the unofficial Slashdot digest archive

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.

Mark Cuban on His Online Pharmacy: 'Our KPI is How Much We Can Reduce the Stress of Our Patients'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Mark Cuban's announcement over the weekend of an online pharmacy selling over a hundred generic drugs at near cost was totally unexpected but will likely be welcomed by millions who struggle to afford medication. The billionaire told TechCrunch that the business model is refreshingly simple: "Lower pricing reduces patient stress, and that will lead to more customers." From the report: The Cost Plus Drug Company aims very simply to provide as many common medications as possible in generic form at as low a price as possible. All cash, no IP deals, no insurance companies -- just buy pills for what they cost to make, plus 15 percent to cover overhead. Asked about ROI, Cuban admitted there isn't much to speak of, by design. "I want to be above break even while maximizing the number of people who can afford their medications," he said. "Shoot. I would be happy if we can make a little, but push pricing of generics sold elsewhere down significantly. Our challenge is to keep pushing prices lower," not compete with anyone, he continued. "Our KPI is how much we can reduce the stress of our patients who buy generic meds. When people save a lot of money on their medications, they often will tell others they know that have the same challenges. That word of mouth impacts our growth the most."


By RemindMeLater • Score: 3 • Thread
If someone makes a generic insulin manufacturer and sells close to cost they should get the Noble prize. It's insane how expensive insulin has gotten. https://www.americanactionforu...

Peloton Should Put Itself Up for Sale and Fire Its CEO, Activist Investor Demands

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The knives are out for Peloton and CEO John Foley. From a report: Blackwells Capital, an activist investor that owns less than 5% of Peloton, says it has "grave concerns" about its performance and is calling on its board of directors to fire Foley immediately and explore a sale. In an open letter Monday, the investment firm sharply criticized Peloton for not capitalizing the success it achieved in 2020, saying it squandered the opportunity to grow sales of its internet-connected bikes and treadmills. Peloton shares have tumbled 80% from their peak, bruised from sagging sales, a massive recall and PR nightmares in popular TV shows. Blackwells' Chief Investment Officer Jason Aintabi said the company is currently on "worse footing today than it was prior to the pandemic, with high fixed costs, excessive inventory, a listless strategy, dispirited employees and thousands of disgruntled shareholders." To turn around Peloton's fortunes, Blackwells suggests firing Foley for his "repeated failures," listing 10 examples. They include his pricing strategy (Peloton cut the price on its Bike and Tread in August 2021, only to raise them again months later), his handling of the treadmill recall and a purported temporary shutdown of production. Blackwells also slammed Foley for hiring his wife as a key executive.

Color me shocked

By Inglix the Mad • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
"Rich a$$hole demands a forced sale so he gets paid, other investors lose money, and peons lose jobs." That would be a more accurate headline.

Look, their core customer are serious cyclists

By jfdavis668 • Score: 3 • Thread
who need to train in inclement weather. Or at least people who think they are serious cyclists. I follow professional road racing, and have been watching Peleton commercials since they started in 2012. Really tired of watching them, since there aren't many other companies that buy the spots. The sudden lockdown lead to explosion of people interested in working out at home. It wasn't going to last. They just need to make some extra profits, and return back to their niche. Ok, now they have treadmills for that crowd, too. Anyone who invested thinking that this business was going to boom forever really didn't do any basic research.

New MoonBounce UEFI Bootkit Can't Be Removed by Replacing the Hard Drive

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Security researchers from Kaspersky said they have discovered a novel bootkit that can infect a computer's UEFI firmware. From a report: What makes MoonBounce -- the name they gave the bootkit -- special is the fact that the malware doesn't burrow and hide inside a section of the hard drive named ESP (EFI System Partition), where some UEFI code typically resides, but instead it infects the SPI flaws memory that is found on the motherboard. This means that, unlike similar bootkits, defenders can't reinstall the operating system and replace the hard drive, as the bootkit will continue to remain on the infected device until the SPI memory is re-flashed (a very complex process) or the motherboard is replaced. According to Kaspersky, MoonBounce marks the third UEFI bootkit they have seen so far that can infect and live inside the SPI memory, following previous cases such as LoJax and MosaicRegressor. Furthermore, MoonBounce's discovery also comes after researchers have also found additional UEFI bootkits in recent months, such as ESPectre, FinSpy's UEFI bootkit, and others, which has led the Kaspersky team to conclude that what was once considered unachievable following the rollout of the UEFI standard has gradually become the norm.

Re:There should be a physical switch

By ArchieBunker • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Security or convenience. Pick one.

what was once considered unachievable

By fustakrakich • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Pretty foolish to think that, beyond the advertising realm anyway.

Trusted computing... designed to protect Microsoft from competition


By Gabest • Score: 3 • Thread

Reflashing your BIOS used to be a simple process, it's only a trouble because they built-in protection against malware...

Remember when they introduced UEFI?

By Gravis Zero • Score: 3 • Thread

Does anyone else remember the discussion around EFI and the introduction of UEFI? I specifically remember a lot of people calling UEFI dangerously complex and that it would be infected by a sophisticated virus in the future. Seems like that day has come.

For those not keeping track of "this is a bad idea" instances:
* DMCA - check
* Clippy - check
* UEFI - check
* Intel Management Engine - check
* AMD PSP - check
* Intel SGX - check
* Bringing Back Clippy - pending

An OpenSea Bug Let Attackers Snatch NFTs from Owners at Six-figure Discounts

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A bug in OpenSea, the popular NFT marketplace, has let hackers buy rare NFTs for well below market value, in some cases leading to hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses for the original owners -- and hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits for the apparent thieves. From a report: The bug appears to have been present for weeks and seems to be referenced in at least one tweet from January 1st, 2022. But exploitation of the bug has picked up significantly in the past day: blockchain analytics company Elliptic reported that in a 12-hour stretch before the morning of January 24th, it was exploited at least eight times to "steal" NFTs with a market value of over $1 million. One of the NFTs, Bored Ape Yacht Club #9991, was purchased using the exploit technique for 0.77 ETH ($1,760) and quickly resold for 84.2 ETH ($192,400), netting the attacker a profit of more than $190,000. An Ethereum address linked to the reseller had received more than 400 ETH ($904,000) in payouts from OpenSea in the same 12-hour period.

