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Government

Saudi Arabia Revives 15-Year-Old Ban On 'Zionism-Promoting' Pokemon (timesofisrael.com) 325

An anonymous reader writes: Clerics in Saudi Arabia have renewed a 15-year-old ban on Pokemon, following the release of the highly popular augmented reality version of the game, Pokemon Go. According to Reuters, the General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars reaffirmed a 2001 ban on the game. The Times of Israel reports: "While fatwa no. 21,758 makes no mention of the latest iteration of [the] game, it does list many sinful aspects of Pokemon. Firstly, the game is seen as a form of gambling, which itself is forbidden. Secondly, it encourages belief in Darwin's theory of evolution, and thirdly, the fatwa says, the symbols used in the game promote the Shinto religion of Japan, Christianity, Freemasonry and 'global Zionism.'" The ruling says: "The symbols and logos of devious religions and organizations are used [including] the six-pointed star: You rarely find a card that does not contain such a star. It is associated with Judaism, the logo and sign of the State of Israel, and the first symbol of the Masonry organizations in the world." Pokemon Go has been such a success that it has already doubled Nintendo's stock price after launching just two weeks ago.
Android

Army Special Operations Command Ditching Android For iPhone, Says Report (gizmodo.com) 252

The United States Army's Special Operations Command is ditching its Android phones for the "faster" iPhone, according to a report. The source cited in the story says that Android phones were freezing unexpectedly, which was one of the reasons they decided to give the iPhone 6s a spin. Gizmodo adds: The smartphones allow members of the Special Operations Command to access rich information about the battlefield. There's also quickly accessible information, like a weapons and ammunitions guide. Other apps can help with high altitude jumps; another can detect radiation. While DARPA helped develop the program on Android due to the operating system's open platform, Apple's hardware is apparently superior enough to warrant the switch.
Government

New Study Shows Why Big Pharma Hates Medical Marijuana (washingtonpost.com) 415

HughPickens.com writes: Christopher Ingraham writes in the Washington Post that a new study shows that painkiller abuse and overdose are significantly lower in states with medical marijuana laws and that when medical marijuana is available, pain patients are increasingly choosing pot over powerful and deadly prescription narcotics. The researchers "found that, in the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law... In medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication. But most strikingly, the typical physician in a medical-marijuana state prescribed 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers in a given year."

[P]ainkiller drug companies "have long been at the forefront of opposition to marijuana reform, funding research by anti-pot academics and funneling dollars to groups, such as the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, that oppose marijuana legalization..."

Android

Intel ChromeBooks Can Now Run Wine and Steam (codeweavers.com) 45

"With Google Play and Android app support hitting Chromebooks, it's now possible to run Windows applications/games on Chromebooks via CrossOver For Android," reports Phoronix. Slashdot reader grungy writes: The first Intel ChromeBooks have access to the Play Store now, and the Android version of Wine apparently runs on them... Pictures show the Steam client running, and a clip of a D3D game. Of course, the Play Store is only available on the ChromeOS developer channel so far, but that should change later this year.
CrossOver for Android also hasn't been officially released, but Thursday CodeWeavers' president blogged excitedly that "we are staring at a Leprechaun riding on the back of a Unicorn while taking a picture of a UFO. We are running CrossOver through Android on a ChromeBook running a Windows based game launched from the Steam client. THIS HAS NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE...EVER!!!"
Censorship

Starbucks and McDonald's Announce Porn Blocks On Their Wi-Fi Networks (cnn.com) 284

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN Money: Anti-pornography groups have succeeded in their efforts to get Starbucks and McDonald's to block porn on the chains' Wi-Fi networks..."We had not heard from our customers that this was an issue, but we saw an opportunity that is consistent with our goal of providing an enjoyable experience for families," McDonald's said in a statement... Starbucks said Friday it's will do so the same thing at its company-owned stores around the globe as well. "Once we determine that our customers can access our free Wi-Fi in a way that also doesn't involuntarily block unintended content, we will implement this in our stores," said a Starbucks spokesperson. "In the meantime, we reserve the right to stop any behavior that interferes with our customer experience, including what is accessed on our free Wi-Fi..."
Meanwhile, this week, the Republican Party officially added the "public health crisis" of porn to its platform.
Nintendo

In China, Fears That Pokemon Go May Aid Locating Military Bases (reuters.com) 173

