Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2018-Jan-11 today archive

Contents

  1. Hackers Could Blow Up Factories Using Smartphone Apps
  2. FCC Undoing Rules That Make It Easier For Small ISPs To Compete With Big Telecom
  3. Scientists Change Our Understanding of How Anaesthesia Messes With the Brain
  4. South Korea Plans To Ban Cryptocurrency Trading
  5. TiVo Sues Comcast Again, Alleging Operator's X1 Infringes Eight Patents
  6. Circuit City Is Coming Back
  7. Apple Health Data Is Being Used As Evidence In a Rape and Murder Investigation
  8. Dropbox Files Confidentially For IPO
  9. Pandora CEO Roger Lynch Wants To Create the Podcast Genome Project
  10. When It Comes to Gorillas, Google Photos Remains Blind
  11. Microsoft Partners with Signal to Bring End-To-End Encryption to Skype
  12. Chinese Workers Abandon Silicon Valley for Riches Back Home
  13. Subscriptions With Automated Recurring Billing Come To Windows 10
  14. Intel Says Chip-Security Fixes Leave PCs No More Than 10% Slower
  15. House Passes Bill To Renew NSA Internet Spying Tool
  16. Uber Used Another Secret Software To Evade Police, Report Says
  17. Top US Government Computers Linked to Revenge-Porn Site
  18. The Invented Language That Found a Second Life Online
  19. More Colleges Than Ever Have Test-Optional Admissions Policies
  20. Bitcoin Conference Stops Accepting BTC Due To High Fees
  21. FBI Calls Apple 'Jerks' and 'Evil Geniuses' For Making iPhone Cracks Difficult
  22. New Ingestible Pill Can Track Your Farts In Real Time
  23. Senior Citizens Will Lead the Self-Driving Revolution

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

Hackers Could Blow Up Factories Using Smartphone Apps

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: Two security researchers, Alexander Bolshev of IOActive and Ivan Yushkevich of Embedi, spent last year examining 34 apps from companies including Siemens and Schneider Electric. They found a total of 147 security holes in the apps, which were chosen at random from the Google Play Store. Bolshev declined to say which companies were the worst offenders or reveal the flaws in specific apps, but he said only two of the 34 had none at all. Some of the vulnerabilities the researchers discovered would allow hackers to interfere with data flowing between an app and the machine or process it's linked to. So an engineer could be tricked into thinking that, say, a machine is running at a safe temperature when in fact it's overheating. Another flaw would let attackers insert malicious code on a mobile device so that it issues rogue commands to servers controlling many machines. It's not hard to imagine this causing mayhem on an assembly line or explosions in an oil refinery. The researchers say they haven't looked at whether any of the flaws has actually been exploited. Before publishing their findings, they contacted the companies whose apps had flaws in them. Some have already fixed the holes; many have yet to respond.

Re:no longer a threat

By rtb61 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Of course if you were going to be that destructive, much safer to drive around in a white diesel van with an PTO and an electromagnetic pulse generator and simply cause wide spread chaos on the move. Pretty hard to track you down, as all the tracking systems and agencies go down and you are only noticeable by the fact you are still moving, whilst everything else is coming to a halt with the damage and impact tied to the power output of your EMP device and how many kilometres you can travel with it pulsing away. Don't do this, it would be bad, seriously but you know where this is going been said again and again. When governments hack governments, the next step is EMP attacks, it is inevitable that it will escalate to this and you can bet corporations will attack corporations, billions at stake.

Re:Internet and intranet access should not mix

By AHuxley • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Re "Any data crossing between from internet to intranet should require red tape"
East Germany faced just that problem. One day a trusted member of staff walked out with a list of East Germany spies in other nations.
Before creating new trusted spy networks with new names something had to be done to prevent a list of spies ever walking out again.
Details about mission, the spy codename, the real identity got split up into very different physical files kept separated.
Nobody could every put the real name to the results of a mission without mountains of red tape to walk each file together and see a person's name linked to a mission.
East Germany then went digital.
Th East Germans thought it would be good to have a full list that could be accessed if spies had to be given new missions very quickly.
The CIA walked out with the list of all their spies.
The same was used for NSA compartmentalization until the political rush for private sector contractors resulted in walk outs.
The storing of some US gov/mil/contractors/workers information, clearance levels, past work, mission history, lifestyles in plain text on internet facing computers.
Political parties who have trusted staff walk unencrypted data to the waiting media.
So much is done to save time, for politics, for cost savings that later results in vast amounts of data walking.
No apps needed as everything is in plain text as thats how its been used everyday.

Re:FUD

By Darinbob • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Why would any important system be controlled by a smartphone app anyway, that's just dumb. And why would these apps be put on Google Play for the public to see? No operator is going to use an app to control machinery, instead they're going to look at the dials, use an official computer on-site, and so forth. Maybe in the IT world the sysadmin works from home, but in any mission critical application the workers are always on site.

Any apps used are likely for field service workers to get a quick update (what jobs are left to do, verify that changes are being propogated before packing up, etc). Even then, have you tried using a smartphone or tablet while wearing safety gloves?

It would be nice to see some examples of the kind of apps that are being used this way in the article.

Actually it is hard to imagine

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Any refinery or chemical plant that is even remotely complaint with HSE rules should have very limited exposure to anything the control system can do to cause a truly major incident.

Sure it is trivial to shut it down or trivial to do something like cause catalyst or product to go to where it shouldn't. But any scenario that could cause something like an explosion should be identified and protected by safety systems independent of control systems and unable to be directly controlled.

Even when you look at oil industry incidents recently you can see the majority of accidents are due to missmanagement or bypassing of safety barriers for abnormal reasons which aren't properly risk assessed.

This potential scenario is one of the reasons the TRITON / TRISIS malware we covered recently got so much interest, and likely one of the reasons why the attacker was attempting to modify the code in the safety system.

Re:oh no! you stopped the conveyor line~

By nnull • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
For more automated plants, shutting down anything can be quite catastrophic. Bottling lines, injection molders, cnc shops. How are they going to do all this stuff manually? And sabotaging steel mills has absolutely disastrous consequences. All this can cost millions for even just a couple days down time. I know in my plant, I would have to basically send everyone home as there would be nothing for anyone to do. Doing things manually is no longer an option in many places.

FCC Undoing Rules That Make It Easier For Small ISPs To Compete With Big Telecom

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: The Federal Communications Commission is currently considering a rule change that would alter how it doles out licenses for wireless spectrum. These changes would make it easier and more affordable for Big Telecom to scoop up licenses, while making it almost impossible for small, local wireless ISPs to compete. The Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum is the rather earnest name for a chunk of spectrum that the federal government licenses out to businesses. It covers 3550-3700 MHz, which is considered a "midband" spectrum. It can get complicated, but it helps to think of it how radio channels work: There are specific channels that can be used to broadcast, and companies buy the license to broadcast over that particular channel. The FCC will be auctioning off licenses for the CBRS, and many local wireless ISPs -- internet service providers that use wireless signal, rather than cables, to connect customers to the internet -- have been hoping to buy licenses to make it easier to reach their most remote customers.

The CBRS spectrum was designed for Navy radar, and when it was opened up for auction, the traditional model favored Big Telecom cell phone service providers. That's because the spectrum would be auctioned off in pieces that were too big for smaller companies to afford -- and covered more area than they needed to serve their customers. But in 2015, under the Obama administration, the FCC changed the rules for how the CBRS spectrum would be divvied up, allowing companies to bid on the spectrum for a much smaller area of land. Just as these changes were being finalized this past fall, Trump's FCC proposed going back to the old method. This would work out well for Big Telecom, which would want larger swaths of coverage anyway, and would have the added bonus of being able to price out smaller competitors (because the larger areas of coverage will inherently cost more.)
As for why the FCC is even considering this? You can blame T-Mobile. "According to the agency's proposal, because T-Mobile and CTIA, a trade group that represents all major cellphone providers, 'ask[ed] the Commission to reexamine several of the [...] licensing rules,'" reports Motherboard. The proposal reads: "Licensing on a census tract-basis -- which could result in over 500,000 [licenses] -- will be challenging for Administrators, the Commission, and licensees to manage, and will create unnecessary interference risks due to the large number of border areas that will need to be managed and maintained."

Re:US wide spectrum is in the national interest

By SumDog • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

There is already plenty if spectrum for that. The big providers have already purchased up national LTE coverage, GSM/CDMA coverage, Wi-Max coverage and even fall-backs to EDGE coverage.

This is new spectrum space, which could be using by small municipalities to offer local wireless Internet coverage. They're most likely going to have to offer such coverage with better deals than the major carriers, with the trade-off being limited range.

