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Former GM and BMW Executive Warns Apple: Your Car Will Be a "Gigantic Money Pit" 535

An anonymous reader writes: With rumors that Apple is not only moving ahead on its electric car initiative, but trying to accelerate its development, a former GM and BMW exec is giving a few words of warning. Bob Lutz appeared on CNBC and expressed his doubts that Apple has a fighting chance to make any impact on the auto industry. "And when it comes to actually making cars," Lutz said, "there is no reason to assume that Apple, with no experience, will suddenly do a better job than General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota or Hyundai. So I think this is going to be a gigantic money pit, but then it doesn't matter. I mean Apple has an embarrassment of riches, they don't know where to put the cash anymore. So if they burn 30 or 40 billion dollars in the car business, no one's going to notice."

Researchers Say S. African Bones Are From Previously Unknown Human Relative 77

Ancient, but so far undated, remains found in a South African cave (more than 1500 pieces of bone and teeth) have been declared by the team which discovered them to represent a previously unknown kind of human relative, which they have dubbed Homo naledi. New submitter chapman writes: The human-like bones discovered in the Rising Star cave, 50km from Johannesburg, may belong to a new species of "long-legged," "pinheaded," and "gangly" human relative. Apparently the chamber in the cave where the discovery was made is so inaccessible (only 8 inches wide) that the team brought in a group of lightly-built female researchers in order to excavate the bones. Science Mag, too, describes the find as well as the controversy about the unusual publicity surrounding the exploration. The Guardian's article notes that the identification of the bones as belonging to a new species is disputed by some anthropologists, who say that based on the evidence presented so far, the bones may simply be examples of the previouly named Homo erectus.
The Internet

.Onion Gets a Boost From IETF, IANA: Now It's a Special-Use Domain 37

An anonymous reader writes: As tweeted by Jacob Appelbaum, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority today listed .onion as a special-use domain, and the IETF approved a Draft RFC for the domain describing its intended uses. As described on the Facebook Over Tor page, "Jointly, these actions enable '.onion' as special-use, top-level domain name for which SSL certificates may be issued in accordance with the Certificate-Authority & Browser Forum 'Ballot 144' — which was passed in February this year. ... Together, this assures the validity and future availability of SSL certificates in order to assert and protect the ownership of Onion sites throughout the whole of the Tor network."

Amazon Reportedly Aiming For the Low End With a Loss-Leader $50 Tablet 111

Amazon has been dogged with criticism for its high-end, somewhat oddball phone, but done rather better with its high-end Fire tablets, and has mostly defined the market for e-ink book-reading devices with its long-lived Kindle series. Now, according to a report in the WSJ echoed by Fortune (and by Ars Technica and many others), the company is said to be working on a tablet aimed at the low end of the market, with a 6-inch screen, a mono speaker, and a tiny pricetag -- which could be as low as $50. "At the bottom end of the range at least, the devices won’t be priced to make a profit," writes Fortune. "The dirt-cheap price tag is intended to maximise the reach of its e-book and Amazon Prime video streaming content."

Mozilla, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Others Form 'Alliance For Open Media' 99

BrianFagioli tips news that Mozilla, Microsoft, Google, Cisco, Intel, Amazon, and Netflix are teaming up to create the Alliance for Open Media, "an open-source project that will develop next-generation media formats, codecs and technologies in the public interest." Several of these companies have been working on this problem alone: Mozilla started Daala, Google has VP9 and VP10, and Cisco just recently announced Thor. Amazon and Netflix, of course, are major suppliers of online video streaming, so they have a vested interested in royalty-free codecs. They're inviting others to join them — the more technology and patents they get on their side, the less likely they'll run into the issues that Microsoft's VC-1 and Google's VP8 struggled with. "The Alliance will operate under W3C patent rules and release code under an Apache 2.0 license. This means all Alliance participants are waiving royalties both for the codec implementation and for any patents on the codec itself."
Your Rights Online

Analysis Reveals Almost No Real Women On Ashley Madison 450

gurps_npc writes: Ashley Madison claimed to have about 31 million men and 5.5 million woman enrolled. Those odds are not good for the men, 6:1. But unfortunately, most of those 'women' were fake. This researcher analyzed the data and found only 12,000 actual, real women using Ashley Madison. That means for every 7750 men, there were 3 women. There are reports that Ashley Madison paid people to create fake female profiles. Their website admits that 'some of the users may be there for "entertainment purposes."' The article itself is well written, including a description of the analysis. A charitable person would say that Ashley Madison was selling a fantasy, not reality. But a realist would say Ashley Madison is just a thief stealing money from lonely, unhappy men.

Hugos Refuse To Award Anyone Rather Than Submit To Fans' Votes 1044

An anonymous reader writes: You may remember way back in April there was a bit of a kerfuffle over the nominees for the Hugo Awards being "too conservative" based on a voting campaign organized by a group of science fiction fans who wanted to promote hard science fiction over more recent nominees. This was spun as conservatives "ruining" a "progressive" award. The question was left: would the final voters of the Hugo awards accept these nominees, or just take their ball home and refuse to give out anyway awards at all? The votes are in and we know the answer now: they'd rather just not give out any awards. (Wired has a slightly different slant on the process as well as the outcome of this year's awards.)

Comment Re:Seems like stockholders... (Score 1) 235

Except that the stockholders still own stock in a company going in all those directions.

I think this is more about Larry and Sergey putting a trusted lieutenant in charge of the stuff they're a little bored with, so he can focus on that stuff, while they get to focus their attention on other more new and interesting (to them) stuff.

Dinosaurs aren't extinct. They've just learned to hide in the trees.