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Submission + - Should we bring extinct species back from the dead? (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: For decades the notion of “de-extinction” hovered on the scientific fringes, but new advances in genetic engineering, especially the CRISPR-Cas9 revolution, have researchers believing that it’s time to start thinking seriously about which animals we might be able to bring back, and which ones would do the most good for the ecosystems they left behind. Science Magazine explores why and how we might do this, which animals might be first, and the big risks involved.
Yahoo!

Moving Beyond Flash: the Yahoo HTML5 Video Player (streamingmedia.com) 96

Slashdot reader theweatherelectric writes: Over on Streaming Media, Amit Jain from Yahoo has written a behind-the-scenes look at the development of Yahoo's HTML5 video player. He writes, "Adobe Flash, once the de-facto standard for media playback on the web, has lost favor in the industry due to increasing concerns over security and performance. At the same time, requiring a plugin for video playback in browsers is losing favor among users as well. As a result, the industry is moving toward HTML5 for video playback...

At Yahoo, our video player uses HTML5 across all modern browsers for video playback. In this post we will describe our journey to providing an industry-leading playback experience using HTML5, lay out some of the challenges we faced, and discuss opportunities we see going forward."

Yet another brick in the wall? YouTube and Twitch have already switched to HTML5, and last year Google started automatically converting Flash ads to HTML5.
Google

Google Open Sources Its Image-Captioning AI (zdnet.com) 40

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes ZDNet: Google has open-sourced a model for its machine-learning system, called Show and Tell, which can view an image and generate accurate and original captions... The image-captioning system is available for use with TensorFlow, Google's open machine-learning framework, and boasts a 93.9 percent accuracy rate on the ImageNet classification task, inching up from previous iterations.

The code includes an improved vision model, allowing the image-captioning system to recognize different objects in images and hence generate better descriptions. An improved image model meanwhile aids the captioning system's powers of description, so that it not only identifies a dog, grass and frisbee in an image, but describes the color of grass and more contextual detail.

Submission + - TypeScript 2.0 Released (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Since its introduction, TypeScript has included new features to improve performance, enhance JavaScript compatibility, and extend the range of error checking that the TypeScript compiler performs. TypeScript 2.0 introduces a big step forward here by giving developers greater control over null values. null, used to denote (in some broad, hand-waving sense) that a variable holds no value at all, has been called the billion dollar mistake. Time and time again, programs trip up by not properly checking to see if a variable is null, and for good or ill, every mainstream programming language continues to support the null concept. TypeScript 2.0 brings a range of new features, but the biggest is control over these null values. With TypeScript 2.0, programmers can opt into a new behavior that by default prevents values from being null. With this option enabled, variables by default will be required to have a value and can't be set to null accidentally. This in turn allows the compiler to find other errors such as variables that are never initialized.

Submission + - How ITT Tech Screwed Students and Made Millions (gizmodo.com)

An anonymous reader writes: This is a grim story about a company that screwed poor people, military veterans, and taxpayers to turn a profit. It includes shocking details about the inner-working of the for-profit college including stuff like this:

"ITT recruiters even manipulated prospective students using pain-based sales techniques. Recruiters used a sales strategy called the “Pain Funnel” that encouraged them to ask progressively more hurtful questions to get prospective students to enroll in the school."

Government

Hacker Leaks Michelle Obama's Passport (nypost.com) 122

The hacker who leaked Colin Powell's private email account last week has struck again. This time they have hacked a low-level White House staffer and released a picture of Michelle Obama's passport, along with detailed schedules for top U.S. officials and private email messages. New York Post reports: The information has been posted online by the group DC Leaks. The White House staffer -- who also apparently does advance work for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign -- is named Ian Mellul. The released documents include a PowerPoint outline of Vice President Joe Biden's recent Cleveland trip, showing his planned route, where he'll meet with individuals and other sensitive information, according to the Daily Mail. In an email to The Post, the hacker writes, "The leaked files show the security level of our government. If terrorists hack emails of White House Office staff and get such sensitive information we will see the fall of our country." The hacker adds, "We hope you will tell the people about this criminal negligence of White House Office staffers."