Re:This has nothing to do with T-Mobile or CTIA

By sydbarrett74 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

being a former manager at Verizon

Pai was no mere 'manager' at Verizon—he was Associate General Counsel. Before that, he was at the DoJ. So he has a history of switching back-and-forth between lucrative private-sector positions and federal government appointments. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Re: Why should size matter?

By c6gunner • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Everyone is subject to the same laws regardless of how much money they have.

Yes. It's equally illegal for the billionaire and the pauper to sleep under a bridge.

That is how a fucking free market works.

I'm a big fan of the free market, and I have to say it seems like you don't know the first thing about how it works.

More hysteria

By Obfuscant • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
First of all, this is a relatively small piece of spectrum. There is already wireless internet using other bands.

Second, this has nothing to do with cell phones, so the comment about how someone's phone doesn't cover this band and there will be no phone that do is irrelevant.

Third, it is under consideration, not a done deal. The headline is flamebait -- "FCC Undoing" is wrong. They might.

And fourth, yes, licensing small areas creates a lot more work for everyone involved than licenses for large areas. It's called "coordination", and the work goes up exponentially with the number of parties that need to be coordinated. Someone has to make sure that the licensee for Backwater, IA doesn't interfere with the licensee for South Backwater, IA. That's harder than telling T-Mobile in IA not to interfere with AT&T in the next state over.

All of that doesn't mean I support the change. It's just not that earth shattering to begin with.

Re:US wide spectrum is in the national interest

By eriks • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'm no expert, but It seems to me that access to specific spectrum by cell providers is not the issue with mobile connectivity. It's not like you can't manufacture a radio that can't transmit on more than one band. It's that the various players have never had an incentive to share/pool or at least wholesale resources to each other. This is clearly in the "Regulate-able" zone, since this is *our* spectrum we're talking about. A resource that we can all benefit from, and that we literally *have* to share it in order to use it effectively.

I live in a rural area, there is a cell tower 1/2 mile from my house, but I don't have signal, because the tower doesn't talk to my "brand" of phone. I don't even know what the specifics are, and I could switch providers, but this particular provider has no signal in other areas where I often go, whereas the one that doesn't work at my house works most other places that I go.

If there had been a regulation 20 years ago that said "Hey, let's find a common industry solution so that all phones can talk to all towers, and then let the owners of those towers worry about billing each other" we wouldn't have the mess we have now with competing standards and antagonistic competitive business. I sometimes even end up places where I have *signal* but the tower tells me (essentially) that while I can talk to you, I won't let you use me, since your provider doesn't have a billing arrangement with me in this area. I realize these things are complicated, and I'm perhaps oversimplifying, but they've been made more complicated than they need to be.

It's like "Hey! you can't drive on this road! You have a Ford! Only Chevys can drive on this road!" That's insane, right? But we put up with it with mobile communications, because... why, exactly? I realize this isn't an issue in metro areas (they have issues too, just different ones) but if the system were managed and engineered properly we wouldn't have this type of issue at all.

Letting the incumbent competing players have even MORE power and control is probably not going to solve this problem. This is one of those issues that's going to have to play out over a long time now, since the window for regulating a unified system probably closed long ago.

Scientists Change Our Understanding of How Anaesthesia Messes With the Brain

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
schwit1 shares a report from ScienceAlert: It's crazy to think that we still don't quite understand the mechanism behind one of the most common medical interventions -- general anaesthetic. But researchers in Australia just got a step closer by discovering that one of the most commonly used anesthetic drugs doesn't just put us to sleep; it also disrupts communication between brain cells. The team investigated the drug propofol, a super-popular option for surgeries worldwide. A potent sedative, the drug is thought to put us to sleep through its effect on the GABA neurotransmitter system, the main regulator of our sleep-and-wake cycles in the brain. But anyone who's been "put under" will know that waking up from a general anesthetic feels rather different from your usual morning grogginess. On top of that, some people can experience serious side-effects, so scientists have been trying to figure out what else the drugs might be doing in the brain.

Using live neuron cell samples from rats and fruit flies, the researchers were able to track neurotransmitter activity thanks to a super-resolution microscope, and discovered that propofol messes with a key protein that nerve cells use to communicate with each other. This protein, called syntaxin1A, isn't just found in animal models - people have it, too. And it looks like the anesthetic drug puts the brakes on this protein, making otherwise normal brain cell connections sluggish, at least for a while. The researchers think this disruption could be key to how propofol allows for pain-free surgery to take place - first it knocks us out as a normal sleeping pill would, and then takes things up a notch by disrupting brain connectivity.
The research has been published in Cell Reports.

Re:But don't dare suggest ...

By Waffle Iron • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I am just curious about how much human activity really has to do with climate change..

No, you're not.

Re:Delicate dosing

By demonlapin • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
We generally don't care if you stop breathing - it's sort of our thing to breathe for you. Consciousness requires a great deal more coordination than the simple breathing centers, though. The same reason explains why anesthetics make you lose vision as a sense before you lose hearing - it's a more processing-intensive sense.

As for cardiac rhythms, gas anesthetics are arrhythmogenic, but it's usually not a problem. Spinals - as are given for most cesarean sections - are more likely to produce slow heart rates, as they disable the autonomic nerves as well as the sensory ones. However, we have drugs for that.

Cool language

By peppepz • Score: 4 • Thread
Can we do without super childish language at least here on Slashdot? Super pretty please.

Oh what you don't know...

By eWarz • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I almost died in April 2017 of septic shock. During that time, medical staff assumed I was unconscious and unable to recollect a single thing. I had 4 surgeries and I was on a ventilator for many days and I was on enough drugs to kill an elephant. I remembered everything. Including some VERY personal conversations from certain staff members. It was all so vivid. I can't discuss most of it thanks to an ongoing malpractice suit against the hospital that caused the issue to begin with...however. Never assume your loved one doesn't hear you. They do. They hear you. They also hear the medical staff talking about their so called 'day' as they turn you, change various 'things', etc.'

Re:Propofol is great stuff

By twdorris • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Posts like this are why I still come to Slashdot. This place is still the best resource I've found where people with such a diverse set of highly skilled talents can all post about experiences and information that they are intimately familiar with in their respective trades and we all learn / grow from that. Thanks!

South Korea Plans To Ban Cryptocurrency Trading

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
South Korea's government said on Thursday it plans to ban cryptocurrency trading, sending bitcoin prices plummeting and throwing the virtual coin market into turmoil as the nation's police and tax authorities raided local exchanges on alleged tax evasion. Reuters reports: The clampdown in South Korea, a crucial source of global demand for cryptocurrency, came as policymakers around the world struggled to regulate an asset whose value has skyrocketed over the last year. Justice minister Park Sang-ki said the government was preparing a bill to ban trading of the virtual currency on domestic exchanges. Once a bill is drafted, legislation for an outright ban of virtual coin trading will require a majority vote of the total 297 members of the National Assembly, a process that could take months or even years. The local price of bitcoin plunged as much as 21 percent in midday trade to 18.3 million won (12,730.35 pounds) after the minister's comments. It still trades at around a 30 percent premium compared to other countries.

What's really going on here...

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Informative • Thread

South Korea is proposing to ban cryptocurrency trading, but that's far from certain. On CNBC early this morning, they speculated that this was unlikely to occur and that China had enacted similar measures previously before reversing course. They suggested that there would be more regulation of exchanges, much like what already happens in the US where Coinbase and others collect personal information on their customers. Another possible regulation is imposing trading curbs or halting trading when there are significant declines, much like what happens with stock exchanges. Stories like this increase the uncertainty around cryptocurrency and are likely holding the prices down somewhat until there is a resolution on these issues. It's difficult to ban the blockchain technology altogether, so it seems more likely that they will opt for regulating exchanges.

Cryptocurrencies dying in Asia...

By LynnwoodRooster • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
South Korea banning trading, China already banned the exchange of cryptocurrencies and crypto mining operations, and Japan is still considering banning ICOs. Tough row to hoe for crypto folks in Asia!

This news is false and 8 hours late?

By TheSimkin • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
https://www.forbes.com/sites/p...

That's nothing!

By Kenja • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The North American Bitcoin Conference, is no longer taking bitcoin.

What cryptocurrencies measure themselves against

By The Evil Atheist • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
The fact that cryptocurrencies are talked about in terms of "real money" (what's real?) means people know they are lying to themselves about their value. "Real money" today is already measured against a CPI. Until cryptocurrencies are measured against a CPI directly, and not through a proxy measure, it is a pointless currency.

TiVo Sues Comcast Again, Alleging Operator's X1 Infringes Eight Patents

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
TiVo's Rovi subsidiary on Wednesday filed two lawsuits in federal district courts, alleging Comcast's X1 platform infringes eight TiVo-owned patents. "That includes technology covering pausing and resuming shows on different devices; restarting live programming in progress; certain advanced DVR recording features; and advanced search and voice functionality," reports Variety. From the report: A Comcast spokeswoman said the company will "aggressively defend" itself. "Comcast engineers independently created our X1 products and services, and through its litigation campaign against Comcast, Rovi seeks to charge Comcast and its customers for technology Rovi didn't create," the Comcast rep said in a statement. "Rovi's attempt to extract these unfounded payments for its aging and increasingly obsolete patent portfolio has failed to date."

