Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest archive

Is Disney's Star Wars Franchise In Trouble?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Disney's Han Solo movie was the first Star Wars movie to lose money. But is there a larger problem? dryriver writes: Comic book news website Cosmic Book News reports that even though Disney put bucketloads of Star Wars out there in 2018, revenues from all things Star Wars have actually fallen, according to Disney SEC filings. Disney made more Star Wars money in 2017 -- when only Rogue One hit cinemas -- than in 2018, when Solo, Last Jedi and SW Battlefront 2 were released.

A Rian Johnson-led Star Wars trilogy appears to have been delayed or cancelled entirely. Rumored spinoff movies for Bobba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi appear to have been put on the backburner or cancelled. Disney's CEO has confirmed that the Star Wars movies are being slowed down.

LucasFilm Rescues Darth Vader Fan Film From YouTube Copyright Fight

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
A Star Wars fan named "Toos" told Newsweek he'd spent $150,000 of his own money on a fan film about Darth Vader -- and what happened next: Before the camera started rolling Toos said he contacted an employee at Lucasfilm [and] claims Lucasfilm gave him permission on two conditions: he couldn't crowdfund and he couldn't monetize the fan film on YouTube. Toos agreed to those conditions and shot for three full days in September. They ran post-production up until the release of "Vader Episode 1: Shards of the Past" on December 20. Star Wars fans, a notoriously tough group to please, had overwhelming praise for the video, which gathered more than six million views in one month and 40,000 likes.

On January 14, music group and corporate collective Warner/Chappell filed a copyright claim against the video. After filing the claim, the company (publisher for the Walt Disney Music Company) began to collect ad revenue for Toos' video by claiming that one of the songs used a rendition of "The Imperial March"... If Toos attempts to appeal and Warner/Chappell refutes his claim, he could get a copyright strike on his channel and lose complete ownership of the video...

Fan response on Reddit has been massive, with the post about Star Wars Theory and the strike reaching over 90,000 upvotes... In a new video on the StarWarsTheory channel, Toos told his fans that the claim on his video had been lifted due in part to the intervention of LucasFilm."They stepped up and told Disney or the other company that this wasn't okay, that this wasn't going to stand."

Newsweek points out that Disney doesn't own Warner/Chappell. "The music group merely licenses their music" -- and has been accused of making erroneous claims before.

They're the same group that claimed they owned the music rights on a YouTube clip from Star Wars with all the original music removed.

6 milliom views and 40,000 likrd?

By rossdee • Score: 3 • Thread

so less than 1% liked it?

Inside DJI's 'Robomasters' Robotics Competition

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
pacopico writes: Every year, DJI hosts a robotics competition called Robomasters. It draws in hundreds of engineering students from around the world for two weeks of all out robotics mayhem. The students build and then control robotic vehicles that blast away at each other with rubber bullets, while drones strafe from overhead. Bloomberg Businessweek did a short documentary on the competition and everything that goes with it, including a reality TV show, an anime series, and final battle attended by thousands of people at a stadium in Shenzhen. The Chinese teams usually do the best, and the winners get some money and sometimes a job offer at DJI -- all part of the country's quest to dominate the robotics industry in the years to come.

When will slashdot fix AC posting?

By tomhath • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Require a person log in before being allowed to post anonymously, and apply moderation to their karma. Otherwise slashdot will continue to swirl around the drain until it disappears

Requirements to be a robot

By laosland • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

"then control robotic vehicles" . Aren't robots supposed to be autonomous?

Asteroid Strikes 'Increase Threefold Over Last 300 Million Years,' Survey Finds

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to a survey of asteroid craters at least 6.2 miles wide, the number of asteroids slamming into Earth has nearly tripled since the dinosaurs first roamed. "Researchers worked out the rate of asteroid strikes on the moon and the Earth and found that in the past 290 million years the number of collisions had increased dramatically," reports The Guardian. "Before that time, the planet suffered an asteroid strike about once every 3 million years, but since then the rate has risen to once nearly every 1 million years." From the report: The findings suggest that the dinosaurs may have been unfortunate in evolving 240 million years ago, just as the odds of being wiped out by a stray asteroid were ramping up. It was one of those impacts, on top of other factors, that did for the beasts 66 million years ago. Many scientists had assumed that asteroid strikes were a rare but constant threat in Earth's deep history, but the latest study challenges that belief.

