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Investors Ask How Much Google Spends On Lobbying
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 02:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's give-us-a-number department:
Taco Cowboy writes: It has been estimated that Google has spent over $60 million on lobbying in Washington D.C. this year alone, and that figure does not include the money that Google gives to various trade organizations and "third party" groups. According to CNN: "On its website, Google lists 43 trade associations that it belongs to, such as the Ad Council and National Cyber Security Alliance, although it says that is a 'representative listing' and Google doesn't indicate how much money it gives these organizations. Google also has links to over 100 third-party groups like the AARP, Heritage Foundation and iKeepSafe that it 'provides support to.'" A group of Google investors are demanding that Google owns up to what they spend on and how much, and their push stems from one thing, and that thing is mainly connected to political correctness. It's public knowledge that Google contributes to the US Chamber of Commerce, and to some quarters, "the Chamber" is suffering from "Climate Change Denial Symptom" and they are doing their best to cut off any funding to "the Chamber" from Google.

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Virginia Wants Your Self-Driving Cars
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's look-mom-no-hands department:
Nerval's Lobster writes: In a bid to help Google (and presumably other companies) test out their next-generation automobiles, the state of Virginia has reportedly opened up 70 miles of highway, overseen by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), to self-driving cars. Portions of Virginia's highways—most notably Interstates 95 and 495—are notoriously congested, which could present any self-driving vehicles with a real challenge. The state government has stipulated that any automated car will need a human driver at the wheel to take over in case of malfunction or emergency. California, Nevada, and a handful of other states already have roadways reserved for autonomous-car use. As one Virginia state official acknowledged to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, opening public infrastructure to new technology is seen as a way to attract top tech talent and companies. (Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. are already widely viewed as a tech hub, powered to a large degree by federal money.)

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AMD Launches Carrizo Mobile APU With Excavator CPU Cores, Integrated Southbridge
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 01:01 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's looking-at-the-numbers department:
MojoKid writes: AMD previously only teased bits of detail regarding their forthcoming 6th Generation A-Series APU, code named "Carrizo," as far back as CES 2015 in January and more recently with AMD's HSA (Heterogenous System Architecture) 1.0 spec roll-out in March. However, the company has officially launched the product today and has lifted the veil on all aspects of their new highly integrated notebook APU. Carrizo has been optimized for the 15 Watt TDP envelope that comprises the bulk of the thin and light notebook market currently and it brings a couple of first to integrated notebook chip designs. AMD's Carrizo APU is the first SoC architecture to fully support the HSA 1.0 specification, allowing full memory coherency of a shared memory space for both CPU and GPU up to 32GB. It's also the first integrated chip to include full support in hardware for H.265/HEVC HD video decoding and finally, Carizzo is also the first AMD APU to have a full integrated, in silicon, Southbridge controller block. So, with its CPU, GPU, memory controller, Northbridge, Southbridge, and PCIe 3.0 links, Carrizo is truly a fully integrated System On A Chip. The company is claiming a 39% CPU performance lift (combination clock speed and IPC) and up to a 65% in graphics, versus their previous generation Kaveri APU. AMD notes laptops from major vendors will begin shipping in the next few weeks.

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Egyptian Repairman Outranks Google
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 12:46 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's seo-god department:
wired_parrot writes: An Egyptian repairman found unexpected fame when typing google into Google within Egypt turned up his name instead. The unassuming repairman managed to unexpectedly outrank Google in search results, a finding that surprised even him, who was unaware of his high search ranking when contacted.

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Making an AR-15 In the Wired San Francisco Office
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 12:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's point-click-and-shoot department:
An anonymous reader writes: Wired's writer Andy Greenberg writes about his experience fabricating an AR-15 lower receiver with the Ghost Gunner CNC mill. (That's the same device that was demoed in a Slashdot video earlier this year.) Greenberg points out that CNC millng isn't new, but reports nonetheless: "Aside from a single brief hardware hiccup, it worked remarkably well. In fact, the Ghost Gunner worked so well that it may signal a new era in the gun control debate, one where the barrier to legally building an untraceable, durable, and deadly semiautomatic rifle has reached an unprecedented low point in cost and skill."

