slew writes "Although the robot technically cheats because it watches your hand and can recognize what shape you are intending to make and beat it before you even know what is happening. Apparently it takes about 60ms for you to shape your hand, but the robot can recognize the shape before it is completed, and only takes 20ms to counter your shape so the results appear to the human opponent to be virtually simultaneous. I wonder how difficult it would be to add lizard and spock to the mix.... ;^)."
wjcofkc writes "The United States Government has officially called in the calvary over the problems with Healthcare.gov. Tech titans Oracle, Red Hat and Google have been tapped to join the effort to fix the website that went live a month ago, only to quickly roll over and die. While a tech surge of engineers to fix such a complex problem is arguably not the greatest idea, if you're going to do so, you might as well bring in the big guns. The question is: can they make the end of November deadline?"
An anonymous reader writes "According to the Washington Post, 'Former Vice President Dick Cheney says he once feared that terrorists could use the electrical device that had been implanted near his heart to kill him and had his doctor disable its wireless function. Cheney has a history of heart trouble, suffering the first of five heart attacks at age 37. ... In an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes, Cheney says doctors replaced an implanted defibrillator near his heart in 2007. The device can detect irregular heartbeats and control them with electrical jolts. Cheney says that he and his doctor, cardiologist Jonathan Reiner, turned off the device's wireless function in case a terrorist tried to send his heart a fatal shock.' More at CBS News."
New submitter Maser_24 writes with news about continued action against Google for snooping on unsecured Wi-Fi networks when collecting data for Street View. From the article: "A federal appeals court this week ruled that Google could be held liable for civil damages for the company's 2011 scandal involving the company's collection of Wi-Fi data from unsecured hotspots using their Street View vehicles. To come to that conclusion, the court followed a rather unique logic path; according to the court, unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots are not 'radio communications' that are 'readily accessible' to the general public and therefore Google violated the Wiretap Act." This despite being cleared of wrongdoing by the FCC.
cold fjord writes with this snippet from The Guardian: "The high court has granted the Metropolitan police extended powers to investigate whether crimes related to terrorism and breaches of the Official Secrets Act have been committed following the seizure of data at Heathrow from David Miranda... At a hearing ... lawyers for Miranda said they had agreed to the terms of wider police powers to investigate a hard drive and memory sticks containing encrypted material that were seized on 18 August. Previously the inspection had been conducted on the narrower grounds of national security. Following the court ruling, the police will now be allowed to examine the material to investigate whether a crime of 'communication of material to an enemy' has been committed as well as possible crimes of communication of material about members of the military and intelligence services that could be useful to terrorists." Related: Reader hazeii writes "The BBC are reporting that the files seized from David Miranda (as a potential terrorist — see the earlier Slashdot story) 'endanger agents' lives.' Given that Miranda (and other Guardian journalists) seem to have been exceedingly careful not to release anything that could actually damage national security, and that the source of this information is a 'senior cabinet adviser,' one wonders what exactly the point of this 'news' is."
Nerval's Lobster writes "For quite some time, some economists and social scientists have argued that advances in robotics and computer technology are systematically wrecking the job prospects of human beings. Back in June, for example, an MIT Technology Review article detailed Erik Brynjolfsson (a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management) and a co-author suggesting that the evolution of computer technology was "largely behind the sluggish employment growth of the last 10 to 15 years." Of course, technological change and its impact on the workforce is nothing new; just look at the Industrial Revolution, when labor-saving devices put many a hard-working homo sapien out of economic commission. But how far can things go? There are even arguments that the technology behind Google's Self-Driving Car, which allows machines to rapidly adapt to situations, could put whole new subsets of people out of jobs."
An anonymous reader notes that Skype is reportedly working on a 3D version of its messaging application. As reported by the BBC, an unnamed senior executive says that rumors to this effect are true. However, don't get too worked up about sending your avatar to school or to work just yet: Microsoft's corporate vice-president for Skype, Mark Gillett, says that "the capture devices are not yet there. As we work with that kind of technology you have to add multiple cameras to your computer, precisely calibrate them and point them at the right angle. ... We have it in the lab, we know how to make it work and we're looking at the ecosystem of devices and their capability to support it in order to make a decision when we might think about bringing something like that to market." Also at SlashBI.
