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Students Can Now Fly Drones At School, FAA Says
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '16 at 01:03 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's fly-like-nobody's-watching department:
An anonymous reader writes: It will now be easier for students to pilot drones as part of their schoolwork, thanks to new Federal Aviation Administration rules that exempt high schools and colleges from the more stringent aircraft regulations placed on businesses. In a memo released Wednesday outlining the new guidelines, federal regulators have designated drone schoolwork as a hobby or recreational -- as opposed to commercial -- activity, allowing students for the first time to fly unmanned aircraft without a pilot's license or special authorization from the government. "Schools and universities are incubators for tomorrow's great ideas, and we think this is going to be a significant shot in the arm for innovation," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta during a drone conference in New Orleans. But the agency's policy prohibits teachers from being the primary operators of unmanned aircraft, because they are paid for their work and therefore "would not be engaging in a hobby or recreational activity" while flying a drone. (They can, however, pilot drones in a limited way -- in case of emergency, for instance.)

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No One Should Have To Use Proprietary Software To Communicate With Their Government
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '16 at 11:41 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's hate-for-all-things-proprietary department:
Donald Robertson, writing for Free Software Foundation: Proprietary JavaScript is a threat to all users on the Web. When minified, the code can hide all sorts of nasty items, like spyware and other security risks. [...] On March 1st, 2016, the Copyright Office announced a call for comments on an update to their technology infrastructure. We submitted a comment urging them to institute a policy that requires all software they develop and distribute to be free software. Further, we also urged them to not require people to run proprietary software in order to communicate or submit comments to them. Unfortunately, once again, the Copyright Office requires the use of proprietary JavaScript in order to submit the comment and they are only accepting comments online unless a person lacks computer or Internet access. [...] The most absurd part of all this is that other government agencies, while still using Regulations.gov, are perfectly capable of offering alternatives to submission.

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Aging and Bloated OpenSSL Is Purged of 2 High-Severity Bugs
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '16 at 11:41 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's oh-openssl department:
An anonymous reader cites a story on Ars Technica: Maintainers of the OpenSSL cryptographic library have patched high-severity holes that could make it possible for attackers to decrypt login credentials or execute malicious code on Web servers. The updates were released Tuesday morning for both versions 1.0.1 and 1.0.2 of OpenSSL, which a large portion of the Internet relies on to cryptographically protect sensitive Web and e-mail traffic using the transport layer security protocol. OpenSSL advisories labeled the severity of both vulnerabilities "high," meaning the updates fixing them should be installed as soon as possible. The fixes bring the latest supported versions to 1.0.1t and 1.0.2h. The decryption vulnerability is the result of what cryptographers call a padding oracle weakness, which allows attackers to repeatedly probe an encrypted payload for clues about the plaintext content inside. According to TLS expert Filippo Valsorda, the bug allows for only 16 bytes of encrypted traffic to be recovered, and even then only when an end user sends it repeatedly.

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Windows 10 Updates Are Now Ruining Pro-Gaming Streams
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '16 at 10:26 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's automatic-windows-10-update department:
An anonymous reader cites a report on The Guardian: Perhaps there's nothing more annoying than going in for the kill to suddenly be "pooped on" by a Windows 10 automatic installation taking out your computer mid-stream to your 130,000 or so followers. After deciding to advertise during the weather by attempting to automatically install midway through a forecast, Windows 10 is starting to wreak havoc with gamers. Ex-professional Counter Strike player turned full-time streamer Erik Flom was rudely interrupted mid-game and live on Twitch by Windows 10 automatically installing on his PC. "What. What!? How did this happen! Fuck you Windows 10!" Flom said. "Oh my God! You had one job PC. We turned off everything. Update faster you fuck!"

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Are We Alone In the Universe? Not Likely, According To Math
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '16 at 10:26 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's quest-for-life-in-the-mammoth-universe department:
An anonymous reader writes: An equation, which calculates the probability of the evolution of other technological civilizations, has found that it's wildly unlikely we're the only time advanced society in the universe. Adam Frank from the University of Rochester and Woodruff Sullivan from the University of Washington base their new equation on the Drake equation, used for calculating the probability of extraterrestrial civilisation, written by astronomer and astrophysicist Frank Drake in 1961. The scientists also take into account Kepler, which suggests that one in five stars have planets in the habitable zone. Frank and Sullivan calculated that human civilisation is only unique if the odds of a civilisation developing on a habitable planet are less than one in 10 billion trillion. "One in 10 billion trillion is incredibly small. To me, this implies that other intelligent, technology producing species very likely have evolved before us," Frank said. Frank said: "Of course, we have no idea how likely it is that an intelligent technological species will evolve on a given habitable planet. But using our method we can tell exactly how low that probability would have to be for us to be the ONLY civilization the Universe has produced. We call that the pessimism line. If the actual probability is greater than the pessimism line, then a technological species and civilization has likely happened before."