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Showtime Announces Subscription-Free Streaming Plan
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 11:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's more-streams department:
An anonymous reader writes: Following in HBO's footsteps, Showtime has announced that it is launching a stand-alone streaming service in mid-July. Simply called "Showtime," the service will launch through a partnership with Apple and costs $10.99 a month. "Going over-the-top means Showtime will be much more accessible to tens of millions of potential new subscribers," said CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves in a statement about the deal. "Across CBS, we are constantly finding new ways to monetize our programming by capitalizing on opportunities presented by technology. This works best when you have outstanding premium content – like we do at Showtime – and when you have a terrific partner like Apple – which continues to innovate and build upon its loyal customer base," he added.

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Apple Recalls Beats Pill XL Speakers As Fire Risk
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 11:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's hot-sounds department:
An anonymous reader writes: Apple has released a voluntary recall announcement for the Beats Pill XL range of speakers, advising customers that the rechargeable device is a fire risk, and advising them to stop using the devices immediately. Apple bought the manufacturers out in 2014 after the successful release of the XL speaker range in November 2013. The announcement reads in part: "Because customer safety is the company’s top priority, Apple is asking customers to stop using their Beats Pill XL speakers. Customers who purchased a Beats Pill XL speaker should visit www.apple.com/support/beats-pillxl-recall for details about how to return their product to Apple, and how to receive an Apple Store credit or electronic payment of $325."

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LHC Restarts High-Energy Quest For Exotic Physics
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 10:16 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's looking-for-the-unknown department:
astroengine writes: It's official: After a long 27 month hiatus for upgrades and a 2 month restart, the world's largest particle accelerator is back in the particle collision business. As of 10:40 a.m. CET (5:40 a.m. ET), the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was running at record-breaking energies and collecting science data. Physicists now expect the particle collider to run non-stop for the next 3 years. We are in a new era of high-energy particle physics where, for the first time, we don't exactly know what we'll find. "With the LHC back in the collision-production mode, we celebrate the end of two months of beam commissioning," said CERN Director of Accelerators and Technology Frédérick Bordry in a press release. "It is a great accomplishment and a rewarding moment for all of the teams involved in the work performed during the long shutdown of the LHC, in the powering tests and in the beam commissioning process. All these people have dedicated so much of their time to making this happen."

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Fallout 4 Announced
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 09:33 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's dovahkiin-with-a-sniper-rifle-please department:
An anonymous reader writes: After teasing gamers with a countdown timer yesterday, Bethesda has now announced Fallout 4 for PCs, the Xbox One, and the PS4. They've also released an official trailer (YouTube video). The game will be set in post-apocalyptic Boston, and the player character will apparently be accompanied on his adventures by a dog. The Guardian has a post cataloging the features they're hoping will be improved from previous games in the series: "The combat system in the last two Fallout games was not universally adored. It often felt you were shooting wildly and blindly, biding time before you could use the the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting (VAT) system, which allows players to focus in on specific parts of enemies with a percentage chance of hitting them. ... Well-written, hand-crafted quests are going to be vitally important. The Radiant Quest system used in Skyrim sounds brilliant on paper: infinite quests, randomly generated and a little different each time. But the reality was a lot of fetch quests in similar looking caves. Bethesda may be tempted to bring that system across to Fallout 4, but there's an argument for abandoning dynamic quests altogether and opting for a smaller range of authored challenges."

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Ask Slashdot: If You Were Building a New Home, What Cool New Tech Would You Put In?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 08:47 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's delivery-drone-countermeasures department:
An anonymous reader writes: I am starting the process of building a new home, and I would like to make the house as wired (or wireless) as possible. At this stage I can incorporate new tech in the design. What features do you have in your house that you just couldn't live without? What features are nice to have? What features do you want? In-home Fiber? Solar? Audio/Visual? Heating/Cooling?

