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How a Massachusetts Man Invented the Global Ice Market

Posted by samzenpus in News • View
An anonymous reader writes with the story of Frederic Tudor the man responsible for the modern food industry. "A guy from Boston walks into a bar and offers to sell the owner a chunk of ice. To modern ears, that sounds like the opening line of a joke. But 200 years ago, it would have sounded like science fiction—especially if it was summer, when no one in the bar had seen frozen water in months. In fact, it's history. The ice guy was sent by a 20-something by the name of Frederic Tudor, born in 1783 and known by the mid-19th century as the "Ice King of the World." What he had done was figure out a way to harvest ice from local ponds, and keep it frozen long enough to ship halfway around the world.

Today, the New England ice trade, which Tudor started in Boston's backyard in 1806, sounds cartoonishly old-fashioned. The work of ice-harvesting, which involved cutting massive chunks out of frozen bodies of water, packing them in sawdust for storage and transport, and selling them near and far, seems as archaic as the job of town crier. But scholars in recent years have suggested that we're missing something. In fact, they say, the ice trade was a catalyst for a transformation in daily life so powerful that the mark it left can still be seen on our cultural habits even today. Tudor's big idea ended up altering the course of history, making it possible not only to serve barflies cool mint juleps in the dead of summer, but to dramatically extend the shelf life and reach of food. Suddenly people could eat perishable fruits, vegetables, and meat produced far from their homes. Ice built a new kind of infrastructure that would ultimately become the cold, shiny basis for the entire modern food industry."


By fuzzyfuzzyfungus • Score: 3 • Thread
The harvesting and storage of naturally occurring ice was so successful that, for a somewhat surprising amount of time, it made manufactured ice uneconomic and, for an even longer period, on-site refrigeration hardware a very niche item(even after ice manufactured on large scale ammonia based systems replaced harvested ice, it still fed the same local market of that natural ice deliveries had).

If memory serves, the scale and efficiency of the industry was such that Australia ended up with the first adoption of a refrigeration system on a commercial scale because it was one of the few places that had the necessary technology but lacked a frozen pond without about a zillion miles. The thermodynamics and the necessary hardware were more or less familiar to any region with an enthusiasm for steam power; but the economics just didn't work out.

Librarians: The Google Before Google

Posted by samzenpus in News • View
An anonymous reader writes NPR has an article about the questions people ask librarians. Before the internet, the librarian was your best bet for a quick answer to anything on your mind. "We were Google before Google existed," NYPL spokesperson Angela Montefinise explains. "If you wanted to know if a poisonous snake dies if it bites itself, you'd call or visit us." The New York Public Library in Manhattan recently discovered a box of old reference questions asked by patrons and plans to release some in its Instagram account. Here are a few of the best:
  • I just saw a mouse in the kitchen. Is DDT OK to use? (1946)
  • What does it mean when you dream of being chased by an elephant? (1947)
  • Can you tell me the thickness of a U.S. Postage stamp with the glue on it? Answer: We couldn't tell you that answer quickly. Why don't you try the Post Office? Response: This is the Post Office. (1963)
  • Where can I rent a beagle for hunting? (1963)

Library Science was and is a true profession

By kriston • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Library Science was and is a true profession with a true college degree.

So is Hotel Management, now sometimes known as Hospitality and Hotel Management.


By brindafella • Score: 3 • Thread

> Can you tell me the thickness of a U.S. Postage stamp with the glue on it?

A: Get a pile of stamp sheets, measure the height, and do a calculation. (You did go to school, didn't you.)

Dream analysis:

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

What does it mean when you dream of being chased by an elephant?

That you're Hillary Clinton running for President in 2016.

The New York Public Library Desk Reference

By Hadlock • Score: 3 • Thread

This is an actual book, you can follow the guy's instagram or you can just buy the book. I had the 1993 edition (thanks, Scholastic Books!) in elementary school and it was basically google-lite, especially for a kid in a town of 10,000 and > bicycling distance from a major city with a Real Library (back when those mattered).
Old editions (1990's-early 2000's) of the The New York Public Library Desk Reference go for the cost of shipping.
  It's a huge tome of information, roughly 8x10" pages and 500-600 pages of them, a couple inches thick. Many rainy saturdays were enlightened as a kid waiting for dilbert cartoons to load via dialup.

Venomous vs. poisonous

By SpaghettiPattern • Score: 3 • Thread
Poisonous snakes poison you when you eat them. Venomous snakes poison you when they bite you.

"Infrared Curtain" Brings Touchscreen Technology To Cheap Cars

Posted by samzenpus in Technology • View
An anonymous reader writes with news about an affordable way to integrate touch screen technology in any car. "Although touchscreen controls are appearing in the dashboards of an increasing number of vehicles, they're still not something that one generally associates with economy cars. That may be about to change, however, as Continental has announced an "infrared curtain" system that could allow for inexpensive multi-touch functionality in any automobile. The infrared curtain consists of a square frame with a series of LEDs along two adjacent sides, and a series of photodiodes along the other two. Each LED emits a beam of infrared light, which is picked up and converted into an electrical signal by the photodiode located in the corresponding spot on the opposite side of the frame."

Touchscreens Suck for Situation Awareness!

By Irate Engineer • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Why the push to have touchscreens in the car in the first place? Use of a touchscreen demands that the driver take their eyes off the road, focus on the touchscreen, touch it in the right spot, and then they can return their attention to the road (hopefully without seeing a gaggle of kids, puppies, nuns, or whatever bouncing off the hood of their car).

Why don't we just put all of the car controls in an app on a smartphone and be done with it, making sure that the driver never focuses on the road?

Tactile buttons and knobs are much safer. You can feel for them, identify them by touch, and manipulate them without taking your attention off the road. Good control designs are unambiguous and easy to find and manipulate.

