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Amazon and Microsoft Directors Charged in Prostitution Sting
Posted by News Fetcher on May 14 '16 at 08:21 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's arrested-developments department:
An anonymous reader writes: A director from Microsoft and a former Amazon director have been charged with promoting prostitution after an investigation into Seattle-area sex trafficking, according to a local news report. Investigators say the director of worldwide health for Microsoft submitted over 70 reviews of prostitutes that he had allegedly hired since April 2012, according to the report, while the director of software development at Amazon, who worked on Fire TV, "allegedly hired prostitutes at least 29 times through The Review Board and TheLeague.Net, according to court documents." Both men have pleaded not guilty and are free on $75,000 bail, part of a group of 19 people now facing criminal charges. "These defendants, we allege, were absolutely devoted to the commercial sexual exploitation of vulnerable, powerless immigrant women," King County Prosecutors said in January, adding that the women, who were forced into prostitution to pay off debts to organized crime bosses in Asia, are not being charged.
Last January a Seattle newspaper reported that one alleged brothel owner "previously had made his living off illegal marijuana grows, but moved into prostitution when the drug was legalized."

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Oracle V. Google Being Decided By Clueless Judge and Jury
Posted by News Fetcher on May 14 '16 at 07:01 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's 71-year-old-judges department:
theodp writes: The problem with Oracle v. Google," explains Motherboard's Sarah Jeong, "is that everyone actually affected by the case knows what an API is, but the whole affair is being decided by people who don't, from the normals in the jury box to the normals at the Supreme Court." Which has Google's witnesses "really, really worried that the jury does not understand nerd shit." Jeong writes, "Eric Schmidt sought to describe APIs and languages using power plugs as an analogy. Jonathan Schwartz tried his hand at explaining with 'breakfast menus,' only to have Judge William Alsup respond witheringly, 'I don't know what the witness just said. The thing about the breakfast menu makes no sense.' "Schwartz's second attempt at the breakfast menu analogy went much better, as he explained that although two different restaurants could have hamburgers on the menu, the actual hamburgers themselves were different -- the terms on the menu were an API, and the hamburgers were implementations." And Schwarz's explanation that the acronym GNU stands for 'GNU is Not Unix' drew the following exchange: "The G part stands for GNU?" Alsup asked in disbelief. "Yes," said Schwartz on the stand. "That doesn't make any sense," said the 71-year-old Clinton appointee.

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Researchers Release Profile Data on 70,000 OkCupid Users Without Permission
Posted by News Fetcher on May 14 '16 at 04:12 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's moral-dilemma department:
An anonymous users shares a Vox report: A group of researchers has released a data set on nearly 70,000 users of the online dating site OkCupid. The data dump breaks the cardinal rule of social science research ethics: It took identifiable personal data without permission. The information -- while publicly available to OkCupid users -- was collected by Danish researchers who never contacted OkCupid or its clientele about using it. The data, collected from November 2014 to March 2015, includes user names, ages, gender, religion, and personality traits, as well as answers to the personal questions the site asks to help match potential mates. The users hail from a few dozen countries around the world. The researchers, Emil Kirkegaard, Oliver Nordbjerg, and Julius Daugbjerg ran software to "scrape" the information off OkCupid's website and then uploaded the data onto the Open Science Framework, an online forum where researchers are encouraged to share raw data to increase transparency and collaboration across social science.

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Wikipedia Announces Their 10 Longest Featured Articles
Posted by News Fetcher on May 14 '16 at 02:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's view-history department:
The Wikimedia blog shared a list of their ten longest "featured" articles, highlighting their collection of more than 4,700 articles which have rigorously reviewed before being awarded a gold star icon certifying them as "the best articles Wikipedia has to offer." The ed17 writes: Elvis Presley leads the list, coming in at 17,659 words. In today's strangest juxtaposition, 'History of Poland (1945 - 89)' features just behind. A pope, Michael Jackson, and the Maya civilization also land spots.

