the unofficial Slashdot digest archive

Inside the Podcast that Hacks Ring Camera Owners Live on Air

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
In the NulledCast podcast hackers livestream the harassment of Ring camera owners after accessing their devices. Hundreds of people can listen. From a report: A blaring siren suddenly rips through the Ring camera, startling the Florida family inside their own home. "It's your boy Chance on Nulled," a voice says from the Ring camera, which a hacker has taken over. "How you doing? How you doing?" "Welcome to the NulledCast," the voice says. The NulledCast is a podcast livestreamed to Discord. It's a show in which hackers take over people's Ring and Nest smarthome cameras and use their speakers to talk to and harass their unsuspecting owners. In the example above, Chance blared noises and shouted racist comments at the Florida family. "Sit back and relax to over 45 minutes of entertainment," an advertisement for the podcast posted to a hacking forum called Nulled reads. "Join us as we go on completely random tangents such as; Ring & Nest Trolling, telling shelter owners we killed a kitten, Nulled drama, and more ridiculous topics. Be sure to join our Discord to watch the shows live."

Software to hack Ring cameras has recently become popular on the forum. The software churns through previously compromised email addresses and passwords to break into Ring cameras at scale. This has led to a recent spate of hacks that have occurred both during the podcast and at other times, several of which have been covered by local media outlets. In Brookhaven a hacker shouted at a sleeping woman through her hacked Ring camera to wake-up. In Texas, a hacker demanded a couple pay a bitcoin ransom. Hackers targeted a family in DeSoto County, Mississippi, and spoke through the device to one of the young children.


By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

We can debate whether the dude deserves the term "hacker"; but I'd guess it's close to unanimous that he deserves the term "asshole".

Re:passwords are useless

By XXongo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
I do hope that these "pranksters" are found, arrested, and prosecuted.

Harassing people you don't know just for the lulz is NEVER acceptable.

Google Adds Spam Detection and Verified Business SMS To Messages

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Businesses often send one-time passwords, account alerts and appointment confirmations via text. But if you've ever received one of those, you know they tend to come from a random number, and bad actors can take advantage of that by disguising phishing scams as one of those messages. To protect users, Google will soon verify SMS messages from registered businesses. From a report: When you receive a message from a verified business, you'll see the company name, logo and a verification badge in the message thread. Businesses must sign up to use Verified SMS, and so far, 1-800-Flowers, Banco Bradesco, Kayak, Payback and SoFi are on-board. Verified SMS is rolling out gradually in the US, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Mexico, Philippines, Spain and the UK. Google is also adding real-time spam detection. When Google suspects a message is phishy or garbage, it will show a spam warning in Messages.

Rude Paper Reviews Are Pervasive and Sometimes Harmful, Study Finds

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
sciencehabit writes: There's a running joke in academia about Reviewer 2. That's the reviewer that doesn't bother to read the manuscript a journal has sent out for evaluation for possible publication, offers condescending or outright offensive comments, and -- of course -- urges the irrelevant citation of their own work. Such unprofessional conduct is so pervasive there's even a whole Facebook group, more than 25,000 members strong, named "Reviewer 2 Must Be Stopped!" But it is no laughing matter, concludes a new study that finds boorish reviewer comments can have serious negative impacts, especially on authors belonging to marginalized groups.

The study surveyed 1106 scientists from 46 countries and 14 disciplines. More than half of the respondents -- who were promised anonymity -- reported receiving at least one "unprofessional" review, and a majority of those said they had received multiple problematic comments. Those comments tended to personally target a scientist, lack constructive criticism, or were just unnecessarily harsh or cruel, the authors report. For example, one author received a review that stated: "The phrases I have so far avoided using in this review are 'lipstick on a pig' and 'bullshit baffles brains.'" Another reported receiving this missive: "The author's last name sounds Spanish. I didn't read the manuscript because I'm sure it's full of bad English."


By meerling • Score: 3 • Thread
And some fools think this fractious lot (scientists), are all involved in a world wide multigenerational conspiracy to fool the rest of mankind.
Heck, they're lucky they can coordinate enough to schedule a conference that doesn't end in a bloodbath, or at least some really nasty bruised and walk-by-fruitings.

Esp to "marginalized" groups?

By argStyopa • Score: 3 • Thread

" boorish reviewer comments can have serious negative impacts, especially on authors belonging to marginalized groups"

Oh please.
I've been called an idiot TWICE TODAY in slashdot; are we supposed to believe that people of color or women (ie in the designated protected classes) are so delicate and fragile that they would wilt in the face of such harsh language?

Negative reviews oppress minorities

By scourfish • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
No minority individual who is actually competent at their profession has ever thought that negative reviews oppress them.

Re:Negative reviews oppress minorities

By Drethon • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

No minority individual who is actually competent at their profession has ever thought that negative reviews oppress them.

There is a negative review comment, then there is an offensive review comment, as mentioned by the article: "The author's last name sounds Spanish. I didn't read the manuscript because I'm sure it's full of bad English."

Also, the comment is one thing, but if the reviewer actually rejected a review simply because of the author's last name, that is particularly oppressive.

Rules of thumb for useful criticism

By Tablizer • Score: 3 • Thread

1. Avoid overly general summaries, such as "this sucks". Let the details speak for themselves.

2. Avoid vague criticism as much a possible. The vaguer it is, the less helpful it is. If you can't be specific, then you perhaps shouldn't be reviewing. If you have trouble articulating, take a break to ponder better wording. Sleep on it or work on something else. Most writing is better in general if you review it several days later.

