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FBI Has Sights On Larger Battle Over Encryption After Apple Feud
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 08:43 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's legal-action department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Bloomberg: FBI Director James Comey said the FBI is exploring how to make broader use of the hack, used to access a San Bernardino terrorist's encrypted iPhone, while bracing for a larger battle involving encrypted text messages, e-mails and other data. The tool could "in theory be used in any case where there's a court order" to access data on an iPhone 5c running Apple's iOS 9 OS, Comey told reporters in Washington on Wednesday. However, accessing content on a phone, known as "data at rest," is only part of the challenge that encryption poses for U.S. investigators. Software applications and other services that encrypts texts, e-mails and other information in transit over the Internet, known as "data in motion," are "hugely significant," especially for national security investigations, Comey said. He said criminals are increasingly using services that encrypt data in motion, and he didn't rule out litigation against companies such as WhatsApp. "WhatsApp has over a billion customers, overwhelmingly good people," Comey said. "But in that billion customers are terrorists and criminals, and so that now ubiquitous feature of all WhatsApp products will affect both sides of the house." As for whether or not there will be litigation against WhatsApp down the road, Comey says, "I don't know." The FBI is trying to figure out how to allow "law enforcement around the country with court orders to be able to use our tool," Comey said. It's "tricky," he said, because using the tool to help state and local criminal investigations could mean that it would have to be revealed in a court preceding if there isn't a procedure in place to prohibit testimony about how it works.

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AAA Study: Blood THC Levels After Smoking Pot Are Useless In Defining 'Too High To Drive'
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 07:25 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's illicit-substances department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Blood tests that try to quantify marijuana use are in fact useless at assessing how impaired a driver is, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The study found that people with low blood amounts of THC -- or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive component of pot -- may still act as if they're really stoned. On the other hand, some people may have THC measurements off the charts yet still act normally. The finding is critical because several states have already set legal limits for the amount of THC a person can have in their blood while driving. AAA concluded that such limits are "arbitrary and unsupported by science, which could result in unsafe motorists going free and others being wrongfully convicted for impaired driving." The conclusion echoes that of other researchers that also noted no correlation between blood THC levels and impairment. Still, there is a need to deter people from smoking pot while driving, AAA argues, as it can impair driving. It recommends that until scientifically valid measures of impairments are put into place, law enforcement should use a combination of behavior and psychological tests to assess whether drivers who use marijuana are safe to drive.

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Hyperloop One Technology Tested Successfully In Nevada Desert
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 06:05 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's age-of-hyperloop department:
Dave Knott quotes a report from CBC.ca: Hyperloop One (formerly known as Hyperloop Technologies) conducted a successful test of its high speed transportation technology Wednesday in the desert outside Las Vegas. The seconds-long, outdoor demonstration featured what appeared to be a blip of metal gliding across a small track before disappearing into a cloud against the desert landscape. A fully operational hyperloop would whisk passengers and cargo in pods through a low pressure tube at speeds of up to 1,207 kph (750 mph). Maglev technology would levitate the pods to reduce friction in the city-to-city system, which would be fully autonomous and electric powered. A day earlier, the company had announced the closing of $80 million in financing and said it plans to conduct a full system test before the end of the year.

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Harvard Scientist: Rio Olympics Could Spark 'Full Blown Global Health Disaster'
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 06:05 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's world-events department:
An anonymous reader writes: Doctors have warned that the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro could spark a "full-blown public health disaster" with the spread of the Zika virus. The World Health Organization has declared a health emergency in response to the disease's spread through Latin America. Rio has the highest number of cases of any state in the country. Dr Amir Attaran said in the Harvard Public Health Review the Olympic Games could increase the spread of the virus, suggesting the Games should be hosted by a different city in Brazil. "While Brazil's Zika inevitably will spread globally, given enough time, viruses always do -- it helps nobody to speed that up," he said. "In particular, it cannot possibly help when an estimated 500,000 foreign tourists flock into Rio for the Games, potentially becoming infected, and returning to their homes where both local Aedes mosquitoes and sexual transmission can establish new outbreaks." It's highly unlikely the virus will cause officials to take drastic action since the Games start on August 5th. With economic and political issues in the country, the Zika virus is just one more thing undermining confidence in the country's ability to host the Olympics. It was reported earlier this year that Rio has given up on its promise to eliminate 80 percent of the sewage found in the city's notoriously filthy water.

