Transportation

The Economic Consequences of Self-Driving Trucks 612

Posted by Soulskill
from the honk-if-you-have-free-will dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Last week we learned that self-driving big-rig trucks were finally being deployed on public roads in Nevada for testing purposes. Experts consider trucking to be ripe for replacement with AI because of the sheer volume of trucks on the road, and the relative simplicity of their routes. But the eventual replacement of truck drivers with autonomous driving systems will have a huge impact on the U.S. economy: there are 3.5 million professional truck drivers, and millions more are employed to support and coordinate them. Yet more people rely on truckers to stay in business — gas stations, motels, and restaurants along trucking routes, to name a few.

Now, that's not to say moving forward with autonomous driving is a bad idea — in 2012, roughly 4,000 people died in accidents with large trucks, and almost all of the accidents were caused by driver error. Saving most of those lives (and countless injuries) is important. But we need to start thinking about how to handle the 10 million people looking for work when the (human) trucking industry falls off a cliff. It's likely we'll see another wave of ghost towns spread across the poor parts of the country, as happened when the interstate highway system changed how long-range transportation worked in the U.S.
Technology

Ask Slashdot: What's On Your Keychain? 277

Posted by Soulskill
from the seventeen-carabiners-and-a-blockbuster-video-minicard dept.
kuhnto writes: I was playing with my key chain and started to wonder: what does everyone on Slashdot have on their key chains? What cool things do you have that you want to share? I'll start: car key, car alarm dongle, house key, Kingston USB Drive, AAA micro flashlight, and a Swiss-tech Utili-key. To extend this a bit: what other things do you usually carry around with you, aside from the common items like phones, keyrings, and card/cash holders?
Biotech

Biologists Create Self-Healing Concrete 94

Posted by Soulskill
from the building-borg-golems dept.
Mr.Intel writes: A team of microbiologists from the Delft University of Technology claims to have invented "bioconcrete" — concrete that heals cracks and breaks using bacteria. The goal was to find a type of bacteria that could live inside concrete and also produce small amount of limestone that could re-seal cracks. This is a difficult prospect because concrete is quite dry and strongly alkaline. The bacteria needed to be able to stay alive for years in those conditions before being activated by water. The bacteria also need a food source — simply adding sugar to concrete will make it weak. The scientists used calcium lactate instead, adding biodegradable capsules of it to the concrete mix. "When cracks eventually begin to form in the concrete, water enters and open the capsules. The bacteria then germinate, multiply and feed on the lactate, and in doing so they combine the calcium with carbonate ions to form calcite, or limestone, which closes up the cracks."
Education

College Board Puts Code.org In Charge of AP CS Program 78

Posted by Soulskill
from the must-pass-recruitment-test dept.
theodp writes: "The College Board," reports GeekWire, "is endorsing Code.org as a coursework and teacher training provider for its upcoming AP Computer Science Principles course and will help Code.org fund the teacher training work required to establish new computer science classes." So what's the catch? "Schools that commit to using the [new] PSAT [8/9 assessment] to identify middle school students who have potential for success in computer science will be eligible to receive curriculum, training, and funding for programming classes." The organization is bankrolled by some of tech's wealthiest leaders and their corporations. Code.org board member Brad Smith, Microsoft's General Counsel, proposed the idea of "producing a crisis" to advance Microsoft's "two-pronged" National Talent Strategy to increase K-12 CS education and the number of H-1B visas. Just months thereafter, nonprofit organizations Code.org and Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us, which is lobbying for H-1B reform, were born.
IBM

Are We Entering a "Golden Age of Quantum Computing Research"? 86

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-of-days dept.
Lashdots writes: Last month, an elite team at IBM Research announced an advance in quantum computing: it had built a four-qubit square lattice of superconducting qubits, roughly one-quarter-inch square, that was capable of detecting and measuring the two types of quantum computing errors (bit-flip and phase-flip). Previously, it was only possible to address one type of quantum error or the other. The next step is to correct quantum errors.

