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Police Officers In Berlin Had To Break Up Fight Between Supporters of Two Rival YouTubers
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '19 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's irresponsible-social-media-celebrities department:
More than 100 police officers were deployed to break up a mass brawl reportedly organized by two rival YouTube stars in Berlin. The BBC reports: The fight broke out on Thursday evening on Alexanderplatz square in the German capital, police said, adding that nine people were arrested. More than 400 people had gathered after two social media influencers reportedly urged their fans to join a face-off. As tensions escalated, a large melee involving around 50 people erupted. Officers used pepper spray and tear gas after attempts to disperse the crowds with loudspeakers failed. As police intervened, clashes spilled over in a nearby subway, where rocks picked up from railway lines were reportedly thrown. The YouTubers who reportedly started this mess are named "Thatsbekir" and "Bahar Al Amood," both of which denied that they were at fault for the brawl in social media posts.

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Germany Urged To Champion Global Treaty To Ban 'Killer Robots'
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '19 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's lead-the-way department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams and other activists warned on Thursday that fully autonomous weapons could be deployed in just 3-4 years and urged Germany to lead an international campaign for a ban on so-called "killer robots." Williams, who won the Nobel in 1997 for leading efforts to ban landmines, told reporters Germany should take bold steps to ensure that humans remained in control of lethal weapons. "You cannot lead from the rear," she said. Critics fear that the increasingly autonomous drones, missile defense systems and tanks made possible by new artificial intelligence could turn rogue in a cyber-attack or as a result of programming errors.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called last week for action to ensure human control of lethal weapons, but is pushing a non-binding declaration rather than a global ban, given opposition by the United States, Russia and China. The United Nations and European Union have called for a global ban, but discussions so far have not yielded a clear commitment to conclude a treaty. Activists from over 100 non-governmental groups gathered in Berlin this week to pressure Maas and the German government to take more decisive action after twice endorsing a ban on fully autonomous weapons in their 2013 and 2018 coalition accords.

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Dashcam Video Shows Tesla Steering Toward Lane Divider - Again
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '19 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's needs-more-fine-tuning department:
AmiMoJo shares a report from Ars Technica: The afternoon commute of Reddit user Beastpilot takes him past a stretch of Seattle-area freeway with a carpool lane exit on the left. Last year, in early April, the Tesla driver noticed that Autopilot on his Model X would sometimes pull to the left as the car approached the lane divider -- seemingly treating the space between the diverging lanes as a lane of its own. This was particularly alarming, because just days earlier, Tesla owner Walter Huang had died in a fiery crash after Autopilot steered his Model X into a concrete lane divider in a very similar junction in Mountain View, California. Beastpilot made several attempts to notify Tesla of the problem but says he never got a response. Weeks later, Tesla pushed out an update that seemed to fix the problem. Then in October, it happened again. Weeks later, the problem resolved itself. This week, he posted dashcam footage showing the same thing happening a third time -- this time with a recently acquired Model 3. "The behavior of the system changes dramatically between software updates," Beastpilot told Ars. "Human nature is, 'if something's worked 100 times before, it's gonna work the 101st time.'" That can lull people into a false sense of security, with potentially deadly consequences.

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The US Desperately Needs a 'Fiber For All' Plan
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '19 at 01:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's importance-of-fiber department:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a new report calling for a "fiber for all" plan to combat the broadband access crisis in the United States. Government data and independent analysis show we are falling behind the rest of the developed world in this area, and "the U.S. is the only country that believes having no plan will solve this issue," writes Ernesto Falcon from the EFF. "We are the only country to completely abandon federal oversight of an uncompetitive, highly concentrated market that sells critical services to all people, yet we expect widely available, affordable, ultra-fast services. But if you live in a low-income neighborhood or in a rural market today, you know very well this is not working and the status quo is going to cement in your local broadband options to either one choice or no choice." From the report: Very small ISPs and local governments with limited budgets are at the frontline of deploying fiber to the home to fix these problems, but policymakers from the federal, state, and local level need to step up and lead. At least 19 states still have laws that prohibit local governments from deploying community broadband projects. Worst yet, both AT&T and Verizon are actively asking the FCC to make it even harder for small private ISPs to deploy fiber, so that the big incumbents can raise prices and suppress competition, a proposal EFF has urged the FCC to reject.

