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Comment: Re:can it get me home from the bar? (Score 1) 149

by PopeRatzo (#47792171) Attached to: Hidden Obstacles For Google's Self-Driving Cars

They handle them fine, detecting when you use hand signals to indicate intentions

So, a driverless car that can't handle rain or snow or recognize a pothole is going to be perfectly safe around pedestrians and bicyclists?


Stop yourself. Nobody reading Slashdot today will live to see ubiquitous driverless cars.

Comment: Re:"Against a wall" (Score 1) 98

by DerekLyons (#47791261) Attached to: Dell's New Alienware Case Goes to Extremes To Prevent Overheating

And imagine the users setting drinks on top of it! At least with a box, if you knock your drink over, it's on the floor. HERE.... it can drain your entire soda into the mobo ports (back) or fan intake. (front) I think that will be the biggest problem this case has, getting users out of the habbit of setting things on top of their case.

What kind of moron gets in the habit of putting liquids on top of their case in the first place?

+ - Hidden Obstacles for Google's Self-Driving Cars->

Submitted by Paul Fernhout
Paul Fernhout (109597) writes "Lee Gomes at Technology Review wrote an article on the current limits of Google self-driving car technology: "Would you buy a self-driving car that couldn't drive itself in 99 percent of the country? Or that knew nearly nothing about parking, couldn't be taken out in snow or heavy rain, and would drive straight over a gaping pothole? If your answer is yes, then check out the Google Self-Driving Car, model year 2014. Google often leaves the impression that, as a Google executive once wrote, the cars can "drive anywhere a car can legally drive." However, that's true only if intricate preparations have been made beforehand, with the car's exact route, including driveways, extensively mapped. Data from multiple passes by a special sensor vehicle must later be pored over, meter by meter, by both computers and humans. It's vastly more effort than what's needed for Google Maps. ... Maps have so far been prepared for only a few thousand miles of roadway, but achieving Google's vision will require maintaining a constantly updating map of the nation's millions of miles of roads and driveways. Urmson says Google's researchers "don't see any particular roadblocks" to accomplishing that. When a Google car sees a new permanent structure such as a light pole or sign that it wasn't expecting it sends an alert and some data to a team at Google in charge of maintaining the map. ... Among other unsolved problems, Google has yet to drive in snow, and Urmson says safety concerns preclude testing during heavy rains. Nor has it tackled big, open parking lots or multilevel garages. ... Pedestrians are detected simply as moving, column-shaped blurs of pixels — meaning, Urmson agrees, that the car wouldn't be able to spot a police officer at the side of the road frantically waving for traffic to stop. ..."

A deeper issue I wrote about in 2001 is whether such software and data will be FOSS or proprietary? As I wrote there: "We are about to see the emergence of companies licensing that publicly funded software and selling modified versions of such software as proprietary products. There will eventually be hundreds or thousands of paid automotive software engineers working on such software no matter how it is funded, because there will be great value in having such self-driving vehicles given the result of America's horrendous urban planning policies leaving the car as generally the most efficient means of transport in the suburb. The question is, will the results of the work be open for inspection and contribution by the public? Essentially, will those engineers and their employers be "owners" of the software, or will they instead be "stewards" of a larger free and open community development process?""

Link to Original Source

+ - Wi-Fi Router Attack Only Requires a Single PIN Guess->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "New research shows that wireless routers are still quite vulnerable to attack if they don't use a good implementation of Wi-Fi Protected Setup. Bad implementations do a poor job of randomizing the key used to authenticate hardware PINs. Because of this, the new attack only requires a single guess at the hardware PIN to collect data necessary to break it. After a few hours to process the data, an attacker can access the router's WPS functionality. Two major router manufacturers are affected: Broadcom, and a manufacturer to be named once they get around to fixing it. "Because many router manufacturers use the reference software implementation as the basis for their customized router software, the problems affected the final products, Bongard said. Broadcom's reference implementation had poor randomization, while the second vendor used a special seed, or nonce, of zero, essentially eliminating any randomness.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Reformatting a Machine 125 Million Miles Away->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "NASA's Opportunity rover has been rolling around the surface of Mars for over 10 years. It's still performing scientific observations, but the mission team has been dealing with a problem: the rover keeps rebooting. It's happened a dozen times this month, and the process it a bit more involved than rebooting a typical computer, taking a day or two to get back into operation every time. To try and fix this, the Opportunity team is planning a tricky operation: reformatting the flash memory from 125 million miles away. "Preparations include downloading to Earth all useful data remaining in the flash memory and switching the rover to an operating mode that does not use flash memory. Also, the team is restructuring the rover's communication sessions to use a slower data rate, which may add resilience in case of a reset during these preparations." The team suspects some of the flash memory cells are simply wearing out. The reformat is scheduled for some time in September."
Link to Original Source

+ - States Allowing Medical Marijuana Have Fewer Painkiller Deaths->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Narcotic painkillers aren't one of the biggest killers in the U.S., but overdoses do claim over 15,000 live per year and send hundreds of thousands to the emergency room. Because of this, it's interesting that a new study (abstract) has found states that allow the use of medical marijuana have seen a dramatic reduction in opioid overdose fatalities. "Previous studies hint at why marijuana use might help reduce reliance on opioid painkillers. Many drugs with abuse potential such as nicotine and opiates, as well as marijuana, pump up the brain’s dopamine levels, which can induce feelings of euphoria. The biological reasons that people might use marijuana instead of opioids aren’t exactly clear, because marijuana doesn’t replace the pain relief of opiates. However, it does seem to distract from the pain by making it less bothersome." This research comes at a time when the country is furiously debating the costs and benefits of marijuana use, and opponents of the idea are paying researchers to paint it in an unfavorable light."
Link to Original Source

