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Submission + - Why Self-Driving Cars Should Never be Fully Autonomous (

An anonymous reader writes: David Mindell, an MIT professor, says self-driving cars should never be fully autonomous. “There’s an idea that progress in robotics leads to full autonomy. That may be a valuable idea to guide research but when automated and autonomous systems get into the real world, that’s not the direction they head. We need to rethink the notion of progress, not as progress toward full autonomy, but as progress toward trusted, transparent, reliable, safe autonomy that is fully interactive: The car does what I want it to do, and only when I want it to do it.”

Mindell writes, “Google’s utopian autonomy is a more brittle, less functional solution than a rich, human-centered automation.”

Submission + - How Putin Tried to Control the Internet (

derekmead writes: In this excerpt from the recently published The Red Web , Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan describe how the Kremlin has been trying to rewrite the rules for the internet to make it “secure” as it is understood by Russia’s secret services.

Vladimir Putin was certain that all things in the world—including the internet—existed with a hierarchical, vertical structure. He was also certain that the internet must have someone controlling it at the top. He viewed the United States with suspicion, thinking the Americans ruled the web and that it was a CIA project.

Putin wanted to end that supremacy.

Just as he attempted to change the rules inside Russia, so too did he attempt to change them for the world. The goal was to make other countries, especially the United States, accept Russia’s right to control the internet within its borders, to censor or suppress it completely if the information circulated online in any way threatened Putin’s hold on power.

Submission + - Playboy Drops Nudity as Internet Fills Demand writes: Ravi Somaiya reports in the NY Times that as part of a redesign that will be unveiled next March, the print edition of Playboy Magazine will still feature women in provocative poses but they will no longer be fully nude. “That battle has been fought and won,” says CEO Scott Flanders. “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.” According to Somaiya, for a generation of American men, reading Playboy was a cultural rite, an illicit thrill consumed by flashlight. Now every teenage boy has an Internet-connected phone instead. Pornographic magazines, even those as storied as Playboy, have lost their shock value, their commercial value and their cultural relevance. The magazine will adopt a cleaner, more modern style. There will still be a Playmate of the Month, but the pictures will be “PG-13” and less produced — more like the racier sections of Instagram. “A little more accessible, a little more intimate,” says Flancers. It is not yet decided whether there will still be a centerfold.

It is difficult, in a media market that has been so fragmented by the web, to imagine the scope of Playboy’s influence at its peak. Hugh Hefner was successful at packaging an attitude, a mindset, a philosophy — and one that ran counter to the superficial tenets of the 1950's. "Its sexual content and glamorous depictions of bachelorhood made it roguish for the 1950s," says Elizabeth Fraterrigo, "but in its heyday, Playboy was more than a magazine filled with pictures of nude women and advice on how to make the perfect martini." It was, Fraterrigo concludes, a crucial part of "mainstream debates about society, economics, and culture in postwar America."

Feed Google News Sci Tech: Kickstarter Suspends Bladeless Razor Campaign That Has Raised $4 Million - Entrepreneur (


Kickstarter Suspends Bladeless Razor Campaign That Has Raised $4 Million
I hate shaving my face, and I don't know a man or woman who likes the idea of pulling steel blades across any area of skin. But I loved the idea of a bladeless, laser razor in development by Skarp Technologies that Catherine Clifford wrote about a few ...
Laser razor kicked off KickstarterBBC News
Excited For The Laser Razor? Sorry, Kickstarter Suspended The CampaignTech Times
That futuristic razor that shaves hair with a laser was just banned by ... Business Insider
Men's Fitness-WTOP-Yahoo News UK-Indiegogo
all 26 news articles

Submission + - Antineutrino detection is about to change the game in nuclear verification (

Lasrick writes: There may be a new option for the detection of illicit nuclear weapons programs worldwide: Antineutrino detection is an existing technology that, if political and diplomatic hurdles are overcome, could be put in place before the 10-year ban on Iranian enrichment R&D is lifted. Difficult to evade, antineutrino detection technology could allow the international community to reliably monitor a country’s nuclear activities in real-time, potentially without setting foot in the country. Similar in cost and technological scale to the space-borne reconnaissance methods governments use for detection today, antineutrino detection could not only help identify undeclared nuclear reactors, but could monitor nuclear facilities and detonations throughout the Middle East and beyond.