< article continued at Slashdot's importance-of-fiber department >

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MIT Develops Algorithm To Accelerate Neural Networks By 200x
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '19 at 01:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's efficient-methods department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ExtremeTech: MIT researchers have reportedly developed an algorithm that can accelerate [neural networks] by up to 200x. The NAS (Neural Architecture Search, in this context) algorithm they developed "can directly learn specialized convolutional neural networks (CNNs) for target hardware platforms -- when run on a massive image dataset -- in only 200 GPU hours," MIT News reports. This is a massive improvement over the 48,000 hours Google reported taking to develop a state-of-the-art NAS algorithm for image classification. The goal of the researchers is to democratize AI by allowing researchers to experiment with various aspects of CNN design without needing enormous GPU arrays to do the front-end work. If finding state of the art approaches requires 48,000 GPU arrays, precious few people, even at large institutions, will ever have the opportunity to try.

< article continued at Slashdot's efficient-methods department >

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The New York Times CEO Warns Publishers Ahead of Apple News Launch
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '19 at 12:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Apple is expected to launch an ambitious new entertainment and paid digital news service on Monday, as the iPhone maker pushes back against streaming video leader Netflix. But it likely will not feature the New York Times. Mark Thompson, chief executive of the biggest U.S. newspaper by subscribers, warned that relying on third-party distribution can be dangerous for publishers who risk losing control over their own product. "We tend to be quite leery about the idea of almost habituating people to find our journalism somewhere else," he told Reuters in an interview on Thursday. "We're also generically worried about our journalism being scrambled in a kind of Magimix (blender) with everyone else's journalism."

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Devin Nunes Faces an Uphill Battle in His Lawsuit Against Twitter
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '19 at 12:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Devin Nunes, R-Calif., escalated the feud between conservatives and Twitter earlier this week with a lawsuit accusing the company of defamation and negligence -- two different allegations, one of which poses a more serious question for the social media platform and technology companies in general. Nunes is claiming that Twitter negligently violated its terms of service when it allowed people onto its online "premises" to say false or disparaging things about him. He is seeking $250 million in damages due to "pain, insult, embarrassment, humiliation, emotional distress and mental suffering, and injury to [Nunes'] personal and professional reputations" brought on by what Twitter users said about him.

From a report: Defamation is an interesting legal matter to discuss, at least in theory, but suing for defamation is seldom profitable in reality. Negligence may not sound as exciting as defamation, but this theory of liability quietly drives most successful civil litigation. Relatively easy to prove, it generally requires that the defendant show conduct that came up short of what can be expected, and that this shortcoming caused the plaintiff's damages. [...] The primary reason that technology companies are not sued into oblivion is the existence of the Communications Decency Act, or CDA, and in particular Section 230, which states that providers of an interactive computer service shall not be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider. Ordinarily, a lawsuit like this is properly filed against the Twitter user or account (like "Devin Nunes' Mom") and not Twitter itself.

< article continued at Slashdot's closer-look department >

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Researchers Built an 'Online Lie Detector.' Honestly, That Could Be a Problem
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '19 at 11:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's upon-further-reflection department:
A group of researchers claims to have built a prototype for an "online polygraph" that uses machine learning to detect deception from text alone. But as a few machine learning academics point out, what these researchers have actually demonstrated is the inherent danger of overblown machine learning claims. From a report: When Wired showed the study to a few academics and machine learning experts, they responded with deep skepticism. Not only does the study not necessarily serve as the basis of any kind of reliable truth-telling algorithm, it makes potentially dangerous claims: A text-based "online polygraph" that's faulty, they warn, could have far worse social and ethical implications if adopted than leaving those determinations up to human judgment.

"It's an eye-catching result. But when we're dealing with humans, we have to be extra careful, especially when the implications of whether someone's lying could lead to conviction, censorship, the loss of a job," says Jevin West, a professor at the Information School at the University of Washington and a noted critic of machine learning hype. "When people think the technology has these abilities, the implications are bigger than a study."