The third-longest featured article covers the Manhattan Project, with a majority of the article covering the development of the first nuclear weapons, as well as a discussion about their post-war impact. Among all of their featured articles, Wikimedia calls it "perhaps one of the more controversial."

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Homeland Security Cuts Causing Extreme Delays And Missed Flights
Posted by News Fetcher on May 14 '16 at 02:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's terminal-conditions department:
An anonymous reader writes: The Chicago Tribune reports on "a growing backlash over extremely long airport security lines," which the Transportation Security Administration is blaming on a loss of 4,622 screeners. "In the past three years, the TSA and Congress cut the number of front-line screeners by 4,622 -- or about 10% -- on expectations that an expedited screening program called PreCheck would speed up the lines. However, not enough people enrolled for TSA to realize the anticipated efficiencies." Passengers in security lines waited one hour and 45 minutes at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, with other airports reporting wait times of 90 minutes, and crowded lines "snaking up and down escalators, or through food courts, and into terminal lobbies." Some flights have even delayed their take-offs just to wait for more of their passengers to clear security. (One Dallas-Fort Worth flight waited 13 minutes, resulting in 23 more passengers who made it onboard -- while another 29 passengers still had to be rescheduled for later flights.) "We encourage people to have the appropriate expectations when they arrive at airports,â said Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Friday, saying the screenings were necessary to ensure passenger safety. "Contemplate increased wait times as you travel."

Johnson also said the TSA would increase the use of overtime, hire 768 new officers as soon as mid-June, and use more threat-sniffing dogs. Meanwhile, a TSA computer glitch caused 3,000 pieces of luggage to miss their flight in Phoenix, prompting city officials to investigate replacing the TSA with a private security contractor.

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Privacy Fears Deterring Almost Half of American Households From Online Shopping
Posted by News Fetcher on May 14 '16 at 01:31 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's concern-over-privacy department:
Many Americans are growing increasingly concerned about privacy and security. According to a survey, almost half of American households with at least one Internet user have been deterred from online activity recently. The online activity includes doing online transactions, banking, and posting things on social media, said the survey of 41,000 households by a Department of Commerce agency. BBC reports: When respondents were asked what concerned them the most about online privacy and security, 63% said identity theft. The respondents, who were allowed to give multiple answers, also cited credit card or banking fraud (45%), data collection by online services (23%), loss of control over personal data (22%) and data collection by the government (18%); 13% also said they were concerned about threats to personal safety. The data suggested 19% of US online households had been affected by an online security breach in the previous year. The NTIA said this represented about 19 million American households.

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Original 'Doom' Level Remade in the New 'Doom'
Posted by News Fetcher on May 14 '16 at 12:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's blasts-from-the-past department:
An anonymous reader writes:
After the new Doom was released yesterday, Vice discovered its SnapMap feature had already been used to recreate one of the levels from the original Doom. "The original Doom thrived on a strong modding community, and id is supporting that tradition here in a great way." Sharing videos for both the old and new versions of the E1 M2 nuclear plant map, Vice also applauded the interface for the new SnapMap tool, which lets users design their own levels, even on consoles. SnapMap includes tools for arranging objects, placing enemies, and even triggering events when a player reaches certain points in a level. "It's incredibly easy to use considering how much you can do, and so far I've had little trouble uploading, downloading, and browsing for user-made levels."
Newegg is also offering a $15 discount code for PC, Xbox One, or PS4 versions.

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Police Reveal Tactics For Fighting Botnets
Posted by News Fetcher on May 14 '16 at 10:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's busting-bitcoin-botnets department:
Botnet herders have sophisticated "disaster recovery" plans, according to speakers at a recent cybersecurity conference, with many splitting their botnets into smaller herds, making them more resilient. In addition, kierny writes: Researchers say these backup botnets are tough to detect, until gangs have already spooled them up and put them to use in major campaigns... "What we're seeing is the bad guys are starting to learn from this," said Steven Wilson, head of the European Cybercrime Center at Europol -- the EU's law enforcement agency... Wilson said authorities are now gathering tremendous amounts of data by "sink-holing" -- forcibly redirecting the infected endpoints onto servers controlled by law enforcement. And he also reports that authorities have also successfully mined the blockchains of bitcoin transactions for information. Eamonn Keane, A detective from a cybercrime unit with the Scotland Police, added that authorities are also infiltrating dark net forums to bust bitcoin-using criminals. "Are law enforcement in there? Absolutely... We have a mandate to protect you in the real world; increasingly it's moving into the online environment."

