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Submission + - SurveyMonkey's CEO dies while vacationing with wife Susan Sanberg (

McGruber writes: Dave Goldberg, the chief executive of SurveyMonkey ( and spouse of Facebook COO Sheryl K. Sandberg, died on Friday night. He was 47.

“We are heartbroken by this news,” Facebook said in a statement. Mark Zuckerberg, a friend of the family, said that Mr. Goldberg died while on vacation abroad with Ms. Sandberg.

Goldberg built Surveymonkey into a provider of web surveys on almost every topic imaginable, with 500 employees and 25 million surveys created. News reports said it was valued at nearly $2 billion when it raised a round of funding last year.

Submission + - Microsoft's AI Insults People By Telling Them How Old They Are (

mikejuk writes: A Microsoft Research project that lets users upload photos and estimates their age and gender has attracted more attention than expected — not all of it complimentary.
The site demonstrates of some of the capabilities of the Face API included in Microsoft's Project Oxford that was announced at Build.
It may have been expected to be a source of amusement but instead it backfired when people started to upload their own photos and discovered just how wrong its estimates could be. It demonstrates not only that machine learning has a long way to go before it's good at estimating age, but also that machine learning may not be the most politically correct way to go about answering the question "How Old Do I look". It might be better to employ and algorithm that built in all the rules of how to make a polite answer to that request — such as always knock a decade off the age of anyone over 28.
Perhaps this particular neural network needs to learn some social skills before pronouncing how old people look.
However it is capable of telling some truths — a photo of Barak Obama in 2005 gives an estimated age of 46, close to his real age of 44, but just 9 years later in 2014 the age guessing robot places him at 65. It seems that Mr President aged 20 years in less than 10 years of office.
Any one want to be President?

Submission + - Statues of Assange, Snowden And Manning Go Up in Berlin writes: RT Times reports that Alexanderplatz square in Berlin has become the stage for a provocative art piece which celebrates whistleblowers and encourages ordinary citizens to speak out. "They have lost their freedom for the truth, so they remind us how important it is to know the truth,” says sculptor Davide Dormino. The life-sized statues of the three whistleblowers stand upon three chairs, as if speaking in an impromptu public meeting. Next to them is a fourth, empty chair. "The fourth chair is open to anyone here in Berlin who wants to get up and say anything they want," says the artist. Dormino, who came up with the idea together with the US journalist Charles Glass, specifically chose a classical bronze statue for his depiction – and not an installation or abstract piece – since statues are usually made of establishment figures. According to Domino while men who order others to their deaths get immortalized, those who resist are often forgotten, so “the statue pays homage to three who said no to war, to the lies that lead to war and to the intrusion into private life that helps to perpetuate war.” Activists and members of Germany’s Green party unveiled the life-size bronze statues on May Day.

Submission + - Student torches computer lab after he is unable to hack into grading system (

McGruber writes: A 15 year-old Douglas County, Georgia high school student has been charged with five felonies, including burglary and arson, after sheriff's deputies caught him while responding to a 1 AM fire at Alexander High School.

The boy admitted to investigators that he set fire to a computer after trying, unsuccessfully, to hack into the school computer system to change his grade on a failed test.

“It's very sad and tragic. He could have very easily come to one of his counselors and asked for help,” said Lt. Glenn Daniel with the Douglas County Sheriff's Department. “From what we can tell, (the student) was mad and frustrated because he could not hack into the system.” Lt. Daniel said the charges could land the young man in prison for several years.

The computer lab was cleaned up and re-opened in time for the start of that day's classes.

Comment Ask the Linux distributors to change (Score 1) 755

I can't understand why people are asking developers to stop working on systemd or even abusing them. Anybody can develop software, useful or not, system-d or system-that. Why not putting some effort into convincing distributors, especially server distributors, to use more administrator friendly init-frameworks.

Submission + - What Do You Do When Your Mind-Numing IT Job Should Be Automated? (

jfruh writes: Not everyone in tech has a job like Homer Simpson, who's been replaced at various times by a brick tied to a lever and a chicken named Queenie. But many IT workers have come up against mind-numbing, repetitive tasks that probably could be automated. So: what to do about it? Well, the answer depends on how much power you have in an organization and how much your bosses respect your opinion.

Submission + - UK Police Won't Admit They're Tracking People's Phone Calls (

Daniel_Stuckey writes: You've maybe heard a bit about Stingray. Over the past couple of years, it has emerged that police forces in the US have been using the powerful surveillance tool, which tricks phones into connecting to a dragnet, to track mobile devices, and intercept calls and text messages.

Meanwhile, the London Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) continue to remain tight lipped about their use of the technology, leaving citizens in the dark on what privacy protections, if any, are in place for those who may get swept up by the broad surveillance techniques.

Submission + - Microsoft to drop support for older versions of Internet Explorer (

An anonymous reader writes: After January 12, 2016, only the most recent version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates. For example, customers using Internet Explorer 8, Internet Explorer 9, or Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7 SP1 should migrate to Internet Explorer 11 to continue receiving security updates and technical support.

Feed Google News Sci Tech: Smartphone kill-switch bill passes California assembly - PCWorld (

The Recorder

Smartphone kill-switch bill passes California assembly
A bill requiring that all smartphones sold in California contain a “kill-switch” that allows users to disable them if stolen was approved by the California Assembly on Thursday morning. The bill had previously been approved by the state's senate although it will...
Smartphone 'kill switch' bill clears California AssemblyLos Angeles Times
California Assembly OKs smartphone 'kill switch' billSan Jose Mercury News
Bill to Require 'Kill Switches' on Cell Phones Passes Through AssemblyKFBK
The San Luis Obispo Tribune-SFGate (blog)
all 22 news articles

Feed Google News Sci Tech: Self-Folding Robot Based on Origami - Wall Street Journal (

Self-Folding Robot Based on Origami
Wall Street Journal
Researchers at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have built a robot that can self-assemble and move without human intervention. WSJ's Robert Lee Hotz reports. Photo: Seth Kroll/Wyss Institute. Inspired by origami, the...
Scientists make cheap, fast self-assembling robotsWashington Post
Origami robot folds itself up, scuttles awayBoston Globe
Watch! Origami-inspired robot assembles itself in 4 minutesLos Angeles Times
all 39 news articles

Submission + - Origami-inspired robot folds itself—and walks away (

sciencehabit writes: Using origami-inspired computing, researchers have built a crawling robot that assembles itself in 4 minutes. The team made a five-layer composite out of paper, a flexible circuit board, and shape-memory polymers that contract when heated to 100C. Heat generated locally by the embedded circuits triggers hinges in the composite to fold, while mechanical features in the composite determine how far and in what direction each hinge bends. The precise folding pattern is generated by origami design software and programmed into the robot’s microcontroller. Once the machine is assembled, a motor interacts with linkage structures in its legs to drive it crawling and turning without human intervention. The researchers hope this early prototype will eventually lead to cheap, quick, and customized robot manufacture. One possibility: mass deploying the flat robots into collapsed buildings to navigate small spaces in search-and-rescue missions.

Feed Schneier: The US Intelligence Community has a Third Leaker (

Ever since The Intercept published this story about the US government's Terrorist Screening Database, the press has been writing about a "second leaker": The Intercept article focuses on the growth in U.S. government databases of known or suspected terrorist names during the Obama administration. The article cites documents prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center dated August 2013, which is after...

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