the unofficial Slashdot digest


  1. Microsoft Will Use Intel To Manufacture Home-Grown Processor
  2. US Offers Up To $15 Million For Information on LockBit Leaders
  3. Lives vs. Livelihoods: The Impact of the Great Recession on Mortality and Welfare
  4. Apple Says the iPhone 15’s Battery Has Double the Promised Lifespan
  5. Apple Rolls Out iMessage Upgrade To Withstand Decryption By Quantum Computers
  6. Google Launches Two New Open LLMs
  7. Google DeepMind Alumni Unveil Bioptimus: Aiming To Build First Universal Biology AI Model
  8. Darwin Online Has Virtually Reassembled the Naturalist’s Personal Library
  9. Disney Strikes Deal For Sony To Take Over Its DVD, Blu-ray Disc Business
  10. Frozen Embryos Are ‘Children,’ According To Alabama’s Supreme Court
  11. YouTube Dominates TV Streaming In US, Per Nielsen’s Latest Report
  12. Zuckerberg: Neural Wristband For AR/VR Input Will Ship ‘In the Next Few Years’
  13. Cox Communications Wins Order Overturning $1 Billion US Copyright Verdict
  14. Fingerprints Can Be Recreated From the Sounds Made When Swiping On a Touchscreen
  15. Valve Makes All Steam Audio SDK Source Code Available Under Apache 2.0 License

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.

Microsoft Will Use Intel To Manufacture Home-Grown Processor

Posted by msmash View on SlashDot Skip
Intel has landed Microsoft as a customer for its made-to-order chip business, marking a key win for an ambitious turnaround effort under Chief Executive Officer Pat Gelsinger. From a report:
Microsoft plans to use Intel’s 18A manufacturing technology to make a forthcoming chip that the software maker designed in-house, the two companies said at an event Wednesday. They didn’t identify the product, but Microsoft recently announced plans for two homegrown chips: a computer processor and an artificial intelligence accelerator.

Intel has been seeking to prove it can compete in the foundry market, where companies produce custom chips for clients. It’s a major shift for the semiconductor pioneer, which once had the world’s most advanced chipmaking facilities and kept them to itself. These days, Intel is racing to catch up with companies like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., which leads the foundry industry. Microsoft, meanwhile, is looking to secure a steady supply of semiconductors to power its data-center operations — especially as demand for AI grows. Designing its own chips also lets Microsoft fine-tune the products to its specific needs. “We need a reliable supply of the most advanced, high-performance and high-quality semiconductors,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. âoeThat’s why we are so excited to work with Intel.”

US Offers Up To $15 Million For Information on LockBit Leaders

Posted by msmash View on SlashDot Skip
A day after the U.S., UK and EU said they had disrupted the ransomware group LockBit, the State Department said the U.S. is offering a reward of up to $15 million for information leading to the identification or location of the leaders of the ransomware group.

Identification or location?

By bagofbeans • Score: 3 Thread

BS lede.

"…the State Department said the U.S. is offering a reward of up to $15 million for information leading to the identification or location of the leaders of the ransomware group.”

is not

"…the State Department said it would offer up to $15 million for information leading to the arrests and convictions of the leaders of the ransomware group.”

Lives vs. Livelihoods: The Impact of the Great Recession on Mortality and Welfare

Posted by msmash View on SlashDot Skip
Academics have found that the U.S. mortality declines during recessions, with “reductions in air pollution… a quantitatively important mechanism.” Abstract of a paper on National Bureau of Economic Research:
We leverage spatial variation in the severity of the Great Recession across the United States to examine its impact on mortality and to explore implications for the welfare consequences of recessions. We estimate that an increase in the unemployment rate of the magnitude of the Great Recession reduces the average, annual age-adjusted mortality rate by 2.3 percent, with effects persisting for at least 10 years. Mortality reductions appear across causes of death and are concentrated in the half of the population with a high school degree or less. We estimate similar percentage reductions in mortality at all ages, with declines in elderly mortality thus responsible for about three-quarters of the total mortality reduction. Recession-induced mortality declines are driven primarily by external effects of reduced aggregate economic activity on mortality, and recession-induced reductions in air pollution appear to be a quantitatively important mechanism. Incorporating our estimates of pro-cyclical mortality into a standard macroeconomics framework substantially reduces the welfare costs of recessions, particularly for people with less education, and at older ages where they may even be welfare-improving.


By wakeboarder • Score: 4 Thread
This is a correlation study, while the data are correlated there are too many pieces to posit a mechanisim.

Capitalist growth kills

By mspohr • Score: 4, Interesting Thread

Brilliant paper.
“We estimate that an increase in the unemployment rate of the magnitude of the Great Recession reduces the average, annual age-adjusted mortality rate by 2.3 percent, with effects persisting for at least 10 years.
Recession-induced mortality declines are driven primarily by external effects of reduced aggregate economic activity on mortality, and recession-induced reductions in air pollution appear to be a quantitatively important mechanism.”

Pollution and work stress kill.
Good argument for “de-growth” and universal basic income.

Re:Capitalist growth kills

By Junta • Score: 4, Interesting Thread

Or alternatively:
-advancements in medicine over the same time period improve mortality for the population
-air quality improvements associated with increased CAFE standards improve mortality
-air quality owing to a significant migration from coal to natural gas, wind, and solar aided health
-A million other factors that occurred over the same decade that someone could also correlate with this time period

It’s… interesting, but the statistics are so fuzzy we can find nearly any conclusion we want by squinting a certain way.

