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    - Boeing 787s Must Be Turned Off and On Every 51 Days To Prevent 'Misleading Data' Being Shown To Pilots
    The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has ordered Boeing 787 operators to switch their aircraft off and on every 51 days to prevent what it called "several potentially catastrophic failure scenarios" -- including the crashing of onboard network switches. The Register reports: The airworthiness directive, due to be enforced from later this month, orders airlines to power-cycle their B787s before the aircraft reaches the specified days of continuous power-on operation. The power cycling is needed to prevent stale data from populating the aircraft's systems, a problem that has occurred on different 787 systems in the past. According to the directive itself, if the aircraft is powered on for more than 51 days this can lead to "display of misleading data" to the pilots, with that data including airspeed, attitude, altitude and engine operating indications. On top of all that, the stall warning horn and overspeed horn also stop working. This alarming-sounding situation comes about because, for reasons the directive did not go into, the 787's common core system (CCS) -- a Wind River VxWorks realtime OS product, at heart -- stops filtering out stale data from key flight control displays. That stale data-monitoring function going down in turn "could lead to undetected or unannunciated loss of common data network (CDN) message age validation, combined with a CDN switch failure." Solving the problem is simple: power the aircraft down completely before reaching 51 days. It is usual for commercial airliners to spend weeks or more continuously powered on as crews change at airports, or ground power is plugged in overnight while cleaners and maintainers do their thing.

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    - The World Just Hit 1 Million Coronavirus Infections
    The new coronavirus has now infected 1 million people across the world, a milestone reached just four months after it first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan. More than 51,000 have died and 208,000 recovered in what has become the biggest global public health crisis of our time. Bloomberg reports: When the virus was first discovered, doctors likened it to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, the illness that sickened 8,000 people mostly in Asia in 2003. Highly contagious, and appearing with little or no symptoms in some cases, Covid-19 has rapidly eclipsed all recent outbreaks in scale and size. Fewer than 20 countries in the world remain free of infection. With some virus carriers presenting few outward signs of illness, and many countries unable or unwilling to conduct wider testing, the true number of global infections is likely higher -- some say far higher -- than 1 million. The U.S. now has the most cases officially recorded globally with more than 234,000, according to Johns Hopkins University, which draws on a combination of data sources -- from governments to the World Health Organization and local media -- to feed its tallies. Next is Italy, with 115,000, the JHU data show. Italy has the highest death toll with almost 14,000 virus fatalities, followed by Spain. With world travel paralyzed and millions of people under some form of lockdown as a result of government efforts to contain the spread, the health crisis has also become an economic one: The global economy is expected to shrink 2% in the first half of 2020. Business activity has ground to a halt in many sectors, with predictions the U.S. jobless rate could reach 30% in the second quarter.

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    - Moscow To Launch Mandatory Surveillance App To Track Residents In Coronavirus Lockdown
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: City authorities in Moscow are rolling out new digital "social monitoring" tools targeting the public, after what officials say were constant violations of the city's quarantine imposed this week to fight the spread of the new coronavirus. Under restrictions in place since Monday, most of the city's 12 million residents must remain indoors, barring a few exceptions -- like trips to the supermarket or pharmacy, taking out the trash or briefly walking the dog. But starting Thursday, Muscovites will have their movements tracked through a mandatory app required on their smartphones. Don't have one? The city says it will lend out devices. In addition, Moscow residents will be obligated to register for a government-issued QR code -- a small square matrix bar code containing personal data. What information the codes will hold isn't yet clear. But Russians must present it on their smartphones or carry a printout of their QR profiles to present to police, when requested. (City officials say they're also preparing to educate the public -- and elder Russians, in particular -- on what a QR code actually is.) The new tools will merge with existing street cameras and face recognition software to quickly identify residents who stray from their homes and/or quarantines, say authorities. President Putin also signed a bill into law on Wednesday that introduces criminal penalties for skipping quarantine and infecting others. They include fines and up to seven years in prison.

