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Elon Musk Backs Call For A Global Ban On Killer Robots

Slashdot - 1 hour 47 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes CNN: Tesla boss Elon Musk is among a group of 116 founders of robotics and artificial intelligence companies who are calling on the United Nations to ban autonomous weapons. "Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare. Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend," the experts warn in an open letter released Monday... "Unlike other potential manifestations of AI, which still remain in the realm of science fiction, autonomous weapons systems are on the cusp of development right now and have a very real potential to cause significant harm to innocent people along with global instability," said Ryan Gariepy, the founder of Clearpath Robotics and the first person to sign the letter. More than a dozen countries -- including the United States, China, Israel, South Korea, Russia and Britain -- are currently developing autonomous weapons systems, according to Human Rights Watch.

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Categories: Open Source, Technology

HTC cuts Vive VR headset's price by $200, to $599, to remain competitive with Oculus Rift (Jon Fingas/Engadget)

TechMeme - 1 hour 52 min ago

Jon Fingas / Engadget:
HTC cuts Vive VR headset's price by $200, to $599, to remain competitive with Oculus Rift  —  You knew HTC wouldn't let the Oculus Rift's price cut go unanswered for long.  As of today, HTC has permanently lowered the price of the Vive headset by $200, to $599.

Categories: Technology

An excerpt from Ellen Pao's book "Reset": This is how sexism works in Silicon Valley. My lawsuit failed. Others won't. (Ellen Pao/The Cut)

TechMeme - 3 hours 47 min ago

Ellen Pao / The Cut:
An excerpt from Ellen Pao's book “Reset”: This is how sexism works in Silicon Valley. My lawsuit failed. Others won't.  —  In December 2010, Sheryl Sandberg gave a talk about women's leadership in which she mentioned “sitting at the table.”  Women, she said, have to pull up a chair …

Categories: Technology

Plex Responds, Will Allow Users To Opt Out Of Data Collection

Slashdot - Sun, 08/20/2017 - 11:34pm
stikves writes: This weekend Plex had announced they were implementing a new privacy policy, including removing the ability for opting out of data collection and sharing. Fortunately the backlash here, on their forums, Reddit, and other placed allowed them to offer a more sensible state, including bringing back opt-out, and anonymity of some of the data. Plex CEO Keith Valory wrote Saturday that some information must be transferred just to provide the service -- for example, servers still check for updates, they have to determine whether a user has a premium Plex Pass, and "we have to provide accurate reporting to licensors for things like trailers and extras, photo tagging, lyrics, licensed codecs and so on... [W]e came to the conclusion that providing an 'opt out' in the set-up gives a false sense of privacy and feels disingenuous on our part. That is, even if you opted out, there is still a bunch of data we are collecting that we tried to call out as exceptions." But to address concerns about data collection, Plex will make new changes to their privacy policy: [I]n addition to providing the ability to opt out of crash reporting and marketing communications, we will provide you the ability to opt out of playback statistics for personal content on your Plex Media Server, like duration, bit rate, and resolution in a new privacy setting... we are going to "generalize" playback stats in order to make it impossible to create any sort of "fingerprint" that would allow anyone to identify a file in a library... Finally, in the new privacy tab in the server settings we will provide a full list of all product events data that we collect... Our intention here is to provide full transparency. Users will have one place where they can see what data is being collected and where they can opt out of playback data that they are not comfortable with." And he emphasized that "we will never sell or share data related to YOUR content libraries."

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Categories: Open Source, Technology

Ask Slashdot: How Can You Teach Programming To Schoolchildren?

Slashdot - Sun, 08/20/2017 - 9:34pm
Slashdot reader SPopulisQR writes: A new school year is approaching and I wanted to ask what are appropriate programming languages for children of various ages. Specifically, 1) what coding languages should be considered, and 2) are there are any self-guided coding websites that can be used by children to learn coding using guidance and help online? Let's say the ages are 8 and 12. I know there's lots of opinions about CS education (and about whether or not laptops increase test scores). So leave your own best thoughts in the comments. How can you teach programming to schoolchildren?

