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Technology

Robotic Taster Will Judge 'Real Thai Food' 102

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-best-barbecue? dept.
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes The NYT reports that Thailand's former prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra repeatedly encountered a distressing problem while traveling the world: bad Thai food. Too often, she found, the meals she sampled at Thai restaurants abroad were unworthy of the name, too bland to be called genuine Thai cooking. The problem bothered her enough to raise it at a cabinet meeting. Even though her political party has since been thrown out of office, in a May military coup, the Thai government is unveiling its project to standardize the art of Thai food using a robot. The government-financed Thai Delicious Committee, which oversaw the development of the machine, describes it as "an intelligent robot that measures smell and taste in food ingredients through sensor technology in order to measure taste like a food critic." Thailand's National Innovation Agency has spent about $100,000 to develop the e-delicious machine. The e-delicious machine has 10 sensors that measure smell and taste, generating a unique fingerprint (signature) for each sample of food that passes its digital maw. Generally with electronic tasting, there are electronic sensors that work just like the taste buds on your tongue, measuring the quantity of various taste-giving compounds, acidity, etc. While these electronic sensors can't actually tell you how something tastes — that's a very subjective, human thing — they are very good at comparing two foods scientifically. Meanwhile at a tiny food stall along one of Bangkok's traffic-clogged boulevards, Thaweekiat Nimmalairatana, questioned the necessity of a robatic taster. "I use my tongue to test if it's delicious or not," said Nimmalairatana. "I think the government should consider using a human to gauge authenticity."
Privacy

Stanford Promises Not To Use Google Money For Privacy Research 54

Posted by samzenpus
from the bang-for-your-buck dept.
An anonymous reader writes Stanford University has pledged not to use money from Google to fund privacy research at its Center for Internet and Society — a move that critics claim poses a threat to academic freedom. The center has long been generously funded by Google but its privacy research has proved damaging to the search giant as of late. Just two years ago, a researcher at the center helped uncover Google privacy violations that led to the company paying a record $22.5 million fine. In 2011-2012, the center's privacy director helped lead a project to create a "Do Not Track" standard. The effort, not supported by Google, would have made it harder for advertisers to track what people do online, and likely would have cut into Google's ad revenue. Both Stanford and Google say the change in funding was unrelated to the previous research.

Comment: Re:Thinly veiled campaigning (Score 1) 494

by Blue Stone (#47928153) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

The post doesn't even pretend to be balanced, which is a shame as this may possibly be /.'s one and only Scottish Independence post.

Of course there are risks involved and uncertainty, but the English Tories, champions of the NO vote (do not split) are the ones demanding a split from Europe, using the same arguments that the YES campaign (for an independent Scotland) are using to rally their cause! They're also the ones who decry "dependency" and act as if the entrepreneurial spirit is chief among all human traits, while trying to shut down such blooming attitudes in the Scottish people who wish to set out on their own and make a go of things.

The Right wing English part of the NO campaign seem to want soverignty above all else for themselves (with regard to Europe), while telling everyone else (the Scottish 'splittists') that's a bad idea!

Comment: Re: they will defeat themselves (Score 2, Informative) 979

by Blue Stone (#47927893) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Here, let me pour some gasoline over your strawman and strike a match.

When have people from Africa appeared at the borders of any country "cap-in-hand [...] demanding their 'rights'"?

People do try to escape violent, torturing, oppressive, corrupt murderous regimes though. We call them asylum seekers; fleeing to escape persecution from their fucked-up governments. Maybe that's what you're thinking of? Or maybe knee-jerk xenophobia is more your cup of tea?

Cellphones

Apple Edits iPhone 6's Protruding Camera Out of Official Photos 425

Posted by Soulskill
from the truthiness-in-advertising dept.
Sockatume writes: If you've been browsing Apple's site leading up to the iPhone 6 launch, you might've noticed something a little odd. Apple has edited the handset's protruding camera out of every single side-on view of the phone. (The camera is, necessarily, retained for images showing the back of the device.) The absence is particularly conspicuous given the number of side views Apple uses to emphasize the device's thinness.

Comment: Re:Does your mother know? (Score 1) 210

by Blue Stone (#47893711) Attached to: Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

Oh yeah, I did this with one guy. I played him for about half an hour just making stuff up - I wasn't at my computer at all - and then I turned on him and asked him how he slept at night and what his mother would think if she knew how he spent his days stealing from little old ladies, etc.

He did not like that. Hung up on me and then, still enraged I guess, rang me back and tried to have a go (which didn't work, naturally). I hope what I said got to him.

