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Posted by Sean Gallagher

Enlarge (credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

In a statement published on the Securities and Exchange Commission's website yesterday, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton revealed that the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR) system was compromised last year. Data from EDGAR, which is used to receive and publish corporate filings to the agency, "may have provided the basis for illicit gain through trading," Clayton said. "Notwithstanding our efforts to protect our systems and manage cybersecurity risk, in certain cases cyber threat actors have managed to access or misuse our systems." The revelations were part of a statement by Clayton on the SEC's overall cybersecurity posture and policy.

This is not the first time the SEC has exposed financial data. In 2014, an audit from the SEC's inspector general found that hundreds of agency laptops could not be accounted for, and many of them may have contained non-public financial market data. But the 2016 breach was the result of a deliberate attack aimed at accessing the EDGAR filing system.

EDGAR is the system that accepts electronic filings of statements from corporations regarding their finances and events or activities that might have an impact on their business. The system also allows the public—including investors and researchers—to access those filings. EDGAR amounts to a huge content management and workflow system, containing data on all manner of publicly traded stocks, bonds, and other securities. It's intended to ensure that all parties have access to the same information at the same time to minimize the ability of some to take advantage of the release of advance financial information.

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Posted by Timothy B. Lee

Faebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (credit: Facebook)

Two weeks ago, Facebook admitted that a "shadowy Russian company" spent $100,000 on political ads targeting US Facebook users during the 2016 election campaign. At the time, Facebook turned in information about these ad buys to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the election.

Today, Facebook announced that it would also be turning the information over to Congressional investigators. And Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be stepping up its efforts to prevent foreign election interference in the future.

"The integrity of our elections is fundamental to democracy around the world," Zuckerberg said in a video posted to Facebook. "We can't prevent all governments from all interference. But we can make it harder."

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Posted by Jonathan M. Gitlin

It's a great time to be alive for fans of serious racing simulations. Codemasters has been in fine form, giving us two very good games this year. New installments of Forza and Gran Turismo are just around the corner.

But today, I'm here to talk to you about Project CARS 2. The work of Slightly Mad Studios and a followup to the original Project CARS of 2015, it's an expansive title that features road cars, current and historic racing cars, a massive array of tracks to race on (including dirt and even ice), and some heavily revised physics. After several days behind a steering wheel putting the game to the test, I found Project CARS 2 to be extremely rewarding to play and a massive improvement on its predecessor. But it's still no easy arcade racer, and the hardcore nature of its simulation means it's not going to appeal to everyone.

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Utterly lost in translation

Sep. 21st, 2017 07:37 pm
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Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum

During a search for something else, I happened upon this page at the Bible Study Tools site. It provides a nice reminder (for the two or three people out there who might still need it) of the fact that it's dangerous to trust websites, in linguistic matters or in anything else. As the screenshot shows, it purports to show Psalm 86 in two parallel versions, the Latin Vulgate and the New International Version.

"Filiis Core psalmis cantici fundamenta eius in montibus sanctis" is translated as "Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy." The correct translation is debatable, but the first four words mean "A song psalm for the sons of Korah", and the rest means either "Its foundations are in the sacred hills" or (according to the Revised Standard Version) "On the holy mount stands the city he founded." Verse 2, "Diligit dominus portas Sion super omnia tabernacula Iacob" (roughly, "The Lord loves the gates of Sion more than all the dwellings of Jacob") is translated as "Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God." The third verse begins Gloriosa dicta sunt ("glorious things are spoken") but is translated as "have mercy on me". This is worse than the worst botch I ever saw from Google Translate. And I suspect human error is to blame.

They've got the wrong psalm, having fallen foul of the discrepancy between the Hebrew (Masoretic) and Greek (Septuagint/Vulgate) numberings. They have aligned the Latin of Psalm 87 in the Hebrew numbering (86 in the Greek) with the English of the Hebrew Psalm 86 (Greek 85). The Authorized Version of the bible (1611) uses the Hebrew numbering, as does the Revised Standard Version (1951). Catholic authorities (see Rosary Bay's parallel Latin-English psalter, for example) use the Greek numbering, having (correctly) recognized that psalms 9 and 10 in the Hebrew numbering are two parts of a single psalm. The error on the Bible Tools site goes on, of course, to affect all psalms from 10 (in the Greek numbering) onwards.

