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The Media

Isaac Asimov's 50-Year-Old Prediction For 2014 Is Viral and Wrong 385

Daniel_Stuckey writes "The media is currently praising Isaac Asimov's vision for 2014, which he articulated in a New York Times opinion piece in 1964. The sci-fi writer imagined visiting the 2014 World Fair, and the global culture and economy the exhibits might reflect. NPR called his many predictions, which range from cordless smart telephones, to robots running our leisure society, to machine-cooked 'automeals,' 'right on.' Business Insider called the forecast 'spot on.' The Huffington Post called the projections 'eerily accurate.' The only thing is, they're not. Taken as a whole, Asimov's vision for 2014 is wildly off. It's more that 'Genius predicted the future 50 years ago' makes for a great article hook. Asimov does hit a couple pretty close to home: He got pretty close to guessing the world population (6.5 billion); he anticipated automated cars ('vehicles with 'robot brains'"); and he seems to have described the current smartphone/tablet craze ('sight-sound' telephones that 'can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books.') But he also thought we'd have a colony on the moon, be living under a global population control regime, eating at multi-flavored algae bars, and letting machines prepare us personalized meals. Most divergent of all, he believed that increasing automatization of labor would spawn not inequality or joblessness, but spiritual malaise."
The Military

Spain's New S-80 Class Submarines Sink, But Won't Float 326

New submitter home-electro.com writes "In the era of total CAD and CAM, is it even possible to come up with a fundamentally flawed design ? Turns out, yes. This a fascinating engineering SNAFU. Spain's newly built submarine is 100 tons too heavy, which means it is unable to float. 'Unfortunately for the Spainards, Quartz reports that they have already sunk the equivalent of $680 million into the Isaac Peral, and a total of $3 billion into the entire quartet of S-80 class submarines. If Spain hopes to salvage its submarines, it must either find some weight that can be trimmed from the current design or lengthen the ship to accommodate the excess weight, The Local notes. Though the latter option is more feasible, it is expected to cost Spain an extra $9.7 million per meter.'"

Minority Report's Legacy of Terrible Interfaces 305

jfruh writes "More than a decade ago, the special effects artists working the Steven Spielberg film Minority Report synthesized experimental thinking about GUIs to produce a floating interface that Tom Cruise manipulated with his hands. In 2013, surrounded by iOS and Android and Windows 8 devices, we use stripped down versions of this interface every day — and commercial artist Christian Brown thinks that's a bad thing. Such devices may look cinematic, he argues, but they completely ignore the kinds of haptic and textured feedback that have defined how we interact with devices for centuries." Speaking of Minority Report interfaces — a new armband sensor using a gesture-based control scheme is the latest gadget to invoke references to the movie.

DHS Can Seize Your Electronics Within 100 Mi.of US Border, Says DHS 597

dreamstateseven writes "In a not-so-unexpected move, the Department of Homeland Security has concluded that travelers along the nation's borders may have their electronics seized and the contents of those devices examined for any reason whatsoever — all in the name of national security. According to legal precedent, the Fourth Amendment — the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures — does not apply along the border. The memo highlights the friction between today's reality that electronic devices have become virtual extensions of ourselves housing everything from e-mail to instant-message chats to photos and our papers and effects — juxtaposed against the government's stated quest for national security. By the way, the government contends the Fourth-Amendment-Free Zone stretches 100 miles inland from the nation's actual border."

Chrome Hacked In 5 Minutes At Pwn2Own 169

Skuto writes "After offering a total prize fund of up to $1M for a successful Chrome hack, it seems Google got what it wanted (or not!). No more than 5 minutes into the Pwn2Own cracking contest team Vupen exploited 2 Chrome bugs to demonstrate a total break of Google's browser. They will win at least 60k USD out of Google's prize fund, as well as taking a strong option on winning the overall Pwn2Own prize. It also illustrates that Chrome's much lauded sandboxing is not a silver bullet for browser security."
Role Playing (Games)

How To Help a Friend With an MMO Addiction? 811

sammydee writes "I have a friend who is addicted to an MMO (Pirates of the Burning Sea). On a typical day, he will wake up around 9am, browse the forums for a bit, then go online and stay online all day, playing until about 3am the following morning, taking only toilet breaks and stopping to eat ready-meals. While the rest of the house works hard revising for exams, this friend will be playing his MMO instead. Now, I am pretty confident that this comprises an unhealthy addiction; unfortunately, I have no idea what to do about it. Any attempt to physically prevent him from playing the game would most likely result in an outburst of anger and possibly physical violence. Attempts at telling him he has a problem have been met with derision and angry retorts. Slashdotters, what would you do to help out a friend in this situation? Perhaps you are a reformed addict yourself — if so, how did you break out of the habit? Or maybe I should just leave well enough alone and allow him to continue? Any thoughts are gratefully received."

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