By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Illudium-Q-36-Space-Modulator department
john of sparta quotes Defense One: The Defense Department's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program, or JNLWD, is pushing ahead with a new direct energy weapon that uses high-powered microwaves to stop cars in their tracks without damaging the vehicle, its driver, or anyone else.
The jammer works by targeting the car's engine control unit causing it to reboot over and over, stalling the engine. Like an invisible hand, the microwaves hold the car in place. "Anything that has electronics on it, these high-powered microwaves will affect," David Law, who leads JNLWD's technology division, said in March. "As long as the [radio] is on, it holds the vehicle stopped."
It weighs 400 pounds -- it's the size of a large copy machine -- and uses 300 kilowatts of power that's generated by a gasoline-powered turbine. "To deploy it, the driver would pull out in front of the attacker and turn it on."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's calling-your-methods department
Long-time Slashdot reader Martin S. pointed us to this an excerpt from the new book Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley by Portland-based investigator reporter Corey Pein.
The author shares what he realized at a job recruitment fair seeking Java Legends, Python Badasses, Hadoop Heroes, "and other gratingly childish classifications describing various programming specialities."
I wasn't the only one bluffing my way through the tech scene. Everyone was doing it, even the much-sought-after engineering talent. I was struck by how many developers were, like myself, not really programmers, but rather this, that and the other. A great number of tech ninjas were not exactly black belts when it came to the actual onerous work of computer programming. So many of the complex, discrete tasks involved in the creation of a website or an app had been automated that it was no longer necessary to possess knowledge of software mechanics. The coder's work was rarely a craft. The apps ran on an assembly line, built with "open-source", off-the-shelf components. The most important computer commands for the ninja to master were copy and paste...
< article continued at Slashdot's calling-your-methods department
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's rocking-the-world department
The New York Times reports on rocks in the country of Oman that react naturally with carbon dioxide, turning it into stone.
Scientists say that if this natural process, called carbon mineralization, could be harnessed, accelerated and applied inexpensively on a huge scale -- admittedly some very big "ifs" -- it could help fight climate change. Rocks could remove some of the billions of tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide that humans have pumped into the air since the beginning of the Industrial Age. And by turning that CO2 into stone, the rocks in Oman -- or in a number of other places around the world that have similar geological formations -- would ensure that the gas stayed out of the atmosphere forever...
Capturing and storing carbon dioxide, is drawing increased interest. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that deploying such technology is essential to efforts to rein in global warming... At a geothermal power plant in Iceland, after several years of experimentation, an energy company is injecting modest amounts of carbon dioxide into volcanic rock, where it becomes mineralized. Dutch researchers have suggested spreading a kind of crushed rock along coastlines to capture CO2. And scientists in Canada and South Africa are studying ways to use mine wastes, called tailings, to do the same thing.
Meanwhile, the Guardian reports an alternate perspective from 86-year-old social scientist Mayer Hillman: "We're doomed." He's predicting the end of most life on the planet, citing the lack of any way to reverse the process that's already melting the polar ice caps.
"Optimism about the future is wishful thinking, says Hillman. He believes that accepting that our civilization is doomed could make humanity rather like an individual who recognizes he is terminally ill. Such people rarely go on a disastrous binge; instead, they do all they can to prolong their lives."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's cutting-the-cords department
An anonymous reader quotes Investor's Business Daily:
Shares in Charter Communications plunged after the cable TV firm reported first quarter earnings and lost more video subscribers than expected, also sparking a sell-off in Comcast and Altice USA... Charter said it lost 122,000 video subscribers, nearly triple analyst predictions for a fall of 43,000. Comcast on Wednesday said it lost 96,000 video subscribers, exceeding estimates for a drop of 75,000.... With Friday's sell-off, Comcast stock is down 20% in 2018, with Charter falling more than 24%...
Cable TV firms aren't the only losers. AT&T this week said it lost 187,000 pay-TV customers, including satellite TV subscribers and its U-verse landline business. AT&T's DirecTV Now internet streaming service added 312,000 customers. But AT&T garners much lower profit margins from video streaming.
Cable companies are now raising prices on broadband services to compensate, according to the article.
