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Submission + - California to license self-driving cars (

DevotedSkeptic writes: "Californian senators have passed a bill that looks set to make the state the second in the US to approve self-driving cars on its roads.

The bill was passed unanimously by state senators, and now hits the desk of governor Jerry Brown, who's expected to sign it into law.

It calls on the California Department of Motor Vehicles to start developing standards and licensing procedures for autonomous vehicles.

"This bill would require the department to adopt safety standards and performance requirements to ensure the safe operation and testing of 'autonomous vehicles', as defined, on the public roads in this
state," it reads.

"The bill would permit autonomous vehicles to be operated or tested on the public roads in this state pending the adoption of safety standards and performance requirements that would be adopted
under this bill."

Until these standards are developed, though, it's unclear precisely under what conditions driverless cars will be allowed to operate. It's pretty certain that a driver will be required to sit behind the steering wheel at all times, as in Nevada.

Google's already been testing its autonomous vehicles on California roads for some time. In a recent blog post, engineering lead Chris Urmson said that the company's cars had now completed more than 300,000 miles of testing without a single accident.

Don't expect to be riding in a self-driving car any time soon, though.

"To provide the best experience we can, we’ll need to master snow-covered roadways, interpret temporary construction signals and handle other tricky situations that many drivers encounter," says Urmson.

"As a next step, members of the self-driving car team will soon start using the cars solo (rather than in pairs), for things like commuting to work. This is an important milestone, as it brings this technology one step closer to every commuter.""


Submission + - Torvalds pours scorn on De Icaza's desktop claims ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: Linux creator Linus Torvalds has poured scorn on claims made by the co-founder of the GNOME Desktop project, Miguel de Icaza, that he (Torvalds) was in any way to blame for the lack of development in Linux desktop initiatives.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What Stories Would You Like to See Investigated? 8

JoshJPhilipp writes: "I work as a journalist. Yes, at a newspaper. My theory is that investigative journalism and good feature stories are key points for newspapers to stay relevant these days, but unfortunately I think the art of journalism has fallen too much into well-written nonsense. I’m curious what types of stories you would like to see. Are there any issues you know of that should be investigated or that you’d like to see covered? And on that note, are there any topics you think aren’t getting enough coverage or that you would like to see journalists giving more weight to?"

Submission + - High Tech Companies Becoming Fools for the City

theodp writes: Drawn by amenities and talent, the WSJ reports that tech firms are saying goodbye to office parks and opting for cities. Pinterest, Zynga, Yelp, Square, Twitter, and are some of the more notable tech companies who are taking up residence in San Francisco. New York City's Silicon Alley is now home to more than 500 new start-up companies like Kickstarter and Tumblr, not to mention the gigantic Google satellite in the old Port Authority Building. London, Seattle, and even downtown Las Vegas are also seeing infusions of techies. So, why are tech companies eschewing Silicon Valley and going all Fool for the City? 'Silicon Valley proper is soul-crushing suburban sprawl,' Paul Graham presciently explained in 2006. 'It has fabulous weather, which makes it significantly better than the soul-crushing sprawl of most other American cities. But a competitor that managed to avoid sprawl would have real leverage.'
Data Storage

Submission + - How do I De-Dup a system with 4.2 million files? 2

jamiedolan writes: I've managed to consolidate most of my old data from the last decade onto drives attached to my main Windows 7 PC. Lots of files of all types from digital photos & scans to HD video files (also web site backup's mixed in which are the cause of such a high number of files). In more recent times I've organized files in a reasonable folder system and have an active / automated backup system. The problem is that I know that I have many old files that have been duplicated multiple times across my drives (many from doing quick backups of important data to an external drive that later got consolidate onto a single larger drive), chewing up space. I tried running a free de-dup program, but it ran for a week straight and was still "processing" when I finally gave up on it. I have a fast system, i7 2.8Ghz with 16GB of ram, but currently have 4.9TB of data with a total of 4.2 million files. Manual sorting is out of the question due to the number of files and my old sloppy filing (folder) system. I do need to keep the data, nuking it is not a viable option. Thanks. Jamie Dolan
United States

Submission + - GOP opposes net neutrality, internet piracy (

ericjones12398 writes: "While GOP candidates won't stop publicly disavowing it, all eyes are on the Republican platform. The convention, which closed Thursday, inserted a number of controversial planks regarding abortion, English-only laws and a committee to examine the possibility of returning to the gold standard. Receiving considerably less attention was the downright Orwellian naming of the "Internet freedom plank," which opposes net neutrality."

Submission + - Ale to the Chief: White House Releases Beer Recipe (

wiredmikey writes: Sam Kass, White House Assistant Chef and the Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives, after much buzz, today released the recipe for White House Honey Ale and White House Honey Porter, two brews made right on site at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

According to Kass, the White House Honey Brown Ale is the first alcohol brewed or distilled on the White House grounds, as far as they know. "George Washington brewed beer and distilled whiskey at Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson made wine but there's no evidence that any beer has been brewed in the White House. (Although we do know there was some drinking during prohibition)," Kass wrote in a blog post.

The recipe can be found here along with a short video "Inside The White House Beer Brewing" which shows the brewing in process. Your tax dollars hard at work yet again!


Submission + - Google Patents Software that Identifies Real World Objects within Videos (

hypnosec writes: Google has been recently granted a patent that could not only improve online search but, also will possibly give the search engine giant an awful lot of information about the world. Google, through the software, wants to scan and analyze the content within videos, YouTube videos most probably, and look for objects in the real world, identify them, and make a catalogue out of those objects. The patent describes Google’s technology of scanning a video, picking out landmarks, objects and context; and subsequent tagging and categorization.

