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Submission + - Will Autonomous Cars Be the Insurance Industry's Napster Moment?->

An anonymous reader writes: Most of us are looking forward to the advent of autonomous vehicles. Not only will they free up a lot of time to previously spent staring straight ahead at the bumper of the car in front of you, they'll also presumably make commuting a lot safer. While that's great news for the 30,000+ people who die in traffic accidents every year in the U.S., it may not be great news for insurance companies. Granted, they'll have to pay out a lot less money with the lower number of claims, but premiums will necessarily drop as well and the overall amount of money within the car insurance system will dwindle. Analysts are warning these companies that their business is going to shrink. It will be interesting to see if they adapt to the change, or cling desperately to an outdated business model like the entertainment industry did. "One opportunity for the industry could be selling more coverage to carmakers and other companies developing the automated features for cars. ... When the technology fails, manufacturers could get stuck with big liabilities that they will want to cover by buying more insurance. There’s also a potential for cars to get hacked as they become more networked."
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Comment Pot meet Kettle (Score 2) 336 336

FTS: "We strongly urge you to reconsider your business tactic here and again respect people’s right to choice and control of their online experience by making it easier, more obvious and intuitive for people to maintain the choices they have already made through the upgrade experience.

Oh... you mean the way you guys did when you both inflicted Australis on the world and changed the default search engine to Yahoo?

Comment Re:give us stuff we actually want. (Score 1) 57 57

...Why does every new phone have to be a testament to landfill management?

It's the economy stupid! How are we going to keep the shareholders in Guccis and Beemers unless we keep dumping non-renewable resources into landfill and robbing future generations of their chance at a decent life on Earth?

Submission + - How Hurricane Katrina Turned Pets into People->

sciencehabit writes: Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history, killing more than 1800 people. But it was also a huge tragedy for pets. More than 150,000 cats and dogs perished in the storm and its aftermath, largely because rescuers refused to take them. Many people died too for their pets--nearly half of those who stayed behind stayed because of their animals. In the aftermath of the storm, a deeply divided Congress--responding to these tragedies--passed nearly unanimously the PETS Act, which impels rescue agencies to save pets as well as people in natural disasters. For the first time in U.S. history, pets would now be treated like people.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - The real price of Windows 10 is your privacy->

Mark Wilson writes: Windows 10 is a free upgrade, right? Well, surely you know by now that there's no such thing as a free lunch. We're only 48 hours on from the launch of Windows 10 and already the complaining and criticism is underway. One thing that has been brought under the spotlight is privacy under the latest version of Microsoft's operating system.

Some people have been surprised to learn that Microsoft is utilizing the internet connections of Windows 10 users to deliver Windows Updates to others. But this is far from being the end of it. Cortana also gives cause for concern, and then there is the issue of Microsoft Edge, and ads in apps. Is this a price you're willing to pay?

Windows 10 is more closely tied to a Microsoft account than any previous version of the OS. This allows Microsoft to assign an ID number to users that can then be used to track them across different devices, services, and apps. This in turn can be used to deliver closely targeted ads to people. Microsoft has been pushing the mobile first, cloud first philosophy for some time now, and it becomes clear with Windows 10 that the love of the cloud is as much to do with the ability it gives Microsoft to gather useful data as it is about convenience for users.

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:What Voltage? (Score 4, Informative) 235 235

DC can be problematic in that you can't always detect certain faults as there is not ground fault current, so there is inherently some greater chance of something like a bad connection overheating and causing damage, but that should not really be a concern if stuff is quality and installed correctly.

There's no connection between ground faults and bad connections that might cause overheating. But to the extent that DC systems might have lower voltage and therefore higher current, bad connections ARE more likely to overheat and cause fires. Also, there's no reason a properly installed DC system can't have Ground Fault Interrupters, although the ones currently used for AC won't work on DC. The ones designed for DC would be somewhat more complex, and probably bigger as well.

Another note: interrupting Direct Current without arcing can be difficult. AC has a zero crossing that extinguishes an arc across switch contacts, whereas the equivalent DC circuit may continue to arc across switch or relay contacts. Such switches and relays typically have heavier contacts and the contacts, when open, tend to have more space between them. The may also have permanent magnets nearby to act as 'blowouts' to extinguish any arc that develops.

Comment Re:What Voltage? (Score 4, Interesting) 235 235

Voltage doesn't kill; current kills and power burns. Higher voltage means lower current, and the same power.

