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Updated: 2015-07-26

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The First Draft of the SN manifesto is available

There seem to be more new Sci-Fi shows coming out now than ever. Tell me, Soylent, which is the best?

  • Zoo
  • Humans
  • Killjoys
  • Dark Matter
  • Sense 8
  • The Whispers
  • Other Space
  • Have I told you about how I don't own a TV, yet?

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:61 | Votes:170

posted by janrinok on Tuesday July 28, @02:39PM   Printer-friendly
from the perhaps-they're-being-abused? dept.

The NYT reports that New York Magazine website went off-line hours after posting a story featuring 35 women who have accused the comedian Bill Cosby of sexual abuse and the article was inaccessible on Monday morning. "Our site is experiencing technical difficulties. We are aware of the issue, and working on a fix," the magazine posted to its main Twitter account early Monday morning.

A user called Vikingdom2016 claimed responsibility for a DOS attack on the site and said the attack was based on a hatred for New York, and was not related to the cover that features Mr. Cosby's accusers. As the website remained off-line, editors were working to find other ways to publish the piece, which the magazine said took six months of work.

On Monday morning, the magazine began posting audio related to the cover article on Instagram. The story is available at Web.Archive.Org's Wayback Machine.


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posted by janrinok on Tuesday July 28, @01:17PM   Printer-friendly
from the making-a-stand dept.

This week WordPress released the latest edition of its recurring transparency report, revealing 43 percent of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) take-down requests it received have been rejected in the first six months of 2015. It's the lowest six-month period shown in the report, though it only dates back to 2014. However, WordPress said this headline figure would be even higher if it "counted suspended sites as rejected notices." That change in calculation would bump the WordPress DMCA denial rate to 67 percent between January 1 and June 30, 2015.

In total, the publishing platform received 4,679 DMCA takedown requests as of June 30, identifying 12 percent of those as "abusive." The top three organizations submitting these requests were Web Sheriff, Audiolock, and InternetSecurities. "Not surprisingly, the list is dominated by third party take down services, many of whom use automated bots to identify copyrighted content and generate take-down notices," WordPress noted. The company wrote at length about this practice in April, both explaining and condemning the general procedure.

"These kind of automated systems scour the Web, firing off take-down notifications where unauthorized uses of material are found—so humans don't have to," WordPress wrote. "Sounds great in theory, but it doesn't always work out as smoothly in practice. Much akin to some nightmare scenario from the Terminator, sometimes the bots turn on their creators."

Computers fighting computers, with only human casualties. Sounds like a jurisprudential version of this.


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posted by janrinok on Tuesday July 28, @11:53AM   Printer-friendly
from the ping-rumble-crash dept.

A new NASA challenge is looking for evidence to support a theory that electromagnetic pulses (EMP) may precede an earthquake, potentially offering a warning to those in the quake's path.

The "Quest for Quakes" two-week algorithm challenge seeks to develop new software codes or algorithms to search through data and identify electromagnetic pulses that may precede an earthquake. Some researchers have speculated such pulses originating from the ground near earthquake epicenters could signal the onset of some quakes.

"Developing a reliable approach that can separate potential earthquake-induced electromagnetic pulses from the myriad of natural and anthropogenic sources has been a significant challenge," said Craig Dobson, program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "We look forward to seeing the innovative ideas from this competition and learning more about this controversial phenomenon."

The challenge opened for registration on Tuesday. Competitors will be able to submit entries from Monday, July 27 at 1 p.m. ET through Monday, Aug. 9 at 1 p.m. ET.

Contestants will be provided with electromagnetic signal data collected over three-month periods from multiple sensors in the proximity of past earthquakes. Control data with no earthquakes also will be included. Coders will have two weeks to develop a new approach to extract the signals and identify potential earthquake precursors. The individuals or teams developing winning approaches will share a $25,000 prize.

posted by janrinok on Tuesday July 28, @10:42AM   Printer-friendly
from the let-the-cheering-commence! dept.