Writing in the journal Science, the researchers describe how they turned to the moon to examine the violent history of Earth. The Earth and moon are hit by asteroids with similar frequency, but impact craters on Earth are often erased or obscured by erosion and the shifting continents which churn up the crust. On the geologically inactive moon, impact craters are preserved almost indefinitely, making them easier to examine. Using images from Nasa's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the scientists studied the "rockiness" of the debris surrounding craters on the moon. Rocks thrown up by asteroid impacts are steadily ground down by the constant rain of micrometeorites that pours down on the moon. This means the state of the rocks around a crater can be used to date it. The dates revealed that the moon, and by extension the Earth, has suffered more intense asteroid bombardment in the past 290 million years than at any time in the previous billion. On Earth there are hardly any impact craters older than 650 million years, most likely because they were eroded when the planet became encased in ice in an event known as Snowball Earth.

oort cloud

By Rockoon • Score: 3 • Thread
Seems to me that the cloud of debris that surrounds our solar system (and likely most others as well) would be unstable as stars pass by each other.

Constant?

By Paul Neubauer • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

How do we *know* the rate of micrometeorite bombardment is constant and hasn't dropped in intensity by a third in recent (geological/selenological) times?

Or maybe...

By jrumney • Score: 3 • Thread
Evidence of 300 million year old asteroid craters is many times more likely to have been destroyed. Other scientific papers have pointed to a much more chaotic solar system earlier in its history, so the trend may in fact be in the opposite direction, just the evidence no longer exists.

Researchers Created Artificial Cells That Can Communicate With Each Other

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: Friedrich Simmel and Aurore Dupin, researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), have for the first time created artificial cell assemblies that can communicate with each other. The cells, separated by fatty membranes, exchange small chemical signaling molecules to trigger more complex reactions, such as the production of RNA and other proteins. Scientists around the world are working on creating artificial, cell-like systems that mimic the behavior of living organisms. Friedrich Simmel and Aurore Dupin have created such artificial cell assemblies in a fixed spatial arrangement. The highlight is that the cells are able to communicate with each other.

Gels or emulsion droplets encapsulated in thin fat or polymer membranes serve as the basic building blocks for the artificial cells. Inside these 10- to 100-micron units, chemical and biochemical reactions can proceed uninhibited. The research team used droplets enclosed by lipid membranes and assembled them into artificial multicellular structures called micro-tissues. The biochemical reaction solutions used in the droplets can produce RNA and proteins, giving the cells a of a kind of gene expression ability. Small signal molecules can be exchanged between cells via their membranes or protein channels built into the membranes. This allows them to couple with each other temporally and spatially. The systems thus become dynamic, as in real life. Chemical pulses thus propagate through the cell structures and pass on information. The signals can also act as triggers, allowing initially identical cells to develop differently.
"Our system is the first example of a multicellular system in which artificial cells with gene expression have a fixed arrangement and are coupled via chemical signals. In this way, we achieved a form of spatial differentiation," says Friedrich Simmel, Professor of Physics of Synthetic Biosystems at Technical University of Munich.

Google Faces Renewed Protests and Criticism Over China Search Project

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
On Friday, a coalition of Chinese, Tibetan, Uighur, and human rights groups organized demonstrations outside Google's offices in the U.S., U.K., Canada, India, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Sweden, Switzerland, and Denmark, protesting the company's plan to launch a censored version of its search engine in China. The Intercept reports: Google designed the Chinese search engine, code-named Dragonfly, to blacklist information about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest, in accordance with strict rules on censorship in China that are enforced by the country's authoritarian Communist Party government. In December, The Intercept revealed that an internal dispute had forced Google to shut down a data analysis system that it was using to develop the search engine. This had "effectively ended" the project, sources said, because the company's engineers no longer had the tools they needed to build it.

But Google bosses have not publicly stated that they will cease development of Dragonfly. And the company's CEO Sundar Pichai has refused to rule out potentially launching the search engine some time in the future, though he has insisted that there are no current plans to do so. The organizers of Friday's protests -- which were timed to coincide with Internet Freedom Day -- said that they would continue to demonstrate "until Google executives confirm that Project Dragonfly has been canceled, once and for all."
Google "should be connecting the world through the sharing of information, not facilitating human rights abuses by a repressive government determined to crush all forms of peaceful online dissent," said Gloria Montgomery, director at Tibet Society UK. "Google's directors must urgently take heed of calls from employees and tens of thousands of global citizens demanding that they immediately halt project Dragonfly. If they don't, Google risks irreversible damage to its reputation."

Maybe you should ask the Chinese what they want

By greggman • Score: 3 • Thread

Why do all the countries and non-Chinese seem to want a say in what services Chinese people get access to? Why is not having Google there to provide info better than having them there? By not having them there all you have is Baidu. How is adding competition to Baidu bad for the Chinese people?

Google

By phantomfive • Score: 3 • Thread
Google is an example of a company that was ruined by money. They had a great mission, "Organize the world's information." Now they have lost track of that in their pursuit of advertising dollars. I think if they had remained smaller, and kept their goal to be "organize the world's information," they would be a better company today. "Better" of course being different than the stock market's usage of "most profitable."

