Top Stories for the Week Of June 28, 2017

  • Episode 510
  • June 28, 2017
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Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday June 28, 2017

Some Windows 10 source code which could be used to exploit the popular OS has been leaked to the public.

Last week, Beta Archive posted Windows 10 source code related to USB, storage and WiFi drivers on its free FTP site. Since then, a spokesperson for Microsoft has confirmed that this code is genuine.

The breach was initially thought to be massive; The Register reported that the leak consisted of around 32TB of files. They claimed it included builds of Windows that haven't yet been released. However, it later became clear that the leak was smaller than originally reported, and what's more, a fair bit of the data had already been made available by Microsoft through The Shared Source Kit. Microsoft's partners and licensees had access to this through the Shared Source initiative.

That doesn't mean this data leak isn't serious, though. It's an embarrassing black mark for Microsoft at a time that more and more people are paying attention to computer security. While the source code has been removed voluntarily by Beta Archive, it's unclear how many people had already downloaded it.

It's possible that it still could be distributed via other methods and used to create exploits for Windows 10.


Sent to us by: Jeff Weston

The world's fastest computers run Linux.

Linux is still running on more than 99% of the top 500 fastest supercomputers in the world. Same as last year, 498 out of top 500 supercomputers run Linux while remaining 2 run Unix.

20 years back, most of the supercomputers ran Unix. But eventually, Linux took the lead and become the preferred choice of operating system for the supercomputers.

Now, not even one supercomputer in the top 500 run Windows. And of course, no supercomputer runs macOS because Apple has not manufactured the ‘iSupercomputer’ yet.

This information is collected by an independent organization, Top500, that publishes the details about the top 500 fastest supercomputers known to them, twice a year. You can go the website and filter out the list based on country, OS type used, vendors etc.

The main reason for this growth is the open source nature of Linux. Supercomputers are specific devices built for specific purposes. This requires a custom operating system optimized for those specific needs.

Unix, being a closed source and propriety operating system, is an expensive deal when it comes to customization. Linux, on the other hand, is free and easier to customize. Engineering teams can easily customize a Linux-based operating system for each of the supercomputers.

The world’s fastest supercomputer on the current list is Sunway TaihuLight. It's based in National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, China and has a speed of 93 PETAFLOPS per second. That's 93 quadrillion floating point operations per second. Or to put it another way, 93 million billion!

Not impressed yet? Here's a number we can all think about for a minute: this supercomputer has [are you ready for this?] 10 MILLION cores.

It's nearly 3x as fast as the 2nd place winner.

The only two supercomputers running Unix are ranked 493rd and 494th.


Sent to us by: Sr_wences

NASA has designed a supersonic airplane that doesn't create a sonic boom.

NASA says the preliminary design review of its Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST) project suggests it is possible to create a supersonic aircraft that doesn't produce a sonic boom.

They've been able to build supersonic passenger planes for decades, but the problem is that they are so noisy, they generate complaints when flown over populated areas of land. Even when flying below the speed of sound, they're often noisier than always-subsonic aircraft and generate plenty of complaints around airports, which try to keep things as quiet as possible so as not to disturb nearby residents.

A quieter supersonic passenger aircraft has therefore long been on designers' minds, as there's a market for faster travel over land as well as oceans.

Which is why NASA is running the QueSST program.

A statement posted on their web site Monday says, “Senior experts and engineers from across the agency and the Lockheed Martin Corporation concluded on Friday that the QueSST design is capable of fulfilling the aircraft’s mission objectives, which are to fly at supersonic speeds, but create a soft 'thump' instead of the disruptive sonic boom associated with supersonic flight today.”

NASA's commercial supersonic technology project manager Peter Coen explains that “the idea is to design the airplane so that the shock waves that are produced in supersonic flight are arranged in such a way that you don't have a boom. You have just a general kind of a gradual pressure rise that produces a quiet sound.”

NASA's next step is finding organisations willing to build a working model of the experimental airplane and fly it over American cities and towns to hear how much noise it makes. It's hoped those flights could start in 2021.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

As predicted, Nintendo is now releasing a classic Super Nintendo console.

Super Mario World, Starfox and Yoshi's Island are set to be re-released later this year as part of a new classic SNES console.

The original Super Nintendo Entertainment System, launched in 1990, sold 50 million units worldwide.

The SNES Classic follows the NES Classic, which went on sale late last year but abruptly discontinued in April - much to the frustration of fans.

Nintendo said limited resources were to blame, but insisted it would not make the same error with the SNES.

A Nintendo spokesperson said, "We aren't providing specific numbers, but we will produce significantly more units of Super NES Classic Edition than we did of NES Classic Edition".

The assertion follows accusations from the gaming community that Nintendo was engaging in so-called intentional scarcity. The marketing ploy was supposedly intended to drum up publicity for the Japanese company, which launched its flagship new console, the Nintendo Switch, earlier this year.

As well as the classic titles, Nintendo will also bundle in a game from the SNES era that was never actually released - Star Fox 2. The console will cost $79 in US, and £79.99 in the UK.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


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