the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2016-Aug-03 today archive


  1. IBM Creates World's First Artificial Phase-Change Neurons
  2. China Builds 'Elevated Bus' That Drives Over Cars
  3. Canada Wants To Keep Federal Data Within National Borders
  4. Police Asked Facebook To Deactivate Woman's Account During Deadly Standoff
  5. Pennsylvania To Apply 6% 'Netflix Tax'
  6. Alphabet Will Begin Testing Project Wing Delivery Drones In the US
  7. Microsoft, Google, Apple Could Be Requested To Actively Block Pirated Downloads, Says Report
  8. Tesla Posts 13th Straight Loss, Says On Track For Second-Half Deliveries
  9. LibreOffice 5.2 Officially Released
  10. When It Comes To China, Google's Experience Still Says It All
  11. Suicide Squad Fans Petition To Shut Down Rotten Tomatoes Over Negative Reviews
  12. Apple Makes Slight Progress On Diversity While Its Rivals Are Making Practically None
  13. TVs Are Still Too Complicated, and It's Not Your Fault
  14. Comcast Wants To Charge Broadband Users More For Privacy
  15. Windows 10 Anniversary Update Borks Dual-Boot Partitions
  16. Project Hosting Service Fosshub Compromised, Embedding Malware Inside Hosted Files
  17. Your Battery Status Is Being Used To Track You Online
  18. Interviews: Ask Ruby on Rails Creator David Heinemeier Hansson a Question
  19. Israel's SolidRun Creates Open Networking Kit Inspired By Raspberry Pi
  20. Frequent Password Changes Are the Enemy Of Security, FTC Technologist Says
  21. US Air Force Declares F-35A Ready For Combat
  22. Millennials Are Less Likely To Be Having Sex Than Young Adults 30 Years Ago, Says Survey
  23. NASA's 'Journey To Mars' Initiative Might Be Delayed Due To Government Audit

Alterslash picks the best 5 comments from each of the day’s Slashdot stories, and presents them on a single page for easy reading.

IBM Creates World's First Artificial Phase-Change Neurons

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: IBM has created the world's first artificial nanoscale stochastic phase-change neurons and has already created and used a population of 500 of them to process a signal in a similar manner as the brain. Ars Technica reports: "Like a biological neuron, IBM's artificial neuron has inputs (dendrites), a neuronal membrane (lipid bilayer) around the spike generator (soma, nucleus), and an output (axon). There's also a back-propagation link from the spike generator back to the inputs, to reinforce the strength of some input spikes. The key difference is in the neuronal membrane. In IBM's neuron, the membrane is replaced with a small square of germanium-antimony-tellurium (GeSbTe or GST). GST, which happens to be the main active ingredient in rewritable optical discs, is a phase-change material. This means it can happily exist in two different phases (in this case crystalline and amorphous), and easily switch between the two, usually by applying heat (by way of laser or electricity). A phase-change material has very different physical properties depending on which phase it's in: in the case of GST, its amorphous phase is an electrical insulator, while the crystalline phase conducts. With the artificial neurons, the square of GST begins life in its amorphous phase. Then, as spikes arrive from the inputs, the GST slowly begins to crystallize. Eventually, the GST crystallizes enough that it becomes conductive -- and voila, electricity flows across the membrane and creates a spike. After an arbitrary refractory period (a resting period where something isn't responsive to stimuli), the GST is reset back to its amorphous phase and the process begins again." The research has been published via the journal Nature.

Re:It's a bit difficult

By wierd_w • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I seem to remember some research that showed small spicule structures inside the axons leading to the terminating dendrites, which seemed to be the physical medium of data storage and decision making inside individul neurons.

If that is the case, then a combination of a novel signaling method (say, an artificially imposed communication protocol using an assortment of photon emission spectra, created using seveal biotag luminescence proteins attached to different parts of this spice assemblage) then having a small sensor array stuck on the top of the cortex is not such a liability. You can get deep signal data without having to jam a huge electrode in there and severing the structures you are trying to examine in operation, by observing the emitted energy at the surface. Rather than an electrical interface, it is a photo multiplier based amplifier, which filters noise with multiple sensor columns (needles).

Bonus if you can include a photomultiplier mechanism inside the axon itself to make it flash its activity states more brightly. It may be necessary to increase the metabolic activity of the animal neurons through further genetic manipulation in order to get enough optical signal without degrading the activity going on inside the axon to do that though.

Another radical idea may be to "stake" a single, custom engineered neuron onto such a phototamplifying sensor needle, by coating the needle in cellular membrane proteins, gaining direct structural connections to this spicule structure in the process, and letting this staked neuron migrate its own dendrites into the region of animal neural tissue being examined. that solves the wiring problem, and possibly some of the power generation problem for the photoamplification, and some others as well.

Re:Inferior compared to my brain ...

By Rei • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Firing rates:
  * Human neuron: a couple hundred milliseconds
  * Chip: A couple dozen nanoseconds. (note: not microseconds!)

  * Human neuron: 4-100um on each axis
  * Chip: Currently 100nm square on a thin wafer, with a 90nm process; scalable to 14nm process.

Now, let's not get ahead of ourselves: they are far from demonstrating the ability to emulate a human brain here. But if they do manage to implement a system that properly models human neural activity, the potential to vastly outperform the brain should be obvious. The number of neurons that make up the human brain could be packed into a single layer chip a third of a square centimeter (times some factor to account for the interconnects) operating at ten million times the speed. To say nothing of the ease of integrating it directly with storage, networking, and general purpose computing hardware.

And there is motive to advance this field, too. Neural nets are starting to have direct consumer applications (leaps and bounds improvements in image recognition, image enhancement, bandwidth reduction, etc). And we're talking about neural net chips that could readily be sized as a coprocessor in a phone. If there's a market, they'll make them. And advance them with time.

No, IBM is far from having a "brain on a chip". But it's very interesting research, to say the least.


By ZecretZquirrel • Score: 3 • Thread
... artificial neurons will buy IBM stock.

Re:Inferior compared to my brain ...

By 110010001000 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
* Human neuron: an actual neuron
* Chip: nothing like a neuron. Doesn't even act like a neuron.
Just because someone calls something a "neuron" or "neural network" doesn't make it anything like a brain or even an approximation of how the brain works.

Re:Not the first

By rgbatduke • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Well said, sir! Also, simulated neural networks in software have been around since rather far back in the last century (on paper, back to 1933 and Nicholas Rashevsky), and as the author of a very large, very advanced neural network modeling tool, I'd further add that we can already build rather large simulated neural networks in software, and even build composite NNs using a mix of software and parallel hardware.

A transistor-based gate is already in some sense a neuron, and it isn't that difficult to build collections of them that perform even more like a neuron. The problem is that even if we do so, we don't really have any good idea what to do with it, and we have a very hard time scaling it up to the number of connections visible in the human brain. By "very hard", I mean "not possible to achieve, not likely to become possible to achieve, any time soon", at least not without a serious breakthrough. We are two orders of magnitude short of matching the number of neurons in the human brain in JUST transistor count, and we cannot come anywhere near 1000 to 10000 connections per transistor. And finally, transistors are not neurons, and even if they were neurons we have no idea how to build a massive, amorphous neural network and then train it somehow (or program it somehow) to do useful work.

It is enormously difficult to write a good simulated neural network program to do relatively simple tasks such as noisy pattern identification or predictive modeling of unstructured high dimensional data, even with complete control over the algorithm. There seems to be this feeling out there that if one just builds an artificial brain with a lot of artificial neurons and hit it with data it will somehow "wake up" and smell the metaphorical coffee of life and do some sort of useful work. I personally think this is enormously optimistic, but then, I actually have some grasp of the mathematical complexity of the optimization problem involved.

This is more in the category of building (or rebuilding with more modern technology) a unit that MAY prove useful if we ever have a breakthrough on the half-dozen serious obstacles associated with AI via NNs, most of which can actually be made and will actually be made (if at all) with simulated NNs. Only after simulated NNs demonstrate a clear pathway to going from a collection of artificial "neurons" with some specific algorithmic functionality and ability to be interconnected at a very fine scale to a useful, profitable, neural network that does actual work worth doing will anybody bother to dump a billion or so dollars into a foundry for artificial neuron devices. And there may even be a few such applications today -- some networks are very simple algorithmically, but they are also the least extendable to really hard problems or problems we cannot already solve efficiently other ways. Letter recognition, maybe.

The human brain has a quadrillion or so synaptic connections, and it is difficult to even start estimate the volume of the phase space represented by all of those connections. The "switches" are indeed much slower than they are in computers, but they run in parallel as well as serially, and it is estimated that they are "equivalent" to a terabit per second processor in their full-parallel speed. We can achieve similar scales in simulation on parallel supercomputers, of course, but not with anywhere near the number of "neurons" or "synapses" and if we really use TIPS scale computing resources, they probably aren't going to be doing their "AI" with NNs anyway for anything but selected problems.

So cool top article, good on IBM, and all that, but I'm not holding my breath for a phone that actually completes words sanely using its IBM(tm) Neural Processor...


China Builds 'Elevated Bus' That Drives Over Cars

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: Remember that futuristic bus design from China a few months ago? China has actually built it and is testing it on the streets. The Transit Elevated Bus or TEB-1, as it's called, stands nearly 16 feet tall and straddles two lanes of traffic, allowing cars to pass under it. The hope is for TEB-1 to someday alleviate major traffic in China and other crowded countries. Washington Post reports: "The Transit Elevated Bus piloted in China's Hebei province rolls along a designated track, making it similar in some ways to a commuter train or tram -- the key difference, of course, being that it runs on top of the existing roadway without the need to construct a separate overpass. Images distributed by Chinese media show a spacious passenger compartment -- measuring 72 feet long by 26 feet wide -- capable of holding up to 300 riders. Surprisingly, there are not very many seats. That would probably have to change should an American model ever come to fruition." The concept of the elevated bus first arrived in 2010, where the company claimed it would "cost 10% of a subway system and use 30% less energy than current bus technologies."

Re:I don't see how this saves money

By ttsai • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

There is a lot to criticize in this project, but the pace in which China can take crazy ideas, add manufacturing innovation, and put them into the real world is pretty spectacular.

It's definitely a crazy idea, but not necessarily more crazy than the hyperloop. China is to be applauded for trying a crazy new idea, which hopefully will allow them to observe and improve any significant deficiencies.


By 6Yankee • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

They're right here INSISTING that well, okay okay, it got built, but IT'LL NEVER WORK! Because turns and trucks and bridges and all KINDS of DUH OBVIOUS real-world stuff (not that they've ever seen it, holed up their moms' basements) that those stupid "engineers" CLEARLY haven't thought about before pissing away MILLIONS on this thing!

