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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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+ - A drastic drop in complaints after San Diego outfitted its PD with body cameras

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Surprise, surprise! Immediately after San Diego outfitted its police force with 600 body camera the number of complaints plunged.

The report, which took one full year into account, found that complaints against police have fallen 40.5 percent and use of “personal body” force by officers has been reduced by 46.5 percent. Use of pepper spray has decreased by 30.5 percent.

Two benefits can be seen immediately. First, the police are being harassed less from false complaints. Second, and more important, the police are finding ways to settle most disputes without the use of force, which means they are abusing their authority less.

These statistics do confirm what many on both the right and the left have begun to believe in recent years, that the police have been almost certainly using force against citizens inappropriately too often. In San Diego at least the cameras are serving to stem this misuse of authority."

+ - Did Neurons Evolve Twice?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "When Leonid Moroz, a neuroscientist at the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience in St. Augustine, Fla., first began studying comb jellies, he was puzzled. He knew the primitive sea creatures had nerve cells — responsible, among other things, for orchestrating the darting of their tentacles and the beat of their iridescent cilia. But those neurons appeared to be invisible. The dyes that scientists typically use to stain and study those cells simply didn’t work. The comb jellies’ neural anatomy was like nothing else he had ever encountered.

After years of study, he thinks he knows why. According to traditional evolutionary biology, neurons evolved just once, hundreds of millions of years ago, likely after sea sponges branched off the evolutionary tree. But Moroz thinks it happened twice — once in ancestors of comb jellies, which split off at around the same time as sea sponges, and once in the animals that gave rise to jellyfish and all subsequent animals, including us. He cites as evidence the fact that comb jellies have a relatively alien neural system, employing different chemicals and architecture from our own. “When we look at the genome and other information, we see not only different grammar but a different alphabet,” Moroz said."

Link to Original Source

+ - Now It's Easy To Tell Congress To Fight Patent Trolls

Submitted by Press2ToContinue
Press2ToContinue (2424598) writes "Application Developers Alliance is running two campaigns to help get the message to Washington. First is the Fight Patent Trolls initiative, which includes a tool for sending a letter to Senators and Representatives.

The second campaign is Innovators Need Patent Reform, an open letter to Congress that makes the same key points along with a public list of signers.

As both letters note, there are already proposals in both the House and the Senate, plus recommendations from the President, that contain some of the all-important protections that the victims of patent trolls need. Though the future of these specific bills is uncertain, the building blocks are beginning to fall into place, and it's time to run with that momentum."

+ - FBI Figures Manipulated to Show Phony Increase in Mass Shootings-> 1

Submitted by Press2ToContinue
Press2ToContinue (2424598) writes "Crime stats published by the FBI and relied upon by the media distort the gun violence and leave the public with the impression "mass shooting" incidents are a much bigger threat than they really are, according to a criminologist and Second Amendment scholar.

The bureau's annual reports tabulating and classifying a wide range of crime throughout the nation have been historically free of politics, but John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, said the latest statistics contain numbers that are misleading at best and deliberately fudged at worst. Lott believes the numbers may have been presented to overstate for political purposes the true risk of being a victim of random gun crimes.

“I have been reading FBI reports for 30 years and I have never seen anything like this.It is one thing for the Bureau of Justice Statistics or the National Institute of Justice to put out politically biased studies, but there has always been a Chinese wall separating the FBI raw data collection from political pressures.”

A counter report by the CPRC shows that if the biases and errors were corrected, the Bureau’s data would show that the annual growth rate for homicides in mass shootings had been cut in half, Lott said.

He suspects manipulation, and not merely mistakes"

Link to Original Source

+ - Google Visits White House Once a Week->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "As the federal government was wrapping up its antitrust investigation of Google, company executives had a flurry of meetings with top officials at the White House and Federal Trade Commission, the agency running the probe.

Google co-founder Larry Page met with FTC officials to discuss settlement talks, according to visitor logs and emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt met with Pete Rouse, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, in the White House.

The documents don’t show exactly what was discussed in late 2012. Soon afterward, the FTC closed its investigation after Google agreed to make voluntary changes to its business practices."

Link to Original Source

+ - New bill would repeal Patriot Act

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Two Congressmen have introduced legislation to repeal the Patriot Act as well as end all unconstitutional domestic spying by government agencies.

The article notes that there is bi-partisan support for “doing something” about the out-of-control surveillance of federal agencies like the National Security Agency. I agree. Expect something like this to get passed. Whether Obama will veto it is another question. Despite what he says (which no one should every believe), he likes the idea of prying into the lives of private citizens."

