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Comment: Re:Most taxes are legalized theft (Score 0) 87

by WillAffleckUW (#47920705) Attached to: New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance

Why are you being modded down? The wars are almost entirely off budget. Maybe they'll make up for it with asset forfeitures..

They can't handle the truth. They believe in fictions written by some old lady who collected social security and received other government subsidies she railed against.

That's my guess.

But, yes, the US has an unfortunate tendancy, since the War of Independence, and the Civil War, continued to the present, of always fighting wars off budget. Which is where the budget deficits come from. Social Security pays for itself and has always had a surplus, and still does.

Comment: Re:Of course you use force control to run fast. (Score 1) 84

by Animats (#47920041) Attached to: MIT's Cheetah Robot Runs Untethered

Pardon my ignorant question, but how is it a problem to have traction control? Wouldn't it be enough to glue traction strips to the feet or something?

That's like wearing shoes with golf spikes all the time.

Traction control for feet does roughly the same thing as automotive traction control for cars. The basic idea is to keep the sideways force below the break-loose point. This is the down force on the wheel times the coefficient of friction.

For car wheels, the down force is mostly constant. For a legged robot, it changes throughout the ground contact phase So the side force has to be actively controlled and changed throughout the ground contact. It's also necessary to compensate for leg angle.

Legs have an additional option. If a leg has three joints, you can adjust the angle at which the contact force is applied. This is a big win on hills.

I used to work on this stuff in the mid-1990s, but nobody was interested in building legged robots back then. It could be used for animation, but it was overkill for games. I never expected that DARPA would spend $120 million on BigDog. Robotics projects in the 1990s were tiny.

Comment: Re:Not Hacked? (Score 1) 116

by mlts (#47919777) Attached to: Tim Cook Says Apple Can't Read Users' Emails, That iCloud Wasn't Hacked

In reality, the next step up on Internet services is moving to 2FA everywhere. Passwords are easily gotten, but 2FA, though doable, raises the barrier immensely. It means that someone would have to know the user's password and have control of one of their devices. This is far harder than just sifting through a pile of passwords found on a bittorrent dump and trying them on various accounts, or guessing a user's grandma's last name.

I'm sure that if the users that had the pictured compromised had their phones secure and had 2FA on, we wouldn't be inundated about these stories.

Of course, 2FA isn't a perfect solution. Lose access to one's phone number that is used for texting codes, and lose access to the recovery key... and one is hosed big time, be it if they are on Google, Dropbox, Apple, even Yahoo. The ideal would be a vendor neutral keyfob that can be used with everyone's 2FA systems, either as the main means of authentication, or as a tool for recovery, where the keyfob can be stashed somewhere physically secure if there is no other way into an account.

+ - Neuroscientists Working to Push the Boundaries of Perception Through Wearables->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A pair of neuroscientists from Houston, Texas, Dr. David Eagleman and his graduate student, Scott Novich, have teamed up to work on the ultimate test of pushing the boundaries of our sensory perceptions: giving deaf individuals the ability to 'hear' through their sense of touch. The two are experimenting with raising funds for the project through a crowdfunding campaign via Kickstarter. At the moment, it looks like they have a working prototype developed along with some preliminary data. If the science works out, they plan to utilize the technology to provide atypical information streams to people, like Twitter feeds or stock market data."
Link to Original Source

+ - New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Reuters reports that plans for a major rewriting of international tax rules have been unveiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that could eliminate structures that have allowed companies like Google and Amazon to shave billions of dollars off their tax bills. For more than 50 years, the OECD’s work on international taxation has been focused on ensuring companies are not taxed twice on the same profits hampering trade and limit global growth. But companies have been using such treaties to ensure profits are not taxed anywhere. A Reuters investigation last year found that three quarters of the 50 biggest U.S. technology companies channelled revenues from European sales into low tax jurisdictions like Ireland and Switzerland, rather than reporting them nationally. For example, search giant Google takes advantage of tax treaties to channel more than $8 billion in untaxed profits out of Europe and Asia each year and into a subsidiary that is tax resident in Bermuda, which has no income tax. “We are putting an end to double non-taxation,” says OECD head of tax Pascal Saint-Amans.

For the recommendations to actually become binding countries will have to encode them in their domestic laws or amend their bilateral tax treaties. The OECD says that it plans to hold an international conference on amending the network of existing tax treaties. Sol Picciotto, an emeritus professor at Lancaster University in Britain, says the recommendations are at least five to 10 years from becoming law, and that the jury is still out on whether they will accomplish their stated goals. “These are just tweaks,” says Picciotto. “They’re trying to repair an old motorcar, but what they need is a new engine.”"

