Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest
 

Contents

  1. Gartner Predicts Search Engine Volume Will Drop 25% by 2026, Due To AI Chatbots and Other Virtual Agents
  2. Anthropic Releases New Version of Claude That Beats GPT-4 and Gemini Ultra in Some Benchmark Tests
  3. Apple Unveils New MacBook Air, Powered By M3 Chip
  4. India Reverses AI Stance, Requires Government Approval For Model Launches
  5. JetBlue and Spirit Call Off Their Merger
  6. European Commission Confirms Apple’s Anti-Competitive Behavior Is Illegal and Harms Consumers
  7. Ask Slashdot: Can You Picture Things in Your Mind?
  8. Homeless Man Tries to Steal Waymo Robotaxi in Los Angeles
  9. New Ratings for the ‘Greenest’ Car in America Might Surprise You
  10. Propose Class Action Alleges Apple’s Cloud Storage is an ‘Illegal Monopoly’
  11. How Will Reddit’s IPO Change the Service?
  12. Decades-Old Missing Person Mystery Solved After Relative Uploads DNA To GEDMatch
  13. Road-Embedded Sensors to Find Street Parking Tested in Taiwanese City
  14. NASA Shutters $2B Satellite Refueling Project, Blames Contractor For Delays.
  15. Researchers Create AI Worms That Can Spread From One System to Another

Alterslash picks up to the best 5 comments from each of the day’s Slashdot stories, and presents them on a single page for easy reading.

Gartner Predicts Search Engine Volume Will Drop 25% by 2026, Due To AI Chatbots and Other Virtual Agents

Posted by msmash View on SlashDot Skip
Gartner:
By 2026, traditional search engine volume will drop 25%, with search marketing losing market share to AI chatbots and other virtual agents, according to Gartner. “Organic and paid search are vital channels for tech marketers seeking to reach awareness and demand generation goals,” said Alan Antin, Vice President Analyst at Gartner. “Generative AI (GenAI) solutions are becoming substitute answer engines, replacing user queries that previously may have been executed in traditional search engines. This will force companies to rethink their marketing channels strategy as GenAI becomes more embedded across all aspects of the enterprise.”

With GenAI driving down the cost of producing content, there is an impact around activities including keyword strategy and website domain authority scoring. Search engine algorithms will further value the quality of content to offset the sheer amount of AI-generated content, as content utility and quality still reigns supreme for success in organic search results. There will also be a greater emphasis placed on watermarking and other means to authenticate high-value content. Government regulations across the globe are already holding companies accountable as they begin to require the identification of marketing content assets that AI creates. This will likely play a role in how search engines will display such digital content.

I predict 75% chance that Gartner is wrong

By HBI • Score: 3 Thread

I mean literally about anything. I have no idea why people pay them to prognosticate on the future.

Here comes AI Product Placement

By NFN_NLN • Score: 3 Thread

Businesses will need to train AI to insert product placement into their answers to maintain ad revenue.

You: What is a detergent?

ChatGPT: A detergent is a substance or compound used for cleaning. It’s typically added to water to help remove dirt, grease, stains, and other impurities from surfaces. Detergents such as Dawn work by reducing the surface tension of water, allowing it to more effectively penetrate and lift away grime. They often contain surfactants, which are molecules that have both hydrophilic (water-attracting) and hydrophobic (water-repelling) properties, enabling them to surround and solubilize oily or greasy substances in water. Detergents are commonly used in household cleaning products such as Tide, Palmolive, and Cascade dishwasher tabs.

Re:Here comes AI Product Placement

By iAmWaySmarterThanYou • Score: 5, Funny Thread

Exactly. My example was:

‘What time is it in Paris?”

“It is 3pm in Paris. Here are current airline ticket and hotel prices, I’ve already booked your flight and added it to your calendar. There will be a rental car waiting for you on arrival. This service brought to you by Orbitz!”

Anthropic Releases New Version of Claude That Beats GPT-4 and Gemini Ultra in Some Benchmark Tests

Posted by msmash View on SlashDot Skip
Anthropic, a leading artificial intelligence startup, unveiled its Claude 3 series of AI models today, designed to meet the diverse needs of enterprise customers with a balance of intelligence, speed, and cost efficiency. The lineup includes three models: Opus, Sonnet, and the upcoming Haiku. From a report:
The star of the lineup is Opus, which Anthropic claims is more capable than any other openly available AI system on the market, even outperforming leading models from rivals OpenAI and Google. “Opus is capable of the widest range of tasks and performs them exceptionally well,” said Anthropic cofounder and CEO Dario Amodei in an interview with VentureBeat. Amodei explained that Opus outperforms top AI models like GPT-4, GPT-3.5 and Gemini Ultra on a wide range of benchmarks. This includes topping the leaderboard on academic benchmarks like GSM-8k for mathematical reasoning and MMLU for expert-level knowledge.

“It seems to outperform everyone and get scores that we haven’t seen before on some tasks,” Amodei said. While companies like Anthropic and Google have not disclosed the full parameters of their leading models, the reported benchmark results from both companies imply Opus either matches or surpasses major alternatives like GPT-4 and Gemini in core capabilities. This, at least on paper, establishes a new high watermark for commercially available conversational AI. Engineered for complex tasks requiring advanced reasoning, Opus stands out in Anthropic’s lineup for its superior performance. Sonnet, the mid-range model, offers businesses a more cost-effective solution for routine data analysis and knowledge work, maintaining high performance without the premium price tag of the flagship model. Meanwhile, Haiku is designed to be swift and economical, suited for applications such as consumer-facing chatbots, where responsiveness and cost are crucial factors. Amodei told VentureBeat he expects Haiku to launch publicly in a matter of “weeks, not months.”

