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.

S&P Dow Jones Indices To Launch Cryptocurrency Indexes In 2021

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
S&P Dow Jones Indices, a division of financial data provider S&P Global Inc, said on Thursday that it will launch cryptocurrency indices in 2021, making it the latest major finance company to enter the nascent asset class. Reuters reports: The S&P DJI-branded products will use data from New York-based virtual currency company Lukka on more than 550 of the top traded coins, the companies said. S&P's clients will be able to work with the index provider to create customized indices and other benchmarking tools on cryptocurrencies, S&P and Lukka said in a joint statement. S&P and Lukka hope more reliable pricing data will make it easier for investors to access the new asset class, and reduce some of the risks of the very volatile and speculative market, they said. The move by one of the world's most well-known index providers could help cryptocurrencies become more mainstream investments.

More Than 500,000 Full Electric Cars Sold So Far This Year In Europe

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Carmakers have sold more than 500,000 battery electric cars in Europe during 2020, a milestone in the automotive industry's move away from fossil fuels. Sales of all plug-in cars, including hybrids, have surpassed 1m during the year in the UK and the largest 17 European markets, according to data collated by Schmidt Automotive Research. During the whole of last year only 354,000 battery electric sales were recorded across the region.

In the UK, the sale of new cars that run solely on petrol or diesel will be banned in 2030 -- although new hybrids will be legal until 2035. Other countries including France and Norway have also introduced plans to ban new internal combustion engines over varying timeframes. However, the car industry still faces a steep uphill journey away from fossil fuels. Total UK and European new car sales in the year to October were 13.3m, the vast majority of which had petrol and diesel engines, which are expected to be more profitable than battery cars until about 2024.

British consumers bought more than 75,000 electric cars in the year to October, well over double the sales in the previous year, plus another 50,000 plug-in hybrids, but the UK market share of battery electric cars was still only 5.5%. Data for the whole of November will be published on Friday. None of the 10 most popular cars in the UK in 2020 have been electric, although some are available as hybrid or plug-in hybrid models, such as the Mercedes A-Class.

500,000 Full Electric Cars Sold So Far

By rossdee • Score: 3 • Thread

And how many empty ones?

Re:On EV's...

By K. S. Kyosuke • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

However, the best of the ICE vehicles can go 500k miles or more if regularly maintained. Some of the diesels can go to 1M miles

Cool, the best ones. And what's the average in practice?

So far this year?

By sunami88 • Score: 3 • Thread
So far this year? It's December.

Pfizer Halves Covid-19 Vaccine Shipments For 2020 Due To Supply-Chain Problems

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
"The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Pfizer is planning to cut their shipment of Covid-19 vaccines for 2020 in half due to supply-chain problems," writes Slashdot reader phalse phace. Axios (non-paywalled source) reports: The U.K. government has ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine -- enough to inoculate some 20 million people. The companies now expect to ship 50 million vaccines by the end of 2020, per WSJ. "Based on current projections we expect to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021," Pfizer spokesperson Kim Bencker told Axios.

"[S]caling up a vaccine at this pace is unprecedented, and we have made significant progress as we have moved forwards in the unknown," Bencker said. "And it's important to highlight that the outcome of the clinical trial was somewhat later than the initial projection requiring us to focus additional efforts on clinical trial production." Pfizer did not specify to the Journal what shortfalls over ingredients and raw materials -- which were sourced from Europe and the U.S. -- took place as production ramped up.
For the record, Pfizer's vaccine has been shown to be more than 90% effective.

Re:Is this why CEO of Pfizer sold $5.6M in stock?

By backslashdot • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Did you comprehend the article you linked to?

Bourla sold the stock as part of a stock-trading plan that aims to shield corporate executives from allegations of illegal insider trading. But these plans have become increasingly controversial, and the issue has taken on added urgency given the billions of dollars the government has promised Pfizer if its vaccine meets the approval of federal regulators.

Bourla's sale of Pfizer stock was part of a trading plan set months in advance. Known as 10b5-1 plans, they essentially put stock trades on autopilot.

In other words, it has nothing to do with what he knew or didn't know. Next conspiracy theory please.

Google Fires AI Ethics Co-Lead Timnit Gebru

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Timnit Gebru, one of the best-known AI researchers today and co-lead of an AI ethics team at Google, said she was fired Wednesday for sending an email to "non-management employees that is inconsistent with the expectations of a Google manager." VentureBeat reports: She said Google AI employees who report to her were emailed and told that she accepted her resignation when she did not offer her resignation. According to Casey Newton's Platformer, who reportedly obtained a copy, Gebru sent the email in question to the Google Brain Women and Allies listserv. In it, Gebru expresses frustration with the lack of progress in hiring women at Google and lack of accountability for failure to make progress. She also said was told not to publish a piece of research and advised employees to no longer fill out diversity paperwork because it didn't matter. No mention is made of resignation.

