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Google's AI Is Devouring Romance Novels
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '16 at 09:01 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's how-to-train-your-dragon department:
An anonymous reader writes: Google engineers have been feeding text from steamy romance novels to an artificial intelligence (AI) engine in order to give Google's technology -- like its mobile app -- the ability to produce more human, conversational text, BuzzFeed News reports. The company's researchers been able to get the AI to write out full sentences that would resemble those in the typical romance novel. Why do these particular books make such good language teachers? Romance novels follow a very predictable narrative blueprint -- the names may change from book to book, but the essential story formula is familiar. The idea is that Google's AI can easily cull through this material to find patterns within the sentences to get a broader comprehension of language as a whole.The AI has been fed with more than 2,500 novels.

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Huge Number Of Sites Imperiled By Critical Image-Processing Vulnerability
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '16 at 07:42 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-woes department:
Dan Goodin, reporting for Ars Technica: A large number of websites are vulnerable to a simple attack that allows hackers to execute malicious code hidden inside booby-trapped images. The vulnerability resides in ImageMagick, a widely used image-processing library that's supported by PHP, Ruby, NodeJS, Python, and about a dozen other languages. Many social media and blogging sites, as well as a large number of content management systems, directly or indirectly rely on ImageMagick-based processing so they can resize images uploaded by end users. According to developer and security researcher Ryan Huber, ImageMagick suffers from a vulnerability that allows malformed images to force a Web server to execute code of an attacker's choosing. Websites that use ImageMagick and allow users to upload images are at risk of attacks that could completely compromise their security. "The exploit is trivial, so we expect it to be available within hours of this post," Huber wrote in a blog post. He went on to say: "We have collectively determined that these vulnerabilities are available to individuals other than the person(s) who discovered them. An unknowable number of people having access to these vulnerabilities makes this a critical issue for everyone using this software."

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Elon Musk: 'We Need a Revolt Against the Fossil Fuel Industry'
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '16 at 07:42 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's fossil-fuel department:
An anonymous reader writes: Tesla's chief executive Elon Musk has accused politicians of bowing to the "unrelenting and enormous" lobbying power of the fossil fuel industry, warning that a global "revolt" may be needed to accelerate the transition to more sustainable energy and transport systems. Speaking at the World Energy Innovation Forum at the Tesla Factory in California, Musk claimed that traditional vehicles and energy sources will continue to hold a competitive edge against greener alternatives due to the vast amounts of subsidies they receive. The solution to this energy dilemma, Musk says, is to introduce a price on carbon by defining a tax rate on greenhouse gas emissions or the carbon content of fossil fuels. "The fundamental issue with fossil fuels is that every use comes with a subsidy," Musk said. "Every gasoline car on the road has a subsidy, and the right way to address that is with a carbon tax. Politicians take the easy path of providing subsidies to electric vehicles, which aren't equal to the applied subsidies of gasoline vehicles. It weakens the economic forcing function to transition to sustainable transport and energy."

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Netflix Enables Streaming Quality Control To Reign In Mobile Data Usage
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '16 at 06:12 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's stay-thirsty-my-friends department:
MojoKid writes from a report on HotHardware: Netflix wants to put users in control of their mobile data usage when it comes to its iOS and Android apps. Up until today, Netflix held all the cards and adjusted video quality settings on its end (and how much cellular data was consumed) when users were on a cellular connection. Now, Netflix is opening up user-selectable settings that allow you to sip data (at the expense of video quality of course) or gulp it down if you're one of the few with an unlimited data plan. Making the adjustment is as simple as navigating to App Settings and then selecting Cellular Data Usage. From there, you will be able to select from Automatic (Default), Low, Medium, High, or Unlimited options. If you're on a Wi-Fi connection, these quality settings are disabled altogether.

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Judge Rodney Gilstrap Sees A Quarter Of The Nation's Patent Cases
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '16 at 06:12 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's popularity-contest department:
derekmead quotes a report from Motherboard: Since taking the bench in 2011 -- moving literally across the street from his law office into the district courthouse -- Judge Rodney Gilstrap has become one of the most influential patent litigation judges in the country. In 2015, there were 5,819 new patent cases filed in the US; 1,686 of those ended up in front of Judge Gilstrap. That's more than a quarter of all cases in the country; twice as many as the next most active patent judge. This busy patent docket didn't blossom overnight, and it's not some strange coincidence. Due to some unique rules around intellectual property filings, patent holders can often file their lawsuits at any district court in the country, even if neither the plaintiff nor the defendant is based there. By introducing a list of standing court orders and local regulations, the Eastern District of Texas (and, in particular, Gilstrap's division of Marshall) has become the court of choice for many plaintiffs, especially non-practicing entities, often referred to as patent trolls.

