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Mayday PAC's Benjamin Singer Explains How You can Help Reform American Politics (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '15 at 10:46 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's if-it's-our-government-why-doesn't-it-do-what-we-want-it-to-do? department:
Larry Lessig's Mayday PAC is a SuperPac that is working to eliminate the inherent corruption of having a government run almost entirely by people who manage to raise -- or have their "non-connected" SuperPACs raise -- most of the money they need to run their campaigns. The Mayday PAC isn't about right or left wing or partisan politics at all. It's about finding and supporting candidates who are in favor of something like last year's Government by the People Act. As we noted in our Mayday Pac interview with Larry Lessig last June, a whole panoply of tech luminaries, up to and including Steve Wozniak, are in favor of Mayday PAC.

This interview is being posted, appropriately, just before the 4th of July, but it's also just one day before the Mayday PAC Day of Action to Reform Congress. They're big on calling members of Congress rather than emailing, because our representatives get email by the (digital) bushel, while they get comparatively few issue-oriented phone calls from citizens. So Mayday PAC makes it easy for you to call your Congressional representatives and even, if you're too shy to talk to a legislative aide in person, to record a message Mayday PAC will leave for them after hours.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Docker and CoreOS Join Together For Open Container Project At Linux Foundation
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '15 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's working-together department:
darthcamaro writes: the great schism in the container world is now at an end. Today, Docker and CoreOS, announced along with Amazon Web Services, Apcera, Cisco, EMC, Fujitsu, Goldman Sachs, Google, HP, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Joyent, the Linux Foundation, Mesosphere, Microsoft, Pivotal, Rancher Labs, Red Hat and VMware the Open Container Project, as a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project. The new effort will focus specifically on libcontainer — providing a baseline for a container runtime. "By participating with Docker and all the other folks in the OCP, we're getting the best of all worlds," Alex Polvi, CEO of CoreOS told eWEEK. "We're getting the contributions from Docker with the format and runtime that underpin container usage, and then we're also getting the shared standard and vendor neutrality aspects that we've designed with app container."

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Ask Slashdot: How Effective Is Your ISP's Spam Filter?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '15 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's gmail-does-alright department:
An anonymous reader writes with the question in the title: does your ISP do a decent job culling spam? The reason I'm asking is that my ISP is Verizon and the Verizon spam filter is next to useless. It only blocks 15% of spam while also blocking 5% of legitimate emails. I've tried calling Verizon support a couple of times and the experience is about as pleasant and productive as banging my head on a wall. At this point I think my best move is to change ISP, but before I go around changing my email address at probably dozens of web sites I'd like to be sure that a new ISP would actually be better.

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Cyberattack Grounds Planes In Poland
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '15 at 08:31 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's upgrade-your-ICE department:
itwbennett writes: While the alleged hacking of in-flight systems has been much discussed recently, "there are many more areas of vulnerability to address in the aviation industry," says Tim Erlin of security firm Tripwire. "Like most industries today, aviation relies on a wide variety of interconnected systems, from air traffic control to reservations systems." Case in point: LOT Polish Airlines was forced to cancel 10 flights scheduled to depart from Warsaw's Chopin airport on Sunday after hackers attacked its ground computer systems.

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Linux 4.1 Kernel Released With EXT4 Encryption, Performance Improvements
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '15 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's onward-and-upward department:
An anonymous reader writes: The Linux 4.1 kernel has been announced and its release brings expanded features for the Linux kernel including EXT4 file-system encryption, open-source GeForce GTX 750 support, performance improvements for Intel Atom / Bay Trail hardware, RAID 5/6 improvements, and other additions.

