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Crime

L.A. Police: All Cars In L.A. Are Under Investigation 405

Posted by timothy
from the adjust-your-mirrors-and-put-your-hands-on-the-hood dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a link to an article by the EFF's Jennifer Lynch, carried by Gizmodo, which reports that the L.A. Police Department and L.A. Sheriff's Department "took a novel approach in the briefs they filed in EFF and the ACLU of Southern California's California Public Records Act lawsuit seeking a week's worth of Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) data. They have argued that 'All [license plate] data is investigatory.' The fact that it may never be associated with a specific crime doesn't matter. This argument is completely counter to our criminal justice system, in which we assume law enforcement will not conduct an investigation unless there are some indicia of criminal activity. In fact, the Fourth Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution exactly to prevent law enforcement from conducting mass, suspicionless investigations under "general warrants" that targeted no specific person or place and never expired.

ALPR systems operate in just this way. The cameras are not triggered by any suspicion of criminal wrongdoing; instead, they automatically and indiscriminately photograph all license plates (and cars) that come into view. ... Taken to an extreme, the agencies' arguments would allow law enforcement to conduct around-the-clock surveillance on every aspect of our lives and store those records indefinitely on the off-chance they may aid in solving a crime at some previously undetermined date in the future. If the court accepts their arguments, the agencies would then be able to hide all this data from the public."
Bitcoin

MtGox Finds 200,000 Bitcoins In Old Wallet 227

Posted by Soulskill
from the left-it-in-their-other-cryptopants dept.
thesandbender writes: "Today brings news that MtGox has 'found' 200,000 Bitcoins in a 'forgotten' wallet that they thought was empty (PDF). The value of the coins is estimated to be $116 million USD, which happens to cover their $64 million USD in outstanding debts nicely and might offer them the chance to emerge from bankruptcy. There is no explanation yet of why the sneaky thieves that 'stole' the bitcoins used a MtGox wallet to hide them."
Technology

Jesse Jackson To Take On Silicon Valley's Lack of Diversity 397

Posted by Soulskill
from the equality-in-industry dept.
New submitter wyattstorch516 writes "San Jose Mecury News reports that Jesse Jackson will lead a delegation to HP's next board meeting to discuss the hiring of technology companies in regard to African-Americans and Latinos. 'About one in 14 tech workers is black or Latino both in the Silicon Valley and nationally. Blacks and Hispanics make up 13.1 and 16.9 percent of the U.S. population, respectively, according to the most recent Census data.' Jackson sent a letter to HP, Apple, Google, Twitter, Facebook, and others about meeting to discuss diversity issues."
Bitcoin

Dorian Nakamoto Officially Denies That He Created Bitcoin 102

Posted by samzenpus
from the wasn't-me dept.
sumoinsanity writes "A succinct and comprehensive rebuttal has been distributed from this Mr Nakamoto about being the founder of Bitcoin. His statement reads in part: 'The first time I heard the term "bitcoin" was from my son in mid-February 2014. After being contacted by a reporter, my son called me and used the word, which I had never before heard. Shortly thereafter, the reporter confronted me at my home. I called the police. I never consented to speak with the reporter. In an ensuing discussion with the reporter from the Associated Press, I called the technology "bitcom." I was still unfamiliar with the term.' Newsweek copped a lot of criticism regarding their original expose on the purported uncovering of a BitCoin founder following their two month investigation. They defended with, 'Ms. Goodman's research was conducted under the same high editorial and ethical standards that have guided Newsweek for more than 80 years. Newsweek stands strongly behind Ms. Goodman and her article.'"
Transportation

Transformer-Style Scooter Lets You Ride Your Briefcase To Work 102

Posted by Soulskill
from the pretty-much-what-meets-the-eye dept.
cartechboy writes "If you're going to sell a brief case for $6,000, there better be a pony inside — or at least an electric scooter. Who wouldn't want to transform their boring old briefcase into an electric scooter and zip off to (or away from) work? The Commute-Case, as it's known, is essentially a briefcase you can ride to work. While in briefcase mode, if you extend sections of the front and back, wheels, handlebars and a step for your feet pop out. In 3 to 5 seconds, your briefcase is now an electric scooter that can go up to 25 miles on a single charge and weighs 27 pounds. Don't count on actually carrying stuff to work with this briefcase (there's a scooter inside)."
Businesses

White House: Get ACA Insurance Coverage, Launch Start-Ups 578

Posted by timothy
from the have-your-neighbors-pay-the-rent-too dept.
dcblogs writes that the Obama Administration is urging tech entrepreneurs "to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, and said having the coverage will give them the 'freedom and security' to start their own businesses. 'There is strong evidence that when affordable healthcare isn't exclusively tied to employment, in more instances people choose to start their own companies,' wrote White House CTO Todd Park in a post to launch its #GeeksGetCovered campaign. Bruce Bachenheimer, a professor of management at Pace University and director of its Entrepreneurship Lab, said the effort is part of a broader appeal by the White House to get younger and healthier people to sign-up for Obamacare, and is in the same vein as President Obama's recent appearance on Between Two Ferns." Removing the tax structures that make companies by default intermediaries in the provision of health insurance, and allowing more interstate (and international) competition in health finance options would help on that front, too, aside from who's actually footing the insurance bill.
Medicine

Pro-Vaccination Efforts May Be Scaring Wary Parents From Shots 482

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-win-for-losing dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Thomas Kienzle reports for the Associated Press on a study which found public health campaigns touting vaccines' effectiveness and debunking the links between autism and other health risks might actually be backfiring, and convincing parents to skip the shots for their kids. 'Corrections of misperceptions about controversial issues like vaccines may be counterproductive in some populations,' says Dr. Brendan Nyhan. 'The best response to false beliefs is not necessarily providing correct information.' In the study, researchers focused on the now-debunked idea that the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella (or MMR) caused autism. Surveying 1,759 parents, researchers found that while they were able to teach parents that the vaccine and autism were not linked, parents who were surveyed who had initial reservations about vaccines said they were actually less likely to vaccinate their children after hearing the researchers messages. Researchers looked at four methods designed to counter the myth (PDF) that the MMR vaccine can cause autism. They gave people either information from health authorities about the lack of evidence for a connection, information about the danger of the three diseases the MMR vaccine protects against, pictures of children who had one of those three diseases, or a story about an infant who almost died from measles.

At the study's start, the group of parents who were most opposed to vaccination said that on average, the chance they would vaccinate a future child against MMR was 70 percent. After these parents had been given information that the MMR vaccine does not cause autism, they said, on average, the chance they would vaccinate a future child was only 45 percent — even though they also said they were now less likely to believe the vaccine could cause autism. Vaccination rates are currently high, so it's important that any strategies should focus on retaining these numbers and not raise more concerns, tipping parents who are willing to vaccinate away from doing so. 'We shouldn't put too much weight on the idea that there's some magic message out there that will change people's minds.'"
Math

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Sort? 195

Posted by Soulskill
from the sort-of-slowly dept.
camperdave writes "I was recently going through a pile of receipts and other papers to put them into order by date. Lacking one of those fancy sorting sticks they have at the office, I wound up with all sorts of piles and I was getting confused as to which pile was for what. Finally, it struck me: Why don't I use one of the many sorting algorithms I learned back in my computer science classes? So I swept all the papers back into the box and did a radix sort on them. It worked like a charm. Since then, I've had occasion to try quicksorts and merge sorts. So, when you have to physically sort things, what algorithm (if any) do you use?"

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