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Submission + - Driverless Truck Startup Is Putting Human Drivers to Work (fortune.com)

reddi-phreddi writes: Starsky Robotics CEO and co-founder Stefan Seltz-Axmacher wants to solve the primary logistical challenge for the trucking industry by taking drivers off the road and putting them in an office. Its business model and approach is unlike other self-driving truck companies like Embark and Otto that have emerged in the past year.

Submission + - Why Your Boss Will Crush Your Innovative Ideas (bbc.com)

dryriver writes: BBC Capital explores why good ideas people have in the workplace almost never reach the top decision makers in a company: "Surely you’ve heard the plea from on high at your company: we want more innovation, from everyone at every level. Your boss might even agree with the sentiment — because, of course, who doesn’t like innovation? It’s good for everyone, right? Yet when it comes to innovating at your job it might be better to lower your expectations — and then some. Your idea is far more likely to die on your boss’s desk than it is to reach the CEO. It’s not that top managers don’t want new ideas. Rather, it’s the people around you — your colleagues, your manager — who are unlikely to bend toward change. “Companies are almost forced to say that they are changing these days,” says Lynn Isabella. But, “it’s not organisations that resist change; people resist,” says Isabella. “The people have to see what’s in it for them.”

Submission + - House Passes Email Privacy Bill

Obfiscator writes: The US House of Representatives passed a bill to require federal agencies to obtain a warrant before being granted access to email communications. From the article: "This Act will fix a constitutional flaw in ECPA, which currently purports to allow the government to compel a provider to disclose email contents in some cases without a warrant, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Email Privacy Act ensures that the content of our emails are protected in the same way that the Fourth Amendment protects the items we store in our homes."

The full text of the bill is here, although somewhat hard to read since it's a modification of a previous bill. This appears to be the most relevant part: "a governmental entity may require the disclosure by a provider of electronic communication service of the contents of a wire or electronic communication that is in electronic storage with or otherwise stored, held, or maintained by that service only if the governmental entity obtains a warrant issued using the procedures described in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure."

Submission + - LIGO doesn't just detect gravitational waves. It makes them, too (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is not only the most sensitive detector of ripples in spacetime. It also happens to be the world's best producer of gravitational waves, a team of physicists now calculates. Although these waves are far too feeble to detect directly, the researchers say, the radiation in principle could be used to try to detect weird quantum mechanical effects among large objects.

Submission + - Iris Scans And Fingerprints Could Be Your Ticket On British Rail

Mickeycaskill writes: Rail passengers could use fingerprints or iris scans to pay for tickets and pass through gates, under plans announced by the UK rail industry.

In its current form the mobile technology is intended to allow passengers to travel without tickets, instead using Bluetooth and geolocation technology to track a passenger’s movements and automatically charge their travel account at the end of the day for journeys taken.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators and Network Rail, said further development could see passengers identified using biometric technology in a way similar to the facial-recognition schemes used at some UK airports to speed up border checks.

Submission + - Politics Have Turned Facebook Into a Steaming Cauldron of Hate (backchannel.com) 1

mirandakatz writes: America has never been more divided, and on social media, people are blocking, muting, and unfriending each other left and right. At Backchannel, Jessi Hempel argues that Facebook is the last place we should be having political discussion right now: "We know the “filter bubble” about which Eli Pariser first wrote back in 2011 is part of the problem—it limits the viewpoints we see to those that reflect the opinions we already have. And yet we double down on that bubble, muting and blocking and unfriending people who think differently from us, if they make it into our social streams at all. We hate ourselves a tiny bit for this. And yet, if we do the opposite—engage on social media with people who hold different viewpoints—it almost always goes sideways." If you really want to understand people who don't think the same way as you? Get off of Facebook, and into the real world.

Submission + - TeraHertz Transmitter Can Push 100Gbps+ Wireless Speeds via a Single Channel

Mark.JUK writes: A team of Japanese scientists working jointly for Hiroshima University and Panasonic have managed to develop a TeraHertz (THz) transmitter that is capable of transmitting digital data at a rate of 105Gbps (Gigabits per second) over a single channel using the frequency range from 290GHz to 315GHz. Previously it was only possible to achieve such speeds by harnessing multiple channels at the same time.

Prof. Minoru Fujishima, Hiroshima University, said: “This year, we developed a transmitter with 10 times higher transmission power than the previous version’s. This made the per-channel data rate above 100 Gbit/s at 300 GHz possible. We usually talk about wireless data rates in megabits per second or gigabits per second. But we are now approaching terabits per second using a plain simple single communication channel."

The team envisages a future where such technology could power Satellite and Mobile communications, although this is still a distant dream as many such technologies struggle to send their signals more than a few metres. Boosting the power can overcome some of the problems, but it also makes related hardware very difficult to convert into a portable form.