In other words, a normal day on Slashdot. :)

Re:Seems like

By peragrin • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

In china they falsely accuse people of capitalism. :D

If a businessman become es to rich and doesn't show proper party support he vanishes. In the last year 2 or 3 Chinese billionaires vanished without a trace and all their assets confidently going back to the government.

Re:First Post !

By Maritz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I would think it would wreak disaster in the wrong hands

It sure would. That's what's unique to this vehicle. A train in the wrong hands, a cargo ship or oil tanker, an A380 airplane - you could never cause harm with these vehicles no matter what you did with them. But this little bus on rails - fucking lethal. They better keep a lid on this shit.


By Imrik • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

To be fair, they're used to dealing with American projects.

Canada Wants To Keep Federal Data Within National Borders

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Stack: Canada has released its latest federal cloud adoption strategy, now available for public comment, which includes policy concerning the storing of sensitive government information on Canadian citizens within national borders. The newly-published [Government of Canada Cloud Adoption Strategy] requires that only data which the government has categorized as "unclassified," or harmless to national and personal security, will be allowed outside of the country. This information will still be subject to strict encryption rules. The new strategy, which has been in development over the last year, stipulates that all personal data stored by the government on Canadian citizens, such as social insurance numbers and critical federal information, must be stored in Canada-based data centers in order to retain "sovereign control."


By Rob Bos • Score: 3 • Thread

British Columbia already has this rule; government data (including university data for researchers) must be kept on Canadian servers. There's some wiggle room for opting in to US storage, though.

I think it's important legislation, and it motivates some good duplication of infrastructure within Canada. It makes it harder to abdicate our responsibility to data and makes it just a bit harder for US subpoenas to get a hold of it.

Normal and sensible.

By Kernel Kurtz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Nobody sane the world over wants their data exposed to the USA.

Hard to protect against for sure, but still a worthwhile goal to shoot for.

Re:yay patriot act

By MightyMartian • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I work for a contractor for a Provincial government, with a significant amount of the money for that contract actually flowing from the Federal government, and the contract language is explicit; no confidential or personal data is to be stored, or even accessed, outside of Canada.

I actually talked to Google about three years ago and asked if they could guarantee the Google Docs (now Google Drive) cloud could be located on Canadian servers, and they said that couldn't and that they had no plans to. It's my understanding that Microsoft, on the other hand, has conceded to this for OneDrive, so I expect that if Google hasn't already moved in that direction, they will soon.

As it is, we're getting requests from a lot of staff for some sort of Cloud solution, as usage scenarios grow beyond VPNs and RDP.

Re:Start with the census

By tlhIngan • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The government was also able to jail you for refusing to fill in previous long-form census. I refused in writing in both 2006 and 2011, on the grounds that in 2006 some of the questions were inappropriate, and in 2011 because some of the questions required information on your parent's ethnicity, which if they want it, they can ask them directly. Long distance charges will definitely apply since they were long dead.

Threats disappeared after I told them that the census taker had violated the census act by having one of her children along when trying to con me into filling it in. And keeping info stored on an insecure laptop. I also told them that I could prove that the "92 year non-disclosure policy" was a total lie, that researchers are given access to the raw data after a mere 7 years, so please take me to court.

Yes, they are able to jail you. But - over the entire history of the law, there were about 11 people actually charged, and they were just fined - $1000 or so.

The census is important. In fact, there was no long form in 2011 because the Conservative government changed it from mandatory to voluntary. This had the unfortunate side effect that there is no usable data to be mined from the 2011 census.

As for the release of raw data - it's collective data, not individual forms. The 92 year rule is for individual forms - so in 92 years, the complete form is released how you filled it in. But the census data is of importance to many people, groups and organizations, and that's aggregated. After 7 years, the aggregated data is available to researchers who want a snapshot of the Canadian population to study what they need to study. But they don't have access to the individual forms you fill out, only the aggregated data. And only subsets of it - what they need for their research. No one other than Statistics Canada can see the full data set, and once the forms are tallied, no one can see the raw forms or individual data either (until 92 years later).

Before it was gutted by the Harper Conservatives, Statistics Canada is/was one of the most premier data collecting and analysis organizations. It's why the chief statistician resigned after elimination of the long form - he knew that the law would render the 2011 data completely worthless. It's partly why we're in the situation we're in with school closures in one city, school overcrowding in others, etc. Because the only usable data dates back to 2006.

And rightfully so

By whitroth • Score: 3 • Thread

This is the GOVERNMENT's data. For that reason, for you who's attention span is 15 minutes, a year or two ago, the UK government decided against the cloud, because they could not be assured that UK government data would remain on UK government soil.

You disagree? Really? So it's ok if all of the personal and economic data, including your tax returns, winds up in a data center in China, or Russia, or, for those outside the US, in the US? And you're going to tell me that EVERY SINGLE PERSON who has login or physical access to *all* the servers and their storage has at least some minimal security clearance from your country?

Give me a break.


Police Asked Facebook To Deactivate Woman's Account During Deadly Standoff

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from KABC-TV: In the midst of a five-hour standoff that turned deadly, Facebook granted an emergency request from the Baltimore County Police Department to take offline the social media accounts belonging to a woman who wielded a shotgun at officers. Baltimore County Police officers shot and killed Korryn Gaines, 23, after she barricaded herself inside her Randallstown apartment with her 5-year-old son and pointed a shotgun at officers attempting to serve an arrest warrant. Police Chief Jim Johnson said Tuesday that the department made the emergency request to have Gaines' social media accounts suspended after she posted videos online showing the standoff. People who saw the postings, Johnson said, responded by encouraging her to not comply with police. Videos posted on Facebook and Instagram appeared to show Gaines, who was black, talking with police in the doorway to her apartment and to her son during the standoff. The standoff Monday began after three officers went to Gaines' apartment to serve arrest warrants on her and her boyfriend, Kareem K. Courtney, 39, according to police. Gaines' bench warrant stemmed from charges during a March 10 stop, including disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Authorities said she was armed with a 12-gauge pistol grip shotgun that was legally purchased last year and toward the end of the negotiations pointed it directly at an officer and said, "If you don't leave, I'm going to kill you." An officer shot at her and Gaines fired two shots, but missed the officers, who returned fire and killed her, police said. Facebook's policy says that it may grant law enforcement permission to suspend accounts in cases where there is a substantial risk of harm. Facebook has received roughly 855 requests for emergency disclosures of information to government agencies due to the threat of harm or violence between July and December 2015, according to their Government Request Report. About 73 percent of those requests were granted.

Re: FB should did it

By andersenep • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Funny how when a cop points a gun at a civilian it's not considered an attack.
Why not just wait outside the house for a few days? Nobody had to die.

I see a lot of news stories about unjustified cop shootings, but this is not one of them. If she was unarmed or just had a knife or something less lethal than a shotgun, that'd be entirely different. Perhaps things could have turned out differently, but if I was looking down the barrel of a shotgun wielded by someone just said they were going to kill me, I think that's a pretty justifiable reason to shoot someone. I don't imagine anyone likes getting served arrest warrants, but she could have easily suffered the indignity and lived. I can't imagine the cops showed up at her house with guns drawn. She is the one that escalated it by pulling out a shotgun.

About 12 years ago when I was working in a bad area of Seattle (construction), we rolled up on our job site right onto a dead body in the road. Police hadn't even had time to cordon off the streets, it had literally just happened. It was a crazy homeless guy with a knife, who called in the report to the police on himself. He had a knife, and the multiple officers who responded told him to drop it, and when he didn't they shot him dead in the street. That's an unjustified shooting. The guy had a knife, he was no imminent threat to anyone, but the cops used the fact that he had a weapon to justify killing him. That's fucked up. That's a situation where cops could, and should have handled things way differently with non-lethal force as needed.

This lady...I can't defend her actions. She made a series of very bad decisions, and she paid for it. It's too bad, but it is what it is, and I can't fault the cops for shooting her.

The real debate here is to what extent LE should be able to shut down your communications in the event of a "situation", and I can see valid points on both sides.

All these folks suggesting that people who incited or egged her on via Facebook are guilty of murder or any other crime are ridiculous.

Re:FB should did it

By dwillden • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Nope, the moment she pulled out the shotgun, she had used deadly force to resist a lawful arrest. Remember they had a warrant, and nobody is claiming there was anything incorrect about the warrant. When she started to resist, the police gained justification in escalation of force. The moment she pulled the shotgun, she justified the use of deadly force, telling them she would kill them further cemented this justification. Who shot first is immaterial, when she pulled a deadly weapon the police gained justification for use of deadly force.

The defensive action argument goes away when committing a crime, as she was when resisting a lawful arrest warrant based arrest. Castle doctrine does not protect you when you are committing a criminal act.

Re:FB should did it

By danbert8 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Bullshit. The cops frequently empty their magazine or use a ridiculous quantity of ammo to suppress someone who isn't even confirmed to be a threat.

Re:FB should did it

By bill_mcgonigle • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

When she started to resist, the police gained justification in escalation of force.

Only in the legal sense that they won't be tried for murder.

In every moral sense, they had an obligation to deescalate the situation. She was not a threat to anybody but the cops, and the video proves it.

Re: FB should did it

By mysidia • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Why not just wait outside the house for a few days? Nobody had to die.

Because she's a danger to the public and an armed combatant resisting arrest.
If they wait too long, she's more likely to take unexpected actions.

Also, they'll be tying up more law enforcement resources for a longer period; which can compromise the
safety of the public due to reduced resources elsewhere.

Somebody else can die, because the officers are too busy at this scene: response time is increased.

In these situations, the officers are expected to take the steps to best ensure safety of the public,
including establishing control of the situation expeditiously.

In a standoff, she is at risk of shooting her kids, shooting herself, or firing off stray bullets that accidentally hit

Protecting public safety in the situation entails taking down the offender, using any means necessary,
as soon as an opportunity presents itself to minimize the risk to others besides the offender.

After 4 hours worth; it's pretty obvious that the offender is not backing down, and waiting more hours only serves
to increase risk and disruption and interference with their neighbors and the rest of the public.