Note they attribute decline in air pollution to the economy, but the decline in pollution continued well past any semblance of economic decline.In fact, the decline didn’t come until years *after* the bottom fell out of the markets. The increase in pollution started pretty quickly after 2016. A fair case could be made that there’s more a correlation with the presidential administration than economic conditions with air pollution. But again, the data is so noisy, anyone can find probably any point they want to make in it.

Apple Says the iPhone 15’s Battery Has Double the Promised Lifespan

Posted by msmash View on SlashDot Skip
Apple has updated the iPhone 15’s battery lifespan, noting the new handsets can retain 80 percent of their original charging capacity after 1,000 cycles — double the company’s previous estimate — without any new hardware or software updates. From a report:
Not so coincidentally, the change will arrive in time for upcoming EU regulations that will assign an energy grade for phones’ battery longevity. Before today, Apple’s online support documents quoted iPhone batteries as maintaining 80 percent of their original full charge after 500 cycles. But after the company retested long-term battery health in its 2023 smartphones — iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max — it found they can retain 80 percent capacity after at least 1,000 cycles. The company said its support documents will be updated on Tuesday to reflect the new estimate.

Reminded me of this:

By Nrrqshrr • Score: 4, Insightful Thread

Last year we had this story about facebook killing people’s batteries. That and, I know that this is an Apple story, but plenty of makers actively throttle your phone’s performance with updates to get you to buy the “upgrade”, including battery lifetime.
The EU’s battery grading is an amazing idea, but there is no point in getting better batteries physically if their life will be kneecapped on the software side, anyway.

Apple Rolls Out iMessage Upgrade To Withstand Decryption By Quantum Computers

Posted by msmash View on SlashDot Skip
Apple is rolling out an upgrade to its iMessage texting platform to defend against future encryption-breaking technologies. From a report:
The new protocol, known as PQ3, is another sign that U.S. tech firms are bracing for a potential future breakthrough in quantum computing that could make current methods of protecting users’ communications obsolete. “More than simply replacing an existing algorithm with a new one, we rebuilt the iMessage cryptographic protocol from the ground up,” an Apple blog post published on Wednesday reads. “It will fully replace the existing protocol within all supported conversations this year.”

The Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker says its encryption algorithms are state-of-the-art and that it has found no evidence so far of a successful attack on them. Still, government officials and scientists are concerned that the advent of quantum computers, advanced machines that tap in to the properties of subatomic particles, could suddenly and dramatically weaken those protections. Late last year, a Reuters investigation explored how the United States and China are racing to prepare for that moment, dubbed “Q-Day,” both by pouring money into quantum research and by investing in new encryption standards known as post-quantum cryptography. Washington and Beijing have traded allegations of intercepting massive amounts of encrypted data in preparation for Q-Day, an approach sometimes dubbed “catch now, crack later.”
More on Apple’s security blog.

Google Launches Two New Open LLMs

Posted by msmash View on SlashDot Skip
Barely a week after launching the latest iteration of its Gemini models, Google today announced the launch of Gemma, a new family of lightweight open-weight models. From a report:
Starting with Gemma 2B and Gemma 7B, these new models were “inspired by Gemini” and are available for commercial and research usage. Google did not provide us with a detailed paper on how these models perform against similar models from Meta and Mistral, for example, and only noted that they are “state-of-the-art.”

The company did note that these are dense decoder-only models, though, which is the same architecture it used for its Gemini models (and its earlier PaLM models) and that we will see the benchmarks later today on Hugging Face’s leaderboard. To get started with Gemma, developers can get access to ready-to-use Colab and Kaggle notebooks, as well as integrations with Hugging Face, MaxText and Nvidia’s NeMo. Once pre-trained and tuned, these models can then run everywhere. While Google highlights that these are open models, it’s worth noting that they are not open-source. Indeed, in a press briefing ahead of today’s announcement, Google’s Janine Banks stressed the company’s commitment to open source but also noted that Google is very intentional about how it refers to the Gemma models.

Some TL/DRs

By Rei • Score: 5, Informative Thread

(As we’ve been discussing them in LLM training groups)

Technical report: here

License: Viral, but not as insidious as LLaMA. Basically sums up to “any derivatives (including things you made from the outputs of this model, not just using it as a foundation) have to be similarly virally licensed to mandate that it not be used for this List of Evil Things We Don’t Want You To Do". Doesn’t require that outputs only be used to train other Gemma models (like Meta does with LLaMA) and doesn’t require you to license with them if any of your models becomes widely used.

Max context length: 8192 tokens

Trained on: 2T and 6T tokens respectively (1000:1 training data / weights ratios).

Performance: The 7B seems similar to or slightly better than Mistral 7B in instruction following. Both outperform in terms of “safety”, though a lot of people might consider that a negative. But they put a lot of effort into making sure that e.g. there was no deanonymized personal information in the training dataset.

CO2 training footprint: 131t (about 9 years of the average America’s footprint) - but 100% offset.

Tech: Modern but nothing spectacular.

Instruction format: Custom, with specialized tokens

Languages: Optimized for monolingual (English)

Overall: A solid additional set of models. Not sure the 7B will drag many people away from Mistral 7B, but the 2B is interesting, and worth trying vs. e.g. TinyLLaMA, Phi 2, etc. 8192 tokens is a nice context size for a model that small.

