ReHacked vol. 268: Cyber Security: A Pre-War Reality Check, Microsoft's Emissions Spike 29% as AI Gobbles Up Resources and more

ReHacked vol. 268: Cyber Security: A Pre-War Reality Check, Microsoft's Emissions Spike 29% as AI Gobbles Up Resources and more
Yamaha MDP-10 synthesizer. Image from:

Cyber Security: A Pre-War Reality Check - Bert Hubert's writings #politics #history #world #longread

First, some important words from Donald T:

“I know it sounds devastating, but you have to get used to the fact that a new era has begun. The pre-war era.”

And this comes from Donald Tusk, the Polish Prime Minister from 2007 to 2014.

And at the time, he, and the Baltic states, said that Russia was a real threat. And everyone’s like, yeah, yeah, it’ll last. And we’ll just do so much business with them that we will not get bombed. And that did not work.

And now Donald Tusk is again the Prime Minister of Poland. And he’s again telling us that, look, we are in a bad era and we are underestimating this.

Make a donation - support Ukraine. My favourite: Support the Armed Forces of Ukraine | via National Bank of Ukraine. More options if you want alternatives. Also, very important Come Back Alive Foundation - Charity Organization.

Щира подяка. Разом до перемоги!

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A Floppy Disk MIDI Boombox: The Yamaha MDP-10 #music #hardware #history

The Yamaha MDP-10 is quite a sight. It’s exactly what I said: a 90’s compact boombox form factor (maybe a little less rounded, but that’s not bad thing), the green is a little weird maybe, and then at that point you see a floppy drive on the front of it.

AI Regulations Are Crony Capitalism in Action #ai #copyrights #regulations

Because of ChatGPT's seemingly vast powers, Altman called for government regulation to "mitigate the risks of increasingly powerful AI systems" and recommended that U.S. or global leaders form an agency that would license AI systems and have the authority to "take that license away and ensure compliance with safety standards." Major AI players around the world quickly roared approval of Altman's "I want to be regulated" clarion call.

Welcome to the brave new world of AI and cozy crony capitalism, where industry players, interest groups, and government agents meet continuously to monitor and manage investor-owned firms.

Microsoft's Emissions Spike 29% as AI Gobbles Up Resources | PCMag #ai #sustainability #nature

What good is AI if you don't have a planet to use it on?

Microsoft released its 2024 Sustainability Report on Wednesday, and it's mostly bad news. Last year, Microsoft's emissions went up 29%, and it used 23% more water, primarily due to "new technologies, including generative AI."

The report covers numbers for 2023, the first full year of the AI race after ChatGPT's November 2022 debut. Microsoft invested a reported $10 billion in OpenAI in January 2023 and added GPT-4 to the Bing search engine in early 2023. It's now full steam ahead on selling the Copilot AI assistant add-on for Microsoft 365 products while building a new AI model that consumes tons of electricity during the training phase alone.

Is artificial consciousness achievable? Lessons from the human brain #science #ai

We here analyse the question of developing artificial consciousness from an evolutionary perspective, taking the evolution of the human brain and its relation with consciousness as a reference model. This kind of analysis reveals several structural and functional features of the human brain that appear to be key for reaching human-like complex conscious experience and that current research on Artificial Intelligence (AI) should take into account in its attempt to develop systems capable of conscious processing. We argue that, even if AI is limited in its ability to emulate human consciousness for both intrinsic (structural and architectural) and extrinsic (related to the current stage of scientific and technological knowledge) reasons, taking inspiration from those characteristics of the brain that make conscious processing possible and/or modulate it, is a potentially promising strategy towards developing conscious AI. Also, it is theoretically possible that AI research can develop partial or potentially alternative forms of consciousness that is qualitatively different from the human, and that may be either more or less sophisticated depending on the perspectives. Therefore, we recommend neuroscience-inspired caution in talking about artificial consciousness: since the use of the same word consciousness for humans and AI becomes ambiguous and potentially misleading, we propose to clearly specify what is common and what differs in AI conscious processing from full human conscious experience.

Usenet archive on Computer architecture, Programming Languages etc. #information

Big Tech to EU: "Drop Dead" | Electronic Frontier Foundation #privacy

There’s a rule banning “self-preferencing.” That’s when platforms push their often inferior, in-house products and hide superior products made by their rivals.

And perhaps best of all, there’s a privacy rule, reinforcing the eight-year-old General Data Protection Regulation, a strong, privacy law that has been flouted for too long, especially by the largest tech giants.

In other words, the DMA is meant to push us toward a world where you decide which software runs on your devices, where it’s easy to find the best products and services, where you can leave a platform for a better one without forfeiting your social relationships , and where you can do all of this without getting spied on.

