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de Blasio meets the Godfather; outsources NYPD to the Mob

MichaelBalton (2441020) writes | 36 minutes ago

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MichaelBalton (2441020) writes "Rome — Snubbed by The Holy Father, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio had a private audience with The Godfather on the first day of his Italian vacation. The meeting paid off immediately, with the crime boss agreeing to take over the operation of the New York Police Department.

The outsourcing deal couldn't have come at a better time. As of late, the nation's biggest municipal police force has been exhibiting signs of being out of control.

"The mayor is a good Christian man, but he is dealing with forces he can't understand when he tries to boss around an organized group of violent thugs,” Godfather Giuseppe Avellino said. "And that's just the NYPD. God forbid he tries to go after the Mafia."

Under the outsourcing agreement, the NYPD will continue its primary mission of ensuring that billions of dollars worth of drugs continues to flow freely both within and around New York City.

"This is community policing at its finest," a spokesman for the mayor said. "The community wants its drugs. The NYPD make sure it gets them without interruption. Just as long as prohibition keeps the prices artificially high, we can keep all the junkies narcoticly high."

Under the outsourcing pact, cops will be encouraged not to congregate in and around donut shops, and gravitate to pizza joints instead. "We have a heritage, a legacy, to protect here," The Godfather said. "Whether it's 5 kilos of heroine or a couple of loosy cigarettes, we're going to get our cut, or else."

The mayor has already asked a special favor from his crime boss. "He wants the carriage horses out of Central Park," the Godfather said. "It would not surprise me if a certain group of New Yorkers wake-up with heads in their beds tomorrow morning.""

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Social robot Jibo raises $1M in first week of crowdfunding campaign

Hallie Siegel (2948665) writes | about an hour ago

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Hallie Siegel (2948665) writes "On July 15th, Jibo launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo with the goal of raising $100,000 towards developing their new social robot for the home. Less than one week later, Jibo surpassed the $1M mark, with hundreds of pre-orders made for both the home and developers editions. The brainchild of Cynthia Breazeal, Director of MIT’s Personal Robots Group, Jibo builds on her earlier work in personal robotics (remember Kismet and Leonardo?), and is designed to be an intelligent assistant and companion for the home."
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Was the Internet Originally Created for Covert Domestic Surveillance?

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) writes | 1 hour ago

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Jeremiah Cornelius (137) writes "From its creation by DoD contracts and grants to research institutions, there have been aspersions cast by those easily dismissed as "fringe" commentators, on the nefarious, or at least covert, motivation to create the Internet. Conspiracy theory may have been met by reality in recent months with now commonplace reporting, first by Wikileaks and later, in the more extensive Edward Snowden revelations. It is still almost canon, that NSA mass-surveillance and warrantless information analysis occurred through coopting the burgeoning Internet, and diverting traffic in a way that is counter to the ideals of its creators and promoters. But what if the social, commercial Internet were always intended as a sort of giant honeypot? The idea would still seem farfetched, if it weren't recently disclosed by William Binney that the NSA is recording 80% of all US phone conversations — not simply metadata. Closer examination of the record shows that ARPAnet was being used to clandestinely gather information on the legitimate activities of US citizens — and transmit the information to the US Army Intelligence Command NSA — as far back as 1968! According to articles published in 1975 by MIT in "The Tech":


"via the ARPANET, a computer network connecting more than 50 government agencies and universities throughout the country. The network is funded by the Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)... The information, according to intelligence sources, was transferred and stored at the headquarters of the National Security Agency (NSA), at Fort Meade, Maryland. The Army files were transmitted on the ARPANET in about January 1972, sources say, more than two years after the material — and the data banks maintained at the [Army's] Fort Holabird facility — were ordered destroyed."


MIT officials were worried 40 years ago, about this abuse of interconnected TCP communications and the complicity of their own research scientists. These concerns arose at the height of the Watergate fallout and downfall of President Nixon for illegal wiretapping and information theft allegations. The danger of Government "record keeping" was outlined by Senator Sam Ervin, in an address to MIT that was also profiled in the same publication. Clearly, this did not begin in the last decade, and clearly pre-dates the 2001 "Global War on Terror" pretext. It is important to remember, the NSA was an almost unknown agency at this time, and was chartered to strictly forbid intel on US citizens and those dwelling within US borders."