The sleeper hit success title Pokemon Go is preventing many people in China from sleeping properly. Although the game isn't officially available in the world's largest smartphone market, some people fear it could become a Trojan horse for "offensive action by the United States and Japan," according to a report by Reuters. "Don't play Pokemon GO!!!" said user Pitaorenzhe on Chinese microblogging site Weibo. "It's so the U.S. and Japan can explore China's secret bases!" From the article: The conspiracy theory is that Japan's Nintendo, which part owns the Pokemon franchise, and America's Google can work out where Chinese military bases are by seeing where users can't go to capture Pokemon characters. The game relies on Google services such as Maps. The theory is that if Nintendo places rare Pokemon in areas where they see players aren't going, and nobody attempts to capture the creature, it can be deduced that the location has restricted access and could be a military zone. "Then, when war breaks out, Japan and the U.S. can easily target their guided missiles, and China will have been destroyed by the invasion of a Japanese-American game," said a social media post circulated on Weibo. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he was unaware of reports that the game could be a security risk and that he didn't have time to play with such things. He gave no further details.
Crime

It Took Nearly Three Hours For France's Terror Alert App To Respond To Nice Attack (theverge.com) 278

Amar Toor, reporting for The Verge: A terror alert app released by the French government last month has come under criticism after taking hours to notify users of Thursday night's attack in Nice. The app, called SAIP was released by the French Interior Ministry on iOS and Android in June, ahead of the Euro 2016 soccer tournament. According to the ministry, the app would provide users with alerts and information within 15 minutes of a terrorist attack being confirmed. But it apparently took much longer to send out alerts following last night's attack in Nice, where a man drove a truck into a crowded seaside promenade during Bastille Day celebrations, killing at least 84 people and leaving 18 others in critical condition. Users who had downloaded the app posted phone screenshots to Twitter last night showing that SAIP sent out its first alert just after 1:30AM local time -- nearly three hours after the attack began. Facebook, by contrast, activated its Safety Check feature shortly after the attack was carried out, and French politicians urged those in the area to check in using that feature, as SAIP remained silent.

Comment Re:Auto pilot is not... (Score 1) 329

Here's the very first sentence from the Wikipedia article on autopilot:

"An autopilot is a system used to control the trajectory of a vehicle without constant 'hands-on' control by a human operator being required."

Literally the first thing to be said about traditional Autopilot is that you don't need your hands on the control. Yet here is Tesla saying it's Autopilot, except you need your hands on the control. A quick Google image search for autopilot (once you get past the "Airplane" movie stills) is a bunch of airplane pilots reading papers and such with hands off the yoke.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autopilot

Republicans

Donald Trump To Announce Mike Pence As Vice-Presidential Running Mate (theguardian.com) 407

Donald Trump has selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice-presidential running mate. A senior GOP official, cited by many media outlets today (including the WSJ), confirmed the news, adding that the announcement will be made Friday. The Guardian reports: Pence brings several qualities to the Trump campaign that Republicans have found lacking, not least of which experience in government. The 57-year-old spent 12 years in Congress, including two years in a leadership role with the House Republican Conference. He was elected governor of Indiana in 2012, and gained a degree of national notoriety that's to a controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which he signed into law and then wanted revised, after many argued it would allow discrimination against LGBT people. A Trump-Pence ticket could send a message to Republican dissenters who feel they cannot support a candidate who has proven inconsistent on guns, abortion, LGBT rights and other social conservative issues. Just before the Indiana primary election, the staunchly conservative governor endorsed Ted Cruz, Trump's leading opponent and a far-right senator from Texas.An anonymous reader shared a BuzzFeed article on Pence today. The article digs into some of the opinion pieces Pence has penned over the years. In one such article, Pence wrote that "smoking doesn't kill." "Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn't kill," he wrote. In another piece, he argues that Carbon Dioxide "can't be the cause of increased global temperatures" because it is "a naturally occurring phenomenon in nature..." not an unnatural one.
Microsoft

Microsoft Finally Releases New Skype App For Linux (skype.com) 164

Four months after Linux users complained about issues with Skype app -- an update in March apparently broke the instant message and video calling app -- Microsoft announced a few minutes ago the launch of the Alpha version of a new Skype app for Linux, a move that "reaffirms the company's commitment to the Linux community." The blog post adds that there will be a two-hour Q&A session todat at 7AM PDT between Linux users and engineering team to welcome the new app. The alpha version uses the "latest, fastest and most responsive Skype UI." The company also says that users on Skype for Linux 4.3.37 will no longer be able to use the app to make or receive any calls -- so you really need to use this new app. In the blog post, Microsoft also adds that anyone with a Chromebook and Chrome for Linux can now visit web.skype.com to make one-to-one and group voice calls on top of text messaging feature. It is also an alpha version of Skype -- and is built on top of WebRTC standard.