FS tells me that Ars Technica reports that Dice is selling the Slashdot and Sourceforge sites. The company in their second quarter earnings announcements stated they have "not successfully leveraged the Slashdot user base to further Dice's digital recruitment business", and are planning to divest this business.

The report goes on to note that in spite of what the report calls "an incredibly loyal and passionate following of tech professionals," Slashdot and SourceForge aren't core to DHI's business and that DHI has partnered with KeyBanc Capital Markets to advise DHI on the sale. There is no buyer lined up yet.

The report also says that Slashdot Media (the aggregate of Slashdot and SourceForge) made $1.7 million in revenue for the second quarter and that it's estimated Slashdot Media will pull somewhere between $15 million and $16 million in revenue for fiscal 2015.


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posted by takyon on Tuesday July 28, @10:20AM   Printer-friendly
from the multimalware-messaging-service dept.

Ars reports on a serious Android exploit to be disclosed at the upcoming BlackHat:

Almost all Android mobile devices available today are susceptible to hacks that can execute malicious code when they are sent a malformed text message.

The vulnerability affects about 950 million Android phones and tablets, according to Joshua Drake, vice president of platform research and exploitation at security firm Zimperium. It resides in "Stagefright," an Android code library that processes several widely used media formats. The most serious exploit scenario is the use of a specially modified text message using the multimedia message (MMS) format. All an attacker needs is the phone number of the vulnerable Android phone. From there, the malicious message will surreptitiously execute malicious code on the vulnerable device with no action required by the end user and no indication that anything is amiss.


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posted by takyon on Tuesday July 28, @09:15AM   Printer-friendly
from the kicked-down dept.

Android game consoles maybe not dead: Razer Acquires Ouya software assets

I wasn't even aware that Razer had an Android gaming division, but apparently it does:

It has bought the software assets of Ouya; and it has acqui-hired the company's technical and developer relations teams to expand Razer's Android TV gaming business, specifically around its Forge TV console and the Cortex gaming platform.

One thing I found odd about the deal: This is only for the software side:

Notably, Razer is not acquiring the hardware part of Ouya's business, specifically the microconsole and controller that helped make Razer's name in the first place.

Isn't Razer mostly know for its gaming hardware? I'm surprised that they wouldn't acquire both sides - unless they really feel that their Android device is that far ahead of Ouya's (which is entirely possible, given the Ouya was a Kickstarter thing to begin with [raised $8.5 million] and as far as I know hasn't had a hardware refresh yet).

The Register explains that Razer has acquired Ouya's employees and assets, but not its hardware division, and will be displacing the Ouya console with its own Android box, Forge TV. It costs $99 or $149 with a controller, the same as Ouya. Methods of migrating to Razer services as well as discounts will be offered to Ouya users. Shaun Nichols notes that this deal comes as China finally ends its 15-year console ban, and a low-cost Android option may gain traction in that market.


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posted by takyon on Tuesday July 28, @08:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the autobots-rolls-out dept.

Daimler has been road-testing its autonomous trucks in Nevada since May. From the BBC:

Daimler is currently seeking certification for a self-driving truck so it can be tested on public roads in Germany.

[...] "We're testing in Germany on our own proving grounds. The next step is getting real-life experience on German highways as well," [spokesman Wolfgang Bernhard] told the BBC. "We're looking to do that in the second half of the year."

Bernhard is confident Daimler will get certification within weeks. The self-driving trucks use GPS, radar and video cameras to navigate, and there's always a driver present and able to immediately retake control of the truck if needed.

Spotted on The Eponymous Pickle.


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posted by takyon on Tuesday July 28, @06:47AM   Printer-friendly
from the wait-until-they-find-out-some-search-results-are-advertisements dept.

A satellite broadcasting company called Outernet wants to bring all this content many of us take for granted to the estimated 3 billion people without internet access. That catch is that, in order to get content to as many people as possible efficiently and cheaply, Outernet's connection goes only one way.

"We want to solve the information access problem as quickly as possible," Outernet co-founder and CEO Syed Karim says.

