Adding themes and plugins to Zsh

In my previous article, I explained how to get started with Z-shell (Zsh). For some users, the most exciting thing about Zsh is its ability to adopt new themes. It’s so easy to theme Zsh both because of the active community designing visuals for the shell and also because of the Oh My Zsh project, which makes it trivial to install more

Source: LXer – Adding themes and plugins to Zsh

Report: FBI Tried to Get Encrypted Phone Firm to Build Backdoor So They Could Spy on Sinaloa Cartel

The FBI tried to get the CEO of encrypted phone company Phantom Secure, Vincent Ramos, to install a backdoor in his service so that the agency could spy on Sinaloa Cartel members, Motherboard reported on Wednesday.

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Source: Gizmodo – Report: FBI Tried to Get Encrypted Phone Firm to Build Backdoor So They Could Spy on Sinaloa Cartel

Skullcandy's Crusher ANC block noise while you feel the bass

Skullcandy’s Crusher headphones have offered thumping bass tones that rumble your dome (literally) since 2013. In 2016, the company introduced a wireless version and followed up with “an ultra-realistic sensory bass experience” on the Crusher 360 las…

Source: Engadget – Skullcandy’s Crusher ANC block noise while you feel the bass

IBM will soon launch a 53-qubit quantum computer

IBM continues to push its quantum computing efforts forward and today announced that it will soon make a 53-qubit quantum computer available to clients of its IBM Q Network. The new system, which is scheduled to go online in the middle of next month, will be the largest universal quantum computer available for external use yet.

Source: LXer – IBM will soon launch a 53-qubit quantum computer

Research Finds Black Carbon Breathed By Mothers Can Cross Into Unborn Children

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Air pollution particles have been found on the fetal side of placentas, indicating that unborn babies are directly exposed to the black carbon produced by motor traffic and fuel burning. The research is the first study to show the placental barrier can be penetrated by particles breathed in by the mother. It found thousands of the tiny particles per cubic millimeter of tissue in every placenta analyzed. The link between exposure to dirty air and increased miscarriages, premature births and low birth weights is well established. The research suggests the particles themselves may be the cause, not solely the inflammatory response the pollution produces in mothers.

The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, examined 25 placentas from non-smoking women in the town of Hasselt. It has particle pollution levels well below the EU limit, although above the WHO limit. Researchers used a laser technique to detect the black carbon particles, which have a unique light fingerprint. In each case, they found nanoparticles on the fetal side of the placenta and the number correlated with air pollution levels experienced by the mothers. There was an average of 20,000 nanoparticles per cubic millimeter in the placentas of mothers who lived near main roads. For those further away, the average was 10,000 per cubic millimeter. They also examined placentas from miscarriages and found the particles were present even in 12-week-old fetuses.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Research Finds Black Carbon Breathed By Mothers Can Cross Into Unborn Children

Zero's 2020 electric motorcycles include one that's loaded for adventures

Imagine how people use Zero’s electric motorbikes and you’ll probably picture a commute to work or a quick blast through the countryside. Now, however, it’s encouraging you to make longer-lasting journeys. The company has introduce a 2020 bike line…

Source: Engadget – Zero’s 2020 electric motorcycles include one that’s loaded for adventures

Jonah Hill tackles bullying in new Instagram TV series

IGTV may not be capturing hearts and minds but at least Instagram is leveraging the platform to talk about important issues. Starting today, Instagram users can watch a new four-part series from the Facebook-owned company and 22 Jump Street actor Jon…

Source: Engadget – Jonah Hill tackles bullying in new Instagram TV series

C-Section Babies Have More Potentially Infectious Gut Bacteria

Scientists from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, UCL, the University of Birmingham and their collaborators discovered that whereas vaginally born babies got most of their gut bacteria from their mother, babies born via caesarean did not, and instead had more bacteria associated with hospital environments in their guts. Science Daily reports: The exact role of the baby’s gut bacteria is unclear and it isn’t known if these differences at birth will have any effect on later health. The researchers found the differences in gut bacteria between vaginally born and caesarean delivered babies largely evened out by 1 year old, but large follow-up studies are needed to determine if the early differences influence health outcomes. Experts from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists say that these findings should not deter women from having a caesarean birth.

