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The Almighty Buck

FAA Allows AIG To Use Drones For Insurance Inspections 53

Posted by samzenpus
from the adjuster-in-the-sky dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news that AIG is the latest insurance company given permission by the FAA to use drones for inspections. "The Federal Aviation Administration has been rather stingy when it comes to giving companies the OK to test, let alone employ, drones. After getting permission this week, AIG joins State Farm and USAA as insurance providers with exemptions that allow them to use the UAVs to perform tasks that are risky to regular folks — things like roof inspections after a major storm. In addition to keeping its inspectors safe, the company says drones will speed up the claims process, which means its customers will, in theory, get paid faster. 'UAVs can help accelerate surveys of disaster areas with high resolution images for faster claims handling, risk assessment, and payments,' the news release explains. 'They can also quickly and safely reach areas that could be dangerous or inaccessible for manual inspection, and they provide richer information about properties, structures, and claim events.'"
News

Ask Slashdot: Identifying a Stolen Car Using Police Camera Databases? 72

Posted by samzenpus
from the it-happens-sometimes-people-just-explode dept.
Dear Slashdot: First, some background. I have been "between schools" for some time, but have recently entered a training program that could at least potentially turn into a lucrative career. The work involves investigating, torture testing, and sometimes bypassing various automotive sub-systems, primarily car ignition, security and other embedded systems, for clients who are often surprised just how fragile these systems can be. The pay is minimal while I'm something more like an intern than a full-time employee, but that's OK -- I figure these skills will stand me in good stead. Now, my problem, and a question: One of the vehicles which I would very much like to play with is unavailable to me and my coworkers for the simple reason that it was stolen before we'd even taken possession of it. Normally, my employer might just write off the loss, but for various reasons would really like to locate this car in particular -- perhaps mostly a point of pride, but partly because future contracts from the same client might hinge on locating it rather than looking incompetent. I know that Ars Technica recently showed that it was possible to obtain a great deal of information about scanned registration-plate data using FOIA and other legal means; what I want to know is whether anyone can recommend particular tools or methods for locating stolen cars with such data that doesn't rely on going through the police or insurance companies, saving embarrassment and hassle. I know enough that I could probably file a FOIA *request* (most likely, my supervisor already has, actually) but not sure what we will be able to do with the raw data returned, or if there are sources for data other than "$Plate + GeoCoords." Plates obviously can be changed, too; are there publicly available sources for whole-car images that could be efficiently scanned? Best, of course, would be images with at least some rough sorting applied, so things could be sorted both by geography (we'd focus on our own area, Southern Caifornia, so start with, because we have reason to believe it was stolen in this area) and at least by vehicle type or color. And of course, this is probably asking too much, since I imagine it will be a near-impossible task to get this kind of data; we'd also welcome the magic of crowd-sourcing, so if you spot a tan Chevy Maibu with New Mexico plates (K88-283), there's probably some nice incentives in it for you.

Comment: Re:What on earth (Score 3, Interesting) 234

by sh00z (#49293803) Attached to: No Fuel In the Fukushima Reactor #1

But since this is Japan, the author speculates that the antipodal point is somewhere in Uruguay, which it is not (it's kinda close though).

Ironically, "Uruguay syndrome" is a more accurate term because Uruguay is a heck of a lot closer to being an antipode of Japan than China is to being an antipode of the US.

Well, sure, but there's *no* land antipodal to anywhere in the US. Gotta call it something. Indian Ocean syndrome?

Biotech

Sloppy Biosafety Procedures Found At Federal Disease Center 21

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong dept.
schwit1 writes: An investigation of a federal center for studying dangerous diseases in primates has found serious biosafety procedure violations. "Concerns arose at the center in Covington, Louisiana, after two rhesus macaques became ill in late November with melioidosis, a disease caused by the tropical bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. In January, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Agriculture investigators traced the strain infecting the primates to a vaccine research lab working with mice. Last month, as the investigation continued, CDC suspended the primate center's 10 or so research projects involving B. pseudomallei and other select agents (a list of dangerous bacteria, viruses, and toxins that are tightly regulated). Meanwhile, a report in USA Today suggested the bacterium might have contaminated the center's soil or water. In addition, workers "frequently entered the select agent lab without appropriate protective clothing," the release says. No center staff has shown signs of illness. On 12 March, however, Tulane announced that blood tests have found that one worker has low levels of antibodies to the bacterium, suggesting possible exposure at the center, according to ABC News."
Facebook

Nipples, Terrorism, and Sexual Descriptions - Facebook's List of Banned Content 134

Posted by samzenpus
from the standards-and-practices dept.
Mark Wilson writes Facebook has updated its Community Standards document, outlining the type of content that is not permitted on the social network. When it's not forcing people to reveal their real names, blocking 'offensive' content, or encouraging users to vote, Facebook is often to be found removing content that has been reported for one reason or another. But what's acceptable, and what's not? A little while back, the site revealed a simplified version of its privacy policy, and now the Community Standards document has received the same treatment. Facebook has set out the types of pictures that are permissible, along with specifying guidelines for other content.
United Kingdom

Swedish Authorities Offer To Question Assange In London 169

Posted by Soulskill
from the my-place-or-yours dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Since 2012, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up inside Ecuador's embassy in London trying to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces a sexual assault investigation. Now, after the case has been stalled for years, Swedish prosecutors are arranging to come to London and question Assange within the embassy. According to his lawyer, Assange welcomes this, but Sweden still needs to be granted permission from both the UK and Ecuador. "Assange's lawyers, who are appealing against his arrest warrant in Sweden's highest court, have complained bitterly about the prosecutor's refusal to travel to London to speak to him – an essential step under Swedish jurisprudence to establish whether Assange can be formally charged. [Lead investigator Marianne] Ny's refusal, they say, has condemned Assange to severe limitations on his freedom that are disproportionate to the accusations against him." Ny has also requested a DNA sample from Assange.

Comment: Re:Losing the MagSafe charging connector? Arrrrrgh (Score 1) 392

by sh00z (#49234529) Attached to: Does USB Type C Herald the End of Apple's Proprietary Connectors?

I've never picked one up but maybe they are so light the magnet would pull it to the floor anyway.

It's about four ounces lighter than the current 11" Macbook Air, and I can attest that with the Air, there's enough static friction on a "normal" desk that MagSafe gives before the Macbook starts to slide.

Comment: Re:As a millenial (Score 1) 261

by sh00z (#49127063) Attached to: The Case Against E-readers -- Why Digital Natives Prefer Reading On Paper

... in the case of the e-reader, you're dramatically more limited as there are fewer memory cues and navigation options of which you can take advantage. For example, you may not have placed a bookmark at a specific section, but you might remember "reading something about that", "close to the middle", "a few pages after that orangish picture near the bottom". With the e-reader, it's a guessing game: "what page was that on?" or "what section was that in" followed by a tedious one-page-at-a-time search. With the hard-copy, it's a couple quick flips along the edge.

We're a long-way from replicating that. I love my kindle, sure, but I always buy a hard-copy of anything I find that's worth-while.

I find the opposite to be true. Typically, I remember a word or phrase, or *fail* to recall a previous appearance of a minor character. The Search function of e-readers makes it dramatically faster to find a partially-recalled passage, or instance of a character's name.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe

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