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The Upsides of a Surveillance Society

Slashdot - 1 hour 4 min ago
theodp writes Citing the comeuppance of ESPN reporter Britt McHenry, who was suspended from her job after her filmed ad-hominem attack on a person McHenry deemed to be beneath her in terms of appearance, education, wealth, class, status went viral, The Atlantic's Megan Garber writes that one silver lining of the omnipresence of cameras it that the possibility of exposure can also encourage us to be a little kinder to each other. "Terrible behavior," Garber writes, "whether cruel or violent or something in between, has a greater possibility than it ever has before of being exposed. Just as Uber tracks ratings for both its drivers and its users, and just as Yelp can be a source of shaming for businesses and customers alike, technology at large has afforded a reciprocity between people who, in a previous era, would have occupied different places on the spectrum of power. Which can, again, be a bad thing — but which can also, in McHenry's case, be an extremely beneficial one. It's good that her behavior has been exposed. It's good that her story going viral might discourage similar behavior from other people. It's good that she has publicly promised 'to learn from this mistake.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Dutch Prosecutors Launch Criminal Investigation Against Uber For Flouting Ban

Slashdot - 2 hours 6 min ago
An anonymous reader writes Dutch prosecutors have announced that they are prosecuting taxi-hailing giant Uber for continuing to disregard last December's ban on the company offering its unlicensed UberPOP service in the Netherlands. The statement declares 'The company Uber is now a suspect...This means a preliminary examination will be started to collect evidence that Uber is providing illegal transportation on a commercial basis,'. Dutch police presented evidence to the prosecutors of UberPOP drivers in Amsterdam ignoring the ban, and at the time of writing the UberPOP service is still available via Uber's Amsterdam website [https://www.uber.com/cities/amsterdam]. Though Uber inspires new litigation on a weekly basis in the territories in which it is seeking to consolidate its services, this is the first time it has been the subject of a criminal prosecution.

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Verizon Fios' shift to 'skinny bundles' runs afoul of ESPN

CNET NEWS - 2 hours 50 min ago
The Disney-owned ESPN says an a la carte subscription plan would violate contracts.






Resistance To Antibiotics Found In Isolated Amazonian Tribe

Slashdot - 3 hours 2 min ago
sciencehabit writes When scientists first made contact with an isolated village of Yanomami hunter-gatherers in the remote mountains of the Amazon jungle of Venezuela in 2009, they marveled at the chance to study the health of people who had never been exposed to Western medicine or diets. But much to their surprise, these Yanomami's gut bacteria have already evolved a diverse array of antibiotic-resistance genes, according to a new study, even though these mountain people had never ingested antibiotics or animals raised with drugs. The find suggests that microbes have long evolved the capability to fight toxins, including antibiotics, and that preventing drug resistance may be harder than scientists thought.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

'I got my heroes back': Why the new 'Star Wars' trailer made me cry

CNET NEWS - 3 hours 19 min ago
The new "Force Awakens" trailer transports CNET's Tania Gonzalez to her youth in Mexico, where she and her brother turned broomsticks into lightsabers and her dog played the role of droid "Arturito."






Private bus startup Leap hit with complaint under US disabilities law

Arstechnica - 3 hours 21 min ago

 Chris Pangilinan, a former San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency engineer who uses a wheelchair, has alleged that new private bus startup Leap is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As such, Pangilinan recently filed a formal complaint with the Department of Justice.

Leap recently launched its service, offering interested commuters a luxury transit option that includes things like Wi-Fi, more personal space, and refreshments. Leap charges riders $6 per fare (more than double what local buses charge), and riders use the company's smartphone app to pay for fare or refreshments as well as to monitor when the buses are approaching.

Pangilinan, who moved away from San Francisco before Leap launched its service, said he found the company’s lack of accessibility "pretty shocking." His complaint alleges that Leap "removed features that made the buses previously wheelchair accessible, such as the front door ramp, and wheelchair securement areas within the vehicle."