Touch screens in vechicles = bad idea

By WaffleMonster • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Shifters, signals, lights, wipers, gas, break, hazards, fogs, steering..etc are designed to be manipulated by tactile feedback alone. Likewise my audio system was selected for its ability to be fully controllable via tactile feedback.

Driving is not a "game" .. touch interfaces have no place in a vehicle.

Re:Touchscreens Suck for Situation Awareness!

By dgatwood • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This. If I had my way, I would ban all touchscreen control systems in cars. They're fundamentally unsafe by design as long as there are humans behind the wheel. If it is unsafe for me to look down at my cell phone and read a text message, it's a hundred times as unsafe for me to look down at my radio, see what channel it is on, scroll through a list of channels, and choose the right one. It is almost as though someone at every auto company simultaneously thought to themselves, "We've been improving the road safety of our cars for three or four decades, and the lower accident rate has meant fewer replacement vehicles. What can we do to cause more car wrecks?"

HP110 and HP150 in the 1980s?

By gwolf • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

This sounds exactly like the tech used by Hewlett Packard in the mid-1980s (here in Mexico, maybe it was known earlier elsewhere) for their HP110 and HP150 lines. The HP110 had (25x80? Probably...) holes on the screen edge, with a LED and a receiver at the opposite ends. IIRC, for the HP150 the "magic" was that the screen borders were now smooth, because the LEDs were higher power, and infrared instead of visible-spectrum.

I never used those machines; I remember seeing them and drooling at the finger-detecting magic :-) But thirty years later, it's hardly a new technological development.

Amazon Kindle and Nook Simple Touch

By kriston • Score: 3 • Thread

The original Amazon Kindle Touch and the Nook Simple Touch have used this technology for years. It's a very, very old technology. There's nothing really special about this except that it's being applied to automobiles.

Viacom's Messy Relationship With YouTube and The Rise of Stephen Colbert

Posted by samzenpus in News • View
Presto Vivace writes with this story about how Stephen Colbert became a YouTube Megastar. "Clips from The Colbert Report soon became a staple at YouTube, a startup that was making it easier for anyone and everyone to upload and watch home movies, video blogs, and technically-illicit-but-increasingly-vanilla clips of TV shows from the day before. And Colbert’s show was about to find itself at the center of a conflict between entertainment media and the web over online video that’s shaped the last decade. In fact, The Colbert Report has been defined as much by this back-and-forth between Hollywood and the web as by the cable news pundits it satirizes....A year after The Colbert Report premiere, Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock. Five months later, Viacom sued YouTube and Google for copyright infringement, asking for $1 billion in damages. The value of these videos and their audiences were clear. The Colbert Report and “Stephen Colbert” are mentioned three times in Viacom’s complaint against YouTube, as much or more than any other show or artist."

CBS doesn't own Colbert

By The New Guy 2.0 • Score: 3, Informative • Thread

Steven Colbert doesn't work for CBS, his show is sold to Comedy Central and his future project is sold to CBS.

The Daily Show and Colbert report are part of Comedy Partners Inc., which was first the joint venture name for Viacom and AOL Time Warner when they shared the Comedy Central network, but is now the company headed by Jon Stewart that supplies the programs to Comedy Central.

Colbert is moving to replace David Letterman on Late Show, but that project is owned by Worldwide Pants which has run Late Night/Late Show since the beginning. CBS buys the right to broadcast it.

Lost His Balls

By Kunedog • Score: 3 • Thread
Colbert sacrificed his integrity and actually did fluff piece on Anita Sarkeesian. Comments are disabled on the interview vid; has that ever happened to any other Colbert vid?

Re:CBS doesn't own Colbert

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

WRONG WRONG WRONG!! And it gets modded up!!

"CBS will own and produce the new show, with Letterman's Worldwide Pants no longer having a role in the series after the "Colbert Report" host takes over."

The Magic of Pallets

Posted by samzenpus in Technology • View writes Jacob Hodes writes in Cabinet Magazine that there are approximately two billion wooden shipping pallets in the holds of tractor-trailers in the United States transporting Honey Nut Cheerios and oysters and penicillin and just about any other product you can think of. According to Hodes the magic of pallets is the magic of abstraction. "Take any object you like, pile it onto a pallet, and it becomes, simply, a "unit load"—standardized, cubical, and ideally suited to being scooped up by the tines of a forklift. This allows your Cheerios and your oysters to be whisked through the supply chain with great efficiency; the gains are so impressive, in fact, that many experts consider the pallet to be the most important materials-handling innovation of the twentieth century." Although the technology was in place by the mid-1920s, pallets didn't see widespread adoption until World War II, when the challenge of keeping eight million G.I.s supplied—"the most enormous single task of distribution ever accomplished anywhere," according to one historian—gave new urgency to the science of materials handling. "The pallet really made it possible for us to fight a war on two fronts the way that we did." It would have been impossible to supply military forces in both the European and Pacific theaters if logistics operations had been limited to manual labor and hand-loading cargo.

To get a sense of the productivity gains that were achieved, consider the time it took to unload a boxcar before the advent of pallets. "According to an article in a 1931 railway trade magazine, three days were required to unload a boxcar containing 13,000 cases of unpalletized canned goods. When the same amount of goods was loaded into the boxcar on pallets or skids, the identical task took only four hours." Pallets, of course, are merely one cog in the global machine for moving things and while shipping containers have had their due, the humble pallet is arguably "the single most important object in the global economy."

Re:4 Days?

By choprboy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

While the parent may be off a bit, the quoted article times are ridiculous unless you are counting "man hours" including transport to/from the railcar and stacking on a shelf. It is absurb to think that a single boxcar would be staged on a busy warehouse spur for 3 days of loading or that a modern palletised boxcar takes 3-4 hours to unload with a forklift/pallet jack (it takes about 30min or so).

