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California enacts $52 billion fuel tax hike for road, bridge repairs

Apr 30

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The average California motorist will see transportation costs rise by about $10 a month.

Continue reading California enacts $52 billion fuel tax hike for road, bridge repairs

California enacts $52 billion fuel tax hike for road, bridge repairs originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 29 Apr 2017 13:25:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Apple and Tesla ask California to change proposed self-driving car test policy

Apr 30

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Apple suggested a series of changes “so that rapid technology development may be realized while ensuring the safety of the traveling public.”

Continue reading Apple and Tesla ask California to change proposed self-driving car test policy

Apple and Tesla ask California to change proposed self-driving car test policy originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 29 Apr 2017 09:15:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Debian Developer Imprisoned In Russia Over Alleged Role In Riots

Apr 30

An anonymous reader writes:
“Dmitry Bogatov, Debian developer and Tor node admin, is still being held in a Moscow jail,” tweeted the EFF Saturday. IT Wire reports that the 25-year-old math teacher was arrested earlier this month “on suspicion of organizing riots,” and is expected to be held in custody until June 8. “The panel investigating the protests claims Bogatov posted several incitory messages on the sysadmin.ru forum; for example, one claim said he was asking people to bring ‘bottles, fabric, gasoline, turpentine, foam plastic’ to Red Square, according to a post at Hacker News. The messages were sent in the name of one Airat Bashirov and happened to be transmitted through the Tor node that Bogatov was running. The Hacker News post said Bogatov’s lawyer had produced surveillance video footage to show that he was elsewhere at the time when the messages were posted.
“After Dmitry’s arrest,” reports the Free Bogatov site, “Airat Bashirov continue to post messages. News outlets ‘Open Russia’ and ‘Mediazona’ even got a chance to speak with him.” Earlier this month the Debian GNU/Linux project also posted a message of support, noting Dmitry maintains several packages for command line and system tools, and saying their group “honours his good work and strong dedication to Debian and Free Software… we hope he is back as soon as possible to his endeavours… In the meantime, the Debian Project has taken measures to secure its systems by removing Dmitry’s keys in the case that they are compromised.”


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<em>Wired</em> Founding Editor Now Challenges ‘The Myth of A Superhuman AI’

Apr 30

Wired’s founding executive editor Kevin Kelly wrote a 5,000-word takedown on “the myth of a superhuman AI,” challenging dire warnings from Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, and Elon Musk about the potential extinction of humanity at the hands of a superintelligent constructs. Slashdot reader mirandakatz calls it an “impeccably argued debunking of this pervasive myth.” Kelly writes:
Buried in this scenario of a takeover of superhuman artificial intelligence are five assumptions which, when examined closely, are not based on any evidence…

1.) Artificial intelligence is already getting smarter than us, at an exponential rate.
2.) We’ll make AIs into a general purpose intelligence, like our own.
3.) We can make human intelligence in silicon.
4.) Intelligence can be expanded without limit.
5.) Once we have exploding superintelligence it can solve most of our problems…
If the expectation of a superhuman AI takeover is built on five key assumptions that have no basis in evidence, then this idea is more akin to a religious belief — a myth

Kelly proposes “five heresies” which he says have more evidence to support them — including the prediction that emulating human intelligence “will be constrained by cost” — and he likens artificial intelligence to the physical powers of machines. “[W]hile all machines as a class can beat the physical achievements of an individual human…there is no one machine that can beat an average human in everything he or she does.”


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Ask Slashdot: Could We Build A Global Wireless Mesh Network?

Apr 30

An anonymous reader wants to start a grassroots effort to build a self-organizing global radio mesh network where every device can communicate with every other device — and without any central authority.
There is nothing in the rules of mathematics or laws of physics that prevents such a system. But how would you break the problem up so it could be crowdfunded and sourced? How would you build the radios? And what about government spectrum rules… How would you persuade governments to allow for the use of say, 1%, of the spectrum for an unlicensed mesh experiment? In the U.S. it would probably take an Act of Congress to overrule the FCC but a grassroots effort with potential for major technology advances backed by celebrity scientists might be enough to tilt the issue but would there be enough motivation?
Is this feasible? Would it amass enough volunteers, advocates, and enthusiastic users? Would it become a glorious example of geeks uniting the world — or a doomed fantasy with no practical applications. Leave your best thoughts in the comments. Could we build a global wireless mesh network?


