Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for September 3rd, 2017

Paul Kozowyk Despite many recent discoveries that show Neanderthals were technologically and socially sophisticated, there’s still a popular idea that these heavy-browed, pale-skinned early humans were mentally inferior to modern Homo sapiens . Now we have even more corroboration that they were pretty sharp. A fascinating new study reveals that Neanderthals were distilling tar for tool-making 200 thousand years ago—long before evidence of tar-making among Homo sapiens . And an experimental anthropologist has some good hypotheses for how they did it, too. One of humanity’s earliest technological breakthroughs was learning to distill tar from tree bark. It was key to making compound tools with two or more parts; adhesives could keep a stone blade nicely fitted into a wooden handle for use as a hoe, an axe, or even a spear. Scientists have discovered ancient beads of tar in Italy, Germany, and several other European sites dating back as much as 200 thousand years, which is about 150 thousand years before modern Homo sapiens arrived in Western Europe. That means the people who distilled that tar had to be Neanderthals. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bleeping Computer: Dutch security researcher Victor Gevers has discovered 2, 893 Bitcoin miners left exposed on the internet with no passwords on their Telnet port. Gevers told Bleeping Computer in a private conversation that all miners process Bitcoin transactions in the same mining pool and appear to belong to the same organization. “The owner of these devices is most likely a state sponsored/controlled organization part of the Chinese government, ” Gevers says, basing his claims on information found on the exposed miners and IP addresses assigned to each device. “At the speed they were taken offline, it means there must be serious money involved, ” Gevers added. “A few miners is not a big deal, but 2, 893 [miners] working in a pool can generate a pretty sum.” According to a Twitter user, the entire network of 2, 893 miners Gevers discovered could generate an income of just over $1 million per day, if mining Litecoin. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Sharp Announces 8K Consumer TVs Now That We All Have 4K

Posted by kenmay on September - 3 - 2017

Thuy Ong reports via The Verge: Now that you’ve upgraded to a shiny new 4K TV, Sharp has revealed its latest screen to stoke your fear of missing out: a 70-inch Aquos 8K TV. That 8K (7, 680 x 4, 320) resolution is 16 times that of your old Full HD (1920 x 1080) TV. Sharp calls it “ultimate reality, with ultra-fine details even the naked eye cannot capture, ” which doesn’t seem like a very good selling point. Keep in mind that having a screen with more pixels doesn’t buy you much after a certain point, because those pixels are invisible from a distance — while an 8K panel would be beneficial as a monitor, where you’re sitting close, it won’t buy you much when leaning back on the couch watching TV. HDR, however, is something else entirely, and fortunately, Sharp’s new 8K set is compatible with Dolby Vision HDR and BDA-HDR (for Blu-ray players). The lack of available 8K HDR content is also a problem. But there is some content floating around. The TV will be rolling out to China and Japan later this year, and then Taiwan in February 2018. Sharp is repurposing its 70-inch 8K TV as an 8K monitor (model LV-70X500E) for Europe, which will be on sale in March. There is no news about a U.S. release. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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More than 70 years ago the UK’s Royal Air Force dropped an 1, 100-pound bomb on Germany. They just found it. An anonymous reader quotes ABC: Residents in two German cities are evacuating their homes as authorities prepare to dispose of World War II-era bombs found during construction work this week. About 21, 000 people have been ordered to leave their homes and workplaces in the western city of Koblenz as a precaution before specialists attempt to defuse the 500-kilogram bomb on Saturday afternoon (local time). Among those moved to safety are prison inmates and hospital patients. Officials in the financial capital Frankfurt, meanwhile, are carrying out what is described as Germany’s biggest evacuation. Frankfurt city officials have said more than 60, 000 residents will have to leave their homes for at least 12 hours. Failure to defuse the bomb could cause a big enough explosion to flatten a city block, a fire department official said. “This bomb has more than 1.4 tonnes of explosives, ” Frankfurt fire chief Reinhard Ries said. “It’s not just fragments that are the problem, but also the pressure that it creates that would dismantle all the buildings in a 100-metre radius”… Police will ring every doorbell and use helicopters with heat-sensing cameras to make sure nobody is left behind before they start diffusing the bomb. Reuters notes that every year Germany discovers more than 2, 000 tons of live bombs and munitions, adding “In July, a kindergarten was evacuated after teachers discovered an unexploded World War Two bomb on a shelf among some toys.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Data leak exposed millions of Time Warner Cable customers

Posted by kenmay on September - 3 - 2017

Verizon isn’t the only big US telecom whose corporate ally left customer data out in the open . MacKeeper developer Kromtech has discovered that BroadSoft, a frequent partner to service providers, was storing over 4 million Time Warner Cable customer records on Amazon cloud servers without a password. The records, which stemmed from the MyTWC mobile app, date as far back as November 2010 — years before Charter bought TWC . The information included email addresses, user names, financial transactions (though there’s no indication of credit card data) and billing addresses. There was even closed-circuit camera footage from BroadSoft’s Indian offices, as if to rub salt in the wound. You might not need to panic. BroadSoft tells Gizmodo that it locked down its Amazon data (Charter says it was taken down) and hasn’t seen evidence that intruders accessed the information. Both BroadSoft and Charter say they’re investigating and will take extra steps to address the situation if necessary. To be on the safe side, though, Charter is recommending that MyTWC owners change their user names and passwords. The exposure didn’t include extremely sensitive info like credit card data or social security numbers, so the potential damage is relatively limited. However, it’s not so much the specific threat as that the data was left exposed in the first place. It shows that companies are still making rookie mistakes when handling data, and suggests that they need to implement more stringent (and importantly, continuous) oversight of their partners to keep your data secure. Via: Gizmodo Source: Kromtech

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