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Tech Billionaires and the Separate-But-Equal Revival

theodp (442580) writes | about 6 months ago

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theodp (442580) writes ""As we approach the sixtieth anniversary of the Brown decision," writes the New Yorker's Jelani Cobb in The Failure of Desegregation, "the landmark case seems, in hindsight, like a qualified victory. Racially homogenous schools remain a fact of American life." And the resegregation of schools isn't limited to the Deep South. In the New York City public-school system, Cobb notes, Black and Latino students have become more likely to attend schools with minimal white enrollment, and a majority go to schools defined by concentrated poverty. And, despite the backing of Bill Gates and other like-minded super-wealthy tech "education investors", charter schools are no panacea for integration's failures. "Three-quarters of the city’s charter schools, which were a key component of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's efforts at education reform," writes Cobb, "have fewer than one per cent white enrollment," which UCLA's Civil Rights Project terms "apartheid schools". And at KIPP Schools, a darling of Gates, Netflix's Reed Hastings, and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, "more than 86 percent of our students are from low-income families and eligible for the federal free or reduced-price meals program, and 95 percent are African American or Latino.' So, would Bill send his own kids to a charter school? 'A family like mine should not use up the inner-city capacity of these great schools,' Gates explained, 'but if by some happenstance, my kids had to go to KIPP schools [instead of, say, BillG's alma mater], I wouldn't feel bad at all.' So, while well-intentioned, are tech's billionaire education reformers inadvertently contributing to today's separate-but-equal revival?"

Samsung's Position On Tizen May Hurt Developer Recruitment

CowboyRobot (671517) writes | about 6 months ago

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CowboyRobot (671517) writes "Samsung isn’t making it easy for developers. The company may have released a handful of SDKs for its latest devices, but Samsung’s non-committal approach to its Tizen platform is probably going to cost it developer support. Samsung’s first smartwatch, released in October last year, ran a modified version of Google’s Android platform. The device had access to about 80 apps at launch, all of which were managed by a central smartphone app. Samsung offered developers an SDK for the Galaxy Gear so they could create more apps. Developers obliged. Then Samsung changed direction."
Link to Original Source

Use drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis, and steal it

schwit1 (797399) writes | about 6 months ago

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schwit1 (797399) writes "There has been a huge surge in the number of hidden cannabis farms across Halesowen, Cradley Heath and Oldbury, towns on the outskirts of rural Shropshire some seven miles from central Birmingham.

They require hydroponic lights for the marijuana plants to grow – and the huge amounts of excess heat given off make them easily spottable for a would-be criminal in the know.

One such man told the Halesowen News that after finding a property with a cannabis farm he and his crew either burgle or “tax” the victim."

Link to Original Source

Researchers Clone Cells from Two Adult Men (stem cells)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) writes | about 6 months ago

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Trax3001BBS (2368736) writes ""Lanza’s group used caffeine to prevent the fused egg from dividing prematurely. Rather than leaving the egg with its newly introduced DNA for 30 minutes before activating the dividing stage, they let the eggs rest for about two hours. This gave the DNA enough time to acclimate to its new environment and interact with the egg’s development factors, which erased each of the donor cell’s existing history and reprogrammed it to act like a brand new cell in an embryo."

Stem cells is my take on this feat."

Link to Original Source

#IoTH: The Internet of Things and Humans

Anonymous Coward writes | about 6 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Speculating the future of human computer interaction, Tim O'Reilly contemplates how humans and things cooperate differently when things get smarter. "Rod Smith of IBM and I had a call the other day to prepare for our onstage conversation at O'Reilly's upcoming Solid Conference, and I was surprised to find how much we were in agreement about one idea: so many of the most interesting applications of the Internet of Things involve new ways of thinking about how humans and things cooperate differently when the things get smarter. It really ought to be called the Internet of Things and Humans — #IoTH, not just #IoT!""

