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Submission + - America's Nuclear Arsenal Could be Significantly Cut Without Detriment (thebulletin.org)

Chicago_Pile1 writes: America's total nuclear arsenal verges on 4,500 warheads, with at least 1,500 currently deployed in onshore bunkers and nuclear capable submarines. Kingston Reif, and Daryl G. Kimball, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy,and executive director, respectively, at the Arms Control Association in Washington, DC recommend the arsenal be reduced to streamline costs and dangers while maintaining deterrent effect in international conflict.

Submission + - Appeals Court Decision Kills North Carolina Town's Gigabit Internet (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: In early August the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the FCC had no authority to prevent states from imposing restrictions on municipal internet. This was a result of the FCC stepping in last year in an effort to "remove barriers to broadband investment and competition." However, the courts sided with the states, which said that the FCC's order impeded on state rights. In the end, this ruling clearly favored firmly entrenched big brand operators like Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and AT&T, which lobby hard to keep competition at bay. The federal ruling specifically barred municipal internet providers from offering service outside of their city limits, denying them from providing service to under-served communities. The fallout from the federal court's rejection of the FCC order to extend a lifeline to municipal internet providers has claimed another victim. The small community of Pinetops, North Carolina — population 1,300 — will soon have its gigabit internet connection shut off. Pinetops has been the recipient of Greenlight internet service, which is provided by the neighboring town of Wilson. The town of Wilson has been providing electric power to Pinetops for the past 40 years, and had already deployed fiber through the town in order to bolster its smart grid initiative. What's infuriating to the Wilson City Council and to the Pinetop residents that will lose their high-speed service, is that the connections are already in place. There's no logical reason why they should be cut off, but state laws and the lobbyists supporting those laws have deemed what Greenlight is doing illegal. Provide power to a neighboring town — sure that's OK. Provide better internet to a neighboring town — lawsuit

Submission + - Nova Scotia wind turbine speeds out of control, collapses (theweathernetwork.com)

An anonymous reader writes: This large wind turbine failed on August 17. Before the 80-metre-tall wind turbine buckled and toppled over, Enercon officials confirm that workers were told to leave, the Toronto Star reports. In addition to their towering height, the turbines have a blade length of 40 metres, the CBC notes.

Fortunately the turbines operate in a wooded area away from residents, so no one was injured. An evacuation protocol was also put in place.

Enercon and Nova Scotia's provincial government are conducting investigations to determine if there were any safety violations at the time of the incident.

Another 10 turbines in the area remain in operation, unaffected by the collapse. The cause of the collapse remains unknown.

Submission + - French government removed evidence of emissions cheating by Renault from report (ft.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: In the past year, there was a steady flow of evidence for various forms of trickery in automobile emissions controls, prompting, among others, the French government to investigate the behaviour of a number of popular cars certified to conform to Euro 5 and Euro 6 emission standards.

While the report concluded that some Renault models emitted many times more nitrogen oxides (NOx) on the road than during the official emissions test, it did not mention that a Renault Captur SUV was observed to perform a cleaning procedure on its lean NOx trap (LNT) five times in a row when the prescribed preparations for emissions testing where made, rendering it much more effective in the test than under normal conditions.

Three members of the enquiry commission told the Financial Times that the French state, which owns a 20% interest in Renault, decided that these findings should remain confidential. A spokesperson of the French environment ministry denies that facts where hidden on purpose. Meanwhile, the anti-fraud agency in France continues its investigations into Renault's emissions practices.

Renault has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, but it has agreed to voluntarily recall 15,000 cars to perform a software update that should reduce NOx emissions.