Google DeepMind Alumni Unveil Bioptimus: Aiming To Build First Universal Biology AI Model

Posted by BeauHD View on SlashDot Skip
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat:
As the French startup ecosystem continues to boom — think Mistral, Poolside, and Adaptive — today the Paris-based Bioptimus, with a mission to build the first universal AI foundation model for biology, emerged from stealth following a seed funding round of $35 million. The new open science model will connect the different scales of biology with generative AI — from molecules to cells, tissues and whole organisms. Bioptimus unites a team of Google DeepMind alumni and Owkin scientists (AI biotech startup Owkin is itself a French unicorn) who will take advantage of AWS compute and Owkin’s data generation capabilities and access to multimodal patient data sourced from leading academic hospitals worldwide. According to a press release, “this all gives the power to create computational representations that establish a strong differentiation against models trained solely on public datasets and a single data modality that are not able to capture the full diversity of biology.”

In an interview with VentureBeat, Jean-Philippe Vert, co-founder and CEO of Bioptimus, chief R&D Officer of Owkin and former research lead at Google Brain, said as a smaller, independent company, Bioptimus can move faster than Google DeepMind to gain direct access to the data needed to train biology models. “We have the advantage of being able to more easily and securely collaborate with partners, and have established a level of trust in our work by sharing our AI expertise and making models available to them for research,” he said. “This can be hard for big tech to do. Bioptimus will also leverage some of the strongest sovereignty controls in the market today.”

Rodolphe Jenatton, a former research scientist at Google DeepMind, has also joined the Bioptimus team, telling VentureBeat the Bioptimus work will be released as open source/open science, at a similar level to Mistral’s model releases. “Transparency and sharing and community will be key elements for us,” he said. Currently, AI models are limited to specific aspects of biology, Vert explained. “For example, several companies are starting to build language models for protein sequences,” he said, adding that there are also initiatives to build a foundation model for images of cells.

However, there is no holistic view of the totality of biology: “The good news is that the AI technology is converging very quickly, with some architectures that allow to have all the data contribute together to a unified model,” he explained. “So this is what we want to do. As far as I know that it does not exist yet. But I’m certain that if we didn’t do it, someone else would do it in the near future.” The biggest bottleneck, he said, is access to data. “It’s very different from training an LLM on text on the web,” he said. And that access, he pointed out, is what Bioptimus has in spades, through its Owkin partnership.


By Mr. Dollar Ton • Score: 3 Thread

Can I ask it to design a silicon-based sentient life form so that I don’t have to wait for ET?

Darwin Online Has Virtually Reassembled the Naturalist’s Personal Library

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Jennifer Ouellette reports via Ars Technica:
Famed naturalist Charles Darwin amassed an impressive personal library over the course of his life, much of which was preserved and cataloged upon his death in 1882. But many other items were lost, including more ephemeral items like unbound volumes, pamphlets, journals, clippings, and so forth, often only vaguely referenced in Darwin’s own records. For the last 18 years, the Darwin Online project has painstakingly scoured all manner of archival records to reassemble a complete catalog of Darwin’s personal library virtually. The project released its complete 300-page online catalog — consisting of 7,400 titles across 13,000 volumes, with links to electronic copies of the works — to mark Darwin’s 215th birthday on February 12.

“This unprecedentedly detailed view of Darwin’s complete library allows one to appreciate more than ever that he was not an isolated figure working alone but an expert of his time building on the sophisticated science and studies and other knowledge of thousands of people,” project leader John van Wyhe of the National University of Singapore said. “Indeed, the size and range of works in the library makes manifest the extraordinary extent of Darwin’s research into the work of others.”

The List

By YetAnotherDrew • Score: 5, Informative Thread
Here is the list, for some reason not linked from the multi-paragraph synopsis about the list being compiled.

Lots of people in the field

By Rei • Score: 4, Interesting Thread

In fact, I’m personally convinced that had Da Vinci lived longer in good health, he would have ended up also coming to the theory of evolution, due to a convergence of two of his interests:

  * He (unusually for his day) was fond of mountain hikes for non-travel reasons, where he liked to study exposed fossil beds. From them, he concluded that the Earth was actually extremely ancient, and laid down in layers, with different species showing up in different timeperiods (he also argued against the global flood theory)

  * He was extremely interested in comparative anatomy, diagramming for example equivalent anatomy of humans vs. horses or whatnot and how tissues corresponded but differed in size and shape.

Surely, had he lived long enough, these two pathways would have converged. Of course, due to the lack of a scientific publishing industry in his era, his works didn’t have much influence at the time.

Re:Lots of people in the field

By quonset • Score: 5, Insightful Thread

He was 67 when he died, a decent age for the time. Considering he was already a painter, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor, and architect, his plate was pretty full. He might have been able to crib some notes on ideas he had, but I don’t think he would have been to come up with a near complete concept like Darwin did. Personal opinion.

It is impressive…

By RussellTheMuscle • Score: 3 Thread
how much one guy can read when not interrupted by TV, the internet, or work. Obviously there was some obsessiveness involved, but still—impressive.