Mercedes Slams Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

cartechboy (2660665) writes | about 6 months ago

1

cartechboy (2660665) writes "They say you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you. Maybe it should go you shouldn't trash talk the company you partner with. U.S. head of Mercedes-Benz, Steve Cannon was just quoted as saying future service of Tesla's vehicles could be "limited," and that while it's great, the market could be more attracted to other luxury automakers once their products hit the market. Cannon also suggests that the current infrastructure isn't up to maintaining and fueling electric vehicles, in particularly Tesla's stores and go-to servicing can't handle high demands. Naturally he said Mercedes has the "whole network" to put customers minds' at ease. Sounds like fighting words to me. Hey Mercedes, where's your Model S competitor?"

New Facebook Phone App Lets You Stalk Your Friends

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes | about 6 months ago

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Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Iain Thomson reports that Facebook is adding a new application called "Nearby Friends" that alerts smartphone users when their friends are nearby. "If you turn on Nearby Friends, you'll occasionally be notified when friends are nearby, so you can get in touch with them and meet up," says Facebook in a statement. "For example, when you're headed to the movies, Nearby Friends will let you know if friends are nearby so you can see the movie together or meet up afterward." The feature, which is opt-in, allows users to select which friends get a warning that you are in the area, and prepare a subset of people who might like to know when you're near, if they have the Nearby Friends activated as well. According to Josh Constine what makes "Nearby Friends" different than competitors and could give it an advantage is that it’s centered around broadcasting proximity, not location. " If someone’s close, you’ll know, and can ping them about their precise location and meeting up. Broadcasting location is creepy so we’re less likely to share it, and can cause awkward drop-ins where someone tries to come see you when you didn’t want them to.""

Kepler-186f: Most 'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered

astroengine (1577233) writes | about 6 months ago

1

astroengine (1577233) writes "About 500 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus lives a star, which, though smaller and redder than the sun, has a planet that may look awfully familiar. With a diameter just 10 percent bigger than Earth’s, the newly found world is the first of its size found basking in the benign temperature region around a parent star where water, if it exists, could pool in liquid form. Scientists on the hunt for Earth's twin are focused on worlds that could support liquid surface water, which may be necessary to brew the chemistry of life. "Kepler-186f is significant because it is the first exoplanet that is the same temperature and the same size (well, ALMOST!) as the Earth,” David Charbonneau, with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, wrote in an email to Discovery News. "Previously, the exoplanet most like Earth was Kepler-62f, but Kepler-186f is significantly smaller. Now we can point to a star and say, ‘There lies an Earth-like planet.’”"
Link to Original Source

MIT Designs Tsunami Proof Floating Nuclear Reactor

Amtrak (2430376) writes | about 6 months ago

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Amtrak (2430376) writes "MIT has created designs for a nuclear plant that would avoid the downfall of the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The new design calls for the nuclear plant to be placed on a floating platform modeled after the platforms used for offshore oil drilling.

A floating platform several miles offshore, moored in about 100 meters of water, would be unaffected by the motions of a tsunami; earthquakes would have no direct effect at all. Meanwhile, the biggest issue that faces most nuclear plants under emergency conditions — overheating and potential meltdown, as happened at Fukushima, Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island — would be virtually impossible at sea."

Link to Original Source

Plant Breeders Release First 'Open Source Seeds'

mr crypto (229724) writes | about 6 months ago

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mr crypto (229724) writes "Ag with an OSS twist: "A group of scientists and food activists is launching a campaign Thursday to change the rules that govern seeds. They're releasing 29 new varieties of crops under a new "open source pledge" that's intended to safeguard the ability of farmers, gardeners and plant breeders to share those seeds freely.""
Link to Original Source

Oracle Deflects Blame for Troubled Oregon Health Care Site

itwbennett (1594911) writes | about 6 months ago

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itwbennett (1594911) writes "Oracle is gearing up for a fight with officials in Oregon over its role developing an expensive health insurance exchange website that still isn't fully operational. In a letter obtained by the Oregonian newspaper this week, Oracle co-president Safra Catz said that Oregon officials have provided the public with a 'false narrative' concerning who is to blame for Cover Oregon's woes. In the letter, Catz pointed out that Oregon's decision to act as their own systems integrator on the project, using Oracle consultants on a time-and-materials basis, was 'criticized frequently by many'. And as far as Oracle is concerned, 'Cover Oregon lacked the skills, knowledge or ability to be successful as the systems integrator on an undertaking of this scope and complexity,' she added."
Link to Original Source