"There is no way more documents or more conversations will achieve anything. We just had a Black research all hands with such an emotional show of exasperation. Do you know what happened since? Silencing in the most fundamental way possible," the email reads. When asked by VentureBeat for comment, a Google spokesperson provided a link to the Platformer article with a copy of an email sent Thursday by Google AI chief Jeff Dean to company research staff. In it, Dean said a research paper written by Gebru and other researchers was submitted for publication at a conference before completing a review process and addressing feedback. In response, Dean said he received an email from Gebru.

"Timnit wrote that if we didn't meet these demands, she would leave Google and work on an end date. We accept and respect her decision to resign from Google," he said. "Given Timnit's role as a respected researcher and a manager in our Ethical AI team, I feel badly that Timnit has gotten to a place where she feels this way about the work we're doing. I also feel badly that hundreds of you received an email just this week from Timnit telling you to stop work on critical DEI programs. Please don't. I understand the frustration about the pace of progress, but we have important work ahead and we need to keep at it."

Re:AI Ethicist

By Moridineas • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

She played chicken with upper management and lost. Too bad for her.

Re:Diversity is such a poor target

By Anonymice • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Whilst I agree that, in principle, technical & professional merit would be the ideal priority, I'd argue that the development of AI is one area that a representative distribution of the diversity in society is quite important. It is a tool that is being increasingly deployed "upon" us all, and its impact on our daily lives is only going to get greater.

I mean, remember the episodes where ANN's were unable to identify black people as...people (?!?!??!!) in images? Now imagine similar scenarios in more critical situations where shit like this actually matters.

As to TFA, it does sound like she suffered a critical failure in the use of tact. When you're a manger, especially at that level, you need to start measuring how you express your opinions and act more like a politician. If you want to make progress, publicly disrespecting and undermining your superiors is going to get you nowhere. And if she can't grasp that, then she unfortunately proves that she wasn't suitable for the position.

I read her letter....

By HotNeedleOfInquiry • Score: 3 • Thread
Firstly, no amount of advanced AI can parse her scattered and distracted writing style. I had to reread paragraphs several times and still not be sure what she was saying. Secondly, the letter reeked of elitist, "I'm the smartest person in the room" privilege, which is a huge irony considering that what she is attacking is the (valid) management privilege at Google. She clearly shows herself to be a massive pain-in-the-ass employee and probably quite worthy of being fired.

Re:Diversity is such a poor target

By malkavian • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

No, diversity doesn't mean that at all. What you're asserting is that a physical attribute will mean a mental different perspective, which is provably false.
The diversity you're epousing there is a diversity of frame of reference, which diversity hiring certainly does not do.

Re:Diversity is such a poor target

By malkavian • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

There are plenty of women who would have never batted an eye in design stage. And glass staircases are nothing new.
There are plenty of men who would have raised all kinds of issues with it (that included). Your assertion that it takes a woman to think that is pretty absurd.

Google Set To Win EU Approval For Fitbit Takeover Next Week

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to Bloomberg, Google is set to win conditional European Union approval for its $2.1 billion takeover of Fitbit this month. From the report: The deal could be approved as soon as next week after national competition authorities give their opinion, said the people who asked not to be named because the procedure isn't public. The EU usually consults the so-called advisory committee on mergers days before it issues approval. Google announced its plans to buy Fitbit in November 2019, noting that it would use the smartwatch maker to improve its lagging hardware business. Clearing regulatory obstacles for the deal come in a tough climate when the company is facing mounting global scrutiny of big technology companies and potentially restrictive regulation in the EU and other regions. While Google has agreed to concessions to allay EU antitrust concerns about its move into wearable fitness devices, its final pledge to European authorities hasn't been disclosed.

All your data are belong to Google

By khchung • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

How does it feel to know your health data will be totally molested by Google's grubby hands?

US Broadband Speeds Jumped 90% In 2020. But No, It Had Nothing To Do With Net Neutrality.

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report from Techdirt: Last last week, a report out of the UK topped the trending news items at Hacker News. The report found that U.S. broadband speeds -- historically the poster child for mediocrity -- jumped roughly 90% during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The improvements weren't consistent geographically, and the report was quick to note that by and large, the U.S. remains relatively mediocre when it comes to broadband speeds (in large part due to limited competition): "The US stills lags behind many European and developed nations worldwide, and its major cities also often lag behind their European equivalents. That said, there is cause for celebration in Dallas, Seattle and Austin, after our analysis has shown that these cities are performing extremely well relative to most European capital cities."

I spoke briefly to study author Thomas Buck after he reached out to note that folks were misinterpreting his study. Yes, the study shows U.S. broadband speeds jumped 90% in 2020. But Buck also notes this likely isn't because of policy decisions at the FCC, or because ISPs did much of anything differently. It's most likely because when consumers were forced to stay home to work and attend school during COVID lockdown, they were simply willing to pay more money for already available, faster speeds because they realized faster broadband was essential. Buck put it this way: "... the findings are more likely to suggest increased consumer spending on high-speed plans for working from home than anything else...speed test data is fascinating and helpful, but using it as proof that net neutrality was bad is a giant stretch by any means. When looking at broadband data, I think itâ(TM)s more important to discuss the dark spots (subscriber data, full capacity testing at scale, same-year fiber build data) than what we have (hundreds of thousands of speed tests, most of them showing results a fraction of what ISPs advertise)."