Long ago I worked a Target dock unloading trucks by hand. Depending on the store volume and the season, that would mean unloading between 3000 and 10,000 cases from 53' trailers each night, 5 to 6 nights a week. Unlike Walmart and some other stores, Target merchandise all came stacked in the truck except for a few bulk items (kitty litter/etc.), it is individually bulk-broke from the warehouse to restock each item depending on the previous days sales. (A large case count on an incoming truck always made us groan as it probably meant lots of deodorant/hair products which come in small 6 count cases.)

A typical 6000 case trailer, including setup and teardown time, would take approximately 2 hours to unload. 2 people in the trailer placing boxes on a conveyor, 4 to 6 people pulling/sorting boxes off the conveyor and on to pallets for storarge or delivery to the floor. If you extrapolate that to a 13,000 piece count you get roughly 24 man-hours, or "3 days" assuming a single 8-hour shift.

Likewise, I also worked a different warehouse job forklift loading 53' trailers. If all of your stock is pre-staged on the dock it takes about 15min to load a trailer. If you are pulling every pallet from the racks and transporting it to the trailer individually it will take 1 to 1-1/2 hours plus. Again, extrapolating that to an 85' boxcar you get roughly 3-4 hours.

So.... the only way you get the articles quoted loading/unloading times is you are counting man-hours including transport/, not literal time as is implied.

Re:Pallet comments

By denzacar • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I find your joke unpalletable.

Re:Pallet ecosystem

By theycallmeB • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Don't forget plastic stretch wrap: until they get wrapped up tight many pallet load are too dangerous to move more than a few feet and impossible to move over the bumps of a dock plate. Rope, tape, cargo nets and other options can kinda work but the modern pallet freight system would slog down without cheap, disposable (and recyclable) plastic wrap. (Aside: I have been witness to what happens when a Walmart store runs out of pallet wrap. It is... awkward.)

Re:Feed 8 million GI, what about USSR?

By wagnerrp • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
They were defending their own country, rather than on the other side of an ocean.

Re:and they make big bonfires, too

By creimer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

And you get usable lumber and nails to make stuff out of.

That's what my father did after he retired to a trailer park. One neighbor gave him old pallets to break down because the county dump charges a small fortune to dispose of them. He gave the usable wood and nails to a neighbor to build chicken coops and bird houses for sale. The unusable wood goes into a neighbor's wood chipper to make compost. The unusable nails are taken down to the recycling center. A win-win situation for everyone involved.

26 Foot Long Boat 3D Printed In 100,000 Different Pieces

Posted by samzenpus in Technology • View
First time accepted submitter Talk Prizes writes Hung-Chih Peng, a Taiwanese artist, has decided to 3D print a boat measuring 26 feet in length. The piece, called "The Deluge – Noah's Ark" is a twisted wrecked boat which he had to 3D print in 100,000 different pieces and then glue it all together. "...The Deluge is Peng’s way of showing the inability that humans have exhibited in rectifying uncontrollable catastrophic challenges. Climate change, ecological crises, and environmental pollution are all changes that this planet is facing, yet seemingly humans do not have a way to correct these problems. The work is meant as a metaphor for showing the battle being waged by Mother Nature on the accelerated development of industrialized civilization."

I see now

By Brett Buck • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

The work is meant as a metaphor for showing the battle being waged by Mother Nature on the accelerated development of industrialized civilization."

    Ah, so he's an idiot.

Re:I see now

By Etherwalk • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

The work is meant as a metaphor for showing the battle being waged by Mother Nature on the accelerated development of industrialized civilization."

    Ah, so he's an idiot.

Nah, he has just decided to fight for the environment... by printing lots and lots of plastic.

Yup. And a shitty artist... but a decent modeller.

By denzacar • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

His statements in TFA are a collection of fallacies and nonsense.
Navel gazing until you start seeing the world through your own ass is not art. Ask any proctologist.

"Human beings are unable to return to the unspoiled living environment of the past, and have become victims of their own endeavors. In the biblical time, Noah's Ark is the last resort for humans to escape from the termination of the world. However, if Noah's Ark sinks, where is the hope of the human race? If Noah's Ark, a symbol of mankind salvation, becomes just as a shipwreck, human and nonhuman were placed in an equal position. Human subject is losing his predominance as the supreme center of the world." ...
"It is certain that, no matter what circumstance will turn out, there will certainly be a disaster beforehand," explains Peng. "Destruction and construction always grow and demise together. We will once again encounter the problem of moral degeneration."

And the author of the article seems to be in the same category of faux-thinkers.

It depicts a time when the Anthropocene period (a period when human activities have/had significant global impact on Earthâ(TM)s ecosystems), is replaced by the Mechanocene period when machinery begins taking over some of the jobs.

Cuba Says the Internet Now a Priority

Posted by samzenpus in Technology • View
lpress writes Cuba first connected to the Internet in 1996 through a Sprint link funded by the US National Science Foundation. A year later the Cuban government decided to contain and control it. Now they say the Internet is a priority. If so, they need a long term plan, but they can get started with low cost interim measures. There is virtually no modern infrastructure on the island, but they could aggressively deploy satellite technology at little cost and, where phone lines could support it, install DSL equipment.

More US hypocrisy

By jodido • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
The US has blocked Cuba's linking to the submarine cables that pass right by the island, so it's more than a little hypocritical from them to now criticize. Also, satellite is not cheap, compared to cable. Third, there are already a lot--a LOT--of Cubans on line through Facebook and other means. So know-it-alls with your sarcasm stick it somewhere else.

Why go 20th century?

By BrianRaker • Score: 3 • Thread
You have a blank slate. Do it right with fibre optics everywhere. Set these people right from the start. Don't cripple them by putting in tech from the 1950s or 1980s.

No internet???

By kwbauer • Score: 3 • Thread

How could a worker's paradise not have 10-gig lines to every single room of every single house and apartment?