Ubuntu Linux 14.04 LTS Trusty Tahr Released

Anonymous Coward writes | about 6 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Ubuntu Linux version 14.04 LTS (code named "Trusty Tahr") has been released and available for download. This updated version includes the Linux kernel v3.13.0-24.46, Python 3.4, Xen 4.4, Libreoffice 4.2.3, MySQL 5.6/MariaDB 5.5, Apache 2.4, PHP 5.5, improvements to AppArmor allow more fine-grained control over application, and more. The latest release of Ubuntu Server is heavily focused on supporting cloud and scale-out computing platforms such as OpenStack, Docker, and more. As part of the wider Ubuntu 14.04 release efforts the Ubuntu Touch team is proud to make the latest and greatest touch experience available to our enthusiast users and developers. You can install Ubuntu on Nexus 4 Phone (mako), Nexus 7 (2013) Tablet (flo), and Nexus 10 Tablet (manta) by following these instructions. On a hardware front, ARM multiplatform support has been added, enabling you to build a single ARM kernel image that can boot across multiple hardware platforms. Additionally, the ARM64 and Power architectures are now fully supported. See detailed release note for more information here and a quick upgrade to a newer version of Ubuntu is possible over the network."

NASA proposes "water world theory" for origin of life

William Robinson (875390) writes | about 6 months ago

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William Robinson (875390) writes "A new study from researchers at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has proposed the "water world" theory as the answer to our evolution, which describes how electrical energy naturally produced at the sea floor might have given rise to life. While the scientists had already proposed this hypothesis called "submarine alkaline hydrothermal emergence of life" the new report assembles decades of field, laboratory and theoretical research into a grand, unified picture."

Americans Wary of Some Futuristic Technology

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes | about 6 months ago

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Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Doug Gross reports at CNN that Americans are generally excited about the new technology they expect to see in their lifetimes but when confronted with some advances that already appear possible — from skies filled with drones to meat made in a lab — they get nervous. Overall, respondents to a survey by the Pew Research Center were upbeat about how technology will shape the near future. In the report, 59% of Americans think tech developments will make life in the next half-century better, while only 30% said they will make life worse. More than eight out of 10 respondents (81%) said they think that in the next 50 years, people who need transplants will be able to get them with organs grown in labs. More than half (51%) think computers will be able to create art as skillfully as humans do. But Americans are a little less optimistic about some science-fiction staples. Only 39% think it's likely scientists will have figured out how to teleport things (or, presumably, people), 33% say we'll have long-term space colonies by 2064 and a mere 19% expect humans will be able to control the weather.

But some of the advances that may be closest to becoming reality are the ones survey respondents were most worried about (PDF). Nearly two out of three Americans think it would make things worse if U.S. airspace is opened up to personal drones. A similar number dislike the idea of robots being used to care for the sick and elderly, and of parents being able to alter the DNA of their unborn children. Only 37% of respondents think it will be good if wearable devices or implants allow us to be digitally connected all the time. People were split almost evenly (48%-50%) on whether they would ride in a driverless car. But only 26% said they'd get a brain implant to improve their memory or intelligence, and a mere 20% said they'd try eating meat made in a lab. Some 9% said they'd like to be able to time travel. A similar number said they'd like something that would keep them healthy or extend their lives, 6% said they wanted a flying car (or bike), 3% said they'd take a teleportation device and a mere 1% said they want their own jetpack.

Asked to describe in their own words the futuristic inventions they themselves would like to own, the public offered three common themes: 1) travel improvements like flying cars and bikes, or even personal space crafts; 2) time travel; and 3) health improvements that extend human longevity or cure major diseases. "In the long run, Americans are optimistic about the impact that scientific developments will have on their lives and the lives of their children — but they definitely expect to encounter some bumps along the way," says Aaron Smith, a senior researcher at Pew and the author of the report. "They are especially concerned about developments that have the potential to upend long-standing social norms around things like personal privacy, surveillance, and the nature of social relationships.""