Pennsylvania To Apply 6% 'Netflix Tax'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania has signed into law a new revenue package that will require residents to pay a 6% sales tax on their streaming subscriptions. AllFlicks reports: "Though the term 'Netflix tax' has become popular, laws like this don't just affect Netflix -- they also affect competitors like Hulu and HBO Now. App purchases and ebooks are also affected. They recently decided on a hefty $31.5 billion budget, and they came up $1.3 billion short of paying for it. The government is trying to close that funding gap, and streaming subscribers are being stuck with the bill." Magazine and newspaper subscriptions, as well as digital versions of the Bible, will be exempt from the digital downloads tax, reports CBS Local News in Pittsburgh.


By pthisis • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Glad to see the separation of church and state is alive in well in the U S of A!!!
" versions of the Bible will be exempt from the digital downloads tax"

If they wanted an exemption that would do society some good, they should exempt textbooks, but then kids might get exposed to more of that heretical "science."

The summary is terrible.

Textbooks purchased from or through accredited schools are exempted. The Bible is not specifically exempted, but purchases by qualified charitable organizations, volunteer fire companies, religious organizations and nonprofit educational institutions are unless used in an unrelated business capacity--there's no particular preference for religious organizations over other social nonprofits, and nothing singling out particular religions.

The tax is not specifically on streaming video. It extends the state's 6% sales tax to online purchases--streaming video is included, as are video downloads, streaming and downloaded audio, and other online purchases like ebooks, apps, games, e-greeting cards, etc.

Re:any proxy sales soar

By rworne • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Watch that...

Not only can you get sued for pirating digital content, but now pirating can be considered a form of tax evasion too.


By gumpish • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

It would be amusing if Netflix et al. opted to take a small hit to their revenue and made their services free to all current customers in PA, thus denying the state the taxes they projected.

Re:Yay for regressive taxes!

By Alomex • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

They care about power, control and expanding their empire (bigger government).

This used to be the case in the times of LBJ, but in the Carter, Clinton and Obama administrations the size of the federal government as % of GDP went down. In contrast it went up with Reagan, Bush Sr and Bush Jr.

Obama's budgets as % of GDP have been smaller than those of the sainted Ronald Reagan.

Why exempt the bible ?

By silentcoder • Score: 3 • Thread

Are they also exempting other religious texts ? Is this not a violation of the separation of church and state ? Why not ?

Alphabet Will Begin Testing Project Wing Delivery Drones In the US

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: Google's parent company, Alphabet, has been granted permission by the White House on Tuesday to start testing its Project Wing delivery drones in the U.S. The Guardian reports: "The drones will be tested in one of six designated Federal Aviation Authority areas within the U.S. as part of the government's initiative to promote research into unmanned flight and safety legislation. The announcement was made alongside a pledge from the U.S. National Science Foundation to spend $35m (26 million British Pound) over the next five years on drone research, and comes a month after the U.S. government green-lit commercial drone flights, but with restrictions around line-of-sight control that made automated drone delivery infeasible. The tests will help shape U.S. legislation around the types of automated flying systems that Amazon and Alphabet hope to use to delivery goods and services via air, and establish requirements for unmanned pilot licenses."

Microsoft, Google, Apple Could Be Requested To Actively Block Pirated Downloads, Says Report

Posted by manishsView on SlashDotShareable Link
Popular operating systems by Microsoft, Apple, and Google could possibly soon nuke torrents downloaded (PDF, non-English language) from The Pirate Bay and other websites that offer copyright infringing content, warns a report published by Black Market Watch and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime. The report adds that the aforementioned companies are in an ideal position to deter piracy, and could be requested by the authority to put a system in place to block pirated content on the operating system level. Via a TorrentFreak report: "Other players that possess the potential ability to limit piracy are the companies that own the major operating systems which control computers and mobile devices such as Apple, Google and Microsoft," one of the main conclusions reads. "The producers of operating systems should be encouraged, or regulated, for example, to block downloads of copyright infringing material," the report adds. The report references last year's Windows 10 controversy, noting that these concerns were great enough for some torrent sites to block users with the new operating system. While Sweden doesn't have enough influence to make an impact on these global software manufacturers, applying pressure through the international community and trade groups may have some effect.

Re:Reminds me of Vernor Vinges books

By Crashmarik • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

In the 90s if I told you, your monitor cable would enforce DRM, you would have thought me mad.

This frog is being boiled slowly, but boiled nonetheless.

Kopimism Blasphemy

By WaffleMonster • Score: 3 • Thread

An open Internet and general purpose computers give peasants too much power and must be quashed at all costs.

Re:2016: The Year of Linux on the Desktop

By mark-t • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
This is troublesome because if it actually came to pass in that way, then legitimate use of Linux could itself basically be pushed to fringe usage of the OS. This could in turn spur the impression that that the only, or at least primary reason to use Linux, or any open source OS for that matter, is for piracy, much as the impression has already been created that the primary use for bittorrent is for piracy. Commercial entities may then possibly be inclined to steer clear of such open source platforms for fear of being perceived by the general public as somehow affiliated with the piracy culture on those platforms.

I already have a plan in place...

By tlambert • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I already have a plan in place...

I'm going to just XOR all my data streams with a repeated 0x46 0x75 0x63 0x6b 0x20 0x4f 0x66 0x66.

If they figure it out, they're liable for violating the DMCA rules on anticircumvention...

Re:2016: The Year of Linux on the Desktop

By Opportunist • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's kinda hard to determine what exactly MS is siphoning from our computers, for it is encrypted. For our security, of course. Yeah.

A honest company would be up front with it. Telling you in no uncertain terms what information is being transmitted and allowing you control over said information, allowing you to determine what information to transmit and what information not to. Since this is not the case, the only logical conclusion is that whatever is being transmitted is not in my interest that it is transmitted. Else it would be no problem to inform me what information is being relayed.

I have written software before that requests information from the user, but I go out of my way to inform the user what information is being transferred and also why I request this information. That information can even include intimate details about the computer setup if it is requested e.g. during debugging so I can find out whether the error could be due to a hardware issue or a driver issue. But in every case the user is able to review the data transmitted and even delete information he does not wish to release.

It is interesting to see that people are quite willing to accept a lot of information being handed over if you explain to them why you want it. People were even ok with handing us their "movement pattern" in the software when we explained to them that we want to know this to improve the UI so they can do what they do often with fewer clicks.

Without this information, I am fairly sure they would have done whatever they could to limit our information level to the minimum achievable by whatever means available to them. Which is basically exactly what people are doing right now with Windows. I do not know of a single person, computer savvy or not, that isn't trying to find any and all programs that limit, cut or disable telemetry in Windows 10. Why? Because we don't know what it transmits. So the logical conclusion is that whatever it does transmit is not in our interest.

Tesla Posts 13th Straight Loss, Says On Track For Second-Half Deliveries

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Tesla Motors Inc reported its 13th straight quarterly loss as a rise in sales of its Model S and Model X electric cars failed to make up for the huge cost of ramping up production. The company, run by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk, said on Wednesday it was on track to deliver about 50,000 new Model S and Model X vehicles during the second half of 2016. Shares of Tesla, which has offered to buy solar panel installer SolarCity Corp for $2.6 billion, were volatile in after-hours trading. They were last up 1 percent. Tesla delivered 14,402 vehicles in the second quarter, missing its goal of 17,000. It delivered 14,810 vehicles in the first quarter, which was also less than its expectations. Tesla said its net loss widened to $293.2 million, or $2.09 per share, in the second quarter, from $184.2 million, or $1.45 per share, a year earlier. Total revenue rose 33 percent to $1.27 billion in the quarter ended June 30. In addition to acquiring SolarCity, Tesla has unveiled its massive $5 billion Gigafactory in Nevada last week and announced its " Master Plan, Part Deux" not too long before that, which includes manufacturing electric trucks and buses, as well as a ride-sharing program.

They'll profit by selling in volume

By TexasTroy • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
When asked how the company can survive by selling each unit at a loss, Elon Musk responded "Although Tesla sells each vehicle below the cost to manufacture, we will attain profitability by selling in volume".

Re: Meanwhile.....

By ArmoredDragon • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Yes, but as an anonymous coward, you are nobody in particular.


By MrBigInThePants • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Investors, at least the smart ones, are not primarily interested in profits.

They are interested in growth. A company that has zero growth potential and a stable profit paid in dividends can be far less attractive than a company posting losses with massive potential growth potential. Especially when capital gains taxes are a factor as they are in the US.
This is not always the case depending on your circumstances but most often is.

Remember the finance 101 law that states share price increases are always better than dividends because with share increases you can choose to sell some of your shares and get the same effect as dividends should you want it.

Also remember that, theoretically, share price is a combination of current company value with future growth potential and risk factored in. (hence why most stocks are valued far in excess of their book value) Risk is mitigated by investors across their portfolios (unless they are idiots) and in fact they would WANT them to take risks for the potential gains.

So yes, government and company books are nothing like personal accounts.

With government books it is wise to save during booms and spend like crazy during crashes to help smooth the economic cycle and prevent depressions. Completely counter intuitive to personal spending.


By ttsai • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

And when Tesla announces a model at a price people do want, they do 325,000 pre-orders in a week.

Yes, sort of. Tesla announces a free car because there is absolutely zero commitment to buy the car. That free price is pivotable. Who know how many people would have put down a non-refundable $1000 deposit. The number of pre-orders would have been lower, and probably much lower.

what is missing is that orders continue to rise

By WindBourne • Score: 3 • Thread
While orders for nearly all other car makers are slowing down, Tesla continues to grow faster. In fact, it has always been ahead of supply.
And upon looking at competitors to Model X, we can see that they are also slowing down FASTER than the average.

LibreOffice 5.2 Officially Released

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
prisoninmate writes from a report via Softpedia: LibreOffice 5.2 is finally here, after it has been in development for the past four months, during which the development team behind one of the best free office suites have managed to implement dozens of new features and improvements to most of the application's components. Key features include more UI refinements to make it flexible for anyone, standards-based document classification, forecasting functions in Calc, the spreadsheet editor, as well as lots of Writer and Impress enhancements. A series of videos are provided to see what landed in the LibreOffice 5.2 office suite, which is now available for download for GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Re:Yes and No

By runningduck • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

MS Office regularly crashes on me. The document recovery feature in MS Office is also absolutely horrible. It offers the user multiple copies but it is never clear which copy has the most recent updates.

I have had LibreOffice crash on me as well, but the document recovery feature in LibreOffice is so smooth I never worry. It recovers easily and flawlessly even after the loss of power.

LibreOffice gets better with every update

By melting_clock • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Several years ago, I was a heavy MS Office user that used Outlook for email, wrote 20-60 page reports in Word, produced a couple of Excel spreadsheets daily with scientific and financial data, and created many presentations in PowerPoint. A large part of every working day was spent in MS Office.

