By EditorDavid from Slashdot's no-prison-can-hold-MacGyver department
An anonymous reader quotes USA Today:
A fugitive South Carolina inmate recaptured in Texas this week had chopped his way through a prison fence using wire cutters apparently dropped by a drone, prison officials said Friday. Jimmy Causey, 46, fled the Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville, S.C., on the evening of July 4th after leaving a paper mache doll in his bed to fool guards into thinking he was asleep. He was not discovered missing until Wednesday afternoon. Causey was captured early Friday 1,200 miles away in a motel in Austin by Texas Rangers acting on a tip, WLTX-TV reported... "We believe a drone was used to fly in the tools that allow(ed) him to escape," South Carolina Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said...
Stirling said prison officials are investigating the performance by prison guards that night but pointed to cellphones and drones as the main problem. The director said he and other officials have sought federal help for years to combat the use of drones to drop contraband into prison. "It's a simple fix," Stirling said. "Allow us to block the signal... They are physically incarcerated, but they are not virtually incarcerated."
It's the second time the same convict escaped from South Carolina's maximum security prison -- albeit the first time he's (allegedly) used a drone. The state's Law Enforcement Division Chief also complains that the federal government still prohibits state corrections officials from blocking cellphones, and "as long as cellphones continue to be utilized by inmates in prisons we're going to have things like this -- we're going to have very well-planned escapes..."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's unplanning-obsolescence department
An anonymous reader writes: The EU is preparing legislation that would legalize a customer's "right to repair," and would force vendors to design products for longer life and easier maintenance, in an effort to combat electronic waste and abusive practices like manufacturers legally preventing users from repairing their devices. The legislation is in its earlier stages of public discussion, but it already has the backing of several EU Members of Parliament, along with support from organizations like Greenpeace. Currently, in the US only eleven states have similar laws, and they have been adopted after years of public discussions, and only for certain markets, and not for all types of products. It is unclear what leverage the EU will use to force manufacturers to produce longer lasting products, as this would mean lesser profits for big businesses, who often used tactics such as software DRMs, warranty contract lock-ins, and soldering components together, just to avoid users repairing products on their own.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's I-knew-you-were-going-to-say-that department
Mary Lou Jepsen is a former MIT professor with 100 patents and a former engineering executive at Facebook, Oculus, Intel, and Google[x] (now called X) -- and "she hopes to make communicating telepathically happen relatively soon." An anonymous reader quotes CNET:
Last year Jepsen left her job heading up display technology for the Oculus virtual reality arm of Facebook to develop new imaging technologies to help cure diseases. Shortly thereafter she founded Openwater, which is developing a device that puts the capabilities of a huge MRI machine into a lightweight wearable form. According to the startup's website, "Openwater is creating a device that can enable us to see inside our brains or bodies in great detail. With this comes the promise of new abilities to diagnose and treat disease and well beyond -- communicating with thought alone."
This week Jepsen went further and suggested a timeframe for such capabilities becoming reality. "I don't think this is going to take decades," she told CNBC. "I think we're talking about less than a decade, probably eight years until telepathy"... Jepsen, who has also spent time at Google X, MIT and Intel, says the basic idea is to shrink down the huge MRI machines found in medical hospitals into flexible LCDs that can be embedded in a ski hat and use infrared light to see what's going on in your brain. "Literally a thinking cap," Jepsen explains... The idea is that communicating by thought alone could be much faster and even allow us to become more competitive with the artificial intelligence that is supposedly coming for everyone's jobs very soon.
Jepsen tells CNBC, "If I threw [you] into an M.R.I. machine right now... I can tell you what words you're about to say, what images are in your head. I can tell you what music you're thinking of. That's today, and I'm talking about just shrinking that down."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's guardians-of-the-galaxy department
An anonymous reader quotes Gizmodo:
This week, the House Armed Services Committee voted 60 to 1 in favor of the creation of a new military branch to be called the United States Space Corps... The United States Space Corps would be the first new branch of the military since 1947, when the Air Force was formed. The current proposal would classify the USSC under the Air Force in a way that mirrors the Marines classification under the Navy. The Space Corps' chief of staff would be ranked as equal to the Air Force chief of staff and would report to the Secretary of the Air Force...
According to CNN, the Air Force's secretary and chief of staff are opposed to the plan. One reason is that we already have the Air Force Space Command and the military believes that the creation of the Space Corps would just cause more complications. Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters that "this will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organizational chart, and cost more money."
