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A Clue To the Reason for Women's Pervasive Car-Safety Problem

Slashdot - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 19:22
Women are far more likely to suffer serious injuries in a car crash. From a report: The danger divide was first quantified in a 2011 study out of the University of Virginia, which found that for men and women who wore seatbelts, women were nearly 50 percent more likely to be seriously or fatally injured in a crash. And now it's been confirmed by another paper from another University of Virginia research team, published this month, which found that the odds of serious injury or death for female car-crash victims is 73 percent higher than for males. The latest study, which analyzed crashes involving more than 31,000 individuals between 1998 and 2015, reveals some good news, too: All riders are now more than half as likely to sustain serious injuries in newer models (those manufactured in 2009 and later) than in older cars. [...] It's partly because of this lack of information -- and lack of dedicated research into the question -- that the same safety science that's been making cars less dangerous for all riders hasn't been able to shrink the gap between male and female auto safety. "Historically, we have used male-type crash test dummies," said Becky Mueller, a senior research engineer at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). "Those dummies, despite being an average male, have done a good job at providing improvements for all different kinds of people." Since the early 2000s, "female" crash test dummies have been deployed, but they tend to simulate smaller women, says Forman, with heights of 5 feet and weights of 110 pounds. "There is some logic behind the use of those: It is necessary to evaluate and protect for the extreme ends of the population," he said. It's also a big limitation of the model.

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It looks like Anthem's long-awaited Cataclysm event is finally almost here

Eurogamer - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 19:17

It's been a long old wait for Anthem players hoping to catch a glimpse of significant new content in BioWare's much-maligned shooter. Now, however, a sudden flurry of in-game activity suggests that its much-hyped Cataclysm event may finally be about to unfold.

Cataclysm, you might recall, was trumpeted as one of Anthem's defining post-launch features prior to release, with BioWare promising a "massive, world-changing" event full of stormy weather and the game's "most ambitious and challenging content". Exactly five months after the release of Anthem, however, Cataclysm is still yet to arrive in the live game.

That's not to say we don't know what to expect from the eight-week long event, of course; BioWare held a fairly extensive unveiling back in May, and curious sorts have intermittently been able to experience some of its innards since June, via the game's Public Test Server.

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Categories: Video Games

Slack's Desktop App Now Launches 33% Faster, Uses 50% Less Memory

Slashdot - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 18:43
Slack today announced it's deploying an under-the-hood upgrade for its desktop app to boost performance for companies and teams using the app for workplace collaboration. From a report: The latest version of Slack for desktop and internet browsers is due out in the coming weeks and promises a 33% faster launch time, 10 times faster launch of VoIP calls, and roughly 50% less memory usage. The news comes a month after Slack became a public company, listed as WORK on the New York Stock Exchange. Slack product architect and lead of desktop client rewrite Johnny Rodgers said the upgrade takes advantage of changes to Slack's underlying technology, like modern JavaScript tools and techniques and the React UI framework.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Dropbox Brings Back Support For ZFS, XFS, Btrfs And eCryptFS On Linux

Slashdot - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 18:01
Speaking of Dropbox, the online storage cloud service has enabled support for ZFS and XFS on 64-bit Linux systems, and eCryptFS and Btrfs on all Linux systems. The move comes after it recently pulled support for all file storage systems on Linux except Ext4. From a report: Dropbox stopped supporting folder syncing to drives with filesystems it deemed "uncommon", which on Linux meant anything but Ext4, upsetting quite a few users. The reason cited for this was that "a supported file system is required as Dropbox relies on extended attributes (X-attrs) to identify files in the Dropbox folder and keep them in sync", which doesn't really make sense since there are many filesystems that support xattr (extended attributes) on Linux. After this change was announced, various workarounds started to appear online, including one that I posted on Linux Uprising. There was even a new unofficial, open source Dropbox client developed for this reason (which is also much lighter than the official client by the way). But this didn't last long though, as last week, the Dropbox 77.3.127 beta changelog says that Dropbox has added back support for ZFS (on 64-bit systems only), XFS (on 64bit systems only), Btrfs and eCryptFS.

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Nintendo faces Switch Joy-Con drift class action lawsuit

Eurogamer - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 17:12

US lawyers have filed a class action lawsuit against Nintendo after concerns around the issue of Joy-Con drift.

