By manishs from Slashdot's snowden-effect department
An anonymous reader cites an article on The Intercept: The director of national intelligence on Monday blamed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for advancing the development of user-friendly, widely available strong encryption. "As a result of the Snowden revelations, the onset of commercial encryption has accelerated by seven years," James Clapper said. The shortened timeline has had "a profound effect on our ability to collect, particularly against terrorists," he said. When pressed by The Intercept to explain his figure, Clapper said it came from the National Security Agency. "The projected growth maturation and installation of commercially available encryption -- what they had forecasted for seven years ahead, three years ago, was accelerated to now, because of the revelation of the leaks." Asked if that was a good thing, leading to better protection for American consumers from the arms race of hackers constantly trying to penetrate software worldwide, Clapper answered no. "From our standpoint, it's not â¦ it's not a good thing," he said."Of all the things I've been accused of," Snowden said, "this is the one of which I am most proud."Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's ransomware-on-android,-no-big-deal department
By manishs from Slashdot's security-blues department
An anonymous reader writes: Personal information of over one million users stored by popular dating site BeautifulPeople has leaked, and is now accessible online. We already knew that BeautifulPixel.com was hacked (it happened in November 2015), but this is the first confirmation from a security researcher that the details are legitimate. (BeautifulPeople had downplayed it at the time, saying that it was a staging server, and not a production server, that was hacked.) Security researcher Troy Hunt, citing a source, noted that the data has been sold online. The leaked personal information include email addresses, phone numbers, as well as hair color, weight, job and other details.Troy also noted that of the 1.1 million users details,170 of them have government email addresses. Some of you may remember BeautifulPixel as the creator the "Shrek" virus.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's interstellar-was-right-all-along department
An anonymous reader shares an article on Science World Report: Stephen Hawking, in a recent lecture held at the Harvard University, claimed that black holes could be portals to a parallel universe. The celebrated physicist spoke at length about black holes and suggested that they neither store materials absorbed by them nor physical information about the object that created them. Known as the information paradox, the theory goes against the scientific rule that information on a system belonging to a particular time can be used to understand its state at a different time. Over the years, it has been speculated that black holes do not retain information about the stars from which they are formed, except storing their electrical charge, angular momentum and mass. According to Hawking, as per that theory, it was believed that identical black holes might be formed by an infinite quantity of matter configurations. However, quantum mechanics has signaled the opposite by revealing that black holes could only be formed by particles with explicit wavelengths. If the characteristics of the bodies that create black holes are not deprived, then they include a lot of information that is not revealed to the outside world, according to the physicist. "For more than 200 years, we have believed in the science of determinism, that is that the laws of science determine the evolution of the universe" Stephen Hawking said. If information was lost in black holes, we wouldn't be able to predict the future because the black hole could emit any collection of particles."This is in contrast to some of Hawking's earlier views. In 2014, for instance, Hawking suggested that black holes don't exist, at least not like we think.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's and-suddenly,-diesel-vehicles-are-not-that-cool-anymore department
An anonymous reader writes: The Guardian, citing a comprehensive set of data, reports that 97% of all modern diesel cars emit more toxic nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution on the road than the official limit. A quarter of this voluminous number emits at least six times more than the limit. From the report, "Surprisingly, the tiny number of models that did not exceed the standard were mostly Volkswagens, the carmaker whose cheating of diesel emissions tests emerged last year sparked the scandal. Experts said the new results show that clean diesel cars can be made but that virtually all manufacturers have failed to do so. The new data, from testing industry leader Emissions Analytics (EA), follows the publication this week by the Department for Transport of emissions results for 37 vehicles, all of which emitted more NOx on the road than the official limit. But the new data covers more than 250 vehicles in more stringently standardised road conditions. EA found that just one of 201 Euro 5 diesels, the EU standard from 2009, did not exceed the limit, while only seven of 62 Euro 6 diesels, the stricter standard since 2014, did so. Diesel cars must meet an official EU limit for NOx but are only tested in a laboratory under fixed conditions. All vehicles sold pass this regulation but, when taken out on to real roads, almost all emit far more pollution. There is no suggestion that any of the cars tested broke the law on emissions limits or used any cheat devices. Mayoral candidates in London, the city with the worst air quality in Britain, have seized on the DfT data to call for tighter controls on polluting traffic -- including a ban on diesel cars."Caroline Pidgeon, the Lib Dem mayoral candidate, said: "The figures are exactly the reason why we need to speed up the introduction of the ultra-low emission zone so that it starts in 2018. Ultimately we will need to ban diesel vehicles from much of London and we need a mayor prepared to take these tough decisions and work with people to make these changes happen."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's shut-up-and-tweet department
An anonymous reader writes: "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the federal body tasked with automotive safety," reports the Verge, adding "If you look at NHTSA's Twitter feed right now, you'll find that it's just a non-stop stream of burns aimed at people who admit -- sometimes gleefully -- that they text and drive." For example, seeing a tweet that read, "I have no problem texting while driving, but I won't text while going down stairs, the NHTSA replied "You might not have a problem with the texting & driving...but we do. Stay off your phone and #justdrive - it's not worth it." And seeing a tweet that read "I text and drive way too much," they responded, "Um, agreed... Please realize you're putting yourself and others in danger, and a silly text isn't worth it. #justdrive".
The Verge argues "For what it's worth, NHTSA is right: countless studies have linked texting in the driver's seat with higher accident rates... Getting shamed online by a government agency is far harsher than getting shamed by a friend -- but it's still a lot better than getting killed over an email."