Apple Unveils New MacBook Air, Powered By M3 Chip

Posted by msmash View on SlashDot Skip
Apple has announced the launch of its new MacBook Air laptops powered by the company’s latest M3 chip, offering up to 60% faster performance compared to the previous generation (M1-powered MacBook Air). The new 13-inch and 15-inch models feature a thin and light design, up to 18 hours of battery life, and a Liquid Retina display. The M3 chip, built using 3-nanometer technology, boasts an 8-core CPU, up to a 10-core GPU, and supports up to 24GB of unified memory.

The laptops also offer enhanced AI capabilities, with a faster 16-core Neural Engine and accelerators in the CPU and GPU for improved on-device machine learning performance. This enables features such as real-time speech-to-text, translation, and visual understanding. The 13-inch MacBook Air with M3 starts at $1,099, while the 15-inch model starts at $1,299. Both models are available for order starting Monday and will begin arriving to customers and be available in stores on Friday, March 8. Apple also reduced the starting price of the 13-inch MacBook Air with M2 chip to $999.

India Reverses AI Stance, Requires Government Approval For Model Launches

Posted by msmash View on SlashDot Skip
An anonymous reader shares a report:
India has waded into global AI debate by issuing an advisory that requires “significant” tech firms to get government permission before launching new models. India’s Ministry of Electronics and IT issued the advisory to firms on Friday. The advisory — not published on public domain but a copy of which TechCrunch has reviewed — also asks tech firms to ensure that their services or products “do not permit any bias or discrimination or threaten the integrity of the electoral process.”

Though the ministry admits the advisory is not legally binding, India’s IT Deputy Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar says the notice is “signalling that this is the future of regulation.” He adds: “We are doing it as an advisory today asking you to comply with it.” In a tweet Monday, Chandrasekhar said the advisory is aimed at “untested AI platforms deploying on the India internet” and doesn’t apply to startups.
About-face from India’s position on AI a year ago.

The previous stance was the shock

By Entrope • Score: 3 Thread

This position is exactly in line with other policies of India’s government on speech, religious freedoms, expressive content and political dissent, so it’s not objectively surprising. The only surprise was that they even briefly considered a very low-regulation approach to AI.

Re:What could possibly go wrong?

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Interesting Thread

The Licence Raj strikes again.

India never fails to fail.

Indian-Americans are the most successful ethnicity. Indians do well everywhere in the world … except in India.

JetBlue and Spirit Call Off Their Merger

Posted by msmash View on SlashDot Skip
JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines announced on Monday that they would walk away from their planned $3.8 billion merger after federal antitrust regulators successfully challenged the deal in court. JetBlue said it would pay Spirit $69 million to exit the deal. From a report:
A federal judge in Boston blocked the proposed merger on Jan. 16, siding with the Justice Department in determining that the merger would reduce competition in the industry and give airlines more leeway to raise ticket prices. The judge, William G. Young of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, noted that Spirit played a vital role in the market as a low-cost carrier and that travelers would have fewer options if JetBlue absorbed it.

“We are proud of the work we did with Spirit to lay out a vision to challenge the status quo, but given the hurdles to closing that remain, we decided together that both airlines’ interests are better served by moving forward independently,” JetBlue’s chief executive, Joanna Geraghty, said in a statement on Monday. “We wish the very best going forward to the entire Spirit team.” JetBlue and Spirit appealed Judge Young’s decision. JetBlue filed an appellate brief last week arguing that the deal should be allowed to go through. But in a regulatory filing on Jan. 26, JetBlue said it might terminate the deal. Spirit said in its own filing the same day that it believed “there is no basis for terminating” the agreement.

Nerds depend on airplane trips

By Latent Heat • Score: 4, Funny Thread

to see Mom and Dad once a year and to attend Cousin Fran’s wedding this summer in Phoenix when it is 108 deg-F outside.

Nerds rely on low airline ticket prices.

Blocking this merger insures that travel on the carriers offering the most misery at least stays cheap.

Good

By HBI • Score: 3 Thread

I mean Spirit is probably going out of business as a result of this, but M&A activity should be discouraged at every juncture.

“Liquidity is always king, and we have enhanced our levels to give us the necessary flexibility to successfully close with JetBlue or to pursue our stand-alone plans,” Christie said. “Above all else, margin repair is the key and we have been making network adjustments and cost decisions to recover our margin production.”
Spirit’s buzzword affected CEO

Re: Good

By TuballoyThunder • Score: 4 Thread
I think JetBlue is in a precarious position. They need the Spirit slots at LAX to make more money on the east coast to LAX routes (a major revenue source for airlines). Without that revenue, it will be more difficult to have the cash flow needed to compete with larger carriers. Jet Blue is in the too expensive to be a LCC and not big enough to effectively compete with the legacy carriers. Customer satisfaction does not translate to favorable lease terms or corporate financing (loans or bonds)—cash flow is king.

European Commission Confirms Apple’s Anti-Competitive Behavior Is Illegal and Harms Consumers

Posted by msmash View on SlashDot Skip
The EU Commission on Monday fined Apple about $2 billion for stifling competition from rival music streaming services. In a blog post, Spotify writes:
Apple’s rules muzzled Spotify and other music streaming services from sharing with our users directly in our app about various benefits — denying us the ability to communicate with them about how to upgrade and the price of subscriptions, promotions, discounts, or numerous other perks. Of course, Apple Music, a competitor to these apps, is not barred from the same behaviour. By requiring Apple to stop its illegal conduct in the EU, the EC is putting consumers first. It is a basic concept of free markets — customers should know what options they have, and customers, not Apple, should decide what to buy, and where, when and how.

