By EditorDavid from Slashdot's whatever-floats-your-Boaty department
Britain's Natural Environment Research Council conducted an online poll to select the name for their new advanced polar research vessel. Though it cost more than 200 million pounds and represents their fleet's largest and most advanced research vessel, when the voting closed yesterday the clear winner, was the name 'Boaty McBoatface'. The name received over 124,000 votes, while the nearest runner-up -- Poppy-Mai -- received just 34,371, and the fourth-most popular suggestion, "RRS It's Bloody Cold Here," received just 10,679 votes. "I am grateful to everyone who has participated in the competition," Britain's science minister told The Daily Telegraph, though he added "You won't be surprised to know that we want something that fits the mission and captures the spirit of scientific endeavor." The Telegraph takes this as a signal that the ministers "were unlikely to endorse the result."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's rumbles-in-the-jungles department
In the wake of major earthquakes in both Japan and Ecuador, one British newspaper asks: Why are we so bad at predicting earthquakes? In 2015 seismologists told Vice, "The more we study them, the harder they look to predict, and "there's a shortage of instrumenation." But today the Telegraph newspaper concludes that we actually have two problems: first, "science is hopeless at predicting earthquakes and, second, we keep building cities on major fault-lines..." They cite a new book called Earth-Shattering Events which reports that nearly half the world's large cities are in earthquake-prone areas, adding, "we don't just build our cities on fault-lines, we also tend to rebuild them, in the same place, but no more robust, time and time again." In 1976 one quake in China killed more than 750,000 people, while a 2004 quake in Indonesia killed 170,000. "The Earth will move and there's not a thing we can do to stop it," the Telegraph concludes, arguing that we need to learn more from our past.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's in-your-base department
An anonymous reader writes: FinFisher, the hacker that broke into Italian firm Hacking Team, has published a step-by-step account of how he carried out the attacks, what tools he used, and what he learned from scouting HackingTeam's network. Published on PasteBin, the attack's timeline reveals he entered their network through a zero-day exploit in an (unnamed) embedded device, accessed a MongoDB database that had no password, discovered backups in the database, found a BES admin password in the backups, and eventually got admin access to the Windows Domain Server. From here, it was easy to reach into their email server and steal all the company's emails, and later access Git repos and steal the source code of their surveillance software.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's Oops department
An anonymous reader writes: North Korea failed to launch an intermediate-range missile on Friday, multiple news outlets, citing American and South Korean military officials, are reporting. The failure, The Washington Post reports, caused the regime an embarrassing blow on the most important day of the year on the North Korean calendar. For those unaware, North Korea had planned -- and tried -- to launch a missile to mark the 104th anniversary of the birthday of the country's 'eternal president,' Kim Il Sung.ABC further reports: "It was a fiery, catastrophic attempt at a launch that was unsuccessful," Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said Friday. U.S. officials are still assessing, but it was likely a road-mobile missile, given that it was launched from a location not usually used for ballistic missile launches, on the country's east coast, he said. The UN Security Council issued a statement saying its members "strongly condemned" the North's firing of a ballistic missile, which it said constituted a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions although the launch was a failure. "We strongly condemn North Korea's missile test in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions, which explicitly prohibit North Korea's use of ballistic missile technology," the official said.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's use-the-fork,-Luke department
An anonymous reader writes: "When DARPA funded research into a brain-computer interface, artist and engineer Joel Murphy and his former student Conor Russomanno built a working prototype," reports Popular Science. After a crowdfunding campaign, the team successfully developed an Open Source version -- a $399 headset that can register brain-wave electricity (named Ultracortex), along with a $99 board named Ganglion that can use those signals to control mechanical devices. "We want it to essentially be a Lego kit that you get in the mail, which also just happens to be a brain-computer interface," says Russomanno.
Their web site is already accepting pre-orders, though because both the hardware and software are open source, you can also generate your own headset with a 3D printer. And according to the article, two British students are now using the technology to create an app that issues commands to a smartphone by winking.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's piracy-is-bad department
Ernesto Van der Sar, reporting for TorrentFreak: The MPAA wants Internet providers and services to take stronger actions against persistent copyright infringers. Ideally, the most egregious pirates should lose their accounts permanently, the group says. To accomplish this ISPs should be required to track the number of notices they receive for each account. In recent weeks, many groups and individuals have voiced their opinions about the future of the DMCA, responding to a U.S. Copyright Office consultation. This includes the MPAA, which acts on behalf of the major Hollywood studios. In a 71-page submission the group outlines many problems with the current law, asking for drastic reforms. Ideally, the group would like search engines to enforce a "stay down" policy ensuring that content can't reappear under different URLs. In addition, it would like registrars to suspend domain names of pirate sites, such as The Pirate Bay.The problem is that ISPs don't necessarily see this abuse as a problem.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's totally-not-racist department
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft's newest online AI, CaptionBot, tries to identify what's in an uploaded photo, using two recognition APIs recently released by Microsoft Cognitive Services for app developers-- "Computer Vision" and "Emotion". But while Microsoft brags that their AI "can understand thousands of objects, as well as the relationships between them," bloggers are also sharing funny examples of CaptionBot's many mistakes. While it correctly identified Bea Arthur, Ozzy Osbourne and Joan Jett, and a movie poster with Arnold Schwarzenegger, it mistakenly identified Gene Simmons of KISS as "a woman in a red jacket...sitting on a motorcycle," described a wedding dress as "a cat wearing a tie," mistook Michelle Obama for a cellphone, and described one man's Twitter avatar as "a close up of two giraffes near a tree."
But CNNMoney reports that the AI is apparently programmed to ignore all images of Hitler and other Nazi symbolism (as well as Osama bin Laden), reporting that Microsoft's AI "often came back with 'I really can't describe the picture' and a confused emoji. It did, however, identify other Nazi leaders like Joseph Mengele and Joseph Goebbels."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's if-at-first-you-don't-succeed department
An anonymous reader writes: Google and Oracle executives met for six hours Friday in an unsuccessful attempt to resolve an ongoing copyright lawsuit. "Because an agreement couldn't be made, the next phase of the case will head to court in May, where a jury will decide if Google had the right to use certain parts of Oracle's programming language, Java, for free or if it owes Oracle damages..." reports Business Insider. "Last month, Google said that its damages expert strongly disagreed that it should owe Oracle upward of $8 billion for using certain parts of Oracle's software in its smartphone operating system, Android."
Friday's court-ordered talk included both Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Oracle CEO Safra Catz, and it marks the second time the two companies have failed to reach an out-of-court settlement, a fact alluded to by the case's judge in newly-released documents. "After an earlier run at settling this case failed, the court observed that some cases just need to be tried," reports the court docket. "This case apparently needs to be tried twice."Read Replies (0)