Yet a number of folks (including commenters at Hacker News) set to work trying to claim that this sudden boost in speed was courtesy of the FCC's decision to kill net neutrality and effectively self-immolate at telecom lobbyist behest. It's part of a fairly relentless attempt to proclaim that because killing net neutrality didn't immediately result in a rainbow-colored explosion, the repeal itself must have somehow been a good thing. [...] Yes, many activists and supporters of net neutrality were hyperbolic in trying to explain the very real, very negative impact the net neutrality repeal would have over the longer term. That doesn't mean it wasn't a terrible idea done in exclusive service to telecom monopolies.

Re:Net neutrality

By awwshit • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I can't answer your question but I look at it like this... You can stand on the public sidewalk and say just about anything you want for as long as you want. But I will not allow you to do the same while you are standing on my private property. There is nothing wrong with exercising my property rights, it is private property after all. Twitter and other internet destinations are not public property. It is reasonable for private internet sites to manage their property as they see fit.

Trump should start a public, government funded, social media network where the first amendment applies - then he can say whatever he wants on it.

We got conned

By nospam007 • Score: 3 • Thread

Nice Zoom-connection you have there, it would be a shame if something happened to it while you're pleading for a raise with your boss.

Re: Net neutrality

By NagrothAgain • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
The problem comes when you start letting other people use your property. If you don't want to be liable for what they say then you ought to allow anything which is legal. If you're going to curate what is said then you're responsible for everything which is said.

And then the next issue is when you buy up enough property that if anyone wants to speak and be heard they HAVE to use your property. It gives you the Power to effectively Censor public debate.

Re: stupid ISP 'plans'

By NagrothAgain • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
What the hell are they using? Between nonstop Webex/Zoom/etc. meetings for work, three kids with around 4 hours of video meetings each, the wife streaming HD shows literally 20 hours a day, and the kids streaming around 12 extra hours daily, I'm only averaging about 250gigs a month over my pre covid usage.

Re: Net neutrality

By Anubis IV • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The problem comes when you start letting other people use your property. If you don't want to be liable for what they say then you ought to allow anything which is legal. If you're going to curate what is said then you're responsible for everything which is said.

This “everything or nothing” notion is a false dichotomy that makes no sense and has no basis in law or fact.

For instance, nearly every business allows people on their property, yet almost none of them are legally bound in the way you suggest. Businesses can and do enforce rules of their own choosing, and virtually always have in modern society. Restaurants will kick out patrons that are being extremely obnoxious to others, even if they haven’t crossed the line into anything illegal. Stores routinely say “no shirt, no shoes, no service”, even though neither are legally required in public. Opening a business to the public does not mean giving up your rights, and that’s only more true when you’re talking about private property owned by real people.

China's Chang'e 5 Probe Lifts Off From Moon Carrying Lunar Samples

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
China's Chang'e spacecraft has lifted off from Oceanus Procellarum at 10:10 EST Thursday, carrying with it the first fresh lunar samples since 1976. reports: Six minutes later, the ascent spacecraft achieved lunar orbit, marking a huge milestone in the Chang'e 5 mission to return lunar samples to Earth. The ascent vehicle's job now is to meet up with the Chang'e 5 orbiter while still circling the moon, and then transfer its precious cargo to a return capsule for the journey home. That next stage is an extremely challenging rendezvousing and docking between the small ascent vehicle and the Chang'e 5 orbiter while orbiting the moon. The activity needs to be automated due to the time delay in communicating across the roughly 236,000 miles (380,000 kilometers) between the Earth and the moon.

The two spacecraft will begin a final approach sometime on Saturday (Nov. 5)and complete the docking 3.5 hours later. If all goes well, China will then prepare for the final leg of the journey to deliver the first lunar samples to Earth in 44 years. The lunar samples won't be coming home immediately however. The Chang'e 5 spacecraft will need to wait in lunar orbit for a number of days for a narrow window in which to fire its engines and head for Earth.

The careful timing of this trans-Earth injection maneuver will allow the orbiter to deliver the reentry module to Earth at the precise time in order to land in Siziwang Banner, Inner Mongolia -- the same site used by the China National Space Administration to return astronauts home aboard Shenzhou spacecraft. The journey back to Earth will last 112 hours -- just over four and a half days -- before the reentry attempt. As spacecraft returning from the moon are traveling faster than those reentering from low Earth orbit, such as trips from the International Space Station, the Chang'e 5 reentry module will bounce off the atmosphere once to help it slow down before taking a final, fiery plunge to Earth.


By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Congrats China, and I hope the journey back is safe.

44 years

By quenda • Score: 3 • Thread

If all goes well, China will then prepare for the final leg of the journey to deliver the first lunar samples to Earth in 44 years.

It sounds like somebody selected "Aliexpress Super Economy shipping" instead of EMS or courier. The moon is a long way.

Drone Footage Shows the Shocking Collapse of the Arecibo Observatory

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Iwastheone shares a report from The Verge: Today, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released shocking footage of the collapse of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The video, captured on December 1st, shows the moment when support cables snapped, causing the massive 900-ton structure suspended above Arecibo to fall onto the observatory's iconic 1,000-foot-wide dish.

The videos of the collapse were captured by a camera located in Arecibo's Operations Control Center, as well as from a drone located above the platform at the time of collapse. The operator of the drone was able to adjust the drone camera once the platform started to fall and capture the moment of impact. NSF, which oversees Arecibo, had been doing hourly monitoring of the observatory with drones, ever since engineers warned that the structure was on the verge of collapsing in November. The footage highlights the moment when multiple cables snapped, causing the platform to swing outward and hit the side of the dish. The collapse also brought down the tops of the three support towers surrounding Arecibo, where the cables had been connected to keep the platform in the air.
Slashdot reader joshgs shares a petition to rebuild the Arecibo Observatory. "On December 1, the platform of the 305-meter radio telescope at Arecibo Observatory suffered a catastrophic collapse," the petition states. "This telescope had many capabilities that cannot be replaced by any existing or planned facility. It had the world's most powerful and most sensitive planetary radar system, providing unparalleled capacity to track and characterize near-Earth asteroids. The telescope was also a source of tourism, education, and pride for the people of Puerto Rico, inspiring many to pursue careers in science and technology."

"We ask Congress to allocate funding to build a new Arecibo radio telescope with greater capabilities than the previous telescope -- to maintain American leadership in planetary defense, astronomy, and ionospheric studies; and to inspire a new generation of scientists."


By thesupraman • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Because you think shocked is a correct reaction to something that was well predicted and expected?
Disappointment, Angry, Upset, etc all could be valid, but Shocked?

Time to come out of the safe space and deal with the real world, I think - you seem more likely to have issues than the original poster.


By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

You're modded funny but I don't get it, so I'll answer seriously. (Posting as AA to avoid the embarrassment of a big WHOOSH coming my way.)
This video isn't shocking. For me it was a combination of thrill, awe and sadness, but no shock here.
The headline however was annoying: I deeply dislike headlines that tell me how I'm supposed to feel about an event. I have a mind of my own and I decide what emotions a story evokes in me, thank you very much. Negative marks for Slashdot editors who parroted the sensationalist headline rather than using more neutral language, but who am I kidding.

Re:"Drone Footage"...New term for fixed camera?

By crow • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I just watched the video, and there is footage from two cameras. The first is a fixed camera, but the second I believe is from a drone that was apparently inspecting the cables. It shows the cables starting to snap and then completely fail suddenly as the drone turns to show the equipment crash down.

Re:Rebuilding? I doubt it ...

By Iwastheone • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Submitter here, there's one AC comment to the submission,...

"Lawmakers on capitol hill are discussing a 15-25B package to rebuild the Arecibo telescope (this from my Son, who works as an aide to a Senator). Most of the money would go to local economic development with about 300-500 dollars going to actually rebuild the telescope and its facilities."

Ars Technica has a quality article I wasn't aware of, and you get shit on here for submitting Ars articles anyway.

Re:Surreal, not shocking

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Shame it couldn't be saved. Hopefully a newer, better one will be rebuilt in its place.

One already has. Unfortunately for us, it's in China. I think it's likely that the TMT will be built in China too. There is a good site for it on the Tibetan Plateau:

US Used Patriot Act To Gather Logs of Website Visitors

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: The government has interpreted a high-profile provision of the Patriot Act as empowering F.B.I. national security investigators to collect logs showing who has visited particular web pages, documents show. But the government stops short of using that law to collect the keywords people submit to internet search engines because it considers such terms to be content that requires a warrant to gather, according to letters produced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The disclosures come at a time when Congress is struggling with new proposals to limit the law, known as Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The debate ran aground in the spring amid erratic messages from President Trump, but is expected to resume after President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. takes the oath of office in January.

In May, 59 senators voted to bar the use of Section 215 to collect internet search terms or web browsing activity, but negotiations broke down in the House. During that period, Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon and one of the sponsors of the proposal ban, wrote to the director of national intelligence seeking clarity about any such use. Six months later, the Trump administration finally replied -- initially, it turned out, in a misleading way. In a Nov. 6 letter to Mr. Wyden, John Ratcliffe, the intelligence director, wrote that Section 215 was not used to gather internet search terms, and that none of the 61 orders issued last year under that law by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court involved collection of "web browsing" records. Mr. Wyden's office provided that letter to The New York Times, arguing that it meant Mr. Wyden's proposal in May -- which he sponsored with Senator Steve Daines, Republican of Montana -- could be enacted into law without any operational costs.