TiVo's legal action comes after entertainment-tech vendor Rovi (which acquired the DVR company in 2016 and adopted the TiVo name) sued Comcast and its set-top suppliers in April 2016, alleging infringement of 14 patents. In November 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Comcast infringed two Rovi patents -- with the cable operator prevailing on most of the patents at issue. However, because one of the TiVo patents Comcast was found to have violated covered cloud-based DVR functions, the cable operator disabled that feature for X1 customers. Comcast is appealing the ITC ruling.

Re:Conflicted

By sconeu • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Whoever wins, we lose.

Re:TiVo is acting like SCO

By Slashdot Junky • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Spending wads of cash on legal action, especially for an eventually lost fight, leads to higher pricing and cost reductions. So, I'd rather they just give up now.

You mean Macrovision?

By tepples • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

And Rovi was an abbreviation of the company's original name: Macrovision. The company that introduced analog gain control copy protection.

That's the topic, not the patent

By raymorris • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Each patent has a couple pages describing *exactly* what is patented and how it's different from what was done before (prior art).

They didn't patent the concepts mentioned in the summary. Slashdot summaries often mention the general topic or concept that a patent is *related to*, phrased in a way that makes it sound like someone patented the whole concept. That's not how patents work. For example, with a video cassette (vcr) you can pause it in one device, then take it to another VCR and resume watching. Nobody can patent that idea, and their patent calls out how their invention is different from what has been done before.

If you read (part of?) any of the patents and see one that seems like it was obvious at the time (not in retrospect) I'd be curious to see it. There may be one, but don't think that just because the TOPIC mentioned in the Slashdot summary is obviously interesting, that means their invention was interesting. When Slashdot says "Space X" patents rocket guidance system" that means they patented something they invented that has to do with guiding rockets; it doesn't mean they patented the idea of rocket guidance in general.

"independently created"

By markdavis • Score: 3 • Thread

>"Comcast engineers independently created our X1 products and services, "

Um, I guess she doesn't know how these patents work. It doesn't matter HOW it was developed/created. Could be from nothing, could have been by people who never heard of the features before, could be in a clean room, could be a 100% copy of some established product. A patent is not a copyright.

Love TiVo, hate some long physical patents, absolutely hate all software patents (also hate long copyrights, especially on obsolete/abandoned stuff), hate Comcast. Hmm, I am certainly conflicted :)

Circuit City Is Coming Back

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Following a tease of a CES announcement, current Circuit City CEO Ronny Shmoel confirmed on Monday that something called Circuit City will arrive as "a new, more personalized online shopping experience" starting February 15. The announcement even included promises of AI-driven recommendations fueled by IBM's Watson platform, plus unexplained "augmented reality" and "search by photo" features. Ars Technica reports: Curiously, Shmoel also promised "real-time tech support via video chat," but it's unclear whether this feature will include two-way video feeds -- and, thus, whether Circuit City is prepared for a deluge of Chatroulette-caliber video surprises from trolls. This online Circuit City rebirth may very well actually come to exist, as Shmoel claims that the company has put together a fully fledged inventory and distribution system, with a mix of known electronics brand names and "tier-two and tier-three" names (Shamsung? Panafauxnoic?). The same cannot be said for its CES tease of eventual brick-and-mortar showrooms in the neighborhood of 8,000-10,000 square feet, however. Shmoel already backtracked on similar showroom promises in 2016, and his CES pronouncement of future shops included no hard confirmations of locations or dates. But for anybody who dares to dream, Circuit City's showroom design partner, Taylored Group, released a concept render of its store vision which looks like a Radio Shack as if rendered in a Taiwanese hot-take news video.

It's just a website

By rsilvergun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
That's not really a come back, anymore than the Atari box is a come back. They're just using the name to get some press. Worked too.

They could just open good stores

By DogDude • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
... they could just open good stores. That's something they've never tried before. I would much prefer buying my electronics at a physical store.

Re:It's just a website

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Circuit Blockchain City would have been better.

Re:Maybe if they try something different.

By Fly Swatter • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I have thought it might work to have stores with a smaller storefront area, and mostly warehouse in the back.

Show room warehouses have been done before, Service Merchandise (68 years) and Best Products (40 years) still went out of business around the time of everyone else.

But there's always a chance a modern one will work.

Apple Health Data Is Being Used As Evidence In a Rape and Murder Investigation

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Hussein K., an Afghan refugee in Freiburg, has been on trial since September for allegedly raping and murdering a student in Freiburg, and disposing of her body in a river. But many of the details of the trial have been hazy -- no one can agree on his real age, and most notably, there's a mysterious chunk of time missing from the geodata and surveillance video analysis of his whereabouts at the time of the crime. He refused to give authorities the passcode to his iPhone, but investigators hired a Munich company (which one is not publicly known) to gain access to his device, according to German news outlet Welt. They searched through Apple's Health app, which was added to all iPhones with the release of iOS 8 in 2014, and were able to gain more data about what he was doing that day. The app records how many steps he took and what kind of activity he was doing throughout that day. The app recorded a portion of his activity as "climbing stairs," which authorities were able to correlate with the time he would have dragged his victim down the river embankment, and then climbed back up. Freiburg police sent an investigator to the scene to replicate his movements, and sure enough, his Health app activity correlated with what was recorded on the defendant's phone.

Re:Smells like a political coverup

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

You might want to read the entire article you’re linking to, since it doesn’t seem to support the narrative you are trying to posit. Especially this line:

”The results of these checks don't give a picture of how accurate the given age of all asylum seekers in Sweden is, as the checks have only been carried out in cases where there was reason to doubt the person's given age.”

So your statement that “most of the 'child refugees' they were admitting were over 18” is, in fact, not what the article says. Instead, what it does say is in those cases where the Swedish authorities suspected the person’s age was not in fact under 18, it turns out their suspicions were correct.

The authorities were doing their job, in other words.

In fact, the story doesn’t actually even claim these people were intentionally lying. It states that one possible explanation is that, during the eighteen months between the time the applications were originally filed and when they were considered, those people had simply aged past eighteen.

Re: Attn: FBI

By saloomy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Believe whatever you want. Network analysis would have determined ages ago if that app communicated with Apple servers, which would have to be periodic.

Security researchers analyze network traffic in controlled environments all the time, and it would be a ton of damage control and egg on face if it was ever subpoenaed or hacked. I doubt this to be the case.

Re:Smells like a political coverup

By Hal_Porter • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

https://www.thelocal.se/201609...

Sweden will make medical age assessments of unaccompanied asylum seekers by examining their teeth and knee joints. The new system, unveiled on Friday by the national forensic medicine agency (Rättsmedicinalverket), aims to tackle doubts over the accurate age of those who seek asylum in the country.
With over 35,000 coming last year alone, Sweden has taken in more unaccompanied children and young people than any other country in Europe, and many of them lack identity documents.

The migration authority (Migrationsverket) makes an initial age assessment with every application, but the tests have been criticized for being ineffective. If a person is not clearly over 18, they are registered as a child.

In the last year, several Swedish municipalities have reported suspected cases of adults being placed together with children at residential care homes for young people (known as HVB homes), as well as being sent to school with minors.

According to the migration board, there are doubts about the accurate age of 70 percent of unaccompanied minors who have stated that they are between 15 and 17 years old.

As a solution, the Swedish government asked for medical age assessments to be carried out on a large scale. Rättsmedicinalverket detailed at a media conference on Friday when that work will get under way and explained how it can be done.

Between 15,000 and 18,000 age assessments will now be needed, the agency said. The two methods that will be used are dental maturity assessments involving wisdom teeth, and the examination of knee joints using MRI. The two examinations will be performed independently by MRI clinics and dental clinics.

"Medical age assessments are an integral part of forensic medicine in many other countries, so it is only natural that we carry them out," Rättsmedicinalverket methodology manager Elias Palm commented.

The agency expects to reach an agreement to outsource the assessments by December this year, with the goal of starting the tests during the first quarter of 2017.

Earlier this week a Swedish pediatrician sparked debate when he criticized the current tests authorities use to verify the real age of asylum applicants, claiming some could even be as old as 40.

"The refugee children who are in their early and mid-teens are the ones who end up paying the price for this. These are resources that have been earmarked for children, but are used for another age group," Josef Milerad told newspaper Expressen.

Emphasis mine - the authorities thought 70% of them were lying. And there's still some debate as to whether the age tests are catching enough of them.

