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AI

IBM's Watson Gets a Swear Filter After Learning the Urban Dictionary 310

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-in-front-of-grandma dept.
redletterdave writes "IBM's super-computer Watson briefly went from smart to smart ass with the help of the Urban Dictionary. According to Eric Brown, an IBM research assistant, he and his 35-person team wanted to get Watson to sound more like a real human. After teaching IBM's super-computer the entire Urban Dictionary, however, Watson simply couldn't distinguish polite discourse from profanity. Watson unfortunately learned all of the Urban Dictionary's bad habits, including throwing in overly-crass language at random points in its responses; in answering one question, Watson even reportedly used the word 'bullshit' within an answer to one researcher's question. In the end, Brown and his team were forced to remove the Urban Dictionary from Watson's vocabulary, and additionally developed a smart filter to keep Watson from swearing in the future."
Security

Anonymous Files Petition To Make DDoS Legal Form of Protest 323

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-us-break-stuff dept.
hypnosec writes "Anonymous has filed a petition with the U.S. Government asking the Obama administration to make Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks a legal form of protest. Anonymous has argued that because of advancements in internet technology, there is a need for new ways of protest. The hacking collective doesn't consider DDoS as a form of attack and equates it to hitting the 'refresh' button on a webpage. Comparing these attacks to the 'occupy' protests, Anonymous notes that instead of people occupying an area, it is their computers occupying a website for a particular period of time."
Image

Microsoft's Future of the Living Room Starring SuperTuxKart 82

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the couldn't-afford-mario's-appearance-fee dept.
New submitter Antoine.Stroll writes "Microsoft's concept of the living room's future doesn't include Master Chief apparently. In fact, it's starring several FOSS games including Red Eclipse and SuperTuxKart (video). Does FOSS just allow more possibilities for research and experimentation? SuperTuxKart had their 0.8 release last month. Go check out the website and download the game that Redmond's researchers couldn't resist. STK gets its Microsoft closeup at 48 seconds into the demonstration." This is the full room projection tech detailed in an earlier story about the patents Microsoft filed relating to it.
Open Source

OpenStreetMap Hits One Million Registered Users 58

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the better-living-through-collaboration dept.
An anonymous reader writes "OSM passed the one million registered users mark! Sure, similar to Wikipedia, the number of active contributors is a factor of 5 lower (something like ~200k) but the growth of data is impressive. So why not have a look at your neighborhood and assist on mapping? Nothing big, just visit OSM bugs and add for example your favorite place and a house number."
The Almighty Buck

Connecticut Groups Cancels Plan to Destroy Violent Games 350

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the pr-stunt dept.
An anonymous reader writes with an update to an earlier story about a group wanting to destroy your violent video games. "Southington, a town in Connecticut, has canceled its plans to collect and destroy violent games, stating that it has already succeeded in raising attention." Perhaps the real reason: "Backed by the Southington Chamber of Commerce, SouthingtonSOS originally planned to offer citizens $25 gift certificates in exchange for their violent games, films, and CDs, which the group would collect for 'permanent disposal.'"
GUI

Plasma Active, Sailfish, and Ubuntu Phone Developers Discussing Common APIs 63

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the by-your-powers-combined dept.
Jolla's Sailfish, Canonical's recently announced Ubuntu Phone, and KDE's Plasma Active environments are all using Qt5's QML for interface design. Unfortunately, the set of UI components provided by each, although similar, are incompatible with the others. After a chat on IRC between developers of all three platforms, they've decided to discuss the reasons behind each implementation, in the hopes that they can work toward a common architecture. "There are also discussions underway regarding other aspects of the bigger puzzle such as common package formats and delivery strategies. We are poised, should we keep our heads straight and our feet moving, to evolve that holiest of grails in the mobile space: an open and vendor neutral application development strategy built around the commonality of QtQuick and Linux. This is our Rome, which will not be built in a day, but which can become something significant in the world if we keep our heads and follow through."
Education

College CIO Predicts Tablets Will Kill Smart Boards 150

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the black-boards-to-defeat-both dept.
CowboyRobot writes "Keith Fowlkes (vice chancellor for information technology and CIO at the University of Virginia's College at Wise) has a commentary at Information Week in which he makes the point that moving forward, colleges will be able to dump all the 'smart' classroom tools and devices (e.g. electronic whiteboards, clickers, projection systems, etc.) and will only need to support students' tablets. The reasoning comes down to the return on investment, which is easy to argue for tablets but not for other classroom technologies. Standardization of video across devices remains a problem, as does the issue of where files are stored and how they are shared. But these are solvable problems and we will soon see the day when electronic whiteboards are a distant memory." I think the issue of file storage was solved by openafs a long time ago, certainly at the scale of a small university.
Canada

