2D material is named as borophene.

Scientists have been interested in two-dimensional materials for their unique characteristics, particularly involving their electronic properties. Borophene is an unusual material because it shows many metallic properties at the nanoscale even though three-dimensional, or bulk, boron is nonmetallic and semiconducting.

Printing With Metal in 3D

Anonymous Coward
in hardware on (#141EP)
story image3D Systems has upgraded their product line to include a metal 3D printer capable of using a itanium, stainless steel, and nickel super alloy to product three dimensional objects. This is a big step forward in 3D printing up from printing with plastic materials. There have been some bumps in the way with the introduction of this technology with the merging of Phenix Systems and a class action lawsuit. 3D Systems have worked with another company, Planetary Resources, to produce 3D sculptures using meteorites. Decades ago it was said that we wouldn't have a computer in every house, yet today we have many. How long until 3D printers are a normal appliance to buy for a house alongside the fridge and oven?

ASK: Are there any Linux LiveCDs which include the proprietary NVIDIA driver?

Anonymous Coward
in ask on (#13SK2)
I'm searching for a Linux LiveCD which includes the proprietary NVIDIA driver.

I would like to find one on a LiveCD since installing the proprietary NVIDIA driver usually requires a reboot so I cannot do it myself.

Several years ago when desktop effects in Linux finally hit it big, there were one or two distros which rolled the proprietary NVIDIA driver into the LiveCD to showcase the desktop effects.

While I don't need flashy desktop effects, I would like one or more Linux distros which roll the proprietary NVIDIA driver into the LiveCD so installation is not required.

Thank you.

Four years after NBN report soothsayer Nick Ross is vindicated on NBN FTTN vs FTTP

Anonymous Coward
in internet on (#13SK1)
story imageFour years ago an Australian reporter for the ABC network wrote an article detailing why the proposed plan by the Liberal Coalition would not work. Now we can see the costs and problems with the "mixed mode" plan where multiple technologies are used for the NBN instead of fiber to the premises (FPPT) it is clear that the predictions made by Nick Ross in June 2012 were correct. From a technical and monetary perspective the problem is very simple; deploying any technology less than the highest option available will cost more in the long run as the inferior technology will eventually have to be pulled out and replaced. The Australian government is now covering up the data proving this with researchers reporting that the FTTP would easily be better value than FTTN. Elsewhere, other significance of NBN report by Nick Ross is still being debated with accusations against the ABC for gagging coming to light. The future of Australian business commerce depends on having a stable fast reliable internet infrastructure with broadband connectivity for all Australians. The only question is: when will they get it?

More information here.

Internet of Things – less hype, more M2M

Anonymous Coward
in hardware on (#13SJS)
story imageThe problem with the Internet of Things is that few people truly understand what it is really about.

A large percentage of people who do understand it tend to discard it as yet another marketing hype such as "the cloud" with very little real substance. Due to all kinds of news reports on security issues, vendor lock-ins and lack of open standards, cost overruns, etc. these people tend to see their opinions confirmed.

We also tend to agree with this group - to a point. The reason we do is that we see the same mistakes being made as countless numbers of times before. However, we do see the great potential of internet connected devices. Probably not the refrigerators and such, but closer to the origins of the Internet of Things: machine to machine, also known as M2M.

Facial RecognicionTechnology Dissuading False Asylum Seekers From Entering Sweden

Anonymous Coward
in legal on (#13RTF)
In the last year Europe has experienced the greatest influx of people seen since the second world war. The chancellor of Germany offered asylum to Syrians as part of the effort to assist those displaced by war. The number of known people who have entered Europe to claim asylum in 2015 exceeded 2015. With the discovery that a number of people were claiming to be Syrian when entering Europe countries a number of the EU states have started to use biometric technology including face detection software to identify where migrants have come from as part of the asylum claiming process. Sweden expects to deport up to 80,000 people after discovering that their asylum claims are not valid based on this and similar technology. Other European countries are expected to follow suit in 2016. Technology and digital records is advancing to the point where it is now possible to trace where a person has come from originally and where they have been. Sweden has seen the number of new migrants entering the country fall since it brought in systematic photo ID checks on travelers on January 4.