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Transportation

State of Iowa Tells Tesla To Cancel Its Scheduled Test Drives 335

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-reasons-and-whatnot dept.
puddingebola writes: Conflict continues between state governments and Tesla. From the article: "Iowa joined a growing list of states tussling with Tesla Motors' business model when it told the company to cut short three days of test drives earlier this month in West Des Moines. The Iowa Department of Transportation said the test drives were illegal for two reasons: Tesla isn't licensed as an auto dealer in Iowa and state law prohibits carmakers from selling directly to the public." While the article touches on the legal restrictions on selling cars in Iowa, it seems that Tesla was only providing test drives.

Comment: Re:silly child. If you ask your parents. (Score 1) 260

by BlueStrat (#47963147) Attached to: Mark Zuckerberg Throws Pal Joe Green Under the Tech Immigration Bus

They will gladly tell you that insurance rates have been going up for decades, and having to choose new doctors is something all grownups have to do on a regular basis.

And in addition, if they've paid any attention, they will also tell him that the rates have increased both before and after the passage of the ACA because of government.

I dunno about *your* parents, but mine saw the same doctor for decades, until he retired. Because government made it more attractive for him to retire rather than to keep his practice open.

But hey, let's give government even more of people's hard-earned money and even more control over everything!

"Thank you Sir, may I have another?"

"Idiocracy" was a documentary. Slashdot posters prove it every day.

Strat

Comment: Re:Wake me when chimpanzees invent smelting (Score 1) 224

by BlueStrat (#47948453) Attached to: Study: Chimpanzees Have Evolved To Kill Each Other

Unfortunately people on this planet have used the excuse of a "lack of resources" to justify some of the most amoral and unspeakable actions. We shouldn't be motivated to leave this rock simply because we need more "resources" but because we would like to participate in a meaningful way with the universe.

"...because we would like to participate in a meaningful way with the universe"

The universe does not care and is not capable of judging our intentions or how "meaningful" (what's the measurement criteria? who decides what's meaningful?) our actions are

Stop anthropomorphizing.

You are correct that many conflicts result from competition for resources. The universe has almost infinite resources, so having cheap & plentiful resources available would tend to greatly mitigate resource-driven human conflicts.

At the very least, it will drive the conflicts away from the planet.

Strat

Comment: Re:Wake me when chimpanzees invent smelting (Score 4, Insightful) 224

by BlueStrat (#47943743) Attached to: Study: Chimpanzees Have Evolved To Kill Each Other

{Wake me when chimpanzees invent smelting} ... and cast weapons made of metal from molds that they manufactured themselves, just so they can kill more effectively.

Hard to tell what point(s) you're attempting to make here.

So, is killing efficiency your yardstick?

I don't see how efficiency relates. Heck, there are species of marine life who eat the egg-clusters and hatchlings of their competitors, and that's upwards of tens of thousands or more.

Or is it the use of tools to kill?

Chimps and other apes will often pick up a branch to swing at another when they are angry/aggressive. Other examples of tool-use by apes is abundant. Google will supply you with examples.

Seems in that regard the only difference is the level of sophistication of the tools/weapons related to the differing complex intellectual levels of the two species.

No doubt if apes had a similar size brain and intellectual capability as humans, the technical level of their weapons would rise as well.

Many people like to attribute some sort of "perfect moral innocence" to animals while humans are somehow forever separate from animals and that all human effects upon animals are "unnatural" and inherently bad and wrong. They also tend to decry human behaviors that have roots in our animal nature as somehow evil and unnatural.

It's an emotional response motivated by compassion and I appreciate that. However, humans are just as natural on Earth as deer or whales. Everything will always effect everything else, and species will go extinct and new species arise as long as life exists.

Since our self-awareness and intelligence and ability to control our environment allows us to avoid natural systems of regulation, we must consciously choose to find a balance between not causing undue harm to animals and nature while not placing undue limitations on the advancement of humanity towards moving outwards into space.

Earth is not a perpetual-motion machine, and we need to leave the cradle. Humanity cannot afford to hunker down, slow progress, and ration out ever-dwindling resources. That's a recipe for extinction.

Balance is the key.

Balance will not be found at the extremes.

