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Submission + - Can Iris-Scanning ID Systems Tell the Difference Between a Live and Dead Eye? (ieee.org)

the_newsbeagle writes: Iris scanning is increasingly being used for biometric identification because it’s fast, accurate, and relies on a body part that's protected and doesn’t change over time. You may have seen such systems at a border crossing recently or at a high-security facility, and the Indian government is currently collecting iris scans from all its 1.2 billion citizens to enroll them in a national ID system. But such scanners can sometimes be spoofed by a high-quality paper printout or an image stuck on a contact lens.

Now, new research has shown that post-mortem eyes can be used for biometric identification for hours or days after death, despite the decay that occurs. This means an eye could theoretically be plucked from someone's head and presented to an iris scanner.

The same researcher who conducted that post-mortem study is also looking for solutions, and is working on iris scanners that can detect the "liveness" of an eye. His best method so far relies on the unique way each person's pupil responds to a flash of light, although he notes some problems with this approach.

Submission + - "Indian Point' — Documentary On Problem-Plagued Nuclear Plants Is Out (huffingtonpost.com)

mdsolar writes: "Indian Point” is a film about the long problem-plagued Indian Point nuclear power plants that are “so, so risky — so close to New York City,” notes its director and producer Ivy Meeropol. “Times Square is 35 miles away.”

The plants constitute a disaster waiting to happen, threatening especially the lives of the 22 million people who live within 50 miles from them. “There is no way to evacuate—what I’ve learned about an evacuation plan is that there is none,” says Meeropol. The plants are “on two earthquake fault lines,” she notes. “And there is a natural gas pipeline right there that an earthquake could rupture.”

Meanwhile, both plants, located in Buchanan, New York along the Hudson River, are now essentially running without licenses. The federal government’s 40-year operating license for Indian Point 2 expired in 2013 and Indian Point 3’s license expired last year. Their owner, Entergy, is seeking to have them run for another 20 years—although nuclear plants were never seen as running for more than 40 years because of radioactivity embrittling metal parts and otherwise causing safety problems. (Indian Point 1 was opened in 1962 and closed in 1974, its emergency core cooling system deemed impossible to fix.)

Submission + - Almost Half of All TSA Employees Have Been Cited for Misconduct

schwit1 writes: Almost half of all TSA employees have been cited for misconduct, and the citations have increased by almost 30 percent since 2013.

Of the total allegations filed, 90.8 percent were against TSA officers, while 4.8 percent were filed against managers or administrators. Of the areas of misconduct, “Attendance & Leave” sees the highest number of offenders, while “Failure to Follow Instructions,” “Screening & Security,” “Neglect of Duty,” and “Disruptive Behavior” round out the top five.

It also appears that the TSA has been reducing the sanctions it has been giving out for this bad behavior.

Submission + - Google tests ads that load faster and use less power (bbc.co.uk)

Big Hairy Ian writes: Google says it has found a way to make adverts load faster on web pages viewed on smartphones and tablets.
The company said the ads would also be less taxing on the handsets' processors, meaning their batteries should last longer.
The technique is based on work it has already done to make news publishers' articles load more quickly.
But it is still in development, and one expert said Google still had questions to answer.
The California-based company's online advertising revenue totalled $67.4bn (£51.2bn) last year.
That figure included banners and animations placed via the Google Display Network — which would be affected by this project — as well as other types of ads, such as search result links and YouTube pre-roll clips, which would not.

Submission + - Maximizing economic output with linear programming ... and communism (medium.com)

mkwan writes: Economies are just a collection of processes that convert raw materials and labour into useful goods and services. By representing these processes as a series of equations and solving a humongous linear programming problem, it should be possible to maximize an economy's GDP. The catch? The economy needs to go communist.

Submission + - South Australia intervenes in electricity market as prices hit $14,000MWh 1

sycodon writes: Turmoil in South Australia's heavily wind-reliant electricity market has forced the state government to plead with the owner of a mothballed gas-fired power station to turn it back on.

"National Electricity Market (NEM) prices in the state have frequently surged above $1000 a megawatt hour this month and at one point on Tuesday hit the $14,000MWh maximum price."

As soon as the page loads, click cancel or it will take you to a subscription page.

Submission + - Newt Gingrich Calls for US Muslims to Take Sharia Test, Face Deportation 2

flopsquad writes: Following the July 14th terror attack in Nice, France, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has called for US Muslims to be tested for their belief in Sharia law, and if so, deported:

Western civilisation is in a war. We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background and if they believe in Sharia they should be deported.

While the cleverest few might try to defeat such a test by answering "No," Mr. Gingrich laid out additional steps to shore up the plan:

The first step is you have to ask them the questions. The second step is you have to monitor what they're doing on the Internet. The third step is, let me be very clear, you have to monitor the mosques. I mean, if you're not prepared to monitor the mosques, this whole thing is a joke.

Gingrich also opined that:

Anybody who goes on a website favoring Isis, or al-Qaeda, or other terrorist groups, that should be a felony, and they should go to jail.

No word on the 1st and 4th Amendment implications of his proposals, nor on where Gingrich plans to deport US citizens who fail his Sharia test.

Submission + - The hysteria over Tesla's Autopilot has been completely blown out of proportion (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: Over the past few weeks, Tesla’s Autopilot software has been unfairly singled out and scrutinized as a piece of technology that Tesla recklessly deployed before being 100% ready for day-to-day use. This hysteria against all things Tesla reached a fever pitch this week when Consumer Reports published a self-righteous piece calling for Tesla to disable Autopilot until they get the technology figured out. And late on Thursday, we learned that even the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation directed a letter to Elon Musk asking him or Tesla representative to answer a few questions.

