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AI

Debating a Ban On Autonomous Weapons (thebulletin.org) 17

Lasrick writes: A pretty informative debate on banning autonomous weapons has just closed at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The debate looks at an open letter, published In July, 2015, in which researchers in artificial intelligence and robotics (and endorsed by high-profile individuals such as Stephen Hawking) called for 'a ban on offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control.' The letter echoes arguments made since 2013 by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, which views autonomous weapons as 'a fundamental challenge to the protection of civilians and to international human rights and humanitarian law.'

But support for a ban is not unanimous. Some researchers argue that autonomous weapons would commit fewer battlefield atrocities than human beings—and that their development might even be considered morally imperative. The authors in this debate focus on these questions: Would deployed autonomous weapons promote or detract from civilian safety; and is an outright ban the proper response to development of autonomous weapons?

Government

Senate Passes Bill Making Internet Tax Ban Permanent (consumerist.com) 38

kheldan writes: Nearly two decades ago, Congress passed the first Internet Tax Freedom Act, establishing that — with a handful of grandfathered exceptions — local, state, and federal governments couldn't impose taxes on Internet access. Problem is, that law has had to be renewed over and over, each time with an expiration date. But today, the U.S. Senate finally passed a piece of legislation that would make the tax ban permanent.

Submission + - Senate Passes Bill Making Internet Tax Ban Permanent (consumerist.com)

kheldan writes: Nearly two decades ago, Congress passed the first Internet Tax Freedom Act, establishing that — with a handful of grandfathered exceptions — local, state, and federal governments couldn’t impose taxes on Internet access. Problem is, that law has had to be renewed over and over, each time with an expiration date. But today, the U.S. Senate finally passed a piece of legislation that would make the tax ban permanent.

Submission + - Even Einstein doubted his gravitational waves (astronomy.com)

Flash Modin writes: In 1936, twenty years after Albert Einstein introduced the concept, the great physicist took another look at his math and came to a surprising conclusion. “Together with a young collaborator, I arrived at the interesting result that gravitational waves do not exist, though they had been assumed a certainty to the first approximation,” he wrote in a letter to friend Max Born. Interestingly, his research denouncing gravitational waves was rejected by Physical Review Letters, the journal that just published proof of their existence. The story shows that even when Einstein's wrong, it's because he was already right the first time.

Submission + - Boeing Installs World's Largest 'Reversible' Renewable Energy Storage System (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: Boeing announced that it has installed a first-of-its-kind 50MW Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) system on a naval base in Port Hueneme, Calif. The fuel cell system, which can scale to 400KW, is unique in that it uses solar power to generate hydrogen gas from seawater, which it then stores until power and it releases the gas into a fuel cell stack to produce electricity, heat and water. Because the system can both store energy and produce electricity, Boeing is calling the fuel cell system "reversible." The Navy's Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center is testing the fuel cell system on a microgrid to determine its viability for use at both remote bases and during overseas military missions.

Feed Google News Sci Tech: Qualcomm's new LTE modem hits a gigabit and touches the future of mobile - PCWorld (google.com)


PCWorld

Qualcomm's new LTE modem hits a gigabit and touches the future of mobile
PCWorld
Qualcomm's next LTE modem can reach gigabit speeds, but that might not be the most important thing about it. The Snapdragon X16 LTE Modem, coming to devices in the second half of this year, is also the company's first chip for both major types of...
Qualcomm promises gigabit LTE speeds with its new Snapdragon X16 modemArs Technica
Your next smartwatch may look better and last longer, thanks to Qualcomm's new chipsDigital Trends
Qualcomm's new chips will power up smartwatches, mid-range phonesEngadget
Mashable-PC Magazine-ValueWalk
all 129 news articles

Submission + - Dallas Buyers Club abandons fight against Australian pirates (theage.com.au)

aphelion_rock writes: It's a happy day for Aussie pirates: The Hollywood studio behind the film Dallas Buyers Club has abandoned its fight to extract huge sums of cash from alleged copyright infringers.

Dallas Buyers Club LLC had until midday Thursday to lodge a second appeal against an August Federal Court decision which effectively prevented it from engaging in so-called "speculative invoicing" in Australia.

Submission + - CHAI3D - The Open Source Haptics Project (chai3d.org)

francoislconti writes: The CHAI3D team has just announced the release of the 3rd edition of the CHAI3D open source framework for haptic simulation. The new release introduces some of the latest research developments in haptics, in such areas as medical simulation, volume rendering, point cloud data and haptics audio. This version also supports additional haptic devices, as well as stereoscopic and immersive displays including the Oculus Rift.