A few issues had me looking for an alternative;

1) My Word documents would often become corrupted, growing from a couple of megabyte to tens of megabytes for no reason. Most of the time copy and pasting the whole document into a new document fixed this.
2) MS Office applications would crash regularly, particularly Word, destroying my productivity and making for a miserable working day.
3) When the stupid ribbon interface appeared in MS Office, is took longer to do making basic tasks that were efficiently achieved with traditional menus.
4) I wanted a cross platform office suite so that working Linux was easier.

OpenOffice, then LibreOffice, became that alternative and Office application crashes were a thing of the past. In early versions, MS Office documents were not always accurately rendered by my alternative so I would have to open some documents in MS Office. There were missing features that had me using MS Office for certain tasks, particularly with spreadsheets that Excel did better. Collaborating with colleagues that used MS Office exclusively could be a bit of a pain.

Today, I have no issues opening MS Office documents or saving in an MS Office format for colleagues to use. The issue of missing features is almost entirely gone and it is only my stubbornness for doing things a certain way that ever means that Excel is used. Many people have seen me using LibreOffice and have been converted from MS Office, although subscription models and other MS policies has helped with this. LibreOffice is the only office suite I really use, with MS Office on hanging around as a backup.

LibreOffice just gets better with every release, while MS Office tries to screw their customers more with every release...

Re: Star Office

By Dr. Evil • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

A decade old version of Office is better than a recent version of Office.

LO has been getting progressively better. Office has been getting progressively worse.

Re: Office Compatibility

By vossman77 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

If you look at the official release notes impress/presentation is always an afterthought. (Why the hell does slashdot link to a random softpedia article?) This is true for every release. I wish we could get some development/love on impress. I use it for all of my class lectures.

The auto size text to box was broken so long that after 3 years , I had enough and spent a week learning the code so I could fix it. Which ended up adding only a single line of code.

Still Same Old Problem

By theshowmecanuck • Score: 3 • Thread
As the summary points out, they added a whole ton of new features. What this and most open source applications need are not new features (at least not right away). They need all existing features cleaned up and made to run as bullet proof as possible. Get rid of most or all the bugs before moving on to release with new features. They should have a lock down for maybe a year and a half and just clear every single bug report they have. Same thing with KDE for sure.

When It Comes To China, Google's Experience Still Says It All

Posted by manishsView on SlashDotShareable Link
Uber's defeat by its local competitor in China was the latest of a string of such cases, and Google's experience trying to establish itself there is illustrative of the challenges facing all American tech companies that aspire to dominate in that market, writes reader mirandakatz. Steven Levy writes at Backchannel: Perhaps because its market share never rose high enough, Uber did not experience the brunt of China's regulation. Still, who's to say what would have happened if Uber had managed to outperform Didi? If Uber's market share topped fifty percent, would the government have sat by as a neutral observer? Would the Uber app start experiencing slowdowns? Would its drivers be stopped? Would airports welcome Didi cars and not Uber? My bet is that, mixed with disappointment at not winning the country, Uber executives might be feeling a bit relieved that such worries are now off the table. As it is, Uber has become one more casualty in China's other wall, a towering fortress of restrictions, regulations and unfair play that keeps down American internet companies.


By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It is not about open and unrestricted. It is about an even playing field. A Chinese company coming to the west mostly finds that even playing field. A western company going to China finds that he not only competes against his competitors but also against the Chinese state.

There is no way this can be construed as benefiting the west. It does not and never will. It is unfair competition and it cannot endure if you want a thriving, open, unrestricted economy.
It is just like one country throwing up tariff-walls and the country not . That is only good for one country.

Regulatory enviornment is only a small factor

By wickerprints • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The overriding issue with doing business in China is corruption and intellectual property theft. In plain English, that means (1) the government runs on bribery, and (2) Chinese cultural values do not regard things like corporate espionage, patent infringement, bootlegging, and knockoffs, as being unethical. This is why non-Chinese companies tend to fail, because they allowed to enter the market only long enough until a Chinese company can copy their ideas and property.

So, basically, Trump is right, again

By J Story • Score: 3 • Thread
Racist, stoopid Trump has once again seen and voiced what politicians are loathe to even acknowledge.

Re:Regulatory enviornment is only a small factor

By johanw • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"Intellectual property" is an stupid "invention" that has gone too far and is reducing inventiveness. The Chinese are wise to ignore that bullshit.


By Ogive17 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Any manufacturing must be 50% Chinese partnership.

Suicide Squad Fans Petition To Shut Down Rotten Tomatoes Over Negative Reviews

Posted by manishsView on SlashDotShareable Link
The much-anticipated movie Suicide Squad has largely failed to impress film critics and normal people alike. People are leaving the theaters disappointed, with a firm belief that DC Universe has let them down again. Vanity Fair goes as far as saying, " Suicide Squad isn't even the good kind of bad," adding that "I'd have to imagine that most fans of Harley Quinn -- male, female, gay, straight -- will be disappointed." The ratings are super low at IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes as well. Amid these reviews, the fans of the film have launched a petition with the intent of shutting down film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Variety adds: Abdullah Coldwater, the DC Comics fan who drafted the petition, accused the site of giving "unjust bad reviews" that "affects people's opinion even if it's a really great [movie]." He added, "Critics always give The DC Extended Universe movies unjust bad reviews." The petition has received over 13,000 signatures as of this post. "Suicide Squad," which stars Will Smith, Jared Leto and Margot Robbie and is one of the most highly-anticipated movies of the summer, currently has an approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes of 34 percent. In comparison recent critical disgrace "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" settled at 27 percent on 344 critiques, whereas Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War" garnered a laudatory 90 percent with 320 critics chiming in.


By Pseudonym • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The term troll is actually derived from a fishing troll, because it lures people in. It has nothing to do with the actual fictional monster that is a troll.

That's technically true, but the term also comes from the day when trolling was considered an artform. Your modern troll has more in common with the fictional monster than anything you used to see on alt.syntax.tactical.


By Swampash • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

When the Comic-Con 2015 teaser for Suicide Squad came out it was all dark and depressing and grownup.

Then dark and depressing and grownup Batman v Superman: Yawn of Justice hit cinemas and tanked. So some marketing genius at DC looked over at Marvel rolling in cash from critical and commercial homeruns like Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy and sent down word that Suicide Squad would henceforth be a comedy buddy movie. Witness: official trailer.

Same actors, same story, but now it's funny. Can't you tell?

Marvel managed to make a great movie starring a talking raccoon and a tree, and DC has managed to serve up steaming turds featuring Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Joker. Right now DC is to movies what Donald Trump is to twitter. You just feel like saying "stop".


By Darinbob • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The problem was that people were claiming it sucks the moment the movie was announced. They knew nothing about it whatsoever, except for who the leads were. People were not keeping an open mind on it, they declared it bad merely because it was a remake.

Why not? It works for big agriculture

By walterbyrd • Score: 3 • Thread

You are legally not allowed to criticize food. Food felony laws - Oprah Winfrey was sued for expressing her disgust about hamburger.

Food libel laws, and ag-gag laws, gotta love them.

Re: Wah!

By Mister Transistor • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The little bitty outboard motor that some fishing skiffs have is called a "trolling motor" not a "trawling motor". Trawling is using a net, trolling is using a baited line.

But I'm probably preaching to the trolls...

Apple Makes Slight Progress On Diversity While Its Rivals Are Making Practically None

Posted by manishsView on SlashDotShareable Link
The workforce at Apple is still predominately white and male, reveals the diversity report the company released Wednesday. But that doesn't mean that its efforts to improve diversity haven't yielded improvements. This is the third year that the Cupertino giant has released its diversity numbers and the balance is improving, although a bit slowly. From a MacRumors report: Its overall workforce, including tech, non-tech, and retail jobs, is 68% male and 32% female as of June 2016, a slight change from a 69%-31% split in 2015. Apple's race and ethnicity breakdown among U.S. employees is 19% Asian, 9% Black, 12% Hispanic, 2% Multiracial, 1% Other, and 56% White, representing a 2 percent increase in White employees and a 1 percent increase in both Asian and Hispanic employees compared to last year's data. Females represent 37% of Apple's global new hires, while U.S. underrepresented minorities represent 27% of global new hires. Apple defines underrepresented minorities as "groups whose representation in tech has been historically low -- Black, Hispanic, Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Other Pacific Islander."Washington Post compares Apple's progress to other Silicon Valley giants, claiming that rest of the industry is mostly sitting idle. (Alternate source: Reuters) From the report: At Facebook, black and Hispanic employees make up 2 and 4 percent of the employee base. Despite commitments to diversity, neither Google nor Facebook have made a dent in those numbers since they first announced them in 2014.

Re:It's not a bad thing

By HornWumpus • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Hire a moron today, to promote intellectual diversity. Make sure (s)he has lots of responsibility.

Re: It's not a bad thing

By cyber-vandal • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

So a Slovenian farmer has exactly the same world view as a US CEO because they're both white?

Re:It's not a bad thing

By EmeraldBot • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Actually it is, because diversity brings new opinions and viewpoints. If all you hire are white men you're only going to ever have the viewpoints of white men. And if the talent pool is heavily biased against non white men you need to go out of your way to choose diversified talent to make your company better.

You're making a grave and extremely patronizing mistake, whether you know it or not. The whole concept of diversity is based around the concept that people of different ethnicities have had significantly different life experiences, and this assumption is flawed in two ways; for starters, people who grow up in the same country, with the same economic and educational backgrounds, do actually tend to think alike. Take a black person and a white one from Seattle; notice that both are pretty likely to support gay rights. Take a black person and a white one from smallsville Idaho, and notice that both are pretty likely to vote against it. The point is, social class and physical location forms one's opinion far more than skin color. You would get significantly different viewpoints if you hire two white (or two black) people from two different cities than if you hire one each from the same city.

Second off, the whole concept is incredibly degrading, for everyone involved. You assume white people come from one well off background and are incapable of imaging what being poor or discriminated against is like. You assume that people with minority skin color can't handle the work, and so we need special accommodations for them. And you assume that quality of work is no longer the only criteria you should be using to judge employees. This whole movement is largely based on assumptions , and blatantly racist ones at that. Yes, there are plenty of white people who are the minority ethnicity where they live. I myself have lived in Japan for years, being the only white european person for miles when I walk on the streets, so you can cut the judgmental crap about not understanding being a minority. Furthermore, just because I am white skinned, does that automatically tell you my upbringing? How about a person from France? Do you think we have the same opinions, philosophy, and views on life, despite coming from entirely separate cultures, just because our skin color and gender are the same?