Strat

Privacy

FBI Completes New Face Recognition System 129

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-know-what-you-did-last-summer dept.
Advocatus Diaboli writes: According to a report from Gizmodo, "After six years and over one billion dollars in development, the FBI has just announced that its new biometric facial recognition software system is finally complete. Meaning that, starting soon, photos of tens of millions of U.S. citizen's faces will be captured by the national system on a daily basis. The Next Generation Identification (NGI) program will logs all of those faces, and will reference them against its growing database in the event of a crime. It's not just faces, though. Thanks to the shared database dubbed the Interstate Photo System (IPS), everything from tattoos to scars to a person's irises could be enough to secure an ID. What's more, the FBI is estimating that NGI will include as many as 52 million individual faces by next year, collecting identified faces from mug shots and some job applications." Techdirt points out that an assessment of how this system affects privacy was supposed to have preceded the actual rollout. Unfortunately, that assessment is nowhere to be found.

Two recent news items are related. First, at a music festival in Boston last year, face recognition software was tested on festival-goers. Boston police denied involvement, but were seen using the software, and much of the data was carelessly made available online. Second, both Ford and GM are working on bringing face recognition software to cars. It's intended for safety and security — it can act as authentication and to make sure the driver is paying attention to the road.
Businesses

New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance 324

Posted by Soulskill
from the bring-our-benjamins-home dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Reuters reports that plans for a major rewriting of international tax rules have been unveiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that could eliminate structures that have allowed companies like Google and Amazon to shave billions of dollars off their tax bills. For more than 50 years, the OECD's work on international taxation has been focused on ensuring companies are not taxed twice on the same profits (and thereby hampering trade and limit global growth). But companies have been using such treaties to ensure profits are not taxed anywhere. A Reuters investigation last year found that three quarters of the 50 biggest U.S. technology companies channeled revenues from European sales into low tax jurisdictions like Ireland and Switzerland, rather than reporting them nationally.

For example, search giant Google takes advantage of tax treaties to channel more than $8 billion in untaxed profits out of Europe and Asia each year and into a subsidiary that is tax resident in Bermuda, which has no income tax. "We are putting an end to double non-taxation," says OECD head of tax Pascal Saint-Amans.For the recommendations to actually become binding, countries will have to encode them in their domestic laws or amend their bilateral tax treaties. Even if they do pass, these changes are likely 5-10 years away from going into effect.
Speaking of international corporate business: U.K. mainframe company Micro Focus announced it will buy Attachmate, which includes Novell and SUSE.
United States

Navy Guilty of Illegally Broad Online Searches: Child Porn Conviction Overturned 286

Posted by samzenpus
from the looking-too-far dept.
An anonymous reader writes In a 2-1 decision, the 9th Circuit Court ruled that Navy investigators regularly run illegally broad online surveillance operations that cross the line of military enforcement and civilian law. The findings overturned the conviction of Michael Dreyer for distributing child pornography. The illegal material was found by NCIS agent Steve Logan searching for "any computers located in Washington state sharing known child pornography on the Gnutella file-sharing network." The ruling reads in part: "Agent Logan's search did not meet the required limitation. He surveyed the entire state of Washington for computers sharing child pornography. His initial search was not limited to United States military or government computers, and, as the government acknowledged, Agent Logan had no idea whether the computers searched belonged to someone with any "affiliation with the military at all." Instead, it was his "standard practice to monitor all computers in a geographic area," here, every computer in the state of Washington. The record here demonstrates that Agent Logan and other NCIS agents routinely carry out broad surveillance activities that violate the restrictions on military enforcement of civilian law. Agent Logan testified that it was his standard practice to "monitor any computer IP address within a specific geographic location," not just those "specific to US military only, or US government computers." He did not try to isolate military service members within a geographic area. He appeared to believe that these overly broad investigations were permissible, because he was a "U.S. federal agent" and so could investigate violations of either the Uniform Code of Military Justice or federal law."
Government