Submission + - Ubuntu torrent removed from Google due to DMCA complaint (omgubuntu.co.uk)

LichtSpektren writes: OMG Ubuntu reports: "Cited in a DMCA takedown request filed against Google on behalf of Paramount Pictures, and spotted by TorrentFreak (and tipped to us by reader ~nonanonymous) is an innocuous link to a 32-bit alternate install image Ubuntu 12.04.2 LTS. The takedown request seeks to remove links to a number of torrent URLS that are alleged to infringe on Paramount movie 'Transformers: Age of Extinction'. Ubuntu clearly doesn’t. All it takes is a quick glance at the URL in question to see that. It’s very much a stock iso of an old Ubuntu release. And yet Google has complied with the request and scrubbed the link to the page in question from its search index."

Submission + - Carl Malamud's fight to make public info public has now landed him in court (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: For some 25 years, Carl Malamud has been fighting for open internet and government—from encouraging activists to download huge numbers of paywall-blocked federal court documents to publishing state annotated codes online and petitioning the Republic of India to do the same. He's on a lonely mission to capitalize on the internet’s potential for spreading information, and now, it's landed him in court: today, he's headed to DC to defend himself in two separate lawsuits.

Submission + - Unfinished Nuclear Plant, 4 Decades and $5 Billion Later, Will Be Sold (nytimes.com)

mdsolar writes: After spending more than 40 years and $5 billion on an unfinished nuclear power plant in northeastern Alabama, the nation’s largest federal utility is preparing to sell the property at a fraction of its cost.

The utility, the Tennessee Valley Authority, has set a minimum bid of $36.4 million for its Bellefonte Nuclear Plant and 1,600 surrounding acres of waterfront property on the Tennessee River. The deal includes two unfinished nuclear reactors, transmission lines, office and warehouse buildings, eight miles of roads and a 1,000-space parking lot.

Initial bids are due Monday, and at least one company has expressed interest in the site, with plans to use it for alternative energy production. But the utility is not particular about what the buyer does — using the site for power production, industrial manufacturing, recreation or even residences would all be fine, said Scott Fiedler, an agency spokesman.

“It’s all about jobs and investment, and that’s our primary goal for selling this property,” Mr. Fiedler said. The utility hopes to close the deal in October.

The interested buyer, Phoenix Energy, based in Nevada, has said it will offer $38 million for Bellefonte in hopes of using it for a non-nuclear technology to generate power.

Submission + - Rosetta finds Organic Space Dust (esa.int)

phantomfive writes: Rosetta’s dust-analysing COSIMA (COmetary Secondary Ion Mass Analyser) instrument has made the first unambiguous detection of solid organic matter in the dust particles ejected by Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, in the form of complex carbon-bearing molecules.

While organics had already been detected in situ on the comet’s surface by instruments on-board Philae and from orbit by Rosetta’s ROSINA , those were both in the form of gases resulting from the sublimation of ices. By contrast, COSIMA has made its detections in solid dust.

Their presence was only ever hinted at in previous comet missions.

Submission + - EU court: Linking without permission violates copyright

BarbaraHudson writes: From the "look-but-don't-link dept

Reuters is reporting that Playboy has won a lawsuit against a Netherlands news site for linking to photos without permission.



"It is undisputed that GS Media (which owns GreenStijl)provided the hyperlinks to the files containing the photos for profit and that Sanoma had not authorised the publication of those photos on the internet," the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) said in a statement.

"When hyperlinks are posted for profit, it may be expected that the person who posted such a link should carry out the checks necessary to ensure that the work concerned is not illegally published.

The European Commission, the EU executive, is set next week to propose tougher rules on publishing copyrighted content, including a new exclusive right for news publishers to ask search engines like Google to pay to show snippets of their articles.