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    - Trump Issues Order Under Defense Production Act To Secure More Ventilators
    President Trump moved to use the Defense Production Act, a Korean War-era national security mobilization law, to secure supplies companies need to make ventilators. From a report: "My order to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Homeland Security will help domestic manufacturers like General Electric, Hill-Rom, Medtronic, ResMed, Royal Philips, and Vyaire Medical secure the supplies they need to build ventilators needed to defeat the virus," Mr. Trump said in statement that accompanied his order. He praised the companies and other domestic manufacturers for ramping up production of the machines and said the order "will save lives by removing obstacles in the supply chain that threaten the rapid production of ventilators."

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    - The Internet is Now Rife With Places Where You Can Organize Zoom-bombing Raids
    The internet is rife with online communities where users can go and share Zoom conference codes and request that pranksters connect and hurl insults, play pornographic material, or make death threats against other participants -- in a practice called Zoom-bombing or a Zoom raid. From a report: ZDNet began tracking the tactic since mid-March when the term was first coined following a TechCrunch article. Ever since then, Zoom-bombing incidents have increased, as articles in major news outlets like the New York Times and the BBC have made the practice a favorite pastime for all the teenagers stuck in their homes during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantines. From a niche prank that started on a derelict Discord channel, Zoom-bombing has now spread to enormous proportions -- being so rampant these days that the FBI sent a nationwide alert last week, urging companies, schools, and universities to take steps to secure their Zoom channels. But as Zoom-bombing became more popular, more pranksters wanted to join on the fun, and more users wanted their friends' Zoom meetings disrupted. And as the old saying goes; where there's a demand, there's always a supply. Over the course of the past week, the number of places on the public internet where you can request a zoom raid from a gang of bored teenagers has exploded.

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    - EU Justice Chief Urges US Tech Giants To Halt Virus Clickbaits
    EU justice chief Vera Jourova on Thursday criticised U.S. tech giants such as Google and Facebook for making money off coronavirus-related fake news instead of putting in more efforts to stop the deluge. From a report: With millions of people confined to their homes due to lockdowns to counter the spread of the virus, social media and online platforms have seen the volume of news on their sites and user traffic soared. That has in turn sparked alarm and criticism because of the flood of disinformation. Jourova, who last week held a conference call with Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla, said their efforts to date were inadequate. The companies last week told Jourova that they had removed large quantities of false and harmful content, the bulk of which related to health, and taken measures to remove ads related to protective equipment, such as masks, although there were still gaps. They also pledged to step up measures to increase users' access to authoritative sources of information.

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    - Thank God for the Internet
    Everything is so dark, but the internet -- for all its bad and broken parts -- is helping to keep us together in a way that has never happened before, writes Joshua Topolsky in an essay on Input Mag. Two excerpts from the essay: What the hell would we do right now without the internet? How would so many of us work, stay connected, stay informed, stay entertained? For all of its failings and flops, all of its breeches and blunders, the internet has become the digital town square that we always believed it could and should be. At a time when politicians and many corporations have exhibited the worst instincts, we're seeing some of the best of what humanity has to offer -- and we're seeing it because the internet exists. I was 12 the first time I logged onto whatever was called the internet then. There were no websites to speak of, not really. No ecommerce, no banner ads, no data tracking, no spyware. iPhones hadn't been invented yet; we called apps "programs"; and I had an EGA monitor on my PC (a whole 16 colors of range). But the first time I telnetted into a chatroom about raves, made new friends in Australia, or downloaded files to load into a music tracker, I felt the same elation that I feel now. This force, propelled by people, connected by copper and light, letting us make new connections. Connections we need now more than ever. We're here together, for how long we don't know. But we're not alone. Not anymore.

