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Comment Re:heat treat (Score 1) 78

Sure working outdoors will make you lose some salt through sweat, but unless you're crossing a desert on hard rations that's doing you more good than harm.

More than that. If you're working all day in the hot sun and only drinking water, you're at real danger of heat cramps, followed by heat exhaustion and something worse.

You don't need *much* salt, but if you're sweating all day you need SOME. Gatorade or another electrolyte solution is carried on ambulance rigs in hotter areas for just this purpose.

Comment Re:They could have done better with the data (Score 0) 344

Once a phone call is initiated it poses little or no risk as it continues. If I start a phone call while I'm at a stop light and continue with it I'm really not posing any additional danger to anyone. By comparison taking your eyes off the road to read and write a text message is inherently dangerous any time you are attempting to drive while doing so.

Ironically, the initial justification for cell phone bans (before the era of smartphones) was the exact opposite. Cell phones with physical buttons were easy to dial with, could be done by touch many times, and scrolling a linear list of contacts was easy. The "concern" was that an emotional call (or any call at all) would be distracting in a way that listening to the radio wasn't. This is why other "fiddling with things" tech, even available then, wasn't included in the ban here in CA. (I'm talking about things like dedicated GPS receivers, and classic iPods.)

Text messaging alone didn't seem to really take off until the early-mid 2000s in the US outside of certain circles.

Nowadays, of course, it's almost completely the opposite. Phone calls are rarer, and your mobile device is multifunction and used for all sorts of things by the broad populace on a regular basis.

I have to generally agree with the grandparent/first post though. If EVERYONE is doing it regardless, the draconian law should be changed so something more meaningful and fairer to enforce. I'd say more people are breaking the cell phone law than are breaking speed limits -- and that's something. In CA you're not allowed to have your cell in hand even stopped at a traffic light which (as annoying as it is to have to honk at someone that the light's changed) not as much harm as that ticket would seem to imply.

My suggestion: "special circumstances" for injury accidents and reckless driving / moving violation crimes with hands off the wheel and a renewed emphasis on "Don't do distracted driving" vs "Don't look at your cell phone". Let's be realistic, and we'll have much more compliance.

Software

New Approach To Virtual Reality Shocks You Into Believing Walls Are Real (vice.com) 59

A team of researchers from Germany's Hasso-Plattner Institute is trying to find an effective way to trick the mind into thinking a virtual object or wall is real. They have developed a new device that "sends little electric shocks to sensors on your arms that stimulate your muscles whenever you press against a wall or try to lift a heavy object in virtual reality," reports Motherboard. From the report: The team's main goal was to create this illusion as cheaply as possible. Their contraption, seen in the video above, consists of little more than an electric muscle stimulator stuffed in a backpack, the sensors, and a Samsung GearVR device accompanied by motion trackers. In other words, if you've been turned off by the clunky headsets of the contemporary VR experience, this probably won't do much to win you over.
Canada

'Breakthrough' LI-RAM Material Can Store Data With Light (ctvnews.ca) 104

A Vancouver researcher has patented a new material that uses light instead of electricity to store data. An anonymous reader writes: LI-RAM -- that's light induced magnetoresistive random-access memory -- promises supercomputer speeds for your cellphones and laptops, according to Natia Frank, the materials scientist at the University of Victoria who developed the new material as part of an international effort to reduce the heat and power consumption of modern processors. She envisions a world of LI-RAM mobile devices which are faster, thinner, and able to hold much more data -- all while consuming less power and producing less heat.

And best of all, they'd last twice as long on a single charge (while producing almost no heat), according to a report on CTV News, which describes this as "a breakthrough material" that will not only make smartphones faster and more durable, but also more energy-efficient. The University of Victoria calculates that's 10% of the world's electricity is consumed by "information communications technology," so LI-RAM phones could conceivably cut that figure in half.

They also report that the researcher is "working with international electronics manufacturers to optimize and commercialize the technology, and says it could be available on the market in the next 10 years."

