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Businesses

RadioShack Puts Customer Data Up For Sale In Bankruptcy Auction 262

Posted by samzenpus
from the names-and-numbers dept.
itwbennett writes For years, RadioShack made a habit of collecting customers' contact information at checkout. Now, the bankrupt retailer is putting that data on the auction block. A list of RadioShack assets for sale includes more than 65 million customer names and physical addresses, and 13 million email addresses. Bloomberg reports that the asset sale may include phone numbers and information on shopping habits as well. New York's Attorney General says his office will take 'appropriate action' if the data is handed over.

Comment: Honest Thought (Score 1) 451

by NitsujTPU (#49289901) Attached to: Lyft CEO: Self-Driving Cars Aren't the Future

I think that autonomous vehicles will come and go, but they'll be around almost as long as cars with drivers. I'd bet that in the long-long term, urban planning will change such that cars become entirely unnecessary in all but the most remote places. I don't think that we'll ever become so densely populated that the world is one big city, but I'll bet that we'll see large high-rise condos become much much more common, and then it'll be a ride down an elevator to do your shopping and a walk or train ride to school.

It's not that suburbia isn't awesome. It's just the direction I kind of envision things going in. I could be wrong. This sort of radical shift in urban planning would take centuries, to take hold in the west.

Comment: Very True But It Is a Useful News Item Nonetheless (Score 5, Insightful) 169

Most people who follow space stuff already know that Mars One is either a scam or simply delusional... although I suppose it's nice that other people are starting to notice this too.

I think it's important that a possible change of heart internally is seen by any of the other members. A lot of time when I read about instances where people get sucked into, say, a Nigerian money scam or worse Scientology, it often becomes a serious issues because they were first tricked into giving a little bit of money and then a little more until it's a sizable sum in total. At that point it's very hard to get out because you're mentally holding yourself prisoner there with the logic that if you quit now, you've lost that investment and you're going to look like an idiot. But, through inaction, you maintain the outward appearance of knowing what you are doing and your investment is still good -- hell, it's even growing because they need another small to medium sized payment. And down down down you go into the trap. It takes a lot to not chase your bets and to say, "I fucked up by giving them the $99 applicant fee but better quit now than waste anymore time and resources. Lesson learned."

And I think the fact that a DOCTOR (no matter what kind or what validity) says, "I paid the money, I saw they were preparing me for the biggest snuff film ever and I got out." Well, now the average person involved in this project can say, "He is right, I came to the same realization, I'm no stupider than this academic." This is why there are support groups out there for gambling problems and cults escapees. The ideafication of your exit is sometimes important than your ability to make your own decision ... because without that your decision only has one option and it's the wrong option.

Comment: The Rise of Joke Theft on the Internet (Score 2) 90

by eldavojohn (#49268695) Attached to: Interviews: Ask SMBC's Creator Zach Weiner a Question
I'm not talking about your humorous Sarah Silverman satire video but the actual people who misappropriate a joke for their own. I've seen it on Facebook where someone reads a joke on Reddit or XKCD or SMBC and just rehashes it as their own idea in a post knowing that no one else out there could possibly be wasting their time on something like SMBC. Do you see this as frequently as I do? In all honesty does this bother you or merely flatter you? Is it just a natural unavoidable quality of memes or do you think it's more sinister?

Comment: Re:Has anyone studied? (Score 4, Insightful) 262

by eldavojohn (#49249211) Attached to: US Wind Power Is Expected To Double In the Next 5 Years
Okay first off, I just wanna say whoever modded the parent up is walking evidence that this site has become a complete shithole. It's not just Dice's fault, folks. The community moderates unadulterated feces to the top these days.

Has anyone studied the effect on the environment of taking all of that energy out of the wind? What if seeds and dust aren't carried as far?

This is such an unfounded concern, I'm not even sure where to start. I grew up in the prairie of Minnesota and I could only hope that the wind is reduced there. It is absolutely brutal at times and causes erosion and top soil loss. Why do you want dust carried far? What seeds are you concerned about falling too close to the parent plant? I just, this hasn't been studied because there's nothing to argue about. Like solar there's a lot of energy to be harvested. There's no way to harvest all of it, a lot of it is dissipated as friction against water and earth and I can't think of one positive purpose of that friction.

How does that affect terraforming?

How does that affect our ability to transform the planet into a more livable human environment? I can't even parse this or apply it to the topic at hand. "How does that affect X?" when X has nothing to do with the discussion just sounds like fear mongering.

What about migratory birds? Has anyone bothered to solve the problem of mass kills during migration season?

This is well documented and researched but I am constantly confused as to why "migratory birds" are the stipulated losses. It's any birds. Migratory or not. And the numbers have been scientifically estimated to be 140,000 to 328,000 per year. But we're getting smarter about designing these windmills to prevent avian death.

These questions will never be answered

Well, the first two are just too fucking vapid and inane to be answered. The latter, I've answered for you.

, I don't think, because the politics that drive wind power are the same as those that drive anthro climate change - "We're right, shut up if you disagree?"