"It's a subjective thing whether you consider this to be a loophole or a bug, but the fact is that people are being forced into sales at a price they wouldn't otherwise have accepted right now," said Tom Robinson, chief scientist and co-founder of Elliptic. According to a Twitter thread by software developer Rotem Yakir, the bug is caused by a mismatch between the information available in NFT smart contracts and the information presented by OpenSea's user interface. Essentially, the attackers are taking advantage of old contracts that persist on the blockchain but are no longer present in the view provided by the OpenSea application.

Oh no!

By Baron_Yam • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Somebody stole my nothing!

I sliped up and rtfa

By Angry Coward • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I wanted to know what was actually happening and the summery doesn't actually say, so I went and read the actual article which does. It seems to me that the problem is with the people the summary claims are being stolen from. Here's how it works, at least as as much as anything nft related can be described as working.

Bob owns an NFT of Natlie Portman covered in hot grits looking at the goatse picture. He lists the NFT for sale for $10 because he can't imagine anyone will pay much for a goatse picture. He then changes his mind and thinks people like looking at hot grits and decides he should up the price. Bob has agreed he must pay a fee if he wishes to withdraw a contract, and doesn't want to do that so he moves it to the back of the bulletin board announcing all nft's for sale thinking noone will see it there. He then posts a new listing on the front of the board offering the nft for sale for $100,000. Alice comes along and realizes there are contracts stapled to the back of the board that aren't publicly visible. She takes bob's original contract, which he did not cancel, only hid from low effort public view, and executes it, buying the nft for $10. Bob is now angry and has been defrauded for $100,000?

Rare NFT?

By thomn8r • Score: 3 • Thread
How in the hell is an NFT "rare"?

Apple Fined $5.6M After Dutch Dating App Antitrust Order

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Netherlands' competition authority has fined Apple $5.6 million for failing to comply with conditions in an order requiring it to allow local dating apps to make user of third party payment technology in their apps. From a report: The tech giant could be on the hook for another $5.6 million fine next week if it doesn't meet the regulatory requirement by then, and each week thereafter for a couple more months -- up to a maximum of $56 million in relation to this particular order. The fine relates to an order made by Dutch watchdog, the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), last year -- which found Apple in breach of antitrust rules and ordered it to adjust the conditions it imposes on dating app providers. At specific antitrust issue are App Store terms mandating the use of Apple's own in-app payment infrastructure (aka the IAP API) for any sales of digital content, via which the tech giant extracts a commission. Apple's terms also ban the use of alternative payment systems by dating apps. The regulator also took issue with Apple banning dating apps from referring to other payment methods in their apps. The ACM said today that Apple has failed to satisfy its conditions and must make amendments to bring the rules for dating apps in line with its order.

What Apple says when...

By Sebby • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

1. they give law enforcement/authoritarian regimes users' private info:

We abide by the laws of the countries in which we operate.

2. things don't go their way and they have to pay up:

It's political crap!

Julian Assange Wins Right To Seek Appeal Against Extradition To the US

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange scored a small win in court in London on Monday, when a judge granted him the right to appeal to the UK's Supreme Court over his extradition to the US. From a report: The High Court ruled that Assange has points that Supreme Court justices may want to consider ahead of the UK extraditing him. Assange will now petition the UK's Supreme Court for a hearing, but there is no guarantee his request will be granted. As his case proceeds through the courts, his extradition will continue to be stalled and Assange will remain in Belmarsh Prison, where' has been held since leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2019. "Today we won -- but Julian continues to suffer," said Stella Moris, Assange's fiancee, speaking outside the court on Monday. "Julian must be freed." Monday's decision follows a ruling by a High Court judge in December granting the US permission to go through with the extradition. It overturned a previous decision by a District Court judge that blocked Assange's extradition on mental health grounds. The WikiLeaks founder has raised a legal question about the circumstances in which the High Court received assurances from the US over the treatment he would receive in prison.


By Anonymous Crowded • Score: 3, Funny • Thread
I thought that Julian McAfee guy died in Spain?

Re:What is really at issue with Julian's extraditi

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The short answer is because it was an act of war, conducted against combatants carrying arms.

Except they weren't carrying arms (cameras aren't arms), and some were providing medical care, so intentionally firing on them was a war crime.

Also, the government repeatedly lied about the existence of the recording, which was also a crime.

Re:What is really at issue with Julian's extraditi

By jellomizer • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

How many of these charges would apply to a non-US Citizen or a resident.

Re:What is really at issue with Julian's extraditi

By Rockoon • Score: 4 • Thread

He's not being charged with journalism, he's being charged with assisted hacking of a government computer.


17 of the 18 counts against him are for journalism, and 1 count is for supposed "hacking" ... YOU FUCKING LIAR

Trillion Dollar Tax Cut for the Rich is REAL.

By t.reagan • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
An article about "dividing" democrats on a planned tax cut? Bills that never passed? Are you serious? The Republican TRILLION DOLLAR TAX CUT for the RICH is a real thing that really happened.

Facebook Promised Free Internet Access, but Users Got Charged Anyway

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Facebook says it's helping millions of the world's poorest people get online through apps and services that allow them to use internet data free. Internal company documents show that many of these people end up being charged in amounts that collectively add up to an estimated millions of dollars a month. WSJ: To attract new users, Facebook made deals with cellular carriers in countries including Pakistan, Indonesia and the Philippines to let low-income people use a limited version of Facebook and browse some other websites without data charges. Many of the users have inexpensive cellphone plans that cost just a few dollars a month, often prepaid, for phone service and a small amount of internet data. Because of software problems at Facebook, which it has known about and failed to correct for months, people using the apps in free mode are getting unexpectedly charged by local cellular carriers for using data. In many cases they only discover this when their prepaid plans are drained of funds.

