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+ - Senate Republicans are getting ready to declare war on patent trolls-> 1

Submitted by XxtraLarGe
XxtraLarGe (551297) writes "Regardless of party affiliation, I think this is probably one thing most of us on Slashdot can applaud:

Republicans are about to take control of the US Senate. And when they do, one of the big items on their agenda will be the fight against patent trolls.

In a Wednesday speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) outlined a proposal to stop abusive patent lawsuits. "Patent trolls – which are often shell companies that do not make or sell anything – are crippling innovation and growth across all sectors of our economy," Hatch said.

"

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+ - Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans 2

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "The halting problem is to determine whether an arbitrary computer program, once started, will ever finish running or whether it will continue forever. In 1936, Alan Turing famously showed that there is no general algorithm that can solve this problem. Now a group of computer scientists and ethicists have used the halting problem to tackle the question of how a weaponised robot could decide to kill a human. Their trick is to reformulate the problem in algorithmic terms by considering an evil computer programmer who writes a piece of software on which human lives depend. The question is whether the software is entirely benign or whether it can ever operate in a way that ends up killing people. In general, a robot could never decide the answer to this question. As a result, autonomous robots should never be designed to kill or harm humans, say the authors, even though various lethal autonomous robots are already available. One curious corollary is that if the human brain is a Turing machine, then humans can never decide this issue either, a point that the authors deliberately steer well clear of."

+ - Botting in games about to become easier/creepier->

Submitted by Atrox Canis
Atrox Canis (1266568) writes "Researchers have been working on Brain to Brain Interface (BBI) technologies for some time now. But a team out of UofW recently conducted an experiment on an extension of this tech. From the abstract...

"An upgraded brain-to-brain interface has allowed researchers to transmit signals from one person's brain over the internet and use those signals to control the hand motions of another person. Remarkably, the system allowed the participants to collaborate on a computer game."

I foresee this becoming a tool for remote management of gaming bots. Imagine a bot farmer in WoW spending his/her days remote controlling dozens of bots (read humans) for farming and selling in-game gold. Don't laugh! I've been convinced for years that bot farmers will try anything. /s"

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+ - Virginia Court: LEOs can force you to provide fingerprint to unlock your phone->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "A Circuit Court judge in Virginia has ruled that fingerprints are not protected by the Fifth Amendment, a decision that has clear privacy implications for fingerprint-protected devices like newer iPhones and iPads.

According to Judge Steven C. Fucci, while a criminal defendant can't be compelled to hand over a passcode to police officers for the purpose of unlocking a cellular device, law enforcement officials can compel a defendant to give up a fingerprint.

The Fifth Amendment states that "no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself," which protects memorized information like passwords and passcodes, but it does not extend to fingerprints in the eyes of the law, as speculated by Wired last year.

Judge Steven C. Frucci ruled this week that giving police a fingerprint is akin to providing a DNA or handwriting sample or an actual key, which the law permits. A pass code, though, requires the defendant to divulge knowledge, which the law protects against, according to Frucci's written opinion.

"

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Comment: Re:H1B applicants are people too (Score 1) 190

by Atrox Canis (#48268243) Attached to: Labor Department To Destroy H-1B Records

I agree. However, the same thing could be accomplished with a simple SQL script to null the fields containing personally identifying information in each record.

Not a conspiracy nut here but I do suspect there are additional motives for purging the data outside of a purely altruistic one.

Comment: Re:OK, that's counted people. And the other stats? (Score 1) 57

by Atrox Canis (#48249573) Attached to: Taking the Census, With Cellphones

I agree, but I think they may be taking this into account. For one, having a detailed mapping of somewhat technically engaged populace gives them just a little more information in regards to determining what segments of the population to randomly select for enhanced census. I know they are supposed to try to hit everyone but with just the right emphasis on how hard to try in certain areas, the results can be skewed enough to matter.

Comment: Re:Kickstarter! (Score 1) 215

by Atrox Canis (#48243257) Attached to: "Police Detector" Monitors Emergency Radio Transmissions

Take the extreme positions out of the argument and both of you start making sense.

No, not all speed zone decisions are made based entirely or even in part on revenue generation possibilities.