Outernet sells a simple gadget called the Lighthouse that can connect to a satellite dish and download—but not upload—information such as Wikipedia entries, public domain texts from Project Gutenberg, news, crop prices and more. The device doubles as a Wi-Fi hub, so that users can connect to it and download or browse text on their own devices. You can also build a Lighthouse-style receiver yourself, using the company's open source software and instructions. The service is free, and anyone with the proper equipment can pick up Outernet's broadcasts.

Yay, a new device to capture the spending power of the 3 billion humans who live on less than $2 per day.

Related: Facebook's Internet.org "Platform" Launches


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posted by takyon on Tuesday July 28, @05:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the can't-touch-this dept.

At a hip-hop festival called Craze Fest in Hammond, Indiana, just outside of Chicago, rapper Chief Keef appeared on stage as a hologram. But his Saturday night performance only lasted one song before the police shut it down.

Chief Keef, born Keith Cozart, originally planned to hold a benefit concert for his friend and a toddler who were both killed during a shooting this month. The concert was to be held at a theater in Chicago, but Mayor Rahm Emmanuel's office reportedly pressured the theater to cancel the event, according to the Chicago Tribune. The New York Times says the mayor's office called Chief Keef "an unacceptable role model" whose music "promotes violence."

Instead, Chief Keef told his fans that he would perform at an undisclosed location and enlisted Hologram USA to help him appear virtually rather than physically, citing outstanding warrants for his arrest in Illinois. Fans weren't told Chief Keef would be performing in Hammond at Wolf Lake Pavilion as part of Craze Fest until 9pm that night.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Chief Keef performed his hit "I Don't Like" [remix and NSFW] from a sound studio in Beverly Hills, California. "[He] was talking about putting a stop to violence when the power was cut off. Police rushed toward the stage, turning the music off about 10:25pm. Shining flashlights, they ordered concertgoers to leave. Fans who gathered Saturday left the grounds in an orderly fashion, though disappointed."

Wanted in Illinois, appeared as a hologram in Indiana, still shut down by police. Good thing for him he was in California.

Additional material from the BBC.


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posted by takyon on Tuesday July 28, @03:50AM   Printer-friendly
from the impartial-jury dept.

Prenda Law is gone, and today it's a legit porno company, Malibu Media, that files more copyright lawsuits than anyone else. Malibu sues thousands of people for downloading the company's content via BitTorrent, then asks for settlements reportedly in the several-thousand-dollar range.

The antics of Malibu and other "copyright trolls" are often documented on two pseudonymous troll-fighting blogs, FightCopyrightTrolls and DieTrollDie.

Now that Malibu has a case where a defendant is insisting on his right to have his case heard by a jury, it really doesn't want those blogs coming up at trial. Malibu's attorney Keith Lipscomb has asked (PDF) the judge in the case to ban "inappropriate references to blogs" during the copyright infringement trial, seeking $150,000 in damages from Indiana resident Michael Harrison.

"The Court should preclude Defendant from referring to copyleft blogs for any purpose, including specifically references to fightcopyrightrolls.com and dietrolldie.com," writes Lipscomb in the motion, filed earlier this week. "The blogs target Plaintiff and its counsel with vitriolic hate speech and contain comments that are biased, slanderous, and prejudicial, and should not be referred to at trial for any purpose."

In a footnote, Lipscomb explains "copyleft" for the judge, writing: "Copyleft is the polite way of describing an anti-copyright ideology. 'Freetards' is the degrading equivalent of 'copyright trolls' when used in association with copyright producers."

A gray-market company seeks the cover of law. Any 'Freetards' care to comment?


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posted by takyon on Tuesday July 28, @02:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the help-us dept.

Recognizing that global collaboration is imperative for solving the world's greatest challenges has been a powerful paradigm shift in recent years. This global focus is important to create impact at scale, and also helps when solving pressing challenges within our own local communities; sometimes the solution is right at our fingertips, and other times, the idea is budding across a distant border.