While we appreciate the EC addressing this important case, we also know that the details matter. Apple has routinely defied laws and court decisions in other markets. So we’re looking forward to the next steps that will hopefully clearly and conclusively address Apple’s long-standing unfair practices.

From the beginning, the foundational belief of the internet is that it should be a fair and open ecosystem. That belief has fueled growth, innovation and discovery around the world. Today the leading way people access the internet is via their mobile phones. So why should the same principles not apply? And while we are pleased that this case delivers some justice, it does not solve Apple’s bad behaviour towards developers beyond music streaming in other markets around the world. Our work will not be done until we succeed in securing a truly fair digital marketplace everywhere and our commitment to helping to make this a reality remains unwavering.
Further reading: Apple’s response.

Re:If I was Apple

By Pentium100 • Score: 5, Insightful Thread

Can they go away faster?

Of course EU is going to fine them over and over, hopefully the fines would be increasing as well. As long as they break the EU law over and over, they should be fined over and over until breaking the law stops being profitable.

Needs to be larger

By _xeno_ • Score: 5, Informative Thread

Apple preventing Spotify from advertising their lower prices is just part of the way Apple attempts to push you over to Apple Music. I seem to recall a recent story about how Apple essentially forces you to buy iCloud storage space. Well, they also bundle that with Apple Music. Oh, you’re out of space on iCloud? (You will be, since Apple has never increased the available space since launch, just added new and more expensive tiers.) Well, for a small monthly fee, you can get enough space to back up your phone and Apple Music.

Oh, you don’t want to pay for iCloud? Well, I’ll just constantly remind you that you’re out of iCloud storage space until you relent just to shut up the messages.

That in addition to things always launching in Apple Music without any way to change it. Connect your iPhone to a Bluetooth speaker and Apple Music will launch. Press the “play” button on said speaker (or Bluetooth keyboard or the like) and Apple Music will launch. Connect to a car, and Apple Music will launch. Doesn’t matter if you’re doing something else at the time, even if it’s using Apple’s own Podcast app, iOS will always launch Apple Music and interrupt it.

Apple is an illegal monopoly and should be treated as such. They’re also a trillion dollar company. A $2 billion fine is nothing. It needs to be much, much higher.

Re:If I was Apple

By serviscope_minor • Score: 5, Insightful Thread

If I was concerned I’d buy a droid.

Do try to understand, and I know this will be hard: it’s not about you.

The EU thinks Apple is large enough to have a distorting effect on the market and using that distortion for profit. Your personal choices are completely irrelevant.

Re:If I was Apple

By ACForever • Score: 5, Funny Thread
Sorry self centered narcissism is at the core of every apple cult member

Re:If I was Apple

By sg_oneill • Score: 5, Insightful Thread

Dude. I’ve been an IOS coder since *before* the SDK came out. (And before that a Nokia coder. God those where dark dark days). I get it. You got a big A stamped on your forehead. So do I. Hell I even had Steve Jobs personally intervene once to save my old company. I have loyalty to apple.

But as a Developer its infuriating how much apple will thwart any attempt at novel business models because you might accidentally compete with them. They are constantly abusing their monopoly to leverage themselves into everybody elses shit, and that is actually illegal. Just because you and I might enjoy apple products doesnt mean we cant critically appraise that company and realise the shocking truth that just because we might love apple, does not mean apple loves us.

So yes I support the europeans smacking their ass for trying to suppress innovation and competition. And so should you.

Ask Slashdot: Can You Picture Things in Your Mind?

Posted by EditorDavid View on SlashDot Skip
“It never occurred to me that having no visual imagery was unusual…” writes a science journalist at the Guardian.

“It’s not that I forget what I look like, but I am sometimes a little surprised, and don’t feel connected to my outward appearance as a matter of identity.”
There’s been a surge of research on how aphantasia affects our lives… [F]or some it affects images alone; some can’t imagine other sensory information, like sounds. Some people with aphantasia have visualizations when they dream (I do), and others don’t. There’s evidence that it can make it harder for people to recall visual details, though other studies show that aphants perform better on some memory tests unrelated to imagery… But overall, people with aphantasia don’t seem to have serious problems navigating their day-to-day lives, unlike those with more severe memory conditions like episodic amnesia…

Some people consider aphantasia to be a deficit and wish they could reverse it. People have claimed they can train their way out of aphantasia, or use psychedelics to regain some sense of mental imagery (the jury is out on whether that works). I have no desire for this — my mind is plenty busy without a stream of imagery. If I was born with imagery, it would be commonplace for me, and I’m sure I’d enjoy it. But I already can find myself overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings that have no visual aspects to them.
Long-time Slashdot reader whoever57 writes that “Personally, I never realized before reading this article that people could create mental images.” (And they also wonder if people with the condition tend to go into STEM fields.) There’s what’s known as the "red apple test,” where you rate your own ability to visualize an apple on a scale of 1 to 5.

Any Slashdot readers want to share their own experiences in the comments?

Nope

By beelsebob • Score: 4, Interesting Thread

I certainly have aphantasia, and I have a fairly strong hypothesis that it’s led to me being much more practiced in thinking about abstract concepts, and connecting them. So yes, I do think it had some bearing on going into software engineering.

How confident are we..

By Junta • Score: 5, Interesting Thread

We are talking about qualia here and people may just have different opinions of what they think ‘visualization’ is. Some people may be more confident than others that they are ‘visualizing’.

Since we are talking about some internal subjective representation, we have no mechanism to objectively know what “visualization” is toward one another. We can express how confident we feel that we are ‘visualizing’ versus others experience, but it’s all ultimately guesswork.