It's a case which has been bubbling away for some weeks now while a growing number of fans have aired their grievances online - all claiming their Joy-Con controllers have begun misbehaving.

The lawsuit was finally filed last Friday via the United States District Court in Washington by the law offices of Chimicles, Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith (CSK&D).

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Categories: Video Games

Equifax To Pay At Least $575M as Part of FTC Settlement

Slashdot - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 16:47
Equifax has agreed to pay at least $575 million to the US Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and all 50 states over its massive 2017 data breach. From a report: If that isn't enough to compensate people impacted by the breach, the credit reporting company could have to pay up to $700 million -- a figure we got hints about on Friday. The settlement includes $300 million for a fund providing affected consumers with credit monitoring services and for those who bought credit or identity monitoring services in the wake of the breach. If that doesn't cover the losses, Equifax will add up to $125 million to the fund. It's also agreed to pay $175 million to 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as well as $100 million in civil penalties to the CFPB. Hackers stole the personal information -- including Social Security numbers and home addresses -- of nearly 148 million Americans from Equifax's servers in a data breach that ran from May and July 2017. A December 2018 House Oversight Committee report called the breach "entirely preventable," saying Equifax didn't take action to prevent it and wasn't prepared for the aftermath.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Microsoft Invests $1 Billion in OpenAI To Develop AI Technologies on Azure

Slashdot - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 16:00
Microsoft today announced that it would invest $1 billion in OpenAI, the San Francisco-based AI research firm cofounded by CTO Greg Brockman, chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, Elon Musk, and others, with backing from luminaries like LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman and former Y Combinator president Sam Altman. From a report: In a blog post, Brockman said the investment will support the development of artificial general intelligence (AGI) -- AI with the capacity to learn any intellectual task that a human can -- with "widely distributed" economic benefits. To this end, OpenAI intends to partner with Microsoft to jointly develop new AI technologies for the Seattle company's Azure cloud platform and will enter into an exclusivity agreement with Microsoft to "further extend" large-scale AI capabilities that "deliver on the promise of AGI." Additionally, OpenAI will license some of its technologies to Microsoft, which will commercialize them and sell them to as-yet-unnamed partners, and OpenAI will train and run AI models on Azure as it works to develop new supercomputing hardware while "adhering to principles on ethics and trust." According to Brockman, the partnership was motivated in part by OpenAI's continued pursuit of enormous computational power. Its researchers recently released analysis showing that from 2012 to 2018 the amount of compute used in the largest AI training runs grew by more than 300,000 times, with a 3.5-month doubling time, far exceeding the pace of Moore's Law. Perhaps exemplifying the trend is OpenAI's OpenAI Five, an AI system that squared off against professional players of the video game Dota 2 last summer. On Google's Cloud Platform -- in the course of training -- it played 180 years' worth of games every day on 256 Nvidia Tesla P100 graphics cards and 128,000 processor cores, up from 60,000 cores just a few years ago.

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Yooka-Laylee sequel shows off its transforming level tech

Eurogamer - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 15:35

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is the follow-up to Playtonic's platforming debut, and it's looking very lovely indeed.

If you missed its reveal during the busy E3 period, this is the long-awaited sequel to the original Yooka-Laylee - but it comes with a bit of a twist.

Instead of the 3D platforming areas a bit (okay, a lot) like Banjo-Kazooie, this is Playtonic's take on the side-scrolling levels of Donkey Kong Country.

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Categories: Video Games

Astral Chain could be Platinum's most out there game yet

Eurogamer - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 15:00

It's fair to say that PlatinumGames has mastered the art of the action game - but what if this talented studio were to expand in new directions? The phenomenal Nier: Automata offered a glimpse with its RPG trimmings, while the cancelled Scalebound seemed to aim even higher. Clearly Platinum is eager to push new boundaries, which is why it shouldn't be a surprise that Astral Chain is anything but simple.

If you've seen the trailers, however, it might not be entirely clear what sort of game we're dealing with here. Indeed, when I had a chance to sit down with Astral Chain last week, I really had no idea what to expect. I knew there would be action but everything else was up in the air. As I left the demo station, I couldn't help but consider the most ridiculous of comparisons. Yes, there's plenty of Platinum-style action within but everything else suggests some sort of unholy fusion between Deus Ex, Batman and The Legend of Zelda. Perhaps that's a stretching it but stay with me - there's a lot going on here.