MarketWatch notes that Charter also lost 100,000 customers in the same three-month period in 2017, calling the ongoing trend "a fundamental shift in consumer behavior."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's staying-in-your-lane department
A 39-year-old motorist pointed his Tesla S60 down a highway at 40 mph -- while sitting in its passenger seat, leaning back with his hands behind his head. Another motorist spotted the empty driver's seat and filmed the car. Now (nearly a year later) the Tesla's owner "has been banned from driving for 18 months," the Guardian reports.
The driver, from Nottingham, pleaded guilty to one count of dangerous driving after admitting he switched seats when he turned on the car's autopilot mode, leaving the car's brakes and steering wheel unmanned. The driver admitted that the stunt in May last year had been silly, but insisted that he was simply "the unlucky one who got caught" trying out the "amazing" feature on the car.
As well as the 18-month driving ban he was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work. He was also put on a 10-day rehabilitation programme and will have to pay £1,800 in costs.
A police officer called the behavior "reckless," adding that autopilot controls like the ones on Teslas "are in no way a substitute for a competent motorist in the driving seat who can react appropriately to the road ahead."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's general-protection-faults department
In a Q&A with Harvard students, Bill Gates said his foundation's work on K-12 education in the U.S. has had little impact, at least compared to its success in reducing infant mortality in developing countries. The challenge with education, he said, is that it is "essentially a social construct" that depends on creating the right culture of accountability and interactions -- and funding, of course. Gates said if he had a magic wand for the U.S., he would fix education, and for the rest of the world, nutrition.
He also said if he were a college student now, he would study artificial intelligence -- and that he was jealous that someone in the room could solve the problem of creating an AI that can read a book and pass an AP exam.
Gates predicted this generation of graduates will "solve" cancer, as well as the pesky problem of infectious diseases.
And even though his foundation's 20-year effort has failed to improve educaion -- "we'll keep going."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's do-not-pass-Go department
After an "extensive design process," the Go programming language has a "new look and logo," according to Google's lead for Go developer relations, product, and strategy. (Promising that this won't affect Go's gopher mascot.)
Our logo follows the brand's core philosophy of simplicity over complexity... The circular shape of the letters hints at the eyes of the Go gopher, creating a familiar shape and allowing the mark and the mascot to pair well together... In addition to our brand guide we have also developed a presentation theme. This presentation theme will enable us to have a consistent representation of Go in person at meetups and conferences as well as online.
Go community members are welcome to use this theme for their own presentations. The presentations are available as Google Slides presentations. We chose Google Slides as it is easy to share and maintain updates. People are welcome to port them to keynote, PowerPoint, etc. Like this blog and all our gopher images, the slide themes are Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licensed... The brand guide, logo and themes are copyrighted by the Go authors. The brand guide contains the guidelines for acceptable logo use.
It's been more than eight years since the language's launch, and "we wanted the Go brand to reflect where we have been and convey where we are going."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's X-marks-the-spot department
Remember that popular browser extension that let you sync your bookmarks on multiple devices?
Launched in 2006 by Foxmarks (a company created by EFF co-founder Mitch Kapor), it was saved from death in 2010 when it was acquired by the password-management service LastPass. But now BetaNews reports:
If you're a user of Xmarks, there's some bad news for you -- the service is closing down... The bookmark syncing tool, which is available as an addon for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari, is to be shuttered on May 1... Emails have also been sent out to registered users notifying them of the impending closure.
"On May 1, 2018, we will be shutting down Xmarks... After this date, your bookmarks should remain available in any previously accessed browser, but they will no longer sync and your Xmarks account will be deactivated... After careful consideration and evaluation, we have decided to discontinue the Xmarks solution so that we can continue to focus on offering the best possible password vaulting to our community."
It was apparently especially popular with long-time Slashdot reader vm, who writes "I have held on to my Xmarks account over the years because I can always get to them despite changes in operating systems, browsers, employers, etc.
