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Transportation

Seat Detects When You're Drowsy, Can Control Your Car 106

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the no-ambien-walrus-we-can't-drive-to-the-circle-k dept.
cartechboy (2660665) writes Cars already have the technology to determine when you're drowsy, that's nothing new. But having seats with sensors in them monitoring your heart rate to determine if you're falling asleep, that's new, and creepy. A new project from Nottingham Trent University in the UK is working on an electrocardiogram (ECG) built into the driver's seat to detect heart rate and determine when the driver is too fatigued — or worse, falling asleep — in order to improve road safety. ... The system could take over using active cruise control, lane-keep assist, and other safety technology after warning the drive to pull over. Of course, the creepy part is the car knowing your health and determining whether it would be more fit to drive than you.
United States

Stanford Researchers Spot Medical Conditions, Guns, and More In Phone Metadata 193

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-are-your-data dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Since the NSA's phone metadata program broke last summer, politicians have trivialized the privacy implications. It's 'just metadata,' Dianne Feinstein and others have repeatedly emphasized. That view is no longer tenable: Stanford researchers crowdsourced phone metadata from real users, and easily identified calls to 'Alcoholics Anonymous, gun stores, NARAL Pro-Choice, labor unions, divorce lawyers, sexually transmitted disease clinics, a Canadian import pharmacy, strip clubs, and much more.' Looking at patterns in call metadata, they correctly diagnosed a cardiac condition and outed an assault rifle owner. 'Reasonable minds can disagree about the policy and legal constraints,' the authors conclude. 'The science, however, is clear: phone metadata is highly sensitive.'"
Microsoft

Steve Ballmer Blew Up At the Microsoft Board Before Retiring 248

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the developers-developers-developers-rage-quit dept.
mrspoonsi writes with this excerpt from Business Insider on Steve Ballmer's final months as Microsoft CEO: "Ballmer decided to announce his retirement a few years before anyone expected him to. It all came to a head in one board meeting with Ballmer in June 2013. According to Businessweek, Ballmer got into a shouting match with Microsoft's board when directors said they didn't want to buy Nokia and start making smartphones. Ballmer told the board last June that if he didn't get what he wanted, he wouldn't be CEO any more. Businessweek said Ballmer's shouts could be heard in the hall outside the conference room. In the end, the board compromised with Ballmer. Ballmer wanted to buy both Nokia's handset business and its mapping platform called HERE. Instead, Microsoft ended up buying just the handset business for $7.2 billion and licensed HERE maps from Nokia." Ballmer seems to be regretting not getting into hardware sooner (although given that not making hardware propelled them to success in the 90s...)
Chrome

Google Won't Enable Chrome Video Acceleration Because of Linux GPU Bugs 295

Posted by Soulskill
from the off-the-poorly-rendered-table dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Citing 'code we consider to be permanently "experimental" or "beta,"' Google Chrome engineers have no plans on enabling video acceleration in the Chrome/Chromium web browser. Code has been written but is permanently disabled by default because 'supporting GPU features on Linux is a nightmare' due to the reported sub-par quality of Linux GPU drivers and many different Linux distributions. Even coming up with a Linux GPU video acceleration white-list has been shot down over fear of the Linux video acceleration code causing stability issues and problems for Chrome developers. What have been your recent experiences with Linux GPU drivers?"
Medicine

Pro-Vaccination Efforts May Be Scaring Wary Parents From Shots 482

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-win-for-losing dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Thomas Kienzle reports for the Associated Press on a study which found public health campaigns touting vaccines' effectiveness and debunking the links between autism and other health risks might actually be backfiring, and convincing parents to skip the shots for their kids. 'Corrections of misperceptions about controversial issues like vaccines may be counterproductive in some populations,' says Dr. Brendan Nyhan. 'The best response to false beliefs is not necessarily providing correct information.' In the study, researchers focused on the now-debunked idea that the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella (or MMR) caused autism. Surveying 1,759 parents, researchers found that while they were able to teach parents that the vaccine and autism were not linked, parents who were surveyed who had initial reservations about vaccines said they were actually less likely to vaccinate their children after hearing the researchers messages. Researchers looked at four methods designed to counter the myth (PDF) that the MMR vaccine can cause autism. They gave people either information from health authorities about the lack of evidence for a connection, information about the danger of the three diseases the MMR vaccine protects against, pictures of children who had one of those three diseases, or a story about an infant who almost died from measles.

