Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest

New Findings On Whale Tongues May Lead To Insight On Human Nerve Damage

Posted by samzenpusView
An anonymous reader writes with this story about the discovery of stretchy nerves in whales. Researchers from the University of British Columbia have discovered that the largest animals alive – whales – have nerves in their tongues that can double in length and then recoil like a bungee cord. The researchers were studying specimens at a commercial whaling station in Iceland when they stumbled upon the discovery reported Monday in Current Biology. Researchers say it could have important implications for study into human nerve damage. "I had never seen a nerve like that," said Wayne Vogl, of UBC's Cellular and Physiological Sciences department.

Cisco Names Veteran Robbins To Succeed Chambers as CEO

Posted by samzenpusView
bledri writes: After 20 years as Cisco's CEO, John Chambers will step down this summer. The search for a replacement took a committee 16 months, and they selected Chuck Robbins, who was previously responsible for the company's global sales and partner team. From the article: "Wall Street analysts said a change was expected and could signal a refocusing of Cisco, which acquired dozens of companies under Chambers but has failed to make great headway outside its core networking business."

Single Verizon IP Address Used For Hundreds of Windows 7 Activations

Posted by samzenpusView
An anonymous reader writes: A presumed pirate with an unusually large appetite for activating Windows 7 has incurred the wrath of Microsoft. In a lawsuit filed in a Washington court, Microsoft said that it logged hundreds of suspicious product activations from a single Verizon IP address and is now seeking damages. Who he, she or they are behind address 74.111.202.30 is unknown at this point, but according to Microsoft they're responsible for some serious Windows pirating. "As part of its cyberforensic methods, Microsoft analyzes product key activation data voluntarily provided by users when they activate Microsoft software, including the IP address from which a given product key is activated," the lawsuit reads. The company says that its forensic tools allow the company to analyze billions of activations of software and identify patterns "that make it more likely than not" that an IP address associated with activations is one through which pirated software is being activated.

Re:Proxy?

By PopeRatzo • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

since 2001, which was at least 14 years ago.

I hate it when people show off their mad math skills.

Why wait for hundreds?

By Marginal Coward • Score: 3 • Thread

You'd think it would make more sense to simply shut off the "suspicious" activations for a given IP before they got to hundreds. That would seem to be a whole lot faster, easier, and cheaper than filing a lawsuit. (Let's do the math: 200 copies times maybe $100 each = $10,000.)

For comparison, I recently installed a new website using Wordpress, which I'm relatively new to. I got the excellent "Wordfence" security plugin running early-on, which uses a default limit of 20 failed logins within 5 minutes before it bans an IP. My new site evidently got attacked by a botnet (I assume) a few days later because there was a burst of 14 failed logins within the span of a few minutes, each one from a different country. The logins were pretty-much a tour of the ragged edges of the Internet: they came from Russia, India, Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, Belarus, Vietnam, etc. When all that failed because I had used an obscure admin account name and a strong password - and because Wordfence shut all those IPs down - the botnet evidently gave up.

Though a limit of 20 worked fine, even that seems like more than is necessary to allow normal/legitimate login failures, so I might lower it. I certainly wouldn't raise it to 200. Or file a lawsuit about it.

What about a small shop ?

By aepervius • Score: 3 • Thread
A small shop installing *legal* windows 7 onto PCs would be a normal explanation and would be a single IP with many activation. How the heck do they come to "one IP+many key==pirate" ? A pirate would activate only 1 key. In fact it would be more like 1 key+many IP.

Re:At the same time

By dryeo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

If it wasn't for Microsoft, we would still be on mainframes and mini-computers. Paying jacked up prices. For crap, frankly

Why would you think that? There were lots of decent personal computers in the early '80's, most with operating systems at least as good as MS DOS, including graphical ones like GEM that were better then the early crap that was Windows. Even on the PC there were better versions of DOS then MS DOS which were killed by anti-competitive behaviour.
You are right about MS understanding the benefits of getting programmers and consumers hooked though, encouraging people to copy their software at cost (the price of a floppy usually) but they were very anti-competitive for the longest time and probably did more to hold computing back as any company.

Re:Single shop most likely

By richy freeway • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

It's very very easy to do. Just use the "evaluation" serial (actually provided by Microsoft), which for Pro is XHQ8N-C3MCJ-RQXB6-WCHYG-C9WKB

Then using PKeyui, extract the correct serial from the BIOS/UEFI and activate with that.

Singapore's Prime Minister Shares His C++ Sudoku Solver Code

Posted by samzenpusView
itwbennett writes: Several weeks ago, during a speech at the Founders Forum Smart Nation Singapore Reception, Singapore's prime minister Lee Hsien Loong said that he used to enjoy programming, and that the last program he wrote was a Sudoku solver in C++. To back that up, earlier today he announced (on Facebook and Twitter) that his code is available to download. He wrote on Facebook that he wrote the program 'several years ago' and that the code does 'a backtrack search, choosing the next cell to guess which minimises the fanout.'

New competition

By viperidaenz • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

There should be an international coding competition between heads of state.

Re:From his Facebook post on his Sudoku solver

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Not among prime ministers

Re:Technically C++

By Bite The Pillow • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Since Dice, and really well before, fuck all of that technicality. If the dude can solve sudoku in anything other than a pencil, should we really nitpick?

Re:That's C code

By fisted • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
<nitpick>

void Succeed()

That's actually more C++'ish, a C programmer would put it as

void Succeed(void)

Which means in C what the former means in C++.
</nitpick>

Apart from that, yeah. It's pretty much C. Almost C89, even, were it not for the C++ style comments and two instances of mixed declarations and code.

Re:Technically C++

By fisted • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

everything has to be declared at the top of the function... Always.

That's not true, and has never been. Until about 16 years ago, you had to declare your variables at the beginning of a block/compound statement. That can be well within the function.

As of about 16 years ago, you're even allowed to freely mix your declarations and code.