Submission + - Google Program Seeks to Deradicalize Jihadis and American Right Wing Extremists

HughPickens.com writes: Nami LaChance writes at The Intercept that a google-incubated program that targets potential ISIS members with deradicalizing content will soon be used to target violent right-wing extremists in North America. Using research and targeted advertising, the initiative by London-based startup Moonshot CVE and Google’s Jigsaw technology incubator targets potentially violent Jihadis and directs them to a YouTube channel with videos that refute ISIS propaganda. In the pilot program countering ISIS, the so-called Redirect Method collected the metadata of 320,000 individuals over the course of eight weeks, using 1,700 keywords, and served them advertisements that led them to the videos. “I think this is an extremely promising method,” says Richard Stengel, U.S. Undersecretary of State for public diplomacy and public affairs. In the ISIS pilot program, the YouTube channel pulls preexisting videos that, according to Yasmin Green, the head of research and development for Jigsaw, “refute ISIS’s messaging.” One video is from a woman who secretly filmed her life in ISIS-controlled Raqqa. Another shows young people in Mosul, their faces obscured by keffiyehs for their protection, talking about life under the Islamic State. “The branding philosophy for the entire pilot project was not to appear judgmental or be moralistic, but really to pique interest of individuals who have questions, questions that are being raised and answered by the Islamic State,” Green said.

Ross Frenett, co-founder of Moonshot, says his company and Jigsaw are now working with funding from private groups to target other violent extremists, including the hard right in America. “Our efforts during phase two, when we’re going to focus on the violent far right in America, will be very much focused on the small element of those that are violent. The interesting thing about how they behave is they’re a little bit more brazen online these days than ISIS fan boys,” says Frenett.

Submission + - IBM Launches Linux Server Range Targeted at Artificial Intelligence Tasks (thestack.com)

An anonymous reader writes: IBM today launched a range of Linux-based servers specifically engineered for high performance in tasks related to artificial intelligence, deep learning and advanced analytics – with a central mission to increase data centre efficiency. The elaborately-named IBM Power Systems S822LC for High Performance Computing uses NVidia's NVLink high-speed interconnect to create a notably faster CPU/GPU throughput than is currently possible over a PCIe bus, or with previous X86 offerings. Early tests with Tencent reveal a threefold performance increase, even at 2/3rds blade deployment.

Submission + - FTC Warns Consumers: Don't Sync To Your Rental Car! (securityledger.com)

chicksdaddy writes: The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers to beware of new ‘connected car’ features that allow rental car customers to connect their mobile phone or other devices to in-vehicle infotainment systems, The Security Ledger reports. (https://securityledger.com/2016/08/ftc-warns-consumers-of-rental-car-data-theft-risk/)

“If you connect a mobile device, the car may also keep your mobile phone number, call and message logs, or even contacts and text messages,” the FTC said in an advisory released on Tuesday. (https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/what-your-phone-telling-your-rental-car) “Unless you delete that data before you return the car, other people may view it, including future renters and rental car employees or even hackers.”

The Commission is advising renters to avoid syncing their mobile phones to their rental car, or to power devices via a USB port, where settings on your device may allow automatic syncing of data. Consumers who do connect their device should scrutinize any requests for permissions. Renters are also urged to remove their device from the vehicle’s memory before handing it back over to the rental firm.

Submission + - How Spy Tech Firms Let Governments See Everything on a Smartphone (nytimes.com)

schwit1 writes: Want to invisibly spy on 10 iPhone owners without their knowledge? Gather their every keystroke, sound, message and location? That will cost you $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee with an Israeli outfit called the NSO Group. You can spy on more people if you would like — just check out the company’s price list.

The NSO Group is one of a number of companies that sell surveillance tools that can capture all the activity on a smartphone, like a user’s location and personal contacts. These tools can even turn the phone into a secret recording device.

What that gets you, NSO Group documents say, is “unlimited access to a target’s mobile devices.” In short, the company says: You can “remotely and covertly collect information about your target’s relationships, location, phone calls, plans and activities — whenever and wherever they are.”

And, its proposal adds, “It leaves no traces whatsoever.”

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