Submission + - Radioactive Decay Influenced by the Sun (

quax writes: In school you probably learned that the decay rate of radioactive matter is solely determined by the halftime specific to the element. There is no environmental factor that can somehow tweak this process. At least there shouldn’t be. Now a second study confirmed previous findings that the decay rate of some elements seems to be under the subtle and mysterious influence of the sun. As of now there is no theoretical explanation for this strange effect buried in the decay rate data.

Submission + - Human-Powered Helicopter Team Sets New Records for Altitude and Flight Duration (

daltec writes: The $250,000 American Helicopter Society Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition prize, unclaimed since 1980, is now within Gamera II’s reach. On Thursday, the University of Maryland’s Clark School of Engineering team unofficially satisfied two of the three American Helicopter Society Sikorsky Prize requirements. The giant craft flew for 65 seconds, stayed within a 10 square meter area and hovered at two feet of altitude. New unofficial U.S. and world flight duration records were also set. The team expects to make their next attempt Saturday.

Submission + - Space Station Spacewalkers Stymied by Stubborn Bolt 3

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Reuters reports that astronauts at the International Space Station ran into problems after removing the station's 100-kg power-switching unit, one of four used in a system that distributes electrical power generated by the station's solar array wings, and were stymied after repeated attempts to attach the new device failed when a bolt jammed, preventing astronauts from hooking it up into the station's power grid. Japanese Astronaut Akihiko Hoshide got the bolt to turn nine times but engineers need 15 turns to secure the power-switching unit. "We're kind of at a loss of what else we can try," said astronaut Jack Fischer at NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston after more than an hour of trouble-shooting. "If you guys have any thoughts or ideas or brilliant schemes on what we can do, let us know." Hoshide suggested using a tool that provides more force on bolts, but NASA engineers are reluctant to try anything that could make the situation worse and as the spacewalk slipped past seven hours, flight controllers told the astronauts to tether the unit in place, clean up their tools and head back into the station's airlock. NASA officials says the failure to secure the new unit won't disrupt station operations but it will force engineers to carefully distribute electrical power from three operating units to various station systems and says another attempt to install the power distributor could come as early as next week if engineers can figure out what to do with the stubborn bolt. "We're going to figure it out another day," says Fischer."

Submission + - Don't download that app: US presidential candidates will STALK you with it ( 1

puddingebola writes: Apps released by both the Obama and Romney campaigns have been found to have "privacy issues." From the article: "Experts at GFI Software looked at the Android versions of both apps, discovering both to be surprisingly invasive.
Obama for America and Mitt’s VP request permissions, access to services and data and capabilities beyond their core mandate."


Submission + - Will Developers Finally Start Coding On iPad? 1

An anonymous reader writes: It's not so long since Apple silently dropped the restriction about iOS apps for programming — iPad owners can now code in Lua with Codea or with Python for iOS. Yesterday, a new app called Kodiak PHP brought another IDE to the iPad, this time for PHP coders. Pandodaily's Nathaniel Mott describes it as a full-blooded software development tool with comparison to other iOS apps. Cult of Mac reports that the demise of the Mac might be closer than we think, but are developers really ready to use the on-screen keyboard to do some serious work?

Submission + - Microsoft download potentially private/sensitive files due to SmartScreen filter ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Internet Explorer's SmartScreen filter phones home to Microsoft with information about files a user has downloaded, not only do they have the file name but a short time afterwards they download three copies of the file to MSN servers! Security researchers from the UK have updated research information from 2011 testing IE's SmartScreen filter on IE10 and believe that this is a major invasion of privacy.

Submission + - Gottfrid Svartholm Warg arrested in Cambodia

An anonymous reader writes: The Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, alias "anakata", was arrested two days ago in Pnohm Pehn, Cambodia and may soon be facing extradition to Sweden (alternate sources: Aftonbladet (swedish), IDG (swedish)). He was sentenced to one year in prison for his involvement in The Pirate Bay in 2009 and failed to appear at the prison to serve his sentence.

On a related note, the domain seems to have been registered today although it currently isn't resolving.

Submission + - Computer Simulated Knitting (

mikejuk writes: Simulating cloth is big business — how else can CGI characters get to wear any clothes? Now, as well as simple fabrics, graphics designers can have knitwear on their virtual clothes racks.
Cem Yuksel of the University of Utah, Jonathan Kaldor of Facebook, and Steve Marschner and Doug James of Cornell have tackled the problem of rendering knitted material. Rather than trying to create a full 3D model of the knitted surface the approach is to use a model of a single stitch, render it and then use it to tile the surface. The 3D model has an extra stitch mesh added to it and a pattern of stitches is built up for each of the appropriate tiles to fill.The process of rendering the final knitted surface has to be done off-line and it is slow. This means that, at the moment at least, it can't be easily used for real-time games, but for CGI movies it is just another batch rendering process to add to the mix. paper.pdf


Submission + - NASA craft to leave asteroid heads for dwarf planet Ceres (

DevotedSkeptic writes: "NASA's Dawn probe is gearing up to depart the giant asteroid Vesta next week and begin the long trek to the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt.

The Dawn spacecraft is slated to leave Vesta on the night of Sept. 4 (early morning Sept. 5 EDT), ending a 14-month stay at the 330-mile-wide (530 kilometers) body. The journey to Ceres should take roughly 2.5 years, with Dawn reaching the dwarf planet in early 2015, researchers said.

"Thrust is engaged, and we are now climbing away from Vesta atop a blue-green pillar of xenon ions," Dawn chief engineer and mission director Marc Rayman, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement. "We are feeling somewhat wistful about concluding a fantastically productive and exciting exploration of Vesta, but now have our sights set on dwarf planet Ceres.""