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GoPro Footage Gives You A Rocket's-Eye View Of Spaceflight
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '16 at 03:22 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's dramatic-footage department:
Eloking quotes a report from Gizmag: Action cameras have been strapped to dogs, chainsaw-wielding drones and everything in between, but there's a new benchmark for homegrown heroes and their action-cam videos courtesy of UP Aerospace. Having strapped a GoPro HERO 4 to the outside of its SpaceLoft-10 sounding rocket, the company launched it into the thermosphere, gathering some footage that's simply out of this world along the way. The footage is incredible and begs the question: how did they fasten the cameras to a rocket traveling at 3,796 mph? You can watch the footage here on YouTube.

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AG Scores Victory In Bid To Shut Down Indian Point
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '16 at 02:01 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's economic-impacts department:
mdsolar quotes a report from The Journal News: Federal safety regulators used the wrong data to analyze the potential economic impacts of a severe accident at the Indian Point nuclear power plant, a panel of commissioners for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled Wednesday. The ruling, which reversed an earlier finding, will force the NRC to conduct a fresh analysis of the costs of a devastating accident and cleanup at the nuclear power plant in Buchanan, 24 miles north of New York City. The decision was hailed by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, whose office is spearheading the state's challenge to Indian Point's efforts to renew federal licenses for its two reactors. Schneiderman estimates that some 1.5 million workers would be needed in to take part in decontamination efforts in the event of a nuclear mishap, with cleanup costs surging as high as $1 trillion.

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SpaceX Successfully Lands Its Rocket On A Floating Drone Ship Again
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '16 at 11:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's going-as-planned department:
Early Friday morning, SpaceX successfully landed its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship at sea for the second time. The company has recovered the post-launch vehicle a total of three times, two of which involved the rocket landing on a floating drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. Before the launch, the landing was deemed unlikely as the rocket would be "subject to extreme velocities and re-entry heating" in its attempt to launch a Japanese communications satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit high above Earth. Elon Musk tweeted: "Rocket reentry is a lot faster and hotter than last time, so odds of making it are maybe even, but we should learn a lot either way." As a result of the successful mission, Musk followed up with, "May need to increase size of rocket storage hangar." The first successful launch was in December, when the rocket landed at a ground-based spaceport in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The second landing occurred in April on a floating drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Finger-Tracking Tech Turns Your Arm Into A Touchpad
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '16 at 08:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's drag-and-drop department:
New submitter Keys of Cars quotes a report from Gizmag: Smartwatches may be handy, but their tiny touchscreens can easily be obscured by your fingers as you're using them on the device. As a result, we've seen various attempts to move the control surface. One of the latest, Carnegie Mellon University's SkinTrack system, moves it onto your hand and lower arm. The strap of the smartwatch features multiple electrodes, which detects a ring that is worn on your "control finger" (on your non smartwatch-wearing arm) that emits a high-frequency electrical signal. When your finger, specifically the ring, approaches and/or touches the arm with the watch, the high-frequency electrical signal is propagated through the skin. It will work even if your skin is covered with clothing! The system is reportedly 99% accurate, and can locate touches with a mean error of 7.6mm. SkinTrack was used to control games, scroll through lists, zoom in and out of maps, draw pictures, and operate an onscreen number pad.

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Meet The Company That Poached The FBI's Entire Silk Road Investigation Team
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '16 at 07:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sunny-side-up department:
Patrick O'Neill quotes a report from The Daily Dot: The FBI team that brought down Silk Road has a new home. After headline-grabbing investigations, arrests, and prosecutions on some of America's highest-profile cybercriminals, five of U.S. law enforcement's most prized cybercrime aces have all left government service for greener pastures -- a titan consulting firm called Berkeley Research Group (BRG). BRG's newly hired gang of five includes former federal prosecutor Thomas Brown, as well as former FBI agents Christopher Tarbell, Thomas Kiernan, and Ilhwan Yum -- names that punctuated many of the biggest cybercrime stories of the last decade including Silk Road, LulzSec, Liberty Reserve, as well as the hacks of Citibank, PNC Bank, and the Rove Digital botnet; and the prosecution of Samarth Agrawal for stealing crucial code for high-frequency trading from the multinational, multibillion dollar bank Societe Generale. "Private industry provides a lot of opportunity," NYPD intelligence chief Thomas Galati told Congress earlier this year. "So I think the best people out there are working for private companies, and not for the government."

