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Submission + - Why You Should Fear Russia's Robot Army (vocativ.com)

turkeydance writes: These particular technologies pose a unique threat because they complicate the laws of war—which is one of the main reasons that the United Nations is considering banning autonomous weapons. “There’s a bigger worry with the legal and ethical challenges that merge when you have more and more autonomous systems, thinking how they might be used and abused,” Singer said, explaining that, just as drones protect pilots, robot soldiers protect real soldiers from being captured, which allows military powers both to protect human soldiers and to use robots in operations that they can keep secret or later deny. “To give a parallel, Russia recently did a trade of POWs with Ukraine. Russia had been saying, ‘We don’t have troops in Ukraine.’ But then they did a swap. That’s one of the appeals of unmanned systems. It’s why the U.S. uses drones over Pakistan.”

Submission + - SPAM: My own Linux from Scratch SystemD-free distro?

Saija writes: Hi all. I've been an ocasional poster and avid reader here on ./ from along time ago.
Right now I've been busy reading the Linux-from-Scratch docs and started wondering how would anyone, hope I get to that level soon, could create some distro from scratch without the debacle and arrogant I-know-better attitude of the SystemD camp.
Any ideas or steps you think necessary to accomplish this task?
PS: this systemD-free distro would be used for personal uses, I don't expect something massive or business oriented thing.
Thank you!

Submission + - World's Longest, Deepest Rail Tunnel Opens In Switzerland (latimes.com)

An anonymous reader writes: More than 2,200 years after the commander from the ancient North African civilization of Carthage led his army of elephants and troops over Europe's highest mountain chain, the Swiss have completed another gargantuan task: burrowing the world's longest railway tunnel under the Swiss Alps to improve European trade and travel. European dignitaries on Wednesday inaugurated the 35.4-mile Gotthard Railway Tunnel, a major engineering achievement deep under the Alps' snow-capped peaks. It took 17 years to build at a cost of 12.2 billion Swiss francs ($12 billion) — but workers kept to a key Swiss tradition and brought the massive project in on time and on budget. It also bores deeper than any other tunnel, running about 1.4 miles underground at its maximum depth. The thoroughfare aims to cut travel times, ease roadway traffic and reduce the air pollution spewed from trucks traveling between Europe's north and south. Set to open for commercial service in December, the two-way tunnel can handle up to 260 freight trains and 65 passenger trains per day.

Submission + - Panasonic to stop making LCD panels for TVs

AmiMoJo writes: Japanese electronics maker Panasonic says it will stop making LCD panels for televisions, giving way to fierce price competition. The pullout from TV LCD manufacturing follows the company's withdrawal from plasma TV production 3 years ago. They say they will continue to manufacture LCD panels at the plant for products other than televisions, such as medical equipment and cars. They say the company will keep making Panasonic-brand televisions, using panels supplied by other manufacturers. After Panasonic pulls out, Sharp and its Taiwanese parent firm Hon Hai will be the only producer in Japan.

Submission + - Microsoft Auto-Scheduling Windows 10 Updates (tomshardware.com)

Pikoro writes: Windows 10 has been with us for a little over eight months now, which means there are only about four months remaining to get a free upgrade from an older Windows operating system. As the clock counts down, Microsoft has begun to auto-schedule PCs to upgrade to Windows 10 with or without consent from end users.

Now, as we near the end of the free upgrade period, Microsoft’s malware-like upgrade system is becoming even more intrusive by autoscheduling upgrades to Windows 10. I noticed that the Windows 10 upgrade reminder pop-up on a Windows 7 PC was no longer asking me to upgrade; instead, it’s now informing me that it has already scheduled an update for May 17.

Submission + - When Websites Won't Take No for an Answer (nytimes.com)

schwit1 writes: Harry Brignull, a user-experience consultant in Britain who helps websites and apps develop consumer-friendly features, has a professional bone to pick with sites that seem to maneuver people into signing up for services they might not actually want.

He even has a name for the exploitative techniques: “dark patterns.” To him, these are debased versions of the typical sign-up, sharing, shopping, checkout and download processes that are standard practice online.

“It’s a term for patterns that are manipulative, that you are doing on purpose to get one over on users,” Mr. Brignull said when I recently called him.

A few years ago, Mr. Brignull started a site called darkpatterns.org to call attention to the practices.

