Los Angeles OKs a deal for record-cheap solar power and battery storage

Under the 25-year deal with developer 8minute Solar Energy, the city would buy electricity from a sprawling complex of solar panels and lithium-ion batteries in the Mojave Desert of eastern Kern County, about two hours north of Los Angeles. The Eland project would meet 6% to 7% of L.A.’s annual electricity needs and would be capable of pumping clean energy into the grid for four hours each night.

Source: Los Angeles OKs a deal for record-cheap solar power and battery storage – Los Angeles Times

Facebook (FB) Paid Contractors to Transcribe User Audio Files

In follow-up answers for Congress, the company said it “only accesses users’ microphone if the user has given our app permission and if they are actively using a specific feature that requires audio (like voice messaging features.)” The Menlo Park, California-based company doesn’t address what happens to the audio afterward.

Source: Facebook (FB) Paid Contractors to Transcribe User Audio Files – Bloomberg

Facebook first started allowing Messenger users to have their audio transcribed in 2015. “We’re always working on ways to make Messenger more useful,” David Marcus, the executive in charge of the service at the time, said in a Facebook post.

SpaceX launches first batch of 60 internet satellites in landmark mission

SpaceX ultimately wants Starlink to grow to include potentially thousands of satellites over the next few years. The company says it could make available low-cost internet for a significant portion of the world’s population that isn’t yet online and offer a competitive alternative for people who aren’t happy with their broadband provider.

Source: SpaceX launches first batch of 60 internet satellites in landmark mission – CNN

NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity Concludes a 15-Year Mission

For the scientists, that ends a mission of unexpected endurance. The rover was designed to last only three months. Opportunity provided scientists a close-up view of Mars that they had never seen: finely layered rocks that preserved ripples of flowing water several billion years ago, a prerequisite for life.

Source: NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity Concludes a 15-Year Mission – The New York Times

A Bright Green ‘Christmas Comet’ Will Fly the Closest to Earth in Centuries

Those who live in areas with low levels of light pollution will most likely be able to see the comet with the naked eye. People who live in cities may need binoculars or a telescope to get a glimpse. Online charts can help pinpoint its location.

Source: A Bright Green ‘Christmas Comet’ Will Fly the Closest to Earth in Centuries – The New York Times

Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends

Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders. Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users’ friends who believed they had barred any sharing, The New York Times found.

Source: Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends – The New York Times

Login With Facebook data hijacked by JavaScript trackers

When a user grants a website access to their social media profile, they are not only trusting that website, but also third parties embedded on that site” writes Englehardt. This chart shows that what some trackers are pulling from users. Freedom To Tinker warned OnAudience about another security issue recently, leading it to stop collecting user info.

Source: Login With Facebook data hijacked by JavaScript trackers | TechCrunch

Don’t use Facebook.

Meltdown and Spectre: clearing up the confusion

For a typical user, the browser presents the highest risk, but we have yet to see proof of concept code that exploits this vulnerability through JavaScript – and browser vendors have started issuing patches as well (for example, Mozilla has issued a new version of Firefox, 57.0.4, where they have decreased the precision of time sources to make attacks such as Spectre more difficult or impossible). If you run stuff as Administrator: Spectre makes no difference for you really.

In other words: the world will end over the weekend.

Source: Meltdown and Spectre: clearing up the confusion – SANS Internet Storm Center

Bitcoin Miners Are Shifting Outside China Amid State Clampdown

Bitmain, which runs China’s two largest bitcoin-mining collectives, is setting up regional headquarters in Singapore and now has mining operations in the U.S. and Canada, Wu Jihan, the company’s co-founder, said in an interview. BTC.Top, the third-biggest mining pool, is opening a facility in Canada and ViaBTC, ranked No. 4, has operations in Iceland and America, their founders said.

Source: Bitcoin Miners Are Shifting Outside China Amid State Clampdown – Bloomberg

More news on Bitcoin today.

From:  Microsoft Halts Bitcoin Transactions Because It’s An “Unstable Currency

While Bitcoin price has always fluctuated, it never swung like it did in the past three months. To be widely adopted by the financial sector, a digital or fiat currency must be stable in order to be useful, something that Bitcoin is definitely not.

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