They're not a democracy

By rsilvergun • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
they're a Kleptocracy at best. Their "president" just gave himself more or less unlimited power. You can't really ask them what they want.

Thing is the world's turned a blind eye to China abusing it's people for the sake of cheap consumer goods since Nixon. Not sure why we care now.

Firmware Vulnerability In Popular Wi-Fi Chipset Affects Laptops, Smartphones, Routers, Gaming Devices

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Embedi security researcher Denis Selianin has discovered a vulnerability affecting the firmware of a popular Wi-Fi chipset deployed in a wide range of devices, such as laptops, smartphones, gaming rigs, routers, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. According to Selianin, the vulnerability impacts ThreadX, a real-time operating system that is used as firmware for billions of devices. ZDNet reports: In a report published today, Selianin described how someone could exploit the ThreadX firmware installed on a Marvell Avastar 88W8897 wireless chipset to execute malicious code without any user interaction. The researcher chose this WiFi SoC (system-on-a-chip) because this is one of the most popular WiFi chipsets on the market, being deployed with devices such as Sony PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Surface laptops, Samsung Chromebooks, Samsung Galaxy J1 smartphones, and Valve SteamLink cast devices, just to name a few.

"I've managed to identify ~4 total memory corruption issues in some parts of the firmware," said Selianin. "One of the discovered vulnerabilities was a special case of ThreadX block pool overflow. This vulnerability can be triggered without user interaction during the scanning for available networks." The researcher says the firmware function to scan for new WiFi networks launches automatically every five minutes, making exploitation trivial. All an attacker has to do is send malformed WiFi packets to any device with a Marvell Avastar WiFi chipset and wait until the function launches, to execute malicious code and take over the device.
Selianin says he also "identified two methods of exploiting this technique, one that is specific to Marvell's own implementation of the ThreadX firmware, and one that is generic and can be applied to any ThreadX-based firmware, which, according to the ThreatX homepage, could impact as much as 6.2 billion devices," the report says. Patches are reportedly being worked on.

Re:Don't use wifi

By jfdavis668 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
For real security, go back to Token-Ring.

ThreadX RTOS

By duke_cheetah2003 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

If I'm reading this correctly, the blame for these exploits is being squarely placed on this ThreadX RTOS thing.

Well, you signed up for proprietary operating system, this is what you get when you do that. This is the downside of using code you can't look at and assess yourself, or have it assessed by professionals. You just have to take their word for it that it's security, stable and good. Obviously, this particular proprietary operating system is not secure.

Must say, I'm mildly surprised. Checking out ThreadX RTOS website, they seem to have all sorts of fancy certifications which I have no idea what mean, but surely they mean something? Just not secure and exploit free operating system?

Re:Were are Marvell chipsets popular?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Realtek is the lowest end. Those are the NICs you find on eBay or Amazon for a few bucks that usually have a name randomly generated from a syllable table. You'll also find them rebranded in non-dedicated-IT physical stores for $30. They shift a lot of them because they are the cheapest of the cheap and practically every no-name device has a little RTL crab in it somewhere. Many cheapo all-in-one motherboards have them too and a handful of other integrated devices.

Marvell are still cheap and cheerful but a lot more popular for integrated devices. Marvell not so much for NICs, though I have seen a few. They're a lot more popular in cheap APs and other network devices than RTL as well. A lot more integrated devices are sold these days than discrete NICs.

Atheros, Broadcom and Intel is where midrange (or the low end of enterprise), starts. Atheros and Broadcom do also have a fair representation in the consumer space, but they're seen in the high end enthusiast stuff rather than budget conscious, high volume garbage.

2-4KB of RAM & $300 million risk limits OS cho

By raymorris • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

> they seem to have all sorts of fancy certifications which I have no idea what mean, but surely they mean something?

Mostly they mean that you can depend on it running perfectly reliably, so you can trust your $300 million space probe to ThreadX.

You may have also noticed ThreadX takes 2KB of memory.

When your system requirements are the kind of thing ThreadX is designed for, you don't have a ton of options. Maybe three will be worth considering, and likely one will be the best fit, just on technical considerations.

Re:Express Logic Announces THREADX® MISRA Com

By Pinky's Brain • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You can interpret data in an incoming packet as code for a domain language in any programming language. There is no language feature which caused this and for which alternatives have been actively researched for decades but held back by curmudgeons.

The same can not be said for buffer overflows.

