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'A Lot of Hoped-for Automation Was Counterproductive', Remembers Elon Musk

SlashDot - Sun, 2018-07-15 04:34
Thursday Elon Musk gave a surprisingly candid interview about Tesla's massive push to increase production of Model 3 sedans to 5,000 a week. An anonymous reader quotes Musk's remarks to Bloomberg: I spent almost the entire time in the factory the final week, and yeah, it was essentially three months with a tiny break of like one day that I wasn't there. I was wearing the same clothes for five days. Yeah, it was really intense. And everybody else was really intense, too... I think we had to prove that we could make 5,000 cars in a week -- 5,000 Model 3s and at the same time make 2,000 S and X's, so essentially show that we could make 7,000 cars. We had to prove ourselves. The number of people who thought we would actually make it is very tiny, like vanishingly small. There was suddenly the credibility of the company, my credibility, you know, the credibility of the whole team. It was like, "Can you actually do this or not?" There were a lot of issues that we had to address in order to do it. You know, we had to create the new general assembly line in basically less than a month -- to create it and get to an excess of a 1,000-cars-a-week rate in like four weeks... A lot of the hoped-for automation was counterproductive. It's not like we knew it would be bad, because why would we buy a ticket to hell...? A whole bunch of the robots are turned off, and it was reverted to a manual station because the robots kept faulting out. When the robot faults out -- like the vision system can't figure out how to put the object in -- then you've got to reset the system. You've got to manually seat the components. It stops the whole production line while you sort out why the robot faults out. When the interviewer asks why that happens, Musk replies, "Because we were huge idiots and didn't know what we were doing. That's why."

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HTC hints at multi-room VR using Steam

Engadget - Sun, 2018-07-15 03:59
You may know that VR in large rooms is becoming a reality, but what about venturing between rooms? It might happen sooner than you think, albeit with a few caveats. HTC has shown off an experience that used a SteamVR beta, a Vive Pro and 16 base st...

Chrome is Using 10-13% More RAM to Fight Spectre

SlashDot - Sun, 2018-07-15 01:34
An anonymous reader quotes PCWorld: The critical Meltdown and Spectre bugs baked deep into modern computer processors will have ramifications on the entire industry for years to come, and Chrome just became collateral damage. Google 67 enabled "Site Isolation" Spectre protection for most users, and the browser now uses 10 to 13 percent more RAM due to how the fix behaves. "Site Isolation does cause Chrome to create more renderer processes, which comes with performance tradeoffs," Googleâ(TM)s Charlie Reis says. "On the plus side, each renderer process is smaller, shorter-lived, and has less contention internally, but there is about a 10-13% total memory overhead in real workloads due to the larger number of processes. Our team continues to work hard to optimize this behavior to keep Chrome both fast and secure." It's a significant performance hit, especially for a browser battling a reputation for being a memory hog, but a worthwhile one nonetheless. Chrome's Spectre-blocking site isolation "is now enabled by default for 99 percent of Chrome users on all platforms."

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Disney reduces the chances of CG hair disasters

Engadget - Sat, 2018-07-14 23:11
Movie studios often want computer-generated hair to have a specific effect, whether it's a seductive toss or a careless flick that knocks something over. But there's a problem: most rough-cut simulations don't realistically simulate hair, leading to...

Interviews: Christine Peterson Answers Your Questions

SlashDot - Sat, 2018-07-14 21:34
You asked questions, we've got the answers! Christine Peterson is a long-time futurist who co-founded the nanotech advocacy group the Foresight Institute in 1986. One of her favorite tasks has been contacting the winners of the institute's annual Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, but she also coined the term "Open Source software" for that famous promotion strategy meeting in 1998. Christine took some time to answer questions from Slashdot readers.

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Lockheed Martin creates its largest 3D-printed space part to date

Engadget - Sat, 2018-07-14 21:34
Lockheed Martin has just finished the final series of quality control tests for an enormous titanium dome meant to serve as caps for satellite fuel tanks. It's not just any ordinary dome, though: the enormous component measures four feet in diameter...

New Robocop movie could be risky (Stream Economy Ep. 11) - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2018-07-14 20:44
Neill Blomkamp might be an inspired choice, but his Hollywood track record is shaky.

