Technology

Reissue of the Voyager Golden Record Will Be the Greatest Album in the Universe

Wired - Top Stories - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 5:25pm
The reissue will sit at "the awesome intersection of science and art and design that’s meant to instill a sense of wonder and spark the imagination.” The post Reissue of the Voyager Golden Record Will Be the Greatest Album in the Universe appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

Japanese To Pay Utility Bills Using Bitcoin

Slashdot - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 5:25pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Stack: Japanese citizens will soon be able to pay their utility bills using bitcoin. The facility is being provided by Coincheck Denki, a new service offered by the Japanese bitcoin company, which will be available to users in November. Coincheck outlined the new plan on its website. Also called 'Coincheck Electricity,' it will allow users to pay their electricity bills directly from their Coincheck bitcoin wallet. It also offers a discount plan for heavy users of electricity, with 4-6% of the total bill discounted for heavy users of electricity who pay in bitcoin. Coincheck's parent company, Reju Press, initially partnered with Mitsuwa Inc., to create the bitcoin payment system. Coincheck now works with Mitsuwa subsidiary E-Net Inc., and has formed a partnership with Marubeni Power Retail Corporation, which operates power plants in 17 locations in central Japan. Marubeni has offices in 66 countries worldwide, although no plans have been announced to take the bitcoin payment option outside of Japan. While the initial bitcoin payment rollout is for electricity bills, Coincheck plans to expand its offerings to bitcoin payment for 'life infrastructure,' to include payment of gas, water and mobile phone bills. It may even partner with landlords to allow customers of Coincheck to pay rent using bitcoin. The bitcoin payment plan will be rolled out in Chubu, Kanto (including Tokyo) and Kansai regions to start, with additional areas to be added sequentially. The company hopes to offer bitcoin payment options to one million electric customers within the first year.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Campo Santo, Good Universe Team for Firewatch Film and More

Wired - Top Stories - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 5:10pm
In collaboration with Good Universe, game devs Campo Santo are going to produce content for both film and games, starting with a Firewatch movie. The post Campo Santo, Good Universe Team for Firewatch Film and More appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

China's Giant Radio Telescope Begins Searching For Signals From Space

Slashdot - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 4:45pm
Years of work and millions of dollars later, China finished its alien-hunting telescope in May this year. Now the country says its telescope has begun its operation. The company flipped the switch over the weekend, hoping to find signals from stars and galaxies -- and more importantly from extraterrestrial life. The telescope also illustrates China's growing ambition to stay among the frontrunners in space efforts. AP reports: Beijing has poured billions into such ambitious scientific projects as well as its military-backed space program, which saw the launch of China's second space station earlier this month. Measuring 500 metres in diameter, the radio telescope is nestled in a natural basin within a stunning landscape of lush green karst formations in southern Guizhou province. It took five years and $180 million to complete and surpasses that of the 300-meter Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, a dish used in research on stars that led to a Nobel Prize. The official Xinhua News Agency said hundreds of astronomers and enthusiasts watched the launch of the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST, in the county of Pingtang. Researchers quoted by state media said FAST would search for gravitational waves, detect radio emissions from stars and galaxies and listen for signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life. "The ultimate goal of FAST is to discover the laws of the development of the universe," Qian Lei, an associate researcher with the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told state broadcaster CCTV. "In theory, if there is civilization in outer space, the radio signal it sends will be similar to the signal we can receive when a pulsar (spinning neutron star) is approaching us," Qian said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

US Department of Labor files administrative lawsuit against Palantir, alleging discrimination against Asian job applicants (Dan Levine/Reuters)

TechMeme - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 4:24pm

Dan Levine / Reuters:
US Department of Labor files administrative lawsuit against Palantir, alleging discrimination against Asian job applicants  —  The U.S. Department of Labor on Monday filed an administrative lawsuit against Palantir Technologies, alleging the data analysis company systematically discriminated against Asian job applicants.

