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San Diego To Run 100 Percent On Renewable Energy By 2035

Slashdot - 2 hours 21 min ago
The city of San Diego has announced a bold new plan to run completely on renewable energy by 2035. While the city already produces the second largest electrical output from solar energy in the U.S., the new plan further details a way to cope with the changing climate. It plans to reduce 50% of the greenhouse gas emission by 2035, as well as create new jobs through the manufacturing and installation of solar panels. "San Diego is a leader in innovation and sustainability," the Climate Action Plan reads. "By striking a sensible balance between protecting our environment and growing our economy, San Diego can support clean technology, renewable energy, and economic growth." San Diego joins San Francisco, Sydney, and Vancouver in its effort to run entirely on renewable energy.

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'Boaty McBoatface' Polar Ship Named After Attenborough Despite Less Votes

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 23:20
The UK's 200 Million Euro polar research ship won't be called Boaty McBoatface. Instead, the new ship will be called RRS (Royal Research Ship) Sir David Attenborough. The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) had originally planned to name the new ship via an online poll. In all fairness, RRS Sir David Attenborough did pick up a few votes, though in terms of popularity nothing came close to Boaty McBoatface (it earned over 124,000 votes). "We want a name that lasts longer than a social-media news cycle and reflects the serious nature of the science it will be doing," said Jo Johnson, the U.K. Science minister. BBC reports: While the polar ship itself will not be named Boaty McBoatface, one of its remotely operated sub-sea vehicles will be named Boaty in recognition of the vote. James Hand, who first suggested the flippant moniker, said he was pleased the name would "live on."

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YouTube: Our Primetime Audience Is Bigger Than the Top 10 TV Shows Combined

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 22:43
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki: "Today, I'm happy to announce that on mobile alone YouTube now reaches more 18-49-year-olds than any network -- broadcast or cable. In fact, we reach more 18-49-year-olds during primetime than the top 10 TV shows combined. At a time when TV networks are losing audiences, YouTube is growing in every region and across every screen." Ben Popper, writing for The Verge: Those numbers are a bit vague. We don't know exactly how many people are watching, or whether any individual channel comes close to matching the reach of network TV programming. Most importantly, that doesn't break out what percentage of the audience is watching Google Preferred content, the pre-approved brand-safe stuff that nets big ad dollars, versus the long tail of cat videos and home movies that have steadily dwindling value. Still, it seemed clear that YouTube's clout was not lost on the agencies handling big budgets. Wojcicki used her time on stage to announce that Interpublic Group, one of the world's largest ad holding companies, planned to shift $250 million from traditional TV networks to YouTube over the next year.

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Scientists Reveal How We Can Forget On Purpose

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 22:06
An anonymous reader writes: When people say, "Forget you heard that," they don't usually mean literally. But it turns out that you can stop yourself from remembering, at least on a small scale. People can intentionally forget memories by changing how they think about the context those memories were made in, scientists reported this week in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin and Review. In the experiment, people studied a random list of words while viewing pictures of landscapes such as beaches or forests. They were then instructed to either remember or forget those words. The scientists then used an fMRI to track brain activity related to the outdoor scenes they'd planted as context for the word memories. They saw that people who'd been ordered to forget thought less about the context. The better people were at wiping nature-related thoughts from their minds, the fewer words they could later recall from their list.

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Lenovo Patches Serious Flaw In Pre-Installed Support Tool

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 21:25
Reader itwbennett writes: Lenovo has made available a patch for the vulnerability in its Lenovo Solution Center, a support tool which comes pre-installed on many Lenovo laptops and desktops. The vulnerability could allow attackers to execute code with system privileges and take over computers. Users should automatically be prompted to update LSC when they open the application, but in case they aren't, they should download the latest version (3.3.002) manually from Lenovo's website. This is not the first time such a vulnerability has been found and fixed in LSC. In fact, Lenovo updated an old advisory for flaws reported in December with information about the new vulnerability, making it somewhat hard to spot.

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Facebook's Newest Privacy Problem: 'Faceprint' Data

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 20:42
Katie Collins, reporting for CNET: Facebook knows you so well these days that it can recognize you just by seeing your face. You may not have a problem with this, but that doesn't mean it's all good in the eyes of the law. The social network lost the first round of a lawsuit on Thursday in which it is accused of "unlawfully" storing biometric data mined from people's photographs. The company was seeking to have the suit dismissed, but a federal judge in California rejected the request. Facebook taps into its photo-tagging system to build up a geometric representation of people's faces to create something called a faceprint for each of its users. Faceprints are then used to suggest tags for people when new photos are uploaded to the network. One could argue that the clue is in the name, but many Facebook users probably don't know that they agree to having data about their face stored when they sign up.

