By EditorDavid from Slashdot's moving-magical-internet-money department
Less than three weeks after surging past $4,000, Bitcoin reached $5,000 on Asian exchanges Friday. An anonymous reader quotes Fortune: The idea of Bitcoin breaking the symbolic milestone of $5,000 would have been unthinkable to most people at the start 2017, when the price topped $1,000 for the first time. If you're keeping track, the digital currency is up 500% this year, and nearly 2200% since mid-2015, when it was in the doldrums at around $220. There appears to be no single reason for the recent run-up. Instead, it can likely be explained by the same factors driving this year's cryptocurrency bull run: Publicity-driven speculation; New financial products creating unprecedented liquidity; Trading surges in Asian markets; Institutional investors treating digital currency as a permanent new asset class.
"Magical Internet Money Hits $5k" writes Bitcoin News, adding "so far in 2017 bitcoin has outperformed all government issued tender and a vast majority of stocks and commodities."
While the head of the Bitcoin Foundation has urged people to invest "no more than they can afford," Bitcoin now has a market capitalization of $82.6 billion.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's million-dollar-check-mate department
An anonymous reader brings an important announcement:
Researchers at the University of St Andrews have thrown down the gauntlet to computer programmers to find a solution to a "simple" chess puzzle which could, in fact, take thousands of years to solve, and net a $1 million prize. Computer Scientist Professor Ian Gent and his colleagues, at the University of St Andrews, believe any program capable of solving the famous "Queens Puzzle" efficiently would be so powerful, it would be capable of solving tasks currently considered impossible, such as decrypting the toughest security on the internet. In a paper [PDF] published in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research today, the team conclude the rewards to be reaped by such a program would be immense, not least in financial terms with firms rushing to use it to offer technological solutions, and also a $1 million prize offered by the Clay Mathematics Institute in America.
Devised in 1850, the Queens Puzzle originally challenged a player to place eight queens on a standard chessboard so that no two queens could attack each other. This means putting one queen in each row, so that no two queens are in the same column, and no two queens in the same diagonal. Although the problem has been solved by human beings, once the chess board increases to a large size no computer program can solve it.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's bombs-away department
More than 70 years ago the UK's Royal Air Force dropped an 1,100-pound bomb on Germany. They just found it. An anonymous reader quotes ABC:
Residents in two German cities are evacuating their homes as authorities prepare to dispose of World War II-era bombs found during construction work this week. About 21,000 people have been ordered to leave their homes and workplaces in the western city of Koblenz as a precaution before specialists attempt to defuse the 500-kilogram bomb on Saturday afternoon (local time). Among those moved to safety are prison inmates and hospital patients. Officials in the financial capital Frankfurt, meanwhile, are carrying out what is described as Germany's biggest evacuation. Frankfurt city officials have said more than 60,000 residents will have to leave their homes for at least 12 hours.
Failure to defuse the bomb could cause a big enough explosion to flatten a city block, a fire department official said. "This bomb has more than 1.4 tonnes of explosives," Frankfurt fire chief Reinhard Ries said. "It's not just fragments that are the problem, but also the pressure that it creates that would dismantle all the buildings in a 100-metre radius"... Police will ring every doorbell and use helicopters with heat-sensing cameras to make sure nobody is left behind before they start diffusing the bomb.
Reuters notes that every year Germany discovers more than 2,000 tons of live bombs and munitions, adding "In July, a kindergarten was evacuated after teachers discovered an unexploded World War Two bomb on a shelf among some toys."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's original-or-extra-creepy department
An anonymous reader quotes Quartz:
Ant Financial, the financial services spinoff of e-commerce giant Alibaba, announced Friday it has rolled out a service with a KFC branch in Hangzhou, in eastern China, that lets customer pay for orders with their faces. It works just as one might expect -- diners approach a virtual menu, select the item they want to purchase, and then choose "facial scan" as a payment option. Users must input their phone numbers as an extra layer of verification, but the technology still works even if one's phone is turned off, an Ant Financial spokesperson tells Quartz.
A promotional video shows a young female customer scanning her face while donning a wig and appearing with friends, to tout that the technology can recognize an individual even if they are disguised or in a group... [T]he KFC partnership marks the first time it has been rolled out for commerce. An Ant Financial spokesperson tells Quartz that it intends to roll out the scanning at more locations later.