There’s the “sneak into basket” technique, where a retailer automatically adds products — like a magazine subscription or travel insurance — to consumers’ shopping carts and makes it hard for them to remove the unwanted items. There’s the “roach motel” or “walled-garden” technique, in which sites offer fast-and-easy sign-up processes but make it much more cumbersome for consumers to close accounts.

Submission + - Techies and homelessness

ajmcello78 writes: I recently read the story about Amazon and housing the homeless temporarily in one of their new facilities that is slated to open in the next year or two. I was surprised by some of the responses. Some techies have been homeless and know what it’s like, and the good news is, we can usually pull out of that rut. Once you’ve been homeless, you develop a soft spot for others who are now in that situation. While others have absolutely no idea and are ignorant to the situation and often turn a blind eye to the homeless. I’m both homeless and a tech (20 years of UNIX/network/database). So how does it happen? For me, it wasn’t drugs, alcohol, mental illness, or something along those lines (A common misconception is all homeless are mentally ill. WTF?). A war ensued between hungry family members and I over property and money. Simply put, I lost. I hadn’t worked in a few years due to a freak accident, there were no reserves or backup plan, so I headed out into the street with only the clothes on my back. 15 months later, not much has changed. People won’t hire you if they sense you’re homeless and destitute. I didn’t have the proper clothes or shoes, access to regular showers or haircuts; basic needs are not provided to all of us. To this day I live out of a bag, sleep where it’s inconspicuous, often illegal, wherever I can. It blows. After a while, you’ve essentially become trapped and there is no way out. You lose hope and wonder why God has abandoned you. So yeah, it’s a great thing what Amazon is doing (I’m from Seattle), but don’t go mistaking paradise for that home across the road.

Submission + - Microsoft Open-Sources Its JavaScript Engine Chakra

An anonymous reader writes: As promised, Microsoft has open-sourced the core components of Chakra, the company’s JavaScript engine used in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer. The project, dubbed ChakraCore, has been released under the MIT License on GitHub.

Submission + - What is the ideal developer's system?

mykepredko writes: After waiting through seemingly endless Chromium OS builds on a three year old system, I've decided to look at buying/building a couple of dedicated developer's systems; one for Windows (7 for now) and one for Linux. My basic requirements would be an 8 core Xeon with 4GB DDR4 per core minimum (ideally 8GB per core) with a least 512GB SSD. For I/O, I would want at least 6 USB ports, at least two DVI screen outputs and GB Ethernet with WiFi and Bluetooth. When I look for "powerful systems", I tend to find PCs designed for gamers and not software developers, who have large builds which take a long time in a basic/older system. What would you like to see in your dream development system? Are there any out there that you can recommend?

Submission + - Massless Particle Discovery Could Radically Accelerate Electronics (gizmag.com)

Zothecula writes: An exotic particle theorized more than 85 years ago has finally been discovered. Dubbed the "Weyl fermion", it is a strange but stable particle that has no mass, behaves as both matter and anti-matter inside a crystal, and is claimed to be able to create completely massless electrons. Scientists believe that this new particle may result in super-fast electronics and significant inroads into novel areas of quantum computing.

Submission + - Shocking but True – 2 out of 3 Americans are Overweight (greennbrown.com)

Naina Vaish writes: With the popularity of healthy lifestyle soaring in the past recent years, one may tend to think that American affinity towards healthy lifestyle is on the rise, nonetheless, the reality is quite shocking – American waistlines are still expanding.
In the early nineties, roughly 1 among 10 Americans was obese, however, over the next 20 years the rate of obesity climbed to a staggering 30%. Today the rate of obesity is close to 40% in most states in the US and still climbing.
Is it just the food habits that are to be blamed or is there a need of a better regulation for the food industry in terms of supply? It is very interesting to note that spending on athletic gear, yoga clothes in particular, among Americans is on the rise. This indicates that people in general are becoming more aware and are adopting preventive health measures like exercise and public health programs. However, this has clearly not had any noticeable impact on increasing obesity rate in the US.
There was a recent study conducted by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention that measured the average circumference of over 32,000 American waistlines in 2013. The study then compared this data to that was compiled in the year 2000. The results showed that average waistline circumference increased by over 3% in ten years from 95.5 cm (37.6 inches) to 98.5 cm (38.8 inches).
While obesity is common in America, people often overlook that this is serious and costly. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.
Change needs to happen bottoms up. It is the individuals who have to make incremental changes in their current lifestyles and eating habits to make a significant change towards a healthier nation.