Tesla speeds up delivery times for new Model 3 orders

Engadget - Sat, 2018-07-14 20:05
When Tesla opened up Model 3 orders to everyone, it was easy to be jaded when delivery would take at least three months. Wouldn't the situation only get worse? Apparently, just the opposite is true: Tesla has dramatically shortened delivery times for...

Wells Fargo's Scandals Finally Hurt Its Bottom Line

SlashDot - Sat, 2018-07-14 19:41
An anonymous reader quotes CNN: Wells Fargo said operating losses surged 77% last quarter because of various problems in its auto lending, wealth management, mortgage and currency businesses. Overall expenses rose by 3%. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo said profit declined by 12% during the second quarter, missing Wall Street's expectations. The bank's stock, which has lagged behind the rest of the market, dropped 3% on Friday... Wells Fargo was also hurt by a $481 million income tax bill linked to a recent Supreme Court ruling that allows states to force online retailers to collect sales taxes... Even though the economy is strong, several crucial metrics at Wells Fargo are shrinking. For instance, average deposits dropped by 2% to $1.3 trillion, led by a drop-off in business from financial institutions. Wells Fargo blamed the decline on actions it had to take due to penalties imposed by the Federal Reserve that prohibit the bank from growing its balance sheet. Lending, the primary way that banks make money, also dipped by 1% from the first quarter at Wells Fargo. It cited declines for commercial real estate and consumer loans, including auto lending. Mortgage banking profits also declined sharply. If average deposits dropped by 2% to $1.3 trillion -- that looks like a drop of over $26 billion. CNN reports that an analyst at CFRA Research has downgraded his rating on Wells Fargo -- to "sell."

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2018 British Open: How to watch, stream the golf event - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2018-07-14 19:16
The 147th Open Championship will run from July 19 through July 22.

Telescope Offers 'Clearest View Yet' of Milky Way - Including Plasma Filaments

SlashDot - Sat, 2018-07-14 18:34
Chris Reeve writes: The MeerKAT radio telescope was inaugurated in South Africa this past Friday, revealing the clearest view yet of the center of the Milky Way. What is especially surprising about the produced image are the numerous prominent filaments which seem to appear in the foreground. Herschel made a similar announcement just three years prior that "Observations with ESA's Herschel space observatory have revealed that our Galaxy is threaded with filamentary structures on every length scale." Intriguingly, close inspection of yesterday's SKA image show these filaments twisting around one another, yet without combining — a phenomenon observable in most novelty plasma globes when the filaments are conducting electricity... The SKA telescopes is one of the first telescopes to witness these filaments because it is 50 times more powerful than any former telescope, but also because it is apparently one of the few telescopes which can observe dark mode plasmas. For these reasons, the SKA telescope will inevitably revive the debate over the underlying physical reasons for filaments which exhibit coherent thin magnetic structure over light-year distances. The original submission included a comment with more information about the theory of a plasma universe.

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Honda will use electric bikes to test swappable batteries

Engadget - Sat, 2018-07-14 18:34
Honda has teamed up with Panasonic to start testing the swappable rechargeable batteries it debuted at CES this year. The partners are bringing Honda's Mobile Power Packs to Indonesia, where they'll be used to power electric mobility products, partic...

Google Maps API Becomes 'More Difficult and Expensive'

SlashDot - Sat, 2018-07-14 17:34
Government Technology reports: On July 16, Google Maps is going to make it more difficult and expensive to use its API, which could make custom maps that rely on the service less sustainable or even unfeasible for the people who made them... First, Google Maps is requiring all projects to have an official API key in order to work. If a user doesn't have a key, the quality of the map will likely be reduced, or it could simply stop working. Second, API keys will only work if they are attached to somebody's credit card. Google will charge that card if users exceed a certain number of API requests, which is different for different services. Google will provide users a free $200 credit toward those costs each month... There are a couple places where the changes might have more of an impact. One is in the civic hacking space, where people often work with government data to create niche projects that aim for low costs, or are free so that as many people as possible can use them... "I think that's what scares people a little bit, it certainly scares me, this thought of having this API out there and not knowing how many people are going to use it," said Derek Eder, founder of the civic tech company DataMade. "I don't want to suddenly get a bill for $1,000." There's at least three Open Source alternatives, and lists nine more. Slashdot reader Jiri_Komarek also points out that Google's move was good news for its competitor, MapTiler. "Since Google announced the pricing change the number of our users increased by 200%," said Petr Pridal, head of the MapTiler team. "We expect more people to come as they get their first bill from Google."