Identical Twins Test 5 DNA Ancestry Kits, Get Different Results On Each

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Freshly Exhumed writes: Uh-oh, something is not right with the results of most popular DNA ancestry kits, as a pair of identical twins have found. Charlsie Agro and her twin sister, Carly, bought home kits from AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA and Living DNA, and mailed samples of their DNA to each company for analysis. Despite having virtually identical DNA, the twins did not receive matching results from any of the companies. "The fact that they present different results for you and your sister, I find very mystifying," said Dr. Mark Gerstein, a computational biologist at Yale University. Gerstein's team analyzed the results, and he asserts that any results the Agro twins received from the same DNA testing company should have been identical. The raw data collected from both sisters' DNA is nearly exactly the same. "It's shockingly similar," he said.

It avoids violating their terms of service

By Solandri • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
e.g. Here's the relevant part of 23andMe's terms of service (emphasis added)

Furthermore you agree not to use the Services to: (1) [...]; (2) impersonate any person or entity, including, but not limited to, anyone affiliated with 23andMe, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity;

I suspect if a reporter did submit samples under different names, a court would side with the press against their terms of service. Eventually.

But by using identical twins, you sidesteps the possibility of wasting time, effort, and money because your report has been tied up by a gag order while a court mulls over what to do.

The opposite

By Lorens • Score: 3 • Thread

I'm reminded of the opposite story: someone forgets their password to the DNA site, and (instead of resetting the password) creates another account, sends in new DNA... and later calls their kid saying that it's incredible, wonderful, this DNA site has found that I have an identical twin somewhere!

Re:What if the same person submitted DNA twice

By tlhIngan • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The raw results are not in question. The story itself says that the raw data was nearly identical, as one would expect. It is only the extrapolation of that data to infer ethic lineage that didn't line up so well.

And that's the important point - the interpretation can differ. Yet if you look at all the ads, they imply an exact location. Spit in the tube and you'll find which neighbourhood your ancestors grew up in.

Of course, your results are basically guesses by the site - if you ask it for your real location, the best it can give is your continent. If you want what you see in the ad, you get a guess.

Re:It avoids violating their terms of service

By DocJohn • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

No judge is going to issue a gag order after something has already been published. There's no reason to alert the companies ahead of publication with the exact details of your investigation. In fact, there's no need to even tell the companies ahead of publication. The only reason this is done to some degree is to get the BS public-relations comment that tries to explain away the discrepancy.

Who is the reader going to believe? The DNA experts from Yale or some other university, or the for-profit company trying to defend their reputation?

Re:But Are They Real Twins?

By kinko • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

99.8% between humans and chimpanzees refers to the entire genome (~3 billion base pairs).

23 And Me and related companies only look at about 3 million positions - the positions that are often different between different human populations/races (these are known as Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms).

Giving Algorithms a Sense of Uncertainty Could Make Them More Ethical

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: Algorithms are increasingly being used to make ethical decisions. They are built to pursue a single mathematical goal, such as maximizing the number of soldiers' lives saved or minimizing the number of civilian deaths. When you start dealing with multiple, often competing, objectives or try to account for intangibles like "freedom" and "well-being," a satisfactory mathematical solution doesn't always exist. "We as humans want multiple incompatible things," says Peter Eckersley, the director of research for the Partnership on AI, who recently released a paper that explores this issue. "There are many high-stakes situations where it's actually inappropriate -- perhaps dangerous -- to program in a single objective function that tries to describe your ethics." These solutionless dilemmas aren't specific to algorithms. Ethicists have studied them for decades and refer to them as impossibility theorems. So when Eckersley first recognized their applications to artificial intelligence, he borrowed an idea directly from the field of ethics to propose a solution: what if we built uncertainty into our algorithms?

Eckersley puts forth two possible techniques to express this idea mathematically. He begins with the premise that algorithms are typically programmed with clear rules about human preferences. We'd have to tell it, for example, that we definitely prefer friendly soldiers over friendly civilians, and friendly civilians over enemy soldiers -- even if we weren't actually sure or didn't think that should always be the case. The algorithm's design leaves little room for uncertainty. The first technique, known as partial ordering, begins to introduce just the slightest bit of uncertainty. You could program the algorithm to prefer friendly soldiers over enemy soldiers and friendly civilians over enemy soldiers, but you wouldn't specify a preference between friendly soldiers and friendly civilians. In the second technique, known as uncertain ordering, you have several lists of absolute preferences, but each one has a probability attached to it. Three-quarters of the time you might prefer friendly soldiers over friendly civilians over enemy soldiers. A quarter of the time you might prefer friendly civilians over friendly soldiers over enemy soldiers. The algorithm could handle this uncertainty by computing multiple solutions and then giving humans a menu of options with their associated trade-offs, Eckersley says.

So, how certain?

By registrations_suck • Score: 3 • Thread

How certain are they that giving algorithms a sense of uncertainty is a good idea?

How is this not a simple optimization problem?

