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Microsoft to launch machine learning service

angry tapir (1463043) writes | about a month ago

0

angry tapir (1463043) writes "Microsoft will soon offer a service aimed at making machine-learning technology more widely usable. "We want to bring machine learning to many more people," Eron Kelly, Microsoft corporate vice president and director SQL Server marketing, said of Microsoft Azure Machine Learning, due to be launched in beta form in July. "The line of business owners and the marketing teams really want to use data to get ahead, but data volumes are getting so large that it is difficult for businesses to sift through it all," Kelly said."
Link to Original Source

Google to Ban Ads for Legal Gun Accessories & "Dangerous" Knives: Threatens

Mark Sauter (3692653) writes | about a month ago

1

Mark Sauter (3692653) writes "This morning we received an email from Google with the following title: "Google AdWords Policy Update — Weapons policy restriction."

The email, from the "Google AdWords Team," announces a new policy starting in September for those who advertise on Google Adwords, a service used to attract traffic to Web sites. It bans Adwords advertising for products such as knives "that can be used to injure an opponent in sport, self-defense, or combat" plus "Any part or component that's necessary to the function of a gun or intended for attachment to a gun
Examples: Gun scopes, ammunition, ammunition clips or belts" [and even bb guns!]
We certainly have no problem with Google prohibiting ads involving weapons such as nail bombs and grenades, as it does. But we see a big difference in banning ads for legal products used by many millions of Americans. The ban specifically includes sport and recreational guns and their components.

And it's not just ads that are being threatened. The email (see excepts below) includes the following: "When we make this change, any ads or sites that are identified as violating our revised policy won't be able to run."

In other words, Google is not just threatening to shut down advertising accounts, but also to disable Web sites with content about legal products (or topics?) that it finds politically incorrect. The email did not provide additional detail on the issue of the Web sites. Presumably, Google would shut down sites running on Google's Blogger service, but one could certainly worry the company might use its dominant search engine to make offending sites "disappear" from search results."

Link to Original Source

Help Crowd-FOIA Stingray usage across America

v3rgEz (125380) writes | about a month ago

0

v3rgEz (125380) writes "Collaborative investigative news site MuckRock is trying to take a national look at Stingray usage across America, and is looking for people to submit contact information for their local police departments and other law enforcement groups for a mass FOIA campaign. The submissions are free, but the site is also running a crowdfunding campaign to cover the cost of stamps, etc. on Beacon Reader."

CIA rendition jet was waiting in Europe to kidnap Snowden

Frosty Piss (770223) writes | about a month ago

5

Frosty Piss (770223) writes "As Edward Snowden made his dramatic escape to Russia a year ago, a secret US government jet previously employed in CIA 'rendition' flights on which terror suspects disappeared into 'black' imprisonment flew into Europe in a bid to spirit him back to the United States. On the evening of 24 June 2013, an unmarked Gulfstream V business jet took off from a quiet commercial airport 30 miles from a Washington DC. regional airport discreetly offers its clients 'the personal accommodations and amenities you can't find at commercial airports'. On its best-known mission, the jet flew a U.S. marshals into the UK on to collect radical cleric Abu Hamza after the United States won an extradition order against him. Only Vladimir Putin's intransigence saved Snowden from a similar travel package. The jet's activities can be followed on many flight tracking websites such as FlightAware"

Bill Gates To Stanford Grads: Don't (Only) Focus On Profit

jfruh (300774) writes | about a month ago

0

jfruh (300774) writes "The scene was a little surreal. Bill Gates, who became one of the world's richest men by ruthlessly making Microsoft one of the word's most profitable companies, was giving a commencement address at Stanford, the elite university at the heart of Silicon Valley whose graduates go on to the endless tech startups bubbling up looking for Facebook-style riches. But the theme of Gates's speech was that the pursuit of profit cannot solve the world's problems."
Link to Original Source