Re:The access is not as dire as you would imagi

By unencode200x • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
All true, but there is more to the story. (I'm Cuban by the way and half my family is still there). In much of the country in areas outside of Havana people don't have much and the homes are run down to say the least. They don't even have phones, or much food for that matter. It will take a long time to change that.

Gut everything and start over

By Karmashock • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Cuba has an opportunity to leap into the 21st century.

The only obstacle is their batshit crazy government. No one wants to invest anything in Cuba because it will just get stolen by the government. And the government is too poor to actually buy anything.

So there you go.

Finland Announces an Anti-Laser Campaign For Air Traffic

Posted by samzenpus in Technology • View
jones_supa writes Trafi, the Finnish Pilots' Association, and STUK, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, have launched a joint campaign against air traffic interference with the title "Lasers Are Not Toys." Ilkka Kaakinen from Trafi says that laser pointers interfering with air traffic is a real problem in Finland. "We receive reports of several cases of laser interference every month and every one of them is potentially dangerous," Kaakinen says. Last year, 60 cases of laser pointer interference were reported in Finland, and the figure for this year was at 58 in November. Despite the continuing interference, only one person has been caught misusing a laser pointer in this way in Finland. That single person was not convicted of a crime, as the court was not able to establish intent. Kaakinen says other countries hand down severe punishments for interfering with air traffic, even years-long stretches in prison. He also reminds that it is important for users of laser pointers to understand that the devices are not toys, and that children should be warned of the potential danger in using them irresponsibly – or ideally, not given one at all.

Re:convex lens

By mbeckman • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
That won't work because "the public" includes the many tradespeople and professionals that use lasers for surveying, construction, directional antenna alignment, and cat therapy.

A pilot checking in here

By EmperorOfCanada • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I am not condoning this behaviour, and as a pilot would be royally pissed (if I wasn't dead) if someone did this while I was flying. But I recently got a bright green laser and love to see just how far I can shoot the beam to hit things. Basically if it is a clear moonless night I can pretty much hit a target out to the horizon. But if I were a bit of a dimwit I could clearly see the temptation to try and hit airplanes in that it would be cool to hit something moving and at that height.

So while punishing people who do this I certainly hope they take into consideration that most people doing this would not be criminal terrorists so much as criminally stupid. Thus the proper punishment most of the time should be to scare the crap out of them and then ban them from owning a laser pointer for a decade or two. Keep in mind that the goal will be to prevent the dimwits from doing it again; it is generally quite hard to prevent them from being dimwitted and thus identifying the occasional dimwit and training him will be far more effective than trying to somehow reach the dimwits and convince them from doing it trough draconian laws which will largely serve to make the dimwit's lives far worse than they already probably are.

For instance when flying the reports are that the lasers often are coming from trailer parks vs the nice end of town.

I'm sick of this

By Charliemopps • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

I'm sick of this bullshit myth.

Lasers do not cause Aircraft to crash.

It's never happened, it never will happen. I can't even focus my pen laser on my cat that's 10 feet away from me for more than a split second. Hitting the windshield of an aircraft that's at least 1000 yards away and traveling at at least 200mph?!?! At worst, you have a 1 in a billion chance of nailing the pilot directly in the retina, so yes, you shouldn't do it because that might annoy him. But it's not going crash the plane even if that happened.

Now, for all of you that are going to tell me I'm dumb and don't know what I'm talking about... Please provide evidence. Has any plane ever had an accident as a result of a laser? Any? I've heard from some irritated pilots, and I can understand that... I'd be irritated to. But to claim there was any chance of an accident and we need to limit consumer freedom to harmless technology, just so we don't annoy pilots? That's a joke.

And, I'm willing to offer evidence myself:
2013 Egyptian protests. Snipers on buildings and in helicopters we targeting opposition leaders. As a result, protesters started buying cheap green laser pointers in the market and using them to highlight Sniper and helicopter positions. Eventually, so many lasers would be focused on passing helicopters they looked like this:
and here's a video:
This went on every night for months. Dozens of aircraft, thousands of lasers focused on them continually... but not one single crash. None.

There's absolutely no way these laser pointers could cause a crash... and if they could, the NTSB should immediately require all aircraft to be retrofitted with polarized sheets on the inside of the pilots window. It'd cost a couple of dollars per aircraft and wouldn't infringe on the personal freedoms of the general population.

Re:I'm sick of this

By mbeckman • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Dear sick: you are dumb and don't know what you're talking about. The risk is not pilot eye damage. It's pilot distraction or temporary blinding during a critical phase of flight. As a helicopter pilot, I can tell you that every phase of flight in a helo is critical, as we typically fly at 500' AGL by law and are constantly looking for obstacles to avoid. A laser that makes me not see and avoid the power lines ahead will kill me just as effectively as if it had been a photon torpedo fired from the USS Enterprise.

When an airliner is landing, this is also a critical phase of flight. Blinding the pilot then will make it impossible to read instruments, possibly if not probably resulting in the aircraft departing from the glide slope and runway centerline and into a collision with airport surroundings.

You're right that no aircraft in the US has been shot down yet by a laser, although some pilots have suffered permanent eye damage. This is where the part about you being dumb comes in. See, intelligent people try to be pro-active about foreseeable disasters and take action before anyone, even a dumb person, dies. So we're just looking out for you. Pity you're too dumb to realize that.

Re:I'm sick of this

By mbeckman • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Dear Sick: if you had bothered to put on your Google goggles you could have easily found instances of pilot eye damage:

Anonymous Claims They Will Release "The Interview" Themselves

Posted by samzenpus in Entertainment • View
An anonymous reader writes In a series of tweets the hacker collective Anonymous says they will release "The Interview" to the masses if Sony won't. A few of the tweets read: "Seriously @Sony we warned you. We infiltrated your systems long before North Korea. We thought you'd take it as a warning and fix your s@#t." and "We're not with either side, we just want to watch the movie too and soon you too will be joining us. Sorry, @SonyPictures."