I don't know if you intend diversity to be kind or something, in a really twisted and demeaning version, but racism is still racism even when you say it with ("good") intentions. You should judge employees by the quality of work, and ideally nothing more (you're being paid to help the company, not fix society at the expense of it). If you really want to get different perspectives, sit down with a cup of coffee in a cafe with your employees, ask a few philosophical questions, and see what happens. You will get a far, far better answer than looking at a checkbox or groping their genitals ever will.

your argument is BS.

By scatbomb • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

1) You're a member of the society you're doing business in.

Read the grandparent post. It simply asserted that a business should hire the best people regardless of sex or ethnicity. That's the society I want to live in, and I suspect most people would agree.

2) Building a reputation as somebody who doesn't care about diversity and inclusion is a good way to find yourself ignored or excluded by the portions of the population you've stated you don't care about. (See: boycott, negative public relations) You are shrinking your pool of available customers.

So you're arguing that Apple should base their hiring practices on meeting some quota of racial hires and gender hires for PR reasons? Sounds pretty messed up to me.

3) Ignoring other parts of the population who could be working for you limits your access to the best thinkers and workers, unless you really care to assert that the lack of minorities in the labor pool are *actually* a reflection of those minorities being dumber and lazier than all of your majority-hire candidates. You are shrinking your pool of available labor.

Read the grandparent post. It says nothing like what you are saying.

Building diversity in your business can be a competitive advantage because it's good public relations, and it's also going to give you access to a wider array of thoughts, ideas, and perspectives - all of which can make your business stronger.

But it's fine - if you don't make it your business, you can be sure your competitors will find a way to make it a competitive advantage. Eventually, you'll be faced with the choice of caring about diversity, or failing and shutting your doors.

Did you read the actual article summary? The breakdown was: "68% male and 32% female as of June 2016, a slight change from a 69%-31% split in 2015. Apple's race and ethnicity breakdown among U.S. employees is 19% Asian, 9% Black, 12% Hispanic, 2% Multiracial, 1% Other, and 56% White." To compare, the racial distribution of the US is 5% asian, 12% black, 16% hispanic, 2% multiracial, 1% other, and 64% white. So what exactly are you so upset about? Is it that Apple has slightly more asians and less hispanics? Fewer whites? Are you planning to complain until Apple's demographics match the US demographics exactly? What do you want?

Just combat poverty and bad education in general.

By Z80a • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Any sort of "quota" is awful and racist, because it paints the worker as "a guy that needed a hand from the HR to be hired", and his actual merits get downplayed in the process.
Now if you for example subsidie GOOD schools on the poorer cities/neighbors, you give em an equal chance to get the jobs fairly.

Also if there was any sort of systemic racism in place, it would be favoring asians rather than white people.

TVs Are Still Too Complicated, and It's Not Your Fault

Posted by manishsView on SlashDotShareable Link
In his latest column for The Verge, renowned journalist Walt Mossberg argues that TVs -- their UI, execution, underlying technologies, and remote -- are still too complicated. In the latest weekly, he has shared the experience of buying a new TV, setting it up, and the first few days of getting through it. The modern set, Smart TV for most, comes with a plethora of proprietary and standard features. But only a handful of people actually know what these features are -- and how they differ in the models offered by the same company. Mossberg says folks at Best Buy were of little use when explaining these features, but did a good job making false claims such as "you have to buy a sound bar because the TV doesn't have good speakers" even when that wasn't necessarily the case. Now Mossberg, having pioneered tech journalism as it is known today, knows a thing or two about TVs, but for a general consumer, it is an unnecessary thing that could spoil the experience, and make a bigger dent in their TV budget than it should have. But buying the TV wasn't the worst part. Following are excerpts from his column: But learning to use the TV is a whole other story. The Bean Bird (assistive cartoon feature) setup process was pretty straightforward, but it gets you going just enough to start watching something. Tweaking all of the TV's many features, including common ones like picture tones and uncommon ones like zooming in on a part of the picture or using a built-in web browser, takes hours. You must wade through menus containing scores of choices. And some controversial features common to modern TVs are buried deep in these menus. For instance, while I like motion smoothing others strongly dislike it -- it's sometimes known as the "soap opera effect." If you don't like it, the LG's interface doesn't make it at all easy to understand what's happening to your picture or what setting to adjust to turn it off. It's not even called motion smoothing in the menus -- LG calls it "TruMotion." The user interface is also somewhat confusing. There are at least three ways, for instance, to change inputs and at least two to bring up quick settings. The menu for launching apps like Netflix, inputs, and more appears to have a million icons in it and marches for what seems like miles across the bottom of the screen. So you have to edit it, which takes a bunch of time.Mossberg also found issues with the way the remote was designed to execute. "For instance, it's supposed to become a "universal" remote, controlling all your connected set-top boxes, but I can only get it to control some, but not all, of the basic features of my cable box, a TiVo Bolt. And its voice search is pathetic -- far worse than the one on the latest Apple TV."

Re:No TV

By Saithe • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Use it as a monitor hooked up to a badass receiver for your sound-system. One input used, rest are on the receiver end.

Re:No TV

By supremebob • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Everyone I know who's tried this says that the Raspberry Pi's (at least the older model 1 and 2 devices) choke when you try to play 1080p video on them. That was the same experience that I got as well.

Re:Funny, my modern TV doesn't do that crap

By sjames • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Step 2, hope neighbor doesn't put in an open WiFi.

Re:Problem is antiquated remote controls

By JohnFen • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I was trying to convey that LCD screens allow a much richer UI over fixed buttons.

Yes, but for the use case of a TV remote, the most important thing is to be able to use it without looking at it.

Re:No TV

By haijak • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Nope. Even ignoring all the "Smart TV" features. No TVs these days are "monitors". Monitors, weather you're talking about screens or speakers, are built with the expressed purpose of accurately rendering the signal you feed into them. TVs these days do all sorts of video processing to make the picture look "good" not "accurate". They intentionally increase (distort) the contrast and color saturation. They apply additional sharpening, predictive motion smoothing, and who knows what else. You have to dig into the settings and try to find and disable all those setting to get an accurate picture that looks like it was intended to. Computer monitors don't do any of that. They have a few settings to adjust contrast, brightness, and color; but those are only there to fine tune for better accuracy. I want my TV to be a monitor, not a video filter processor.

Comcast Wants To Charge Broadband Users More For Privacy

Posted by manishsView on SlashDotShareable Link
Comcast believes it should be able to charge its broadband users who want to protect their privacy. FCC, on other hand, has indicated that such practices should not be there. In a new filing with the FCC, Comcast says that charging consumers more money to opt out of "snoopvertising" should be considered a perfectly acceptable business model (PDF). DSLReports: "A bargained-for exchange of information for service is a perfectly acceptable and widely used model throughout the U.S. economy, including the Internet ecosystem, and is consistent with decades of legal precedent and policy goals related to consumer protection and privacy," Comcast said in the filing. The company proceeds to claim that banning such options "would harm consumers by, among other things, depriving them of lower-priced offerings." In short, Comcast is arguing that protecting your own privacy should be a paid luxury option, and stopping them from doing so would raise broadband rates. But as we've noted for years it's the lack of competition that keeps broadband prices high. It's also the lack of competition that prevents users upset with broadband privacy practices from switching to another ISP. That's why the FCC thinks some basic privacy rules of the road might be a good idea.

Re:Nothing New ...

By danbert8 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

That's what they advertise, but it's really more than that... The $70 rate takes a 2 year contract (so not really an option if you are renting on a smaller interval). If you opt out of their spying, it's not just $30 more per month, there are also equipment fees that are not replaceable with buying the hardware outright and waived with the spying plan, so it's really closer to $50 per month to not be spied upon.

Re:Comcast can go suck a...

By Dutch Gun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

From the article:

"In short, Comcast is arguing that protecting your own privacy should be a paid luxury option, and stopping them from doing so would raise broadband rates. But as we've noted for years it's the lack of competition that keeps broadband prices high. It's also the lack of competition that prevents users upset with broadband privacy practices from switching to another ISP. That's why the FCC thinks some basic privacy rules of the road might be a good idea.

So, unfortunately, instead of actually solving the real problem - the lack of competition, the FCC thinks "basic privacy rules might be a good idea." I mean, while I agree with that, it's just papering over the real issue. I understand that the FCC itself can't do anything about that, but I just can't see anything changing for the better in any significant way until we manage to break Comcast's near stranglehold on many areas of the market.

Also, Comcast's arguments about trading services for user information neglects to mention one tiny little fact: Most of the services that provide users a service in exchange for harvesting user information are providing a completely free service, like G-mail or Facebook, and many users seem to be fine with that. Comcast is "double dipping" - charging a significant amount for a paid service AND also trying to earn more by snooping on their customers. That's a completely different thing, and Comcast will have a hard time convincing anyone that they need to do this to remain profitable or that this is forcing them to keep rates high. The notion that allowing them to snoop on users would actually end up lowering rates is laughable. Users don't have any choices in many cases, so there's no pressure on them to keep rates competitive.

Market Expectation

By ewhac • Score: 3 • Thread
Regardless of how the regulatory arcana reads ("information service" vs. "telephone service"), the expectation of subscribers to Internet service is the same expectation they have for telephone service -- namely, that The Phone Company will operate as a Common Carrier and will not listen in on phone calls.

It would be interesting to know if Comcast makes any attempt to differentiate VoIP calls from other IP traffic and avoid snooping on it.

Re:Comcast can go suck a...

By Archangel Michael • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The competition problem is the last mile problem. Fix the last mile problem by moving the end point for Comcast from the Home/Business to a COLO facility managed by the local municipality. Then open up the doors to any / all competition at the COLO facility.

That way, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Google, HBO ONLY, Netflix .... can all offer their version of "service" as needed, even enhancing their offerings with new and innovative services such as Comcast's "snoopvertising" suite. Then we can let the market decide what TV shows and Internet the market wants.

I realize that this is an ALIEN concept of letting FREE ENTERPRISE solve problems by having the Government get out of the way. No Need for ANY regulation to control Net Neutrality or even needed the FCC to rule on the crap Comcast is spewing.

Re:Comcast can go suck a...

By swb • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

This is basically the model of municipal roads.

The municipality builds the roads, and private industry uses them to provide whatever services they can think to sell that involve transportation. The government doesn't really get into the transportation business or businesses built on transportation of goods.