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Why Is It a Crime For Dennis Hastert To Evade Government Scrutiny?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's laws-that-serve-the-lawmakers department:
HughPickens.com writes: Dennis Hastert is about the least sympathetic figure one can imagine. The former House Speaker got filthy rich as a lobbyist trading on contacts he gained in office, and his leadership coincided with Congress's abject failure to exercise oversight or protect civil liberties after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Now, Hastert stands accused of improper sexual contact with a boy he knew years ago while teaching high school and trying to hide that sordid history by paying the young man to keep quiet. If federal prosecutors could meet the legal thresholds for charging and convicting Hastert of a sex crime, they would be fully justified in aggressively pursuing the matter.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Valve Introduces Steam Refunds In Advance of Summer Sale
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's refund-reason:-game-did-not-paint-my-house department:
Deathspawner writes: Despite all of its competition, Valve's Steam service remains the most popular digital PC game store around. While Steam does do a lot of things right, it can sometimes stumble in the worst of ways. Look no further than April's Skyrim mod debacle as a good example. Well, just as Valve fixed up that issue, it's gone ahead and fixed another: it's making refunds dead simple. While refunds have been possible in the past, it's required gamers to jump through hoops to get them. Now, Valve has set certain criteria for granting a refund, no questions asked: if you've bought the game within the past two weeks and played it for two hours or less, your refund is guaranteed.
The changes are being welcomed by most, but not all: some developers of smaller games that take less time to play through are worried that this will lead to abuse, and the system may enable more risk-free review-bombing as well.

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Diphtheria Returns To Spain For Lack of Vaccination
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-vaccine-for-stupidity department:
TuringTest writes: A six-year-old child was admitted to a hospital in Barcelona and diagnosed with diphtheria, which hasn't occurred in Spain since 1986 and was largely unheard of in western Europe. The boy had not been vaccinated despite the vaccine being available in free vaccination programs. Spanish general health secretary called anti-vaccination campaigns "irresponsible" and said: "The right to vaccination is for children, not for the parents to decide." The child is in critical condition, though he's now being treated with a serum expressly brought from Russia through an emergency procedure.

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How Dinosaurs Shrank and Became Birds
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 06:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's rick-moranis-finally-cleared-of-suspicion department:
An anonymous reader writes: Discoveries have shown that bird-specific features like feathers began to emerge long before the evolution of birds, indicating that birds simply adapted a number of pre-existing features to a new use. And recent research suggests that a few simple changes — among them the adoption of a more babylike skull shape into adulthood — likely played essential roles in the final push to bird-hood. Not only are birds much smaller than their dinosaur ancestors, they closely resemble dinosaur embryos. Adaptations such as these may have paved the way for modern birds' distinguishing features, namely their ability to fly and their remarkably agile beaks. The work demonstrates how huge evolutionary changes can result from a series of small evolutionary steps.

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Typing 'http://:' Into a Skype Message Trashes the Installation Beyond Repair
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 06:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bug-of-the-year department:
An anonymous reader writes: A thread at the Skype community forums has brought to light a critical bug in Microsoft's Skype clients for Windows, iOS and Android: typing the incorrect URL initiator <tt>http://:</tt> into a text message on Skype will crash the client so badly that it can only be repaired by installing an older version and awaiting a fix from Microsoft. The bug does not affect OS X or the 'Metro'-style Windows clients — which means, effectively, that Mac users could kill the Skype installations on other platforms just by sending an eight-character message.

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nmap Maintainer Warns He Doesn't Control nmap SourceForge Mirror
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's shorter-weekend department:
vivaoporto writes: Gordon Lyon (better known as Fyodor, author of nmap and maintainer of the internet security resource sites insecure.org, nmap.org, seclists.org, and sectools.org) warns on the nmap development mailing list that he does not control the SourceForge nmap project.

