Nasdaq 100’s Unrelenting Declines Ring a Dot-Com Bust Alarm Bell

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: To wit, the Nasdaq 100 just did something it hasn't done since the aftermath of the internet bubble: fall more than 1% in every session of a week. It doesn't count as a superlative because Monday was a holiday. But for investors caught up in the selloff, it felt like something shifted. A full week of big down days hasn't happened since the dot-com bubble burst, first in April 2000 and then in September 2001. Back then, the Nasdaq went on to fall another 28% before the market bottomed roughly a year later. The Nasdaq 100 tumbled 7.5% this week as what started as an aggressive selloff in speculative corners spread to the rest of the market. Disappointing results from pandemic darlings like Netflix accentuated investor angst that as the economy recovers, tech's growth edge is disappearing. Add that to stretched valuations and there was room for a pullback. Down almost 12% in January, the Nasdaq 100 is on course for its worst month since the 2008 global financial crisis. On any four-day basis, the current streak of 1% drops was the first since 2018. Investors appear to be paying up for near-term hedges as share prices spiraled down. The CBOE NDX Volatility Index, a gauge of cost options tied to the Nasdaq, jumped 8 points over the four days to 34.06, the highest level since last March. Whether this is the start of a bottoming process or something worse is hard to tell. In Bank of America Corp.'s latest survey of global fund managers, net allocation to the technology sector fell to the lowest level since 2008. "If there's this kind of liquidation underway here, you have to wonder how much further things could fall," said Pearkes at Bespoke. "On the other hand, this sort of pervasive negativity and selling is what contrarians look for as a sign sentiment has gotten carried away to the downside."

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MIT Is Working On An All-In-One Approach To Diabetes Treatment

MIT, Brigham, and Women's Hospital researchers are working to eliminate many of the headaches associated with treating diabetes. According to Engadget, "They're developing all-in-one devices that measure glucose, calculate the necessary insulin dose and inject you accordingly." From the report: The first device includes the blood-drawing lancet, glucose test strips and an insulin needle. Users would first take a photo of their meal using a smartphone app to estimate the food volume and carbohydrate levels. After that, they'd start the automated process of collecting blood, calculating glucose (again through the app) and delivering the appropriate amount of insulin. The second gadget would only need one needle jab -- it would build the glucose sensor into the insulin needle and inject the appropriate amount of insulin. You'd have to wait five to ten seconds, but you wouldn't have to stick yourself twice. The technology is still some ways off. While the first device would use parts that were already FDA-approved, it hasn't been tested in humans. The second, meanwhile, uses a new sensor type that will likely require more work to be testable with humans. Scientists have filed patents for both devices and are hoping to work with companies on further development. There's a strong motivation to bring these devices to market, at least. People with diabetes would only need to use one device at meals, and with the hybrid sensor/needle might suffer less pain. That, in turn, could encourage consistent treatment that improves your overall wellbeing.

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2022 Could Be a Turning Point In the Study of UFOs

In 2021, there was an upsurge in peculiar sightings reported, thanks to people with smartphones or other video gear that captured these strange glimmers in the sky. In 2022, UAP will get more attention from both the scientific community and the federal government, experts told Space.com. From the report: One potential major development in 2022 will be UFO detection, according to Mark Rodeghier, scientific director of the Center for UFO Studies in Chicago. "The effort to detect, track and measure the UFO phenomenon in the field, in real time, has recently entered a new phase," Rodeghier told Space.com. "The technology has gotten better, software tools have improved and the current interest in UFOs has attracted new, qualified professionals. "While one can't predict how soon we will gain new, fundamental knowledge about UAP/UFOs, I believe that these efforts are very likely to succeed and set UFO research onto a new foundation of reliable, physical data," Rodeghier added. "And as a consequence, we will have even more evidence -- as if it was needed -- that the UFO phenomenon is real and can be studied scientifically." One upcoming initiative, called the Galileo Project, will search for extraterrestrial equipment near Earth. It has two branches. The first aims to identify the nature of interstellar objects that do not resemble comets or asteroids -- like 'Oumuamua, the first known interstellar object to visit the solar system. The second branch targets UAP, similar to those of interest to the U.S. government. "The Galileo Project's data will be open to the public, and its scientific analysis will be transparent," said Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb, who is spearheading the project. "The related scientific findings would expand humanity's knowledge, with no attention to borders between nations." The Galileo research team includes more than 100 scientists who plan to assemble the project's first telescope system on the roof of the Harvard College Observatory in spring 2022. "The system will record continuous video and audio of the entire sky in the visible, infrared and radio bands, as well as track objects of interest," Loeb said. "Artificial intelligence algorithms will distinguish birds from drones, airplanes or something else. Once the first system will operate successfully, the Galileo Project will make copies of it and distribute them in many geographical locations." Currently, there is a lack of coordination among organizations involved in UAP detection equipment, but that may change this year, said Robert Powell, an executive board member of the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies (SCU) in Austin, Texas. "I believe that will improve as we go into 2022," he said. A number of SCU members are involved with the Galileo Project, and the organization has partnered with several groups, including UFODATA, the UFO Data Acquisition Project (UFODAP) and UAPx. "UFODAP already has a working model that has been sold into the marketplace and is reasonably priced in the $2,000 to $5,000 range, depending on the accessories desired," Powell told Space.com. "This system has already been used by a group known as UAPx to collect data. Our goal is to coordinate these activities in a way such that we use a system with standardized equipment set to collect data." But before that happens, Powell said, the groups need to plot out exactly what that equipment is trying to measure and verify that the system can achieve that goal.