I'm sure you'll find people in Sweden saying that there's no problem and anyone who says there is is a racist. It is Sweden after all.

Re:Smells like a political coverup

By lucm • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Anyone who has tried to discuss this issue has been shamed and mocked.

What we're currently experiencing is the buildup of another Rotherham.

From the late 1980s until the 2010s, organised child sexual abuse continued almost unchallenged by legal authorities in the northern English town of Rotherham, South Yorkshire.
[...]
From January 2011 Andrew Norfolk of The Times pressed the issue, reporting in 2012 that the abuse in the town was widespread, and that the police and council had known about it for over ten years.
[...]
In August 2014 the Jay report concluded that an estimated 1,400 children, most of them white girls aged 11–16, but also british asian girls whose abuse mirrored the other victims, had been sexually abused in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013 by predominantly British-Pakistani men. A "common thread" was that taxi drivers had been picking the children up for sex from care homes and schools. The abuse included gang rape, forcing children to watch rape, dousing them with petrol and threatening to set them on fire, threatening to rape their mothers and younger sisters, and trafficking them to other towns.
[...]
The failure to address the abuse was attributed to a combination of factors revolving around race, class and gender—contemptuous and sexist attitudes toward the mostly working-class victims; fear that the perpetrators' ethnicity would trigger allegations of racism and damage community relations; the Labour council's reluctance to challenge a Labour-voting ethnic minority

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

So go on, join the polite fiction. And when all this shit gets uncovered, after enough people have been raped, robbed and murdered, you can then join the chorus of offended people who don't understand how the authorities let that happen again.

Re:What is this story doing on Slashdot?

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It's being discussed at length on /r/The_Donald and /r/MetaCanada and /r/European and all the other usual places.

Sorry, your Reddit censorship narrative is demonstrably wrong.

Dropbox Files Confidentially For IPO

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Dropbox, the file-sharing private company valued at $10 billion, has filed confidentially for a U.S. initial public offering. From the report: Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. will lead the potential listing, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the filing wasn't public. Dropbox is talking to other banks this month to fill additional roles on the IPO, the people said. The company is aiming to list in the first half of this year, one of the people said. Dropbox could be one of the biggest U.S. enterprise technology companies to list domestically in recent years.

Dropbox is likely to tout its biggest investment in recent years: its own cloud. It's spent hundreds of millions of dollars to build data centers and mostly wean itself off of Amazon.com Inc.'s servers, a rare feat for a software business with hundreds of millions of users. That's made it easier for Dropbox to cut costs while speeding file transfers, Chief Operating Officer Dennis Woodside said in an interview last year.

UH OH

By Kremmy • Score: 3 • Thread
Translation: Dropbox has filed intent to turn over stewardship of your private data to shareholders.

Pandora CEO Roger Lynch Wants To Create the Podcast Genome Project

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Janko Roettgers, reporting for Variety: Pandora's new CEO Roger Lynch has big plans for podcasts: Lynch told Variety on the sidelines of CES in Las Vegas Thursday that he wants to create "the equivalent of the podcast genome project" as the company plans to add many more podcasts to its catalog. Lynch, who joined Pandora as president and CEO in September, said that the company is working on a deep integration of podcasts that will allow users of the service to easily browse and discover new shows. Describing these efforts as a kind of podcast genome project is a nod to Pandora's Music Genome Project -- a massive database of dozens of musical attributes for every single song in the company's music library that is being used to compile stations and aid discovery. Pandora is also looking to offer podcasters monetization options that will be superior to the current state of podcast advertising. Currently, many podcasters still rely on ads that they read themselves on air, Lynch said. "It is not the most effective advertising model."

When It Comes to Gorillas, Google Photos Remains Blind

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Tom Simonite, writing for Wired: In 2015, a black software developer embarrassed Google by tweeting that the company's Photos service had labeled photos of him with a black friend as "gorillas." Google declared itself "appalled and genuinely sorry." An engineer who became the public face of the clean-up operation said the label gorilla would no longer be applied to groups of images, and that Google was "working on longer-term fixes." More than two years later, one of those fixes is erasing gorillas, and some other primates, from the service's lexicon. The awkward workaround illustrates the difficulties Google and other tech companies face in advancing image-recognition technology, which the companies hope to use in self-driving cars, personal assistants, and other products. WIRED tested Google Photos using a collection of 40,000 images well-stocked with animals. It performed impressively at finding many creatures, including pandas and poodles. But the service reported "no results" for the search terms "gorilla," "chimp," "chimpanzee," and "monkey."

Re:It's not a "vision problem" - it's genetic real

By Baron_Yam • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

1) IQ tests are extremely culturally biased. There may be average intelligence differences you could correlate with skin colour, but none we can currently measure, and certainly none significant enough to use to prejudge individual ability.

2) Koko is a fraud that has been debunked several times. Koko is amazing, but nowhere near the level of amazing that the involved researchers proclaim.

3) Reality isn't nice, but you're racist.

Re:In defense of Google

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

As someone 5 standard deviations above average...

IQ, or pants size?

Re: People look like apes, black people more so

By sheramil • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Google, American. 'Porch monkey', American racial term. This story is all about American race relations.

Haven't you heard? We're taking it back!

Re:Black Panthers was perfectly acceptable

By rahvin112 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Either you are being deliberately obtuse or you're an idiot.

Gorilla is offensive for the same reason other terms used derogatorily are. It was frequently used as a term of offense during the slave trade and jim crow. There are references going back to the 1600's when the slave trade started referring to humans with dark skin as gorilla's or apes.

But go ahead and think it's not a big deal because you're an idiot, you'd think differently if someone had used the term to refer to you as sub-human.

Re:Black Panthers was perfectly acceptable

By asdfman2000 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It was frequently used as a term of offense during the slave trade...

While Gorilla has been used as offensive term for blacks, you shouldn't make up facts. Just stick to the truth - it's bad enough as it is.

Gorillas weren't even known in the Western world until 1847. There's only a 14-year overlap with American Slavery (trans-atlantic slave trade having been abolished almost a half century before the discovery), and it's not like the American South was tapped into the latest ecology news out of Africa.

Microsoft Partners with Signal to Bring End-To-End Encryption to Skype

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft and Open Whisper Systems (makers of the Signal app) surprised many on Thursday when they said they are partnering to bring support for end-to-end (E2E) encrypted conversations to Skype. From a report: The new feature, called Skype Private Conversations has been rolled out for initial tests with Skype Insider builds. Private Conversations will encrypt Skype audio calls and text messages. Images, audio or video files sent via Skype's text messaging feature will also be encrypted. Microsoft will be using the Signal open-source protocol to encrypt these communications. This is the same end-to-end encryption protocol used by Facebook for WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, and by Google for the Allo app.

It's all about the key management

By bigtomrodney • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
You can have the strongest end-to-end encryption you want...it doesn't mean much if you don't know how your private and session keys are handled. It's all down to trusting the vendor that you're supposedly hiding your messages from with "end-to-end" encryption.

Actually the important info is who and when

By sasparillascott • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
The important thing for the surveillers is keeping a running log of who you talk to and when you talk to them and that is still preserved and not encrypted. Having the actual messages is nice, but not nearly as important as knowing who you talk to and when. This is also why Facebook, of all people, allows it on their programs.

Re:Yeah, right

By mark-t • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Companies that want their teleconferences protected from everyone else, don't give a shit about the US government snooping on them.

Anyone with even just a vague understanding of how computers work will realize that these two concepts are inherently contradictory. If the US government can eavesdrop, then so can anyone else, with the right know how. Encryption techniques exist, however, where no amount of know-how will actually make it any easier to decrypt... and these are the so-called unbreakable encryptions that law enforcement bitches about every so often, suggesting that they are thwarting law enforcement, and painting companies that utilize such techniques as deliberately working against them.

The thing that these people fail to realize is that those unbreakable encryptions are also thwarting untold numbers of would-be criminals that would be all too happy to snoop on people's personal and private data if they could... and use it to their advantage, and probably cause measurable harm to innocent parties.

Even *IF* the government could supposedly be trusted to not actually abuse such backdoors, there's no possible way to keep the bad guys from getting their hands on them, and doing incalculable levels of harm.

I don't think so

By HermMunster • Score: 3 • Thread

Microsoft has a history of cooperation with the feds. They implemented a centralized server away from p2p in order to at least give the feds access to monitor the Skype network. Signal is true end to end encryption. Efforts to merge the two will simply give the government access to the encrypted communication. Skype is a proprietary piece of software and thus cannot be audited. I've no idea whether Signal has been compromised but I'm leaning in that direction otherwise why else would they be working with a company known to violate their user's privacy and security.

So if it is based on Signal ..

By Alain Williams • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

which is an open source protocol will we be able to build 100% open source software that interoperates with other Skype users ? I somehow can't see that happening - I would like to be proven wrong.

