You are here

Feed aggregator

What Will It Take To Make Automated Vehicles Legal In the US?

Slashdot - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 17:27
ashshy writes Tesla, Google, and many other companies are working on self-driving cars. When these autopilot systems become perfected and ubiquitous, the roads should be safer by orders of magnitude. So why doesn't Tesla CEO Elon Musk expect to reach that milestone until 2013 or so? Because the legal framework that supports American road rules is incredibly complex, and actually handled on a state-by-state basis. The Motley Fool explains which authorities Musk and his allies will have to convince before autopilot cars can hit the mainstream, and why the process will take another decade.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Haier Plans To Embed Area Wireless Chargers In Home Appliances

Slashdot - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 17:05
Lucas123 writes Haier has signed a development agreement with Energous, a maker of the WattUp wireless charging router. Haier plans incorporate the technology in appliances allowing enabled mobile devices and wearables to take a charge at up 15 feet away. The white goods maker is expected to come out with the enabled appliances in the next 14 months or so. The WattUp router uses radio frequency (RF) transmissions to send up to 4 watts of power in a 15-ft. radius. Within 5 feet of a WattUp wireless router, a mobile device can be charged at the same rate as if it were plugged into a wall socket, but as the distance increase the charging capability dissipates. For example, aa a range of 5-to-10 feet, charging capability drops to 2 watts per device and at 10-to-15 feet, the router puts out 1 watt per device (4 watts total). Pleasanton, Calif.-based Energous raised nearly $25 million when it went public earlier this year. Its chief marketing officer said the company has joint development agreements in the works with battery makers, smartphone sleeve and wearable device manufacturers. Haier hasn't disclosed what products it plans to enable with wireless charging.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Lava Flow In Hawaii Gains Speed, Triggers Methane Explosions

Slashdot - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 16:45
An anonymous reader writes Officials say molten lava from a Hawaii volcano has been flowing steadily in an area where residents have been warned they might have to evacuate their homes. Dozens of residents in the flow path have been told to complete all necessary preparations by Tuesday for a possible evacuation. From the article: "Janet Babb, a geologist and spokeswoman for the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said methane explosions also have been going off. She said decomposing vegetation produces methane gas that can travel subsurface beyond the lava front in different directions, accumulating in pockets that can ignite. She said it was a bit unnerving to hear all the blasts on Saturday."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Lenovo Reveals Wearable Smartband To Track Exercise Stats

Slashdot - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 16:01
An anonymous reader writes Lenovo is the latest tech company to enter the fitness tracker market with its Smartband SW-B100 device. "It can record calories burnt, steps taken and a user's heartrate, in addition to syncing with a smartphone through an app to provide more complete health data. Users can also customize notifications and reminders on the smartband, and even use it to unlock a Windows PC without typing in the password, according to the product page."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"

Slashdot - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 15:18
An anonymous reader writes Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla and founder of SpaceX, said that artificial intelligence is probably the biggest threat to humans. "I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it's probably that. So we need to be very careful with artificial intelligence." he said. "I'm increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don't do something very foolish. With artificial intelligence we're summoning the demon. You know those stories where there's the guy with the pentagram, and the holy water, and he's like — Yeah, he's sure he can control the demon? Doesn't work out."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

"Police Detector" Monitors Emergency Radio Transmissions

Slashdot - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 14:35
schwit1 writes A Dutch company has introduced a detection system that can alert you if a police officer or other emergency services official is using a two-way radio nearby. Blu Eye monitors frequencies used by the encrypted TETRA encrypted communications networks used by government agencies in Europe. It doesn't allow the user to listen in to transmissions, but can detect a radio in operation up to one kilometer away. Even if a message isn't being sent, these radios send pulses out to the network every four seconds and Blu Eye can also pick these up, according to The Sunday Times. A dashboard-mounted monitor uses lights and sounds to alert the driver to the proximity of the source, similar to a radar detector interface.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

How To View the Antares Launch

Slashdot - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 13:49
An anonymous reader points out NASA's info page on the Anatares rocket launch happening later today. NASA's Wallops Flight Facility and Virginia's Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport are set to support the launch of Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket at 6:45 p.m. EDT, October 27. The Antares rocket will carry Orbital's Cygnus cargo spacecraft, loaded with some 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments, to the International Space Station. The launch may be visible, weather permitting, to residents throughout the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the United States. Here's a visibility map of launch. Public viewing of the launch will be available at the NASA Visitor Center at Wallops and at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge/Assateague Island National Seashore. Here's more information about the Visitors Center, including directions, and information on viewing sites recommended by the Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission. Live coverage of the mission is scheduled to begin at noon on the Wallops Ustream site."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Steve Ballmer Gets Billion-Dollar Tax Write-Off For Being Basketball Baron