In internal documents, employees of Facebook parent Meta Platforms acknowledge this is a problem. Charging people for services Facebook says are free "breaches our transparency principle," an employee wrote in an October memo. In the year ended July 2021, charges made by the cellular carriers to users of Facebook's free-data products grew to an estimated total of $7.8 million a month, when purchasing power adjustments were made, from about $1.3 million a year earlier, according to a Facebook document. Facebook calls the problem "leakage," since paid services are leaking into the free apps and services. It defines leakage in internal documents as, "When users are in Free Mode and believe that the data they are using is being covered by their carrier networks, even though these users are actually paying for the data themselves."

You mean Meta?

By Gravis Zero • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If you are going to put all the good stuff as Meta then you should also be putting all the bad stuff as Meta too.


By xalqor • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Not doing what you said you're going to do is called lack of integrity.

Not clearly indicating to users of the free app that what they're about to do is going to use paid data is called lack of transparency.

Making paid features available without consent prompts in an app specifically marketed as free to poor people is called a scam.

Third-party cell carriers

By kenh • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The issue is that third-party cellular carriers in India charged the users, not Facebook. That Facebook knew about the problem but failed to correct it reflects badly on Facebook, but its the cell carriers that profited, not Facebook.

$130 Billion Wiped Off Crypto Markets in 24 Hours

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The cryptocurrency market had around $130 billion wiped off its value over the last 24 hours as major digital coins continued their multi-day sell-off. From a report: Bitcoin was last down around 4% at $33,755.57, according to Coin Metrics, while Ether plunged 7% to $2,239.08. Earlier in the morning both fell to their lowest points since July and are each about 50% off their all-time highs. Cryptocurrencies are moving in tandem with stocks, which have continued to fall since the beginning of the year and just came off of their worst week since March 2020. Investors have been selling risk assets like technology stocks as they prepare for tighter monetary policy from the U.S. Federal Reserve and higher interest rates. "Looking forward, our most immediate concern is how equities markets respond to this week's Fed meeting," said Leah Wald, CEO at digital asset investment manager Valkyrie Funds. "A consolidation in traditional assets would catalyze a potential recovery in bitcoin, ether and other altcoins. Realistically, though, digital asset traders tend to be willing to take on more risk than traders in other asset classes, so we do expect some volatility in the coming days and weeks."

Cryptocurrency reminds me of 90s baseball cards

By Raunchola • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Cryptocurrency reminds me of the 1990s baseball card market. It’s highly speculative and its value is based on what people think it’s worth.

For example, in the 1990s, collectors and investors alike jumped on the baseball card bandwagon because they saw dollar signs everywhere. Vintage cards, like the infamous 1909 T206 Honus Wagner, became the holy grail for collectors. New cards of rising stars and prospects likewise commanded high values in price guides like Beckett’s and Tuff Stuff.

Then, the bottom fell out. Card companies like Topps, Donruss, Upper Deck, Fleer, and Score flooded the market with cards. Higher-priced card packs — which promised to contain a valuable card or autograph — priced out the casual collectors and hobbyists from the 1980s and earlier. What remained were people stuck with a bunch of worthless Todd Van Poppel rookie cards.

Cryptocurrency is popular, but the market is becoming flooded with all sorts of different digital currencies with different values. Sure, Bitcoin is limited by the amount of available coins (i.e. you won’t see the market flooded with lots of Bitcoin), but when you lump it in with the rest of the crypto market, it comes across as yet another fad. It appears more people are realizing this.

(Unrelated: Hey, my first post in nearly 20 years!)

Re:Somebody on Ars Technica explained it

By neilo_1701D • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

So the problem is Bitcoin absolutely cannot fall below $30,000. The reason is there's several large players including Elon Musk who bought hundreds of millions at that price and are sitting on it. If it falls below 30,000 that's going to trigger those whales to sell off which is then going to Cascade into a mass sell-off across the entire cryptocurrency market.

So the argument is that Bitcoin can't fall below $30,000 because if it does bad things happen?

It certainly doesn't help you didn't link to the article or comments, so here it is. But reading the comments is no more insightful. The closest is this:

Most of the talk around $30,000 is because Michael Saylor's MicroStrategy holds around 121,000 Bitcoin at an average purchase price of $30,000. The thinking is that if the price goes below $30,000 MicroStrategy will be forced to liquidate those holdings causing a further collapse of the price.

Which is hardly an explanation. More like wishful thinking or an imagined threat.

Re:Somebody on Ars Technica explained it

By neilo_1701D • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

And replying to myself here:

Most of the talk around $30,000 is because Michael Saylor's MicroStrategy holds around 121,000 Bitcoin at an average purchase price of $30,000. The thinking is that if the price goes below $30,000 MicroStrategy will be forced to liquidate those holdings causing a further collapse of the price.

Which he says he will never do: Bitcoin Hodler Saylor Says MicroStrategy Will Never Sell Stash.

Re:Somebody on Ars Technica explained it

By Junta • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Note that it is of course in his best interest to say he wouldn't exacerbate a collapse in the value of an asset he holds for financial purposes.

If he would *never* give it up, why bother even having it? It doesn't even in theory do anything for them just sitting there. They must be desiring to exchange it for actual money or goods/services at some point. It's crazy to believe that they would hold a huge chunk of coins 'just because'.

Re: Not entirely correct.

By leptons • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
The do not even own the ones and zeros. Numbers can't be owned. They have no claim to numbers at all - all they do is know of a specific sequence of ones and zeros that represent "something". There isn't much stopping anyone from guessing that specific sequence of ones and zeros, or just copying them.

