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Television

Is There Too Much New Programming On TV? 38

HughPickens.com writes: John Koblin writes in the NY Times that there's a crisis in television programming felt among executives, viewers and critics, and it's the result of one thing: There is simply too much on television. John Landgraf, chief executive of FX Networks, reported at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour that the total number of original scripted series on TV in 2014 was 371. The total will surpass 400 in 2015. The glut, according to Landgraf, has presented "a huge challenge in finding compelling original stories and the level of talent needed to sustain those stories."

Michael Lombardo, president of programming at HBO, says it is harder than ever to build an audience for a show when viewers are confronted with so many choices and might click away at any moment. "I hear it all the time," says Lombardo. "People going, 'I can't commit to another show, and I don't have the time to emotionally commit to another show.' I hear that, and I'm aware of it, and I get it." Another complication is that shows not only compete against one another, but also against old series that live on in the archives of Amazon, Hulu or Netflix. So a new season of "Scandal," for example, is also competing against old series like "The Wire." "The amount of competition is just literally insane," says Landgraf.

Others point out that the explosion in programming has created more opportunity for shows with diverse casts and topics, such as "Jane the Virgin," "Transparent" and "Orange Is the New Black." Marti Noxon, the showrunner for Lifetime's "UnREAL" and Bravo's "Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce," says there has been a "sea change" in the last five years. "I couldn't have gotten those two shows on TV five years ago," says Noxon. "There was not enough opportunity for voices that speak to a smaller audience. Now many of these places are looking to reach some people — not all the people. That's opened up a tremendous opportunity for women and other people that have been left out of the conversation."
Programming

Lack of Teacher Training Hampers UK Programming Education 41

An anonymous reader writes: The UK government recently introduced a new computer curriculum to the school system in order to get more kids into programming. Unfortunately, they're running into a serious problem: one-third of the secondary schools tasked with teaching these programs have not spent any money training their teachers on the requisite knowledge and technology. The government has provided £4.5 million for this training, and a number of schools have spent their share and more. But it's clearly not filtering down to every school, and that harms the children enrolled in these schools.

Submission + - Lack of Teacher Training Hampers UK Programming Education->

An anonymous reader writes: The UK government recently introduced a new computer curriculum to the school system in order to get more kids into programming. Unfortunately, they're running into a serious problem: one-third of the secondary schools tasked with teaching these programs have not spent a single cent training their teachers on the requisite knowledge and technology. The government has provided £4.5 million for this training, and a number of schools have spent lots of money on training. But it's clearly not filtering down to every school, and that harms the children enrolled in these schools.
Link to Original Source
Security

Persistent Cyber Spies Try To Impersonate Security Researchers 14

An anonymous reader writes: Rocket Kitten, a cyber espionage group that mostly targets individuals in the Middle East, has been spotted attempting to impersonate security researchers. "We feel fairly certain that Rocket Kitten's prime targets are not companies and political organizations as entire bodies but individuals that operate in strategically interesting fields such as diplomacy, foreign policy research, and defense-related businesses. We believe the espionage factor and political context make their attacks unique and very different from traditional targeted attacks," researchers noted in a recently published new paper (PDF).
Medicine

Dirty Farm Air May Ward Off Asthma In Children 60

sciencehabit writes: For researchers trying to untangle the roots of the current epidemic of asthma, one observation is especially intriguing: Children who grow up on dairy farms are much less likely than the average child to develop the respiratory disease. Now, a European team studying mice has homed in on a possible explanation: Bits of bacteria found in farm dust trigger an inflammatory response in the animals' lungs that later protects them from asthma. An enzyme involved in this defense is sometimes disabled in people with asthma, suggesting that treatments inspired by this molecule could ward off the condition in people.

Submission + - Samsung Gear S2, Gear S2 Classic Android Wear Smartwatches Unveiled->

MojoKid writes: Samsung announced their latest Android Wear-based smartwatches the other day, the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic. At a hands-on press even in New York this week, Samsung had the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic up and running on demo. Both of these smartwatches feature 11.4mm thin casings and 1.2-inch, 360x360 displays that are completely circular, unlike the "flat tire" displays used on the Moto360. At the heart of the Gear S2 is an undisclosed Samsung-sourced 1GHz dual-core processor paired with 512MB of RAM. NFC technology is incorporated into the watches as well, which will support Samsung Pay in the near future as well. The Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classis are IP68 certified for dust and water resistance and there will be versions with and without integrated 3G connectivity. Both watches feature a rotating ring around the display, in addition to two buttons at the side, intelligently located at 2 and 4 o'clock to minimize accidental actuation, for navigating the various menus and apps. Samsung also allows user customization of some watch-faces to show personalized info and offers dynamic watch-faces with notifications presented on-screen at all times, along with the time.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - An Algorithm To Randomly Generate Game Dungeons->

An anonymous reader writes: Game developers frequently turn to procedural algorithms to generate some of their game's content. Sometimes it's to give the game more diverse environments, or to keep things fresh upon subsequent playthroughs, or simply just to save precious development time. If you've played a game that had an unpredictable layout of connected rooms, you may have wondered how it was built. No longer; a post at Gamasutra walks through a procedural generation algorithm, showing how random and unique layouts can be created with some clever code. The article is filled with animated pictures demonstrating how rooms pop into existence, spread themselves out to prevent overlap, finds a sensible series of connections, then fills in the gaps with doors and hallways.
Link to Original Source
Google

Report: Google Will Return To China 61

An anonymous reader writes: Google famously withdrew from mainland China in 2010 after fending off a series of cyberattacks from local sources. Now, according to a (paywalled) report from The Information, the company is working on plans to return. "As part of the deal Google is looking to strike, Google would follow the country's laws and block apps that the government objects to, one person told The Information." They're also seeking approval for a Chinese version of Google Play.