Raspberry Pi Gameboy

Anonymous Coward writes | 1 hour ago

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An anonymous reader writes "An enterprising hacker took on a project to rebuild a broken Gameboy using emulation software, a Raspberry Pi, and a few other easily-obtainable parts. The result: success! The hacker has posted a detailed walkthrough explaining all of the challenges and how they were solved. "Using a Dremel, I cut out a most of the battery compartment as well as some posts that on the case for the LCD that would no longer be needed. Doing so, the Pi sits flush with the back of the DMG case. ... The screen was the first challenge. The screen runs off 12V out of the box which wouldn’t work with the USB battery pack. The USB battery pack is rated at 5V, 1000mAH so the goal was go modify the screen to allow it to run at 5V. ... I finally got it to work by removing the power converter chip as well as soldering a jumper between the + power in and the resister on the top right.""
Link to Original Source

One way to assure SysAdmin Day appreciation

netbuzz (955038) writes | 1 hour ago

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netbuzz (955038) writes "Friday is the 15th annual SysAdmin Appreciation Day and one IT department at a Florida credit union has not been shy about rectifying what it considers to be an underwhelming acknowledgement from co-workers last year. Posters featuring their pictures and scattered throughout the workplace spell it out thusly: “So appreciate an IT person (Friday) and we may allow you to use your computer tomorrow.”"
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Microsoft to Finally Pull the Plug on Windows RT

Deathspawner (1037894) writes | 2 hours ago

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Deathspawner (1037894) writes "A lot of people have never been able to understand the logic behind Microsoft's Windows RT, with many urging the company to kill it off so that it can focus on more important products, like the mainline Windows. Well, this is probably not going to come as a huge surprise, especially in light of mass layoffs announced last week, but Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said that his company will be working to combine all Windows versions into a unified release by next year."

The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist

Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) writes | 3 hours ago

1

Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) writes "The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept. ...The heart of the document revolves around the rules for placing individuals on a watchlist. “All executive departments and agencies,” the document says, are responsible for collecting and sharing information on terrorist suspects with the National Counterterrorism Center. It sets a low standard—”reasonable suspicion“—for placing names on the watchlists, and offers a multitude of vague, confusing, or contradictory instructions for gauging it. In the chapter on “Minimum Substantive Derogatory Criteria”—even the title is hard to digest—the key sentence on reasonable suspicion offers little clarity..."
Link to Original Source

'Just Let Me Code!'

Anonymous Coward writes | 4 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Andrew Binstock has an article about the ever-increasing complexity required to write code. He says, "I got into programming because I like creating stuff. Not just any stuff, but stuff other people find useful. I like the constant problem solving, the use of abstractions that exist for long periods nowhere but in my imagination, and I like seeing the transformation into a living presence. ... The simple programs of a few hundred lines of C++ long ago disappeared from my experience. What was the experience of riding a bicycle has become the equivalent of traveling by jumbo jet; replete with the delays, inspections, limitations on personal choices, and sudden, unexplained cancellations — all at a significantly higher cost. ... Project overhead, even for simple projects, is so heavy that it's a wonder anyone can find the time to code, much less derive joy from it. Software development has become a mostly operational activity, rather than a creative one. The fundamental problem here is not the complexity of apps, but the complexity of tools. Tools have gone rather haywire during the last decade chasing shibboleths of scalability, comprehensiveness, performance. Everything except simplicity.""
Link to Original Source

Finding life in space by looking for extraterrestrial pollution

coondoggie (973519) writes | 5 hours ago

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coondoggie (973519) writes "If what we know as advanced life exists anywhere other than Earth, then perhaps they are dirtying their atmosphere as much as we have and that we could use such pollution components to perhaps more easily spot such planets in the universe. That’s the basics of new research put for this week by researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics that stated if we could spot the fingerprints of certain pollutants under ideal conditions, it would offer a new approach in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence."
Link to Original Source

The Department of Homeland Security needs its own Edward Snowden

blottsie (3618811) writes | 6 hours ago

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blottsie (3618811) writes "Out of all the U.S. government agencies, the Department of Homeland Security is one of the least transparent. As such, the number of Freedom of Information Act requests it receives have doubled since 2008. But the DHS has only become more adamant about blocking FOIA requests over the years. The problem has become so sever that nothing short of an Edward Snowden-style leak may be needed to increase transparency at the DHS."

MagicJack Inventor Dan Borislow Dead at Age 52

Nightwraith (180411) writes | 6 hours ago

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Nightwraith (180411) writes "Dan Borislow, whose “MagicJack,” peddled in television infomercials, helped pioneer free phone calls through the Internet, has died. He was 52.

His death was confirmed by Brad Shewmake, a spokesman for MagicJack Vocaltec Ltd., the maker of the device. Borislow was the founder and former chief executive officer of the company, based in Netanya, Israel, and West Palm Beach, Florida.

He died yesterday of a heart attack after playing in a soccer game in West Palm Beach, according to an e-mail today from his friend, Douglas Kass, founder of Seabreeze Partners Management Inc. in Palm Beach, Florida.

“Dan was a true telecom pioneer whose vision, creativity, energy, passion and single-minded focus was the driving force behind the success of MagicJack,” the company’s CEO, Gerald Vento, said today in a statement. Vento replaced Borislow as the company’s chief executive on Jan. 1, 2013."