Chinese Workers Abandon Silicon Valley for Riches Back Home

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
From a report on Bloomberg: U.S.-trained Chinese-born talent is becoming a key force in driving Chinese companies' global expansion and the country's efforts to dominate next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning. Where college graduates once coveted a prestigious overseas job and foreign citizenship, many today gravitate toward career opportunities at home, where venture capital is now plentiful and the government dangles financial incentives for cutting-edge research. "More and more talent is moving over because China is really getting momentum in the innovation area," said Ken Qi, a headhunter for Spencer Stuart and leader of its technology practice. "This is only the beginning."

Chinese have worked or studied abroad and then returned home long enough that there's a term for them -- "sea turtles." But while a job at a U.S. tech giant once conferred near-unparalleled status, homegrown companies -- from giants like Tencent to up-and-comers like news giant Toutiao -- are now often just as prestigious. Baidu Inc. -- a search giant little-known outside of China -- convinced ex-Microsoft standout Qi Lu to helm its efforts in AI, making him one of the highest-profile returnees of recent years.

Re:And yet..

By HornWumpus • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Just FYI. American schools do pretty well with better students, which isn't really a surprise, good students are easy.

It's our bottom 20% that fuck the average. They're functionally illiterate and innumerate. Bottom half+ are innumerate, but that's no problem for liberal arts majors.

Chinese grad students are still coming to the USA, just not in the numbers previously seen, going only to better schools.

Qualified American STEM students skip grad school because they want the money, now.

Given restrictions on US side, this is good

By WillAffleckUW • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

From the viewpoint that the US is not highly welcoming of highly educated US-educated PhDs and Masters from other nations, unlike most EU nations and Canada, it makes sense that they would return to China, where they don't prop up failing fossil fuel industries and have high speed rail, instead of trying to remain in a country in denial that it's the 21st Century already.

Now, this does point out that it would be in America's interest to encourage highly-educated US-educated PhDs and Masters recipients to remain, via expedited citizenship procedures, as occurs in the EU, UK, and Canada. But that's just an objective viewpoint.

Re:Communism

By hey! • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Stalinism is only one of many proposed models of communism, albeit the one with the greatest success.

China describes its own system as a form of market socialism, but in fact it's probably better thought of as a kind of state capitalism, with a parallel private sector in which the state freely interferes to suit public policy. While it's not a system I'd want to live under, it is undeniably successful.

I'd describe the ideological stance of China's ruling party as post-communist Burkean conservatism. The emphasis is on getting the institutions they already have to work rather than pursuing Utopian schemes. Instead of using ideology to make policy decisions, policy decisions are made pragmatically and later rationalized, a stance described by Deng Xiao-peng's famous slogan, "Practice Is the Sole Criterion for the Truth".

"Communist China" might well be the least ideological and most pragmatic society ever devised. This makes them formidable, because there's really nothing they can't do if it suits their purposes. For example President Xi is currently reducing state intervention in private sector businesses, something that would have been heresy in pre-Deng China. But it's not because he thinks it's right, it's because he thinks it will bring the country greater wealth. However that wouldn't stop him from nationalizing a business if he thought it was useful -- or more likely quietly forcing it to follow state directives. That wouldn't be wrong to their way of thinking.

Re:Communism

By hey! • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Although the governance of the Communist Party of China is opaque, it's supreme authority is not the President or General Secretary. Theoretically it is the thirty member politburo, but in practice it seems to be the seven member Politburo Standing Committee, whose votes in effect have force of law.

PSC members are chosen to provide an extensive array of party experience, representing expertise in local and regional government, internal party affairs and national security, and by that very nature represent deep and extensive connections throughout the party. It's not a bad way of doing things if you want them to be stable, but because the actual practice of power operates outside the formal Constitution of the nation or party it's hard to know for sure exactly how stable China is.

Re:Communism

By hey! • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Well, China is struggling with providing health care to its population too, but they have an interesting approach: they're focusing a lot of their efforts in prevention and reduction of chronic diseases to buy them time as they build out their health care delivery systems.

It's interesting to compare China vs. Russia, both post-communist states. China may have problems, but Russia is a basket case. China has a persistent corruption problem with officials charged with regulation; Russia is an outright kleptocracy. I think the difference between the two countries is this: mineral wealth. In Russia they can squabble out of riches they dig out of the ground, but if things don't work in China they've got nothing to squabble over.

Subscriptions With Automated Recurring Billing Come To Windows 10

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: In yet another bid to woo developers to the platform, Microsoft is introducing subscription add-ons for Windows 10 Anniversary Edition, and later. Available to all UWP developers, the add-on subscriptions with automated recurring billing will allow creators to sell digital products directly in their apps. Subscription periods available include 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year or 2 years, and it's possible for developers to offer a free trial period too.

Re: Told you so.

By cayenne8 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
PLEASE folks.....vote for this subscription BS with you wallets.

Don't buy in....

So far, I'm not going with Adobe's rental model, for example. I can do just fine with the CS6 suite for example I bought....and there are now competitors for many of those tools (Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, OnOne....etc)......

Don't give into this bullshit of renting your software....vote with your wallet, keep it closed.

Re: Told you so.

By geekmux • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

PLEASE folks.....vote for this subscription BS with you wallets.

Don't buy in....

So far, I'm not going with Adobe's rental model, for example. I can do just fine with the CS6 suite for example I bought....and there are now competitors for many of those tools (Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, OnOne....etc)......

Don't give into this bullshit of renting your software....vote with your wallet, keep it closed.

I wish there were enough people that agreed with this stance to make a real difference, and change the course we're on.

Unfortunately, you represent a mere fraction of consumer mentality out there, so SaaS infections will continue and be inevitable.

Re: Woo developers, shoo users

By Hal_Porter • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Don't worry Zuckerberg is in favour of a Universal Basic Income.

The first stage is a UBI

The second stage is that everything needs micropayment, cunningly priced so that the average person spends their whole UBI

The final stage is that the UBI goes directly to Whole foods, Apple or Microsoft, Facebook etc.

If you want a vision of the future imagine a vegan Birkenstock stamping on a human face forever

You earned it.

By Gravis Zero • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If you've stuck with Windows despite all the horrible shit that Microsoft has been doing to you, you've earned this. Seriously, you have put in a concerted effort bear all the spying, absurd UI changes and just all around malicious behavior, so this is your reward.

Re: Told you so.

By Joce640k • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It has NOTHING to do with the OS.

Yet.

Microsoft is setting up a large recurring payments infrastructure. You don't have to be a genius to see what's coming after the "beta testers" are done with it.

Intel Says Chip-Security Fixes Leave PCs No More Than 10% Slower

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Intel trying to defuse concern that fixes to widespread chip security vulnerabilities will slow computers, released test results late Wednesday showing that personal computers won't be affected much and promised more information on servers. From a report: The chipmaker published a table of data showing that older processors handled typical tasks 10 percent slower at most, after being updated with security patches. The information covered three generations of processors, going back to 2015, running Microsoft's Windows 10 and Windows 7 computer operating systems. Further reporting: Intel, Microsoft offer differing views on impact of chip flaw

Re: But what of the blowhards

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You paid for a processor that in the chip programmers refer nice clearly defines the design of the pipeline. The kernel and VM developers specifically chose to ignore the pipeline flush mechanism between task and thread switches in order to achieve more performance without understanding the repercussions of doing so. As such, you received greater performance which you took for granted as though that was the design.

As an OS and to a more limited extent firmware developer, I knew of these problems and chose to ignore them for many years as they provided me a means of producing faster JITs in JavaScript execution engines. In fact, I explicitly exploited these chip flaws to shave massive processing overhead associated with cache coherency.

You simply are claiming you paid for something you clearly didnâ(TM)t understand and are blaming the chip designers who did their due process instead of blaming people like me.

Re:But what of the blowhards

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Exaggeration isn't necessary. Even taking Intel at their word, that 10% differential has been their selling point for years. That means the very reason people bought Intel over the competitor is now bunk. At the very least, consumers are due a rebate, and that only (barely) addresses the lost value to those consumers, to say nothing about the damage Intel caused to its competitors in peddling this lie.

The 10% figure sure sounds negligible... until you give it more than five seconds of critical thought. Any way you slice it, Intel reaped illegitimate profits. And instead of making it right, they're busy trying to discredit the very people who have supported them over the years: their customers. This is the gold standard of how not to handle a situation like this.

Re:huh?

By jwhyche • Score: 4 • Thread

How about we demand a 10% refund on our chips? I wonder how that would fly. I think replacement would be a better offer though.

Re:huh?

By jwhyche • Score: 4 • Thread

I doubt that most users would even notice a 10% difference. I've applied all the appropriate patches and I haven't noticed any difference in performance. Still that being said, I didn't pay for 90% performance. I paid for 100% performance, and I expect to have it.