There's rumors of a similar service coming from Jd.com, according to the article, which also provides several examples of facial recognition technology being used by the Chinese government. "The Communist Party, facing no political opposition or democratic checks, can implement controversial technology with little pushback. This all means that facial recognition in China looks set to steadily move beyond a few novelty cases toward near ubiquity."Read Replies (0)
Do Code Bootcamps Work?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '17 at 07:41 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's programming-pupils department
"Computer programming is highly specialized work; it can't be effectively taught in an intensive program," writes Inc. magazine's contributing editor:
Last month, two of the country's largest and most well-regarded coding bootcamps closed. While there are still over 90 such camps in the U.S. and Canada, these for-profit intensive software engineering schools aren't successfully preparing their students for programming jobs. According to a recent Bloomberg article, the Silicon Valley recruiter Mark Dinan characterized the bootcamps as "a freaking joke," while representatives of Google and Autodesk said respectively that "most graduates from these programs are not quite prepared" and "coding schools haven't been much of a focus for [us]."
In one sense, the failure of coding bootcamps reflects the near-universal failure of for-profit universities, colleges, and charter schools to provide a usable education. In another sense, though, coding bootcamps represent a profound misunderstanding of what computer programming is all about... Coding at the professional level is highly specialized and requires years of practice to master... the idea of a bootcamp for coding is just as practical as the idea of a bootcamp for surgery.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's ahead-of-the-curve department
Thuy Ong reports via The Verge: Now that you've upgraded to a shiny new 4K TV, Sharp has revealed its latest screen to stoke your fear of missing out: a 70-inch Aquos 8K TV. That 8K (7,680 x 4,320) resolution is 16 times that of your old Full HD (1920 x 1080) TV. Sharp calls it "ultimate reality, with ultra-fine details even the naked eye cannot capture," which doesn't seem like a very good selling point. Keep in mind that having a screen with more pixels doesn't buy you much after a certain point, because those pixels are invisible from a distance -- while an 8K panel would be beneficial as a monitor, where you're sitting close, it won't buy you much when leaning back on the couch watching TV. HDR, however, is something else entirely, and fortunately, Sharp's new 8K set is compatible with Dolby Vision HDR and BDA-HDR (for Blu-ray players). The lack of available 8K HDR content is also a problem. But there is some content floating around. The TV will be rolling out to China and Japan later this year, and then Taiwan in February 2018. Sharp is repurposing its 70-inch 8K TV as an 8K monitor (model LV-70X500E) for Europe, which will be on sale in March. There is no news about a U.S. release.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's world-record department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: The world's most powerful X-ray laser has begun operating at a facility where scientists will attempt to recreate the conditions deep inside the sun and produce film-like sequences of viruses and cells. The machine, called the European X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL), acts as a high-speed camera that can capture images of individual atoms in a few millionths of a billionth of a second. Unlike a conventional camera, though, everything imaged by the X-ray laser is obliterated -- its beam is 100 times more intense than if all the sunlight hitting the Earth's surface were focused onto a single thumbnail. The facility near Hamburg, housed in a series of tunnels up to 38 meters underground, will allow scientists to explore the architecture of viruses and cells, create jittery films of chemical reactions as they unfold and replicate conditions deep within stars and planets.
