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+ - Google Wants To Test Driverless Cars in a Simulation->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Google has been testing its autonomous vehicles on U.S. roads for a while now. In fact, they're required to, by law. "California's regulations stipulate autonomous vehicles must be tested under "controlled conditions" that mimic real-world driving as closely as possible. Usually, that has meant a private test track or temporarily closed public road." It's easy enough to test a few prototypes, but whenever autonomous cars start being produced by manufacturers, it'll become a lot more complicated. Now, Google is lobbying to change that law to allow testing via computer simulation. Safety director Ron Medford said, "Computer simulations are actually more valuable, as they allow manufacturers to test their software under far more conditions and stresses than could possibly be achieved on a test track." Google spokeswoman Katelin Jabbari said, "In a few hours, we can test thousands upon thousands of scenarios which in terms of driving all over again might take decades." Shee adds that simulator data can also easily provide information on how human behavior creeps into driving. "It's not just about the physics of avoiding a crash. It's also about the emotional expectation of passengers and other drivers." For example, when one of Google's computer-controlled cars is cut off, the software brakes harder than it needs to, because this makes the passengers feel safer. Critics say relying heavily on simulation data is flawed because it doesn't take into account how other cars react to the computer's driving."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Blast from the past (Score 4, Insightful) 82

by dgatwood (#47733347) Attached to: Researchers Hack Gmail With 92 Percent Success Rate

Then its using pre-calculated patterns of the shared memory usage (presumably allocation order, sizes allocated, NOT the actual memory contents etc) to guess what the user is doing in the other app. Then, when it detects a pattern that corresponds with "I'm about to log in" it pre-empts the app with its own phishing login screen skinned to look like the original. The user is -expecting- a login screen to popup, and one that looks right does... so they enter their credentials.

Really? Android allows one app to take control of the screen and become foreground without explicit user interaction? There's the security flaw right there. The shared memory stuff is noise by comparison.

Power

Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Good Replacement Batteries? 119

Posted by Soulskill
from the they're-a-myth dept.
An anonymous reader writes: I have an old phone with a battery that barely works anymore. My current phone's battery is mediocre — I can put up with it, but I've been thinking about getting a new one. My four-year-old ThinkPad holds less of a charge than I'd like, and less than it did when I bought it. In all these cases, the only thing holding me back from buying a new battery is that I'm not sure where to find a good one. Searching for my phone's battery on Amazon (or any major online retailer) yields a dozen results, all fairly cheap. But which are reliable? They all seem to have varying reviews, ranging from "Perfect official factory replacement!" to "Garbage knock-off, worse than the battery I replaced." Part numbers don't seem to help, as the knock-offs replicate those pretty well. I ask you, Slashdot: where can I find a good replacement battery?

+ - U.S. University Restricts Network Access to Social Media, Political Content 1

Submitted by onproton
onproton (3434437) writes "Northern Illinois University recently began restricting student access to webpages that contain "illegal or unethical" content which, according to University policy, includes resources used for "political activities...and the organization or participation in meetings, rallies and demonstrations." A student raised concerns after attempting to access the Wikipedia page for Westboro Baptist Church, and receiving a filter message informing him that his access of this page would likely violate the University's Acceptable Use Policy, along with a warning that "all violations would be reviewed." This has lead to questions about whether some policies that restrict student access to information are in the best interest of the primary goal of education."

+ - Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Good Replacement Batteries?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I have an old phone with a battery that barely works any more. My current phone's battery is mediocre — I can put up with it, but I've been thinking about getting a new one. My four-year-old ThinkPad holds less of a charge than I'd like, and less than it did when I bought it. In all these cases, the only thing holding me back from buying a new battery is that I'm not sure where to find a good one. Searching for my phone's battery on Amazon yields a dozen results, all fairly cheap. But which are reliable? They all seem to have varying reviews, ranging from "Perfect official factory replacement!" to "Garbage knock-off, worse than the battery I replaced." Part numbers don't seem to help, as the knock-offs replicate those pretty well. I ask you, Slashdot: where can I find a good replacement battery?"
Link to Original Source
Google

Finding an ISIS Training Camp Using Google Earth 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the bet-you-wished-you'd-stuck-to-word-of-mouth dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Terrorist organization ISIS has been in the news a lot lately for their hostile activities in Iraq and Syria. They've also been very active online, posting propaganda and photos on various social networking sites to try to recruit more members. Frequently, they'll have pictures of themselves in nondescript locations — but even carefully selected images give clues to a real location. Citizen journalists at Bellingcat analyzed a group of these photos, comparing buildings and bridges in the background to images from Google Earth. With very little to go on, they were able to pinpoint the location of a terrorist training camp.