Disney Strikes Deal For Sony To Take Over Its DVD, Blu-ray Disc Business

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Disney is outsourcing its DVD and Blu-ray disc business to Sony Pictures Entertainment. Variety reports:
As part of the deal, Sony will market, sell and distribute all Disney’s new releases and catalog titles on physical media to consumers through retailers and distributors in the U.S. and Canada. Disney will continue to manage its own digital media, like premium video-on-demand. It’s unclear if this will result in layoffs at Disney. However, the studio is expected to conduct an internal assessment across all business functions that support physical entertainment amid the transition to Sony, according to sources familiar with the agreement.

According to Disney, the licensing model allows the studio to continue to offer films and TV shows through physical retailers and to respond to consumer demand more efficiently. The company said the shift is consistent with strategies it’s implemented companywide, as well as transitions in other markets.

Re:Seems like a great idea

By sanf780 • Score: 5, Interesting Thread
I assume the plan is to kill discs. Brick and mortar retail stores are giving less and less shelve space to discs already, reducing exposure to the public. Streaming services do seem like better value than discs in many people’s minds in spite of audio/video quality drop (I will refrain to comment on content quality). IMHO, Disney is letting Sony handle the exit from market process.

Re:Seems like a great idea

By serafean • Score: 5, Insightful Thread

And barring corruption, the content won’t change.

Re:Seems like a great idea

By iAmWaySmarterThanYou • Score: 5, Insightful Thread

Han shot first.

Re:Seems like a great idea

By dlarge6510 • Score: 5, Insightful Thread

Why do you think it’s just about the new stuff?

I’m busy collecting the new BD releases of classic Dr Who, which only gets released to BD till very recently.

All the time old TV gets release direct to physical. Old movies. Just around xmas 2023 I got a new 4K transfer of D.A.R.Y.L from Vinegar Syndrome. Before that I had the EU produced bluray. God knows what version you will find on streaming, if it is even there.

I was watching the latest Sword Art online series but I had to stop and leave it a bit. Came back to find it was now GONE from Prime. Guess what I’m doing to resolve that? I’m buying the discs. I was going to anyway.

What I generally see on streaming is the popular stuff that’s sure to get people watching and subbing. Then they up the prices and ruin everything by introducing adverts. For example, I found Babylon 5 on prime. My first chance to re-watch that since the 90’s! Great. I watched the lot and boy the HD remastered episodes showed how good it looked. But Amazon stuff adverts at random points, including cutting up battle scenes and in the middle of lines of dialogue. My viewing experience was almost torture. I’m used to UK advertising on live TV, which is regulated enough to prevent such butchery of the show, this however was extremely off putting.

A new BD set of Babylon 5 is about to be released. Guess what I’m going to use to watch that series going forward?

I have things on my shelf that people who stream will NEVER likley see or hear (it applies to music and dramatisiations/radio plays too). I have my parents not only tell me that I should get rid of the discs as streaming is what everyone does, but then come to me hoping I have something that they sudddenly want to watch which of course is not on streaming. Being my parents I hold back smirking and saying “told you so”.

Re:Seems like a great idea

By Ed Tice • Score: 4, Informative Thread
You make many valid points, but I don’t think this is why malls are failing. Malls are a terrible experience for most people. If you are shopping as recreation, they are great. If your goal is to get the thing you need and get back home, they are atrocious. The design of malls necessitates that you will park a significant distance away. Maybe some people are lazy and don’t like walking but others might be in quite good shape but just don’t want to spend ten minutes in the weather to buy a tube of toothpaste. Then you enter the mall via one of the “anchor” retailers so you have to do another ten to fifteen minutes of walking inside. The rents at malls were historically high. So you end up paying much more for the item. The bad experience of malls is what lead to chains like Walmart and Target being able to take large portions of the market share. And then, of course, ordering from Amazon made the experience even more pleasant.

Frozen Embryos Are ‘Children,’ According To Alabama’s Supreme Court

Posted by BeauHD View on SlashDot Skip
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica:
The Alabama Supreme Court on Friday ruled that frozen embryos are “children,” entitled to full personhood rights, and anyone who destroys them could be liable in a wrongful death case. The first-of-its-kind ruling throws into question the future use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) involving in vitro fertilization for patients in Alabama — and beyond. For this technology, people who want children but face challenges to conceiving can create embryos in clinical settings, which may or may not go on to be implanted in a uterus.

In the Alabama case, a hospital patient wandered through an unlocked door, removed frozen, preserved embryos from subzero storage and, suffering an ice burn, dropped the embryos, killing them. Affected IVF patients filed wrongful-death lawsuits against the IVF clinic under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. The case was initially dismissed in a lower court, which ruled the embryos did not meet the definition of a child. But the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that “it applies to all children, born and unborn, without limitation.” In a concurring opinion, Chief Justice Tom Parker cited his religious beliefs and quoted the Bible to support the stance.

“Human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God, who views the destruction of His image as an affront to Himself,” Parker wrote. “Even before birth, all human beings bear the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory.” In 2020, the US Department of Health and Human Services estimated that there were over 600,000 embryos frozen in storage around the country, a significant percentage of which will likely never result in a live birth.
The result of this ruling “could mean that any embryos that are destroyed or discarded in the process of IVF or afterward could be the subject of wrongful death lawsuits,” notes Ars. [According to national ART data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of egg retrievals that fail to result in a live birth ranges from 46 percent to 91 percent, depending on the patient’s age. Meanwhile, the percentage of fertilized egg or embryo transfers that fail to result in a live birth range from 51 percent to 76 percent, depending on age.]