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India Plans To Spend $6 Billion On Creating New Forests
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '16 at 05:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's that's-a-lot-of-green department:
The Narendra Modi government plans to spend $6.2 billion to create new forests through the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015, which has been passed by lawmakers in India's lower house this week. The bill aims to increase India's forest cover from 21.34% of the total land to 33%. Where does the money come from? It comes from private companies and various "other entities" who paid fees to the Indian government since 2006 for allowing them to set up projects on forest land. The bill proposes local state governments be provided 90% of the accumulated funds, with 10% left with the central government. "Our forest cover will dramatically increase and it will result in achieving our target 33% of tree cover and most importantly 2.5 billion tonne of carbon sink as we have indicated in our intended nationally determined contributions (INDC)," India's environmental minister, Prakash Javadekar said on May 3rd. Naturally, some experts are concerned with how appropriately the funds will be used, as well as how exactly the government will develop forests on alternate land. According to Quartz, "Since 1980, the environment ministry has approved the diversion of 1.29 million hectares of forestlands for non-forestry purposes, according to a study by CSE." India's comptroller and auditor general has expressed his dissatisfaction with the ministry's failure to grow forests on alternative land in a report in 2013.

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Tesla Plans To Produce 500,000 Electric Cars In 2018, 1 Million In 2020
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '16 at 05:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's full-steam-ahead department:
"Tesla Motors Inc said it was stepping up production plans for its upcoming Model 3 mass-market sedan and would build a total of 500,000 all-electric vehicles in 2018, two years ahead of schedule, but warned that spending will ramp up in tandem," reports Reuters. Tesla said capital spending would rise about 50% more than originally planned this year, to around $2.25 billion. Producing 500,000 vehicles in 2018 will be no easy task, especially considering the company is only on track to deliver between 80,000 and 90,000 electric vehicles this year. In addition to producing 500,000 electric vehicles in 2018, Elon Musk also said the company expects to produce nearly 1 million vehicles in 2020. These are certainly ambitious goals, even for a company that had the 'biggest one-week launch of any product ever.'

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LAPD Hacked An iPhone 5s Before The FBI Hacked San Bernardino Terrorist's iPhone 5c
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '16 at 04:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's bypassed-security department:
According to recently released court papers, Los Angeles police investigators found a way to break into a locked iPhone 5s belonging to April Jace, the slain wife of "The Shield" actor Michael Jace. The detectives were able to bypass the security at around the same time period the FBI was demanding Apple unlock the iPhone 5c belonging to San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook. LAPD detective Connie Zych wrote on March 18, the department found a "forensic cellphone expert" who could "override the locked iPhone function," according to the search warrant. There's no mention of how the LAPD broke into the iPhone or what OS the iPhone was running (Note: iOS 8, which features improved encryption and security features, came out months after the killing). The information stored on the iPhone should help in the criminal case against Jace's husband, who is charged with the May 19, 2014, killing.

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Microsoft No Longer Allows Admins To Block Windows Store Access In Windows 10 Pro
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '16 at 04:22 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's windows-woes department:
If you're an administrator, you will no longer be able to block Windows 10 Pro users on your watch from accessing the Windows Store. Mary Jo Foley reports for ZDNet: Up until a month ago, admins could use Group Policy to shut off employees' access to Windows Store if they were running Windows 10 Pro. Controlling this access is a requirement for some businesses. But last month, Microsoft changed that option, claiming that Store access was required for all versions of Windows 10 except Enterprise and Education "by design." Admins still can use AppLocker or Group Policy to block access to the Windows Store if their employees (or students) are running Enterprise or Education.

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SAP Partners With Apple To Expand iOS In The Enterprise
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '16 at 03:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's money-making-deals department:
SAP has announced a partnership with Apple to bring iOS to SAP's enterprise customers. Steve Lucas, president for SAP's Digital Enterprise Platform, says SAP is firmly an enterprise company which has built a cloud platform to access all the software it has developed -- ERP product, SuccessFactors or Concur. With the new deal, Apple hopes to take a bite out of Microsoft's territory by selling hardware to companies who traditionally shop for PCs. In an effort to push iOS to its customers, SAP has announced a new set of apps for the iPhone and iPad that take advantage of data stored in SAP tools. They're providing an iOS SDK for its in-memory database product, SAP HANA, to allow organizations to build their own customized apps using the data stored in HANA. SAP is also offering SAP Academy for iOS as a way for SAP programmers to learn to use the HANA iOS SDK. The deal between Apple and SAP echoes the deal from a couple years ago between Apple and IBM.