Categories: Technology

As We Speak, Teen Social Site Is Leaking Millions Of Plaintext Passwords

Slashdot - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 4:05pm
Dan Goodin, reporting for ArsTechnica: A social hangout website for teenage girls has sprung a leak that's exposing plaintext passwords protecting as many as 5.5 million user accounts. As this post went live, all attempts to get the leak plugged had failed. Operators of i-Dressup didn't respond to messages sent by Ars informing them that a hacker has already downloaded more than 2.2 million of the improperly stored account credentials. The hacker said it took him about three weeks to obtain the cache and that there's nothing stopping him or others from downloading the entire database of slightly more than 5.5 million entries. The hacker said he acquired the e-mail addresses and passwords by using a SQL injection attack that exploited vulnerabilities in the i-Dressup website. The hacker provided the 2.2 million account credentials both to Ars and breach notification service Have I Been Pwned?. By plugging randomly selected e-mail addresses into the forgotten password section of i-Dressup, both Ars and Have I Been Pwned? principal Troy Hunt found that they all were used to register accounts on the site. Ars then used the contact us page on i-Dressup to privately notify operators of the vulnerability, but more than five days later, no one has responded and the bug remains unfixed.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Sources: Google plans a Huawei tablet with Nexus branding, likely running Andromeda OS (Stephen Hall/9to5Google)

TechMeme - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 3:55pm

Stephen Hall / 9to5Google:
Sources: Google plans a Huawei tablet with Nexus branding, likely running Andromeda OS  —  We've learned from multiple sources that Google plans to launch its forthcoming Andromeda Android/Chrome OS hybrid OS on two devices: a Huawei Nexus tablet and a “convertible laptop”.

Categories: Technology

Global freight logistics startup Flexport raies $65M Series B at $300M+ valuation from Founders Fund, Bloomberg Beta, and others (Josh Constine/TechCrunch)

TechMeme - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 3:35pm

Josh Constine / TechCrunch:
Global freight logistics startup Flexport raies $65M Series B at $300M+ valuation from Founders Fund, Bloomberg Beta, and others  —  Freight forwarding is a multi-trillion industry, but most people don't even know what those words mean.  It's the business of moving boats …

Categories: Technology

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles Have Become Top Carbon Polluters

Slashdot - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 3:25pm
Transportation is likely to surpass the electricity sector in 2016 as the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, according to a new analysis of government data, MIT Technology reports. From the article: In 2008, the global financial crisis caused widespread declines in energy use. In the U.S., that coincided with the early stages of a large-scale shift away from coal toward cleaner-burning natural gas as a way to generate electricity. As a result, carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector have continued to decline from their 2007 peak, even as the economy has resumed growing. The trend line for the transportation sector is less encouraging. Transportation emissions have begun rising as the economy rebounds. John DeCicco at the University of Michigan Energy Institute, who wrote the study, attributes the rebound we've seen during the past four years to straightforward causes: economic recovery and more affordable fuel prices. Vehicle sales numbers have been rising for several years, in particular for trucks and SUVs, and people are traveling more miles.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Plex Cloud Means Saying Goodbye To the Always-On PC

Slashdot - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 2:45pm
Finally, you don't need an always-on PC or any other network-attached storage device if you want to use Plex's media player. The company has announced that it now allows you to stream TV shows and movies from your own collection via a new online option called Plex Cloud. From a report on The Verge: Plex is giving the world another reason to subscribe to Plex Pass subscriptions today with the launch of Plex Cloud. As the name suggests, Plex Cloud eliminates the need to run the Plex Media Server on a computer or Networked Attached Storage (NAS) in your house. It does, however, require a subscription to Amazon Drive ($59.99 per year for unlimited storage) and the aforementioned Plex Pass ($4.99 per month or $39.99 per year). Plex Cloud functions just like a regular Plex Media Server giving you access to your media -- no matter how you acquire it -- from an incredibly broad range of devices. Most, but not all Plex features are available in today's beta.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

UK's Top Police Warn That Modding Games May Turn Kids into Hackers

Slashdot - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 2:05pm
Joseph Cox, writing for Motherboard: Last week at EGX, the UK's biggest games event, attendees got a chance to play upcoming blockbusters like Battlefield 1, FIFA 17, and Gears of War 4. But budding gamers may also have spotted a slightly more unusual sight: a booth run by the National Crime Agency (NCA), the UK's leading law enforcement agency. Over the last few years, the NCA has attempted to reach out to technologically savvy young people in different ways. EGX was the first time it's pitched up to a gaming convention; the NCA said it wanted to educate young people with an interest in computers and suggested that those who mod online games in order to cheat may eventually progress to using low level cybercrime services like DDoS-for-hire and could use steering in the right direction. "The games industry can help us reach young people and educate them on lawful use of cyber skills," Richard Jones, head of the NCA's National Cyber Crime Unit's 'Prevent' team, told Motherboard in an email. "Through attendance at EGX and various other activities, we are seeking to promote ethical hacking or penetration testing, as well as other lawful uses of an interest in computers to young people," Jones said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Could better entertainment make us love autonomous vehicles?