Submission + - Report: Google With Return To China->

An anonymous reader writes: Google famously withdrew from mainland China in 2010 after fending off a series of cyberattacks from local sources. Now, according to a (paywalled) report from The Information, the company is working on plans to return. "As part of the deal Google is looking to strike, Google would follow the country's laws and block apps that the government objects to, one person told The Information." They're also seeking approval for a Chinese version of Google Play.
Link to Original Source
Transportation

Toyota To Spend $50 Million On Self-Driving Car Tech 40

An anonymous reader writes: Toyota is the latest automaker to see which way the wind is blowing; they've committed $50 million over the next five years to build research centers for self-driving car technology. They'll be working with both Stanford and MIT, and their immediate goal is to "eliminate traffic casualties." "Research at MIT will focus on 'advanced architectures' that will let cars perceive, understand, and interpret their surroundings. ... The folks at Stanford will concentrate on computer vision and machine learning. ... It will also work on human behavior analysis, both for pedestrians outside the car and the people 'at the wheel.'" Toyota's efforts will be led by Gill Pratt, who ran DARPA's Robotics Challenge.

Submission + - Toyota To Spend $50 Million On Self-Driving Car Tech->

An anonymous reader writes: Toyota is the latest automaker to see which way the wind is blowing; they've committed $50 million over the next five years to build research centers for self-driving car technology. They'll be working with both Stanford and MIT, and their immediate goal is to "eliminate traffic casualties." "Research at MIT will focus on 'advanced architectures' that will let cars perceive, understand, and interpret their surroundings. ... The folks at Stanford will concentrate on computer vision and machine learning. ... It will also work on human behavior analysis, both for pedestrians outside the car and the people 'at the wheel.'" Toyota's efforts will be led by Gill Pratt, who ran DARPA's Robotics Challenge.
Link to Original Source
Government

Snowden: Clinton's Private Email Server Is a 'Problem' 216

An anonymous reader points out comments from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in a new interview with Al Jazeera about Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was the U.S. Secretary of State. Snowden said, "Anyone who has the clearances that the Secretary of State has or the director of any top level agency has knows how classified information should be handled. When the unclassified systems of the United States government — which has a full time information security staff — regularly get hacked, the idea that someone keeping a private server ... is completely ridiculous." While Snowden didn't feel he had enough information to say Clinton's actions were a threat to national security, he did say that less prominent government employees would have probably been prosecuted for doing the same thing. For her part, Clinton said she used the private server out of convenience: "I was not thinking a lot when I got in. There was so much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world. I didn't really stop and think what kind of email system will there be."
Medicine

In New Study, HIV Prevention Pill Truvada Is 100% Effective 154

An anonymous reader writes: A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases details the recent trial of a drug named Truvada, which researchers think might excel at preventing HIV infections (abstract). The scientists administered the drug to 657 people at high risk for contracting HIV, including users of injected drugs. At the end of the study, every single subject was still free of the virus. This is encouraging news in the fight against AIDS, though it shouldn't be taken to mean the drug is perfectly effective. Since researchers can't ethically expose people to HIV, we don't know for sure that any of the subjects were definitely saved by the drug. Other studies have also had to be stopped because it was clear subjects who were on a placebo were suffering from noticeably higher rates of infection. Leaders in the fight against AIDS say this new study closes a "critical gap" in existing research by demonstrating that Truvada can work in real-world health programs.

Submission + - In new study, HIV prevention pill Truvada is 100% effective.->

An anonymous reader writes: A study published in the journal Clinincal Infectious Diseases details the trial of a drug named Truvada, which researchers think might excel at preventing HIV infections. They scientists administered the drug to 657 high-risk individuals, including users of injected drugs. At the end of the study, every single subject was still free of the virus. This is encouraging news in the fight against AIDS, though it shouldn't be taken to mean the drug is perfectly effective. Since researchers can't ethically expose people to HIV, we don't know for sure that any of the subjects were definitely saved by the drug. Other studies have had to be stopped because it was clear that subjects who were on a placebo were suffering from noticeably higher rates of infection. Leaders in the fight against AIDS say this new study closes a "critical gap" in existing research by demonstrating that Truvada can work in real-world health programs.
Link to Original Source
Mozilla

Bugzilla Breached, Private Vulnerability Data Stolen 76

darthcamaro writes: Mozilla today publicly announced that secured areas of bugzilla, where non-public zero days are stored, were accessed by an attacker. The attacker got access to as many as 185 security bugs before they were made public. They say, "We believe they used that information to attack Firefox users." The whole hack raises the issue of Mozilla's own security, since it was a user password that was stolen and the bugzilla accounts weren't using two-factor authentication. According to Mozilla's FAQ about the breach (PDF), "The earliest confirmed instance of unauthorized access dates to September 2014. There are some indications that the attacker may have had access since September 2013."

Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.

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