The bill charges the division of the military with providing "combat-ready space forces," though CNN adds "There are still plenty more congressional hoops for the Space Corps to jump through before it would become official. But, hey, at least the name sounds cool." And Gizmodo's reporter thoughtfully weighs the pro's and cons before concluding, "Yeah, this is probably stupid."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's kernel-copyrights department
Bruce Perens co-founded the Open Source Initiative with Eric Raymond. Now he's sharing a "strong opinion" that companies should avoid the Grsecurity security patch for the Linux kernel "because it presents a contributory infringement and breach of contract risk." Slashdot reader NewGnu shared Bruce's comments:
[I]t would fail a fair-use test... Because of its strongly derivative nature of the kernel, it must be under the GPL version 2 license, or a license compatible with the GPL and with terms no more restrictive than the GPL. Earlier versions were distributed under GPL version 2... My understanding from several reliable sources is that customers are verbally or otherwise warned that if they redistribute the Grsecurity patch, as would be their right under the GPL, that they will be assessed a penalty: they will no longer be allowed to be customers, and will not be granted access to any further versions of Grsecurity. GPL version 2 section 6 explicitly prohibits the addition of terms such as this redistribution prohibition...
This is tantamount to the addition of a term to the GPL prohibiting distribution or creating a penalty for distribution. GPL section 6 specifically prohibits any addition of terms. Thus, the GPL license, which allows Grsecurity to create its derivative work of the Linux kernel, terminates, and the copyright of the Linux Kernel is infringed. The contract from the Linux kernel developers to both Grsecurity and the customer which is inherent in the GPL is breached.
Perens advises companies to discuss his position with their attorneys, adding "In the public interest, I am willing to discuss this issue with companies and their legal counsel, under NDA, without charge."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's self-driving-lawsuits department
Google's Waymo has dismissed three of its four patent-infringement claims against Uber. An anonymous reader quotes Fortune:
This comes after Waymo was encouraged to drop the claims following U.S. District Judge William Alsup's request that both parties narrow their issues for the trial. Additionally, Waymo dropped all but one of the patent claims because Uber abandoned its "Spider" LiDAR design, which had reportedly infringed upon the Waymo patents. The fourth patent claim, however, relates to a LiDAR design called, "Fuji," that the ride-hailing giant continues to use, according to Bloomberg...
In a statement to Fortune, a Waymo spokesperson said, "We found after fighting for discovery a device created by Anthony Levandowski at Uber that infringed Waymo patents. Uber has assured the court in statements made under penalty of perjury that it no longer uses and will not use that device, so we have narrowed the issues for trial by dismissing the patent claims as to that device, with the right to re-file suit if needed." The spokesman added, "We continue to pursue a patent claim against Uber's current generation device and our trade secret claims, which are not at all affected by this stipulated dismissal. We look forward to trial."
Uber called Waymo's move "yet another sign that they have overpromised and can't deliver. Not only have they uncovered zero evidence of any of the 14,000 files in question coming to Uber, they now admit that Uber's LiDAR design is actually very different than theirs.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's pressure-through-paperwork department
"A public interest group wants the Federal Communications Commission to hold off on its proposal to kill net neutrality regulations," according to The Hill. An anonymous reader quotes their report:
The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) filed a motion on Friday to delay the FCC's proceeding to undo its net neutrality rules, pending the release of documents the group has requested from the agency. The NHMC says it filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act for consumer complaints about the open internet since the net neutrality rules went into place in 2015. Carmen Scurato, the group's director of legal affairs, said that the requested documents will affect the public's view of the rules... "Millions of consumers have voiced their concerns about eliminating net neutrality protections and the agency should release all complaints that members of the public have submitted showing how the Open Internet Order has served as a tool in protecting our consumer rights."
"The FCC has confirmed that there is an overwhelming amount of responsive documents, therefore the disclosure of this information must be paired with sufficient time for members of the public to review and contribute meaningful input..." the group said in a statement. "To date, the FCC has only released a small fraction of the documents requested. This is a clear indication that the FCC must delay its Net Neutrality proceeding until all documents requested by NHMC are released. The FCC must then provide NHMC and members of the public adequate time to review and comment on this information before moving forward with its Net Neutrality proceeding."