The psalm that begins "Fundamenta eius in montibus sanctis" turns up in certain magical spells and incantations, so the error could turn out to have rather serious consequences. For example, in section 110 of Claude Lecouteux's The Book of Grimoires: The Secret Grammar of Magic it is recommended that an inscription of the Fundamenta eius psalm written, in pigeon blood together with certain magical characters (which do not have Unicode numbers, so I will not try to reproduce them here), if smoked over mastic and aloe wood and then attached to your right arm, will preserve your health and cause your business affairs to prosper.

Catching a pigeon, subduing it, and draining its blood into a bowl left my kitchen in a bit of a mess, but once the gory stuff was done, and I had enough blood to moisten my quill pen, it didn't take long to complete the necessary scribal job. I sewed the piece of parchment into the lining of the right arm of my jacket, and haven't looked back since. I don't leave home without it. It has made me healthy and prosperous, exactly as was guaranteed.

But you do have to be able to tell one psalm from another if you want to get your spells right. So don't put your trust in just any old site you find on the web when looking for translations of documents. It could lead you even further astray than a random condo development brochure about armed structure and crystals.

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Posted by Jonathan M. Gitlin

Enlarge (credit: Andreas Sutter, Lithium Storage GmbH)

When it comes to bench-racing electric vehicles, the kilowatt-hour is king. And over in Switzerland, there's an EV that will make Tesla's P100Ds look positively puny. But this is no carbon-fiber hypercar, and it's never going set any records for 0-60 times or the standing quarter. No, this is an altogether more practical creation that's meant to work for a living. It's a Komatsu quarry truck that's being modified by Kuhn Schweiz and Lithium Storage, weighing in at almost 50 tons (45 tonnes) and powered by a whopping 700kWh battery pack.

The e-Dumper has been in the works for a couple of years now, during which time its battery capacity has grown from the original 600kWh to what is now the equivalent of seven top-of-the-line Teslas. The cells in question are nickel-manganese-cobalt, 1,440 of them in total, weighing almost 10,000lbs (4.5 tonnes). And once the team has found space in the chassis for all of that energy storage, the idea is for the e-Dumper to spend the next decade trundling between a Swiss cement quarry and the Ciments Vigier works near Biel.

Here's the really cool part: each round trip actually generates electricity. Because the e-Dumper goes up the mountain empty and descends carrying 71 tons (65 tonnes) of rock, it captures 40kWh on the way to the cement works via regenerative braking. But climbing back up to the quarry only requires 30kWh, so every trip will feed an extra 10kWh into the local electricity grid. Not bad when you then consider that the e-Dumper will be doing that trip 20 times a day.

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Posted by Beth Mole

Enlarge / Tubes of homeopathic granules at Boiron Laboratory in Brest, France. (credit: Getty | FRED TANNEAU)

An organization representing scientific academies throughout Europe released a statement Wednesday that squarely bashed homeopathy as nonsense and warned that the “promotion and use of homeopathic products risks significant harms.”

The statement by the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC)—an umbrella organization representing 29 national and international scientific academies in Europe, including the Royal Society (UK) and Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences—is intended to influence policy and regulations across the European Union. The EASAC emphasized the need to “reinforce criticisms” by scientists as the markets for homeopathy in the EU and US continue to grow.

The council did not mince words about the “alternative medicines,” which rely on the erroneous ideas that ‘like cures like’ and that water can have memory. In its 12-page statement, the group summarized the extensive scientific work showing that homeopathy is scientifically implausible and produces nothing more than the placebo effect in patients.

