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Submission + - Underwater 'lost city' was actually built by microbes (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Geologists know that there are two kinds of “lost cities” underwater: those that were made by humans, and those that weren’t. The latter turns out to be the case for one such city, discovered by tourists diving off the Greek island of Zakynthos in 2014. The divers snapped photos of what they thought looked like the remnants of a paved stone walkway and colonnades (above). After they uploaded the images to Google Earth, Greece’s Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities launched an underwater investigation. But no human artifacts—such as coins or pottery—were found at the site, making it increasingly unlikely that it was humanmade. Instead, the smooth structures were manufactured by microbes, scientists report online today in Marine and Petroleum Geology.

Submission + - Programmers May End Up on Trial When Self-driving Cars Kill (ieee.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Transportation researcher Noah J. Goodall argues that self-driving car manufacturers and their software developers will have to explain and defend a car’s actions in the event of an accident, especially one involving fatalities. Goodall writes in IEEE: "Today no court ever asks why a driver does anything in particular in the critical moments before a crash. The question is moot as to liability—the driver panicked, he wasn’t thinking, he acted on instinct. But when robots are doing the driving, Why? becomes a valid question." That's because autonomous vehicles can react with superhuman speed, so people who got hurt in certain kinds of accident will want to understand why the vehicles didn't stop or swerve to avoid the crash. And in particular, people (and their lawyers) will want to know whether software errors or poor design is to blame.

Comment Notebook (Score 1) 86

I always hated that term. Makes it sound like its only good for taking notes when it can in fact do far more.

I am aware of the fact that it's a marketing term coined to avoid getting sued for perpetuating the idea that you can leave the thing on your lap, switched on for days at a time with no adverse health effects.

Submission + - Europe Proposes New Regulations For The Sharing Economy

An anonymous reader writes: The European Commission has outlined proposals intended to bring the sharing economy — including the likes of rideshare giant Uber and house-share service Airbnb — under greater regulatory control. The EC proposes to establish at what point collaborative online platforms, and the individuals participating in them, cross over from P2P into the business realm, and to recommend clearer and more inclusive policies regarding taxation for this growing sector, which reaped €28 billion ($31 billion) Europe-wide in 2015. The EC argues that the 'fragmented' approach which the sharing economy has been allowed to take in Europe is creating ‘uncertainty’ for traditional operators.

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