Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment Re:And how on Earth.... (Score 1) 133

Are you sure? I mean, are you SCIENTIFICALLY sure about that point?

From TFA: "Using lab-grown mosquitoes to kill mosquito pests has been tested extensively in Brazil in recent years. [emphasis mine]" A number of other tests -- for specifically this method, and similar ones -- are mentioned as well, so I'm going to go with "Yes" in answer to your question.

I'm not sure why you think this is being approved for widespread use (somewhat anyway. But still limited to areas with temperature and precipitation conditions to areas where it was successfully tested within the U.S.) without adequate testing. It is not as if it is going from concept directly to broad approval.

Comment Re:Needs to Stop (Score 2) 146

Not only because it's an obvious shill for their particular technology

Like Google providing materials and lesson plans based on Scratch, "a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. It is available for free at http://scratch.mit.edu/"? Those monsters!

in some instances politically charged

Yeah, the example they give of changing the color of a letter in the logo. Obviously racist, right?

Damn big businesses, offering free educational resources to teachers and schools. What kind of world are we creating when we expose kids to STEM concepts at a young age? Oh, the humanities!

Comment Re:And how on Earth.... (Score 4, Informative) 133

how on Earth is going the EPA and US to control that such kind of hybrids

Well, first of all, these are not "hybrids". They are just regular mosquitoes carrying a bacteria that regularly infects mosquitoes already. So, done?

doesn't invade another countries like Canada or Mexico?

What the bacteria does is make the male mosquito sterile, so that when he mates with a female in the wild, instead of producing thousands of new mosquitoes they just make thousands of eggs that don't develop. I'm pretty sure we don't have to worry about the eggs migrating to other countries. And since male mosquitoes (the only ones being infected and released) only live about ten days, the risk of them travelling across borders seems fairly small. And if they do, their tenancy as illegal aliens of other countries will be quite short-lived. And, since the treatment they receive sterilizes them, they will have no foreign-born offspring disrupting the existing mosquito populations of other countries, taking their jobs, getting on mosquito welfare, or whatever.

Comment Re:This is coming a lot faster than most think (Score 1) 176

... what benefits? Legitimate question.

Safety is number 1. Having autonomous driving systems that never get tired or distracted, always obey traffic laws, and in the event of unsafe circumstances (e.g. person or animal running onto the road, blowout or other mechanical failure on another vehicle, or error by a human driver) are able to react faster than humanly possible will save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce property damage.

If you're in the car going somewhere then why not drive it yourself?

Most people have many things they would rather do than drive. Having the car do the driving frees you up to do work during your commute -- e.g., answer emails and whatnot, the type of thing one might normally do first thing upon arriving at the office -- potentially shortening your workday, or to enjoy entertainment options that you normally could not while driving. And of course, if you are out somewhere having a few drinks, it is much safer not to drive yourself home while intoxicated.

I wonder how well the global economy will cope when haulage, taxi services, busses... trains... all need no people.

Another benefit, since that will bring down the cost for all those services. The jobs lost will be a problem, which the article attempts to address.

Comment Re:I really don't understand the interest here (Score 1) 135

And what happens when a deer decides to bolt out from the woods in front of your vehicle?

Most likely, the computer system detects it more quickly than a person would, reacts faster than humanly possible, and brakes and/or steers in an optimized way to avoid both collision and loss of control.That kind of scenario is one where automated systems easily beat humans. The concerning ones are when visibility is poor, or lane markings are bad or confusing, such as in inclement weather or construction zones.

just hire Disney's engineers and building a fucking monorail in most cities and connect them to the suburbs

A train line is great if all the places you want to go are in a nice line. And we could certainly use better mass transit many places in the U.S. But it's only a partial replacement for driving, particularly with most cities/metro areas being laid out (or sprawled out, as it were) with cars in mind as the primary mode of transportation. Self driving vehicles are a more complete solution (even if they fall short of 100%) and much more cost effective when you consider that developing self-driving vehicles involves perhaps a dozen companies* conducting billion or multi-billion dollar projects vs. 5-10 dozen metro areas** (just in the U.S.) conducting multi-billion to tens of billion dollar projects to deploy light rail that would cover a fraction of the population over more limited use cases.

For better or worse, the U.S. has a car- and truck-centric transportation culture. If we were starting from scratch, it might make more sense to do things differently. But as it is, we have to work from the infrastructure we already have. Which means making driving better. A good way to do that is to remove humans from the equation as much as possible since human error is the cause of nearly all traffic accidents.