An anonymous reader writes with revelations that the UK government has been pressuring the Guardian over its publication of the Snowden leaks for a while, and that it ultimately ended with GHCQ officials smashing drives of data to pieces. From the article: "The mood toughened just over a month ago, when I received a phone call from the centre of government telling me: 'You've had your fun. Now we want the stuff back.' ... one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history occurred — with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents. 'We can call off the black helicopters,' joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro." The paper had repeatedly pointed out how pointless destroying the data was: copies exist, and all reporting on the Snowden leaks is already being edited and published from locations other than the UK.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Three years ago, game designer and author Jane McGonigal argued that saving the human race is going to require a major time investment—in playing video games. 'If we want to solve problems like hunger, poverty, climate change, global conflict, obesity, I believe that we need to aspire to play games online for at least 21 billion hours a week [up from 3 billion today], by the end of the next decade,' she said in a TED talk. Her message was not ignored—and it has indirectly contributed to the formation of something called the Internet Response League (IRL). The small group has a big goal: to harness gamers' time and use it to save lives after disasters, natural or otherwise. The idea is to insert micro-tasks into games, specifically asking gamers to tag photos of disaster areas. With the IRL plugin, each image would be shown to at least three people, who tag the photo as showing no damage, mild damage, or severe damage. The Internet Response League has been in talks with a couple of indie developers, including one that's developing a new MMO. Mosur said they've tried to get in touch with World of Warcraft maker Blizzard, but haven't had any luck yet. Blizzard did not return a request for comment from Slashdot."
An anonymous reader writes "The Old Reader, a popular RSS service and alternative to Google Reader, last week revealed it would be closing its service to the public in two weeks. Soon after the backlash, there was hint of a stance reversal, and now it's happened: The Old Reader will remain open to the public, thanks to a bigger team and 'significantly more' resources, both provided by a new corporate entity located in the US. While details about this 'corporate entity' are indeed scarce, we do know the announcement was authored by an individual named Ben Wolf. He promises his team consists of 'big fans and users' of The Old Reader who want to help it 'grow and improve for years to come' and who will be introduced properly in the coming weeks."
Zothecula writes "With some help from a robotic fish, scientists have discovered that zebrafish are much like humans in at least one way – they get reckless when they get drunk. OK, 'drunk' might not be technically accurate, but when exposed to alcohol, the fish show no fear of a robotic version of one of their natural predators, the Indian leaf fish. When they're "sober," they avoid the thing like crazy. The researchers believe that the experiments indicate a promising future for robots in behavioral studies."
itwbennett writes "Following rival MediaTek's announcement of plans to release an eight-core processor in the fourth quarter, Qualcomm has declared eight-core processors 'dumb'. 'You can't take eight lawnmower engines, put them together and now claim you have an eight-cylinder Ferrari. It just doesn't make sense,' Qualcomm's senior vice president Anand Chandrasekher said, according to a transcript of his comments to Taiwan media provided on Friday. Asked whether Qualcomm would one day launch its own octa-core processor, Chandrasekher said, 'We don't do dumb things.'"
knorthern knight writes "Most major weather services (US NWS, Britain's Met Office, etc) have their own supercomputers, and their own weather models. But there are some models which are used globally. A new paper has been published, comparing outputs from one such program on different machines around the world. Apparently, the same code, running on different machines, can produce different outputs due to accumulation of differing round-off errors. The handling of floating-point numbers in computing is a field in its own right. The paper apparently deals with 10-day weather forecasts. Weather forecasts are generally done in steps of 1 hour. I.e. the output from hour 1 is used as the starting condition for the hour 2 forecast. The output from hour 2 is used as the starting condition for hour 3, etc. The paper is paywalled, but the abstract says: 'The global model program (GMP) of the Global/Regional Integrated Model system (GRIMs) is tested on 10 different computer systems having different central processing unit (CPU) architectures or compilers. There exist differences in the results for different compilers, parallel libraries, and optimization levels, primarily due to the treatment of rounding errors by the different software systems. The system dependency, which is the standard deviation of the 500-hPa geopotential height averaged over the globe, increases with time. However, its fractional tendency, which is the change of the standard deviation relative to the value itself, remains nearly zero with time. In a seasonal prediction framework, the ensemble spread due to the differences in software system is comparable to the ensemble spread due to the differences in initial conditions that is used for the traditional ensemble forecasting.'"
Reader turp182 notes that the Amash Amendment (#100) to HR 2397 (DOD appropriations bill) failed to pass the House of Representatives, meaning it will not be added to the appropriations bill. turp182 writes "The amendment would have specifically defunded the bulk collection of American phone records." Americans can see how their representatives voted here.
Reminds me of this far side cartoon -- http://bit.ly/12lglUc