A Broken Piece of Internet Backbone Might Finally Get Fixed

This spring, services from heavy hitters like Google and Facebook seemed glitchy or inaccessible for people worldwide for more than an hour. But it wasn’t a hack, or even a glitch at any one organization. It was the latest mishap to stem from design weaknesses in the “Border Gateway Protocol,” the internet’s foundational, universal routing system. Now, after years of slow progress implementing improvements and safeguards, a coalition of internet infrastructure partners is finally turning a corner in its fight to make BGP more secure.

Today the group known as Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security is announcing a task force specifically dedicated to helping “content delivery networks” and other cloud services adopt the filters and cryptographic checks needed to harden BGP. In some ways the step is incremental, given that MANRS has already formed task forces for network operators and what are known as “internet exchange points,” the physical

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Senate Committee Confirms Nomination of Simington to FCC

Illustration for article titled Republican Plan to Keep the Internet Screwed Under Biden Moves Ahead

Photo: Mark Makela (Getty Images)

President-elect Joe Biden hasn’t even assumed office yet, and it’s already time for him to reach across the aisle and say with sincere force, “c’mon man!”

Along with combating a once-in-a-generation plague and a severe economic recession, cleaning up Ajit Pai’s FCC is a necessary early step for the Biden administration to get the country back on track. On Wednesday, that effort encountered a setback. At a hearing for the Senate Commerce Committee, members voted 14-12 along party lines to advance the nomination of Nathan Simington to become an FCC commissioner. The last-minute nomination of Simington by President Trump was rammed through after the re-nomination of Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly was abruptly pulled in August.

Illustration for article titled Republican Plan to Keep the Internet Screwed Under Biden Moves Ahead

The FCC is typically controlled by the party that occupies the White House. Regulations dictate that no more than three members of the panel can be

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Google AI is now piloting Loon’s internet-beaming balloons

Alphabet’s Loon has shifted to a different type of navigation system for its internet-beaming balloons. Rather than relying on algorithms designed by humans, the balloons are using an artificial intelligence system Loon developed with Google AI over the last few years. 

a person flying through the air on top of a mountain: Loon balloon in flight

© Loon
Loon balloon in flight

A reinforcement learning (RL) system is now in charge of navigation for a fleet of balloons over Kenya, where Loon switched on its first commercial service earlier this year. Loon says this is the first use of an RL model in “a production aerospace system.” It also noted the “development is exciting because it shows that reinforcement learning can be applied to real-world use cases.” RL systems have previously figured out how to beat top Go and Dota 2 players.

Loon’s AI can figure out the optimal route for balloons significantly faster than the previous navigation system. It does so with more efficiency

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McRib’s Return Memes and Jokes as Internet Divided Over McDonald’s Sandwich Comeback

The McRib comeback has McDonald’s fans divided. Those who both love and loathe the long-awaited sandwich have taken to Twitter to share memes and jokes about the return of the McRib, which will be available in McDonald’s restaurants nationwide from today for a limited time.

It’s no secret that the McRib has many fans, and its cult-status has even been documented in an episode of Family Guy.

The clip of Peter Griffin spotting a billboard for the McRib and racing back to get his family resurfaced on Twitter when the sandwich’s comeback was first announced on October 30, by Twitter user @Jamius, who said: “Since the McRib is back, here’s the best 24 seconds of television.”

Twitter user Pitucito said: “McRib gang” and shared the Pope meme, depicting Pope Francis holding the infamous McDonald’s sandwich.

On Election Day, Brent Terhune joked: “Anxious. Can’t sleep. Can’t focus. This wait is killing

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The Internet Is Clamoring for Bella Hadid’s Mystery $16.99 Dress

Bella Hadid wearing a green shirt: Please drop the link, Bella.

© bellahadid/Instagram.
Please drop the link, Bella.

Bella Hadid’s millions of followers are waiting with bated breath for the model to drop one of her secrets.

No, it’s not about her love life or even the secrets to her Zoom call looks. It’s all about the green halter dress she wore for a series of Instagram photos showing off her Michael Kors bag.

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Laura Davis: the 10 funniest things I have ever seen (on the internet) | Culture

Hello, I’m Laura Davis. I’m an Australian comedian who normally lives in London, but I’ve ended up unexpectedly trapped in New Zealand this year on my way back to Australia. Well, as much as you can be trapped in one of the safest places in the world.

I’ve spent most of 2020 walking around in the woods alone in the day, and scrolling through the internet to check the rest of the world is still there at night. It’s been nice but I am probably getting a bit of a Jack Torrance vibe.

London and New Zealand are great, don’t get me wrong, but I haven’t been home to Australia in years and by now I’m homesick enough that I’d probably fall to my knees at the mere waft of a sausage. In the spirit of patriotism, I’ve quarantined this list to the Aussie corner of the internet. (Full

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Alphabet’s Loon hands the reins of its internet air balloons to self-learning AI

Alphabet’s Loon, the team responsible for beaming internet down to Earth from stratospheric helium balloons, has achieved a new milestone: its navigation system is no longer run by human-designed software.


© Image: Loon

Instead, the company’s internet balloons are steered around the globe by an artificial intelligence — in particular, a set of algorithms both written and executed by a deep reinforcement learning-based flight control system that is more efficient and adept than the older, human-made one. The system is now managing Loon’s fleet of balloons over Kenya, where Loon launched its first commercial internet service in July after testing its fleet in a series of disaster relief initiatives and other test environments for much of the last decade.


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Loon’s internet balloons are now piloted by an AI flight control system

Similar to how researchers have achieved breakthrough AI advances in teaching computers to play sophisticated video games

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What Is Section 230? Trump Threatens Veto Over 1996 Internet Service Shield


  • Section 230 protects internet services companies from indecent content posted by users
  • The bill passed in 1996, long before social media existed
  • The courts have routinely sided with social media companies in arguments against protection

President Donald Trump threatened to veto a defense bill over a 1996 law that shields websites from liability over content created by their users.

The president said he would veto the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act over Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which he called a “liability” that leaves national security and election integrity exposed to risk because of the protection it provides to “Big Tech”

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Hungarian Santas ditch the chimney for the internet

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – With Hungary under partial lockdown to curb a surge in COVID-19 cases, several local companies have started offering online meetings with Santa Claus for children holed up at home with their families.

Ozzie Canseco et al. sitting at a table: Pillmayer, dressed as Santa, talks as he interacts with children by video, amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Budapest

Pillmayer, dressed as Santa, talks as he interacts with children by video, amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Budapest

One of the Hungarian companies that normally rents out Santas for families and business events has come up with several forms of COVID-19-proof meetings.


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They pre-record personalised messages and send them by post or provide online sessions with Santa greeting children from his home office with a Christmas tree and festive lights glistening in the background.

“Which child would expect that while watching some video on a laptop with Mom and Dad, suddenly Santa appears live and calls them by their names,” one of the Santas, Pal Pillmayer said.

“I think this

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Trump threat to veto defense bill if Section 230 not revoked by Congress

  • President Donald Trump tweeted late on Tuesday night that he would veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) unless it included a repeal of Section 230.
  • Section 230 is the part of US law that grants broad protections to Big Tech companies to allow them to moderate their own platforms.
  • Trump has been trying to roll it back since Twitter first applied fact-checks to his tweets in May.
  • The NDAA is an annual defense spending bill worth roughly $740 billion, and Trump has already threatened to veto it if lawmakers go ahead with a plan to rename army bases named after Confederate generals.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Trump is trying desperately to get Section 230, the part of US law that protects Big Tech companies, revoked.

The president tweeted late Tuesday night that he would veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) unless it included a

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