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Intel Says It Will Stop Developing Compute Cards
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '19 at 11:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's end-of-road department:
Intel will not develop new Compute Cards, the company said this week. From a report: Compute Cards were Intel's vision of modular computing that would allow customers to continually update point of sale systems, all-in-one desktops, laptops and other devices. Pull out one card, replace it with another, and you have a new CPU, plus RAM and storage. "We continue to believe modular computing is a market where there are many opportunities for innovation," an Intel spokesperson told Tom's Hardware. "However, as we look at the best way to address this opportunity, we've made the decision that we will not develop new Compute Card products moving forward. We will continue to sell and support the current Compute Card products through 2019 to ensure our customers receive the support they need with their current solutions, and we are thankful for their partnership on this change."

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TypeScript's Quiet, Steady Rise Among Programming Languages
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '19 at 09:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's moving-trends department:
Microsoft's programming language TypeScript has become one of the most popular languages among developers, at least according to a report published by the analyst firm RedMonk this week. Wired: TypeScript jumped from number 16 to number 12, just behind Apple's programming language Swift in RedMonk's semiannual rankings, which were last published in August. Microsoft unveiled TypeScript in 2012, and while it hasn't grown as quickly as Swift -- which has grown faster than any other language, ever since RedMonk started compiling the rankings in 2011 -- TypeScript's own ascendance is impressive, given the sheer number of available programming languages.

More and more applications these days use TypeScript. Google's programming framework Angular, the second most popular tool of its type according to data released last year by the startup NPM, is written in TypeScript. So is Vue, an increasingly popular framework finding a home both among smaller companies and tech giants like Alibaba. But RedMonk doesn't look at how many jobs are available for people skilled in a particular language, nor how many companies actually use the language. Instead, the firm tries to spot trends in developer interest by looking at how many projects on GitHub use certain languages, and how many questions are asked about those languages on the programmer Q&A site Stack Overflow. The idea is to get a sense of where the software development profession is heading.

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A Eulogy For Every Product Google Has Ruthlessly Killed (145 and Counting)
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '19 at 09:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's for-the-record department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Tez. Trendalyzer. Panoramio. Timeful. Bump! SlickLogin. BufferBox. The names sound like a mix of mid-2000s blogs and startups you'd see onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt!. In fact, they are just some of the many, many products that Google has acquired or created -- then killed.

While Google is notorious for eliminating underperforming products -- because even though these products often don't cost much for ongoing operations, they can pose a serious legal liability for the company -- it's rare to hear them spoken of after they've been shuttered. In fact, Killed By Google is the first website to memorialize them all in one place. Created by front-end developer Cody Ogden, the site features a tombstone and epitaph for each product the company has killed since it originated.

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As 'Subscription Fatigue' Sets In, the OTT Reckoning May Be Upon Us
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '19 at 08:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-frustration department:
An anonymous reader writes: Deciding which streaming outlet you want to subscribe to can be just as hard as finding a show itself. With options from big players like Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu, Showtime, Amazon and YouTube Premium -- and looming new platforms from the likes of Disney, Apple, AT&T and NBCUniversal -- consumers are already starting to grow frustrated with the crowded streaming marketplace as "subscription fatigue" sets in, according to Deloitte's 13th edition of its Digital Media Trends survey.

Viewers are taking advantage of these options: the average video consumer subscribes to three video streaming services, said Deloitte. But they're growing frustrated over just how many options they have. Nearly half of those surveyed, at 47 percent, said they are frustrated by the growing number of subscriptions and services to watch their shows. And this audience grows attached to the content: 57 percent of consumers said it frustrates them when shows and movies disappear from their streaming libraries.