I switched from AMD to Intel for this cycles build. I'm starting to rethink that.

Re:So AMD processors were faster all along?

By HiThere • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Both chips did branch prediction, AMD just checked address validity before the speculative execution rather than afterwards. This allowed Intel chips to be faster at executing the code by ignoring certain (apparently known) security problems.

But whether it was actually faster or not can be disputed, because Intel is also known to have gamed compilers to disadvantage AMD. In that case they made the AMD chips seem slower by cheating. The question is how many of the benchmarks were done with the altered compilers. And this is where the accusation that Intel made their chips *seem* faster gains validity.

House Passes Bill To Renew NSA Internet Spying Tool

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Dustin Volz, reporting for Reuters: The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill to renew the National Security Agency's warrantless internet surveillance program, overcoming objections from privacy advocates and confusion prompted by morning tweets from President Donald Trump that initially questioned the spying tool. The legislation, which passed 256-164 and split party lines, is the culmination of a yearslong debate in Congress on the proper scope of U.S. intelligence collection -- one fueled by the 2013 disclosures of classified surveillance secrets by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Senior Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives had urged cancellation of the vote after Trump appeared to cast doubt on the merits of the program, but Republicans forged ahead.

Re:Even More Interesting Than This...

By PopeRatzo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

...is watching how long slashdot takes to release one of the twitter "shadowban" stories currently burning up its firehose all morning...

The only source reporting the "shadowban" is James O'Keefe, who has never, ever broken an honest story. I would think that before you believe anything a source has to say, there needs to be at least one instance of that source not being dishonest.

Whatever your definition of credible source, O'Keefe and Project Veritas are the exact opposite of that.

Re:Even More Interesting Than This...

By Trailer Trash • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

We're aware of the story. But we need credible sources to corroborate the claims before we run it here.

Oh, this is rich. msmash now requires "credible sources". Thank God I wasn't taking a drink when I read that.

Re:Vote

By arth1 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

It would have been better if you had posted the link to the right roll. The one you posted is about rapid DNA analysis, not the counter individual network act. Try http://clerk.house.gov/evs/201...
And weep.

Re: FISA Section 702 = Mass surveillance on Americ

By p4nther2004 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Much of the opposition came from Democrats, though the vote did produce a striking coalition of conservatives and liberals who backed an alternative that would have imposed stricter protections for Americans whose information got snared in the data dragnet. https://m.washingtontimes.com/...

Rand Paul plans to filibuster in the Senate

By schwit1 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/10...

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is prepared to filibuster the reauthorization of Section 702 of the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act, which is up for a vote in the House to authorize a six-year extension, in an effort to get warrant requirement for Americans.

“My worry is that they also collect information on millions of Americans, and I don’t want that database to be searched without a warrant,” “I will filibuster and do whatever to stop that,” he added.

In the event that protections were included for U.S. citizens’ private information, Paul said he would support reauthorizing Section 702.

Uber Used Another Secret Software To Evade Police, Report Says

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
schwit1 shares a Bloomberg report: In May 2015 about 10 investigators for the Quebec tax authority burst into Uber Technologies's office in Montreal. The authorities believed Uber had violated tax laws and had a warrant to collect evidence. Managers on-site knew what to do, say people with knowledge of the event. Like managers at Uber's hundreds of offices abroad, they'd been trained to page a number that alerted specially trained staff at company headquarters in San Francisco. When the call came in, staffers quickly remotely logged off every computer in the Montreal office, making it practically impossible for the authorities to retrieve the company records they'd obtained a warrant to collect. The investigators left without any evidence.

Most tech companies don't expect police to regularly raid their offices, but Uber isn't most companies. The ride-hailing startup's reputation for flouting local labor laws and taxi rules has made it a favorite target for law enforcement agencies around the world. That's where this remote system, called Ripley, comes in. From spring 2015 until late 2016, Uber routinely used Ripley to thwart police raids in foreign countries, say three people with knowledge of the system. Allusions to its nature can be found in a smattering of court filings, but its details, scope, and origin haven't been previously reported. The Uber HQ team overseeing Ripley could remotely change passwords and otherwise lock up data on company-owned smartphones, laptops, and desktops as well as shut down the devices. This routine was initially called the unexpected visitor protocol. Employees aware of its existence eventually took to calling it Ripley, after Sigourney Weaver's flamethrower-wielding hero in the Alien movies. The nickname was inspired by a Ripley line in Aliens, after the acid-blooded extraterrestrials easily best a squad of ground troops. 'Nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.'

Re:Most tech companies

By Alypius • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
We routinely describe our legal system as "adversarial" without rancor; it's the same reason why people are advised not to speak with investigators without legal counsel present.

it's not completely clear cut

By supernova87a • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
When exactly does it become obstruction of justice? After you're informed and instructed not to interfere with an investigation? Or before?

If you delete a file on your laptop in the course of a normal day that no police is interested in, clearly that cannot be obstruction of justice. Even if 2 weeks later someone tells you that file was relevant to some investigation.

If you actively push a police investigator with a valid warrant away from your computer and type a command to erase the laptop, clearly that could be called obstruction of justice.

Now, how about if you erase your file after you read in the news that your general industry is being investigated for some wrongdoing? How about as you see the police pull up to your house? They haven't given you any notice that your files are of interest to "justice". How about as they knock on the door?

Where is the line drawn?

Re:Pretty common police 'tactic' for digital evide

By hey! • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

There is another salient difference between a warrant and a subpoena: a subpoena requires the cooperation of the target. The writ obtains that cooperation viathreat of punishment -- in fact that's the root of the word: sub poena -- under punishment.

However that threat is empty if you're never caught.

If subpoenas truly compelled a suspect to turn over evidence, you'd never have to do anything like a high stakes drug raid. You'd simply have the court issue a writ ordering the suspect to turn over all the drugs and related records and wait for your evidence to show up at the court on the appointed date.

So the choice of search warrant and subpoena in the case of a company like Uber depends on your estimate of their willingness to risk defying the law.

Re:Exactly.

By Frobnicator • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Except the cops had a warrant.

Warrants allow for searches and seizures. And that is what police did. But a warrant for the machines doesn't mean the company needs to help officers access accounts, read the data, nor help by decoding or decrypting them.

There are many legal tools if the authorities want to obtain specific documents and records. An unannounced visit to seize computer equipment is typically the worst of those tools. The searches are often sloppy and (for those who are prepared) the searches are easily overcome by measures like those in the story. Authorities love "snatch and grab" because the surprise often grants access to a wide range of other secondary data, also including ad-hoc statements and access to items that are nearby on whiteboards and both on and inside desks and at the time of the police break-in.

The company still has a fight ahead, but the policy generally is a strong case that they were protecting user's data rather than obstructing justice. Agents had an order to seize computers, the computers were seized. If agents produce an order to produce specific documents, I'm sure they could be produced. They complied with the requests while also protecting private information of millions of customers. That isn't obstruction.

If they actually destroyed their data, or if they altered or falsified data, those actions would be obstruction. But locking down records for proper data preservation and basic data security are not obstruction.

Re: If a remote network command can thwart police

By another_twilight • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

They're providing cheaper transportation fares despite gov't regulations that protect entrenched taxi companies from upstart competitors

While avoiding paying taxes and paying their 'workers' less than labour laws require.

They aren't shouldering a share of the costs of the community/society from which they are making money and they aren't paying enough to their workers to meet the requirements of the law. If the labour laws are poor, incomplete or even corrupt - change them. But a company making an end-run around them is not a useful solution.

Government created/protected monopolies exist (ideally) in industries where competition would be harmful to the industry and/or society. Taxis are a good example of this. Unregulated competition creates a race to the bottom with desperate drivers in cars that are barely roadworthy competing to find a fare, then having to find a way to milk that fare to cover costs.

However, these monopolies must be regularly challenged and scrutinised to prevent the sort of entrenched corruption that becomes almost inevitable. To that extent, I think start-ups that challenge monopolies are fantastic. But that becomes a fig leaf when the company is simply exploiting the community (no/low tax) and their workers (avoiding labour laws). The potential benefit of shaking up an entrenched player does not justify breaking the law, nor the sort of exploitation that the regulation/monopoly was created to prevent.

Top US Government Computers Linked to Revenge-Porn Site

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Joseph Cox, reporting for The Daily Beast: Data obtained by a security analyst and shared with The Daily Beast reveals the behind-the-scenes of the epicenter of revenge porn: a notorious image board called Anon-IB, where users constantly upload non-consensual imagery, comment on it, and trade nudes like baseball cards. The data shows Anon-IB users connecting from U.S. Senate, Navy, and other government computers, including the Executive Office of the President, even as senators push for a bill that would further combat the practice, and after the military's own recent revenge-porn crisis. "Wow tig ol bitties. You have any nudes to share?" someone wrote in November, underneath a photo of a woman who apparently works in D.C., while connecting from an IP address registered to the U.S. Senate.