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Solar Planes Aren't the Green Future Of Air Travel

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 20:02
An anonymous reader writes: By any standard, the Solar Impulse 2 is a marvel of engineering. This solar-powered plane didn't use a drop of kerosene on its epic trip across the Pacific Ocean. It's a real testament to how far solar technology has advanced. Unfortunately, for anyone hoping that we'll all be puttering around in solar planes soon -- well, that's pretty unlikely. From a Vox report, "Consider: The Solar Impulse 2 features 17,000 solar cells crammed onto its jumbo jet "size wings, along with four lithium-polymer batteries to store electricity for nighttime. Yet that's still only enough power to carry 2 tons of weight, including a single passenger, at a top speed of just 43 miles per hour. By contrast, a Boeing 747-400 running on jet fuel can transport some 400 people at a time, at top speeds of 570 miles per hour. Unless we see some truly shocking advances in module efficiency, it'll be impossible to cram enough solar panels onto a 747's wings to lift that much weight -- some 370 tons in all. Nor is it enough to load up on batteries charged by solar on the ground, since that would add even more weight to the plane, vastly increasing the energy needed for takeoff. A gallon of jet fuel packs about 15 to 30 times as much energy as a lithium-ion battery of similar weight. That fundamental difference in energy density is a big reason we're unlikely to see large commercial airliners powered by batteries fill the skies."

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Google-Backed Yieldify Has Acquired IP From 'World's Biggest Patent Troll'

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 19:22
An anonymous reader cites an article on The Register: Yieldify, the Google-backed startup accused of stealing code from British adtech company Bounce Exchange, has been making some unusual friends. Yieldify has acquired an ancient web patent from III Holdings which was first filed in 2007. III Holdings is better known as Inside Intellectual Ventures, co-founded by Nathan Myhrvold. It has been dubbed "the most hated company in tech" and "the world's biggest patent troll." IIV is a "NPE" (non-practicising entity), which gathers up patents and seeks to unlock their value through selling on or licensing the IP. This has been backed up by litigation, such as Samsung, a recipient of one of III's sueballs. In a court filing made last week, Yieldify made a request for declaratory judgement in its ongoing case versus Bounce Exchange, citing the IIV patent. Also from the report: Clearly, patent trolls are unacceptable when they're trolling you, but become strategically useful when you can troll back.

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The World Video Game Hall of Fame 2016 Inductess

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 18:42
Reader Dave Knott writes: The World Video Game Hall Of Fame has announced its inductees for the year 2016, the second group of games to be so honoured since the award's inception in 2015. The Hall Of Fame "recognizes individual electronic games of all types -- arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile -- that have enjoyed popularity over a sustained period and have exerted influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general". This year's six inductees are: Grand Theft Auto III, The Legend of Zelda, The Oregon Trail, The Sims, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Space Invaders.The Sydney Morning Herald has more details.

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Google's AI Is Devouring Romance Novels

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 18:02
An anonymous reader writes: Google engineers have been feeding text from steamy romance novels to an artificial intelligence (AI) engine in order to give Google's technology -- like its mobile app -- the ability to produce more human, conversational text, BuzzFeed News reports. The company's researchers been able to get the AI to write out full sentences that would resemble those in the typical romance novel. Why do these particular books make such good language teachers? Romance novels follow a very predictable narrative blueprint -- the names may change from book to book, but the essential story formula is familiar. The idea is that Google's AI can easily cull through this material to find patterns within the sentences to get a broader comprehension of language as a whole.The AI has been fed with more than 2,500 novels.