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Posted by Samuel Axon

Razer's Fiona prototype eventually become the Razer Edge gaming tablet. (credit: Kyle Orland)

Gaming hardware and lifestyle company Razer is poised to release a new mobile device later this year, according to an interview on CNBC's Managing Asia with Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan. "I can say that we are coming up with a mobile device specifically geared towards gamers and entertainment," he said. "We are hoping to have it come by the end of the year."

Razer has launched what could be considered mobile gaming devices before. In addition to its popular line of Razer Blade laptops, the company revealed a Windows-driven gaming tablet, called the Razer Edge, at CES in 2013. Ars had good things to say about it at the time. The Edge was positioned as a gaming tablet, though it was certainly capable of playing videos or music and other entertainment applications. Tan played up the importance of the entertainment-side for this new device—and for Razer as a company moving forward.

"Entertainment is going to be massive," he said, when talking about the future of both Razer and the industry. He talked up Razer's acquisition of THX last year, and when CNBC asked him if Razer will become an entertainment company, he said: "Well, we already are. I mean, given that gaming's probably the largest segment in entertainment. What else is left? There's movies and there's music."

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Posted by Peter Bright

An IBM keyboard signed by ctrl-alt-del inventor David Bradley. (credit: Ross Grady)

Once again, Bill Gates has bemoaned the creation of the ctrl-alt-del shortcut. Talking at Bloomberg Global Business Forum, Gates reiterates that he wishes IBM had created a dedicated button for the feature. We're republishing this piece from 2013, because we still think that Gates' telling of the story is a little misleading; for IBM it was a feature, not a flaw, that ctrl-alt-del requires two hands, and if Microsoft really wanted a single button ctrl-alt-del for Windows NT, it was Microsoft, not IBM, with the market dominance to achieve that.

Speaking at Harvard earlier this month, Bill Gates was asked why you have to press ctrl-alt-del before you can enter your password and log in to Windows. After explaining the security rationale, Gates then said that it was a "mistake" and that it was due to IBM refusing to add a single button to take the place of the three finger salute.

It's a nice story, but it doesn't really add up.

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Weekend Roundup: Quoi faire?

Sep. 21st, 2017 06:30 pm
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Posted by Amanda Armstrong

Summer is back with a vengeance this weekend, bringing sunny skies and hot hot heat along with it. It’s a great time to get out there and enjoy what this city has to offer, which, as you will see, is plenty.

All weekend

The Ottawa International Animation Festival continues this Thursday and on through the weekend at various venues across town. There are workshops, movie screenings, and – of course – a little friendly competition. Have a look at the festival’s schedule to plan out your days here. The difficult decision is then deciding which of the events you want to see more!

The Carp Fair is the first of the fall fairs taking place this season. Check out all the rides, try your hand at the midway, and enjoy some caramel corn and cotton candy. There will also be some special things happening on the fairgrounds this year, including Little Ray’s Reptiles, agriculture shows, Canadogs, a Family Circle Tent, and more!

Etsy Made in Canada will see over 150 creative vendors at the Bell Sensplex this weekend. For the first time ever, get a sneak peak of the market on Friday night, or attend the regular market on Saturday and Sunday.

Oktober arrives a little early this year, with Beau’s Oktoberfest, taking over their Vankleek Hill brewery this Friday and Saturday. As always, there will be live music, great grub from local restaurants, and dozens of delicious beers by Beau’s and their favourite craft brewery buddies.


Birling Skate Shop is hosting a temporary tattoo parlour this Thursday from 4-7pm. Come learn about tattooing and try your hand at the art using Jagua Gel, a temporary ink lasting 1-3 weeks. All materials will be provided – and there will be free snacks.


Not much to report this Friday. Use this time to relax and unwind for the busy weekend ahead. Or check out the Etsy Made in Canada Night Market, Beau’s Oktoberfest, the Carp Fair, or the Ottawa International Animation Festival – all of which are happening all weekend long.


The Lights Fest is making its way to Ottawa this Saturday after dark. Join thousands of others and, together, let your lanterns loose to light up the sky. This will be one event you will want to bring your camera to as it is sure to be a spectacular sight.

