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Submission + - Inside Peter Thiel's Genius Factory (

mirandakatz writes: The Thiel Fellowship was created to prove a college degree doesn’t matter. But what began as an attempt to draw teen prodigies to the Valley before they racked up debt at Princeton or Harvard and went into consulting to pay it off has transformed into the most prestigious network for young entrepreneurs in existence—a pedigree that virtually guarantees your ideas will be judged good, investors will take your call, and there will always be another job ahead even better than the one you have. At Backchannel, Jessi Hempel has the definitive look at what the Trump-loving VC's genius factory means in the Valley in 2016.

Submission + - The UK's Investigatory Powers Act allows the State to tell lies in court (

Jigsy writes: Blighty's freshly passed Investigatory Powers Act, better known as the Snoopers' Charter, is a dog's dinner of a law. It gives virtually unrestricted powers not only to State spy organisations but also to the police and a host of other government agencies.

The operation of the oversight and accountability mechanisms in the IPA are all kept firmly out of sight – and, so its authors hope, out of mind – of the public. It is up to the State to volunteer the truth to its victims if the State thinks it has abused its secret powers. "Marking your own homework" is a phrase which does not fully capture this.

However, despite the establishment of a parallel system of secret justice, the IPA's tentacles also enshrine parallel construction into law. That is, the practice where prosecutors lie about the origins of evidence to judges and juries – thereby depriving the defendant of a fair trial because he cannot review or question the truth of the evidence against him.

Section 56 of the act as passed sets out a number of matters that are now prohibited from being brought up in court.

Submission + - FBI investigation into GamerGate may have closed

An anonymous reader writes: In early November of 2014, Twitter user @livebeef submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the FBI concerning its investigation into Gamergate. In December of 2016, he finally received his information. It reveals that the FBI began investigating Gamergate very early on and has since closed the investigation, stating, “To date, all available investigative steps failed to identify any subjects or actionable leads.” The heavily redacted 169-page PDF files contain some of the threatening letters sent to Utah State University. Another event detailed an FBI visit to the home of a man whose name was involved in a threatening email. This is most likely YouTube user MrRepzion. Further on, the report details correspondence with one of the victims of the threats, repeatedly cautioning her against taking matters to the media. "I am attempting to collect the evidence for your case that would be useful in prosecution of any subject (once a subject is identified) and it is very difficult to do this when people know about the FBI involved and their need for use of Thor and other Proxies. [sic]”

Submission + - Court: 'Falsely' Accused 'Movie Pirate' Deserves $17K Compensation

AmiMoJo writes: An Oregon District Court has sided with a wrongfully accused man, who was sued for allegedly downloading a pirated copy of the Adam Sandler movie The Cobbler. According to the court's recommendations, the man is entitled to more than $17,000 in compensation as the result of the filmmakers "overaggressive" and "unreasonable" tactics. The defendant in question, Thomas Gonzales, operates an adult foster care home where several people had access to the Internet. The filmmakers were aware of this and during a hearing their counsel admitted that any guest could have downloaded the film.

Submission + - Scott Adams and "The Non-Expert Problem" ( 9

Layzej writes: It is easy for a non-expert to be swayed by a credible sounding narrative that claims to overthrow a scientific consensus. For a scientist it is generally clear which arguments are valid, but the general public can’t independently evaluate scientific evidence. Scientist Victor Venema provides answers to a number of concerns about climate science raised by cartoonist Scott Adams. His answers are accessible and illuminating, and hopefully helpful to the non-expert who would like to understand the truth behind certain contrarian talking points.

Submission + - Google Acquires Qwiklabs Which Provides The Training Labs For Amazon

FairAndUnbalanced writes: Google has acquired Qwiklabs a startup that Amazon has been using to provide its cloud training labs for the last few years. Though Qwiklabs founder Enis Konuk says that "Our partners who deliver instructor-led training sessions and events can continue to do so," it remains to be seen what type of response Amazon will make especially will their sold-out annual re:Invent conference coming up next week.

Submission + - Google's DeepMind can now lip read four times better than humans

Artem Tashkinov writes: After training Deepmind on thousands of hours of raw TV footage, Google's AI lip reading algorithm is now able to annotate video footage with 46.8% accuracy. That doesn't sound like a huge feat considering that existing applications can now "hear" with up to 98% accuracy, however when a human lip-reader was subjected to the same footage, his accuracy was just 12.4%. You can only imagine the implications of this new invention in regard to mass surveillance.

Submission + - Personal Details for 134,386 US Sailors Exposed by Navy Contractor (

An anonymous reader writes: The US Navy announced last night that one of its contractors had exposed the personal details for 134,386 current and former US sailors. Navy officials said that an unknown attacker had compromised the computer of an Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services (HPES) employee working on a Navy contract and had stolen the PII (Personally Identifiable Information) of US sailors found on that system. Exposed information includes names and Social Security numbers (SSNs).

The Navy announcement is dated October 27, but Navy officials published it on November 23, late afternoon, one day before the US Thanksgiving extended holiday, in an attempt to avoid extended media coverage. This is the second major Navy security breach. In 2013, Iranian hackers gained access to the Navy and Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI), also an HP-developed system.

Submission + - CEO of Reddit edits posts critical of him "claims it was a tough week"

Mashiki writes: The CEO of Reddit, has confessed that he edited posts claiming that it's been a tough week. Those posts? Well they said "Fuck /u/spez" This in itself now opens multiple legal and ethical problems for reddit, as not even subreddit moderators can edit posts, but administrators can without leaving any visible trail. As people have been prosecuted for reddit posts, such as this individual. Does that mean that the person prosecuted really did post it? Have they edited or modified any other posts positively or negatively to hide or promote something?

His response to it is here Backup link

Submission + - Dogs remember more than expected (

tomhath writes: This story won't surprise most dog owners: They're watching you, and they remember what you've done.

A new study published in Current Biology shows that dogs, like humans, can recall prior events, even when those events weren’t particularly important or meaningful at the time. This suggests that dogs have “episodic memory,” which is the ability to mentally travel back in time and recall experiences and specific events, such as times, places, and associated emotions. Importantly, episodic memory is also a possible sign of self-awareness in dogs...

Importantly, the dogs had to remember events they had witnessed, but not performed before. This means they had to dig into the “recent history” file of their brains and pull out the required information—in other words, they had to rely on their episodic memory.

Submission + - Google Will Display Election Results As Soon As Polls Close (

An anonymous reader writes: Google has been highly involved with connecting U.S. voters to timely information throughout this election cycle, by offering everything from voter registration assistance to polling place information in its search result pages. Today, the company announced plans to display the results of the U.S. election directly in search, in over 30 languages, as soon as the polls close. Web searchers who query for “election results” will be able to view detailed information on the Presidential, Senatorial, Congressional, Gubernatorial races as well as state-level referenda and ballot propositions, says Google. The results will be updated continuously – every 30 seconds, as indicated by a screenshot shared by the company on its official blog post detailing the new features. Tabs across the top will let you switch to between the various races, like President, House, and Senate, for example. The results will also include information like how many more electoral votes a presidential candidate needs to win, how many seats are up for grabs in the House and Senate, and how many Gubernatorial races are underway, among other things. This data is presented in an easy-to-read format, with Democrats in blue, Republicans in red, and simple graphs, alongside the key numbers.

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