There are minor exceptions, like the post office or mass transit, but there's also generally demand for this or some long-settled precedent for providing them. But there's no calling city hall to order a pizza.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update Borks Dual-Boot Partitions

Posted by manishsView on SlashDotShareable Link
Windows 10 Anniversary Update may affect and even delete other partitions on the same disk, OMGUbuntu is reporting, citing several complaints by users. "Broken boot loaders on an update are one thing but losing data, even entire partitions?" asks the author. Microsoft-centric news blog WindowsReport is corroborating on the report, adding that in some cases, the new OS was not able to detect some partitions. It says (edited): Many users are reporting that some of their partitions disappeared after installing the Anniversary Update. Usually, it's the smallest partition that disappears, although we couldn't say for sure whether the partition is deleted or if Windows simply doesn't detect it. Some users are saying that the partition is not allocated, while others can detect it once they install third-party partition management applications.We have reached out to Microsoft for clarification, and will update the post when we hear back from them.

Re:Just wait until Windows has systemd

By ArchieBunker • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Systemd is pretty much how Windows would do things. A massive binary that handles the job of many small programs and full of undiscovered security problems. Oh yeah and throw in binary log files (just like windows).

Happy Anniversary!!!

By organgtool • Score: 3 • Thread
This is Microsoft's revenge for seeing another operating system on the side during your anniversary!

Re: happened to me today

By ITRambo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
I disagree with your claiming that it's more the users fault than Microsoft's. MS is doing whatever they feel like doing to users computers, these days. Time to find alternatives. I personally researched many Linux distros (tested Live) and found that Mint 18 does everything that I need it to do. LibreOffice, included, opens all my Excel, Word and Publisher files perfectly. It can't save in Publisher's file format, but it can open it. Windows 10 is no longer needed by most computer users, especially those that just surf the web and check their email.

Re:pretty sure this has always been the case...

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

> They are reporting that it's messing with and deleting other partitions on the hard disk. It sounds like it's at lease messing with the partition table.

The Win10 upgrader (from Win7) did exactly this to my Linux partitions.

The upgrader needed a few hundred MB of space to create some sort of rescue partition. Rather than resize the 1TB NTFS primary partition at the front of the disk (of which 900GB were free) it decided that (because it didn't recognize the filesystem type in the partition) it was okay to _delete_ the first logical partition, resize the extended partition by a few hundred MB, and move the extended partition down. It then made another primary partition in front of the newly moved extended partition and formatted that primary partition with NTFS.

I've _never_ had a Windows installer do so much damage. Overwriting the bootloader? Sure! That's shitty, but entirely reasonable. Deleting partitions that aren't FAT* or NTFS because you don't recognize what they are and -thus- assume that they're unused? That's _incredibly_ shitty.

This is the kinder, more open-source friendly Microsoft, guys.

I hope to hell that this Win10 update doesn't put me through this shit again. That wasn't a fun day.

Dual boot advice

By John Allsup • Score: 3 • Thread

Unless you absolutely have to, do _not_ install Linux and Windows on the same physical hard drive. For many purposes (e.g. basic coding and web stuff) a lightweight Linux distro will run just fine off a USB memory stick (I use Ultra Fit's in either the 32GB or 64GB size). Then, if you are buying a laptop and you're a techie, get something where it is trivially easy to swap out either the hard drive (i.e. not Asus crap where you have to remove the keyboard to get at the hard drive), or the optical drive. For example, boot Windows of one hard drive, and stick another in the optical drive bay. If you have a desktop, you have room for more than one physical drive. This also means that, during critical stuff like OS installs, you can physically disconnect your Linux drive so that Windows cannot get at it. My favourite example of Redmond silliness involved Windows 2000 appearing to enumerate partitions one way in the partitioning part of setup, and another way for the formatting part. Basically, on my dual boot drive, Windows 2000 setup ended up formatting the wrong partition. I say it had cocked up when I noticed the size of the partition it was formatting: my shared data drive. By the time I had stopped the process, of course, the FATs were already overwritten.

Project Hosting Service Fosshub Compromised, Embedding Malware Inside Hosted Files

Posted by manishsView on SlashDotShareable Link
At least some applications on Fosshub, a free project hosting service appear to have been compromised, according to several reports. ( Update: Fosshub has acknowledged the hack.) The software portal, furthermore, is serving malware payloads, reports add. Catalin Cimpanu of Softpedia says that a hacking group which goes by the name of PeggleCrew is responsible for the hack. "In short, a network service with no authentication was exposed to the internet," the hacker told Softpedia in an email. "We were able to grab data from this network service to obtain source code and passwords that led us further into the infrastructure of FOSSHub and eventually gain control of their production machines, backup and mirror locations, and FTP credentials for the caching service they use, as well as the Google Apps-hosted email." The hacker group told the publication that they have compromised the entire website, "including the administrator's email. He also revealed he didn't dump the site's database but claimed that "passwords weren't salted." A user on Reddit, who has since received lots of upvotes, adds: Some popular apps that have links to FossHub that may be infected include: Audacity, WinDirStat, qBittorrent, MKVToolNix, Spybot Search&Destroy, Calibre, SMPlayer, HWiNFO, MyPhoneExplorer, and IrfanView.Another application which has reportedly been compromised is Classic Shell. It is ostensibly overwriting the MBR on users' computers. Many users are upset with the timing of hack, noting that plenty of people were looking for Classic Shell amid the release of Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Update: 08/03 17:30 GMT by M :In a blog post, Audacity said that Fosshub was serving a hacked copy of its audio editing software for three hours. It adds that "no Audacity Team infrastructure was compromised." Fosshub team writes: Last night we had a security incident caused by a group of hackers that allowed them to log-in to FossHub developer *through* an user that was compromised. Shortly after, we noticed two users that were compromised. They simply logged-in using their passwords and this allowed them to escalate. [...] Several hours later, we noticed the attackers were able to gain access through an FTP account and we decided to shut down the main server immediately to prevent any further infection/damage. is down on purpose until we are able to identify the way hackers were able to escalate. Fosshub insists that the hacked copy of Classic Shell was only downloaded 300 times. In the meantime, if you know someone who may have downloaded the compromised copy of Classic Shell, here's what they need to do next.

Well, crap

By Snotnose • Score: 3 • Thread
I updated Classic Shell yesterday. How do I tell if my MBR got re-written, or other malware got installed?

Any timeline on the compromise?

By Nanoda • Score: 3 • Thread

I couldn't find any information on _when_ this was likely to have happened. I use 1/2 that list at home and the office, but haven't updated any in a few weeks at least, so I'd like to check that out.

Your Battery Status Is Being Used To Track You Online

Posted by manishsView on SlashDotShareable Link
A paper published last year revealed that the battery on a laptop or phone can be used to track one's online activities. The vulnerability resided in a built-in HTML 5 specification, which could be tricked into identifying people and tracking their online activities. One year later, we are now learning that the vulnerability is being exploited in the wild. The Guardian reports: [...] Two security researchers from Princeton University have shown that the battery status indicator really is being used in the wild to track users. By running a specially modified browser, Steve Engelhard and Arvind Narayanan found two tracking scripts that used the API to "fingerprint" a specific device, allowing them to continuously identify it across multiple contexts. The research was highlighted by Lukasz Olejnik, one of the four researchers who first called attention to the potential issues with the battery status API in 2015. Although Olejnik achieved some success following his warning, with the body in charge of the web's standards thanking his group for the privacy analysis, the API still has the potential for misuse. And while it is only tracking scripts using it now, Olejnik warns that unscrupulous actors could do more. "Some companies may be analysing the possibility of monetising the access to battery levels," he writes. "When battery is running low, people might be prone to some -- otherwise different -- decisions. In such circumstances, users will agree to pay more for a service."

Re:Why on Earth?

By EvilSS • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Why on Earth are browsers revealing my battery status to random websites? Does Google dictate these changes in exchange for funding?

It was added to the HTML5 spec to allow sites to supply "low power" versions of their site to devices when their battery is low. Or so they say.

Tired of this whole security/privacy mess!

By grumpy-cowboy • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

WHY ON EARTH a browser need to expose the status of my laptop battery!! Why?!?! Can we have a browser that JUST display text, images and basic please! Can we go back to HTML 3.2 and flush everything made after this!

Re:Why on Earth?

By jellomizer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I am guessing the purpose was for a few things.
1. Remote Desktop Help to help identify problems with your system.
2. Websites that may have rules to Save/Commit your session before your battery dies.
3. Websites to lower the amount of JS processing based on your battery usage

Re:Why on Earth?

By jeffb (2.718) • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

If you're building a "web-based word processor" that can lose work because a client goes away, You're Doing It Wrong, so much so that responding to a low-battery signal is pointless. What if a router goes down? What if the user moves out of range of an access point, or cellular data?

If Web developers (or the companies issuing their marching orders) wanted to respect my battery, they could start by ditching all the gratuitous animated ads, transitions, and whatnot. For bonus points, they could do it before my battery gets low, so that my battery doesn't get low in the first place.

My five-year-old laptop still gets up to six or seven hours off a charge -- as long as I'm not visiting typical Web sites. If I start browsing, especially without blocking Flash or ads, I'm lucky to get an hour and a half.

Fuck off with the clickbait headlines, please

By wonkey_monkey • Score: 3 • Thread

Your Battery Status Is Being Used To Track You Online

Oh, do fuck off with the tiresome clickbait headlines. My battery status isn't being used to track me online, but even if it was, you could write the headline without having to personally address it to me.

Interviews: Ask Ruby on Rails Creator David Heinemeier Hansson a Question

Posted by whipslashView on SlashDotShareable Link
David Heinemeier Hansson created the Ruby on Rails open-source web framework in 2003. David is also the founder and CTO of Basecamp, a project management tool that's been used by more than 15 million people. In addition, David is the best-selling author of REWORK, a book about starting and running businesses a better way. David has agreed to take some time to answer some of your questions.

Ask as many questions as you'd like, but please, one per comment. (And feel free to also leave your suggestions for who Slashdot should interview next.) We'll pick the very best questions -- and forward them on to David Heinemeier Hansson himself.


By sunderland56 • Score: 3 • Thread

"Ruby on Rails" ? Is there a good reason for the name, or were you watching too many old western train movies?

Life after your 15 minutes of fame.

By jellomizer • Score: 3 • Thread

Ruby On rails had a huge spike in popularity a decade ago. Then the traditional forms of development had taken over. How do you plan on keeping the language up to date on the current trends?


By Gravis Zero • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

What in god's name possessed you to create this monstrosity?

Why not Python?

By scorp1us • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

You ended up with something that reads almost as the same as Python, which has a much larger audience and library set. Couldn't you have just started with Python?


