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Industry & Technology

A mysterious and maddening hum is tormenting residents of this Canadian city

Ars Technica - 48 min 4 sec ago

Zug Island, from across the Detroit River. (credit: Gary Elrod)

Years before diplomats in Cuba were assailed by grating noises and left with baffling brain injuries, the residents of a Canadian city began hearing maddening hums and rumbles. The deep noises mysteriously wash in and out of their neighborhoods and homes, hitting the ears of some but not all residents. And according to recent local news coverage, the eerie disturbances are now getting bad again.

Since 2011, some residents of Windsor, Ontario—directly across the border/river from Detroit, Michigan—reported intermittent bursts of noise established as the “Windsor Hum.” It’s described as a low-frequency throbbing sound, like a fleet of idling diesel engines, a distant rumble of thunder, or a roaring furnace. Some “hummers” report feeling vibrations, too, and having items in their homes rattle. They’ve linked the hum to depression, nausea, sleep problems, heart palpitations, ear aches, headaches—not to mention widespread annoyance.

Windsor residents are not imagining it; there is a real hum. A months-long investigation by National Resources Canada in the summer of 2011 identified a prominent, air-borne frequency of approximately 35Hz. There have been plenty of recordings and reports since then. And its existence was confirmed in a 2014 investigation carried out by the University of Western Ontario (UWO) and the University of Windsor, which was supported by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT).

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Inching closer to a DNA-based file system

Ars Technica - 1 hour 4 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Wyss Institute, Harvard)

When it comes to data storage, efforts to get faster access grab most of the attention. But long-term archiving of data is equally important, and it generally requires a completely different set of properties. To get a sense of why getting this right is important, just take the recently revived NASA satellite as an example—extracting anything from the satellite's data will rely on the fact that a separate NASA mission had an antiquated tape drive that could read the satellite's communication software.

One of the more unexpected technologies to receive some attention as an archival storage medium is DNA. While it is incredibly slow to store and retrieve data from DNA, we know that information can be pulled out of DNA that's tens of thousands of years old. And there have been some impressive demonstrations of the approach, like an operating system being stored in DNA at a density of 215 Petabytes a gram.

But that method treated DNA as a glob of unorganized bits—you had to sequence all of it in order to get at any of the data. Now, a team of researchers has figured out how to add something like a filesystem to DNA storage, allowing random access to specific data within a large collection of DNA. While doing this, the team also tested a recently developed method for sequencing DNA that can be done using a compact USB device.

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2018 Volvo V60 Polestar AWD review - Roadshow - Reviews - 1 hour 5 min ago
This V60 might be at the end of its life, but before it goes, it's throwing one last rager of a party.

Talk about a MINER offense! Crypto-cash crafter clashes with T-Mob US in hipster haven

The Register - 1 hour 26 min ago
Watchdog steps in after box found fuzzing up signals

America's comms watchdog, the FCC, has ordered a bloke in Brooklyn, New York, to turn off his cryptocurrency miner – after the box interfering with nearby T-Mobile US cellphone towers.…

The new Wyze Cam v2 is still only $20 - CNET - News - 1 hour 32 min ago
The best cheap Wi-Fi camera just got even better -- without a price increase. Plus: See "Black Panther" (or any other movie) for just $5.

Spotify plans to join the hardware race, but what can it offer?

Ars Technica - 1 hour 53 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Spotify)

Job listings recently posted by Spotify suggest that the company is close to launching one or more connected hardware products. Currently open job listings relevant to the company's hardware ambitions include Operations Manager – Hardware Product, Project Manager – Hardware Production & Engineering, Product Analyst – Hardware Products, and Senior Project Manager Hardware Production.

The Operations Manager listing is explicit about Spotify's plans, saying:

Spotify is on its way to creating its first physical products and setting up an operational organization for manufacturing, supply chain, sales & marketing.

The responsibilities listed for this role also suggest Spotify is far enough along with one or more products that it will soon be talking with vendors and planning distribution, if it has not started that already:

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Asus Windows Mixed Reality Headset Release Date, Price and Specs - CNET - Reviews - 2 hours 12 min ago
The futuristic-looking HC102 headset follows the same spec formula as those from Acer, Lenovo and Dell.