[incoherent gibberish]. And stuff like that.

Yeah. The kind of stuff you seem largely unfamiliar with.

General hint: If your functions are so long that having to (suppose this was indeed the case) declare/define all your variables at the top becomes a serious annoyance, then chances are that your functions are too long/do too much. Fix that instead.

Maritime Cybersecurity Firm: 37% of Microsoft Servers On Ships Are Vulnerable

Posted by samzenpusView
colinneagle writes: A report from maritime cybersecurity firm CyberKeel claims that spot checks at 50 different maritime sites revealed that 37% of the servers running Microsoft were still vulnerable because they had not been patched. But what's most interesting is what happens when hackers can breach security in shipping environments, including one case in which "drug gangs were able to smuggle entire container loads of cocaine through Antwerp, one of Belgium's largest ports, after its hackers breached the port's IT network," said Rear Adm. Marshall Lytle, assistant commandant responsible for USCG Cyber Command.

On the other hand

By OzPeter • Score: 3 • Thread

Drug smugglers in Europe managed to deliver 400kg of cocaine to the Aldi supermarket chain in Berlin. So apparently not all drug smugglers are good at moving their contraband.

Aldi supermarket workers find record cocaine stash in banana boxes

That's Because they're all running

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

Pirated versions.

yarrr

Re:Running "Microsoft"

By rstanley • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"So this summary doesn't even go into which Microsoft product is vulnerable, ..."

Are you kidding?

They ALL are!!!

37% of webservers, not servers on ships

By Dutch Gun • Score: 4 • Thread

Hopefully that includes timely patch management, since CyberKeel claims 37% of maritime webservers running Microsoft were not patched and thereby "open to remote control risk." Granted, that risk is about hackers taking over websites, but it could certainly turn into a misinformation mess.

Also, I love the picture used for that article - a coast guard cutter in front of a ship burning on the water in the background - as though it's vulnerable Microsoft-based computer suddenly burst into flames and took the ship with it. Danger! Patch your OS or this could happen to you!

Obviously

By ArcadeMan • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Those servers are particularly vulnerable to flooding.

Internet Customers Surpass Cable Subscribers At Comcast

Posted by samzenpusView
mpicpp notes that for the first time, the country's largest cable provider has more internet subscribers than cable subscribers. The Internet is taking over television. That shift is occurring at Comcast, where the number of people who subscribe to the company's Internet service surpassed its total video subscribers for the first time during the second quarter this year. Announced in an earnings call on Monday, the development signals a major turning point in the technological evolution sweeping across the media business, as the Internet becomes the gateway for information and entertainment. Comcast, the country's largest cable operator, abandoned its $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable last month after the deal drew regulatory scrutiny regarding concerns that the combined company would have too much control over the Internet. Comcast is already the country's largest broadband provider, with more than 22 million high-speed Internet customers. Brian L. Roberts, Comcast's chief executive, said in the call that the company was disappointed about the collapse of the deal but had moved on. He said that Comcast's top priorities now were to advance its existing business and improve its poorly rated customer service.

Aw shit!

By Ol Olsoc • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Aside from the worthless programming, the endless vaginal mesh and mesothelioma lawsuits, the Marcus and Mack and Edgar Snyder sue someone anyone commercials, Its the best friggin thing going!

I find myself watching youtube videos for my video, "normal TV is damn near unwatchable, with a 50 percent commercial rate, you can forget what program you were watching.

Re:No suprise. Comcast TV is poor value for money

By spire3661 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
What is your UPLOAD speed and DATA CAP? Download speed is not the only metric of internet service. I get 100 down but only 10 up for almost $80/month. I dont consider it a good value because the upload is so low.

Not necessarily!

By kheldan • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Several years ago, as a cost-cutting measure, I put up an antenna and got rid of Comcast cable TV. Too many channels I was ostensibly paying for but never ever watching. I'm perfectly happy with OTA broadcasts and the local stations, major networks. I'll supplement that with a small amount of programming from the Internet, but not anywhere near as much as you might think. I think I'm not alone in this, I think many people are going back to OTA broadcasts for the one-time cost of an antenna and saying 'FU' to cable and satellite costs, it just doesn't show up as much because beyond the cost of the antenna there's no subscription for anyone to track. I also cite ventures like Aereo, which despite their being killed off, showed that there is a market for OTA broadcasts still. I think this is the direction things are -- and should -- move back towards. Honestly the picture quality of OTA DTV is better than cable or satellite anyway, no re-compressing happening.

Re:Improving customer service will only happen whe

By grimmjeeper • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Thing is, every cable TV provider is trying to sell "value added" internet. They want you to use (i.e. subscribe to) their particular service instead of using a competitor (like Netflix). That's the whole reason for their fighting against being classified Title II. They want to restrict/block access to competitors so that you'll either pay more for their service or pay just to access competitors.

What I'd really love to see is for internet access to become a true utility. Break the connection part of the business from everything else and regulate it just like the electric or gas company. Set a rate schedule and minimum throughput for various tiers of service. The only thing they do is provide you a connection to the net and that's it. Then all content providers (the other side of the cable TV company as well as everyone else) would compete on a level playing field. Your connection to any of them is exactly the same. They would have to compete based on what content they provide and how much they charge.

Managing cell phone networks would be a fair bit more complicated since they already operate in each other's territory and there isn't the kind of monopoly that exists in local cable TV markets. That would require more thought than I'm prepared to give it right now. But certainly you would want to break the service providers apart from the content creators to ensure the providers don't discriminate against where the traffic is coming from.

But there's less profit in net neutrality and true competition which is why the various companies want to keep the status quo and they're fighting hard to protect their revenue streams.

You are right. It will be interesting to see how things work out in the next couple of years.

Re:No suprise. Comcast TV is poor value for money

By AK Marc • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I was told something was "impossible" 10 times, until I got tired of their lies, and sent a complaint to the FCC, local regulator, and multiple departments in SBC (formerly and finally ATT), and within 48 hours of dropping a letter in the mail, the service was fixed, and a couple days later, a letter came indicating the problem was fixed and essentially gave a script to read from when the FCC contacted me.