It starts off simple enough. Players are dropped in the centre of the last human city - The Ark - as it falls under attack by a mysterious enemy known as the Chimera. These creatures are basically harvesting humanity, dragging people into an alternate dimension of sorts. To engage this new foe, a Police force known as Neuron was created - a team of elite fighters who command warriors known as Legion and... OK, maybe it's not that simple after all.

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Categories: Video Games

Indie FMV game Headspun has a release date for console and PC

Eurogamer - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 14:32

Headspun is a British indie game looking to revive the FMV genre by placing the player in the brain of a recently awoken coma patient - and it's launching on PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Mac on 28th August.

Players will take on the role of Ted the conscious voice in the head of Theo Kavinsky, a man who has no memory of the accident or events leading up to his coma. As Ted you'll work to discover what happened and put Theo's life back on track, all the while dealing with Teddy - Theo's subconscious voice who doesn't always agree with Ted.

The game is being made by Superstring, a British microstudio run by Jamin Smith, and features footage filmed in a working hospice in Surrey.

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Categories: Video Games

Samsung-Backed Researchers Develop a Ternary Semiconductor

Slashdot - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 13:34
"Future semiconductors may perform logic with 0, 1, or 2 instead of the current binary system of 0 and 1," reports ZDNet: A South Korean research team has successfully realised an energy-efficient ternary metal-oxide semiconductor on a large-sized wafer. Professor Kyung Rok Kim of UNIST's Electrical & Computer Engineering Department and his team successfully created a semiconductor that operates in a ternary logic system instead of the current binary... Using the ternary system of 0, 1, 2 lessens the amount of information semiconductors need to process and does it faster, resulting in less power consumption, the team said. It will also help in miniaturising chips further. For example, to express the number 128 in the current binary system, 8 "bits" will be required. With the ternary system, only 5 "trits" will be required.... Samsung Electronics has been backing Kim's research since September 2017 via its Samsung's Science & Technology Foundation, which offers grants for promising technology projects. Samsung is currently verifying the technology at its foundry business-run fab.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Cancelled Shovel Knight board game Kickstarter to relaunch mid-August

Eurogamer - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 12:10

After making his return to Kickstarter at the beginning of the month, Shovel Knight will have to wait a little bit longer to continue funding for his tabletop adventure, Shovel Knight: Dungeon Duels.

In an update on the Kickstarter campaign page, developer Panda Cult Games explained that after listening to its backers and the fans expectations, it was making changes to its campaign to ensure it was "the very best it can be".

"As a small team, it's supremely important to us to care about what we do and what we are working on, as well as treating it with the proper respect it deserves. We believe this campaign can be better, and we have plans to improve it and open it up to a much wider audience with a more cost-friendly version to boot!"

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Categories: Video Games

With Chandrayaan-2 Launch, India's ISRO Shoots For the Moon on a Shoe-String Budget

Slashdot - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 12:05
India took a giant leap in its space program on Monday after its space agency launched a spacecraft that is scheduled to touch down on the Moon in September. From a report: The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which is India's equivalent of NASA, confirmed the successful launch of the spacecraft as the nation inches closer to become only the fourth country -- after the United States, China, and the Soviet Union -- to land a spacecraft on the Moon. Chandrayaan-2 aims to land on a plain surface that covers the ground between two of the Moon's craters, Simpelius N and Manzinus C. The spacecraft was originally scheduled to launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on July 15, but ISRO postponed it less than 20 minutes ahead of the deadline citing a "technical glitch." ISRO said it resolved the issue last week. Everything about India's homegrown lunar mission -- dubbed Chandrayaan-2 (Sanskrit for "moon vehicle") -- is a technological marvel. The spacecraft -- which is sitting atop the country's most powerful rocket to date, a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle called Mark III -- is carrying an orbiter, a lunar lander called Vikram and six-wheeled rover Pragyan (Sanskrit for "wisdom"). In early September, the lander, which is named after Vikram Sarabhai, the father of ISRO, is scheduled to detach from the orbiter. Until then, Chandrayaan-2 will embark on a slow journey to the Moon, staying in an elliptical orbit. The mission's budget is just $141 million, significantly lower than those of other countries, and less than half of the recently released blockbuster "Avengers: Endgame." The orbiter is designed to operate for at least one year, but lander and rover are expected to operate for just a couple of weeks.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

EA quietly begins what looks like a Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 3 alpha

Eurogamer - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 12:04

EA has sent out alpha playtest invites for a new, third Plants vs. Zombies shooter made by the Garden Warfare team.

