Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Polls on the front page of Slashdot? Is the world coming to an end?! Nope; read more about it. ×
Transportation

US Airport Screeners Missed 95% of Weapons, Explosives In Undercover Tests 297

Posted by samzenpus
from the security-theater dept.
An anonymous reader writes: An internal investigation by the TSA found that 95% of agents testing airport checkpoints were able to bring weapons through. In one case, an alarm sounded, but during the pat down, the screener failed to detect a fake plastic explosive taped to the undercover agent's back. ABC reports: "Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was apparently so frustrated by the findings he sought a detailed briefing on them last week at TSA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, according to sources. U.S. officials insisted changes have already been made at airports to address vulnerabilities identified by the latest tests. 'Upon learning the initial findings of the Office of Inspector General's report, Secretary Johnson immediately directed TSA to implement a series of actions, several of which are now in place, to address the issues raised in the report,' the DHS said in a written statement to ABC News."
United States

Patriot Act Spy Powers To Expire As Rand Paul Blocks USA Freedom Act Vote 492

Posted by timothy
from the on-paper-at-least dept.
Saturday, we mentioned that three major spying powers that the U.S. government has exercised under the Patriot Act might be nixed, as the sections of the Act granting authority to use them expires. The Daily Dot reports that Senator (and presidential contender) Rand Paul today used Senate rules to block a bill which would have extended those powers, which means that as of midnight Sunday on the U.S. east coast, sections 206, 207 and 215 of the Patriot Act will have expired. Says the Daily Dot's article, linked by reader blottsie: The reform bill, which the House passed before leaving town for a week-long recess, would end the government's bulk collection of Americans' phone records under the Patriot Act's controversial Section 215 but leaves the other two provisions intact. ... Sunday's procedural meltdown was the second narrow defeat for the USA Freedom Act. In a late-night session on Friday, May 22, the bill fell three votes short of an initial procedural step after [Senate Majority Leader] McConnell lobbied hard against it. The Senate's failure to meet its deadline was a blow to President Obama, who on Friday had warned lawmakers that the country would be vulnerable if the USA Freedom Act did not pass.
Businesses

Steve Albini: The Music Industry Is a Parasite -- and Copyright Is Dead 182

Posted by timothy
from the but-how's-the-marrow? dept.
journovampire sends word of another thought-provoking rant from Steve Albini (mentioned here last a few years back for his paean to the beauty of analog tape for recording): The veteran producer addressed an audience in Barcelona on Saturday: "The old copyright model – the person who creates something owns it and anyone else that wants to use it or see it has to pay them – has expired."
Government

US Justice Department Urges Supreme Court Not To Take Up Google v. Oracle 223

Posted by timothy
from the leave-well-enough-alone dept.
New submitter Areyoukiddingme writes: The Solicitor General of the Justice Department has filed a response to the US Supreme Court's solicitation of advice regarding the Google vs. Oracle ruling and subsequent overturning by the Federal Circuit. The response recommends that the Federal Circuit ruling stand, allowing Oracle to retain copyright to the Java API.
Science

Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed? 417

Posted by samzenpus
from the what's-in-it-for-me? dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Richard Horton writes that a recent symposium on the reproducibility and reliability of biomedical research discussed one of the most sensitive issues in science today: the idea that something has gone fundamentally wrong with science (PDF), one of our greatest human creations. The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. According to Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, a United Kingdom-based medical journal, the apparent endemicity of bad research behavior is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world or retrofit hypotheses to fit their data.

Can bad scientific practices be fixed? Part of the problem is that no-one is incentivized to be right. Instead, scientists are incentivized to be productive and innovative. Tony Weidberg says that the particle physics community now invests great effort into intensive checking and rechecking of data prior to publication following several high-profile errors. By filtering results through independent working groups, physicists are encouraged to criticize. Good criticism is rewarded. The goal is a reliable result, and the incentives for scientists are aligned around this goal. "The good news is that science is beginning to take some of its worst failings very seriously," says Horton. "The bad news is that nobody is ready to take the first step to clean up the system."
Science

A Plan On How To Stop Sexism In Science 613

Posted by samzenpus
from the working-it-out dept.
StartsWithABang writes: If there's nothing else that science has to offer, it's this elegant notion: that anyone, anywhere, at anytime, can investigate and uncover the mysteries and workings of the Universe simply by asking it the right questions in the right ways, listening to its answers, and putting the pieces together for themselves. Anyone can do it. Only, for various and sundry reasons, not everyone gets to do it. Some people don't have the economic ability, some don't have the sustained drive or interest, and some simply can't cut the mustard. But some people — some really, really good people — are driven from their passions for a sad, simple and completely unnecessary fact: that they were treated in unacceptable ways that they refused to just accept. And in a great many cases, that unacceptable treatment came simply because of their gender. Sexism sometimes looks like what you expect, and sometimes not. Here's one opinion on what we can all do about it to create the world we really want: where science really is for everyone.
AI