Slashdot - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 13:05
McGruber (1417641) writes "According to a report published by The Financial Times (paywalled), ex-Microsoft CEO Billionaire Steve Ballmer will be able to write off about a billion dollars of his basketball team's purchase price from the taxable income he makes over the next 15 years. "Under an exception in US law, buyers of sports franchises can use an accounting treatment known as goodwill against their other taxable income. This feature is commonly used by tax specialists to structure deals for sports teams. Goodwill is the difference between the purchase price of an asset and the actual cash and other fixed assets belonging to the team."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

It's Easier This Way

The Daily WTF - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 11:00

After more than two years at WTF Inc., I thought I'd seen everything that could be done wrong actually done wrong in the worst possible way. Whether it was DBAs who wcouldn't administer a database if their lives depended upon it, managers who wcouldn't manage anything, or business people who simply could not understand the concept of save a dollar today, spend ten tomorrow to fix it.

After that dalliance, I'm back in my chosen field. While crazy things sometimes get done in insane ways, it's usually in the name of beating the competition to market, and (almost) always with the understanding that it will be fixed later - at a price.

However, this one struck me as sooo wtf that I'm not even going to try to anonymize it.

Every project from hello world on up has a source tree. It might be as simple as a single directory with one or more source files, or it could be an entire hierarchy of packages, common and external libraries, and so forth. The one thing they all have in common is that the one or more main programs in a project are all applications that pertain to that project. You never see two unrelated projects sharing the same source tree. They might share a common shared library, but not the same source tree. It just isn't done.

Or so I thought.

At my present firm, the culture specifies that for major architectural/code reviews, there must be one very senior member from an unrelated team/department present, and that individual has veto authority on anything that's said or presented. This is to allow an unbiased opinion to be offered without threat of reprisal by the manager.

As one of the more senior folks, I was volunteered for this task at a department that could only be linked back to me from five levels up. I didn't know any of these people, and so had no axe to grind. I went in with an open mind.

When they described their project, for the most part, their approach, level of scalability and parallelism, use of database, messaging and services, etc. made sense. Then they showed me their repository tree. It did not make sense. There were thirteen different (unrelated) projects in there. Together:

MasterRepository | |-- classes |-- srcproject1 | |-- com | | | |-- company | |-- business | |-- comm | |-- gui | |-- services | |-- util |-- srcproject2 | |-- com | | | |-- company | |-- business | |-- comm | |-- gui | |-- services | |-- util | ... |-- srcproject13 | |-- com | | | |-- company | |-- business | |-- comm | |-- gui | |-- services | |-- util

Naturally I queried why all the other projects were in there together, and why all of their source directories were configured as source directories in this project, I was told that they were told that it's easier this way.

Though I began to shudder, I just had to know, so I looked into the source trees. There were numerous classes with the same names and implementing the same interface at the same package path but in multiple source trees. Thus, auto-complete could pick any one of them because they all had the same signature, albeit subtly different implementations. As you might imagine, this led to all sorts of debugging fun at run time.If they were lucky, something would be null and it would dump the stack. If they were less than angelic, it wouldn't perform the calculation in quite the right way. If they had been particularly bad, if wouldn't perform the calculation in quite the right way only some of the time.

As if this wasn't far enough off the beaten path, I noticed that they were all using the same build/package/deploy mechanism, but at seemingly random intervals. It turns out that to prevent each of the teams from blocking any of the other teams from doing a deployment-at-will, all of the units of work were designed to be less than one day. That is, you had one day to design, code and test your work before committing. Thus, if the other team needed to deploy, they could grab the entire tree - including all of the tiny units of work done by the other teams - that compiled but didn't necessarily accomplish anything useful - package it up and deploy it.

Of course, if someone happened to be changing some piece of functionality that was shared, but hadn't yet made all of the one-day-of-work units that comprised the larger logical change, it was possible to get a melange of code that could best be described as: it might work.

Needless to say, the entire department was experiencing very high levels of instability, blocking deployment collisions when some piece of code absolutely could not be deployed without the rest of the related changes - without breaking the other projects.