Submission + - Ruby GEM Extensions with Rust

interval1066 writes: I've heard of rust from various sources around the net for a few years and never paid it much mind, there are so many new languages out now since my early days doing C programming, which what I've stuck to and made me my career. Now I'm heading a project that uses a RoR application to control a large series of sensors and controls in a manufacturing process. Naturally I want to talk to the hardware using a GEM extension written in C, as I've done before.

But another engineer who is not a fan of C (seems few younger engineers are) said he could write the extensions needed easily in Rust. Seems like this is a thing. I took a closer look at rust and it looks to me like another attempt at "C" without pointers, except rust does have a kind of pointer, it appears. I like its ranking on a list of fastest languages, and it seems pretty simple with an initial tool footprint that is quite small.

But what are the trade offs? Another language, and one that few engineers know (much like Vala, which I like very much but has the same small user base). What if I need another engineer to work on the code? I pretty much know what I can expect from C/C++, rust is a huge unknown, what if I run onto a roadblock? The engineer pushing for rust is emphatic, should I bulldoze him or take the plunge?

Submission + - 3 open source projects for modern COBOL development (

An anonymous reader writes: While Grace Hopper's contributions to computing are remembered, celebrated, and built upon by her successors, COBOL itself is often dismissed as a relic of earlier era of computing. To a certain extent, that is true. Most of the COBOL being written today is for maintaining legacy code, not starting new projects. However, the language is still being updated with COBOL 2014 being the most recent standard for the language, and there are still plenty of opportunities to apply for jobs that require COBOL experience.

In an article on, Joshua Allen Holm highlights three open source projects that are keeping the language alive.

Submission + - Japanese fund considers rescue package for Sharp Corp (

An anonymous reader writes: Government-backed Japanese fund The Innovation Network Corp of Japan (INCJ) has opened negotiations with Sharp Corp to rescue the ailing screen manufacturer from years of financial losses, leading to a $1.9 billion bailout earlier this year. The company employs 46,600 workers in thirty countries, and is expected to have run at an operating loss of loss of ¥50 billion in the first half of this year.

Feed Techdirt: Judge Calls Bluffs On Encryption Debate; Asks Apple To Explain Why Unlocking A Phone Is 'Unduly Burdensome' (

Things on the Crypto War 2.0 battlefront just got a little more interesting. The administration won't seek backdoors and neither will Congress. The intelligence community has largely backed away from pressing for compliance from tech companies. This basically leaves FBI director James Comey (along with various law enforcement officials) twisting in his own "but people will die" wind.

Comey continues to insist encryption can be safely backdoored. He claims the real issue is companies like Apple and Google, who hire tons of "smart people" but won't put them to work solving his "going dark" problem for him. As pretty much the entirety of the tech community has pointed out, holes in encryption are holes in encryption and cannot ever be law enforcement-only.

We may get a chance to see who's telling the truth. As the Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima reports, a NY federal judge is calling everyone's bluff.

Magistrate Judge James Orenstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York released an order Friday that suggests he would not issue a government-sought order to compel the tech giant Apple to unlock a customers smartphone.

But before he can rule, the judge said, he wants Apple to explain whether the governments request would be unduly burdensome.
The order details what the government is trying to accomplish, but has yet to succeed in doing.

In a sealed application filed on October 8, 2015, the government asks the court to issue an order pursuant to the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. 1651, directing Apple, Inc. ("Apple") to assist in the execution of a federal search warrant by disabling the security of an Apple device that the government has lawfully seized pursuant to a warrant issued by this court. Law enforcement agents have discovered the device to be locked, and have tried and failed to bypass that lock. As a result, they cannot gain access to any data stored on the device notwithstanding the authority to do so conferred by this court's warrant.
The order demands Apple submit a response by October 15th. First, it seeks an answer as to whether the government's request is even "technically feasible." If it is, Apple will need to explain why complying with the order would be "unduly burdensome." If further discussion is needed, oral arguments from both parties will be heard a week from that date (at this point oral arguments are purely optional).

The order also closely examines the government's request in light of the All Writs Act. This would be the 1789 law the DOJ is trying to use to "cover" a gap between what Congress has specifically authorized and what the FBI is hoping to have granted. The presiding judge in this case -- Judge Gabriel Gorenstein -- has had previous experience with the FBI, phone manufacturers, and the All Writs Act, having dealt with a similar case back in 2005. In that case, he noted the government's request seemed to be a "Hail Mary play" designed to elude statutory restraints, the checks and balances built into the system, and put the magistrate judge in the position of granting something possibly beyond his power to grant.