According to him the old Nmap project page (located at http://sourceforge.net/projects/nmap/, screenshot) was changed to a blank page and its contents were moved to a new page (http://sourceforge.net/projects/nmap.mirror/, screenshot) which is controlled by sf-editor1 and sf-editor3, in a pattern mirroring the much discussed takeover of the GIMP-Win page discussed last week on Ars Technica, IT World and eventually this week on Slashdot.

On Monday, Sourceforge promised to stop "presenting third party offers for unmaintained SourceForge projects," and to their credit Fyodor states, "So far they seem to be providing just the official Nmap files," but reiterates "that you should only download Nmap from our official SSL Nmap site: https://nmap.org/download.html."

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Google Diversity Report Straight Out of 'How To Lie With Statistics' Playbook
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 04:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-unlike-every-other-corporate-report department:
theodp writes: Among the books recommended by Bill Gates for beach reading this summer is How to Lie With Statistics, the published-in-1954-but-timely-as-ever introduction to the (mis)use of statistics. So, how can one lie with statistics? "Sometimes it is percentages that are given and raw figures that are missing," explains the book, "and this can be deceptive too." So, does this explain Google's just-released Diversity Report and the accompanying chock-full-o-percentages narrative (find-all-%-image), which boasts "the Black community in grew [sic] by 38 percent", while the less-impressive raw figures — e.g., the number of Google employees increased by 5,928, but the ranks of Black females only increased by 35 (less than 0.6% of the net increase) — are relegated to a PDF of its EEO-1 Report that's linked to in the fine-print footnotes? To be fair to Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Apple and Amazon didn't want people to see their EEO-1 numbers, either.

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PayPal Will Be Able To Robo-Text/Call Users With No Opt-out Starting July 1
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 03:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's change-your-listed-phone-number-to-their-customer-support-line department:
OutOnARock notes that as PayPal separates from eBay in the coming months, new terms of service are set to take effect on July 1st. Most of the changes unexciting, but one provision has consumer rights groups up in arms: PayPal is granting itself the ability to use automated systems to call and text users. These robocalls could happen for something as serious as debt collection or as frivolous as advertisements. What's more, the company grants the same rights to its affiliates. Activists are questioning the legality of these changes. "Given that both the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (which created the Do Not Call list) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ban most robocalling and texting, this seemed in direct opposition to consumer protections granted Americans by Congress." PayPal says it will comply with all laws, but their actions may spark a legal debate about whether terms of service can qualify as "written consent."

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100kb of Unusual Code Protecting Nuclear, ATC and United Nations Systems
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '15 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's norton-antivirus-from-1991 department:
An anonymous reader writes: For an ex-academic security company still in the seeding round, startup Abatis has a small but interesting roster of clients, including Lockheed Martin, the Swiss military, the United Nations and customers in the civil nuclear and air traffic control sectors. The company's product, a kernel driver compatible with Windows, Linux and Unix, occupies just 100kb with no dependencies, and reportedly achieves a 100% effectiveness rate against intruders by preventing unauthorized I/O activity. The CEO of Abatis claims, "We can stop zero day malware — the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns." The software requires no use of signature files, white-listing, heuristics or sandboxing, with a separate report from Lockheed Martin confirming very significant potential for energy savings — up to £125,000 per year in a data center with 10,000 servers.

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Tim Cook: "Weakening Encryption Or Taking It Away Harms Good People"
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '15 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's plans-i-crpytion-scheme-for-only-good-people department:
Patrick O'Neill writes: Over the last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly made headlines as a spearpoint in the new crypto wars. As FBI director James Comey pushes for legally mandated backdoors on encryption, Cook has added default strong encryption to Apple devices and vocally resisted Comey's campaign. Echoing warnings from technical experts across the world, Cook said that adding encryption backdoors for law enforcement would weaken the security of all devices and "is incredibly dangerous," he said last night at the Electronic Privacy Information Center awards dinner. "So let me be crystal clear: Weakening encryption or taking it away harms good people who are using it for the right reason."

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