An FCC spokesman was not immediately available for comment.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's survey-says department
After collating 30,171 responses, Phoronixhas released some results from their first Linux Laptop Survey. An anonymous reader quotes their report:
To little surprise, Ubuntu was the most popular Linux distribution running on the respondents' laptops. 38.9% of the respondents were said to be using Ubuntu while interesting in second place was Arch Linux at 27.1% followed by Debian at 15.3%. Rounding out the top ten were then Fedora at 14.8%, Linux Mint in 5th at 10.8%, openSUSE/SUSE in sixth at 4.2%, Gentoo in seventh at 3.9%, CentOS/RHEL in eighth at 3.1%, Solus in ninth at 2%, and Manjaro in tenth at 1.6%. The other Linux distributions had each commanded less than 1% of the overall response.
Only 10.3% of respondents said their most recent laptop purchase came pre-loaded with Linux. But 29.3% are now dual-booting their Linux laptop with Windows, while another 4.4% were dual-booting with yet another Linux distribution.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's down-in-the-dumps department
An anonymous reader writes:
Silicon Valley real estate developers want to construct a $6.7 billion housing complex over a former landfill with 5.5 million tons of municipal waste from the last 25 years. "The regulators were pretty skeptical at the start, I have to say," one of the firm's partners told a local newspaper. Besides the 1,680 units of housing, there'd also be 700 hotel rooms, plus 5.7 million square feet of office space, and 1.1 million square feet for retail stores. The project "includes elaborate safety systems to block the escape of combustible methane gas and other dangerous vapors, and to prevent groundwater contamination," according to the Bay Area Newsgroup -- including one foot of solid concrete over 30 acres of landfill, with the housing built above the first-floor shops and parking structures "as a way of creating additional distance between residents and any escaped gases in the event of an emergency." In addition, there's alarms and sensors, "as well as another system to monitor, collect and dispose of gases underground."
Though the project has gained key approvals from the city of Santa Clara, it could still take two decades to complete. "Last year, the City of San Jose sued the City of Santa Clara, charging that the imbalance between the project's jobs and housing -- 23,000 jobs and 1,680 housing units -- will increase housing demand in San Jose and tax its overstretched services and infrastructure... but both sides said they hope for an out-of-court resolution."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's read-right-privileges department
The Free Software Foundation's anti-DRM initiative "Defective By Design" argues that since last year's annual Day Against DRM, "we've seen cracks appearing in the foundation of the DRM status quo."
The companies that profit from Digital Restrictions Management are still trying to expand the system of law and technology that weakens our security and curtails our rights, in an effort to prop up their exploitative business models. But since the last International Day Against DRM, the TPP trade agreement -- a key pro-DRM initiative -- crashed and burned. And our allies at the Electronic Frontier Foundation brought major legal and regulatory challenges against DRM in Washington DC... If we play our cards right, this may be the beginning of the end of DRM.
On Sunday, July 9, 2017, we will channel this momentum into the International Day Against DRM. We'll be gathering, protesting, and making -- showing the world that we insist on a future without Digital Restrictions Management. Will you join us? Here's what you can do now:
They're asking supporters to plan a protest, translate their fliers into more languages, voice support in videos and blog posts, or make endorsements. And you can also join the "DRM Elimination crew" mailing list or their Freenode IRC channel #dbd for year-round conversation and collaboration with the anti-DRM movement -- or simply make a donation to show your support.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Google-Geothermal department
WindBourne shares an article about Google's plans for "an extremely cheap form of HVAC." CNN reports:
A new startup called Dandelion, born from the secretive and futuristic lab "X" of Google's parent company Alphabet, says it will offer affordable geothermal heating and cooling systems to homeowners. Existing systems are typically expensive with big upfront installation fees, discouraging homeowners from adopting the technology... Installing the pipes -- called "ground loops" -- under someone's lawn is a traditionally invasive, messy process. It involves using wide drills that dig wells more than 1,000 feet underground. Dandelion's drill is fast and lean, allowing for only one or two deep holes a few inches wide. The system will cost between $20,000 and $25,000, compared to conventional systems priced as high as $60,000.
Geothermal systems are better for the environment because they significantly cut down on carbon dioxide emissions... Buildings are responsible for 39% of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S., according to the U.S. Green Building Council. Most of these emissions come from the combustion of fossil fuels to provide the building with heating, cooling and lighting, and to power appliances and electrical equipment.
