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Submission + - DHS Quietly Testing Mandatory Facial Recognition of Passengers *Exiting* U.S. (fee.org)

schwit1 writes: As part of the testing, travelers will present their boarding pass while their digital photo is taken. The process will take less than three seconds before travelers proceed to the passenger loading bridge to board their flight. Travelers over the age of 14 and under 79 will be required to participate in the test. The test will evaluate CBP’s ability to successfully compare the image of a traveler taken during departure against an image the traveler previously provided, in an automated fashion and without impacting airport operations.

Submission + - California Law Enforcement Union Sues To Block Police Accountability (techdirt.com)

schwit1 writes: Because there's just not enough opacity shrouding police misconduct and not enough slanting of the criminal justice system against defendants, California police unions have decided to get involved in a judicial dispute over lists of law enforcement officers whose half of "our word against yours" isn't quite as bulletproof as is normally assumed.

A Los Angeles sheriff is trying to do the right thing, but he's running into opposition from his own supposed "representatives."

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has collected the names of about 300 deputies who have a history of past misconduct — such as domestic violence, theft, bribery and brutality — that could damage their credibility if they testify in court.

Sheriff Jim McDonnell wants to send the names to prosecutors, who can decide whether to add them to an internal database that tracks problem officers in case the information needs to be disclosed to defendants in criminal trials.

I don't imagine prosecutors are exactly thrilled to be the recipient of information that damages the credibility of their favorite witnesses, but it's probably better than having your witness destroyed in open court by a defense attorney. But prosecutors may never see this information, thanks to the police union's belief that officers shouldn't be held accountable for anything.

Submission + - Supersmart Robots Will Outnumber Humans Within 30 Years, Says SoftBank CEO (wsj.com)

schwit1 writes:

These beliefs underpin the wave of large and surprising deals the Japanese internet and telecommunications giant has pulled off in the past year, [SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son] said on Monday. These include starting a $100 billion technology-investment fund with a Saudi sovereign-wealth fund, buying British microprocessor designer ARM Holdings PLC for $32 billion and acquiring U.S. asset manager Fortress Investment Group PLC for $3.3 billion.

This 30-year forecast created urgency, Mr. Son said in a speech at the telecom industry’s biggest trade show, Mobile World Congress. “That is why I’m in a hurry to aggregate cash to invest.”

In a brief interview after his speech, Mr. Son said his $100 billion project with the Saudis, dubbed the SoftBank Vision Fund, was bigger than the $65 billion in combined investments from the venture-capital world. He said the SoftBank Vision Fund would be focused. “Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, smart robots: those are the three main things I’m interested in,” he said.

Mr. Son said he didn’t expect the planned initial public offering of oil colossus Saudi Aramco to affect the size of Vision Fund. “They are a great partner,” he said of the Saudis. “They’re already rich. They have lots of money, even before the IPO.”

The Saudis already outsource much of their labor to millions of foreign guest-workers from India, Pakistan, and around the Arab world. Their numbers are huge — it's estimated that about 31% of the Saudi population of 27 million is made up of expatriates. The wages those workers repatriate help keep their home economies afloat. If Son is correct, that cashflow is about to be diverted away from the Third World, and towards Japan, China, the U.S., and other makers of automated systems.

Those workers getting the boot and that money drying up could create the next big disruptive wave to come out of the Middle East and South Asia.

Comment RUNAS helps with some apps (Score 1) 228

I put C:\Windows\System32\runas.exe /trustlevel:0x20000 before some apps to have them run as a basic user.

[c:]runas /showtrustlevels
The following trust levels are available on your system:
0x20000 (Basic User)

This works for firefox and outlook and some others. Chrome and slack fail.

Submission + - New auto-destruct system to increase launch rate (spaceflightnow.com)

schwit1 writes: A new auto-destruct system operating by computer, using GPS, and installed on each rocket should allow the launch rate in Florida to ramp up significantly.

Up until now it took several days to reconfigure the ground-based radar facilities. This system, first used on the most recent Falcon 9 launch, does not require this. It also involves fewer people to operate it. They expect that they will soon be able to launch up to 48 missions per year, some on the same day.