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FBI can’t cut Internet and pose as cable guy to search property, judge says

Arstechnica - 3 hours 41 min ago

A federal judge issued a stern rebuke Friday to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's method for breaking up an illegal online betting ring. The Las Vegas court frowned on the FBI's ruse of disconnecting Internet access to $25,000-per-night villas at Caesar's Palace Hotel and Casino. FBI agents posed as the cable guy and secretly searched the premises.

The government claimed the search was legal because the suspects invited the agents into the room to fix the Internet. US District Judge Andrew P. Gordon wasn't buying it. He ruled that if the government could get away with such tactics like those they used to nab gambling kingpin Paul Phua and some of his associates, then the government would have carte blanche power to search just about any property.

"Permitting the government to create the need for the occupant to invite a third party into his or her home would effectively allow the government to conduct warrantless searches of the vast majority of residents and hotel rooms in America," Gordon wrote in throwing out evidence the agents collected. "Authorities would need only to disrupt phone, Internet, cable, or other 'non-essential' service and then pose as technicians to gain warrantless entry to the vast majority of homes, hotel rooms, and similarly protected premises across America."

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Rocket Lab Unveils "Electric" Rocket Engine

Slashdot - 4 hours 9 min ago
New submitter Adrian Harvey writes The New Zealand based commercial space company Rocket Lab has unveiled their new rocket engine which the media is describing as battery-powered. It still uses rocket fuel, of course, but has an entirely new propulsion cycle which uses electric motors to drive its turbopumps. To add to the interest over the design, it uses 3D printing for all its primary components. First launch is expected this year, with commercial operations commencing in 2016.

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Meet George—1958’s one-of-kind analog computer—at Vintage Computer Festival East

Arstechnica - 4 hours 11 min ago

This is the museum's newest arrival, an analog computer from MIT, which only arrived yesterday.

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The Vintage Computer Festival East is a once-a-year museum exhibit in Wall, New Jersey that shows off vacuum tube and transistor computers from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. While our own John Timmer visited the museum several years ago, we were long overdue to check back on the exhibition. VCF's newest addition made the trip well-worth it.

The incredible piece of big iron you see in the first picture above arrived yesterday. It's a one-of-a-kind analog computer built for MIT, so it doesn't really have a name or model number. Built by George A. Philbrick Researches in 1958, the volunteers at the science center have just taken to calling it "George."

Video: Ars gets a preview of the show from festival organizer, Evan Koblentz. Shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn (video link)

ars.AD.queue.push(["xrailTop", {sz:"300x250", kws:[], collapse: true}]);After this relic arrived at the museum, volunteers were up late into the night assembling it just for the show. It's now mostly put together but non-functional. While many museums aim solely to preserve an item as is, VCF actually refurbishes the computers in its collection. A lot of work remains, but the group will clean years of gunk off the unit in hopes to eventually get George in working order. One of the first upgrades will be replacing the 400 Volt power supply with something a little more modern—and less lethal.

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Can High Intelligence Be a Burden Rather Than a Boon?

Slashdot - 5 hours 9 min ago
HughPickens.com writes David Robson has an interesting article at BBC on the relationship between high intelligence and happiness. "We tend to think of geniuses as being plagued by existential angst, frustration, and loneliness," writes Robson. Think of Virginia Woolf, Alan Turing, or Lisa Simpson – lone stars, isolated even as they burn their brightest." As Ernest Hemingway wrote: "Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know." The first steps to studying the question were taken in 1926 when psychologist Lewis Terman decided to identify and study a group of gifted children. Terman selected 1,500 pupils with an IQ of 140 or more – 80 of whom had IQs above 170. Together, they became known as the "Termites", and the highs and lows of their lives are still being studied to this day. "As you might expect, many of the Termites did achieve wealth and fame – most notably Jess Oppenheimer, the writer of the classic 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy. Indeed, by the time his series aired on CBS, the Termites' average salary was twice that of the average white-collar job. But not all the group met Terman's expectations – there were many who pursued more "humble" professions such as police officers, seafarers, and typists. For this reason, Terman concluded that "intellect and achievement are far from perfectly correlated". Nor did their smarts endow personal happiness. Over the course of their lives, levels of divorce, alcoholism and suicide were about the same as the national average." According to Robson, one possibility is that knowledge of your talents becomes something of a ball and chain. During the 1990s, the surviving Termites were asked to look back at the events in their 80-year lifespan. Rather than basking in their successes, many reported that they had been plagued by the sense that they had somehow failed to live up to their youthful expectations (PDF).