Re:Marketing?... NOT!

By Jeremi • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

"Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?" she wrote

I can't quite see why this is being made out to be such a scandal. So she asked a colleague if a black guy might be interested in films starring black characters. Okay, it's a bit naive, but scandalous? Really?

It's not like she said anything insensitive to Obama; she merely asked a colleague for advice about how to act appropriately. I'd think that recognizing your ignorance in advance and correcting it would be preferable to ignoring it and then blurting out something stupid/embarrassing to the POTUS.

I'm probably missing some critical detail, but to me it seems like the only thing she's guilty of is not having enough experience interacting with black people in a social context. That's a weakness, to be sure, but if it's a sin then it's a sin that a lot of other people are also guilty of. I think this is a pretty good example of why people are so reluctant to enter any discussion about race -- anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion.

Re:calling it

By SternisheFan • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
It could just have easily been an inside job, done with portable drives, backed by any faction. We just do not have enough proof, one way or another, as to who's truly responsible. Nothing worth going to war over.

Re:News Flash : All Corporate IT security is a jok

By Tom • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The problem isn't just stupid C*Os, though they certainly exist. The problem is also our inability to communicate properly with them. Me personally, guilty as charged, btw. -- it took me many, many years to understand how the C-level thinks and how to talk to them to get what you want. And even then you often don't because of some under-the-radar corporate politics that's going on right then.

No, this hack will in no way change anything. None of the previous public hacks did.

One of the main problems is that C*Os are right that a lot of security money is totally wasted on bullshit, like security awareness trainings for an audience that doesn't give a fuck, shouldn't have to give a fuck, and will forget everything they accidentally heard over their playing Farmville or bullshit bingo while you were talking in front, wasting their precious office time. Or on technically cute systems that are as fascinating as they are useless. Or on trying to convince a C*O that he needs military-grade security without explaining him why he should consider himself a military man.

For about 10 years now the security industry has - at the speed of a turtle - realized that it doesn't take human factors into consideration nearly enough. We've all thrown the mantra of the stupid user around as if it would explain anything, and explained our consistent failure to complete our mission by pointing fingers at others, just like you do above.

Guess what? Everyone in a company has too few resources, executives meddling in their things and idiot managers fucking things up, but the others still manage to largely accomplish their goals.


By AK Marc • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
The hackers are now terrorists who have threatened millions of lives in a 9/11 style attack.

The president will not order, or sanction, the killing of the douchebags who hacked Sony.

When Sony hires some Pinkerton Men to take care of it quickly and quietly in Thailand, if the Thai authorities don't push the issue, would the US sanction Sony in any way? Would it matter whether the hackers were found in the US and took a trip to Thailand? Would it matter if the trip was in a trunk in the hold of a private plane?


By schnell • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

We're talking about the company that put a rootkit on its music CDs.

I can't believe I'm defending these guys, but...

The rootkit fiasco was Sony BMG Entertainment, not Sony Pictures. Yes, they are both parts of Sony corporation but they are separate business units with separate reporting structures inside a megagiant international conglomerate. Blaming SPE for Sony BMG actions is like blaming the Department of Agriculture for the NSA's warrantless wiretapping because they are both part of the US government.

Judge: It's OK For Cops To Create Fake Instagram Accounts

Posted by samzenpus in YRO • View
An anonymous reader writes with a ruling that seems obvious in a case about police making a fake Instagram account. A federal judge in New Jersey has signed off on the practice of law enforcement using a fake Instagram account in order to become "friends" with a suspect — thus obtaining photos and other information that a person posts to their account. "No search warrant is required for the consensual sharing of this type of information," United States District Judge William Martini wrote in an opinion published last Tuesday. In other news, an undercover officer still doesn't need to tell you that he or she is a member of law enforcement if you ask.

Re:Not seeing the issue here

By Spamalope • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I will never understand when it became ok for those charged with enforcing the law to lie without shame.

Then in court these professional liars are held up as the most credible of witnesses.

here's a real-life case to explain criminal intent

By raymorris • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I'll try explaining it the other way around, with a real-life case. There have been several cases that fit this pattern.

A cop wants to bust a bad guy. That cop gets his wife, a teacher, to pretend to be the DA and tell the bad guy he's authorized to do $crime. Cop busts the bad guy.

In court, bad guy says "the DA said I could ... at least, I thought she was the DA. The real DA replies "I never said a word to the guy. Some teacher said it was authorized, but she has no authority to authorize anything."

In such case, the courts have consistently held that the defendant is not guilty, because they THOUGHT that their actions were authorized and therefore lawful.*

So you see it doesn't matter if the person "authorizing" it is really a cop, a teacher, or a DA. What matters is what the defendant BELIEVES - whether they are trying to commit an act that is criminal or they are trying to aid law enforcement. The legal term is "mens rea", which means "guilty mind",'also known as "criminal intent ".

You are free to think that the courts should have done the opposite and found the person guilty when the "DA" actually isn't a DA. You can think it's wrong or right, but what actually sends people to prison or not in such cases is their actual belief - did they believe their act was authorized or not. The actual identity of the authorizing party does not matter under law.

* This mention of mistaken belief reminds some people of the phrase "ignorance of the law is no excuse". Ignorance of the LAW generally isn't an excuse, but mistake of FACT IS an excuse. "I didn't know poisoning my husband counts as murder" is no good. "The bottle said 'blueberry syrup', so I thought it really was blueberry syrup that I put on his food" is a valid defense. Here we're talking about mistake of fact - the defendant thought the person was (or was not) a proper authority.

Re:Not seeing the issue here

By meerling • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Justice Louis D Brandeis

By Tokolosh • Score: 3 • Thread

"Our government... teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy."

"To declare that in the administration of criminal law the end justifies the means to declare that the Government may commit crimes in order to secure conviction of a private criminal would bring terrible retribution."

"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding."