Australia PM Morrison Loses Control of WeChat Chinese Account as Election Looms

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A little-known Chinese technology company that took over a WeChat social media account set up for Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday it wanted to buy an account with a large fanbase in Australia, and was unaware it was his. From a report: Australian politicians said Morrison's office lost access to the account on the platform, owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings, several months ago. The politicians claimed the move represented censorship amid growing diplomatic tensions between Canberra and Beijing with a national election to be held in Australia by May. The account, which bore Morrison's photograph and posted information on his policies in Mandarin targeted at Australian voters of Chinese ethnic origin, had 76,000 followers.

The account was renamed 'Australia China New Life' in January by its new Chinese owner, Fuzhou 985 Technology, based in Fujian province, which notified followers the account would instead promote Chinese life in Australia. An employee from Fuzhou 985 Technology, who only gave his surname as Huang, told Reuters by telephone was not aware the account was previously connected to Morrison. He said the transfer of ownership was conducted with a Chinese male national living in Fuzhou, whose identity he declined to disclose. "We thought this account had a large fanbase, so we decided to buy it," said Huang, adding that the company was looking for an account whose target audience was the Chinese community in Australia. He declined to say how much his company had paid to take over the account.

Car analogy.

By Ostracus • Score: 3 • Thread

An employee from Fuzhou 985 Technology, who only gave his surname as Huang, told Reuters by telephone was not aware the account was previously connected to Morrison.

Like a car, all identification stripped, and serial numbers filed off.

Re: Car analogy.

By BytePusher • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
It turns out the account wasn't even stolen. It was setup and run by an agency under a Chinese citizen's name so apparently Morrison didn't "own" it in the same way you "own" your slashdot username. Morrison had access to the account and its not clear what dynamics lead to him losing it, but I would guess he "forgot" or refused to pay more to keep it and is now claiming victim hood when it's really just the free market.

Reason to not use WeChat

By Gravis Zero • Score: 3 • Thread

Seems like a solid reason to never use WeChat. Some Chinese company will just buy it and you can't do anything about it.


By jd • Score: 3 • Thread

If it is possible to "buy an account because it has a large fanbase", and even legitimate or respectable to do so, then we have a serious problem with accountability and authorization. Those users authorized the owner at the time of signing up to send them messages, that's part of the sign-up process. Unless there is something explicit in that sign-up process that authorizes the sale of their information to others AND the bulk sending of messages by those not explicitly authorized to do so, then at best selling an active account is ethically highly dubious and, at worst, just possibly in violation of the TOS of the service provider or the EU's GDPR (the users don't get asked about the sale, so there is no transparency, right to object or disclosure of sharing data with third parties).

The Next Huawei? US Threatens to Inflict 'Export Control' on Russia if It Invades Ukraine

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
How exactly could Russia be deterred from invading Ukraine? The U.S. government is now "threatening to use a novel export control to damage strategic Russian industries, from artificial intelligence and quantum computing to civilian aerospace," according to Stars and Stripes (an editorially-independent newspaper for the American military). The newspaper cites administration officials as its source: The administration may also decide to apply the control more broadly in a way that would potentially deprive Russian citizens of some smartphones, tablets and video game consoles, said the officials. Such moves would expand the reach of U.S. sanctions beyond financial targets to the deployment of a weapon used only once before — to nearly cripple the Chinese tech giant Huawei. The weapon, known as the foreign direct product rule, contributed to Huawei suffering its first-ever annual revenue drop, a stunning 30% last year, according to analysts.

The attraction of using the foreign direct product rule derives from the fact that virtually anything electronic these days includes semiconductors, the tiny components on which all modern technology depends, from smartphones to jets to quantum computers — and that there is hardly a semiconductor on the planet that is not made with U.S. tools or designed with U.S. software. And the administration could try to force companies in other countries to stop exporting these types of goods to Russia through this rule. "This is a slow strangulation by the U.S. government," technology analyst Dan Wang of Gavekal Dragonomics, a research firm in Shanghai, said of Huawei. The rule cut the firm's supply of needed microchips, which were made outside the United States but with U.S. software or tools.

Now officials in Washington say they are working with European and Asian allies to craft a version of the rule that would aim to stop flows of crucial components to industries for which Russian President Vladimir Putin has high ambitions, such as civil aviation, maritime and high technology.... But the effort could face head winds from American and European business interests that fear using export controls could lead to Russian retaliation in other spheres — and eventually cause foreign companies to seek to design U.S. technology out of their products. That's because the extension of the rule beyond a single company like Huawei to an entire country or entire sectors of a country is unprecedented.

"It's like a magic power — you can only use it so many times before it starts to degrade," said Robert D. Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a think tank. "Other countries will say, 'Oh, man, the U.S. has total control over us. We'd better find alternatives.'"

The newspaper also spoke to Paul Triolo, chief of technology policy at a global political risk research and consulting firm called Eurasia Group. His opinion "this would be weaponizing the U.S. semiconductor supply chain against an entire country."

And in more ways than one: Targeted use of the foreign direct product rule could be a blow to Russia's military, which relies on a type of chip called Elbrus that is designed in Russia but manufactured in Taiwan at a chip foundry called TSMC, according to Kostas Tigkos, an electronics expert at Janes Group, a U.K.-based provider of defense intelligence. If the United States barred TSMC from supplying those chips to Russia, as it successfully barred TSMC from supplying Huawei, that would have a "devastating effect," Tigkos said.

In a statement, TSMC said it "complies with all applicable laws and regulations" and that it has a "rigorous export control system in place ... to ensure export control restrictions are followed."Analysts say that Western multinational firms probably would comply with the export controls. All U.S. chipmakers include clauses in their contracts requiring customers to abide by U.S. export rules.