Australia

Mushroom-Like Deep Sea Organism May Be New Branch of Life 64

Posted by Soulskill
from the tasty-on-a-salad dept.
jones_supa writes: During a scientific cruise in 1986, scientists collected organisms at water depths of 400m and 1,000m on the south-east Australian continental slope, near Tasmania. But the two types of mushroom-shaped organisms were recognized only recently, after sorting of the bulk samples collected during the expedition. A team of scientists at the University of Copenhagen says the tiny organism does not fit into any of the known subdivisions of the animal kingdom. The organisms are described in the academic journal PLOS ONE. The authors of the paper recognise two new species of mushroom-shaped animal: Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides. Measuring only a few millimeters in size, the animals consist of a flattened disc and a stalk with a mouth on the end. One way to resolve the question surrounding Dendrogramma's affinities would be to examine its DNA, but new specimens will need to be found. The team's paper calls for researchers around the world to keep an eye out for other examples.
The Courts

Deputy Who Fatally Struck Cyclist While Answering Email Will Face No Charges 463

Posted by samzenpus
from the off-the-hook dept.
Frosty P writes The LA County District Attorney's Office declined to press charges against a sheriff's deputy who was apparently distracted by his mobile digital computer when he fatally struck cyclist and former Napster COO Milton Olin Jr. in Calabasas last December. The deputy was responding to routine work email when he drifted into the bike lane and struck and killed Mr. Olin. An official with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said it is launching its own probe into the deputy’s behavior.
Piracy

Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up 376

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the guilty-until-proven-guilty dept.
A few weeks ago, Rightscorp announced plans to have ISPs disconnect repeat copyright infringers. mpicpp (3454017) wrote in with news that Rightscorp announced during their latest earnings call further plans to require ISPs to block all web access (using a proxy system similar to hotel / college campus wifi logins) until users admit guilt and pay a settlement fine (replacing the current system of ISPs merely forwarding notices to users). Quoting TorrentFreak: [Rightscorp] says 75,000 cases have been settled so far with copyright holders picking up $10 from each. ... What is clear is that Rightscorp is determined to go after "Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Cable Vision and one more" in order to "get all of them compliant" (i.e forwarding settlement demands). The company predicts that more details on the strategy will develop in the fall, but comments from COO & CTO Robert Steele hint on how that might be achieved. ... "[What] we really want to do is move away from termination and move to what's called a hard redirect, like, when you go into a hotel and you have to put your room number in order to get past the browser and get on to browsing the web." The idea that mere allegations from an anti-piracy company could bring a complete halt to an entire household or business Internet connection until a fine is paid is less like a "piracy speeding ticket" and more like a "piracy wheel clamp", one that costs $20 to have removed.
The Military

Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police 264

Posted by Soulskill
from the bazookas-for-all dept.
v3rgEz writes: Wondering how the St. Louis County Police ended up armed with surplus military gear, and what equipment other departments have? A FOIA request at MuckRock has turned up every item given to local law enforcement under the Pentagon's 1022 program, the mechanism by which local law enforcement can apply for surplus or used military gear.
Businesses

Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording 368

Posted by timothy
from the keep-the-recording-handy dept.
An anonymous reader writes In yet another example of the quality of Comcast's customer service, a story surfaced today of a Comcast customer who was over-charged for a service that was never provided. At first, the consumer seemed to be on the losing end of a customer service conversation, with Comcast insisting that the charges were fair. But then, the consumer whipped out a recording of a previous conversation that he had with another Comcast representative in which not only was the consumer promised that he wouldn't be charged for services not rendered, but the reason why was explained. Suddenly Comcast conceded, and the fees were dropped. But most telling of all, the Comcast rep implied that she only dropped them because he had taped his previous interaction with Comcast customer service. I wish I had recordings of every conversation that I've ever had with AT&T, the USPS, and the landlord I once had in Philadelphia. Lifehacker posted last year a few tips on the practicality of recording phone calls, using Google Voice, a VoIP service, or a dedicated app. Can anyone update their advice by recommending a good Android app (or iOS, for that matter) designed specifically to record sales and service calls, complete with automated notice?

Comment: Satire that Writes Itself. (Score 2) 45

by Blue Stone (#47595813) Attached to: UK Spy Agency Certifies Master's Degrees In Cyber Security

Francis Maude (the minister setting this up) - "Through the excellent work of GCHQ, in partnership with other government departments, the private sector and academia, we are able to counter threats and ensure together we are stronger and more aware."

And if the spy agencies are the threat? Who will protect us from those who wish to protect us?

Perhaps the course will be teaching people how to evade the mass surveillance of GCHQ and their pals at the NSA? Seems unlikely!

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