By almeida • Score: 3 • Thread

I worked on a project around 2007 that used Ruby on Rails. That was my first experience with Ruby and my first experience with a real web product. I liked Ruby and Rails, but it was easy to get bitten by some of the abstractions. I remember the site bogged down really bad whenever we searched for a record in a large database table. The problem was that the database was hidden behind ActiveRecord, so it was easy to forget we were using a database at all. Writing a for loop to search for a record that matched some criteria felt natural, because our interface was with objects, not the underlying tables. However, behind the scenes, each iteration was a separate query. The result was thousands and thousands of queries, instead of just a single query with a simple WHERE clause. We were essentially doing in Ruby what we could have done much more efficiently in SQL. Once we realized the problem, we rewrote that kind of code so it used more or less raw SQL. The result was much faster, but we lost the readability of the abstraction. Everyone on the team was new to Ruby and Rails (grad students who shuffled in and out each semester), so it's possible that we were just doing things completely wrong. Still, it feels like it shouldn't have been that easy to shoot ourselves in the foot. Have things improved since then? How do you balance nice abstractions like ActiveRecord with performance? How do you make it clear to novices what's going on internally, so they can avoid the mistakes that we made?

Israel's SolidRun Creates Open Networking Kit Inspired By Raspberry Pi

Posted by manishsView on SlashDotShareable Link
Reader joshtops shares a VentureBeat report: SolidRun, a developer of electronic modules and PCs, said it is launching ClearFog Base kit, an off-the-shelf open development kit that enables do-it-yourself hardware enthusiasts to create their own telecom-grade routers. The kit is based on the Marvell Armada 38x SoC processor that runs on open source software based on OpenWrt. It lets enthusiasts build telecom-grade routers capable of Gigabit speed and embedded storage. The kit is inspired by the DIY computer kit, Raspberry Pi, which has sold a surprisingly large number of units. With OpenWrt support and several connectivity options, device makers can easily utilize the ClearFog Base within their own products to bridge a variety of network standards, like LAN, Wi-Fi, LTE, Fiber, and DSL. They can also utilize mikroBUS boards for IoT type networking standards such as ZigBee, Sub GHz, Bluetooth, and others. The $70 kit was created by Tel-Aviv, Israel-based SolidRun.

Re:Telecom grade

By funwithBSD • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Now a Beowulf cluster of them...

There's an even bigger one

By subk • Score: 3 • Thread
I looked for this on Digikeyand didn't find it, but they do have a bunch of SolidRun boards, including the ClearFog Pro which has 6+1 GbE and an SFP, plus 2 mPCIe slots and 1 mSATA. At less than $175, that's a steal. I've been waiting for something like this that could replace the discrete routers, ethernet switches, and Arduino programming slaves at my transmitter sites, which only have a few hosts each. There have been other multi-nic SBC's, but I have yet to see one this cheap.

Frequent Password Changes Are the Enemy Of Security, FTC Technologist Says

Posted by manishsView on SlashDotShareable Link
Though changing passwords often might seem like a good security practice, in reality, that isn't the case, says Carnegie Mellon University professor Lorrie Cranor. Earlier this year, when the Federal Trade Commission tweeted that people should "encourage" their loved ones to "change passwords often," Cranor wasted no time challenging it. From ArsTechnica's story: The reasoning behind the advice [of changing password often] is that an organization's network may have attackers inside who have yet to be discovered. Frequent password changes lock them out. But to a university professor who focuses on security, Cranor found the advice problematic for a couple of reasons. For one, a growing body of research suggests that frequent password changes make security worse. As if repeating advice that's based more on superstition than hard data wasn't bad enough, the tweet was even more annoying because all six of the government passwords she used had to be changed every 60 days. "I saw this tweet and I said, 'Why is it that the FTC is going around telling everyone to change their passwords?'" she said during a keynote speech at the BSides security conference in Las Vegas. "I went to the social media people and asked them that and they said, 'Well, it must be good advice because at the FTC we change our passwords every 60 days." Cranor eventually approached the chief information officer and the chief information security officer for the FTC and told them what a growing number of security experts have come to believe. Frequent password changes do little to improve security and very possibly make security worse by encouraging the use of passwords that are more susceptible to cracking. The CIO asked for research that supported this contrarian view, and Cranor was happy to provide it. The most on-point data comes from a study published in 2010 by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Special character requirement

By crow • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I have several passwords that require a "special" character. I've found it frustrating on the occasions when I need to enter these on my phone, having to switch to the symbols to enter my password. Now if a password requires a special character, I use one that is part of the default keyboard, which limits it to using a period.

Special character requirements might be fine when using a physical keyboard, but mobile devices change how people will use them.


By Bongo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

That can be a problem in a corporate environment. I can't tell you how many times I've found a password written on a Post-It note that got taped to the monitor or underneath the keyboard. If the written password was inside a locked overhead cabinet or a wallet that someone carried, access to the network becomes a lot more difficult. Never mind that many Fortune 500 companies have policies against writing passwords down in the first place.

I wonder how people would behave if the official policy was to write it down and put it in your wallet.

Most people have to write down their passwords, there is just no way to remember lots of unique passwords. But if policy is "don't write it down", that's like making it policy "don't breathe", and then people will naturally say, gee this policy is idiotic, we'll just have to ignore it. Result is you're training people to ignore your advice.

If we want people to follow the advice, we have to give reasonable advice that's practical to follow. There's still too much of this, "it's the dumb user", attitude.


By RabidReindeer • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You have one and only one password. Either the enemy knows it, and all doors are open, or he doesn't.

Whether the password changes or not - or how frequently - is immaterial. If the password is known, then you are already pwned.

Changing the password after someone has already gotten in is almost literally like locking the barn after the horse was stolen - except that in the case of passwords, you could be locking the barn with bandits already inside ready to break security all over again.

You efforts are much more profitably employed in protecting your passwords to begin with.

Can't password expiration be based on complexity?

By CQDX • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Every company I've worked for forced us to change passwords regardless of complexity. So I, and probably everyone else, used a simple phrase with a number to increment. I would have liked it if I picked a long, complex, hard to crack password that I'd be rewarded with a longer period before requiring to change my password. Would this make sense in practice?


By TheRaven64 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Password rotation is intended to prevent against offline attacks. If someone who grabs a copy of your password db can break the hashes in 30 days, then rotating passwords every 30 days is a good defence: by the time someone has found a password, it won't be valid anymore. The problem is that it's a threat model that doesn't really make sense for most organisations.

US Air Force Declares F-35A Ready For Combat

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Defense News: The U.S. Air Force on Tuesday declared its first squadron of F-35As ready for battle, 15 years after Lockheed Martin won the contract to make the plane. The milestone means that the service can now send its first operational F-35 formation -- the 34th Fighter Squadron located at Hill Air Force Base, Utah -- into combat operations anywhere in the world. The service, which plans to buy 1,763 F-35As, is the single-largest customer of the joint strike fighter program, which also includes the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and a host of governments worldwide. "Given the national security strategy, we need it," [Air Combat Command (ACC) head Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle] said. "You look at the potential adversaries out there, or the potential environments where we have to operate this airplane, the attributes that the F-35 brings -- the ability to penetrate defensive airspace, the ability to deliver precision munitions with a sensor suite that fuses data from multiple information sources -- is something our nation needs." Carlisle said in July that even though he would feel comfortable sending the F-35 to a fight as soon as the jet becomes operational, ACC has formed a "deliberate path" where the aircraft would deploy in stages: first to Red Flag exercises, then as a "theater security package" to Europe and the Asia-Pacific. The fighter probably won't deploy to the Middle East to fight the Islamic State group any earlier than 2017, he said, but if a combatant commander asked for the capability, "I'd send them down in a heartbeat because they're very, very good." The declaration is another achievement for the $379 billion program -- the Pentagon's largest weapons project -- following the declaration of a first squadron of F-35s ready for combat made by the U.S. Marine Corps in July 2015.

Re:Ready to

By wonkey_monkey • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

He does a bit, doesn't he?

Mission Accomplished!

By DarthVain • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread


And by "mission" I mean to siphon as much money from the taxpayer into into Lockheed Martin's bank accounts...

Re:Ready to

By bobbied • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Its unlikely it will ever engage another jet in a combat role, countries we fight are too poor for jets, countries with jets have too much power to attack and know we are too powerful to attack too or our allies.

Its ready to be a glorified bomber, bombing mostly suspected terrorists.

The F-35 is not intended to be an air superiority fighter, it's intended to be a multi-role close air support (bomb delivery platform) that can hold it's own in an environment where control of the air may still be an open question. It is the role of the Air Force's F-22 to clear the skies of the opposition and engage them before they reach the F-35's area of operation. So, the F-35's A-A offensive capability is intended to keep it flying (i.e. so it can get away) and not so it can win a dogfight. It's primary purpose is to be an economical delivery truck, designed to deliver death and destruction on the enemy's ground forces and survive the round trip. For that role, it is well suited should it ever meet it's design specifications.

Re:The irony is...

By allcoolnameswheretak • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The good thing about air is that it's mostly devoid of objects. So everything that shows up on radar can be considered "an object of interest".

From a programmers perspective, I would think that autonomous flying is a much easier problem to solve than autonomous driving.

Re:Ready to

By hawguy • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Nothing about the F-35 precludes development of drones though, and the West already seems to be leading the way on that front too.

Except the cost -- you don't spend over a trillion dollars (projected cost for deployment + operations) on a platform, then let it sit idle while you send in the drones.

There's no reason the F-35 couldn't in itself be the basis of a drone.

Again, cost. Why turn a $150M+ airframe into a drone when you can use a purpose built drone for a fraction of the cost? Removing the pilot from the plane removes a lot of design constraints, so it makes little sense to turn a human piloted aircraft into a drone.

