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Crime

The Coming Terrorist Threat From Autonomous Vehicles 212

HughPickens.com writes: Alex Rubalcava writes that autonomous vehicles are the greatest force multiplier to emerge in decades for criminals and terrorists and open the door for new types of crime not possible today. According to Rubalcava, the biggest barrier to carrying out terrorist plans until now has been the risk of getting caught or killed by law enforcement so that only depraved hatred, or religious fervor has been able to motivate someone to take on those risks as part of a plan to harm other people. "A future Timothy McVeigh will not need to drive a truck full of fertilizer to the place he intends to detonate it," writes Rubalcava. "A burner email account, a prepaid debit card purchased with cash, and an account, tied to that burner email, with an AV car service will get him a long way to being able to place explosives near crowds, without ever being there himself." A recent example is instructive. Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were identified by an examination of footage from numerous private security cameras that were recording the crowd in downtown Boston during the Marathon. Imagine if they could have dispatched their bombs in the trunk of a car that they were never in themselves? Catching them might have been an order of magnitude more difficult than it was.

According to Rubalcava the reaction to the first car bombing using an AV is going to be massive, and it's going to be stupid. There will be calls for the government to issue a stop to all AV operations, much in the same way that the FAA made the unprecedented order to ground 4,000-plus planes across the nation after 9/11. "But unlike 9/11, which involved a decades-old transportation infrastructure, the first AV bombing will use an infrastructure in its infancy, one that will be much easier to shut down" says Rubalcava. "That shutdown could stretch from temporary to quasi-permanent with ease, as security professionals grapple with the technical challenge of distinguishing between safe, legitimate payloads and payloads that are intended to harm."
(And don't forget The Dead Pool.)

Comment where were emojis when... (Score 1) 263

We really needed them? as in:

"This post may cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars to distribute around the world. Are you sure you want to do that?"

In those days we invented all sorts of stupid initialisms to reduce message sizes. Just think how emojis could have helped. Remember, "a picture is worth 4k bytes"

Comment Re:All bullshit (Score 1) 259

No, I'm claiming that a large number of teens get into sex because of peer pressure.

And so long as you're citing medical reviews, please look up some of the work in the last decade or so on development of the frontal lobes and the established physical fact that teens (and in fact up to the late 20s) do not have the capability to make judgements about engaging in behavior which is both pleasurable and risky.

Comment Re:All bullshit (Score 1) 259

The question is not about how many people have had sex by age 18 (or 16), but whether this is really consensual sex in the first place.

While I agree that jail time is almost certainly counterproductive, I completely disagree with the premise that early-age sex is either psychologically or physically healthy behavior. Further, it really is rare that young women are engaging in a fully consensual manner. They may "want" to have sex as a way of "proving maturity," or to be part of the cool crowd, but that's a poor definition of 'consensual.'

A certain overly randy POTUS fired a very well-spoken Surgeon General who had the nerve to suggest that teens would be far better off both physically and mentally if they engaged in autoeroticism. High time we accepted that position and did whatever we can to reduce the societal pressures to have early sex.

Comment Re:"Less than Lethal"...How Reassuring (Score 1) 180

Exactly.
"Lethal" : a gun. Except a bullet can hit you in about 95% of your body area and not kill you.

"nonlethal" : taser. Mace. Billy Club. All of which can and have killed people.

Wordsmithing is getting worse all the time. Anyone want to define a WofNotMD? How fast/what range of killzone is required to be a WMD? An IED? It's a freaking BOMB, m'kay? Let's stop pretending weapons are something they aren't.

Comment Re:The map surprises me (Score 1) 203

i think "drought" is a bit over the top for the UK if you compare it to real droughts around the world. a few dryer periods sounds more like it

OTOH, there are some oceanographers who are watching the Gulfstream currents carefully. Should that flow ever relocate (the current candidate cause IIRC would be excess flow from melting Arctic ice), the Emerald Isle will go brown.

Transportation

When Should Cops Be Allowed To Take Control of Self-Driving Cars? 236

HughPickens.com writes: A police officer is directing traffic in the intersection when he sees a self-driving car barreling toward him and the occupant looking down at his smartphone. The officer gestures for the car to stop, and the self-driving vehicle rolls to a halt behind the crosswalk. This seems like a pretty plausible interaction. Human drivers are required to pull over when a police officer gestures for them to do so. It's reasonable to expect that self-driving cars would do the same. But Will Oremus writes that while it's clear that police officers should have some power over the movements of self-driving cars, what's less clear is where to draw the line. Should an officer be able to do the same if he suspects the passenger of a crime? And what if the passenger doesn't want the car to stop—can she override the command, or does the police officer have ultimate control?

According to a RAND Corp. report on the future of technology and law enforcement "the dark side to all of the emerging access and interconnectivity (PDF) is the risk to the public's civil rights, privacy rights, and security." It added, "One can readily imagine abuses that might occur if, for example, capabilities to control automated vehicles and the disclosure of detailed personal information about their occupants were not tightly controlled and secured."
Bug

Backwards S-Pen Can Permanently Damage Note 5 157

tlhIngan writes: Samsung recently released a new version of its popular Galaxy Note series phablet, the Note 5. However, it turns out that there is a huge design flaw in the design of its pen holder (which Samsung calls the S-pen). If you insert it backwards (pointy end out instead of in), it's possible for it get stuck damaging the S-pen detection features. While it may be possible to fix it (Ars Technica was able to, Android Police was not), there's also a chance that your pen is also stuck the wrong way in permanently as the mechanism that holds the pen in grabs the wrong end and doesn't let go.

Comment Re:Very sad - but let's get legislation in place N (Score 4, Interesting) 706

And that is the root cause of this whole situation. We need to find a way to change the overall mindset (especially in these here Unitee States) towards other people's personal sexual congresses. Not only should it be nobody else's business, but nobody should even **care** what some person they're neither related to nor dating is doing.

If someone's cheating on a spouse (and the spouse does not approve of extramarital sex), the spouse will likely find out one way or another at some point. What happens to the couple is up to them. But what your employees, or Congressional reps, or sports/music/theatre idols do in their personal lives including sex, just plain shouldn't matter.

Security

Cheap Thermal Imagers Can Steal User PINs 101

Bismillah writes: A British infosec company has discovered that cheap thermal imaging attachments for smartphones can be used to work out which keys users press on -- for instance -- ATM PIN pads. The thermal imprint last for a minute or longer. That's especially worrying if your PIN takes the form of letters, as do many users' phone-unlock patterns.

Comment Re:it is excel (Score 1) 316

I keep hearing people saying replacing MS office with openoffice or libreoffice is no brainer. It is no brainer when your're replacing the word processor. It is a total different story to replace excel.

Friends don't let friends use Excel.
End of story.

Details: never ever ever use Excel to do math or data analysis. The reasons are legion.. Never ever ever use Excel to set up a database. Again, the reasons are legion.
Never ever Ever use Excel to format a cute-looking front page or even a tree diagram. It's stupid, painfully slow, and will break the moment someone tries to edit.

So then you're left with what Excel actually is: a spreadsheet tool. But just try writing a macro that won't foul up if someone hides/unhides a few rows, for example.

"Imitation is the sincerest form of television." -- The New Mighty Mouse

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