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Huge Number Of Sites Imperiled By Critical Image-Processing Vulnerability

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 17:22
Dan Goodin, reporting for Ars Technica: A large number of websites are vulnerable to a simple attack that allows hackers to execute malicious code hidden inside booby-trapped images. The vulnerability resides in ImageMagick, a widely used image-processing library that's supported by PHP, Ruby, NodeJS, Python, and about a dozen other languages. Many social media and blogging sites, as well as a large number of content management systems, directly or indirectly rely on ImageMagick-based processing so they can resize images uploaded by end users. According to developer and security researcher Ryan Huber, ImageMagick suffers from a vulnerability that allows malformed images to force a Web server to execute code of an attacker's choosing. Websites that use ImageMagick and allow users to upload images are at risk of attacks that could completely compromise their security. "The exploit is trivial, so we expect it to be available within hours of this post," Huber wrote in a blog post. He went on to say: "We have collectively determined that these vulnerabilities are available to individuals other than the person(s) who discovered them. An unknowable number of people having access to these vulnerabilities makes this a critical issue for everyone using this software."

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Elon Musk: 'We Need a Revolt Against the Fossil Fuel Industry'

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 16:42
An anonymous reader writes: Tesla's chief executive Elon Musk has accused politicians of bowing to the "unrelenting and enormous" lobbying power of the fossil fuel industry, warning that a global "revolt" may be needed to accelerate the transition to more sustainable energy and transport systems. Speaking at the World Energy Innovation Forum at the Tesla Factory in California, Musk claimed that traditional vehicles and energy sources will continue to hold a competitive edge against greener alternatives due to the vast amounts of subsidies they receive. The solution to this energy dilemma, Musk says, is to introduce a price on carbon by defining a tax rate on greenhouse gas emissions or the carbon content of fossil fuels. "The fundamental issue with fossil fuels is that every use comes with a subsidy," Musk said. "Every gasoline car on the road has a subsidy, and the right way to address that is with a carbon tax. Politicians take the easy path of providing subsidies to electric vehicles, which aren't equal to the applied subsidies of gasoline vehicles. It weakens the economic forcing function to transition to sustainable transport and energy."

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Netflix Enables Streaming Quality Control To Reign In Mobile Data Usage

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 15:40
MojoKid writes from a report on HotHardware: Netflix wants to put users in control of their mobile data usage when it comes to its iOS and Android apps. Up until today, Netflix held all the cards and adjusted video quality settings on its end (and how much cellular data was consumed) when users were on a cellular connection. Now, Netflix is opening up user-selectable settings that allow you to sip data (at the expense of video quality of course) or gulp it down if you're one of the few with an unlimited data plan. Making the adjustment is as simple as navigating to App Settings and then selecting Cellular Data Usage. From there, you will be able to select from Automatic (Default), Low, Medium, High, or Unlimited options. If you're on a Wi-Fi connection, these quality settings are disabled altogether.

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Judge Rodney Gilstrap Sees A Quarter Of The Nation's Patent Cases

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 15:00
derekmead quotes a report from Motherboard: Since taking the bench in 2011 -- moving literally across the street from his law office into the district courthouse -- Judge Rodney Gilstrap has become one of the most influential patent litigation judges in the country. In 2015, there were 5,819 new patent cases filed in the US; 1,686 of those ended up in front of Judge Gilstrap. That's more than a quarter of all cases in the country; twice as many as the next most active patent judge. This busy patent docket didn't blossom overnight, and it's not some strange coincidence. Due to some unique rules around intellectual property filings, patent holders can often file their lawsuits at any district court in the country, even if neither the plaintiff nor the defendant is based there. By introducing a list of standing court orders and local regulations, the Eastern District of Texas (and, in particular, Gilstrap's division of Marshall) has become the court of choice for many plaintiffs, especially non-practicing entities, often referred to as patent trolls.

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GoPro Footage Gives You A Rocket's-Eye View Of Spaceflight

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 13:15
Eloking quotes a report from Gizmag: Action cameras have been strapped to dogs, chainsaw-wielding drones and everything in between, but there's a new benchmark for homegrown heroes and their action-cam videos courtesy of UP Aerospace. Having strapped a GoPro HERO 4 to the outside of its SpaceLoft-10 sounding rocket, the company launched it into the thermosphere, gathering some footage that's simply out of this world along the way. The footage is incredible and begs the question: how did they fasten the cameras to a rocket traveling at 3,796 mph? You can watch the footage here on YouTube.