Launched at the Second Annual Exponential Impact Day on June 15th, the 2015 Singularity University Impact Challenge is a new impact competition in collaboration with California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. The goal? To help alleviate the severe drought in California by leveraging new and exponentially growing technologies.

"Water is certainly one of our Global Grand Challenges," says Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom, chief impact officer at Singularity University. "And if you look at our mission, it embodies what we want to do as an organization, which is to leverage exponential technology to solve a Global Grand Challenge. What better way to do that than to solve the biggest problem in California right now and one that is in our backyard?"

Golden Opportunity, Soylentils: What's your technological magic bullet solve a problem caused by generations of water policy failures?


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posted by takyon on Tuesday July 28, @12:50AM   Printer-friendly
from the hackable-signage-in-direct-sunlight dept.

New Sydney road signs use low-power 'E-Ink' technology and can be remotely updated:

The NSW Government has tapped the same technology you use to read books on your Kindle to create low-energy street signs that can be remotely altered.

The electronic paper road signs, which have been installed across Sydney, are the result of a partnership between Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and Slovenian technology firm Visionect.

[...] An RMS spokesperson told The Register that 15 of the new signs 'were successfully trialled in the management of traffic on George Street in the Sydney CBD and a second rollout has since been completed in the Moore Park area.'


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posted by takyon on Monday July 27, @11:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the that's-a-stretch dept.

The list of potential applications for a new electrically conducting fiber—artificial muscles, exoskeletons and morphing aircraft—sounds like something out of science fiction or a comic book. With a list like that, it's got to be a pretty special fiber... and it is. The fiber, made from sheets of carbon nanotubes wrapped around a rubber core, can be stretched to 14 times its original length and actually increase its electrical conductivity while being stretched, without losing any of its resistance.

An international research team based at the University of Texas at Dallas initially targeted the new super fiber for artificial muscles and for capacitors whose storage capacity increases tenfold when the fiber is stretched. However, the researchers believe that the material could be used as interconnects in flexible electronics and a host of other related applications.

In research published in the journal Science, the team describes how they devised a method for wrapping electrically conductive sheets of carbon nanotubes around the rubber core in such a way that the fiber's resistance doesn't change when stretched, but its conductivity increases.

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posted by takyon on Monday July 27, @10:17PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-quite dept.

The NSA has been ordered to destroy phone records it collected illegally, eventually:

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence announced that the "bulk collection" of phone data the NSA illegally collected under Section 215 of the Patriot act will be locked away starting November 29, 2015.

The data will effectively be out of reach from agency employees ad infinitum, effectively making it unusable in anti-terrorism or national security investigations. The only exception will be a three-month period, in which "technical personal" can check the data for the sole purpose of verifying records produced under the new USA Freedom Act.

The NSA is obligated to preserve most of the data until civil litigation involving the program has been resolved. Also reported at The Intercept and The Register.


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posted by takyon on Monday July 27, @09:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the the-skynet-is-falling dept.

Over 1,000 high-profile artificial intelligence experts and leading researchers have signed an open letter warning of a "military artificial intelligence arms race" and calling for a ban on "offensive autonomous weapons".

The letter, presented at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was signed by Tesla's Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Google DeepMind chief executive Demis Hassabis and professor Stephen Hawking along with 1,000 AI and robotics researchers.

The letter states: "AI technology has reached a point where the deployment of [autonomous weapons] is – practically if not legally – feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms."

So, spell it out for me, Einstein, are we looking at a Terminator future or a Matrix future?

While the latest open letter is concerned specifically with allowing lethal machines to kill without human intervention, several big names in the tech world have offered words of caution of the subject of machine intelligence in recent times. Earlier this year Microsoft's Bill Gates said he was "concerned about super intelligence," while last May physicist Stephen Hawking voiced questions over whether artificial intelligence could be controlled in the long-term. Several weeks ago a video surfaced of a drone that appeared to have been equipped to carry and fire a handgun.

takyon: Counterpoint - Musk, Hawking, Woz: Ban KILLER ROBOTS before WE ALL DIE


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