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Categories: Open Source, Technology

Alleged Yahoo Hacker Will Be Extradited To The US

Slashdot - Sun, 08/20/2017 - 7:34pm
An anonymous reader quotes the AP: A Canadian man accused in a massive hack of Yahoo emails agreed Friday to forgo his extradition hearing and go face the charges in the United States. Karim Baratov was arrested in Hamilton, Ontario, in March under the Extradition Act after U.S. authorities indicted him and three others, including two alleged officers of Russia's Federal Security Service. They are accused of computer hacking, economic espionage and other crimes. An extradition hearing for the 22-year-old Baratov had been scheduled for early September, but he signed documents before a Canadian judge Friday agreeing to waive it. His lawyer, Amedeo DiCarlo, said that does not amount to an admission of guilt... U.S. law enforcement officials call Baratov a "hacker-for-hire" paid by members of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, considered the successor to the KGB of the former Soviet Union. Yahoo also believes that attack -- which breached at least 500 million Yahoo accounts in 2014 -- was perpetrated by "a state-sponsored actor." The CBC reports that Baratov lives alone in a large, new house in an expensive subdivision. "His parents either bought him the house," one neighbor told the CBC, "or he's getting money somewhere else, because he doesn't seem to work all day; he just drives up and down the street." The CBC also reports that Baratov's Facebook page links to a Russian-language site "which claims to offer a number of services, including servers for rent in Russia, protection from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, and domain names in China."

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Categories: Open Source, Technology

50,000 Users Test New Anti-Censorship Tool TapDance

Slashdot - Sun, 08/20/2017 - 6:34pm
The CBC reports: What if circumventing censorship didn't rely on some app or service provider that would eventually get blocked but was built into the very core of the internet itself? What if the routers and servers that underpin the internet -- infrastructure so important that it would be impractical to block -- could also double as one big anti-censorship tool...? After six years in development, three research groups have joined forces to conduct real-world tests. An anonymous reader writes: Earlier this week, Professor Eric Wustrow, from the University of Colorado at Boulder, presented An ISP-Scale Deployment of TapDance at the USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet. TapDance is an anti-censorship, circumvention application based on "refraction networking" (formerly known as "decoy routing") that has been the subject of academic research for several years. Now, with integration with Psiphon, 50,000 users, a deployment that spans two ISPs, and an open source release, it seems to have graduated to the real world. "In the long run, we absolutely do want to see refraction networking deployed at as many ISPs that are as deep in the network as possible," one of the paper's authors told the CBC. "We would love to be so deeply embedded in the core of the network that to block this tool of free communication would be cost-prohibitive for censors."

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Categories: Open Source, Technology

Bug In Lowe's Site Sold Goods For Free. Couple Arrested For Exploiting It

Slashdot - Sun, 08/20/2017 - 5:34pm
An anonymous reader writes: A couple from the Brick Township in New Jersey stands accused of using a flaw in the Lowes online portal to receive goods for free at their home. According to the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, the couple tried to steal goods worth $258,068.01, but only managed to receive approximately $12,971.23 worth of merchandise. Officers executing a search warrant said the residence resembled "more of a warehouse than a home." Investigators said they recovered enough merchandise to fill an 18-foot trailer. Most items were in their original packaging and still had their price tags. Police say one of the suspects posted ads for some of the stolen goods on a Facebook group used to buy and sell used objects. The suspect was selling most of the items at half the price offered on the Lowes website. Authorities did not provide in-depth technical details but revealed the flaw resided in the site's gift card module. One of the suspects' lawyer argued that his client didn't have the skills to penetrate the security on the web site of a Fortune 500 company -- and insisted instead that his client just had a really special knack for finding good deals.

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Categories: Open Source, Technology

Microsoft kicks off Xbox One X pre-orders today with a limited 'Project Scorpio' edition (Brian Heater/TechCrunch)

TechMeme - Sun, 08/20/2017 - 4:51pm

Brian Heater / TechCrunch:
Microsoft kicks off Xbox One X pre-orders today with a limited ‘Project Scorpio’ edition  —  Microsoft just pulled the trigger on Xbox One X pre-orders, offering up the souped up version of its console for $499.  Unveiled back at E3 in June after a year's worth of teasers …

