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Without Encryption, Everything Stops, Says Snowden
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '16 at 01:23 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's encryption-debate department:
An anonymous reader writes about Snowden's appearance on a debate with CNN's Fareed Zakaria: Edward Snowden defended the importance of encryption, calling it the "backbone of computer security." He said, "Encryption saves lives. Encryption protects property. Without it, our economy stops. Our government stops. Everything stops. Our intelligence agencies say computer security is a bigger problem than terrorism, than crime, than anything else," he noted. "[...] Lawful access to any device or communication cannot be provided to anybody without fatally compromising the security of everybody."

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Gas Delivery Startups Want to Fill Up Your Car Anywhere, But It Might Not Be Legal
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '16 at 12:02 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's story-of-gasoline,-convenience,-and-law department:
Eric Newcomer, reporting for Bloomberg: A new crop of startups are trying to make gas stations obsolete. Tap an app, and they'll bring the gas to you, filling up your car while you're at work or at home. Filld, WeFuel, Yoshi, Purple and Booster Fuels have started operating in a few cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Nashville, Tennessee, and Atlanta, Georgia. But officials in some of those cities say that driving around in a pickup truck with hundreds of gallons of gasoline might not be safe. "It is not permitted," said Lt. Jonathan Baxter, a spokesman for the San Francisco fire department, adding that if San Francisco residents see any companies fueling vehicles in the city, they should call the fire department. "We haven't talked to them. I don't know about that. It's news to me," said Nick Alexander, co-founder of Yoshi. "You can never ask for permission because no one will give it," said Chris Aubuchon, the chief executive officer at Filld. The Los Angeles Fire Department said it's drafting a policy around gasoline delivery. "Our current fire code does not allow this process; however, we are exploring a way this could be allowed with some restrictions," said Capt. Daniel Curry, a spokesman for the city's fire department.

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WhatsApp Blocked in Brazil for 72 Hours Over Data Dispute
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '16 at 12:02 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's battle-over-data department:
An anonymous reader cites an article on TechCrunch: WhatsApp, Facebook's messaging service that recently rolled out end-to-end encryption to its users, will be blocked in Brazil for 72 hours, starting this afternoon. A Brazilian judge ordered telecom providers in the country to block WhatsApp today in a dispute over access to encrypted data. Judge Marcel Montalvao has ordered WhatsApp to turn over chat records related to a drug investigation, but WhatsApp has argued that it cannot access the chats in an unencrypted form and therefore cannot provide the required records to the court. [...] This isn't Montalvao's first clash with WhatsApp, which boasts more than 100 million Brazilian users. The judge ordered the arrest of Facebook's vice president for Latin America, Diego Dzodan, in March. Facebook has said that WhatsApp operates with relative independence and that Dzodan has no control over WhatsApp data.American lawyer and journalist Glenn Greenwald said: "WhatsApp shut down again in Brazil as of 1 pm ET today: used by 100m people, 91% of those online: all from 1 judge."

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Chrome Overtakes Internet Explorer For Most Popular Desktop Browser
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '16 at 10:37 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's battle-for-browser department:
Google Chrome is now the most widely used desktop browser. According to the latest figures from marketing and research firm Net Applications (which looked into data from over 40,000 websites), in April, Chrome captured 41.66 percent of the market, surpassing Internet Explorer which now sits at 41.35 percent. Brad Sams writes:This growth by Chrome should not be too surprising as Microsoft has left Internet Explorer behind for Edge but unfortunately, the Edge browser available to the vast majority of Windows 10 users is a sub-par experience as it lacks basic features like extensions. This is a big milestone for Google as their browser faced and uphill battle against Internet Explorer when it was introduced back in 2008.Also read: Windows Desktop Market Share Drops Below 90%

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Audiophile Torrent Site What.CD Fully Pwnable Thanks To Wrecked RNG
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '16 at 10:37 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-woes department:
Reader mask.of.sanity writes: Users of popular audiophile torrent site What.CD can make themselves administrators to completely compromise the private music site and bypass its notorious download ratio limits thanks to the use of the mt_rand function for password resets, a researcher has found. From the report (edited and condensed):What.CD is the world's most popular high quality music private torrent site that requires its users to pass an interview testing their knowledge of audio matters before they are granted an account. Users must maintain a high upload to download ratio to continue to download from the site. [...] "I reported it a year ago, and they acknowledged it but said 'don't worry about it,'" said New-Zealand-based independent security researcher who goes by the alias ss23.

