Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - Pay What You Want for the Learn to Code Bundle, includes AngularJS, Python, HTML5, Ruby, and more. ×

Volkswagen Emissions Issues Spread To Gasoline Cars ( 208

schwit1 writes: Just a day after news broke that Volkswagen's emissions scandal had expanded to its Porsche unit and Audi SUVs, the company has disclosed yet another problem, this time affecting carbon dioxide levels emitted by their cars. "Volkswagen said an internal probe showed 800,000 cars had "unexplained inconsistencies" concerning their carbon-dioxide output. Previously, the automaker estimated it would need to recall 11 million vehicles worldwide — more than Volkswagen sold last year." This batch of cars includes a small number of gasoline engines. Until now, only diesel engines were part of the problem.
United Kingdom

Huge Survey Shows Correlation Between Autistic Traits and STEM Jobs ( 345

Bruce66423 writes: A survey of more than 450,000 people in the UK has shown there is a significant correlation between a higher score on the Autism Quotient and being a scientist or engineer. AQ scores are also higher for men than for women. "On average, the male AQ score was 21.6, compared to a female score of 19.0. People work in a STEM-related job had an average AQ score of 21.9 compared to a score of 18.9 for individuals working in non-STEM jobs. This suggests autistic traits are linked to both sex and to having a ‘systems-thinking’ mind." A professor involved with the work said, "These may shed light on why we find males in the population on average have slightly more autistic traits than females do, and why fathers and grandfathers of children with autism are over-represented in STEM fields."

Submission + - Saying "Wasted" On Facebook can affect your credit score (

JustAnotherOldGuy writes: According to a report by the Financial Times, some of the top credit rating companies are now using people's social media accounts to assess their ability to repay debt. “If you look at how many times a person says ‘wasted’ in their profile, it has some value in predicting whether they’re going to repay their debt,” Will Lansing, chief executive at credit rating company FICO, told the Financial Times. "It's not much, but it's more than zero." According to the Financial Times, both FICO and TransUnion have had to find "alternative ways" to assess people who don't have a traditional credit profile — including people who haven't borrowed enough to give creditors an idea of what kind of risk they pose.
United States

How the FBI Can Detain, Render and Threaten Without Risk ( 318

schwit1 writes: Patrick Eddington has a disturbing article in the NY Times about a court decision that seems to give U.S. law enforcement agencies the ability to have an American citizen sent from one foreign country to another for interrogation, to do that interrogation themselves, and to threaten the use of torture to get them to talk. "If this decision stands, it will mean that an American citizen overseas who is unlawfully targeted by the United States government for rendition, interrogation and detention with the help of a local government will have no form of redress in the courts." The case centers around Amir Meshal, a U.S. citizen who lived in New Jersey.

While Meshal was traveling abroad, he got caught up in a wave of refugees leaving Somalia for Kenya. There Kenyan authorities detained him, and FBI agents interrogated him. He was transported back to Somalia, and then to Ethiopia, where he had never visited. In Ethiopia, FBI agents once again quickly got access to Meshal, accusing him of being trained for terrorism in Al-Qaeda camps. They threatened him and denied access to lawyers.

Months later, when he was released, he returned to the U.S. He has never been accused of a terrorism-related offense. He filed a lawsuit based on his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, but U.S. courts have thus far denied his claims. Eddington concludes, "The appellate court decision means that American citizens have no means available to hold the government accountable for violating their constitutional rights, simply because the United States conveniently denied those rights in another country of its choosing."


Firefox 42 Arrives With Tracking Protection, Tab Audio Indicators 134

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today launched Firefox 42 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Notable additions to the browser include tracking protection, tab audio indicators, and background link opening on Android. The new private browsing mode goes further than just not saving your browsing history (read: porn sites) — the added tracking protection means Firefox also blocks website elements (ads, analytics trackers, and social share buttons) that could track you while you're surfing the web, and it works on all four platforms. The feature is almost like a built-in ad blocker, though it's really closer to browser add-ons like Ghostery and Privacy Badger because ads that don't track you are allowed through.

Submission + - How DMCA Rulemaking Has a Chilling Effect on Security Research (

citadrianne writes: Jay Radcliffe is a security researcher with diabetes. In 2011, he gave a talk at Black Hat, showing how his personal insulin pump could be hacked—with potentially deadly consequences.

As a result of his 2011 presentation, he worked with the Department of Homeland Security and the Food and Drug Administration to address security vulnerabilities in insulin pumps.

“The specific technical details of that research have never been published in order to protect patients using those devices,” he wrote in his testimony to the Librarian of Congress and the US Copyright Office.

Every three years, the Librarian of Congress puts a whole bunch of people through a twisted bureaucratic process called DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) rulemaking. Technically speaking, DMCA rulemaking doesn’t make things illegal or legal per se, but many people—like Jay Radcliffe—look to the rulemaking for a green light to do their work.

