An anonymous reader writes The Navy is testing a new underwater drone called GhostSwimmer, which is designed to a look like a shark and conduct surveillance work. It is being adapted by the chief of naval operations' Rapid Innovation Cell (CRIC) project, Silent NEMO, in Norfolk, Va.. GhostSwimmer is 5 feet long and weighs almost 100 pounds. It can operate in water depths from 10 inches to 300 feet, and is designed to operate autonomously for long periods of time, according to the Navy.
An anonymous reader writes Tech giants such as Apple and eBay have given their support in Microsoft's legal battle against the U.S. government regarding the handing over of data stored in an Irish datacenter. In connection with a 2014 drugs investigation, U.S. prosecutors issued a warrant for emails stored by Microsoft in Ireland. The firm refused to hand over the information, but in July was ordered by a judge to comply with the investigation. Microsoft has today filed a collection of letters from industry supporters, such as Apple, eBay, Cisco, Amazon, HP, and Verizon. Trade associations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Digital Rights Ireland have also expressed their support.
mpicpp writes that Microsoft, after demoing the technology back in May, is giving some real-world exposure to its Skype-based translation. The Skype preview program will kick-off with two spoken languages, Spanish and English, and 40+ instant messaging languages will be available to Skype customers who have signed-up via the Skype Translator sign-up page and are using Windows 8.1 on the desktop or device. Skype asked two schools to try Skype Translator – Peterson School in Mexico City, and Stafford Elementary School in Tacoma, USA – playing a game of 'Mystery Skype' in which the children ask questions to determine the location of the other school. One classroom of children speaking Spanish and the other speaking English, Skype Translator removed this language barrier and enabled them to communicate.
cartechboy writes We've all been there, driving down a city street and we miss that pedestrian or bicycle because they are in our blind spot. Not the blind spot behind us, but covered up by the A-pillar on your vehicle. This is a growing concern as pillars and cars in general bulk up to meet new, ever stricter safety standards. Now Jaguar and Land Rover might have come up with a solution that eliminates the risk: transparent pillars. Imagine having zero blinds spots as you pull up to that intersection. No concerns about not seeing something or someone that's hidden by that large A-pillar. The technology is called 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen and it provides a 360-degree view out of the vehicle. How does it work? Essentially, a screen embedded in the surface of each pillar inside the car relays a live video feed from cameras covering the angles outside the car. To avoid overloading the driver the screens are off in default mode, and are only activated automatically when the driver uses a turn signal or checks over their head to switch lanes. While there's zero mention of when this tech will go into production, it's clear, this is the future and it's crazy.
An anonymous reader writes For about an hour on Friday a few lucky Amazon UK shoppers were able to take advantage of a price glitch which discounted thousands of marketplace products to the price of 1p. An Amazon spokesman said: "We are aware that a number of Marketplace sellers listed incorrect prices for a short period of time as a result of the third party software they use to price their items on Amazon.co.uk. We responded quickly and were able to cancel the vast majority of orders placed on these affected items immediately and no costs or fees will be incurred by sellers for these cancelled orders. We are now reviewing the small number of orders that were processed and will be reaching out to any affected sellers directly."
samzenpus (5) writes "Jonty Hurwitz is an artist with a degree in engineering who says each one of his pieces is "a study on the physics of how we perceive space and is the stroke of over 1 billion calculations and algorithms." Recently, his nano sculpture project drew a lot of attention. With help from the Weizmann Institute of Science and using a 3D printing technique by the Institute of Microstructure Technology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Hurwitz created a number of sculptures that were so small they could fit in the eye of a needle, or on a human hair. Jonty has agreed to answer any questions you have big or very small. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post."
New submitter Admiral Jimbob McGif writes Even as a massive firestorm burns uncontrollably threatening to scorch
the very foundations of the internet with AT&T indefinitely halting
future GigaPower FTTH
due to uncertainty
over the future of net neutrality and the Obama
administration proposing to regulate
the internet under Title 2, highly suggestive jobs were recently
to Google Careers.
These Google Fiber related positions include: "City
Impact Manager" and "Plant
Manager" in all potential Google Fiber
cities. Perplexing inconsistences abound, such as Portland,
Jose and Atlanta
positions being listed as local. Whereas San
are listed as telecommute positions.
inclined to speculate as to what these job postings mean despite
Google's disclaimer: "Not
all cities where we're exploring hiring a team will necessarily become
Google Fiber cities."
Would Google post jobs as an act of posturing much like AT&T's
smoke screen" bluff? Or, should we
expect to see these so called Fiber
Huts springing up like so many mushrooms after a heavy rain in an
additional 9 metro areas?
At the rate
going, is it too soon to speculate over Fiber
Dojos popping up in Japan?