From "impossible" to "done" in a few hours, once I sent a letter to the regulatory bodies. They won't do the job they are required by law to do, unless threatened with legal action. And, sadly, that was my best experience with ATT, as the problem was fixed, even if it took them 6 months to fix their DSL service, and required I send letters to the national and state governments.

Researchers Detect Android Apps That Connect to User Tracking and Ad Sites

Posted by samzenpusView
An anonymous reader writes: A group of European researchers has developed software that tracks the URLs to which cellphone apps connect. After downloading 2,000+ free apps from Google Play, they indexed all the sites those apps connected to, and compared them to a list of known advertising and user tracking sites. "In total, the apps connect to a mind-boggling 250,000 different URLs across almost 2,000 top level domains. And while most attempt to connect to just a handful of ad and tracking sites, some are much more prolific. Vigneri and co give as an example "Music Volume Eq," an app designed to control volume, a task that does not require a connection to any external urls. And yet the app makes many connections. 'We find the app Music Volume EQ connects to almost 2,000 distinct URLs,' they say. [Another major offender] is an app called Eurosport Player which connects to 810 different user tracking sites." The researchers plan to publish their software for users to try out on Google Play soon.

Still no granular app permissions in Play Store

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

What, you thought that every app asking for access to your contacts, wifi status and network access were doing it because it was helpful?

No.

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The user can see what permissions the app requires, and choose whether or not to install the app.

You need a special app with root permissions to set up your own blocks (which, of course, might break the app you are firewalling).

Re:Have you looked at website internals lately?

By TWX • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I just don't get the third-party script libraries thing. Seems like an AWFUL idea for anything beyond a read-only bulletin board for a club or group to post their agenda and interests on such that it's not directly affiliated with Facebook or another 'social networking' site.

If you're running a business using a site, or are using forums or other interactive, feedback-driven system, trusting your libraries and passing data to third parties seems like a terrible idea. Bad enough for your own server to be penetrated and your libraries or scripts messed with, but much worse now that those with malicious intent have one-stop shopping to screw over loads of users and sites.

Re:TANSTAAFL

By WaffleMonster • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

As Heinlein famously put it in his The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (and he was just echoing the sentiment), There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch -- or in this case, a free app.

If they're not charging you, then you (or your time, your attention, or your information) are the product they're charging somebody else for. Or as Heinlein would have put it, even at a charitable soup kitchen you're going to have to listen to a sermon.

I don't think cost explains or excuses this phenomenon. There is always a motive for doing anything but traditionally much of it was side projects, hobbies, getting famous, filling resumes, PR and making money off pay version upgrades... the primary goal was never making money by fucking people over until the rise of the app store.

There must be countless hundreds of unique pieces of "free" software I use all the time on my desktop.. none of it is engaged in this bullshit.

The culprit in my view are perverted market pressures brought about by existence of app stores.

There is no useful quality filter.. You don't go to Walmart and walk out with a "free" or $3 PS4 title. When everything is free people who want to publish real software get fucked over by everyone expecting free or $1.50 while their product appears as just another piece of flotsam in a vast ocean of mostly useless crap.

Couple this with undeserved global exposure all apps automatically get regardless of whether they deserve it or not and feedback loops that make profiting from advertising and spying networks easy for app vendors and you get the current cesspool of mediocrity and hostility.

Re:The review, it does something... as does sandbo

By AuMatar • Score: 4 • Thread

1)Not necessarily. Something as simple as not enabling that code for a month after release would get it by reviews. They aren't reviewing source code, they're reviewing behaviors. Just like you don't speed when there's a cop right behind you you wouldn't connect when you're being watched

2)They ask for a lot of permissions because the permissions aren't fine grained enough, and because polsih requires it. For example I had an app that did sound effects when you tapped a key. The OEM requested that we turn off sounds when the user is in a call so they wouldn't play on the other end. This reasonable request required a new permission (CALL_STATE IIRC), which actually gave us much more info than we wanted (we got to find out when calls started, ended, and the connection number which we didn't need). But if you just looked at our permissions your reaction would be "why do you need to know who I'm calling"? We didn't there was just no way to request less info, we didn't even look at the number.

One of the big problems was that Google redesigned the play store to be less scary and show fewer permissions. One of those was that any app could request internet permission without it showing up. That was just wrong.

What we really need is the ability to turn on and off specific permissions by app. Perhaps with the ability to limit internet permission to certain IPs/URLs per app. That would solve most of the problem.

No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

Posted by samzenpusView
StartsWithABang writes: As Slashdot has previously reported, NASA Spaceflight has claimed to have vetted the EM Drive in a vacuum, and found there is still an anomalous thrust/acceleration on the order of 50 microNewtons for the device. While some are claiming this means things like warp drive and 70-day-trips-to-Mars are right on the horizon, it's important to view this from a scientist's point of view. Here's what it will take to turn this from a speculative claim into a robust one.

Re:The question is

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

It's a thing that appears to produce thrust by unknown means. That's all. It's very interesting, but it has nothing to do with anything that anyone would call a warp drive.

One point to add here: it definitely isn't a warp drive, but the guy that invented it in his garage did so while following a theory he had that the relativistic effects at the moment an electromagnetic wave is reflected can be harnessed to turn the energy of those waves directly into thrust. There is a very simple test nobody has done yet (that the inventor himself is still trying to save money to do, last I heard) - that is to replace the copper resonating cavity with a superconducting cavity to drive up the Q-value. If his theory holds true a 1000W magnetron from a microwave oven will be able to lift a small car off the ground in that setup.

Re:wapr drive

By quantaman • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

The Vulcans will be here soon, swooping in like a returning Jesus Christ to save us from ourselves at long last, show us the true path of wisdom, and help us complete the application (an on-line PDF form, no doubt) for membership in the United Federation of Planets.

