IT40 Information, DIY & News for 02/16/2019

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#2 ‘I didn’t need to do this’: Dems pounce on Trump’s national emergency admission

© Jim Young
President Donald Trump declares a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border while speaking about border security in the White House Rose Garden on February 15, 2019.

President Donald Trump handed congressional Democrats their opening salvo in the upcoming legal and legislative battles to stymie his declaration of a national emergency at the southern border.

“I want to do it faster. I could do the wall over a longer period of time,” Trump said on Friday of his intention to issue the declaration. “I didn’t need to do this. But I’d rather do it much faster.”

Those impromptu statements by the president — delivered during a sprawling news conference in the White House Rose Garden without the assistance of a teleprompter — have in less than 24 hours become Exhibit A in Democratic lawmakers’ arguments against what they view as unconstitutional overreach of executive powers by the Trump administration.

“He admits it's a #FakeTrumpEmergency,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wrote on Twitter. “Hear him say it: "I *didn’t need* to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster."

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) offered up via Twitter a courtroom transcript of a potential legal challenge to Trump’s order.

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#4 US military planes head for Venezuela with aid

HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE, Florida — The U.S. Air Force has begun flying tons of aid to a Colombian town on the Venezuelan border as part of an effort meant to undermine socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

The first of three C-17 cargo planes took off Saturday from Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida and landed in the town of Cucuta. It's a collection point for aid that's supposed to be distributed by backers of Juan Guaido, the congressional leader who is recognized by the U.S. as Venezuela's legitimate president.

Previous aid shipments came on commercial planes.

Maduro has vowed to block the aid, which he calls unnecessary and illegal. He blames any hunger in the country on U.S. restrictions and his domestic foes.

Saturday's 180-ton shipment includes food or health packages for more than 25,000 people.

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#5 Nine rescued from flooded Zimbabwe mine

Nine illegal miners have been rescued from a gold mine in Zimbabwe days after a burst dam flooded two shafts.

They are reported to have survived by finding higher ground and waiting while up to their necks in water.

Dozens are feared to have died 40m (130ft) underground since the accident happened on Tuesday night.

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#6 A key U.S. ally is close to adding swarming attack drones to its military arsenal

Swarms of small attack drones that confuse and overwhelm anti-aircraft defenses could soon become an important part of the modern military arsenal, Britain’s defense secretary said, something that would mark a major evolution in robot-enabled warfare.

Speaking at the London-based Royal United Services Institute think tank, British defense secretary Gavin Williamson said Britain will fund the development of “swarm squadrons of network enabled drones capable of confusing and overwhelming enemy air defenses,” noting that such vehicles would complement the British fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

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He seemed to confirm what some military experts have said for years: The technology to enable synchronized drone swarms is here, and military leaders are starting to embrace the idea of building it into their operations.

Tech companies have demonstrated that they can organize drone swarms for complex light shows and other flashy endeavors. And some widely publicized systems tests in the United States have shown how the military can adapt that concept for its own use.

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#7 Russian court extends custody of Baring Vostok’s Calvey until April

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian court on Saturday ordered Michael Calvey, the U.S. founder of one of Russia's biggest private equity firms accused of fraud, to be kept in custody until April 13.

Calvey, a senior partner at Baring Vostok and among Russia's most prominent investors, was detained on Thursday along with other executives after investigators accused them of embezzling 2.5 billion roubles ($37.73 million). Calvey denies the accusations.

On Friday, Moscow's Basmanny court ordered Calvey to be detained for 72 hours, but said the court would consider on Saturday if he should continue to be kept in custody.

Judge Artur Karpov extended the custody until April 13 after listening to the prosecutors, Calvey's lawyers and Calvey himself at Saturday's hearing. A U.S. embassy official was present.

Explaining his decision, the judge said that Calvey was accused of a "serious" crime and could try to flee.

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#8 How a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit Could Open a Path to Irish Unity

LONDONDERRY, Northern Ireland — Gary Donnelly, a city councilor in Londonderry, has fought for years to end British rule in Northern Ireland. After the 1998 peace agreement many of his allies put aside the struggle to expel the British and reunify with the Irish Republic, but not Mr. Donnelly.

