18 Oct 2018

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Chinese City 'Plans To Launch Artificial Moon To Replace Streetlights'

The south-western Chinese city of Chengdu is planning to launch an illumination satellite in 2020 that is "designed to complement the moon at night," though it would be eight times as bright. "The 'dusk-like glow' of the satellite would be able to light an area with a diameter of 10-80km, while the precise illumination range could be controlled within tens of meters -- enabling it to replace streetlights," reports The Guardian. From the report: The vision was shared by Wu Chunfeng, the chairman of the private space contractor Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co (Casc), at a national mass innovation and entrepreneurship event held in Chengdu last week. Wu reportedly said testing had begun on the satellite years ago and the technology had now evolved enough to allow for launch in 2020. It is not clear whether the plan has the backing of the city of Chengdu or the Chinese government, though Casc is the main contractor for the Chinese space program. The People's Daily was quick to reassure those concerned about the fake moon's impact on night-time wildlife. It cited Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace, Harbin Institute of Technology, who "explained that the light of the satellite is similar to a dusk-like glow, so it should not affect animals' routines."

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18 Oct 2018 2:10am GMT

Essential Products, Startup From Android Creator Andy Rubin, Lays Off 30 Percent of Staff

Essential Products, a startup founded in 2015 by Android creator Andy Rubin, was started to create a smartphone with high-end design features that wasn't associated with a particular operating-system maker. Unfortunately, reaching that goal has been harder than anticipated as the company has laid off about 30 percent of its staff. Fortune reports: Cuts were particularly deep in hardware and marketing. The company's website indicates it has about 120 employees. A company spokesperson didn't confirm the extent of layoffs, but said that the decision was difficult for the firm to make and, "We are confident that our sharpened product focus will help us deliver a truly game changing consumer product." The firm was Rubin's first startup after leaving Google in 2014, which had acquired his co-founded firm, Android, in 2005. Essential's first phone came out in August 2017, a few weeks later than initially promised. It received mixed reviews, with most critics citing its lower quality and missing features relative to competing smartphones, such as a lack of waterproofing and poor resiliency to damage. The company dropped the price from an initial $699 within weeks to $499, and offered it on Black Monday in November 2017 for $399.

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18 Oct 2018 1:30am GMT

Trivial Authentication Bypass In Libssh Leaves Servers Wide Open

Ars Technica reports of "a four-year-old bug in the Secure Shell implementation known as libssh that makes it trivial for just about anyone to gain unfettered administrative control of a vulnerable server." It's not clear how many sites or devices may be vulnerable since neither the widely used OpenSSH nor Github's implementation of libssh was affected. From the report: The vulnerability, which was introduced in libssh version 0.6 released in 2014, makes it possible to log in by presenting a server with a SSH2_MSG_USERAUTH_SUCCESS message rather than the SSH2_MSG_USERAUTH_REQUEST message the server was expecting, according to an advisory published Tuesday. Exploits are the hacking equivalent of a Jedi mind trick, in which an adversary uses the Force to influence or confuse weaker-minded opponents. The last time the world saw an authentication-bypass bug with such serious consequences and requiring so little effort was 11 months ago, when Apple's macOS let people log in as admin without entering a password. On the brighter side, there were no immediate signs of any big-name sites being bitten by the bug, which is indexed as CVE-2018-10933. While Github uses libssh, the site officials said on Twitter that "GitHub.com and GitHub Enterprise are unaffected by CVE-2018-10933 due to how we use the library." In a follow-up tweet, GitHub security officials said they use a customized version of libssh that implements an authentication mechanism separate from the one provided by the library. Out of an abundance of caution, GitHub has installed a patch released with Tuesday's advisory. Another limitation: only vulnerable versions of libssh running in server mode are vulnerable, while the client mode is unaffected. Peter Winter-Smith, a researcher at security firm NCC who discovered the bug and privately reported it to libssh developers, told Ars the vulnerability is the result of libssh using the same machine state to authenticate clients and servers. Because exploits involve behavior that's safe in the client but unsafe in the server context, only servers are affected.

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18 Oct 2018 12:50am GMT

17 Oct 2018

feedArs Technica

New 100-mile electric van matches diesel vans on price, Workhorse says

Ohio company is low-key delivering on electric promises.

17 Oct 2018 11:38pm GMT

Report: Former top Waymo engineer altered code to go on “forbidden routes”

The New Yorker releases blockbuster story about Waymo's origins.

17 Oct 2018 7:34pm GMT

How did Easter Islanders survive without wells or streams?

The ancient Rapanui captured fresh groundwater where it seeped into the sea.

17 Oct 2018 6:25pm GMT

01 Jan 2009

feedLinux.com :: Features

A new year, a new Linux.com

Many of you have commented that our NewsVac section hasn't been refreshed since the middle of last month. Others have noticed that our story volume has dropped off. Changes are coming to Linux.com, and until they arrive, you won't see any new stories on the site.

01 Jan 2009 2:00pm GMT

31 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Android-powered G1 phone is an enticing platform for app developers

The free and open source software community has been waiting for the G1 cell phone since it was first announced in July. Source code for Google's Android mobile platform has been available, but the G1 marks its commercial debut. It's clearly a good device, but is it what Linux boosters and FOSS advocates have long been anticipating?

31 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT

30 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Municipalities open their GIS systems to citizens

Many public administrations already use open source Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to let citizens look at public geographic data trough dedicated Web sites. Others use the same software to partially open the data gathering process: they let citizens directly add geographic information to the official, high-quality GIS databases by drawing or clicking on digital maps.

30 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT