Alterslash

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.

MIT Removes Huge Dataset That Teaches AI Systems To Use Racist, Misogynistic Slurs

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Register MIT has taken offline its highly cited dataset that trained AI systems to potentially describe people using racist, misogynistic, and other problematic terms. The database was removed this week after The Register alerted the American super-college. MIT also urged researchers and developers to stop using the training library, and to delete any copies. "We sincerely apologize," a professor told us. The training set, built by the university, has been used to teach machine-learning models to automatically identify and list the people and objects depicted in still images. For example, if you show one of these systems a photo of a park, it might tell you about the children, adults, pets, picnic spreads, grass, and trees present in the snap. Thanks to MIT's cavalier approach when assembling its training set, though, these systems may also label women as whores or bitches, and Black and Asian people with derogatory language. The database also contained close-up pictures of female genitalia labeled with the C-word. Applications, websites, and other products relying on neural networks trained using MIT's dataset may therefore end up using these terms when analyzing photographs and camera footage.

The problematic training library in question is 80 Million Tiny Images, which was created in 2008 to help produce advanced object-detection techniques. It is, essentially, a huge collection of photos with labels describing what's in the pics, all of which can be fed into neural networks to teach them to associate patterns in photos with the descriptive labels. So when a trained neural network is shown a bike, it can accurately predict a bike is present in the snap. It's called Tiny Images because the pictures in library are small enough for computer-vision algorithms in the late-2000s and early-2010s to digest. Today, the Tiny Images dataset is used to benchmark computer-vision algorithms along with the better-known ImageNet training collection. Unlike ImageNet, though, no one, until now, has scrutinized Tiny Images for problematic content.

SAMPE PAGE DUPE!

By pz • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Apparently the Slashdot editors are so rabid in their outrage that they can't help themselves, and the same story of a database so large that there's no way it can be 100% vetted for contamination is present at the same time on the front page. The first instance isn't even halfway down.

Delete all copies

By cygnusvis • Score: 3 • Thread

delete all copies

thats not how the internet works.

Problematic

By J Story • Score: 3 • Thread

I see two problems with this. First, limiting the dataset will have the effect of limiting the communication of information. I knew a person whose first language was Russian, and even though his English seemed excellent to me, he once told me his frustration in fully expressing his thoughts in English. Second, to the extent that such communication is possible, it seems to me that all that will happen is that a perjorative is expunged from the language, the actual concept might not be, and will result in language that will fall to the next little Hitler witchhunt of the perpetually offended.

People Testing Negative For COVID-19 Antibodies May Still Have Some Immunity, Study Suggests

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Thelasko shares a report from the BBC: For every person testing positive for antibodies, two were found to have specific T-cells which identify and destroy infected cells. This was seen even in people who had mild or symptomless cases of Covid-19. But it's not yet clear whether this just protects that individual, or if it might also stop them from passing on the infection to others.

Researchers at the Karolinksa Institute in Sweden tested 200 people for both antibodies and T-cells. Some were blood donors while others were tracked down from the group of people first infected in Sweden, mainly returning from earlier affected areas like northern Italy. This could mean a wider group have some level of immunity to Covid-19 than antibody testing figures, like those published as part of the UK Office for National Statistics Infection Survey, suggest. It's likely those people did mount an antibody response, but either it had faded or was not detectable by the current tests. And these people should be protected if they are exposed to the virus for a second time.

Re:Do we have a ruling on this?

By dgatwood • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Immunology is complex and indeterminate. We know, for example, that the first flu virus you're exposed to as a kid confers partial immunity to that subtype of flu for the rest of your life, even across huge mutations. So if your first flu strain was an H3N1, you'll get a milder case of any H3N1 strain for the rest of your life than someone whose first flu as a kid was an H1N1 strain.

This is likely similar. Folks whose first coronavirus strain was in some way outwardly similar to this one might have a stronger immune response to this strain than folks who have never had coronavirus or whose first coronavirus strain was less similar.

This is, of course, pure speculation on my part.

Re:How did this get through?

By gl4ss • Score: 4 • Thread

It's a swedish study. they have political pressure to have something to show that their herd immunity plan wasn't stupid as f.

Meanwhile in thailand there's 0 locally transmitted cases for basically weeks at this point. returnees from middle east in quarantine have been found to have been infected though. from kuwait, qatar etc. from kuwait 20% tested positive.

but what swedish head epidemilogist is looking for is some proof that he had attained at least _something_ by his tactic and that his tactic wouldn't be going very badly for the next year or so at least more.

also if you want to read "everything is fine now is the time to buy stocks buy buy buy everything is fine" suggest reading consumer economy news, which are desperately trying to hawk that buying stocks is a good idea now just like they were trying to tell people 6 months ago and also that you should leverage all your net worth and buy apartments for airbnb!

Really most of the world is still just normal. Although because of BLM they're trying to cancel basically all candy brands back in Finland.. because geisha chocolate bars are racist, apparently, said no-one ever. The thing is people in USA are rich enough to act like they do because none of them are _actually_ worried about _food_ and starving, they're all just worried about keeping up with the joneses and panic over non essential item hoarding seemingly not being accessible to them.

also because ataturk banned fez hats in turkey while on his genocide campaign the fez hats in product ad imagery are racist or some shit like that.

also please don't try to export BLM into countries that ... you know.. .have still actual slaves. it's incredibly dumb looking when people in social media call for blm action (for african american rights) to be done in countries that don't have african american ethnic groups and but have actual fucking slavery - and the human trafficking is used to produce products that are sold into USA - only way to make it look dumber is to drink pineapple juice while doing it while eating thai imported shrimp.

(also swedish economy is as fucked as any of it's neighbors if not even worse due to covid, because for some reason it's hard for people to grasp that BARS DO NOT RUN THE ECONOMY, it doesn't make you any more exports if you have people drinking in the bars and eating in restaurants unless the people drinking and eating are tourists from other countries)

For every person testing positive for antibodies

By fredrated • Score: 3 • Thread

two were found to have specific T-cells. That's amazing.

Firefox 78: Protections Dashboard, New Developer Features, and the End of the Line For Older MacOS Versions

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
williamyf shares a report from The Register: Mozilla has released Firefox 78 with a new Protections Dashboard and a bunch of updates for web developers. This is also the last supported version of Firefox for macOS El Capitan (10.11) and earlier. Firefox is on a "rapid release plan," which means a new version every four to five weeks. This means that major new features should not be expected every time. That said, Firefox 78 is also an extended support release (ESR), which means users who stick with ESR get updates from this and the previous 10 releases. The main new user-facing feature in Firefox 78 is the Protections Dashboard, a screen which shows trackers and scripts blocked, a link to the settings, a link to Firefox Monitor for checking your email address against known data breaches, and a button for password management.

Developers get a bunch of new features. The Accessibility inspector is out of beta -- this is a tab in the developer tools that will check a page for accessibility issues when enabled. Source maps are a JavaScript feature that map minified code back to the original code to make debugging easier. Firefox has a Map option that lets you use source maps in the debugger, and this now works with logpoints, a type of breakpoint that writes a message to the console rather than pausing execution, so that you see the original variable names. Mozilla has also worked on debugging JavaScript promises, so you can see more detail when exceptions are thrown.

A big feature for debugging web applications when running on mobile is the ability to connect an Android phone with USB, and navigate and refresh mobile web pages from the desktop. Patience is required though, since this will only work with a forthcoming new version of Firefox for Android. Mozilla has been working on a new Regular Expression (RegExp) evaluator and this is included in SpiderMonkey (Mozilla's JavaScript engine) in Firefox 78. This brings the evaluator up to date with the requirements of ECMAScript 2018.

ESR 78 keeps support for flash until Aug 2021

By williamyf • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

For all those Adobe Flash junkies, be it that you are interested in the encyclopaedia of electornic music, or some flash games, or a weird flash application in your intranet.

since ESR is updated once a year, NPAPI support for the plug-in will remain until about aug 2021. Of course, the plug-in itself will stop being mantained on Dec 2020, but at least it will remain functional in ESR 78, a Blessing for some, a Curse for others.

YMMV

Also, this is an important release for KaiOS

By williamyf • Score: 3 • Thread

Since Firefox 78 is also an ESR, and KaiOS and Mozilla signed an agreement back in march to better syncronize their development efforts.

https://techweez.com/2020/03/1...

So, whatever is in this release, will have a great influence on KaiOS for the next year.

Re:El Capitan: 2018?

By thogard • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

There are millions of machines that can't be upgraded without hacks and they are throwing away that userbase because they can't get xcode to make versions for both? MacOS has fat binaries for a reason. Learn how to build code. You can make images that will run on the latest ARM systems, all versions of x86 and PPC. The problem is you need 3 versions of xcode to do it and you have to do the final build outside of xcode but it can be done. Apple will even sign the silly thing and approve it for their walled garden.

Dish Buys Prepaid Carrier Boost Mobile For $1.4 Billion

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Today, Dish announced the $1.4 billion acquisition of Boost Mobile. With this purchase, Dish secures its place in the retail wireless market and will serve more than nine million customers. Engadget reports: The deal is the result of T-Mobile's Sprint merger. In order to gain FCC approval and quell fears that the merger would hurt competition, T-Mobile and Sprint agreed to several demands, including divesting Boost Mobile, one of Sprint's prepaid brands. Rumors circulated last year that Dish would buy Boost for $6 billion. Obviously, the final price is nowhere near that amount. "This marks an important milestone in DISH's evolution as a connectivity company," Dish CEO and president Erik Carlson said in a statement. "It positions us well as we continue to build out the first virtualized, standalone 5G network in America."

Dish will continue to use the Boost brand, but it has unveiled a new logo. It's also launching a new "$hrink-It!" plan, which starts at $45 for 15GB. If customers make three on-time payments, Dish will drop the monthly rate by $5. Dish will take off another $5 after six on-time payments. Another 10GB plan with unlimited talk and text will cost $35. Both plans will be available beginning July 2nd.

Multiple Service Providers Are Blocking DuckDuckGo In India

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Next Web: Just a few days after India banned 59 Chinese apps, many users in the country are reporting that privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo is inaccessible to them. Users on Reddit have noticed they're unable to access the site on their Airtel and Reliance Jio mobile network connections. While Some users on Twitter have further suggested multiple internet service providers (ISP) have blocked the site. There's no clarity at the moment if there's an order from India's telecom authority to block the site. Meanwhile, DuckDuckGo confirmed on Twitter that it's looking into the issue and suggested Android users change their DNS provider to get around the issue. It also added that there's no issue on the server-side.

State competition

By moxrespawn • Score: 3 • Thread

Got to close that oppression gap.

Not just India

By quonset • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

For a time, roughly two weeks, DDG was blocked at our work (a multi-thousand person operation). I submitted a ticket to our networking team complete with all information. They came back and said our provider was blocking them because they were a malicious site. No really, that's what was said.

About two weeks later they were finally unblocked. Needless to say, when I submitted the ticket someone came back and asked, "Can't you use something else?" If that wasn't a blatant nod to use Google.

Apple Recloses More Than 25% of Its US Retail Stores Due To COVID-19 Spikes

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Apple will close 30 additional stores in the United States by Thursday, the company said, bringing the total number of reclosures in the United States to 77 as Covid-19 cases rapidly rise in several regions around the country. CNBC reports: Stores in Alabama, California, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada and Oklahoma will close Thursday. Other stores in Florida, Mississippi, Texas and Utah are closed as of Wednesday. Apple has 271 stores in the United States. An Apple spokesman said in a statement: "Due to current COVID-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas. We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible." The closings announced on Wednesday include the last two remaining stores open in Florida, as well as a number of stores around the Los Angeles area.

Kongregate No Longer Accepting New Games, Shutting Down Forums and Chat

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Kongregate, a video game publisher and web gaming portal featuring over 128,000 titles, announced that many features on the site are going away. The site is no longer allowing uploads of new flash games, and will be shutting down forums and chat services. From a report: Previously, anyone who created a game was able to upload their title for anyone to play, which is why the website has "over 128,000 titles." Another key feature hitting the chopping block is badges. Badges were achievements of varying difficulty, which were periodically added into popular games. Players were granted points upon earning a badge. Kongregate is also famous for its chat features. While playing a game, users can talk with each other in a "chat room." On July 22, most chat rooms are closing down in addition to "non-gaming" forums.

It is worth noting that the company is still supporting Kartridge, a gaming platform where you can purchase titles -- it operates like Steam and GOG. Kartridge has essentially the same features as Kongregate, such as chat rooms and badges; only, this is a curated platform that has downloadable games instead of Adobe Flash. Kongregate also continues to "focus on developing games," according to the post. Most of these titles are on mobile, however, some can be found on Kartridge and Steam, like Realm Grinder.

Uncovered: 1,000 Phrases That Incorrectly Trigger Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal: As Alexa, Google Home, Siri, and other voice assistants have become fixtures in millions of homes, privacy advocates have grown concerned that their near-constant listening to nearby conversations could pose more risk than benefit to users. New research suggests the privacy threat may be greater than previously thought. The findings demonstrate how common it is for dialog in TV shows and other sources to produce false triggers that cause the devices to turn on, sometimes sending nearby sounds to Amazon, Apple, Google, or other manufacturers. In all, researchers uncovered more than 1,000 word sequences -- including those from Game of Thrones, Modern Family, House of Cards, and news broadcasts -- that incorrectly trigger the devices.

"The devices are intentionally programmed in a somewhat forgiving manner, because they are supposed to be able to understand their humans," one of the researchers, Dorothea Kolossa, said. "Therefore, they are more likely to start up once too often rather than not at all." When devices wake, the researchers said, they record a portion of what's said and transmit it to the manufacturer. The audio may then be transcribed and checked by employees in an attempt to improve word recognition. The result: fragments of potentially private conversations can end up in the company logs.
The research paper, titled "Unacceptable, where is my privacy?," hasn't yet been published, although a brief write-up of the findings can be found here.

Well duh

By Rosco P. Coltrane • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

When devices wake, the researchers said, they record a portion of what's said and transmit it to the manufacturer. The audio may then be transcribed and checked by employees in an attempt to improve word recognition. The result: fragments of potentially private conversations can end up in the company logs.

Oh come on: if you buy one of those awful devices, you *know* whatever you say to it will be shipped off to some server somewhere - and the data mishandled, and whatever private information you give it milked for all it's worth - even if it records exactly what you want to say to it and nothing more.

I don't get people who are okay to ask "Alexa, what's the best cure for the claps?" or "Google, pay the milkman with my credit card number XXXX" but get their pants in a knot when the damn device triggers unexpectedly when their TV blurts out something unfortunate.

If you're truly concerned, stay clear the hell away from those services. If you use them, don't come crying afterwards when Big Data invades your privacy. It's that simple.

Oblig.

By Megahard • Score: 3 • Thread

https://xkcd.com/1807/

Re:People still buy these things

By friedmud • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Dubious it is not.

Every light in my house is a connected light. My thermostat and front door are too. I have a google home in every room - it becomes absolutely second nature to talk to them to do all kinds of stuff. Everyone in my hous interacts with them all day long.

Now - is it worth the privacy tradeoff? For me, it is. Would I rather them not send my speach somewhere else. Definitely. But, they are incredibly useful so they are here to stay.

Apple is doing more and more "on device" now. iOS 14 (just announced) will do most Siri processing right on the phone without sending it somewhere else. I suspect this will end up in a Homepod soon as well. That's definitely the future...

Re:Well duh

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Google is moving towards having all the transcription done locally. The Pixel 4 does it locally in some situations such as voice transcription/typing, real time subtitles on media and when screening calls. It's more responsive that way.

If course complex queries are still handled by Google servers but stuff like app launching its entirety local.

It would be nice if there was a local only mode.

Hey Siri, Call 911!

By rworne • Score: 3 • Thread

Been done before.

Funny and creepy to watch, but not experience I guess. This is a video of someone trolling a live streamer.

A word of warning: Do not play loud if you have Apple devices within earshot.

Zoom Misses Its Own Deadline To Publish Its First Transparency Report

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
How many government demands for user data has Zoom received? We won't know until "later this year," an updated Zoom blog post now says. From a report: The video conferencing giant previously said it would release the number of government demands it has received by June 30. But the company said it's missed that target and has given no firm new date for releasing the figures. It comes amid heightened scrutiny of the service after a number of security issues and privacy concerns came to light following a massive spike in its user base, thanks to millions working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a blog post today reflecting on the company's turnaround efforts, chief executive Eric Yuan said the company has "made significant progress defining the framework and approach for a transparency report that details information related to requests Zoom receives for data, records or content. We look forward to providing the fiscal [second quarter] data in our first report later this year," he said. Transparency reports offer rare insights into the number of demands or requests a company gets from the government for user data. These reports are not mandatory, but are important to understand the scale and scope of government surveillance.

Re. Zoom Misses Its Own Deadline...

By Zontar The Mindless • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

*crickets*

Anyone surprised?

By mschaffer • Score: 3 • Thread

So, is anyone actually surprised?

Detroit Police Chief: Facial Recognition Software Misidentifies 96% of the Time

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Detroit police have used highly unreliable facial recognition technology almost exclusively against Black people so far in 2020, according to the Detroit Police Department's own statistics. From a report: The department's use of the technology gained national attention last week after the American Civil Liberties Union and New York Times brought to light the case of Robert Julian-Borchak Williams, a man who was wrongfully arrested because of the technology. In a public meeting Monday, Detroit Police Chief James Craig admitted that the technology, developed by a company called DataWorks Plus, almost never brings back a direct match and almost always misidentifies people. "If we would use the software only [to identify subjects], we would not solve the case 95-97 percent of the time," Craig said. "That's if we relied totally on the software, which would be against our current policy ... If we were just to use the technology by itself, to identify someone, I would say 96 percent of the time it would misidentify."

Re: Tool

By hey! • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

but the daily reporting, which is digested by the media, makes it appear that people are instantaneously arrested if there is a match. That's simply not the case.

Except we're talking about this because the police did exactly that.

It clearly wasn't what the police were *supposed* to do. It said clearly on the printout that the match was not reliable enough to use as a basis for an arrest. But they did it anyways, like many other things individual cops do that they're not supposed to: racially profile drivers, planting drugs, or putting their knee on the neck of a non-resisting suspect.

The number one thing we need isn't better police rules, it's better police. The problem is not enough people are willing to do the things you'd have to do to get a better police: raise hiring and training standards, and hold officers accountable for non-professional conduct.

While we're at it, we should look at disciplining the judge who issued the warrant based on a computer printout that said in plain English that it was not probable cause. Going to a judge for a warrant is supposed to act on a check on police overreach.

It's just the 21st Century equivalent

By rsilvergun • Score: 3 • Thread
of a drug sniffing dog. It's just there to establish probably cause so the cops can poke their nose where they don't belong.

End the drug war, fund social services properly so that we're not over funding cops to do wellness checks and psychotherapy, do a universal housing program to end homelessness and these police state problems go away.

If you don't want to pay/do all that then you better get comfy with a militarized police state. Because that's your only other option.

Proportionnal to population.

By DrYak • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The population of Detroit is 80% black. {...} crime {...} mostly committed by blacks.

Yeah, and if Detroit had a high percentage of Martians in its population, a high percentage of crime would be committed by Martians.
And the police would be complaining that their surveillance camera's AI trained on human faces would also give crappy results in a population mostly full of Martians.

What was your point already ?

Re:Detroit

By Sique • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Actually, it's a little different.

You have 25 cases in front of you. The computer gives you a list of 25 likely suspects, one for each case. Only in one of the cases the computer is right.

Eyewitnesses suck too! More witnesses = more suck

By mveloso • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

"In the group without any actors, 32% of participants gave incorrect statements – which was put down to factors such as poor eyesight and memory. But when actors were planted in the group, 52% of the “real” participants gave an incorrect statement. And worryingly, when more than two actors were planted in a group, almost 80% of the participants ended up giving the same incorrect statement and identifying an innocent man as the culprit."

https://theconversation.com/ne...

https://www.pnas.org/content/1...

Ads Are Taking Over Samsung's Galaxy Smartphones

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Max Weinbach, writing for Android Police: I have been using Samsung phones every day for almost 4 years. It was because Samsung had fantastic hardware paired with --depending on the year -- good software. 2020 is the first year in a while I'm not using a Samsung phone as my daily driver. The reason? Ads. Ads in Samsung phones never really bothered me, at least not until the past few months. It started with the Galaxy Z Flip. A tweet from Todd Haselton of CNBC is what really caught my eye. Samsung had put an ad from DirectTV in the stock dialer app. This is really something I never would have expected from any smartphone company, let alone Samsung. It showed up in the "Places" tab in the dialer app, which is in partnership with Yelp and lets you search for different businesses directly from the dialer app so you don't need to Google somewhere to find the address or phone number. I looked into it, to see if this was maybe a mistake on Yelp's part, accidentally displaying an ad where it shouldn't have, but nope. The ad was placed by Samsung, in an area where it could blend in so they could make money.

Similar ads exist throughout a bunch of Samsung apps. Samsung Music has ads that look like another track in your library. Samsung Health and Samsung Pay have banners for promotional ads. The stock weather app has ads that look like they could be news. There is also more often very blatant advertising in most of these apps as well. Samsung Music will give you a popup ad for Sirius XM, even though Spotify is built into the Samsung Music app. You can hide the SiriusXM popup, but only for 7 days at a time. A week later, it will be right back there waiting for you. Samsung will also give you push notification ads for new products from Bixby, Samsung Pay, and Samsung Push Service.

Android's birth defect is that it's not an OS

By Generic User Account • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Android is a firmware construction kit, not an OS*. That's why you can't replace the installed firmware with a clean install. That's why you don't get timely updates. On top of that, it doesn't help that Google/Alphabet is an advertising company.

*) Yes, I am aware that Android, as it is installed on a phone, is technically an OS. That's not how it is distributed though.

Cable

By kackle • Score: 3 • Thread
This is no surprise to anyone old enough to have lived through the beginnings of cable ("pay") TV: "Ooo, no commercials..." Eventually commercials.

Web? No ads; now ubiquitous ads. I don't stream TV, but I suspect it'll happen there, too, if it hasn't already. And Microsoft was experimenting with putting ads within Windows 10's Wordpad, I believe. I once bought a DVD for someone and it wouldn't let you skip through the opening ads of the DVD movie itself.

I'd like to see a computer printer that prints an ad every 10 pages, lol.

Re:Cable

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This is no surprise to anyone old enough to have lived through the beginnings of cable ("pay") TV: "Ooo, no commercials..." Eventually commercials.

I used to love American Movie Classics back in those days. They showed lots of old movies, uninterrupted by commercials. The host, Bob Dorian, would tell viewers briefly about the movie, then the movie would run without interruption - that was it. Afterwards he might also talk about some interesting behind-the-scenes story about the filming, or other stuff like that. You'd see some ads regarding other movies they'd be showing soon... but only in between the actual movies.

Those days were wonderful...

Re:Done with Samsung

By rriven • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

You can get a free package disabler and disable all bixby packages. That is what I do. No more bixby and other preinstalled apps.

https://play.google.com/store/...

Full disclosure, I developed that app.

Re: Done with Samsung

By NoMoreACs • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Come over to iOS. We donâ(TM)t do any of that shit!

A Massive Star Has Seemingly Vanished from Space With No Explanation

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Astronomers are perplexed by the unexplained disappearance of a massive star located 75 million light years away. From a report: A decade ago, light from this colossal star brightened its entire host galaxy, which is officially known as PHL 293B and is nicknamed the Kinman Dwarf. But when scientists checked back in on this farflung system last summer, the glow of the star -- estimated to be roughly 100 times more massive than the Sun -- had been extinguished. The head-scratching discovery was announced in a study published on Tuesday in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. "We were quite surprised when we couldn't find the star," said lead author Andrew Allan, a PhD student at Trinity College Dublin, in a call. "It is a very extreme star, and it has quite a strong wind, so we can distinguish it from the galaxy. That's what we couldn't see in the newer observations."

The mysterious series of events began when Allan and his colleagues imaged the Kinman Dwarf in August 2019, using the ESPRESSO instrument at the Very Large Telescope in Chile. The team initially set out to learn more about massive stars located in galaxies with low metal densities. Given that the starlit Kinman Dwarf had been observed by other astronomers between 2001 and 2011, the team knew that it would be a good target for their research. "Not a lot is understood about stars in those kinds of environments, so that was the main reason we wanted to look," Allan said. "We are interested in massive stars at the end of their lives in those kinds of environments, so we were really just hoping to get a better resolution observation."

Re:ObStarWars quote

By anonymouscoward52236 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Either that or someone just built a Dyson sphere around a star.

Re:Dyson Sphere

By Nidi62 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Yeah, but a 100 solar mass star near the end of its life is probably not a great candidate for building a Dyson sphere around. I'd think it would be mostly red dwarf stars, with their incredibly long lives, that would get the Dyson treatment.

Surely even alien government contracts run into delays. It was probably a great candidate star when they started.

I guess the monks

By spiritplumber • Score: 3 • Thread
finally paid up for a computer to recite all the names of God.

Obvious explanation:

By BAReFO0t • Score: 3 • Thread

Some little bit of mass crashed into it, bringing it above the black hole treshold.

Otherwise I'd check for any possibly invisible remains. The brightness might just be its explosion phase.

Or a galactic eclipse by something with a well-defined border.

Picking nits

By PPH • Score: 3 • Thread

The galaxy it is in is called the Kinman Dwarf galaxy. The star itself is not a dwarf.

As to what happened to it: One theory is that it collapsed into a black hole. Since the Schwarzschild radius of an object (the radius of its event horizon) is proportional to its mass, it may have collapsed through this radius without its matter reaching a density that would have been 'eventful'. It just sort of winked out of existence from our point of view.

Tesla Becomes Most Valuable Automaker in Latest Stock Rally

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Tesla on Wednesday became the highest-valued automaker as its shares surged to record highs and the electric carmaker's market capitalization overtook that of former front runner Toyota Motors. From a report: Tesla shares gained 5% in early morning trade to a record of $1,133, boosting the company's market cap to $209.47 billion - roughly $6 billion more than Toyota is currently valued by investors. Tesla is now worth more than triple the combined value of U.S. automakers General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co. The shares' meteoric rise, up more than 163% since the start of 2020, highlight growing confidence among investors about the future of electric vehicles and Tesla's shift from a niche carmaker into a global leader in cleaner cars. After several years of losses, Tesla has delivered three straight profitable quarters since the third quarter of 2019 and surprised investors with solid first-quarter deliveries despite the virus outbreak.

Where are the naysayers now?

By dhaen • Score: 3, Informative • Thread
Come out from your hiding place

Re:Where are the naysayers now?

By ranton • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Whare are the naysayers now? Come out from your hiding place

Nothing has really changed from a naysayer's perspective. Tesla still doesn't run a profit each year and still has a small fraction of the sales of companies like Ford. Short sellers have certainly lost money, but as Buffet says: "The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent."

The naysayers may still be wrong in the long run, but their comments regarding Tesla stock price being pure speculation couldn't really be argued by anyone. Tesla investors could end up be correct but none of Tesla's actual performance has changed the fact its stock price is primarily speculation.

Just got my Model Y last week

By AlanObject • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I was assured so many times on /. and many other forums that Elon was a fraud, there is no way the company could scale, their quality was crap, they would be out of cash in a few months, every other automaker would eat their lunch once they decided to ... yadda yadda. Oh, yeah. They were going to kill thousands because they named it "Autopilot" so irresponsibly.

Thanks to the COVID-19 market panic a month or two ago I made enough money on TSLA to buy the Model Y outright. I didn't and chose to finance instead because I didn't want to create a short-term capital gains event.

In California it seems that the Model 3 has now outsold the Honda Civic. The Model Y is expected to outsell the Model 3 and now having one I can see why. Let that sink in next time someone sagely opines that Tesla is just an unproven flash-in-the-pan.

The naysayers seem strangely quiet here these days.

Stock price is a bit ridiculous

By Ecuador • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

I really like Tesla and what it stands for (even though Musk should definitely stay off Twitter), but stock prices such as this are really crazy and could be dangerous. I mean, I know it is not about fundamentals for "tech" companies, but if they continue to do well, the stock will continue to inflate, until investors e.g. realize the perceived value is greater than say the GDP of large countries and try to cash out, causing others to do the same etc. The stock rise & fall would have no bearing to the actual company.
At least I hope the Tesla shorters have had some nice losses though. I am not a fan of shorting. Not nearly as bad as other things like HFT, but still...

The speculation is around SP500 inclusion

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 3 • Thread
The market seems to be betting there will be at least 1$ profit (not per share, just total of 1$ profit for the whole company for this quarter). It is almost certain there will be net profit in the four trailing quarters. But, if it is also having a net profit this quarter, this stock might get included in SP500 index. That will result in lots of index funds pegged to SP500, many actively managed funds compared with SP500 will buy this stock. So they are betting its going into SP500.

Shorts seems to have thrown in the towel and moved on. Total shares shorted is 14.8 million according to the latest report fromhttps://twitter.com/ihors3/sta..."> Ihor of S3 Partners, . This is significant because the Tesla has sold convertible bonds. These bond holders are guaranteed some 15 million shares at an average price of 330$. (or 330$ cash if the stock falls below that price point). Its a no loss strategy for them to sell the stock at 700 or 800$ now, by shorting, pay short fees till bond maturity date, and close the position with the guaranteed shares from Tesla. (Tesla can pay cash instead of shares, but the effect is the same). So the only people shorting the shares seem to be the conv bond holders, locking in profits rather than betting against the company.

But Tesla fans are still very obsessed with shorts, and shorts being squeezed, gleefully imagining the pain and torment the shorts must be suffering.

The shorts definitely suffered a lot, 14 billion this year alone, on top of 8 billion lost in 2016, 17, 18 and 19. They probably lost another 4 billion before 2016, Bringing their total loss to around 26 billion. But the data shows most likely they have all closed their positions and moved on.