Tor Blacklisting Exit Nodes Vulnerable to Heartbleed

msm1267 (2804139) writes | about 6 months ago

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msm1267 (2804139) writes "The Tor Project has published a list of 380 exit relays vulnerable to the Heartbleed OpenSSL vulnerability that it will reject. This comes on the heels of news that researcher Collin Mulliner of Northeastern University in Boston found more than 1,000 vulnerable to Heartbleed where he was able to retrieve plaintext user traffic.

Mulliner said he used a random list of 5,000 Tor nodes from the Dan.me.uk website for his research; of the 1,045 vulnerable nodes he discovered, he recovered plaintext traffic that included Tor plaintext announcements, but a significant number of nodes leaked user traffic in the clear."

Link to Original Source

Infor Aligns With PostgreSQL, Aims at Oracle's Heart

RaDag (3455045) writes | about 6 months ago

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RaDag (3455045) writes "Behind the headline of a recent ZDnet article by Larry Dignan is an important milestone for Postgres. The $3 Billion ERP vendor Infor is using Postgres in an aggressive push against its competitors Oracle and SAP, and the move is monumental for clearing Postgres adoption hurdles. Postgres is soaring in popularity and companies have been steadily increasing their use of Postgres for individual workloads. but a major enterprise software vendor porting its solution to Postgres clears the way for massive, enterprise-wide implementations. Infor’s announcement Wednesday that it had collaborated with EnterpriseDB (and Red Hat) on a new open stack for its Infor LN ERP solution is the missing piece."
Link to Original Source

Lying Eyes: Cyborg Glasses Simulate Eye Expressions

Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes | about 6 months ago

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Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "A researcher in Japan has taken what is, perhaps, the next step after Google Glass: Glasses which produce animated images of the user's eyes to simulate emotional responses. They are intended to aid workers in emotionally-intensive environments. As the researcher explains, '... they allowed others to feel they were "cared" about ...' Really? Or do they just give creepy a whole new dimension?"

The Dismal State Of SATCOM Security

Anonymous Coward writes | about 6 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Satellite Communications (SATCOM) play a vital role in the global telecommunications system, but the security of the devices used leaves much to be desired. The list of security weaknesses IOActive foundwhile analyzing and reverse-engineering firmware used on the most widely deployed Inmarsat and Iridium SATCOM terminals does not include only design flaws but also features in the devices themselves that could be of use to attackers. The uncovered vulnerabilities include multiple backdoors, hardcoded credentials, undocumented and/or insecure protocols, and weak encryption algorithms. These vulnerabilities allow remote, unauthenticated attackers to compromise the affected products. In certain cases no user interaction is required to exploit the vulnerability; just sending a simple SMS or specially crafted message from one ship to another ship would be successful for some of the SATCOM systems."

Americans are scared about the future of drones, robots, and wearables

colinneagle (2544914) writes | about 6 months ago

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colinneagle (2544914) writes "Findings from a recent Pew study on Americans' opinions on future technology and science: 65% think it would be a change for the worse if lifelike robots become the primary caregivers for the elderly and people in poor health. 63% think it would be a change for the worse if personal and commercial drones are given permission to fly through most U.S. airspace. 53% of Americans think it would be a change for the worse if most people wear implants or other devices that constantly show them information about the world around them.

The drone concern is to be expected, from both a privacy and a safety perspective. Last year, a small Colorado town tried to issue permits for residents to shoot down airborne drones, and came pretty close to making it legal. And just last week, a drone fell out of the air at a triathlon in Australia; an ambulance crew had to pick pieces of the drone's propeller out of her head. Compare this problem with Amazon’s vision of constant drone deliveries and you have a recipe for a country full of concerned parents.

The wearable concern is just another sign of privacy concerns going mainstream. Google Glass has seen some serious backlash lately, with even physical violence and theft against those who wear them in public. The study just illustrates how widespread this contempt goes.