+ - Pixar Releases Free Version of RenderMan

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "A year ago the animation studio Pixar promised its RenderMan animation and rendering suite to eventually become free for non-commercial use. This was originally scheduled to happen in the SIGGRAPH 2014 computer graphics conference, but things got delayed. Nevertheless, today Pixar is releasing the free version into wild. Free non-commercial RenderMan can be used for research, education, evaluation, plug-in development, and any personal projects that do not generate commercial profits. This version is fully featured, without a watermark or any kind of artificial limits. Featuring Pixar's new RIS technology, RenderMan delivers extremely fast global illumination and interactive shading and lighting for artists. The software is available for Mac, Linux and Windows. In conjunction with the release, Pixar has also launched a new RenderMan Community site where users can exchange knowledge and resources, showcase their own work, share assets such as shaders and scripts, and learn about RenderMan from tutorials."

+ - Hadron Collider To Create a Black Hole, Contact A Parallel Universe Within Days->

Submitted by Press2ToContinue
Press2ToContinue (2424598) writes "Scientists conducting a mindbending experiment at the Large Hadron Collider next week hope to connect with a parallel universe outside of our own.

The staggeringly complex LHC ‘atom smasher’ at the CERN centre in Geneva, Switzerland, will be fired up to its highest energy levels ever in a bid to detect — or even create — miniature black holes.

If successful a completely new universe will be revealed – rewriting not only the physics books but the philosophy books too.

It is even possible that gravity from our own universe may ‘leak’ into this parallel universe, scientists at the LHC say.

The experiment is sure to inflame alarmist critics of the LHC, many of whom initially warned the high energy particle collider would spell the end of our universe with the creation a black hole of its own.

But so far Geneva remains intact and comfortably outside the event horizon."

Link to Original Source

+ - New Estimate: Billions of Milky Way Planets are in the Habitable Zone->

Submitted by Press2ToContinue
Press2ToContinue (2424598) writes "Astronomers have discovered thousands of exoplanets using the Kepler satellite. By analyzing these planetary systems, researchers have calculated the probability for the number of stars that might have planets in the habitable zone. The calculations show that billions of stars in the Milky Way will have one to three planets in the habitable zone, where there is the potential for liquid water and where life could exist."
Link to Original Source

+ - Elon Musk On Autonomous Cars: Could Human Drivers Eventually Be Outlawed?-> 1

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "One of the highlights of the opening keynote at the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference in San Jose (GTC), was NVIDIA CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang's special guest, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk and the "fireside chat" the two participated in. With NVIDIA's focus on deep learning and machine vision technologies for cars, much of the talk centered around autonomous vehicles and the notion that someday they may be so reliable, that they're actually safer on the road than cars operated by humans. Think about it. Is the idea of a vehicle that recognizes distance, velocity, weather conditions and real-time changes, faster than a human can, all that far-fetched? In the interview shot here, Musk even thinks we may get to a day when human drivers could be outlawed in favor of an all autonomous driving society."
Link to Original Source

+ - Fraud Rampant in Apple Pay->

Submitted by PvtVoid
PvtVoid (1252388) writes "An industry consultant, Cherian Abraham, put the fraud rate at 6 percent, compared with a traditional credit card fraud rate that is relatively minuscule, 10 cents for every $100 spent. [i.e. one tenth of one percent]

The vulnerability in Apple Pay is in the way that it — and card issuers — “onboard” new credit cards into the system. Because Apple wanted its system to have the simplicity for which it has become famous and wanted to make the sign-up process “frictionless,” the company required little beyond basic credit card information about a user. Nor did it provide much information to the banks, like full phone numbers and addresses, that might help them detect fraud early.

The banks, desperate to become their customers’ default card on Apple Pay — most add only one to their iPhones — did little to build their own defenses or to push Apple to provide more detailed information about its customers. Some bank executives acknowledged that they were were so scared of Apple that they didn’t speak up."

Link to Original Source

+ - What Do Robot Clones and Pigs with human DNA Have In Common?->

Submitted by Press2ToContinue
Press2ToContinue (2424598) writes "Martine Rothblatt talks about outlandish feats that sound like science fiction—including an explanation of how she used artificial intelligence to simulate the human brain and create a copy of her wife—in the same way most executives discuss quarterly business forecasts.

The CEO of biotech firm United Therapeutics, founder of SiriusXM radio, and America’s highest-paid female and transgender executive is also working with Craig Venter, who helped sequence the human genome, to use organs from genetically-modified pigs for human organ transplants. The goal is to come up with a way to create a never-ending supply of organs.

“When we started doing this, the longest a genetically-modified pig could survive in a bath of human blood was two hours and now that we are up to over eight days, it’s mind-blowing,” she said, in a wide-spanning conversation that drew an audience of hundreds at the South by Southwest conference.

Rothblatt also explained how she hired a team of robotic scientists to create a robot that was a “mind clone” of her wife, Bina Aspen.

Starting with a “mindfile”—a digital database of a person’s mannerisms, personality, recollections, feelings, beliefs, attitudes, and values gleaned from social media, email, videos, and other sources—Rothblatt’s team created a robot that can converse, write Tweets, and even express human emotions such as jealousy and pain in ways that mimic the person she was modeled after."

Link to Original Source

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no substitute for a good blaster at your side. - Han Solo

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