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Comment Re:Is anyone really surprised? (Score 1, Insightful) 66

Your argument is hilarious due to its fallacies.

Maybe private industry didn't go to the moon because there was no compelling business reason to do so. I guarantee you if the government had said "We will give a 200-year exclusive settlement and mining rights to the first corporation to land on the moon", it would have been done faster and cheaper than the government did it.

Maybe the government insists on maintaining its monopoly on road infrastructure and won't allow private roads to be built. Or maybe private industry has no interest in doing it, because the costs to generate revenue from it outweigh the revenue.

Government responds to different incentives than private corporations do, so of course in many cases they do jobs that private industry won't. Being a monopoly or taking on revenue-negative work doesn't mean that the people doing that work are at the top of their field.

Comment Is anyone really surprised? (Score 3, Insightful) 66

Is anyone REALLY surprised that the FBI was wrong? Government doesn't attract top-tier talent. Never has, never will. When your hiring practices, policies, procedures, compensation and benefits are all at the bottom of the barrel, well... that's what you get. The bottom of the barrel.

Comment Re:How much is the fine for false information? (Score 1) 129

In Canada, not filling out the census has not only monetary penalties, but potential jail time. So if you're one of the unlucky 25% of households that got the "long form" census this year, you had to -- under threat of fines and jail time -- provide information like whether you have any "emotional, psychological or mental health conditions" (question 11e), the address you normally work at, how you get to work, what time you leave for work and how long it takes you to get to work (questions 42, 43, 44a and 44b), how much you paid for child care, child support and spousal support (48, 49), if your house needs repairs (F6), how much you pay for electricity, heating and water (F8a-c), and how much your mortgage payments are (F10a).


Intel Recalls Basis Peak Smartwatches Due To Overheating ( 31

Deathspawner writes: Intel's Basis has just sent an email to customers who own a Basis Peak smartwatch with some bad news: it's being recalled. In mid-June, Basis admitted that its flagship (and only) smartwatch had the chance to overheat, and then asked them to wait for a firmware update. Ultimately, a firmware update couldn't have been issued that wouldn't have compromised the user experience, and as such, the company is asking for every single Basis Peak to be returned for a full refund -- it will even handle the shipping. Users can still access Basic Peak services until December 31, 2016, after which they will be turned off and the watch will be rendered useless. If you own a Basic Peak, you can visit the support site and follow the instructions to return your unit and claim your refund.

IBM Creates World's First Artificial Phase-Change Neurons ( 69

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: IBM has created the world's first artificial nanoscale stochastic phase-change neurons and has already created and used a population of 500 of them to process a signal in a similar manner as the brain. Ars Technica reports: "Like a biological neuron, IBM's artificial neuron has inputs (dendrites), a neuronal membrane (lipid bilayer) around the spike generator (soma, nucleus), and an output (axon). There's also a back-propagation link from the spike generator back to the inputs, to reinforce the strength of some input spikes. The key difference is in the neuronal membrane. In IBM's neuron, the membrane is replaced with a small square of germanium-antimony-tellurium (GeSbTe or GST). GST, which happens to be the main active ingredient in rewritable optical discs, is a phase-change material. This means it can happily exist in two different phases (in this case crystalline and amorphous), and easily switch between the two, usually by applying heat (by way of laser or electricity). A phase-change material has very different physical properties depending on which phase it's in: in the case of GST, its amorphous phase is an electrical insulator, while the crystalline phase conducts. With the artificial neurons, the square of GST begins life in its amorphous phase. Then, as spikes arrive from the inputs, the GST slowly begins to crystallize. Eventually, the GST crystallizes enough that it becomes conductive -- and voila, electricity flows across the membrane and creates a spike. After an arbitrary refractory period (a resting period where something isn't responsive to stimuli), the GST is reset back to its amorphous phase and the process begins again." The research has been published via the journal Nature.

Can Iris-Scanning ID Systems Tell the Difference Between a Live and Dead Eye? ( 93

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.

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