One issue I was surprised not to see was concern over the impact of robots and drones on jobs for humans. A 2013 Oxford study estimated that as many as 47% of human jobs in the U.S. can be automated, taken over by robots or drones that don’t require a wage (let alone a minimum wage) and can work round-the-clock."

Link to Original Source

Big win for Open Government and Transparency in Mississippi

Chris Elkins (3620071) writes | about 6 months ago

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Chris Elkins (3620071) writes "Text messages are now officially considered public records. An investigative reporter fought for access to what he believed were public records. He took his fight to the state and won. Mississippi open government and transparency advocates view this unanimous commission opinion as precedent-setting for all government bodies and public officials in the state."
Link to Original Source

What Tech Products Were Built to Last?

itwbennett (1594911) writes | about 6 months ago

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itwbennett (1594911) writes "When you think about tech products these days, you probably think 'refresh cycle' more than 'built to last.' But as it turns out there are plenty of tech products that put up with hard, daily use year after year. ITworld dug into the BuyItForLife subreddit to suss out 10 such products (some more strictly 'tech' than others). Among those with the strongest recommendations for their ability to outlast their peers: Logitech MX510 mouse, Brother black & white laser printer, Casio G-Shock watch, Alvin Draf-Tec Retrac mechanical pencil, Sony Dream Machine alarm clock. What's your longest-lasting, hardest-working device?"
Link to Original Source

Click Like? You may have given up the right to sue.

sandbagger (654585) writes | about 6 months ago

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sandbagger (654585) writes "The New York Times reports that General Mills, the maker of cereals like Cheerios and Chex as well as brands like Bisquick and Betty Crocker, has quietly added language to its website to alert consumers that they give up their right to sue the company if they download coupons, 'join' it in social media communities. Who'd have imagined that clicking like requires a EULA?"
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Apache OpenOffice reaches 100 million downloads. Now what?

Anonymous Coward writes | about 6 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 170 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today that Apache OpenOffice has been downloaded 100 million times.

Over 100 million downloads, over 750 extensions, over 2,800 templates. But what does the community at Apache need to do to get the next 100 million?"

Early collection of Java EE 8 planning articles

Anonymous Coward writes | about 6 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "The work for Java EE 8 is currently in it’s early stages. Planning for the overall platform is well underway, but no official expert groups have been formed yet and details about individual specs are still scarce. This page will be updated continuously as more info becomes available . Java EE 8 is expected around 2016/2017 (“the usual pace”)."
Link to Original Source

Five year suspended sentence for South Africa's first online pirate

Anonymous Coward writes | about 6 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "South Africa's first prosecution for online piracy was concluded this morning, with a five year wholly suspended sentence handed down to a filesharer who uploaded local movie Four Corners to The Pirate Bay. The man — who lost his job recently — said he's relieved by the verdict which was the result of a plea bargain. Director Ian Gabriel, who made the film, recently said he was 'philosophical' about piracy."
Link to Original Source

'Accidental' Siberian Mummies Part of Mysterious Ancient Arctic Civilization

concertina226 (2447056) writes | about 6 months ago

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concertina226 (2447056) writes "Russian archaeologists are trying to discover the origins of a group of 800-year-old bodies found just 29 km from the Arctic Circle, which were accidentally mummified by copper when they were buried.

The mummies were discovered at Zeleniy Yar in Siberia, in 34 shallow graves, and 11 of the bodies found in the medieval burial place had either smashed skeletons or missing and shattered skulls.

They may have been damaged by their peers deliberately to prevent spells emanating from them.

There is only one female, a child, who is buried with her face masked by copper plates, and three male infant mummies, who wear copper masks and were bound in four or five copper hoops that each measure several centimetres wide."

Link to Original Source

Why Can't I Turn Off the Adverts?

d'baba (1134261) writes | about 6 months ago

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d'baba (1134261) writes "I've got excellent karma (thank you very much) and, always before, I could turn off the adverts. Now, not only can't I turn them off I have them in the Header and Right Column and they are creeping up from the bottom of the page."

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