At the study's start, the group of parents who were most opposed to vaccination said that on average, the chance they would vaccinate a future child against MMR was 70 percent. After these parents had been given information that the MMR vaccine does not cause autism, they said, on average, the chance they would vaccinate a future child was only 45 percent — even though they also said they were now less likely to believe the vaccine could cause autism. Vaccination rates are currently high, so it's important that any strategies should focus on retaining these numbers and not raise more concerns, tipping parents who are willing to vaccinate away from doing so. 'We shouldn't put too much weight on the idea that there's some magic message out there that will change people's minds.'"
IOS

Apple To Unveil Its 'iOS In the Car' Project Next Week 198

Posted by Soulskill
from the for-cars-with-just-one-button dept.
An anonymous reader tips news that Apple's efforts to bring iOS to cars will be shown at the Geneva Motor Show next week. 'Drivers will be able to use Apple Maps as in-car navigation, as well as listen to music and watch films. Calls can be made through the system, which will tie into the Siri voice recognition platform so that messages can be read to the driver who can respond by dictating a reply.' Apple's partners in the automotive industry will be Volvo, Ferrari, and Mercedes Benz to start. Apple first said they were working on this system at last year's WWDC.
Networking

How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33% 206

Posted by timothy
from the now-how-much-would-you-pay? dept.
lpress writes "I was at a Time Warner Cable (TWC) store returning a router, when I asked what my new monthly bill would be. The answer — $110 — surprised me, so I asked a few questions and ended up with the same service for $76.37. Check out my conversation with their representative to see what was said, then do the same yourself."
Bitcoin

Ask Slashdot: Do You Still Trust Bitcoin? 631

Posted by samzenpus
from the who-can-you-trust? dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "It hasn't been a great week for Bitcoin. Cruise the Web, and you'll find stories from people who lost thousands (even millions, in some cases) of paper value when the Mt.Gox exchange went offline for still-mysterious reasons. (Rumors have circulated for days about the shutdown, ranging from an epic heist of the Bitcoins under its stewardship, to financial improprieties leading the exchange to the edge of bankruptcy.) But as one Slashdotter pointed out in a previous posting, Mt.Gox isn't Bitcoin (and vice versa), and it's likely that other exchanges will take up the burden of helping manage the currency. Even so, all currencies depend on a certain amount of stability and trust in order to survive, and Bitcoin faces something of a confidence crisis in the wake of this event. So here's the question: do you still trust Bitcoin?"
Programming

Does Relying On an IDE Make You a Bad Programmer? 627

Posted by samzenpus
from the speak-up dept.
itwbennett writes "Writing about his career decisions, programming language choices, and regrets, Rob Conery says that as a .NET developer he became more reliant on an IDE than he would have with PHP. Blogger, and .NET developer, Matthew Mombrea picks up the thread, coming to the defense of IDEs (Visual Studio in particular). Mombrea argues that 'being a good developer isn't about memorizing the language specific calls, it's about knowing the available ways to solve a problem and solving it using the best technique or tools as you can.' Does using an IDE make you lazy with the language? Would you be better off programming with Notepad?"
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code? 876

Posted by timothy
from the because-there-are-only-so-many-lego-in-the-world dept.
First time accepted submitter Rasberry Jello writes "I consider myself someone who 'gets code,' but I'm not a programmer. I enjoy thinking through algorithms and writing basic scripts, but I get bogged down in more complex code. Maybe I lack patience, but really, why are we still writing text based code? Shouldn't there be a simpler, more robust way to translate an algorithm into something a computer can understand? One that's language agnostic and without all the cryptic jargon? It seems we're still only one layer of abstraction from assembly code. Why have graphical code generators that could seemingly open coding to the masses gone nowhere? At a minimum wouldn't that eliminate time dealing with syntax errors? OK Slashdot, stop my incessant questions and tell me what I'm missing." Of interest on this topic, a thoughtful look at some of the ways that visual programming is often talked about.
IBM