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Supply Chain Attack Used Legitimate WordPress Add-Ons To Backdoor Sites

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Dozens of legitimate WordPress add-ons downloaded from their original sources have been found backdoored through a supply chain attack, researchers said. The backdoor has been found on "quite a few" sites running the open source content management system. The backdoor gave the attackers full administrative control of websites that used at least 93 WordPress plugins and themes downloaded from AccessPress Themes. The backdoor was discovered by security researchers from JetPack, the maker of security software owned by Automatic, provider of the WordPress.com hosting service and a major contributor to the development of WordPress. In all, Jetpack found that 40 AccessPress themes and 53 plugins were affected. In a post published Thursday, Jetpack researcher Harald Eilertsen said timestamps and other evidence suggested the backdoors were introduced intentionally in a coordinated action after the themes and plugins were released. The affected software was available by download directly from the AccessPress Themes site. The same themes and plugins mirrored on WordPress.org, the official developer site for the WordPress project, remained clean. "Users who used software obtained directly from the AccessPress website unknowingly provided attackers with backdoor access, resulting in an unknown number of compromised websites," Ben Martin, a researcher with Web security firm Sucuri, wrote in a separate analysis of the backdoor. The Jetpack post said evidence indicates that the supply chain attack on AccessPress Themes was performed in September. Martin, however, said evidence suggests the backdoor itself is much older than that. Some of the infected websites had spam payloads dating back nearly three years. He said his best guess is that the people behind the backdoor were selling access to infected sites to people pushing web spam and malware. He wrote, "[...] it seems that the malware that we've found associated with this backdoor is more of the same: spam, and redirects to malware and scam sites." The Jetpack post provides full names and versions of the infected AccessPress software. Anyone running a WordPress site with this company's offerings should carefully inspect their systems to ensure they're not running a backdoored instance. Site owners may also want to consider installing a website firewall, many of which would have prevented the backdoor from working.

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Cryptocurrencies Tumble As Global Investors Reduce Risk

New submitter NoMoreDupes shares a report from CoinDesk: The crypto market was in a sea of red on Friday as bitcoin, the world's largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, tumbled more than 10% over the past 24 hours. It appears that global investors have entered the year with a reduced appetite for risk, and so the correlations between speculative assets such as cryptocurrencies and equities have increased, which results in widespread losses. Bitcoin is down roughly 40% from its all-time high of almost $69,000, while the S&P 500 is down about 7% from its peak, compared with a 10% drawdown in the Nasdaq 100 Index. Alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins) led the way lower on Friday given their higher risk profile relative to bitcoin. Ether, the world's second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, was down about 13% over the past 24 hours, compared with a 14% drop in AVAX and a 16% drop in FTM over the same period. Despite the losses, some analysts still foresee a short-term bounce. "We expect BTC to find a bid around the $35K mark, close to 50% from the top. In the short term, we can bounce to challenge the $45K-$50K zone, but the overall outlook remains bearish as liquidity remains tight," Pankaj Balani, CEO of Delta Exchange, a crypto derivatives trading platform, wrote in an email to CoinDesk.