For example: “make it harder for people to recall visual details,” may have the “causation” backwards. People who forget the detail and/or are not confident about their recall of the detail are not able to on-demand describe the scene. So the person who thinks they visualized merely remembered some details and could recount them. The person who didn’t bother to retain details and gets called on it enough becomes keenly aware of the limits and presumes it’s fundamental to “staying visual” or not.

Our subjective experience of reality may be impossibly different from one another and we’d have no way of finding that out. The way we synthesize the inputs from our senses into a working model of the world is not really feasible to compare, and I think this extends to whether one person “visualizes” or not.

Re:How confident are we..

By gosso920 • Score: 4, Informative Thread
We have always been at war with aphantasia.

Makes me wonder.

By EnsilZah • Score: 4, Interesting Thread

As someone who can picture things in his mind to some extent, I’d describe it as having another framebuffer that’s separate from vision that I can shift attention to to see glimpses of images if I put some effort into it, or something like a story triggers it.
As someone who’s worked as a visual designer, I don’t remember ever explicitly using it as a tool, but it probably helps having a vague draft in my head to work towards.
So it makes me wonder if it’s possible to train control over it, or if someone people have much greater control over it.
I used to paint from live models, so if someone could just consistently hold on to an imaginary view the painting part wouldn’t be too difficult.
There was this artist named King Jung Gi who would start from a blank piece of paper and fill it with intricate details without seeming doing any planning, I wonder if he just had the whole thing held in his mind.

Re:Nope, can’t

By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Interesting Thread

This is exactly my experience. I was just talking to my lady about it. In order to remember things I have to understand them because I can’t just bring up a picture like she can. She’s an artist. I’m a techie. I understand how things work at a level that confuses her, she can see stuff and draw it from memory.

The confounding thing is that so many people think all of our brains work just the same and refuse to accept that others may have different experiences. People expect you to be able to do things because they find them easy, even though they can’t do all of the things you can do. It’s almost unbelievably stupid.

Homeless Man Tries to Steal Waymo Robotaxi in Los Angeles

Posted by EditorDavid View on SlashDot Skip
A homeless man “was taken into custody on suspicion of grand theft auto,” reports the Los Angeles Times, “after police said he tried to steal a Waymo self-driving car in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday night.”
The man entered and tried to operate a Waymo vehicle that had stopped to let out a passenger at the corner of 1st and Main at 10:30 p.m., Los Angeles Police Department detective Meghan Aguilar said. After the man, whom a Waymo spokesman described as an “unauthorized pedestrian,” entered the vehicle, the company’s Rider Support team instructed him to exit the car. When he did not, the company contacted the police, “who were then able to remove and arrest” the man, said Chris Bonelli, a Waymo spokesman…

No injuries were reported by the rider, and there was no damage to the vehicle, Bonelli said. The car was stationary during the entire incident because an unauthorized person was identified by the company to be in the vehicle, according to Waymo.

These car thieves

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 5, Funny Thread

They really need to be waymo’ careful about what they’re trying to steal.

Re:Some questions....

By Valgrus Thunderaxe • Score: 5, Informative Thread
OK, first, as a non-American: What is “grand” about grand theft auto and compared to that - what is small theft auto? Isn’t it that you either steal a car or you don’t?

You seem confused, so maybe as an American I can help you to understand. “Grand” (meaning large) and “Petty” (from Petit, meaning small) come from French, and they have the same meaning in English (Even in “America”). Grand Theft is simply the theft of property that exceeds a value that is determined to be “large”. What constitutes large is going to vary by jurisdiction.

I hope that clears up your confusion.

Re:These car thieves

By Rei • Score: 5, Insightful Thread

Did he even actually try to “steal” the car, or is that just the police’s spin on a homeless man looking for a place to sleep and refusing to leave the vehicle? Because my level of surprise at the latter would be “0%".

Re:Another take

By Rei • Score: 5, Interesting Thread

My favourite example is from the USSR (sadly I don’t remember the person’s name). He was from a bourgeois family, and while he had survived recent purges, when he heard rumours that a new purge was likely coming, he was pretty certain he wouldn’t survive this one. So he goes into town in the middle of the night. Breaks into a store. Fills a bag with goods. Then lies down and waits for the police to come and arrest him.

When the purge happens, he’s serving out a short prison sentence. While many people in the west tend to view the Soviet legal system (and Russia today) as arbitrary, it’s better thought as hyperbureaucratic - the policies may not necessarily align with the laws, but the policies are strictly carried out. And in the Soviet bureaucracy, there were different systems for common criminals and political criminals. He was now a common criminal, he’d been processed by the system and was serving out his sentence… thus he wasn’t one of those political criminals outside the jail secretly working to undercut the glorious Soviet system. He survived the purge.

Re:Some questions....

By skam240 • Score: 5, Insightful Thread

No, most of us Americans are just shocked about how stupid some people are with their entire world view being shaped by far right media.

New Ratings for the ‘Greenest’ Car in America Might Surprise You

Posted by EditorDavid View on SlashDot Skip
The Washington Post shares some surprising news from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, a 44-year-old nonprofit which works on government energy policies and produces its own research and analysis.

The group “has rated the pollution from vehicles for decades,” according to the article — but “says the winning car this year is the Toyota Prius Prime SE, a plug-in hybrid that can go 44 miles on electricity before switching to hybrid.”
“It’s the shape of the body, the technology within it, and the overall weight,” said Peter Huether, senior research associate for transportation at ACEEE. “And all different types of Priuses are very efficient....” [T]he Prius Prime also won out in 2020 and 2022. But with more and more electric vehicles on the market, the staying power of the plug-in hybrid is surprising.