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Apple Says It Doesn't Know Why iTunes Users Are Losing Their Music Files
Posted by News Fetcher on May 14 '16 at 10:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's apple,-music,-and-disappearance department:
Earlier this month, an Apple Music user James Pinkstone claimed that the online music streaming service deleted 122GB of music from his library for no apparent reason. Several Slashdot readers noted they had also faced a similar issue or knew someone who had. The iPhone maker has now acknowledged a bug in iTunes that is apparently causing the glitch, however, it adds that it doesn't really know why "some" users are facing this issue. The Verge reports: The company confirmed that "in an extremely small number of cases, users have reported that music files saved on their computer were removed without their permission." However, Apple was unable to reproduce the bug, indicating it doesn't really know what's going on here. The company adds: We're taking these reports seriously as we know how important music is to our customers and our teams are focused on identifying the cause. We have not been able to reproduce this issue, however, we're releasing an update to iTunes early next week which includes additional safeguards. If a user experiences this issue they should contact AppleCare.

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Former Employee Accuses Wireless Charging Startup uBeam of Being a Sham
Posted by News Fetcher on May 14 '16 at 09:31 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's inside-silicon-valley department:
uBeam, a startup which has raised over $25 million for its transmitter that can charge phones, tablets, and other devices wirelessly, is under attack. Paul Reynolds, former VP of engineering at the company has accused the company of making false promises. Reynolds, who has more than 20 years of experience working on ultrasound devices, says uBeam has overstated its technology's capabilities, and there's no way it can deliver anything close to its claim in a working prototype later this year. In fact, he went all the way to call uBeam "the next Theranos". For the uninitiated, uBeam plans to create a charging station which utilizes sound waves to beam power to devices in the same room. The company, which has a team of more than 30 engineers and physicists, has been working on the product since 2011. Some of its investors include Marc Andreessen, Marissa Mayer, and "Shark" Mark Cuban. From an IEEE report: Physicists have long questioned the practicality of uBeam's plans to deliver electricity to mobile devices using ultrasound. Mark Suster, a prominent venture capitalist and uBeam investor has defended uBeam. IEEE report adds: In his article today, Suster writes that when Reynolds was at uBeam, the engineer gave no indication that he had any problems with the company's direction -- implying that the issues raised in Reynolds' blog were essentially out of the blue. uBeam itself has yet to respond to anything Reynolds has written. "Throughout my time working with him he reassured me we could solve the technical challenges and our approach was viable," Suster writes. But Reynolds told IEEE Spectrum that is simply not the case. He says that he was rarely allowed to communicate directly with Suster, on account of Perry's (Editor's note: Meredith Perry is the Founder and CEO at uBeam) management preferences. But Reynolds said that in two meetings with Suster during the summer of 2015, he voiced concerns about what the company was telling investors and reporters it could do.

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Ingestible Medical Robots Could Remove Batteries From Stomachs
Posted by News Fetcher on May 14 '16 at 08:12 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's innerspace department:
"A child swallows a battery every 3 hours," reports a new article in the Washington Post. But now, gurps_npc writes: MIT has developed a small ingestible robot to remove watch batteries that kids swallow. It starts out folded up tight and surrounded by an ice sheath. You swallow it, the ice melts, and it unfolds. Then a doctor uses magnets to direct it to the battery, it wraps itself around the battery, preventing it from leaking acid until you pass it — perhaps a bit faster with the doctor using the magnets to guide it down through your system. Interestingly, the MIT researchers built their proof-of-concept robot using a durable pork casing -- "the same stuff you might find surrounding a hot dog or kielbasa."