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Google Could Face Class-Action Lawsuit Over Free G Suite Legacy Account Shutdown

On Wednesday, Google announced that it is getting rid of the G Suite legacy free edition, "which allowed those that snuck in before 2012 to get free Google apps services tied to a custom domain rather than Gmail," reports Android Police. Since a lot of people will be left "in the lurch" after the shutdown, attorneys at Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith are opening an investigating into the matter for a potential class-action lawsuit. From the report: No lawsuit has been filed yet; the attorneys involved are just collecting information for a potential lawsuit in the future once all the facts are straight (and Google has had time to reconsider its actions). When we covered the original news of the legacy G Suite shutdown, it seemed unreasonable to us, because customers using those legacy accounts are unable to transfer purchases or things like grandfathered subscription discounts to new accounts. When we asked if moving purchases between accounts might be possible, a Google representative confirmed it wasn't. [...] That means years of purchases tied to Google Play -- potentially hundreds to thousands of dollars of assets like movie and music purchases for a given customer, across thousands of affected customers -- could be tied to broken accounts because of the transition. Google explicitly confirmed to us that was the case, though customers could elect to keep using their broken suspended account alongside a working one. In essence, everyone that migrated to one of these accounts while they were still offered (from 2006 at least until 2012, so far as I can tell) will have to pay extra money to keep their existing purchases tied to a fully working account, and we think that's pretty ridiculous.

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Hands-On Microsoft’s Canceled Andromeda OS

Windows Central got their hands on a pre-release build of Microsoft's canceled Andromeda OS running on a Lumia 950. As noted in the article, "Andromeda OS was never intended to ship on the Lumia 950, or any Windows phone on the market at that time." They're using a 950 because Microsofted used them to help develop Andromeda OS internally. Also worth mentioning is the fact that Andromeda OS is no longer in development. Android is the OS that will be powering future Microsoft devices, such as the future Surface Duo devices. Here's an excerpt from the report: Microsoft decided to do something rather unique with Andromeda OS, and build out OS experience around a journaling/inking experience. On the lockscreen, the user is able to begin taking notes directly onto the lockscreen UI just by putting pen to screen. You don't have to initiate a special mode, or enter an app first, just take your Surface Pen and begin writing, and the lockscreen will store that ink for you to see every time you unlock your device. [...] Unlocking the device would take you to your home screen, which on Andromeda OS is another inking canvas. This canvas is called the Journal (though this later became the Microsoft Whiteboard app) which acted as a digital notebook with the ability to take notes with a pen, add sticky notes, insert images and 3D objects, and more. The Journal experience would always be running in the background, with your phone apps running above it. Andromeda OS was also gesture based. The on-screen Start and Cortana buttons would disappear when opening an app to provide a full-screen experience, so to access those areas, you'd swipe in from the left for Start, and from the right for Cortana, which is also where your notifications were stored. Yes, Cortana and your Notifications were one of the same on Andromeda OS, with Cortana becoming your "manager" of notifications missed or stored for dealing with later. A swipe down from the top would reveal the Control Center, which is feature that's now shipping on Windows 11, but started life here on Andromeda OS. Feature-wise, it's exactly the same, with the ability to control things like Wi-Fi, brightness, volume, and music playback. It also features Fluent Design acrylic blur effects, as do many other parts of the UI, even in this unfinished state. [...] There was also an experimental "Radial UX Menu" mode, where instead of gestures swiping in things like Start and Cortana, swiping would present you with a UI full of circular buttons for things like Start, switching apps, and more. This may have been an alternative to on-screen navigation, as not everyone was familiar with full gesture navigation at the time just yet. Or, it could have been an alternative method of navigation for when you were using a pen. Who knows. One thing we're not able to show you is the Continuum mode that Microsoft was also working on for Andromeda OS, as unfortunately it appears to be broken in the build we have. That said, we do know what it was going to be like. Essentially, Microsoft was building out Continuum to be a true desktop experience, with windowed app experiences, the ability to store icons on the desktop, and more. If you'd prefer to see Andromeda OS in action instead of read about it, you can watch Windows Central's video here.

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Meta Researchers Build an AI That Learns Equally Well From Visual, Written or Spoken Materials