The article also explores a scenario where businesses in China step in to supply Russia (citing estimates from the Peterson Institute for International Economics that China already builds 70% of the computers and smartphones that Russia imports).

"If Chinese firms wound up supplying Russia in violation of the rule, that would leave Washington with a major diplomatic dilemma: whether to sanction them, even if they make ordinary — not military — goods."

Weirdest simile ever

By Sneftel • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"It's like a magic power — you can only use it so many times before it starts to degrade," said Robert D. Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a think tank.

Weirdest simile ever.

"Hmm... how to describe something that degrades when repeatedly used? Surely there is nothing in our mundane physical world which matches such a description. To the eldritch grimoires!"

Re:Minsk Accord?

By serviscope_minor • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

It is Russia that is making this a problem not Russia.

Oh that's good, I thought it was Russia.


By Freischutz • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I think it's more of a when at this point. The Trump administration put us in such a weak position with regards to Russia that they can easily invade the Ukraine, put up with the sanctions for a little bit while using Bitcoin and cryptocurrency to launder money and while Europe and Asia by gas under the table, and then it all blow over. I'm guessing they're waiting until winter is over both because it's easier to fight a war when it's not winter and because they'll have gotten there years worth of sales on gas. By the time the next winter comes along we'll have moved on and lifted the sanctions quietly. Democracy is just plain dying globally and locally. There's just too many people who no longer believe in democracy. You'd be amazed how many people I talk to you online and offline who don't believe it should be easy to vote in America. They don't understand that it's a people they don't like can't easily vote that's not a democracy, it's just oligarchy with more steps. Furthermore, they don't understand that those laws that make it hard to vote will be used against them if and when they disagree with the people in power.

If Russia wants to overrun Ukraine they had better do it quickly. They don't have the logistical base to supply a major offensive for any length of time. Any sanctions on military critical chips and high tech components they can't build themselves is going to hit them in two places. Firstly their ability to sustain any war in the Ukraine after their munitions stockpiles run out and secondly it will devastate their arms sales since such a shortage would brick enormous amounts of military hardware they have sold to other countries. Finally there is hardly any country which would choose Russia when given the choice of trading with Russia or trading with the west and that includes China. Ukraine doesn't have to win, Ukraine just has to bog the Russians down long enough for their oversized force, driven by an undersized military logistical system and reliant on imported chips for high tech weapons to run out of ammo and supplies. Then there is the ever present danger that some helicopter landing-pad sized cap wearing Russian general with a chest covered in shiny medals sends some shells over the wrong border and drags NATO into the shooting war.

Re:Minsk Accord?

By theelectron • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Let's also hope Russia doesn't shoot down another passenger plane when they try to annex more territory like they did last time. Don't forget about Malaysia Airlines flight 17.

It is already done. In part.

By Voice of satan • Score: 3 • Thread

I heard a SU-35 fighter deal between Russia and Egypt failed because the Russians were unable to manufacture the radars for lack of electronic components. And the Russians are already reacting to be less dependent on western electronics.

Also, many EU states are very dependent on Russian gas so i don't expect them to do much. The French did the plan Messmer to avoid precisely this kind of situations but it is only France. And the Europeans are not so keen on following the U..S on sanctions. That why they sometimes develop ITAR free aerospace products. The ITAR are a set of rules restricting the use and exportation of US made components.

James Cameron Warns of 'The Dangers of Deepfakes'

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Slashdot reader DevNull127 shares this transcript of James Cameron's new interview with the BBC — which they've titled " The Danger of Deepfakes."

"Almost everything we create seems to go wrong at some point," James Cameron says... James Cameron: Almost everything we create seems to go wrong at some point. I've worked at the cutting edge of visual effects, and our goal has been progressively to get more and more photo-real. And so every time we improve these tools, we're actually in a sense building a toolset to create fake media — and we're seeing it happening now. Right now the tools are — the people just playing around on apps aren't that great. But over time, those limitations will go away. Things that you see and fully believe you're seeing could be faked.

This is the great problem with us relying on video. The news cycles happen so fast, and people respond so quickly, you could have a major incident take place between the interval between when the deepfake drops and when it's exposed as a fake. We've seen situations — you know, Arab Spring being a classic example — where with social media, the uprising was practically overnight.

You have to really emphasize critical thinking. Where did you hear that? You know, we have all these search tools available, but people don't use them. Understand your source. Investigate your source. Is your source credible?

But we also shouldn't be prone to this ridiculous conspiracy paranoia. People in the science community don't just go, 'Oh that's great!' when some scientist, you know, publishes their results. No, you go in for this big period of peer review. It's got to be vetted and checked. And the more radical a finding, the more peer review there is. So good peer-reviewed science can't lie. But people's minds, for some reason, will go to the sexier, more thriller-movie interpretation of reality than the obvious one.

I always use Occam's razor — you know, Occam's razor's a great philosophical tool. It says the simplest explanation is the likeliest. And conspiracy theories are all too complicated. People aren't that good, human systems aren't that good, people can't keep a secret to save their lives, and most people in positions of power are bumbling stooges. The fact that we think that they could realistically pull off these — these complex plots? I don't buy any of that crap! Bill Gates is not really trying to microchip you with the flu vaccine! [Laughs]

You know, look, I'm always skeptical of new technology, and we all should be. Every single advancement in technology that's ever been created has been weaponized. I say this to AI scientists all the time, and they go, 'No, no, no, we've got this under control.' You know, 'We just give the AIs the right goals...' So who's deciding what those goals are? The people that put up the money for the research, right? Which are all either big business or defense. So you're going to teach these new sentient entities to be either greedy or murderous.

If Skynet wanted to take over and wipe us out, it would actually look a lot like what's going on right now. It's not going to have to — like, wipe out the entire, you know, biosphere and environment with nuclear weapons to do it. It's going to be so much easier and less energy required to just turn our minds against ourselves. All Skynet would have to do is just deepfake a bunch of people, pit them against each other, stir up a lot of foment, and just run this giant deepfake on humanity.

