By EditorDavid from Slashdot's In-Soviet-Union,-road-watches-you department
Elon Musk says Tesla's autopilot has now driven over 222 million miles, and the company is now selling twice as many electric cars as it did in 2015. (Despite complaints from a coal-mining CEO that Tesla "is a fraud" because it receives tax-payer subsidies.)
But Slashdot reader mirandakatz writes, "It's not enough to build self-driving cars: we have to build the roads to accompany them. Roadside sensors might have once seemed a pipe dream, but with the advent of 5G internet infrastructure, they're not out of reach at all. And their implications span far beyond road safety, GMU researcher Brent Skorup explains at Backchannel:
Cities could use sensor data for conducting traffic studies, pushing out real-time public bus alerts, increasing parking space occupancy, metering commercial loading times to prevent congestion, and enhancing pedestrian safety. There are also commercial applications for sensor data: How many cars drive by a billboard? How many people walk by a storefront per day? How many of those people have dogs? These are all questions we could easily answer with roadside sensors.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's did-you-Yahoo? department
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes:
Look at this contradiction in the government's story about their secret scans on hundreds of millions of Yahoo emails. "Intelligence officials told Reuters that all Yahoo had to do was modify existing systems for stopping child pornography from being sent through its email or filtering spam messages." But three former Yahoo employee have now said that actually the court-ordered search "was done by a module attached to the Linux kernel -- in other words, it was deeply buried near the core of the email server operating system, far below where mail sorting was handled... They said that made it hard to detect and also made it hard to figure out what the program was doing."
Slashdot reader Trailrunner7 writes:
Now, experts at the EFF and Sen. Ron Wyden say that the order served on Yahoo should be made public according to the text of a law passed last year. The USA Freedom Act is meant to declassify certain kinds of government orders, and the EFF says the Yahoo order fits neatly into the terms of the law. "If the reports about the Yahoo order are accurate -- including requiring the company to custom build new software to accomplish the scanning -- it's hard to imagine a better candidate for declassification and disclosure under Section 402," Aaron Mackey of the EFF said.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's ruling-the-waves department
Why is the U.K. funding a risky $22 billion joint project with China to produce electricity at twice the cost? mdsolar quotes a nuclear specialist from the University of Oxford:
...it only makes sense if one considers its connection to Britain's military projects -- especially Trident, a roving fleet of armed nuclear submarines, which is outdated and needs upgrading. Hawks and conservatives, in particular, see the Trident program as vital to preserving Britain's international clout...the government and some of its partners in the defense industry, like Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems, think a robust civilian nuclear industry is essential to revamping Britain's nuclear submarine program...
Merging programs like research and development or skills training across civilian and military sectors helps cut back on military spending. It also helps maintain the talent pool for nuclear specialists. And given the long lead times and life spans of most nuclear projects, connections between civilian and military programs give companies more incentives to make the major investments required. One might say that with the Hinkley Point project, the British government is using billions of Chinese money to build stealth submarines designed to deter China.
The Op-Ed -- published in The New York Times -- calls for more openness about military spending, arguing "If Britain's energy policy were solely about energy, rather than also about defense, the nuclear sector would be forced to stand on its own two feet."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's taking-a-stand department
Some bad news for trollers on the internet who use sophisticated techniques to hurl abuses at others. The UK's top prosecutor has warned that they are introducing new regulations to take these matters carefully and punish offenders with jail time. From an ArsTechnica report:New guidelines have been released by the Crown Prosecution Service to help cops in England and Wales determine whether charges -- under part 2, section 44 of the 2007 Serious Crime Act -- should be brought against people who use social media to encourage others to harass folk online. Over the past four years the CPS has repeatedly tweaked its guidelines on offensive behaviour on social media sites. The latest overhaul, among other things, addresses doxxing, where a person's personal information such as bank details or home address are published online; violence against women and girls such as "baiting" -- which labels someone as sexually promiscuous and can include the use of humiliating photoshopped images; and online harassment campaigns that encourage the use of derogatory hashtags. "Social media can be used to educate, entertain, and enlighten but there are also people who use it to bully, intimidate, and harass," said director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders. "Ignorance is not a defence and perceived anonymity is not an escape. Those who commit these acts, or encourage others to do the same, can and will be prosecuted."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's but-is-he-joking? department
Long-time Slashdot reader SonicSpike writes: Scott Adams, creator of the popular comic, Dilbert, has decided to endorse
Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson for President. He writes at his blog:
"Clinton supporters have been telling me for a few days that any visible support for Trump makes you a supporter of sex abuse.
From a persuasion standpoint, that actually makes sense. If people see it that way, that's the reality you have to deal with. I choose to not be part of that reality so I moved my endorsement to Gary Johnson. I encourage all Clinton supporters to do the same, and for the same reason...
"To be fair, Gary Johnson is a pot head who didn't know what Allepo was. I call that relatable. A President Johnson administration might bring with it some operational risks, and policy risks, but at least he won't slime you by association and turn you into some sort of cheerleader for sex abuse in the way you would if you voted for the Clintons or Trump.