In a blog post, Mark Ritter, who oversees scientists and engineers at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Laboratory, wrote: "I believe we're entering what will come to be seen as the golden age of quantum computing research." His team, he said, is "on the forefront of efforts to create the first true quantum computer." But what would that mean, and what other big next steps are there?
Power

Wireless Charging Tech Adopted By Ford, Chrysler, and Toyota Goes Open Source 75

Posted by timothy
from the cautious-optimism dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The in-vehicle wireless charging technology adopted by Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, RAM, and Toyota has been released to the public domain without royalties or licenses. This technology that you probably never heard of before is in 12 vehicles; more vehicles than all the other wireless charging standards combined. The open standard web page shows schematics, app notes, and certification information to get companies to make compatible wireless charging products.
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Security Certification For an Old Grad? 125

Posted by timothy
from the 35-isn't-old dept.
An anonymous reader writes: I graduated in late 2003 during the tech bubble burst with a below 2.5 GPA. I am 35 with an interest in getting a security job. What are the chances that I would be just wasting my time and money? I am pursuing business interests with a patent used in a service that will be a prime target for hackers. I have been writing client/server software in an OpenBSD virtual machine for the security and the kqueue functionality; not to mention the rest of the virtual clients crash that I have tried. I figure that trying to sell the service idea, even if I can't get a job, when they ask what qualifies me to have such ideas, I can say I have the credentials. I just got issued the patent this year. What would you do in this situation to be a viable candidate for employment?
America Online

Does Using an AOL Email Address Suggest You're a Tech Dinosaur? 461

Posted by samzenpus
from the back-in-the-day dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes: Despite years of layoffs and tumbling net worth, AOL seemed to get a new lease on life this week when Verizon bought it for $4.4 billion. But even if AOL's still alive, using an AOL email address has long been seen as a way of signaling that you're stuck in the 1990s. A recent analysis of Dice data found that a mere 1.8 percent of those registering for the site used an AOL address, versus 55 percent for Gmail. For the past several years, Websites from Gizmodo to Lifehacker have all declared that still using an AOL email address is counterproductive, to put it mildly. But is that actually true? Do the people in your life and work actually care whether you use AOL, Hotmail, Gmail, or a custom address, or is the idea of 'email bias' an overblown myth?
Crime

SEC Charges ITT Educational Services With Fraud 85

Posted by Soulskill
from the reaping-what-you-sow dept.
mpicpp writes with news that ITT Educational Services, the company that operates for-profit college ITT Tech, has been charged with fraud over its student loan programs. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accuses the company of concealing poor financial performance from its investors. ITT formed both of these student loan programs, known as the "PEAKS" and "CUSO" programs, to provide off-balance sheet loans for ITT’s students following the collapse of the private student loan market. To induce others to finance these risky loans, ITT provided a guarantee that limited any risk of loss from the student loan pools.

According to the SEC’s complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, the underlying loan pools had performed so abysmally by 2012 that ITT’s guarantee obligations were triggered and began to balloon. Rather than disclosing to its investors that it projected paying hundreds of millions of dollars on its guarantees, ITT and its management took a variety of actions to create the appearance that ITT’s exposure to these programs was much more limited.
Privacy

Judge: Warrantless Airport Seizure of Laptop 'Cannot Be Justified' 200

Posted by Soulskill
from the digital-is-different dept.
SonicSpike writes with news of a ruling in U.S. District Court that the seizure and search of a man's laptop without a warrant while he was in an airport during an international border crossing was not justified. According to Judge Amy Jackson's ruling (PDF), the defendant was already the subject of an investigation when officials used his international flight as a pretext for rifling through his laptop. The government argued that a laptop was simply a "container," and thus subject to warrantless searches to protect the homeland. But the judge said the search "was supported by so little suspicion of ongoing or imminent criminal activity, and was so invasive of Kim's privacy and so disconnected from not only the considerations underlying the breadth of the government's authority to search at the border, but also the border itself, that it was unreasonable."

