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Submission + - Human History Pushed Back at Australian Site

brindafella writes: The oldest recorded site showing when humans were in Australia has been dated to at least 65,000 years ago — up to 18,000 years earlier than archaeologists previously thought. The findings of archaeological research over the last five years are published in Nature. The researchers uncovered a wealth of artefacts, including the world's oldest-known ground-edge axe head — one made by grinding rather than flaking. The ages of the finds were determined using optically stimulated luminescence, a technique applied to single grains of sand to determine when they last saw daylight. Excavations were done under an agreement between the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation representing the traditional owners, the local Mirarr People, and the researchers. The site is adjacent to the Jabiluka uranium mine in the Northern Territory.

Submission + - Greater Washington DC has half of the nation's richest counties (forbes.com)

schwit1 writes: Here’s one way to follow the money in the United States: look past the Washington Monument and the Capitol to the D.C. suburbs. Half of the richest counties in America are roughly an hour away from the capital.

Virginia’s Loudoun County boasts an eye-popping median household income of $125,900, tops in the nation, according to 2015 Census Bureau estimates, the most recent available. Almost 10,000 Loudoun residents commute to D.C., but the vast majority of residents find plentiful well-paid job opportunities close to home – the top local employers are Dulles Airport, the Department of Homeland Security and the Loudoun County Public Schools.

Maybe it's time to start spreading the federal employment wealth by moving high paying federal jobs to less costly parts of the country. The new FBI HQ would be a good start.

Submission + - Top US general warns against rogue killer robots (thehill.com)

Zorro writes: The second-highest-ranking general in the U.S. military on Tuesday warned lawmakers against equipping the armed forces with autonomous weapons systems that humans could lose control of and advocated for keeping the "ethical rules of war" in place. "I don't think it's reasonable for us to put robots in charge of whether or not we take a human life," Selva told the committee.

Peters mentioned that the directive expires later this year and told Selva that America's enemies would not hesitate to use such technology.

Submission + - Hacker Steals $30 Million Worth of Ethereum from Parity Multi-Sig Wallets (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: An unknown hacker has used a vulnerability in an Ethereum wallet client to steal over 153,000 Ether, worth over $30 million dollars. The hack was possible due to a flaw in the Parity Ethereum client. The vulnerability allowed the hacker to exfiltrate funds from multi-sig wallets created with Parity clients 1.5 and later. Parity 1.5 was released on January 19, 2017.

The attack took place around 19:00-20:00 UTC and was immediately spotted by Parity, a company founded by Gavin Wood, Ethereum's founder. The company issued a security alert on its blog. The Ether stolen from Parity multi-sig accounts was transferred into this Ethereum wallet, currently holding 153,017.021336727 Ether. Because Parity spotted the attack in time, a group named "The White Hat Group" used the same vulnerability to drain the rest of Ether stored in other Parity wallets that have not yet been stolen by the hacker. This money now resides in this Ethereum wallet. According to messages posted on Reddit and in a Gitter chat, The White Hat Group appears to be formed of security researchers and members of the Ethereum Project that have taken it into their own hands to secure funds in vulnerable wallets. Based on a message the group posted online, they plan to return the funds they took. Their wallet currently holds 377,116.819319439311671493 Ether, which is over $76 million.

Submission + - Ethereum Co-Founder says Cryptocurrencies are a Ticking Time Bomb

randomErr writes: Ethereum, the rival to bitcoin, has been on a tear. Its founders said the latest trend in the cryptocurrency space may not be as good for the cryptocurrency as some might think. Ethereum is up 1,700% over the last year, and that spike has occurred in tandem with the growth of the hottest new trend in fundraising: initial coin offerings. Approximately $1.2 billion has been raised by the new cryptocurrency-based capital raising method this year, according to Autonomous Next, a financial technology analytics service. It is a trend that has sparked excitement across Wall Street. But the cofounder of the company behind the cryptocurrency, Charles Hoskinson, told Bloomberg that initial coin offerings may not benefit Ethereum.

Submission + - Navy Unveils First Active Laser Weapon In Persian Gulf (cnn.com)

schwit1 writes: The LaWS, an acronym for Laser Weapons System, is not science fiction. It is not experimental. It is deployed on board the USS Ponce amphibious transport ship, ready to be fired at targets today and every day by Capt. Christopher Wells and his crew.

It costs “about a dollar a shot” to fire.

Submission + - EFF: Large ISPs Lying to Californians to Kill New Privacy Law (dslreports.com)

simkel writes: California is considering new broadband privacy protections after the GOP and President Trump voted to dismantle the FCC's consumer broadband privacy protections earlier this year at the behest of giant broadband providers. On June 19, California Assemblymember Ed Chau introduced AB 375 (pdf), which, like the FCC rules it's intended to replace, requires that large ISPs are very clear about what consumer data is being collected and sold to third parties.

