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Submission + - Is the Government Waging an Out-of-Sight Fight With Apple on Encryption? (fortune.com)

schwit1 writes: The upshot is that, even as the FBI battles with Apple in public over iPhone encryption, other agencies like the NSA may be forcing Apple to break its encryption in secret through Section 702 orders. Even though Section 702 orders are notionally aimed at foreigners, there are numerous loopholes that can sweep in Americans.

The over-arching issue raised by EmptyWheel is not whether citizens should have the right to deploy unbreakable encryption (there are good arguments on each side), but instead that the government may be settling the debate in secret. The issue of encryption is too important to be stuffed into secret court proceedings. Let’s hope the Justice Department finds a way to debate this in the open.

Submission + - SPAM: Toyota Is Uneasy about the Handoff between Automated Systems and Drivers

schwit1 writes: Toyota has not yet decided whether it will bring a car to market that is capable of automated driving in some situations yet still requires a human driver behind a wheel who can take control if needed—but the automaker, characteristically, is more cautious than many about moving forward with the technology.

Citing safety concerns regarding the handoff between self-driving technology and human driver, Kiyotaka Ise, Toyota’s chief safety technology officer, said the biggest issue with these kinds of systems is that “there is a limbo for several seconds between machine and human” in incidents when a car prompts a human to retake control if it cannot handle operations.

Although Toyota assures us that its researchers are hard at work figuring out the challenges of Level 3 autonomy, it seems like the company could eventually join others moving directly from its current Level 2 system to a Level 4 system. Given the self-driving race has been on for a while, this could put Toyota at a competitive disadvantage, but it’s clear engineers at the company care more about getting things right than they do about being first.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - SPAM: Our Artificial Intelligence 'Sputnik Moment' Is Now.

schwit1 writes: China’s just announced an AI strategy designed to assure it will be dominant in the host of technologies by 2030.

“If you believe this is important, as I believe, then we need to get our act together as a country,” [Alphabet Exec Chairman Eric] Schmidt said this morning. In a Q and A session at the event organized by the Center for a New American Security, Schmidt said he thought the US will maintain its lead over the People’s Republic of China for the next five years, but he expects China to catch up about then and pass us “extremely quickly.”

How important does China think AI can be? Work told me the Chinese estimate they can boost economic growth with AI by 26 percent by 2030. “It’s quite stunning,” Work said. And, of course, the PRC’s government has published a national strategy and released it to the world.

What’s the best response by the United States, I asked Work after Schmidt spoke. The federal government needs to answer this question at its highest levels, as happened after the Soviet Union stunned the world and launched the first satellite, Sputnik, Work said.

BEGUN, THE AI WARS HAVE

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Carriers bloatware leads to degradation of mobile phones? (boostmobile.com)

Kungpaoshizi writes: An interesting tangent. As we all know, as components are used, components degrade. What happens when companies are forcing "customers" to house their choice of applications that make them more money yet cost the owner of the device? Could it be considered the same premise as a botnet?

Submission + - SPAM: Newegg Is Being Sued for Allegedly Engaging in Massive Fraud

schwit1 writes: A suit filed Friday in the US District Court in Los Angeles by four South Korean banks alleges “massive fraud” with an outstanding debt of at least $230 million, and California-based electronic parts seller Newegg has been named as a defendant, along with wholesaler ASI Corporation and its officers.

These new documents allege that Moneual, Newegg, and ASI were engaging in “an intricate scheme of circular transactions.” The banks submitted a list of over 70 pages of supposedly fraudulent orders as evidence that Newegg and ASI created the paperwork that Moneual used to secure loans. The suit further claims that Newegg and ASI “received kickbacks from Moneual in varying amounts in exchange for agreeing to collude with Moneual to defraud the Banks.”

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Secure methods for baby monitoring

Szeraax writes: Big time nerd, first time father (well, first and second since I just had twins!). Ideally, I can track temperature and heart rate of my new family members without causing a security nightmare on my home network. I see lots of arm bands from China that claim security, but even their documentation pictures are pure chinese screen shots. That makes me immediately leary of the device. I can use a private WLAN on my router for the devices if needed. I can connect via bluetooth on phone or computer. Is my best bet to check vitals manually and plot results in LibreOffice calc? Are there monitoring devices that totally avoid the cloud rush of today? Should I just not even waste my time with the data?

Slashdot, what advice do you have for me?

Submission + - First New US Nuclear Reactor In 20 Years Goes Live (cnn.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Tennessee Valley Authority is celebrating an event 43 years in the making: the completion of the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant. In 1973, the TVA, one of the nation's largest public power providers, began building two reactors that combined promised to generate enough power to light up 1.3 million homes. The first reactor, delayed by design flaws, eventually went live in 1996. Now, after billions of dollars in budget overruns, the second reactor has finally started sending power to homes and businesses. Standing in front of both reactors Wednesday, TVA President Bill Johnson said Watts Bar 2, the first US reactor to enter commercial operation in 20 years, would offer clean, cheap and reliable energy to residents of several southern states for at least another generation. Before Watts Bar 2, the last time an American reactor had fired up was in 1996. It was Watts Bar 1--and according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it cost $6.8 billion, far greater than the original price tag at $370 million. In the 2000s, some American power companies, faced with growing environmental regulations, eyed nuclear power again as a top alternative to fossil fuels such as coal and oil. A handful of companies, taking advantage of federal loan guarantees from the Bush administration, revived nuclear reactor proposals in a period now known as the so-called "nuclear renaissance." Eventually, nuclear regulators started to green light new reactors, including ones in Georgia and South Carolina. In 2007, the TVA resumed construction on Watts Bar 2, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The TVA originally said it would take five years to complete. The TVA, which today serves seven different southern states, relies on nuclear power to light up approximately 4.5 million homes. Watts Bar 2, the company's seventh operating reactor, reaffirms its commitment to nukes for at least four more decades, Johnson said Wednesday. In the end, TVA required more than five years to build the project. The final cost, far exceeding its initial budget, stood at $4.7 billion.

