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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

James Watson and the Insidiousness of Scientific Racism

Opinion: Black scientists are in the best position to understand what is so broken about the ideas of Watson and his army.
Source: Wired

The Arctic Village With Satellite TV But No Running Water

The melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet threatens this region’s simple way of life.
Source: Wired

Mercedes’ EQC SUV Makes Everyday Electric Elite

With some clever tricks and flair-free styling, Mercedes sets off down the battery-powered path.
Source: Wired

Verizon reports mixed results for Q4 2018

Verizon (TechCrunch’s parent company) just released its earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2018. The company generated $34.3 billion in revenue with an adjusted EPS of $1.12 that excludes special items.

Verizon’s actual EPS for this quarter is 47 cents. The reason why the company had to adjust its EPS is that the company wrote down $4.6 billion in Q4 2018 for the value of its media division, Verizon Media, formerly known as Oath.

Wall Street analysts had expected earnings per share of $1.09 and $34.44 billion in revenue. In other words, earnings per share is slightly above expectations, revenue is slightly below. Revenue is up 1 percent year over year.

Verizon shares (NYSE:VZ) are currently trading down 0.13 percent in pre-market trading.

Growth has been strong on the mobile front in particular. The company added 1.2 million postpaid wireless subscribers during the quarter.

“Verizon finished 2018 by delivering solid financial and operational performance, as evidenced by our strong wireless service revenue and earnings growth,” Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg wrote in the release. “2018 was a remarkable year full of 5G firsts, including being first in the world to commercially deploy 5G with our 5G Home product. As we head into 2019 and the 5G era, we’re beginning a period of transformational change. We are laser focused on delivering customers a best-in-class and game-changing experience on our networks.”

On the media front, Verizon Media generated $2.1 billion during Q4, down 5.8 percent compared to Q4 2017.

When it comes to outlook, Verizon expects to generate “low single-digit percentage growth” in 2019 on the revenue front. EPS should be more or less stable.


Source: TechCrunch

And Now, the Weather: Mars-like, With a Chance of Apocalypse

Extreme cold from a broken polar vortex is hitting the US at the same time as extreme heat is scorching Australia. Not so good if a habitable planet is your jam.
Source: Wired

Paul Le Roux, the Coder Who Became a Criminal Mastermind

Along the way, he contributed to America’s painkiller epidemic, and got involved with North Korean methamphetamine manufacturing, Somali pirates, and murder-for-hire.
Source: Wired

All This Newfound Cynicism Is Going to Hamper Big Tech

The public no longer gives Facebook, Google, Twitter, and the other tech giants the benefit of the doubt. And that’s going to hamper their growth.
Source: Wired

Alibaba’s alternative to the app store reaches 230M daily users

WeChat isn’t the only one doubling down on lite apps. Ever since China’s messaging titan introduced “mini programs” two years ago, a handful of its peers including Alibaba and Baidu have followed with their own manifestations.

Alipay, the payments solution affiliated with China’s ecommerce juggernaut Alibaba, today announced it surpassed 230 million daily active users and 12 million lite apps. For some context, Tencent’s WeChat said it topped 200 million daily users and one million mini apps last November.

These stripped-down apps run within an all-in-one platform, or what some call the “super app,” allowing users to bypass the App Store. But not all native apps are replaceable by mini programs for the former support more functionalities and give developers more control in aspects like monetization and access to user insight.

Like WeChat, Alipay added a swipe-down menu on the app’s homepage for mini programs to enhance their visibility. The redesign boosts user revisits to lite apps by 20 times over the past month, Alipay claims.

The Chinese super apps are each bringing their own strengths to the mini-app play. Alipay is a digital wallet at heart, with 1 billion monthly active users around the world many of whom also consume its slew of third-party financial services. The top categories of Alipay’s mini apps, unsurprisingly, are services that see high-frequency transactions like retail, paying for utility bills and travel booking.

WeChat, on the other hand, is fundamentally a messenger and as such developers rush to leverage the social graphs from its 1 billion monthly users. Group-buying site Pinduoduo, for example, started as a mini program and effectively used WeChat’s social networks to grow its group-buying business. Eventually, millions of Pinduoduo’s core users migrated to its native app, setting the Tencent-backed ecommerce startup up against Taobao . Similarly, video games, especially casual ones, embrace mini programs for their smaller file size and ability to be shared across family members and friends.


Source: TechCrunch

Researchers find a new malware-friendly hosting site after a spike in attacks

Security researchers have traced a recent spike in FormBook infections to a new file-hosting service that’s been billed as a place for hackers to host their malware.

Deep Insight analysts say in new findings out Tuesday that the resurgence in FormBook malware, used as part of password and information stealing campaigns currently targeting the retail and hospitality sectors, can be traced back to the newly discovered malware-friendly site that hosts the second-stage dropper used to infect a computer with malicious code after the user opens a booby-trapped document.

The researchers say the site, DropMyBin, was created just over a week ago, and is protected by Cloudflare, masking its real-world location.

“Within days of going live it became a hornets nest of malware,” said Shimon Noam Oren, head of threat research at Deep Instinct, in an email to TechCrunch.

FormBook goes back to 2016 when it was first used to target aerospace and defense contractors in the U.S. and South Korea. Since then, the malware has continued to infect sporadically but has remained largely under the radar.

The team also found several other families of malware hosted on the site, including other trojans like AZORult, and the Lokibot trojan for Android devices.

“We wouldn’t be surprised to find more info-stealers and spyware there,” said Oren.

DropMyBin, a hosting service that threat actors are using to host malware (Screenshot: TechCrunch)

The researchers say the site offers reliability for threat actors where traditional file-sharing sites often nix or delete malware from their systems when it’s detected as malware. DropMyBin was advertised and promoted on Hack Forums, a popular hacker forum, as a “high quality” site that offers “direct downloads” — ideal for linking to malware. They said that the site’s functionality has a “clear invitation to use the service to host malware,” according to the researchers, even though malware is expressly forbidden on the site. DropMyBin promises to keep “all works” for “at least 30 day [sic],” the FAQ reads, and the site doesn’t “collect or log any data of our users in respect for privacy.”

Anyone who wants to use the service for sharing malware can upload their malware, “no questions asked,” the researcher said.

“We strongly suggest employing a zero-trust policy with respect to the service DropMyBin until other information becomes available,” the researchers said.


Source: TechCrunch

Ford's designers are learning to create 3D cars in virtual reality – Roadshow

VR software Gravity Sketch allows a faster way to sketch cars.
Source: CNET

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