Google has been studying the potential of geothermal energy since 2011. Dandelion will eventually partner with local companies to handle installations -- and is already accepting sign-ups from customers in New York.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Multiplexed-Information-and-Computing department
"The seminal operating system Multics has been reborn," writes Slashdot reader doon386:
The last native Multics system was shut down in 2000. After more than a dozen years in hibernation a simulator for the Honeywell DPS-8/M CPU was finally realized and, consequently, Multics found new life... Along with the simulator an accompanying new release of Multics -- MR12.6 -- has been created and made available. MR12.6 contains many bug and Y2K fixes and allows Multics to run in a post-Y2K, internet-enabled world.
Besides supporting dates in the 21st century, it offers mail and send_message functionality, and can even simulate tape and disk I/O. (And yes, someone has already installed Multics on a Raspberry Pi.) Version 1.0 of the simulator was released Saturday, and Multicians.org is offering a complete QuickStart installation package with software, compilers, install scripts, and several initial projects (including SysDaemon, SysAdmin, and Daemon). Plus there's also useful Wiki documents about how to get started, noting that Multics emulation runs on Linux, macOS, Windows, and Raspian systems. The original submission points out that "This revival of Multics allows hobbyists, researchers and students the chance to experience first hand the system that inspired UNIX."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's asking-for-a-man-in-the-middle department
An anonymous reader writes:
Due to the rash of intrusions into electronic payment systems lately, I've decided to go back to paying cash for everyday purchases, groceries, fuel, and anything else I pay for in person (which also has the positive effect of making balacing my checkbook every month that much easier). The question I have is: For the monthly bills it's just not practical to pay in person (utilities, for instance), how safe are those?
Five minutes of research is telling me that mailing paper checks isn't any more secure than online electronic payments and in fact may be even less secure, but short of literally showing up at the electric company, phone company, ISP, and so on, and paying them cash in person, I can't see any other way to pay them. So how safe is it right now, honestly?
I'm always interested in how Slashdot readers secure their own personal finances -- but how high is the danger that a remote malefactor will hijack and then drain your bank account? Leave your best answers in the comments. How safe, really, is paying for things online?Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's anti-social-media department
theodp writes: Fast Company's Co.Design reports that Tony Fadell, who founded Nest and was instrumental in the creation of the iPod and iPhone, spoke with a mix of pride and regret about his role in mobile technology's rise to omnipresence. "I wake up in cold sweats every so often thinking, what did we bring to the world?" Fadell said. "Did we really bring a nuclear bomb with information that can -- like we see with fake news -- blow up people's brains and reprogram them? Or did we bring light to people who never had information, who can now be empowered?"
Faddell added that addiction has been designed into our devices, and it's harming the newest generation. "And I know when I take [technology] away from my kids what happens," Fadell explained. "They literally feel like you're tearing a piece of their person away from them-they get emotional about it, very emotional. They go through withdrawal for two to three days." Products like the iPhone, Fadell believes, are more attuned to the needs of the individual rather than what's best for the family and the larger community. And pointing to YouTube owner Google, Fadell said, "It was like, [let] any kind of content happen on YouTube. Then a lot of the executives started having kids, [and saying], maybe this isn't such a good idea. They have YouTube Kids now."
The article suggests Fadell is describing a world where omnipresent (and distracting) screens are creating "a culture of self-aggrandizement," and he believes this is partly rooted in the origins of the devices. "A lot of the designers and coders who were in their 20s when we were creating these things didn't have kids."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's call-me-John department
An anonymous reader quotes Fossbytes:
It was last year when, John McAfee, the co-founder of an antivirus company that's now owned by Intel, took Intel to the court over the right to use his name for commercial purposes... According to a Reuters report, the US District Judge Paul Oetken has dismissed the 2016 case and the counter lawsuit filed by Intel. The two parties have settled upon a mutual agreement which allows John Mcafee to use his name for promotions, presentations, and advertisements. He can't link his name to any product or service related to cyber security and security.
McAfee told the BBC that he can't directly name a company after himself, adding "I can live with that. That certainly beats having to live with 'The Entrepreneur Formerly known as McAfee.'"
Johnny Depp is still scheduled to play McAfee in a movie called "King of the Jungle," which will focus on the period of his life when McAfee fled a police investigation in Belize.Read Replies (0)