Comment Autopilot is dangerous (Score 1) 297

One of the first things you learn as a new driver is not to watch the car immediately in front of you, but rather to watch several cars ahead (and behind). This gives you more time to react to traffic changes, and you still see the actions of the nearest vehicle anyway.

Sure, Tesla's Autopilot will have a much faster reaction time. That will help, but it's not good enough - it only allows Autopilot to react to conditions that the nearest vehicle also reacts to. A deer running toward the road, looking to jump in front of you? A kid chasing a ball toward the street? The vehicle in front of you swerving out of the way of an object in the road? Autopilot doesn't handle any of them, and can't as long as it lacks the ability to see more of the environment around it.

Autopilot is dangerous to Tesla drivers and others because it removes the attention of the driver from the road. It's basically like asking a nearly blind friend with fast reflexes to take the wheel while you read a book or play games on your phone. If it's not legal for a nearly blind driver to take the wheel, Autopilot shouldn't be legal either.

The Military

Stuxnet/Cyberwar Documentary Reviewer: 'The U.S. Has Pwned Iran' (networkworld.com) 138

Slashdot reader alphadogg quotes an article from Network World: The new documentary about Stuxnet, "Zero Days", says the U.S. had a far larger cyber operation against Iran called Nitro Zeus that has compromised the country's infrastructure and could be used as a weapon in any future war. Quoting unnamed sources from inside the NSA and CIA, the movie says the Nitro Zeus program has infiltrated the systems controlling communications, power grids, transportation and financial systems, and is still ready to "disrupt, degrade and destroy" that infrastructure if a war should break out with Iran...

For the more technically inclined, the film contains some riveting interviews with researchers at Symantec who devoted their lives to unraveling the code line by line to figure out what it did, how it did it, who created it and what the target was. It was also a bit chilling in that after they figured out that governments were behind the worm they worried that the researchers themselves might be targeted to keep them silent. One Friday night, says Symantec researcher Eric Chien, he said to his research partner Liam O Murchu, "I'm not suicidal. If I should show up dead on Monday, it wasn't me."

In the film former NSA and CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden says "This stuff is hideously over classified."
EU

Telecoms Promise 5G Networks If EU Cripples Net Neutrality (theverge.com) 194

An anonymous reader quotes The Verge: A group of 20 major telcos including Deutsche Telekom, Nokia, Vodafone, and BT promise to launch 5G networks in every country in the European Union by 2020 -- so long as governments decide to weaken net neutrality rules. The coalition's plans are outlined in its "5G Manifesto," a seven-page document that details how the companies will roll 5G out across the continent over the next few years. However, by warning against regulation that would ensure an open internet and encouraging nations to water rules down, the companies are effectively holding the new technology for ransom... "The EU must reconcile the need for open Internet with pragmatic rules that foster innovation," reads the manifesto. "The telecom industry warns that current net neutrality guidelines, as put forward by [the Body of European Regulators], create significant uncertainties around 5G return on investment..."
The EU is asking the public to share their feedback on the manifesto.
Businesses

Amazon's Chinese Counterfeit Problem Is Getting Worse (cnbc.com) 205

A report on CNBC, citing sellers, says that counterfeit problem on the platform has gotten worse after it made it easier for Chinese manufacturers to sell goods to U.S. consumers. The report gives an example of a seller Jamie Whaley who started a bedding business on Amazon that reached $700,000 in annual sales within three years. Her patented product called BedBand consists of a set of shock cords, clamps and locks designed to keep fitted bed sheets in place. Whaley found quite an audience, selling up to 200 units a day for $13.99 a set. BedBand climbed into the top 200 selling products in the home and kitchen category. That was 2013. By mid-2015, the business was in a tailspin. Revenue plummeted by half and Whaley was forced to lay off eight employees. Her sheet fastener had been copied by a legion of mostly Chinese knockoffs that undercut BedBand on price and jumped the seller ranks by obtaining scores of reviews that watchdog site Fakespot.com determined were inauthentic and "harmful for real consumers." The report adds:Spend any time surveying Amazon sellers and Whaley's narrative will start sounding like the norm. In Amazon's quest to be the low-cost provider of everything on the planet, the website has morphed into the world's largest flea market -- a chaotic, somewhat lawless, bazaar with unlimited inventory. Always a problem, the counterfeiting issue has exploded this year, sellers say, following Amazon's effort to openly court Chinese manufacturers, weaving them intimately into the company's expansive logistics operation. Merchants are perpetually unsure of who or what may kill their sales on any given day and how much time they'll have to spend hunting down fakers.

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