Currently codenamed "Picnic", the game has yet to be officially announced as Plants vs Zombies 3... but it doesn't take too much to join the dots.

Invites sent out over the weekend were marked as "Confidential" and came with dire warnings from EA they were not to be shared or talked about online. So, of course, they quickly ended up all over reddit.

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Categories: Video Games

It's So Hot in Nebraska, You Can Bake Biscuits in Your Car

Slashdot - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 11:34
An anonymous reader quotes the New York Post: The National Weather Service in Omaha, Nebraska, baked biscuits in a car Friday amid a major heat wave in the Northeast and Midwest... Within 45 minutes, the dough had begun to rise, the NWS said. After an hour, the pan had reached 175 degrees, and the tops of the biscuits were at 153 degrees. "This is a good time to remind everyone that your car does in fact get deadly hot. Look before you lock!," the NWS said... After baking in the sun for nearly eight hours, the biscuits were edible, but the middle remained "pretty doughy." The pan maxed out at a blazing 185 degrees.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Two active F1 drivers just won iRacing's Spa 24

Eurogamer - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 11:33

Lando Norris and Max Verstappen - arguably two of F1's hottest properties - have just wrapped up a pretty major achievement together, the two working as part of the joint Team Redline/Pure Racing Team effort to win iRacing's 24 Hours of Spa event.

The two were joined by sim racing veterans Max Benecke and Max Wenig and found themselves in the top split where they dominated proceedings, though that's not to say their race was without drama. With the race well into its final hour, Verstappen had a 'technical' issue - with his brake pedal falling off of his home rig - meaning that Lando Norris had to step in to stroke the Audi R8 LMS GT3 home. Despite the late hiccough, Team Redline PRT finished nearly 30 seconds up the road from its nearest competitor.

Norris and Verstappen are no strangers to the world of sim racing. Norris is a regular who also frequently streams his sessions on his own Twitch channel, while back in 2015 Max Verstappen pulled off an audacious move around the outside of Blanchimont in that year's Belgian Grand Prix - a move he'd practiced previously in iRacing before making it stick in the real world.

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Categories: Video Games

Splatoon 2's final Splatfest sees chaos reign

Eurogamer - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 10:43

Two years to the day since it first released, Splatoon 2 wrapped up its final Splatfest over the weekend - with Chaos winning out over Order as Pearl mobilised her forces to beat her Off the Hook bandmate Marina.

It marks an end of sorts to Splatoon 2's official post-release support, which has boasted a regular stream of new maps, modes and weapons - and of course plenty of Splatfests, which have settled age-old rivalries such as that between mayo and ketchup (mayo being the winner, of course) and salty or sweet (the answer's salty, you dolt).

There's one final update coming to Splatoon 2 on July 31st - which will bring it to version 5.0 - which will allow players to host their own Splatfests, giving players the option to tailor ink colours and giving access to the previously time-limited Shifty Station maps.

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Categories: Video Games

Extreme U.S. Weather Brings Power Outages

Slashdot - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 09:34
"Ninety-four million people in parts of 23 states remain under excessive heat warnings and heat advisories on Sunday as one last day of scorching temperatures hits the Midwest and East Coast," reports ABC News. "Sunday is the last day of oppressive heat, with many places in the Upper Midwest already feeling cooler Sunday morning after heat indices of 115 to 120 on Friday and Saturday... New York City and Boston are just two of many cities that set or tied record-high minimum temperatures, with temperatures failing to drop below 80 degrees." The high temperatures eventually caused power outages, reports the New York Daily News: Scorching heat slammed the city's power grid Sunday evening, putting more than 50,000 Con Ed customers in the dark, mostly in Brooklyn, the company said... As heat stressed the grid, Con Ed tried to keep the blackout from spreading by deliberately cutting power to 33,000 customers in Brooklyn, mostly in in Canarsie, Flatlands, Mill Basin and Bergen Beach. "The reason we did that was to prevent any further outages and also to protect the integrity of the energy system in that area," said Con Ed spokesman Sidney Alvarez. And the weather also affected power supplies in the midwest, according to local news reports: According to DTE Energy, about 375,000 customers are without power as a result of the thunderstorms that rumbled through the region Friday and Saturday nights. The storms were marked by flashes of lightning, high winds and even in a few cases, hail... Meanwhile Consumers Energy says the storms brought down more than 1,500 power lines. Jackson, Michigan-based Consumers said today that over 212,000 customers were affected by the storms. ABC News reports that winds gusting 70 to 80 mph "brought down numerous tree limbs, and thousands of power lines from South Dakota to Minnesota, and in Wisconsin and Michigan."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Snack Hacks, a cookbook for people who like games, is a strange delight

