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Today's XKCD comic takes a dig at self-driving cars and AI

Google has been using CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA for years now to crowdsource information from images it has found online. On the one side, you prove to Google you're a human, on the other, Google gets humans to see small images of text from a book, numbers on a house, or various objects and animals and provide OCR for the text and numbers plus logical grouping and categorization for the objects/animals.

That's the main dig that XKCD's comic today is based on. It's a CAPTCHA but it's asking the user to say if there's a stop sign, just so it can properly use that data to control its self-driving vehicle.

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[The Android Police Files #15] AVAST INSTALLATION ERROR , AVAST TECHNICAL HELP , AVAST SUPPORT PHONE NUMBER

Welcome back to the Android Police Files, your #1 source for the brilliant stuff that the AP staff receives in our mailboxes. Since we last convened, a lot has happened. The latest version of Android shares a name with a branded product for the first time since 4.4 KitKat. The Galaxy Note8 was released, and it doesn't catch fire. And most recently, a Canadian 17-year old and his "youth leadership coach" tried to pass a Chinese ODM's phone off as their own and crowdsource it on Indiegogo.

There will always be new things going on in the world, but there's one thing that we know will never change: crazy people sending us crazy messages.

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What we use, 2017 edition: The stuff Jordan can't live without

 

So here we are already elbows-deep into 2017. Let me start off by saying that I love this job — I work with and I have met some great and intelligent people. By some miracle, I have earned the "right" to write up one of these posts. Now is your chance to see into the other side of your screen to get a glimpse of how I bring you such profound content.

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[Sweet Revenge] IRS phone scammers get a taste of their own medicine after messing with a programmer

Phone scams are getting more frequent and elaborate with time. Nowadays, one of the schemes involves scammers pretending they're from the IRS and accusing you of fraud then requesting payments to clear up your name and account. You'd have to imagine that a lot of people wouldn't dare questioning the IRS or appearing the least bit resistant or uncooperative with its reps, so these scams are usually very successful.

What the scammers didn't count on in this case, though, is messing with a programmer. When the victim realizes he's being duped, he proceeds to write a script that calls the scammers' phone number 28 times a second and floods their lines completely, rendering their entire operation useless.

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick steps down following pressure from top investors


Photo credit: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Uber has become a household name in many parts of the United States (and world) in the eight years since its birth. It's become synonymous with hailing a ride in the places I go to, and the company has even severely supplanted the cab service in my hometown. But unless you've had your head under a rock in the last several months, you should know that all is not well in the upper management at Uber. Yesterday, the CEO of the ride-sharing service, Travis Kalanick, was pressured the resign amidst strong pressure from some of the company's top investors.

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[The Android Police Files #14] Artemisia u don't get out of my phone u r going to fail and I am not play with ya'll

It's been over half a year since the last installment of the AP Files was published, and the world has undergone some drastic changes. There's a squeezable phoneBezel-less phones now dominate the world. And the newest LG phones haven't had any major reports of bootlooping. I'm sorry, I had to.

Six months is indeed quite a long time, and it's definitely enough time for us to have received some more... let's call them interesting letters in our mailboxes.

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Waymo and Lyft to team up on self-driving car technology

As the race to build the first commercially viable self-driving car hots up, a number of major players in the technology and automotive industries continue to position themselves, hoping to grab a slice of the potentially lucrative pie. This has led to a number of high-profile alliances being formed. Alphabet has its own arm dedicated to the technology in Waymo, which was spun off from Google late last year, and it has been keen to form useful partnerships where it can. The latest test vehicle is a minivan built by Chrysler, for instance. Now Waymo has a new ally in the form of ride-hailing start-up Lyft.

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Blogger who filmed himself playing Pokemon Go in a Russian church narrowly escapes jail

Some of you may remember a bizarre story from last year in which a Russian video blogger filmed himself playing Pokemon Go in a church and was subsequently arrested for mocking religious beliefs. Ruslan Sokolovsky has now learned his fate, narrowly escaping prison time after being handed a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence.

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DJI's $9000 pesticide-spraying agricultural octocopter now has an Android app

I would never have a use for this, but that doesn't stop me from sort of wanting one. DJI's frankly badass Agras MG-1, an agricultural-use octocopter made for spraying a liquid of your choice in a location of your choice, is now also an app-controlled beast. Whether you're a farmer spraying your field of crops with fertilizer, a scientist spraying a site with radioactive tracer for a study, a super-villain looking to deploy a mind-control chemical on the cheap, or a reclined Ryne spraying your face-hole with booze, everyone can find a way to appreciate the MG-1.

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Historic audio brand Jensen announces stereo smart speaker with Chromecast built-in

Jensen may not be a household name to many, but they've certainly got some impressive credentials in the audio business. Founded by the inventor of the loudspeaker, Peter L. Jensen, they produce all manner of audio equipment for industries ranging from the military to automobiles. Not relevant here, you might think. Except they've just announced an interesting new addition to their modest home audio lineup, a stereo smart speaker with Chromecast built-it.

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