And then we will all live happily ever after.

They'll step out of their spacecraft and inform us that our newly invented warp drive was invented 324,123 years ago and we cannot use it without paying the license fees of approximately 2.3 earth planets per earth year.

Otherwise we will need to wait another 14,675,877 years until it enters the public domain.

Re:Warp drive?

By angel'o'sphere • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

BTW - cold fusion turned out to be a fraud, despite people clinging to the hope even today.

It did not turn out to be a fraud. It turned out to be a 'mistake', and that is even not sure as plenty of physicians are still or again working in that field.

Fraud is a word used in criminal contexts, it means a person is deliberately misleading other people to gain a profit, usually by causing damage to those people.

E.g. if I sell you at a metro station a ticket for 80 cents, which would normally cost 1,30 Euro ... you use the ticket and surprisingly it works, but as soon as a controller checks you, it turns out it is a children's ticket ... that is fraud.

Setting up a weird experiment and finding a strange effect and publishing everything about it: that is science. Even if it get debunked later.

Apparently people cannot even read...

By gweihir • Score: 3 • Thread

All the proponents of this "device" are just an example of how incompetent and delusional humans can get. From the NASA publication abstract: "Thrust was observed on both test articles, even though one of the test articles was designed with the expectation that it would not produce thrust. Specifically, one test article contained internal physical modifications that were designed to produce thrust, while the other did not (with the latter being referred to as the "null" test article)."

Listen up kids, this means that they tested the "true em-drive" and a dummy and _both_ gave them thrust. The dummy is specifically designed so that it _cannot_ do this! This means the "thrust" comes from some other effect, not the "em-drive". That truly and utterly pathetic thing here is that NASA actually did sound science and people are missing the necessary reading comprehension skills to even understand the abstract.

Re:One Criterion Missing

By MozeeToby • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"Prove" is a dangerous word. Everyone involved in the testing of this device is someone who wants desperately to see it succeed. When the effects you're measuring on on the order of 50 microNewtons, it doesn't take much of anything to screw up the results. Read about the history of N-Rays for a historical example of how even (or maybe especially) very intelligent, informed people can fool themselves into believing poor experimental results.

Three experiments does not overturn 300 years of experimental evidence in support of conservation of momentum. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So far the evidence has been interesting, but not extraordinary. Like the article says, show me an experiment with thrust correlating with power input. Show me another one where the device runs for a month. But most importantly, show me one performed by skeptics!

Apple Watch's Hidden Diagnostic Port To Allow Battery Straps, Innovative Add-Ons

Posted by samzenpusView
MojoKid writes: Apple's Watch launched two weeks ago to some unbelievable hype and coverage in the press. However, it appears one feature flew under the radar and Apple actually had just one more trick up its sleeve. You see, on one side of the watch face is a hidden door that exposes a 6-pin port. It's assumed that this could be used for diagnostic purposes, but with an Apple Watch in hand, a company by the name of Reserve Strap was able to verify that it could also be used for charging. This seems pretty huge and strange at the same time: why would Apple keep such a thing quiet, when the Apple Watch's battery-life isn't what most people would consider impressive? Even more interesting is the fact that Apple didn't make use of this port to release its own charging straps — watch straps that carry a charge themselves. Apple's lack of transparency here doesn't much matter, though, as the aforementioned Reserve Strap is planning to get such a product to market as soon as possible. The company says about its first offering: "The Reserve Strap will come in White, Gray and Black and will fit both the 38mm and 42mm case sizes. The first batch of straps will be shipped in the Fall.

Re:Battery life non-issue

By vux984 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

a year from now (or an OS update,

Or he loads up a few more of those apps for it...

Apple may not keep that port forever

By steveha • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I remember the first model of iMac had an undocumented card slot. People speculated that Apple used the card slot for factory diagnostics on the iMacs; third-party companies took advantage of the slot to add 3D accelerators; and then Apple revised the iMac design and left that port out.

http://www.macworld.com/article/1014902/imacboards.html

If Apple hasn't announced the port, the port may be gone from the next iWatch release.

Likely the problem is that there aren't enough patents on the port. Perhaps Apple will add a documented expansion port once they find some patents to encumber it.

Why are you so surprised?

By Bogtha • Score: 3 • Thread

why would Apple keep such a thing quiet

Because it's a sealed diagnostic port for a non-end-user serviceable product, not a feature. They aren't wishing anything up, it's just not something they have a reason to publicise.

when the Apple Watch's battery-life isn't what most people would consider impressive?

Actually, people's opinions on this are very mixed. Some people are reporting great battery life and improved battery life on their iPhone as well as they switch the screen on less. Some people report the opposite. Chances are, people who have just got a new gadget are playing with it all day, which obviously isn't representative of normal usage patterns or battery life.

Apple's lack of transparency here doesn't much matter, though

Why are you describing lack of publicity about a sealed diagnostic port for non-end-user serviceable goods as a "lack of transparency"? That is bizarre. You wouldn't expect that for any other company, let alone Apple.

we'll call it

By liquid_schwartz • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
So you have innovative straps and also adds ons. We'll call it the iStrapOn

Re:Battery life non-issue

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Not really. Full disclosure: I've got a Pebble Time ordered with 7 days battery life.

"My Apple Watch never gets below 90%! Sure I'm charging it every 15 minutes, but it's battery life is a non-issue"

For a watch where a regular watches battery lasts years, a watch with a battery life of a single day at best is hilariously bad.

House Panel Holds Hearing On "Politically Driven Science" - Without Scientists

Posted by samzenpusView
sciencehabit writes: Representative Louie Gohmert (R–TX) is worried that scientists employed by the U.S. government have been running roughshod over the rights of Americans in pursuit of their personal political goals. So this week Gohmert, the chair of the oversight and investigations subpanel of the U.S. House of Representatives' Natural Resources Committee, held a hearing to explore "the consequences of politically driven science." Notably absent, however, were any scientists, including those alleged to have gone astray.