The government thus asks me to read into the All Writs Act an empowerment of the judiciary to grant the executive branch authority to use investigative techniques either explicitly denied it by the legislative branch, or at a minimum omitted from a far-reaching and detailed statutory scheme that has received the legislature's intensive and repeated consideration. Such a broad reading of the statute invites an exercise of judicial activism that is breathtaking in its scope and fundamentally inconsistent with my understanding of the extent of my authority.
The All Writs Act is challenged here by Gorenstein again, nearly a decade later. After quoting a lengthy bit of report on "going dark" written by everyone's favorite terrorist-sympathizer Peter King, Gorenstein goes on to challenge Comey's public statements in light of his agency's desire to deploy a 1789 law to punch holes in 2015's phone encryption.

More specifically -- in a lengthy footnote -- Gorenstein basically calls Comey a hypocrite.

In a similarly-titled article published shortly before his Senate testimony, Director Corney discussed the extent to which companies like Apple should be compelled to ensure law enforcement access to the user content stored on its devices. Pertinent to the instant analysis of the All Writs Act, he wrote:

Democracies resolve such tensions through robust debate It may be that, as a people, we decide the benefits here outweigh the costs and that there is no sensible, technically feasible way to optimize privacy and safety in this particular context, or that public safety folks will be able to do their job well enough in a world of universal strong encryption. Those are decisions Americans should make, but I think part of my job is [to] make sure the debate is informed by a reasonable understanding of the costs...

Director Corney's view about how such policy matters should be resolved is in tension, if not entirely at odds, with the robust application of the All Writs Act the government now advocates. Even if CALEA and the Congressional determination not to mandate "back door" access for law enforcement to encrypted devices does not foreclose reliance on the All Writs Act to grant the instant motion, using an aggressive interpretation of that statute's scope to short-circuit public debate on this controversy seems fundamentally inconsistent with the proposition that such important policy issues should be determined in the first instance by the legislative branch after public debate - as opposed to having them decided by the judiciary in sealed, ex parte proceedings.
The order also points out that the previous use of the All Writs Act to secure phone records is a completely different legal animal than the current demand that Apple open up a customer's phone and expose all it contains to federal investigators.

[U]nlike the Telephone Company, Apple is not "a highly regulated public utility with a duty to serve the public[.]" It is a private-sector company that is free to choose to promote its customers' interest in privacy over the competing interest of law enforcement. Indeed, whereas in New York Tel Co. "it [could] hardly be contended that the Company ... had a substantial interest in not providing [the requested] assistance," it is entirely possible, if not likely, that Apple has thus far made a deliberate decision to balance those competing interests in favor of its customers' privacy preferences, as discussed further below.

Similarly, unlike the Telephone Company, which as the Supreme Court noted, regularly used pen registers for its own business purposes, there is nothing in the record to suggest that Apple has or wants the ability to defeat customer-installed security codes to access the encrypted data that its customers store on Apple devices after purchasing them.
Gorenstein also notes that the government has other ways of obtaining the contents of the phone, including the use of coercive measures to force the owner to unlock it. This has its own constitutional implications, but they are not under the purview of the magistrate judge. (There are also any number of third-party services utilized by the phone's owner that may be more amenable to turning over information in response to court orders.)

Gorenstein says the government's interpretation of the All Writs Act seems to exceed the intent of that law and completely bypasses the checks and balances built into the system -- namely, the legislative branch, which has notably not pushed for mandated backdoors no matter how much Comey and others have complained about the threat it poses to the safety of Americans.

In the end, though, Gorenstein says it comes down to Apple pointing out why decrypting this phone would be "unduly burdensome," if it is actually possible at all. Judging from the content of the order, it appears the Gorenstein is far more skeptical of the government's claims than Apple's, but we won't know for sure until he responds to Apple's response. If Apple responds with answers the government doesn't like, it may move to have any further discussion on the matter sealed, which means we may not find out where this stands until years from now.

Then again, it may mean nothing at all. As Nakashima points out, this particular battle may not provide the best chance to defeat Comey's backdoor fantasies.

Law enforcement officials said Saturday that the device at issue is a phone that runs on an older version of Apples operating system that Apple can unlock.