But The Times pressed Mr. Ratcliffe's office and the F.B.I. to clarify whether it was defining "web browsing" activity to encompass logging all visitors to a particular website, in addition to a particular person's browsing among different sites. The next day, the Justice Department sent a clarification to Mr. Ratcliffe's office, according to a follow-up letter he sent to Mr. Wyden on Nov. 25. In fact, "one of those 61 orders resulted in the production of information that could be characterized as information regarding browsing," Mr. Ratcliffe wrote in the second letter. Specifically, one order had approved collection of logs revealing which computers "in a specified foreign country" had visited "a single, identified U.S. web page." Mr. Ratcliffe expressed regret "that this additional information was not included in my earlier letter" to the senator, and suggested his staff might take further "corrective action." In a statement, Mr. Wyden said the letters raise "all kinds of new questions, including whether, in this particular case, the government has taken steps to avoid collecting Americans' web browsing information." "More generally," Mr. Wyden continued, "the D.N.I. has provided no guarantee that the government wouldn't use the Patriot Act to intentionally collect Americans' web browsing information in the future, which is why Congress must pass the warrant requirement that has already received support from a bipartisan majority in the Senate."

They also used it against Occupy Wall Street

By rsilvergun • Score: 3 • Thread
after pinkie swearing they wouldn't.

"I'm amazed"

By nagora • Score: 3 • Thread

Said no one anywhere.

They are spies, they spy on people just to pass the time (and justify budgets). Foreigners are harder to spy on than local people, so they spy on local people more.

In the 50's and 60's they employed people to record all the letters sent to newspapers. This is the modern version. Everyone is guilty of something; there are no innocents (except themselves, of course, they're pure as the driven snow which is why the law doesn't need to apply to them).

Re:You’ll recall...

By nightflameauto • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! No politician is EVER going to repeal the Patriot Act. Once in power all they want to do is amend it to give them yet more power over the populace they were hired by. They'll talk about repealing it to keep people thinking they're looking out for our best interests, but anything that removes power from government agencies is never going to fly with our current politicians.

YouTube Will Remind Users To 'Keep Comments Respectful' Before Posting

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
YouTube is taking new steps to weed out bullying, hate speech and other kinds of nasty comments. From a report: The company introduced a new feature that will remind users to "keep comments respectful," when its automated systems detect a comment may be offensive. The change is rolling out now on Android, and will eventually move to other platforms, though it's not clear when. The feature is similar to one recently implemented by Instagram. Before a comment is posted, a pop-up will appear with a reminder to "keep comments respectful." The user will then be able to edit the comment or post it anyway. The company notes that seeing the reminder doesn't necessarily mean a comment has violated its rules or that it will be removed. The update is part of a larger effort by YouTube to reduce hate speech and make its platform more equitable for all its creators. In addition to the new pop-ups, it will also test a new feature for YouTube Studio that automatically filters out "potentially inappropriate and hurtful comments" to make it easier for video creators to avoid seeing them.

Related XKCD...

By Demented Otaku • Score: 3 • Thread
Is this still around? I seem to remember that they had implemented it at some point:

It won't stop anyone who has wholly embraced toxicity, but maybe there's hope for the marginally-self-aware.

Like the stereotypical hypocritical Christian

By Jarwulf • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I guess after letting things a bit out in the 80s- early 2000s we're at this point again where society is back to being the stereotypical hypocrite religious society you always see in movies. Except instead of outwardly pretending to be Christian everybody pretends to be a woke enlightened social justice warrior. And all people are concerned about is surface level things except instead of making a big show of praying they make a big show of removing the word 'blacklist' from the vocabulary and adding a Q on to LGBT while still remaining completely rotten people on the inside who delight in trying to destroy as many lives as possible.

Totes effective

By niftydude • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I am sure this will be just effective as the "Please confirm that you are over 18" click through found on alcohol and porn websites.

don't be a cunt

By Anonymouse Cowtard • Score: 3 • Thread
We each create our own reality. What will be reflected back at you?

This is patently ridiculous.

By nightflameauto • Score: 3 • Thread

The comments on youtube are some of the most scathingly horrible things on the internet. Reminding those poster to be respectful is tantamount to walking up to a missile launcher about to go off and politely asking it to not continue the launch sequence. Completely wasted effort.

AutoX Becomes China's First To Remove Safety Drivers From Robotaxis

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Residents of Shenzhen saw truly driverless cars on the road today. From a report: AutoX, a four-year-old startup backed by Alibaba, MediaTek and Shanghai Motors, deployed a fleet of 25 unmanned vehicles in downtown Shenzhen, marking the first time any autonomous driving car in China tests on public roads without safety drivers or remote operators. The cars, meant as robotaxis, are not yet open to the public, an AutoX spokesperson told TechCrunch. The milestone came just five months after AutoX landed a permit from California to start driverless tests, following in the footsteps of Waymo and Nuro. It also indicates that China wants to bring its smart driving industry on par with the U.S. Cities from Shenzhen to Shanghai are competing to attract autonomous driving upstarts by clearing regulatory hurdles, touting subsidies and putting up 5G infrastructure. As a result, each city ends up with its own poster child in the space: AutoX and in Shenzhen, and WeRide in Guangzhou, Momenta in Suzhou and Baidu's Apollo fleet in Beijing, to name a few. The autonomous driving companies, in turn, work closely with traditional carmakers to make their vehicles smarter and more suitable for future transportation.