By FeelGood314 • Score: 3 • Thread
I place a value on each type and the requirement to win the war with the lowest cost. My soldiers cost w, my civilians are x, their civilians are y and their soldiers are z. w>x>y>z. The only thing that I see that is a problem is most politicians or bureaucrats will set w=x=MAX_INT, y=z=0. That's not an AI problem at all but a fundamental problem in democracies.

That is dumb

By thegarbz • Score: 3 • Thread

The algorithm could handle this uncertainty by computing multiple solutions and then giving humans a menu of options with their associated trade-offs

That's not the algorithms adding uncertainty and making ethical choices, that's a human performing this task and the algorithm being demoted. The idea that having a human involved improves the ethics of the decision is laughable.

Microsoft Suggests Windows 10 Mobile Users Switch To iOS or Android As Support Winds Down

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Windows 10 Mobile devices will be officially unsupported starting on December 10, 2019. As a result, Microsoft is recommending users move to an Android or iOS device instead. Mac Rumors reports: Microsoft made the recommendation in a Windows 10 Mobile support document (via Thurrott) explaining its plans to stop offering security updates and patches for Windows 10 Mobile: "With the Windows 10 Mobile OS end of support, we recommend that customers move to a supported Android or iOS device. Microsoft's mission statement to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, compels us to support our Mobile apps on those platforms and devices." All customers who have a Windows 10 Mobile device will be able to keep using it after December 10, 2019, but no further updates will be available.

Re:There's a Windows 10 Mobile?

By Iwastheone • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
It actually was a good phone OS, a bit cludgy, too late to the game and did not gain traction with app developers. Doomed from the start, though if all you needed was a reliable cellphone, it just worked.

Stick it to Google/Apple - Open source the thing

By bogaboga • Score: 3 • Thread

"With the Windows 10 Mobile OS end of support, we recommend that customers move to a supported Android or iOS device. Microsoft's mission statement to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, compels us to support our Mobile apps on those platforms and devices."

(bold mine)

And the only way to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more is to Open Source Windows 10.

The result would be to stick it to Google/Apple too, which would be "icing on the cake."

Re:Any suggestions regarding the EOL of Windows 7?

By Stormwatch • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Mac if you have money to burn, Linux otherwise.

Re:There's a Windows 10 Mobile?

By Kaenneth • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I worked... or rather TRIED to work as a tester on the Windows 10 Mobile team at Microsoft.

I had 6 bosses. never knowing who to report to for what.

I had 1 SIM card; and no office phone. To test making/receiving calls on. Calling to/from my personal phone was expressly forbidden by 2 of the bosses.

The phones would randomly reboot; this was NOT considered a test failure according to 3 of the bosses.

Windows Phone was the best

By DogDude • Score: 3 • Thread
I'm still using a Windows Phone, and I've bought a few backups for when the batteries wear out. I simply won't use a Google or Apple phone because i don't want all of my personal data harvested and sold to anybody with money. Once all of my Windows Phones are dead, i will probably use a flip phone. I already carry around a laptop most of the time, so i can just that for email. This really sucks. Windows Phone was the best mobile OS by a mile. The UI on Apple and Google phones are dogshit. Also, I doubt that Microsoft was harvesting all of my personal data to sell to the highest bidder.

I trust Google and Apple as much as I trust Facebook and Amazon: Not at all.

Posted with a Windows Phone.

Tesla Is Cutting 7 Percent of Its Workforce To Reduce Model 3 Price

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced today that the company would cut 7% of its workforce in order to cut costs as the company prepares to ramp up production and boost margins as they get closer to releasing the long-awaited $35,000 version of the Model 3. CNBC reports: Musk says Tesla faces "an extremely difficult challenge" in making their products a competitive alternative to traditional vehicles, adding that he expects Q4 profit to come in significantly lower than Q3. Five experts weigh in on whether it's a challenge Musk and Tesla can overcome:

- Oppenheimer managing director Colin Rusch agrees with Jed Dorsheimer on Tesla's job cuts, but isn't bullish on what they'll accomplish.
- Canaccord Genuity's Jed Dorsheimer thinks the workforce cut is just fine, calling it "clean-up" after the company's latest push to ramp up Model 3 production came with a wealth of new hires.
- "They're certainly in a better position than they were eight or nine months ago," says ROTH Capital's Craig Irwin. "Where we're going to see pressure on the stock today is the 'copy-paste' expectations of Q3 going through 2019 need to be reset."
- Needham's Raji Gil thinks that Tesla may have overestimated how many people can actually afford a high-end electric vehicle. "Clearly, in my mind, they have an issue with demand," says Rusch, " If you do the math, you have to conclude that 90 percent of the reservations that have been built up over the past couple of years are folks that wanted the standard battery version of the vehicle, which is $35,000."
- Westly Group founder Steve Westly loves where Elon Musk's company is right now, calling Tesla "the iPhone of electric vehicles," and saying they're well ahead of the game when it comes to a quickly-changing auto market.