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Op-ed: Why the entire premise of Tor-enabled routers is ridiculous

Arstechnica - 5 hours 31 min ago

Ars recently reviewed two "Tor routers", devices that are supposed to improve your privacy by routing all traffic through the Tor anonymity network. Although the initial release of Anonabox proved woefully insecure, the basic premise itself is flawed. Using these instead of the Tor Browser Bundle is bad: less secure and less private than simply not using these "Tor Routers" in the first place. They are, in a word, EPICFAIL.

There are four possible spies on your traffic when you use these Tor "routers", those who can both see what you do and potentially attack your communication: your ISP, the websites themselves, the Tor exit routers, and the NSA with its 5EYES buddies.

Now it's true that these devices do protect you against your ISP. And if your ISP wants to extort over $30 per month for them to not spy on you, this does offer protection. But if you want protection from your ISP, just use a VPN service or run your own VPN using Amazon EC2 ($9.50/month plus $.09/GB bandwidth for a t2 micro instance). These services offer much better performance and equal privacy. At the same time, if your ISP wants to extort your privacy, choose a different ISP.

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Kingston HyperX Predator SSD Takes Gumstick M.2 PCIe Drives To 1.4GB/sec

Slashdot - 6 hours 9 min ago
MojoKid writes Kingston recently launched their HyperX Predator PCIe SSD that is targeted at performance-minded PC enthusiasts but is much less expensive than enterprise-class PCIe offerings that are currently in market. Kits are available in a couple of capacities and form factors at 240GB and 480GB. All of the drives adhere to the 80mm M.2 2280 "gumstick" form factor and have PCIe 2.0 x4 connections, but are sold both with and without a half-height, half-length adapter card, if you'd like to drop it into a standard PCI Express slot. At the heart of the Kingston HyperX Predator is Marvell's latest 88SS9293 controller. The Marvell 88SS9293 is paired to a gigabyte of DDR3 memory and Toshiba A19 Toggle NAND. The drives are rated for read speeds up to 1.4GB/s and writes of 1GB/s and 130 – 160K random 4K IOPS. In the benchmarks, the 480GB model put up strong numbers. At roughly $1 per GiB, the HyperX Predator is about on par with Intel's faster SSD 750, but unlike Intel's new NVMe solution, the Kingston drive will work in all legacy platforms as well, not just Z97 and X99 boards with a compatible UEFI BIOS.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Preview: Magicka 2 might be more wizardry than I can handle

Arstechnica - 7 hours 1 min ago

The original Magicka was something of a surprise hit for publisher Paradox Interactive. The top-down, dungeon crawler by way of twin-stick shooter was a big enough seller back early in 2011 to sustain half-a-dozen updates since, including Magicka: Vietnam, an iOS spin-off, minor paid expansions, and of course a MOBA tie- in the form of Magicka: Wizard Wars.

The popularity of the series probably has something to do with the inbuilt sense of humor. Magicka was a colorful, light, and pun-filled fantasy parody with wizards endlessly lighting each other (and themselves) on fire with a silly and incomprehensible magical combo system. This is especially surprising from Paradox, a company otherwise known for its dry European war simulations and political strategy games.

