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Submission + - Crash: how automation is setting us up for disaster (

Esteanil writes: We increasingly let computers fly planes and carry out security checks. Driverless cars are next. But is our reliance on automation dangerously diminishing our skills?

When a sleepy Marc Dubois walked into the cockpit of his own aeroplane, he was confronted with a scene of confusion. The plane was shaking so violently that it was hard to read the instruments. An alarm was alternating between a chirruping trill and an automated voice: “STALL STALL STALL.” [...] “We completely lost control of the aeroplane, and we don’t understand anything! We tried everything!”

The crew were, in fact, in control of the aeroplane. One simple course of action could have ended the crisis they were facing, and they had not tried it. But David Robert was right on one count: he didn’t understand what was happening.

Submission + - Boeing CEO Vows To Beat Elon Musk To Mars (

An anonymous reader writes: Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg sketched out a Jetsons-like future at a conference Tuesday, envisioning a commercial space-travel market with dozens of destinations orbiting the Earth and hypersonic aircraft shuttling travelers between continents in two hours or less. And Boeing intends to be a key player in the initial push to send humans to Mars, maybe even beating Musk to his long-time goal. “I’m convinced the first person to step foot on Mars will arrive there riding a Boeing rocket,” Muilenburg said at the Chicago event on innovation, which was sponsored by the Atlantic magazine. Like Musk’s SpaceX, Boeing is focused on building out the commercial space sector near earth as spaceflight becomes more routine, while developing technology to venture far beyond the moon. The Chicago-based aerospace giant is working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to develop a heavy-lift rocket called the Space Launch System for deep space exploration. Boeing and SpaceX are also the first commercial companies NASA selected to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. Boeing built the first stage for the Saturn V, the most powerful U.S. rocket ever built, which took men to the moon. Nowadays, Muilenburg sees space tourism closer to home “blossoming over the next couple of decades into a viable commercial market.” The International Space Station could be joined in low-earth orbit by dozens of hotels and companies pursuing micro-gravity manufacturing and research, he said. Muilenburg said Boeing will make spacecraft for the new era of tourists. He also sees potential for hypersonic aircraft, traveling at upwards of three times the speed of sound.

Submission + - Surveillance Capabilities of Future Employee ID Badges

Presto Vivace writes: Bosses can take biometrics of employees with an ID badge that monitors motion and listens.

In the Washington Post, Jeff Heath tells the story of Humanyze, an employee analytics company that took technology developed at MIT and spun it into identification badges meant to hang off employees' necks via a lanyard. The badge has two microphones that do real-time voice analysis, with sensors that follow where you are and motion detectors that record how much you move while working.

A report in Bloomberg reveals the origins of the company. In 2014, 57 stock and bond traders "lent their bodies to science" by allowing MIT finance professor Andrew Lo to monitor their actions in a conference room. The study subjects were given a $3 million risk limit and told to make money in various markets. Lo discovered that the successful subjects were "emotional athletes. Their bodies swiftly respond to stressful situations and relax when calm returns, leaving them primed for the next challenge." Traders who encountered problems "were hounded by their mistakes and remained emotionally charged, as measured by their heart rate and other markers such as cortisol levels, even after the volatility subsided."

Submission + - Google Program Seeks to Deradicalize Jihadis and American Right Wing Extremists writes: Nami LaChance writes at The Intercept that a google-incubated program that targets potential ISIS members with deradicalizing content will soon be used to target violent right-wing extremists in North America. Using research and targeted advertising, the initiative by London-based startup Moonshot CVE and Google’s Jigsaw technology incubator targets potentially violent Jihadis and directs them to a YouTube channel with videos that refute ISIS propaganda. In the pilot program countering ISIS, the so-called Redirect Method collected the metadata of 320,000 individuals over the course of eight weeks, using 1,700 keywords, and served them advertisements that led them to the videos. “I think this is an extremely promising method,” says Richard Stengel, U.S. Undersecretary of State for public diplomacy and public affairs. In the ISIS pilot program, the YouTube channel pulls preexisting videos that, according to Yasmin Green, the head of research and development for Jigsaw, “refute ISIS’s messaging.” One video is from a woman who secretly filmed her life in ISIS-controlled Raqqa. Another shows young people in Mosul, their faces obscured by keffiyehs for their protection, talking about life under the Islamic State. “The branding philosophy for the entire pilot project was not to appear judgmental or be moralistic, but really to pique interest of individuals who have questions, questions that are being raised and answered by the Islamic State,” Green said.

Ross Frenett, co-founder of Moonshot, says his company and Jigsaw are now working with funding from private groups to target other violent extremists, including the hard right in America. “Our efforts during phase two, when we’re going to focus on the violent far right in America, will be very much focused on the small element of those that are violent. The interesting thing about how they behave is they’re a little bit more brazen online these days than ISIS fan boys,” says Frenett.

Submission + - IBM Launches Linux Server Range Targeted at Artificial Intelligence Tasks (

An anonymous reader writes: IBM today launched a range of Linux-based servers specifically engineered for high performance in tasks related to artificial intelligence, deep learning and advanced analytics – with a central mission to increase data centre efficiency. The elaborately-named IBM Power Systems S822LC for High Performance Computing uses NVidia's NVLink high-speed interconnect to create a notably faster CPU/GPU throughput than is currently possible over a PCIe bus, or with previous X86 offerings. Early tests with Tencent reveal a threefold performance increase, even at 2/3rds blade deployment.