3. Keep criticism matter-of-fact, not decorated with negative words. Look for more pleasant ways to say the same thing. Make a personal catalog of reusable pleasant-leaning phrases for common categories such as pointing out contradictions, ambiguities, poor logic, etc.

4. When pointing out that a statement is unclear or ambiguous, give examples of multiple possible interpretations. This helps the writer understand how your mind is (mis) interpreting their words. Example: "This phrase doesn't make clear whether the test-tube itself turned red, the contents inside it turned red, or both. The pronoun at X is not giving me enough info to tell and I didn't find other clues."

5. Always apply Hanlon's razor, even if you do strongly suspect ill intentions. Accusing people of bad intentions makes problems worse 99% of the time. Focus on fixing content, not people.

6. Don't comment when you are in a bad mood. Cheer yourself up first. Maybe a burger will help; full people are happy people.

These are good life & office skills in general. Becoming a better critic is just a bonus. (Except for maybe the burger part.)

'Link in Bio' is a Slow Knife

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Anil Dash: We don't even notice it anymore -- "link in bio." It's a pithy phrase, usually found on Instagram, which directs an audience to be aware that a pertinent web link can be found on that user's profile. Its presence is so subtle, and so pervasive, that we barely even noticed it was an attempt to kill the web. Links on the web are incredibly powerful. There are decades of theory behind the role of hyperlinks in hypertext -- did you know in most early versions, links were originally designed to be two-way? You'd be able to see every page on the web that links to this one. But even in the very simple form that we've ended up with on the World Wide Web for the last 30 years, links are incredibly powerful, opening up valuable connections between unexpected things.

For a closed system, those kinds of open connections are deeply dangerous. If anyone on Instagram can just link to any old store on the web, how can Instagram -- meaning Facebook, Instagram's increasingly-overbearing owner -- tightly control commerce on its platform? If Instagram users could post links willy-nilly, they might even be able to connect directly to their users, getting their email addresses or finding other ways to communicate with them. Links represent a threat to closed systems. Here's the thing, though: people like links. So closed systems have to present a pressure release valve. Hashtags are a great way out. They use the semiotics of links (early versions of hashtags on social platforms were really barely more than automated links to a search for a particular term) but are also constrained by the platforms they live on. A hashtag is easier to gather into a database, to harvest, to monetize. It's much easier, sure, but it also doesn't have all the messiness of a real link. Instagram doesn't have to worry that clicking on its hashtags will accidentally lead people to Twitter, or vice versa.


By alvinrod • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I don't use Instagram (or Facecbook for that matter) so I'm not really sure what the problem is other than using shitty social media platforms for anything.

That aside, this blog post is an incoherent mess jumbled together after partaking in a bit of the devil's lettuce that reads like it was written as an entry to a contest about who could use the largest number words to say as little as possible.

In summary...

By superdave80 • Score: 5 • Thread
I've carefully read the summary twice. All I have to say is... what? I have absolutely no idea what this person is talking about. I ain't even going to bother with the actual article.

The icecream I dropped on the floor has no jimmies

By skids • Score: 3 • Thread

Seriously, in this day and age when just getting a permalink to a resource is a challenge, and
even if you get one, whoever runs the website is just going to tear the website down in a few months
or reorganize it to break all the old links, this is a minor detail.

Also this is a two-edged knife. Referer URLs can be seen in certain situations as a privacy
invasion jeopardizing the ability of anyone from privately discussing web content without
alerting the author/publisher, and really the author/publisher has no right to know who
reads or refers something they have put out in the public barring copyright or GPDR
matters. The technically savvy can turn referrer URLs off, but the general public barely
even knows they exist.


By Dan East • Score: 3 • Thread

Okay, so I think I have this figured out after RTFA and searching (I don't use Instagram). The author is lamenting (probably rightfully so) that you simply can't post URLs or links to content on Instagram. Facebook owns and controls Instagram, and the author feels this is a way Facebook is keeping it a closed platform and forcing the only linked content to be in the form of ads that Instagram profits from. The only place you can simply post a link is in the text of your account bio. So he's saying they're killing the internet by not allowing something as fundamental as a link to be posted.

Russian Police Raid NGINX Moscow Office

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Russian police have raided today the Moscow offices of NGINX, Inc., a subsidiary of F5 Networks and the company behind the internet's most popular web server technology. From a report: Equipment was seized and employees were detained for questioning. Moscow police executed the raid after last week the Rambler Group filed a copyright violation against NGINX Inc., claiming full ownership of the NGINX web server code. The Rambler Group is the parent company of, one of Russia's biggest search engines and internet portals. According to copies of the search warrant posted on Twitter today, Rambler claims that Igor Sysoev developed NGINX while he was working as a system administrator for the company, hence they are the rightful owner of the project. Sysoev created NGINX in the early 2000s and open-sourced the NGINX code in 2004. In 2009, he founded NGINX, Inc., a US company, to provide adjacent tools and support services for NGINX deployments. The company is based in San Francisco, but has offices all over the world, including Moscow. The NGINX server's source code is still free and managed through an open-source model, although a large chunk of the project's primary contributors are NGINX, Inc. employees, who have a firm grip on the project's stewardship.

What criminal came up with those contract terms??

By BAReFO0t • Score: 3 • Thread

And what collabortor signed them?

No, what I do in my free time is NEVER yours.

Such contracts should be illegal and in fact criminal!

most widely deployed?

By syn3rg • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
From TFA:

In February 2019, NGINX finally dethroned Apache HTTPD and became the most widely deployed server on the internet. According to the Netcraft December 2019 Web Server Survey, NGINX has market share of 38%.