Operating Systems

The Return of OS/2 Warp Set For 2016 ( 262

An anonymous reader writes: We all know the ill-fated history of IBM's OS/2 Warp, while some others may not know about the first OS/2-OEM distribution called eComStation. Now a new company called Arca Noae, not happy with the results of this last distribution, has signed an agreement with IBM to create a new OS/2 version. They announced a new OS, codenamed "Blue Lion," at Warpstock 2015 this last October; this will be based on OS/2 Warp 4.52 and the SMP kernel. The OS/2 community has taken this news with positivism and the OS2World community is now requesting everybody that has developed for OS/2 on the past to open source their source code to collaborate.

Submission + - Self-Driving Delivery Robots To Hit Streets Of London In 2016 (

An anonymous reader writes: Estonian start-up Starship Technologies is taking a different approach to automated delivery with a ground-based self-driving robot. Headquartered in London and launched by two ex-Skype founders, the robotics company has unveiled its suburban pavement-strolling bot which can travel at a speedy 4mph. Starship claims that the 40-pound machine could deliver packages in 5 to 30 minutes from local retailers and restaurants. The company argues that a grounded approach to automated delivery will remove some of the safety concerns linked to flying drone systems, as the robot is much less likely to cause harm.

App To Hold Police Instantly Accountable In Stop and Search ( 167

An anonymous reader writes: A collective of London-based youth clubs and organizations has released an app called Y-Stop to help encourage those involved in unfair police encounters to instantly record and report their experiences. The idea is to 'encourage police accountability' by making it easier for anyone to have a say about what they think may be unjustified or illegal police action. The app allows its user to immediately send audio and video footage of harassment for secure holding with the charities themselves, or with the police directly. It also enables easier communication with lawyers for assistance and advice.
United Kingdom

Internet Firms To Be Banned From Offering Unbreakable Encryption Under New UK Laws ( 418

Retron writes: Despite statements from the minister for internet safety and security Baroness Shields last week that the UK government would not require software developers to build backdoors into their products, the Telegraph is reporting that the UK Government is going to ban companies from offering 'unbreakable' encryption, effectively requiring a backdoor in products from the likes of Google and Apple. The reasons given are that they don't want the likes of terrorists and paedophiles to communicate in places the Police can't reach. A Home Office spokesman said: “The Government is clear we need to find a way to work with industry as technology develops to ensure that, with clear oversight and a robust legal framework, the police and intelligence agencies can access the content of communications of terrorists and criminals in order to resolve police investigations and prevent criminal acts."

US Government IT Outsourcing Is Poorly Managed ( 85

itwbennett writes: The U.S. government is spending way more than it has to on IT outsourcing. That's the finding of a report released in September by the Government Accountability Office that studied IT services outsourcing at three military branches within the Department of Defense, along with the Department of Homeland Security and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. According to the report, while efforts to better manage their IT outsourcing had improved, most of these agencies' IT spending "continues to be obligated through hundreds of potentially duplicative contracts that diminish the government's buying power."

Forecasting the Economic Impact of a Changing Climate ( 249

An anonymous reader writes: Academic research has been busily trying to pin down how a changing climate will affect our planet over the long- and short-term. But a new study in the journal Nature attempts to forecast not the changes in weather, but the changes in our economy as a result of climate change. "The study (abstract) finds that climate change can be expected to reshape the global economy by reducing average global incomes roughly 23 percent by the year 2100. This study is important because it solves a problem that has existed in prior models of climate change effects on economics: discrepancies between macro and micro level observations." Notably, the paper provides evidence that regional economies can be linked to global climate effects. "This modeling allowed them to examine whether country-specific deviations from growth trends were related to country-specific differences in temperature and precipitation trends, while accounting for any global shifts that would be experienced to affect all countries."

Linus Rants About C Programming Semantics ( 576

jones_supa writes: "Christ people. This is just sh*t," begins Linus Torvalds in his message on the Linux Kernel Mailing List. Torvalds is grumpy because some new code added to the IPv6 subsystem has created conflicts. "The conflict I get is due to stupid new gcc header file crap," he writes. "But what makes me upset is that the crap is for completely bogus reasons." The new improved code uses fancy stuff that wants magical built-in compiler support and has silly wrapper functions for when it doesn't exist. Linus provides an alternative that contains a single and understandable conditional, which looks cleaner and generates better code.
United States

Feds Have a Plan For Catastrophic Solar Flares ( 188

New submitter Steve Sacco, referencing the newly released National Space Weather Strategy and the National Space Weather Action Plan, written in anticipation of large-scale disruptions from a solar flare or similar event, writes: Released on October 28, 2015, the White House plan involves the coordination of agencies from the federal level, state level, and including emergency managers, academia, the media, the insurance industry, nonprofit organizations and the private sector, all in preparation for the worst-case scenario possible, such as the Carrington Event that took place in 1859.

Let's organize this thing and take all the fun out of it.