I mean, I could be a projection of an AI right now.

No big change

By beepsky • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
I already don't believe most of the stuff I see in the news or on the Internet, so it won't change much for me.
Journalism is dead, now we just have outrage bait

Re: No big change

By rantrantrant • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Mission accomplished. The whole point is to make you not believe anything. That way, the rich & powerful can do whatever they want with impunity... Well, the rich & powerful that aren't complete idiots like Rudy Guiliani & Boris Johnson.

Easy remedy

By rantrantrant • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
How about forewarning the public about the latest faking techniques by giving comedians the first opportunities to play with them & publish the results? Both entertaining & for the public good. How about it?

The Twilight Zone addressed this in 1960

By olddoc • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street had a plot where aliens did what Cameron mentions in the last line of the post. Instead of deepfakes, the aliens randomly turned power or machines on and off and pitted people against each other and stirred up a lot of foment. The episode was written by Rod Serling and he closes with this narration, "The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill...and suspicion can destroy...and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own—for the children and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone."

So the Titanic didn't sink?

By kackle • Score: 3 • Thread
"In screens we trust." The problem is as it's always been: stupid people. That is, the ignorant who won't bother checking beyond their latest screen swipe. And how does one vet a chain of Internet strangers?

Developer Who Intentionally Corrupted His Libraries Wants NPM To Restore His Publishing Rights

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Remember that developer who intentionally corrupted his two libraries which collectively had over 20 million weekly downloads and thousands of dependent projects? In the immediate aftermath he'd complained on Twitter that NPM "has reverted to a previous version of the faker.js package and Github has suspended my access to all public and private projects. I have 100s of projects. #AaronSwartz."

That was January 6th, and within about a week GitHub had restored his access, while one of his two libraries (faker-js) was forked by its community to create a community-driven project. But Thursday the developer announced on his Twitter account: What's up @Github? Ten days since you removed my ability to publish to NPM and fix the Infinity Zalgo bug in colors.js

Never responded to my support emails.

I have 100s of packages I need to maintain.

Everyone makes programming mistakes from time to time. Nobody is perfect.

It hasn't been confirmed that NPM has actually blocked his ability to publish — but the tweet already appears to be attracting reactions from other developers on social media.

Just tell this asshole "No".

By Chas • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

He's been shown to abuse his privileges and betray user trust.
That sort of thing is a knife in the heart of trust.

He's demonstrated he cannot be trusted.

Re:"Programming mistakes"?

By OngelooflijkHaribo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Remember - open source software is provided for use purely at your own risk - those other projects damaged themselves.

such agreements are not as ironclad as you might think. If I offer a man a free drink, but say that I do not guarantee anything about the contents, and deliberately put poison in it, in almost any jurisdiction I will still be held liable for murder regardless of the lack of guarantees I offered.

Re:"Programming mistakes"?

By narcc • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

There very clearly are. Thousands of them, at the very least.

It's how we've been teaching kids to "code". Just include anything and everything an let the tools keep everything up-to-date. It's why software is so awful these days. What once fit on a floppy is now multiple-gigabytes in size and requires more RAM than my computer had 15 years ago.

People actually defend this practice. It's madness. It's like we actively discourage people from writing their own code.

CTAN and CPAN trained too many of us old-timers to trust repositories. For the kids, it might have been app stores.

Whatever it was, things really need to change. Maybe we could all try writing our own code now and then? Wouldn't that be nice?

Re:"Programming mistakes"?

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Yes that did. Otherwise they suffer reputational damage. You can try and dice this down any way you want. Regardless of whatever justification you use Github had to do *something* and that something resulted in some form of undue expense.

They are not obligated to serve a damaging customer, especially one that takes a shit in the middle of their restaurant. There's no obligation to be neutral, not as a company, not as a community.

The guy needs to own his malicious acts.

By jd • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's just not the sort of mistake that goes away by saying oops. Especially when it impacts the actual lives of people. Actions have consequences, corrupting the libraries had consequences for a lot of very real people. Thousands of libraries might easily equate to millions of people having services disrupted.

Major services have always stuck gimmicks into web pages (remember the CGI scripted webpage counters?), so something that seems incidental could easily have taken out access to something essential. In this case, the programmer got lucky and the consequences don't seem to have been devastating. He couldn't have known that in advance, that was something he found out afterwards. And, yes, as programmer he's ultimately responsible, for all the lack of warranty.

I am not seeing any kind of real apology here for the reckless disregard of those people. I'm seeing an "oh well, maybe I shouldn't have got caught inflicting misery" but not a whole lot of "and I really shouldn't have been causing misery to others to begin with". I'm also seeing a "I sabotaged a software component over here, why am I banned from sabotaging other software components the next time I get stroppy?"

I'm beginning to think that we should have some sort of voluntary system of either certifying or self-certifying that a given standard is reached, where the most basic standard would be that the maintainer hasn't knowingly sabotaged the code, along with short, clear, simple guidelines on who is responsible for what and when, instead of making users responsible for absolutely everything (and therefore nobody is really responsible for anything).

It needn't be complicated, it needn't be unfair on anyone, and it needn't require anyone to have magic knowledge, magic abilities or access to a TARDIS.

Israel Says Fourth Vaccine Dose Brings 2X Protection Against Omicron Infection, 3X Against Serious Illness - For Those Over 60

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Friday the results of several large studies showed that getting a third Covid vaccine "booster shot" dramatically decreased infections from the Omicron variant.

And now the Times of Israel reports that the country's Health Ministry "said on Sunday that the fourth vaccine dose for those aged 60 and up offers a threefold protection against serious illness and twofold protection against infection in the current wave driven by the Omicron variant." The ministry said the figures are the result of initial analysis by experts from various leading academic and health institutions, and compares the fourth vaccine with those who received three doses at least four months ago.