Funny, when I go to that report I see that, yes nginx has the highest number of reported sites:
Market share of all sites
- nginx 479,072,656 (37.77%)
- Apache 308,978,570 (24.36%)
- Microsoft 185,084,122 (14.59%)

But if you look at the number of computers and domains, which I assume correlate to installs, you see a different metric:
Market share of computers
- Apache: 3,326,508 (35.27%)
- nginx: 3,010,730 (31.92%)
- Microsoft: 1,633,117 (17.32%)

Market share of domains
- Apache 72,324,357 (29.67%)
- nginx 61,858,384 (25.38%)
- Microsoft 46,066,151 (18.90%)

It looks to me like King Apache hasn't been dethroned yet.

This is how they steal everything

By rashanon • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

The police move in and seize everything. Another company or group claims through the courts that they are the proper owners. All rights are quickly transferred by court order to the complainant. The creator hires a lawyer to defend his creation. The lawyer is arrested on some bogus trumped up charge, and he troublesome he dies in jail due some " terribly unfortunate incident" . The original creator gets the message that his work has all been stolen and given to another crony of Vladimir Putin.

The courts are rigged, the police are rigged, because Russia is actually run by the worlds largest criminal cartel. Hopefully as many staff as possible are in San Francisco and cant be squeezed.

Re:most widely deployed?

By squiggleslash • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You'd be surprised how frequently Apache is sitting behind nginx, which is a relatively common configuration. nginx acts as a front end, serving static assets but passing on (and sometimes caching) more complex queries to an Apache back-end. As a result, Apache isn't overloaded with queries, and it can concentrate on, say, serving the output of CGI scripts, which frequently (but not always) have Apache dependencies, sometimes unintentionally.

Why not Apache-Apache or nginx-nginx? Well, Apache is the better supported server, so there are less likely to be unintentional gotchas than if nginx was running the queries directly. nginx, conversely, is considered to be more scalable and much faster.

NGINX was invented...

By MaggieL • Score: 3 • Thread

...because the impact on US productivity from the Tetris virus had tailed off, so they needed something else to screw us over.

AI R&D is Booming, But General Intelligence is Still Out of Reach

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The AI world is booming in a range of metrics covering research, education, and technical achievements, according to AI Index report -- an annual rundown of machine learning data points now in its third year. From a news writeup, which outlines some of the more interesting and pertinent points: AI research is rocketing. Between 1998 and 2018, there's been a 300 percent increase in the publication of peer-reviewed papers on AI. Attendance at conferences has also surged; the biggest, NeurIPS, is expecting 13,500 attendees this year, up 800 percent from 2012.
AI education is equally popular. Enrollment in machine learning courses in universities and online continues to rise. Numbers are hard to summarize, but one good indicator is that AI is now the most popular specialization for computer science graduates in North America. Over 21 percent of CS PhDs choose to specialize in AI, which is more than double the second-most popular discipline: security / information assurance.
The US is still the global leader in AI by most metrics. Although China publishes more AI papers than any other nation, work produced in the US has a greater impact, with US authors cited 40 percent more than the global average. The US also puts the most money into private AI investment (a shade under $12 billion compared to China in second place globally with $6.8 billion) and files many more AI patents than any other country (with three times more than the number two nation, Japan).
AI algorithms are becoming faster and cheaper to train. Research means nothing unless it's accessible, so this data point is particularly welcome. The AI Index team noted that the time needed to train a machine vision algorithm on a popular dataset (ImageNet) fell from around three hours in October 2017 to just 88 seconds in July 2019. Costs also fell, from thousands of dollars to double-digit figures.
Self-driving cars received more private investment than any AI field. Just under 10 percent of global private investment went into autonomous vehicles, around $7.7 billion. That was followed by medical research and facial recognition (both attracting $4.7 billion), while the fastest-growing industrial AI fields were less flashy: robot process automation ($1 billion investment in 2018) and supply chain management (over $500 million).

Well D U H.

By BAReFO0t • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

When you build a bunch of static matrix multipliers and pretend it is "AI", or even remotely close to real neurons. . .
. . . don't be surprised, if you can't actually achieve AI!

I've been saying this ever since I wondered why their neural nets were so blazingly fast, and mine from ye olden days so slow: Because I tried to simulate actual physical neurons, while they basically did the "a perfectly spherical horse on a sinusiodal trajectory" version. And mine were always learning, while theirs got trained once, and then frozen.

Sorry, even the amount of memory you need, to store the full(!) state of all neurons and synapses/dendrites in a human brain, that is needed even when it is frozen is stil far away, even for a modern supercomputer. Let alone a smartphone.

And don't say "You don't need all of it.". Because that is why you're not there yet, and never will, until you change that mindset.

Re:Well D U H.

By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

The consensus of AI experts disagree with you. That many experts can't be wrong. They would have no incentive to exaggerate things.

If it quacks and waddles like a bubble...

By Tablizer • Score: 3 • Thread

Existing AI companies are not producing enough revenue to justify the investments being made from a financial perspective. That is, if an investor looks around at their options in multiple industries, AI doesn't look good on price vs. results spreadsheet.

In the past this usually lead to an unpleasant bubble poppage. Is it different this time, and how can one be sure? AI has progressed in fits and starts in the past such that expecting a smooth upward curve in progress doesn't look rational.

I'm sure there will be incremental improvements in the shorter term, but that's not enough to carry the current investment attention level.

What is "thinking"? That's the problem.

By Frobnicator • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Collectively we've been redefining "intellegent" and "artificial intellegence" for decades.

If you go with the Turing test --- the original one from 1950 --- the game where someone decides if the thing answering questions is a human or a computer, that's already done. Plenty of AI's can handle it amazingly well.