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Meta (AKA Facebook) researchers are working on [...] an AI that can learn capably on its own whether it does so in spoken, written or visual materials. The traditional way of training an AI model to correctly interpret something is to give it lots and lots (like millions) of labeled examples. A picture of a cat with the cat part labeled, a conversation with the speakers and words transcribed, etc. But that approach is no longer in vogue as researchers found that it was no longer feasible to manually create databases of the sizes needed to train next-gen AIs. Who wants to label 50 million cat pictures? Okay, a few people probably -- but who wants to label 50 million pictures of common fruits and vegetables? Currently some of the most promising AI systems are what are called self-supervised: models that can work from large quantities of unlabeled data, like books or video of people interacting, and build their own structured understanding of what the rules are of the system. For instance, by reading a thousand books it will learn the relative positions of words and ideas about grammatical structure without anyone telling it what objects or articles or commas are -- it got it by drawing inferences from lots of examples. This feels intuitively more like how people learn, which is part of why researchers like it. But the models still tend to be single-modal, and all the work you do to set up a semi-supervised learning system for speech recognition won't apply at all to image analysis -- they're simply too different. That's where Facebook/Meta's latest research, the catchily named data2vec, comes in. The idea for data2vec was to build an AI framework that would learn in a more abstract way, meaning that starting from scratch, you could give it books to read or images to scan or speech to sound out, and after a bit of training it would learn any of those things. It's a bit like starting with a single seed, but depending on what plant food you give it, it grows into an daffodil, pansy or tulip. Testing data2vec after letting it train on various data corpi showed that it was competitive with and even outperformed similarly sized dedicated models for that modality. (That is to say, if the models are all limited to being 100 megabytes, data2vec did better -- specialized models would probably still outperform it as they grow.)

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Ozzy Osbourne’s NFT Project Shared a Scam Link, and Followers Lost Thousands of Dollars

Two days after Ozzy Osbourne's NFT collection were minted, supporters were being targeted by a phishing scam that drained cryptocurrency from their wallets, "playing off a bad link shared by the project's official Twitter account," reports The Verge. From the report: Like the majority of NFT projects, CryptoBatz uses Discord as a place to organize its community. The official CryptoBatz Discord is now accessed through the short link discord.gg/cryptobatz. But previously, the project used a slightly different vanity URL at discord.gg/cryptobatznft. When the project switched to the new URL, scammers set up a fake Discord server at the old one. But neither CryptoBatz nor Ozzy Osbourne took the precaution of deleting tweets referencing the previous URL, meaning that old tweets from Osbourne himself were left directing followers to a server now controlled by scammers. One tweet from CryptoBatz, posted on December 31st, 2021, received more than 4,000 retweets and hundreds of replies. The tweet was only removed on January 21st after CryptoBatz was contacted by The Verge. On clicking the scam link, the invite panel for the fake Discord showed the total number of members as 1,330, an indication of the number of people who could potentially have been fooled by the scam. Inside the server, a bot spoofing community management service Collab Land asked users to verify their crypto assets to participate in the server -- but directed users to a phishing site where they were prompted to connect their cryptocurrency wallets. Tim Silman, a nonprofit employee, is one person who lost money through the scam. Silman estimates that around $300â"400 in ETH was drained from his wallet after he visited the fake Discord server through a link posted on the CryptoBatz website. [...] An Ethereum wallet address Silman indicated was linked to the scammers had received a series of incoming transactions totaling 14.6 ETH ($40,895) on January 20th and sent it onwards to a wallet containing more than $150,000. The project had been slow to remove the bad links, even when informed, Silman said. Even as the fake link remained present in a prominent tweet, the CryptoBatz project continued to hype the public token mint. As of January 21st, CryptoBatz NFTs were being resold on OpenSea for around 1.8 ETH ($5,046). Sutter Systems, developers of the CryptoBatz NFT, laid blame for the scam squarely with Discord. "In our opinion this situation and hundreds of others that have taken place across other projects in the NFT space could have easily been prevented if Discord just had a better response/support/fraud team in place to help big projects like ours."

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Google Asks Judge To Dismiss Most of Texas Antitrust Lawsuit

Alphabet's Google asked a federal judge on Friday to dismiss the majority of an antitrust lawsuit filed by Texas and other states that accused the search giant of abusing its dominance of the online advertising market. Reuters reports: Google said in its court filing that the states failed to show that it illegally worked with Facebook, now Meta, to counter "header bidding," a technology that publishers developed to make more money from advertising placed on their websites. Facebook is not a defendant in the lawsuit. The states had also alleged that Google used at least three programs to manipulate ad auctions to coerce advertisers and publishers into using Google's tools. Google responded that the states had a "collection of grievances" but no proof of wrongdoing. On some allegations, Google argued the states waited too long to file its lawsuit. "They criticize Google for not designing its products to better suit its rivals' needs and for making improvements to those products that leave its competitors too far behind. They see the 'solution' to Google's success as holding Google back," the company said in its filing. Google asked for four of the six counts to be dismissed with prejudice, which means that it could not be brought back to the same court. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said they would press on with the fight. "The company whose motto was once 'Don't Be Evil' now asks the world to examine their egregious monopoly abuses and see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil," he said in a statement. The Texas lawsuit had two other claims based on state law and made against Google which were stayed in September. The search giant did not ask for them to be dismissed on Friday but may in the future.

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