mikejuk writes "Google's driverless car could save more than 1 million deaths per year and tens of millions of injuries. It is an impressive achievement, but will we allow it to take over the wheel? Sebastian Thrun puts the case for it in a persuasive TED Talk video. However it may be OK for human drivers to kill millions of people each year but one human fatality might be enough to finish the driverless car project — in fact it might not even take a death as an injury might cause the same backlash. Robot drivers might kill far fewer people than a human driver but it remains to be seen if we can be logical enough to accept the occasional failure of algorithm or hardware. Put simply we might have all seen too many 'evil robot' movies."
0ryan0 writes "Utah lawmakers passed a bill today to force public school teachers to teach that the USA is a republic, not a democracy, because a 'Democracy' would have 'Democrat' in it." The good news must be that all issues of unemployment, finance and social service must be resolved in Utah for their legislature to spend time on this. It must be a utopia!
An anonymous reader writes "Despite all the hype that a lowly priest had approved the new confessional app hitting the app store, the truth has now revealed itself. According to today's Daily Mail, a spokesman for the Vatican, Federico Lombardi said: 'It is essential to understand that the rites of penance require a personal dialogue between penitents and their confessor. It cannot be replaced by a computer application. I must stress to avoid all ambiguity, under no circumstance is it possible to confess by iPhone."
Melchett writes "It's all too common that Web (and other) applications use MD5, SHA1, or SHA-256 to hash user passwords, and more enlightened developers even salt the password. And over the years I've seen heated discussions on just how salt values should be generated and on how long they should be. Unfortunately in most cases people overlook the fact that MD and SHA hash families are designed for computational speed, and the quality of your salt values doesn't really matter when an attacker has gained full control, as happened with rootkit.com. When an attacker has root access, they will get your passwords, salt, and the code that you use to verify the passwords."
Julie188 writes "CouchOne and Membase, two of the most popular noSQL projects, have merged in an attempt to become an open source database powerhouse. Even the company's new name is merged: Couchbase. The founders of the new Couchbase say they will offer the ability to scale from the largest data center and distributed cloud environments all the way down to smartphones and other mobile devices. As is the standard disclaimer during merger announcements, the leaders also promise to continue their support for their open source, community versions of their programs."
An anonymous reader writes "The NY Times is running a story about the response from some high school science teachers to Obama's State of the Union address. It's nice that he wants to celebrate science fair winners, they say, but his obsession with standardized math and reading test scores means they have no time to teach students the fundamentals of how to do science. 'I have so many state standards I have to teach concept-wise, it takes time away from what I find most valuable, which is to have them inquire about the world,' said one teacher."
thecarchik writes "Ford's new system works over a dedicated short-range WiFi system on a secure channel allocated by the FCC. The company says the system one-ups radar safety systems by allowing full 360-degree coverage even when there's no direct line of sight. Scenarios where this could benefit safety or traffic? Predicting collision courses with unseen vehicles, seeing sudden stops before they're visible, and spotting traffic pattern changes on a busy highway. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in October that vehicle-to-vehicle warning systems could address nearly 80 percent of reported crashes not involving drunk drivers. As such, it could potentially save tens of thousands of lives per year."
Good job! It's a little heavy on white space, but not too bad..
Today we are pleased to announce the launch of the third major re-design in our 13.5 year history, and I don't think it looks half bad. The new theme represents a serious gutting of the underlying HTML and CSS, as well as all-new graphics. There will be many design wiggles, bug squashes, and compatibility glitches that survived testing, so bear with us for a bit. Please direct your bug reports and feedback (good and bad!) to Garrett Woodworth who is currently in charge of such things. Thanks to him, Wes, Vlad, Dean, Phil and Tim, who have each worked hard to get this out the door. Juggling the needs of users, editors, and various business functions is a hard job, and you guys did good.
Edsj writes "According to The New Yorker: 'Schmidt, according to associates, lost some energy and focus after losing the China decision. At the same time, Google was becoming defensive. All of their social-network efforts had faltered. Facebook had replaced them as the hot tech company, the place vital engineers wanted to work. Complaints about Google bureaucracy intensified. Governments around the world were lobbing grenades at Google over privacy, copyright, and size issues. The “don’t be evil” brand was getting tarnished, and the founders were restive. Schmidt started to think of departing. Nudged by a board-member friend and an outside adviser that he had to re-energize himself, he decided after Labor Day that he could reboot. He couldn't.'"
crimeandpunishment writes "When it comes to our time online, socializing beats searching. According to new data from researchers at comScore Inc., Facebook has moved ahead of Google for the first time in Web users' minutes. In August, people spent more than 41 million minutes on Facebook, compared to just under 40 million for all of Google's sites combined. Yahoo came in third, with 37.7 million minutes."
teh31337one noted an Engadget report that Apple has announced an iPhone 4 Press Conference for Friday at 10am PT where presumably they will address all this wacky antenna stuff that has been happening.
reillymj writes "Commercial airliners have a strange ability to create rain and snow when they fly through certain clouds. Scientists have known for some time that planes can make outlandish 'hole-punch' and 'canal' features in clouds. A new study has found that these odd formations are in fact evidence that planes are seeding clouds and changing local weather patterns as they fly through. In one case, researchers noted that a plane triggered several inches of snowfall directly beneath its flight path."
dcblogs writes "In 1939, Albert Einstein sent 'F.D. Roosevelt, President of the United States,' a letter with a warning about Germany's interest in a new type of energy with potential for use as a powerful bomb. The letter also outlined the competitive threat posed by Germany and steps for improving US research efforts. Last week, Bill Gates, along with GE's CEO and others, met with President Obama to deliver their own message: that of the top 30 companies in the world working on alternative energy, only four are in the US. Similar to Einstein's point and recommendations, Gates and his allies are asking the US to view the alternative energy push as a competitive threat posed by other nations, particularly China, which may be doing a better job in bringing its engineering talent and money to bear on this problem."
nk497 writes "Porn sites are five times as likely to host malware as previously thought, with 3.6% offering up a digital infection of some sort, according to a researchers who set up their very own adult sites for a new study. One reason for the high rate of malware is that the online porn industry makes use of affiliate programs, where one site will drive traffic to another in exchange for links, cash, or simply free pornographic material to use. Because such programs don't check who they're doing business with, and sites use disguised links and other clandestine methods to drive people to different pages, it's easy for criminals to abuse the system to spread malware. Researcher Gilbert Wondracek said, 'They inadvertently have created an ecosystem that can easily be abused on a large scale by cyber criminals, and that's worrying.'"