The figures are based on 400,000 Israelis who received the fourth vaccine and 600,000 who received three doses, with the ministry stressing that the methodology is similar to previous papers the experts have published in the peer-reviewed New England Journal of Medicine.

Vax little to no help against Omricon

By labnet • Score: 3 • Thread

Queensland Australia had a zero covid policy until the beginning of this year.
This means no community immunity, only vaccination for prevention. About 88% of 12+ double vaccinated reasonably recently + boosters underway.

The ultimate test is death rate, so what are the results.
Of the 73% of the total population at least double vaccinated, 2,3 times vaccinated individuals were involved in 74% of deaths.

With 300,000 reported cases (estimates put actual infections at up to 3 times that), 11 people under 60 have died. That's 1 in 27,000 risk.

I've compiled the data here
which references the source information.

I don't really see any point in vaccination or restriction for Omricon.

100 doses

By registrations_suck • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Just imagine what 100 doses will do!!

Re: Natural immunity

By Aighearach • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You keep being scared for as long as you like, I have been

You're scared of a fucking vaccine with the best safety record of any vaccine in history.

You can't whine about how scared you are of needles and also be a Macho Man at the same time, dipshit.

You're a scared child, who is projecting your fear onto others.

You know who is less scared than you? People who got vaccinated and boosted and are wearing masks.

That's some bs

By iamacat • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

We all got Omicron in the family, identical symptoms regardless of number and timing of shots - basically like a cold, lots of congestion and fatigue but no fever. Everyone in schools also got it, same deal. This is a heavily vaccinated county. Severity reduction - quite possible, impossible to tell what each individual case would have been like without vaccination. But nothing really stops this bug. Maybe the trials completed just a few weeks after booster was administered or participants were super cautious, staying home and wearing N95s everywhere? Not going to hold up in a real world where we can't keep getting boosters every two weeks or living in bubblewrap.

Re: Pwn the libs by dying of covid.

By narcc • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Have you ever heard of doing your own research?

Don't tell them that! They think "research" involves looking at facebook memes and scouring mommy blogs for horse paste recipes.

The people chanting "do your own research" are the same ones drinking their own urine between bouts of industrial bleach while waiting for dead politicians to rise from the grave. Their "research" lead them to believe that the military executed the Clintons, Bill Gates, and Obama on TFG's orders and the only reason we see them alive is because the "deep state" replaced therm with body doubles.

No, of course it doesn't make sense. But this is what happens when you tell people to "do their own research" when they're not educated enough to actually do so.

Vice Mocks GIFs as 'For Boomers Now, Sorry'. (And For Low-Effort Millennials)

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"GIF folders were used by ancient civilisations as a way to store and catalogue animated pictures that were once employed to convey emotion," Vice writes: Okay, you probably know what a GIF folder is — but the concept of a special folder needed to store and save GIFs is increasingly alien in an era where every messaging app has its own in-built GIF library you can access with a single tap. And to many youngsters, GIFs themselves are increasingly alien too — or at least, okay, increasingly uncool. "Who uses gifs in 2020 grandma," one Twitter user speedily responded to Taylor Swift in August that year when the singer-songwriter opted for an image of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson mouthing the words "oh my god" to convey her excitement at reaching yet another career milestone.

You don't have to look far to find other tweets or TikToks mocking GIFs as the preserve of old people — which, yes, now means millennials. How exactly did GIFs become so embarrassing? Will they soon disappear forever, like Homer Simpson backing up into a hedge...?

Gen Z might think GIFs are beloved by millennials, but at the same time, many millennials are starting to see GIFs as a boomer plaything. And this is the first and easiest explanation as to why GIFs are losing their cultural cachet. Whitney Phillips, an assistant professor of communication at Syracuse University and author of multiple books on internet culture, says that early adopters have always grumbled when new (read: old) people start to encroach on their digital space. Memes, for example, were once subcultural and niche. When Facebook came along and made them more widespread, Redditors and 4Chan users were genuinely annoyed that people capitalised on the fruits of their posting without putting in the cultural work. "That democratisation creates a sense of disgust with people who consider themselves insiders," Phillips explains. "That's been central to the process of cultural production online for decades at this point...."

In 2016, Twitter launched its GIF search function, as did WhatsApp and iMessage. A year later, Facebook introduced its own GIF button in the comment section on the site. GIFs became not only centralised but highly commercialised, culminating in Facebook buying GIPHY for $400 million in 2020. "The more GIFs there are, maybe the less they're regarded as being special treasures or gifts that you're giving people," Phillips says. "Rather than looking far and wide to find a GIF to send you, it's clicking the search button and typing a word. The gift economy around GIFs has shifted...."

Linda Kaye, a cyberpsychology professor at Edge Hill University, hasn't done direct research in this area but theorises that the ever-growing popularity of video-sharing on TikTok means younger generations are more used to "personalised content creation", and GIFs can seem comparatively lazy.

The GIF was invented in 1987 "and it's important to note the format has already fallen out of favour and had a comeback multiple times before," the article points out. It cites Jason Eppink, an independent artist and curator who curated an exhibition on GIFs for the Museum of the Moving Image in New York in 2014, who highlighted how GIFs were popular with GeoCities users in the 90s, "so when Facebook launched, they didn't support GIFs.... They were like, 'We don't want this ugly symbol of amateur web to clutter our neat and uniform cool new website." But then GIFs had a resurgence on Tumblr.

Vice concludes that while even Eppink no longer uses GIFs any more, "Perhaps the waxing and waning popularity of the GIF is an ironic mirror of the format itself — destined to repeat endlessly, looping over and over again."

Re:Increasingly Alien

By TechyImmigrant • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

>but people often want to look things up based on different attributes

I remember a file system designer suggesting the file system should support this natively.
Then he killed his wife.