+ - Ethical trap: robot paralysed by choice of who to save-> 1

Submitted by wabrandsma
wabrandsma (2551008) writes "From New Scientist:

Can a robot learn right from wrong? Attempts to imbue robots, self-driving cars and military machines with a sense of ethics reveal just how hard this is

In an experiment, Alan Winfield and his colleagues programmed a robot to prevent other automatons – acting as proxies for humans – from falling into a hole. This is a simplified version of Isaac Asimov's fictional First Law of Robotics – a robot must not allow a human being to come to harm.

At first, the robot was successful in its task. As a human proxy moved towards the hole, the robot rushed in to push it out of the path of danger. But when the team added a second human proxy rolling toward the hole at the same time, the robot was forced to choose. Sometimes, it managed to save one human while letting the other perish; a few times it even managed to save both. But in 14 out of 33 trials, the robot wasted so much time fretting over its decision that both humans fell into the hole.

Winfield describes his robot as an "ethical zombie" that has no choice but to behave as it does. Though it may save others according to a programmed code of conduct, it doesn't understand the reasoning behind its actions. Winfield admits he once thought it was not possible for a robot to make ethical choices for itself. Today, he says, "my answer is: I have no idea".

As robots integrate further into our everyday lives, this question will need to be answered. A self-driving car, for example, may one day have to weigh the safety of its passengers against the risk of harming other motorists or pedestrians. It may be very difficult to program robots with rules for such encounters."

Link to Original Source
Education

Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech? 253

Posted by timothy
from the be-the-legacy-hire dept.
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes A new article in Fast Company suggests tech CEOs want employees with liberal arts degrees, because those graduates have critical thinking skills. Meanwhile, a new article on Dice (yes, yes, we know) posits that STEM degrees such as data science, IT admin, and electrical engineering are what science-and-tech companies are going to want for the foreseeable future. What do you think? What place do those with liberal arts degrees have in companies such as, say, Tesla or a biomedical engineering firm?

+ - Digia Spins off Qt as Subsidiary->

Submitted by DeviceGuru
DeviceGuru (1136715) writes "Digia has spun off a subsidiary called The Qt Company to unify Qt's commercial and open source efforts, and debuted a low-cost plan for mobile developers. The Linux-oriented Qt cross-platform development framework has had a tumultuous career, having been passed around Scandinavia over the years from Trolltech to Nokia and then from Nokia to Digia. Yet, Qt keeps rolling along in both commercial and open source community versions, continually adding support for new platforms and technologies, and gaining extensive support from mobile developers. Now Qt is its own company, or at least a wholly owned subsidiary under Digia. Finland-based Digia has largely been involved with the commercial versions of Qt since it acquired the platform from Nokia in 2012, but it has also sponsored the community Qt Project as a relatively separate project. Now, both efforts are being unified under one roof at The Qt Company and the new QT.io website, says Digia. Meanwhile, Digia will focus on its larger enterprise software business."
Link to Original Source

+ - NASA to announce private space shuttle deal->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "NASA will make a "major announcement" later Tuesday about its plans to partner with the private sector to transport astronauts to the international space station.
The space agency said it will hold a news conference at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 4 p.m. ET to discuss "the return of human spaceflight launches to the United States," according to a brief statement on its website.

The agency is expected to award a contract to one or more private aerospace companies to shuttle astronauts back and forth to the space station.

The contract to be announced Tuesday will be difficult to compare with the current arrangement, since it will involve "additional capabilities," such as development and certification programs, as well as shuttle services, the spokeswoman said.

The leading contender is Boeing (BA), according to the Wall Street Journal. Other bidders include SpaceX, which is backed by Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, and Sierra Nevada Corp."

Link to Original Source

+ - College Students: Want To Earn More? Take A COBOL Class->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "With a lot of debate over the value of a college education, here's a data point students can use: at one Texas college, students who took an elective COBOL class earned on average $10,000 more a year upon graduation than classmates who hadn't. COBOL, dropped from many curricula years ago as an outdated language, is tenaciously holding on in the industry, as many universities are belatedly starting to realize."
Link to Original Source

+ - Apple tastefully edits iPhone 6's protruding camera out of official photos 2

Submitted by Sockatume
Sockatume (732728) writes "If you've been browsing Apple's site, eagerly awaiting the iPhone 6 launch, you might've noticed something a little odd. Apple has edited the handset's protruding camera out of every single side-on view of the handset. (The camera is, necessarily, retained for images showing the back of the device.) The absence is particularly conspicuous given the number of side views Apple uses to emphasise the device's thin-ness; perhaps they felt that the camera was an unslightly blemish upon the device's clean, elegant lines."

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