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Twitter bans Russia-linked accounts following indictments

Engadget - Sat, 2018-07-14 17:02
The US' indictment of Russian officers over the DNC hacks is having an effect... at least, on Twitter. The social network has banned accounts for both DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 in response to the indictment. In a statement explaining the suspensions,...

Finally, Non-Compete Clauses Eliminated... For Fast Food Workers

SlashDot - Sat, 2018-07-14 16:34
"Non-compete clauses are common among professionals, justified by a variety of innocuous-sounding and apparently reasonable business reasons," writes Slashdot reader Beeftopia. "This story shows that, surprisingly, it is a very effective wage suppression mechanism as well, used in industries where it would seem unnecessary." NPR reports: For many years, fast-food franchises agreed not to recruit or hire one another's workers within the same chain. These "no-poach agreements," as they are known, meant a worker couldn't get better pay or move up the ladder by going to another franchise. Bob Ferguson, Washington's attorney general, said such agreements are clearly illegal. "These no-poach clauses, I think, are an example of a rigged system," he said. "I think you're a worker, you have no idea this clause exists, you haven't signed it. And yet when you try to go to another business to improve your wages, you can't do it, because of this condition in a contract that you never signed..." Princeton economist Alan Krueger says such restrictions make the labor market work inefficiently, keeping wages artificially low. "I think it's very hard to come up with a sound business justification for this practice, other than reducing competition for workers," he says. Arby's, Carl's Jr., and five other fast food chains agreed "under pressure" to stop enforcing their non-compete agreements, while eight more chains are currently being investigated by a coalition of 11 state attorney generals. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey reports that 80% of fast food workers are currently locked into non-compete agreements, according to Food & Wine magazine. "Though a statement from the International Franchise Association argues that these agreements are necessary to keep employees from jumping ship before the expense to train them has been recouped, opponents of these clauses suggest the industrywide benefit of suppressing wages may be the real driving factor."

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Anti-Amazon Graffiti Increasing In Seattle (with Photos)

SlashDot - Sat, 2018-07-14 15:34
Long-time Slashdot reader reifman writes: If you're eagerly awaiting your city's selection for HQ2, you may want to check out GeekWire's photo gallery of anti-Amazon graffiti images from around Seattle. Animosity towards Amazon has grown in the wake of its threats over a per head tax on employees, which the city council passed and then repealed shortly after. The tax would have increased the budget for services for our 12,000+ homeless. Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos also fought the state income tax on the wealthy in 2010.

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Opener is the latest startup to reveal plans for a personal aircraft

Engadget - Sat, 2018-07-14 15:28
The race to build a "flying car" has just become more crowded. This week, the Canadian company Opener revealed its new vehicle, called BlackFly. The one-person aircraft can travel up to 25 miles at a speed of 62 miles per hour. Because the operations...

No, NASA did not find 'proof of life' on Mars then accidentally destroy it - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2018-07-14 15:00
You might have heard that we found life on the Red Planet decades ago but burned it up. That's not the real story.

Australian Experiment Wipes Out Over 80% of Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes

SlashDot - Sat, 2018-07-14 14:34
schwit1 quotes CNN: In an experiment with global implications, Australian scientists have successfully wiped out more than 80% of disease-carrying mosquitoes in trial locations across north Queensland. The experiment, conducted by scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and James Cook University (JCU), targeted Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which spread deadly diseases such as dengue fever and Zika. In JCU laboratories, researchers bred almost 20 million mosquitoes, infecting males with bacteria that made them sterile. Then, last summer, they released over three million of them in three towns on the Cassowary Coast. The sterile male mosquitoes didn't bite or spread disease, but when they mated with wild females, the resulting eggs didn't hatch, and the population crashed.

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'Call of Duty: Black Ops 4' beta tests begin August 3rd

Engadget - Sat, 2018-07-14 14:01
You don't have too long to wait to see how Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 fares as a multiplayer-only game. Activision and Treyarch have outlined the schedule for beta tests, and it's clear that some gamers will have better access than others. The first...