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Technology

Hammerhead System Offers a Better Way To Navigate While Cycling 249

Posted by samzenpus
from the where-you-going? dept.
Mark Gibbs writes "If you've ever tried to navigate using a smartphone while cycling you'll know full well that you took your life in your hands. By the time you've focused on the map and your brain has decoded what you're looking at you've traveled far enough to be sliding on gravel or go careening into the side of a car. What's needed is a way that you can get directions from your smartphone without having to lose your focus and possibly your life and Hammerhead Navigation have one of the most interesting answers I've seen."
Privacy

German Data Protection Expert Warns Against Using iPhone5S Fingerprint Function 303

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-your-fingers-to-yourself dept.
dryriver writes "Translated from Der Spiegel: Hamburg Data-Protection Specialist Johannes Caspar warns against using iPhone 5S's new Fingerprint ID function. 'The biometric features of your body, like your fingerprints, cannot be erased or deleted. They stay with you until the end of your life and stay constant — they cannot be changed. One should thus avoid using biometric ID technologies for non-vital or casual everyday uses like turning on a smartphone. This is especially true if a biometric ID, like your fingerprint, is stored in a data file on the electronic device you are using.' Caspar finds Apple's argument that 'your fingerprint is only stored on the iPhone, never transmitted over the network' weak and misleading. 'The average iPhone user is not capable of checking, on a technical level, what happens to his or her fingerprint once it is on the iPhone. He or she cannot tell with any certainty or ease what kind of private data applications downloaded onto the iPhone can or cannot access. The recent disclosure of spying programs like Prism makes it riskier than ever before to share important personal data with electronic devices.' Caspar adds: 'As a matter of principle, one should never hand over any biometric data when it isn't strictly needed. Handing over a non-changeable biometric feature like a fingerprint for no better reason than that it provides 'some convenience' in everyday use, is ill advised and foolish. One must always be extremely cautious where and for what reasons one hands over biometric features.'"
Science

The Science of 12-Step Programs 330

Posted by timothy
from the your-brain-on-steps dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Since the inception of Alcoholics Anonymous — the progenitor of 12-step programs — science has sometimes been at odds with the notion that laypeople can cure themselves because the numerous spiritual references that go with the 12-step program puts A.A. on "the fringe" in the minds of many scientists. But there is an interesting read at National Geographic where Jarret Liotta writes that new research shows that the success of the 12-step approach may ultimately be explained through medical science and psychology. According to Marvin Seppala, chief medical officer at Hazelden and sober 37 years, attending 12-step meetings does more than give an addict warm, fuzzy feelings. The unconscious neurological pull of addiction undermines healthy survival drives, causing individuals to make disastrous choices, he says. "People will regularly risk their lives—risk everything—to continue use of a substance." Addicts don't want to engage in these behaviors, but they can't control themselves. "The only way to truly treat it is with something more powerful," like the 12 steps, that can change patterns in the brain. Philip Flores, author of Addiction as an Attachment Disorder, says the human need for social interaction is a physiological one, linked to the well-being of the nervous system. When someone becomes addicted, Flores says, mechanisms for healthy attachment are "hijacked," resulting in dependence on addictive substances or behaviors. Some believe that addicts, even before their disease kicks in, struggle with knowing how to form emotional bonds that connect them to other people. Co-occurring disorders, such as depression and anxiety, make it even harder to build those essential emotional attachments. "We, as social mammals, cannot regulate our central nervous systems by ourselves," Flores says. "We need other people to do that.""
Science

The Case of the Orca That Killed Its Trainer 395

Posted by samzenpus
from the free-and-angry-willy dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "There's an interesting read at National Geographic by Kenneth Brower that probes the case of Tilikum, the homicidal killer whale, who killed his first trainer, 20-year-old Keltie Byrne in 1991. Then in July 6, 1999, a 27-year-old man who stayed after the park closed and evaded security to enter the orca tank was found dead and nude, draped over Tilikum's back with his genitals bitten off. Tilikum's most recent victim was Dawn Brancheau, the SeaWorld trainer he crushed, dismembered, and partially swallowed in 2010. 'Almost all students of orca believe that they are deranged by captivity, some more than others. Tilikum's record puts him at one end of a continuum. There have been dozens of attacks on trainers by an assortment of orcas in the marine parks around the world. [The movie] "Blackfish" shows video from several of these episodes at SeaWorld,' writes Brower. 'What is remarkable about Orcinus orca in marine parks is not these rare episodes. What is remarkable is their monumental forbearance.' For its part SeaWorld is attempting to cast the filmmakers as the true villains, characterizing them as anti-captivity zealots. The company says '"Blackfish" is inaccurate and misleading and, regrettably, exploits a tragedy that remains a source of deep pain for Dawn Brancheau's family, friends and colleagues.'"

Comment: Re:Sigh (Score 1) 532

by ogl_codemonkey (#44076515) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Does LED Backlight PWM Drive You Crazy?

A hundred times this.

Far from a PWM issue, most likely the cheap displays that illustrate this issue have insufficient power smoothing, and the culprit is likely the 100 or 120 Hz fluctuation from rectified AC, or (yes, some are really this bad), 50 or 60 Hz from clipped AC.

The duty cycle of a CRT phosphor group is in the order of 1/1,000,000 for an SDTV resolution - the point intensity of the energised area is unimaginably bright; look for high-speed footage of a TV to get some idea of it; or if you have a digital camera of some worth, take a pic at 1/2500 and see how many lines are still saturating the CCD.

Censorship

Irish SOPA Used To Block Pirate Bay Access 94

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the whack-a-mole dept.
ObsessiveMathsFreak writes "Ireland's own SOPA Act has finally struck home. Today, the Irish High Court ordered all ISPs to begin censoring the The Pirate Bay. After earlier attempts were struck down, this case was brought by EMI, Sony, Warner Music and Universal music under new copyright laws brought in last year. This follows the largest ISP Eircom already having voluntarily blocked the Pirate Bay after previous legal action. Despite some early indications that some ISPs would appeal the decision, it now appears that like Eircom, they have quietly given up. Pity; IT was one of the few industries Ireland was getting right."

Comment: Re:Windows 7 (Score 3, Interesting) 965

by ogl_codemonkey (#43166287) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Mac To Linux Return Flow?

Having long been a fan of minimalist window managers like Fluxbox, a friend recently recommended xmonad, which I promptly installed; and since doing so I have been amazed at how much time I can spend not managing windows.

There's apparently also osxmonad for the 'traitors,' but I haven't tried that out yet.

Comment: Re:underwhelmed (Score 1) 120

by ogl_codemonkey (#42953917) Attached to: Linux 3.8 Released

... you'll be recompiling everything it depends on right down to the widget set plus everything that depends on any of that plus anything that depends on those things, and so on, recursively.

I always saw it as a feature than when a library maintainer fixed a bug, it'd get fixed in all the software that was using said library; or a any libraries that was wrapping that library, or any software that was using that wrapper...

Displays

LG Introduces Monitor With 21:9 Aspect Ratio 311

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the my-neck-hurts-already dept.
skade88 writes "LG has released an ultra wide monitor. It really is wide (WxHxD: 699.7 X 387 X 208.5 mm) — take a look at the thing! It looks like it would be good for movies shot in larger aspect ratios such as 2.20 for 70mm film or 2.39 for modern cinemascope films. But OS GUI designs need to catch up to the ever horizontally expanding waistline of our monitors."

Small is beautiful.

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