Unicode 7.0 released, supporting 23 new scripts

Anonymous Coward writes | about a month ago

0

An anonymous reader writes "The newest major version of the Unicode Standard was released today, adding 2,834 new characters, including two new currency symbols and 250 emoji. The inclusion of 23 new scripts is the largest addition of writing systems to Unicode since version 1.0 was published with Unicode's original 24 scripts. Among the new scripts are Linear A, Grantha, Siddham, Mende Kikakui, and the first shorthand encoded in Unicode, Duployan."
Link to Original Source

Endurance experiment writes one petabyte to six consumer SSDs

crookedvulture (1866146) writes | about a month ago

0

crookedvulture (1866146) writes "Last year, we kicked off an SSD endurance experiment to see how much data could be written to six consumer drives. One petabyte later, half of them are still going. Their performance hasn't really suffered, either. The casualties slowed down a little toward the very end, and they died in different ways. The Intel 335 Series and Kingston HyperX 3K provided plenty of warning of their imminent demise, though both still ended up completely unresponsive at the very end. The Samsung 840 Series, which uses more fragile TLC NAND, perished unexpectedly. It also suffered a rash of cell failures and multiple bouts of uncorrectable errors during its life. While the sample size is far too small to draw any definitive conclusions, all six SSDs exceeded their rated lifespans by hundreds of terabytes. The fact that all of them wrote over 700TB is a testament to the endurance of modern SSDs."

Are U.S. Hybrid Sales Peaking Already?

cartechboy (2660665) writes | about a month ago

0

cartechboy (2660665) writes "The Toyota Prius is pretty darn popular, especially in California. One might think that hybrid sales are on the rise as gas prices continue to fluctuate, but it seems hybrid sales in the U.S. might be peaking. Researchers at IHS Automotive found that U.S. hybrid sales haven't kept pace with the rest of the market. In the automotive world, conventional wisdom states that adding a model to a brand or segment will increase sales--but that hasn't happened with hybrids. The number of hybrid offerings has almost doubled from 24 in 2009 to 47 in 2014--but U.S. hybrid sales haven't dramatically increased. In fact, hybrid market share actually declined from 2009 to 2010, and then again from 2013 to 2014. So if consumers aren't buying hybrids, what are they buying? It seems some hybrid early adopters are now switching to plug-in hybrids or electric cars stating that these models are just nicer to drive. Is this already the beginning of the end in some way for hybrids, or is it merely a blip on the sales chart?"

Humans not solely to blame for passenger pigeon extinction

sciencehabit (1205606) writes | about a month ago

0

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "When the last passenger pigeon died at a zoo in 1914, the species became a cautionary tale of the dramatic impact humans can have on the world. But a new study finds that the bird experienced multiple population booms and crashes over the million years before its final demise. The sensitivity of the population to natural fluctuations, the authors argue, could have been what made it so vulnerable to extinction."
Link to Original Source

Starbucks offers workers 2 years of free college

mpicpp (3454017) writes | about a month ago

0

mpicpp (3454017) writes "Starbucks baristas working through college are about to get an extra boost from their employer.
The company announced it will offer both full- and part-time employees a generous tuition reimbursement benefit that covers two full years of classes.

The benefit is through a partnership with Arizona State University's online studies program. Employees can choose any of more than 40 undergraduate degrees, and aren't limited to only business classes."

Link to Original Source

Book review: Security without Obscurity

benrothke (2577567) writes | about a month ago

0

benrothke (2577567) writes ": Security without Obscurity: A Guide to Confidentiality, Authentication and Integrity

Author: J.J. Stapleton

Pages: 355

Publisher: Auerbach Publications

Rating: 8/10

Reviewer: Ben Rothke

ISBN: 978-1466592148

Summary: Great guide to enterprise authentication from an expert







Having worked at the same consulting firm and also on a project with author J.J. Stapleton (yes, that was full disclosure); I knew he was a really smart guy. In Security without Obscurity: A Guide to Confidentiality, Authentication and Integrity, Stapleton shows how broad his security knowledge is to the world.