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EFF Announces Certbot Client For Let's Encrypt
Posted by News Fetcher on May 14 '16 at 06:52 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's certified-letters department:
Peter Eckersley, the staff technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, writes: EFF has just launched Certbot, which is the next iteration of the Let's Encrypt client. It's a powerful tool for obtaining TLS/SSL certificates from Let's Encrypt, and (if you wish) automatically installing them to enable and tune HTTPS on your website. It's extensible, and supports a rapidly-growing range of server software. As of last week more than three million certificates had been issued, according to EFF.org, and despite a new name and host, Certbot "will still get certificates from Let's Encrypt and automatically configure HTTPS on your webserver.... We expect OS packages to begin using the Certbot name in the next few weeks as well."

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ZFS For Linux Finally Lands In Debian GNU/Linux Repos
Posted by News Fetcher on May 14 '16 at 06:52 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's hard-work-pays-off department:
prisoninmate quotes a report from Softpedia: It took the Debian developers many years to finally be able to ship a working version of ZFS for Linux on Debian GNU/Linux. For those not in the known, ZFS on Linux is the official OpenZFS implementation for Linux, which promises to offer native ZFS filesystem support for any Linux kernel-based operating system, currently supporting Arch Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora, Gentoo, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, openSUSE, and now Debian. And it looks like their ZFS for Linux implementation borrows a lot of patches from Ubuntu, at least according to the changelog for zfs-linux 0.6.5.6-2, the version that is now available in the unstable channel for Debian users to install and test.

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Brazilian Devs Launch Tiny $1 STEM-Oriented Microcontroller Board On Indiegogo
Posted by News Fetcher on May 14 '16 at 02:42 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's pocket-change department:
DeviceGuru writes: A team of Brazilian developers has just launched an open-source microcontroller board called the "One Dollar Board," that's so simple and inexpensive that it can be distributed as standard teaching materials to kids in schools all over the world. The tiny board appears to contain a single 8-pin microcontroller chip, along with a handful of passive components, making it considerably more simple and affordable than the similar STEM-oriented and open-sourced BBC Micro:bit board. More details about the One Dollar Board are on its Indiegogo campaign page, where you can get one for a contribution of $1 (duh!), plus unspecified shipping and import duties.

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Disney Research Leverages RFID Tech For Low Cost Interactive Games With Physical Objects
Posted by News Fetcher on May 14 '16 at 12:02 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's no-small-feat department:
MojoKid quotes a report from HotHardware: Researchers at Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University have been toying around with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. RFID tags are typically used for high-tech inventory management in a variety of industries, but researchers concocted a way to make RFID technology feasible for interactive games using physical objects. Using a framework the researchers developed called RapID, they showed how inexpensive RFID tags can sense when a physical object is moved or touched in near real-time. The research team demonstrated a handful of use case scenarios. One included a tic-tac-toe board that mirrors the physical game on a computer monitor with added sound effects, while another demonstration showed users playing a Pong clone using real wooden sliders to control the onscreen action. What the researchers have done is no small feat. RFID was never intended for interactive toys, and wasn't built for real-time or near real-time responsiveness. RapID interprets the signals by weighing possibilities instead of waiting on confirmation from RFID tags. Most importantly, it reduces typical lag times from 2 seconds all the way down to 200 milliseconds.

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Google Devs Planning Flash's Demise With New 'HTML5 By Default' Chrome Setting
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '16 at 10:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's phased-out department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Softpedia: In a Google Groups thread named "Intent to implement: HTML5 by Default," the Google developers announced initial plans to implement a new feature in the Chromium core that will disable the playback of Flash content by default, and use HTML5 instead, if available. The feature is scheduled to ship with Chromium builds in Q4 2016, according to the current timeline. To avoid "overprompting," a whitelist will allow ten major websites to continue to show Flash content by default without pestering users with "Allow domain.com to run Flash Player" prompts. The whitelist will be in effect one year only. The list includes the domains of YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo, VK, Live, Yandex, OK.ru, Twitch, Amazon, and Mail.ru, the biggest sites running Flash content today. Previews of the settings and prompts UI are also available.