Canadian Researchers Debut PaperTab, the Paper-Thin Tablet 142

Posted by samzenpus
from the expensive-origami dept.
redletterdave writes "The PaperTab, which looks and feels just like a sheet of paper, may one day overtake today's tablet. Developed by researchers at the Human Media Lab at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, the PaperTab features a flexible, high-resolution 10.7-inch plastic touchscreen display built by Plastic Logic, the company borne from Cambridge University's Cavendish Laboratory, and relies on a second-generation Intel Core i5 processor to turn what looks like a sheet of white paper into a living, interactive display. Unlike typical tablets akin to Apple's iPad, the idea of PaperTab is to use one app at a time, per PaperTab. To make tasks easier, users would own 10 or more PaperTabs at once and lay them out to their liking; with multiple tablets to separate your applications, PaperTab relies on an interface that allows you to combine and merge elements from disparate applications with intuitive dragging, dropping, pointing, and folding."
Medicine

Boston Declares Health Emergency Due To Massive Flu Outbreak 316

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-animal-can-we-blame-this-year dept.
skade88 writes "Boston has seen 10 times more flu cases this year than last. They are now up to 700 cases and counting, with 18 deaths in the city. The city of Boston has declared a public health emergency in the wake of the epidemic. 'The CDC said the proportion of people visiting health care providers with flu-like symptoms climbed from 2.8 percent to 5.6 percent in four weeks. By contrast, the rate peaked at only 2.2 percent during the relatively mild 2011-2012 flu season. The estimated rate of flu-related hospitalizations in the U.S. was 8.1 per 100,000 people, which is high for this time of year, according to Dr. Joe Bresee, chief of the epidemiology and prevention branch of the CDC’s influenza division. The agency’s next advisory will be issued Friday.' As previously discussed on Slashdot it would also be nice for your friends and coworkers for you to stay home if you are sick."
Image

Book Review: The Nature of Code 37

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
eldavojohn writes "I kickstarted a project undertaken by Daniel Shiffman to write a book on what (at the time) seemed to be a very large knowledge space. What resulted is a good book (amazing by CC-BY-NC standards) available in both PDF and HTML versions. In addition to the book he maintains the source code for creating the book and of course the book examples. The Nature of Code starts off swimmingly but remains front heavy with a mere thirty five pages devoted to the final chapter on neural networks. This is an excellent book for Java and Processing developers that want to break into simulation and modeling of well, anything. It probably isn't a must-have title for very seasoned developers (unless you've never done simulation and modeling) but at zero cost why not?" Read below for the rest of eldavojohn's review.
Biotech

Carrion Flies Used To Find New Species 51

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the delightfully-festering dept.
sciencehabit writes "If carrion flies have one enviable talent, it's finding animal carcasses in the wilderness, something they surpass even the most systematic and intrepid field biologists at doing. Now, researchers may be able to capitalize on the insects' gruesome gift to survey biodiversity. Capture the flies, a new study shows, and DNA from their last meals will tell you which animals live in the area. In addition to scanning an area's biodiversity, the technique has the potential to reveal species that are new to science."
Government

British MPs Warn of 'Fatal' Cyber Warfare Strategy 43

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the knows-a-guy-good-with-computers dept.
judgecorp writes "British Members of Parliament have warned that the UK's cyber warfare strategy is getting it wrong. According to a defense committee report, the country's IT security forces are inadequately prepared for a cyber attack, rely too heavily on inadequately protected systems, and do not sufficiently appreciate the difficulty of attributing the source of an attack."
Privacy

Texas High School Student Loses Lawsuit Challenging RFID Tracking Requirement 412

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-terribly-surprising dept.
Chris453 writes "Earlier today, a Texas High School student named Andrea Hernandez and her family lost the first round of the lawsuit filed to prevent her school district from forcing its students to wear RFID badges for tracking purposes. The judge in the case declared that the district's compromise for the student (a badge without the battery) was sufficient and dismissed any First Amendment issues. The badges are RFIDs powered by built-in batteries and one of the concerns was that the badges would be used to track students off-campus. Interestingly enough, the school district claims in court documents that 'The badges do not work off campus (PDF).' However, on their website, the school district confirms that it is conceivable that an off-campus RFID reader could access badge serial numbers, but tries to downplay the significance: 'Therefore, an intruder or "hacker" can only learn that the tag serial number is, for example, #69872331, but that does not provide any useful information. Has the district committed perjury by claiming that the active RFIDs magically deactivate themselves when off school property?"

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