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Submission + - San Bernadino — And How the US Has Gone Mad (medium.com) 1

hype7 writes: “People got shot. So we need a backdoor into your phone” — so goes the US Government's logic in the case against Apple. A post over at Medium digs into this in depth, making a compelling case that this isn't really about keeping Americans safe — if it was, the Government could gain access to the contents of the phone right now, using zero day exploits — but rather, a fight about principles that the US Government wants others to adhere to but thinks it doesn't have to abide by.

Submission + - California just broke ground on the first-high speed rail in the United States (inhabitat.com)

Kristine Lofgren writes: The United States has been lagging behind other countries when it comes to high-speed public transportation. Today, that's finally changing as California breaks ground on the first high-speed rail in the United States. Commuters will be able to zip from Northern to Southern California in just 3 short hours, moving at a blazing 220-miles an hour. The $68 billion system was approved by voters in 2008 to help alleviate congestion and ease the environmental impact of transportation in California. Once completed, the railway will run from San Francisco to San Diego.

Submission + - Gogo airline network blocks youtube.. when they could just fix their bufferbloat (reed.com) 1

mtaht writes: David Reed (best known for the e2e argument) rants at Gogo Inflight's interception of https and suggests that: "It is the wrong solution... there’s a technically better one. I use GoGo a lot. I’ve discovered that their system architecture suffers from “bufferbloat” (the same problem that caused Comcast to deploy Sandvine DPI gear to discover and attack bittorrent with “forged TCP” packet attacks, and jump-started the political net neutrality movement by outraging the Internet user community). Why does that matter? Well, if GoGo eliminated bufferbloat, streaming to the airplane would not break others’ connections, but would not work at all, with *no effort on Gogo’s part* other than fixing the bufferbloat problem. [The reason is simple — solutions to bufferbloat eliminate buffering *in the network*, thereby creating "fair" distribution of capacity among flows. That means that email and web surfing would get a larger share than streaming or big FTP's, and would not be disrupted by user attempts to stream YouTube or Netflix. At the same time, YouTube and Netflix connections would get their fair share, which is *not enough* to sustain video rates — though lower-quality video might be acceptable, if those services would recode their video to low-bitrate for this limited rate access]."

Submission + - Protesters picket in front of Kevin Rose's Home (cnet.com) 1

Virtucon writes: Another anti-tech protest happened this weekend outside of Kevin Rose's home in San Francisco. Kevin Rose, founder of Digg and a Google Ventures partner was targeted with a protest and leaflets were handed out "warning" the neighbors that he is destroying San Francisco.

The anarchistic group protesting Kevin was called Counterforce and has demanded that Google Pay $3 billion. The group has called for the creation of "autonomous, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist communities throughout the Bay Area and Northern California."

I don't know about you but if two women held up a protest banner threatening to snip something off I'd be a bit concerned.

Submission + - Futuremark Delists Android Devices For Cheating 3DMark, Samsung and HTC Ousted (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: Benchmarks are serious business. Buying decisions are often made based on how well a product scores, which is why the press and analysts spend so much time putting new gadgets through their paces. However, benchmarks are only meaningful when there's a level playing field, and when companies try to "game" the business of benchmarking, it's not only a form of cheating, it also bamboozles potential buyers who (rightfully) assume the numbers are supposed mean something. 3D graphics benchmark software developer Futuremark just "delisted" a bunch of devices from its 3DMark benchmark results database because it suspects foul play is at hand. Of the devices listed, it appears Samsung and HTC in particular are indirectly being accused of cheating 3DMark for mobile devices. Delisted devices are stripped of their rank and scores. Futuremark didn't elaborate on which specific rule(s) these devices broke, but a look at the company's benchmarking policies reveals that hardware makers aren't allowed to make optimizations specific to 3DMark, nor are platforms allowed to detect the launch of the benchmark executable unless it's needed to enable multi-GPU and/or there's a known conflict that would prevent it from running.

Submission + - Don't Call It Stack Rank: Yahoo's QPR System for Culling Non-Performers

An anonymous reader writes: Employees don't like to be graded on the bell curve (or any other curve except for Lake Wobegon's) — we know that from the Microsoft experience. But Yahoo is struggling with what some say is vastly bloated headcount, and CEO Marissa Mayer has implemented a 'quarterly performance review' system that requires, or strongly recommends, that managers place a certain quota of their charges in the less-than-stellar categories. That sounds a lot like the infamous GE-Microsoft stack rank system. But according to AllThingsD's Kara Swisher, who (as usual) broke the latest story about life inside Mayer's Yahoo, Mayer's curve may more similar to the elaborate evaluation system used by her old employer, Google.