Re:Not seeing the issue here

By davydagger • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
because of the "war on drugs, war on crime", they got a whole people scared into giving up their civil rights decades ago, and we now think this is normal. Anytime someone gets a group together to oppose this, they are harrassed by the cops using the same techniques, and made an example of. We are taught in schools, and re-enforced in the media, there is no line between dissent, and rebellion, rebellion and crime, and crime and oppression. The government is our friends, and all critics are criminals. We give a really wide benefit of the doubt to cops.

We create a whole list of fear words like junkie, terrorist, psycho, of which we see a whole underclass ready to swallow society, and the government's wrongs, slight and only exiting to protect us from imaginary enemies. We have TV news shows telling us how we are all the privledged class, and social justice is aimed as us, not the system, while simultaneously misdirecting citizens at eachother.

Our political movements create conspiracies against eachother, and exhonorate the guilty.

Truth is, you're more likely to be shot by a police officer than a crazy on a spree shooting. More likely to die from a hand gun than an infantry rifle, and more likely to be killed by obeiseity than recreational drug use.(3 times as likely)

Bitcoin Exec To Spend Two Years Behind Bars For Silk Road Transactions

Posted by samzenpus in YRO • View
mrspoonsi writes Charlie Shrem, former Bitcoin Foundation board member and CEO of the now-defunct exchange BitInstant, has been sentenced to two years in prison for helping Silk Road users anonymously swap cash for digital currency. Silk Road, as you know, was the online marketplace infamous for hosting anonymous drug and gun sales that was busted by the FBI back in 2013. A version 2.0 went up shortly after that, but it suffered the same fate as its predecessor this November. Based on evidence gathered during the crackdown, Shrem agreed to partner with Robert M. Faiella to trade over $1 million in cash from buyers. Faiella was the one with direct contact to buyers, hiding behind the name BTCKing to post ads promoting his dollar-to-Bitcoin business on the marketplace.

Trade $1,000,000

By serviscope_minor • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Help trade $1,000,000 for people to buy drugs for personal use: 2 years in prison.

Help trade $10,000,000,000 to help drug cartels launder money: er not sure. Remind me what happened to the HSBC execs again...

Bitcoin =! anonymous.

By Severus Snape • Score: 3 • Thread

Slashdot is the last place I would expect to see this myth.

Bitcoin Exec ?!?

By Adeptus_Luminati • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Bitcoin Exec? Really? Is that like the Bitcoin CEO the media was reporting on earlier this year? C'mon slashdot... How about some accuracy in your headlines for a change?

There is no Bitcoin Exec because bitcoin is not a corporation. There are thousands of bitcoin related companies, but they each have their name. So maybe a title of "Bitinstant Exec..." would have been more accuracy.

Wrong on the guns

By stevegee58 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Get your facts straight people. Silk Road did not sell guns.
Granted it was allowed at first, but SR distanced themselves from firearms and hadn't allowed their sale for some time at the time of the raid.

Re: Sorry, not corporate enough.

By bill_mcgonigle • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

You're probably unaware that the GP specifically used 'HSBC' because they were caught laundering trillions of dollars of drug money and nobody was indicted. It's no crime to be ignorant of such things, but just try not to hold any policy positions on the subject.

US Seeks China's Help Against North Korean Cyberattacks

Posted by samzenpus in News • View
An anonymous reader writes The United States has declined an offer by North Korea for a joint investigation into the hacking of Sony Pictures and asked China to help block cyber attacks. "We have discussed this issue with the Chinese to share information, express our concerns about this attack, and to ask for their cooperation," a senior administration official said. "In our cybersecurity discussions, both China and the United States have expressed the view that conducting destructive attacks in cyberspace is outside the norms of appropriate cyber behavior." China has so far seemed less than sympathetic: "Any civilized world will oppose hacker attacks or terror threats. But a movie like The Interview, which makes fun of the leader of an enemy of the U.S., is nothing to be proud of for Hollywood and U.S. society," said an editorial in The Global Times, a tabloid sister paper to China's official The People's Daily. "No matter how the U.S. society looks at North Korea and Kim Jong Un, Kim is still the leader of the country. The vicious mocking of Kim is only a result of senseless cultural arrogance."

Re:"Cultural arrogance"

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The Chinese do have a point here. First the US attacks other countries with cyber weapons like Struxnet and hacking on a quite astounding scale (thanks for informing us, Snowden). Then it gets in a huff when others attack its movie industry, and tries to take the moral high ground.

They also have a point about insulting the leaders of other countries. Obviously in the west we have no problem with it, we do it all the time and to our own people. Considering the delicate nature of the relationship between North Korea and the US making this kind of film doesn't seem like a very smart move. Yes, freedom of speech and all that, but free speech is not free from consequences. Expecting the North Koreans not to react, expecting it not to affect the US-DPRK relationship is naive at best.

Re:"Cultural arrogance"

By MightyMartian • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

So we should burn any movie script that dares insult some violent tyrant, lest they get upset? Should we also stop publishing reports on said tyrants? Just how much would you like the West to appease the likes of Kim Jong-Un?

Cultural differences

By gman003 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

In China (and most east-asian cultures), you never disrespect rulers. It simply is not done, and they see it as a grave insult to the entire nation to do so.

In west-european and north-american cultures, particularly the US, everyone is a fair target for mockery. We mock Kim Jong-eun because he does things worth making fun of. We mocked Hitler because he did things worth making fun of, and we continue to do so. We also mocked Obama, Bush, Clinton... we still regularly mock Nixon, just because it's still funny. Britain makes fun of Cameron, and to a lesser extent, the Royal Family. We have entire industries based around making a mockery of our political leaders, and we would be insulted if you asked us to stop.

The only ones we do not mock are those who do absolutely nothing and are of no significance whatsoever. It would be a greater insult for us to NOT satirize them, because that says we don't give a single shit about them, that they are not even worthy of our derision.