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Political Polls Become Less Reliable As We Head Into 2016 Presidential Election
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '15 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's but-how-can-I-know-if-my-team-is-winning department:
HughPickens.com writes: Cliff Zukin writes in the NY Times that those paying close attention to the 2016 election should exercise caution as they read the polls — election polling is in near crisis as statisticians say polls are becoming less reliable. According to Zukin, two trends are driving the increasing unreliability of election and other polling in the United States: the growth of cellphones and the decline in people willing to answer surveys. Coupled, they have made high-quality research much more expensive to do, so there is less of it. This has opened the door for less scientifically-based, less well-tested techniques.

To top it off, a perennial election polling problem, how to identify "likely voters," has become even thornier. Today, a majority of people are difficult or impossible to reach on landline phones. One problem is that the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act has been interpreted by the Federal Communications Commission to prohibit the calling of cellphones through automatic dialers, in which calls are passed to live interviewers only after a person picks up the phone. To complete a 1,000-person survey, it's not unusual to have to dial more than 20,000 random numbers, most of which do not go to actual working telephone numbers.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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NIST Workshop Explores Automated Tattoo Identification
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '15 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's database-of-regret department:
chicksdaddy writes: Security Ledger reports on a recent NIST workshop dedicated to improving the art of automated tattoo identification. It used to be that the only place you'd commonly see tattoos was at your local VA hospital. No more. In the last 30 years, body art has gone mainstream. One in five adults in the U.S. has one. For law enforcement and forensics experts, this is a good thing; tattoos are a great way to identify both perpetrators and their victims. Given the number and variety of tattoos, though, how to describe and catalog them? Clearly this is an area where technology can help, but it's also one of those "fuzzy" problems that challenges the limits of artificial intelligence.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Tattoo Recognition Technology Challenge Workshop challenged industry and academia to work towards developing an automated image-based tattoo matching technology. Participating organizations in the challenge used a FBI -supplied dataset of thousands of images of tattoos from government databases. They were challenged to develop methods for identifying a tattoo in an image, identifying visually similar or related tattoos from different subjects; identifying the same tattoo image from the same subject over time; identifying a small region of interest that is contained in a larger image; and identifying a tattoo from a visually similar image like a sketch or scanned print.


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CRYENGINE Finally Lands On Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '15 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's welcome-to-crytux department:
An anonymous reader writes: CRYENGINE, the video game engine from Crytek, will run natively on Linux starting from version 3.8.1. Other improvements include the ability to run on the Oculus Rift, support for OpenGL, 8-weight GPU vertex skinning, and improved POM self-shadowing. Here are the full release notes. They've also added Game Zero, a full blown example game that demonstrates how various features of the engine can work.

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Apple To Pay Musicians For Free Streams, After All
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '15 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's apple-swiftly-takes-cue department:
vivaoporto writes: As reported on Re/code, Apple media boss Eddy Cue appears to have capitulated and Apple Music will be paying music owners for streaming even during customers's free trial period. He says Taylor Swift's letter, coupled with complaints from indie labels and artists, did indeed prompt the change.

Cue says Apple will pay rights holders for the entire three months of the trial period. He explains that it can't be at the same rate that Apple is paying them after free users become subscribers, since Apple is paying out a percentage of revenues once subscribers start paying. Instead, he says, Apple will pay rights holders on a per-stream basis.

No word from Swift or her camp about whether Apple's move is enough to get her to put "1989," her newest album, on Apple Music. On Twitter, she says, "I am elated and relieved. Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us."


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Are Girl-Focused Engineering Toys Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '15 at 04:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ten-pink-dollars-says-they-are department:
theodp writes: VentureBeat's Ruth Read casts a skeptical eye at the current rage of toy segregation meant to inspire tomorrow's leaders in STEM: "Toys geared at girls serve to get them interested in coding and building when they're young, hopefully inspiring their educational interests down the road. But these gendered toys may be hurting women by perpetuating a divide between men and women." Read concludes, "Ultimately, girls (who will become women) are going to have to learn and work in a world where genders are not segregated; as will men. That means they need to learn how to interact with one another as much as they need to be introduced to the same educational opportunities. If STEM education is as much for girls as it is for boys, perhaps we should be equally concerned with getting boys and girls to play together with the same toys and tools, as we are with creating learning opportunities for girls."

