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Enlarge Almost exactly a year ago, security researchers uncovered one of the worst data breaches in modern history, if not ever: a Kremlin-backed hacking campaign that compromised the servers of network management provider SolarWinds and, from there, the networks of 100 of its highest-profile customers, including nine US federal agencies. Nobelium—the name Microsoft gave to the intruders—was eventually expelled, but the group never gave up and arguably has only become more brazen and adept at hacking large numbers of targets in a single stroke. The latest reminder of the group’s proficiency comes from security firm Mandiant, which on Monday published research detailing Nobelium’s numerous feats—and a few mistakes—as it continued to breach the networks of some of its highest-value targets. Abusing trust One of the things that made Nobelium so formidable was the creativity of its TTPs, hacker lingo for tactics, techniques, and procedures. Rather than breaking into each target o

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Enlarge / The Crew-2 mission is seen departing the International Space Station in November 2021. (credit: SpaceX) NASA has announced that it will purchase three additional flights for its astronauts to the International Space Station on SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle. The announcement , posted on the space agency's website late on Friday afternoon, follows a "request for information" issued by NASA in October seeking the additional transportation to keep "uninterrupted" US access to the space station. The blog post contained the following somewhat stilted rationale for selecting SpaceX to provide these three crewed flights while not selecting the other potential provider, Boeing's Starliner spacecraft. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments from Ars Technica https://ift.tt/3drFQuS via IFTTT

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Enlarge / Workers install photovoltaic panels on the roof at the reconstruction project of Fengtai Railway Station on November 12, 2021, in Beijing, China. (credit: Jia Tianyong/China News Service) Around the world, countries installed renewable power at a record pace in 2021, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. The trend is likely to continue for the next five years, with 95 percent of all new electrical generating capacity being renewable. “This is equivalent to the current global power capacity of fossil fuels and nuclear combined,” the IEA said in the report. Yet even then, the world will need to double the rate at which it adds renewable power in the next five years to remain on track to reach net zero in 2050. To keep pace with variable wind and solar power, energy storage will have to nearly double as well. The world can’t just add more renewable power—it has to replace existing fossil fuel plants as well. Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Co

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Enlarge / A human relative left these five tracks in a 3.6 million-year-old layer of sediment at the Laetoli Fossil site in Tanzania. (credit: McNutt et al. 2021) The first evidence of human relatives walking on two feet comes from about 70 footprints left by at least two Australopithecus afarensis walking across soft volcanic ash about 3.6 million years ago. A. afarensis was a short hominin with a jutting lower jaw, which walked upright but may also have spent some time in the trees; the most famous member of the species is a fossil woman now called Lucy. Not far from that site, another set of footprints reveals that Lucy and her kin may have lived alongside another bipedal hominin species, one that moved very differently. The forgotten footprints When the footprints were first spotted in 1976, the paleoanthropologists who unearthed them from what's called Site A weren't sure what to make of them. Paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey suggested they could be hominin trac

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Enlarge / Footprints made out of fresh green grass on a dry cracked earth base. (credit: Hype Photography / Getty Images ) Carbon taxes can attract a lot of flak. On one hand, some groups hate taxes and are indifferent to climate change—in Canada, various provincial governments actively fought (and ultimately lost ) against the federal government’s implementation of a carbon levy. On the other hand, some progressives worry that a carbon tax would hurt lower-income people by costing them more money. According to new research , however, this doesn’t need to be the case. Noah Scovronick, a researcher at the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health at Emory University and one of the paper’s authors, said that it’s possible to help reduce emissions while also implementing a carbon tax that redistributes wealth to people on the lower side of the socioeconomic spectrum. And that's good news, as carbon taxes are already in use. According to the World Bank , in 2020, around 40

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Enlarge / Chief and "The Weapon" bond through adversity in Halo Infinite —and not just in the game's plot or firefights. (credit: Xbox Game Studios / 343 Industries) Halo Infinite is the best campaign-driven entry since 343 Industries took over the series in 2011 . It is also the messiest Halo game yet. To be clear, I enjoyed my time with Halo Infinite 's campaign. That's primarily because the game sees 343 finally nail its own  Halo "voice," one whose mechanics, gunplay, and physics feel more rooted in the series' past than ever before. Meanwhile, 343 uses clever ideas to modernize and go beyond the foundation established by Bungie. And the game delivers story, dialogue, and sci-fi stakes where they count. But there's no way to review this title without complaining about the game's launch state. Halo Infinite may reach new series heights, but its ambition tests the limits of the duct tape keeping the game together. Before we beg

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Enlarge / Given the right data, a neural network can infer what radar maps would have looked like, were they available. (credit: NOAA/CIMSS. ) It's become increasingly clear that quantum computers won't have a single moment when they become clearly superior to classical hardware. Instead, we're likely to see them becoming useful for a narrow set of problems and then gradually expand out from there to an increasing range of computations. The question obviously becomes one of where the utility will be seen first. The quantum-computing startup Rigetti now has a white paper that identifies, at least theoretically, a case when quantum hardware should offer an advantage. And it is actually useful: replacing a neural network that's used for analyzing weather data. How’s the weather? The problem the people at Rigetti looked at involves taking a partial set of weather data and inferring what the rest looks like. Plenty of areas of the planet lack good coverage, and so