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Submission + - California Enacts Law Requiring IMDb to Remove Actor Ages on Request (hollywoodreporter.com)

schwit1 writes: California Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed legislation that requires certain entertainment sites, such as IMDb, to remove – or not post in the first place – an actor’s age or birthday upon request.

The law, which becomes effective January 1, applies to database sites that allow paid subscribers to post resumes, headshots or other information for prospective employers. Only a paying subscriber can make a removal or non-publication request. Although the legislation may be most critical for actors, it applies to all entertainment job categories.

The purpose of the law is to prevent age discrimination. How soon will it get struck down for violating free speech?

Submission + - What are the FLOSS community's answers to Siri and AI? (upon2020.com)

jernst writes: A decade ago, we in the free and open-source community could build our own versions of pretty much any proprietary software system out there, and we did. Publishing, collaboration, commerce, you name it. Some apps were worse, some were better than closed alternatives, but much of it was clearly good enough to use every day.

But is this still true? For example, voice control is clearly going to be a primary way we interact with our gadgets in the future. Speaking to an Amazon Echo-like device while sitting on my couch makes a lot more sense than using a web browser. Will we ever be able to do that without going through somebody’s proprietary silo like Amazon’s or Apple’s? Where are the free and/or open-source versions of Siri, Alexa and so forth?

The trouble, of course, is not so much the code, but in the training. The best speech recognition code isn’t going to be competitive unless it has been trained with about as many millions of hours of example speech as the closed engines from Apple, Google and so forth have been. How can we do that?

The same problem exists with AI. There’s plenty of open-source AI code, but how good is it unless it gets training and retraining with gigantic data sets? We don’t have those in the FLOSS world, and even if we did, would we have the money to run gigantic graphics card farms 24×7? Will we ever see truly open AI that is not black-box machinery guarded closely by some overlord company, but something that “we can study how it works, change it so it does our computing as we wish” and all the other values embodied in the Free Software Definition?

Who has a plan, and where can I sign up to it?

Submission + - FDA, Other Scientific Agencies Embargo News (salon.com)

frank_adrian314159 writes: What if you were a reporter and couldn't check on the veracity of a science story before you reported it? That's the Faustian deal science reporters make every day with the FDA, medical publications, and other scientific organizations they depend upon for their "scoops". If you break the code of omerta or any of the embargoes, you can (and will) be blackballed from future information. Salon has the full (and lengthy) story here. Needless to say, this is probably not the openness most people think of when they hear the term "science reporting".

Submission + - Obama used a pseudonym in emails with Clinton, FBI documents reveal (politico.com)

schwit1 writes: President Barack Obama used a pseudonym in email communications with Hillary Clinton and others, according to FBI records made public Friday. The disclosure came as the FBI released its second batch of documents from its investigation into Clinton’s private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.

The 189 pages the bureau released includes interviews with some of Clinton’s closest aides, such as Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills; senior State Department officials; and even Marcel Lazar, better known as the Romanian hacker “Guccifer.”

In an April 5, 2016 interview with the FBI, Abedin was shown an email exchange between Clinton and Obama, but the longtime Clinton aide did not recognize the name of the sender.

"Once informed that the sender's name is believed to be pseudonym used by the president, Abedin exclaimed: 'How is this not classified?'" the report says. "Abedin then expressed her amazement at the president's use of a pseudonym and asked if she could have a copy of the email."

Submission + - mechanics of the rejection of science (theguardian.com) 2

Layzej writes: Science strives for coherence. For example, the findings from climate science form a highly coherent body of knowledge that is supported by many independent lines of evidence. Those who reject climate science often rely on several mutually contradictory ideas. Hence, claims that the globe “is cooling” can coexist with claims that the “observed warming is natural” and that “the human influence does not matter because warming is good for us.” A recent study examines this behavior at the aggregate level, but gives many examples where contradictory ideas are held by the same individual, and sometimes are presented within a single publication.