+ - Finding an ISIS Training Camp Using Google Earth->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Terrorist organization ISIS has been in the news a lot lately for their hostile activities in Iraq and Syria. They've also been very active online posting propaganda on various social networking sites to try to recruit more members. Frequently, they'll have pictures of themselves in nondescript locations — but even carefully selected images give clues to their real location. Citizen journalists at Bellingcat analyzed a group of these photos, comparing buildings and bridges in the background to images from Google Earth. With very little to go on, they were able to pinpoint the location of a terrorist training camp."
Link to Original Source
Android

Researchers Hack Gmail With 92 Percent Success Rate 82

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-enough-for-an-A dept.
SternisheFan sends this report from CNET: Researchers at the University of California Riverside Bourns College of Engineering and the University of Michigan have identified a weakness they believe to exist across Android, Windows, and iOS operating systems that could allow malicious apps to obtain personal information. Although it was tested only on an Android phone, the team believes that the method could be used across all three operating systems because all three share a similar feature: all apps can access a mobile device's shared memory. "The assumption has always been that these apps can't interfere with each other easily," said Zhiyun Qian, an associate professor at UC Riverside. "We show that assumption is not correct and one app can in fact significantly impact another and result in harmful consequences for the user." To demonstrate the method of attack, first a user must download an app that appears benign, such as a wallpaper, but actually contains malicious code. Once installed, the researchers can use it to access the shared memory statistics of any process (PDF), which doesn't require any special privileges.

Comment: Re:That's why slashdot is against tech immigration (Score 1) 412

by dgatwood (#47732487) Attached to: Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers

Ugh. I'm so sick of all this nationalist bullshit. Why are we so afraid of the global economy? People should be free to move between different countries and seek employment at will. Ultimately, it's better for the world if we break down these artificial barriers.

Because when it comes to jobs, we don't even have a national economy. We have a local one. By the time you get into your 30s, most people have zero interest in packing up everything and moving to another state to get a job, much less another country. That barrier isn't artificial. It's ingrained in human nature.

When it becomes too easy for people to move to another place and take jobs, the inherent result is age discrimination. People who are younger and more mobile come in and take jobs that were needed by people who are less mobile, when the mobile people could just as easily have taken or created jobs closer to home.

It would be different if the world's wages were somewhat balanced, because then the number of young people leaving the U.S. for jobs would be balanced by the number of people entering. However, this is not the case. The U.S. pays higher wages to compensate for a higher cost of living. Therefore, those young people moving into the U.S. and taking jobs from older folks constitute a real burden. And at least in our lifetimes, there will never be balanced wages worldwide. There will always be some new third-world country to exploit for cheap labor. And workers in those countries will always benefit from coming to the U.S., where wages are higher. So tearing down those artificial barriers to labor entering the U.S. will always cause serious harm to workers in the U.S.

Worse, tearing down those barriers does nothing to improve the world on the average, at least for the foreseeable future. Because there will always be cheap labor pools to exploit, raising the standard of living in one country will only continue up until the point where they start demanding more money. At that point, they'll just bring the educational standards of another country up to the point where they can start exploiting it, and leave folks in the first country homeless and starving. The only true way to raise the quality of life around the world is to ensure that no one anywhere is willing to work for less than a living wage. This is, of course, hard to do.

If you want to see a demonstration of why a lack of barriers is a bad thing, you need only look at the Silicon Valley with respect to the United States as a whole. There are no barriers to moving to California from other states with lower cost of living and lower average salaries, so lots of young people move here to make more money. The result is that age discrimination is rampant, the cost of living has skyrocketed, and there aren't enough jobs to keep people from losing their homes. And now you're talking about making the problem worse by making the entire world flood to the Silicon Valley.

