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Submission + - Overwatch director speaks out against console mouse/keyboard adapters (arstechnica.com)

Striek writes:

Regardless of where you fall in the long-running debate between keyboard/mouse and analog stick controls, you could historically be relatively sure that everyone on a single platform would be playing with the same control scheme. Recently, though, third-party adapters have started allowing console players to use a mouse and keyboard effectively on dedicated consoles, throwing off the competitive balance in a way that Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan doesn't appreciate.

"The Overwatch team objects to the use of mouse and keyboard on console," Kaplan wrote on the Battle.net forums. "We have contacted both first-party console manufacturers and expressed our concern about the use of mouse and keyboard and input conversion devices.


Submission + - Parents View New Peanut Guidelines With Guilt and Skepticism (nytimes.com) 1

schwit1 writes: When Nicole Lepke’s son was born, she listened to her pediatrician and kept peanuts away until the age of 2, but the toddler still developed a severe peanut allergy when he finally tried them.

Now, 12 years later, health experts have reversed their advice on peanuts, urging parents to begin feeding foods containing peanut powder or extract during infancy in hopes of reducing a child’s risk for allergy.

The about-face on peanuts has stunned parents around the country who are coping with the challenges of severe peanut allergies. Like many parents, Ms. Lepke is now plagued with guilt. By restricting peanuts early, did she inadvertently cause the very allergy she was trying to prevent?

Submission + - TV News Broadcast Accidentally Activates Alexa, Initiates Orders (cw6sandiego.com)

ShaunC writes: Amazon's Echo digital assistant is supposed to make our lives easier, but one recent incident is causing headaches for some Echo owners. In San Diego, TV news anchor Jim Patton was covering a separate story about a child who accidentally ordered a doll house using her family's Echo. Commenting on the story, Patton said "I love the little girl, saying 'Alexa ordered me a dollhouse.'" Viewers across San Diego reported that in response to the news anchor's spoken words, their own Echo devices activated and tried to order doll houses from Amazon. Amazon says that anyone whose Echo inadvertently ordered a physical item can return it at no charge.

Submission + - Navy Coded Sea Animal Sounds for Communications

An anonymous reader writes: A 1980 report on the U.S. Government project called Project COMBO to study the use of coded marine animal sounds for covert underwater communication systems has just been declassified by ISCAP, a federal declassification appeals panel, overruling a previous Navy Department decision. The concept originated in 1949, and collection and analysis of sounds began in 1965. In 1970, DARPA sponsored analysis and duplication of sonogram patters of collected marine mammal sounds, and the Navy sponsored efforts to study communications applications. Project COMBO developed a coding technique that uses temporal and frequency patterns to convey messages, and recognizer/decoder equipment. Lab and sea tests used demonstration messages based on coded pilot whale sounds; the messages were received correctly underwater out to 50 nautical miles.

Submission + - It's not you, Slashdot, it's me. 5

BuckB writes: When I was a young man, I read Slashdot in order to amaze my friends with useful facts. It was even my homepage for awhile. Sure, there was time when I cheated and went to cnet or wired. With Slashdot, I could count on high quality debate on controversial topics, even though I knew in my heart that most of the readers were Apple fans, while I am a closeted Microsofterian. Now the stories are mainly non-tech — no, that's the real reason — the stories are now mainly fake or click-bait or alarmist, and the discussions are completely uninformed, insulting, to the point of being indistinguishable from an MSNBC forum.

I'll still remember you fondly. And I'll check back now and then. You'll do fine without me, find more people who enjoy insulting contributions and upvoting rumors and gossip. But maybe, just maybe, you'll think back to when you were a leader and attracted the kinds of people like me.

Submission + - GoboLinux 016 released, featuring its own filesystem virtualization tool

paranoidd writes: GoboLinux announced today the availability of a new major release. What's special about it is that it comes together with a container-free filesystem virtualization that's kind of unique thanks to the way that installed programs are arranged by the distro. Rather than having to create full-fledged containers simply to get around conflicting libraries, a lightweight solution simply plays with overlays to create dynamic filesystem views for each process that wants them. Even more interesting, the whole concept also enables 32-bit and 64-bit programs to coexist with no need for a lib64 directory (as implemented by mostly all bi-arch distributions out there). The announcement page brings some more interesting pieces of work coming from the 15-years old project.