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Scientists Hold A Secret Meeting To Consider Creating A Synthetic Human Genome
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '16 at 08:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's genetically-modified-organisms department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via The New York Times, summarized by Gizmodo: Earlier this week, over a hundred scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs held a secret meeting to discuss the possibility of creating a synthetic human genome. Creating a synthetic human genome differs from gene editing as scientists would use chemicals to manufacture all the DNA contained in human chromosomes, instead of patching a gene here and there. Synthetic genomics, unlike genetic modifications, in that it doesn't use naturally occurring genes. Instead, it relies on the custom-designed base pair series. Currently, customers view synthetic genomics as a way to build novel microbes and animals, but with humans it raises the prospect of custom-designed humans, without any parents. George Church, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and one of the organizers of the proposed project, says the characterization was a misunderstanding, and that the project was aimed to generally improve the ability to synthesize long strands of DNA, which could be applied to various types of animals, plants and microbes. "They're painting a picture which I don't think represents the project," Dr. Church said in an interview. The project was initially called "HGP2: The Human Genome Synthesis Project." However, the name was later changed to "HGP-Write: Testing Large Synthetic Genomes In Cells." Why the change? Because the original headline was suppose to be headline-grabbing, or so they say.

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Google Devs Planing Flash's Demise With New 'HTML5 By Default' Chrome Setting
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '16 at 06:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's phased-out department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Softpedia: In a Google Groups thread named "Intent to implement: HTML5 by Default," the Google developers announced initial plans to implement a new feature in the Chromium core that will disable the playback of Flash content by default, and use HTML5 instead, if available. The feature is scheduled to ship with Chromium builds in Q4 2016, according to the current timeline. To avoid "overprompting," a whitelist will allow ten major websites to continue to show Flash content by default without pestering users with "Allow domain.com to run Flash Player" prompts. The whitelist will be in effect one year only. The list includes the domains of YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo, VK, Live, Yandex, OK.ru, Twitch, Amazon, and Mail.ru, the biggest sites running Flash content today. Previews of the settings and prompts UI are also available.

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Google Paying Arizona Residents $20/Hr To Test Self-Driving Cars
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '16 at 06:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's extreme-weather-conditions department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report on Mashable: Google is paying Arizona residents $20 per hour to test its self-driving vehicles. The 'Self-Driving Vehicle Operator/Operations Associate' needs to have a clean driving record, no criminal history, a BS or a BA degree and the ability to type at least 40 words per minute, according to the job listing. The job involves driving 6-8 hours a day in a two person team, five days a week while monitoring the car's systems with "constant focus" and filling up daily reports. "[Test drivers] give our engineers feedback about how our cars are driving and interacting with others on the road, and can take control of the vehicle if needed," Brian Torcellini, head of operations for Google's Self-Driving Car testing program, told The Arizona Republic. The job listing comes about a month after Google announced it would expand its self-driving car testing program to Phoenix, Arizona. At that announcement, Google said it wants to test how autonomous vehicles behave in Phoenix's desert conditions and high temperatures.

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The Pirate Bay Loses Its Main Domain Name In Court Battle
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '16 at 05:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's peer-to-peer department:
Dave Knott writes: The world's most popular torrent website, The Pirate Bay, is suffering a major blow after the Swedish Court ruled Thursday that it will seize the domain names 'ThePirateBay.se' and 'PirateBay.se' and hand over them to the state. This is the latest development in an ongoing legal tug-of-war between The Pirate Bay and Swedish prosecutors, which has at various times seen the courts rule in favor of either side, only to see the case proceed via further appeals. Despite previous criminal convictions, the torrent site has always remained functioning by moving to different web domains several times. However, this time, The Pirate Bay loses its main .SE domain, the world's 225th most popular website according to the Alexa ranking, as reported by the Swedish newspaper DN.

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