The essay concludes, "You might enjoy my book because you're not sure if I'm really endorsing Gary Johnson or just saying so to protect my brand."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's unless-Martin-Shkreli-wants-it-more department
An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes The Hollywood Reporter:
Milo Yiannopoulos, an alt-right hero known for his banishment from Twitter, is preparing a bid to acquire his own social media firm: 4chan... The Hollywood Reporter learned that Yiannopoulos, with the help of a wealthy backer, is preparing to approach 4chan owner Hiroyuki Nishimura, a Japanese entrepreneur, with a bid this week. Contacted Saturday, Yiannopoulos confirmed plans for a possible acquisition but did not offer details.
"As a free-speech fundamentalist and a student of Internet culture, I appreciate how fragile and precious the 4chan ecosystem is and how much it gives to the wider Internet -- even if some corners of it, such as /pol/, don't always approve of me very much," Yiannopoulos said... "I spoke to my lawyer this morning about purchasing the business... I intend to approach the current owners in the next few days with an offer."
Yiannopoulos added this his philosophy as an owner "would be very simple: free-speech central, no ifs, no buts."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's growing-movement department
Sean Parker has now donated nearly $9 million in his effort to legalize marijuana in California. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes Billboard:
Whether it's founding Napster, guiding Facebook or investing in Spotify, Sean Parker has developed a reputation for pushing change forward, and now he's at the forefront of California's marijuana legalization movement... [A] competing proposal from the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform was folded into Parker's, making his the leading ballot measure, by default, for 2016 in a state with the largest medical marijuana market in the country.
The U.S currently has a hodgepodge of legislation, with marijuana entirely legal only in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, as well as in the District of Columbia, and in individual cities in Michigan and Maine.
But with five more states now voting on legalization,
pro-marijuana campaign ads are being broadcast in Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, California and Arizona. ("You decide who wins -- criminals and cartels, or Arizona schools?") And meanwhile, Slashdot reader schwit1 has identified one voter who's definitely opposing police efforts to hunt down marijuana growers:
All that remains of the solitary marijuana plant an 81-year-old grandmother had been growing behind her South Amherst home is a stump and a ragged hole in the ground... Tucked away in a raspberry patch and separated by a fence from any neighbors, the [medicinal] plant was nearly ready for harvest when a military-style helicopter and police descended on Sept. 21...Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Unicode-complete department
An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes Hot Hardware:
It's been working on the project over the past five years in collaboration with Monotype in hopes of eradicating so-called "tofu" -- the blank boxes you see when a PC or website can't display a particular text -- from the web. Noto, or No more tofu, is Google's answer, and it's available now to download...
"We are thrilled to have played such an important role in what has become one of the most significant type projects of all time," said Scott Landers, president and CEO of Monotype... Monotype played the biggest role, though Google also collaborated with Adobe and had a network of volunteer reviewers. As far as Monotype is concerned, Noto is one of the expansive typography projects ever undertaken.
There's 110,000 characters, and Google says the project "required design and technical testing in hundreds of languages."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's theodp department
Long-time Slashdot reader theodp writes: In August, Melinda Gates penned Computers Are For Girls, Too, in which she lamented that her daughters "are half as likely to major in computer science as I was 30 years ago." So, what's changed in the last 30 years? Well, at last week's DreamForce Conference, Gates credited access to Apple computers at school and home for sparking her own interest in computer science [YouTube], leading to a career at Microsoft.
So, as she seeks ways to encourage more women to get into tech, Melinda may want to consider the effects of denying her own children access to Apple products [2010 interview] and of Microsoft [in 1984] stopping computers from shipping with a beginner's programming language (a 14-year-old Melinda reportedly cut her coding teeth on BASIC).
Melinda can raise her kids however she wants -- maybe her kids will just start programming with the Ubuntu that's shipping with Windows 10. But is it a problem that there's no beginner's programming language currently shipping with Macs? Over the years Macs have shipped with Perl, Python, Ruby, tcl, and a Unix shell. Do you think Apple could encourage young programmers more by also shipping their Macs with BASIC?Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's not-cool,-samsung department
If you had started to feel sympathetic for Samsung, or safer with the Note 7, its latest flagship smartphone, don't be. Another replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has caught fire, making it three of such incident this week alone. Read how poorly Samsung has dealt with the situation, via The Verge: This one was owned by Michael Klering of Nicholasville, Kentucky. He told WKYT that he woke up at 4AM to find his bedroom filled with smoke and his phone on fire. Later in the day, he went to the hospital with acute bronchitis caused by smoke inhalation. "The phone is supposed to be the replacement, so you would have thought it would be safe," Klering told WKYT, saying that he had owned the replacement phone for a little more than a week. "It wasn't plugged in. It wasn't anything, it was just sitting there."The most unsettling part is that Samsung knew of Klering's phone, and didn't say anything.Read Replies (0)