Submission + - How to Get Back to the Moon in 4 Years--This Time to Stay (scientificamerican.com)

schwit1 writes: It’s a way to get to the Moon and to stay there permanently. A way to begin this process immediately and to achieve moon landings in less than four years.

How?

Turn to private industry. Turn to two companies in particular—Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Robert Bigelow’s Bigelow Aerospace. Why? Because the approach that NASA’s acting administrator Robert Lightfoot is pushing won’t allow a Moon landing.

Lightfoot’s problem lies in the two pieces of NASA equipment he wants to work with: a rocket that’s too expensive to fly and is years from completion—the Space Launch System; and a capsule that’s far from ready to carry humans—the Orion. Neither the SLS nor the Orion are able to land on the Moon. Let me repeat that. Once these pieces of super-expensive equipment reach the moon’s vicinity, they cannot land.

Who is able to land on the lunar surface? Elon Musk and Robert Bigelow. Musk’s rockets—the Falcon and the soon-to-be-launched Falcon Heavy—are built to take off and land. So far their landing capabilities have been used to ease them down on earth. But the same technology, with a few tweaks, gives them the ability to land payloads on the surface of the Moon. Including humans. What’s more, SpaceX’s upcoming seven-passenger Dragon 2 capsule has already demonstrated its ability to gentle itself down to earth’s surface. In other words, with a few modifications and equipment additions, Falcon rockets and Dragon capsules could be made Moon-ready.

There’s more. Within the space community, there is a wide disenchantment with “flags and footprints” missions. Flags and footprints missions are those like the Apollo landings in which astronauts land, plant a flag, hit a golf ball, then disappear for 45 years. Major segments of the space community want every future landing to add to a permanent infrastructure in the sky. And that’s within our grasp thanks to Robert Bigelow.

In 2000, Bigelow purchased a technology that Congress had ordered NASA to abandon: inflatable habitats. For the last sixteen years Bigelow and his company, Bigelow Aerospace, have been advancing inflatable habitat technology. Inflatable technology lets you squeeze a housing unit into a small package, carry it by rocket to a space destination, then blow it up like a balloon. Since the spring of 2016, Bigelow, a real estate developer and founder of the Budget Suites of America hotel chain, has had an inflatable habitat acting as a spare room at the International Space Station 220 miles above your head and mine. And Bigelow’s been developing something far more ambitious—an inflatable Moon Base, that would use three of his 330-cubic-meter B330 modules. What’s more, Bigelow has been developing a landing vehicle to bring his modules gently down to the Moon’s surface.

Then there’s a wild card—Jeff Bezos. Bezos’ Blue Origin rockets already have a well-tested capacity to take off, land, then take off again. Which means that in the next few years Bezos’ rockets, too, could land cargoes and passengers on the Moon.

Submission + - Is the Leading Theory About Alzheimer's Wrong? (theatlantic.com)

schwit1 writes: Last week, the pharmaceutical company Merck pulled the plug on a closely watched Alzheimer’s drug trial. The drug verubecestat, an outside committee concluded, had “virtually no chance” of benefit for patients with the disease.

The failure of one drug is of course disappointing, but verubecestat is only the latest in a string of failed trials all attempting the same strategy to battle Alzheimer’s. That pattern of failure has provoked some rather public soul-searching about the basic hypothesis that has guided Alzheimer’s research for the past quarter century.

Other skeptics of the amyloid hypothesis are coming back to tau, the protein Selkoe left decades ago to focus on amyloid. In the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, tau gets twisted into tangles that block the internal transport system of neurons. A recent failed trial aside, several drugs targeting tau are in early phases of clinical trials.

The waxing and waning of animating ideas is just how science works. For scientists, says Bart de Strooper, an Alzheimer’s researcher at the University of Leuven, these failed trials still have something to teach. “The failed trial doesn’t have to be a failure. We learn from it,” he says. “Only because a trial is done do we know now we have to go further.” The question is how much further. Refine the amyloid hypothesis, or abandon it altogether? Without the benefit of hindsight, it’s hard to know which is the side of history.