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AT&T's 5G E Falls Short of T-Mobile and Verizon 4G Speeds: OpenSignal
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '19 at 08:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
AT&T's "5G Evolution" cellular service isn't just controversial and arguably misleading, it's also slower than the 4G speeds offered by rivals T-Mobile and Verizon, according to a new report today from OpenSignal. From a report: Over a one-month period spanning January 28 through February 26, OpenSignal compared the average performance of "5G E capable" phones and "all others" on AT&T's network with similarly equipped devices on T-Mobile's, Verizon's, and Sprint's networks -- a fair test in that all four of the major U.S. carriers have deployed pre-5G, late-stage 4G technologies across the country. Only Sprint's network fell behind AT&T's performance, though that's no surprise, as the fourth-place carrier's network has lagged behind its rivals in performance for years.

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Over 100,000 GitHub Repos Have Leaked API or Cryptographic Keys
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '19 at 07:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department:
A scan of billions of files from 13 percent of all GitHub public repositories over a period of six months has revealed that over 100,000 repos have leaked API tokens and cryptographic keys, with thousands of new repositories leaking new secrets on a daily basis. From a report: The scan was the object of academic research carried out by a team from the North Carolina State University (NCSU), and the study's results have been shared with GitHub, which acted on the findings to accelerate its work on a new security feature called Token Scanning, currently in beta. The NCSU study is the most comprehensive and in-depth GitHub scan to date and exceeds any previous research of its kind. NCSU academics scanned GitHub accounts for a period of nearly six months, between October 31, 2017, and April 20, 2018, and looked for text strings formatted like API tokens and cryptographic keys.

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Most Bitcoin Trading Faked by Unregulated Exchanges, Study Finds
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '19 at 07:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Up to 95% of all reported trading in bitcoin is artificially created by unregulated exchanges, according to a new study [PDF], raising fresh doubts about the nascent market following a steep decline in prices over the past year. From a report: Fraudulent trading volume has dogged cryptocurrency trading for years, but the extent of the market manipulation has been difficult to determine. Bitwise Asset Management said its analysis of trading activity at 81 exchanges over four days in March indicates that the actual market for bitcoin is far smaller than previously thought. The San Francisco-based company submitted its research to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with an application to launch a bitcoin-based exchange-traded fund.

The study, made public Thursday, is an attempt to alleviate the agency's longstanding concerns that a bitcoin ETF would leave investors exposed to fraud and market manipulation. Bitwise's fund, if approved, would be based upon the 5% of trading it considers legitimate, said Matthew Hougan, Bitwise's head of global research. That volume comes from 10 regulated exchanges that can verify that their trading data and customers are real. This slice of the market, he said, is well regulated, transparent and efficient. "I hope everyone sees there is a real market for bitcoin," he said.

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Facebook Knew of Cambridge Analytica Data Misuse Earlier Than Reported
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '19 at 05:51 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's improper-data-gathering-practices department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Facebook employees were aware of concerns about "improper data-gathering practices" by Cambridge Analytica months before the Guardian first reported, in December 2015, that the political consultancy had obtained data on millions from an academic. The concerns appeared in a court filing by the attorney general for Washington DC and were subsequently confirmed by Facebook. The new information "could suggest that Facebook has consistently mislead [sic]" British lawmakers "about what it knew and when about Cambridge Analytica," tweeted Damian Collins, the chair of the House of Commons digital culture media and sport select committee (DCMS) in response to the court filing.

In a statement, a company spokesperson said: "Facebook absolutely did not mislead anyone about this timeline." After publication of this article, the spokesperson acknowledged that Facebook employees heard rumors of data scraping by Cambridge Analytica in September 2015. The spokesperson said that this was a "different incident" from Cambridge Analytica's acquisition of a trove of data about as many as 87 million users that has been widely reported on for the past year. "In September 2015 employees heard speculation that Cambridge Analytica was scraping data, something that is unfortunately common for any internet service," the spokesperson said. "In December 2015, we first learned through media reports that Kogan sold data to Cambridge Analytica, and we took action. Those were two different things." The filing raised questions about when Facebook first learned about the misuse of personal data by Cambridge Analytica, the now defunct political consultancy.

