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An anonymous reader writes: I just published an article and thought it might be of interest to Slashdot readers. It's about a collection visualizations I created based on public voting data from The Public Whip project, which collects and normalizes voting data from the UK House of Commons. The visualizations show relationships between MPs, with a focus on agreement rates, and more interestingly — rebellion.
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It is not often a telecommunications merger gets much attention — but customer concern over the bidding war to acquire the Perth-based Internet service provider (ISP), iiNet, has made the potential deal one of the most high profile in Australia in recent years.

To recap the story so far: Two Australian Internet companies are vying to buy iiNet — TPG Telecom and M2 Group. In an indication of how much it wants the company, TPG put A$1.4 billion cash on the table. M2 Group, in an attempt to outbid TPG, laid down a share-based offer of A$1.6 billion (on Tuesday evening, this had decreased to $1.57 billion due to fluctuations in the share price).

The iiNet board were content with M2's bid, but allowed TPG a counter offer. On May 6, iiNet announced the revised TPG offer — which took the deal to a value of A$1.56 billion — was more favourable than M2's. Whether the underdog will come back to the table is yet to be seen.

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Posted by on in Slashdot

Using taxis for everything because the lower classes take the train is a lifestyle choice.

That's still a lot more efficient than what most other Americans do, which is drive 30-60 minutes each way on their daily commute, using their own car. The NYers who do take cabs tend to take them short distances (since everything is closer together there), and they're sharing the same vehicles, instead of all having their own, and then needing giant parking lots for them all.

Yes, it'd be better if everyone just took

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Three months after Lenovo was called out for installing dangerous software onto its computers, the world's largest PC manufacturer has once again been accused of lax security measures. Security firm IOActive reports that it discovered major vulnerabilities in Lenovo's update system that could allow hackers to bypass validation checks, replace legitimate Lenovo programs with malicious software, and run commands from afar.

The vulnerabilities were found in February

Through one of the vulnerabilities, IOActive researchers explained that attackers could create a fake certificate authority to sign executables, allowing malicious software to masquerade as official Lenovo software. Should a Lenovo owner update their machine in a coffee shop, another individual could conceivably use the security hole to swap Lenovo's programs with their own — what the researchers call the "classic coffee shop attack." The security hole, along with others described by IOActive, are present in Lenovo System Update and earlier versions.

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2015-05-06 04:07:32 UTC

The game of fetch has seen little innovation since a person first threw a ball at a dog.

Sure, balls got bouncier and easier for humans to throw, but what dogs really needed was an RC car to chase after.

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Last night at the Hoover Dam, Freightliner unveiled the Inspiration Truck — a partially autonomous big rig that could save lives, mitigate driver fatigue and stress, and reduce CO2 emissions up to 5 percent. Daimler, which owns Freightliner, says it has done more than 10,000 miles of testing on the truck. And now it's street-legal, having been officially granted one of Nevada's "Autonomous Vehicle" license plates (the first for a commercial truck) by Nevada governor Brian Sandoval at a media event before the unveiling.
The Inspiration Truck and Daimler's underlying "Highway Pilot" technology isn't meant to replace truck drivers completely. Instead, it's meant to solve the problem of fatigued driving, something that plagues truck drivers who have to pull long shifts. According to Daimler, 90 percent of truck crashes result from driver error, and in one out of every eight of those cases driver fatigue plays a role. Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Daimler AG's truck boss, says that the Inspiration Truck mitigates that problem significantly. At a media event before the unveiling, he spoke about how taking control away from drivers positively impacts their ability to focus for long periods of time. "We measured brain activity with or without autonomous function, and it clearly shows that driver drowsiness decreases by about 25 percent when the truck is operating in autonomous mode," he said.

Freightliner self-driving big rig in photos Freightliner self-driving big rig in photos

"Level 3" on NHTSA's automation scale

Daimler and Freightliner chose Nevada as the venue for the unveiling because the state was the first in the nation to put regulations in place that allow the testing of autonomous vehicles. (Three others and the District of Columbia have since followed.) Nevada is also home to some of the first university curriculums dealing with autonomous vehicles, like the Nevada Advanced Autonomous Innovations Center found at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The Inspiration Truck is considered "level 3" on NHTSA's automation scale. That's the second-highest level of automation — the same that Google's self-driving cars currently operate on. It means that the vehicle is advanced enough to enable the driver to cede full control in certain traffic or environmental conditions. The driver can interrupt and regain control, but the vehicle should allow a "comfortable transition time."