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John Kasich To Drop Out, Leaving Trump as GOP Nominee
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '16 at 09:03 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's last-man-standing department:
Multiple outlets are reporting that Ohio Gov. John Kasich plans to suspend his run to be the GOP presidential nominee. The move, if happens, would make Donald Trump the presumptive nominee for the GOP. The report comes hours after Kasich abruptly cancelled a planned press conference (could be paywalled; alternate source) in Virginia on Wednesday morning. LA Times reports: Kasich, the Ohio governor, had pledged to continue campaigning as a Trump alternative who could deny the billionaire needed delegates. But on Wednesday, he canceled a news conference in Washington and planned an announcement for later in the day in Columbus, Ohio, to drop out. Vox has more details.

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Half Of Teens Think They're Addicted To Their Smartphones
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '16 at 09:03 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's smartphone-addiction department:
An anonymous reader writes: A new poll confirms just how much teens depend on their phones. Fifty percent of teens feel they are addicted to their mobile devices, according to the poll, which was conducted for Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on helping children, parents, teachers and policymakers negotiate media and technology. A larger number of parents, 59%, said their teens were addicted. The poll involved 1,240 interviews with parents and their children, ages 12 to 18. "Technological addiction can happen to anyone," said digital detox expert Holland Haiis. "If your teens would prefer gaming indoors, alone, as opposed to going out to the movies, meeting friends for burgers or any of the other ways that teens build camaraderie, you may have a problem."

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Millions of Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail Email Accounts Being Traded in Russian Underworld
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '16 at 07:45 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's big-data-breach department:
Eric Auchard, reporting for Reuters (edited and condensed): Hundreds of millions of hacked usernames and passwords for email accounts and other websites are being traded in Russia's criminal underworld, a security expert told Reuters. The discovery of 272.3 million stolen accounts included a majority of users of Mail.ru, Russia's most popular email service, and smaller fractions of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft email users (Editor's note: the numbers are: 57M Mail.ru, 24M Google, 40M Yahoo, and 33M Hotmail), said Alex Holden, founder and chief information security officer of Hold Security. [...] The latest discovery came after Hold Security researchers found a young Russian hacker bragging in an online forum that he had collected and was ready to give away a far larger number of stolen credentials that ended up totaling 1.17 billion records.

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New Record Set for World's Cheapest Solar, Now Undercutting Coal
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '16 at 07:45 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's affinity-for-renewable-energy department:
Anna Hirtenstein, reporting for Bloomberg: Solar power set another record-low price as renewable energy developers working in the United Arab Emirates shrugged off financial turmoil in the industry to promise projects costs that undercut even coal-fired generators. Developers bid as little as 2.99 cents a kilowatt-hour to develop 800 megawatts of solar-power projects for the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, the utility for the Persian Gulf emirate. That's 15 percent lower than the previous record set in Mexico last month, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The lowest priced solar power has plunged almost 50 percent in the past year. Saudi Arabia's Acwa Power International set a record in January 2015 by offering to build a portion of the same Dubai solar park for power priced at 5.85 cents per kilowatt-hour. Records were subsequently set in Peru and Mexico before Dubai reclaimed its mantel as purveyor of the world's cheapest solar power. "This bid tells us that some bidders are willing to risk a lot for the prestige of being the cheapest solar developer," said Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis at BNEF. "Nobody knows how it's meant to work."

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Life's Too Short For Slow Computers
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '16 at 06:14 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's did-they-blow-it? department:
Nilay Patel, the Editor-in-Chief of The Verge looks back the Apple Watch, the company's first wearable device which went on sale roughly a year ago. In the article, Patel notes that Apple Watch, a computing product, is just too slow at doing some of the most basic things such as running apps. He writes: Here's the problem with the Apple Watch: it's slow. It was slow when it was first announced, it was slow when it came out, and it stayed slow when Watch OS 2.0 arrived. When I reviewed it last year, the slowness was so immediately annoying that I got on the phone with Apple to double check their performance expectations before making "it's kind of slow" the opening of the review. [...] The grand ambition of the Apple Watch is to be a full-fledged computer on your wrist, and right now it's a very slow computer. If Apple believes the watch is indeed destined to become that computer, it needs to radically increase the raw power of the Watch's processor, while maintaining its just-almost-acceptable battery life. And it needs to do that while all of the other computers around us keep getting faster themselves.