Cute 'dumbo' octopus baby seen on video for the first time - CNET - News - 2 hours 23 min ago
If Dumbo was a tiny ocean-dwelling animal, he would look like this adorable and rare octopus hatchling that stars in a fascinating video.

Tesla cloud resources are hacked to run cryptocurrency-mining malware

Ars Technica - 2 hours 26 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Scott Olson | Getty Images)

Add Tesla to the legion of organizations that have been infected by cryptocurrency-mining malware.

In a report published Tuesday, researchers at security firm RedLock said hackers accessed one of Tesla's Amazon cloud accounts and used it to run currency-mining software. The researchers said the breach in many ways resembled compromises suffered by Gemalto, the world's biggest SIM card maker, and multinational insurance company Aviva. In October, RedLock said Amazon and Microsoft cloud accounts for both companies were breached to run currency-mining malware after hackers found access credentials that weren't properly secured.

The initial point of entry for the Tesla cloud breach, Tuesday's report said, was an unsecured administrative console for Kubernetes, an open source package used by companies to deploy and manage large numbers of cloud-based applications and resources.

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Venezuela launches oil cryptocurrency

BBC Technology News - 3 hours 5 min ago
The "Petro" is intended to help country's crumbling economy evade tough US sanctions.

Fox News to launch a streaming TV service this year - CNET - News - 3 hours 10 min ago
Aimed at "superfans" of the cable news network, Fox News will roll out a standalone service that even pay-TV subscribers must cough up extra to watch.

Apple updates operating systems to fix app-crashing bug - CNET - News - 3 hours 14 min ago
The bug causes apps running on iOS devices and Macs to shut down. All it takes is a certain Indian symbol.

Samsung may reduce OLED production due to poor iPhone X sales - CNET - News - 3 hours 23 min ago
The company is reportedly cutting OLED production nearly in half.

Steven Seagal has a cryptocurrency now. It's bad - CNET - News - 3 hours 26 min ago
Steven Seagal has become the official ambassador for Bitcoiin2Gen, a new cryptocurrency launching its initial coin offering.

These smart displays show you the answers to your questions - CNET - News - 3 hours 29 min ago
Just like smart speakers, you can command these devices with your voice. Even better, they can use their screens to help illustrate their replies.

Our Mobile World Congress preview show (The 3:59, Ep. 358) - CNET - News - 3 hours 31 min ago
We talk Samsung Galaxy S9 and 5G, as well as bitcoin and the "Free Money" guy from the '90s.

Jeff Bezos shares video of 10,000-year clock project - CNET - News - 3 hours 33 min ago
The Amazon CEO embarks on construction of a $42 million mechanical clock buried deep in a Texas mountain that will keep time for 10 millennia.

Russian Twitter bots keep up attack after Florida shooting - CNET - News - 3 hours 38 min ago
After last week's school massacre, bots tied to Russian propaganda groups began sending gun-related tweets, even though Twitter has vowed to stop such efforts.

Pothole kills man in Detroit - Roadshow - News - 3 hours 58 min ago
Well, the ensuing crash is what killed him, but it's the pothole's fault.

Swype pioneered a new way to type on smartphones—now it’s dead

Ars Technica - 3 hours 59 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Swype)

Swype, the influential smartphone keyboard, is dead. XDA Developers is reporting that Swype's owner, Nuance Communications, is discontinuing development of the popular keyboard app. While it might still exist in the iOS and Android app stores for now, it will be left to rot.

In a statement on its website, Nuance said it was leaving the "direct-to-consumer keyboard business" to "concentrate on developing our AI solutions for sale directly to businesses." Nuance—which bought Swype in 2011 for $102 million—has long been a force in voice recognition and text-to-speech software, and it helps companies build consumer products (like this BMW 7 Series) with its voice technology. Lately the company has also set its sights on the healthcare market.

Swype is noteworthy as the third-party smartphone keyboard that originated gesture typing. Rather than holding a phone in both hands and tapping on each letter, Swype let you hold the phone in one hand, hold a finger down on the screen, swing it around the keyboard from letter to letter, and lift off to spell a word. Swyping, as it was called, wasn't as exact of an input as tapping on each key, but it was close enough that the software could usually figure out your intent. Most of all, it was fast, especially considering that it only took one hand to type.

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