“The ruling creates potentially paralyzing liability for ART clinics and patients who use them. Doctors may choose to only attempt creating embryos one at a time to avoid liability attached to creating extras, or they may decline to provide IVF altogether to avoid liability when embryos do not survive the process. This could exacerbate the already financially draining and emotionally exhausting process of IVF, potentially putting it entirely out of reach for those who want to use the technology and putting clinics out of business.”


By arglebargle_xiv • Score: 5, Funny Thread
As evidenced by the quote:

Chief Justice Tom Parker cited his religious beliefs and quoted the Bible to support the stance.

Presumably quoting from the appendix to the apocrypha, in which Jesus gives his opinions on frozen embryos, nanotechnology, and plasma physics.

Re:A lot of religious people

By Petersko • Score: 5, Informative Thread

This is ridiculous. All you have to do to prove that inaccurate is to point to any of the many examples of pre-Christian folks whose teachings are still with us today. Drawing a line in the sand and suggesting that Christianity bequeathed us morality is just fucking stupid

Societies needed basic decency to function. This is true with or without religiosity. You don’t need a belief in God to conclude killing each other is bad for the collective. And being religious in no way prevents you from doing it anyway.


By gtall • Score: 5, Interesting Thread

That view of Jesus comes directly from The Apocalypse. The whiny evangelicals read that and presume it is talking about now. Every few centuries, the reigning evangelicals think it is talking about their time. The Apocalypse is a member of a genre of literature, there are many of them and some are from the same time frame. The Apocalypse is actually talking about the Roman Empire sometime after the Jewish temple was destroyed circa 70 AD. The Jesus of the Apocalypse bears no resemblance to the Jesus of the three synoptic Gospels (Mathew, Mark, and Luke). The gospel according to John came to us after the writer had a tour through the Land of Funny Mushrooms.

For a good time, take the synoptic Gospels and read them side by side rather than from front to back. Compare what goes on, the contradictions are particularly striking. And they are filled with…well, let’s just say literary license. They are the biopics of their time, and biopics of that time were not historically accurate. Writers would frequently make stuff up to fill in what they thought the life of the subject was like. In that sense, they were not lying, but gaps in the stories are spackelled over. The writers were writing (Mark: circa 75 AD, Mathew: circa 80 AD, Luke: circa 90 AD, John: in Mushroom Land, so they were not even disciples or one of the 12 apostles of Jesus) about stories they had heard. And the versions we have are not the originals, but copies of copies of copies, and scribes would alter the text frequently because they could make no sense of the copy they were working with. So they’d alter it to fit their own understanding.

Jesus himself was an apocalyptic preacher who thought the End-O-World was nigh, and one needed to repent lest it catches one in a flagrante delicto. The Essenes were also apocalypticists…it was a rather popular view back then. He also never claimed to be the Son-O-G-d. And being a good Jewish boy, that would have been heresy and would have been stoned to death if he had claimed to be THE Son-O-G-d. The Son-O-G-d label was used at that time and before to claim someone was “of G-d” to whom G-d spoke personally. Hell, even David and Solomon were called sons of G-d. Evangelicals read that Son-O-G-d label in the Bible and repeat the same misconception that the writers had. And the texts were originally written in Greek by people who had little understanding of Jewish culture (except for Paul). Jesus likely spoke Aramaic and he and his followers were illiterate rubes from Galilee.

Re:A lot of religious people

By serviscope_minor • Score: 5, Insightful Thread

What you don’t seem to realise is that there has been rampaging by Christian hoards.

That’s more or less exactly what the crusades were.

Then there was that Christian country which managed to invade almost every country in the world.

your take isn’t new, but it is stupid. Christians were as responsible for running the transatlantic slave trade as they were for abolishing it. You can’t have one without the other. The abolitionist movement in England came from a mix of somewhat niche Christian sects and the secular enlightenment inspired philosophers, and was pitted against the very much Christian establishment.

The first binding ruling against slavery in England was not done on religious grounds but because England’s just too awesome for slaves (in Elizabethan speak).

And when it comes to human sacrifice, Christianity doesn’t exactly have a clean slate there with all the burning alive of heretics, witches and etc that happened in God’s name.

It’s almost like the prevailing ideas in Christianity have at any one time reflected the prevailing ideas of the society in which it is present. And that’s why doing evangelicals think Jesus is too weak and liberal right now.

Re:Which extemists scare you more?

By DesScorp • Score: 5, Informative Thread

There is not a single state where so called late-term abortions are legal without medical justification.

This is absolutely false. There are seven states (and the District of Columbia) who have no restrictions on abortion whatsoever, up to and including abortion on the date of delivery.

The idea of “Democrats want to allow abortions up till the moment of birth” is a complete lie manufactured by Republicans.

“Abortion, On Demand, Without Apology”? Is it the Whigs carrying those signs?

Also, the “health of the mother” justification became a complete wash, untethered from any real medical justification when courts made the legal definition of “medical necessity” so loose that you could sail the Titanic through it:

The proposed Women’s Health Protection Act, the legislation to “codify Roe” backed by most congressional Democrats, would establish a nationwide right to abortion, overriding all state laws banning abortion at any stage. The bill provides that abortion would be lawful even after fetal viability, so long as a “health care provider” — which need not be a doctor — determines that ending the pregnancy is necessary to preserve the “life or health” of the mother. That was the standard created under Roe v. Wade. But in the companion case of Doe v. Bolton decided the same day, the justices ruled that “health” could refer to any consideration — “physical, emotional, psychological, familial.” Under such a limitless definition, the exception swallowed the rule, making abortion lawful at any stage of pregnancy.