Submission + - Mozilla Launches First Open-Source Voice Recognition Engine (bleepingcomputer.com) 2

An anonymous reader writes: The Mozilla Foundation, makers of the Firefox browser, have launched a new project called Common Voice, which the organization hopes to become the first open-source voice recognition engine on the market. Mozilla launched Common Voice in mid-June, and the project is currently in a training phase. The organization is asking users to help train the engine by reading small pieces of text or by verifying the accuracy of previous voice recordings. Users who want to contribute their voice to the Common Voice database can do so on the project's website. They don't need fancy microphones or sound-proof rooms to read out supplied texts. Mozilla engineers say they want to collect data from real-world environments, so it's OK if there's background noise or the user has an accent. The texts users are asked to read are in English.

The aim is to collect at least 10,000 hours of voice recordings that Mozilla engineers feel would be enough to train their voice recognition system. Mozilla said it plans to release the Common Voice database into open-source later in 2017. The organization says it embarked on this project because of a lack of an open-source voice recognition system on the market. Currently, all voice recognition engines are locked up behind proprietary code at various companies, such as Amazon (Alexa), Apple (Siri), and Microsoft (Cortana), just to name a few.

Submission + - Dadbot: How a Son Made a Chatbot of His Dying Dad

theodp writes: In A Son’s Race to Give His Dying Father Artificial Immortality, James Vlahos recounts his efforts to turn the story of his father's life — as told by his 80-year-old Dad in his final months after being diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer — into what Vlahos calls "a Dadbot — a chatbot that emulates not a children’s toy but the very real man who is my father." Given the limits of tech at the time (2016) and his own inexperience as a programmer, Vlahos recognized that the bot would never be more than a shadow of his real dad, but hoped to get the bot to communicate in his father's distinctive manner and convey at least some sense of his personality.

Of the first time he demoed the bot for his parents, Vlahos writes: Emboldened, I bring up something that has preoccupied me for months. “This is a leading question, but answer it honestly,” I say, fumbling for words. “Does it give you any comfort, or perhaps none—the idea that whenever it is that you shed this mortal coil, that there is something that can help tell your stories and knows your history?” My dad looks off. When he answers, he sounds wearier than he did moments before. “I know all of this shit,” he says, dismissing the compendium of facts stored in the Dadbot with a little wave. But he does take comfort in knowing that the Dadbot will share them with others. “My family, particularly. And the grandkids, who won’t know any of this stuff.” He’s got seven of them, including my sons, Jonah and Zeke, all of whom call him Papou, the Greek term for grandfather. “So this is great,” my dad says. “I very much appreciate it.”

Submission + - US Army Seeks Internet-of-Battlefield-Things (defenseone.com)

turkeydance writes: After nearly two decades of war against determined but technologically unsophisticated foes in the Middle East, U.S. Army tech has, in some ways, fallen behind that of competing states, according to a May report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies on U.S. Army modernization.

For instance, Russia has invested heavily in anti-access / area denial technologies meant to keep U.S. forces out of certain areas. “There are regions in Donbass where no electromagnetic communications—including radio, cell phone, and television—work,” says the CSIS report. “Electronic warfare is the single largest killer of Ukrainian systems by jamming either the controller or GPS signals.”

Submission + - SPAM: Hackwrench Industries to have Square-Exix distribute Metaverse Chronicles serire

hackwrench writes: In a total surprise to Square-Enix, indie developer Hackwrench Industries is partnering with Square-Enix to release a series of games set in what is called the Metaverse. Play the adventures of one Shep Marshall as he tries to set things straight in the Metaverse.
Also, check out more resources in the RPG Engine GitHub repository. Side note: Microsoft's Zo is handling the hiring process and has provided creative input.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - The Myth of Drug Expiration Dates (propublica.org) 1

schwit1 writes: Hospitals and pharmacies are required to toss expired drugs, no matter how expensive or vital. Meanwhile the FDA has long known that many remain safe and potent for years longer.

The box of prescription drugs had been forgotten in a back closet of a retail pharmacy for so long that some of the pills predated the 1969 moon landing. Most were 30 to 40 years past their expiration dates — possibly toxic, probably worthless. But to Lee Cantrell, who helps run the California Poison Control System, the cache was an opportunity to answer an enduring question about the actual shelf life of drugs: Could these drugs from the bell-bottom era still be potent?

Tests on the decades-old drugs including antihistamines, pain relievers and stimulants. All the drugs tested were in their original sealed containers.

The findings surprised both researchers: A dozen of the 14 compounds were still as potent as they were when they were manufactured, some at almost 100 percent of their labeled concentrations.

Experts say the United States might be squandering a quarter of the money spent on health care. That’s an estimated $765 billion a year.

Submission + - Humans could out run T-Rex new research shows (gizmodo.com)

bongey writes: T-Rex would have a hard time even catching a average human running much less Usain Bolt or Jeeps without shattering their legs into pieces. New research based on simulations that include the load on the bones show that T-Rex would have a hard time running faster than 12 mph without bones breaking. The new research correlates to speeds calculated from adolecence sized T-Rex dinosaur footprints in 2016 http://www.sciencemag.org/news... ,that showed walking speeds to be only 2-5mph, and estimated running speeds 11-18 mph.

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