Leveraging years of research at the Stanford Robotics Laboratory, CHAI3D builds on solid development experience and user feedback. The framework implementation combines the expertise of both academic and industrial partners, who contributed over the years to a wide collection of research and production projects in such diverse areas as games, simulators, educational software, interactive art, scientific visualization, robotics and medical applications.

Written in C++, CHAI3D is designed to make it easier and more intuitive for developers to produce applications that combine 3D modeling with force-feedback rendering capabilities. By transparently supporting a variety of different haptic interfaces and trackers, CHAI3D offers a unified framework to easily link applications with any compatible devices. For hardware designers, the 3.0 release provides extensive documentation, templates and examples to assist developers in easily integrating new haptic device prototypes with sophisticated haptic simulations.

Support for third party components is also provided via extension modules that augment the capabilities of the CHAI3D core foundations. Extension modules currently include various dynamics engines and robotic frameworks.

CHAI3D 3.0 is available for download on the project website (http://www.chai3d.org).

Submission + - Pwn2Own 2016 Won't Attack Firefox (cause it's too easy!) (eweek.com) 1

darthcamaro writes: For the last decade, the Pwn2own hacking competition has pitted the world's best hackers against web browsers to try and find zero-day vulnerabilities in a live event. The contest, which is sponsored by HPE and TrendMicro this year is offering over half a million dollars in prize money, but for the first time, not a penny of that will directed to Mozilla Firefox. While Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome and Apple Safari are targets, Firefox isn't because it's apparently too easy and not keeping up with modern security.

"We wanted to focus on the browsers that have made serious security improvements in the last year," Brian Gorenc, manager of Vulnerability Research at HPE said.


Submission + - Statistics Based Password Cracking Ruleset (praetorian.com)

pjauregui writes: The password cracking ruleset, based on last year's in-depth password cracking statistics research, has been released for Hashcat. A list, compromised of 64 rules, has been released as hob064 and a more extensive ruleset has been released as d3adhob0.

Now available for public use, Hob0Rules was created based on password statistics research and real-world industry patterns.

Education

Interviews: Ask Author and Programmer Andy Nicholls About R 102

Andy Nicholls has been an R programmer and consultant for Mango Solutions since 2011 (where he currently manages the R consultancy team), after a long stint as a statistician in the pharmaceutical industry. He has a serious background in mathematics, too, with a Masters in math and another in Statistics with Applications in Medicine. Andy has taught more than 50 on-site R training courses and has been involved in the development of more than 30 R packages; he's also a regular contributor to events at LondonR, the largest R user group in the UK. But since not everyone can get to London for a user group meeting, you can get some of the insights he's gained as an R expert in Sams Teach Yourself R In 24 Hours (available in print or at Safari), of which he is the lead author. Today, though, you can ask Andy about the much-lauded statistics-oriented free software (GPL) language directly -- Why to use it, how to get started, how to get things done, and where those intriguing release names come from. (The about page is helpful, too.) As usual, please ask as many questions as you'd like, but one question at a time, please.

Submission + - Drivers Need to Forget Their GPS

HughPickens.com writes: Greg Milner writes in the NYT that an American tourist in Iceland directed the GPS unit in his rental car to guide him from Keflavik International Airport to a hotel in nearby Reykjavik, and ended up 250 icy miles away in Siglufjordur, a fishing village on the outskirts of the Arctic Circle. Mr. Santillan apparently explained that he was very tired after his flight and had “put his faith in the GPS.” In another incident, a woman in Belgium asked GPS to take her to a destination less than two hours away and two days later, she turned up in Croatia. Finally disastrous incidents involving drivers following disused roads and disappearing into remote areas of Death Valley in California have became so common that park rangers gave them a name: “death by GPS.” "If we’re being honest, it’s not that hard to imagine doing something similar ourselves" says Milner. "Most of us use GPS as a crutch while driving through unfamiliar terrain, tuning out and letting that soothing voice do the dirty work of navigating."

Could society’s embrace of GPS be eroding our cognitive maps? Julia Frankenstein, a psychologist at the University of Freiburg’s Center for Cognitive Science, says the danger of GPS is that “we are not forced to remember or process the information — as it is permanently ‘at hand,’ we need not think or decide for ourselves.” "Next time you’re in a new place, forget the GPS device. Study a map to get your bearings, then try to focus on your memory of it to find your way around. City maps do not tell you each step, but they provide a wealth of abstract survey knowledge. Fill in these memories with your own navigational experience, and give your brain the chance to live up to its abilities."

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