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Submission + - Facebook Buys Data From Third-Party Brokers To Fill In User Profiles (

An anonymous reader writes: According to a report from ProPublica, the world’s largest social network knows far more about its users than just what they do online. What Facebook can’t glean from a user’s activity, it’s getting from third-party data brokers. ProPublica found the social network is purchasing additional information including personal income, where a person eats out and how many credit cards they keep. That data all comes separate from the unique identifiers that Facebook generates for its users based on interests and online behavior. A separate investigation by ProPublica in which the publication asked users to report categories of interest Facebook assigned to them generated more than 52,000 attributes. The data Facebook pays for from other brokers to round out user profiles isn’t disclosed by the company beyond a note that it gets information “from a few different sources.” Those sources, according to ProPublica, come from commercial data brokers who have access to information about people that isn’t linked directly to online behavior. The social network doesn’t disclose those sources because the information isn’t collected by Facebook and is publicly available. Facebook does provide a page in its help center that details how to get removed from the lists held by third-party data brokers. However, the process isn’t particularly easy. In the case of the Oracle-owned Datalogix, users who want off the list have to send a written request and a copy of a government-issued identification in the mail to Oracle’s chief privacy officer. Another data collecting service, Acxiom, requires users provide the last four digits of their social security number to see the information the company has gathered about them.

Submission + - Mining 24 Hours a Day with Robots (

schwit1 writes: Mining companies are rolling out autonomous trucks, drills, and trains, which will boost efficiency but also reduce the need for human employees.

Rio Tinto uses driverless trucks provided by Japan’s Komatsu. They find their way around using precision GPS and look out for obstacles using radar and laser sensors.

Rio Tinto's driverless trucks have proven to be roughly 15 percent cheaper to run than vehicles with humans behind the wheel—a significant saving since haulage is by far a mine’s largest operational cost. Trucks that drive themselves can spend more time working because software doesn’t need to stop for shift changes or bathroom breaks. They are also more predictable in how they do things like pull up for loading. “All those places where you could lose a few seconds or minutes by not being consistent add up”. They also improve safety.

The driverless locomotives, due to be tested extensively next year and fully deployed by 2018, are expected to bring similar benefits. They also anticipate savings on train maintenance, because software can be more predictable and gentle than any human in how it uses brakes and other controls. Diggers and bulldozers could be next to be automated.

Submission + - LastPass accounts can be 'completely compromised' when users visit sites (

mask.of.sanity writes: A dangerous zero-day vulnerability has been found in popular cloud password vault LastPass, which can completely compromise user accounts when users visit malicious websites. The flaw is today being reported to LastPass by established Google Project zero hacker Tavis Ormandy who says he has found other "obvious critical problems".

Submission + - Subscribers Pay 61 Cents/Hour of Cable, But Only 20 Cents/Hour of Netflix (

An anonymous reader writes: The folks at AllFlicks decided to crunch some numbers to determine just how much more expensive cable is than Netflix. They answered the question: how much does Netflix cost per hour of content viewed, and how does that compare with cable's figures? AllFlicks reports: "We know from Netflix’s own numbers that Netflix’s more than 75 million users stream 125 million hours of content every day. So that’s (roughly) 100 minutes per user, per day. Using the price of Netflix’s most popular plan ($9.99) and a 30-day month, we can say that the average user is paying about 0.33 cents per minute of content, or 20 cents an hour. Not bad! But what about cable? Well, Nielsen tells us that the average American adult cable subscriber watches 2,260 minutes of TV per week (including timeshifted TV). That’s equivalent to 5.38 hours per day, or 161.43 hours per 30-day month. Thanks to Leichtman Research, we know that the average American pays $99.10 per month for cable TV. That means that subscribers are paying a whopping 61.4 cents per hour to watch cable TV – more than three times as much as users pay per hour of Netflix!"

Comment Re:Dinos (Score 1) 298

While this may largely be true for the 'Sciences', it's not at ALL true for Engineering or other technical fields.

old fractured system.

You mean the one invented two centuries ago that's commonly applied with at least two fundamentally different sets of units, never consistently, and with continual unit abuse?

Next time some datasheet says the bolt takes 5N of torque, or my pressure gage is reading off in kg/cm^2, I'll throw it at you, mkay? ;)

Comment Re:Systemic and widespread? (Score 1) 489

This is where I disagree. Other countries also see the exact same profit motive but it doesn't result in an arms race

I don't think police officers carrying handguns similar to the ones they've been carrying for a century (with essentially only convenience upgrades as technology progresses) qualifies as an arms race. I don't think criminal organizations using fewer full-auto weapons than 50 years ago counts as an arms race.

What arms race? There's absolutely no escalation!

It's about the fact that in America the gun has become the default option when it should be the last resort.

This is so far from true. It's hard to get solid country-wide stats on officer gun usage, but NYC publicizes their Firearm Discharge rates. Last year, their officers fired 105 shots. Of those, 21 were accidents, and 24 were aimed at attacking animals. So, there were 60 officer shots fired in a city of 8.4 million. That's a damn sight closer to a 'last resort' than a 'default option'

...get past your immense paranoia that makes you believe having a gun somehow makes you safer.

Is it still paranoia when most academic research agrees with you? I mean, it's like saying that people are 'paranoid' about anthropogenic climate change. There's an international correlation between gun ownership rates and violence. A negative correlation. Check out actual statistics and research before you blame America's violence problem on gun ownership. There's a great journal article from the Harvard Journal of Law on this:

In reality, violence in America isn't driven by gun ownership, any more than violence in Russia is driven by their lack of gun ownership. Violence is driven by socioeconomic factors. People aren't violent because they have guns. People have always been violent, when operating in certain cultures and situations. Guns are a force multiplier for both victims and violent people, and don't end up having a huge impact on violence rates.

Comment Re:Systemic and widespread? (Score 1) 489

This is typical on a lot of US highways. The main highways through Chicago (94, etc.) have a 55 speedlimit, but average speed is 65-70. With quite a handful of 80+ drivers.

Crowd sourced cop-avoidance (like Waze) is part of the reason, but part of it is that that road is really a 65-70 mph road from an engineering perspective, and so cops don't really WANT to fix it.

Comment Do not want (Score 1) 40

Have you tried their app? I happen to live in Portland and work downtown.. the Starbucks at US Banc Corp Tower is probably the busiest in the city -- ordering ahead already saved me about 20 minutes last week.

Doomed to fail.

Its been a massive success for both employees and customers. This IS the way regulars will order for the foreseeable future.

Enjoy your wait in line.

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