YouTube Dominates TV Streaming In US, Per Nielsen’s Latest Report

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In a new report today, Nielsen found that YouTube is once again the overall top streaming service in the U.S., with 8.6% of viewing on television screens. Netflix was a close second at 7.9% of TV usage. TechCrunch reports:
In a blog post celebrating the achievement, the Google-owned streaming service announced that viewers now watch a daily average of over 1 billion hours of YouTube content on their televisions, which could indicate that there’s a preference for user-generated videos among U.S. consumers rather than traditional TV shows. Sixty-one percent of Gen Z reported that they favor user-generated content over other content formats. […]

Although YouTube may have precedence in the living room, TikTok continues to dominate on mobile devices. The short-form video app recently began testing the ability for TikTokers to upload 30-minute videos, which could step on YouTube’s toes. TikTok also entered the spatial reality space, launching a native app on the Apple Vision Pro. Meanwhile, YouTube decided to not build a dedicated app for the device.

Vertical Video?

By MDMurphy • Score: 4, Funny Thread
If TikTok gets more eyeballs in the living room will people be mounting their TVs in portrait orientation? Will there be mounts to swivel the TV to match the video?

With YT without GAFAM watching you

By Plugh • Score: 3 Thread
Thanks to the Invidious team. And to those who run nodes. Use some. Support them. But most of all… please. Do not feed the GAFAM.

Re: who wants to guess the age demographics?

By beelsebob • Score: 5, Interesting Thread

While that may be true, there’s plenty of older people watching a ton of YouTube. I can see why too. I’d much rather watch a âveritasium’ video than any traditional TV documentary that’s been poorly researched, dumbed down, and then presented by someone with no knowledge or interest in the field. Plus, on YouRube you can fine much content tailored specifically to your interests. No one is going to put a video on using an electron microscope to look at the insides of MEMS devices on the BBC, but on YouTube such things are easily found.

So how can it “dominate”

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 3 Thread

… if another service is a “close second”?

YouTube TV

By MDMurphy • Score: 4, Insightful Thread
What’s a bit annoying is that the article, and the Nielsen page it referenced, didn’t differentiate between “YouTube” the free, anybody can submit a video platform, and YouTube TV” the paid, cable-like service. YouTube “classic” might be compared to TikTok, but YouTube TV is more like Hulu. I wouldn’t be as surprised to learn that YouTube TV was high on the list for TV vs mobile device viewing, but confusing it, or combining it, with the old school YouTube without details doesn’t give the right picture of the situation.

Zuckerberg: Neural Wristband For AR/VR Input Will Ship ‘In the Next Few Years’

Posted by BeauHD View on SlashDot Skip
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that it’s working on a finger tracking neural wristband that will be ready to ship “in the next few years.” UploadVR reports:
Appearing on the Morning Brew Daily talk show on Friday, Mark Zuckerberg said “we’re actually kind of close to having something here that we’re going to have in a product in the next few years.” […] An entirely different approach to finger tracking is to sense the neural electrical signals passing through your wrist to your fingers from your brain, using a technique called electromyography (EMG). Theoretically this could have zero or even negative latency, perfect accuracy, work regardless of lighting conditions, and not be subject to occlusion. When discussing the technology in 2021 Reardon claimed that a recent breakthrough enabled decoding the activity of individual neurons for “almost infinite control over machines.” Occlusion-free finger tracking of this quality and reliability could enable precise control of complex interfaces with incredibly subtle movements of your hand resting on your lap, making it an ideal input method for headsets and AR glasses. […]

So how will this arrive in a Meta product? In early 2023 an internal Meta AR/VR hardware roadmap leaked to The Verge, revealing details about Quest 3, the existence of the headset now rumored to be called Quest 3 Lite, and the cancelation of the 2024 candidate for Quest Pro 2 in favor of a more ambitious but “way out” model. But this roadmap also mentioned that Meta was planning to release the neural wristband alongside the third generation Ray-Ban smartglasses in 2025 as the input method.

According to that roadmap, two models of the wristband will be offered at different price points - one with the neural input tech only and another that also has a display and camera to act as a smartwatch too. A second generation of the wristband will also apparently act as the input device for the true AR glasses Meta plans to launch in 2027. We should however note that this plan or the timeline may have changed in the year since.

Physical issues

By Baron_Yam • Score: 3 Thread

I imagine this will need to be a fairly snug fit to get a decent read… which I unfortunately know is something that can exacerbate carpel tunnel. I love my smart watch, but sometimes it doesn’t love me so much.

Still, imagine gesture controls with this thing used to control whatever. Wave at a smart lock that knows your bracelet, and it unlocks. Make the right finger sign and move your hand to control lighting, media playback, to answer a hands-free phone, etc. Could be a fun toy. …And one I would never, ever buy from anything Zuckerberg had a hand in. It will require a link to your phone and every data point it gathers will be his to do with as he pleases. I don’t even have to get into specific scenarios, that’s just a giant ‘no’ on principles alone.

Why is neural interface research headed by creeps?

By Rosco P. Coltrane • Score: 4, Insightful Thread

Somehow the last thing I want is have my central nervous system connected to anything made by Musk or Zuckerberg.