The analysis shows that simply running on electricity is not enough to guarantee that a car is “green” — its weight, battery size and overall efficiency matter, too. While a gigantic electric truck weighing thousands of pounds might be better than a gas truck of the same size, both will be outmatched by a smaller, efficient gas vehicle. And the more huge vehicles there are on the road, the harder it will be for the United States to meet its goal of zeroing out emissions by 2050.

The GreenerCars report analyzes 1,200 cars available in 2024, assessing both the carbon dioxide emissions of the vehicle while it’s on the road and the emissions of manufacturing the car and battery. It also assesses the impact of pollutants beyond carbon dioxide, including nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and particulate matter — all of which can harm human health. The Toyota Prius Prime received a score of 71, followed by several all-electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Mini Cooper SE with scores in the high 60s. The Toyota RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid SUV with 42 miles in range, got a score of 64. One gas hybrid, the Hyundai Elantra Blue, made the list as well — thanks to an efficient design and good mileage.

At the bottom of the list were large gas-guzzling trucks such as the Ford F-150 Raptor R, with scores in the 20s. So was one electric car: the Hummer EV, which weighs 9,000 pounds and scored a 29… The Prius Prime outranked its competitors, Huether said, because of its small battery — which lowers the emissions and pollution associated with manufacturing — and its high efficiency. The vehicle’s battery is less than one-tenth the size of the battery on the monstrous Hummer EV.

Re: It Is A Decent Car

By shilly • Score: 5, Insightful Thread

The report is obviously poorly thought through in this respect at leasts. My guess is they make some wildly inaccurate assumptions about how PHEVs are actually used in the real world, and think that this car will spend most of its life being driven on its battery. The truth, of course, is that many drivers rarely plug them in. I reckon they have also not taken into account charge-discharge cycles. The average American car is driven 30 miles a day. With a 44 mile range, the Prime will go through a full cycle basically every day. So after a year and a half or two years (500 to 750 cycles), if it were actually driven in EV mode the whole time, the battery is already going to be have degraded to be at 80% SoH — ie down to 36 miles. And after four years, the battery isn’t going to be good for much at all. That will result in either a battery replacement, or more likely, the car being used in ICE mode more and more. Both of these are obviously carbon-intensive.

Re: It Is A Decent Car

By tlhIngan • Score: 5, Insightful Thread

The car may be “greener” but it definitely didn’t include anything like maintenance - engine oil, transmission oil, and other things aren’t green at all, especially replacing engine oil every few months (this is highly polluting which is why you have to dispose of it in special areas).

Hybrids are a decent technology, however, they are probably way worse in the maintenance department - they are way more complex than ICEs, have high voltages like BEVs, so they get to fill the space with all the maintenance needs of a regular ICE, adding the complexity of a hybrid drive train and special knowledge of high voltage electronics of a BEV.

All you need is for any part of it to break and leave you stranded.

Why someone hasn’t made a serial hybrid where the drive train is all electric, but it has an engine coupled to a generator for extended range is beyond me. You get the drive simplicity of an EV, you don’t need a transmission that couples both the engine and motor together - the motor drives the wheels exclusively, and the engine powers a generator to recharge the battery as necessary. Like a diesel electric locomotive, or an Edison truck. I suppose it can be disconcerting to be sitting in traffic and then have the engine startup on you, or that the engine sounds never vary with speed (since the engine gets to work in its most efficient operating range to run the generator), but it at least eliminates the mechanical complexity of a transmission with multiple gears and clutches and other stuff.

Re:Green energy?

By shilly • Score: 5, Informative Thread

This is a myth that just refuses to die. An EV running on the most carbon-intensive grid mix in the US (and in fact, in the world) is still cleaner than a gas hybrid, because:
1. EV efficiency is so much inherently higher than an ICE vehicle
2. Non carbon benefits including lower noise pollution, zero tailpipe emissions, dramatically fewer brake pad emissions

See for example: https://www.greencarreports.co….

Re: It Is A Decent Car

By saloomy • Score: 5, Insightful Thread
They engineered their results to fit their masters Narrative. A quick glance at their financeers lists the Rockefeller group, the Koch group, among others.

Re: It Is A Decent Car

By Rei • Score: 5, Informative Thread

OMG,lol.

So, I had to quick through about 10 links, and fill out a form, to find this link. I jumped straight to the “Environmental Damage” section. Within five paragraphs I’m reading stuff like this:

Since the average US electricity generation mix includes a significant share (20%) of nuclear power, it is necessary to include the environmental damage associated with the nuclear fuel cycle. Its environmental impacts fall largely outside of the criteria air pollutant and GHG impacts on which we base our damage cost estimates for fossil fuels and their products. However the impacts are significant, so we incorporate them in the greenercars.org analysis. Population exposures to radiation occur during uranium extraction and processing to produce nuclear fuel, during normal reactor functioning, and during radioactive waste disposal and plant decommissioning. Many of these latter impacts are highly uncertain because these end phases of the nuclear fuel cycle are far from fully addressed. The most problematic cost is that associated with accidents, which can be disastrous, but are rare and unpredictable and so are very poorly amenable to statistical characterization.

External costs of nuclear power have been extensively investigated for electric sector studies. The greenercars.org methodology currently bases its nuclear damage costs on Rabl and Rabl (2013). Given the relatively safe history of US nuclear operations and the high uncertainty associated with accident estimates, the bulk of these external costs relate to the cost of routine operations and decommissioning. Of the 0.63/kWh (2013 dollars) total cost, 0.10/kWh is for accidents. We adjust this figure to 2004 dollars to be consistent with our current methodology, which gives us a total external cost of electricity of

0.53/kWh

. Prorating this estimate by the 20% share of nuclear power in the mix adds 0.11/kWh to the overall external cost of electricity, which we estimate for the 2015 model year analysis at 0.75/kWh. This value is used to calculate the environmental damage from electric vehicle charging.