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    - Amazon Blocks Sale of N95 Masks To the Public, Begins Offering Supplies To Hospitals
    Amazon is no longer offering N95 masks to the general public, as it prioritizes the delivery of essential supplies to hospitals, government agencies and other groups amid the coronavirus outbreak. From a report: Earlier this week, the company rolled out a new section of its website dedicated to COVID-19 related supplies. There, any U.S.-accredited hospital or state or federal agency can fill out a form to access necessary items like N95 masks, surgical masks, facial shields, surgical gowns, surgical gloves and large-volume sanitizers. The site states it is not accepting requests from the general public, noting: "We are not accepting requests from individuals or non-qualified organizations at this time." Amazon also noted it will not make a profit from the orders.

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    - Akamai, Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, and Google Join Internet Routing Security Effort
    A community effort to improve the internet's routing security has won the backing of some of the web's biggest names. From a report: Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Akamai, and Netflix, among others, have signed up to the Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) group, in their roles as content delivery networks (CDNs) and cloud providers (CPs). MANRS's goal is to shore up the internet's lax security when it comes to routing people's connections around Earth. It is, essentially, depending on the circumstances, too easy for miscreants to hijack and redirect internet traffic from legit servers to malicious machines so that web browsing and other online activities can be snooped on or meddled with. This widespread issue is something that has become increasingly important in the past few years as the number and size of connectivity breakdowns and attacks on the global system have grown. Criminals and possibly government spies have realized the potential that exists in snatching people's internet traffic for surveillance, disruption, and theft. The MANRS group pushes four main approaches, two technical and two cultural: filtering, anti-spoofing, and then coordination and validation.

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    - Intel's 10th-gen H-series Laptop CPUs Reach 5.3GHz
    Just like Intel said at CES, it's crossed the 5GHz barrier with its new H-series 10th generation notebook CPUs. And you won't need to shell out for the top-of-the-line Core i9 to do it: The new six and eight-core i7 processors reach up to 5.1Ghz (boost speed) on a single core. From a report: But if you want to go all out, the octa-core i9-10980HK hits 5.3GHz -- and it's fully unlocked for overclocking, to boot. As usual, these H-series chips are meant for gaming and workhorse machines, not laptops where battery efficiency is key. You can expect around 44 percent better performance in Assassin's Creed Odyssey in 1080p with high settings, compared to the three-year-old Core i7-7700HQ. And the new top-of-the-line Core i9 is 54 percent faster in Red Dead Redemption 2, compared to the i7-7820HK (there weren't any mobile Core i9 chips three years ago). Reaching beyond 5GHz is a notable achievement, and it's a nice deflect away from Intel's reliance on its 14nm "Comet Lake" architecture, just like its last batch of powerful ultraportable CPUs. Intel is competing directly with AMD's new 4000 series Ryzen mobile processors, which also offer up to eight cores, but with a lower 4.4GHz maximum clock speed. AMD is using a refined 7nm architecture, which makes them more efficient power-wise. And AMD's new chips also include up to 8 cores of Radeon Vega graphics, which can easily trounce Intel's aging UHD graphics. But really, all of these processors are best suited for notebooks with dedicated GPUs, so it makes sense for Intel to skimp on that for now.

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    - SpaceX Bans Zoom Over Privacy Concerns
    Elon Musk's rocket company SpaceX has banned its employees from using video conferencing app Zoom, citing "significant privacy and security concerns," according to a memo seen by Reuters, days after U.S. law enforcement warned users about the security of the popular app. From a report: SpaceX's ban on Zoom Video illustrates the mounting challenges facing aerospace manufacturers as they develop technology deemed vital to national security while also trying to keep employees safe from the fast-spreading respiratory illness. In an email dated March 28, SpaceX told employees that all access to Zoom had been disabled with immediate effect. "We understand that many of us were using this tool for conferences and meeting support," SpaceX said in the message. "Please use email, text or phone as alternate means of communication." NASA, one of SpaceX's biggest customers, also prohibits its employees from using Zoom, said Stephanie Schierholz, a spokeswoman for the U.S. space agency. The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Boston office on Monday issued a warning about Zoom, telling users not to make meetings on the site public or share links widely after it received two reports of unidentified individuals invading school sessions, a phenomenon known as "zoombombing."