Plus, lots of people need to drive on a regular basis (daily commutes, etc...), and generally don't enjoy it. So having someone (something) else do the driving is an upgrade for most people. Especially if there is no trade-off with the other up aspects of driving -- departing when you choose, making additional stops as desired, privacy and personal space, ability to carry around an amount of stuff that would be prohibitive on public transit, and store things in the vehicle, etc....

* With other companies buying components or licensing tech from the makers that do the best
** The U.S. has 382 Metropolitan Statistical Areas, over 100 of which have at least half a million population, and more than 50 of which have a million or more.

Comment Re:Moores Law (Score 1) 190

All those things people wish for (AI, good VR, etc) aren't going to happen.

I wouldn't go that far. Just because computing power, or transistor density to be more specific, is no longer doubling every 24 months does not mean progress has stopped, or will soon. It just means things don't get better and cheaper as fast as they have in recent decades. The other side of the coin that makes it seem like we're at a dead end is that processing power is finally good enough in the last several years that the current software doesn't just suck up all the resources as soon as they're available. In other words, it's not that new machines are not significantly more powerful than the ones from 5, 6, 7 years ago. It's that the power of the older machines is good enough that for many uses, the extra power is not all that noticeable.

Comment Nothing to see here (Score 2) 190

Tech keeps advancing, and tech companies keep putting out new and (sometimes) improved products.

There are some people -- call them aficionados, technophiles, early adopters, hardcore gamers, audio nerds, fanboys, [fill in the blank] -- who will always buy the latest and greatest offering in a given market segment. And there will also be people (generally, a much larger proportion compared to the gotta-have-the-latest types) who wait for the second or third generation when many of the early kinks have been worked out and the price has dropped. And then they hold onto the thing for several years/product cycles before upgrading.

With respect to the new Xbox, the more incremental update is just a sign that gaming consoles are getting to be more mature tech . Nothing really new in that regard. That's how technology products often progress. As for tech in general, we perhaps have more things or at least more choices now, so maybe it feels like there is more to keep up with. But there is really no obligation to have one of everything, nevermind having the latest of everything.

Comment Re:Well... (Score 1) 422

I don't know whether most work requires physical presence. Perhaps. Certainly there is quite a lot that can be done without it -- far less than is currently being done remotely. There may be some debate about what is most effective, but that depends on too many variables to make a blanket statement, IMO. Call center work, for instance is a great candidate for remote workers where the option is probably under-utilized. The software used already tracks all the details of when the worker is online (if he starts on time, is available to take calls for long enough, how long his breaks are, etc...), call time and resolution metrics, sales if applicable, etc.... So the aspect of monitoring employees or knowing how much working is getting done does not really apply. It's largely solitary work, so there is generally little need for collaboration. The exception might be if junior-level or first line support frequently need assistance from a supervisor or more senior person. But it seems more typical that in such a case, the junior level person simply transfers the call to another person or department to escalate the issue, rather than getting in-person guidance from the senior person.

Something else that may be worth mentioning is that many employers who disallow remote work for employees are perfectly fine with it when it is convenient to the employer. When they want you to take a call or respond to an email or deal with an issue after hours/on the weekend/during vacation? Working remotely is obviously ok in those situations. If an employee wants to work from home for their own convenience, though, it might be a different story. Obviously, there is a lot of middle ground, and many employers allow varying amounts of leeway regarding how frequently one can work remotely. But I did want to point out the potential hypocrisy that many people have likely experienced.

Comment Re:Article misses so much information, on purpose? (Score 2) 370

now "Divisive" ads. Divisive is code for Hillary and Bernie

Divisive just means divisive. That can include driving Bernie supporters away from the polls or away from the democrat establishment. It can also include dividing the country by race, for those who are into that kind of thing.

> And 80k from Russians is a big issue vs a billion?

Not sure if you are trying to say that the 80,000 posts that facebook says were created or promoted by Russia-linked accounts cost a dollar each to create/promote/whatever, or if you're intentionally or accidentally conflating "posts" with dollars, but there are a few ways that a small-ish number of political posts could have an outsized impact. For one, by not being constrained by at least having a basis in fact, they can make any claim they want. This has the effect of both creating pressure on the campaign and/or legitimate organizations to play whack-a-mole putting down the false statements and rumors (where the name "Correct the Record" came from) and anchoring a narrative in the minds of many voters. It can also be used to move the dialog in more extreme directions, especially with the highly targeted way it is possible to deliver on social media.