No, not all speed zone decisions are made based entirely or even in part on traffic safety considerations.

The problem then becomes, as a driver, which are which? How do I know? How can I find out?

So, I use a radar detector in my daily drive to and from work. Ordinarily, I drive the same speed as everyone else but if I'm the only one on the road, I drive the speed limit. I believe this type of behavior is both civil and safe. And if you don't like the way I drive, you are free to slow the fuck down or speed the fuck up.

+ - As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "After rising rapidly for decades, the number of people behind bars peaked at 1.62 Million in 2009, has been mostly falling ever since down, and many justice experts believe the incarceration rate will continue on a downward trajectory for many years. New York, for example, saw an 8.8% decline in federal and state inmates, and California, saw a 20.6% drop. Now the WSJ reports on an awkward byproduct of the declining U.S. inmate population: empty or under-utilized prisons and jails that must be cared for but can’t be easily sold or repurposed. New York state has closed 17 prisons and juvenile-justice facilities since 2011, following the rollback of the 1970s-era Rockefeller drug laws, which mandated lengthy sentences for low-level offenders. So far, the state has found buyers for 10 of them, at prices that range from less than $250,000 to about $8 million for a facility in Staten Island, often a fraction of what they cost to build. “There’s a prisoner shortage,” says Mike Arismendez, city manager for Littlefield, Texas, home of an empty five-building complex that sleeps 383 inmates and comes with a gym, maintenence shed, armory, and parking lot . “Everybody finds it hard to believe.”

The incarceration rate is declining largely because crime has fallen significantly in the past generation. In addition, many states have relaxed harsh sentencing laws passed during the tough-on-crime 1980s and 1990s, and have backed rehabilitation programs, resulting in fewer low-level offenders being locked up. States from Michigan to New Jersey have changed parole processes, leading more prisoners to leave earlier. On a federal level, the Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder has pushed to reduce sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. Before 2010, the U.S. prison population increased every year for 30 years, from 307,276 in 1978 to a high of 1,615,487 in 2009. “This is the beginning of the end of mass incarceration,” says Natasha Frost. "People don’t care so much about crime, and it’s less of a political focus.""

+ - Journalists Route Around White House Press Office

Submitted by Tailhook
Tailhook (98486) writes "Pool reports written by White House correspondents are distributed to news organizations via the White House Press Office. Reporters have alleged that the Obama White House exploits its role as distributor to `demand changes in pool reports' and has used this power to `steer coverage in a more favorable direction.' Now a group of 90 print journalists has begun privately distributing their work through Google Groups, independent of the Press Office. Their intent is to `create an independent pool-reporting system for print and online recipients.'"

+ - Chemical weapons found in Iraq were covered up by the US

Submitted by mr_mischief
mr_mischief (456295) writes "Multiple sources report that the US found remnants of WMD programs, namely chemical weapons, in Iraq after all. Many US soldiers were injured by them, in fact.

Why the cover-up, when so many people were making it a point to say there were no WMD? Was it to keep morale up? Was it out of embarrassment that many of these weapons were developed with Western help? Was it because these were older weapons not actively being produced? Maybe it's because the US troops did not follow international protocols to secure and properly dispose of the weapons.

Well, whatever the reason, it's a bad thing. If there are any of these caches under ISIL control it could be a very bad thing."

+ - Ebola Test Is Positive in Second Texas Health Worker->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "The authorities in Texas reported on Wednesday that a second health care worker involved in the treatment of a patient who died of the Ebola virus had tested positive for the disease after developing a fever.

The worker, who was not identified by name, had been “among those who took care of Thomas Eric Duncan after he was diagnosed with Ebola,” a statement from the Texas Department of State Health Services said."

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Comment: Re: Apples and Oranges (Score 1) 427

1. Apple has a less than 15% market share... they may be very influential, but I hardly doubt that anything that they do could be construed to be abuse of market share.

15% market share of mobile phones? Really? I guess I expected their penetration in phones was much greater than that of their computer (desktop/laptop/tablet) market.

"Those who will be able to conquer software will be able to conquer the world." -- Tadahiro Sekimoto, president, NEC Corp.

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