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Dallas Police Falsely Credit TrapWire System For Arrests
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '15 at 03:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's for-large-values-of-zero department:
In April, the Texas Department of Public Safety told a reporter for the Dallas Morning News, inspired by information leaked by Wikileaks to ask about ways that the agency might be compromising citizen's privacy and other rights, that the TrapWire behavioral analysis system employed in combination with surveillance equipment posted at various high-profile locations around the state had resulted in 44 arrests. However, after numerous public records requests for more information about those claimed arrests, the agency admitted that the true figure is somewhat lower: namely, zero. The story naturally involves "millions" of dollars (though an exact figure for the zero-arrest system isn't named), and Austin-based Stratfor, a company that's been
named
a
few times here on Slashdot.

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Mauna Kea Telescope Construction Slated To Resume
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '15 at 12:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's you've-got-to-see-the-bigger-picture department:
After an earlier halt to the work of constructing the "world's most advanced and powerful telescope" (and
subsequent loss of support from an organization acting on behalf of native Hawaiians,) the Thirty Meter Telescope is again in "on again" mode. From the Associated Press article as carried by U.S. News & World Report:

The Mauna Kea site provides a clear view of the sky for 300 days a year, with little air and light pollution.

The telescope project was developed as a collaboration between U.S. and Canada universities and the national institutes of Japan, China and India.

Gov. David Ige in April said the Thirty Meter Telescope board is legally entitled to "use its discretion to proceed with construction." He said he respected the rights of protesters to appeal in court.



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3D Printing Might Save the Rhinoceros
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '15 at 09:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's social-networks-might-save-the-whales department:
GordonShure.com writes: San Francisco based biotech startup Pembient have released details of their 3D printing led method to derail the market for Rhinoceros horns. Presently the bulk of demand originates from China, where said horns — gathered in the wild by poachers who usually kill the rhinos — are revered for supposed medicinal qualities. The new firm intends to mix keratin with Rhino DNA, then machine the combination with a 3D printer in a way that their counterfeit horns are difficult to detect by customers and traffickers alike.

The company already mulls expanding its production principle to other, lucrative wild animal trades such as the claws of tigers and lions. Pembient is however a young company — for all their ingenuity, will their ambitions to take on such a colossal black market be realized?


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WikiLeaks' Latest: An Even More Massive Trove of Sony Documents
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '15 at 06:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's little-light-reading department:
Newsweek is one of many outets to report that Wikileaks latest dump is a trove of Sony's company emails and other documents that consists of even more indvidual pieces than the 200,000-plus that were leaked in April. Included, says the Newsweek story, are "276,394 Sony Corp. communications, including email, travel calendars, contact lists, expense reports and private files." One interesting tidbit revealed by the documents thus revealed, spotted by Apple Insider, is that "Apple requested [from Sony] 4K content for potential digital distribution and on-demand services testing nearly two years ago, suggesting the company has been exploring ultra high-definition streaming for some time."

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Is the End of Government Acceptance of Homeopathy In Sight?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '15 at 03:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's if-your-belief-is-only-dilute-enough department:
cold fjord writes: It looks like homeopathy is in for a rough stretch ahead as shown in a chart and noted by Steven Novella at NEUROLoOGICAblog, "Homeopathy is perhaps the most obviously absurd medical pseudoscience. It is also widely studied, and has been clearly shown to not work. Further, there is a huge gap in the public understanding of what homeopathy is; it therefore seems plausible that the popularity of homeopathy can take a huge hit just by telling the public what it actually is. ... In 2010 the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee completed a full report on homeopathy in which they concluded it is witchcraft – that it cannot work, it does not work, and support for homeopathy in the national health service should be completely eliminated. In 2015 the Australian government completed its own review, concluding that there is no evidence that homeopathy works for anything. Homeopathy is a placebo. ... The FDA and the FTC in the United States are now both receiving testimony, questioning their current regulation of homeopathy. ... There is even a possibility that the FDA will decide to do their actual job – require testing of homeopathic products to demonstrate efficacy before allowing them on the market. If they do this simple and obvious thing, the homeopathic industry in the US will vanish over night, because there is no evidence to support any homeopathic product for any indication." — More on the FDA hearings at Science-Based Medicine.