The common denominator among contrarian positions is the conviction that climate change either does not exist or is not human caused, and that either way it does not present a risk (or if it does, then adaptation will deal with the problem). In a nutshell, the opposition to GHG emission cuts is the unifying and coherent position underlying all manifestations of climate science denial. Climate science denial is therefore perhaps best understood as a rational activity that replaces a coherent body of science with an incoherent and conspiracist body of pseudo-science for political reasons and with considerable political coherence and effectiveness.

Submission + - Moving Beyond Flash: The Yahoo HTML5 Video Player (streamingmedia.com)

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."

Submission + - W3C Set to Publish HTML 5.1, Work Already Started on HTML 5.2 (softpedia.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Members of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) are getting ready to launch the HTML 5.1 specification and have already started work on the upcoming HTML 5.2 version since mid-August.

The HTML 5.1 standard has been promoted from a "Release Candidate" to a "Proposed Recommendation," the last step before it becomes a "W3C Recommendation," and officially replaces HTML 5 as the current HTML standard.

As a Proposed Recommendation, HTML 5.1 is practically locked against major changes, and outside small tweaks here and there, we are currently looking at a 99.99 percent version of the upcoming HTML 5.1 standard.

The vote to promote HTML 5.1 from RC to PR was approved in unanimity, a clear sign that major browser makers have reached a general consensus on what the standard should look like, and what they should be implementing in their browsers in upcoming versions.

Submission + - Vandenberg Fire Threatens ULA, SpaceX Launches (latimes.com)

Bruce Perens writes: A fire at Vandenberg Air Force Base on the California coast, currently over 10,000 acres in size, has approached the pads used by SpaceX and United Launch Alliance. No structures have been damaged, but power lines have been destroyed. There is about 1000 feet of firebreak around each pad, but the presence of smoke and the absence of electrical power is potentially a problem for rockets, payloads, and ground-support equipment. The WorldView 4 satellite and a Delta 4, and a SpaceX Falcon 9 with at least 7 and potentially 11 Iridium satellites are known to be on site. Ground support equipment at the base constitutes the United States only access to polar orbit for large rockets without overflying populated areas. Liquid oxygen stored on the site may already have been released as a precaution or boiled off, and there are large supplies of rocket fuel, but these have so far not been at hazard.

The Soberanes fire near Big Sur, 180 miles farther South on the California coast, has gone on for two months, burning 185 square miles and costing over 200 Million dollars to fight with no end in sight. Obviously, it's dry out there.

Submission + - SPAM: Without language teachers, high schools are resorting to Rosetta Stone

schwit1 writes: With just a few weeks to go before the start of school, Madison Area Memorial High School Principal Jessica Ward faced a dilemma: Classes were about to start, and the school didn’t have a foreign language teacher.

She contacted nearby universities and the Department of Education and posted the job online, but no one applied, even as five other open teaching positions were filled.

“It was coming down to the wire and school was starting,” Ward said. “Students were already scheduled for foreign language, and we can’t just not offer it.”

The school district had earmarked money for the position, so the guidance counselor and superintendent started researching other options, ultimately putting the money toward the computer program Rosetta Stone to take the place of a full-time French and Spanish teacher.

The teachers' union better hope this doesn't work too well.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - What Happens When Judges Pull the Plug on Rural America (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: After the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of restrictive state laws that prevent municipalities from setting up their own networks, Pinetops, North Carolina had its internet cut off. And that's just the tip of the iceberg: as Susan Crawford points out at Backchannel, the court decision is likely to spur the introduction of even more restrictive laws, making it increasingly difficult to ensure that we move the entire country over to fiber-plus-advanced-wireless, not leaving pockets of rural America without 21st century connectivity. For too long, local heroes have been fighting this fight—but Crawford argues that this needs to be a focus of the next president of the United States.

Submission + - Charles Bolden poo-poos private space (arstechnica.com)

schwit1 writes: In remarks at a conference yesterday NASA administrator Charles Bolden expressed his distrust and lack of confidence in the ability of private companies to build large heavy lift rockets.

