mikejuk writes about a neat use of machine learning. From the article: "Using reinforcement learning to make a computer paint like an oriental Sumi-e artist isn't just a matter of shouting 'well done' — and yet, when you look at the results, that's what you want to do. ... Three researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology have attempted to teach a computer how to do it [paint] using standard reinforcement learning. When the program used the brush to create a smooth stroke, it was rewarded. After it had learned to use the brush, it was set to rendering some photos and the results look very good."
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darthcamaro writes "You don't really buy an open source company — since the tech is all open. But then again, Red Hat 'buys' open source companies all the time, they just bought one this week. So when does it makes sense for Red Hat to buy a company versus just building it on their own? Apparently, it all comes down to community. 'When you buy an open source company, if the people aren't coming and passionate about staying then you spend a lot of money for what? Because you don't get a lot of intellectual property,' Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst said."
schwit1 writes "Delaware became the first state to enter the realm of legal online casino gambling Thursday with the governor's approval of legislation that allows for full-service betting websites offering slots play and games like roulette, poker and blackjack. Federal law limits online gambling to players within the state's borders, which will be verified using geolocation software. The state hopes to launch online gambling in 2013 and intends to make betting available on a variety of digital devices including smart phones and tablets."
jfruh writes "The cashless future is one of those concepts that always seems to be just around the corner, but never quite gets here. There's been a lot of hype around Sweden going almost cashless, but most transactions there use easily traceable credit and debit cards. Bitcoin offers anonymity, but isn't backed by any government and has seen high-profile hacks and collapses in value. Could an experiment called MintChip brewing in Canada finally take us to cashless nirvana?"
First time accepted submitter Dslice_allstar writes "I have a '77 GMC Van that I would like to take into the 21st century with some good tech. I have several large LCD monitors, and I want to hook at least one up for watching movies and doing some mild PC gaming. I am concerned about power, i.e. using an inverter and not frying the computer every time the van starts/stops, and I'm worried about whether the alternator will support a computer/monitor setup as well as LEDs and the like. Would a UPC backup be a good idea? I would also like to be able to play music over the sound system, preferably off the computer. Should I be thinking mini ITX HTPC, or would a netbook better serve my purposes? How would you all pimp out an old conversion van?"
An anonymous reader writes "London's Metropolitan Police have delivered an 'Extradition Notice' to Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, who sought refuge and political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London last week. Scotland Yard have said in a brief statement that 'the notice requires Julian Assange to attend a police station of our choosing at a set time.' SY also said, 'This is standard procedure in extradition cases and is the first step in the removal process. He remains in breach of his bail conditions and failure to surrender would be a further breach of those conditions and he is liable to arrest.' However, under international diplomatic arrangements, the British Metropolitan Police cannot actually go into the Ecuadorian embassy to arrest Mr Assange. Assange would have to leave the embassy to be lawfully arrested. This raises the following question of course: Is this the 'endgame' for Julian Assange as far as extradition is concerned? If the Ecuadorians fail to grant Assange political asylum, which is a possibility, will he be arrested by Metropolitan Police, and sent to Sweden to stand trial for two alleged counts of 'rape?' Will Sweden then hand Assange over to the United States, where many well known and quite senior politicians have publicly stated that they think 'Assange should be punished severely' for publishing confidential U.S. diplomatic cables on Wikileaks?"
Freshly Exhumed writes "In a speech Wednesday, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson acknowledged that burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet, but said society will be able to adapt. The risks of oil and gas drilling are well understood and can be mitigated, he said. And dependence on other nations for oil is not a concern as long as access to supply is certain, he said. Tillerson blamed a public that is "illiterate" in science and math, a "lazy" press, and advocacy groups that "manufacture fear" for energy misconceptions in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations."
pigrabbitbear writes "Anti-drug squads are now using Brazilian spy drones to sniff out drug labs that dot Bolivia in increasing numbers. Felipe Caceras, Bolivia's top anti-drug official, claims that some 240 drug labs have been busted in Santa Cruz, an eastern lowlands state bordering Brazil, this month alone, all thanks to Brazil's drones."
An anonymous reader writes "Texas Republican delegates met earlier this month to put together their 2012 platform. Much of this focused on the educational system. Alarmingly, they openly state that they oppose schools teaching critical thinking, on the grounds that it may challenge 'student's fixed beliefs' and undermine 'parental authority.' Page 12 of their official platform (PDF) discusses their thinking on teaching thinking."
OverTheGeicoE writes "Former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley has been in the news in recent months, talking about how the Transportation Security Administration is broken and how it can be fixed. Some of his TSA criticisms in the popular press seem to make sense. This seemed strange to me. Just last March he was defending TSA in a debate with Bruce Schneier in The Economist. Then, the very next month, he's criticizing his former agency as if he was on the other side of that debate to begin with. Why? I felt like I was missing something, so I decided to read his book to find out more about his position. The title of the book is Permanent Emergency: Inside the TSA and the Fight for the Future of American Security, and it is co-written by Nathan Means." Keep reading for the rest of OverTheGeicoE's review.
An anonymous reader writes "After being in development for more than a decade, GRUB2 was released today as stable. The mailing list announcement covers new features including a standard theme, support for new file-systems, ports to new CPU architectures, new driver coverage, better EFI support, and many other new features that have materialized over the years of development to succeed GRUB Legacy."
Dupple writes with news that the British government is considering restrictions for ISPs that would block by default anything considered "adult content." From the article: "Ministers are suggesting that people should automatically be barred from accessing unsuitable adult material unless they actually choose to view it. It is one of several suggestions being put out for a consultation on how to shield children from pornography. Websites promoting suicide, anorexia and self-harm are also being targeted. The discussion paper asks for views on three broad options for the best approach to keeping children safe online, in a rapidly changing digital industry. ... The latest system, called 'active choice-plus,' is aimed at reaching a compromise. It would automatically block adult content, but would set users a question, along the lines of whether they want to change this to gain access to sites promoting pornography, violence and other adult-only themes. This is partly based on 'Nudge' theory, a U.S. concept which states that persuasion, rather than enforcement, can be an effective way of changing behavior."
This morning the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. The health insurance mandate, also known as "Obamacare" was found to be "permissible under Congress's taxing authority." The full ruling (PDF) is now available, and the court's opinion begins on page 7. Amy Howe from SCOTUSblog summarized the ruling thus: "The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn't comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding." Further coverage is available from CNN, the NY Times, and Fox.
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports that RLP, a legal firm that sues shoplifters on behalf of retail groups, has shown its ignorance of the Streisand Effect by attempting to censor The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and other consumer websites. RLP has accused CAB of harassment and is demanding that they and other consumer websites remove all 'defamatory posts' and publications. This is the latest salvo in a long running battle and although organizations like CAG (Consumer Action Group) have removed some offending posts, CAB and the Legal Beagles website are refusing to remove content and have accused RLP of trying to stifle reporting of adverse court judgments against them."
judgecorp writes "UK Universities have been found using weak SSL security implementations on their websites. An investigation by TechWeekEurope found 17 of the top 50 British universities scored C or worse on the SSL Labs tool launched by the Trustworthy Internet Movement earlier this year, which grades SSL security. Contacted by the site, most have put upgrades in place to improve security."