You know, that could be said about any politics anywhere because modern politics are about inaction and hot air. Companies and scientists are trying hard to expand our energy portfolio away from fossil fuels. And that's smart whether it's biofuel algae, solar, wind or even failed corrupt initiatives like corn ethanol. In the end there are going to be regionally localized energy productions that will account for a large amount of that local populace's consumption. This will likely still be augmented by fossil fuels -- maybe as emergency or backup but I don't think we'll ever see them completely removed from the equation.

The Earth is going to be destroyed by people (on both sides of the political aisle) who refuse to take a reasoned approach to our energy crisis. The root causes of our energy shortage, climate change, starvation, hunger, crime, and disease, are all one in the same: OVERPOPULATION.

We're 7 times as numerous as the Earth can sustain. Unless and until we fix that problem, our habitable climate WILL be destroyed.

Scientifically, can you explain how you came to calculate the multiplier of "7 times as numerous as Earth can sustain?" Because the idea that the Earth can only sustain a nice round even number like a billion people raises suspicions. But it's pretty evident that nothing is going to talk sense into you, Malthus. Science and human ingenuity has gotten us past radical adjustments to population crises ... let's hope it can continue on and even help us abate the horrors we have committed against the environment. Please stop inventing caveats to working solutions or claiming that concerns are not being herd. It's just a petty attempt to grind one of possible sources to a halt.

Comment: I'm a Member of That 1% (Score 4, Interesting) 192

by eldavojohn (#49233709) Attached to: Steam On Linux Now Has Over a Thousand Games Available
The summary maybe should have mentioned something more important: SteamOS is basically Debian Linux with Steam libraries. Valve likely wants to release SteamOS hardware and is pushing for ports/originals that target that platform. If this takes off, it's great news for gaming in Linux as it's just a matter of installing the right packages to be able to run these games. In fact repo.steampowered.com already has packages that you can install on 64 bit Debian to be able to select SteamOS as a session on your Ubuntu or Debian box. But you don't even need to go that far -- if you're running Ubuntu and have a steam account, please try this: apt-get install steam. It's that easy and like the article says there are many great titles. I highly recommend Faster Than Light.

Is 2015 the year of the Linux gaming system?

Could we please stop this shit? Please?

Graphics

Another Upscaled Console Game: Battlefield Hardline 225

Posted by timothy
from the just-extrapolate dept.
jones_supa writes Video game developer Visceral Games has confirmed the actual resolution that the coming Battlefield Hardline will run on when it is launched on the Xbox One and on the PlayStation 4. An official message from the Twitter account of the studio explains that gamers will get a 720p resolution on the Microsoft console and Sony platform gamers will get the game running in 900p. 60 frames per second is promised for both consoles, but many fans are still expressing their disappointment that neither of the two versions will be able to properly deliver the native 1080p resolution of the consoles. When development started, Visceral Games and publisher Electronic Arts said they were aiming to use the power of the modern consoles to push the game engine as far as it would go, but they clearly couldn't fit that target without cutting corners. This is similar to what happened with Titanfall, which renders into an 1408x792 framebuffer on Xbox One.
Space

How Activists Tried To Destroy GPS With Axes 247

Posted by samzenpus
from the here's-johnny dept.
HughPickens.com writes Ingrid Burrington writes in The Atlantic about a little-remembered incident that occurred in 1992 when activists Keith Kjoller and Peter Lumsdaine snuck into a Rockwell International facility in Seal Beach, California and in what they called an "act of conscience" used wood-splitting axes to break into two clean rooms containing nine satellites being built for the US government. Lumsdaine took his axe to one of the satellites, hitting it over 60 times. The Brigade's target was the Navigation Satellite Timing And Ranging (NAVSTAR) Program and the Global Positioning System (GPS). Both men belonged to the Lockheed Action Collective, a protest group that staged demonstrations and blockaded the entrance at the Lockheed Missiles & Space Co. test base in Santa Cruz in 1990. They said they intentionally took axes to the $50-million Navstar Global Position System satellite to bring the public's attention to what they termed the government's attempt to control the world through modern technology. "I had to slow the deployment of this system (which) makes conventional warfare much more lethal and nuclear war winnable in the eyes of some," an emotional Kjoller told the judge before receiving an 18-month sentence. "It's something that I couldn't let go by. I tried to do what was right rather than what was convenient."

Burrington recently contacted Lumsdaine to learn more about the Brigade and Lumsdaine expresses no regrets for his actions. Even if the technology has more and more civilian uses, Lumsdaine says, GPS remains "military in its origins, military in its goals, military in its development and [is still] controlled by the military." Today, Lumsdaine views the thread connecting GPS and drones as part of a longer-term movement by military powers toward automated systems and compared today's conditions to the opening sequence of Terminator 2, where Sarah Connor laments that the survivors of Skynet's nuclear apocalypse "lived only to face a new nightmare: the war against the machines." "I think in a general way people need to look for those psychological, spiritual, cultural, logistical, technological weak points and leverage points and push hard there," says Lumsdaine. "It is so easy for all of us as human beings to take a deep breath and step aside and not face how very serious the situation is, because it's very unpleasant to look at the effort and potential consequences of challenging the powers that be. But the only thing higher than the cost of resistance is the cost of not resisting."
Books