Thank you for using Johnny Cab

By mykepredko • Score: 3 • Thread


By backslashdot • Score: 3 • Thread

The idea of having to drive most of the way to someplace will seem quaint by the year 2040, unless there are some high profile mishaps.

4 year old startup?

By Bandraginus • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Can somebody explain to me how a 4 year old startup can reach this level in such a short period of time? Waymo has been at it for 10+ years, and has the best engineers in the world.

Are they standing on the shoulders of giants (either legally or illegally), or is it simply that easy to get to this level now because of general advances across the board in sensors and computing? If so, sucks to be the incumbents, who have poured billions into this.

Trump Administration Claims Facebook Improperly Reserved Jobs for H-1B Workers

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Trump administration has sued Facebook, accusing the social-media company of illegally reserving high-paying jobs for immigrant workers it was sponsoring for permanent residence, rather than searching adequately for available U.S. workers who could fill the positions. From a report: In a 17-page complaint filed Thursday, the Justice Department's civil-rights division said Facebook inadequately advertised at least 2,600 positions between 2018 and 2019 that were filled by immigrants on H-1B high-skill visas when the company was applying to sponsor those workers for permanent residency, known as green cards. Companies sponsoring workers for employment-based green cards are required to show as part of the federal application process that they couldn't find any qualified American workers to fill the job. The suit said Facebook didn't advertise the reserved positions on its website and required candidates to mail in their applications rather than accepting them online. "And even when U.S. workers do apply, Facebook will not consider them for the advertised positions," the suit alleges. "Simply put, Facebook reserves these positions for temporary visa holders."

Re:Too little, too late

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
It is illegal to tailor job requirements to the candidate. The job function must be defined first. Then the required qualifications must flow from that and be justified by job functions alone, not the qualification of any candidate or application.

Yes, it is easy to game this system, and many companies do game the system. But 80% of such illegal activity is done by 20% of the bad actors. The immigration can ask for a job review a month or two later, ask the company to document the actual work done by the candidate and compare it to advertised job functions. If you catch them cheating, you can fine them so heavily and ban them from H1-B process, add the company to known offender list and make them jump through more hoops ... There is a lot you can do to penalize the bad actors.

Such action focusing on the cheaters will be welcomed by honest companies, honest managers and honest applicants.

Doing this requires competent and motivated public servants. After vilifying the bureaucrats for decades, civil service no longer attracts highly qualified people. Today people seeking civil service are most risk averse and they show very little initiative. Why would they, when was the last time you heard of people rallying around a competent bureaucrat doing her job diligently?

Re:Too little, too late

By ranton • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

He did say fortune 500 company. For very large organizations something like the following is common: CEO -> COO/CFO/CIO/etc -> SVP -> VP -> Sr. Director -> Director -> Sr Manager -> Manager -> Team Lead -> Individual Contributor. So someone could be in a manager of managers and still have 6 levels of management between them and the CEO.

If like me you think about 6 direct reports is an ideal maximum number of direct reports, with 3-4 being average, a company with 3.5 average direct reports per manager with the hierarchy listed above would have about 80,000 total employees. The average fortune 500 company has 57,400 people working for them worldwide.

The GP said he did internal support, which was likely a team lead position at best. Even something like CEO -> CIO -> SVP -> VP -> Director -> Manager -> Internal Support Guy would give 5 levels of management above him.

Re:If you search around YouTube

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The H1B limit was 65000. During the Y2K scare America discovered a huge trove of COBOL programmers from India. Before 1990s almost all the Indians these companies interacted with came from top engineering schools of India. IIT, IISc, REC, etc. So based on the positive experience they were open to hiring the COBOL programmers from second and third rung colleges from India. The Y2K hype raised the limit to 125000 visas a year. That opened the flood gates. Bad actors figured out how to game the system, corrupt coporate officers figured out how to beat the system, and the resulting mess is quite horrible.

US government treats all Indian diplomas be same and equal to MS from CalTech. That is the root cause of the problem. If they demand all H1B grads to take GRE or something to show their competence this mess can be greatly mitigated.

For example I am from IIT, and scored 790/800 GRE Verbal, 800/800 GRE Quant, and 790/800 GRE Analysis. Placed in the top 1% of the world. (Not really bragging, this is par for the course for IIT grads, actually mentioning being IIT grad itself is considered bragging in Indian circles.) Someone from St Mary of Velankanni Engineering College, Sometown, Some State, India would be considered exactly equally qualified as I am in the eyes of ICE. No wonder the system is a mess.

