An anonymous reader writes: Members of the New York City Council have sent a letter to Google asking that its Maps navigation system provide users an option to "reduce left turns." Pedestrian safety is the issue they're trying to improve. In the U.S., a quarter of all accidents involving pedestrians happen while a vehicle is making a left turn. "The first cause of death for New York City children under 13 is not gangs, it's not poverty, not violence. It's being hit by cars and trucks. This is the time for the city to reach out to the private sector, so they can help us to provide information to drivers about where you should avoid making left turns." The council members are also asking for an option that would let truckers stay on known truck routes, hoping that would prevent the problems that arise when big-rigs wander onto streets not large enough to safely accommodate them.
Patrick O'Neill writes: In the days following a massive hack that confirmed Hacking Team's dealings with repressive regimes around the world, experts are wondering once again how to stop Western technology companies from equipping certain governments with weapons meant to attack journalists, human rights activists, and ordinary civilians. Regulation's backers say that "this is an industry that has failed to police itself," ACLU's Christopher Soghoian argued, but many including the EFF warn that overly broad legislation would harm more than help. In addition, wiredmikey points out that a number of exploits have been released in the wake of the hacking: Several exploits have been discovered, including ones for zero-day vulnerabilities, in the hundreds of gigabytes of data stolen by a hacker from the systems of surveillance software maker Hacking Team. Researchers at Trend Micro analyzed the leaked data and uncovered several exploits, including two zero-days for Adobe Flash Player. A readme document found alongside proof-of-concept (PoC) code for one of the Flash Player zero-days describes the vulnerability as "the most beautiful Flash bug for the last four years since CVE-2010-2161." In addition to the Flash Player exploits, researchers spotted an exploit for a Windows kernel vulnerability, a flaw that fortunately has already been patched. Adobe told SecurityWeek that it's aware of the reports and expects to release a patch on Wednesday.
mitcheli writes: In short order, some major outages occurred [Wednesday] morning. First United Airlines reported a system wide grounding of all flights due to "technical difficulties" with little details to follow. Following that, the New York Stock Exchange reported "technical difficulties" while suspending all trading. While initial reports on NYSE state that there is no malicious activity as a result of the outage, few details have been released at this time. "NYSE/NYSE MKT has temporarily suspended trading in all symbols. Additional information will follow as soon as possible," the NYSE said in a statement on its status page.
lpress writes: Two Cuban universities have fiber links and fiber connections will be available to all Cuban universities in January 2016. One of the currently connected universities is in the west, near Havana (satellite ground station) and one in the east, near the undersea cable landing. Cuba will use Chinese equipment for DSL to the home and Wifi access points.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued Friday a landmark decision, ruling that marriage is a Constitutionally protected right to homosexual as well as heterosexual couples. The New York Times notes that last year, by refusing to hear appeals to decisions favoring same-sex marriage in five states, the court "delivered a tacit victory for gay rights, immediately expanding the number of states with same-sex marriage to 24, along with the District of Columbia, up from 19." (In the time since, several more states have expanded marriage to include gay couples.) Reuters expains a bit of the legal and political history of the movement which led to today's decision, and points out some of the countries around the world which have made similar moves already.
New submitter Applehu Akbar writes: The good news is that for the first time in years, a candidate in the next presidential cycle has proposed completing our transition to the metric system. Though unfortunately it's Lincoln Chaffee, let's all hope that this long-standing nerd issue gets into the 2016 debate because of this. Warning: Lame CNN autoplaying video.
Lirodon writes: Remember a few days ago, when Slashdot's former parent company was the subject of a $122 million takeover bid by Hot Topic? Well, another geeky retailer entered the fray in the battle for ThinkGeek, and won. GameStop will be acquiring Geeknet for $140 million. The video game retailer has promised synergies, such as in-store pickup and integration with its rewards program.
An anonymous reader writes: Myrna Arias claims she was fired for refusing to run an app that would track her location even when she was off the clock. She is now suing Intermex Wire Transfer LLC in a Kern County Superior Court. Her claim reads in part: "After researching the app and speaking with a trainer from Xora, Plaintiff and her co-workers asked whether Intermex would be monitoring their movements while off duty. Stubits admitted that employees would be monitored while off duty and bragged that he knew how fast she was driving at specific moments ever since she installed the app on her phone. Plaintiff expressed that she had no problem with the app's GPS function during work hours, but she objected to the monitoring of her location during non-work hours and complained to Stubits that this was an invasion of her privacy. She likened the app to a prisoner's ankle bracelet and informed Stubits that his actions were illegal. Stubits replied that she should tolerate the illegal intrusion...."