When I pointed out the folly of all of this, they told me that the boss four levels up had experienced massive problems with multiple projects under his control, and decided that a single source tree would only need to be fixed once and would thus improve throughput. I told them that all of the projects had to be liberated separated into individual project source trees. Anything that was common would need to be its own project and released on its own schedule. When they were informed that this had to be done, they said they were under a mandate from four levels up. I went to the common manager five levels up, explained the situation, and that this was the reason for all the red on the dashboard.

The order to break it all apart was given.

Categories: Fun/Other

EU Court Rules Embedding YouTube Videos Is Not Copyright Infringement

Slashdot - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 10:05
Maurits van der Schee writes "The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that embedding a copyrighted YouTube video in your site is not copyright infringement. From the article: "The case in question was referred to EU’s Court of Justice by a German court. It deals with a dispute between the water filtering company BestWater International and two men who work as independent commercial agents for a competitor. Bestwater accused the men of embedding one of their promotional videos, which was available on YouTube without the company’s permission. The video was embedded on the personal website of the two through a frame, as is usual with YouTube videos. While EU law is clear on most piracy issues, the copyright directive says very little about embedding copyrighted works. The Court of Justice, however, now argues that embedding is not copyright infringement."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

First Commercial Mission To the Moon Launched From China

Slashdot - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 07:08
mbone writes with news about the first privately-funded spacecraft to travel the Moon. Cold War competition between superpowers dominated the first decades of space travel and exploration. Individual governments took the lead, bankrolling most of the process in the name of competition and nationalism. Ultimately international cooperation and collaboration took root, and the landscape is already very different. The present and future of space exploration is more collaborative, more international, and involves both space agencies and private companies. One such project is the combination Chang’e 5-T1 and Manfred Memorial Moon Mission (4M), which launched together last Thursday. Both projects are testbeds for ideas: Chang’e 5-T1 is a prototype for a robotic probe intended to return samples from the Moon to Earth, while 4M is a simple communications experiment encouraging amateur participation. But the intriguing bit is that 4M is a project of the private Luxembourg-based company LuxSpace, while Chang’e 5-T1 is a Chinese project, and the whole endeavor was launched on a Chinese rocket.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment

Slashdot - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 01:29
theodp writes After an NPR podcast fingered the marketing of computers to boys as the culprit behind the declining percentages of women in undergraduate CS curricula since 1984 (a theory seconded by Smithsonian mag), some are concluding that NPR got the wrong guy. Calling 'When Women Stopped Coding' quite engaging, but long on Political Correctness and short on real evidence, UC Davis CS Prof Norm Matloff concedes a sexist element, but largely ascribes the gender lopsidedness to economics. "That women are more practical than men, and that the well-publicized drastic swings in the CS labor market are offputting to women more than men," writes Matloff, and "was confirmed by a 2008 survey in the Communications of the ACM" (related charts of U.S. unemployment rates and Federal R&D spending in the '80s). Looking at the raw numbers of female CS grads instead of percentages, suggests there wasn't a sudden and unexpected disappearance of a generation of women coders, but rather a dilution in their percentages as women's growth in undergrad CS ranks was far outpaced by men, including a boom around the time of the dot-com boom/bust.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Dwarf Galaxies Dim Hopes of Dark Matter

Slashdot - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 00:20
An anonymous reader writes Once again, a shadow of a signal that scientists hoped would amplify into conclusive evidence of dark matter has instead flatlined, repeating a maddening refrain in the search for the invisible, omnipresent particles. The Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) failed to detect the glow of gamma rays emitted by annihilating dark matter in miniature "dwarf" galaxies that orbit the Milky Way, scientists reported Friday at a meeting in Nagoya, Japan. The hint of such a glow showed up in a Fermi analysis last year, but the statistical bump disappeared as more data accumulated. "We were obviously somewhat disappointed not to see a signal," said Matthew Wood, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University who was centrally involved the Fermi-LAT collaboration's new analysis, in an email.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Study: Past Climate Change Was Caused by Ocean, Not Just the Atmosphere

Slashdot - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 23:13
Chipmunk100 writes Most of the concerns about climate change have focused on the amount of greenhouse gases that have been released into the atmosphere. Researchers have found that circulation of the ocean plays an equally important role in regulating the earth's climate. The study results were published the journal Science (pay wall). "Our study suggests that changes in the storage of heat in the deep ocean could be as important to climate change as other hypotheses – tectonic activity or a drop in the carbon dioxide level – and likely led to one of the major climate transitions of the past 30 million years," said one of the authors."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