Irony?

By mspohr • Score: 3 • Thread

Irony is dead.

Re:It's all politics, all the time

By Saanvik • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I'm so tired of people make this ridiculous comparison.

President Nixon's attorney's admitted there was no innocent reason for the missing content on those tapes. It was done to hide incriminating actions.

Ms. Clinton turned over every email as required under archiving laws. She then deleted personal emails. She did nothing remotely wrong unless you believe that private citizens give up their right to private correspondence once they become government employees.

Double Standard?

By Tablizer • Score: 3 • Thread

Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) is worried that scientists employed by the U.S. government have been running roughshod over the rights of Americans in pursuit of their personal political goals...

And politicians, corporations, and the wealthy have NOT?

Let's not have a double standard here. If we are going to hunt down bias, hunt down ALL bias.

Orwellian

By mbone • Score: 3 • Thread

So this week Gohmert, the chair of the oversight and investigations subpanel of the U.S. House of Representatives' Natural Resources Committee, held a hearing to explore "the consequences of politically driven science."

You have to understand that when he says things like "politically driven science" he is intending, not to communicate, but to bamboozle and deceive. This has been pointed out before:

"The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies “something not desirable.” The words democ- racy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. "

(Politics and the English Language, 1946.)

It used to be

By turkeyfish • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It used to be that at one time, republicans believed in the importance of science to inform them and make for a better world and ensure America's preeminence in the world. Now, republicans hate science as it is the bearer of bad news, namely that republicans are bad for the environment, the long term technological security of the country, and for social progress.

It used to be that the accused were entitled to stand before their accusers to rebut their accusations. In modern republican America this right is being taken away because republicans find it politically convenient.

Sadly, it looks as if this trend will continue until global warming gets so bad that no one will be able to live in Victoria, Texas and consequently, won't be able to vote for Louis Gohmert, who seems intent on killing the messenger of the bad news rather than addressing the problem.

China Takes Its Already Strict Internet Regulations One Step Further

Posted by samzenpusView
New submitter DaveS7 writes with this story about new regulations from the Chinese government designed to further crack down on online media. Chinese authorities have released a new set of regulations for online media, raising concerns about tightening control over freedom of expression by the Communist regime. Contained in the ordinance, released on April 28 by the Cyberspace Administration of China, is a clause saying that persons responsible for managing flagged sites will be summoned by state personnel in case of violations. Internet censorship in China is mostly managed by individual websites, which are encouraged to toe the Party line before the Party steps in to rectify things for them. The new ordinance increases the number of conditions that, if met by online media, result in automatic state intervention.

China ~ Europe

By antiperimetaparalogo • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
Yes, us Europeans and our left-wing "anti-discrimination/racist/nationalism/etc" gag laws... oh, sorry, it's about communist China...

Capitalism does not create freedom

By plopez • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

In the 80's and 90's there was a common wisdom that introducing capitalism into a country would create liberty and democracy. But China is proof that it does not work that way. Other data are Imperial Rome (Eastern and Western branches as well), Nazi Germany, Imperial China, The British Empire, Fascist Italy, and the Ottoman Empire. All of them had market economies at times in some cases very wealthy and vibrant. But none of them could be considered democracies either due to central autocratic rule, or through restriction in franchise based on wealth e.g. land ownership) or gender.

So, essentially,

By Opportunist • Score: 3 • Thread

It's the same kind of self-censorship going on that we have here. With the difference that here you're just being inconvenienced 'til you go out of business or bend over instead of being shot, of course. So, yes, we're still "more free" than them.

But it's also a reminder that "more" is not necessarily more than "much"...

China isn't communist

By Theovon • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Technically, China is a capitalist dictatorship. People often conflate the economic system with the system of government, because in our experience, most capitalist counties are also democratic (although typically republics), while most communist countries are also dictatorships. China has a heavily regulated economy, but the government doesn't own all wealth and resources, so it's not communist. That being said, I'm sure there are aspects that are heavily socialist, but no country is completely polar in these regards. I mean, the US isn't totally capitalist; there are high taxes, and there are a lot of centralized resources in the government.

Re:Capitalism does not create freedom

By Intrepid imaginaut • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

China was a struggling third world country before they wisely began to adopt capitalism, It's far from a free market, operating more like a nation sized corporation, but to call it communist is off the rails. It still has a caste system for example. It's operating pretty much along the lines China has operated for quite a long time, except without an obvious emperor.

Imperial Rome was sort of similar, but it's worth noting that the public had a strong voice in politics, as indicated by the bread and circuses they were provided to keep them happy, a fully operational social welfare system that existed thousands of years ago.

Nazi Germany was never capitalist, for example Hitler in 1927: "We are socialists. We are enemies of today's capitalistic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions." Goebbels: "The worker in a capitalist state - that is his greatest misfortune - no longer a human being, no longer a creator, no longer a shaper of things. He has become a machine."

  In 1941, former Nazi boss of Danzig, Hermann Rauschning, wrote that the last part of the German Revolution was Nazism, which was just as much a realization of Marxist as of nationalist ideas, and he notes that the only ones who refuse to admit this are supporters of Marxist theories and Nazis themselves. Rauschning also writes in his book that Marxism itself was part of a single great revolutionary movement which included Marxist Socialism, Nazism, Communist Bolshevism, Fascism and nihilism. Rauschning knew Hitler well and repudiated him and his movement at great risk before the rest of the world recognized the full danger of Nazism.

Much the same could be said of fascist Italy.