Anon-IB is a free-to-use message board where users post images, typically of women, and which is split into various genre or location sections. Some parts are focused on countries, while U.S. sections may narrow down to a state. Many users pursue so-called wins, which are nude or explicit photos, and may egg each other on to share more images. Anon-IB was also intertwined with a 2014 breach of celebrity nudes referred to as The Fappening. "Looking for wins of [redacted]. She used to send nudes to my friend all of the time. Would love to see some more," someone connecting from the U.S. Senate IP address wrote last August.

What's so revenge-like about...

By Nutria • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

"She used to send nudes to my friend all of the time"?

Looks like women trying to attract powerful men.

Let's see

By nospam007 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Any chance for the peepee-tape?

is anyone really surprised by this?

By e3m4n • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

We are talking about a body of people who feel they are exempt from the very laws they pass. They commit insider trading and yet the SEC never prosecutes them. They pass a healthcare plan that is touted to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, yet exempted themselves from that too. Sexual harassment training is required of all government employees and military, and yet we recently learned that the house and senate did NOT have any such programs in place. Its as if they think their Congressional Immunity extends beyond the narrow definition of Legislative Acts as defined by the Supreme Court.

Re:is anyone really surprised by this?

By hey! • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Don't look at us liberals. We wanted to give everyone to have the same kind of health care plan that members of Congress get, but we had to settle for a Republican health care plan ginned up by the Heritage Foundation for Bob Dole's presidential campaign. You know, the one that not only preserves private insurance companies, but also guarantees them more customers and compensates them for absorbing high risk patients.

The Invented Language That Found a Second Life Online

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
More than 100 years after it was invented, Esperanto is spoken by relatively few people. But the internet has brought new life to this intriguing, invented language. From a report: Since it [Esperanto] was first proposed in a small booklet written by Ludwik L Zamenhof in 1887, it has evolved into the quintessential invented language, the liveliest and most popular ever created. But, many would tell you, Esperanto is a failure. More than a century after it was created, its current speaker base is just some two million people -- a geeky niche, not unlike the fan base of any other obscure hobby.

[...] Learning Esperanto used to be a solitary quest. You could practise it by sitting for weeks with a book and a dictionary, figuring out the rules and memorising the words. But there was usually no professor to correct your mistakes or polish your pronunciation. That's how Anna Lowenstein taught herself Esperanto in her teenage years, after becoming frustrated with the oddities of the French she was learning in school. In the last page of her textbook, there was an address for the British Esperanto Association. She sent a letter, and some time later was invited to a meeting of young speakers in St Albans.

The global community that Lowenstein was joining was put together via snail mail, paper magazines and yearly meetings. [...] Newer generations are not as patient, and they don't have to be. Unlike most of their elders, who rarely had the chance to speak Esperanto, today's speakers can use the language every day online. Even old computer communication services like Usenet had Esperanto-speaking hubs, and a lot of pages and chat rooms sprouted in the early days of the Web. Today, the younger segment of the Esperantio is keen on using social media: they gather around several groups in Facebook and Telegram, a chat service.

The Irony of Esperanto

By careysub • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Esperanto was invented by an opthamologist, L. L. Zamenhof, to be a universal second (and maybe eventually first) language that would overcome the "curse of Babel", so many different tongues in use that people cannot communicate. Being an artificial language there would be one codified grammar that everyone would use instead of the many dialectical variations seen in natural languages.

Only Zamenhof, while multi-lingual, was no linguist and did a mediocre job of designing the language. In his (partial) defense he was one of the first to try this (there were a few earlier projects), artificial language design was not trendy the way it seems today.

And so for a universal, common language Esperanto has had a tendency to generate new dialects (Ido, Romániço, etc.) often due the inadequacies of Zamenhof's original specification.

There are a number of significant design flaws that make this "easy to learn" language unnecessarily hard. The transitivity of verbs for example requires memorizing the semi-arbitrary rule assignments for hundreds of verbs, and most Esperanto users make frequent errors. Also the actual interpretation of verbs was not properly defined by Zamenhof, whether they express tenses (past, present, future) or aspects (whether it is completed or on-going). Zamenhof apparently did not understand the distinction himself and wrote contradictory things. In fact his grammar is often vague and numerous controversies have developed over the years.

Then there was the wholly unnecessary inclusion of gender for nouns. Zamenhof apparently did this because the languages he was familiar with did this, but the gender assignments are arbitrary, add nothing of a value to the language, require memorization, and are a problem that must be decided with each newly coined word. As a result the language in use has diverged from the official grammar and dictionary, with the conversion of most "male" gendered words to neutral. And this has led to a dialectical split in the language with people who want to simply eliminate gender (or at least the male gender) and those that want to preserve the original specification (such as it is).

Re:Fast second language

By Dog-Cow • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Learning a third language is impossible if you don't know a second language.

Re:Bast Shatner movie ever!

By tsqr • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

There may be a couple million people in the world who speak some Klingon, but I'd bet the number who can sustain a conversation fluently in Klingon for, say, half an hour, is probably less than 5000.

Probably much less than 5000. This article estimates the number of fluent speakers of Klingon at a few dozen.

Obligatory

By Megane • Score: 3 • Thread

Learn not to speak Esperanto

tl;dr: Esperanto is badly designed, with a lot of irregularity and Eastern European-isms built into it, especially the choice of phonemes.

Also this: https://xkcd.com/927/

Interlingua is better

By The_Dougster • Score: 3 • Thread

Interlingua is one of Esperanto's competitors. It resembles a simplified modern spoken latin and is very useful for scientific communication. It is said that interlingua can be understood relatively well by most speakers of european languages, although the reverse is not necessarily true.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

It is a good language to study just to learn the word roots which have high cognates with other modern languages.

More Colleges Than Ever Have Test-Optional Admissions Policies

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Back in the 1980s, Bates College and Bowdoin College were nearly the only liberal arts colleges not to require applicants to submit SAT or ACT test scores. On Jan. 10, FairTest, a Boston-based organization that has been pushing back against America's testing regime since 1985, announced that the number of colleges that are test-optional has now surpassed 1,000. From a report: This milestone means that more than one-third of America's four-year nonprofit colleges now reject the idea that a test score should strongly determine a student's future. The ranks of test-optional institutions include hundreds of prestigious private institutions, such as George Washington, New York University, Wesleyan University and Wake Forest University. The list also includes hundreds of public universities, such as George Mason, San Francisco State and Old Dominion.

Re: I'll buy this

By Mashiki • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I'm trying to remember the actual case, but I'm pretty sure it ran down like this. Person from India or Pakistan, came to Canada with a mechanical engineering degree. The requirements in Canada require that if you get a degree out-of-country you have to submit to reexamination. Went all the way to court, and the court said nope, you're just doing that because of his race. The examination rules were rewritten to get around that particular court case and still require reexamination.

If there's one thing you can be sure of, it's that in today's hypersensitivity of "you're only doing this because x, reason so I don't have to follow your rules!" bullshit, you can be sure that there's a judge somewhere that will agree with that "progressive agenda" and put people at risk.

Big Government Nonsense!

By Comboman • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

How's the prospect of being operated on a by surgeon who didn't opt to take the medical license exam but nontheless feels his ability to make a positive contribution shouldn't be predicated on a single number sound to you?

What kind of liberal socialist commy pansy talk is that? Government regulation is oppression! Let the invisible hand of the market decide what surgeons are qualified. The incompetent ones will soon be out of business and the good ones won't have the added expense of all that unnecessary regulation. Some patients might die in the process but that's a small price to pay for freedom.

Re:Funny, when they choose to drop the tests.

By quintus_horatius • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I've listened to admissions people, since my own kids are in high school now. The reason admissions offices are dropping the test requirement is that it no longer has a strong correlation with college success. That's it. The colleges are not dumbing anything down; to the contrary, admissions offices are widening the scope of their criteria in an effort to find the things that DO correlate with success.

The SAT is broken and doesn't serve anyone but the College Board. Good by and good riddance to it.

Re:Useful for most students

By butchersong • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
The top third of today's classes are really the only ones that belong in college anyway. SAT/ACT type test taking never correlated to effort for me but if someone is willing to apply themselves to the degree that they are able to significantly raise their SAT score even though they may not have the natural aptitude... that's another group that should be in college.

Honestly, how can someone be said to be ready for college if they haven't even bothered to take the standard test? What is so amazing about them? Obviously not their work ethic or intelligence... or they would have taken the test.

How about the opposite?