When it comes to the world of encryption and cryptography, Stapleton has had his hand in a lot of different cryptographic pies. He has been part of cryptographic accreditation committees for many different standard bodies across the globe.



The premise of the author and the need for the book is that the traditional information security CIA triad (confidentiality, integrity, availability) has led to the situation where authentication has to a large part gotten short shrift. This is a significant issue since much of information security is built around the need for strong and effective authentication. Without effective authentication, networks and data are at direct risk for compromise.



The topic itself is not exactly compelling (that is, unless you like to read standards such as ANSI X9.42-2003: Public Key Cryptography for the Financial Services Industry: Agreement of Symmetric Keys Using Discrete Logarithm Cryptography, ISO/IEC 9798-1:2010: Information technology — Security techniques — Entity authentication,etc.), so the book is more of a detailed technical reference. Those looking for a highly technical overview, interoperability guidance, and overall reference will find the book most rewarding.



For those who don't have a general background on the topic; it may be a book too deep and technical for those looking for something more in line of a CISSP preparation guide.



For those that want to know the deep underpinnings of how encryption algorithms work; they can simply read the RFC's and standards themselves. What the book brings to the table are details about how to effectively implement the standards and algorithms in the enterprise; be it in applications, policies; or the specific procedures to meet compliance and standards requirements. And that is where Stapleton's many decades of experience provide significant and inestimable value.



There are many reasons why authentication systems fail and many times it is due to interoperability issues. Stapleton details how to ensure to minimize those faults in order to achieve seamless authentication across multiple technologies and operating systems.



The 7 chapters cover a dense amount of information around the 3 core topics. The book is for the reader with a solid technical background. While it may be listed as an exploratory text, it is not like a For Dummies title.



As per its title, it covers confidentiality, authentication and integrity; in addition to other fundamental topics of non-repudiation, privacy and key management.



One of the ways Stapleton brings his broad experience to the book is in the many areas where he compares different types of cryptosystems, technologies and algorithms. This enables the reader to understand what the appropriate type of authentication is most beneficial for the specific requirement.



For example, in chapter 7, the book provides a really good comparison and summary of different cryptographic modules, including how they are linked to various standards from NIST, NSA, ANSI and ISO. It does the same for a comparison of cryptographic key strengths against various algorithms.



An interesting observation the book makes when discussing the DES encryption algorithm, is that all of the talk of the NSA placing backdoors in it are essentially false. To date, no known flaws have been found against DES, and that after being around for over 30 years, the only attack against DES is an exhaustive key attack. This type of attack is where an adversary has to try each of the possible 72 quadrillion key (256permutations – as the key is 56 bits long) until the right key is discovered.



That means that the backdoor rumors of the NSA shortening the length of the substitution ciphers (AKA s-boxes), was not to weaken it necessarily. Rather it was meant to block DES against specific types of cryptanalytic attacks.



While the book is tactical; the author does bring in one bit of trivia when he writes that the ISO, often known as the International Organization for Standardization, does not in truth realty stand for that. He notes that the organizations clearly states on its web pagethat because International Organization for Standardizationwould have different acronyms in different languages (IOS in English, OIN in French for Organisation internationale de normalization, etc.); its founders decided to give it the short form ISO. ISO is derived from the Greek isos, meaning equal. Whatever the country, whatever the language, the short form of the name is always ISO.



While that is indeed ultimately a trivial issue, I have seen certification exams where they ask what that acronym stands for. Perhaps a lot of CISSP's need to have their credentials revoked.



While Stapleton modifies the CIA triad, the book is not one of a security curmudgeon, rather of a security doyen. For anyone looking for an authoritative text on how to fully implement cross-platform security and authentication across the enterprise, this is a valuable reference to get that job done.