The Souljazz Orchestra kicks off their international tour with their “Under Burning Skies” album release party at Babylon Nightclub this Saturday. Be the first to hear the Souljazz Orchestra’s newest masterpieces, before they take them around the world. There will be no advance tickets available and you won’t want to miss this send-off, so be sure to get there early!


Are you an artist who is considering applying for a residency? Would you like to learn a bit more about the process from other artists who have completed their own? Possible Worlds is hosting a professional development workshop on the topic. Practice/Process: What is a Residency? will be held at the shop this Sunday eve.

Soccer fans will want to make their way to TD Place this Sunday afternoon, to watch our team take on Louisville City FC at 2pm. The Ottawa Fury are playing their hearts out in this final stretch to secure a spot in the playoff season. Be there to witness this exciting match!

While at Lansdowne, you may want to make your way to the Horticulture Building, for Ottawa Welcomes the World: Barbados. Take a virtual visit to this beautiful Caribbean country, enjoy some of their delicious cuisine, and learn some traditional Bajan dance.

Well folks, that’s a wrap on another exciting weekend in the city. Get out there and have fun – and be sure to keep hydrated. Take lots of photos and hashtag them with #apt613wknd, for a chance to be featured on our feed.


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Posted by Greg David

From a media release: Corus Entertainment continues its commitment to Canadian content and the local production community as it greenlights a third season of Global’s hit original series Private Eyes. From leading independent studio Entertainment One (eOne), the fan-favourite investigative drama receives a 12-episode order, with production set to begin in Toronto in spring 2018. … Continue reading Global Greenlights Original Series Private Eyes for a Third Season

Namibia, Nambia, whatever

Sep. 21st, 2017 05:05 pm
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Posted by Mark Liberman

It's hard to keep all those African countries straight, as President Trump demonstrated in a speech to African leaders at the U.N.:

Mr. Trump continues to create jobs in broadcast comedy, even for workers normally employed in other industries:

Of course this speech error provided opportunities for the professionals as well:

And plenty of opportunities for piece-workers on twitter:


Here's the original:

I like political humor as much as anyone, but still, I hope that Trumpistic speech errors don't turn into this decade's version of "Bushisms".

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Posted by Jon Brodkin

Enlarge / FCC members Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai at INTX: The Internet & Television Expo in Chicago, Illinois, US, on Wednesday, May 6, 2015. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

The Federal Communications Commission chairman's proposal that could lower the country's broadband standard is "crazy" and does nothing to solve the United States' broadband accessibility problems, a Democratic FCC commissioner said yesterday.

The FCC is "proposing to lower US broadband standard from 25 to 10Mbps," FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel tweeted. "This is crazy. Lowering standards doesn't solve our broadband problems."

Redefining broadband to declare problem solved

The FCC's current policy, a holdover from former Chairman Tom Wheeler, is that all Americans should have access to home Internet service with speeds of at least 25Mbps downstream and 3Mbps upstream and access to mobile broadband. If that policy remained in place, having one or the other wouldn't be enough to be considered "served" in the FCC's annual analysis of whether broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.

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New Horizons After 2014 MU69

Sep. 21st, 2017 03:11 pm
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Posted by Paul Gilster

If New Horizons can make its flyby of Kuiper Belt Object MU69 at a scant 3500 kilometers, our imagery and other data should be much enhanced over the alternative 10,000 kilometer distance, one being kept in reserve in case pre-encounter observations indicate a substantial debris field or other problems close to the object. But both trajectories, according to principal investigator Alan Stern, have been moved closer following a ten-week study period, and both are closer than the 12,500 kilometers the spacecraft maintained in its flyby of Pluto.

Image: Artist’s concept of Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, which is the next flyby target for NASA’s New Horizons mission. Scientists speculate that the Kuiper Belt object could be a single body (above) with a large chunk taken out of it, or two bodies that are close together or even touching. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Alex Parker.