US Army May Relax Physical Requirements To Recruit Cyber Warriors

Slashdot - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 22:08
HughPickens.com writes Clifford Davis reports that only 30% of young people between the ages of 17 and 24 are qualified to become soldiers primarily due to three issues: obesity or health problems; lack of a high school education; and criminal histories. While cognitive and moral disqualifications have held steady, weight issues account for 18% of disqualifications, and the number is rising steadily and it's projected to hit 25% by 2025, which Batschelet calls "troubling." The current Army policy is that every recruit, whether enlisting for infantry or graphic design, has to meet the same physical requirements to join — but that requirement may be changing. "Today, we need cyber warriors, so we're starting to recruit for Army Cyber," says Batschelet. "One of the things we're considering is that your [mission] as a cyber warrior is different. Maybe you're not the Ranger who can do 100 pushups, 100 sit-ups and run the 2-mile inside of 10 minutes, but you can crack a data system of an enemy." "We're looking for America's best and brightest just like any Fortune 500 company out there," says Lt. Col. Sharlene Pigg. "We're looking for those men and women who excel in science, technology, engineering and math." Batschelet admits that a drastic change in physical requirements for recruits may be hard for some to swallow. "That's going to be an institutional, cultural change for us to be able to get our heads around that is kind of a different definition of quality," says Batschelet. "I would say it's a modernizing, or defining in a more precise way, what is considered quality for soldiers."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Study: New Jersey e-Vote Experiment After Sandy a Disaster

Slashdot - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 21:04
TMB writes Al Jazeera reports on a Rutgers study about e-voting in New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy, and it is damning. It concludes that the middle of a natural disaster is the last time to try switching to a new voting method, especially one rife with such problems as e-voting. The table of contents includes such section headings as "Internet voting is not safe, should not be made legal, and should never be incorporated into emergency measures."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

The Man With the Golden Blood

Slashdot - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 19:58
First time accepted submitter Torontoman points out this story of a man with one of the rarest blood types in the world. Forty years ago, when ten-year-old Thomas went into the University Hospital of Geneva with a routine childhood infection, his blood test revealed something very curious: he appeared to be missing an entire blood group system. There are 35 blood group systems, organized according to the genes that carry the information to produce the antigens within each system. The majority of the 342 blood group antigens belong to one of these systems. The Rh system (formerly known as ‘Rhesus’) is the largest, containing 61 antigens. The most important of these Rh antigens, the D antigen, is quite often missing in Caucasians, of whom around 15 per cent are Rh D negative (more commonly, though inaccurately, known as Rh-negative blood). But Thomas seemed to be lacking all the Rh antigens. If this suspicion proved correct, it would make his blood type Rhnull – one of the rarest in the world, and a phenomenal discovery for the hospital hematologists.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Rite Aid and CVS Block Apple Pay and Google Wallet

Slashdot - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 18:52
An anonymous reader writes CVS and Rite Aid have reportedly shut off the NFC-based contactless payment option at point of sale terminals in thousands of stores. The move will make it impossible to pay for products using Apple Pay or Google Wallet. Rite Aid posted at their stores: "Please note that we do not accept Apple Pay at this time. However we are currently working with a group of large retailers to develop a mobile wallet that allows for mobile payments attached to credit cards and bank accounts directly from a smart phone. We expect to have this feature available in the first half of 2015."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Rosetta Probe Reveals What a Comet Smells Like

Slashdot - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 17:44
An anonymous reader writes If you like the smell of rotten eggs, horse urine, formaldehyde, bitter almonds, alcohol, vinegar with a hint of sweet ether, you'd love the smell of a comet. Researchers at the University of Bern, in Switzerland, determined the odor of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet by analyzing the chemicals in its coma, the fuzzy head surrounding the nucleus. The molecules were collected by an instrument aboard the Rosetta spacecraft, which has been flying in tandem with the comet.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

OpenSUSE Factory To Merge With Tumbleweed

Slashdot - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 17:11
sfcrazy writes Factory and Tumbleweed will merge to become a single release. The release will follow the development cycle of Factory but take the more appealing name, Tumbleweed. Commenting on the new development Greg Kroah-Hartman said, “The changes to the Factory release model have changed it from being an unstable development codebase into the type of rolling release I set out to create when starting openSUSE Tumbleweed. I’m very happy to see these two rolling releases coming together under the name Tumbleweed, and am looking forward to watching how it develops in the future.” Factory won't disappear; It will become a "development project" for creating the "user-ready" Tumbleweed."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

Pages

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer