posted 8 days ago on slashdot
rjmarvin writes: A GitHub project is using the 23andMe API for genetic decoding to act as a way to bar users from entering websites based on their genetic data — race and ancestry. "Stumbling around GitHub, I came across this bit of code: Genetic Access Control. Now, budding young racist coders can check out your 23andMe page before they allow you into their website! Seriously, this code uses the 23andMe API to pull genetic info, then runs access control on the user based on the results. Just why you decide not to let someone into your site is up to you, but it can be based on any aspect of the 23andMe API. This is literally the code to automate racism."

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posted 8 days ago on slashdot
dcblogs writes: An Ivy league graduate, with a Ph.D. in geophysics, Cheryl Fillekes, who also specializes in Linux and Unix systems, was contacted by Google recruiters four separate times over a seven year period. In each instance, she did well enough on the phone interviews to get invited to an in-person interview but was rejected every time for a job. She has since joined an age discrimination lawsuit against Google filed about two months ago by another older worker. "The amended lawsuit also alleges that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 'multiple complaints of age discrimination by Google, and is currently conducting an extensive investigation.'"

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posted 8 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: The FBI hacks computers. Specifics are scarce, and only a trickle of news has emerged from court filings and FOIA responses. But we know it happens. In a new law review article, a Stanford Ph.D. candidate and privacy expert pulls together what's been disclosed, and then matches it against established law. The results sure aren't pretty. FBI agents deceive judges, ignore time limits, don't tell computer owners after they've been hacked, and don't get 'super-warrants' for webcam snooping. Whatever you think of law enforcement hacking, it probably shouldn't be this lawless.

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posted 8 days ago on slashdot
just_another_sean writes: Christopher Allan Webber, recently returned from OSCON, shares his thoughts on the GPL and why he dislikes people pitting one type of software license against another. He says, "I am not only pro-copyleft, I am also pro-permissive licensing. The difference between these is tactics: the first tactic is towards guaranteeing user freedom, the second tactic is toward pushing adoption. I am generally pro-freedom, but sometimes pushing adoption is important, especially if you're pushing standards and the like. But let's step back for a moment. One thing that's true is that over the last many years we've seen an explosion of free and open source software... at the same time that computers have become more locked down than ever before! How can this be? And notice... the rise of the arguments for permissive/lax licensing have grown simultaneously with this trend. ...The fastest way to develop software which locks down users for maximum monetary extraction is to use free software as a base. And this is where the anti-copyleft argument comes in, because copyleft may effectively force an entity to give back at this stage... and they might not want to. ... Copyleft's strings say, 'you can use my stuff, as long as you give back what you make from it.' But the proprietary differentiation strategy's strings say, 'I will use your stuff, and then add terms which forbid you to ever share or modify the things I build on top of it.' Don't be fooled: both attach strings. But which strings are worse?"

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posted 8 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: Now that Windows 10 is close to launch, Anandtech has put Microsoft's new browser, Edge, through a series of tests to see how it stacks up against other browsers. Edge has shown significant improvements since January. It handily beats Chrome and Firefox in Google's Octane 2.0 benchmark, and it managed the best score on the Sunspider benchmark as well. But Chrome and Firefox both still beat Edge in other tests, by small margins in the Kraken 1.1 and HTML5Test benchmarks, and larger ones in WebXPRT and Oort Online. The article says, "It is great to see Microsoft focusing on browser performance again, and especially not sitting idle since January, since the competition in this space has not been idle either."

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posted 8 days ago on slashdot
itwbennett writes: Sometimes it's a matter of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it,' sometimes corporate inertia is to blame, but perhaps even more often what keeps old technology plugging away in businesses large and small is the sense that it does a single, specific job the way that someone wants it done. George R.R. Martin's preference for using a DOS computer running WordStar 4 to write his Song of Ice and Fire series is one such example, but so is the hospital computer whose sole job was to search and print medical images, however badly or slowly it may have done the job. We all have such stories of obsolete tech we've had to use at one point or another. What's yours?

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posted 8 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: Over the weekend, the New Horizons probe sent back more data from Pluto, including two of the best images we'll get of its small moons Nix and Hydra. Nix measures about 42km long by 36km wide, and has a large reddish spot on it. The resolution allows us to see features about 3km across. Hydra is slightly bigger, and the pictures were taken with a different instrument, so resolution is a bit better. "Although the overall surface color of Nix is neutral grey in the image, the newfound region has a distinct red tint. Hints of a bull's-eye pattern lead scientists to speculate that the reddish region is a crater. ... Meanwhile, the sharpest image yet received from New Horizons of Pluto's satellite Hydra shows that its irregular shape resembles the state of Michigan. ...Although the overall surface color of Nix is neutral grey in the image, the newfound region has a distinct red tint. Hints of a bull's-eye pattern lead scientists to speculate that the reddish region is a crater." Images have been taken of Styx and Kerberos, the most recently discovered moons of Pluto, but they won't be transmitted back for a while, yet. NASA has also released an image of a mountain range inside Pluto's heart-shaped region.

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posted 8 days ago on slashdot
sciencehabit writes: Scientists have implanted tiny lasers within living cells. A team of physicists and biologists have coaxed a cell to envelop a tiny plastic sphere that acts like a resonant cavity—thus placing a whole laser within a cell (abstract). The spheres are seasoned with a fluorescent dye, so that a zap with one color of light makes them radiate at another color. The light then resonates in the sphere, triggering laser action and amplifying itself. So although demonstrated only in cultured cells, the technique might someday be used to track the movement of individual cells, say, within cancerous tumors.

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posted 8 days ago on slashdot
The Magnitude (motto: "Powered by Curiosity") "Can-sized satellites" aren't technically satellites because they're launched on rockets that typically can't get much higher than 10,000 feet, or as payloads on weather balloons that can hit 100,000+ feet but (obviously) can't go beyond the Earth's atmosphere. But could they be satellites? Sure. Get a rocket with enough punch to put them in orbit and off you go -- something Magnitude Co-founder and CEO Ted Tagami hopes to see happening in his local school district by 2020. Meanwhile, they'll sell you assembled CanSat packages or help you build your own (or anything in between), depending on your schools resources and aspirations. Have a question or an idea? Talk to Ted. He'd love to hear from you. Use the Magnitude Web form or send email to hello at magnitude dot io. Either way works.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
When the first Ubuntu phone came out, reviews were quick to criticize it for its lackluster hardware and unusual take on common mobile software interactions. It's been out for a while, now, and Alastair Stevenson has written about his experiences using it for an entire month. While he doesn't recommend it for phone users who aren't tech savvy, he does say that he began to like it better than Android after adjusting to how Ubuntu does things. From the article: [T]he Ubuntu OS has a completely reworked user interface that replaces the traditional home screen with a new system of "scopes." The scope system does away with the traditional mobile interface where applications are stored and accessed from a central series of homescreens. ... Adding to Ubuntu’s otherworldly, unique feel, the OS is also significantly more touch- and gesture-focused than iOS and Android. We found nearly all the key features and menus on the Meizu MX4 are accessed using gesture controls, not with screen shortcuts. ... Finally, there's my biggest criticism – Ubuntu phone is not smart enough yet. While the app selection is impressive for a prototype, in its infancy Ubuntu phone doesn't have enough data feeding into it, as key services are missing."

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
Required Snark writes: During the recent North Fire that burned vehicles on I-15 in California, firefighters had to suspend aerial operations because of the presence of drone aircraft, according to CNN. Quoting: "Five such 'unmanned aircraft systems' prevented California firefighters from dispatching helicopters with water buckets for up to 20 minutes over a wildfire that roared Friday onto a Los Angeles area freeway that leads to Las Vegas. Helicopters couldn't drop water because five drones hovered over the blaze, creating hazards in smoky winds for a deadly midair disaster, officials said." In response, state officials have introduced legislation that would allow first responders to disable drones in emergency situations. A second bill would allow jail time and fines for drone users that interfere with firefighting efforts. "Senate Bill 168, introduced by Gatto and Sen. Ted Gaines, R-El Dorado, would grant 'immunity to any emergency responder who damages an unmanned aircraft in the course of firefighting, air ambulance, or search-and-rescue operations.' Los Angeles County fire Inspector David Dantic declined to comment on the specific legislation, but said his agency's aircraft cannot operate safely if a drone is in the same airspace."

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: Now that Google Photos exists separately from Google+, the company is shutting down the Google+ version of Photos starting on August 1. The Android version will be the first to go, followed shortly thereafter by the iOS and web versions. Fortune calls the old Photos app "a relic of the times when the search giant thought its social network Google Plus could become a huge hit."

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
vivaoporto writes: European scientists say the Philae comet lander fell silent on Monday, raising fears that it has moved again on its new home millions of miles from Earth. Over the last few weeks, Rosetta has been flying along the terminator plane of the comet in order to find the best location to communicate with Philae. However, over the weekend of 10-11 July, the star trackers struggled to lock on to stars at the closer distances. No contact has been made with Philae since 9 July. The data acquired at that time are being investigated by the lander team to try to better understand Philae's situation. One possible explanation being discussed at DLR's Lander Control Center is that the position of Philae may have shifted slightly, perhaps by changing its orientation with respect to the surface in its current location. The lander is likely situated on uneven terrain, and even a slight change in its position – perhaps triggered by gas emission from the comet – could mean that its antenna position has also now changed with respect to its surroundings. This could have a knock-on effect as to the best position Rosetta needs to be in to establish a connection with the lander. The current status of Philae remains uncertain and is a topic of on-going discussion and analysis. But in the meantime, further commands are being prepared and tested to allow Philae to re-commence operations. The lander team wants to try to activate a command block that is still stored in Philae's computer and which was already successfully performed after the lander's unplanned flight across to the surface to its final location. "Although the mission will now focus its scientific priority on the orbiter, Rosetta will continue attempting – up to and past perihelion – to obtain Philae science packets once a stable link has been acquired," adds Patrick Martin, Rosetta mission manager.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
Jason McNew writes: I have been in IT since the late '90s, and began a graduate degree in Cyber Security with Penn State two years ago. I have always been interested in how and why users break policies, despite being trained carefully. I have observed the same phenomena even in highly secure government facilities — I watched people take iPhones into highly sensitive government facilities on several occasions. That led me to wonder to what extent the same problem exists in the private sector: Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) are a huge threat to both security and intellectual property. This question has become the subject of a pilot study I am doing for grad school. So, do you use a smart phone or other PED during work hours, even though you are not supposed to? Please let me know, and I will provide the results in a subsequent submission to Slashdot.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
New submitter Lawrence Bottorff writes: Dieter Moebius, who is credited as a founder of the late-sixties Berlin 'Krautrock' scene, has died at age 71. Krautrock, of course, was hardly rock music, but the protoplasm of a uniquely German avant-garde industrial ambient electronica. Probably his best-known work was with Brian Eno on their famous Cluster collaboration albums. Many believe Cluster (Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Conny Plank) cemented Eno's path on his laconic, melancholic, New-Age-free ambient sound back in the mid- to late-seventies.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: The University of Michigan has opened Mcity, the world's first controlled environment specifically designed to test the potential of connected and automated vehicle technologies that will lead the way to mass-market driverless cars. Mcity is a 32-acre simulated urban and suburban environment that includes a network of roads with intersections, traffic signs and signals, streetlights, building facades, sidewalks and construction obstacles. The types of technologies that will be tested at the facility include connected technologies – vehicles talking to other vehicles or to the infrastructure, commonly known as V2V or V2I – and various levels of automation all the way up to fully autonomous, or driverless vehicles.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: Worried that you might have been targeted with Hacking Team spyware, but don't know how to find out for sure? IT security firm Rook Security has released Milano, a free automated tool meant to detect the Hacking Team malware on a computer system. Facebook has also offered a way to discover if your Mac(s) have been compromised by Hacking Team malware: they have provided a specific query pack for its open source OS analysis tool osquery.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader points out The Register's story that recent changes to the spam filters that Google uses to pare down junk in gmail evidently are a bit overzealous. Linus Torvalds, who famously likes to manage by email, and whose email flow includes a lot of mailing lists, isn't happy with it. Ironically perhaps, it was only last week that the Gmail team blogged that its spam filter's rate of false positives is down to less than 0.05 per cent. In his post, Torvalds said his own experience belies that claim, and that around 30 per cent of the mail in his spam box turned out not to be spam. "It's actually at the point where I'm noticing missing messages in the email conversations I see, because Gmail has been marking emails in the middle of the conversation as spam. Things that people replied to and that contained patches and problem descriptions," Torvalds wrote.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: LibreOffice has lots its X11 dependency on Linux and can now run smoothly under Wayland. LibreOffice has been ported to Wayland by adding GTK3 tool-kit support to the office suite over the past few months. LibreOffice on Wayland is now in good enough shape that the tracker bug has been closed and it should work as good as X11 except for a few remaining bugs. LibreOffice 5.0 will be released next month with this support and other changes outlined by the 5.0 release notes.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