Stern made the statement in early September at a meeting of the Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG), in which he also pointed out that flyby observations of the distant KBO will commence in August of next year in preparation for the early January arrival in 2019. The process of returning acquired data to Earth is estimated to take up to 20 months.

We also get this heartening news: Stern considers the Kuiper Extended Mission of New Horizons to be ‘multi-pronged,’ with the January 1 flyby of MU69 perhaps the prelude to further operations. New Horizons has sufficient fuel and power to operate until roughly 2035, and the downlink of MU69 data will end in September of 2020. The current extended mission was approved for the period 2016-2021. Will there be another?

According to Stern’s presentation at OPAG, the current extension involves not just the flyby of MU69, along with heliospheric plasma, dust, and neutral gas observations in the Kuiper Belt, but also distant observations of up to 30 other KBOs and numerous Centaurs. These studies involve searches for satellites, rings and dust along with examination of KBO light curves and shapes, with numerous papers on these results said to be in early stages of preparation.

With enough power and fuel to make it well into the 2030s, New Horizons, which is after all the only spacecraft with the opportunity to make these observations, could continue its active work for many years. An extended mission from 2021 to 2024 would allow additional KBO flyby search time for future targets as well as continuing Kuiper Belt observations.

And on the question of what happens after New Horizons, Stern’s presentation at OPAG included the possibility of a Pluto orbiter, which is already being studied at SwRI, Ball Aerospace, Lockheed-Martin and NASA GSFC. A tantalizing thought, that.

Jeff Foust quotes Stern in The Space Review as saying this:

“I think New Horizons has a bright future, continuing to do planetary science and other applications. There’s fuel and power onboard the spacecraft to operate it for another 20 years. That’s not going to be a concern even for a third or fourth extended mission.”

Image: Flight controllers (from left) Katie Bechtold, Ed Colwell and Jon Van Eck, working in the mission operations center at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, confirm data indicating that the New Horizons spacecraft had safely exited hibernation on Sept. 11, 2017. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.

Meanwhile, New Horizons ‘awakened’ from a five-month hibernation period on September 11, being brought over the next three days into active mode, in which science instrument checkouts and data collection activities can resume, to be continued until mid-December. From the latest JHU/APL news update outlining the course of the coming months:

The spacecraft will train its instruments on numerous distant KBOs, making long-distance observations with the telescopic Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), while also continuously measuring the Kuiper Belt’s radiation, dust, and gas environment. The team also will test the spacecraft’s instruments in preparation for next year’s approach to MU69, and transmit a new suite of fault-protection software – also known as autonomy software – to New Horizons’ computer in early October.

On December 22, New Horizons again goes into hibernation, to be awakened on June 4, 2018, at which point preparations for the MU69 approach will go into high gear. The spacecraft is currently 3.89 astronomical units (AU) from MU69 as Kuiper Belt exploration continues.


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Posted by Greg David

CBC has made it part of their mandate to focus on adapting more Canadian novels into television projects. They’ve already done it recently with Anne—Moira Walley-Beckett’s take on Anne of Green Gables, in production on Season 2 now—and Allan Hawco’s Caught, his adaptation of Lisa Moore’s novel. Now the network goes all-in with Alias Grace, Margaret … Continue reading Alias Grace: Sarah Polley’s excellent Margaret Atwood adaptation comes to CBC
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Posted by Kyle Orland

Enlarge / A shot from the trailer for Super Mario 64 Online, which has since been taken down from YouTube by a Nintendo DMCA request.

Nintendo has issued a number of DMCA copyright takedown notices aimed at hindering a popular mod that adds online play to a PC-emulated version of Super Mario 64, letting up to 24 players run around the game's world together as a number of different characters.

ROM hacker Kaze Emanuar says Nintendo issued takedown requests for several videos of Super Mario 64 Online gameplay on his YouTube channel. Those videos featured download links and instructions for installing the ROM hack, which have also been removed along with the videos.

The main video announcing the mod's launch had received more than a million views since going up early last week (an archived copy of that video is still up on IGN). Emanuar told Kotaku that "tens of thousands" of people were playing the game as of yesterday.

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