It happens all the time...

By UID30 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I once worked for a smallish company that had a lot of H1-B employees ... noticed a very strange job application posted for the company and asked our head of HR about it. As a tech employee I recognized all the qualifications listed ... but the combination of them was baffling. It would have been like looking for an expert skydiving fisherman with specific focus on plumbing. Our head of HR immediately backpeddled into a defensive stance saying that he only advertised what he was asked to advertise ... so he clearly knew it was BS.

Companies advertise openings because they are required to. It doesn't mean the advertisement has to make sense ... if they already have their guy hand-picked, then its a done deal. Shady, but done. I suspected for years that there were kickbacks rolling upstream from the hires somewhere along the way ...


By TJHook3r • Score: 3 • Thread
Trump has no loyalty to regular workers so I suspect his motives. That said, he is highlighting a big problem with technical industries - namely that they import qualified workers rather than spending money on training and development. American business has no loyalty to anyone but shareholders and it's very shortsighted

Warner Bros. To Debut Entire 2021 Film Slate, Including 'Dune' and 'Matrix 4,' Both on HBO Max and In Theaters

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
When Warner Bros. announced that "Wonder Woman 1984" would land on the streaming service HBO Max on Christmas, the same time it debuts in theaters, many expected it to be an isolated case in response to an unprecedented pandemic. From a report: Instead, the studio will deploy a similar release strategy for the next twelve months. In a surprising break from industry standards, Warner Bros.' entire 2021 slate -- a list of films that includes "The Matrix 4," Denis Villeneuve's "Dune" remake, Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical adaptation of "In the Heights," Sopranos prequel "The Many Saints of Newark," and "The Suicide Squad" -- will debut both on HBO Max and in theaters on their respective release dates. The shocking move to simultaneously release movies day-and-date underscores the crisis facing movie theaters and the rising importance of streaming services in the wake of a global health crisis that's decimated the film exhibition community.

Re:I've seen this pattern before

By Pascoea • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

running into gangs of AntiFa thugs attacking you

Really? You think Antifa is the second biggest problem facing the movie theater ticket sales? You had a perfectly insightful comment up until you decided to go all political.

Glass half full / half empty

By DrXym • Score: 3 • Thread
There is no doubt studios hated this massive, unplanned dump on their profits. But on the flip side, from now on they can more or less drive a stake through the heart of theater chains and decide how they distribute movies. Virtually every major studio is owned by some company with a streaming service, or affiliated with such a thing so the next battle ground will be those.

Waiting for the PirateBay release

By mnemotronic • Score: 3 • Thread
Out before HBO or theaters.

Good-bye, magic!

By Joe2020 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Many of us loved movie theatres as kids, but who as an adult still enjoys them? Too much dirty gets left behind by the previous visitors, there is always one guy who sits straight with a stick up his arse and blocking the view for others, dimwits chatting during a movie and even the quiet scenes, chewing gums stuck in every place, people with tiny bladders getting in and out of the rows multiple times, ... Then came along the mobile phones and still did some not manage to turn off their phones. All while the ticket and food prices grew higher. Yet, we remained faithful and attributed all this crap as a part of the "magical experience".

Frankly, COVID19 is perhaps just the last drop in what must have been a slow death for the theatres for a while now. Perhaps it's better to think of it as a quick and good death from now on. Parents will of course have to recreate the magic at home. And I'm sure the film industry will be happy in the long term when it means that it has one significant leak less of pirate copies when theatres finally close.

So I'm going to applaud the move and hope its a sign of a good change to come.

Re:Good-bye, magic!

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

who as an adult still enjoys them?

I do. I go on a weekly basis. Mind you I don't live in the 3rd world shithole you described. I really feel for you, my cinemas are clean, layout in a way that even the tallest people don't block the view, no one chats, and why the hell would you chew gum in a cinema anyway? Also phones in a cinema? Have you people no culture? Not even the teenage riffraff does that here.

Frankly, COVID19 is perhaps just the last drop in what must have been a slow death for the theatres for a while now.

Maybe in your location (not sure if the problem is your city, state, or country) but cinemas globally have been quite healthy, many chains have expanded, renovated or otherwise invested further into their healthy businesses.

I'm not sure where you live but I fell sorry for the fact that you even have this opinion. But please don't let your local situation applaud a move that actually prevents others from enjoying the things they enjoy.

Dell Announces New Solutions For Its Supply Chain's Security

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
PC maker powerhouse Dell announced today a flurry of new enterprise security solutions for the company's line of enterprise products. From a report: The new services can be grouped into two categories, with (1) new solutions meant to protect the supply chain of Dell products while in transit to their customers and (2) new features meant to improve the security of Dell products while in use. While Dell has previously invested in securing its customers' supply chains, the company has announced today three new services. The first is named SafeSupply Chain Tamper Evident Services and, as its name implies, involves Dell adding anti-tampering seals to its devices, transport boxes, and even entire pallets before they leave Dell factories. The anti-tampering seals will allow buyers of Dell equipment to determine if any intermediary agents or transporters have opened boxes or devices to alter physical components. The second supply chain security offering, named the Dell SafeSupply Chain Data Sanitization Services, is meant for tampering made at the storage level.