US President always cast in bright light too..not.

By Vegan Cyclist • Score: 3 • Thread
Riiiiiight.... This really illustrates the double standard and opposition to freedom of expression by Chinese leaders. Hollywood has had the US president appear as all sorts of unsavoury characters, from an utter buffoon to corrupt in numerous films and tv series. (As well as other Western allies, like the UK Prime Minister.) You don't see China complaining about that... It's not 'senseless cultural ignorance', it's just the sense of humour from a few writers. Maybe Chinese leaders should investigate their own senseless cultural ignorance too. Their wilful, state-enforced ignorance is just about as senseless as these films.

why should we even do anything?

By nimbius • Score: 3 • Thread
Seriously. Sony pictures is a subsidiary of a Japanese company, shouldnt the japanese government do something? North Korea has patently denied having a hand in the hacks or the threats against theatres, so shouldnt we work with them as theyre the victim here? This is a seriously disproportionate level of concern for whats basically been a pretty positive release. We found out studios are maliciously litigating google by bribing attorney generals, so who knows what other nefarious things theyre doing. Or is this all just ideological posturing on the part of an american government thats struggling to do something, anything, to prove its international policy is still relevant or meaningful.

Dish Pulls Fox News, Fox Business Network As Talks Break Down

Posted by samzenpus in Entertainment • View
An anonymous reader writes Fox News and Fox Business were pulled by Dish Network over the weekend, as both continue to argue over a fee agreement. From the article: "Dish said in a statement early Sunday morning that 21st Century Fox had blocked access to the two networks after Dish balked when rates for other networks owned by the media conglomerate were made a part of the negotiations. Tim Carry, executive vice president of distribution at Fox News Channel, countered in a statement that "Dish prematurely ceased distribution of Fox News in an attempt to intimidate and sway our negotiations. It is unfortunate that the millions of Fox News viewers on Dish were used as pawns by their provider. Hopefully they will vote with their hard earned money and seek another one of our other valued distributors immediately."

Re:You forgot something...

By kimvette • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

-1, Flamebait? Obviously someone with mod points has no sense of humor. This is why people jokingly refer to Fox News as "Faux news:"

Re:Generally speaking

By Stormy Dragon • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

While I'm definitely not a fan of their ouvre, Fox News is the fourth most popular cable channel, behind only Disney, Nickelodeon, and Adult Swim. As much as you may not like that, they certainly do have a "large enough following".

Re:Pulled Fox News ...

By schnell • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

looks like someone is hurt

Who's hurt? I have no problem with Fox News per se and I have no problem with people who agree with Fox News. If that's what you like, that's fine, especially if you understand Fox News to be an editorial product. But it is clearly disingenuous at best when it claims to be "fair and balanced," and some people either trust Fox more than they should, or are not possessed of enough critical thinking skills to see if for what it is, which is bad for society.

fox news is number one in viewers and ratings for every 1 cnn hln etc viewer there is 100 to 10,000 watching fox news . if it was fud then other news networks would eat them alive

I think you are equating being "popular" with being "good," and that is a pretty serious mistake. I think it's also a mistake to recognize that it may well be popular entirely because it's FUD. Many, many people - conservative Fox viewers, liberal MSNBC viewers, whatever - want someone to pick all their news for them in advance so that they don't have to encounter any news in the world that doesn't agree with their beliefs. That's their right but I think we would be less of a toxically polarized society if we listened to more two-sided views, or at least acknowledged the biases that were driving us to want to only consume a politically slanted news message.

Re: In unrelated news: Average IQ up 5 points in U

By LostMyBeaver • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I must admit, I wasn't really on the band wagon of making the comments. I came here looking to read the humor.

I personally don't depend on any of the networks because I have had the displeasure of having the opportunity of learning how broadcast journalism actually works. As a result, I have absolutely no use for their media. I certainly don't wish to be a target for what passes as journalism today.

The government operations (like the Senate, House, etc...) are broadcast an televised. We're choosing candidates as members of a team. We pick a team like Fox or CNN and they broadcast play by play or blow by blow reports of how they interpreted events in the government. We don't choose politicians to represent our best interests. We choose politicians to be a member of one team or another. We want our teams to win and we don't care what they have to do in order to do it. We love the technicalities too. Like, "My team doesn't like what the president did. Look here, there's a little rule in the rule book which says we can throw a card and sue the president for doing his job the best he can".

I must admit, I put little faith in the silliness you seemed to come here to attack. I have far less use for a drone like yourself who seems to think that just because someone won a popularity contest and was voted CEO (which actually doesn't mean what you think it does) he/she or they are special by some means.

Comments here are a waste of time and effort, but for many of us provide an outlet for our frustrations with the system. It's probably no more productive than talking sports at a bar, but it at least keeps us from being drunk all the time. If you're not interested in the Slashdot method of communicating, why would you bother coming here? Of course, I guess maybe you're just using the comments as a place to be a dick and unload a bit. More power to you. Enjoy, Slashdot is here to offend and we are its little helpers :)

Re: wrong totally

By jmac_the_man • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I've never heard of a cable package with CNN not on basic cable. You usually get CNN, Fox, and MSNBC. Dish network, the company who we're allegedly talking about, has all 3 on their basic service.

Also, the bonus for doctor's offices and car dealerships doesn't account for the success of Fox's prime time shows. Fox News routinely blows out its competitors in prime time, a time at which most of those businesses are closed and viewers are watching at home.

Can Rep. John Culberson Save NASA's Space Exploration Program?

Posted by samzenpus in Science • View
MarkWhittington writes The Houston Chronicle's Eric Berger has published the seventh in his series of articles about the American space program and what ails it. The piece focuses on Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, who has two fascinating aspects. The first is that he is taking over the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees NASA funding. The second is that he has a keen appreciation for the benefits of space exploration for its own sake and not just for his Houston area district.