Submission + - A Debate Over the Physics of Time (quantamagazine.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Einstein once described his friend Michele Besso as “the best sounding board in Europe” for scientific ideas. They attended university together in Zurich; later they were colleagues at the patent office in Bern. When Besso died in the spring of 1955, Einstein — knowing that his own time was also running out — wrote a now-famous letter to Besso’s family. “Now he has departed this strange world a little ahead of me,” Einstein wrote of his friend’s passing. “That signifies nothing. For us believing physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

Einstein’s statement was not merely an attempt at consolation. Many physicists argue that Einstein’s position is implied by the two pillars of modern physics: Einstein’s masterpiece, the general theory of relativity, and the Standard Model of particle physics. The laws that underlie these theories are time-symmetric — that is, the physics they describe is the same, regardless of whether the variable called “time” increases or decreases. Moreover, they say nothing at all about the point we call “now” — a special moment (or so it appears) for us, but seemingly undefined when we talk about the universe at large. The resulting timeless cosmos is sometimes called a “block universe” — a static block of space-time in which any flow of time, or passage through it, must presumably be a mental construct or other illusion.

Submission + - It's a federal crime to visit a website after being told not to vis (washingtonpost.com)

Okian Warrior writes: he U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has handed down a very important decision on the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Facebook v. Vachani which decision is quite troubling. Its reasoning appears to be very broad — it says that if you tell people not to visit your website, and they do it anyway knowing you disapprove, they’re committing a federal crime of accessing your computer without authorization.

Submission + - Researchers Discover 100+ Tor Nodes Designed To Spy On Hidden Services (schneier.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Two researchers have discovered over 100 Tor nodes that are spying on hidden services. Cory Doctorow from Boing Boing reports: "These nodes — ordinary nodes, not exit nodes — sorted through all the traffic that passed through them, looking for anything bound for a hidden service, which allowed them to discover hidden services that had not been advertised. These nodes then attacked the hidden services by making connections to them and trying common exploits against the server-software running on them, seeking to compromise and take them over. The researchers used 'honeypot' .onion servers to find the spying computers: these honeypots were .onion sites that the researchers set up in their own lab and then connected to repeatedly over the Tor network, thus seeding many Tor nodes with the information of the honions' existence. They didn't advertise the honions' existence in any other way and there was nothing of interest at these sites, and so when the sites logged new connections, the researchers could infer that they were being contacted by a system that had spied on one of their Tor network circuits. No one knows who is running the spying nodes: they could be run by criminals, governments, private suppliers of "infowar" weapons to governments, independent researchers, or other scholars (though scholarly research would not normally include attempts to hack the servers once they were discovered)." The Tor project is aware of the attack and is working to redesign its system to try and block it.

Submission + - Micron Announces 9100 MAX NVMe PCIe Enterprise Solid State Drives (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: Micron just launched its new 9100 Series NVMe solid state drives which come in a number of capacities, configurations and form factors. The Micron 9100 PRO series targets read-centric environments, while the 9100 MAX targets mixed workloads. Capacities for the drives range from 800GB on up to 3.2TB, though all of the drives are outfitted with a similar Microsemi 16-core / 16-channel controller and 16nm Micron MLC NAND flash memory. The fastest drives in the series are rated for peak sequential read and write throughput of 3GB/sec and 2GB/sec, respectively. In testing, the drives generally outpace Intel's DC 3700 series drive, but can't catch Intel's higher-end SSD DC P3608 in some read tests, though the Micron drives did outpace Intel's flagship in some write tests and can hit their peak 3GB/sec specified bandwidth number easily.

Submission + - SPAM: New mid-infrared laser system could detect atmospheric

cithotelservice writes: (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) MIT researchers have found a way to use mid-infrared lasers to turn molecules in the open air into glowing filaments of electrically charged gas, or plasma. The method could make possible remote environmental monitoring to detect chemicals with high sensitivity.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Earth's "second moon" is more like our fifth!