And if you define it to mean able to replace or augment humans, you'll notice we've replaced humans at a tremendous number of tasks. Modern mathematical proofs are run through compute engines that even world-renowned mathematicians struggle to understand. Learning algorithms inspect images for contraband, they convert noise into an analysis of bridge integrity, they augment physicians and scientists and other skilled jobs. They can drive cars better than humans do. They can play games like Jeopardy and Chess and Go better than humans.

Articles like this are merely kicking the can down the road with yet another definition that isn't met.

But as Turing wrote in his 1950's paper, "thinking" is difficult to define. Just like Turing, we replace "thinking" and substitute out with different tasks. Instead of substituting it with the imitation game, we're substituting it with chess-playing skills, with driving skills, with identification skills, and more. Yet we're no closer to answering the initial existential question: "Can machines think?

Getting Drivers for Old Hardware Is Harder Than Ever

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
At least one major provider of hardware-level BIOS drivers is actively deleting old stuff it no longer supports, while old FTP sites where vintage drivers are often found are soon going to be harder to reach. Ernie Smith, writing for Motherboard: You've never lived until you've had to download a driver from an archived forum post on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. You have no idea if it's going to work, but it's your only option. So you bite the bullet. I recently did this with a PCI-based SATA card I was attempting to flash to support a PowerPC-based Mac, and while it was a bit of a leap of faith, it actually ended up working. Score one for chance. But this, increasingly, feels like it may be a way of life for people trying to keep old hardware alive -- despite the fact that all the drivers generally have to do is simply sit on the internet, available when they're necessary.

Apparently, that isn't easy enough for Intel. Recently, the chipmaker took BIOS drivers, a boot-level firmware technology used for hardware initialization in earlier generations of PCs, for a number of its unsupported motherboards off its website, citing the fact that the programs have reached an "End of Life" status. While it reflects the fact that Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), a later generation of firmware technology used in PCs and Macs, is expected to ultimately replace BIOS entirely, it also leaves lots of users with old gadgets out in a lurch. And as Bleeping Computer has noted, it appears to be part of a broader trend to prevent downloads for unsupported hardware on the Intel website -- things that have long lived past their current lives. After all, if something goes wrong, Intel can be sure it's not liable if a 15-year-old BIOS update borks a system.

Better title ...

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 3 • Thread

Finding Drivers for Miss Daisy Wheel

Re:Archive idea

By 110010001000 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

I just sent the author of the article the link, but he said he was too busy writing his next article and waxing his beard to contribute. Total bummer.

Re:A few years ago-

By cusco • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I feel for the folks who are supporting MRI machines, security systems, sawmills, CNC machines, etc. that only run NT or XP. There just plain **IS** no alternative for them. A utility that I contracted at had a knee-high pile of Compaq 386 laptops sitting in a corner. When I offered to surplus the pile for them they almost had a heart attack and actually put a sign on them saying "Brian-DO NOT TOUCH". They had installed a half-million dollar radio tower in the 1990s with cutting edge capabilities, but the company that wrote the transmitter's software had been purchased by another company which refused to support the hardware. The software would **ONLY** run on DOS 3 on a 386 CPU (and no, no emulation seemed to work).

Re: They needed the space

By Malays Boweman • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
You're joking, but really how hard is it to maintain something that fits on a $5 flash drive? I suspect they are doing this because $$$BUY NEW HARDWARE!$$$. Fuck the enviroment, fuck the 12 year old kids in a 3rd world country who sifts through literal mountains of e-waste without basic protection, much of it composed of what could've been working hardware if only the drivers were available ("But we CARE for the enviroment! We recycle!" so sayeth the heartless multinational corporation), and just fuck the future and those who will be living in it. It's about $$$PROFITS$$$, and short term gain. They will be dead anyway when the chickens come home to roost, so the Rolls Royce for their bratty spoiled daughter's Christmas present takes priority over preventing a crapsack dirty world flooded with good hardware turned into useless e-junk.


By sconeu • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I miss the days when drivers came on a CD included with the hardware. Now people are expected to download the drivers.

The best part is when those drivers are for the network interface.

Google Assistant Can Now Interpret 44 Languages on Smartphones

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Kyle Wiggers, writing for VentureBeat: In January during the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Google debuted interpreter mode, a real-time translation feature for Google Home speakers and third-party smart displays like those from JBL, Sony, LG, and Lenovo. The tech giant said at the time that interpreter mode would eventually come to mobile devices, but it didn't set a date. The date is today, as it turns out. As of this morning, Google Assistant on both Android and iOS smartphones supports interpreter mode, enabling you to ask for directions, order food, or simply chat in a foreign language. The number of recognized languages has increased from 27 to 44, and interpreter mode now lets you optionally type using a keyboard or manually select the language in which you'd like to speak. Saying a command like "Hey Google, be my German translator" or "Hey Google, help me speak Thai" kicks off interpreter mode. You'll see and hear the translated conversation on your phone, and after each translation, Google Assistant might present suggestions (like "Nien" or "Ju tut et") that let you quickly respond.

And slurp every word translated

By RotateLeftByte • Score: 3 • Thread

For use in adverts naturally.

What? You thought that they would let you do all that translation work for free didn't you?

Re:And slurp every word translated

By twocows • Score: 4 • Thread
Oh, I'm sure. I still use it, I just don't put anything in there that I care about them having. I also have offline translation tools that I use like ATLAS, both to compare against and for cases where I don't want Google to know what I'm trying to translate.