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Today federal regulators announced a fine (PDF) of $700,000 against cryptocurrency company Ripple Labs for failing to register as a money service business. Ripple Labs built a payment transfer platform that people can use to move real or virtual money, and the company maintains its own cryptocurrency, called XRP II, which loosely compares to Bitcoin. (Unlike Bitcoin, XRP was fully-generated before it went on the market, so an equivalent to Bitcoin miners doesn't exist in XRP.)

Further Reading

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Remember when AOL CEO Tim Armstrong publicly fired an employee during a company conference call?

Armstrong does, but he’s not too concerned about any further incidents since he just Periscope-d his latest company meeting, as he told Re/code’s Kara Swisher at the cable industry’s annual trade show, now called INTX (Internet and Television Expo) today. He expounded on the benefits of using his cell phone to broadcast the conference instead of using multiple computers and the resources of his IT department.

He also discussed the need for Internet and TV companies to work together; the growing competition for better content; and how the tech and media worlds are likely to consolidate down to seven companies in the near term.

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We’re now on the flipside of our 17th TechCrunch Disrupt conference. In the past two days, over 2100 people have passed through the Manhattan Center for TechCrunch Disrupt NY, with dreams of becoming the next president of the United States or the next Snapchat or the next Estée Lauder. Along with NYC mayor Bill DeBlasio and presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina, executives and founders like Joanne Bradford, Dennis Crowley, Leandra Medine have graced our stage.

Tomorrow we’ll get to see talks by Tristan Walker, Alexis Ohanian, Casper’s Philip Krim and more.

In tandem with the above interviews, twenty-four startups have presented on our stage in Startup Battlefield. It was very difficult to make the decisions, but after much deliberation, we’ve got our six finalists picked out. These companies will move on to the finals round tomorrow, competing for a large check and even larger cup.

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Nvidia became the latest casualty in the ultra-competitive cellular chip business, announcing on Tuesday that it will “wind down” its Icera modem unit.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker said it is “open to a sale of the technology or operations,” though presumably it would have looked into such options prior to announcing plans to shutter the unit.

Texas Instruments and Broadcom have exited parts of the cellular chip business in recent years, and even market leader Qualcomm faces increasing competition from both Samsung and a host of low-cost Chinese rivals.

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Editor’s note: Michael Tyrimos is the interim CEO at EventApe.io, the co-founder of HustleX.com and the Cypriot Enterprise Link, and a Fellow of The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce in the UK. He specializes in the growth of early stage tech startups.

It’s not news that the Eurozone is in one of the worst economic and political shapes it has been in thus far. Greece’s future remains uncertain. Italy’s economy has failed to significantly rebound from its recession while other highly indebted European member states — namely, Ireland, Spain and Portugal — previously shared Greece’s concerns and standpoint and form a united front against Germany’s line of policy. In the meantime the euro dropped to a 12-year low this year.

Indeed, some of the European member states may be highly indebted and suffer deeply but it is interesting to see how entrepreneurship has been flourishing in these countries at the same time.

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Error 400 (Bad Request)!!1

400. That’s an error.

Your client has issued a malformed or illegal request. That’s all we know.

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“AU 010.”

License plates are rarely an object of attention, but this one’s special—the funky number is the giveaway. That’s why Daimler bigwig Wolfgang Bernhard and Nevada governor Brian Sandoval are sharing a stage, mugging for the phalanx of cameras, together holding the metal rectangle that will, in just a minute, be slapped onto the world’s first officially recognized self-driving truck.

The truck in question is the Freightliner Inspiration, a teched-up version of the Daimler 18-wheeler sold around the world. And according to Daimler, which owns Mercedes-Benz, it will make long-haul road transportation safer, cheaper, and better for the planet.

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Furthering its desire to dominate the skies—and our shopping—Amazon has applied for a patent on its somewhat starry-eyed drone delivery system. As an added bonus, we get a peek into how in-depth (and starry-eyed) Amazon’s drone plans really are.