Comment Why demonize BK when this is what white hats do (Score 5, Insightful) 606

Congratulations, folks... BK has successfully demonstrated a giant vulnerability in Google's (and Amazon's, and Apple's...) product - it responds to voices from people it doesn't know, and the default access phrase is well-known.

Maybe instead of whining about Burger King, you can pressure your vendor to fix their design flaws. Or better yet, disable all voice recognition/spying devices and banish them from your house completely.

Comment Re:The google as corporate cancer (Score 1) 46

Just a few examples, but beyond the google I'm especially aware of Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Exxon. Feel free to add your favorite corporate cancer here.

Exxon? Really? That's fairly retro. Ranting about Standard Oil and, to some extent, Baby Bells that aren't directly involved in cell tracking, seems rather quaint.

Replace Exxon with Facebook and you've got a far stronger argument. Exxon can charge me for oil and oil products. Facebook has enough privileges on any given smartphone to track me 24 hours a day and manipulate my interaction with most of my friends (while Google controls my interaction with rest of the world).

Far more important.

Earth

Wolves May Be 'Re-Domesticating' Into Dogs (sciencemag.org) 95

sciencehabit quotes a report from Science Magazine: It happened thousands of years ago, and it may be happening again: Wolves in various parts of the world may have started on the path to becoming dogs. That's the conclusion of a new study, which finds that the animals are increasingly dining on livestock and human garbage instead of their wild prey, inching closer and closer to the human world in some places. But given today's industrialized societies, this closeness might also bring humans and wolves into more conflict, with disastrous consequences for both. To find out how gray wolves might be affected by eating more people food, Thomas Newsome, an evolutionary biologist at the Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, and his colleagues examined studies of what's happened to other large carnivores that live close to people. Newsome's 2014 study of a dingo population in Australia's Tanami Desert showed that the wild dogs' habit of dining almost exclusively on junk food at a waste management facility had made them fat and less aggressive. They were also more likely to mate with local dogs and had become "cheeky," says Newsome, daring to run between his legs as he set out traps for them. Most intriguingly, the dumpster dingoes' population formed a genetic cluster distinct from all other dingoes -- indicating that they were becoming genetically isolated, a key step in forming a new species. Is this happening to gray wolves? The conditions are ripe for it, says Newsome, noting that human foods already make up 32% of gray wolf diets around the world. The animals now mostly range across remote regions of Eurasia and North America, yet some are returning to developed areas. The paper has been published in the journal Bioscience.
Earth

There's an Earth-like Planet With an Atmosphere Just 39 Light-years Away (washingtonpost.com) 149

Artem Tashkinov quotes a report from Washington Post: There are a lot of good reasons to be captivated by the exoplanet GJ 1132b. Located in the constellation Vela, it's a mere 39 light-years from Earth -- just a hop, skip and a jump in galactic terms. It's similar to Earth in terms of size and mass, and it dances in a close-in orbit around its star, a dimly burning red dwarf. And, astronomers recently discovered, it has an atmosphere. The finding, published in the Astronomical Journal, is the first detection of an atmosphere around a terrestrial "Earth-like" planet orbiting a red dwarf star -- and it suggests there could be millions more. Although the researchers call the planet "Earth-like," the term is only applicable in its broadest sense. GJ 1132b is so close to its sun that it more likely resembles Venus than Earth. Astronomers estimate its average temperature to be about 700 degrees Fahrenheit, and that's without taking into account the potential greenhouse effect of its atmosphere. It is also probably tidally locked, meaning that gravity keeps one side of the planet constantly facing the star, while the other is cast in permanent shadow. GJ 1132b would not make a cozy home for life -- at least, not life as we know it.

Comment Re:Don't you just lie? (Score 1) 142

Interesting point. HR due diligence usually involves a "background check", which is a euphemism for gathering data which is loosely related or sometimes unrelated to job requirements. Asking for a W-2 costs nothing so background checking services do it routinely.