By blackomegax • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
If participating in the DEFCON tamper village taught me anything, it's that "tamper-proofing" is a futile wasted effort and can be bypassed and replaced by 6 year olds.

Where is the hardware being manufactured?

By neonman • Score: 3 • Thread

How much good does this do for me as an if the PC is still made in China or of Chinese components? Tamper-evident packaging is nice, but I am far more concerned about where my computer is being manufactured than I am about it being tampered with in transit, which is something that can only be done on a selective basis for high value targets.

I take it as a given that the NSA probably has a backdoor into my hardware no matter where it gets manufactured. I do what I can to mitigate this, but at the end of the day, at least the United States is ostensibly a democracy and a nation of laws. The NSA might take interest in my communications if I start making a lot of calls to Moscow, but it is not going to steal my intellectual property and hand it over to my competitors. The same cannot be said of China, so if there's a choice, I'd prefer to not have Xi Jinping's spooks bugging my next laptop.

I'm willing to pay considerably more money for a PC that's been manufactured entirely within the confines of the United States or some other friendly democratic nation.

AstraZeneca and Oxford's Stories Clash on COVID-19 Vaccine

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
AstraZeneca and Oxford University have given conflicting accounts of how they came upon the most effective dosing pattern for their COVID-19 vaccine, a rare instance of public dissension between major institutions collaborating on a pivotal project. From a report: The discrepancy, reported for the first time by Reuters, centres on the regimen administered to a smaller group of volunteers in the late-stage trials, of half a dose followed by a full dose. This diverged from the original plan of two full doses, given to the majority of participants. The half-dose pattern was found to be 90% effective, versus the 62% success rate of the two-full-dose main study, based on interim data. AstraZeneca's research chief told Reuters 10 days ago, when interim trial data was released, the half-dose was given inadvertently as a first shot to some trial participants, and emerged as a stroke of fortune -- "serendipity" -- that scientists expertly harnessed.

This narrative was refuted by a leading Oxford University scientist, however, who told Reuters on Monday that the half-dose shot was given deliberately after thorough consultations. Uncertainty over how the dosing regimen came about raises questions about the robustness of the data, according to some experts who said it risked slowing down the process of gaining regulatory approval for the shot and denting public confidence. "These differing accounts are worrying," Eleanor Riley, a professor of immunology and infectious disease at the University of Edinburgh, told Reuters. "Trust is at a premium when it comes to vaccines and we must not do anything that might in any way undermine it."

Re:Why argue, just release the paperwork

By blastard • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread


Put up or shut up. Ball's in your court Oxford. Don't drop it.

Also, the 90% thing is misleading

By MobyDisk • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The half-dose pattern was found to be 90% effective, versus the 62% success rate of the two-full-dose main study

The half-dose was given to the younger people, the full dose to the older. So we don't know if the effectiveness discrepancy is because of the age of the recipients, or that that giving a lower dose is somehow better.

...told Reuters on Monday that the half-dose shot was given deliberately after thorough consultations

That doesn't sound right. Why would you give group A one dosage and group B another dosage, when group A and B are different age groups? You now have no control with which to determine the rather significant difference found in the effectiveness. That article I just linked to implies there is some age overlap though, so maybe they can split the data out for the overlapping age range and determine if it was the dosage or the age. But it sure does seem odd that a lower dose would be more effective, buuut maybe that's valid...? Either way, this doesn't sound like something you would do on purpose. Hopefully all will be revealed in time.

Re:Further reasons not to trust the Oxford vaccine

By phantomfive • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
They don't need to release all the information at the exact moment you demand it. It's ok to wait until the study is over before releasing information to the public.

Jumping to the conclusion that they are not trustworthy because of that is weird. Don't you know how much external auditing gets done on medical studies?

Re:Which account is true?

By Entrope • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Why can't both of them be true?

The actual quote from the earlier Reuters article is "The reason we had the half-dose is serendipity." If they expected a full dose for both shots, but got a half dose from a new manufacturer, and yet the half-dose turned out to work better, that would be serendipity.

Now Oxford University is stressing that they noticed the difference first and went through channels before actually administering the half-dose portions. Yeah, I hope they did that -- otherwise they should be told to clean their desks, and when they're done, the nice chaps outside with handcuffs would like a word. But that does not address why they had half the dose in the first place.

Re:Which account is true?

By The Wily Coyote • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Yeah, and you can imagine the immense pressure they were under to spin the news, given how crappy their vaccine is compared to the mRNA ones. The mRNA vaccines are nothing short of incredible,

If you lived in the developing world, which doesn't have the cold storage facilities you need to transport and store mRNA based vaccines, you might think the Astra vaccine at 62% effective is pretty incredible.