Seems like BS #2

By az-saguaro • Score: 3 Thread

Above me, Samantha posted “Seems like BS”, and I have to strongly concur. There are no links to any credible or technical sources or reports. This seems like marketing or investor hype, or all too happy to have media coverage under the pretense that “if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit”. Here is why:

- There is a difference between reading afferent motor nerve electrical activity to infer intent, such as to control a prosthesis in an amputee, versus reading mechanical activities or geometries to see what in hand-and-wrist has actually moved so that this can be translated to a robotic or remote control device. Both are worthy goals, but different parts of these reports confuse and conflate the two. The reports do not really know what they want to say.

- The video of the real hand on left with white 3d rendering on right is meant to imply (baffle with bs) that the render was generated on the fly by the technology reading the real hand position, but that looks like BS. The rendered view most likely was mapped from the real hand video, but post-facto. The colorful buzz lines streaming out of the wrist are super neato gee whiz golly, but they don’t mean shit. The render was not created from an electrical data stream from the device.

- There is another video of the device on a dude with missing fingers. Back to that in a moment. Note that the dude with the congenital hand anomaly is wearing the device in the proximal forearm, whereas the white hand avatar is wearing it at the wrist. The distinction is crucial. The proximal forearm is where the extrinsic muscles are, and all three major nerves are there (median, ulnar, radial). In the distal forearm, median and ulnar n.‘s pass through to the hand, but muscle bulk is scant, and the radial nerve (controls extension) is gone at that level, so if they claim they are reading muscle electrical activity, no they are not in the wrist shot. If they claim to be reading nerve, okay, but the hand movement shows a mix of all elements - median and ulnar extrinsics, median and ulnar intrinsics (in the hand per se), and radial which is for the extrinsic extensors with no motor activity in the hand per se. There is no way to sense all of that at the wrist level.

- The congenital hand dude looks like he most likely had congenital or amniotic constriction bands, maybe with some syndactyly. In this disorder, scar bands amputate digits in utero, but the neuro-muscular axis forms properly, so the dangly part of the fingers may be missing, but various joints and bones are there, and integrated neuro-muscular motion of remaining parts is normal, just as he demonstrates in the video. He has more than enough parts, thumb and small finger, to have a grasp and pinch, so to claim he never held anything in that hand except to see it in video with the gizmo on - that sounds like the ultimate scripted BS (versus he had the worst medical care ever, but I know of nowhere where care is quite that bad yet).

- One claim is that the device operates in two modes - reading signals or passing signals. If they are reading EMG signals, that is plausible, but would have to be done at proximal forearm, as discussed above, not wrist. If they are passing current, that too is plausible, in a form of low res electrical impedance tomography. That would work at wrist. As the hand moves, precise position of each tendon and muscle and bit of synovium would have a distinctive cross sectional anatomy for any given posture of the fingers, and each detailed cross-section anatomy versus finger position would also have a different impedance map at that level (muscles are highly conductive, tendons are excellent insulators, and synovium has mid level resistance). So, I would buy into the idea they are doing something like that.

- But, the patent filing diagram they show - WTF? A fifth grader could have conceived that. Wear a wrist bad with electrodes with some promise that we will read an electrical signal. What the hell happened to the paten

Cox Communications Wins Order Overturning $1 Billion US Copyright Verdict

Posted by BeauHD View on SlashDot Skip
Internet service provider Cox Communications has been cleared of a $1 billion jury verdict in favor of several major record labels that had accused it of failing to curb user piracy. “The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, ruled on Tuesday that the amount of damages was not justified and that a federal district court should hold a new trial to determine the appropriate amount,” reports Reuters. From the report:
A Virginia jury in 2019 found Cox, the largest unit of privately-owned Cox Enterprises, liable for its customers’ violations of over 10,000 copyrights belonging to labels including Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and Universal Music Group. The labels’ attorney Matt Oppenheim said that the appeals court “affirmed the jury’s verdict that Cox is a willful infringer,” and that “the evidence of Cox’s complete disregard for copyright law and copyright owners has not changed.” “A second jury will get to hear that same compelling evidence, and we fully expect it will render a significant verdict,” Oppenheim said.

More than 50 labels teamed up to sue Cox in 2018, in what was seen as a test of the obligations of internet service providers (ISPs) to thwart piracy. The labels accused Cox of failing to address thousands of infringement notices, cut off access for repeat infringers, or take reasonable measures to deter pirates. Atlanta-based Cox had told the 4th Circuit that upholding the verdict would force ISPs to boot households or businesses based on “isolated and potentially inaccurate allegations,” or require intrusive oversight of customers’ internet usage. Other ISPs, including Charter Communications, Frontier Communications and Astound Broadband, formerly RCN, have also been sued by the record labels.

Another billion?

By WoodstockJeff • Score: 3 Thread…


By MachineShedFred • Score: 4, Interesting Thread

IMO, the only just outcome of this would be if Cox is still found liable due to their general apathy towards the legal processes; but the jury rewrites the damages to $1 because the recording labels are exploitative shitpieces who deserve to die in a fire.

None of the named parties in the suit win, which means The Rest Of Us(tm) win. The recording industry learns that juries are going to play the world’s smallest violin concerto for them and won’t even charge them fees to hear it. The ISPs learn that they still need to do what is legally required of them, or next time the $1B verdict might stand. And we, the public, get additional judicial review of greedy corporations trying to circle-jerk each other while we get caught in the middle taking it from both ends.