Reviewed by Ben Rothke"

New Sensor to Detect Food-Borne Bacteria on Site

Zothecula (1870348) writes | about a month ago

0

Zothecula (1870348) writes "According to the CDC, around 48 million people in the US get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die as a result of foodborne illnesses every year. One of the main culprits is listeriosis (or listeria), which is responsible for approximately 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths. Now researchers at the University of Southampton are trialling a device designed to detect the most common cause of listeriosis directly on food preparation surfaces, without the need to send samples away for laboratory testing."
Link to Original Source

Watch celestial mechanics in (almost) real time!

wisebabo (638845) writes | about a month ago

0

wisebabo (638845) writes "If Sir Isaac Newton weren't already dead and in Heaven, I'm sure this would make him die and go there.

Here (scroll down to the GIF, please) is a time-lapse sequence taken by Cassini at Saturn of a small (okay tiny) moon "Prometheus" pulling out streamers of dust from the nearby ring over and over again. For eternity. (Or at least tens of millions of years). While the sequence only shows one such event, a quick glance at a larger scale (scroll to the top, please) shows that it is doing so repeatedly. L i k e c l o c k w o r k.

Despite all the troubles in the world (although the number of deaths due to war DO seem to be decreasing which is a minor problem in itself http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06...) these kind of things make me realize that I am living in an incredible age."

Link to Original Source

Chinese gov't reveals Microsoft's secret list of Android-killer patents

walterbyrd (182728) writes | about a month ago

0

walterbyrd (182728) writes "A list of hundreds of patents that Microsoft believes entitle it to royalties over Android phones, and perhaps smartphones in general, has been published on a Chinese language website.

The patents Microsoft plans to wield against Android describe a range of technologies. They include lots of technologies developed at Microsoft, as well as patents that Microsoft acquired by participating in the Rockstar Consortium, which spent $4.5 billion on patents that were auctioned off after the Nortel bankruptcy."

Link to Original Source

This Is How Formula 1 Brakes Work

cartechboy (2660665) writes | about a month ago

0

cartechboy (2660665) writes "For the most part, you probably have a simple understanding of how your car's brakes work. But a race car, that's a whole different beast. Brembo's the biggest name in the brake industry, and it just released a video explaining the technology that goes into the brakes on a Formula 1 race car from pedal to caliper. Obviously it starts with every component being beefed up from a normal braking system, but there's also aluminum monoblock calipers, carbon rotors and pads, a brake-by-wire system with a redundancy in case of an electronic failure, and a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS). Of course, KERS is the most interesting bit as the it allows for smaller rear calipers than before which of course reduces mass. Believe it or not, all of this stuff ends up trickling down to mass-market cars eventually, it's just a matter of time. So the next time you tap your brakes, remember, that technology was likely proven on a race car at some point."

Interviews: Ask "The King of Kong" Billy Mitchell About Classic Video Games

samzenpus (5) writes | about a month ago

0

samzenpus (5) writes "Billy Mitchell owns the Rickey's World Famous Restaurant chain, sells his own line of hot sauces, and was called, "probably the greatest arcade-video-game player of all time". His was the first to achieve a perfect score in Pac-Man, and held many record scores in other arcade games. He is probably most famous for the 2007 documentary,"The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters". The film follows a challenger on his quest to surpass Billy's high score in Donkey Kong, which Mitchell had set in 1982. Since the film was made, the Kong crown has been held by a number people including twice by Mitchell. Billy has agreed to put down the quarters and answer any questions you might have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post."

Crowd-control drones reveal the technology's dark side

mrspoonsi (2955715) writes | about a month ago

0

mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "The Skunk, built by Desert Wolf, is designed to "control unruly crowds without endangering the lives of security staff," and is reportedly already being adopted by South African mine owners. Equipped with a 4,000-strong clip and four paintball gun barrels, the Skunk can fire up to 80 projectiles in a single second. It can carry dye markers, pepper spray bullets or even solid plastic balls, which somewhat stretches the definition of "non lethal." The hardware also carries strobe lights and on-board speakers to disorientate and warn the crowd, as well as a FLIR thermal camera for night vision operations."

