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Comment Re:They tell you upfront it isn't going to be good (Score 1) 32

I'd say Star Trek has pretty good credentials for gender equality (and racial equality). Roddenberry wanted a female first officer, but was overruled. DS9 had a female first officer and a female science officer, and Voyager had a female captain, not to mention countless female admirals and captains seen throughout all the TNG-era series. You might argue that the gender balance is a bit skewed, but that's a minor criticism.

I think a bigger criticism of Trek's equality is they've always been shy about sexuality. I can name dozens of shows with openly gay characters, but Star Trek has only ever addressed this as the moral of the week. Plenty of other shows have had openly gay characters without making too big a deal of it. Paramount was too conservative here.

Apple's New MacBook Pro Requires a $25 Dongle To Charge Your iOS Device (networkworld.com) 157

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Network World: As Phil Schiller explained during today's event, Apple's new MacBook Pros feature four Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports, and conveniently, each of these can be used to charge the machine. Now, USB-C is incredibly versatile, and Apple will use the advanced port for power charging, HDMI and much more. However, with USB-C the only game in town, you might reasonably be wondering: How in the world do I connect my iPhone to my sleek new MacBook Pro? The frustrating answer is that you won't be able to do so out of the box. Instead, you'll have to buy a dongle. This is especially frustrating because many people use their notebooks for a) charging purposes when an outlet isn't necessarily handy and b) for transferring photos and other data. Now, you might reasonably state that you can just rely upon the cloud for items like data transfer, but there's no getting around the fact that Apple's efforts in the cloud still leave much to be desired. How much will it cost to connect your iPhone to your brand new MacBook Pro? Well, Apple sells a USB-C to Lightning cable on its website for $25. While this is undoubtedly frustrating, we can't say that it's entirely unexpected given Apple gave us a preview of its preference for USB-C when it released its 12-in. MacBook last year. Still, it's a funky design choice for a decidedly Pro-oriented device where the last thing a prospective consumer would want to do is spend some extra cash for a dongle after spending upwards of $2,399. Lastly, while we're on the topic of ports, it's worth noting that the new MacBook Pros also do away with the beloved MagSafe connector.

No One Is Buying Smartwatches Anymore (gizmodo.com) 325

An anonymous reader shares a Gizmodo report: Remember how smartwatches were supposed to be the next big thing? About that... The market intelligence firm IDC reported on Monday that smartwatch shipments are down 51.6 percent year-over-year for the third quarter of 2016. This is bad news for all smartwatch vendors (except maybe Garmin), but it's especially bad for Apple, which saw shipments drop 71.6 percent, according to the IDC report Apple is still the overall smartwatch market leader, with an estimated 41.3-percent of the market, but IDC estimates it shipped only 1.1 million Apple Watches in Q3 2016, compared with 3.9 million in 2015. To a degree, that's to be expected, since the new Apple Watch Series 2 came out at the tail-end of the quarter. But the news is still a blow, when you consider how huge the Apple Watch hype was just 18 months ago.

XPrize's New Challenge: Turn Air Into Water, Make More Than a Million Dollars (cnet.com) 156

An anonymous reader shares a CNET report: If you can turn thin air into water, there may be more than $1 million in it for you. XPrize, which creates challenges that pit the brightest minds against one another, is hoping to set off a wave of new innovations in clean water -- and women's safety too. The company announced its Water Abundance XPrize and the Anu & Naveen Jain Women's Safety XPrize on Monday in New Delhi. The first competition will award $1.75 million to any team that can create a device able to produce at least 2,000 liters of water a day from the atmosphere, using completely renewable energy, for at most 2 cents a liter. Teams have up to two years to complete the challenge. India is at the center of the world's water crisis, with access to groundwater depleted in some northern and eastern parts of the country. Water has become so scarce in India that natural arsenic has infiltrated the soil and water in certain regions. While there are systems that can currently extract water from the atmosphere, many of them aren't energy-efficient, or generating enough water. "We know that overuse of groundwater resources are causing the water crisis and it's only getting worse," said Zenia Tata, XPrize's executive director of Global Expansion. The $1 million Women's Safety XPrize calls for an emergency alert system that women can use, even if they don't have access to their phones. The alert would have to be sent automatically and inconspicuously to emergency responders, within 90 seconds, at a cost of $40 or less a year. The device would have to work even in cases where there's no cellphone signal or internet access.

Microsoft Raises UK Cloud, Software Prices 22% After Brexit-Fuelled Pound Drop (techweekeurope.co.uk) 214

Reader Mickeycaskill writes: Microsoft is to substantially increase its prices for software and cloud services prices offered in British pounds in order to accommodate the sharp drop in the currency against the US dollar in recent weeks. Beginning in January 2017 on-premises enterprise software prices will go up by 13 percent and most enterprise cloud prices will increase by 22 percent, bringing them into line with euro prices. Microsoft said it isn't planning to change its prices for consumer software and cloud services. The value of the pound has fallen by about 18 percent since the EU referendum on 23 June.