XFEL is the world's third major X-ray laser facility -- projects in Japan and the U.S. have already spawned major advances in structural biology and materials science. The European beam is more powerful, but most significantly has a far higher pulse rate than either of its predecessors. "They can send 100 pulses out per second, we can send 27,000," said Robert Feidenhan'l, chairman of the European XFEL management board. This matters because to study chemical reactions or biological processes, the X-ray strobe is used to capture flickering snapshots of the same system at different time-points that can be stitched together into a film sequence.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's roman-numerals department
Alphabet is approaching its final form. After evolving from Google into a corporate parent with distinct arms in far-flung fields like health care and self-driving cars, it is now forming a new holding company called XXVI Holdings Inc. Bloomberg reports: The new structure legally separates Google from other units such as Waymo, its self-driving car business, and Verily, a medical device and health data firm. Google co-founder Larry Page announced Alphabet two years ago to foster new businesses that operate independently from Google. Technically, however, those units, called the "Other Bets," were still subsidiaries of Google. The new structure, unveiled Friday, enables the Other Bets to become subsidiaries of Alphabet on the same legal footing as Google. "We're updating our corporate structure to implement the changes we announced with the creation of Alphabet in 2015," Gina Weakley Johnson, an Alphabet spokeswoman, said. She called the process a legal formality that won't affect ultimate shareholder control, operations, management or personnel at the 75,606 person company. Google is also changing from a corporation to a limited liability company, or LLC. This won't alter the way the business pays taxes, Johnson said. The switch is partly related to Google's transformation from a listed public company into a business owned by a holding company. Now, it's owned by Alphabet, so it effectively has only one investor and no public disclosure obligations. An LLC structure is better suited to this situation. XXVI, the name of the new holding entity, is the number of letters in the alphabet expressed in Roman numerals.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's de-anonymization department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bleeping Computer: Dutch security researcher Victor Gevers has discovered 2,893 Bitcoin miners left exposed on the internet with no passwords on their Telnet port. Gevers told Bleeping Computer in a private conversation that all miners process Bitcoin transactions in the same mining pool and appear to belong to the same organization. "The owner of these devices is most likely a state sponsored/controlled organization part of the Chinese government, " Gevers says, basing his claims on information found on the exposed miners and IP addresses assigned to each device. "At the speed they were taken offline, it means there must be serious money involved," Gevers added. "A few miners is not a big deal, but 2,893 [miners] working in a pool can generate a pretty sum." According to a Twitter user, the entire network of 2,893 miners Gevers discovered could generate an income of just over $1 million per day, if mining Litecoin.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's technical-foul department
According to Ars Technica, a federal labor board on Thursday "filed a complaint against Tesla, alleging that the electric vehicle company had discouraged workers from distributing pro-union information, stopped them from talking about employee safety to the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, and in one case, prevented an employee from taking a picture of the Confidentiality Agreement they had to sign." From the report: The Oakland, California-based regional office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) consolidated the complaints of three former Tesla employees, Michael Sanchez, Jonathan Galescu, and Richard Ortiz, as well as complaints made by UAW. The complaint alleges that on numerous occasions between February 2017 and May 2017, security guards and human resources agents working on behalf of Tesla told employees that they had to leave the Fremont, California, factory premises because they were distributing pro-union leaflets. In addition, one employee says that over the course of two meetings, a Human Resources Business Partner and an Environmental Health Safety and Sustainability Specialist "interrogated the employee about the employee's Union and/or protected, concerted activities," as well as the pro-union activities of other employees. In March, the complaint claims, a supervisor told his employees during a pre-shift meeting that they could not distribute any stickers or pamphlets that hadn't been approved by Tesla first, or they would be fired. In another incident, a Human Resources Business Partner allegedly "attempted to prohibit an employee from discussing safety concerns with other employees and/or with the Union."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's necessary-hardware department
Qualcomm has introduced a new Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) chipset and reference design that aims to bring automakers one step closer to deploying the communications systems necessary for fully autonomous vehicles. Ford, Audi, the PSA Group and SAIC are all endorsing the new chipset. ZDNet reports: The Qualcomm 9150 C-V2X chipset, expected to be available for commercial sampling in the second half of 2018, is based on specs from the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), a collaboration between groups of telecommunications associations. Meanwhile, Qualcomm's C-V2X reference design will feature the 9150 C-V2X chipset, an application processor running the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) V2X stack, as well as a Hardware Security Module (HSM). C-V2X technology encompasses two transmission modes: direct communications and network-based communications. It's key for both safety features and for implementing autonomous driving capabilities.
For instance, its direct communications capabilities improve a vehicle's situational awareness by detecting and exchanging information using low latency transmissions. Relying on the globally harmonized 5.9 GHz ITS band, the 9150 C-V2X chipset can relay information on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) scenarios without the need for a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM), cellular subscription or network assistance. On top of that, C-V2X network-based communications (designed for 4G and emerging 5G wireless networks) supports telematics, connected infotainment and a growing number of advanced informational safety use cases.Read Replies (0)