StartsWithABang writes: Earlier this week, NASA announced the discovery of Asteroid 2016 HO3, calling it Earth’s second moon. And it turns out that this is an object in a stable orbit, the same distance from the Sun as the Earth, that can be found revolving around our world at a distance between 38 and 100 times the distance from us to the Moon. But that isn’t exactly the same as having a second Moon! In order to be considered not just a natural satellite but a stable one, you need to remain orbiting your parent world for a long period of time, not just tens, hundreds or thousands of years, like a transient quasi-satellite. Despite its current orbital characteristics, this object is much more akin to the multiple Trojan asteroids orbiting with our world than anything we’d consider moon-like.

Submission + - SPAM: Russian bot escaped again, may be scrapped

Taco Cowboy writes: As previously mentioned in [spam URL stripped]... regarding a Russian robot IR77 which escaped the research lab, it elude, again

The story goes that an engineer working at Promobot Laboratories, in the Russian city of Perm, had left a gate open. Out trundled Promobot, traveling some 150 feet into the city before running out of juice. There it sat, batteries mostly dead, in the middle of a Perm street for 40 minutes, slowing cars to a halt and puzzling traffic cops

A researcher at Promobot’s facility in Russia said that the runaway robot was designed to interact with human beings, learn from experiences, and remember places and the faces of everyone it meets. Other versions of the Promobot have been docile, but this one just can’t seem to fall in line, even after the researchers reprogrammed it twice

Despite several rewrites of Promobot’s artificial intelligence, the robot continued to move toward exits. “We have changed the AI system twice,” Kivokurtsev said. “So now I think we might have to dismantle it”

Although there are other versions in development, this malfunctioning Promobot’s days look numbered. Unless, however, its fans have any sway. Maxim reports that the Promobot YouTube comment sections are filling up with supporters asking the Russian roboticists to keep the wandering robot out of the junk heap (See [spam URL stripped]... )

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Black Hole Imager Gets First View of Galactic Core (seeker.com)

astroengine writes: A powerful new instrument at one of the world's most powerful observatories is now online and capturing its first deep views of the environment surrounding the black hole behemoth center of our Milky Way. The GRAVITY instrument is currently undergoing commissioning at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) Interferometer at the ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile and it's prime mission is to ultimately probe the region immediately surrounding Sagittarius A*, the 4 million solar mass supermassive black hole that lurks in the center of our galaxy, around 25,000 light-years from Earth. This sophisticated instrument collects light from the four main 8.2 meter diameter telescopes of the VLT Interferometer, combining it as one.

Submission + - British Startup Strip Mines Renters' Private Social Media For Landlords

Rick Zeman writes: Creepy British startup Score Assured has brought the power of "big data" to plumb new depths. In order to rent from landlords who use their services, potential renters are "...required to grant it full access to your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Instagram profiles. From there, Tenant Assured scrapes your site activity, including entire conversation threads and private messages; runs it through natural language processing and other analytic software; and finally, spits out a report that catalogues everything from your personality to your “financial stress level.”"
This "stress level" is a deep dive to (allegedly) determine whether the potential renter will pay their bills using vague indicators like "online retail social logins and frequency of social logins used for leisure activities." To make it worse, the company turns over to the landlords indicators that the landlords aren't legally allowed to consider (age, race, pregnancy status), counting on the landlords to "do the right thing." As if this isn't abusive enough, the candidates are not allowed to see nor challenge their report, unlike with credit reports.
Landlords first, employers next...and then? As the co-founder says, "People will give up their privacy to get something they want" and, evidently, that includes a place to live and a job.

Submission + - Visual Studio 2015 c++ compiler secretly inserts telemetry code into binaries (infoq.com) 4

edxwelch writes: Reddit user "sammiesdog" discovered recently that the Visual Studio 2015 c++ compiler was inserting calls to a Microsoft telemetery function into binaries.
"I compiled a simple program with only main(). When looking at the compiled binary in Ida, I see a calls for telemetry_main_invoke_trigger and telemetry_main_return_trigger. I can not find documentation for these calls, either on the web or in the options page."
Only after the discovery did Steve Carroll, the dev manager for Visual C++, admit to the feature and posted a work around. The "feature" is to be removed in Update 3 of the product.

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