Submission + - SPAM: Steve Wozniak, Elementary School Computer Teacher 1

theodp writes: "In 5th grade," Syambra Moitozo fondly recalls in Steve Wozniak Was My Computer Teacher in 1995, "we’d stay after school so my friend Sara’s dad could teach us about computers. Sara's dad happens to be Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple." By Moitozo's account, Woz was one cool teacher. Not only did he purchase Macintosh PowerBook laptops for the kids (those who mastered the concepts got to keep theirs), get them online with AOL accounts, and equip them with gadgets like laser pens, Woz would even occasionally treat the kids to McDonald’s Happy Meals, which Moitozo notes felt rebelliously exciting for kids who were regularly force-fed granola by their health conscious parents. "It was less important to me what you teach, and more important to motivate people by making things as fun as you can," Wozniak told Moitozo when she reconnected with him nearly 22 years later. “I had that liberty because I was sponsoring the class myself and wasn’t under the guidance of a principal. My intent was not to train people to become computer specialists or work for computer companies. We don’t need everyone in life to be computer experts." Of the 30 kids in her class, Moitozo notes that at least eight went into careers in technology, including a vision-impaired student (who now works at Apple) for whom Woz installed a huge screen at her home so she could see the lessons better.

Submission + - U.S. Senate Quietly Passes The "Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act" (zerohedge.com)

lwmv writes: On December 8, 2016, the U.S. Senate passed the Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report for fiscal year 2017. The bipartisan bill was written in March 2016 by U.S. Senators Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Chris Murphy, and designed to help American allies counter foreign government propaganda from Russia, China, and other nations. In the version of the bill incorporated into the 2017 NDAA, the U.S. Congress would ask the United States Secretary of State to collaborate with the United States Secretary of Defense and create a Global Engagement Center to monitor information warfare from foreign governments, and publicize the nature of ongoing foreign propaganda and disinformation operations against the U.S. and other countries. To support these efforts, the bill also creates a grant program for NGOs, think tanks, civil society and other experts outside government who are engaged in counter-propaganda related work.

Submission + - Scott Adams and "The Non-Expert Problem" (blogspot.ca) 18

Layzej writes: It is easy for a non-expert to be swayed by a credible sounding narrative that claims to overthrow a scientific consensus. For a scientist it is generally clear which arguments are valid, but the general public can’t independently evaluate scientific evidence. Scientist Victor Venema provides answers to a number of concerns about climate science raised by cartoonist Scott Adams. His answers are accessible and illuminating, and hopefully helpful to the non-expert who would like to understand the truth behind certain contrarian talking points.

Submission + - Deep Space Network glitches worry scientists (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Earlier this year, the Cassini spacecraft screwed up an orbital maneuver at Saturn because of a problem with its radio connection to Earth. The incident was one of several recent glitches in the Deep Space Network (DSN), NASA’s complex of large radio antennas in California, Spain, and Australia. For more than 50 years, the DSN has been the lifeline for nearly every spacecraft beyond Earth’s orbit, relaying commands from mission control and receiving data from the distant probe. On 30 September, in a meeting at NASA headquarters, officials will brief planetary scientists on the network’s status. Many are worried, based on anecdotal reports, that budget cuts and age have taken a toll that could endanger the complex maneuvers that Cassini and Juno, a spacecraft now at Jupiter, will require over the next year.

Submission + - Firefox 49 Postponed One Week Due to Unexpected Bugs (softpedia.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla has announced this week that it is delaying the release of Firefox 49 for one week to address two unexpected bugs. Firefox 49, which was set for release on Tuesday, September 13, will now launch the following Tuesday, on September 20.

Work on fixing the two issues is ongoing. The first is a problem with a slow browser script, which is also the most time-consuming issue since the Mozilla team needs around a week of telemetry data to evaluate the fix. This is also the primary reason they've delayed Firefox 49 in the first place. The second problem relates to loading Giphy GIF images on Twitter, which open in a new blank page instead of the Giphy URL. This issue was first detected in Firefox 49 Beta releases.

Firefox 49 is an important release in Mozilla's grand scheme of things when it comes to Firefox. This is the version when Mozilla will finish multi-process support rollout (a.k.a. e10s, or Electrolysis), and the version when Firefox launches the new WebExtensions API that replaces the old Add-ons API, making Firefox compatible with Chromium extensions.