Lauren Ipsum: A Story About Computer Science and Other Improbable Things 44

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
MassDosage writes As the full title to Lauren Ipsum: A story about Computer Science and Other Improbable Things indicates, this is a book about Computer Science but what's surprising about it is that it manages to be about Computer Science without actually ever directly referring to the subject or even to computers at all. It is in fact a fictional story about a young girl called Lauren who gets lost after wandering into a forest near her house after an argument with her mother. She stumbles into a world populated with all kinds of strange creatures and colorful characters some of whom she befriends in order to figure out how to get back to her home. The "figuring out" part of the plot is where things get interesting as she has many attempts at solving this problem with different characters giving her often contradictory advice and Lauren then has to decide what exactly she's trying to do and which of the various possible solutions is the best. This involves a fair amount of trial and error, learning from certain mistakes and trying different approaches. If this is starting to sound familiar to those who have written software then that's the whole point. Lauren Ipsum is cunningly littered with references to Computer Science and in particular to things like algorithms, logic puzzles and many other of the theoretical underpinnings of the subject. Read below to see what MassDosage has to say about the book.

Comment: ICYMI: Frontline's Secret State of North Korea (Score 5, Informative) 62

by eldavojohn (#49171137) Attached to: Inside the North Korean Data Smuggling Movement
This exact same topic was covered in Frontline's special on North Korea over a year ago. Their point of contact was Jiro Ishimaru of Asiapress who was sneaker netting USBs over the border. They even took a video of people trying to watch on a tiny screen and having to shut everything down whenever they heard someone outside.

The documentary also touched on humanitarian issues as much as it could using a secret camera. Sad stuff. Great thing to watch. Occasionally you can catch it streaming on Netflix but it seems to not be available right now.

+ - Facebook lets you choose a custom gender, now it's time to drop real names->

Submitted by Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson (3799011) writes "Facebook found itself under fire last year for imposing a real name policy. Drag artists, the LGBT community, musicians and other groups were among those who felt they should be able to use a name other than the one that appears on their birth certificate. The social network ultimately backed down, but the whole debacle left something of a bad taste in the mouth.

People are able to use "the authentic name they use in real life" to identify themselves on the site, and Facebook has opened up gender options further. There's no need to feel limited by the male or female labels, or even make a selection from a readymade list — you can now specify whatever gender you want. But is this enough?"

Link to Original Source

+ - Is That Dress White and Gold or Blue and Black?

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Color scientists already have a word for it: Dressgate. Now the Washington Post reports that a puzzling thing happened on Thursday night consuming millions — perhaps tens of millions — across the planet and trending on Twitter ahead of even Jihadi John’s identification. The problem was this: Roughly three-fourths of people swore that this dress was white and gold, according to BuzzFeed polling but everyone else said it's dress was blue. Others said the dress could actually change colors. So what's going on? According to the NYT our eyes are able to assign fixed colors to objects under widely different lighting conditions. This ability is called color constancy. But the photograph doesn’t give many clues about the ambient light in the room. Is the background bright and the dress in shadow? Or is the whole room bright and all the colors are washed out? If you think the dress is in shadow, your brain may remove the blue cast and perceive the dress as being white and gold. If you think the dress is being washed out by bright light, your brain may perceive the dress as a darker blue and black.

According to Beau Lotto, the brain is doing something remarkable and that's why people are so fascinated by this dress. “It’s entertaining two realities that are mutually exclusive. It’s seeing one reality, but knowing there’s another reality. So you’re becoming an observer of yourself. You’re having tremendous insight into what it is to be human. And that’s the basis of imagination.” As usual xkcd has the final word."

+ - Argonne National Laboratory shuts down Online Ask a Scientist Program->

Submitted by itamblyn
itamblyn (867415) writes "In a surprising decision, Argonne National Laboratory has decided to pull the plug on its long-standing NEWTON Ask A Scientist Program. NEWTON is (soon to be was) an on online repository of science questions submitted by school children from around the world. A volunteer group of scientists contributed grade-level appropriate answers to these questions.

For the past 25 years, a wide range of topics ranging have been covered, including the classic “why is the sky blue” to “is there way to break down the components of plastics completely into their original form”. Over the years, over 20,000 questions have been answered.

According to ANL, the website will be shut down permanently on 1 March. There is no plan to make the content available in an alternate form or to hand over stewardship to another organization.

When contacted about transferring the repository to another institution or moving to a donation model, the response from ANL was simply: "Thank you again for all your support for Newton. Unfortunately, moving Newton to another organization is not a possibility at this time. Thank you again for your energy and support.”

Given the current state of scientific literacy in the general public, it is difficult to understand how removing 20,000 scientific FAQ from the internet makes any sense. If you’re interested in starting a letter writing campaign, the Director of ANL, Peter Littlewood, can be reached at pblittlewood@anl.gov. I’m sure he would love to hear from all of us.

Full disclosure: I am one of those scientific volunteers and I’ve already run wget on the site. It’s about 300 mb in total. I do not have the ability to host the material at scale (apparently NEWTON receives millions of hits / month)."

Link to Original Source

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