+ - NASA's Competition For Dollars->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "We often decry the state of funding to NASA. Its limited scope has kept us from returning to the moon for over four decades, maintained only a minimal presence in low-Earth orbit, and failed to develop a capable asteroid defense system. But why is funding such a problem? Jason Callahan, who has worked on several of NASA's annual budgets, says it's not just NASA's small percentage of the federal budget that keeps those projects on the back burner, but also competition for funding between different parts of NASA as well. "[NASA's activities include] space science, including aeronautics research (the first A in NASA), technology development, education, center and agency management, construction, maintenance, and the entire human spaceflight program. The total space science budget has rarely exceeded $5 billion, and has averaged just over half that amount. Remember that space science is more than just planetary: astrophysics, heliophysics, and Earth science are all funded in this number. Despite this, space science accounts for an average of 17 percent of NASA’s total budget, though it has significant fluctuations. In the 1980s, space science was a mere 11 ½ percent of NASA’s budget, but in the 2000s, it made up 27 percent.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Western water rights and the NSA->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "A perfect slashdot story, the NSA and Yucca Mountain rolled into one:

"Whenever I explain the OffNow Project to someone, they initially respond enthusiastically. Something to the effect of, “Wow! That’s cool! The federal government shouldn’t be spying on us!” But when I further explain that the idea behind OffNow includes shutting off state supplied resources to NSA facilities – like the water necessary to cool the super-computers at the Bluffdale, Utah spy facility – those same people get nervous. “Shutting off the water seems like an extreme move. Can we even do that?” they ask.

Yes, we can do that.

And it will work.

It’s been done before at a place called Yucca Mountain, Nevada....." The water rights case in Nevada is described here:"

Link to Original Source

+ - Judge Allows L.A. Cops to Keep License Plate Reader Data Secret

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ruled that the Los Angeles Police Department is not required to hand over a week's worth of license plate reader data to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). He cited the potential of compromising criminal investigations and giving (un-charged) criminals the ability to determine whether or not they were being targeteted by law enforcement. The ACLU and the EFF sought the data under the California Public Records Act, but the judge envoked Section 6254(f), "which protects investigatory files". ACLU attorney Peter Bibring notes, "New surveillance techniques may function better if people don't know about them, but that kind of secrecy is inconsistent with democratic policing.""

+ - Scientists found the origin of the Ebola outbreak->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "One of the big mysteries in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is where the virus came from in the first place — and whether it's changed in any significant ways

In a new paper in Science, researchers reveal that they have sequenced the genomes of Ebola from 78 patients in Sierra Leone who contracted the disease in May and June. Those sequences revealed some 300 mutations specific to this outbreak

Among their findings, the researchers discovered that the current viral strains come from a related strain that left Central Africa within the past ten years. Using genetic sequences from current and previous outbreaks, the researchers mapped out a family tree that puts a common ancestor of the recent West African outbreak some place in Central Africa roughly around 2004. This contradicts an earlier hypothesis that the virus had been hanging around West Africa for much longer than that

Researchers are also planning to study the mutations to see if any of them are affecting Ebola's recent behavior. The number of mutations found is completely normal, and it isn't necessarily the case that they'll have a big effect. But it's possible that something intriguing could turn up. For example, this outbreak has had a higher transmission rate and lower death rate than others, and researchers are curious if any of these mutations are related to that

The scientific paper on Ebola is also a sad reminder of the toll that the virus has taken on those working on the front lines. Five of the authors died of Ebola before it was published

There is a graph of the "family tree" of the Ebola virus @"

Link to Original Source

+ - MIPS Tempts Hackers with Raspbery Pi-like Dev Board-> 1

Submitted by DeviceGuru
DeviceGuru (1136715) writes "In a bid to harness the energy and enthusiasm swirling around today’s open, hackable single board computers, Imagination Technologies, licensor of the MIPS ISA, has unveiled the Creator C120 development board, the ISA's counter to ARM's popular Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black SBCs. The MIPS dev board is based on a 1.2GHz dual-core MIPS32 system-on-chip and has 1GB RAM and 8GB flash, and there's also an SD card slot for expansion. Ports include video, audio, Ethernet, both WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, and a bunch more. OS images are already available for Debian 7, Gentoo, Yocto, and Arch Linux, and Android v4.4 is expected to be available soon. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the board is that there's no pricing listed yet, because the company is starting out by giving the boards away free to developers who submit the most interesting projects."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:But is it reaslistic? (Score 1) 318

*sigh* Not only are you ignorant, you seem doggedly determined to remain that way.

So those documents are based on first hand knowledge and tested results and people who read them are likely to succeed at building the bombs, right?

Those documents are on science, physics, chemistry, and engineering. They aren't bomb making instructions, they're the science behind the instructions - and thus it doesn't matter what the bomb making experience of the writers are. It's a critical difference and one you seem determined to remain blind to.

Because my point is that there's a ton of "howto" stuff out there

There's also a ton of solid science out there - and so long as you insist on not even trying to grasp the difference between actual science and handwaving how-to's you haven't the requisite intellectual equipment to have a point. You're just a parrot repeating phrases you have no grasp of the meaning of.

Comment: Re:But is it reaslistic? (Score 1) 318

I can do a write up for how to build a nuclear bomb for my terrorist brothers based on my rudimentary undergraduate physics education, but there's no way in hell those instructions would actually produce anything useful.

Just because you're ignorant - that doesn't mean everyone else is. There's a lot of stuff openly available for the use of those that aren't [ignorant].

"Now here's something you're really going to like!" -- Rocket J. Squirrel