MIT Apologizes, Permanently Pulls Offline Huge Dataset That Taught AI Systems To Use Racist, Misogynistic Slurs

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
MIT has taken offline its highly cited dataset that trained AI systems to potentially describe people using racist, misogynistic, and other problematic terms. From a report: The database was removed this week after The Register alerted the American super-college. And MIT urged researchers and developers to stop using the training library, and to delete any copies. "We sincerely apologize," a professor told us. The training set, built by the university, has been used to teach machine-learning models to automatically identify and list the people and objects depicted in still images. For example, if you show one of these systems a photo of a park, it might tell you about the children, adults, pets, picnic spreads, grass, and trees present in the snap. Thanks to MIT's cavalier approach when assembling its training set, though, these systems may also label women as whores or bitches, and Black and Asian people with derogatory language. The database also contained close-up pictures of female genitalia labeled with the C-word.

Applications, websites, and other products relying on neural networks trained using MIT's dataset may therefore end up using these terms when analyzing photographs and camera footage. The problematic training library in question is 80 Million Tiny Images, which was created in 2008 to help produce advanced object detection techniques. It is, essentially, a huge collection of photos with labels describing what's in the pics, all of which can be fed into neural networks to teach them to associate patterns in photos with the descriptive labels. So when a trained neural network is shown a bike, it can accurately predict a bike is present in the snap. It's called Tiny Images because the pictures in library are small enough for computer-vision algorithms in the late-2000s and early-2010s to digest.

Unpopular truth here.

By DaveV1.0 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
The unpopular truth is that it isn't racist or sexist. It is acting like members of the groups it is offending.

these systems may also label women as whores or bitches

Like how rap songs label women as whores and bitches? Like how many women refer to other women as whores and bitches?

Black and Asian people with derogatory language

Like how Black and Asian people will call members of their friends words considered derogatory language in songs and in person?

The database also contained close-up pictures of female genitalia labeled with the C-word.

The "C-word" isn't that offensive in many English speaking countries, especially when referring to female genitalia. That literally falls under "talk dirty to me"

AI Safety

By edi_guy • Score: 3 • Thread

I did not RTFA but it does seem like some rules around AI safety are in order. Unexpected outcomes like the one mentioned will get worse and worse unless the researchers take AI safety more seriously. I like posts from Robert Miles https://www.youtube.com/channe... who discusses these matters on Computerphile and his own channel. He is of the opinion that AI researchers need to start taking this seriously now, even though it seems like the work isn't that far along. A comparable and topical field might be around the study of pathogens. Better take extra precautions early on than inadvertently release something into the wild.

**No, not perpetuating the Chinese lab as a source of Covid myth ***

Another good guess by Robert Heinlein

By fibonacci8 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
In the book "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", Manny and Wyoming both help categorize the jokes being taught to Mike. It's valuable to get input from different perspectives when teaching an AI, fictional or real.

Re:censorship for everyone

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The problems with this database can be fixed with a small shell script.

sed s/cunt/vagina/gi
sed s/shit/feces/gi
sed s/bitch/assertive woman/gi ...

Deleting the DB is a silly overreaction.

Re:Unpopular truth here.

By xonen • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The problem with banning words is that other words will pop up spontaneously to replace them. It's a cat-and-mouse game that can't be won.

Minecraft Is Now Home To a Virtual Library of Censored Journalism

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
schwit1 shares a report: Free press advocates have created a virtual library in Minecraft that bypasses censorship in oppressive countries to house censored journals and articles. The virtual space was created as a collaboration between the freedom-of-the-press organization, Reporters Without Borders, and a Minecraft design company, BlockWorks. Because Minecraft isn't blocked in many places -- at least, not yet -- it's an ingenious way to ensure access even for those living under repressive regimes. The Uncensored Library, as it's called, houses information on all 180 countries in the press freedom index, as well as exhibition halls on countries notorious for their press censorship, like Russia and Vietnam. BlockWorks says that journalists across five countries who've seen their works banned were able to republish their articles in the exhibition halls for their respective countries, giving them a chance to inform the world about the situation on the ground. There are also areas in the exhibition halls honoring journalists who have been silenced, including Nguyen Van Dai, Yulia Beerezovskaia, and Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist who was brutally murdered, allegedly at the behest of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammad Bin Salman.

Because Minecraft isn't blocked in many places...

By nospam007 • Score: 3 • Thread

...yet, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, ....