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As Robots Eat Our Jobs, Fed Should 'Drop the Money From Helicopters,' Says Bill Gross
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '16 at 03:01 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's what's-in-store-for-future department:
As technology continues to change the world -- and kill many jobs -- it may soon change the very nature of what is considered work, said Bill Gross, a renowned American financial manager in his recently released investment outlook. Gross says that in a year or so we will need to start guaranteeing income for everyone. Gross, added that the current crop of national leaders is hopelessly behind the curve, leaving it to central bankers to fix the mess. "Our economy has changed, but voters and their elected representatives don't seem to know what's really wrong," he writes. "They shout: (1) build a wall, (2) balance the budget, (3) foot the bill for college, or (4) make free trade less free. "That will fix it" they discordantly proclaim, and after November's election some unlucky soul may do one or more of the above in an effort to make things better. Similar battles are being fought everywhere." The Sydney Morning Herald reports: Central bank "helicopter money" will avoid a long recession that looms as millions of millennials face losing their jobs to robot technology, Gross says. In news that is sure to depress anyone under the age of 30, Gross says that while presidential hopefuls in the US spout mantras about how they are going to spur growth, none are addressing the reality of the future: that robots and technology are going to render "millions" of jobs redundant. "Virtually every industry in existence is likely to become less labour-intensive in future years as new technology is assimilated into existing business models," Gross writes. Transport is a visible example of this transition and millions of truck and taxi drivers will be out of a job in the next 10 to 15 years due to driverless vehicles, he says. "We should spend money where it's needed most -- our collapsing infrastructure for instance, health care for an aging generation and perhaps on a revolutionary new idea called UBI -- Universal Basic Income."

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Unity 8 And Snaps Are Conquering The Ubuntu Desktop After Ubuntu 16.10
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '16 at 01:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's divide-and-conquer department:
prisoninmate writes: Today is the last day of the Ubuntu Online Summit 2016, and the Ubuntu developers discussed the future of the Ubuntu Desktop for Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) and beyond. It looks like Snaps (Snappy) and Unity 8 with Mir are slowly conquering the Ubuntu Desktop, at least according to Canonical's Will Cooke, Ubuntu Desktop Manager. Work has already begun on pushing these new and modern technologies to the Ubuntu Desktop, as Ubuntu 16.04 LTS has just received support for installing Snaps from the Ubuntu Snappy Store. Canonical's Will Cooke has mentioned the fact that the Unity 7 desktop enters its twilight years, which means that it gets fewer features and it's being reduced to only critical and OEM work. This is because Unity 8 desktop is getting all the attention now, and it will become the default desktop session somewhere after Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak).

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FDA To Regulate E-Cigarettes Like Tobacco
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '16 at 01:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's nicotine-addiction department:
An anonymous reader writes: Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have been all the rage lately, as many claim they are healthier than traditional tobacco cigarettes. Since they are so relatively new to the market, the government hasn't been able to effectively study them and determine whether or not they should be regulated like traditional cigarettes and smokeless tobacco -- until now. The FDA has released their final rule Thursday, broadening the definition of tobacco products to include e-cigarettes, hookahs, pipe tobacco, premium cigars, little cigars and other products. "Going forward, the FDA will be able to review new tobacco products not yet on the market, help prevent misleading claims by tobacco product manufacturers, evaluate the ingredients of tobacco products and how they are made, and communicate the potential risks of tobacco products," the agency said. The new rule will go into effect immediately. According to CDC data from 2014, e-cigarette use among adults has gone up about 12.6%. People under the age of 18 will no longer be able to buy these products with the new regulations, and the products will be required to be sold in child-resistant packaging. In addition, the government will now be able to have a say in what goes into the products. Previously, there was no law mandating that manufacturers tell you what you are inhaling when trying their products.

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After ISIS, Americans Fear Cyberattacks Most
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '16 at 12:22 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's cyberattack-woes department:
An anonymous reader writes: According to Pew Research Center, there's an increasingly growing fear among Americans about cyberattacks. In fact, it's the second most feared entity to them, the first being ISIS. The terrorist group is scary by design, relying on propaganda videos and ultra-violent attacks to spread fear and project power. But coming in second right after the terrorist group was the prospect of country-on-country cyberwar: a digital raid to steal another government's information, for example, or a large-scale attack on a nation's electrical grid. Cyberattacks are a major threat in the minds of 72 percent of Americans, and a minor threat to another 22 percent. Cyberwar hasn't been on Americans' minds to this degree since 2013. That year, for the first time, Americans ranked cyberattacks as a top threat, placing it second after the threat from Islamic extremists like al-Qaeda. But in the intervening years, Americans turned their attention to nuclear threats.

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Cops Deploy StingRay Anti-Terror Tech Against $50 Chicken-Wing Thief
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '16 at 12:22 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's mystery-of-a-chicken-wing-thief department:
An anonymous reader shares a report on The Register: Police in Maryland, U.S., used controversial cellphone-tracking technology intended only for the most serious crimes to track down a man who stole $50 of chicken wings. Police in Annapolis -- an hour's drive from the heart of government in Washington DC -- used a StingRay cell tower simulator in an effort to find the location of a man who had earlier robbed a Pizza Boli employee of 15 chicken wings and three sandwiches. Total worth: $56.77. In that case, according to the police log, a court order was sought and received but in many other cases across the United States, the technology is being used with minimal oversight, despite the fact it is only supposed to be used in the most serious cases such as terrorism.Annapolis police never found the thief.

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