ReadWriteWeb - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 2:00pm

A recent survey by AAA hinted that as much as 75% of all drivers are hesitant to hop in a fully autonomous vehicle in fear that the technology is less safe than a human driver. That’s a big hurdle for car makers working on their own self-driving technologies to overcome.

After all, what good are the billions of dollars worth of research and testing if you can’t convince three-fourths of the public to step into your vehicle – let alone purchase one.

Elliot Garbus, the general manager of the transportation solutions division at Intel, shared his thoughts about solving this problem in an SAE International event this past week.

“We need to be able to build trust with the passenger,” Garbus said. “Seeing what the vehicle is seeing builds trust.”

By improving the in-car console and including a lot more information about what the vehicle is seeing and basing its actions off of, the rider will become more aware of just how capable these automated systems are. Garbus believes that by giving riders more insight into the vehicle’s operation, they will be less nervous about handing over control.

Another great tool for easing tension is improved in-car entertainment. Airlines are already taking advantage of this fact by providing in-flight entertainment through private or shared screens playing movies and television shows throughout the flight. It’s a welcome distraction from the turbulence and discomfort that comes with commercial flying, and it could be the solution to solving the public acceptance riddle for autonomous driving.

Full autonomy may be entertainment enough

The day is quickly approaching when passengers will no longer be required to watch the road with their hands on a steering wheel. Instead, their attention will be placed elsewhere. Often on their phones, but also on the front of the vehicle where a lot of additional space will be freed up by the removal of a steering wheel, shifter, and pedals.

As we’ve covered previously, in-car entertainment is set to become a much bigger business as riders spend their commuting hours consuming content rather than concentrating on the task of driving. This includes audio, video, and interactive content such as Web browsing and mobile app use.

What would this in-car entertainment center of the future look like? Rolls-Royce unveiled a concept car this year that replaces the traditional console with an ultra-wide screen display enabling passengers to watch videos, interact with a Siri-like artificial intelligence, and navigate the Internet from the comfort of a plush leather couch.

Sure hopping in the back of an autonomous Prius and watching the steering wheel turn itself is unnerving and creepy by today’s standards, but in a future where steering wheels are an artifacts of transportation’s history, a much more welcoming entertainment experience awaits.

The post Could better entertainment make us love autonomous vehicles? appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories: Technology

Final Luke Cage Trailer Pulls Out the Best Cameo Yet

Wired - Top Stories - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 1:15pm
All episodes of the latest Marvel television series debut on Netflix this Friday, September 30. The post Final Luke Cage Trailer Pulls Out the Best Cameo Yet appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

The 13th Trailer: Ava DuVernay Investigates Mass Incarceration

Wired - Top Stories - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 12:57pm
DuVernay's documentary looks at mass incarceration within the context of slavery. The post The 13th Trailer: Ava DuVernay Investigates Mass Incarceration appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Open Source, Technology

Can a blockchain-IoT hybrid finally give us smart guns?

ReadWriteWeb - Mon, 09/26/2016 - 12:30pm

Over the last 20 years, technologists have been working hard to create solutions to the challenges of gun safety. Their efforts have kept pace with the technological developments of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, sensor technology, wearables and IoT.

Yet their implementation has been slow, if not stalled to a halt. I wanted to look at the pain points in this trajectory and how and when it could move forward. I also spoke to one person who believes the blockchain could solve some of the back-end structural challenge: Kevin Barnes, founder of the Blocksafe Foundation, who is also a 20-year US Army veteran as well as architect and coder.

See also: Blockchain drives $30B Wanxiang’s $30B smart city project

But first, let’s delve into guns before we explore the inclusion of the blockchain. In April  this year, President Obama made funding for smart gun research part of his end-of-term efforts.  The smart gun promises a technological fix for gun violence by keeping firearms out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them — thieves, children, and anyone else who isn’t the authorized user.

A smart gun is a firearm that includes a safety feature or features that allow it to fire only when activated by an authorized user. These safety features can prevent misuse, accidental shootings, gun thefts, use of the weapon against the owner, and self-harm. Smart guns distinguish between authorized users and unauthorized users in several different ways, including the use of RFID chips or other proximity tokens, fingerprint recognition, wearable devices, or mechanical locks.

The strange history of smart guns

For those of us born outside of America, it’s hard to imagine the notion that smart gun development has been thwarted by politics and political lobbying and an underlying concern that their introduction would lead to stricter gun control. But it’s the strange reality. In 1999, gunmaker Smith & Wesson promised the Clinton White House to develop smart guns that can be fired only by the adults who own them as part of a deal to fend off liability litigation.