Link to Original Source

Researchers Print Electronic Memory On Paper

MTorrice (2611475) writes | 6 hours ago

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MTorrice (2611475) writes "Electronics printed on paper promise to be cheap, flexible, and recyclable, and could lead to applications such as smart labels on foods and pharmaceuticals or as wearable medical sensors. Many engineers have managed to print transistors and solar cells on paper, but one key component of a smart device has been missing—memory. Now a group of researchers has developed a method that uses ink-jet technology to print resistive random access memory on an ordinary piece of 8.5 by 11 inches paper. The memory is robust: Engineers could bend the device 1,000 times without any loss of performance."
Link to Original Source

A Drone Saved an Elderly Man Who Had Been Missing for Three Days

Jason Koebler (3528235) writes | 7 hours ago

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Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "A drone was just used to save a life: Earlier this week, an elderly man who was missing for three days was found with the help of a drone in Wisconsin.
82-year-old Guillermo DeVenecia had been missing for three days. Search dogs, a helicopter, and hundreds of volunteers had spent days looking for him. David Lesh, a Colorado-based skier and drone pilot decided to look for him using his drone—and found him within 20 minutes."

'Optical fibre' Made Out Of Thin Air

Dave Knott (2917251) writes | 8 hours ago

1

Dave Knott (2917251) writes "Scientists from the University of Maryland say they have turned thin air into an "optical fibre" that can transmit and amplify light signals without the need for any cables. As described in the research, this was accomplished by generating a laser with its light split into a ring of multiple beams forming a pipe. Very short and powerful pulses from the laser are used to heat the air molecules along the beam extremely quickly. Such rapid heating produces sound waves that take about a microsecond to converge to the centre of the pipe, creating a high-density area surrounded by a low-density area left behind in the wake of the laser beams. The lower density region of air surrounding the centre of the air waveguide has a lower refractive index, keeping the light focused, and allowing the higher-density region (with its correspondingly higher index of refraction) to act like an optical fibre. The findings, reported in the journal Optica, have applications in long range laser communications, high-resolution topographic mapping, air pollution and climate change research, and could also be used by the military to make laser weapons."

Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 years Later

gunner_von_diamond (3461783) writes | 8 hours ago

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gunner_von_diamond (3461783) writes "I was just reading a story on ./ from 10 years ago today, about Lasik Eye Surgery. Personally, I've had Lasik done and loved every single part of the surgery. I went from wearing contacts/glasses every day to having 20/15 vision! In the older post, everyone seemed to be cautious about it, waiting for technical advances to get the surgery done. In present day, the surgery is fairly inexpensive [even for a programmer :) ], takes about 10-15 minutes for the actual surgery, and I recovered from the surgery that same day. So my question is, what is holding everyone else back from being reliant on contacts and/or glasses?"
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HARKEN System Monitors Drivers' Fatigue Levels Via Their Seat

Zothecula (1870348) writes | 8 hours ago

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Zothecula (1870348) writes "It was just last week that we heard about how researchers from Nottingham Trent University are looking at embedding heart rate sensors in car seats, to detect when drivers are nodding off. Well, it turns out that they're not the only ones. A consortium of European companies and institutes is developing a similar system known as HARKEN, which uses seat-located sensors to monitor both the driver's heart rate and their rate of respiration."
Link to Original Source

Intel Launches Self-Encrypting SSD 2500 Pro Solid State Drive

MojoKid (1002251) writes | 9 hours ago

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MojoKid (1002251) writes "Intel just launched their new SSD 2500 Pro series solid state drive, the follow-up to last year's SSD 1500 Pro series, which targets corporate and small-business clients. The drive shares much of its DNA with some of Intel's consumer-class drives, but the Pro series cranks things up a few notches with support for advanced security and management features, low power states, and an extended management toolset. In terms of performance, the Intel SSD 2500 Pro isn't class-leading in light of many enthusiast-class drives but it's no slouch either. Intel differentiates the 2500 Pro series by adding support for vPro remote-management and hardware-based self-encryption. The 2500 Pro series supports TCG (Trusted Computing Group) Opal 2.0 features and is Microsoft eDrive capable as well. Intel also offers an administration tool for easy management of the drive. With the Intel administration tool, users can even reset the PSID (physical presence security ID), though the contents of the drive will be wiped. The SSD 2500 Pro series of solid state drives will be offered in both 2.5" SATA (7mm Z-Height) and M.2 "gumstick" form factors, with capacities ranging from 120GB on up to 480GB. Sequential reads are rated at up to 540MB/s, sequential writes at up to 480MB/s, with 45K – 80K random read / write IOps."
Link to Original Source

China Censors Inflatable Toad After Internet Users Compare it to President

Anonymous Coward writes | 9 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "China is blocking all reports of a huge inflatable toad seen in a park in Beijing after social media users started comparing it to one if its former Communist Party leaders.

The 22-metre (72ft) yellow toad was unveiled at Beijing's Yuyuantan Park, but its appearance was quickly compared to that of the country's former president Jiang Zemin.

All reports on Chinese web portal Sina – which operates Sina Weibo – removed all mentions of the toad and a story on Chinese news agency Xinhua also deleted its report on the inflatable animal."

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