Magicka 2, the first direct sequel to the original, continues that tradition, but without the original developers at Arrowhead Game Studios. They've since moved on to games like Gauntlet and Helldivers—titles that continue to play on the idea of accidentally screwing over yourself and your friends, but with new twists and styles.

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Hacked Sony Emails Reveal That Sony Had Pirated Books About Hacking

Slashdot - 7 hours 3 min ago
An anonymous reader writes Sony has done a lot of aggressive anti-piracy work in their time, which makes it that much funnier that pirated ebooks were found on their servers from the 2014 hacks that just went on to WikiLeaks. Better yet, the pirated books are educational books about hacking called "Inside Cyber Warfare" and "Hacking the Next Generation" from O'Reilly publishers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

What life is like on the International Space Station (pictures)

CNET NEWS - 7 hours 31 min ago
Upside-down naps, suction toilets, incinerated laundry -- this is life on the ISS.






Twitter Moves Non-US Accounts To Ireland, and Away From the NSA

Slashdot - 8 hours 56 sec ago
Mark Wilson writes Twitter has updated its privacy policy, creating a two-lane service that treats U.S. and non-U.S. users differently. If you live in the U.S., your account is controlled by San Francisco-based Twitter Inc, but if you're elsewhere in the world (anywhere else) it's handled by Twitter International Company in Dublin, Ireland. The changes also affect Periscope. What's the significance of this? Twitter Inc is governed by U.S. law; it is obliged to comply with NSA-driven court requests for data. Data stored in Ireland is not subject to the same obligation. Twitter is not alone in using Dublin as a base for non-U.S. operations; Facebook is another company that has adopted the same tactic. The move could also have implications for how advertising is handled in the future.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Science by robot: Outfitting the world’s “smartest” lake

Arstechnica - 8 hours 31 min ago

ars.AD.queue.push(["xrailTop", {sz:"300x250", kws:[], collapse: true}]);BOLTON LANDING, New York—Arriving at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's field research station on the shores of lovely Lake George, the offices appeared deserted. The station's staff didn't hide from us; they had all relocated to another building for a training session on a new piece of technology. They've been doing a lot of that lately.

The scene in their meeting room was mostly pretty standard—tables, chairs, coffee, and snacks—but not many field stations have a shiny new nine-panel computer display on the wall. And no field stations have what that display will soon be showing.

Nestled along the eastern edge of New York’s stout and beautiful Adirondack Mountains, south of sprawling Lake Champlain, Lake George is a long, glacially sculpted basin filled by clear waters. The lake is 51 kilometers long, doesn’t get much more than three kilometers wide, and has long been a natural attraction. Thomas Jefferson once called it “the most beautiful water I ever saw." But today, a partnership between IBM, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the local FUND for Lake George has a different descriptor in mind—“smartest” lake in the world. It's an effort dubbed the “Jefferson Project.”

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How to solve Silicon Valley's diversity challenges? Google has ideas

CNET NEWS - 8 hours 31 min ago
Google says it knows Silicon Valley needs to do a better job of employing women and minorities. One company program hopes to solve the problem by looking to historically black colleges.






Google Ready To Unleash Thousands of Balloons In Project Loon

Slashdot - 9 hours 13 min ago
jfruh writes Google has figured out how to produce an Internet-broadcast balloon in a few hours, and is on the verge of unleashing Project Loon onto the world. The project, which will work with ISPs to beam LTE cellular signals to remote regions that don't have Internet access, will be working with local ISPs rather than selling broadband directly to customers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Origin of the First Light In the Universe

Slashdot - 12 hours 56 sec ago
StartsWithABang writes Before there were planets, galaxies, or even stars in the Universe, there really was light. We see that light, left over today, in the form of the Cosmic Microwave Background, or the remnant glow from the Big Bang. But these photons outnumber the matter in our Universe by more than a-billion-to-one, and are the most numerous thing around. So where did they first come from? Science has the answer.

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