The gun lobby organized a boycott against Smith & Wesson, perceiving smart guns and other concessions in the deal as part of the gun control agenda. Factories closed, employees were laid off, and  for some time, big U.S. gunmakers avoided smart guns. The boycott stemmed from fear that smart guns would soon be the only guns people were allowed to buy, infringing on individual’s rights bear arms of their choosing.

Gunmakers Colt received a $500,000 grant from the Justice Department in 1997 to complete development of a handgun that would work with RFID via a wristband. Smith and Wesson received more than $3 million in Justice Department  grants between 2000 and 2004 to develop smart guns for law enforcement. The prototypes were completed but no one was using them and Smith & Wesson had to layoff 15 percent of its staff due to boycotts.

In 2014, when Engage Armament of Washington shared their intentions to sell the German Armatix iP1 .22-caliber handgun, which electronically limits the ability to fire the weapon, the shop received thousands of complaints and threats of violence and death, forcing them to reconsider their decision.

The Armatix gun is implanted with an electronic chip that allows it to be fired only if the shooter is wearing a watch that communicates with it through a radio signal. If the gun is moved more than ten inches from the watch, it will not fire.

In New Jersey, lawmakers passed a 2002 law requiring that guns be “smart” once they have been available on the market for three years. That three-year countdown has never been started in part because of pressure from gun rights activists on manufacturers not to develop the technology.

This week California congressman Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, submitted the Modernizing Firearms Technology Act to Congress. The bill would require gun retailers to display at least one personalized firearm and make it available for buyers who are not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun. If licensees don’t, they would incur a $1,000 annual fine.

Solving gun safety challenges with the blockchain

“Law enforcement use has been limited because of a lack of proper infrastructure for adequate adoption of smart gun tech,” Barnes said. “They have video recording and some try to use sound sensors to listen for firearm discharge in the city. But without a non-hackable decentralized infrastructure, IoT devices like smart devices on guns have too many security risks. Blocksafe is aiming to solve this major hurdle.”

A blockchain-based system provides the ability to enable, disable, track and secure firearms without any centralized control or reporting according to Barnes. Blocksafe is primarily a software-based project, providing the infrastructure to support the smart-device hardware that manufacturers and 3D print projects use to enhance the safety and defense capabilities of firearms. It’s a peer to peer network that uses a combination of lisk,  BitTorrent and Telehash.

In basic terms, when a gun fires, the Blocksafe “shotspot” technology senses and logs details on the Blocksafe ledger. Notifications simultaneously go to emergency personnel. Multiple “shotspots” work together to detect, locate and respond to gun discharges.

When setting up a smart device initially, Bluetooth authentication is setup via the Blocksafe app by the owner and all authorized users are added by the device owner and stored on the local ledger. Authentication method could vary upon the device and manufacturer. A gun’s round count and authentication attempt parameters are stored in real time along with other data that the device owner chooses to be recorded such as date, time, and location using encryption onto the local ledger of the device. 

When the device has internet access the ledger is synced to the network and the device owner receives notifications such as push, sms, or email as configured by the owner’s chosen device settings. The data is encrypted via a data key on the network. So, only those who have the data kept from the device owner will be able to view the actual device activity.

“The network’s purpose is to support the smart device’s features on the network such as logging activity and remote management that only the device owner can do,” Barnes explained. “For example, a smart lock can be used on the gun and can alert the owner of unauthorized discharges using the Blocksafe app. This will help the device owner control the use and location of the firearm.”

How to lock and not load

The technology will include locks that mount on the gun. Barnes said they are developing custom prototypes of smart devices, but their bigger focus is on developing and maintaining the Blocksafe network and infrastructure. Blocksafe will provide SDK, API and support for other manufacturers to use the Blocksafe network.

“The stakes are too high for a hackable, controllable third-party solution,” Barnes said. “We believe that an anonymous, secure and decentralized infrastructure must be in place to reduce gang activity, locate stolen firearms, and prevent guns from being used against owners. These advanced features can save lives and our right of self-defense.

At time of interview, Barnes was in discussion with the Smart Tech Foundation  to look at collaborative opportunities. Whilst it seems unlikely that smart guns will ever replace traditional guns outright unless the legislature can be stronger than the lobbyists, the reality is that they could significantly advance gun safety into the future.

The post Can a blockchain-IoT hybrid finally give us smart guns? appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories: Technology