This doesn't make sense. And I am a Tesla fan.

By BlueCoder • Score: 3 • Thread

Their problems right now are in production. You lower the price to get more people to buy your product. But demand already exceeds supply.

This doesn't made sense unless they are trying to do a quasi ponzi scheme through getting more money from more people paying the prepaid down-payment.

At this point I am beginning to doubt Tesla. They have a great product. But for all their troubles their assembly line should be finished as they have had more than enough time. How do other car manufacturers do it and how did the Japanese start their companies after us Americans if it's this hard? I'm not buying it.

I think the truth is the required performance batteries are hard to manufacture at the advertised price point. They are trying to leverage presale numbers to satisfy their investors and expecting a magical manufacturing breakthrough. I think they need a new CEO to put on the breaks and realistically raise prices and or do a limited bankruptcy.

One solution I suggest is selling the auto bodies of their cars without the batteries. Ditch the auto driving feature into another company and let people hack their own cars and hence assume full liability. They are attractive car bodies. Is there no way to retrofit them for a fuel cell engine? Bring the fun back.

Re:Wait, so they're gonna cut 7% of their workforc

By MachineShedFred • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The layoff was across the entire company. There's people in the Energy business that are packing their shit out to the parking lot.

This layoff was NOT about car manufacturing.

Re:This doesn't make sense. And I am a Tesla fan.

By tomhath • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The market for large luxury cars is too small to be profitable. Tesla kept bragging how they were the leader in that niche, but they were only the leader because other manufacturers had abandoned it.

Now Tesla needs to make cars at a much lower price point. But they are being eaten by fixed costs in a low profit margin market.

Re:Maybe cut your terrible management?

By Rei • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

LOL. Sure, I totally believe you have internal Tesla documents. Totally. This is my believing-you face. See it? Totally believing you.

Re:$35k for a car that should cost $25k

By apoc.famine • Score: 4 • Thread

You've missed a massive cost sink for ICE cars: Maintenance.

I've now got a few friends with EVs, and they don't really do maintenance. Rotate the tires every now and then, add some washer fluid, and that's about it.

EVs don't have engines, radiators, exhaust systems, or transmissions, and the regenerative braking is extending brake life to 100k+ miles. They are seriously simplified vehicles, and those cost savings just go up with time, when ICE parts would be starting to near their end of life.

I've got a 14 year old car which has always been relatively cheap, but I know that in the next few years I need to drop many thousands of dollars into preventative maintenance that I wouldn't have to put into an EV. I need to fix the heat shield, drop a couple grand into the exhaust, new plugs and wires, a radiator flush, new brakes, etc. etc. And that's what I know. I don't know exactly how good the engine, coolant, and transmission systems are.

I'd happily take none of those but a scheduled battery change every 8-10 years.

Russian Hackers Allegedly Attempted To Breach the DNC After the 2018 Midterms

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fortune: Russian hackers attempted to breach Democratic National Committee email addresses in a spear-phishing campaign just after the 2018 midterms, according to a DNC court document filed Thursday night. "The content of these emails and their timestamps were consistent with a spear-phishing campaign that leading cybersecurity experts have tied to Russian intelligence," reads the complaint. "Therefore, it is probable that Russian intelligence again attempted to unlawfully infiltrate DNC computers in November 2018." The complaint [...] said there is no evidence that the attempted hack in Nov. 2018 was successful.

Spear-phishing campaigns involve sending emails that appear to be from a trusted source in order to gain confidential information. According to CNN, the emails in question appeared to have been sent from a State Department official and contained a PDF attachment that, if opened, would allow the hacker access to the recipient's computer. The timing and content of these emails were consistent with the practices of the Russian hacking group known as Cozy Bear, one of the two groups that hacked the DNC prior to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. According to the cybersecurity firm FireEye, Cozy Bear attempted to hack over 20 entities in Nov. 2018, including clients in local government, transportation, defense, law enforcement, and military.

Fake News

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The Russians and the Chinese try to hack EVERYONE. All the major corporations, no matter what they produce. All the politicians, no matter what their party. All the banks, all the universities, all the tech firms - all of it.

Trying to play off standard, everyday behaviors as special and indicative of something deeper, as is done here. turns normal news into storytime fiction.

Re:We're still pushing this BS?

By sdinfoserv • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
as to your "blue wave" comment, just looking at the numbers..
Dems took 40 House seats away from the GOP. On the State level, the Dems took 7 Governors away from the GOP, 6 legislatures and over 300 State House and Senate seats. So if you're calling the GOP flipping 3 Senate seats a "win", you're delusional. 350+ (Blue Flipped) Vs 3 (Red Flipped) is a MASSIVE blue wave by any measurement. Sorry Sparky, go back and sniff more FauxNoise coolaid.

Re:We're still pushing this BS?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What the fuck are you talking about? The Republicans controlled the house when the shutdown started, dipshit. They had control of the house for two years, and for those two years, the wall didn't seem that important.

Perhaps they should've focused on building the wall instead giving the super rich a tax cut.

You know

By nehumanuscrede • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

The problem with lying, and getting caught, is it tends to wreak havoc on your credibility.

After the BS they pulled with Bernie / Hillary, they are naive ( or arrogant ) to believe that anyone will ever put any faith
into any story they wish to tell. The doubt will be there again in 2020 when they nominate their next candidate and you
can be sure Team Red* is going to make sure everyone and their brother remembers it.

*Not that Team Red is the poster child of truthfulness, mind you, but they will surely throw some fuel on that fire.

At what point will the people decide that the only way forward is to remove the cancer that is our entrenched elected leadership
and start from scratch ? It seems the only ones who have been getting screwed over for the past several decades are us . . . . .

It's a shame the US doesn't have the " No Confidence " rule to remove an incompetent / incapable government.

No actual evidence for the so-called DNC hack

By najajomo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Former NSA experts say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak — an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system.

‘ To this day, however, the intelligence agencies that released this assessment have failed to provide the American people with any actual evidence substantiating their claims about how the DNC material was obtained or by whom. Astonishingly and often overlooked, the authors of the declassified ICA themselves admit that their “judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.” ’

The Government's Secret UFO Program Funded Research on Wormholes and Extra Dimensions

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Documents released by the Department of Defense reveal some of what its infamous Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program was working on. From a report: The Department of Defense funded research on wormholes, invisibility cloaking, and "the manipulation of extra dimensions" under its shadowy Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, first described in 2017 by the New York Times and the Washington Post. On Wednesday, the Defense Intelligence Agency released a list of 38 research titles pursued by the program in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy.

The list provides one of the best looks at the Pentagon's covert UFO operation or study of "anomalous aerospace threats." According to Aftergood's FOIA request, the document marked "For Official Use Only" was sent to Congress on January 2018. One such research topic, "Traversable Wormholes, Stargates, and Negative Energy," was led by Eric W. Davis of EarthTech International Inc, which describes itself as a facility "exploring the forefront reaches of science and engineering," with an interest in theories of spacetime, studies of the quantum vacuum, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Denial

By pr0t0 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Col. Jack O'Neill denied any knowledge of the Stargate program or the existence of the SGC, stating "I think you watch too much television."

RIP Don Davis

Well duh!

By Gravis Zero • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

When you are working on the cutting-edge of scientific theory, it's all crazy stuff. This was merely research into the topics in hope of gaining some insight in the possibility. Communication without wires or sound used to be a fantasy but today most carry devices that utilize it constantly.

You're not supposed to talk about this

By WillAffleckUW • Score: 3 • Thread

Seriously.

Now China will realize why we're not worried about their Moon Base.

I guess I don't feel so guilty now

By RightwingNutjob • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
I've been in the military industrial complex my whole adult life. I've wasted money. I've bought gizmos it turned out that I didn't really need, done things the expensive way because it was the fastest way, or because I just didn't know any better. I've charged my time for my work on X while skimming a couple of hours here and there for pet project Y, or just screwing around reading the internet when I had a mental block. A few thousand a year here and there, maybe peaking around 10k for the worst of it.

I wasn't terribly proud of doing that. Still am not. But at least I didn't sell some schmuck who didn't know any better a promise to break the laws of physics with nothing but a pencil and paper (no wastebasket required). Whew. I can sleep soundly again.

To anyone who wonders how I can have the job I claim to have and be a small-government RightwingNutjob instead of a big-government LeftwingNutjob...stargates and UFOs and EmDrives is your answer.

Oh for fuck's sake..

By Rick Schumann • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
On the one hand: somewhat happy to hear that somebody is thinking far enough ahead to wonder if some of these far-fetched ideas could possibly be real.
On the other hand: regretting once again that I have this totally inconvenient thing called a 'conscience' and can't just swindle the government out of millions of dollars on what amounts to TV science fantasy writing. Just one multi-million dollar contract and I wouldn't have to work again a day in my life.

Cassette Album Sales in the US Grew By 23% in 2018

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: Thanks to such acts as Britney Spears, Twenty One Pilots and Guns N' Roses, along with soundtracks from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise -- which boasts the year's top two sellers -- and Netflix's Stranger Things series, cassette tape album sales in the U.S. grew by 23 percent in 2018. According to Nielsen Music, cassette album sales climbed from 178,000 in 2017 to 219,000 copies in 2018. While that's a small number compared to the overall album market (141 million copies sold in 2018), that's a sizable number for a once-dead format. In 2014, for example, cassette album sales numbered just 50,000. But, 20 years before that, back in 1994, when cassettes were still very much a hot-selling format, there were 246 million cassette albums sold that year, of an overall 615 million albums.