Eurogamer - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 09:00

"Chop the parsley," he writes, "just enough to discipline it." There is a poetry to a good recipe, a way of looking at the world that transports the reader. Fergus Henderson, the founder of St John, which is the greatest restaurant in the world if you ask me, is in the kitchen. He has some parsley. He wants to chop it. How much? Just enough...

That line rattles around in my head all day every day. Chop the parsley... I have been to St John several times now, and Fergus is always there at a table. Why wouldn't he be? If you've created the greatest restaurant in the world, where else are you going to head for lunch? I have read and re-read his cookbook, too, a vast white slab of a thing, pink fore-edges, a bit of texture to the cover. Mostly I read and re-read the recipe for bone marrow on toast. Chop the parsley, just enough, discipline. Wonderful stuff, parsley.

It's not just Henderson. Eat Me is my second-favourite cookbook, written by Kenny Shopsin, proprietor of a tiny restaurant in New York that I have always been afraid to go into because Shopsin often took against people instantly and denied them a seat at the counter. Shopsin died last year, sadly. He sounded wonderful. I still look in the mirror sometimes and see a person that Shopsin would have disliked. In Eat Me, right, he is telling you how to make his chili, which is the greatest chili in the world if you ask me. I make this chili at least once a month, I even have a cooking pot that I bought specially. And how hot should you make the pot before you begin? Hot enough, says Shopsin, to bounce a drop of water off the bottom of the pan.

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Categories: Video Games

Is Object-Oriented Programming a Trillion Dollar Disaster?

Slashdot - Mon, 22/07/2019 - 07:04
Senior full-stack engineer Ilya Suzdalnitski recently published a lively 6,000-word essay calling object-oriented programming "a trillion dollar disaster." Precious time and brainpower are being spent thinking about "abstractions" and "design patterns" instead of solving real-world problems... Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) has been created with one goal in mind -- to manage the complexity of procedural codebases. In other words, it was supposed to improve code organization. There's no objective and open evidence that OOP is better than plain procedural programming... Instead of reducing complexity, it encourages promiscuous sharing of mutable state and introduces additional complexity with its numerous design patterns. OOP makes common development practices, like refactoring and testing, needlessly hard... Using OOP is seemingly innocent in the short-term, especially on greenfield projects. But what are the long-term consequences of using OOP? OOP is a time bomb, set to explode sometime in the future when the codebase gets big enough. Projects get delayed, deadlines get missed, developers get burned-out, adding in new features becomes next to impossible. The organization labels the codebase as the "legacy codebase", and the development team plans a rewrite.... OOP provides developers too many tools and choices, without imposing the right kinds of limitations. Even though OOP promises to address modularity and improve reusability, it fails to deliver on its promises... I'm not criticizing Alan Kay's OOP -- he is a genius. I wish OOP was implemented the way he designed it. I'm criticizing the modern Java/C# approach to OOP... I think that it is plain wrong that OOP is considered the de-facto standard for code organization by many people, including those in very senior technical positions. It is also wrong that many mainstream languages don't offer any other alternatives to code organization other than OOP. The essay ultimately blames Java for the popularity of OOP, citing Alan Kay's comment that Java "is the most distressing thing to happen to computing since MS-DOS." It also quotes Linus Torvalds's observation that "limiting your project to C means that people don't screw things up with any idiotic 'object model'." And it ultimately suggests Functional Programming as a superior alternative, making the following assertions about OOP: "OOP code encourages the use of shared mutable state, which has been proven to be unsafe time and time again... [E]ncapsulation, in fact, is glorified global state.""OOP typically requires a lot of boilerplate code (low signal-to-noise ratio).""Some might disagree, but OOP code is notoriously difficult to unit test... [R]efactoring OOP code is really hard without dedicated tools like Resharper.""It is impossible to write good and maintainable Object-Oriented code."

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