Published in Nature today, this largest ever study of neonatal microbiomes also revealed that the microbiome of vaginally delivered newborns did not come from the mother’s vaginal bacteria, but from the mother’s gut. This calls into question the controversial practice of swabbing babies born via caesarean with mother’s vaginal bacteria. Understanding how the birth process impacts on the baby’s microbiome will enable future research into bacterial therapies.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – C-Section Babies Have More Potentially Infectious Gut Bacteria

North Korea Has Reportedly Caught the Blockchain Fever

North Korea is developing its own cryptocurrency—at least according to Alejandro Cao de Benos, a Spanish aristocrat and IT consultant who serves as a sort of international liaison for the country’s totalitarian, militaristic government.

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Source: Gizmodo – North Korea Has Reportedly Caught the Blockchain Fever

AI Can't Protect Us From Deepfakes, Argues New Report

A new report from Data and Society raises doubts about automated solutions to deceptively altered videos, including machine learning-altered videos called deepfakes. Authors Britt Paris and Joan Donovan argue that deepfakes, while new, are part of a long history of media manipulation — one that requires both a social and a technical fix. Relying on AI could actually make things worse by concentrating more data and power in the hands of private corporations. The Verge reports: As Paris and Donovan see it, deepfakes are unlikely to be fixed by technology alone. “The relationship between media and truth has never been stable,” the report reads. In the 1850s when judges began allowing photographic evidence in court, people mistrusted the new technology and preferred witness testimony and written records. By the 1990s, media companies were complicit in misrepresenting events by selectively editing out images from evening broadcasts. In the Gulf War, reporters constructed a conflict between evenly matched opponents by failing to show the starkly uneven death toll between U.S. and Iraqi forces. “These images were real images,” the report says. “What was manipulative was how they were contextualized, interpreted, and broadcast around the clock on cable television.”

Today, deepfakes have taken manipulation even further by allowing people to manipulate videos and images using machine learning, with results that are almost impossible to detect with the human eye. Now, the report says, “anyone with a public social media profile is fair game to be faked.” Once the fakes exist, they can go viral on social media in a matter of seconds. […] Paris worries AI-driven content filters and other technical fixes could cause real harm. “They make things better for some but could make things worse for others,” she says. “Designing new technical models creates openings for companies to capture all sorts of images and create a repository of online life.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – AI Can’t Protect Us From Deepfakes, Argues New Report

Workers Accuse Kickstarter of Union-Busting In Federal Complaint

On Monday night, unionizing employees at Kickstarter filed a complaint with the National Labor Review Board (NLRB) for allegedly wrongfully terminating two employees. Both of the employees were on the Kickstarter United organizing campaign. Motherboard reports: Kickstarter told Motherboard that the workers, Clarissa Redwine and Taylor Moore, were fired over performance issues within the past two weeks. But employees at Kickstarter are accusing the company of “discharging employees” because “they joined or supported a labor organization and in order to discourage union activities,” according to the NLRB complaint, which was first reported and obtained by Slate’s April Glaser. A third employee and member of the Kickstarter United organizing committee, Travis Brace, was informed on Thursday that he would no longer be needed in his role.

In a September 12 email obtained by Motherboard, Aziz Hasan, the CEO of Kickstarter, wrote to employees, “There have been allegations that we are retaliating against union organizing. Those allegations are not true. No Kickstarter employee has been or ever will be fired for union organizing.” Redwine says the company complained to her in recent months that she was not satisfactorily working with her managers. She claims that she was not given specific guidance on how she could improve. “Suddenly, after becoming a public union organizer, I started to get very strong negative feedback,” Redwine told Motherboard. “After my best quarter at the company, I was told I was being put on a Performance Improvement Plan for slippery reasons like not building trust with my managers. I asked how progress would be tracked over and over and only received answers akin to ‘just trust us.’ I assume they never crafted the Performance Improvement Plan because they couldn’t come up with anything concrete for me to improve.” Redwine and Moore are asking for back pay and to be reinstated to their positions. In response to the complaint, Kickstarter said: “We’ll be providing the NLRB with information about these firings and supporting documentation.”

Kickstarter told Motherboard that it “recently terminated two employees for performance reasons. A third was working on a service we shut down, so his role was eliminated, and there were no other positions here that would be a strong fit. That staff member will be transitioning out of the company. All three of these employees were members of the organizing committee, but this has nothing to do with their departures. (We have fired three other people who were not organizers since March.)”

“We expect all employees — including union organizers — to be able to perform in their role and set up their teams and colleagues for success. We use a range of approaches — twice-a-year performance reviews, peer feedback, manager feedback, one-on-one coaching and, in some cases, mediation — to ensure that employees have the support they need to meet those expectations. When someone has been through this process and we have sufficient evidence that they are not meeting expectations, we must unfortunately part ways with them,” the company continued.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Workers Accuse Kickstarter of Union-Busting In Federal Complaint

FCC creates two 'innovation zones' to test next-gen wireless

The FCC is backing up its push for next-gen wireless by setting up entire areas devoted to advancing the technology. The agency has created two “innovation zones” in New York City and Salt Lake City that will serve as testbeds for 5G and other wirel…

Source: Engadget – FCC creates two ‘innovation zones’ to test next-gen wireless

New Eco-Friendly Game Packaging Could Save Tons of Plastic Each Year

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Sega and Sports Interactive have announced that Football Manager 2020 will be sold in new eco-friendly package that uses much less plastic, and they’re pushing for the rest of the entertainment industry to follow suit. The new packaging replaces the now-standard plastic DVD case used for most game discs with a folded, reinforced cardboard sleeve made of 100% recycled fiber. The shrinkwrap surrounding that package has also been replaced with a low-density LDPE polyethylene that’s highly recyclable. Even the ink on the cardboard has been changed out for a vegetable-and-water-based version (so it’s technically vegan if you’re desperate for a snack).

The new packaging does cost a bit more to produce — about 20 (British) cents per unit (or 30 percent), according to an open letter from Sports Interactive Studio Director Miles Jacobson. But those costs are somewhat offset by reduced shipping and destruction costs for excess units, he added. And as Spanish footballer Hector Bellerin says in a video accompanying the letter, “if there’s no Earth, there’s no money to spend.” All told, Jacobson says the new packaging will save 55 grams of plastic per unit, or 20 tonnes across a print run of over 350,000. That’s an extremely tiny dent in the estimated 335 million tons of plastic that is produced annually worldwide. But Jacobson hopes it could add up to a sizable dent if the entire industry follows suit for the tens of millions of discs it produces each year. “We’re not the biggest game in the world,” Jacobson said. “Imagine what happens if every other game, every film company, every music company switches to this packaging… So I’m throwing down the gauntlet here to ALL entertainment companies who use plastic for their Blu Ray, DVD and CD packaging.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – New Eco-Friendly Game Packaging Could Save Tons of Plastic Each Year

AT&T considers getting rid of DirecTV as TV business tanks, WSJ reports

An AT&T logo seen on the outside of a building.

Enlarge / An AT&T store in Chicago. (credit: Getty Images | jetcityimage)

AT&T is considering whether to “part ways” with DirecTV, just four years after buying the satellite company, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The Journal report doesn’t use the word “sale” to describe what AT&T is considering, but the end result could be AT&T no longer owning DirecTV.

“The telecom giant has considered various options, including a spinoff of DirecTV into a separate public company and a combination of DirecTV’s assets with Dish Network, its satellite-TV rival,” the Journal report said, citing “people familiar with the matter.”

It’s still early in the process, so AT&T could end up sticking with DirecTV. “AT&T may ultimately decide to keep DirecTV in the fold. Despite the satellite service’s struggles, as consumers drop their TV connections, it still contributes a sizable volume of cash flow and customer accounts to its parent,” the Journal reported.

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Source: Ars Technica – AT&T considers getting rid of DirecTV as TV business tanks, WSJ reports

Foodie Monsters Eat Their Way to Friendship in This Adorable Stop-Motion Tale

Nothing brings friends together like a shared meal—but what happens when one friend does all the cooking, and then the other proceeds to gobble everything down without sharing? Tsuneo Goda’s wonderful stop-motion tale Mogu & Perol digs into this dicey situation.

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Source: io9 – Foodie Monsters Eat Their Way to Friendship in This Adorable Stop-Motion Tale