The patent application, originally filed in September 2014 but published last week by the US Patent and Trademark Office, details an elaborate system for “aerial delivery of items.” Amazon’s drone aspirations won’t be nearly as simple as “take off from the warehouse and drop off the package.” The drones will talk to each other, receiving information on the delivery environment (presumably weather, traffic, obstacles, etc.) from other drones to update their routes in real time, determining if their flight paths and proposed landing areas are safe and free of obstacles (like people or dogs).

Package delivery locations will be updated as customers move around, so a package can come to you at work or home, depending on where you are when your shipment is ready—including pulling location data from a smartphone. A mockup shows an Amazon order screen with four options for delivery: “Bring It to Me,” “Home,” “Work,” and “My Boat.” There will also be relay locations, allowing drones to drop off packages for further transport, or to recharge or swap batteries. Amazon also wants its drones to be able to drop packages at a “secure delivery location,” perhaps an Amazon Locker or even the trunk of a car.

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Has Instagram Ever Nudged You to Make a Major Life Change?

You may have heard that many New Yorkers—perhaps even people you personally know!—are moving to Los Angeles. But apparently they’re not moving because of the harsh winters or the high rents or the bad Mexican food. They’re moving because of Instagram.

From last weekend’s New York Times:

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Less than a week after music-streaming service Grooveshark shut down, the site has been wholly reconstituted, brought back to life by an individual "connected to the original Grooveshark," according to a BGR report.

The mystery man, who identified himself only as "Shark," said that he saved most of the Florida-based website before it was taken down on Thursday. Now he's put the site, which was sued by record companies in 2011, back up at a new domain: grooveshark.io.

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Periscope on an iPhone

Sure, Twitter's Periscope app will tell you which of your friends are streaming, but what if you want to find out who's broadcasting the local baseball game? You won't have that problem for much longer. Periscope chief Kayvon Beykpour has revealed that the app will soon get a way to find streams in a given area. It won't be so precise that you can creep on others, but it could be helpful for following protests and other unfolding events without having to get a link from someone else. Beykpour suggests that the map-based browsing is coming soon, so you shouldn't have to wait long before Periscope is as good at helping you discover streams as it is for watching them.

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At this rate, we may not even recognize Windows in the next few years.

Among the many announcements which are heralding fundamental changes in the way Windows 10 will operate compared to its predecessors, perhaps none are as important as Microsoft’s announcement that the company will finally be doing away with the controversial “Patch Tuesday” update schedule.

Marked on the calendars of every security analyst and hacker alike for nearly all the years it’s been part of industry practice, Patch Tuesday was held on the second Tuesday of each month. It was the day Microsoft would roll out a flurry of patches for all of its flagship products including the Windows OS, Internet Explorer, and its enterprise applications.

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Actor and writer Robert Llwellyn may be most recognized, (well, known for, anyway) as the mechanoid from the 80s BBC Sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf, but more recently, he’s presented several YouTube shows such as Fully Charged. In the latest episode of the electric-vehicle-focused show, Llwellyn takes a ride with a representative from Bosch to demonstrate how its traffic jam assist system works.

The demonstration took place this past January in Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show. In traffic situations from 0 to 35 miles per hour, Bosch’s system engages some of the car systems autonomously, freeing the driver of some of the gridlock pressure.

Using a forward facing camera and the radar sensors on cars, traffic assist can control braking and acceleration functions, as well as the steering. It works similarly to adaptive cruise control in practice, but that still requires the driver to steer and pay close attention. Combine that with lane keep assist technology, and the car can plot a trajectory safely, even coming to an emergency stop when necessary. The demo showed the system working with a mono camera, but a stereo video camera could then perceive distance and speed.

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Google Play on a Galaxy S6 Edge

When you make a mobile app, you usually have to find out the hard way what will sell. You can't fiddle with pricing for just a few people, for instance. All that could change very shortly in the Android world, however. Sources for The Information claim that Google is introducing a feature that lets Android developers try different versions of the same Google Play Store page. You could not only see different previews of the app, but different pricing -- the creator could charge you $2 for that hot new game, but ask $3 from others to see if they'll accept higher pricing.

The move could be slightly frustrating if you realize that you just paid more than someone else for the same title, but it could go a long way toward encouraging Android developers to stay aboard. They'd find out if they're charging a fair price, and whether or not their marketing is effective in a given country. Google hasn't confirmed that it's going this route, but you may discover the truth soon enough given that the search firm is reportedly announcing the feature at its I/O conference later this month.

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