"What do other folks use that may also have a mobile option?"Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's checks-and-balances department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: More than 100 U.S. mayors have signed a pledge to hold internet service providers accountable for net neutrality violations, despite the FCC's vote to repeal the regulations late last year. The pledge, initiated by Mayors Bill de Blasio of New York City, Steve Adler of Austin, and Ted Wheeler of Portland, promises that cities will refuse to do business with ISPs that violate net neutrality standards. The mayors, brought together by a coalition of open internet advocates, including Free Press, Demand Progress, and Daily Kos, have accused FCC Chairman Ajit Pai of caving to corporate interests by giving companies such as AT&T and Verizon the power to "block, throttle and slow access to sites and services at will." A complete list of the cities taking the pledge is available on the campaign's website. At time of writing, nearly 80,000 letters have been sent urging mayors across the country to participate.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's changing-battlefield department
john of sparta shares a report from Yahoo: American forces in Syria are increasingly facing attacks from Russian and Syrian electronic warfare weapons, as Moscow uses the conflict to test its future arsenal. General Raymond Thomas, head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, said that Syria has become "the most aggressive electronic warfare environment on the planet," Breakingdefense.com reported. Speaking at a geospatial intelligence conference in Florida, Gen. Thomas said that Russian and Syrian regime forces "are testing us everyday, knocking our communications down, disabling our [EC-130 aircraft]."
The Lockheed Martin EC-130 Compass Call is one of America's most advanced electronic warfare weapons. Based on the C-130 Hercules, the plane was developed to disrupt enemy communications, radar and command operations. The craft's presence in Syrian skies gives Russia the chance to test its weapons against the best the U.S. has to offer, whether directly or through its Syrian allies. Earlier this month, four anonymous officials told NBC News that Russia has also been regularly targeting smaller U.S. surveillance drones. One of those quoted said Russian operations were having a significant impact on U.S. capabilities. The sophisticated attacks were even successful against encrypted signals and anti-jamming devices, the official said. Slashdot reader john of sparta adds, "Well, it's war; not a surprise..."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's digital-deceoption department
Chloe Rose Stuart-Ulin sheds some light on the world of paid impersonators on dating apps like Tinder. Here's an excerpt from the report: Every morning I wake up to the same routine. I log into the Tinder account of a 45-year-old man from Texas -- a client. I flirt with every woman in his queue for 10 minutes, sending their photos and locations to a central database of potential "Opportunities." For every phone number I get, I make $1.75. I'm what's called a "Closer" for the online-dating service ViDA (Virtual Dating Assistants). Men and women (though mostly men) from all over the world pay this company to outsource the labor and tedium of online dating. The matches I speak to on behalf of the Texan man and other clients have no idea they're chatting with a professional.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that these ghostwriting services exist. Tinder alone produces more than 12 million matches a day, and if you're a heterosexual American, you now have a one in three chance of meeting your future husband or wife online. But as e-romance hits an all-time high, our daily dose of rejection, harassment, and heartbreak creeps upward, too. Once you mix in the vague rules of netiquette and a healthy fear of catfishing scams, it's easy to see why someone might want to outsource their online-dating profile to a pro, if only to keep themselves sane. But where does the digital social assistant end and the con artist begin?Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's red-light-green-light department
The Trump administration plans to freeze Obama-era fuel-efficiency standards starting in 2021, according to a report from The Washington Post. The report says the Trump administration "would go even further by restricting a state's ability to set its own fuel standards, which would be a strike against California and its strict state-specific emissions rules," reports The Verge. From the report: The proposal has been reportedly drafted by the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, and the plan right now is to freeze standards for cars and light trucks at levels set for the year 2021 and keep them their for five years. The Obama administration's rules, which involved a partnership with California and car makers, set standards at 50 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks by 2025. Obama also, through the Clean Air Act, granted California a waiver to set its own, higher standards. That way, if automobile manufacturers wanted to maintain a presence in the lucrative California market, they'd have to abide by the new rules. The Trump administration now says a separate law overrules that arrangement, The Washington Post reports.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's artificially-suppressed department
A new study, published Monday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that exposure to the kind of blue light emitted by outdoor LEDs, smartphones and tablets may increase your risk of breast or prostate cancer. The study compared previous exposure to artificial lights at night between approximately 2,000 breast or prostate cancer patients and approximately 2,000 controls living in Barcelona and Madrid. Slashdot reader al0ha writes: This study seems to say that exposure to LED light temperatures higher than 3,000 Kelvin suppresses melatonin because it contains increased blue light, and at least one city (Davis, California) has gone to the expense of removing higher temperature LED lights and replacing them with ones that have lower color temperatures. Specifically, the study found that "those exposed to high levels of outdoor blue light at night had around a 1.5-fold higher risk of developing breast cancer and a twofold higher risk of developing prostate cancer, compared with those who were less exposed," reports CNN. "Men exposed to high levels of indoor artificial light also had 2.8-fold higher risk of developing prostate cancer, according to the study."Read Replies (0)