Submission + - ICANN recommends TLDs like .txt -- and .exe (icann.org) 1

fyngyrz writes: ICANN says, in part:

Given preliminary feedback that there is not a technical need to prevent file extensions as TLDs, as well as the lack of an authoritative source of common file extensions to draw from, staff determined that it is not workable to prevent common file extensions from being used as TLDs.

To summarize, it is the recommendation of the ICANN technical staff to allow applications for TLD strings that may also be commonly used for file extensions.

But will ICANN approve such applications? If so, we can all look forward to opportunities to click on...

http://iamnotavirus-wink.exe

Submission + - Exploding Samsung phones may be more widespread than previously thought (theguardian.com)

squiggleslash writes: Samsung is already feeling the heat from its exploding Note 7 phones, but according to The Guardian a lawsuit has been filed alleging Samsung's phones have for years shown similar defects. From the S6 to the Acclaim R880, the lawsuit covers 30 incidents where phones other than the Note 7 ignited into flames or became burning hot. The lawsuit may light a fire underneath Samsung's engineering group and force them to confront the issue.

Submission + - NASA Funds Plan To Turn Used Rocket Fuel Tanks Into Space Habitats (ieee.org)

An anonymous reader writes: A couple of weeks ago NASA announced it has committed $65 million to six companies over the course of two years for the purpose of developing and testing deep-space habitats that could be used for future missions to Mars. One of the six companies, called NanoRacks, is attempting to take empty fuel tanks from the upper stages of rockets and turn them into space habitats on-orbit. IEEE Spectrum reports: "A rocket like the the Atlas V, which can deliver payloads of nearly 19,000 kg to low Earth orbit, consists of three primary pieces: on the bottom, you've got the first stage booster, which consists of a huge engine and some big tanks holding kerosene fuel and oxidizer. Above that, there's the second stage, which consists of one or two smaller engines, a big tank for storing liquid hydrogen fuel, and a smaller tank for oxidizer. The payload, which is what all of the fuss is about, sits on top. The first stage launches the rocket off of the pad and continues firing for about four minutes. Meanwhile, the second stage fires up its own engine (or engines) to boost the payload the rest of the way into orbit. On the Atlas V, the second stage is called Centaur. Once Centaur gets its payload where it needs to go, it separates, and then suicides down into Earth's atmosphere. Getting a payload into space is so expensive because you have to build up this huge and complicated rocket, with engines and guidance systems and fuel tanks and stuff, and then you basically use it for like 15 minutes and throw it all away. But what about the second stage? You've got a whole bunch of hardware that made it to orbit, and when getting stuff to orbit costs something like $2,500 per kilogram, you then tell it to go it burn itself up in the atmosphere, because otherwise it's just useless space junk." NanoRacks thinks this is wasteful, so they want to turn these tanks into deep space habitats. IEEE notes that the hydrogen fuel tank on a Centaur upper stage has a diameter of over 4 meters, and an interior volume of 54 cubic meters, while the inflatable BEAM module that arrived at the ISS earlier this year has an interior volume of 16 cubic meters.

Submission + - This Chinese Router Is Depressingly Insecure and Downright Evil (softpedia.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A Wi-Fi router manufactured and sold only in China can easily run for the title of "most insecure router ever made." The BHU router, whose name translates to "Tiger Will Power," has a long list of security problems that include: four authentication bypass flaws (of which one is just hilarious); a built in backdoor root account that gets created on every boot-up sequence; the fact that it opens the SSH port for external connections after every boot (somebody has to use that root backdoor account right?); a built-in proxy server that re-routes all traffic; an ad injection system that adds adverts to all the sites you visit; and a backup JS file embedded in the router firmware if the ad script fails to load from its server. For techies, there's a looong technical write-up, which gets funnier and scarier at the same time as you read through it.

Submission + - 2016 Hugo Award Winners Announced

Dave Knott writes: The recipients of the 2016 Hugo awards have been announced. Presented annually since 1955, the Hugos are (along with the Nebulas) one of science fiction's two most prestigious awards. They are voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Convention ("Worldcon"), the most recent of which, MidAmeriCon II was held this past weekend in Kansas City. Notable winners include:

Best Novel: The Fifth Season , by N.K. Jemisin
Best Novella: Binti , by Nnedi Okorafor
Best Novelette: "Folding Beijing", by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu
Best Short Story: "Cat Pictures Please", by Naomi Kritzer
Best Graphic Story: The Sandman: Overture , written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: The Martian , screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott
Best Dramatic Presentation, ShortForm: Jessica Jones: "AKA Smile", written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer

As in the previous two years, the 2016 Hugos were subject to considerable controversy, as highly-politicized factions within science fiction fandom attempted to influence the awards via a concerted campaign that influenced the nomination process. Those actions once again proved unsuccessful, as the nominees put forth by these activists failed to win in any of the major awards categories.

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