National Audio Company

By puddingebola • Score: 3 • Thread
I believe the last company still manufacturing these is National Audio Company. How they are continuing to do this is quite an effort, audio equipment manufacturers no longer make the equipment necessary to manufacture cassettes. A story I watched said they purchase second hand machines and equipment wherever they can to use and cannibalize for parts. All dead forms of media will find a nostalgia movement. 8-tracks are next.

Re:Where are the cassettes coming from?

By pr0fessor • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Are you talking about Sony, TDK, or Maxell all of which are still in business and making cassette tapes?

I recently found some cassettes of a band I played with in the 80s and was considering getting something to play them back on. Much to my surprise there was still a very large selection of new cassette players on the market.

 

Did You Never Want To Experience Something Older??

By dryriver • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
When I was growing up in the 1980s, I had some interest in books, music, films and other stuff that was "from before my generation" - created in the 1960s or 1970s, or even earlier. I liked being aware of "what came before young me". Things like rotary phones, record players, non-electrical sewing machines, older equipment were interesting to me. I'm guessing that some Millenials are similarly interested in the 20 years that came before them - 1980s pop music, emulated 8-bit or 16-bit era games, audio cassettes, older books and novels, classic 20th Century cinema. Another interesting thing to consider: How do you understand trends properly - extrapolated future trends for example - if you don't look at them through a window of experience that is longer than - say - just 10 to 20 years? Those of us who started computing in the 1980s are actually quite aware of what computing looked like in the 1970s or earlier. Today - 30 to 40 years later - we have enough historical experience to judge what tech trends may come in 2025 or 2028. The fact that I owned a Psion minicomputer with flip-out keyboard, for example, informs my view that at some point in the next 5 to 8 years, a trend in smartphones may be Psion-like smartphones with a QWERTY keyboard you can write a doctoral thesis on. Whereas a Millenial who has only seen touchscreen-touchscreen-touchscreen may have no idea that smartphones with full physical QWERTY keyboards are even useful for anything - junk from "the bad old 1990s". Its a bit like knowing some world history - some stuff that happened 500 years ago can repeat, in slightly altered form, in the 21st Century. With computers or electronics, knowing the last 50 or 60 years is of great benefit in predicting what tech may come along in 10 years. Otherwise you become dependant on what Hollywood shows you in Scifi movies - real world tech won't necessarily evolve like in Minority Report or The Matrix. Even reading decades old patents can be a big eye-opener - some very smart people proposed some pretty amazing inventions in decades past that were never manufactured or sold. Variations on those patent-expired inventions may actually hit the market in the next 10 years. The past can be an indicator of the future.

Good tapes sound fantastic

By Drunkulus • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
There is a big difference in the sound of a pre-recorded mass produced tape and a higher end chrome or metal tape recorded on a decent deck. Pre-recorded were almost always made with cheap normal bias ferric oxide tape which was designed for low-fi purposes like dictation. But, like the Porsche 911, engineers took a bad idea and developed it far beyond what it was ever supposed to do. The audiophile company Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, best known for half speed mastered high end vinyl, produced a line of cassettes recorded on Nakamichi studio decks from original master recordings. Several of these cassette releases were reported to sound better than their vinyl LP counterparts.

Guardians of the Galaxy, duh

By Spy Handler • Score: 3 • Thread

Didn't you guys watch the movie? It was basically just a 2 hour advertisement for the cassette tape format.

The sequel was also plugging the Microsoft Zune. I think the used Zune prices on ebay will be going up.

Europe's Controversial 'Link Tax' in Doubt After Member States Rebel

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Copyright activists just scored a major victory in the ongoing fight over the European Union's new copyright rules. An upcoming summit to advance the EU's copyright directive has been canceled, as member states objected to the incoming rules as too restrictive to online creators. From a report: The EU's forthcoming copyright rules had drawn attention from activists for two measures, designated as Article 11 and Article 13, that would give publishers rights over snippets of news content shared online (the so-called "link tax") and increase platform liability for user content. [...] After today, the directive's future is much less certain. Member states were gathered to approve a new version of the directive drafted by Romania -- but eleven countries reportedly opposed the text, many of them citing familiar concerns over the two controversial articles. Crucially, Italy's new populist government takes a far more skeptical view of the strict copyright proposals. Member states have until the end of February to approve a new version of the text, although it's unclear what compromise might be reached. Further reading: EU Cancels 'Final' Negotiations On EU Copyright Directive As It Becomes Clear There Isn't Enough Support.

This just in

By nwaack • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Super-douchy, insanely stupid law is pissing people off. News at 11.