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US Police Consider Flying Drones Armed With Stun Guns ( 157

Slashdot reader Presto Vivace tipped us off to news reports that U.S. police officials are considering the use of flying drones to taser their suspects. From Digital Trends: Talks have recently taken place between police officials and Taser International, a company that makes stun guns and body cameras for use by law enforcement, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. While no decision has yet been made on whether to strap stun guns to remotely controlled quadcopters, Taser spokesman Steve Tuttle said his team were discussing the idea with officials as part of broader talks about "various future concepts."

Tuttle told the Journal that such technology could be deployed in "high-risk scenarios such as terrorist barricades" to incapacitate the suspect rather than kill them outright... However, critics are likely to fear that such a plan would ultimately lead to the police loading up drones with guns and other weapons. Portland police department's Pete Simpson told the Journal that while a Taser drone could be useful in some circumstances, getting the public "to accept an unmanned vehicle that's got some sort of weapon on it might be a hurdle to overcome."

The article points out that there's already a police force in India with flying drones equipped with pepper spray.

Comment Read the New yorker article (Score 1) 79

In the 24 October issue, there's an article about former detective Peter Forcelli, who now works to get wrongfully convicted folks exonerated. It's a sad tale about failings (and biases) of juries, judges, cops, and DAs. Just like the quote in this case, where the local DA wants to keep the case open just in case they can find something else indictable. He got caught doing bullshit and now wants to cover his ass regardless of the truth.


DNA Testing For Jobs May Be On Its Way, Warns Gartner ( 228

Reader dcblogs writes: It is illegal today to use DNA testing for employment, but as science advances its understanding of genes that correlate to certain desirable traits -- such as leadership and intelligence -- business may want this information. People seeking leadership roles in business, or even those in search of funding for a start-up, may volunteer their DNA test results to demonstrate that they have the right aptitude, leadership capabilities and intelligence for the job. This may sound farfetched, but it's possible based on the direction of the science, according to Gartner analysts David Furlonger and Stephen Smith, who presented their research Wednesday at the firm's Symposium IT/xpo in Orlando. This research is called 'maverick' in Gartner parlance, meaning it has a somewhat low probability and is still years out, but its potential is nonetheless worrisome to the authors. It isn't as radical as it seems. Job selection on the basis of certain desirable genetic characteristics is already common in the military and sports. Even without testing, businesses, governments and others may use this understanding about how some characteristics are genetically determined to develop new interview methodologies and testing to help identify candidates predisposed to the traits they desire.

Comment Congrats: 99.99% off-topic (Score 1) 277

First of all: this is a story about surveillance, not about the 2nd amendment. Go whine about sidearm ownership somewhere else.

Second: Once again, somehow the concept of "arms" gets limited to rifles and pistols. Why do you all forget to bitch about not being allowed open-carry crossbows, or about not being allowed to set up a battery of TOW or FOG-M missile launchers in your back yard? Do you really think even your 37 semi-automatics (with the hack installed to make them fully automatic) are a match for one round from an M-1 tank?
"Defense against the government military" indeed.


Tech Billionaires Are Asking Scientists For Help To Break Humans Out of Computer Simulation ( 1042

Many believe that we live in a computer simulation. But it takes a billionaire and his money to ask scientists to help break us out of the simulation. The New Yorker recently did a profile about Y Combinator's Sam Altman. In the story, Altman discusses his theories about being controlled by technology and delves into the simulation theory. From an article on The New Yorker: Many people in Silicon Valley have become obsessed with the simulation hypothesis, the argument that what we experience as reality is in fact fabricated in a computer; two tech billionaires have gone so far as to secretly engage scientists to work on breaking us out of the simulation. Business Insider adds: The piece doesn't give any clue as to who those two billionaires are -- although it's easy to hazard a few guesses at who they might be, like Musk himself or Altman's friend Peter Thiel -- but it's fascinating to see how seriously people are taking this theory. According to Musk, it's the most popular topic of conversation right now.Earlier this year, at Code Conference, Elon Musk said there's "one in billions" chance we're not living in a computer simulation.

Comment Re:Exactly as predicted (Score 1) 377

I remember people saying the exact same thing when Apple removed Floppys, serial ports & optical drives

False equivalency. All the items you listed were blatantly obsolete when Apple removed them. Us old folks remember Microsoft shipping a box with 60 or 70 floppies to install Office from. Serial ports suck and aren't extendable. And so on.

There's no "replacement" for analog audio going into your ears. As this thread should make it abundantly clear, an external converter of some sort is absolutely required when there's no analog output from the iPhone.

Comment Re:Right. (Score 1) 222

[snip]American democracy is a sick joke

Certainly one of the sickest parts of the joke is "States' Rights." It's absolutely batshit crazy to have something be legal for your pal a mile away (next state over) which would throw you in jail in your state. Drug use, marriage age, sexual positions or partners are obvious examples. Or slavery, of course, if you go back a couple years.
The sad fact is that we're nowhere near being "One country," (under $DEITY or not). Only a heavily duck-taped illusion of a Federal gov't is keeping the US from becoming a dozen or so separate republics with radically different ideas about everything from gun ownership to religious rights.

Comment Explaining FTL non-information travel (Score 2) 189

My favorite way to explain the difference between something "happening" FTL and useful information not being able to travel FTL is this:

Imagine you've got a powerful laser aimed at a wall a few light-years away. You then sweep the laser beam along the wall's length. The illuminated area changes at several times the speed of light. But this is not information transfer, because each photon travelled a few years in a straigh(ish) line and hit the wall based on the angle of the laser at the time of emission. We "see" a moving spot, but what we're actually seeing is a progression of non-FTL arrivals. The photons carry information, but whatever knowledge is imparted at the point where the wall is illuminated is not transferred to any subsequently illuminated location.

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Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. - Voltaire