By timothy from Slashdot's this-stuff-cuts-more-than-one-way department
An anonymous reader writes: Ted Cruz pitches himself as an overcomer, an underdog, an outsider who beats the odds. While the Republic candidate has won four states in this nomination race so far, a neurologist says he still faces a big obstacle with voters: his own face. In an interview with Quartz, George Washington University's Richard E. Cytowic said the unusual movements of Cruz's face may make him seem less sincere to the human brain than other candidates. "The normal way a face moves is what's called the Duchenne smile, named after the 19th century French neurologist. So the mouth goes up, the eyes narrow and the eyes crinkle at the outside, forming crows feet," said Cytowic, a professor of neurology.
"Cruz doesn't give a Duchenne smile. His mouth goes in a tight line across or else it curves down in an anti-Duchenne smile. So he doesn't come across as sincere at all."
Visceral reactions probably drive a lot more of politics than anyone likes to admit; seeming trustworthy isn't the same as being trustworthy, but it sure helps win people over.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's gps-was-bad-enough department
itwbennett writes: Cerber, a new file-encrypting ransom ware, has a couple of interesting features. First, according to cyber intelligence outfit SenseCy, it is available for sale 'as a service' on a private Russian-language forum, which makes it 'available to low-level criminals who might not have the coding skills or resources to create their own ransom ware,' writes Lucian Constantin. Second, one of the 3 files it drops on a victim's desktop is a VBS (Visual Basic Scripting) file containing text-to-speech code that converts text into an audio message. 'When the above script is executed, your computer will speak a message stating that your computer's files were encrypted and will repeat itself numerous times,' said Lawrence Abrams, administrator of the technical support forum BleepingComputer.com, in a blog post.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's listen-carefully-to-the-following-menu-option department
HughPickens.com writes: Ann Carrns reports at the NYT that despite a push by financial institutions to switch customers to digital statements from paper, the traditional hard-copy version may work better for some people, in particuar particular, older, less educated and lower-income consumers who may lack fast Internet connections at home. According to a new report from the National Consumer Law Center, even consumers who know the Internet may simply prefer paper, because statement notifications can easily be overlooked in a deluge of email. Also unlike paper statements, which can be neatly collected and filed away, going paperless on multiple accounts will mean having that information scattered under different user names and passwords. You may also be surprised to learn you have to pay for copies of some older statements. "If you have a system for organizing your paper statements, you should think about how that's going to translate online," says Jim Bruene. Finally you may not be able to go back as far with paperless statements. At Verizon, cellphone customers get up to 12 months of past statements. Customers can also request older statements dating back seven years for $5 per copy.
Under federal law, banks must obtain consent from consumers to deliver statements electronically. But banks are sometimes aggressive in encouraging customers to opt out of receiving paper statements. Last summer, holders of some Chase credit cards received pop-up ads when they logged into their accounts online, asking them to switch to electronic statements. The notice said "Action Required," even though no action was necessary if cardholders simply wanted to continue receiving paper statements. The screen showed buttons for "accept" and "manage my preferences," but not for "decline."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's properly-implemented department
mikejuk writes: Mozilla has been clarifying some of its plans to convert the Firefox OS project into four IoT based projects. At a casual glance, this seems like a naive move that is doomed to failure. Project Link is a 'user agent' for the smart home, that helps the end user set preferences for device interaction, and automates those connections for the user in a secure environment. Next, Project Sensor Web will be a pilot project for crowdsourcing a pm2.5 sensor network. Project Smart Home is focused on bridging the gap in IoT smart home providers between completely boxed solutions like Apple HomeKit, and completely DIY solutions like Raspberry Pi. Finally, Project Vaani is a voice interface for IoT access, which Mozilla credits as the 'most natural way to interact with connected devices.' With Firefox losing market share and projects like Firefox OS, Thunderbird, Shumway, and Persona closing down, perhaps Mozilla should try and find its way back to core concerns. All four of the projects need significant AI expertise and a powerful cloud computing resource neither of which Mozilla is likely to be able to afford.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's integrated-graphics department
An anonymous reader writes: It's been almost a year now since Oculus announced that the consumer version of the Rift virtual-reality headset would only support Windows PCs at launch -- a turnaround from development kits that worked fine on Mac and Linux boxes. Now, according to Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey, it "is up to Apple" to change that state of affairs. Specifically, "if they ever release a good computer, we will do it," he told Shacknews recently. Basically, Luckey continued, even the highest-end Mac you can buy would not provide an enjoyable experience on the final Rift hardware, which is significantly more powerful than early development kits. "It just boils down to the fact that Apple doesn't prioritize high-end GPUs," he said. "You can buy a $6,000 Mac Pro with the top-of-the-line AMD FirePro D700, and it still doesn't match our recommended specs."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's defy-gravity department
coondoggie writes: DARPA took one step further in building a radically different VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft that can fly fast and carry a big load. Specifically, DARPA awarded Aurora Flight Sciences the $89 million prime contract for Phase 2 of the agency's VTOL X-Plane program which looks to: achieve a top sustained flight speed of 300-400 kt, raise aircraft hover efficiency from 60% to at least 75%, present a more favorable cruise lift-to-drag ratio of at least 10, up from 5-6, and carry a useful load of at least 40% of the vehicle's projected gross weight of 10,000-12,000 lbs. DARPA said Aurora's Phase 2 design for the VTOL X-Plane envisions an unmanned aircraft with two large rear wings and two smaller front canards -- short winglets mounted near the nose of the aircraft. "A turboshaft engine -- one used in V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft -- mounted in the fuselage would provide 3 megawatts (4,000 horsepower) of electrical power, the equivalent of an average commercial wind turbine. The engine would drive 24 ducted fans, nine integrated into each wing and three inside each canard. Both the wings and the canards would rotate to direct fan thrust as needed: rearward for forward flight, downward for hovering and at angles during transition between the two," DARPA stated.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's catch-em-if-you-can department
schwit1 writes: China's effort to flush out threats to stability is expanding into an area that used to exist only in dystopian sci-fi: pre-crime. The Communist Party has directed one of the country's largest state-run defense contractors, China Electronics Technology Group, to develop software to collate data on jobs, hobbies, consumption habits, and other behavior of ordinary citizens to predict terrorist acts before they occur. "It's very crucial to examine the cause after an act of terror," Wu Manqing, the chief engineer for the military contractor, told reporters at a conference in December. "But what is more important is to predict the upcoming activities." The program is unprecedented because there are no safeguards from privacy protection laws and minimal pushback from civil liberty advocates and companies, says Lokman Tsui, an assistant professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who has advised Google on freedom of expression and the Internet.Read Replies (0)