Higher voltage only means lower MAXIMUM current, and then only if you assume constant power. However, it doesn't take much current to kill a person, and most real-world power sources can deliver enough current to kill under the right circumstances. (A mostly-dead flashlight battery can stop your heart if you bury electrodes deep enough in the right part of the body Also, think of Tasers - basically, low battery voltage raised to the point where it can stun or kill). Higher voltage usually makes death more likely, given the (approximately) constant resistance of a given current path through a body; I=E/R, so if E, (voltage) goes up, so does current. (Unless you're talking about static electricity from your clothing, or some other source which has high internal resistance/impedance and/or a small quantity of charge). And at still-higher prolonged voltages, the body's resistance can drop dramatically as parts of it start to boil and carbonize).

Your heart will fibrillate at 50mA AC or DC...

No. AC at a low enough frequency, (and at a surprisingly small current) will make the heart fibrillate; DC simply locks the heart muscle into a prolonged contraction. That's why defibrillators use DC - they temporarily 'freeze' the motion of the heart and give it chance to stop fibrillating and start beating normally.

Comment Re:Existential threat is more likely (Score 1) 83 83

Is it my imagination or is the US government/society incapable of functioning without an imaginary boogeyman? Be it terrorists, communists, drugs, witches, rapists, etc. Although, admittedly, how else do you unite a society without common traditions or culture without constructing an external threat?

We have always been at war with Eastasia!

Comment Re:Interesting in the report (Score 2) 550 550

They mention plans to sell Slashdot Media and SourceForge... Then the rest of the financial report only talks about Slashdot Media and nothing about SF...

Slashdot Media comprises both Slashdot, (this site) and SourceForge, so yes, they are planning to sell both. I don't think that means that both divisions will necessarily go to the same buyer; heck, Dice might not manage to sell either division, never mind both of them...

Comment Buy a small lake, (Score 4, Insightful) 550 550

then piss in it every day for three years or so, and invite your corporate buddies to do the same. Wonder why fewer and fewer people come by for a swim, and why you can't make any money from fishing in the lake. Sell it, probably at a loss, and move on to your next 'conquest'. Way to go Dice!

Comment Still a problem more than a year later? (Score 2) 147 147

FTA: "So the issue isn't so much that there is no acknowledgment that there is a problem; rather, the vendors have been pointing fingers about whose problem it is for over a year, without progress made on the actual resolution."

Finger pointing or not, it's hard to believe that it could take that long to address the issue. Even if they can't get their shit together to fix the fundamental problem, couldn't they at least kludge in a piece of gateway software that would intercept the USB port data and raise the difficulty level of gaining access and exiting kiosk mode? That, plus actual lock-and-key protection of the port, (and maybe a retrofit of a custom connector that would make it even more difficult to make the physical connection), would buy them a lot of time to get through the exercise of deciding who's going to fix the REAL problem.

Speaking of fixing the problem - I know the answer to this, but I have to ask anyway: What happened to the practice of just fixing it because you can, and because it makes you look good, without regard to whose fault the problem was in the first place? They could have had this taken care of inside two weeks - maybe a month at the outside - if they weren't playing juvenile schoolyard politics.

Comment Re:Root your device. Do not purchase locked device (Score 1) 202 202

Thanks emil, I'll try those things. I already set the perms to 000, and that didn't work, but I've never heard of the 'immutable bit' before - have to check that one out. Can I do it from Root File Explorer, or do I need to get to a terminal?

I'll try the folder idea first, as it's easy and I've previously used it on my Linux boxen to get rid of the 'Recently Used' file.

Comment Re:Root your device. Do not purchase locked device (Score 2) 202 202

Even root access won't save my HTC Desire 510. Whenever I mount the system as read-write and remove files, (such as Facebook and Twitter .apk and .odex files), or even change files, (such as that stupid MP3 the phone plays while the screen says 'Quietly Brilliant'), HTC oh-so-helpfully restores them for me at the next cold boot, whether or not there's any network access. I'd love to install Cyanogenmod, but there's no fully functional ROM available for my phone.

Comment Fine should be bigger (Score 1) 83 83

Add a zero to the dollar amount of the fine, and you're finally out of the 'Cost of Doing Business' category and into bottom-line devastation that will command the attention of both C-levels and shareholders. The government needs to grow a pair and serve notice to industry that business-as-usual just won't cut it.

Economists state their GNP growth projections to the nearest tenth of a percentage point to prove they have a sense of humor. -- Edgar R. Fiedler