The only group in your list that could credibly be called capitalist were the British Empire, and during its height (mostly mid 19th century to the start of the 20th century) liberty and democracy did indeed bloom, culminating in universal suffrage and the outline of what we today call a modern democracy appearing. Not so much in the colonies of course but that was the Imperial part of the equation

Microsoft Office 2016 Public Preview Released

Posted by samzenpusView
jones_supa writes: Back in March, Microsoft made Office 2016, the next release of the company's leading office suite, available to IT professionals to test and submit feedback on. At Microsoft's Ignite conference, CEO Satya Nadella announced that the public preview of Office 2016 has now been released as well. Office 2016 comes with a range of new features that build upon Office 2013. There is far more integration with cloud, allowing a user to access documents anywhere, and Outlook now syncs with OneDrive when sending large files. So called Smart Applications extend the functionality of Office, including Tell Me, a new search tool, and Clutter, which unclutters your inbox based on machine learning. Anyone can start testing the free Office 2016 Preview right now. Just as they have done with Windows 10, Microsoft is receiving open feedback on the product.

Windows 7 eol

By Billly Gates • Score: 3 • Thread

Since Windows 7 is not actively developed anymore and is in extended security only support does this mean office 2016 will require an OS designed for tablets?

I'd just be happy with...

By xxxJonBoyxxx • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I'd just be happy with an announcement that the online Office 365 apps would finally get the features they need to quit making them toys (and forcing everyone to download docs to local Office apps anyway).

Second to that would be an option in Office 365 to default to "yes, when I opened the document, put me in f***ing editing mode by default." Hell, call it the "Google Docs" mode if you want.

Clutter tool

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Microsoft spokesperson T. Ruth Teller said, "We moved menu items around using the ribbon in Vista. The drudgery of regular work was replaced by the adventure of searching 'where is the font menu hiding today'. Not to rest on our laurels, we scrambled the start menu items when we introduced Windows 7, then took the start menu away in Windows 8. Brought it back in windows 9, but not exactly. Now not to stop with stuff we put in the interface, we have decided to play hide and seek with the stuff you put in the document. What happened to the intern's acceptance email, why the CEO's form email prominently displayed and my boss's email thread about my vacation plan gone? You will get lots and lots opportunity ponder such things in the new release".

She continued further, "Using Microsoft product means you save so much on retraining you employees on the office products they use daily. All the years of experience will continue to pay off".

Re:Windows 7 eol

By Dutch Gun • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

No, it's apparently compatible with Windows 7 or later. Remember, Office is targeted at business, and most businesses are still using Windows 7, and will be for a considerable time to come.

Microsoft will apparently screw around with consumers by doing things like not back-porting DirectX to older operating systems, but they're not going to risk sales of their bread-and-butter products by unnecessarily tying them to only their newest operating systems.

BTW, I certainly wouldn't consider Windows 10 to be an "OS designed for tablets". I'm a big critic of Windows 8, but Windows 10 has pretty much fixed all that I hated about 8, except for how hideous it looks (IMO).

Re:Moar Cloud

By LinuxIsGarbage • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I like Office 2010. I actually like Ribbon, once getting over the learning curve. I've used some third party companies that implement Ribbon (eg: AutoCAD) that I found terrible.

In addition, I love how Excel 2007+ handles filters. Much easier to import data, and easily filter columns.

For me I haven't upgraded past Office 2010 for two reasons:
1) We use 2010 at work, so home-work consistency is a consideration
2) Microsoft is pushing subscription based 365 so hard, they limit some features in 2013, but not 365.

Recruiters Use 'Digital Native' As Code For 'No Old Folks'

Posted by SoulskillView
bizwriter writes: Companies are trying to get around Equal Employment Opportunity Commission restrictions on age-discriminatory language (like "recent college graduate") by saying that they want "digital natives." So far, no one has complained to the EEOC, but that could change. "Since the 1990s dotcom boom, many employers have openly sought to hire young, tech savvy talent, believing that was necessary to succeed in the new digital economy. At the same time, age discrimination complaints have spiraled upward, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, with 15,785 claims filed in 1997 compared to 20,588 filed in 2014.

Out of the 121 charges filed last year by the EEOC for alleged discriminatory advertising, 111 of them claimed the job postings discriminated against older applicants. The EEOC has said that using phrases like 'college student,' 'recent college graduate,' or 'young blood' violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1966. That federal law protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age."

Re:Sort of dumb.

By barc0001 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Exactly right. I'm a year younger than you and I've been a "digital native" since I was playing around with my TI-99/4a and converting programs in Byte magazine to TI-basic in 1981. Far too many of these millennial "digital natives" are about as deep as a kiddy pool. They've used one or two technologies that work for them and that's it. Hammer-nail syndrome.

Where did this bizarre idea come from?

By walterbyrd • Score: 3 • Thread

I have worked in IT since 1979.

Where do people get this idea that IT workers work with old technologies? The idea is not true, and makes no sense.

Do older car mechanics only know how to work on older cars? How about older doctors, lawyers, scientists?

Do you think an installation has new technologies for younger workers, and older technologies for older workers?

I work with latest released technologies all the time.

Re:Sort of dumb.

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

She said that they preferred to hire younger folks because 50 somethings typically have a much harder time working under a 25 year-old supervisor.

Of course, the reason is quite possibly because the 25 year old supervisor is inexperienced and doesn't take kindly to that being pointed out.

Posting anon because I'm about to talk about a former client I did some consulting for. It's a Valley startup. All a bunch of young guys, mostly with one job behind them. One guy did actually have a family, though. Anyway, at one point we were discussing interviewing and hiring. They didn't seem to think there was anything unusual about asking an interview candidate to spend an entire day doing pair programming with them on their own codebase. I pointed out that this would be fine for college students who could bunk off lectures and spend all day watching the interviewer tap out Go, but more experienced/older guys would probably find this a bit problematic, especially if they already have a job. Google can get away with 8 interviews and all day assessments and still hire very senior people because it has the reputation as a great place to work and with great pay, so people put up with the long process. Not every company can do this.

Their response: "well, maybe we don't want to hire senior guys".