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    - A Feature on Zoom Secretly Displayed Data From People's LinkedIn Profiles
    After an inquiry from The New York Times reporters, Zoom said it would disable a data-mining feature that could be used to snoop on participants during meetings without their knowledge. From a report: For Americans sheltering at home during the coronavirus pandemic, the Zoom videoconferencing platform has become a lifeline, enabling millions of people to easily keep in touch with family members, friends, students, teachers and work colleagues. But what many people may not know is that, until Thursday, a data-mining feature on Zoom allowed some participants to surreptitiously access LinkedIn profile data about other users -- without Zoom asking for their permission during the meeting or even notifying them that someone else was snooping on them. The undisclosed data mining adds to growing concerns about Zoom's business practices at a moment when public schools, health providers, employers, fitness trainers, prime ministers and queer dance parties are embracing the platform. An analysis by The New York Times found that when people signed in to a meeting, Zoom's software automatically sent their names and email addresses to a company system it used to match them with their LinkedIn profiles.

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    - A Record 6.6 Million Americans Filed For Unemployment Last Week
    A record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, the latest brutal reminder of the toll the coronavirus pandemic is taking on the U.S. economy. From a report: Analysts had predicted a jobless claims total of anywhere between 3 million and 6 million, after huge numbers of businesses across the country were forced to close down due to the need for social distancing, leaving millions of Americans without work. Thursday's figure eclipses even the record-shattering 3.28 million jobless claims from the week before, the first real marker of the number of people out of work, according to data released last week by the Department of Labor for the period ending March 21. Still, some economists said the actual number of unemployed could be much higher, since many applicants had experienced trouble filing a claim, as state labor departments became overwhelmed. "These are numbers that are way out of the range that we have seen," Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. economics at Bank of America, told NBC News. "During the financial crisis, we were seeing a peak of about 650,000 [first-time applications] a week."

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    - AI Program Could Check Blood For Signs of Lung Cancer
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Scientists have developed an artificial intelligence program that can screen people for lung cancer by analyzing their blood for DNA mutations that drive the disease. The program works by examining free-floating DNA that circulates in the blood. The majority of this genetic detritus enters the bloodstream when harmless cells in the body break down and spill their molecular innards, but tumors also shed DNA as they form and grow larger. Writing in the journal Nature, the scientists describe how their AI program crunched data on the DNA found in the blood of lung cancer patients to learn which common cancer mutations most effectively predicted the disease. The researchers then used the trained program to distinguish lung cancer patients from healthy people in a separate group of volunteers who gave blood samples for the study. The system cannot confidently diagnose cancer, but instead flags up likely cases for further medical investigation. In tests, the program had a 2% false positive rate -- meaning that it mistakenly flagged two in every 100 healthy people as having the disease -- while rating 55% of stage 2 cancers and nearly 70% of stage 3 cancers as patients likely to have the disease.

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    - YouTube 'Shorts' Reportedly Launching This Year To Counter TikTok
    According to The Information, the YouTube app will soon be home to a new "Shorts" format that will counter TikTok. 9to5Google reports: Shorts will be brief videos available in a new feed. On the creation front, these videos can use YouTube's existing catalog of licensed music as a background soundtrack. YouTube reportedly plans to launch Shorts by the end of this year. Today's article describes the YouTube Shorts effort as the "most serious effort yet by a Silicon Valley tech company to combat the rise of TikTok." It speculates that YouTube will be able to leverage its existing stable of creators to generate the new type of content. By making Shorts available inside the YouTube apps, Google is guaranteeing a built-in audience. This is similar to how YouTube rolled out a Stories format to compete with Snapchat and Instagram. Used by channels to make shorter update-like content, it lives alongside full videos in the Subscriptions tab. Unlike videos, these Stories are limited to a certain subscriber count, with that possibly applying to the initial launch of Shorts.

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