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Developer Shares A Recoverable Container Format That’s File System Agnostic

Apr 30

Long-time Slashdot reader MarcoPon writes: I created a thing: SeqBox. It’s an archive/container format (and corresponding suite of tools) with some interesting and unique features. Basically an SBX file is composed of a series of sector-sized blocks with a small header with a recognizable signature, integrity check, info about the file they belong to, and a sequence number. The results of this encoding is the ability to recover an SBX container even if the file system is corrupted, completely lost or just unknown, no matter how much the file is fragmented.


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NASA Launches Super Balloon To Detect Cosmic Particles From Near Space

Apr 30

“After seven unsuccessful attempts NASA has launched a stadium-sized balloon in Wanaka,” reports the New Zealand Herald, adding that the super-pressure balloon will collect data from “near space” over the next 100 days. Reuters reports: The balloon, designed by NASA to detect ultra-high energy cosmic particles from beyond the galaxy as they penetrate the earth’s atmosphere, is expected to circle the planet two or three times. “The origin of these particles is a great mystery that we’d like to solve. Do they come from massive black holes at the centre of galaxies? Tiny, fast-spinning stars? Or somewhere else?” Angela Olinto, a University of Chicago professor and lead investigator on the project, said in a statement.


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Microsoft’s Surface Revenue Drops By $285M (26%)

Apr 30

An anonymous reader quotes Computerworld:
Revenue generated by Microsoft’s Surface hardware during the March quarter was down 26% from the same period the year before, the company said yesterday as it briefed Wall Street. For the quarter, Surface produced $831 million, some $285 million less than the March quarter of 2016, for the largest year-over-year dollar decline ever… The revenue decline “indicates that the aging product needs a refresh badly,” Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates, wrote in a note to clients today. “Price cutting and competing vendors’ products will continue to create declines until new product is released, rumored for later this year.” Microsoft threw cold water on any significant changes to the Surface line before June, forecasting that the current quarter will also post a revenue decline.


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Russian-Controlled Telecom Hijacks Traffic For Mastercard, Visa, And 22 Other Services

Apr 30

An anonymous reader quotes the security editor at Ars Technica:
On Wednesday, large chunks of network traffic belonging to MasterCard, Visa, and more than two dozen other financial services companies were briefly routed through a Russian government-controlled telecom under unexplained circumstances that renew lingering questions about the trust and reliability of some of the most sensitive Internet communications.

Anomalies in the border gateway protocol — which routes large-scale amounts of traffic among Internet backbones, ISPs, and other large networks — are common and usually the result of human error. While it’s possible Wednesday’s five- to seven-minute hijack of 36 large network blocks may also have been inadvertent, the high concentration of technology and financial services companies affected made the incident “curious” to engineers at network monitoring service BGPmon. What’s more, the way some of the affected networks were redirected indicated their underlying prefixes had been manually inserted into BGP tables, most likely by someone at Rostelecom, the Russian government-controlled telecom that improperly announced ownership of the blocks.


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Some Of The Pentagon’s Critical Infrastructure Still Runs Windows 95 And 98

Apr 30

SmartAboutThings writes:
The Pentagon is set to complete its Windows 10 transition by the end of this year, but nearly 75% of its control system devices still run Windows XP or other older versions, including Windows 95 and 98. A Pentagon official now wants the bug bounty program of the top U.S. defense agency expanded to scan for vulnerabilities in its critical infrastructure.
DefenseOne raises the possibility of “building and electrical systems, HVAC equipment and other critical infrastructure laden with internet-connected sensors,” with one military program manager saying “A lot of these systems are still Windows 95 or 98, and that’s OK — if they’re not connected to the internet.” Windows Report notes that though Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP, “the Defense Department is paying Microsoft to continue providing support for the legacy OS.”


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