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IBM Gives Everyone Access To Its Five-Qubit Quantum Computer
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '16 at 06:14 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's free-for-all department:
An anonymous reader writes: IBM said on Wednesday that it's giving everyone access to one of its quantum computing processors, which can be used to crunch large amounts of data. Anyone can apply through IBM Research's website to test the processor, however, IBM will determine how much access people will have to the processor depending on their technology background -- specifically how knowledgeable they are about quantum technology. With the project being "broadly accessible," IBM hopes more people will be interested in the technology, said Jerry Chow, manager of IBM's experimental quantum computing group. Users can interact with the quantum processor through the Internet, even though the chip is stored at IBM's research center in Yorktown Heights, New York, in a complex refrigeration system that keeps the chip cooled near absolute zero.

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Study Suggests Free Will Is An Illusion
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '16 at 02:12 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's magic-tricks department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from IFLScience: A new paper published in the journal Psychological Science has attempted to define and investigate the subject of free will. By asking participants to anticipate when they thought a specific color of circle would appear before them, something determined completely by chance, the researchers found that their predictions were more accurate when they had only a fraction of a second to guess than when they had more time. The participants subconsciously perceived the color change as it happened prior to making their mental choice, even though they always thought they made their prediction before the change occurred. They were getting the answers right because they already knew the answer. "Our minds may be rewriting history," Adam Bear, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Psychology at Yale University and lead author of the study, said in a statement. The implication here is that when it comes to very short time scales, even before we think we've made a conscious choice, our mind has already subconsciously decided for us, and free will is more of an illusion than we think.

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Facebook Paid $10,000 To A 10-Year-Old For Hacking Instagram
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '16 at 11:33 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's bounty-program department:
An anonymous reader writes: Facebook has paid $10,000 to a 10-year-old hacker who discovered how one could hack into Instagram and delete comments made by users. Speaking to local publication Iltalehti, Jani said: "I would have been able to eliminate anyone, even Justin Bieber." The Finnish hacker just became the youngest person to receive cash from Facebook for hacking its products. The previous record was set by a 13-year-old back in 2013. What's funny is Jani isn't technically old enough to sign-up and use Facebook or Instagram, as it's supposed to be restricted to those under the age of 13. Jani found he could alter code on Instagram's servers and force-delete users' posts. This was confirmed by Facebook using a test account and patched in February, Facebook told Forbes. Facebook has received more than 2,400 valid submissions and awarded upwards of $4.3 million to over 800 researchers since the bounty program launched in 2011.

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Medical Errors Are Number 3 Cause of US Deaths, Researchers Say
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '16 at 08:46 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's death-certificates department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine says medical errors should rank as the third-leading cause of death in the United States -- and highlights how shortcomings in tracking vital statistics may hinder research and keep the problem out of the public eye. The authors, led by Johns Hopkins surgeon Dr. Martin Makary, call for changes in death certificates to better tabulate fatal lapses in care. In an open letter, they urge the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to immediately add medical errors to its annual list reporting the top causes of death. Based on an analysis of prior research, the Johns Hopkins study estimates that more than 250,000 Americans die each year from medical errors. On the CDC's official list, that would rank just behind heart disease and cancer, which each took about 600,000 lives in 2014, and in front of respiratory disease, which caused about 150,000 deaths. Medical mistakes that can lead to death range from surgical complications that go unrecognized to mix-ups with the doses or types of medications patients receive. The study was published Tuesday in The BMJ, formerly the British Medical Journal.

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Ted Cruz Drops Out Of The Republican Presidential Race
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '16 at 07:03 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's race-to-the-white-house department:
rmdingler writes: Ted Cruz drops out of the presidential race after losing in Indiana. Donald Trump has become the presumptive nominee before Hillary has locked things up versus Bernie. This is huge. Cruz's decision to drop out came after losing significantly to Trump in the Indiana primary. "I said I would continue on as long as there is a viable path to victory. Tonight I'm sorry to say, it appears that path has been foreclosed," Cruz told a small group of supporters Tuesday night. "Together we left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it everything we got, but the voters chose another path." He said he would "continue to fight for liberty," but did not say whether or not he would support Trump as the nominee. The exit comes soon after he announced former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his running mate in a desperate move to keep his candidacy afloat.