IBM Looking To Sell Its Semiconductor Business 195

Posted by Soulskill
from the offloading-all-the-hardware dept.
jfruh writes "Having already gotten out of the low-end server market, IBM appears to be trying to get out of the chip business as well. The company currently manufactures Power Architecture chips for its own use and for other customers. Big Blue wants to sell off its manufacturing operations, but will continue to design its own chips."
Space

The Human Body May Not Be Cut Out For Space 267

Posted by Soulskill
from the until-we-reach-starship-enterprise-tech-anyway dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The human body did not evolve to live in space, and the longest any human has been off Earth is 437 days. Some problems, like the brittling of bone, may have been overcome already. Others have been identified — for example, astronauts have trouble eating and sleeping enough — and NASA is working to understand and solve them. But Kenneth Chang reports in the NY Times that there are some health problems that still elude doctors more than 50 years after the first spaceflight. The biggest hurdle remains radiation. Without the protective cocoon of Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere, astronauts receive substantially higher doses of radiation, heightening the chances that they will die of cancer. Another problem identified just five years ago is that the eyeballs of at least some astronauts became somewhat squashed. 'It is now a recognized occupational hazard of spaceflight,' says Dr. Barratt. 'We uncovered something that has been right under our noses forever.' NASA officials often talk about the 'unknown unknowns,' the unforeseen problems that catch them by surprise. The eye issue caught them by surprise, and they are happy it did not happen in the middle of a mission to Mars. Another problem is the lack of gravity jumbles the body's neurovestibular system (PDF) that tells people which way is up. When returning to the pull of gravity, astronauts can become dizzy, something that Mark Kelly took note of as he piloted the space shuttle to a landing. 'If you tilt your head a little left or right, it feels like you're going end over end.' Beyond the body, there is also the mind. The first six months of Scott Kelly's one-year mission are expected to be no different from his first trip to the space station. Dr. Gary E. Beven, a NASA psychiatrist, says he is interested in whether anything changes in the next six months. 'We're going to be looking for any significant changes in mood, in sleep, in irritability, in cognition.' In a Russian experiment in 2010 and 2011, six men agreed to be sealed up in a mock spaceship simulating a 17-month Mars mission. Four of the six developed disorders, and the crew became less active as the experiment progressed. 'I think that's just an example of what could potentially happen during a Mars mission, but with much greater consequence,' says Dr. Beven. 'Those subtle changes in group cohesion could cause major problems.'"
Censorship

In Greece, 10 Months In Prison For "Blasphemous" Facebook Page 324

Posted by timothy
from the welcome-to-the-eu dept.
First time accepted submitter etash writes "A bit more than a year ago a man was arrested in Greece for satirizing a dead monk, after the far-right party golden dawn, petitioned for his arrest. A couple of days ago he was given a ten-month sentence. What actually enraged the religious Greek blogosphere was not the satire. He wrote a fictitious story about a miracle done in the past by this specific monk. The story was then sent to [a religious blog] and then in a matter of days it was copy pasted and presented as true by most of the religious and far-right blogs and news sites. The final act of the dramedy took place when he came out and revealed that the story was not real; he intended to show the absurdity and the lack of reliability of these sites."
Patents

Notorious Patent Troll Sues Federal Trade Commission 102

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the your-business-is-stupid dept.
Fnord666 writes with news that the notorious scanner patent troll MPHJ Technology caught the eye of the FTC, and decided to file a preemptive lawsuit (PDF) against the Federal government. From the article: As the debate over so-called "patent trolls" has flared up in Congress, MPHJ became the go-to example for politicians and attorneys general trying to show that patent abuse has spun out of control. ... The FTC was going to sue under Section 5 of the FTC Act, which bars deceptive trade practices. MPHJ says that the FTC is greatly overstepping its bounds. The patent-licensing behavior doesn't even amount to 'commerce' by the standards of the FTC Act, because the letters are not 'the offer of a good or sale for service,' argues MPHJ. Furthermore, MPHJ has a First Amendment right to notify companies that it believes its patents are being infringed."

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