I had a situation where I was applying for a job while self-employed. For complicated reasons, supplying a W-2 was not an option. In the end, the employer and I both agreed that my current income had nothing to do with the price of tea in China, so they made their offer based on what they were willing to pay. The offer made sense, so I accepted it. Alternatively, if they really wanted to use my current income as the baseline for salary negotiation, there was always the possibility that I would demand a salary commensurate with my best year as a self-employed consultant, or at least the average, at which point the deal falls apart.

I'm not a fan of lying about any part of the job application process. It can lead to all sorts of trouble and I have no reason to do it. So I tell the truth and let the process play out. Unfortunately, not everyone plays by these rules. I know of several people with various issues that would never pass a routine background check, and yet they end up working at some of the largest employers in America! If I use LinkedIn to look up people that I know, sometimes I find fake degrees, inflated job titles, fictional jobs at real companies, and fictional jobs at fictional companies. At first i thought it was hilarious, until I realized that honest job seekers are competing against these people. Even worse, I considered the "verifiability" of my own situation and found some problems. Long after my departure, several of my former employers have merged, downsized, sold, relocated, outsourced, or discontinued their operations. Any document that I produce could easily be drafted in Word or Photoshop -- nobody is in a position to prove or disprove anything. If I provide references, they could just as easily be friends with a script.

Thanks to modern technology, it is now easier to "verify" a fake background than a real one!

Education

Over 90% of College Students Today Regularly Use Netflix, But Only 34% Are Actually Paying For Their Own Account (streamingobserver.com) 55

According to a new survey from LendEDU, more than 90% of today's college students have access to a Netflix account they regularly use, while only 8% who responded to the survey said they don't have a Netflix account. What some may find even more surprising is that of the 90% of students who have access to Netflix, only 34% of them are actually paying for their own Netflix account. Streaming Observer News reports: That actually goes right in line with numbers from Piper Jaffray that showed almost 40% of teens watch Netflix every single day. Their closest competitors, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, each came in at just 3% each for daily use. Of course, that doesn't mean they're all paying for Netflix. 54% of respondents to LendEDU's survey said they use a family member's or friend's account, and 5% more said they used a boyfriend/girlfriend or ex's account. While only 34% of college students are actually paying for their own Netflix account, that's apparently not too big of a concern for Netflix, who has taken a relatively lax attitude towards password sharing in recent years.
Google

Google's Custom Machine Learning Chips Are 15-30x Faster Than GPUs and CPUs (pcworld.com) 91

Four years ago, Google was faced with a conundrum: if all its users hit its voice recognition services for three minutes a day, the company would need to double the number of data centers just to handle all of the requests to the machine learning system powering those services, reads a PCWorld article, which talks about how Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), a chip that is designed to accelerate the inference stage of deep neural networks came into being. The article shares an update: Google published a paper on Wednesday laying out the performance gains the company saw over comparable CPUs and GPUs, both in terms of raw power and the performance per watt of power consumed. A TPU was on average 15 to 30 times faster at the machine learning inference tasks tested than a comparable server-class Intel Haswell CPU or Nvidia K80 GPU. Importantly, the performance per watt of the TPU was 25 to 80 times better than what Google found with the CPU and GPU.
IBM

IBM Technology Creates Smart Wingman For Self-Driving Cars (networkworld.com) 42

coondoggie quotes a report from Network World: IBM said that it has patented a machine learning technology that defines how to shift control of an autonomous vehicle between a human driver and a vehicle control processor in the event of a potential emergency. Basically the patented IBM system employs onboard sensors and artificial intelligence to determine potential safety concerns and control whether self-driving vehicles are operated autonomously or by surrendering control to a human driver. The idea is that if a self-driving vehicle experiences an operational glitch like a faulty braking system, a burned-out headlight, poor visibility, bad road conditions, it could decide whether the on-board self-driving vehicle control processor or a human driver is in a better position to handle that anomaly. If the comparison determines that the vehicle control processor is better able to handle the anomaly, the vehicle is placed in autonomous mode," IBM stated. "The technology would be a smart wingman for both the human and the self-driving vehicle," said James Kozloski, manager, Computational Neuroscience and Multiscale Brain Modeling, IBM Research and co-inventor on the patent.

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