Iran Banks Burned, Then Customer Accounts Were Exposed Online

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The details of millions of Iranian bank cards were published online after antigovernment protests last month. Experts suspect a state-sponsored cyberattack. From a report: After demonstrators in Iran set fire to hundreds of bank branches last month in antigovernment protests, the authorities dealt with another less visible banking threat that is only now coming to fuller light: a security breach that exposed the information of millions of Iranian customer accounts. As of Tuesday, details of 15 million bank debit cards in Iran had been published on social media in the aftermath of the protests, unnerving customers and forcing the government to acknowledge a problem. The exposure represented the most serious banking security breach in Iran, according to Iranian media and a law firm representing some of the victims.

The breach, which targeted customers of Iran's three largest banks, was likely to further rattle an economy already reeling from the effects of American sanctions and came as Iran's leadership was grappling with deep-seated anger over its deadly crackdown on the protests. The number of affected accounts represents close to a fifth of the country's population. "This is the largest financial scam in Iran's history," reported Aftab News, a conservative media outlet. "Millions of Iranians are worried to find their names among the list of hacked accounts."

It's always another state

By guruevi • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Anyone can hack poor security and there are plenty of motivated individuals, both state-sponsored or other for banks, elections, government information etc. How they come to the conclusion that it is state-sponsored is more political message than statements of fact, they don't know for sure who hacked them, pointing the finger at another state (which I must assume will be Israel or the USA given it's coming from Iran) is an easy pretext for more government crackdowns on dissidents.

Stop posting links to paywalls

By guruevi • Score: 3 • Thread

Get your information from reliable and verifiable sources, NYT is neither.

Re:It's always another state

By 110010001000 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I'm not sure why I am being modded down. It literally says that in the article:
"Iran’s information and telecommunications minister, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, described the breach as data theft by a disgruntled contractor who had access to the accounts and had exposed them as part of an extortion attempt. He denied the banking system’s computers had been hacked.

But outside cyberexperts disputed that claim. They also said a breach of such magnitude was likely the work of a state entity aiming to stoke instability, not criminals whose objective is blackmail for financial gain."

Re:It's always another state

By Archtech • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I'm not sure why I am being modded down. It literally says that in the article.

It's the new way. If you say anything that someone doesn't like, you will be punished. Truth is not a defence. E.g.

Examples could be multiplied endlessly.

Iranian official admits the truth about Lebanon

By schwit1 • Score: 3 • Thread


Speaking on Monday, retired Gen. Morteza Qorbani told an Iranian news outlet that Iran did not need to use ballistic missiles in Iran to effectively attack Israel. Instead, Qorbani said, if “the Zionist regime makes the smallest mistake toward Iran, we will reduce Tel Aviv to ashes from Lebanon.”

That sparked quick pushback in Lebanon, even from Iran’s allies there. On Wednesday, a top Revolutionary Guard spokesperson blamed the media for misrepresenting the adviser’s clear words. Qorbani, the spokesman added, “meant to speak of response to Israel by possible various means and capacities.” In addition, in an amusing attempt to distance themselves from Qorbani, the Revolutionary Guard claimed that he “is not an adviser to the IRGC commander at present.”

If that’s not rowing back, I don’t know what is.

Two of China's Largest Tech Firms Are Uniting To Create a New 'Domestic OS'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The two biggest OS (operating system) makers in China announced plans last week to unite and jointly build a new "domestic operating system." From a report: The two companies are China Standard Software (CS2C) and Tianjin Kylin Information (TKC), two of China's largest software firms, with known ties to the Beijing government. Both companies are known on the local Chinese OS market. CS2C created "China's Windows XP clone," known as the NeoKylin OS, and TKC is the current steward of Kylin, China's first-ever homegrown operating system. CS2C and TKC plan to set up a new company in which they'll become investors, and through which the new joint OS will be developed. The new company will handle the new operating system's development, technological decisions, marketing, branding, financials, and sales. The current Kylin and NeoKylin operating systems will serve as a base for the new OS, the two said.

Re: Linux or BSD fork incoming

By Cmdln Daco • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The point was that the US grew rapidly in the 19th Century, in part because they just 'borrowed' European knowledge without renumeration.

Re: Surprised it took this long

By Dallas May • Score: 4 • Thread

Linux today is the result of investment of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of coding and engineering from countless individuals hundreds of companies around the world.

Re: Surprised it took this long

By Dallas May • Score: 4 • Thread

A current Linux distribution has 200 million lines of code.

Even if you had 100 perfect programmers that never made any mistakes and never needed sleep or bathroom breaks, and could average a line of code per minute, AND you had the entire OS perfectly engineered and planned out AND you had a perfect development plan so that every programmed could work at perfect efficiency with no one duplicating or messing up anyone elses work, it would still take a solid year of non-stop perfect programming to chug it out.

Re:Linux or BSD fork incoming

By larryjoe • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Chinese industry created more patents last year and spent more on both R&D and basic research than the US did. Huewei is essentially creating the standards for 5G since they're so far ahead of everyone else. You need to get out of the 1980s.

IBM received more than 9100 patents in 2018. Do you consider IBM to be a great leader in innovation?

As for R&D spending, the metrics are far murkier than the number of patents. Government budget spending on R&D is public, but government spending constitutes a small part of total R&D, so all such figures are coarse estimates. Without PPP adjustments, China is still not close the US spending on R&D by most estimates. Even with PPP adjustments (which multiply exchange rate-based numbers for China by around 2x), US spending at $476 billion still is greater than Chinese spending at $370 billion according to UNESCO.

More importantly, what is the result of all that spending other than economic stimulus? Even the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) admitted that "although China’s spending on research and development had risen steadily in recent years it had yet to yield any 'breakthrough' results that would help the country to achieve its technological goals."