Home automation is a recurring topic around here; we've had stories about X-10-based home-brewed systems, a protocol designed for automation, and more than a few Ask Slashdots. Now, an anonymous reader writes OpenMotics is an open source home automation hardware and software system that offers features like switching lights and outputs, multi-zone heating and cooling, power measurements, and automated actions. The system encompasses both open source software and hardware. For interoperability with other systems, the OpenMotics Gateway provides an API through which various actions can be executed. The project was open sourced 2 years ago and was started about 10 years. The choice to open source the project was very conscious: we want to offer a system where users are in full control over their home automation system.
Freshly Exhumed writes Citizenship and Immigration Canada has granted an unprecedented exemption to Microsoft that will allow the company to bring in an unspecified number of temporary foreign workers as trainees without first looking for Canadians to fill the jobs. No other company in any other field has been granted such an exemption, and it does not fall within any of the other categories where exemptions are normally given, according to a source familiar with process, effectively creating a new category: the Microsoft Exemption. Microsoft Canada did not immediately respond to questions about the deal, but in an interview earlier this year with Bloomberg Businessweek, Karen Jones, Microsoft's deputy general counsel, said the deal will allow Microsoft to bypass stricter U.S. rules on visas for foreign workers. The entire issue of temporary foreign workers has been as blisteringly hot a topic across Canada as it has been in the USA.
With the holidays coming up, Bennett Haselton has updated his geek-oriented gift guide for 2014. He says:
Some of my favorite gifts to give are still the ones that were listed in several different previously written posts, while a few new cool gift ideas emerged in 2014. Here are all my current best recommendations, listed in one place.
Read on for the list, or to share any suggestions of your own.
MobyDisk writes: A lawsuit was filed yesterday over a case in which a woman was arrested for recording the police from her car while stopped in traffic. Ars Technica writes, "Police erased the 135-second recording from the woman's phone, but it was recovered from her cloud account according to the Circuit Court for Baltimore City lawsuit, which seeks $7 million."
Baltimore police lost a similar case against Anthony Graber in 2010 and another against Christopher Sharp in 2014. The is happening so often in Baltimore that in 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to the police reminding them that they cannot stop recordings, and most certainly cannot delete them.
Local awareness of this issue is high since the the Mayor and the City Council support requiring police body cameras. The city council just passed a bill requiring them, but the mayor is delaying implementation until a task force determines how best to go about it. The country is also focused on police behavior in light of the recent cases in Ferguson and New York, the latter of which involved a citizen recording.
So the mayor, city council, police department policies, courts, and federal government are all telling police officers to stop doing this. Yet it continues to happen, and in a rather violent matter. What can people do to curb this problem?
schwit1 writes The Army's ever-growing use of unmanned aerial systems has gotten to the point where two of the most commonly used UAS are getting their own airport. The service's Corps of Engineers at Fort Worth, Texas, has awarded a $33 million contract to SGS to build a 150-acre unmanned aircraft launch and recovery complex at Fort Bliss for Grey Eagle and Shadow UAS.
In related news, the FAA has just cleared 4 companies (Trimble Navigation Limited, VDOS Global, Clayco Inc. and Woolpert Inc.) to use drones commercially, for purposes such as site inspection and aerial surveys. (A lot of drones are already in use, of course, but the FAA doesn't like it.)
mpicpp writes with news that California is the latest government to file a lawsuit against Uber. "California prosecutors on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Uber over the ridesharing company's background checks and other allegations, adding to the popular startup's worldwide legal woes. San Francisco County District Attorney George Gascon, meanwhile, said Uber competitor Lyft agreed to pay $500,000 and change some of its business practices to settle its own lawsuit. Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey partnered with Gascon in a probe of the nascent ridesharing industry. A third company — Sidecar — is still under investigation and could face a lawsuit of its own if it can't reach an agreement with prosecutors. Uber faces similar legal issues elsewhere as it tries to expand in cities, states and countries around the world. The companies have popular smartphone apps that allow passengers to order rides in privately driven cars instead of taxis."
Bennett Haselton writes The corruption of the #Ferguson and #Gamergate hashtags demonstrates how vulnerable
the hashtag system is to being swamped by an "angry mob".
An alternative algorithm could be created that would allow users to post tweets
and browse the ones that had been rated "thoughtful" by other users participating
in the same discussion. This would still allow anyone to contribute, even average users
lacking a large follower base, while keeping the most stupid and offensive tweets out of most
people's feeds. Keep reading to see what Bennett has to say.
An anonymous reader writes: Oren Etzioni has been an artificial intelligence researcher for over 20 years, and he's currently CEO of the Allen Institute for AI. When he heard the dire warnings recently from both Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, he decided it's time to have an intelligent discussion about AI. He says, "The popular dystopian vision of AI is wrong for one simple reason: it equates intelligence with autonomy. That is, it assumes a smart computer will create its own goals, and have its own will, and will use its faster processing abilities and deep databases to beat humans at their own game. ... To say that AI will start doing what it wants for its own purposes is like saying a calculator will start making its own calculations." Etzioni adds, "If unjustified fears lead us to constrain AI, we could lose out on advances that could greatly benefit humanity — and even save lives. Allowing fear to guide us is not intelligent."