Categories: Technology

FBI Accepts New Evidence in 46-Year-Old D.B. Cooper Case

Slashdot - Sun, 08/20/2017 - 4:34pm
An anonymous reader quotes the Daily Mail: The FBI is looking at an 'odd bit of buried foam' as possible evidence in the cold case investigation into criminal mastermind D.B. Cooper, according to private investigators. The potential evidence was handed over to authorities last week by the team of sleuths who believe the foam made up a part of Cooper's parachute backpack, the New York Daily News reports. Cooper, one of the 20th century's most compelling masterminds, hijacked a Boeing 727 at Seattle-Tacoma airport in 1971 and held its crew and passengers hostage with a bomb. Once his demand of $200,000 cash -- the equivalent of $1,213,226 today -- was reached and transferred onto the plane, Cooper had the crew take off before he parachuted out over the dense Pacific Northwest woods and disappeared. The discovery of the foam comes just weeks after the FBI uncovered what is believed to be part of Cooper's parachute strap, which private investigators claim could lead authorities to his stolen fortune. In addition, the FBI also received three 'unknown' pieces of fabric that were found close to where the alleged parachute strap was located. The 40-member cold case team is being overseen by a former FBI supervisor. At one point they essentially crowdsourced the investigation by requesting help from the general public, and the team now says they've found a credible source -- providing information substantiated by FBI field notes -- which has led them to this new evidence.

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Categories: Open Source, Technology

Researchers demo using a hidden chip in a replacement smartphone screen to log keyboard input, install malicious apps, and take pictures (Dan Goodin/Ars Technica)

TechMeme - Sun, 08/20/2017 - 4:25pm

Dan Goodin / Ars Technica:
Researchers demo using a hidden chip in a replacement smartphone screen to log keyboard input, install malicious apps, and take pictures  —  Booby-trapped touchscreens can log passwords, install malicious apps, and more.  —  People with cracked touch screens or similar smartphone maladies …

Categories: Technology

Red Hat Gives Ceylon To The Eclipse Foundation

Slashdot - Sun, 08/20/2017 - 3:34pm
An anonymous reader writes: Some media outlets called Ceylon an attempted "Java killer" when Gavin King first unveiled his secret two-year development project in 2011. In 2013 Red Hat finally released version 1.0 of the modern, modular statically-typed programming language for the Java and JavaScript virtual machines. After another four years, "Ceylon has a small but very active and enthusiastic community of developers and users, and indeed is the fruit of the hard work of a large number of contributors over the years," says a project proposal page at Eclipse.org seeking "to further grow our community... a key strategy to achieve that would be to move Ceylon from Red Hat to a vendor-neutral foundation." That project has now been approved, and the "Eclipse Ceylon" project has been created. It includes the Ceylon distribution and its SDK, plus the Java2Ceylon converter and the Ceylon Herd project's server (and related services) for Ceylon module sharing. There's also three IDEs (and their code-formatting and functionality-sharing modules). Back in 2011 InfoWorld predicted that instead of becoming a Java killer, "it is more likely Ceylon will join a growing list of new languages resting atop the JVM, while the Java language and platform will continue on as staples of enterprise computing."

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Categories: Open Source, Technology

Mercedes-Benz's $2.8 Million Project One Hypercar Gets Huge Power From a Tiny Engine

Wired - Top Stories - Sun, 08/20/2017 - 2:40pm
The engineering lift behind the mysterious Project One.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

'Wing Commander' Music Composer Runs Kickstarter Campaign

Slashdot - Sun, 08/20/2017 - 2:34pm
DMJC writes: George Oldziey, the music composer from Wing Commander 3 and 4, is running a Kickstarter campaign to re-orchestrate the music from the venerable series. The Kickstarter is in its final week and has approximately $2000 left to go before it reaches it's goal. Oldziey shares some history on his web site: In 2014 I launched a Kickstarter campaign to document the music I created for the Wing Commander games in the way I had originally imagined it: for full orchestra and chorus. 588 generous supporters helped me reach my goal! In late 2014 I traveled to Bratislava, Slovakia, where the 95-piece Slovak National Symphony Orchestra and the 40-voice Lucina Chorus recorded this music under my supervision. But last November -- and again in June -- Oldziey unsuccessfully tried raising funds on Kickstarter to record more of his Wing Commander music with a full orchestra. So this month's campaign sets a more modest goal of raising $15,000 "as a foundation and springboard from which to build with a more open ended crowdfunding campaign." It'll fund the creation of digital MIDI tracks for the new orchestral music plus a recording of the "jazzy bar music" from Wing Commander 3 (which will both be released as digital downloads and on CD). "Future campaign(s) will tackle the goal of getting a live orchestra to record everything..." Oldziey writes, adding this campaign "builds an exciting foundation to build on -- with some cool music to enjoy in the mean time!" Two people have already pledged $600 to claim one of five high-end premiums in which George composes one minute of unique music just for them, and two more pledged $300 to attend the "jazzy bar music" recording session in Austin, Texas.

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Categories: Open Source, Technology