Now, in the unremitting gloom that has been Northern Ireland’s lot in recent years, he has sighted a beacon of hope in Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, or Brexit. As the possibility grows of Britain’s crashing out with no deal, so, too, does the likelihood of the reimposition of a hard border with the Irish Republic that many people see as a dire threat to peace and stability.

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#9 Seoul, Pyongyang Join in Recovering Korean War Dead in No-Man’s-Land

SEOUL—Atop a little-known ridge almost seven decades ago, French, South Korean and American troops fought off waves of mainly Chinese Communist forces in a series of trench battles that marked some of the bloodiest days of the Korean War.

Hundreds of the fallen were never recovered from Arrowhead Hill and adjacent peaks; their remains lie in no-man’s-land inside the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea.

Now, warming inter-Korean relations have fostered a joint effort to retrieve the remains of some 300 United Nations soldiers and perhaps thousands of Chinese. The project shows how the two Koreas are extending their cooperation even with sanctions in place on Pyongyang and in the absence of concrete North Korean steps to denuclearize.

Both sides have removed land mines from the area and built a road to provide access for excavation scheduled to begin April 1. South Korean soldiers plan to carefully reclaim the remains from sites where earlier investigations have uncovered artifacts such as dog tags.

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#10 French to mark three months of ‘yellow vest’ protests

Demonstrators are to hit French city streets again Saturday, marking three months of "yellow vest" protests as a poll now suggests that most of the country wants them to stop.

The number of those attending the weekly rallies has dropped since 287,000 turned out on November 17, the first Saturday of protest.

And for the first time, a poll found Wednesday that more than half those questioned felt it was time to end the protests.

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#11 11 Things Your Phone Can Do That You Might Not Know About

You use your smartphone a lot, we’re sure of that, but you’re probably just touring round the same apps and the same settings day after day. Are you aware of everything your pocketable mobile device is capable of? Here are 11 features you might have missed that should come in useful somewhere down the line.

The more eagle-eyed among you may have spotted this one already, but it’s actually really easy to snap still images while you’re recording videos, whether you’re on iOS or Android: note the camera shutter button just to the side of the main red video recording button.

You don’t get pictures as good as those snapped with the main camera mode, but it can be a handy way to quickly capture something that’s happening without breaking the flow of the video. Open up the default camera app on Android or iOS to try it out.

We hope you never use it, but hold down the side button and a volume buttons on a newer iPhone to access an Emergency SOS option: It disables Face ID and Touch ID, and calls the emergency services (visit Emergency SOS in Settings to configure exactly how it works).

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#12 Call to ban killer robots in wars

A group of scientists has called for a ban on the development of weapons controlled by artificial intelligence (AI).

It says that autonomous weapons may malfunction in unpredictable ways and kill innocent people.

Ethics experts also argue that it is a moral step too far for AI systems to kill without any human intervention.

The comments were made at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington DC.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is one of the 89 non-governmental organisations from 50 countries that have formed the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, to press for an international treaty.

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#13 AI can write disturbingly believable fake news

AI is getting better and better at writing convincing material, and that's leading its creators to wonder whether they should release the technology in the first place. Elon Musk's OpenAI has developed an algorithm that can generate plausible-looking fake news stories on any topic using just a handful of words as a starting point. It was originally designed as a generalized language AI that could answer questions, summarizing stories and translating text, but researchers soon realized that it could be used for far more sinister purposes, like pumping out disinformation in large volumes. As a result, the team only plans to make a "simplified version" of its AI available to the public, according to MIT Technology Review.

Real-life robots that will make you think the future is now [PocketLint]

The technology thankfully has some rough edges at the moment. It frequently writes stories that are either plagiarized or are only cohesive on the surface, and only occasionally hits the jackpot. However, OpenAI's Jack Clark warned that it might take just "one or two years" before there's a system capable of reliably producing fake news that needs a thorough fact check to disprove.

And that's the core problem. While OpenAI is focused on ethical implementations and won't knowingly enable fake news, it's just one organization. There's a larger concern that an unscrupulous (or unwitting) company or a hostile government might develop a powerful AI that disseminates falsehoods on a large scale. Social networks have enjoyed some success in fighting fake news, but they might struggle if there's a flood of machine-generated misinformation.