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Apple Loses Exclusive Rights To 'iPhone' Trademark For Non-Smartphone Products In China
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '16 at 05:45 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's overpriced-leather-products department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from AppleInsider: Adding to the company's problems in the region, Apple has lost exclusivity on the use of the "iPhone" trademark in China, and must now share it with Beijing-based leather products maker Xintong Tiandi Technology, reports said on Tuesday. On March 31, the Beijing Municipal High People's Court rejected an Apple appeal of an earlier ruling, according to Quartz. Xintong Tiandi is already selling a number of "IPHONE" products, including purses, passport cases, and most notably phone cases. The company registered its trademark in China in 2007, the same year as the Apple iPhone launched in the United States. That was, however, still five years after Apple registered the iPhone name in China for computer products, something which formed the basis of a 2012 complaint to the country's trademark authorities. In 2013 the government ruled that because Apple couldn't prove the name "IPHONE" was well-known prior to Xintong Tiandi's registration, the public wouldn't link its use in a way that would harm Apple interests. In rejecting Apple's appeal, the High People's Court further noted that the company didn't sell the iPhone in mainland China until 2009. This comes after Apple reported its first earnings decline in more than a decade.

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Google, Fiat Chrysler Plan Partnership On Self-Driving Minivans
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '16 at 05:45 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's autonomous-vehicles department:
An anonymous reader writes: Google and Fiat Chrysler were in "late stage talks" last week about working out a partnership where the two could build some self-driving cars together. Google has the tech available -- it just needs to partner with a car manufacturer, as Google hasn't mass-produced a car before, and could use the experience. A report coming out of Bloomberg says the two companies could be putting Google's autonomous driving technology into some prototypes of the upcoming Pacifica minivan. The report says Fiat Chrysler is looking to equip their upcoming plug-in hybrid Pacifica with Google's autonomous technology. Google could still work out a deal with Ford, which was rumored a few months ago, and they have been reportedly in talks with General Motors, but the deal with Chrysler could be signed as soon as today.

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Ellen Pao Launches Advocacy Group To Improve Diversity In The Tech Industry
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '16 at 04:25 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's online-diversity department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Ellen Pao, a former Silicon Valley venture capitalist, today announced the launch of Project Include, an advocacy group aimed at improving diversity in the technology industry. The group was started by Pao and fellow female engineers and executives, including members of Slack, Pinterest, and other Bay Area VC firms. The initiative will focus on providing startups and established tech companies with information on making hiring more inclusive, improving retention, and examining bias in the workplace. Pao became embroiled in one of the most divisive debates in tech last year after suing her former employer, VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, for gender discrimination. She lost at trial and, later, stepped down from her position as interim CEO of Reddit following a severe harassment campaign. Project Include is also accepting as many as 18 startups, who can apply to receive recommendations through a program called Start-Up Include.

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Slashdot Asks: What Do You Think Is The Most Influential Gadget Of All Time?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '16 at 04:25 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's life-changing department:
TIME has published a list ranking the 50 most influential gadgets of all time, from cameras and TVs to music players, smartphones, and drones. Can you guess what was the number one most influential gadget on the list? That's right, the Apple iPhone. "Apple was the first company to put a truly powerful computer in the pockets of millions when it launched the iPhone in 2007," according to TIME. "The iPhone popularized the mobile app, forever changing how we communicate, play games, shop, work, and complete many everyday tasks."

There's a lot of interesting gadgets on the list that have had a profound impact on mankind in some form or another, for better or worse. Do you agree with TIME's number one choice? What do you think is the most influential gadget of all time?

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76% Of Netflix Subscribers Think Netflix Can Replace Traditional TV
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '16 at 02:51 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's cord-cutting department:
An anonymous reader writes: It turns out plenty of people think Netflix is ready to replace their traditional TV. According to a survey on AllFlicks (Editor's note: the site is Netflix focused, so it's not really a neutral audience), 75.6 percent of Netflix subscribers said that the on-demand movies and TV shows streaming service has grown good enough to replace whatever the traditional TV has to offer. The participants, however, also noted that the streaming service still can't replace live sports coverage or the experience of the movie theater. In some other news, Netflix knows which picture and video you're likely to click.

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