OMG, I jumped to where they’re getting their embodied energy costs. Drumroll… :

GREET calculates embodied energy and emissions based on a large number of vehiclespecific inputs, such as vehicle weight, vehicle material composition, fluid composition and weight, and battery size (ANL 2006). As most of these inputs are not available on a modelby-model basis, we use GREET default values for most of them

In 2007, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) released the GREET 2 model, which quantifies the energy use and emissions associated with vehicle production and recycling and disposal (referred to as vehicle cycle emissions by ANL). GREET 2 results indicate that weight is, in fact, the dominant factor in materials production, manufacturing, and end-of-life impacts. Hence, a good sense of the variation of embodied emissions impacts by model can be obtained by using vehicle weight as the primary GREET 2 input while using default values

2006. They’re using 2006 numbers that were used to build a model released in 2007. I mean, Jesus f’ing christ. That’s pre-Roadster. George Bush is president. Twitter launches the same year. The original iPhone launch is still a year away. The Beijing Olympics and Russia’s invasion of Georgia are still two years away.

What the heck kind of field do they think they’re working in that you can use data from 2006 to build a model of modern EV manufacturing?

Propose Class Action Alleges Apple’s Cloud Storage is an ‘Illegal Monopoly’

Posted by EditorDavid View on SlashDot Skip
“Apple faces a proposed class action lawsuit alleging the company holds an illegal monopoly over digital storage for its customers,” reports the Hill:
The suit, filed Friday, claims “surgical” restraints prevent customers from effectively using any service except its iCloud storage system. iCloud is the only service that can host certain data from the company’s phones, tablets and computers, including application data and device settings. Plaintiffs allege the practice has “unlawfully ‘tied’" the devices and iCloud together… “As a result of this restraint, would-be cloud competitors are unable to offer Apple’s device holders a full-service cloud-storage solution, or even a pale comparison.”
The suit argues that there are “no technological or security justifications for this limitation on consumer choice,” according to PC Magazine.

The class action’s web site is arguing that “Consumers may have paid higher prices than they allegedly would have in a competitive market.”

expensive

By bloodhawk • Score: 5 Thread
Not sure about illegal monopoly, but fuck me it is expensive. My wife uses iphone, the eyewatering price of her device was bad enough, the monthly iCloud bills are just insane.

Re:Nothing new here , apple just copying again

By itsme1234 • Score: 5, Insightful Thread

Not sure if you meant it ironically but you can buy Office by itself. Not sure what the bundling is, I mean sure if you subscribe (starting for free?) to the online version (if you need for example the web version) there would be some space for you, like there is for Google Docs, but a web based document editing thing doesn’t really make sense without some cloud storage. I guess one could always want to use Microsoft’s online Word or Google’s Docs to edit directly documents from Dropbox or Mega, but I doubt this can be much enforced by anything except the market.

Speaking of Microsoft what was apparent after the last bricking bug https://arstechnica.com/gadget… for Android was how bad we have it with these “walled gardens”, and in this case it was with the “open” Android. Specifically:
- you can’t backup your device because you are denied access to mostly everything, from OS data to app data (note that it isn’t even “to sell cloud storage” because the online backup is equally bad, as in not storing app data)
- you can’t boot something else, all the discussions we ever had about Secure Boot and Windows starting since at least Windows 8 are nothing, you can still boot anything on any PC, and you can even do it in a “Secure Boot” fashion if you prepare well
- even if you could boot something else you can’t get the keys to your own encrypted storage

We’re talking about access, Secure Boot authentication and data encryption available to you, as the owner, authenticated in any way possible, before anything bad happens, of course, not that a thief can’t get the encryption keys or the evil maid can’t boot something, that of course is by design. All points were particularly relevant as the mentioned bug was probably something simple, like a permission or symlink, which could be easily fixed by just booting from something else and running something trivial.

And the point I’m trying to make is that basically all are available for all PCs. You can make backups as you like both for files and images of whole drives, you can manage your Secure Boot and boot anything (including wildly different OSes) and you can have your Bitlocker recovery keys. When you manage to have your “open” OS worse than Windows things are dire.

Microsoft got fined for bundling a media player and/or a browser with the OS. Samsung (we are talking about the top Android manufacturer?) gives you (depending on the phone and region) a Facebook app you can’t install (because of course, the admin and owner of the device doesn’t have permissions to uninstall apps!) and it’s all fine.

Re:expensive

By SvnLyrBrto • Score: 4, Informative Thread

No, she doesn’t. iCloud backs up nowhere near the full 512GB. It backs up all of your settings and any data that’s not already synced to iCloud. But it skips the apps, music, movies, mail, and a few others. Those are re-downloaded from their original sources after the backup restoration is “complete.” It even re-populates the app grid and your folders. But they’re all greyed-out until they redownload; but not from your iCloud backup, but from the App Store. My (256GB, 212 used) iPhone’s most recent backup is 3.9GB.

So you might want to look at the actual sizes of those backups. They’ll be smaller then you expect and you should be able to scale down your iCloud Drive.

Re: expensive

By gnasher719 • Score: 4, Informative Thread
God, are you stupid. Have a look in Settings how much iCloud storage is actually used. I’ll bet it’s less than 50GB. .

Re:expensive

By iAmWaySmarterThanYou • Score: 4, Interesting Thread

Bullying? Lmao, omg, how old are you?

I provided the price and the fact that you don’t need to pay anything at all for config storage if you want to use non Apple storage and you got triggered by that and modded me troll with your sock puppet account.

Wow! How did you become so weak minded and ignorant yet still manage to use a computer?