Culberson wants to save NASA and the space program from his fellow politicians and return it to its true glory. He favors sending American astronauts back to the moon and a robotic space probe to Jupiter's moon Europa. He would like to enact budget reforms that take funding decisions away from the Office of Management and Budget and gives them solely to Congress. He favors a steady increase in NASA funding to pay for a proper program of space exploration. To say the least, he has his work cut out for him.

He's gonna git in trouble

By Required Snark • Score: 3, Funny • Thread
He's doomed as a Republican because he supports that science stuff. If you support science, then you are obviously in cahoots with them liburuls, so you are on the side of evil with evolution, anthropogenic climate change, and the earth not being flat.

His only hope is to turn NASA and space into a faith based program, at least as far as the Republican base is concerned. Some possibilities are going to outer space to find Jesus in heaven, replacing rockets with prayer, proclaiming that God wears a space suit and teaching in school that a flat earth is a reasonable alternative the round earth theory.


By careysub • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Go to a modern well funded post office some time. They're incredibly efficient.


perhaps you live on a different world as I, but "efficient" businesses do not lose 1.9B USD every three months.

unfortunately, history has shown for at least 2500 hundred years that government bureaucracies always devolve into political quagmires, where empire building and ass-kissing trump sound business practices.

If you had actually bothered to read the article you linked to, you would have noticed that Congress is preventing them from taking cost savings measures the USPS wishes to implement. Congress controls the prices they can charge. Congress mandates six day deliveries. Congress prevents them instituting their own health insurance plan (which an organization the size of the USPS can easily do). Congress mandates pre-paying health and pension benefits many decades into the future (the only case of this occurring in the U.S. government, and also all but unknown in the private sector).

And then there all the Constitutionally-derived mandates for keeping unprofitable rural branch offices open, and delivering mail to every household everywhere, every mail-day. Things no private business will do.

When Congress's package of restrictions and controls essentially requires an organization to run a deficit, efficiency alone cannot turn the situation around.

Has NASA done all that badly?

By david_bonn • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I wonder sometimes.

NASA has sent spaceprobes to every planet in the solar system. And turned those places from lights in the sky into worlds.

NASA has discovered volcanism on Io, Enceladus, Triton and probably Venus.

NASA has discovered thousands of extrasolar planets with the Kepler probe.

The various CMB probes have mapped out the very early history of the universe.

All of this in less than fifty years.

You could argue that NASA has mapped more land area than all of the explorers in history, combined. Until we visit other stars no one will beat that record.

Really, has NASA done that badly?

Big bags of water... that's what we are.

By duckintheface • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The human body is a fragile bag of water, not well suited to radiation exposure, temperature extremes,changes in air pressure, high acceleration forces, or long periods of isolation from a sustaining biosphere. Almost anything that can be done in space is better done by robots. The ONLY reason for people to venture into space is to get to the surface of another habitable planet for which we are evolved. And there is only one such place in reach: MARS!

Yes there are good reasons for going to Mars. Greatest among them is to safeguard the species from any catestrophic impacts on Earth they would extinguish us. We have the technology to colonize Mars now. To make it economical, colonization should be a one-way pioneering trip. Nobody comes back, ever. (I made this suggestion to NASA 17 years ago and was told that NASA does not do suicide missions. Now, many folks at NASA have come around to my point of view. )

Rep. Culberson has not learned the crucial lesson from the demise of the Apollo program... that political motivations for exploring space are not sustainable in the minds of a fickle constituency that wants to be entertained by a list of new "American Firsts in Space". Colonization of Mars requires the serious dedication of the best scientists of Earth to the mission of human survival.

Forget the moon. In terms of the fuel required to reach it on a one-way mission, it is not really much closer than Mars. I has far less to offer as a base for a new sustainable human civilization. (Although I'm sure it would make a nice military base to shoot stuff at Earth). The fact the Rep. Culberson is talking about returning to the moon is the best indication that he is not a serious thinker about why NASA should be involved in human space travel.

Not-so-hidden agenda

By DerekLyons • Score: 3 • Thread

He would like to enact budget reforms that take funding decisions away from the Office of Management and Budget and gives them solely to Congress.

And there is the real prize - hidden in plain sight. He wants to usurp the power of the Executive Branch and arrogate it to Congress. But it's for the children!, er, NASA! and so it slides right by most commenters here.

Google+ Will Make Your Videos Look Better

Posted by Soulskill in Technology • View
ErnieKey writes: A new Google+ feature for uploaded videos has been released that automatically enhances lighting, color, and stability. Soon, it'll also enhance speech in videos. "As more and more people now also take videos with their smartphones, it makes sense for Google to bring some of the technologies it has developed for photos (and YouTube) to these private videos, as well. Google has long offered a similar feature for YouTube users, so there is likely some overlap between the two systems here. While YouTube offers the option to 'auto-fix' videos, though, it doesn't automatically prompt its users to do this for them. YouTube also offers a number of manual tools for changing contrast, saturation and color temperature that Google+ doesn’t currently offer."

Missing feature

By ArcadeMan • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Automatically fix the dreaded Vertical Video Syndrome.

Youtube fixed my shaky phone video

By wombatmobile • Score: 3 • Thread

Youtube said my shaky phone video looked shaky, would I like it to fix it? OK, I clicked. Why not?

The fixed video is a lot less shaky! I'm pleased. The parts where the girls are lifting up their dresses to show me their underpants are still dark, because they only did it in the shadows of the dance floor. But perhaps google will be fix that too some time?

coming soon...

By Connie_Lingus • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Dear G+ User.

We wanted to let you know that your recently uploaded video "catsoncatnip.mp4" was automatically processed and several fixes were applied. We hope you like the results.

Also, in order to improve the user experience, we embedded a few targeted ads into your content. We are sure you won't mind as we have judged them to be unobtrusive.

Thank you for using G+