“If you talk about launch vehicles, we believe our responsibility to the nation is to take care of things that normal people cannot do, or don’t want to do, like large launch vehicles,” Bolden said. “I’m not a big fan of commercial investment in large launch vehicles just yet.”

Despite the demonstrable efforts by both SpaceX and Blue Origin, Bolden nonetheless said that “normal people” cannot, or do not want to, develop large launch vehicles. What the administrator appears to be asserting here is that NASA is more special, or better, than those in the private sector when it comes to building rockets.

The article at the link notes the strangeness of Bolden’s remarks, especially since NASA itself has failed, despite repeated efforts, to build its own new rocket since the 1970s. The author also notes the high cost of SLS, though the numbers he cites — $13 billion to develop and build SLS — is actually about half the real cost, which will be about $25 billion to build two SLS rockets.

Bolden here illustrates the old way of doing things. He will be gone soon, however, and a new way will replace him, private, competitive, innovative, and fast moving, everything that NASA has not been in the past four decades.

Submission + - Robot handcuffed and arrested at Moscow Rally (abc.net.au)

ferret4 writes: Arobott has been detained by police at a political rally in Moscow, with authorities attempting to handcuff the machine.

Police have not confirmed why they detained the machine named Promobot, but local media was reporting the company behind the robot said police were called because it was "recording voters' opinions on [a] variety of topics for further processing and analysis by the candidate's team".

Submission + - The Ham Radio Parity Act passes the house! (arrl.org) 1

bobbied writes: The House of representatives passed HR 1301 "The Ham Radio Parity Act" without objection on September 12, 2016. The measure calls on the FCC to amend its Part 97 rules “to prohibit the application to amateur stations of certain private land-use restrictions, and for other purposes.” This will allow for the reasonable accommodation of armature radio antennas in many places where they are currently prohibited by HOA's or private land use restrictions. This will be similar to the FCC's PRB-1 ruling in 1985 that did the same thing for Over The Air Television and Data service Antenna Structures. If this bill passes the senate, we will be one step closer to allowing armature radio operators, who provide emergency communications services, the right to erect reasonable antenna structures in places where they cannot do so now.

Submission + - China Launches Second Space Lab (space.com)

hackingbear writes: China's next space laboratory, Tiangong-2 launched from the country's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center today at 10:04 a.m. EDT (1404 GMT) on a Long March 2F carrier rocket. Like its predecessor Tiangong-1, Tiangong-2 is an orbiting space lab – but this latest model has made several improvements in the series. Among the advances: astronauts can remain on the station up to 30 days; New systems allow in orbit refueling of propellant; and 14 new experiments in a wide range of sciences including composite material fabrication, advanced-plant cultivation, gamma ray burst polarization, fluid physics, space-to-earth quantum communications. The space lab is also equipped with a cold atom space clock, that has an estimated precision of 10 to the power of minus 16 seconds, or a one-second error every 30 million years, enhancing accuracy of time-keeping in space by one to two orders of magnitudes. This exactitude will help measure previously undetectable fluctuations for experiments conducted in zero-gravity.

Submission + - Wi-Fi speeds will triple, get more range with MegaMimo 2.0 (networkworld.com)

Miche67 writes: A new form of Wi-Fi called MegaMimo 2.0 will allow data to be shot through at three times the speed it travels now and twice as far, MIT researchers say. This next generation of MIMO W-Fi is expected to be released commercially soon.

The Wi-Fi technology, supposedly immune to bottleneck-causing interference, works by letting a number of distinct transmitters send same- and similar-frequency data “to multiple independent receivers without interfering with each other,” the computer scientists, led by Professor Dian Katabi from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), say in their news release.

MIMO is used commonly — when you make a cell phone call, for example. MIT's distributed MIMO system coordinates access points better, the researchers say.

It achieves the same as MIMO—which we already use in our smartphones, other mobile devices and Wi-Fi routers—but without the interference you’d normally get by using the same frequencies in the same session. Synchronizing the phases, time and frequencies by the algorithm cancels out the crashing signals.


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