Quantum Researchers Achieve 10-Fold Boost In Superposition Stability (thestack.com) 86

An anonymous reader quotes The Stack: A team of Australian researchers has developed a qubit offering ten times the stability of existing technologies. The computer scientists claim that the new innovation could significantly increase the reliability of quantum computing calculations... The new technology, developed at the University of New South Wales, has been named a 'dressed' quantum bit as it combines a single atom with an electromagnetic field. This process allows the qubit to remain in a superposition state for ten times longer than has previously been achieved. The researchers argue that this extra time in superposition could boost the performance stability of quantum computing calculations... Previously fragile and short-lived, retaining a state of superposition has been one of the major barriers to the development of quantum computing. The ability to remain in two states simultaneously is the key to scaling and strengthening the technology further.
Do you ever wonder what the world will look like when everyone has their own personal quantum computer?
The Media

Journalist Cleared of Riot Charges in South Dakota (nbcnews.com) 79

Her video went viral, viewed more than 14 million times, and triggering concerns online when she was threatened with prison. But a North Dakota judge "refused to authorize riot charges against award-winning journalist Amy Goodman for her reporting on an attack against Native American-led anti-pipeline protesters." An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes NBC News: Goodman described the victory as a "great vindication of the First Amendment," although McLean County State's Attorney Ladd Erickson told The New York Times that additional charges were possible. "I believe they want to keep the investigation open and see if there is any evidence in the unedited and unpublished videos that we could better detail in an affidavit for the judge," Erickson told the newspaper.
The native Americans "were attempting to block the destruction of sacred sites, including ancestral burial grounds," according to a new article co-authored by Goodman about her experiences, which argues that "Attempts to criminalize nonviolent land and water defenders, humiliate them and arrest journalists should not pave the way for this pipeline."

John McAfee Thinks North Korea Hacked Dyn, and Iran Hacked the DNC (csoonline.com) 149

"The Dark Web is rife with speculation that North Korea is responsible for the Dyn hack" says John McAfee, according to a new article on CSO: McAfee said they certainly have the capability and if it's true...then forensic analysis will point to either Russia, China, or some group within the U.S. [And] who hacked the Democratic National Committee? McAfee -- in an email exchange and follow up phone call -- said sources within the Dark Web suggest it was Iran, and he absolutely agrees. While Russian hackers get more media attention nowadays, Iranian hackers have had their share... "The Iranians view Trump as a destabilizing force within America," said McAfee. "They would like nothing more than to have Trump as President....

"If all evidence points to the Russians, then, with 100% certainty, it is not the Russians. Anyone who is capable of carrying out a hack of such sophistication is also capable, with far less effort than that involved in the hack, of hiding their tracks or making it appear that the hack came from some other quarter..."

Bruce Schneier writes that "we don't know anything much of anything" about yesterday's massive DDOS attacks. "If I had to guess, though, I don't think it's China. I think it's more likely related to the DDoS attacks against Brian Krebs than the probing attacks against the Internet infrastructure..." Earlier this month Krebs had warned that source code had been released for the massive DDOS attacks he endured in September, "virtually guaranteeing that the Internet will soon be flooded with attacks from many new botnets powered by insecure routers, IP cameras, digital video recorders and other easily hackable devices."

Comment Re: AI -- FAR more hype than substance (Score 1) 210

True, but the advances will be in algorithms. The problem with AI is that it couldn't do things that impressed us because it coukd no see, read, talk, sense, walk, mive and itherwise get a good enough representation of the world. Google was birn with an algorithm. Recurrent NN in architectures that are recurrent are gradually learning and reusing other networks, combined with the ability to process informatiin abiut the world in usefull representations are advancing fast. If you look at evolutionary methods, it seems to be the case that at some point, we'll create some rules that just converge to intelligence. We are waiting for it to happen. Until then, we'll have Robo-Copies that can do anything better than us, but that get stuck all the time and don't generalize well.

Comment Re: Colossus (Score 1) 210

Agreed. But an AI first moves may be to hide what it's about to do, which will be own control of its value functions and other key safewards (whuch will be amazing trivial), then find a way to amazingly simplify the algorithms (huge boost eithout any hardware change), then huge replication (like a virus that spreads and hides, it could make itself distributed and hidden to all but itself) and then it woukd start ways to access and process orders of magnitude more data, and then start learning things we don't reprogramming itself, and then planning actions in the world.

Comment Re:Extradition? (Score 1) 80

Bush's "the constitution is just a damn piece of paper" playbook

Sidenote: I was trying to explain my beliefs on politics to my son earlier this week, and decided to look up this quote on the fly while I was telling him about it. I learned that there's no evidence Bush ever actually said this. Although he did certainly act like he felt that way.

I realize you're not necessarily asserting that Bush actually said it - but I thought you might be interested. It was interesting to me.

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