Matt_Bennett writes: A scary remote exploit is going to be published that enables someone connected to the the same wireless (mobile data) network to take over many [automobile] systems, including braking. This is an exploit in Chrysler's Uconnect system. Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek also demonstrated exploits in 2013 that could be done via a direct connection to the system, but this is vastly expanded in scope. The pair convinced Wired writer Andy Greenberg to drive around near St. Louis while they picked apart the car's systems from 10 miles away, killing the radio controls before moving on to things like the transmission.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: ERNW security analyst Florian Grunow says that North Korea's Red Star Linux operating system is tracking users by tagging content with unique hidden tags. He particularizes that files including Word documents and JPEG images connected to but not necessarily executed in Red Star will have a tag introduced into its code that includes a number based on hardware serial numbers. Red Star's development team seems to have created some quite interesting custom additions to Linux kernel and userspace, based on which Grunow has written a technical analysis.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
The BBC reports that Toshiba president and chief executive Hisao Tanaka, along with vice-chairman Norio Sasaki, former chief executive Atsutoshi Niched, and six other executives, has resigned from the company in the wake of an accounting scandal: On Monday, an independent panel appointed by Toshiba said the firm had overstated its operating profit by a total of 151.8bn yen ($1.22bn, £780m). The overstatement was roughly triple an initial estimate by Toshiba. Asia Times has an article that delves into the pressure which drove Tanaka and others to misstate their revenue figures so drastically. From that piece: Top management and the heads of in-house companies acted on “the shared goal of padding nominal profits,” the report said. President Hisao Tanaka and immediate predecessor Norio Sasaki, now vice chairman, denied intentionally delaying loss-booking, but those who worked below them thought they were being instructed to do so, according to the report. Top management would assign “challenges,” or earnings improvement targets, at monthly meetings with the heads of in-house companies and subsidiaries. These targets were especially aggressive in fiscal 2011 and fiscal 2012, when Sasaki was president. In-house company chiefs felt enormous pressure to meet the goals, the committee concluded. After the announcement of Tanaka's resignation, the company's stock actually rose six percent. CNBC explains: Getting the bad news out appears to have eased investors' concerns about the stock. "The total problem has been quantified and there's a likely chance the CEO will have to quit. That's been seen as the end of that," said Amir Anvarzadeh, director of Japan equity sales at BGC Securities.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: Headlights have been around since the 1880's, and while the source of their light has changed over the years, their functionality has remained virtually the same, until now. Ford has unveiled a new advanced illumination system that should make driving your car at night a lot safer. The new headlight system uses a standard and infrared camera to detect objects near the road. The new technology can locate and track up to eight people or animals up to 12 meters. Ford reports: "Building upon Adaptive Front Lighting System and Traffic Sign Recognition, the system interprets traffic signs to better illuminate hazards that are not in the direction of travel, and uses GPS information for enhanced lighting when encountering bends and dips on a chosen route. Where GPS information is not available, a video camera detects lane markings and predicts the road’s curvature. When next the driver uses the same road again, the headlights adapt to the course of the road automatically. We expect this technology to be available for customers in the near term."

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: A Spanish judge has requested that the European Court of Justice determine whether or not Uber is a generic "digital service," as it claims, or a "mere transport activity." If the court rules that Uber is a transportation firm the company may have to follow the same licensing and safety rules as taxis and other hired vehicles. "Today's news means that the European Court of Justice will now determine if the national rules currently being applied to digital services like Uber are legal and appropriate under European law," said Mark MacGann, Uber's Head of Public Policy for EMEA, on a conference call with journalists.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
Bismillah writes: US supercomputer vendor Cray has scored the contract to build the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's new system, said to be capable of 1.6 petaFLOPS and with an upgrade option in three years' time to hit 5 petaFLOPS. From the iTnews story: "The increase in capacity will allow the BoM to deal with growth in the 1TB of data it collects every day, which it expects to increase by 30 percent every 18 months to two years. It will also allow the agency to collect new areas of information it previously lacked the capacity for. 'The new observation platforms that are coming online are bringing quite a lot more data,' supercomputer program director Tim Pugh told iTnews.

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