If you are still blaming Russia for Trumps win, you still haven't learned

There is little doubt that it was a factor. Mostly likely not the deciding factor, but how big or small remains to be seen. The actual margin of victory was quite small -- around 120K votes across three states out of 129 million (nationwide) cast could have flipped the electoral vote.

This two party system is a problem

That's true. Unfortunately, the two parties with all the power are the ones that set the rules that make the system a two party system. Obviously, that makes it very difficult to change, since it means those two parties would have to voluntarily give up power.

Comment Re:Erm (Score 1) 509

how is "same name and birthdate" considered to be "vague criteria"?

It is not uncommon to have many instances of multiple voters with the same first and last name and date of birth within a state wide population. So comparing records nationwide is sure to generate many false positives. And if the comparison is as simplistic as advertised, and does not account for a voter's status in either jurisdiction, you will likely have many cases where the voter is the same person and their status may not be eligible for their previous address (e.g. status may be "moved from jurisdiction" in Ohio or some other form of "no contact" status that precedes being deleted from the voter rolls), but the person would still be removed in Indiana per the article because they matched a record in a different system. Many systems keep voter records for years, so if the program doesn't account for status at all they are literally doing it wrong.

Submission + - Do Countries Keep Electing Politicians And Rulers With Similar Facial Features? (bbc.com)

dryriver writes: BBC Future has an interesting article on the artwork of 2 different artists — Guney Soykan and Alejandro Almaraz — who are both creating composite images of the faces of politicians successively elected in countries over several decades. Soykan takes vertical strips of politicians' election material photographs or best known images and composites them into one face, with a chronological order going from left to right, to show just how similar politicians succeeding each other look and pose in election materials and publicity photos. Almaraz uses an overlay technique where complete photographs of successive rulers are scaled, rotated and overlayed on top of each other with transparency, again creating a composite face. In Almaraz's work too, an archetype emerges of the kind of person people in a particular country either elect democratically, or an institution like a monarchy, ruling family or communist party elects for them. The BBC Future article shows a number of the composites created by the 2 different artists, and the effect of looking at these composites is almost eerie.

Submission + - SPAM: India announces plan to land on moon in 2018 3

schwit1 writes: The spacecraft is the Chandrayaan 2 and it consists of an orbiter, lander and rover configuration ‘to perform mineralogical and elemental studies of the lunar surface,’ the ISRO said. ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar told PTI that the space organization is already in the process of getting the spacecraft ready for an expected launch during the first quarter of next year.
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:Yeah, right. (Score 2) 77

lets see these cars navigate a european or far eastern city where its very hard

Why start with that when there are much easier use cases? To me, that seems kind of like many of the arguments I used to see against EVs: "I drive over 100 miles a day" or "I frequently take long trips". So? There are plenty of other use cases where they work great. Same thing with autonomous vehicles. They don't have to solve every edge case from day one, just the most common circumstances.

Most likely, the first deployment of fully autonomous vehicles on public roads will be in selected areas, perhaps geo-fenced (particularly if they belong to a service provider like Uber or Amazon), and might have exceptions to the allowed operating conditions. But that still satisfies the statement "It will take no more than 4 years to have fully autonomous cars on the road" if they are deployed on public roads within that time frame.

Comment Re:What is the "Red-hot co-working space business" (Score 1) 112

Number two is significantly more expensive in dollars

Not necessarily. It depends on what you need. Private offices for dozens of workers might be more costly, but in that case you are paying for a turnkey, all inclusive(ish) solution and flexibility (co-working spaces are typically rented monthly or shorter terms vs. annual or multi-year leases for traditional space).

But if you only have a few people, or just need desks (vs. private offices), you may come out cheaper in a co-working space. At the bottom end, for businesses that need little space, a co-work could be much more economical. Especially when you consider that in a traditional lease you may also have to pay for utilities (power/water if often included, but might not be, and internet service usually will not be), rent or buy furniture, and so forth.

Comment Re:So who can we trust? (Score 1) 384

If you use Windows, I like ninite.com as a starting point. Strips out the opt-out extras (toolbars, junkware) and gives one installer for as many of their supported programs as you want to include. Also, wikipedia has a decent list of source repositories. But as with anything, when downloading, caveat emptor.

Slashdot Top Deals

1 Mole = 25 Cagey Bees

Working...