An anonymous reader writes: Maurice Newman, the top business advisor to conservative Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, today published an opinion piece (paywalled) in which he claims, "It's a well-kept secret, but 95 per cent of the climate models ... have been found ... to be in error." He goes on to write "This is not about facts or logic. It's about a new world order under the control of the UN." While Newman's 'skeptical' views have long been on record, it's unclear when he came to believe in this vast global conspiracy. Last year, the Abbott government removed Australia's Emissions Trading Scheme, and recently gave $4 million in funding to contrarian Bjorn Lomberg, while cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from science across the country.
An anonymous reader writes: Italian researchers in Trent have enabled 15 Pholcidae spiders to spin graphene-strengthened dragline silk just by spraying them with a solution containing carbon nanotubes and graphene flakes. The resulting fiber is as strong as Kevlar 49, and ranks among the most resilient and ductile in the world of manufacturing. But Emiliano Lepore's research has not succeeded in understanding by what process the spiders are able to incorporate the ambient materials into their webs. Since spider-farming is historically unproductive, the possibility of continuing the research on silk-worms has been presented.
v3rgEz writes: Not surprisingly, the FBI has compiled reports on notorious hacker gathering DEF CON, now released thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request. The files detail the lack of amusement at the Spot-the-Fed game, as well as which conference tracks attract the most interest. "In a bit of FOIrony, the file contains a copy of the Spot the Fed contest rules, including the facetious aside to feds offering t-shirts in exchange for agency coffee mugs."
New submitter Bo'Bob'O writes: The BBC reports that the scientists at the Parkes and Bleien Radio Observatories in New South Wales, Australia, have tracked down earth-based signals that had been eluding observation for 17 years. These signals, which came to be called Perytons "occurred only during office hours and predominantly on weekdays." The source, as it turned out, was located right inside the antenna's tower where impatient scientists had been opening the kitchen microwave door before its cycle had finished. As the linked paper concludes, this, and a worn magnetron caused a condition that allowed the microwaves to emit a burst of frequencies not expected by the scientists, only compounding the original mystery.
An anonymous reader writes: Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute are developing smart headlights that not only trace a car's movement around bends, but are programmable to assist a driver in a wide range of driving conditions. The research team, at the institute's Illumination and Imaging Laboratory, is looking into designing headlights which do not highlight raindrops and snowflakes in bad weather, instead passing light around the individual drops and improving visibility. Its near-future design would also be able to avoid glare even when the high beam is in use, detecting up-coming vehicles and disabling the range of light that is directed at it. They also hope to incorporate GPS data to adjust the direction of the headlights according to the lane that a driver is occupying, illuminating it more brightly compared to surrounding lanes. The technology is supported by a looped system which will constantly read, assess and react to driving conditions. The prototype also features a built-in camera to capture visual data before transferring it to a computer processor installed in the vehicle, where it can be analyzed.
An anonymous reader writes: Pepsi believes sales of diet soda are falling because of aspartame and how the general public thinks it's a dangerous substance to consume. Even though the FDA describes aspartame as “one of the most thoroughly tested and studied food additives the agency has ever approved,” Pepsi has decided to stop using it. Aspartame removal is being turned into a marketing campaign of sorts, with "Now Aspartame Free" printed on cans.
An anonymous reader writes in with this story about what happened to Google+ from an employee perspective. "Last month, Google announced that it's changing up its strategy with Google+. In a sense, it's giving up on pitching Google+ as a social network aimed at competing with Facebook. Instead, Google+ will become two separate pieces: Photos and Streams. This didn't come as a surprise — Google+ never really caught on the same way social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn did....Rumors have been swirling for months that Google would change its direction with Google+. Business Insider spoke with a few insiders about what happened to the network that Google believed would change the way people share their lives online. Google+ was really important to Larry Page, too — one person said he was personally involved and wanted to get the whole company behind it. The main problem with Google+, one former Googler says, is the company tried to make it too much like Facebook. Another former Googler agrees, saying the company was 'late to market' and motivated from 'a competitive standpoint.'"