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Tesla Model S Owner Claims Vehicle Went Rogue Causing An Accident By Itself
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 04:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rise-of-the-machines department:
MojoKid writes: A Tesla Model S owner is laying blame on the company and its product for an accident involving his pricey electric vehicle and a parked trailer. Jared Overton claims that on April 29th, he parked his Model S on the side of the road and ran some errands. He was parked behind a trailer at the time. A worker from the business he was visiting greeted him outside after which he went inside the establishment. Roughly five minutes later, he came out to find his Model S slammed into the trailer in front of it. How exactly did his Model S start-up on its own and roll several feet down the road crashing into another parked vehicle? Good question. Overton was not happy about the accident, which smashed the car's windshield, so he decided to contact Tesla to tell them that his vehicle had "gone rogue." Tesla responded and cited owner error. According to the vehicle's logs, Overton had put the vehicle in Summon mode right before exiting the vehicle, which is activated by "a double-press of the gear selector stalk button, shifting from Drive to Park and requesting Summon activation." Those are understandably deliberate actions that must be taken to invoke Summon, so either Overton didn't remember doing all of that (unlikely) or his Model S simply spazzed out (possible).

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Google Bans Ads For Payday Loans
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 04:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's right-thing-to-do department:
An anonymous reader writes: Google has decided it doesn't want to promote predatory lending practices that are harmful to consumers, so the company has decided to ban ads for payday loans and some related products from their ads systems. "Research has shown that these loans can result in unaffordable payment and high default rates for users so we will be updating our policies globally to reflect that," Google's product policy director, David Graff, writes in a blog post. Payday loans often come with extremely high interest rates if they aren't paid back immediately, which can push people further in debt. Georgetown's Center on Privacy and Technology notes in a statement, "Payday lenders profit from people's weaknesses -- particularly poor people and people of color. Every time someone clicks on those ads, search engines profit, too." While Google may lose some revenue in the short-run by removing these ads, the move will likely benefit the company in the long-run (positive PR doesn't hurt) as Google users should have more trust in the ads they come across. Payday loans will be banned from Google globally starting June 13th.

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Renewables Fastest-Growing Energy Sources, Feds Say
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 03:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's projected-growth department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Computerworld written by Lucas Mearian: By 2040, coal, natural gas and renewable energy sources will provide roughly equal shares (28%-29%) of world electricity generation -- a tremendous change from 2012, when coal provided 40% of all power generation, according to a new report. The report, International Energy Outlook 2016, was released today by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Renewables are now the world's fastest-growing energy source and are expected to increase by 2.6% per year through 2040. Hydropower and wind are the two largest contributors to the increase in world electricity generation from renewable energy sources, the report stated. Together, hydro and wind account for two-thirds of the total increase in renewable energy from 2012 to 2040. In contrast, coal is the world's slowest-growing energy source, rising by 0.6% per year through 2040. By 2030, natural gas surpasses coal to become the world's second-largest energy source after liquid fuels, the report stated. The world's energy consumption is expected to increase by 48% over the next three decades even as renewable energy sources increase. Fossil fuels will still supply more than three-quarters of the world's energy by 2030. Currently, China, the U.S. and India are the top three coal-consuming countries, making up 70% of the world's coal use. China's coal use is expected to decline as their economy slows and policies to combat air pollution and climate change become implemented. The Environmental Protection Agency's new Clean Power Plan regulations intend to dramatically lower the use of coal in the U.S. over the next three decades. "Of the world's three largest coal consumers, only India is projected to increase coal use throughout the projection period," the report stated.

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Samsung Unveils 256GB MicroSD Card, Highest Capacity In Its Class
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 03:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's boost-in-storage department:
Samsung recently unveiled its EVO Plus 256GB microSD card, capable of storing more than 12 hours of 4K video footage, 33 hours of full HD recording, 55,200 photos or 23,500 MP3s. While you most likely do not need such a large microSD card in your life, you'll probably want one. The card features Samsung's newest V-NAND technology, with read/write speeds of 95MB/s and 90MB/s, respectively. It will be available in June to over 50 countries at a price of $250, which includes a 10 year warranty. Personally, I have no need for such a high-capacity card at this time, but I marvel how far technology has progressed in the last few years, let alone months. SanDisk, for example, revealed a 200GB microSD card back in March, 2015, which was the highest capacity microSD card up until now.

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French Inquiry Launched After Live Suicide Broadcast On Periscope
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 02:05 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's technology-abuse department:
An anonymous reader writes: French authorities have launched an investigation after a young woman recorded her suicide which streamed live to over 1,000 connected followers on the online video app Periscope. Prosecutors in Egly, Essone, a suburb 15 miles south of Paris, confirmed they had opened the inquiry following the incident which saw the 19-year-old throw herself under a commuter train at a railway station on Tuesday.BBC reports: Previously, she had filmed herself in her flat discussing how she intended to make a video to "send a message", warning younger viewers not to continue to watch what would be a "shocking" act, it was reported. During the filming, the young woman claimed to have been raped and named her attacker, according to the reports. It is not the first time that Periscope has been linked to inappropriate content.

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Guy Who Didn't Invent Email Sues Gawker For Pointing Out He Didn't Invent Email
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 12:46 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's Shiva-Ayyadurai-wants-fame department:
Mike Masnick, reporting for TechDirt: Oh boy. Remember Shiva Ayyadurai? The guy who has gone to great lengths to claim that he "invented email," when the reality is that he appears to have (likely independently) written an early implementation of email long after others had actually "invented email." In the past we've called out examples where gullible press have fallen for his easily debunked claims, but he keeps popping back up. The mainstream press repeated his bogus claims about inventing email after he married a TV star. And, most recently, he decided to scream at the press for memorializing Ray Tomlinson -- someone who actually did have a hand in creating email -- upon his death. [...] We, of course, have not been alone in debunking his claims. Back in 2012, a few weeks after we first debunked them, Gawker's Sam Biddle did a long and thorough takedown of Ayyadurai's claims. Apparently that story really angers Ayyadurai, and I'm guessing that seeing Hulk Hogan win his crazy lawsuit against Gawker helped Ayyadurai to decide to sue Gawker as well.

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Scientists Found 74 Genetic Variants Linked To Education Level
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 12:46 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's we-have-to-go-deeper department:
An anonymous reader shares a report on The Verge: Scientists have found 74 genetic variants that are associated with educational attainment. In short, that means some people have variants of genes in their DNA that are correlated with completing more schooling. But this finding, published today in Nature, should be taken with a grain of salt. Together, these variants explain less than half a percent of the differences in educational attainment seen in the population studied -- far less than the impact that a person's wealth and environment can have on the time they spend in school. The strongest association found for a single genetic variant explained only 0.035 of one percent of the variation in educational attainment. "Put another way, the difference between people with zero and two copies of this genetic variant predicts, on average, about nine extra weeks of schooling," says Dan Benjamin, a behavioral economist at the University of Southern California who worked on the study. These variants don't mean much when it comes to people's schooling, and factors like poverty, geography, and nutrition probably have a much bigger combined impact. The Guardian's take is worth a read as well.

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Peachy Printer Funds Embezzled To Build New Home Instead of $100 3D Printer
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 12:46 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's money-fraud department:
Reader szczys writes (edited): Peachy Printer made it big on Kickstarter, raising over half a million dollars on the promise to build the first 3D printer and scanner costing $100. The company has now collapsed due to embezzlement (Editor's note: BBC's coverage is better) of those funds. The original investor stole around $350,000 of backer's money and funneled it into a new home. This was discovered about 18 months ago but became public only now as the company is unable to meet their already delayed delivery dates. Peachy Printer has posted a video admitting the screw-up. Sounds familiar?

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'I Know How To Program, But I Don't Know What To Program'
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 11:18 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's how-to-train-a-programmer department:
An anonymous reader has shared an interesting article that talks about one of the most common challenges faced by novice developers: "I know how to program, but I don't know what to program." The author of the article also shares his views on some of the most common solutions for that problem: "do programming challenges", "contribute to an open source project", or "make a game." From the post: Doing programming challenges is good mental practice, but they do little to help someone learn how to create a new program. Contributing to an open source project is a step up. You might learn about how a real project is structured and improve your skill with the programming language, but you won't learn much about the full lifecycle of a project. Some projects are very complex too which can be intimidating for a novice. Making a game is another step up. Games are fun! I started by programming games in QBASIC. The same dilemma arises though. "I want to make a game, but I don't know what to make." The author advises these beginners to try rewriting a library which already exists (despite this being considered as a prohibited practice by many). Developers should also not wait to get the "best idea" before they begin writing it, the author adds. From the post: I've seen the same mentality with musicians. Trying to create a masterpiece on their first attempt, putting all their energy into one song and not seeing a bigger picture. The bigger picture being, you will write LOTS of songs over time, not just one!

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Slashdot Asks: How Long Before Self-Driving Cars Become Mainstream?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 09:42 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's curious-case-of-self-driving-cars department:
Here's the thing, regardless of one's stand on self-driving cars, they are no longer a futuristic idea. Major car companies such as Tesla, BMW, and Mercedes have already released an autonomous vehicle or plan to release one soon. Sergio Marchionne, an Italian-Canadian executive who is currently the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, recently said: It isn't pie in the sky. People are talking about 20 years. I think we will have it in five years. ZDNet has published its interview of Jim McBride, technical leader in Ford's autonomous vehicles team, who thinks self-driving cars are five years away from changing the world. At the same time, we must acknowledge the talks about these smart vehicles killing many jobs, and the security vulnerabilities we read every once in a while. What's your take on this?

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Microsoft Removes Wi-Fi Sense Feature From Windows 10 Which Shared Your Wi-Fi Password
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 09:42 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's good-riddance department:
Microsoft says it has removed the controversial Wi-Fi Sense feature that shared a user's password with their friends and people in the contact list. "We have removed the Wi-Fi Sense feature that allows you to share Wi-Fi networks with your contacts and to be automatically connected to networks shared by your contacts," says Microsoft's Gabe Aul. "The cost of updating the code to keep this feature working combined with low usage and low demand made this not worth further investment." Ben Woods, writing for The Next Web: The feature allows you to share Wi-Fi login information with friends automatically via your contacts, however it got a controversial reception due to privacy implications. Do you really want to share your Wi-Fi codes with everyone in your contacts? No, of course not. It seems that was the general response from users too, so that option will be removed in the upcoming Windows 10 Insider Preview update, Microsoft says. Public Wi-Fi login info will remain in the app though.

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Facebook Open-Sources Capture the Flag Competition Platform As It Encourages Students
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 08:21 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's open-source-ftw department:
An anonymous reader writes: Facebook announced today that it is making its gamified security training platform called Capture the Flag (CTF) open source in an effort to encourage students and developers to learn about online security and bugs. The platform, which is popular at hacker conventions such as Def Con, pits different teams of hackers against one another. The social juggernaut itself has run CTF competitions at events across the world."By open sourcing our platform, schools, student groups, and organizations across all skill levels can now host competitions, practice sessions, and conferences of their own to teach computer science and security skills," wrote Gulshan Singh, a software engineer on Facebook's threat infrastructure team. "We're also releasing a small repository of challenges that can be used immediately upon request (to prevent cheating)."

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Italian Military To Save Up To 29 Million Euro By Migrating To LibreOffice
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 07:04 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's affinity-for-open-source-software department:
Reader prisoninmate writes: Following on last year's bold announcement that they will attempt to migrate from proprietary Microsoft Office products to an open-source alternative like LibreOffice, Italy's Ministry of Defense now expects to save up to 29 million Euro with this move. We said it before, and we'll say it again, this is the smartest choice a government institution can do. And to back up this statement, the Italian Ministry of Defense announced that they expect to save between 26 and 29 million Euro over the next few years by migrating to the LibreOffice open-source software for productivity and adopting the Open Document Format (ODF).

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WhatsApp Now Has a Desktop App, Available on Windows, OS X
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 07:04 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's desktop-chatters-camp department:
WhatsApp is now also available as a native desktop app on Windows and OS X, the Facebook-owned instant messaging and voice calling company announced. The app supports desktop notifications, keyboard shortcuts and a range of other features. For the desktop app to function, users still need to have their phone connected to the Internet. WhatsApp isn't very popular in the United States and European countries, but it has a large user base of active users in the emerging markets such as India and Brazil. In fact, earlier this year, the company announced that it has hit one billion monthly active users. For those interested, you can download the app for your desktop (or any other device) from the company's website.

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Jeremy Clarkson's Amazon Show To Be Called The Grand Tour
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 07:04 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's the-grand-tour-fans department:
Jasper Jackson and Dugald Baird, writing for The Guardian: Amazon's new motoring show starring Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May will be called The Grand Tour. In a statement, the former Top Gear trio thanked fans for taking the time to send in their suggestions for the name, which they said were "much appreciated". "Thing is," said Clarkson, "we'll be travelling the world hosting each episode in a different country, from a giant tent. It's a sort of 'grand tour', if you like. So we've decided to call it The Grand Tour." May said he was underwhelmed by the name. "I wanted to call it 'Nigel', or 'Roger'," he said. "We needed a name, and they're names." Hammond was more positive. "I already love camping," he said. "But this is something else. We are like our pioneering and prospecting forebears, sallying forth into a new frontier of broadcasting, and making our home where."

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Mozilla Launches Test Pilot, A Firefox Add-On For Trying Experimental Features
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '16 at 05:43 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's back-from-the-dead department:
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today launched Test Pilot, a program for trying out experimental Firefox features. To try the new functionality Mozilla is offering for its browser, you have to download a Firefox add-on from testpilot.firefox.com and enable an experiment. The main caveat is that experiments are currently only available in English (though Mozilla promises to add more languages "later this year"). Test Pilot was first introduced for Firefox 3.5, but the new program has been revamped since then, featuring three main components: Activity Stream, Tab Center and Universal Search. Activity Stream is designed to help you navigate your browsing history faster, surfacing your top sites along with highlights from your browsing history and bookmarks. Tab Center displays open tabs vertically along the side of your screen. Mozilla says Universal Search "combines the Awesome Bar history with the Firefox Search drop down menu to give you the best recommendations so you can spend less time sifting through search results and more time enjoying the web."

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