Millennials Are Less Likely To Be Having Sex Than Young Adults 30 Years Ago, Says Survey

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: A survey of nearly 27,000 people suggests that millennials are less likely to be having sex than younger adults were 30 years ago. The Guardian reports: "The research, conducted in the U.S., found that the percentage of young adults aged between 20 and 24 who reported having no sexual partner after the age of 18 increased from 6% among those born in the 1960s, to 15% of young adults born in the 1990s. Published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior by researchers from three U.S. universities, the study involved the analysis of data collected through the nationwide General Social Survey that has asked U.S. adults about their sexual behavior almost every year since 1989. The results reveal that young adults aged between 20 and 24 and born in the 1990s were more than twice as likely to report that they had had no sexual partners since the age of 18 than young adults of the same age born in the 1960s. Just over 15% of the 90s-born group reported that they had not had sex since they turned 18, compared to almost 12% of those born in the 1970s or 1980s. For those born in the 60s the figure was just over 6%. The shift [towards increasing abstinence seen among all adults since the 1960s] was greater for white individuals, those who had not gone to university, and those who attended religious services. The trend was also greater for women than for men: the authors found that 2.3% of women born in the 1960s are sexually inactive, compared to 5.4% of those born in the 1990s. That, the authors suggest, could in part be down to a rise in so-called virginity pledges as well as concerns about social stigma. As for why this is the case, the authors of the study suggest it could have something to do with the fact that young people are living at home for longer, thus "stifling their sex life," and playing video games and consuming media in their free time. In addition, easy access to pornography may also be playing a role. A co-author of the research, Ryne Sherman, also suggests another factor could be that the way in which people interpret questions asked in the survey has changed. "Young people in the 1950s, when they were asked if you had a sexual partner, [might] say 'oh oral sex, that counts,' whereas young people today might say 'oh no that doesn't count because I didn't actually have sexual intercourse,'" he said.

Re:Kids these days...

By PopeRatzo • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Drug use, alcohol use, smoking is in decline

Well, there's the problem right there. No wonder millennials aren't having any sex.

Back in the '80s, there was so much cocaine, quaaludes and reefer that we'd have sex fifteen or twenty times a day. Often with inanimate objects. Back in college, my friends had to pry me off an abstract statue on the quad whom I believed to be my soulmate.

It's the ladies. Sort of.

By Qbertino • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I get all the arguments about declining buying power, wealth disparity and our media/online culture turning everybody into aloof nerds with no time for sex and the successful social interaction that is required for that, and it could very well be that that all factors into this development.

However, I don't think that that is the sole problem. In Germany I observe the women of my generation and a decade or so younger caught up in demands and expectations that can only be called patently absurd. And I think it is very much the same in the USA, as in certain dynamics and structures in society these two countries are very similar.

There are a lot of factors playing into this, such as women not yet completely atuned to having equal rights vis-a-vis their male peers and not yet having fully adjusted their expectations and their true responsibilities and 'duties' that come with it. Such as carefully balancing resource acquisition, mating and active survivaly strategies - by evolutionary and thus old-testatment definition a classic "mans job".
There are studies that women are actually more unhappy today than they were back in the sixties, when they basically were second-class citizens. This could be due to the fact that despite all the media hype about women wanting to lead corporations and earn the big bucks, the vast majority of women would maybe rather have a guy doing all that annoying external survival stuff and rather sit at home with the tribe nurturing little humans.

I very much think this is also due to some choice-effect coming up with equal rights and an abundance of goods needed for pure survival. For the first time in this planets history more people are obese than hungry or starving and a woman doesn't need a set of leader-warshipping willing-to-die-for-the-honor men close by to survive the other tribe warriors or the sabretooth lions roaming the area. She is free to choose when and if she takes a man and doesn't even need one to reproduce.

That a modern society that succsessfully has decoupled sex from reproduction and moves everyting concerning mating and reproduction squarely into the domain of conscious decision shouldn't be too surprised about the development described in TFA.

I expect this development to get worse and only change once society has moved into some sort of utopian mating-and-reproduction ritual or mechanism that tries to mitigate the effects of humanity moving further away from their mammal originins.

Then again, statistical analysis of humanities gene-pool show that throughout the history of mankind, 4 out of 5 men never got to reproduce whereas 4 out of 5 women did - which very much fits the fact that women take 9 months to build a human but men roughly 20 minutes to squirt one into a woman. In evolutionary terms a male individual is measurably less worth than a woman, which these numbers, odly enough, reflect again.

It's complicated, but I defenitely observe first-worlds women, equal rights and a choice effect with women playing into this. Especially after just having visited a classic macho-culture the last two weeks and observing mens and womens behaviour there. I was in moscow and my fairly recent new sweetheart is a russian lady. A difference of night and day in some aspects of socialisation vis-a-vis German or US women. No doubt. I wouldn't say it's all good that way, but until society fully grows up about these things I'd rather go 'classic couple' than have no stable relationship at all.

Bottom line concerning this aspect of the problem:
Women in the west need to emanzipate further and need to notice what work comes with being more independant. I'm sure us men can help by keeping a wide berth around women who aren't quite there yet and who's demands and expectations reflect that.

My 2 cents.

Re:Criminalization of expressions of masculinity

By sinij • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

then your idea of what a man is is fucked up.

Yes, because anyone disagreeing with SJW idea of how a man must behave must be fucked up. After all, you all like your men barefoot and paying alimony.

Here are some specific examples of natural masculinity expressions that are being attacked in today's society:
1. Rough play and fighting (even is sports)
2. Risk-taking of any kind
3. Hunting (especially with guns)
4. Loyalty to your male friends
5. Tinkering and do-it-yourself culture
6. Self-reliance and individualism

Re:Simple Explanation

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Maths fail?

20 in 2016 would be born in 1996. 24 in 2016 would be born in 1992. But more likely they just asked people "between the age of 20 and 24, how much sex were you having?", those being the years when people are at university and starting work, and sorted them by decade of birth.

What exactly are you implying is untruthful here?

I believe it

By JustAnotherOldGuy • Score: 3 • Thread

This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about millennials.

Most millennials can barely look each other in the eye, have a conversation, or put down their phone long enough to take a piss, how could they possibly manage to meet someone and interact long enough to have sex?

Seriously, this doesn't surprise me one bit. I think a lot of millennials are social misfits, incapable of real-world interaction except under the most dire of circumstances. Ordering a pizza over the phone seems to push many of them to their social-interactivity limits.

NASA's 'Journey To Mars' Initiative Might Be Delayed Due To Government Audit

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Christian Science Monitor: NASA has taken bold steps toward crewed Mars exploration in recent years. But according to a new audit, the agency may be moving too hastily. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) expressed concerns this past week about the feasibility of NASA's Orion crew capsule and Space Launch System (SLS). In two government-requested audits, the GAO questioned NASA's ability to meet program deadlines, citing insufficient funding and internal management issues. According to the GAO, however, the agency's schedule just isn't realistic. By pushing for earlier launch dates, NASA is increasing the inherent risk of a deep space mission. NASA's budgeting practices are also scrutinized in GAO's audit. In September, the agency asked for $11.3 billion to prepare Orion for launch. "Ideally, if these programs go forward, NASA would be taking actions to reduce the risks we see now, which are being caused by management issues," says Cristina Chaplain, who led the GOA audit, in an interview with the Monitor. "They're going to face the technical issues no matter what. But they're exacerbating them with management concerns, like not having accurate cost estimates." The report adds: "NASA's ' Journey to Mars' initiative has been a source of both excitement and controversy. The Asteroid Redirect Mission, in which the agency will send four astronauts to redirect an asteroid into the moon's orbit, is slated to launch sometime in the next decade. The mission is designed to test new propulsion technology for future crewed Mars missions. In the 2030s, NASA hopes to send an Orion crew to the red planet. NASA plans to complete the first SLS launch in 2018. In the test mission, called Exploration Mission 1, the rocket will carry an empty Orion into orbit around the moon. In subsequent missions, SLS/Orion will launch with a full crew. NASA has scheduled Exploration Mission 2 for April 2023, but administrators hope to launch as early as 2021."

Delayed due audit?!?!

By Joao Cordeiro • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
The progress was delayed because of the lack of funding...... The audit only writes it down into paper.. The congress is directly responsable for the lack of funding and the need of such huge funding. GAO makes a great job and titles/articles like this are directed to slam their name into the trash...

Re:Bureaucracy vs Progress

By Opportunist • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Today there are no Russians to 1up.

Maybe we should wait for the Chinese to get their program up to speed, before that we probably won't get to see any funding for a decent space program.

Re:Delayed due audit?!?!

By khallow • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

So who is worse when it comes to being "responsible" about managing technical risk? Did anyone suggest shutting down the F-35 program while they decided what to do about escalating costs and slipping schedules?

So we should let a boondoggle continue just because the US military is even shittier at ending bad programs?

My take on SLS is that it should have never existed in the first place and it's not too late to end it now. It serves no national interest and we don't need its capabilities; it's enormously expensive and the economics are crappy (particularly, low launch frequency); and it creates a conflict of interest between benefactors of the SLS and the future of a US presence in space.

That last point bears elaboration. There is a long, seedy tradition of aerospace companies using the law and such to backstab and obstruct each other. Usually, it's relatively minor like a rocket being delayed for a few months by bogus concerns or getting kicked off an Air Force launch pad because some competitor wants to mess up one's launch tempo.

But with a huge funding stream like SLS gets, that can fund a lot worse than mere bureaucratic obstruction. For example, NASA delayed commercial space launch by a decade by mandating that all US-origin payloads had to go up on the Space Shuttle back in roughly 1975 (which also had the effect of massively delaying US payloads until the policy was reversed in 1984. Read this report to get an idea of the crap NASA pulled back then.

We don't need a repeat of that regressive failure. The obvious approach is to end the conflict of interest by defunding the SLS and the parasitic ex-Shuttle supply chain. Then there's no one left to care enough to prevent the US private industry from delivering heavy lift vehicles that will actually get used.

Government Efficiency

By Dunbal • Score: 3 • Thread
Audit NASA, which has hardly any budget. Do not audit the Pentagon, where trillions disappear regularly.

things NASA does and does not do well

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

There is something NASA does very, very well. Deep space exploration. It is the premier organization on the planet for this, with by far the most impressive record. It is the only organization to send probes to the outer solar system. Something it started doing in the early 1970's) with Pioneer 10, the first Jupiter flyby. It operates the only Mars rovers. It has a better record at Mars landers than anyone else, by far. There have been a few brilliant successes by other organizations, but in terms of scale, it's very much "NASA", and then distantly, "everyone else" when it comes to solar system exploration.

There is something NASA does NOT do well. Space trucking. It could contract with SpaceX for heavy launch at under 5% of what it's going to spend doing so itself. It could contract with ULA, who are highly reliable and currently reducing their own costs, although still pricer than SpaceX. Rather than the US govt dictating that 5-segment SRBs must be used because those are providing jobs in this congressional district, they could simply approach SpaceX, say, "this is the capability we want", and save billions of dollars.

Let NASA do what it does better than anyone else in the world: deep space science. Get it out of the space-truck business, where it will never provide value for money. As it stands, SpaceX's own private effort to land humans on Mars is likely to beat NASA's on both budget and time, raising a lot of questions about just what happened.