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(Your Job) Is a Video Game
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '15 at 02:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-you-get-not-extra-lives department:
arctother writes: UberDRIVE—Uber's simulation/video game/recruiting tool—is, at best, just a poor copy of a much more interesting video game – driving for Uber. The main innovation of Uber, and other smartphone-enabled "e-hailing" car services, is the insertion of a new interface into the human-to-human, on-the-street interactions between drivers and passengers. Uber attempts to transform the cab-driving and -riding experience through the deployment of an allegorithm: the productive joining of a framing narrative (or "allegory") and software-mediated control (or "algorithm"). Understanding how allegorithms shape experience will become more and more important as they are increasingly deployed with mobile interfaces to reshape and "augment" social interactions."Ingress," you are already thinking; but you should really think of"Uber."

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In 6 Months, Australia Bans More Than 240 Games
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '15 at 01:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's it-gets-easier department:
dotarray writes with this snippet from (apropos) Player Attack: In the 20 years from 1995 to January 2015, there were 77 games Refused Classification in Australia. After January though, more than 240 games have been effectively banned by the Classification Board — an average of 40 per month. Most of these games are mobile- or digital-only releases you're unlikely to have ever heard of, with names like League Of Guessing, 'w21wdf AB test,' Sniper 3D Assault Zombie, Measure Bra Size Prank, and Virtual Marijuana Smoking showing up in just the first few pages. What games are banned in your country?

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The Unintended Consequences of Free Windows 10 For Everyone
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '15 at 12:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's dogs-and-cats-living-together department:
Ammalgam writes: Microsoft seems to be really driven to pushing over a billion people to the new Windows 10 platform as soon as humanly possible. In the latest push to make this happen, the company has basically decided that (somewhat off the record), pirates can come in the side door and it really doesn't matter what the state of their Windows license is, they can get Windows 10 for free. To get deep into the weeds on how this is happening, you have to read Ed Bott's excellent article on ZDNET – "With a nod and a wink, Microsoft gives away Windows 10 to anyone who asks." However, on Windows10update.com, Onuora Amobi asks whether the cost benefit analysis has been done and if this deluge of new members will have a detrimental effect on the Windows Insider Program.

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Lawrence Krauss On the Pope's Encyclical: Not Even Close?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '15 at 11:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's natural-vs.-extranatural department:
Lasrick writes: Lawrence Krauss muses on the hoopla surrounding Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change, and finds the document lacking: 'It is ironic that while the scientific community has long tried to raise warning signals and induce action to address human-induced climate change, an encyclical from the pope on this subject is being taken by many as an ultimate call to action on this urgent issue.'

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Plasma Resonance Could Overcome Radio Silence For Returning Spacecraft
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '15 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's don't-keep-that-all-bottled-up department:
Zothecula points out this article about a workaround for a long-standing problem with space-flight communications: some of the most cruicial time of a re-entry is also time when the craft cannot send data to or receive instructions from the ground controllers. From the article: Returning spacecraft hit the atmosphere at over five times the speed of sound, generating a sheath of superheated ionized plasma that blocks radio communications during the critical minutes of reentry. It's a problem that's vexed space agencies for decades, but researchers at China's Harbin Institute of Technology are developing a new method of piercing the plasma and maintaining communications.

This means coupling the craft's antenna to that plasma sheath, "[causing] the sheath to act as an inductor. Together, they create a resonant circuit."

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