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Comment Re: Only one word.. (Score 1) 109

I was aware of the lightbulb trick. Wasn't he also working on a way to tap into the magnetic field of the Earth itself, and use that to power devices? Possibly a conspiracy theory, but the story I heard was that when he was asked by his backer "And how would we meter that?" he replied "we won't, it'll be free" , and the funding was cut off.

Submission + - Sex Offenders Are Still Locked up After Serving Their Time. Why? (realclearinvestigations.com)

schwit1 writes:

Some 20 states have civil commitment programs for people deemed sexually violent predators. Records show that more than 5,000 Americans are being held this way nationwide. Those numbers have roughly doubled over the previous decade or so, as judges, governors and state legislators have reacted to public concern about violent sexual crimes.

Civil confinement lies at the fraught intersection of crime, sex, and politics, in which sexual crimes, and just the possibility of sexual crimes, are treated differently from other offenses. Murderers, armed robbers, drunken hit-and-run drivers, insider traders, and other criminals are released when their prison sentences have been served.

States operating these programs defend them as necessary to protect the public, especially children, against dangerous sexual predators. The Supreme Court has upheld them, ruling that as long as they are narrowly tailored, with their “clients” subject to regular reviews, they serve a legitimate public interest in keeping potential dangerous offenders off the streets.

But critics of civil commitment argue that men are being locked away (and almost all of the detainees are men), often effectively for life, on the basis of subjective predictions of what a former sex offender might do in the future. They assert that this is a flagrant violation of the 14th Amendment’s requirement that no person shall be deprived of his freedom without “due process of law.”

Recidivism rates for sex offenders are typically lower than for people who commit other types of felonies. But statistics don’t matter when politicians and judges are trying to mollify the mob.

Comment Re:Good (Score 4, Insightful) 134

To paraphrase what our Supreme Court said (back in the late 80's or early 90's - time makes things slightly fuzzy) "Peer-to-peer networking is much like having a photocopier in a library - there is nothing inherently illegal in it." We have generally had a bit more lenient an interpretation of "fair use" as well.

Submission + - Police and FAA Are Making It Impossible To Use Drones To Document Protests (vocativ.com)

schwit1 writes: Last November, an aerial drone flown by a member of the resistance camp opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline captured dramatic footage of riot police blasting crowds with water cannons as temperatures dipped below freezing, sending 17 of the camp’s occupants to the hospital with injuries and hypothermia.

The video quickly spread on social media, spurring global news coverage of the fight against the oil pipeline, which saw activists clash with police and security forces in tense standoffs last year. A few weeks later, the Army Corps of Engineers halted construction of the pipeline, which had encroached on Native American sacred lands and threatened water supplies near North Dakota’s Standing Rock reservation.

It was another example of how drones have become a crucial technology, allowing activists and journalists to document protests and hold police accountable for abuses. But as a new era of civil resistance dawns under the Trump administration, at the Standing Rock site and in anti-Trump demonstrations across the country, drone experts say police and government have made it unnecessarily difficult — sometimes impossible — for civilians to deploy drones at large protests.

Just a few days after the video from Standing Rock went viral, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave permission to local authorities to effectively ban all civilian drone flights in 4 mile radius above the Oceti Sakowin resistance camp and drill site. The same thing happened two years earlier, during the civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri: Police were granted what is called a Temporary Flight Restriction, or TFR, which legally restricts airspace above a designated area to law enforcement and emergency aircraft. In Ferguson, the explicit goal was to stop news helicopters and drones from observing the Black Lives Matter protests, where cops were firing tear gas and menacing protesters with military vehicles and weapons.

Submission + - A point of contention: modern user interfaces 4

Artem Tashkinov writes: Here are the staples of the modern user interface (in varying degree apply to modern web/and most operating systems like Windows 10, iOS and even Android):
  • Too much white space, huge margins, too little information
  • Text is indistinguishable from controls
  • Text in CAPS
  • Certain controls cannot be easily understood (like on/off states for check boxes or elements like tabs)
  • Everything presented in shades of gray or using a severely and artificially limited palette
  • Often awful fonts suitable only for HiDPI devices (Windows 10 modern apps are a prime example)
  • Cannot be controlled by keyboard
  • Very little customizability if any

How would Slashdotters explain the proliferation and existance of such unusable user interfaces and design choices?

Submission + - First Human-Pig 'Chimera' Created In Milestone Study (theguardian.com)

dryriver writes: The Guardian reports: Scientists have created a human-pig hybrid in a milestone study that raises the prospect of being able to grow human organs inside animals for use in transplants. It marks the first time that embryos combining two large, distantly-related species have been produced. The creation of this so-called chimera – named after the cross-species beast of Greek mythology – has been hailed as a significant first step towards generating human hearts, livers and kidneys from scratch. Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, who led the work on the part-pig, part-human embryos at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, said: “The ultimate goal is to grow functional and transplantable tissue or organs, but we are far away from that. This is an important first step.”

Submission + - NASA Mission Asteroid for Metals Worth Ten Thousand Quadrillion Dollars

randomErr writes: NASA wants to uncover the mystery behind the asteroid “16 Psyche.” that may contain a priceless treasure trove of minerals. “We’ve been to all the different planets, we’ve been to other asteroids. But we’ve never visited a body that has been made of entirely metal,” said Carol Polanskey, project scientist for the Psyche mission. Now NASA, led by researchers at Arizona State University, plans to send an unmanned spacecraft to orbit 16 Psyche – an asteroid roughly the size of Massachusetts, made of iron and other precious metals. The mission’s leader estimates that the iron alone on today’s market would be worth $10,000 quadrillion.

Submission + - Carbon nanotube-based memory poised for commercialization in 2018 (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: Nano-RAM, which is based on carbon nanotubes and is claimed to have virtually a limitless number of write cycles and can achieve up to 3.2 billion data transfers per second or 2.4Gbps — more than twice as fast as NAND flash — is now being produced in seven fabrication plants around the world. Fujitsu plans to develop a custom embedded storage-class memory module using a DDR4 interface by the end of 2018, with the goal of expanding its product line-up into a stand-alone NRAM product family. A new report from BCC Research states the NRAM will likely challenge all other memory types for market dominance and is expected to be used in everything from IoT sensors to smartphone memory and embedded ASICS for automobiles.

Submission + - Schoolyard fight between AV vendors

jetkins writes: It seems that two malware/antivirus companies are involved in a bit of a spat. In a nutshell, the sequence of events appears to be thus:
  • Malwarebytes does not take part in the three regularly-published AV tests, nor has it done for some time.
  • PC Pitstop, makers of PC Matic and other products, decided to commission its own test, which included Malwarebytes without their knowledge.
  • Malwarebytes' product scored poorly in the test.
  • Shortly thereafter, Malwarebytes started detecting PC Matic as a "Potentially Unwanted Program" and suggesting users remove it.

Here's PC Pitstop's take on the situation and here's Malwarebytes' spin on it.

I don't have a dog in this hunt, but the timing does seem a little suspect. What do y'all make of it?

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