She also noted that laptop searches may require more stringent legal support, since they are capable of holding much more private information than a box or duffel bag. And while a routine search involves a quick look through a container, this search was quite different: "[T]he agents created an identical image of Kim's entire computer hard drive and gave themselves unlimited time to search the tens of thousands of documents, images, and emails it contained, using an extensive list of search terms, and with the assistance of two forensic software programs that organized, expedited, and facilitated the task."
DRM

Firefox 38 Arrives With DRM Required To Watch Netflix 371

Posted by timothy
from the chinese-finger-trap dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from VentureBeat: Mozilla today launched Firefox 38 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Notable additions to the browser include Digital Rights Management (DRM) tech for playing protected content in the HTML5 video tag on Windows, Ruby annotation support, and improved user interfaces on Android. Firefox 38 for the desktop is available for download now on Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play. Note that there is a separate download for Firefox 38 without the DRM support. Our anonymous reader adds links to the release notes for desktop and Android.
United States

White House Names Ed Felten As Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer 27

Posted by samzenpus
from the putting-a-team-together dept.
New submitter bird writes: Ed Felton, Director of Princeton University's Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP) and well-known and outspoken consumer advocate, has been appointed deputy US chief technology officer. His is a voice of reason that needs to be heard when tech policy is made. The press release says: "We are excited to announce that Dr. Ed Felten is joining the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer. Ed joins a growing number of techies at the White House working to further President Obama’s vision to ensure policy decisions are informed by our best understanding of state-of-the-art technology and innovation, to quickly and efficiently deliver great services for the American people, and to broaden and deepen the American people’s engagement with their government."
Businesses

Worker Fired For Disabling GPS App That Tracked Her 24 Hours a Day 776

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-tabs-on-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Myrna Arias claims she was fired for refusing to run an app that would track her location even when she was off the clock. She is now suing Intermex Wire Transfer LLC in a Kern County Superior Court. Her claim reads in part: "After researching the app and speaking with a trainer from Xora, Plaintiff and her co-workers asked whether Intermex would be monitoring their movements while off duty. Stubits admitted that employees would be monitored while off duty and bragged that he knew how fast she was driving at specific moments ever since she installed the app on her phone. Plaintiff expressed that she had no problem with the app's GPS function during work hours, but she objected to the monitoring of her location during non-work hours and complained to Stubits that this was an invasion of her privacy. She likened the app to a prisoner's ankle bracelet and informed Stubits that his actions were illegal. Stubits replied that she should tolerate the illegal intrusion...."
Businesses

The Best-Paying IT Security Jobs of 2015 85

Posted by Soulskill
from the squeaky-wheel-gets-the-green dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes: It's no secret that tech pros with extensive IT security backgrounds are in high demand, especially in the wake of last year's high-profile hacks of major companies such as Sony and Home Depot. Which security-related job pays the most? According to a new analysis of Dice salary data, a lead software security engineer can expect to earn an average of $233,333 in 2015, followed by a director of security, who can expect to earn $200,000. Nor are those outliers: Chief information security officers, directors of information security, and IT security consultants can all expect to earn close to $200,000, if not more. While many subfields of IT security prove quite lucrative, there are also other jobs that earn below the average for tech pros. Security analysts will make an average of $59,880 this year, for instance, while security installation technicians—because somebody needs to install the cameras and sensors—can expect to earn $31,680. Compare that to the average tech-pro salary of $89,450 in 2014, which is only expected to rise this year. According to a 2014 report from Global Knowledge and Penton, those armed with certifications such as CRISC, CISM, and CISA can expect to earn a healthy six figures a year.
Windows

Windows 10 the Last Version of Windows? Not So Fast. 154

Posted by Soulskill
from the branding-is-the-devil dept.
A multitude of tech sites are breathlessly reporting that Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows. These claims are based on a brief comment from developer evangelist Jerry Nixon while speaking a Microsoft Ignite session on "Tiles, Notifications, and Action Center." However, as Paul Thurrott points out, you probably shouldn't take this news too seriously. Windows development has been changing for the past several years. At the very least, we've known since we learned Windows 8 would be developed for multiple form factors. We've known it specifically about Windows 10 since it was announced — Microsoft has talked about transitioning away from giant, monolithic updates. Thurrott says, The reason anyone is talking like this is that Microsoft is pushing a "Windows as a service" vision, which doesn't mean "subscription service" but rather that it plans to upgrade Windows 10 going forward with both functional and security updates, plus of course bug fixes. You know, just like it's done with every single version of Windows. Ever. ... In other words, nothing to see here. Beyond the usual: things change. If it makes sense to keep updating Windows 10 and not change the brand or version number, Microsoft will do that. If it makes sense to release something called Windows 10 R2, Windows 11, or Windows Yoghurt — seriously, who cares? — then they'll do that.
Stats