MIT Technology Review

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#14 Twitter has been storing your ‘deleted’ DMs for years

Twitter lets users delete direct messages from their own side of the conversation (the recipient will still get to keep a copy, unless they also choose to delete it). But it turns out, those deleted messages aren’t really getting removed at all, according to a report from security researcher Karan Saini, via TechCrunch.

It turns out that despite showing that the message was deleted, Twitter still stores all those DMs dating back years. Folks can access this simply by downloading the archived data on their account from Twitter. Saini confirms that even messages sent to and from deleted or suspended accounts are still accessible.

Now, this isn’t the most concerning of bugs — the data appears to only be available to the user that sent or received the message, but the fact that Twitter isn’t deleting the messages when it says that it is, isn’t a great look for the company. Twitter is at least aware of the issue, commenting to TechCrunch that it was “looking into this further to ensure we have considered the entire scope of the issue,” but that’s no guarantee that anything will change.

If nothing else, though, it’s a good reminder that on the internet, nothing is ever really gone — even if a company says that it’s been deleted.

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#15 LG might have yet another G8 smartphone in the works for 2019

LG’s next flagship, the G8 ThinQ, has garnered a slew of tech press headlines today in part because its all-screen design will not only support 3D face recognition, but also double as a speaker. The company will be showing it off a little more than a week from now at MWC — where it’s possible LG may also talk about yet another G8 variant.

A new trademark application shows that LG is apparently going to release an S-version of the G8, something it’s not done before with its G-series handsets. The trademark was spotted by the folks at Dutch blog LetsGoDigital, which reports that LG filed for the “G8s” brand name on the 1st of this month.

The trademark was filed with the Korean Intellectual Property Office under “Class 9,” which includes smartphones.

It’s not immediately clear what LG’s plans are for this model, though we can make some guesses. As LetsGoDigital notes, the manufacturer released the V30s last year as a successor to the V30. The biggest differences were in the fact that the V30s came with more memory, as well as an AI-powered camera. So, perhaps the LG G8s will offer more memory compared to the ThinQ.

The G8s could also be LG’s 5G phone, though the Dutch bloggers think that’s a less likely scenario and assume the 5G phone will get a name like the LG V50 ThinQ. There’s also a chance this may not be a phone set for worldwide release, so we’ll have to wait and see on that front as well.

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#16 Foldable iPhone suggested in new Apple patent

An updated patent by Apple shows various ways it could use a flexible or folding display.

Everyday it seems like there are rumors and leaks about another company working on a foldable phone. Xiaomi, Huawei, LG, Lenovo, Motorola all are rumored to have a bendable or foldable phone in the works. On Thursday, Apple updated a patent with drawings of a foldable clamshell phone. This is a continuation of a patent originally filed in 2011 and updated in 2016 with a drawing of what might be an iPhone with a flexible display.

What makes this new update particularly interesting is the timing. On Wednesday, Feb. 20, Samsung is expected to show off more of its folding Galaxy X phone when it announces its new Galaxy S10.

The new drawings show a phone that folds up in half. It's a similar approach Motorola has in a patent for an updated Razr phone to make the phone more pocketable when not in use. Samsung and Xiaomi's approaches seem more about transforming a phone into a mini-tablet.

Of particular interest are the various ways Apple shows incorporating hinges and housing around a flexible OLED display to make it bend. There are drawings of a clamshell design and another illustration is of a trifold design. The drawings show flexible screens folding up inward and outward which could indicate a use in something beyond a phone like a MacBook or iPad.

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#17 15 strategies everyone should know to protect their online information

As technology increases at an ever-faster rate, so too do the ways in which our information can be put at risk. With the constant growth of internet of things, it’s now more important than ever to make sure all aspects of our lives are protected from online dangers.

To find out the top protection strategies used by industry leaders, we asked a panel of entrepreneurs from YEC the following question:

What’s your best tip for how customers can protect themselves and their information online this year?

Their best answers are below:

1. Use a password manager

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