'Super bananas' may save millions of lives in Africa

schwit1 (797399) writes | about a month ago

0

schwit1 (797399) writes "A super-enriched banana genetically engineered to improve the lives of millions of people in Africa will soon have its first human trial, which will test its effect on vitamin A levels, Australian researchers said Monday.

The project plans to have the special banana varieties — enriched with alpha and beta carotene which the body converts to vitamin A — growing in Uganda by 2020.

The bananas are now being sent to the United States, and it is expected that the six-week trial measuring how well they lift vitamin A levels in humans will begin soon."

Link to Original Source

NASA's Horizons spacecraft to probe Pluto moon for underground ocean

Anonymous Coward writes | about a month ago

0

An anonymous reader writes "NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is moving towards Pluto to explore Charon, one of Pluto's moons. The aim of the mission is to search of evidence of an ancient underground ocean on the moon. "Our model predicts different fracture patterns on the surface of Charon depending on the thickness of its surface ice, the structure of the moon's interior and how easily it deforms, and how its orbit evolved," said Alyssa Rhoden of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "By comparing the actual New Horizons observations of Charon to the various predictions, we can see what fits best and discover if Charon could have had a subsurface ocean in its past, driven by high eccentricity.""

Google Fiber is officially making it's way to Portland

Anonymous Coward writes | about a month ago

0

An anonymous reader writes "This week the Portland City Council has approved a franchise agreement with Google to bring its fiber service to Portland. "As a result of the unanimous vote, Google will be subject to a five percent 'franchise fee' on its video revenues. It won't have to pay a three percent 'PEG' fee that Portland otherwise charges rival Comcast, but it will offer free Internet service for Portland residents for a $300, one-time fee. It'll also provide free Internet service to some to-be-determined nonprofits, in addition to providing a total of three free Wi-Fi networks in various parts of the city.""

Average HS Student Given Little Chance of AP CS Success

theodp (442580) writes | about a month ago

0

theodp (442580) writes ""AP Computer Science is taught in just 10% of our high schools," lamented The White House last December as President Obama kicked off CSEdWeek. "China teaches all of its students one year of computer science." And the U.S. Dept. of Education has made the AP CS exam its Poster Child for inequity in education (citing a viral-but-misinterpreted study). But ignored in all the hand-wringing over low AP CS enrollment is one huge barrier to the goal of AP-CS-for-all: College Board materials indicate that the average 11th grader's combined PSAT/NMSQT score of 96 in reading and math gives him/her only a 20%-30% probability of getting a score of '3' on the AP CS exam (a score '4' or '5' may be required for college credit). The College Board suggests schools tap a pool of students with a "60-100% likelihood of scoring 3 or higher", so it's probably no surprise that CS teachers are advised to turn to the College Board's AP Potential tool to identify students who are likely to succeed (sample Student Detail for an "average" kid) and send their parents recruitment letters — Georgia Tech even offers some gender-specific examples — to help fill class rosters."

Why the Moon's New Birthday Means the Earth Is Older Than We Thought

Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes | about a month ago

0

Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "You're likely familiar with the theory of how the Moon formed: a stray body smashed into our young Earth, heating the planet and flinging debris into its orbit. That debris coalesced and formed the Moon. The impact theory still holds, but a team of geochemists from the University of Lorraine in Nancy, France has refined the date, finding that the Moon is about 60 million years older than we thought. As it turns out, that also means the Earth is 60 million years older than previously thought, which is a particularly cool finding considering just how hard it is to estimate the age of our planet."
Link to Original Source

Bitcoin Security Endangered by Powerful Bitmining Pool

Anonymous Coward writes | about a month ago

0

An anonymous reader writes "Ars Technica reports that for the first time in Bitcoin's five-year history, a single entity has repeatedly provided more than half of the total computational power required to mine new digital coins, in some cases for sustained periods of time. It's an event that, if it persists, signals the end of crypto currency's decentralized structure."

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