AI 'godfather' says universal basic income will be needed #society #economy

The computer scientist regarded as the “godfather of artificial intelligence” says the government will have to establish a universal basic income to deal with the impact of AI on inequality.

Professor Geoffrey Hinton told BBC Newsnight that a benefits reform giving fixed amounts of cash to every citizen would be needed because he was “very worried about AI taking lots of mundane jobs”.

Found at last: long-lost branch of the Nile that ran by the pyramids #history

The highest concentration of pyramids in Egypt can be found in a stretch of desert between Giza and the village of Lisht. These sites are now several dozens of kilometres away from the Nile River. But Egyptologists have long suspected that the Nile might once have been closer to that stretch than it is today.

Satellite images and geological data now confirm that a tributary of the Nile — which researchers have named the Ahramat Branch — used to run near many of the major sites in the region several thousand years ago. The discovery, reported on 16 May in Communications Earth and Environment1, could help to explain why ancient Egyptians chose this area to build the pyramids (See ‘Ancient river’).

Winamp has announced that it is opening up its source code to enable collaborative development of its legendary player for Windows. #software

Winamp has announced that on 24 September 2024, the application's source code will be open to developers worldwide.

Winamp will open up its code for the player used on Windows, enabling the entire community to participate in its development. This is an invitation to global collaboration, where developers worldwide can contribute their expertise, ideas, and passion to help this iconic software evolve.

The spy who flunked it: Kurt Gödel’s forgotten part in the atom-bomb story #science #history

Gödel, a mathematician and philosopher, was called by Einstein “the greatest logician since Aristotle” — a phrase coined in 1924 that stuck. Yet when Kurt enrolled at the University of Vienna 100 years ago, he started out in physics. Relativity was all the rage then, and Gödel’s professor, Hans Thirring, was an expert. He had just co-discovered an important feature of the Universe — that the gravitational field of a spinning ball (such as Earth) differs from that when the ball is still, now known as the Lense–Thirring effect. The difference is tiny, however, and it wasn’t measured until 80 years later, using first-rate space technology.

Linux maintainers were infected for 2 years by SSH-dwelling backdoor with huge reach | Ars Technica #security #history

Infrastructure used to maintain and distribute the Linux operating system kernel was infected for two years, starting in 2009, by sophisticated malware that managed to get a hold of one of the developers’ most closely guarded resources: the /etc/shadow files that stored encrypted password data for more than 550 system users, researchers said Tuesday.

The unknown attackers behind the compromise infected at least four servers inside, the Internet domain underpinning the sprawling Linux development and distribution network, the researchers from security firm ESET said. After obtaining the cryptographic hashes for 551 user accounts on the network, the attackers were able to convert half into plaintext passwords, likely through password-cracking techniques and the use of an advanced credential-stealing feature built into the malware. From there, the attackers used the servers to send spam and carry out other nefarious activities. The four servers were likely infected and disinfected at different times, with the last two being remediated at some point in 2011.

Nearly all Nintendo 64 games can now be recompiled into native PC ports to add proper ray tracing, ultrawide, high FPS, and more | Tom's Hardware #software

Recompiled ports aren't quite the same as decompiled ports like the SM64 PC port in this context, but both will run natively on PC and thus be able to truly maximize performance and effect accuracy to the original hardware while still providing the PC-expected enhancements that come with emulation. N64Recomp is basically the best of both worlds, and since manually decompiling N64 games takes years of labor from one or more people, a tool to more efficiently recompile them into a quickly playable-on-PC state is a godsend for preservationists everywhere.

Romance author gets locked out of Google Docs for “inappropriate” content - Dexerto #censorship #freespeech #bigcorp

Renee describes her work to Wired as “open-door spice” meaning it’s explicit or “spicy”. Google mentions that files containing violence, abuse, CSAM, and gore violate the terms of service for Google Drive and its associated products, like Docs and Sheets. However, exceptions are made, for educational, artistic, and journalistic purposes.

In medicine, what’s the difference between an -ectomy, an -ostomy, and an -otomy? - The Straight Dope #interesting

URLhaus | Malware URL exchange #security

URLhaus is a project from with the goal of sharing malicious URLs that are being used for malware distribution.

Many gig workers rights groups are led by women in Thailand - Rest of World #economy #socialsecurity

When a 19-year-old food delivery rider died in a road accident last year in Bangkok, Supaporn “Ja” Panprasit, another gig worker, demanded compensation from the Line Man app. She spent months following up with the police and even raised about $500 for the deceased worker’s family from the riders’ aid group she had founded.

Supaporn, 37, who herself was hit by a car last summer, then petitioned the Thai labor ministry for a government compensation fund for gig workers. While there was no regulatory change, Supaporn’s campaign was widely covered by local media.

A list of open source games #software

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