With all of the commotion, speculation and, at times, wild accusations being thrown in Tesla’s direction, you might be forgiven for assuming that Teslas on Autopilot have been running amok like mindless zombies on The Walking Dead and causing accidents by the hundreds.

It’s time to jump back to reality.

Submission + - Dissecting Bitcoin Block 420,000 (mineforeman.com)

ASDFnz writes: A few years back after the last halving I wrote an article shortly after the first halving block 210,000 was mined dropping the subsidy from 50 BTC to 25 BTC. Since block 420,000 was just mined reducing the subsidy from 25 BTC to 12.5 BTC I thought it would be an appropriate time to write a follow-up article with similar data for the most recent halving block comparing it to the previous one.

Submission + - Tata's Buffalo office, Clinton's 'brainchild,' since closed (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: In 2003, Tata Consultancy Services, a large India-based outsourcing firm, opened an office Buffalo office, which it described as then Sen. Hillary Clinton's "brainchild." At the announcement Clinton said, "TCS could have located anywhere in the country. I am proud but not surprised that they chose Buffalo." It became a talking point for Clinton in her defense of offshore outsourcing. "Well, of course I know that they outsource jobs, that they've actually brought jobs to Buffalo," said Clinton to Lou Dobbs, then at CNN, in a 2004 interview. "They've created 10 jobs in Buffalo and have told me and the Buffalo community that they intend to be a source of new jobs in the area, because, you know, outsourcing does work both ways." But Tata has since closed that office, and with it, Clinton's example that outsourcing works both ways.

Submission + - Virgin Galactic Will Resume Flight Tests Of Its Commercial Spacecraft Next Month (consumerist.com)

twickline writes: Two years after a fatal accident that killed one person, Virgin Galactic is preparing to resume testing of its rocket plane designed to take tourists into space. The company is slated to finish ground tests in August before moving on to testing the ship in the skies while attached to an aircraft, according to Jonathan Firth, vice president at Virgin Galactic, Bloomberg reports.

Submission + - A Flaw In Turing's Test? No A Flaw In Academia (i-programmer.info)

mikejuk writes: There is a flaw in the Turing test. An AI agent that pleads the 5th can, by remaining silent, convince a judge that it is human and hence pass the test... If you are not rolling on the flaw laughing then you are being impressed by specious argument masquerading as something of academic importance.
I kid you not. Mainstream academic institutions have been taken in by this argument, the ACM for example, and a paper has been published in a supposedly academic journal: "Taking the fifth amendment in Turing’s imitation game" Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence. But in the words of John McEnroe;
"you CANNOT be serious"
Does just remaining silent cause a problem for the Turing test?
Dr Kevin Warwick thinks so:
“However, if an entity can pass the test by remaining silent, this cannot be seen as an indication it is a thinking entity, otherwise objects such as stones or rocks, which clearly do not think, could pass the test. Therefore, we must conclude that ‘taking the Fifth’ fleshes out a serious flaw in the Turing test.”
This is, of course, nonsense.
If you refuse to sit an exam you don't get to pass it and refusal to sit an exam doesn't invalidate the exam.
We all know what the Turing test is supposed to be. It is an operational definition of intelligence and as such the field of discourse has to be wide and not restricted to any single domain — not even the domain of silence.
This is the sort of thing that makes that common man, who knows intelligence when he sees it, bemoan the fact that these guys get to live in an ivory tower and waste the resources provided for them.

Submission + - Samsung Galaxy S7 Active Fails Consumer Reports Water-Resistance Test (consumerreports.org)

An anonymous reader writes: The Samsung Galaxy S7 Active is apparently not-so-active. It should be the more durable version of the Galaxy S7 family but apparently it's not. Because of this, Consumer reports is not going to mark it as "Recommended" even though it performed very well in all the other tests it ran.

"Consumer Reports technicians placed a Galaxy S7 Active in a water tank pressurized to 2.12 pounds-per-square-inch, the equivalent of just under five feet of water, and set a timer for 30 minutes. When we removed the phone, the screen was obscured by green lines, and tiny bubbles were visible in the lenses of the front- and rear-facing cameras. The touchscreen wasn’t responsive.

Following our standard procedure when a sample fails an immersion test, we submitted a second Galaxy S7 Active to the same test. That phone failed as well. After we removed it from the tank, the screen cycled on and off every few seconds, and moisture could be seen in the front and back camera lenses. We also noticed water in the slot holding the SIM card.

For a couple of days following the test, the screens of both phones would light up when the phones were plugged in, though the displays could not be read. The phones never returned to functionality."

Submission + - Mesa 12.0 Brings Open-Source OpenGL 4.3 To Intel/AMD/NVIDIA, Open-Source Vulkan (phoronix.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Mesa3D developers have announced the release of Mesa 12.0. Mesa 12 notably adds open-source OpenGL 4.3 drivers for Intel / Radeon / NVIDIA on Linux and it also integrates the previously open-sourced Intel Vulkan graphics API driver. From the Phoronix analysis, "Mesa 12.0 is easily one of the biggest updates to this important open-source user-space OpenGL driver stack in quite some time and will offer much better support and features especially for Intel, Radeon, and NVIDIA open-source Linux desktop users/gamers."

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