Submission + - French Court Orders Google To Block Pics and Links of Max Mosley (pcmag.com)

Virtucon writes: This one goes to the old adage "closing the stable door after the horse bolted." A French court on Wednesday ruled that Google must remove from its search results photos of a former Formula One racing chief, Max Mosley, participating in an Nazi-themed orgy. Google could be fined up to 1,000 Euros/day for not complying. What's strange here is that Mosley A) Sued in a French Court B) Didn't go after anybody else other than Google and C) has definitely strange tastes in extracurricular activities. In this day and age it's laughable to think that once your private photos/videos hit the Internet that you have any expectation of reigning them in or filtering the embarrassing parts out. Google isn't the only game in town so to speak in terms of Internet search. I wonder if his lawyers checked out Yahoo or WebCrawler? Of course Google plans to appeal the decision to ... be able to show pics of an old man getting er um never mind...

Submission + - A Playstation 4 Teardown

Dave Knott writes: Just over one week ahead of the launch of the Playstation 4, Wired has posted an article with a full teardown of Sony's new device. In an accompanying video Sony engineering director Yasuhiro Ootori dismantles the PS4 piece by piece, describing each component and showing just what is contained inside the sleek black box.

Feed Techdirt: Keith Alexander, On Stage While Story Of NSA Infiltrations Breaks, Tries To Misl (google.com)

In an interesting bit of timing, just as the Washington Post was breaking the news that the NSA had infiltrated Google and Yahoo's cloud data by hacking into the (stupidly) unencrypted data links between data centers, it turned out that NSA boss Keith Alexander was on stage at a Bloomberg Government Cybersecurity conference. He was asked about the report, and he tried to tap dance around it by claiming the NSA doesn't have access to Yahoo and Google's servers . The Guardian has a brief summary:

Alexander, asked about the Post report, denied it. Not to my knowledge, thats never happened, the NSA director said, before reiterating an earlier denial Prism gave the NSA direct access to the servers of its internet service provider partners.

Everything we do with those companies that work with us, they are compelled to work with us, Alexander said. These are specific requirements that come from a court order. This is not the NSA breaking into any databases. It would be illegal for us to do that. So I dont know what the report is, but I can tell you factually: we do not have access to Google servers, Yahoo servers, dot-dot-dot. We go through a court order.
But, of course, in typical Alexander fashion, he's choosing his words carefully -- and thankfully people can more easily see through it at this point, since they're getting so used to it. The report didn't say they were accessing those companies' servers or databases, but rather hacking into the network connection between their data centers. That's like a report breaking of the NSA hijacking armored cars with cash, and Alexander claiming "we didn't break into the bank." Nice try.

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Submission + - Microsoft Research Uses Kinect To Translate Between Spoken And Sign Languages

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft’s Kinect is a wonderful piece of technology that seems to know no bounds. Microsoft Research is now using it to bridge the gap between folks who don’t speak the same language, whether they can hear or not. The Kinect Sign Language Translator is a research prototype that can translate sign language into spoken language and vice versa. The best part? It does it all in real time.

Submission + - Kepler-78b -- Earth's Hellish 'Twin Sister' -- Shouldn't Exist (discovery.com)

astroengine writes: Kepler-78b may be an exoplanet notable for being approximately Earth-sized and likely possessing a rocky surface plus iron core, but that’s where any similarity to our planet ends. It has an extremely tight orbit around sun-like star Kepler-78, completing one ‘year’ in only 8.5 hours. It orbits so close in fact that the alien world’s surface temperature soars to 2,000 degrees hotter than Earth’s. Referring to Kepler-78b as a “rocky” world is therefore a misnomer — it’s a hellish lava world. But this is just a side-show to the real conundrum behind Kepler-78b: It shouldn’t exist at all. “This planet is a complete mystery,” said astronomer David Latham of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in a press release. “We don’t know how it formed or how it got to where it is today. What we do know is that it’s not going to last forever.”

Submission + - California Public Utilities Commission approves Ride Sharing Services (latimes.com)

Virtucon writes: Ride Sharing Services such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar received a big boost today when the California Public Utilities Commission approved rules that would allow them to continue to operate as long as the followed a few rules. This makes California the first state to adopt such rules and is expected to preempt local governments who are trying to clamp down on these services and try to regulate them like local taxi companies.

Submission + - Breakfast at Google's: Could a Nexus 7 update be on the menu? (networkworld.com)

smaxp writes: I'm going to this press breakfast with Sundar Pachai at Google on 7/24. I wrote about what one might expect and my best guess is an updated Nexus 7 tablet.

But in hind sight, I keep having this vision of Andy Rubin jumping out of a cake with an Android watch.

We'll see

Submission + - ESA Summer of Code in Space announces mentoring organizations (esa.int)

An anonymous reader writes: Similar to the Google Summer of Code, ESA funds students to work on open-source projects during summer. After some delay, 23 accepted mentoring organizations were announced today. Students can now start to apply to work for these organizations on a specific topic. Application deadline is the 4th of August!

Submission + - Sharknado! - CIA offers $630k to fund study on the effects of geoengineering. (dailytech.com)

SomewhatRandom writes: The CIA offers $630,000 to fund a geoengineering study. Geoengineering is the practice of trying to control the weather, earthquakes, solar radiation, or other terrestrial phenomena. One can only assume they want to harness the disastrous power of the Sharknado. Who could blame them, just look at the damage it did to Tara Reid's career.

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