Submission + - If your TV rats you out, what about your car? (autoblog.com)

schwit1 writes: Nowadays, auto manufacturers seem to be tripping over each other pointing out that they offer Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto. And more recent phenomenon are announcements—from companies including Ford and Hyundai—that they are offering Amazon Alexa capabilities. You talk. It listens.

In late January, General Motors said it is releasing a next-generation infotainment software development kit (NGI SDK) to software developers to write apps for GM cars. The NGI SDK includes native Application Program Interfaces (APIs) that allow access to expected things — like oil life and tire pressure and whether lightbulbs are burned out — but unexpected things, as well. Like the presence of passengers in the vehicle.

Here's the thing. While it may seem appealing to have all manner of connectivity in cars, there is the other side of that. Without getting all tinfoil hat about this, when your TV set is ratting you out, isn't it likely that your car will?

It drives. And watches. And listens. And collects data the likes of which you might otherwise not have shared.

Submission + - Risk Of Cascadia Quake Elevated As Puget Sound 'Slow Slip' Event Begins (patch.com) 1

schwit1 writes: On Wednesday, the semi-annual "slow slip" event began, according to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) at the University of Washington. The event happens about every 14 months deep underneath the Puget Sound area and is essentially a slow earthquake that takes place over the course of two weeks.

During a slow-slip event, after 14 months of moving eastward, the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate stalls and moves westward, which puts stress on the Cascadia subduction zone.

Seismologists often refer to this as a "straw that broke the camel's back" scenario.

"It's loading up the edge of the lock zone of the Cascadia subduction zone more rapidly than normal tectonic processes would do," explained Bill Steele, director of communications at the PNSN. "You're getting seven months of strain accumulation applied to the back edge of the fault over a week."

Submission + - Women's life expectancy on track to hit 90 in some nations. (yahoo.com)

schwit1 writes: By 2030 life expectancy for South Korean women could top nine decades, an average lifespan long thought to be out of reach, researchers said Wednesday.

South Korea is not only the first country in the world where women may live past 90 on average, it is also the one on track to log the biggest jump in longevity, they reported in The Lancet medical journal.

Other developed countries are not far behind: the longevity of French and Japanese women are more likely than not to stretch past 88 years.

The men who could look forward to the longest lives in 2015 were in Switzerland, Iceland and Australia — all within a few decimal points of an 81 year lifespan.

Submission + - The race for autonomous cars is over. Silicon Valley lost. (autoblog.com)

schwit1 writes: Up until very recently the talk in Silicon Valley was about how the tech industry was going to broom Detroit into the dustbin of history. Companies such as Apple, Google, and Uber — so the thinking went -were going to out run, out gun, and out innovate the automakers. Today that talk is starting to fade. There's a dawning realization that maybe there's a good reason why the traditional car companies have been around for more than a century.

Last year Apple laid off most of the engineers it hired to design its own car. Google (now Waymo) stopped talking about making its own car. And Uber, despite its sky high market valuation, is still a long, long way from ever making any money, much less making its own autonomous cars.

To paraphrase Elon Musk, Silicon Valley is learning that "Making rockets is hard, but making cars is really hard." People outside of the auto industry tend to have a shallow understanding of how complex the business really is. They think all you have to do is design a car and start making it. But most startups never make it past the concept car stage because the move to mass production proves too daunting.

Submission + - Cellebrite can now unlock iPhone 6 and 6+ (cyberscoop.com)

Patrick O'Neill writes: A year after the battle between the FBI and Apple over unlocking an iPhone 5s, smartphone cracking company Cellebrite announced it can now unlock the iPhone 6 and 6+ for customers at rates ranging from $1,500 to $250,000. The company's newest products also extract and analyze data from a wide range of popular apps including all of the most popular secure messengers around.

Submission + - A.T.F. Filled Secret Bank Account With Millions From Shadowy Cigarette Sales (nytimes.com)

schwit1 writes: “Working from an office suite behind a Burger King in southern Virginia, operatives used a web of shadowy cigarette sales to funnel tens of millions of dollars into a secret bank account. They weren’t known smugglers, but rather agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The operation, not authorized under Justice Department rules, gave agents an off-the-books way to finance undercover investigations and pay informants without the usual cumbersome paperwork and close oversight, according to court records and people close to the operation.”

Laws and rules are for the little people.

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