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AG Scores Victory In Bid To Shut Down Indian Point

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 11:30
mdsolar quotes a report from The Journal News: Federal safety regulators used the wrong data to analyze the potential economic impacts of a severe accident at the Indian Point nuclear power plant, a panel of commissioners for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled Wednesday. The ruling, which reversed an earlier finding, will force the NRC to conduct a fresh analysis of the costs of a devastating accident and cleanup at the nuclear power plant in Buchanan, 24 miles north of New York City. The decision was hailed by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, whose office is spearheading the state's challenge to Indian Point's efforts to renew federal licenses for its two reactors. Schneiderman estimates that some 1.5 million workers would be needed in to take part in decontamination efforts in the event of a nuclear mishap, with cleanup costs surging as high as $1 trillion.

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SpaceX Successfully Lands Its Rocket On A Floating Drone Ship Again

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 09:00
Early Friday morning, SpaceX successfully landed its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship at sea for the second time. The company has recovered the post-launch vehicle a total of three times, two of which involved the rocket landing on a floating drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. Before the launch, the landing was deemed unlikely as the rocket would be "subject to extreme velocities and re-entry heating" in its attempt to launch a Japanese communications satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit high above Earth. Elon Musk tweeted: "Rocket reentry is a lot faster and hotter than last time, so odds of making it are maybe even, but we should learn a lot either way." As a result of the successful mission, Musk followed up with, "May need to increase size of rocket storage hangar." The first successful launch was in December, when the rocket landed at a ground-based spaceport in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The second landing occurred in April on a floating drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Finger-Tracking Tech Turns Your Arm Into A Touchpad

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 05:30
New submitter Keys of Cars quotes a report from Gizmag: Smartwatches may be handy, but their tiny touchscreens can easily be obscured by your fingers as you're using them on the device. As a result, we've seen various attempts to move the control surface. One of the latest, Carnegie Mellon University's SkinTrack system, moves it onto your hand and lower arm. The strap of the smartwatch features multiple electrodes, which detects a ring that is worn on your "control finger" (on your non smartwatch-wearing arm) that emits a high-frequency electrical signal. When your finger, specifically the ring, approaches and/or touches the arm with the watch, the high-frequency electrical signal is propagated through the skin. It will work even if your skin is covered with clothing! The system is reportedly 99% accurate, and can locate touches with a mean error of 7.6mm. SkinTrack was used to control games, scroll through lists, zoom in and out of maps, draw pictures, and operate an onscreen number pad.

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Meet The Company That Poached The FBI's Entire Silk Road Investigation Team

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 03:50
Patrick O'Neill quotes a report from The Daily Dot: The FBI team that brought down Silk Road has a new home. After headline-grabbing investigations, arrests, and prosecutions on some of America's highest-profile cybercriminals, five of U.S. law enforcement's most prized cybercrime aces have all left government service for greener pastures -- a titan consulting firm called Berkeley Research Group (BRG). BRG's newly hired gang of five includes former federal prosecutor Thomas Brown, as well as former FBI agents Christopher Tarbell, Thomas Kiernan, and Ilhwan Yum -- names that punctuated many of the biggest cybercrime stories of the last decade including Silk Road, LulzSec, Liberty Reserve, as well as the hacks of Citibank, PNC Bank, and the Rove Digital botnet; and the prosecution of Samarth Agrawal for stealing crucial code for high-frequency trading from the multinational, multibillion dollar bank Societe Generale. "Private industry provides a lot of opportunity," NYPD intelligence chief Thomas Galati told Congress earlier this year. "So I think the best people out there are working for private companies, and not for the government."

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India Plans To Spend $6 Billion On Creating New Forests

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 03:10
The Narendra Modi government plans to spend $6.2 billion to create new forests through the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015, which has been passed by lawmakers in India's lower house this week. The bill aims to increase India's forest cover from 21.34% of the total land to 33%. Where does the money come from? It comes from private companies and various "other entities" who paid fees to the Indian government since 2006 for allowing them to set up projects on forest land. The bill proposes local state governments be provided 90% of the accumulated funds, with 10% left with the central government. "Our forest cover will dramatically increase and it will result in achieving our target 33% of tree cover and most importantly 2.5 billion tonne of carbon sink as we have indicated in our intended nationally determined contributions (INDC)," India's environmental minister, Prakash Javadekar said on May 3rd. Naturally, some experts are concerned with how appropriately the funds will be used, as well as how exactly the government will develop forests on alternate land. According to Quartz, "Since 1980, the environment ministry has approved the diversion of 1.29 million hectares of forestlands for non-forestry purposes, according to a study by CSE." India's comptroller and auditor general has expressed his dissatisfaction with the ministry's failure to grow forests on alternative land in a report in 2013.

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