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Fly me to the M(O2)n: Euro scientists extract oxygen from ‘lunar dust’ by cooking it with molten salt electrolysis

Scientists at the European Space Agency are trying to extract oxygen from something very close to lunar soil. The ESA team can’t try their technique on actual lunar soil samples: the amounts brought back are tiny and too valuable. Instead, the boffins have constructed a chemical equivalent, and are investigating, at a new facility at the Materials and Electrical Components Laboratory in the Netherlands, whether Moon dust could be…

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Server-side Swift’s slow support story sours some: Apple lang tailored for mobile CPUs, lacking in Linux world

Analysis The Swift programming language has suffered some setbacks in its quest for ubiquity since Apple released it under an open-source license in 2015. In December, IBM said it had reevaluated its priorities and decided to back away from server-side Swift development. Then last week, Vapor Cloud, a server-side Swift hosting biz, and a related service called Vapor Red, announced plans to shut down in February. “Given that six…

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World-record-breaking boffins reveal the fastest spinning thing on Earth – and it’s not George Orwell in his grave

Privacy’s dead but, hey, we’ve got nanoparticles spinning at 300 billion RPM. So that’s cool That’s it … The silica nanoparticles The fastest spinning object on Earth – a pair of nanoparticles – can complete over five billion revolutions per second in the laboratory, according to a paper published in Nature Nanotechnology on Monday. Here’s how the team at Purdue University in the US pulled it off: they formed…

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Let’s check in on the .org sale fiasco: Senators say No, internet grandees say Yes – and ICANN pretends there’s absolutely nothing to see here

Analysis A quick hypothetical for you: if your organization received a letter from six senior politicians urging you not to move forward with a controversial decision, and you looked out your windows to see dozens of protesters insisting on the same, would you… Call an emergency meeting of your board/staff Release a public statement making it clear you have heard the concerns Arrange a series of public meetings, or…

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Wave goodbye: DigitalOcean decimates workforce as co-founder reveals lack of profitability, leadership turmoil

DigitalOcean last week axed an undisclosed number of employees. In a statement to The Register, a spokesperson for the cloud-server-hosting biz addressed the job cuts using bland buzzwords that said very little about what’s actually going on. “DigitalOcean recently announced a restructuring to better align its teams to its go-forward growth strategy,” the spinner spun. “As part of this restructuring, some roles were, unfortunately, eliminated. DigitalOcean continues to be…

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To catch a thief, go to Google with a geofence warrant – and it will give you all the details

At 1030 on April 27, 2019, four unidentified individuals attempted to rob a Brinks armored truck parked outside of Michaels, an art supply and home decor store at the Point Loomis Shopping Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. To find out who they are, local authorities plan to ask Google. According to an affidavit filed by Matthew Gibson, a law enforcement officer with the Milwaukee FBI Violent Crime Task Force,…

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It’s Friday, the weekend has landed… and Microsoft warns of an Internet Explorer zero day exploited in the wild

Roundup Welcome to another Reg roundup of security news. Still using Internet Explorer? Don’t. There’s another zero-day Microsoft let slip on Friday an advisory detailing an under-attack zero-day vulnerability (CVE-2020-0674) for Internet Explorer. The scripting engine flaw can be exploited to gain remote code execution on a vulnerable machine by way of a specially crafted webpage. The flaw can be mitigated by restricting access to the JavaScript component JScript.dll,…

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You’re not Boeing to believe this: Yet another show-stopping software bug found in ill-fated 737 Max airplanes

Boeing today said another software flaw has been spotted in its star-crossed 737 Max. The bug was found during an audit of the passenger jet’s on-board technology, held last weekend with America’s aviation regulator. These technical reviews are expected to turn up glitches and gremlins for Boeing engineers to fix, so this is kinda to be expected. The Seattle-based manufacturer told The Register on Friday it was working with…

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Europe mulls five year ban on facial recognition in public… with loopholes for security and research

The European Commission is weighing whether to ban facial recognition systems in public areas for up to five years, according to a draft report on artificial intelligence policy in the European Union. A copy of the unreleased report was published on Thursday by EURACTIV, a Belgian non-profit media think tank. The European Commission wants time to explore how artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology can be reconciled with…

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‘Friendly’ hackers are seemingly fixing the Citrix server hole – and leaving a nasty present behind

Hackers exploiting the high-profile Citrix CVE-2019-19781 flaw to compromise VPN gateways are now patching the servers to keep others out. Researchers at FireEye report finding a hacking group (dubbed NOTROBIN) that has been bundling mitigation code for NetScaler servers with its exploits. In effect, the hackers exploit the flaw to get access to the server, kill any existing malware, set up their own backdoor, then block off the vulnerable…

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