To be fair, China has made important innovations, e.g., cell phone software, infrastructure, and use cases, as well as other areas. However, neither patents nor R&D estimates are useful metrics for innovation.

5G may turn out to be a platform that drives great innovation, productivity, and quality of living increases, like the internet. Or it could turn out to be a fantastic marketing flop. By a show of hands, how many are planning on buying a new 5G phone and are looking forward to the promises of 5G? The problem with my current phone is not that 20Mbps is a roadblock. Software and battery are the problems. The occasional absence of any connectivity is a problem; where there is connectivity, speed is not the problem. 5G for fixed clients? How many need help with that?

Re:Linux or BSD fork incoming

By cusco • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The 20 **billion** IoT devices that are expected to be in use worldwide by this time next year will put serious strain on the current 4G infrastructure. 5G isn't about phones for the most part, except for the obvious marketing to get consumers to upgrade, it's about providing connectivity to the ocean of new devices that are being installed in order that they can pay for themselves.

And no, IoT isn't actually about your connected refrigerator.

Larry Page Is Quietly Funding Efforts To Develop a Universal Flu Vaccine

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Google co-founder Larry Page is funneling money from his charitable foundation to a private flu-fighting initiative run as a for-profit company, TechCrunch reported. The program offers free flu shots to children in Oakland, California-area schools. Page also has a second company funding efforts to create a universal flu vaccine, according to the report. The free flu shots are offered through a group called Shoo The Flu, which started funding flu shots for both elementary and kindergarten through eighth grade schools in 2014. Shoo the Flu reimburses the Alameda County Public Health Department and school districts for the cost of the program.

The second company, Flu Lab, provides funding for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Grand Challenge for Universal Influenza Vaccine Development. Page and his family were initially contributing funding to the challenge directly, but they were replaced by Flu Lab. Flu Lab also supports the nonprofit Sabin Vaccine Institute, which works to expand vaccine access. The funding established the Sabin-Aspen Vaccine Science & Policy Group, which met in 2018 to discuss efforts to develop a universal flu vaccine. Shoo the Flu's director is also the CEO of Flu Lab, and TechCrunch reported that Shoo the Flu will soon move under the umbrella of Flu Lab.
The report notes that both Shoo the Flu and Flu Lab are private, for-profit companies and therefore not required to file public tax returns.

"However, the funding for Shoo the Flu comes from Page's charitable foundation, the Carl Victor Page Memorial Foundation, which does have to file public returns," reports The Verge. "That makes the money flowing into the company public; Page's foundation gave Shoo the Flu over $4.1 million between 2015 and 2017, TechCrunch reported. What the organization did with that money is not as readily available."

Re:Is this a good effort?

By rmdingler • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The vaccine actually strengthens the immunity of the person it is given to, mostly without acquiring the full blown disease, and they develop a new vaccine every year to treat perceived mutations of the virus... though some years the targeted strains are incorrect or evolve outside the vaccine's ability to stifle them.

Re:Life ... will find a way.

By ibpooks • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

No, the effort for a universal flu vaccine is a legitimate scientific effort. Flu is grouped in to four basic types A - D, and within at least type A, the annual strains of the flu virus that change seasonally are virtually all due to variations in the proteins hemagglutinin and neuraminidase. Flu subtypes will often be labeled like A(H1N1) to designate the type and protein variation in that particular strain. There is further variation based on specific genetics.

The current technology in flu vaccination only can target the specific H and N protein combinations and sometimes not even that high. So it requires a significant yearly effort to catalog all of the circulating strains, predict which ones will be most dangerous over the next year, and then culture and distribute a vaccine for those three or four worst strains expected to be circulating.

The so-called universal flu vaccine seeks to target the flu virus at a higher level in its classification, perhaps the entire A or B type for example. They don't mean for it to be a universal forever cure for flu, but it would enable the creation of vaccines that are effective for decades perhaps. Or least take some of the burden of prediction out of the process so that we aren't surprised by circulating strains that flare up which aren't covered by the annual vaccine.

Re:Is this a good effort?

By Gilgaron • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The effect on your immune system between a natural infection and a vaccine is the same: you develop antibodies against viral proteins. Skipping the viral infection part is ideal, because it means that you've had fewer hostile organisms mucking around with your DNA, haven't had any organ damage, etc. The body doesn't really acclimate to viruses in the manner that you suggest would be missed by depending on vaccines: if you're infected by a novel virus, you'll either make enough antibodies directed to that virus in time to live, or you'll die. How many different viruses you've been exposed to unrelated to the novel one doesn't really matter much. Unless the previous virus was measles, in which case your B cells got wiped out, and all the old stuff gets a chance to kill you again.

How the mighty have fallen!!

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Gone were the days when super billionaires went to Africa and hunted big game animals. Whole hunting party, elephant guns, gun bearers, safari hats and khaki short, and they did it personally. Hunted most big game to extinction, almost but not quite.

Now they are looking for microscopic creatures to hunt and annihilate. And they are not doing it themselves, and hiring a bunch of white lab coat people to do it.

Re:Is this a good effort?

By rmdingler • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The jury is still out on that, and coming down with the full blown flu weakens the immune system and allows other infections to proliferate... herpes, for instance, the cold sore. It is especially dangerous to the very old, the very young, and those with compromised immune systems.