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With AI Getting Better at Cognitive Abilities, Humans Will Have Even Fewer Jobs
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '16 at 09:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's humans-need-not-apply department:
An anonymous reader writes: It is no secret that machines have come to largely replace physical labor, and computers surpass human beings in processing data. But in the future, the development of artificial intelligence may render humans obsolete even in the realm of emotional intelligence (warning: annoying popup adverts), according to Yuval Harari, a renowned professor of history. Harari said:AI today is able to diagnose your personality and emotional state by looking at your face and recognizing tiny muscle movements. It can tell whether you are tired, excited, angry, joyful, in love ... it can tell these things even though AI itself doesn't feel anger or love. In the future, therefore, AI could drive humans out of the job market and make many humans completely useless, from an economic perspective in areas where human interaction was previously considered crucial. Humans only have two basic abilities -- physical and cognitive. When machines replaced us in physical abilities, we moved on to jobs that require cognitive abilities. ... If AI becomes better than us in that, there is no third field humans can move to.

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Scientists Discover Three Potentially Habitable Planets
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '16 at 09:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's quest-for-habitable-planets department:
Scientists have discovered three Earth-sized planets that look ideally suited to search for signs of life beyond our solar system. A team of astronomers from MIT and the University of Liege detected three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star -- just 40 light years from Earth using a prototype telescope called TRAPPIST which is capable of looking at 60 nearby ultracool stars. NPR reports: The closest planet to the star orbits in about one and a half Earth days. From the planet's surface, the star would look like a reddish ball fixed to one spot in the sky. Scientists don't yet know the mass of the planets or what they're made of. Astronomers have discovered more than a thousand planets outside our solar system, but it's still rare to find ones that look promising in terms of habitability."These planets are Earth-sized, they are temperate -- we can't rule out the fact that they are habitable -- and they are well-suited for atmospheric studies," says Julien de Wit, a researcher at MIT.

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Datto Launches Datto Drive For SMBs; Offers 1TB at $10 a Month For Unlimited Users
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '16 at 07:56 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's in-quest-for-cloud department:
Founder of OwnCloud writes: In the era of nearly free cloud storage why on earth am I paying $15 a month per user (for Dropbox and Box). This seems absurd. As the founder of a cloud storage company I thought we could fix this. We combined OwnCloud which is an enterprise level open source file sync and share solution with our skills in infrastructure. Today we are launching Datto Drive, a file sync and share service for businesses that costs just $10 a month for unlimited users and 1TB of combined storage. To get started we are giving the first year away free for the first million businesses that sign up. Tech Republic has more information.

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Ubuntu Quietly Raises Install Image Size to 2GB
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '16 at 07:56 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's not-so-minimal-on-size-anymore department:
Joey-Elijah Sneddon, reporting for OMGUbuntu: You can expect to see a larger Ubuntu desktop installation image by the time the Yakkety Yak yips out. Developers are currently debating the exact size limits that official flavours will adhere to, with some favouring a 2GB hard limit while others are looking to go full-DVD size at 4.7GB+. Canonical's Steven Langasek explains the plans for Ubuntu 16.10 Yakkety Yak: "I've finally gone ahead and bumped the limit on Ubuntu desktop images to 2GB for a minimally-sized USB stick; this gives us a new limit that I think we will care about, while also leaving us headroom so we're not constantly fighting it back down to the line." The Ubuntu ISO is supposed to be around the 1GB mark but has creeped past this in recent releases. The current Ubuntu 16.04 LTS desktop .iso is 1.4GB.

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Craig Wright Claims He's Satoshi Nakamoto, the Creator Of Bitcoin
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '16 at 06:33 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's curious-case-of-bitcoin,-and-whoever-created-it department:
Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright has put an end to the years-long speculation about the creator of Bitcoin. In an interview with the BBC, The Economist ( could be a paywall), and GQ, Wright claimed that he is indeed the person who developed the concepts on which Bitcoin cryptocurrency is built. According to the BBC, Mr. Wright provided "technical proof to back up his claim using coins known to be owned by Bitcoin's creator." Wright writes in a blog post: [A]fter many years, and having experienced the ebb and flow of life those years have brought, I think I am finally at peace with what he meant. If I sign Craig Wright, it is not the same as if I sign Craig Wright, Satoshi[...] Since those early days, after distancing myself from the public persona that was Satoshi, I have poured every measure of myself into research. I have been silent, but I have not been absent. I have been engaged with an exceptional group and look forward to sharing our remarkable work when they are ready. Satoshi is dead. But this is only the beginning. According to Wright's website, he is a "computer scientist, businessman and inventor" born in Brisbane, Australia, in October 1970. Some has questioned the authenticity and importance of "technical proof" Wright has provided. Nik Cubrilovic, an Australian former hacker and leading internet security blogger, wrote, "I don't believe for a second Wright is Satoshi. I know two people who worked with Wright, characterized him as crazy and schemer/charlatan." Michele Spagnuolo, Information Security Engineer at Google added, "He's not Satoshi. He just reused a signed message (of a Sartre text) by Satoshi with block 9 key as 'proof.'"

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Marketers Hunger For Data From Wearables
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '16 at 06:33 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's case-clothed department:
An anonymous reader writes:Marketers would love to access information about your daily routines and your precise location, both data sets that would be trivially easy to extract from wearable devices. Those were the two most-requested items in a new survey of marketers, according to a new article at ReadWrite.com. "In the future the data procured from smartwatches might be much more valuable than what is currently available from laptop and mobile users," reports David Curry, raising the possibility that stores might someday use your past Google searches to alert you when they're selling a cheaper product.

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3 Years Ago, Microsoft Said Tech Should Fund K-12 CS Education. What Changed?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '16 at 05:06 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's school-principles department:
theodp writes: Last week, Microsoft and some of the biggest names in tech and corporate America threw their weight behind a Change.org petition that urged Congress to fund K-12 Computer Science education. The petition, started by the tech-backed CS Education Coalition (btw, 901 K Street NW is Microsoft's DC HQ) in partnership with tech-backed Code.org, now has 90,000+ supporters. But three years ago, Microsoft backed a very different Change.org petition that called for corporate America to foot the STEM education bill. "While the need to expand high-skilled immigration is immediate," read the letter to Congress, "we also need to expand STEM opportunities in U.S. education. A positive proposal has emerged in Washington to create a national STEM education fund, paid for only by businesses using green cards and visas. This fund will help prepare Americans for 21st-century STEM jobs. The proposal is supported by a broad coalition [PDF] that includes Microsoft, GE, the National Council of La Raza, the National Association of Manufactures, and the National Science Teachers Association, to name a few." The earlier petition, which wound up with 41,009 supporters, was started by Voices for Innovation, a self-described "Microsoft supported community" that says it's now "proud to support the Computer Science Education Coalition" as part of its efforts to "shape public policies for our 21st century digital economy and society." So, what changed? Well, Mother Jones did warn that what Microsoft promises and what it delivers for education isn't necessarily the same...

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Elon Musk Open Sources New 'AI Gym'
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '16 at 03:43 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's brain-wars department:
An anonymous reader writes: OpenAI, a billion-dollar research non-profit backed by Elon Musk and other Silicon Valley executives, just released a public beta of a new Open Source gym for computer programmers working on artificial intelligence. "Nothing beats a competitive environment to motivate developers," says Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. "It's like a monster truck rally for AI programmers."

The gym lets developers run tests in a standardized environment and share their results, and was built by OpenAI to develop algorithms for the non-profit's own research, according to the Christian Science Monitor. "The gym's exercises range from robot simulations to Atari games and are designed to develop reinforcement learning, the type of computer skills needed for motor control, and decision-making. 'Long-term, we want this curation to be a community effort rather than something owned by us,' Greg Brockman and John Schulman wrote in an OpenAI blog post. 'We'll necessarily have to figure out the details over time, and we'd would love your help in doing so.'"

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Global Catastrophe, Even Human Extinction, Isn't All That Unlikely
Posted by News Fetcher on May 01 '16 at 11:33 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's out-brief-candle department:
HughPickens.com writes: Robinson Meyer writes in The Atlantic that in its annual report on "global catastrophic risk," the Global Challenges Foundation estimates the risk of human extinction due to climate change -- or an accidental nuclear war at 0.1 percent every year. That may sound low, but when extrapolated to century-scale it comes to a 9.5 percent chance of human extinction within the next hundred years. The report holds catastrophic climate change and nuclear war far above other potential causes, and for good reason citing multiple occasions when the world stood on the brink of atomic annihilation. While most of these occurred during the Cold War, another took place during the 1990s, the most peaceful decade in recent memory. The closest may have been on September 26, 1983, when a bug in the U.S.S.R. early-warning system reported that five NATO nuclear missiles had been launched and were bound for Russian targets. The officer watching the system, Stanislav Petrov, had also designed the system, and he decided that any real NATO first-strike would involve hundreds of I.C.B.M.s. Therefore, he resolved the computers must be malfunctioning. He did not fire a response.

< article continued at Slashdot's out-brief-candle department >

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The Pirate Bay Gets a 'Massive' $9 in Donations Per Day
Posted by News Fetcher on May 01 '16 at 07:31 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's people-don't-like-paying-for-piracy department:
An anonymous reader writes: When The Pirate Bay and other torrent sites started accepting Bitcoin donations a few years ago, copyright holders voiced concerns about this new 'unseizable' revenue stream. Thus far, this fear seems unwarranted with TPB raking in an average of $9 per day in Bitcoin donations over the past year. While hardly a windfall, it's a fortune compared to the donations received by the leading torrent site KickassTorrents.

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Robots Battle In 25th Annual FIRST Competition
Posted by News Fetcher on May 01 '16 at 06:12 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's hail-the-new-robot-overlords department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Vice: Saturday marked the conclusion of the 2016 FIRST Robotics Competition, which saw over 20,000 high school students from around the world descend on St. Louis, Missouri... 900 teams pitted their robots against one another in various games... The ultimate robotics test occurred in the championship round, known as the FIRST Stronghold, which involves two alliances composed of three robots each. At each end of a pitch are two towers, representing each alliance's stronghold. The alliances must breach their opponent's stronghold by throwing boulders to goals on the tower to weaken it.

There's some embedded videos from the event in Vice's article, which points out that it's the competition's 25th anniversary. (Here's Slashdot's post about the event from 2004). This year 40,000 people attended, including will.i.am and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

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The Government Wants Your Fingerprint To Unlock Phones
Posted by News Fetcher on May 01 '16 at 03:32 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's hand-over-the-evidence department:
schwit1 quotes this report from the Daily Gazette: "As the world watched the FBI spar with Apple this winter in an attempt to hack into a San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, federal officials were quietly waging a different encryption battle in a Los Angeles courtroom. There, authorities obtained a search warrant compelling the girlfriend of an alleged Armenian gang member to press her finger against an iPhone that had been seized from a Glendale home. The phone contained Apple's fingerprint identification system for unlocking, and prosecutors wanted access to the data inside it. It marked a rare time that prosecutors have demanded a person provide a fingerprint to open a computer, but experts expect such cases to become more common as cracking digital security becomes a larger part of law enforcement work. The Glendale case and others like it are forcing courts to address a basic question: How far can the government go to obtain biometric markers such as fingerprints and hair?"

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Windows Desktop Market Share Drops Below 90%
Posted by News Fetcher on May 01 '16 at 03:32 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's cloudy-with-a-chance-of-Windows department:
An anonymous reader quotes VentureBeat's new article about desktop operating systems: Windows 7 is still the king, but it no longer holds the majority. Nine months after Windows 10's release, Windows 7 has finally fallen below 50 percent market share and Windows XP has dropped into single digits. While this is good news for Microsoft, April was actually a poor month for Windows overall, which for the first time owned less than 90 percent of the market, according to the latest figures from Net Applications.

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What Happened to Google Maps?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 01 '16 at 02:12 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's surprising-changes-to-Maps'-cartography department:
Google Maps has reduced the number of cities it shows by up to 83% over the past few years, according to Justin O'Beirne. Maps, in addition, has increased the number of roads it showcases. O'Beirne, who writes about digital maps, in a blog post outlines the changes Google has made to its mapping and navigation service over the years. The side-by-side screenshots comparison on his blog post shows that Google has largely abandoned labelling towns and cities in favor of showing as many roads as it can. He has also looked into several elements of Maps from the design standpoint, and questioned Google's decision. He writes: If these roads were so important that they deserved to be upgraded in appearance, why weren't they also given shield icons? After all, an unlabeled road is only half as useful as a labeled one. [...] [Comparing Google Maps to a paper map] Even though it's from the early 1960s, the old print map has so much more information than the Google Map. So many more cities. So many more road labels. And the text size is comparable between the two. O'Beirne believes that Google has made these changes to better serve mobile users. "Unfortunately, these 'optimizations' only served to exacerbate the longstanding imbalances already in the maps," he writes. "As is often the case with cartography: less isn't more. Less is just less."

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CV of Failures: Princeton Professor Publishes Resume of His Career Lows
Posted by News Fetcher on May 01 '16 at 02:12 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's setting-precedent department:
An anonymous reader shares a Guardian report: A professor at Princeton University has published a CV listing his career failures (PDF), in an attempt to "balance the record" and encourage others to keep trying in the face of disappointment. Johannes Haushofer, who is an assistant professor of psychology and public affairs at the university in New Jersey, posted his unusual CV on Twitter last week. The document contains sections titled Degree programs I did not get into , Research funding I did not get and Paper rejections from academic journals. Haushofer writes: Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible. I have noticed that this sometimes gives others the impression that most things work out for me. As a result, they are more likely to attribute their own failures to themselves, rather than the fact that the world is stochastic, applications are crapshoots, and selection committees and referees have bad days. This CV of Failures is an attempt to balance the record and provide some perspective. He added another section called "Meta-Failures" to his resume, writing, "This darn CV of Failures has received way more attention than my entire body of academic work."

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