FAA Scans the Internet For Drone Users; Sends Cease and Desist Letters 222

Posted by timothy
from the and-now-you're-safe dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this news from Government Attic: "The FAA has released a set of cease and desist letters sent in 2012 and 2013 to people operating drone vehicles for a variety of purposes including: tornado research, inspecting gas well stacks, aerial photography, journalism education, and other purposes. Drone cease and desist letters sent during 2014 are available from the FAA upon request." The text of the letters (bureaucratically polite, but bureaucratically firm) often starts with notes indicating to the UAV operators to whom they were sent that the FAA became interested in them because it "became aware of" their web sites, or even because someone tipped them off about an article in a community newsletter. The letters go on to outline the conditions under which the FAA allows the operation of unmanned aircraft, and specifically notes: Those who use UAS only for recreational enjoyment, operate in accordance with Advisory circular 91-57. This generally applies to operations in remotely populated areas away from airports, persons and buildings, below 400 feet Above Ground Level, and within visual line of sight. On February 6, 2007 the FAA published UAS guidance in the Federal Register, 14 CPR Part 91 / Docket No. FAA-2006-25714 I Unmanned Aircraft Operations in the National Airspace System. Toward the end of the docket it says, ''The FAA recognizes that people and companies other than modelers might be flying UAS with the mistaken understanding that they are legally operating under the authority of AC 91-57. AC 91-57 only applies to modelers, and thus specifically excludes Its use by persons or companies for business purposes." Update: 09/07 02:16 GMT by T : Pray forgive the OCR that turned "persons" into "pecions" and "circular" into "arcular"; updated to fix those. Update: 09/08 11:07 GMT by T : Correction: Carl Malamud is not affiliated with Government Attic as this story originally described: sorry for the error.
Education

Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him? 363

Posted by timothy
from the compared-to-the-current-perfection dept.
theodp (442580) writes With his Big History Project, the NY Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin reports that Bill Gates wants to remake the way history is taught (intro video). Last month, the Univ. of California system announced that a version of the Big History Project course could be counted in place of a more traditional World History class, paving the way for the state's 1,300 high schools to offer it. Still, not everyone's keen on the idea. "Is this Bill Gates's history?" asks NYU's Diane Ravitch. "And should it be labeled 'Bill Gates's History'? Because Bill Gates's history would be very different from somebody else's who wasn't worth $50-60 billion." Of the opposition to Gates, Scott L. Thomas of Claremont Graduate University explains, 'Frankly, in the eyes of the critics, he's really not an expert. He just happens to be a guy that watched a DVD and thought it was a good idea and had a bunch of money to fund it."
Government

Oregon Suing Oracle Over Obamacare Site, But Still Needs Oracle's Help 116

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-hate-you-now-help-me dept.
jfruh writes Oracle and the state of Oregon are in the midst of a particularly nasty set of lawsuits over the botched rollout of Oregon's health care exchange site, with Oregon claiming that Oracle promised an "out-of-the-box solution" and Oracle saying that Oregon foolishly attempted to act as its own systems integrator. But one aspect of the dispute helps illustrate an unpleasant reality of these kinds of disputes: even as Oregon tries to extract damages from Oracle, it still needs Oracle's help to salvage the site.
Science

Hitachi Developing Reactor That Burns Nuclear Waste 200

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-waste-zone dept.
Zothecula writes The problem with nuclear waste is that it needs to be stored for many thousands of years before it's safe, which is a tricky commitment for even the most stable civilization. To make this situation a bit more manageable, Hitachi, in partnership with MIT, the University of Michigan, and the University of California, Berkeley, is working on new reactor designs that use transuranic nuclear waste for fuel; leaving behind only short-lived radioactive elements.
United States

Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go 258

Posted by samzenpus
from the put-that-anywhere dept.
mdsolar writes with news of a plan to move radioactive waste from nuclear plants. The U.S. government is looking for trains to haul radioactive waste from nuclear power plants to disposal sites. Too bad those trains have nowhere to go. Putting the cart before the horse, the U.S. Department of Energy recently asked companies for ideas on how the government should get the rail cars needed to haul 150-ton casks filled with used, radioactive nuclear fuel. They won't be moving anytime soon. The latest government plans call for having an interim test storage site in 2021 and a long-term geologic depository in 2048. No one knows where those sites will be, but the Obama administration is already thinking about contracts to develop, test and certify the necessary rail equipment.

Comment: Maybe MS Should Ask... (Score 2) 419

by BlueStrat (#47794883) Attached to: Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

...Who is John Galt?

Along with many other US companies and businesses as the US becomes an ever-more hostile and expensive place to base your business in.

Maybe MS will join the "inversion"-stampede of businesses fleeing the US for friendlier locales.

Once again the US government loads up the trusty foot-gun with its' hubris.

Strat

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