How Will Reddit’s IPO Change the Service?

Posted by EditorDavid View on SlashDot Skip
“Reddit users have been reacting with deep gloom to the firm saying it plans to sell shares to the public…” the BBC recently reported:
The company has said its plans are “exciting” and will offer the business opportunities for growth. However many users worry the move will fundamentally change the website… “When the most important customers shift from [users] to shareholders, the product always [suffers],” said one person. “It becomes ‘what can we do this quarter to squeak out an additional point of revenue’, instead of ‘how can we make this product better’....”

[T]he company has recorded losses every year since its start, including more than $90m last year. In the filing, Reddit said it had not started trying to make money seriously until 2018. It reported $804m in revenue last year, up more than 20% from 2022. Advertising accounted for nearly all of the revenue, but in a note to prospective investors chief executive Steve Huffman said he was excited about opportunities to make the platform a venue for commerce and license its content to AI companies.

Re: So…

By robbak • Score: 5, Insightful Thread

Remember - markets can remain irrational for longer than your can remain solvent.

Will it be enough to inspire a worthy compeitor?

By erice • Score: 4, Insightful Thread

Services almost never improve end user experience after an IPO. I expect the usual which is that it gets worse. The question is, will it get bad enough to finally inspire a solid competitor?

Not That Long Ago

By The Cat • Score: 5, Insightful Thread

We had this thing called Usenet. Not only was it free, it was important enough that it had its own Internet protocol called NNTP. It was separate from the web and email. It wasn’t under someone’s control. Nobody owned it.

For reasons that still have not been adequately explained, the people who invested most heavily into the concept of a free and open Internet cheered when big tech came to usurp our power. They aggressively set out to destroy everything. Flash, Netscape, the web, email, Usenet - all claimed and then either choked into submission or thrown overboard in the name of “safety.”

Now the entire commercial software market is controlled by three companies. All Internet communication is strictly controlled by a half dozen companies. The web is all but dead. Nobody knows what Usenet even is. Big tech is on the verge of outright blocking email at the router. It’s all going away. It didn’t even last 30 years.

The least technologically knowledgeable people who have ever lived have convinced the entire world that the Internet is unsafe, and we not only let it happen, we made it happen.

We don’t deserve the Internet. That’s why it will be taken from us.

Re:Not That Long Ago

By Opportunist • Score: 4, Funny Thread

The elitism back then was that it took an IQ above room temperature to successfully connect to the internet.

Since that dropped considerably, we now just have to do our own type of elitism: We keep the room temperature IQ people outside and herd them to places like Reddit.

Re:So…

By igreaterthanu • Score: 4, Informative Thread
If you’re serious, buy put options don’t short. Shorting is much more risky as you have unlimited liability.

Decades-Old Missing Person Mystery Solved After Relative Uploads DNA To GEDMatch

Posted by EditorDavid View on SlashDot Skip
In 1970 an Oregon man discovered a body with “clear signs of foul play”.

NPR reports that “The identity of the young woman remained a mystery — until Thursday.”
State authorities identified the woman as Sandra Young, a teenager from Portland who went missing between 1968 and 1969. Her identity was discovered through advanced DNA technology, which has helped solve stubborn cold cases in recent years. The case’s breakthrough came last year in January, when a person uploaded their DNA to the genealogy database GEDMatch and the tool immediately determined that the DNA donor was a distant family member of Young....

From there, a genetic genealogist working with local law enforcement helped track down other possible relatives and encouraged them to provide their DNA. That work eventually led to Young’s sister and other family members, who confirmed that Young went missing around the same time.
Thanks to Slashdot reader Tony Isaac for sharing the news.

What’s not stated directly …

By Thoth Ptolemy • Score: 3 Thread
What’s not stated directly is that a black girl went missing in 68/69 and no one cared. I’d be willing to bet the PPB made zero effort to connect any dots. They’ll just deflect and do nothing this time too. After all, the PPB has far right sympathizers and allowed the far-right to engage in targeted political violence.

Re:What’s not stated directly …

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 5, Interesting Thread

Problem is, there are a lot of kids who are serial runaways. Families often don’t bother to report the kids missing after the third or fourth time. Plus there are a lot of dysfunctional families… they might have assumed she was staying with some friend, but not be in any sort of regular contact with her - so no one may have even realized she was missing.

I’m not saying that was the case here, necessarily - but things are not always as cut-and-dried as we might want.

I’m glad that at least her family has a tiny amount of closure now - but I can’t even fathom what they’ve gone through all these years.

Re:How’s that solved?

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Informative Thread

TFA says the mystery of her identity is solved, not that the case is solved.

Remember nothing online is private

By gweihir • Score: 3 Thread

For example, the next fascist regime will have no trouble rounding up all “undesirsbles” for disposal in death-camps. The 3rd Reich had some real troubles doing that and needed to buy IBM tech for it. No such issues today.

Road-Embedded Sensors to Find Street Parking Tested in Taiwanese City

Posted by EditorDavid View on SlashDot Skip
Taiwan doesn’t have parking meters, writes long-time Slashdot reader Badlands, “but rather roving armies of maids on electric scooters that cruise their area with their smartphone and take a pic of your license plate and timestamp it, leaving a receipt under your windshield wipers.”

But now one city will try “smart parking” services — which will also help drivers find vacant parking spots, according to Taiwan News:
The service will utilize 3,471 geomagnetic sensors installed along 122 stretches of roadway in Banqiao, Yonghe, Zhonghe and Xindian Districts, according to a press release. The sensors will be linked to a publicly available online database to indicate where open parking spaces are available.