I don't think they'd consider themselves explicitly agist. But they very much wanted to hire people just like themselves, and that almost by definition excluded "old" people (anyone 40 or over). This didn't extend to sexism by the way: they were very keen on hiring female interns and recent college grads to write code for them. But they didn't want some guy in his 40's or 50's turning up and pointing out that maybe some of the modern dev fashions they were following had already come and gone in the 1990's, and perhaps using uncool but tried and tested technology would have some real benefits.

Re: Sort of dumb.

By rickb928 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I'm 61, my first useful PC was an XT clone. I transitioned from office machines to PC service, then networking, helped run a dialup ISP, spent a decade connecting my clients to that Internet thing.

My clients were using email, intranet and extended web sites to share work, and working remotely before there was Google or Facebook.

I've been digital since there was digital. I was even playing MMOG before there was Internet.

I should go to college just to annoy the kids. I already work with teams where the 25- year-olds are in charge, and we do fine. After our team proves them somewhat misled, they listen to us.

Health Insurance

By Gr8Apes • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The real issue behind the "young movement" and a way to stop it cold is to deal with health insurance. Disallow health insurance to use age as a pricing factor, and watch how quickly the job market changes. I had a buddy that just went to an interview, and was flat out told that they have too many "old" people in the company and require some 20-somethings. Their insurance rates were too high.

In fact, I'd go so far as to state that basic health insurance (wellness visits, accident coverage, and basic illness diagnosis) should be 1 price for everyone, with no disqualifications allowed, with some base high deductible capped coverage for general illnesses. This would be relatively cheap as it stands today. Then additional coverage for whatever as we have today could be purchased on top.

Accessibility In Linux Is Good (But Could Be Much Better)

Posted by SoulskillView
An anonymous reader sends this report from opensource.com: GNU/Linux distributions provide great advantages over proprietary alternatives for people with disabilities. All the accessibility tools included in Linux are open source, meaning their code is readily available if you want to examine or improve it, and cost nothing. Hardware devices, of course, are still going to cost money. Additionally, accessibility software on other platforms generally contain licensing constraints on the user. ... When it comes to accessibility, Linux is not without issues. ... The number of developers who specifically work on accessibility tools is quite small. For example, there is only one Orca developer, two AT-SPI developers, and a single GTK developer. ... Developers who do not depend on assistive technologies tend to forget—or don't know—that a disabled person might want to use their application, read their web page, and so on. ... The problem is not necessarily that developers do not care. Rather, it's is that accessibility is highly specialized and requires someone with knowledge in the area, regardless of platform.

Accessibility in Linux is NOT great

By quetwo • Score: 3 • Thread

Just because it's open source doesn't mean it's great. I'd classify accessibility for blind/less sighted users to be non-existent (with the exception of a few applications). Every iteration of X Windows since X11 has been worse and worse with its implementation, and if things go wrong it is nearly impossible to get around. A few applications that implement the full GTK stack /properly/ are passable, but those that use Gnome's or KDE's tools don't pass text back to a speech engine at all.

Console is fine, but as soon as you try and use a tool that uses ncurses or any other menuing application you are SOL.

Firefox hasn't worked well with a screen reader in about 5 years. Never was able to get Chrome fully installed.

Re:The guy completely misses the point

By Dutch Gun • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Also, from the article:

Unlike proprietary alternatives, Fedora (and other Linux distros with the Gnome desktop) includes accessibility tools out of the box, such as:

        Screen reader: A text-to-speech system to read what's on the screen
        Magnifier: Helps users with visual impairments who need larger text and images
        High-contrast mode: Helps users who have trouble seeing text unless contrast is corrected, such as white text on a black background, or vice versa
        Mouse keys: Controls the mouse using the number pad
        Sticky keys: Helps users who have trouble pressing multiple keys at once, and users who have use of only one hand
        Bounce keys: To ignore rapidly pressed keys or if a key is accidentally held down
        On screen keyboard: Helps users who cannot type at all, but who can use a mouse
        Visual alerts: Replace system sounds with visual cues

Um... unlike what proprietary systems? He surely can't be talking about Windows, because it has every single one of these features, and has had most of them since Windows 95 two decades ago!

It's great that Linux/Gnome now also includes these features, but the author doesn't really help his cause by misrepresenting (I'm being kind in my choice of words here) the competition's features.

The Fanboi's Tunnel Vision.

By westlake • Score: 3 • Thread
I can't speak for OSX. But it is hard to take seriously a post that ignores the accessibility tools that have been baked into the Windows OS from the beginning, expanded and improved over the years.

Unlike proprietary alternatives...Linux distros with the Gnome desktop...includes accessibility tools out of the box, such as:

Screen reader A text-to-speech system to read what's on the screen
Magnifier Helps users with visual impairments who need larger text and images
High-contrast mode Helps users who have trouble seeing text unless contrast is corrected, such as white text on a black background, or vice versa
Mouse keys Controls the mouse using the number pad
Sticky keys Helps users who have trouble pressing multiple keys at once, and users who have use of only one hand
Bounce keys To ignore rapidly pressed keys or if a key is accidentally held down
On screen keyboard Helps users who cannot type at all, but who can use a mouse Visual alerts Replace system sounds with visual cues

Accessibility in Linux is good (but could be much better)

Compare:

While this article is aimed at Windows 95 much of the information on Accessibility Options also applies to Windows 3.x and Windows 98.

Making Windows 95 Accessible

Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

Posted by SoulskillView
HughPickens.com writes: Julie Beck writes in The Atlantic that though science and fantasy seem to be polar opposites, a Venn diagram of "scientists" and "Lord of the Rings fans" have a large overlap which could (lovingly!) be labeled "nerds." Several animal species have been named after characters from the books, including wasps, crocodiles, and even a dinosaur named after Sauron, "Given Tolkien's passion for nomenclature, his coinage, over decades, of enormous numbers of euphonious names—not to mention scientists' fondness for Tolkien—it is perhaps inevitable that Tolkien has been accorded formal taxonomic commemoration like no other author," writes Henry Gee. Other disciplines aren't left out of the fun—there's a geologically interesting region in Australia called the "Mordor Alkaline Igneous Complex," a pair of asteroids named "Tolkien" and "Bilbo," and a crater on Mercury also named "Tolkien."