Baidu's Supercomputer Beats Google At Image Recognition 115

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-the-better-to-see-you-with dept.
catchblue22 writes: Using the ImageNet object classification benchmark, Baidu’s Minwa supercomputer scanned more than 1 million images and taught itself to sort them into about 1,000 categories and achieved an image identification error rate of just 4.58 percent, beating humans, Microsoft and Google. Google's system scored a 95.2% and Microsoft's, a 95.06%, Baidu said. “Our company is now leading the race in computer intelligence,” said Ren Wu, a Baidu scientist working on the project. “I think this is the fastest supercomputer dedicated to deep learning,” he said. “We have great power in our hands—much greater than our competitors.”
Medicine

California Senate Approves School Vaccine Bill 545

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-your-shots dept.
mpicpp writes: California state senators have passed a controversial bill designed to increase school immunization rates. SB277 would prohibit parents from seeking vaccine exemptions for their children because of religious or personal beliefs. California would join West Virginia and Mississippi as the only states with such requirements if the bill becomes law. "SB 277 is about increasing immunization rates so no one will have to suffer from vaccine-preventable diseases," said Sen. Ben Allen (D- Santa Monica) who coauthored the bill with Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento).
United States

Religious Affiliation Shrinking In the US 866

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-how-will-we-polarize-our-voters dept.
gollum123 notes new U.S. demographic data from the Pew Research Center which show that the percentage of Americans declaring affiliation with a particular religion has declined sharply since 2007. Americans identifying as Christian dropped from 78.4% in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. Those describing themselves as atheist, agnostic, or simple having no affiliation took up most of the slack, rising from 16.1% to 22.8%. Members of non-Christian faiths collectively rose from 4.7% to 5.9%. Despite the overall decline, the demographics within the Christian group are getting much more racially and ethnically diverse. The willingness of respondents to marry outside their religious affiliation is also on the rise. The median age of unaffiliated adults is dropping, while the median ages of mainline Protestants and Catholics are rising. The study estimates that 85% of adults age 70 and over are Christian, while only 56% of adults ages 18-24 are Christian. They also say that each individual generation has shown a slight decrease in religious affiliation compared to their statistics in 2007.
Microsoft

Microsoft Releases PowerShell DSC For Linux 265

Posted by timothy
from the do-what-you-want-to-do dept.
jones_supa writes: Microsoft is announcing that PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) for Linux is available for download in form of RPM and DEB packages. DSC is a new management platform that provides a set of PowerShell extensions that you can use to declaratively specify how you want your software environment to be configured. You can now use the DSC platform to manage the configuration of both Windows and Linux workloads with the PowerShell interface. Microsoft says that bringing DSC to Linux is another step in the company's "broader commitment to common management of heterogeneous assets in your datacenter or the public cloud." Adds reader benjymouse: DSC is in the same space as Chef and Puppet (and others); but unlike those, Microsofts attempts to build a platform/infrastructure based on industry standards like OMI to allow DSC to configure and control both Windows, Linux and other OSes as well as network equipment like switches, etc.
Open Source

Why Was Linux the Kernel That Succeeded? 469

Posted by samzenpus
from the belle-of-the-ball dept.
jones_supa writes: "One of the most puzzling questions about the history of free and open source software is this: Why did Linux succeed so spectacularly, whereas similar attempts to build a free or open source, Unix-like operating system kernel met with considerably less success?" Christopher Tozzi has rounded up some theories, focusing specifically on kernels, not complete operating systems. These theories take a detailed look at the decentralized development structure, pragmatic approach to things, and the rich developer community, all of which worked in favor of Linux.

Comment: Re:Simple methodology (Score 1) 347

by StormReaver (#49146519) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

One would hope that a good manager would have enough practical and direct experience in writing software to at least come up with a half-decent estimate, no?

No.

I've been writing software for 30 years, and I have never calculated an estimate that was even remotely accurate. Every project is unique, and must be treated as if it has never been done before (which it hasn't). Time estimates are snake oil sales.

[unrelated rant]

I hate, Hate, HATE, HATE!!!!! Slashdot's forum rules. Who has the time to wait a billion years between postings?! Who's the moron who comes up with this shit?! I registered at soylentnews.org a few days ago, and this stupid Slashdot notice:

Slow Down Cowboy!

Slashdot requires you to wait between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment.

It's been 3 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment

is the last straw. I've been on Slashdot for about 18 years now, I think, and I've had it with all the stupid site decisions of the last couple years. I'm done with Slashdot. This is my last posting to Slashdot. Hello, Soylent News!

[/unrelated rant]

Comment: Re:Hard to believe (Score 1) 166

by StormReaver (#49146439) Attached to: Microsoft's Goals For Their New Web Rendering Engine

And [Microsoft has] done some great work on a lot of software engineering fronts, including secure development, powerful tools, integrations, and are even dabbling in open source,[sic]

Only until they can find a way to subvert it. Don't let Microsoft's current worries confuse you into thinking that that company has changed in any way, shape, or form. The moment Microsoft management think the coast is clear, they will drive their hidden knives into your back. It's one of the few things Microsoft does well.

The best laid plans of mice and men are held up in the legal department.

Working...