Submission + - Mozilla to Drop Support for All NPAPI Plugins in Firefox 52, Except Flash (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Starting with March 7, when Mozilla is scheduled to release Firefox 52, all plugins built on the old NPAPI technology will stop working in Firefox, except for Flash, which Mozilla plans to support for a few more versions. This means technologies such as Java, Silverlight, and various audio and video codecs won't work on Firefox.

These plugins once helped the web move forward, but as time advanced, the Internet's standards groups developed standalone Web APIs and alternative technologies to support most of these features without the need of special plugins.

The old NPAPI plugins will continue to work in the Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release) 52, but will eventually be deprecated in ESR 53. A series of hacks are available that will allow Firefox users to continue using old NPAPI plugins past Firefox 52, by switching the update channel from Firefox Stable to Firefox ESR.

Submission + - Can An Electric Skateboard Company Be A Transportation Company? (fastcompany.com)

tedlistens writes: If electric skateboard startup Inboard wants to become the Tesla of rideables, the company has to carve a path between one crowd that fears falling and another that fears looking uncool. But to ambitious electric skateboard entrepreneurs like Inboard's founders, a good electric skateboard could be an answer to the so-called "last-mile problem"—how to get home from the train station, for instance—and one that's more portable and packable than a bicycle.

Last year, Audi introduced a concept car at the Beijing Autoshow that featured an electric longboard tucked into the rear bumper. Representatives from both Volvo and JetBlue have also dialed Inboard’s offices to learn more about the M1. "They’re looking to see how the markets mature and are asking, ‘How can we pair a smart car with emerging technologies and also have a foot in the game with rideable technologies?’" says David Evans, Inboard’s chief marketing officer.

Submission + - Creator of Pac-Man Dies at Age 91 (wsj.com)

An anonymous reader writes: WSJ, CNET, Fox News, NYT and others are reporting that Masaya Nakamura, the “Father of Pac-Man”, has died at the age of 91.

Nakamura founded Namco, part of Bandai Namco, in 1955. It started out as just two mechanical horse rides on a department store rooftop but went on to pioneer game arcades and amusement parks.

"The game was nonviolent but just challenging enough to hook players into steering the Pac-Man for hours through its mazes on the hunt for ghostly tidbits."

Submission + - Facebook Unveils Delegated Recovery Account Security System

Trailrunner7 writes: Facebook has developed a new account-recovery system that eschews the typical communications channels used for this process, and instead relies on a user’s connections with other services. The scheme allows users to regain access to accounts without providing any identifiable information to other services.

The Delegated Recovery system, which Facebook introduced at the Enigma conference here Monday, could be a major step forward in the way that sites handle the messy and sensitive process of account recovery. Right now, most sites use either email, SMS, or a combination of the two when a user needs to recover her account. A user typically clicks on a link, which will generate an email or text with a link that the user can follow to reset a password or go through other account-recovery steps.

The system that Facebook has implemented allows a user to link her Facebook account with an account on another site. Instead of using email or SMS, the two sites exchange cryptographically secured packages with data tokens. The two sites don’t change any identifiable information about the user during the process and the communications are done over HTTPS.

“The only thing that gets learned is that you have an account on the other site,” said Brad Hill, a Facebook engineer, who spoke at the Enigma conference. “No user-identifiable information is exchanged, so it’s not tied to a username, or email, or phone number.”

Submission + - Starbucks embraces voice ordering through both its iOS app and Amazon Alexa (betanews.com) 1

BrianFagioli writes: The company has often embraced technology within its stores — it offers a nice mobile app with Spotify integration, and many of its tables offer wireless smartphone charging. Today, the company rolls out voice ordering through its own mobile iOS app or Amazon Alexa. Unfortunately, the iOS feature will be limited to 1,000 beta testers at first.

Starbucks says, "The Starbucks Reorder Skill for Amazon's Alexa platform leverages Starbucks Mobile Order and Pay technology, allowing customers to order their 'usual' Starbucks food and beverage items as they move throughout their day. Customers simply need to say 'Alexa, order my Starbucks,' giving them the ability to order their usual items from their store wherever they have an Alexa device."

Submission + - Photoshop Creator Thomas Knoll on Subscription Software and What's Good for Engi (ieee.org)

Tekla Perry writes: Photoshop Creator Thomas Knoll, speaking to a small group at the Computer History Museum, gives a nod to the power of procrastination, shares a few thoughts on fake news, and tells why he thinks the move to subscription software from packaged software has been good for the engineers who design it. For one, he says, "It changes incentive for engineers. Previously, the incentive was to create features that demo’d well. Now the incentive is to create features people actually use and don’t want to do without."

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