Verizon Lays Off More Yahoo/AOL Employees

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Verizon is laying off 150 U.S. staffers this week across multiple teams in the organization. CNN reports: Verizon Media employs around 10,500 people [across media brands that include Yahoo, AOL, TechCrunch and HuffPost], so these cuts will amount to 1.4% of its work force. It's unclear which brands will be affected. In January, Verizon Media laid off roughly 800 employees, or about 7% of its staff at the time, as the division's revenues failed to meet expectations.

A spokesperson for Verizon Media confirmed the layoffs to CNN Business. "Our goal is to create the best experiences for our consumers and the best platforms for our customers. Today we are investing in premium content, connections and commerce experiences that connect people to their passions and continue to align our resources to opportunities where we feel we can differentiate ourselves and scale faster," the spokesperson said in a statement.

continue to align our resources to... ugh, no...

By Dutch Gun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Do these spokesdroids even understand how utterly soulless these collections of corporate buzzwords sound? I guess they need to say something in response to layoffs, but... damn. It's sort of crazy that it's someone's actual job to spit out meaningless phrases like this.

xmas layoff

By bsdetector101 • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
xmas layoff. nice timing

Re:continue to align our resources to... ugh, no..

By JaredOfEuropa • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I suspect being soulless is kind of intentional. They have to make a statement, but if they’d put that into normal words (being “authentic” in corporate parlance) people might sit up and take note. And they don’t want that.

Re:xmas layoff

By rmdingler • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Firing someone in the US from the last week of November until Christmas generally deprives that person of up to 6 weeks of job search time, since no one outside of retail is hiring for serious positions until after the holidays.

As to why they may do it, managers of global firms sometimes overlook religious holidays they have personally never celebrated nor experienced; and companies that end their calendar year in December likely wish to expense the severance packages before the new year.

The One person

By BosstonesOwn • Score: 3 • Thread

left at AOL, is still in charge of that light switch. Heres to hoping they turn it off soon.

'Monster' Black Hole Announced Last Week Is Nothing Special

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Bad Astronomer writes: Last week, scientists announced the discovery of a stellar-mass black hole with 70 times the Sun's mass, far heftier than theory predicts they can get. Within days, though, four separate papers have come out casting extreme doubt on the claim. They show that the data wasn't processed correctly, and that the black hole is closer to Earth than first assumed, which changes the calculations and makes it a more normal 5 - 20 solar mass object.

It gets worse.

By Hallux-F-Sinister • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Also, it's not really a hole. More of a dent, actually. Also not black, just like, really dark blue but from this angle, it looks black.

The National Galaxy Catalog is going to rename it to NGC-NBD2019a.

Re: Meow! Telescope fight!

By r2kordmaa • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
There are black holes that form in the death of one star and there are black holes in the center of galaxies that gobble up millions to billions of solar masses worth of gas, they are formed very differently and there is almost no middle ground between them. So stellar mass black holes and super-massive black holes are really quite different beasts. This one was thought to be extremely massive for a stellar mass black hole.

Stellar Black Hole (wiki)

By Iwastheone • Score: 3 • Thread
A stellar black hole (or stellar-mass black hole) is a black hole formed by the gravitational collapse of a star. They have masses ranging from about 5 to several tens of solar masses. The process is observed as a hypernova explosion or as a gamma ray burst. These black holes are also referred to as collapsars.

Better performance

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Monster Black Holes perform better than other brands because they're gold plated, have extra shielding and the event horizon is laser welded in an oxygen-free atmosphere -- at least according to the spec sheet. They are, however, much, much more expensive ...

Low-Risk Ultrasound Procedure Destroys 80 Percent of Prostate Cancers In One-Year Study

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from SlashGear: A new treatment shows promise for revolutionizing prostate cancer treatment, offering a minimally-invasive and relatively low-risk alternative to traditional surgeries and radiotherapies. Called TULSA, this method uses sound waves to eliminate the diseased tissue in the prostate, leaving the rest of the healthy tissues behind. According to the researchers, patients treated with this method experience "minimal side effects." The transurethral ultrasound ablation (TULSA) method uses an MRI to guide the procedure, which involves inserting a rod through the urethra into the prostate, where it uses heat via sound waves to destroy the cancerous tissues. Unlike the surgery typically used to treat this condition, TULSA is minimally invasive and can be performed as an outpatient procedure.

Using guided and controlled sound waves, doctors are able to preserve the nerves near the prostate while eliminating the diseased tissues using a total of 10 elements located on the insertable rod. A software algorithm is part of the system -- it controls the strength, direction, and shape of the ultrasound beam, though doctors watch carefully using the MRI in real-time. A new study involving 115 men found that the average treatment time for this procedure is a bit less than an hour. The researchers found that 80-percent of patients experienced elimination of "clinically significant" cancer and that 72 of the men had no signs of cancer after the first year. As well, incontinence was a very rare side effect of the procedure, which also had low instances of impotence.

Re:Yet another all-male treatment

By theskipper • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

The lady doth prostrate too much, methinks

Re:They burn the cancer with sound?

By dgatwood • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The alternatives, of course, are:

  • removal of the entire gland, which has the disadvantage of shortening your urethra (which can be painful), along with a decent risk of impotence and incontinence,
  • inserting a radioactive pellet, which tends to turn the entire prostate to jelly so it can't be removed surgically if they didn't get it all, or
  • using beam radiation, which has all the disadvantages of pellet treatment coupled with the risk of burning holes in your colon that require colostomy.

If this approach avoids the problem of making subsequent surgery infeasible, it's a huge win. Heck, the fact that this might actually be repeatable, unlike radiation, would make it a huge win by itself. Of course, using targeted delivery of metal in the bloodstream, letting it accumulate in the tumor, and then burning out the tumor cells electromagnetically would be even better, assuming it works for that type of cancer, and using the immune system to attack it would be better still, but this approach still sounds like it is probably a significant improvement over what's out there.