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Walmart Is Looking Into Launching Its Own Cloud Gaming Service, Report Says
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '19 at 03:11 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's you-and-what-army department:
Google's Stadio cloud-gaming service may be intercepted by a similar service from Walmart. According to a report from US Gamer, the American retail giant is looking into launching its own cloud gaming service. From the report: Multiple sources familiar with Walmart's plans, who wish to remain anonymous, confirmed to USG that the retail giant is exploring its own platform to enter in the now-competitive video game streaming race. No other details were revealed other than it will be a streaming service for video games, and that Walmart has been speaking with developers and publishers since earlier this year and throughout this year's Game Developers Conference. Walmart's discussions with developers for its streaming service have been secretive, and it's unclear how far along the service is in-development. But our sources are confident that this is a space Walmart is trying to move into.

Though Walmart might sound like a strange company to be jumping into the streaming tech space, the move isn't wholly unexpected. In recent years due to competition from Amazon, Walmart has been increasingly looking into more tech-focused markets beyond its traditional physical retail chain. Over time, Walmart has integrated its physical stores with its large online presence, offering deliveries, app integrations, and in-store pick up services. Walmart also has a technology arm in Silicon Valley called Walmart Labs, which has 6,000 employees and develops tech for Walmart's digital presence. In addition it boasts tools like Cruxlux, which is a search engine designed to reveal the connection between any two people, places, or things. Finally, Walmart has a data center unofficially called Area 71 in Caverna, Missouri which holds over 460 trillion bytes of data. Data centers are a centerpiece of Google's Stadia streaming service and companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple also own powerful data facilities, all of whom are also coincidentally working in streaming technology.

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Crashed Boeing Planes Lacked Safety Features That Company Sold Only As Extras
Posted by News Fetcher on March 21 '19 at 11:10 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's missing-features department:
The recent Boeing 737 MAX crashes involving an Ethiopian Airlines flight and a Lion Air flight may have been a result of two missing safety features that Boeing charged airlines extra for (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source). The New York Times reports that many low-cost carriers like Indonesia's Lion Air opted not to buy them so they could save money, even though some of these systems are fundamental to the plane's operations. "Now, in the wake of the two deadly crashes involving the same jet model, Boeing will make one of those safety features standard as part of a fix to get the planes in the air again," the report says. From the report: It is not yet known what caused the crashes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10 and Lion Air Flight 610 five months earlier, both after erratic takeoffs. But investigators are looking at whether a new software system added to avoid stalls in Boeing's 737 Max series may have been partly to blame. Faulty data from sensors on the Lion Air plane may have caused the system, known as MCAS, to malfunction, authorities investigating that crash suspect.

< article continued at Slashdot's missing-features department >

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Apple's Plan For Its New TV Service: Sell Other People's TV Services
Posted by News Fetcher on March 21 '19 at 08:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's spoiler-alert department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Recode: After years of circling the TV business, Apple is finally ready to make its big splash: On Monday it will unveil its new video strategy, along with some of the new big-budget TV shows it is funding itself. One thing Apple won't do is unveil a serious competitor to Netflix, Hulu, Disney, or any other entertainment giant trying to sell streaming video subscriptions to consumers. Instead, Apple's main focus -- at least for now -- will be helping other people sell streaming video subscriptions and taking a cut of the transaction. Apple may also sell its own shows, at least as part of a bundle of other services. But for now, Apple's original shows and movies should be considered very expensive giveaways, not the core product.

< article continued at Slashdot's spoiler-alert department >

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First Medical Device To Treat Alzheimer's Is Up For Approval By the FDA
Posted by News Fetcher on March 21 '19 at 07:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's first-of-its-kind department:
the_newsbeagle writes: An FDA advisory committee met today to consider approving the NeuroAD device, which is supposed to help with the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. The device uses a combination of brain stimulation and cognitive training tasks to strengthen the neural circuits involved in language, memory, and other components of cognition. The treatment requires patients to come to the clinic daily for 1-hour sessions. Regulators in Israel and Europe have already approved the device. The CEO of the company behind the device, Neuronix, says that they're not attempting to cure the underlying biological causes of Alzheimer's. "We're attempting to modify the course of the disease," he says. The cognitive improvements last for up to a year, after which they fade away.

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