The “New Taipei Street Parking Inquiry Service” will be accessible through a main website run by the Department of Transportation. The service is also linked to two smartphone applications… Payments can be made automatically by linking one’s app profile to their smartphone’s telecommunications provider… For drivers that use spaces without linking their phone and vehicle to the smart network, cameras located along the street where the sensors are installed will allow the city to identify and bill drivers via mail, based on their vehicle’s registration information.

Disney Lots

By JBMcB • Score: 5, Interesting Thread

Disney World put up huge parking structures around their “downtown” area, that have sensors on every space with red/green lights above, so you can see where parking spots are. Whoever designed it is a genius, you can see the lights from nearly every angle, almost all the way across the huge decks.

This isn’t new in Taiwan

By billnill • Score: 3, Informative Thread

Tainan City in Taiwan had been installing and using smart parking meters for the last seven years; it uses a set of cameras on the parking meter to identify vehicle license plate numbers. It pretty much does all the things mentioned in the article, except it also allows you to pay on the spot via payment card or third-party payment, if you want to.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?…

NASA Shutters $2B Satellite Refueling Project, Blames Contractor For Delays.

Posted by EditorDavid View on SlashDot Skip
“NASA said Friday it is shutting down a $2 billion satellite refueling project,” reports UPI, “after criticizing the project’s contractor for poor performance.”
The agency in a statement said it will discontinue the On-orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing 1 project after nearly a decade of work due to “continued technical, cost, and schedule challenges, and a broader community evolution away from refueling unprepared spacecraft, which has led to a lack of a committed partner.” […] The spacecraft would have utilized an attached Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot (SPIDER) to refuel the Landsat, assemble a communications antenna and demonstrate in-space manufacture of a 32-foot carbon fiber composite beam to verify the capability of constructing large spacecraft structures in orbit… An audit from NASA’s Inspector General, however, found OSAM-1 was on track to exceed the projected $2.05 billion budget and would not make its December 2026 launch date, laying the blame on the “poor performance of Maxar.”

“NASA and Maxar officials acknowledged that Maxar underestimated the scope and complexity of the work, lacked full understanding of NASA technical requirements, and were deficient in necessary expertise,” the report read.

The report also noted Maxar was “no longer profiting from their work on OSAM-1,” after which the xproject appeared not “to be a high priority for Maxar in terms of the quality of its staffing.”
Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader schwit1 for sharing the news.

Researchers Create AI Worms That Can Spread From One System to Another

Posted by EditorDavid View on SlashDot
Long-time Slashdot reader Greymane shared this article from Wired:
[I]n a demonstration of the risks of connected, autonomous AI ecosystems, a group of researchers has created one of what they claim are the first generative AI worms — which can spread from one system to another, potentially stealing data or deploying malware in the process. “It basically means that now you have the ability to conduct or to perform a new kind of cyberattack that hasn’t been seen before,” says Ben Nassi, a Cornell Tech researcher behind the research. Nassi, along with fellow researchers Stav Cohen and Ron Bitton, created the worm, dubbed Morris II, as a nod to the original Morris computer worm that caused chaos across the Internet in 1988. In a research paper and website shared exclusively with WIRED, the researchers show how the AI worm can attack a generative AI email assistant to steal data from emails and send spam messages — breaking some security protections in ChatGPT and Gemini in the process…in test environments [and not against a publicly available email assistant]…

To create the generative AI worm, the researchers turned to a so-called “adversarial self-replicating prompt.” This is a prompt that triggers the generative AI model to output, in its response, another prompt, the researchers say. In short, the AI system is told to produce a set of further instructions in its replies… To show how the worm can work, the researchers created an email system that could send and receive messages using generative AI, plugging into ChatGPT, Gemini, and open source LLM, LLaVA. They then found two ways to exploit the system — by using a text-based self-replicating prompt and by embedding a self-replicating prompt within an image file.

In one instance, the researchers, acting as attackers, wrote an email including the adversarial text prompt, which “poisons” the database of an email assistant using retrieval-augmented generation (RAG), a way for LLMs to pull in extra data from outside its system. When the email is retrieved by the RAG, in response to a user query, and is sent to GPT-4 or Gemini Pro to create an answer, it “jailbreaks the GenAI service” and ultimately steals data from the emails, Nassi says. “The generated response containing the sensitive user data later infects new hosts when it is used to reply to an email sent to a new client and then stored in the database of the new client,” Nassi says. In the second method, the researchers say, an image with a malicious prompt embedded makes the email assistant forward the message on to others. “By encoding the self-replicating prompt into the image, any kind of image containing spam, abuse material, or even propaganda can be forwarded further to new clients after the initial email has been sent,” Nassi says.

In a video demonstrating the research, the email system can be seen forwarding a message multiple times. The researchers also say they could extract data from emails. “It can be names, it can be telephone numbers, credit card numbers, SSN, anything that is considered confidential,” Nassi says.
The researchers reported their findings to Google and OpenAI, according to the article, with OpenAI confirming “They appear to have found a way to exploit prompt-injection type vulnerabilities by relying on user input that hasn’t been checked or filtered.” OpenAI says they’re now working to make their systems “more resilient.”

Google declined to comment on the research.

Cool research

By gweihir • Score: 4, Insightful Thread

That did not take long. Shows how utterly foolish using current AI to automate things would be.

Re:So wait.

By JustAnotherOldGuy • Score: 5, Insightful Thread

Wouldn’t one AI system be able to catch the other one trying to infect it with a virus or worm?

We’ll find out, won’t we?

My guess is no, the first few times this is tried, it’ll succeed like gangbusters. Then code will be written to prevent this, and so on and so on. Just like the virus/malware arms race.

Anyway, my take-away is that shit is gonna get fucked up in ways we didn’t foresee.