To which the NHTSA responded on Twitter, "Thanks for the shoutout, .@verge! #justdrive"Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's naming-languages-after-Monty-Python department
The online programming school Tech Rocket just published a new interview with Guido van Rossum, the creator of Python. "Looking back I don't think I ever really doubted Python, and I always had fun," he tells the site. "I had a lot of doubts about myself, but Python's ever-increasing success, and encouragement from people to whom I looked up (even Larry Wall!), made me forget that."
He describes what it's like being Python's Benevolent Dictator for Life, and says that the most astonishing thing he's seen built with Python is "probaby the Dropbox server. Two million lines of code and counting, and it serves hundreds of millions of users." And he leaves aspiring programmers with this advice. "Don't do something you don't enjoy just because it looks lucrative -- that's where the competition will be fiercest, and because you don't enjoy it, you'll lose out to others who are more motivated."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Officer-Friendly department
schwit1 shares this excerpt from an article in The Washington Post: Schools in Florida are renewing a program that monitors their students' social media activity for criminal or threatening behavior, although it has caused some controversy since its adoption last year. The school system in Orange County, where Orlando is located, recently told the Orlando Sentinel that the program, which partners the school system with local police departments, has been successful in protecting students' safety, saying that it led to 12 police investigations in the past year. The school district says it will pay about $18,000 annually for SnapTrends, the monitoring software used to check students' activity. It's the same software used by police in Racine, Wisconsin, to track criminal activity and joins a slew of similar social media monitoring software used by law enforcement to keep an eye on the community. SnapTrends collects data from public posts on students' social media accounts by scanning for keywords that signify cases of cyberbullying, suicide threats, or criminal activity. School security staff then comb through flagged posts and alert police when they see fit.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's in-ur-base-killing-your-dudes department
braindrainbahrain writes: Having conquered checkers, chess, and more recently Go, artificial intelligence research now looks at the next frontier: the popular real-time strategy game of StarCraft.
Blizzard Entertainment's president reached out to Google's DeepMind researchers last month, who are now describing StarCraft as "our likely next target". But many top StarCraft experts believe AIs will fail because "Unlike machines, humans are good at lying," reports the Wall Street Journal. An executive at the Korea e-Sports Association tells them "It's going to be hard for AI to bluff or to trick a human player."
One University of Alberta computer scientist David Churchill counters that âoeWhen the AI finds that the only way to win is to show strength, it will do that. If you want to call that bluffing, then the AI is capable of bluffing, but there's no machismo behind it." Unfortuantely, for five years Churchill has been running AI-vs-human StarCraft tournaments, and "So far, it hasn't even been close... Using a mouse and keyboard, the world's top players can issue 500 or more commands a minute," the Journal reports. But they add that now both Facebook and Microsoft are also working on small StarCraft AI projects.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's have-you-been-experienced department
Friday the Huffington Post wrote that "Ageism runs rampant through Silicon Valley, where older workers are frequently overlooked for jobs." They ran tips from the man who recruited Tim Cook for Apple, who pointed out that it's difficult and expensive to recruit new talent, urging businesses to "stop seeing workforce diversity as a good deed; it's good business."
And earlier this month The Observer ran an article by Dan Lyons, a writer for HBO's "Silicon Valley," who shared his perspective on ageism from his time at HubSpot. Their CEO actively cultivated an age imbalance, bragging that he was "trying to build a culture specifically to attract and retain Gen Y'ers," because, "in the tech world, gray hair and experience are really overrated."
Meanwhile, Slashdot reader OffTheLip writes: Information technology is a young business in comparison to many other industries but one of the few where older workers are not valued for their institutional knowledge... As a recently retired techie I experienced this firsthand, both as an older worker, and earlier in my career [as] one who didn't see the value in older workers. As Lyons states, older workers are good business.
What are your thoughts? And have you experienced ageism?Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's racing-in-space department
An anonymous reader writes:
"British astronaut Tim Peake became the first man to complete a marathon in space on Sunday, running the classic 26.2 mile distance while strapped to a treadmill aboard the International Space Station..." reports Reuters. "The 44-year-old spaceman saw London's roads under his feet in real time on an iPad as, 250 miles below him, more than 37,000 runners simultaneously pounded the streets."
Meanwhile, in a show of solidarity, two earth-bound runners ran the marathon wearing space suits.
CNN notes that Peake "ran the race for real in 1999," but this time competed with avatars that represented actual runners who were using the Run Social app. His zero-gravity run took longer -- more than three and a half hours -- while a Kenyan runner ultimately won the race, completing the whole 26.2-mile course in just two hours, three minutes and four seconds, the second-fastest time ever recorded.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's virtual-shipping-dates department
fluor2 writes: In April, Oculus announced that many of the Oculus Rift CV1 pre-orders were getting bumped from March to early May or even June...but they're still finding CV1's for supplying Rift+PC bundles. The solution for some has now been to cancel their order, order Rift+PC bundles...and cancel the PC portion.
This tactic appears to have mixed results, and those Rift+PC bundles have now also sold out, adds the Road To VR site, which reports that some of the original pre-orders "are now shipping out significantly ahead of the initial delay estimates provided by Oculus." For one customer, "Oculus estimated the Rift wouldn't ship until sometime between May 23 and June 2, around two months after the official launch date. However, the customer tells us that their Rift was shipped today, about one month ahead of the delay estimate, and about one month after the official launch date."Read Replies (0)