"It has been documented that Middle-Earth caught the attention of students and practitioners of science from the early days of Tolkien fandom. For example, in the 1960s, the Tolkien Society members were said to mainly consist of 'students, teachers, scientists, or psychologists,'" writes Kristine Larsen, an astronomy professor at Central Connecticut State University, in her paper "SAURON, Mount Doom, and Elvish Moths: The Influence of Tolkien on Modern Science." "When you have scientists who are fans of pop culture, they're going to see the science in it," says Larson. "It's just such an intricate universe. It's so geeky. You can delve into it. There's the languages of it, the geography of it, and the lineages. It's very detail oriented, and scientists in general like things that have depth and detail." Larson has also written papers on using Tolkien as a teaching tool, and discusses with her astronomy students, for example, the likelihood that the heavenly body Borgil, which appears in the first book of the trilogy, can be identified as the star Aldebaran. "I use this as a hook to get students interested in science," says Larson. "I'm also interested in recovering all the science that Tolkien quietly wove into Middle Earth because there's science in there that the casual reader has not recognized."

Re:Tolkien overexposure

By gstoddart • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Or, alternately, Lew Rockwell and others are poncy, pretentious literati who deem themselves the arbiters of what it and isn't true, and nobody gives a shit what they think?

Tolkien himself said:

I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history â" true or feignedâ" with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse applicability with allegory, but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author.

So, maybe the people who are saying "it is or it isn't this" are largely full of shit?

(Which, I think, is what you said in your last paragraph before the quote).

Re:Plot Hole

By Rei • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Just a few more. Who's the eldest being in Middle Earth, Tom Bombadil or Treebeard? Is mithril "supple as linen", and if so why did Bilbo hurt himself when slapping Frodo's mithril coat? So Galadriel knows Sauron's thoughts that concern the elves, but didn't know of Saruman's betrayal, or never saw relevant to mention it to Gandalf? Why does Gandalf warn people against using devices "of an art deeper than we possess ourselves" when talking about the palantir and yet have no problem with with the fellowship using all sorts of magical items of arts deeper than they possess (glowing elvish swords, daggers from the barrow, the Phial of Galadriel, Galadriel's box of earth, etc)? Is "Sauron" (lit. "abominable") a name that he despises and does not permit his underlings to speak, and if so, why does he have his messenger refer to him as "Lord Sauron the Great" and a servant refer to himself as "the mouth of Sauron"? Are Thranduil's favorite gems emeralds, or white-colored gems? Did Sauron prohibit the Nazgûl to traverse west of the Anduin, and if so why did one fly over the Fellowship at Hollin? Etc.

Tolkien was human. Humans make mistakes and oversights.

Re:Shakespeare

By Etherwalk • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

But Saruman was washed away by Neptune's great ocean.

Hahahah. Silly movie. He was defeated by the Ents...

Although actually, his later death in the book was incredibly well done, with Frodo's words incredibly moving, even after the Scouring of the Shire, showing the profound hopefulness of the book--while perfectly catching and distilling the core of an audience response to Aristotelian tragedy.

"No, Sam!" said Frodo, "Do not kill him even now. For he has not hurt me, And in any case I do not wish him to be slain in this evil mood. He was great once, of a noble kind that we should not dare to raise our hands against. He is fallen, and his cure is beyond us; but I would still spare him, in the hope that he may find it."

Re:Plot Hole

By CrimsonAvenger • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Who's the eldest being in Middle Earth, Tom Bombadil or Treebeard?

Bombadil was "eldest and fatherless".

Treebeard was merely the eldest Ent. Note that the Ents were awakened to sentience by the Elves, so Galadriel (who was among the Firstborn of the Elves) was older than Treebeard as well.

Note that the age of any particular Elf is problematic in general - very few of the Firstborn were mentioned by name, which is not the same as "only a few of the Firstborn were still alive in Middle Earth (much less in Valinor)".

Is "Sauron" (lit. "abominable") a name that he despises and does not permit his underlings to speak, and if so, why does he have his messenger refer to him as "Lord Sauron the Great" and a servant refer to himself as "the mouth of Sauron"?

Because they weren't speaking English, and it's annoying to have names for characters vary within a literary work? Or possibly because the comment about "he permits his name to be neither spelt nor spoken" was an exaggeration by Gandalf (the wisest of the Maiar) when speaking of Sauron (the most powerful of the Maiar)?

Why does Gandalf warn people against using devices "of an art deeper than we possess ourselves" when talking about the palantir and yet have no problem with with the fellowship using all sorts of magical items of arts deeper than they possess (glowing elvish swords, daggers from the barrow, the Phial of Galadriel, Galadriel's box of earth, etc)?

Because he meant "an art deeper than *I* possess" when he said that (he was using the Royal "we"...). The work of Feanor was beyond even the Maiar, unlike sharp pointy things made by Elves and handed out by same to diverse characters....

So Galadriel knows Sauron's thoughts that concern the elves, but didn't know of Saruman's betrayal, or never saw relevant to mention it to Gandalf?

Saruman was NOT an elf (it's not clear what he was - perhaps a Maiar like Gandalf). So "thoughts that concern the elves" didn't apply. Note that the thoughts in question weren't "thoughts of interest to elves", but "thought about the elves".

Oh, and the mithril shirt pretty much had to be hard enough to stop a blade, or there was no point to it. Most likely the "supple as linen" was marketing-speak for "amazingly light and flexible by the standards of a mailshirt". What, you didn't think they had marketing in Middle Earth? Marketing was one of those evils even older than Sauron that was mentioned in passing....

Re:Plot Hole

By Obfuscant • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

One does not simply fly into Mordor.

I've got a postal worker on a gyrocopter that proves you're wrong.