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Comment Driving is the Kind of Task Humans Do Badly (Score 2) 198

I find it curious that AI-guided vehicles appear to be held to a standard- perfection- that is never expected of humans. This is especially important given that driving is the kind of task that humans do especially poorly: it requires extended attention to something that is, for the most part, repetitive and boring. Given those kinds of tasks, humans easily lose focus, where computers do not.

Given that the US has averaged 35480 deaths on the road over the last 10 year (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year) I have a hard time seeing how AI *couldn't* make the roads safer.


Submission + - 'The Wolf of Wall Street' Movie Was Financed With Stolen Money, Says DOJ (nydailynews.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Federal officials charged a $3.5 billion Malaysian money-laundering scheme helped finance the Leonardo DiCaprio movie “Wolf of Wall Street” — the Hollywood tale that parallels the corruption charges. U.S. officials seek to recover $1.3 billion of the missing funds, including profits from the Martin Scorsese-directed movie that earned five Oscar nominations. The conspirators used some of their illicit cash to fund Scorsese’s tale of “a corrupt stockbroker who tried to hide his own illicit profits in a perceived foreign safe haven,” said U.S. Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell. DiCaprio famously played the lead role of convicted fraudster Jordan Belfort, who was ordered to repay $110 million to 1,500 victims of his scam. The identified conspirators included movie producer Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz, the prime minister’s stepson, and businessman Low Taek John, a friend of Najib’s family. A third scammer identified only as “Malaysian Official 1” was widely believed to be Najib. Court papers indicated that $681 million from a 2013 bond sale went directly into the official’s private account. The nation’s attorney-general, Mohamed Apandi, came to Najib’s defense Thursday, expressing his “strong concerns at the insinuations and allegations” brought against the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Apandi’s office, after investigating the $681 million bank deposit, announced in January that the funds were a donation from the Saudi royal family. The prime minister wound up returning most of the cash. Federal officials, in their California court filing, indicated they were hoping to seize proceeds from the 2013 movie, along with luxury properties in New York and California, artwork by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet, and a $35 million private jet. Investigations of 1MDB are already underway in Switzerland and Singapore, with officials in the latter announcing Thursday that they had seized assets worth $176 million.

Submission + - Police 3D-printed a murder victim's finger to unlock his phone (theverge.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Police in Michigan have a new tool for unlocking phones: 3D printing. According to a new report from Flash Forward creator Rose Eveleth, law enforcement officers approached professors at the University of Michigan earlier this year to reproduce a murder victimâ(TM)s fingerprint from a prerecorded scan. Once created, the 3D model would be used to create a false fingerprint, which could be used to unlock the phone.

Because the investigation is ongoing, details are limited, and itâ(TM)s unclear whether the technique will be successful. Still, itâ(TM)s similar to techniques researchers have used in the past to re-create working fingerprint molds from scanned images, often in coordination with law enforcement. This may be the first confirmed case of police using the technique to unlock a phone in an active investigation.

Submission + - WSJ reporter has phones seized by DHS at border (facebook.com)

v3rgEz writes: A Wall Street Journal reporter has shared her experienced of having her phones forcefully taken at the border — and how DHS insists that your right to privacy does not exist when reentering the United States. Indeed, she's not alone: Documents previously released under FOIA show that the DHS has a long standing policy of warrantless (and even motiveless) seizures at the border, essentially removing any traveler's right to privacy.

Submission + - Facebook Took Its Giant Internet Drone On Its First Test Flight (fastcompany.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A year ago, Facebook unveiled Aquila, its effort to put giant drones in the skies to beam Internet connectivity to areas in the developing world without mobile broadband Internet. Today, the company announced it has completed the first full-scale test of its Aquila drone, after months of testing one-fifth-size models. On June 28, the experimental aircraft (featuring a V-shaped wingspan the width of a Boeing 737) took off from the Yuma Proving Grounds in Yuma, Arizona, and flew for 96 minutes at low altitude, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg and many others watched in the dawn sunlight. (There's a video of video of the flight, too.) Possibly years of work remain before Facebook's connectivity effort fully takes off, according to a head engineer, including figuring out how to keep the drones aloft for hours at a time, and how to effectively send Internet with lasers.

Comment 4th Amendment protections (Score 1) 183

This issue is much simpler than it's being made out to be. The 4th Amendment to the US Constitution reads as follows:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

So, if the US Government got a proper search warrant, then Apple is legally obligated to do as legally ordered and unlock the phone- in this instance. Just as a single instance of issuing a search warrant doesn't allow for all future searches to take place without one, any future requests to unlock phones require their own proper search warrants. If the US Government doesn't have a proper search warrant to unlock the phone, then Apple has the perfect legal right to tell them to pound sand.

Comment From the wisdom of Sherlock Holmes... (Score 1) 412

"We must fall back upon the old axiom that when all other contingencies fail, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." – The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans

Translation: if no other explanations work, then "weird alien megastructure" could well be the last standing contingency, and therefore, the truth.


Comment Re:Economics as she is played (Score 2) 375

Whether or not it's a science, economics is horrid at predicting the future. Case in point: all the economists who insisted that the Clinton tax hikes in the '90s would cause a recession, or all the economists- probably the same ones, really- who insisted that Obama's policies would result in a spike in inflation. In both cases, the exact opposite occurred: the economy boomed in the '90s, and inflation has remained a non-issue since Obama took office.

Economics is an attempt to explain, well, how economies work. If economics were any good at this, then one would expect that economists would be able to use their theories to predict how a given policy would play out in the economy. And, in a huge percentage of cases, they fail miserably at this. To be honest, beyond supply and demand, I'm not entirely what economic theories can been shown to actually have any predictive value.

Comment Economics as she is played (Score 1) 375

Economics seems to exist to give jobs to the otherwise unemployable. After all, the entire field seems to specialise in predicting the past, yet managing to get it wrong anyhow. I say "predicting the past" b/c economists have a horrid track record of predicting the future.

But, then again, economics has gotta be a great field for job security. When's the last time you heard of an unemployed economist?

Submission + - Scott Walker Open To Building Wall Along Border With Canada (blogspot.com)

An anonymous reader writes: WASHINGTON — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), a staunch advocate of beefing up security on the southern border, said Sunday he is open to building a wall on the U.S. border with Canada as well.

Submission + - Chris Christie Proposes Tracking Immigrants the Way FedEx Tracks Packages (nytimes.com)

PolygamousRanchKid writes: Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said on Saturday that if he were elected president he would combat illegal immigration by creating a system to track foreign visitors the way FedEx tracks packages.

I just spit out my coffee . . .

Mr. Christie, who is far back in the pack of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, said at a campaign event in New Hampshire that he would ask the chief executive of FedEx, Frederick W. Smith, to devise the tracking system.“At any moment, FedEx can tell you where that package is. It’s on the truck. It’s at the station. It’s on the airplane,” Mr. Christie told the crowd in Laconia, N.H. “Yet we let people come to this country with visas, and the minute they come in, we lose track of them.” He added: “We need to have a system that tracks you from the moment you come in.”

I'm sure foreign tourist will be amused when getting a bar code sticker slapped on their arm.

A FedEx spokeswoman declined to comment on Mr. Christie’s remarks.

Mr. Christie, get your lips away from the crack pipe.

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