Submission + - A flawed missile defense system generates $2 billion in bonuses for Boeing (latimes.com)

schwit1 writes: From 2002 through early last year, the Pentagon conducted 11 flight tests of the nation's homeland missile defense system. The interceptors failed to destroy their targets in six of the 11 tests — a record that has prompted independent experts to conclude the system cannot be relied on to foil a nuclear strike by North Korea or Iran. Yet, as The LA Times reports, over that same time span, Boeing, the Pentagon's prime contractor, collected nearly $2 billion in performance bonuses for a job well done...

Furthermore, The Pentagon paid Boeing more than $21 billion total for managing the system during that period.

An LA Times investigation by David Willman also found that the criteria for the yearly bonuses were changed at some point to de-emphasize the importance of test results that demonstrate the system’s ability to intercept and destroy incoming warheads.

Early on, Boeing’s contract specified that bonuses would be based primarily on “hit to kill success” in flight tests. In later years, the words “hit to kill” were removed in favor of more generally phrased benchmarks, contract documents show.

L. David Montague, co-chair of a National Academy of Sciences panel that documented shortcomings with GMD, called the $2 billion in bonuses “mind-boggling,” given the system’s performance.

Montague, a former president of missile systems for Lockheed Corp., said the bonuses suggest that the Missile Defense Agency, the arm of the Pentagon that oversees GMD, is a “rogue organization” in need of strict supervision.

The cumulative total of bonuses paid to Boeing has not been made public before. The Times obtained details about the payments through a lawsuit it filed against the Defense Department under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Times asked the Missile Defense Agency in March 2014 for information on bonuses paid to GMD contractors.

Boeing objected to release of the data, and the agency denied the newspaper’s request, saying disclosure might reveal “trade secrets and commercial or financial data.”

The Times then sued in federal court last year, asserting that the public had a right to know about the payments. The government’s lawyers later agreed to release the information if Boeing would not intervene in the litigation “or otherwise take steps to prevent disclosure.”

Boeing eventually acquiesced, and the Defense Department settled the suit with a single-page letter listing the sum total of bonuses paid to Boeing from Dec. 31, 2001, to March 1, 2015.

The figure: $1,959,072,946.

The precise criteria for bonuses could not be obtained for each of the relevant years. However, documents on file with the Defense and Treasury departments show that the missile agency at some point altered a central criterion.

“In recent contract terms, the words ‘hit-to-kill’ have been changed to support the more detailed documented objectives of each respective flight test. For intercept flight tests conducted under the current design and sustainment contract, a successful intercept remains a key performance objective.”

Whatever their rationale, by characterizing the test as a success, the agency and the contractors may have bolstered the prospects for performance bonuses, according to missile defense specialists.

Boeing, in its most recent annual report, underscored the significance of GMD to its finances. The company could face “reduced fees, lower profit rates or program cancellation if cost, schedule or technical performance issues arise,” the report said.

Timothy Sullivan, a former federal contracting officer who examined GMD financial documents at the request of The Times, said the bonus provisions were extraordinarily complex.

“How you administrate something like this is mind-boggling to me. It is an administrative nightmare,’’ said Sullivan, an attorney who represents defense companies and other government contractors in Washington for the law firm Thompson Coburn LLP.

Montague, the former Lockheed Corp. executive, said the intricate bonus system reflected the missile agency’s lack of rigor in engineering and contracting. If the goals for managing GMD had been adequately defined at the beginning and spelled out in contracts, there would be little need for lucrative incentives, he said.

By relying on bonuses, Montague said, the missile agency has effectively told Boeing: “We don’t know what we’re doing, but we’ll decide it together and then you’ve got to work toward maximizing your fee by concentrating on those areas.”

Is it any wonder that The Pentagon has 'lost' a few trillion dollars?

Submission + - Fancy Burning Man Camp Ransacked by Vandals (gizmodo.com)

turkeydance writes: c'mon, it's the weekend......

The White Ocean camp at Burning Man says that it’s made up of “dreamers that blur the lines between reality and the impossible.” Unfortunately for White Ocean, however, “reality” recently meant getting its shit fucked up by a bunch of vandals.

According to a lengthy Facebook post published by the camp on Thursday, the magical wonderland full of “creativity and exploration” was hit by a rash of vandalism on Wednesday night.

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