As far as I'm concerned, if a company wants to hire workers outside the U.S., they should create a division in another country and hire those employees locally. This has several benefits over H1Bs. First, it is less likely to result in a reduction in jobs in the U.S., because separate business units tend to work on separate projects, and have separate staffing needs. Second, it does not drive up the cost of living in the U.S. by artificially inflating demand for housing. Third, it puts a lot more money into the economies of those other countries, because those workers are spending money in businesses near their homes, rather than here. That makes it much more effective at driving up the standard of living in those other countries than bringing workers here would.

Why don't companies do this? Because they don't want to drive up living standards in other countries. They just want cheap labor from those countries. If they drive up living standards in those other countries, then workers from those countries would eventually start demanding higher salaries, and they'd have to go and find another country to exploit before too long.

In short, government's whole reason for existing is to protect the powerless from the powerful. Employers are relatively powerful compared with their employees, so government actions that limit the ways in which those companies can abuse employees are generally a good thing, whether that means protecting U.S. workers from losing their jobs to foreign workers or protecting foreign workers from the often abusive working conditions that they encounter as foreign workers working in the United States by forcing those companies to start divisions in other countries and hire the workers locally instead.

Biotech

A Better Way To Make Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Limbs 25

Posted by Soulskill
from the resistance-is-futile dept.
the_newsbeagle writes: To make a brain-machine interface, you need a way to capture neurons' electric signals. The most precise and most invasive way uses implants that are stuck in the gray matter. The least precise and least invasive way uses EEG sensors stuck to the scalp. But researchers at Johns Hopkins University say there's a third way that gets the best of both worlds, which is not too invasive and fairly precise. They use ECoG systems, in which a mesh of electrodes is placed under the skull, draped over the surface of the cortex.

They're testing their systems on epilepsy patients, who have these ECoG systems inserted anyway while they're waiting for surgery (the electrodes record the source of their seizures). The researchers are capturing these patients' movement commands from their brains, and using them to control robotic limbs. Someday such a system could be used by amputees to control their prosthetic limbs.
Android

Apple CarPlay Rollout Delayed By Some Carmakers 66

Posted by Soulskill
from the methods-to-increase-auto-accidents dept.
Lucas123 writes: Some car makers are delaying the implementation of Apple's CarPlay iPhone interface for vehicle infotainment systems. The delays, which are prompting manufacturers such as Mercedes, Volvo and Honda to push their announcement from 2014 to 2015, appear to be related to a few snags in the integration process or in choosing which model cars should have the middleware. At the same time, many of the automakers rolling out CarPlay are also implementing Android Auto, which will provide a vehicle head unit user interface for Android smartphones. Analysts believe the addition of Android Auto earlier this year may also be causing delays because manufacturers want to be able to announce availability of both platforms in their new model vehicles.
Media

A Movie of Triton Made From Voyager 2's Fly-by 25 Years Ago 33

Posted by Soulskill
from the pretty-pictures dept.
schwit1 writes: Using restored images taken by Voyager 2 when it flew past Neptune's moon Triton 25 years ago, scientists have produced a new map and flyby movie of the moon. "The new Triton map has a resolution of 1,970 feet (600 meters) per pixel. The colors have been enhanced to bring out contrast but are a close approximation to Triton's natural colors. Voyager's "eyes" saw in colors slightly different from human eyes, and this map was produced using orange, green and blue filter images. ... Although Triton is a moon of a planet and Pluto is a dwarf planet, Triton serves as a preview of sorts for the upcoming Pluto encounter. Although both bodies originated in the outer solar system, Triton was captured by Neptune and has undergone a radically different thermal history than Pluto. Tidal heating has likely melted the interior of Triton, producing the volcanoes, fractures and other geological features that Voyager saw on that bitterly cold, icy surface. Pluto is unlikely to be a copy of Triton, but some of the same types of features may be present." Dr. Paul Schenk provides provides further information on his blog, and the movie can be viewed here.

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