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Submission + - DARPA's ICARUS Program to Develop Self-Destructing Air Delivery Vehicles (

Zothecula writes: Two years ago, DARPA started developing self-destructing electronics as a way to prevent advanced military gear falling into the wrong hands. Now the agency is expanding on the idea with its Inbound, Controlled, Air-Releasable, Unrecoverable Systems (ICARUS) program, which is tasked with developing small, unmanned, single-use, unpowered air vehicles that can can be dropped from an aircraft to deliver supplies to isolated locations in the event of disasters, then evaporate into thin air once their job is done.

Submission + - WiFi Jamming Attacks More Simple And Cheaper Than Ever

An anonymous reader writes: A security researcher has demonstrated that jamming WiFi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee networks is not difficult to perform but, most importantly, also not as costly as one might think. According to Mathy Vanhoef, a PhD student at KU Leuven (Belgium), it can easily be done by using a Wi-Fi $15 dongle bought off Amazon, a Raspberry Pi board, and an amplifier that will broaden the range of the attack to some 120 meters.

Submission + - German Publisher Axel Springer Bans Adblocking Users From Bild Website (

An anonymous reader writes: Major European publishing house Axel Springer has instituted countermeasures to users who employ adblocking software on its Bild news outlet, which represents a daily publication with a print circulation of 2.5 million,. The website now presents readers with a request to either turn off the adblocking or pay a 2.99 euro monthly subscription fee. In a statement the company insist that online journalism must be funded by one of the 'two known revenue pillars’ — advertising or sales.

Submission + - Japan's biggest messaging app implements zero-knowledge across entire platform (

An anonymous reader writes: LINE, the messaging social network with 200 million users across Japan and Asia, has begun to implement the same zero-knowledge, device-based encryption that has drawn so much attention from government authorities since Apple's iOS 8 mobile operating system brought the trend into the mainstream in 2014. The LINE Corporation states in an announcement that 'letter-sealing' — effectively making it impossible for the company to access its users' encrypted data even under duress — will be implemented first for one-to-one chats and location sharing, but eventually will cover all communications across all LINE devices and platforms.

Submission + - The software behind the Large Hadron Collider and the Higgs Boson (

mikeckennedy writes: The largest machine ever built is the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. It's primary goal was the discovery of the Higgs Boson: the fundamental particle which gives all objects mass. The LHC team of 1000's of physicists achieved that goal in 2012 winning the Nobel Prize in physics. Kyle Cranmer is here to share how Python was at the core of this amazing achievement!

You'll learn about the different experiment including ATLAST and CMS. We talk a bit about the physics involved in the discovery before digging into the software and computer technology used at CERN. The collisions generate a tremendous amount of data and the technology to filter, gather, and understand the data is super interesting.

Submission + - 'Too hot to be an engineer' - women mark Ada Lovelace Day

AmiMoJo writes: On Ada Lovelace Day, four female engineers from around the world share their experiences of working in male-dominated professions. When Isis Anchalee's employer OneLogin asked her to take part in its recruitment campaign, she didn't rush to consult the selfie-loving Kardashian sisters for styling tips. "I was wearing very minimal make-up. I didn't brush my hair that day," she said. But the resulting image of Ms Anchalee created a social media storm when it appeared on Bart, the San Francisco metro. Lots of people questioned whether she really was an engineer. "It was not just limited to women — it resonates with every single person who doesn't fit with what the stereotype should look like," she said.

"My parents, my brother, my community, all were against me," said Sovita Dahal of her decision to pursue a career in technology. "I was going against traditional things. In my schooldays I was fascinated by electronic equipment like motors, transformers and LED lights. Later on this enthusiasm became my passion and ultimately my career," she said.

Roma Agrawal has worked as a structural engineer for 10 years, and was part of the team that designed London skyscraper The Shard. But the argument that women have a biological struggle with maths and science subjects is infuriating, Ms Agrawal said. Ms Agrawal would like to see more parents and teachers supporting the message that engineering is an achievable career for girls — but also believes that Britons in particular have an attitude problem to address as well. "People easily say, 'I'm terrible at maths,' or 'I'm awful at numbers.' If you said that kind of thing in India people would look at you funny," she said. "It's like saying, 'Oh, I can't read,' and being proud of that fact."

For Dolphin Guan, currently working with mobile phone company Seeed Studio in China, the difference between men and women is very much still an issue. Ms Guan finished university last year. She studied computer science with 40 students, of whom just four or five were women — but in her industrial design class the gender ration was 50:50. "These years in China, I can see more and more women working in tech/engineering jobs," she said. "And a good thing about being a tech/engineer is when we have a good idea, we are able to make it happen."

All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy.