Dread Pirate Roberts escaped development hell: Making Silk Road work as a film

"There's so much we had to leave out. Really, what this needs is a six-hour limited series."
2021-07-25 08:30:03 preview's
DNA Has Four Bases. Some Viruses Swap in a Fifth

Dozens of viruses don't use the same four nucleotide bases found in all other life. New work shows how this is possible—and perhaps more common than we think.
2021-07-25 08:15:02 preview's
Virtual Comic-Con Includes Trailers For 'Blade Runner' Series, 'Dune' Movie - and NASA Panels

Comic-Con went virtual again in 2020. (San Diego businesses will miss the chance to profit from the 100,000 visitors the convention usually attracted.) And NPR reports the convention has gotten smaller in other ways: Both Marvel Studios and DC are staying away; as it did last year, DC is again directing its resources towards its own event, DC FanDome, set for mid-October. But fans of shows like Doctor Who, Dexter and Comic-Con stalwart The Walking Dead will have lots to look forward to. Rotten Tomatoes and The Verge have gathered up the trailers that did premier. Some of the highlights: Blade Runner: Black Lotus , an upcoming anime television series set to premiere in late 2021 on Crunchyroll and Adult Swim (co-producing it with Alcon Television Group).The upcoming remake of Dune J.J. Abrams' new four-part Showtime documentary about UFOs.Season 2 of Star Trek: Lower Decks and the new Star Trek: Prodigy, a CGI-animated series about a group of aliens who escape captivity onboard the Enterprise. But interestingly, one of the more visibile presenters was: NASA. Current and former NASA officials made appearances on several different panels, according to, including one on modern space law, U.N. treaty-making, and how it all stacks up against the portrayal we get in our various future-space franchises. And NASA also touted its virtual simulation platform Ed-Tech, "where students can have access to the same tools that professionals use and in the case of space are given the opportunity to solve real problems related to missions to our Moon, Mars, and beyond... from piloting to terra-forming to creating habitats and spacecraft." There was also a panel of four NASA engineers titled "No Tow Trucks Beyond Mars," on "how we go boldly where thereâ(TM)s no one around to fix it. Hear stories from the trenches of the heartbreaks, close calls, and adventures of real-life landing (and flying!) on Mars and our round-table discussion of what Netflix got right in their movie Stowaway." Sunday's panels will include an astronomer, an astrobiologist, and a geologist/paleontologist discussing "The Science of Star Wars" with the concept designer for Star Wars episodes 7-9, Rogue One, and Solo. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-07-25 07:45:01 preview's
Venmo gets more private—but it’s still not fully safe

Until it offers privacy by default, it remains a liability for many of its users.
2021-07-25 07:15:02 preview's
Hit the Road With These Travel-Planning Apps and Tricks

Let your phone be your guide. Even default map apps have handy features to help you plan an awesome itinerary.
2021-07-25 07:15:02 preview's
Trucks Move Past Cars on the Road to Autonomy

Money is pouring into autonomous trucking startups, just as many are souring on the short-term prospects for self-driving cars.
2021-07-25 07:15:02 preview's
'Nuclear Power's Reliability is Dropping as Extreme Weather Increases'

A comprehensive new analysis published in Nature "calculates that the frequency of climate-related nuclear plant outages is almost eight times higher than it was in the 1990s," reports Ars Technica. "The analysis also estimates that the global nuclear fleet will lose up to 1.4 percent — about 36 TWh — of its energy production in the next 40 years and up to 2.4 percent, or 61 TWh, by 2081-2100." The author analyzed publicly available databases from the International Atomic Energy Agency to identify all climate-linked shutdowns (partial and complete) of the world's 408 operational reactors. Unplanned outages are generally very well documented, and available data made it possible to calculate trends in the frequency of outages that were linked to environmental causes over the past 30 years. The author also used more detailed data from the last decade (2010-2019) to provide one of the first analyses of which types of climate events have had the most impact on nuclear power. While the paper doesn't directly link the reported events to climate change, the findings do show an overall increase in the number of outages due to a range of climate events. The two main categories of climate disruptions broke down into thermal disruptions (heat, drought, and wildfire) and storms (including hurricanes, typhoons, lightning, and flooding). In the case of heat and drought, the main problem is the lack of cool-enough water — or in the case of drought, enough water at all — to cool the reactor. However, there were also a number of outages due to ecological responses to warmer weather; for example, larger than usual jellyfish populations have blocked the intake pipes on some reactors. Storms and wildfires, on the other hand, caused a range of problems, including structural damage, precautionary preemptive shutdowns, reduced operations, and employee evacuations. In the timeframe of 2010 to 2019, the leading causes of outages were hurricanes and typhoons in most parts of the world, although heat was still the leading factor in Western Europe (France in particular). While these represented the most frequent causes, the analysis also showed that droughts were the source of the longest disruptions and thus the largest power losses. The author calculated that the average frequency of climate-linked outages went from 0.2 outages per year in the 1990s to 1.5 outages in the timeframe of 2010 to 2019. A retrospective analysis further showed that, for every 1 degree C rise in temperature (above the average temperature between 1951 and 1980), the energy output of the global fleet fell about 0.5 percent. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-07-25 03:45:02 preview's
Does the Open Source Movement Need to Evolve?

A cloud company's CTO argues on CTO that the "hypocrite commits" controversy "is symptomatic, on every side, of related trends that threaten the entire extended open-source ecosystem and its users." That ecosystem has long wrestled with problems of scale, complexity and free and open-source software's (FOSS) increasingly critical importance to every kind of human undertaking. Let's look at that complex of problems: - The biggest open-source projects now present big targets. - Their complexity and pace have grown beyond the scale where traditional "commons" approaches or even more evolved governance models can cope. - They are evolving to commodify each other. For example, it's becoming increasingly hard to state, categorically, whether "Linux" or "Kubernetes" should be treated as the "operating system" for distributed applications. For-profit organizations have taken note of this and have begun reorganizing around "full-stack" portfolios and narratives. - In so doing, some for-profit organizations have begun distorting traditional patterns of FOSS participation. Many experiments are underway. Meanwhile, funding, headcount commitments to FOSS and other metrics seem in decline. - OSS projects and ecosystems are adapting in diverse ways, sometimes making it difficult for for-profit organizations to feel at home or see benefit from participation. Meanwhile, the threat landscape keeps evolving: - Attackers are bigger, smarter, faster and more patient, leading to long games, supply-chain subversion and so on. - Attacks are more financially, economically and politically profitable than ever. - Users are more vulnerable, exposed to more vectors than ever before. - The increasing use of public clouds creates new layers of technical and organizational monocultures that may enable and justify attacks. - Complex commercial off-the-shelf solutions assembled partly or wholly from open-source software create elaborate attack surfaces whose components (and interactions) are accessible and well understood by bad actors. - Software componentization enables new kinds of supply-chain attacks. Meanwhile, all this is happening as organizations seek to shed nonstrategic expertise, shift capital expenditures to operating expenses and evolve to depend on cloud vendors and other entities to do the hard work of security. The net result is that projects of the scale and utter criticality of the Linux kernel aren't prepared to contend with game-changing, hyperscale threat models. Among other things, the article ultimately calls for a reevaluation of project governance/organization and funding "with an eye toward mitigating complete reliance on the human factor, as well as incentivizing for-profit companies to contribute their expertise and other resources." (With whatever culture changes this may require.) It also suggests "simplifying the stack" (and verifying its components), while pushing "appropriate" responsibility for security up to the application layer. Slashdot reader joshuark argues this would be not so much the end of Open Source as "more turning the page to the next chapter in open-source: the issues of contributing, reviewing, and integrating into an open-source code base." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-07-24 23:45:01 preview's
Amazon Wants Apartment Buildings to Install a 'Key' System that Lets Them Enter the Lobby

"Amazon is tired of ringing doorbells," reports the Associated Press. "The online shopping giant is pushing landlords around the country — sometimes with financial incentives — to give its drivers the ability to unlock apartment-building doors themselves with a mobile device." The service, dubbed Key for Business, is pitched as a way to cut down on stolen packages by making it easy to leave them in lobbies and not outside. Amazon benefits because it enables delivery workers to make their rounds faster. And fewer stolen packages reduce costs and could give Amazon an edge over competitors. Those who have installed the device say it reduces the constant buzzing by delivery people and is a safer alternative to giving out codes to scores of delivery people. But the Amazon program, first announced in 2018, may stir security and privacy concerns as it gains traction. The company said that it does background checks on delivery people and that they can unlock doors only when they have a package in hand to scan. But tenants may not know that Amazon drivers have access to their building's front doors, since Amazon leaves it up to the building to notify them... Amazon didn't respond to questions about potential hacking. The company has already installed the device in thousands of U.S. apartment buildings but declined to give a specific number... Amazon salespeople have been fanning out to cities across the country to knock on doors, make cold calls or approach building managers on the street to urge them to install the device. The company has even partnered with local locksmiths to push it on building managers while they fix locks. Amazon installs the device for free and sometimes throws in a $100 Amazon gift card to whoever lets them in. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2021-07-24 21:45:02 preview's
Russia Just Launched a New Science Module to the Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) is about to get a little bigger. On July 21, the Russian Space Agency launched the station’s newest module into orbit aboard a Proton-M rocket. The module, dubbed Nauka (which means science), is the station’s first new module since 2016, aside from some new docking ports and airlocks. The Nauka … Continue reading "Russia Just Launched a New Science Module to the Space Station" The post Russia Just Launched a New Science Module to the Space Station appeared first on Universe Today.
2021-07-24 19:00:05