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United States

Google, Apple, and Others Remove Content Related To the Confederate Flag 815 815

davek writes with news that Google is removing results related to the Confederate Flag from Google Shopping, the company's online marketplace. They're also blocking advertisements involving the flag. They say, "We have determined that the Confederate flag violates our Ads policies, which don't allow content that's generally perceived as expressing hate toward a particular group." At the same time, Apple is removing from the App Store any games or other software featuring the Confederate Flag. This, of course, follows the recent shooting in South Carolina, which triggered a nationwide debate over whether the flag should be flown at government buildings (or anywhere). Major online merchant websites like eBay and Amazon have already taken the step of banning merchandise relating to the flag.

Xilinx and AMD: an Inevitable Match? 108 108

itwbennett writes: Steve Casselman at Seeking Alpha was among the first to suggest that Xilinx should buy AMD because, among other reasons, it 'would let Xilinx get in on the x86 + FPGA fabric tsunami.' The trouble with this, however, is that 'AMD's server position is minuscule.... While x86 has 73% of the server market, Intel owns virtually all of it,' writes Andy Patrizio. At the same time, 'once Intel is in possession of the Altera product line, it will be able to cheaply produce the chip and drop the price, drastically undercutting Xilinx,' says Patrizio. And, he adds, buying AMD wouldn't give Xilinx the same sort of advantage 'since AMD is fabless.'
NASA

Parachute Problems Plague NASA's Flying Saucer 41 41

An anonymous reader writes: NASA's test of a Mars landing system came to a end Monday when the saucer-shaped vehicle's parachute tore away after partly unfurling high over the Pacific Ocean. NASA says they will provide more details at a news conference Tuesday. Another parachute failed during a similar test of a new Mars spacecraft last year. "This is exactly why we do tests like this," NASA engineer and LDSD mission commentator Dan Coatta said after the test. "When we're actually ready to send spacecraft to Mars, we know that they are going to work when that big mission is on the line."

Comment: Traffic jams (Score 1) 389 389

I'm looking forward to the possible end of traffic jams, which is usually the result of thousands of people making seemingly rational but actually very poor decisions. When you get past the jam the cause is either not evident at all or its something head-thumpingly trivial like a merge or something on the side of the road. "That's it? That's the reason? What the hell is wrong with you people!?

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Biotech

After a Year of Secret Field-Testing, Brain-Controlled Bionic Legs Are Here 50 50

An anonymous reader writes: Today, an Icelandic prosthetic-maker announced that two amputees have been testing brain-controlled bionic legs for over a year. The devices respond to impulses in the subjects' residual limbs, via sensors that were implanted in simple, 15-minute-long procedures. "When the electrical impulse from his brain reaches the base of his leg, a pair of sensors embedded in his muscle tissue connect the neural dots, and wirelessly transmit that signal to the Proprio Foot. Since the command reaches the foot before the wearer's residual muscles actually contract, there's no unnatural lag between intention and action." This is a huge step forward (sorry) for this class of bionics. It may seem like a solved problem based on reports and videos from laboratories, but it's never been exposed to real world use and everyday wear and tear like this.
Encryption

Australian Law Could Criminalize the Teaching of Encryption 208 208

New submitter petherfile writes: According to Daniel Mathews, new laws passed in Australia (but not yet in effect) could criminalize the teaching of encryption. He explains how a ridiculously broad law could effectively make any encryption stronger than 512 bits criminal if your client is not Australian. He says, "In short, the DSGL casts an extremely wide net, potentially catching open source privacy software, information security research and education, and the entire computer security industry in its snare. Most ridiculous, though, are some badly flawed technicalities. As I have argued before, the specifications are so imprecise that they potentially include a little algorithm you learned at primary school called division. If so, then division has become a potential weapon, and your calculator (or smartphone, computer, or any electronic device) is a potential delivery system for it."
The Almighty Buck

Los Angeles Raises Minimum Wage To $15 an Hour 1094 1094

HughPickens.com writes: Jennifer Medina reports at the NY Times that the council of the nation's second-largest city voted by a 14-1 margin to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. Los Angeles and its almost 4 million residents represent one of the biggest victories yet for those pushing wage increases across the country. Proponents hope it will start to reverse the earning gap in the city, where the top 7% of households earn more than the bottom 67%.

Detractors point out the direct cost increase to businesses, which could total as much as a billion dollars per year. If a business can't handle the increased cost, the employees this measure was designed to help will lose their jobs when it folds. An editorial from the LA Times says it's vital for other cities nearby to increase their minimum wage, too, else businesses will gradually migrate to cheaper locations. They add, "While the minimum wage hike will certainly help the lowest-wage workers in the city, it should not be seen as the centerpiece of a meaningful jobs creation strategy. The fact is that far too many jobs in the city are low-wage jobs — some 37% of workers currently earn less than $13.25 an hour, according to the mayor's estimates — and even after the proposed increase, they would still be living on the edge of poverty."
Education

Microsoft To Teachers: Using Pens and Paper Not Fair To Students 387 387

Freshly Exhumed writes: Pens and paper have no place in the modern classroom, according to Lia De Cicco Remu, director of Partners in Learning at Microsoft Canada. "When was the last time you used a piece of chalk to express yourself?" De Cicco Remu, a former teacher, asked the Georgia Straight by phone from Toronto. "Kids don't express themselves with chalk or in cursive. Kids text." Given the Microsoft Study Finds Technology Hurting Attention Spans story posted to Slashdot in the last few days it would seem that Redmond's Marketing and R&D people are at cross-purposes.

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