Be careful - File system opinions have consequences.

Re:Increasingly Alien

By ThumpBzztZoom • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Replace "files and directories" with "clutch and shifter", and that's exactly what people said about cars when automatic transmissions started to become dominant. It didn't stop people from getting people from A to B, Today, we're down to 32 models of car even available with a stick shift in the US*, it's effectively a non-issue. Except for very narrow cases, it will never matter, and their lives are not screwed up in the least by "never having to know anything".

II the person with the messy desk doesn't know the organization of the filing cabinet they never use gets the same work done as the clean desk person who does, then who cares? There are already tens of millions of people getting by just fine without knowing the inner workings of files and directories.

If they're not in IT, does it really matter? It obviously works well enough for them to function, and doesn't screw up anything, so who cares how those people choose to store and access their files?

*- (28 cars listed, SUV/crossovers are separate article at bottom)

"Low effort"

By sTERNKERN • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Talk about "low-effort" when we have TikTok and YT Shorts..

Re:Increasingly Alien

By tragedy • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Replace "files and directories" with "clutch and shifter", and that's exactly what people said about cars when automatic transmissions started to become dominant. It didn't stop people from getting people from A to B, Today, we're down to 32 models of car even available with a stick shift in the US*, it's effectively a non-issue. Except for very narrow cases, it will never matter, and their lives are not screwed up in the least by "never having to know anything".

The appropriate car analogy might be having mapreading/wayfinding/local geography skills for when the GPS goes out. If your understanding of how to get from place to place is based entirely on being fed directions one by one from a device that knows where you are and which direction you're travelling in, you might be in trouble without it.
As far as the file and folder analogy in filesystems, the idea of hierarchical named containers seems to be pretty fundamental to organization and it's dead simple to understand. I'm not sure what to even think about people who are unclear on the concept.

Re:Increasingly Alien

By Solandri • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
The problem is that a folder-based organization structure limits you to only one organization scheme. I have a bunch of photos I've taken. Do I organize them by date? Location? Subject matter? Artistic style? Event? If you're organizing into folders, you can only choose one criterion. And it becomes a major PITA if you need to sort through them based on different criteria.

"Organizing" via search is equivalent to assigning keywords to each photo, and dynamically re-organizing all your photos according to how you want to browse them at a particular moment. Google's implementation is a bit flawed (they don't make clear how searches work, have removed direct access to common logical operators, and even occasionally change how it works so a search which worked yesterday suddenly doesn't work today). But the basic premise behind it is much more useful than organizing into folders. The hard part is properly assigning keywords. Google thinks AI should do that for you (and Google should be in control of that AI). But I think a combination of AI-generated and manually assigned keywords is more useful.

This 22-Year-Old Builds Semiconductors in His Parents' Garage

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Wired reports on 22-year-old Sam Zeloof, who builds semiconductors in his family's New Jersey garage, "about 30 miles from where the first transistor was made at Bell Labs in 1947." With a collection of salvaged and homemade equipment, Zeloof produced a chip with 1,200 transistors. He had sliced up wafers of silicon, patterned them with microscopic designs using ultraviolet light, and dunked them in acid by hand, documenting the process on YouTube and his blog. "Maybe it's overconfidence, but I have a mentality that another human figured it out, so I can too, even if maybe it takes me longer," he says... His chips lag Intel's by technological eons, but Zeloof argues only half-jokingly that he's making faster progress than the semiconductor industry did in its early days. His second chip has 200 times as many transistors as his first, a growth rate outpacing Moore's law, the rule of thumb coined by an Intel cofounder that says the number of transistors on a chip doubles roughly every two years.

Zeloof now hopes to match the scale of Intel's breakthrough 4004 chip from 1971, the first commercial microprocessor, which had 2,300 transistors and was used in calculators and other business machines. In December, he started work on an interim circuit design that can perform simple addition....

Garage-built chips aren't about to power your PlayStation, but Zeloof says his unusual hobby has convinced him that society would benefit from chipmaking being more accessible to inventors without multimillion-dollar budgets. "That really high barrier to entry will make you super risk-averse, and that's bad for innovation," Zeloof says.

Re:Comparison to FPGA

By narcc • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It's neat. Why isn't that a good enough for you?

I'm guessing jealousy.

Having worked in an 80s wafer fab

By oldgraybeard • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
this is neat! The fact that he has been able to get as far as he has is amazing. And kudos to him! you really have to wonder where he will end up at. Having some resources to work with is one thing. But actually the having the drive and determination to produce an end result. Like I said, amazing.

Nice. I like it. A lot.

By Qbertino • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Now that's an all-out classic Nerd hardware hobby if I ever saw one this millenia. Very nice. We need more of this. Imagine building your own Open-RISC Vs in some Microfab in the basement, in 20 years or so. I'd join a local crew doing that.

Re:This is news for nerds,

By serviscope_minor • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

this article is a bit disingenuous in claiming this young man is doing anything to make building semiconductors more accessible to the "average garage tinkerer".

Bullshit it isn't.

It's a decent progression. Jeri Ellsworth managed some homebrew transistors, this guy took the knowledge and extended it further and can now make whole chips. Those are the first two steps along the way. At the moment he uses a mix of old and cobbled together kit. His photolithography machine is a microscope coupled to a projector. Sure he has a SEM, and curve tracers, but turns out you can build them too if you want. Every time a hobbyist makes an advancement and documents it for other hobbyists, the process becomes easier and simpler for other hobbyists.

It's not going to happen in one step nor overnight, but if I wanted to have a crack at this, it would be substantially easier now given his knowledge than it would be before he did this.

I swear some people won't be happy unless he's all like "build a 3nm, 69GHz core i11 in your basement with this one weird chip that semiconductor engineers don't want you to know".

kids these days

By afxgrin • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

The shit they'll do for a graphics card.