Submission + - Evolvable Lunar Architecture: Returning Humans to the Moon for $10 Billion

LezGoLezGo writes: As reported from Defense Daily A recent study released by NexGen Space LLC assessed the feasibility of new approaches to human space colonization and highlights a plan to get humans on the moon and eventually to mars by leveraging commercial space flight resulting in a lower costs, less risk, and humans on the moon by 2020-2023 and Mars by 2030-2035. The plan is multi-phased, starting with a manned trip to the moon for just $10 billion followed by a lunar bases for $40 billion, and reusable space ferry ships in multiple transfer paths is a plan worth considering to return humans to the moon and eventually to Mars. The "Evolvable Lunar Architecture" (ELA) plan describes key points in the study:

"Based on the experience of recent NASA program innovations, such as the COTS
program, a human return to the Moon may not be as expensive as previously
thought.

America could lead a return of humans to the surface of the Moon within a period
of 5-7 years from authority to proceed at an estimated total cost of about $10
Billion (+/- 30%) for two independent and competing commercial service
providers, or about $5 Billion for each provider, using partnership methods.

America could lead the development of a permanent industrial base on the Moon
of 4 private-sector astronauts in about 10-12 years after setting foot on the Moon
that could provide 200 MT of propellant per year in lunar orbit for NASA for a
total cost of about $40 Billion (+/- 30%).

Assuming NASA receives a flat budget, these results could potentially be
achieved within NASA’s existing deep space human spaceflight budget.

A commercial lunar base providing propellant in lunar orbit might substantially
reduce the cost and risk NASA of sending humans to Mars. The ELA would
reduce the number of required Space Launch System (SLS) launches from as
many as 12 to a total of only 3, thereby reducing SLS operational risks, and
increasing its affordability.

An International Lunar Authority, modeled after CERN and traditional public
infrastructure authorities, may be the most advantageous mechanism for
managing the combined business and technical risks associated with affordable
and sustainable lunar development and operations.

A permanent commercial lunar base might substantially pay for its operations by
exporting propellant to lunar orbit for sale to NASA and others to send humans to
Mars, thus enabling the economic development of the Moon at a small marginal
cost.

To the extent that national decision-makers value the possibility of economical
production of propellant at the lunar poles, it needs to be a priority to send robotic
prospectors to the lunar poles to confirm that water (or hydrogen) is economically
accessible near the surface inside the lunar craters at the poles.

The public benefits of building an affordable commercial industrial base on the
Moon include economic growth, national security, advances in select areas of
technology and innovation, public inspiration, and a message to the world about American leadership and the long-term future of democracy and free markets."

Submission + - This is what Brazil's startup ecosystem looks like: An open source guide (geektime.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Brazil is one of the fastest rising economies in the world. With around 200 million people, a growing middle class, and the 7th largest economy by nominal GDP, Brazil has a lot to offer.

Here, you can see Brazil’s exciting startup scene with our data aggregated map and open source spreadsheet, which provides information on startups, investors, events, and more. With your help, this spreadsheet will encompass a real insider’s perspective of Brazil’s startup ecosystem.

Submission + - Why you need to a free messaging app (wordpress.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Talking and sharing in privacy with our real friends is made possible by text messaging apps available for mobiles. So it is the most important reason that we need a free messaging app for mobile.

Submission + - Tame: Domesticating applications in OpenBSD

An anonymous reader writes: The sandboxing features in Linux relatively complex. Theo de Raadt been working for a while on a subsystem to restrict programs into a "reduced feature operating model" called tame. This sandboxing feature in OpenBD allows improved system security consists of reducing the attack surface of a given program by restricting the range of system calls available to it. If an application has no need for access to the network, say, then removing its ability to use the socket() system call should cause no loss in functionality while reducing the scope of the mischief that can be made should that application be compromised. In the Linux world, this kind of sandboxing can be done using a security module or the seccomp() system call. OpenBSD has lacked this capability so far, but it may soon gain it via a somewhat different approach than has been seen in Linux.

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