Unfortunately it won’t happen.

Why should ISP’s be sued for piracy ?

By bsdetector101 • Score: 3 Thread
Why should ISP’s be sued for piracy ? They are just providing a service. To gone along the same logic, all gun manufacturers should be sued when someone is killed with a gun they made. Hit/kill someone with a car ? Sue someone....

Fingerprints Can Be Recreated From the Sounds Made When Swiping On a Touchscreen

Posted by BeauHD View on SlashDot Skip
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Tom’s Hardware:
An interesting new attack on biometric security has been outlined by a group of researchers from China and the US. PrintListener: Uncovering the Vulnerability of Fingerprint Authentication via the Finger Friction Sound [PDF] proposes a side-channel attack on the sophisticated Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). The attack leverages the sound characteristics of a user’s finger swiping on a touchscreen to extract fingerprint pattern features. Following tests, the researchers assert that they can successfully attack “up to 27.9% of partial fingerprints and 9.3% of complete fingerprints within five attempts at the highest security FAR [False Acceptance Rate] setting of 0.01%.” This is claimed to be the first work that leverages swiping sounds to infer fingerprint information.

Without contact prints or finger detail photos, how can an attacker hope to get any fingerprint data to enhance MasterPrint and DeepMasterPrint dictionary attack results on user fingerprints? One answer is as follows: the PrintListener paper says that “finger-swiping friction sounds can be captured by attackers online with a high possibility.” The source of the finger-swiping sounds can be popular apps like Discord, Skype, WeChat, FaceTime, etc. Any chatty app where users carelessly perform swiping actions on the screen while the device mic is live. Hence the side-channel attack name — PrintListener. […]

To prove the theory, the scientists practically developed their attack research as PrintListener. In brief, PrintListener uses a series of algorithms for pre-processing the raw audio signals which are then used to generate targeted synthetics for PatternMasterPrint (the MasterPrint generated by fingerprints with a specific pattern). Importantly, PrintListener went through extensive experiments “in real-world scenarios,” and, as mentioned in the intro, can facilitate successful partial fingerprint attacks in better than one in four cases, and complete fingerprint attacks in nearly one in ten cases. These results far exceed unaided MasterPrint fingerprint dictionary attacks.

Re:Good thing that I don’t like touching a screen

By quonset • Score: 4, Informative Thread

maybe I could be identified from the way in which I hit keys.

Yes, yes you can.

Biometrics are faulty by design.

By devslash0 • Score: 5, Insightful Thread

If your password gets compromised, you can change it. However, if your biometrics leak, they will remain in the open forever. You can’t quite chop your finger off and get a new one, can you? It gets even worse. Since these days biometrics are taken as the source of ultimate truth, you will have no way whatsoever to prove that the person who used your biometrics was not you but a criminal. All this makes biometrics a very bad choice for any form of authentication.

not believable

By Walt Dismal • Score: 3 Thread

I find this really hard to believe. Friction on the minutia in a fingerprint really do not map well to specific acoustics. So I am calling BS on this research claim. My background includes working on AFIS projects twice in my career. I just don’t buy the claims.


By groobly • Score: 3 Thread

I just use my fingertip, basically about 7 parallel ridges. How are they going to infer the whole fingerprint? Right, hallucinating it. Or, lying about it.

Any sufficiently advanced technology

By jenningsthecat • Score: 3 Thread

I’ve worked in tech all my life, and even though I have a (very) basic understanding of this attack, it still seems like magic.

The fact that mankind can do this really makes me wonder why we haven’t gotten our shit together on more pressing problems, such as global warming.

Valve Makes All Steam Audio SDK Source Code Available Under Apache 2.0 License

Posted by BeauHD View on SlashDot
Michael Larabel reports via Phoronix:
With Valve’s release today of the Steam Audio SDK 4.5.2 they have made the software development kit fully open-source under an Apache 2.0 license. Steam Audio 4.5.2 may not sound exciting in the context of a version number but as described in the release announcement is now “the first open source release of the Steam Audio SDK source code.” The rest of this work in this Steam Audio SDK release amounts to bug fixes and other standard changes.

In a announcement posted today entitled “Steam Audio Open Source Release,” it notes: “The entire Steam Audio codebase, including both the SDK and all plugins, is now released under the Apache 2.0 license. This allows developers to use Steam Audio in commercial products, and to modify or redistribute it under their own licensing terms without having to include source code. We welcome contributions from developers who would like to fix bugs or add features to Steam Audio.”
You can learn more about Steam Audio via the project site.

Awesome tool

By Kiddo 9000 • Score: 4, Informative Thread
Steam Audio is a super powerful audio API, it’s really nice that it is finally fully open-source for all game devs. Half-Life Alyx’s sound design is a great demo of what Steam Audio is capible of in the right hands.

Nice !

By Tom • Score: 3 Thread

I found Unity’s sound handling pretty simple, and found Steam Audio by pure chance, and it essentially is everything that you’d think would be built into an engine. But for some reason, engines these days do all kinds of crazy and impressive things with graphics, and very little with sound.

I’m hoping that open-sourcing it will make it more popular and improve it even further.


By dintech • Score: 3 Thread
Examples of what it can be used for are here: https://valvesoftware.github.i…