Re: Wait, do you even need to treat most of them?

By Way Smarter Than You • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Actually the idea is that if you're old enough they figure you -might- die of something else first. Not that the prostate cancer won't kill you.

I unfortunately know about this subject...

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
After 10 years of lurking on Slashdot, this article finally got me to make an account and comment on the article. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer approximately 1 year ago and I had to educate myself on the subject. Prostate cancer is the 2nd most prevalent cancer for men. 1 in 9 will be diagnosed and 80% of men have prostate cancer cells in their prostate by age 80. The cancer is very much driven by testosterone (in fact, one treatment is to give men drugs to get rid of their testosterone and halt the cancer), so I think it is one of these evolution holdovers where the male gets an advantage early with high testosterone but gets nailed late in life. Fun fact: African American men have a higher incident of prostate cancer because they, as a group, have a higher average testosterone level. Prostate cancer is, right now, about at the same level that breast cancer was about 20 years ago. They have learned a great deal about it and new procedures are coming along that will "spot" treat it. Unfortunately, the main treatment options right now are radiation and surgery to remove the prostate gland. For older patients, the radiation treatment is preferred. For younger patients, the surgery option is preferred. I was presented with both and didn't like them, so I looked for other options. What I found was that many new treatments are being explored and tested. The two most promising ones (in my opinion) are the HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) and Cryotherapy (freezing of tissue with a probe using liquid nitrogen). HIFU is best for tumors on the posterior side (back) side of the prostate, is very spot specific and is done with a probe inserted into the rectum. It is currently being tested in the UK and the US. Cryotherapy is best for tumors on the front side of the prostate and is normally done over 1/2 of the prostate gland due to the large treatment zone done by the cyro probe. The TULSA method listed in the article is just a variation of the HIFU procedure and allows the ultrasound method to be done both in the front and back of the prostate gland. At the current time, only surgery and radiation is being covered by insurance. If you want either the HIFU procedure or cyrotherapy for initial treatment, you will need to pay for it yourself. They are not cheap. The reason for this is that long term survival statistics for the procedures done for initial treatment are not settled yet. After looking at options, I got the HIFU procedure and got treated last summer. I can most highly recommend it (if you can afford it) and I am currently waiting to get a 6 month checkup and hopefully with be cancer free at the end of it. For those of you interested in the HIFU procedure and are on the West Coast, go to the UCLA Urology Department and see Dr. Leonard Marks. Here is a link to the department: and here is a link to Dr Marks presentation on HIFU: . Dr. Marks is a bit dry but I can most highly recommend him.

Re:They burn the cancer with sound?

By bobby • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The transducer is maybe the size of a grain of rice. The "rod" is a very thin stiff wire. All of it is way smaller than a Foley catheter.

A good friend of mine made the prototypes and some early production.. They were doing this more than 10 years ago. Shame it takes so long to get to mass public.

The ultrasonic energy heats the prostate to maybe 107-110 F. Turns out tumors don't like heat. But neither do many organs including brain, so overall heating isn't a good therapy. Tumor destruction by heat works better on some tumors more than others.

In Canada they've approved external ultrasonic heating of tumors, where they use many transducers, sometimes arrays, to focus the energy on a tumor. It's had some success.

Also called "HIFU"

The World's First Village of Affordable 3D-Printed Homes Is Now Complete

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
MikeChino shares a report from Dwell: In Tabasco, Mexico, a family living below the poverty line recently visited their future home: a 3D-printed, 500-square foot structure with two bedrooms, one bath, a wraparound cement patio, and an awning over the front porch. It's one of two fully furnished homes -- printed in about 24 hours and finished by local nonprofit ECHALE -- that will soon make up a larger community of 50 dwellings with green spaces, parks, amenities, and basic utilities. Tabasco is a seismic zone, so the homes were engineered beyond standard safety requirements -- and they'll endure for generations. "Icon's printer, called the Vulcan II, isn't the first designed to build an entire house," notes Fast Company. "But the new Mexican neighborhood, which will have 50 of the homes, will be the first community to use this type of technology at scale."

New Story, the nonprofit leading the project, has posted a video about the homes on their YouTube channel.

Re:Feel-good news with no substance.

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Companies don't usually disclose the cost of prototypes, it's a trade secret that could be of use to their competitors. "This is how much it costs to replicate our technology" essentially.

The fact that it's even possible is a great sign.

Re:Nice place, but...

By Rei • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Developer: "We've developed this amazing 3d home printer! You can make homes in any shape imaginable! Every single building can be a unique work of art!"

Operator: "That's great, thanks! Now we're going to use it to print a bunch of identical boxes."

Developer: ".... You're kidding, right?"

Re:Feel-good news with no substance.

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"Finished by" means that after it was printed the non-profit came in and installed non-printable stuff like windows, doors and fixings.

Re:but.. but.. but..

By cusco • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I think it's the material that gives the interior walls that texture, it has to harden quickly enough that it doesn't slump.

Have you ever been in a brick or concrete block house? Those walls look considerably worse when new. The new residents will almost certainly buy plaster and finish them, if they had built a house of bricks/blocks they would have expected to do the same thing after they moved in.

People in most of the rest of the world don't expect to have a house handed to them on a platter, rather they expect to have to work on their own homes to improve them. You're just spoiled.

Re:It's weird

By cusco • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Probably, but then the first earthquake would reduce it to rubble. This has happened repeatedly in the area. Brick or block construction require columns and rebar, both of which are expensive and need a certain amount of expertise to place and install correctly.