Poker Pros Win Against AI, But Experts Peg Match As Statistical Draw 65

Posted by timothy
from the at-this-rate-they-win-next-year dept.
hypnosec writes with some positive news for Skynet watchers, in that humans still have at least a slight lead against the AIs who might one day imprison us in energy-harvesting goo tanks, or at least beating us in Las Vegas. The two-day poker showdown involving four of the world's top (human) players and a Carnegie Mellon University AI program called Claudico saw the professionals win, after several days of heads-up no-limit Texas Hold'em. "Despite the win, the poker players' $732,713 collective lead over Claudico wasn't quite large enough to attain statistical significance, experts have said. This means that the results can't be accepted as scientifically reliable thereby indicating that the "Brains Vs. Artificial Intelligence" competition effectively ended in a statistical tie." On the other hand, the computers sure got over what looked like a rout by the humans.
Businesses

FWD.us To Laid-Off Southern California Edison Workers: Boo-Hoo 611

Posted by timothy
from the versus-what-alternative-exactly? dept.
theodp writes: Speaking at a National Journal LIVE event that was sponsored by Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us and Laurene Powell Jobs' Emerson Collective, FWD.us "Major Contributor" Lars Dalgaard was asked about the fate of 500 laid-off Southern California Edison IT workers, whose forced training of their H-1B worker replacements from offshore outsourcing companies sparked a bipartisan Senate investigation. "If you want the job, make yourself able to get the job," quipped an unsympathetic Dalgaard (YouTube). "Nobody's going to hold you up and carry you around...If you're not going to work hard enough to be qualified to get the job...well then, you don't deserve the job." "That might be harsh," remarked interviewer Niharika Acharya. Turning to co-interviewee Pierre-Jean Cobut, FWD.us's poster child for increasing the H-1B visa cap, Acharya asked, "Do you agree with him?" "Actually, I do," replied PJ, drawing laughs from the crowd.
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: Moving To an Offshore-Proof Career? 420

Posted by timothy
from the alle-menschen-sind-auslaender-fast-ueberall dept.
New submitter sundarvenkata writes: I am sure most slashdotters (including the ones who had the I-am-an-indispensable-snowflake stance in the past) have already foreseen the writing on the wall for the future of tech professions (with IT being the worst hit) given some of the ominous news in the past few years: here, here and here. Of course, there are always the counter-arguments put forth by slashdotters that "knowing the business" or "being the best in what you do" would save one's derriere as if the offshore workers will remain permanently impaired of such skills. But I was wondering if some slashdotters could share some constructive real-life experiences of planning a transition to a relatively offshore-proof career. If you have already managed to accomplish such a career change, what was your journey and what would your advice be to other aspirants?
Data Storage

Samsung's SSD 840 Read Performance Degradation Explained 65

Posted by timothy
from the failure-to-spin-is-actually-ok-in-this-case dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a link to TechSpot's explanation of the reason behind the performance degradation noticed by many purchasers of certain models of Samsung SSD (the 840 and 840 EVO), and an evaluation of the firmware updates that the firm has released to address is. From the piece, a mixed but positive opinion of the second and latest of these firmware releases: "It’s not an elegant fix, and it’s also a fix that will degrade the lifetime of the NAND since the total numbers of writes it’s meant to withstand is limited. But as we have witnessed in Tech Report’s extensive durability test there is a ton of headroom in how NAND is rated, so in my opinion this is not a problem. Heck, the Samsung 840 even outlasted two MLC drives. As of writing, the new firmware has only been released for the 2.5” model of the SSD 840 EVO, so users of the 840 EVO mSATA model still have to be patient. It should also be noted that the new firmware does not seem to work well with the TRIM implementation in Linux, as this user shared how file system corruption occurs if discard is enabled."