Submission + - JavaScript Evangelist Douglas Crockford Loses Keynote Spot

An anonymous reader writes: JS Evangelist Douglas Crockford was recently removed as a keynote speaker from an upcoming JavaScript conference. There's very little context for this other than an angry blog post and some speculation. This is seemingly about Crockford's assertion that promiscuity is bad, and commitment is good which has been part of his recent talks about upgrading the web

Submission + - The court that rules the world ( 1

schwit1 writes: Imagine a private, global super court that empowers corporations to bend countries to their will.

Say a nation tries to prosecute a corrupt CEO or ban dangerous pollution. Imagine that a company could turn to this super court and sue the whole country for daring to interfere with its profits, demanding hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars as retribution.

Imagine that this court is so powerful that nations often must heed its rulings as if they came from their own supreme courts, with no meaningful way to appeal. That it operates unconstrained by precedent or any significant public oversight, often keeping its proceedings and sometimes even its decisions secret. That the people who decide its cases are largely elite Western corporate attorneys who have a vested interest in expanding the court’s authority because they profit from it directly, arguing cases one day and then sitting in judgment another. That some of them half-jokingly refer to themselves as “The Club” or “The Mafia.”

And imagine that the penalties this court has imposed have been so crushing — and its decisions so unpredictable — that some nations dare not risk a trial, responding to the mere threat of a lawsuit by offering vast concessions, such as rolling back their own laws or even wiping away the punishments of convicted criminals.

This system is already in place, operating behind closed doors in office buildings and conference rooms in cities around the world. Known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, it is written into a vast network of treaties that govern international trade and investment, including NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Congress must soon decide whether to ratify.

Submission + - Reddit will censor you if you complain online about tmobile policies. ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: I got into a long winded battle after T-mobile charged me full service costs after they suspended my mobile service on my tablet. I complained on the forums and got into a long winded battle involving a tirade of insults. After the original post was automatically removed after 5 complaints, I resubmitted a entirely new thread only to find it only appears on my personal reddit account and not on the r/tmobile reddit forum.

Submission + - Skydiver becomes first to successfully jump without using a parachute (

Okian Warrior writes: Skydiver Luke Aikins has become the first person to jump from a plane into a net on the ground without the benefit of a parachute.

Aikins hit the 100-by-100-foot net perfectly, quickly climbed out of it and walked over to hug his wife, who had been watching with other family members.

If I wasn't nervous, I would be stupid," the compact, muscular athlete said with a grin as he sat near his landing spot earlier this week following a day of practice jumps — all made with a parachute.

Submission + - Our balloons are safe! (

beschra writes: Scientists have discovered a large helium gas field in Tanzania.
With world supplies running out, the find is a "game-changer", say geologists at Durham and Oxford universities.

Using a new exploration approach, researchers found large quantities of helium within the Tanzanian East African Rift Valley.

Submission + - Bigger Isn't Better as Mega-Ships Get Too Big and Too Risky writes: Alan Minter writes at Bloomberg that between 1955 and 1975, the average volume of a container ship doubled — and then doubled again over each of the next two decades. The logic behind building such giants was once unimpeachable: Globalization seemed like an unstoppable force, and those who could exploit economies of scale could reap outsized profits. But it is looking more and more like the economies of scale for mega-ships are not worth the risk. The quarter-mile-long Benjamin Franklin recently became the largest cargo ship ever to dock at a U.S. port and five more mega-vessels are supposed to follow. But today's largest container vessels can cost $200 million and carry many thousands of containers — potentially creating $1 billion in concentrated, floating risk that can only dock at a handful of the world's biggest ports. Mega-ships make prime targets for cyberattacks and terrorism, suffer from a dearth of qualified personnel to operate them, and are subject to huge insurance premiums.

But the biggest costs associated with these floating behemoths are on land — at the ports that are scrambling to accommodate them. New cranes, taller bridges, environmentally perilous dredging, and even wholesale reconfiguration of container yards are just some of the costly disruptions that might be needed to receive a Benjamin Franklin and service it efficiently. Under such circumstances, you'd think that ship owners would start to steer clear of big boats. But, fearful of falling behind the competition and hoping to put smaller operators out of business, they're actually doing the opposite. Global capacity will increase by 4.5 percent this year "Sooner or later, even the biggest operators will have to accept that the era of super-sized shipping has begun to list," concludes Minter. " With global growth and trade still sluggish, and the benefits of sailing and docking big boats diminishing with each new generation, ship owners are belatedly realizing that bigger isn't better."

Submission + - LIGO detects another black hole crash, more gravitational waves (

sciencehabit writes: The biggest discovery in science this year—the observation of ripples in space-time called gravitational waves—was no fluke. For a second time, physicists working with the two massive detectors in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) have detected a pulse of such waves, the LIGO team reported on 15 June at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in San Diego, California. Once again the waves emanated from the merger of two black holes, the ultraintense gravitational fields left behind when massive stars collapse into infinitesimal points. The new observation suggests that after fine-tuning, LIGO will spot dozens or even hundreds of the otherwise undetectable events each year.

Submission + - Drone racing may promote innovation in other areas of robotics (

Kassandra Perlongo writes: "Auto racing has a history of developing new technologies that find their way into passenger cars, buses and trucks. Formula 1 racing teams developed many innovations that are now standard in commercially available vehicles. The drones used in racing (and indeed, all current multi-rotor drones) contain hardware and software to improve stability. This is essentially a low-level autopilot responsible for “balancing” the vehicle. Aside from flight control, situation awareness is a key problem in drone operations. Solving this problem could have payoffs for other telepresence robotics operations, such as remotely operated underwater vehicles and even planetary rovers."

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