By T.E.D. • Score: 3 • Thread

My kids, for some reason I can't quite figure out, flat out can't bring themselves to do homework. They'll always ace tests though. Something to do with their particular flavor of ADHD, I'm told. Most "solutions" to this problem involve extreme parental intervention, which aren't practical when you have more than one of them at once, and flat out doesn't work when the young person goes off to college in another state.

So what I really need are colleges that do the opposite - Test-only policies.

Bitcoin Conference Stops Accepting BTC Due To High Fees

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: Next week the popular cryptocurrency event, The North American Bitcoin Conference (TNABC) will be hosted in downtown Miami at the James L Knight Center, January 18-19. However, bitcoin proponents got some unfortunate news this week as the event organizers have announced they have stopped accepting bitcoin payments for conference tickets due to network fees and congestion. Bitcoin settlement times, and the fee market associated with transactions, have become a hot topic these days as on-chain fees have risen to $30-60 per transaction. These issues have made it extremely difficult for businesses to operate, and many merchants have stopped accepting bitcoin for services and goods altogether.

Re:Monopoly Money

By Rei • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

It's about time Parker Brothers made a Monopoly Money coin ;) Then it would get real value!

Greater Fool Theory

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Speculation. I buy bitcoins because I know some other idiots will buy bitcoins with the hope that they will keep on growing in prize.

That's called the Greater Fool Theory. Highly speculative markets can turn the other way instantly.

Re:$30+ fees?

By vivian • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

With a fixed number of transactions per block, and a limited block frequency, the transaction fees must by necessity increase as trading volume increases. Increasing volume will only push up competition for the limited number of transaction slots available, which with a 1 MB block is 3.3 to 7 transactions per second. That's a hard limit of 400k to 600k transactions per day.
Right now, the biggest peak has been 498000 transactions per day - on Fri 15 Dec, right before the peak value on 17 Dec.

Wait till the bubble really pops - the transaction fees are going to be massive as there is a mad scrabble for people desperate to get their money out.
The miners are going to make an absolute killing when bitcoin plummets. Unfortunately for them, it's going to be a fortune in bitcoin.

As a currency, it's useless.
As a store of value, it's also questionable - you'd be better off putting your money into something that there is actually a use for in the economy - natural resources or investments in productive capital.

Re:Greater Fool Theory

By TheRaven64 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It can take a long time though, and while you're riding the upwards curve and selling slowly you can make a lot of money. The thing that people always forget when they read about the tulip bubble and he wall street crash is that as many people became rich as went bankrupt. It's a zero-sum game, so every dollar someone loses will be won by someone else. In many ways, it resembles a poker game where both players are bluffing. Eventually either one will fold or they'll call and whoever has the higher card will win.

I have not speculated on bitcoin, because I don't have any confidence that I can predict the inflection point well enough to find a greater fool before it does.

Re:$30+ fees?

By TheRaven64 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Gold is a good conductor and doesn't corrode in air. These two things mean that there is a real demand for gold for electrical connectors and jewellery. It's relatively scarce, so the demand is high in proportion to the supply. If gold were cheaper, then we'd plate a lot more things in gold (e.g. pretty much every electrical connector - gold isn't quite as good a conductor as copper, but it's a much better conductor than copper oxide). That gives a lower bound on the price of gold: if it were plentiful then we'd use it for a lot more and its price would drop to close to that of copper or aluminium, but not to zero.

Salt hasn't been a viable currency for quite a long time, but that doesn't mean that people don't still trade salt in futures markets.

FBI Calls Apple 'Jerks' and 'Evil Geniuses' For Making iPhone Cracks Difficult

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
troublemaker_23 shares a report from iTWire: A forensics expert from the FBI has lashed out at Apple, calling the company's security team a bunch of "jerks" and "evil geniuses" for making it more difficult to circumvent the encryption on its devices. Stephen Flatley told the International Conference on Cyber Security in New York on Wednesday that one example of the way that Apple had made it harder for him and his colleagues to break into the iPhone was by recently making the password guesses slower, with a change in hash iterations from 10,000 to 10,000,000. A report on the Motherboard website said Flatley explained that this change meant that the speed at which one could brute-force passwords went from 45 attempts a second to one every 18 seconds. "Your crack time just went from two days to two months," he was quoted as saying. "At what point is it just trying to one up things and at what point is it to thwart law enforcement? Apple is pretty good at evil genius stuff," Flatley added.

Re:it's a decision

By famebait • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I can't speak for anyone else, but I have lots of other issues with Apple, both technical and businesswise.

It still remains a fact that their core business model revolves around the sale of their own hardware and software.
The other biggies are either all or largely about monetizing data about their users.
This difference has real consequences.

I don't buy for a second that Apple care more about privacy out of the purity of their hearts. But their business model allows them to deliver on that front should they wish to, and lately their market (the users) gives them reason to wish so.

The others can only really go so far on privacy, no matter what users shout for, bacause their markets (not the users) have very different requirements with regard to personal information.

Re: Didn't have to bribe anyone to break every DRM

By c6gunner • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

You're confusing different things. DRM and copy protection are relatively easily cracked because the keys used for decryption have to be available to the software/device in order for it to function; they're just obfuscated in various ways that make them difficult to obtain. On the other hand, when you encrypt a device yourself the encryption key/password does not need to be stored anywhere other than in your head.

Finding a key which is recorded but obfuscated is not at all similar to finding a key which only exists in the brain of an individual. Especially if you're not allowed to use torture, or if the person in question is already dead.

Stupid or disingenous?

By sjbe • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If we could somehow create magical impenetrable *physical* fortresses that cannot be opened or accessed by the duly-empowered law enforcement and judicial powers of a democratic society, would we say that's just the way it is?

We would have to. Total strawman you have there but I'll roll with it. To make it tangible the laws of mathematics are not bendable for the convenience of some and not others. Once encryption is broken by one party, it is a trivial exercise to break it for an arbitrary number of other parties or to simply distribute the data being protected. Once you have one key it's cheap and easy to make copies of the key and much more expensive to replace the locks. And once the data is taken there is no point since that would be like locking the door after the thief has already run off with your stuff.

There is no one "right" answer to a question like this save the ones we collectively and imperfectly come to as a society.

Actually there is a right answer here and air quotes are not needed. Your options are either to use encryption properly to keep data secure or to not use it at all and live with the consequences. There literally is no middle ground. Weak encryption or backdoored encryption = no encryption.

Apple believes it is protecting freedom. It's wrong. Here's why:

That article is a complete load of nonsense. The author is either an idiot or has an agenda. His arguments are flawed to their core. The argument is basically that bad guys are lazy and won't be bothered to take advantage of government mandated back doors. That argument is so stupid I barely know were to begin.

You are not Google's customer

By ghoul • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Google's customer are the companies who pay money to Google for ads. You do not pay any money to Google so how can you be their customer? You and your profile is Google's product which Google sells to advertizers. They take care to anonymize the data not because you will stop paying money to them (how can you ? you dont pay anything today) but because if profiles end up in their advertizers hands the advertizers can market directly and dont need to go through Google.
Ditto Facebook.
Apple actually gets money from you and me so it cares what we think .

Re: Didn't have to bribe anyone to break every DRM

By Waffle Iron • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Actually, for most phones the encryption keys *are* kept in the phone and obfuscated; they're kept in tamper-resistant hardware storage (which must be rather effective, otherwise the spies wouldn't be complaining).

The info kept in the user's head is just a short PIN that could be cracked in seconds if they were actually used as the key. The security lies in the phone firmware/hardware only allowing a small number of PIN guesses before it wipes out the real keys.

New Ingestible Pill Can Track Your Farts In Real Time

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A group of Australian researchers have developed an ingestible electronic capsule to monitor gas levels in the human gut. "When it's paired with a pocket-sized receiver and a mobile phone app, the pill reports tail-wind conditions in real time as it passes from the stomach to the colon," reports Ars Technica. The invention has been reported in the journal Nature Electronics. From the report: The authors are optimistic that the capsule's gas readings can help clear the air over the inner workings of our intricate innards and the multitudes of microbes they contain. Such fume data could clarify the conditions of each section of the gut, what microbes are up to, and which foods may cause problems in the system. Until now, collecting such data has been a challenge. The capsule is 26mm in length, with a 9.8mm external diameter -- like a large vitamin. Its polymer shell surrounds sensors for temperature, CO2, H2, and O2, as well as a button-size silver oxide battery and a transmission system. One end of the capsule contains a gas-permeable membrane that allows for fast diffusion of gut gases.

old tech

By bloodhawk • Score: 3 • Thread
I have been able to track mine in real time for most of my life, the only exceptions being when I had particularly bad colds.

Re:Grunthos the Flatulent

By geekmux • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The main utility of such a pill + phone app would be to let everyone else around me know when I'm about to fart. I will know anyway.

The marketing of mass amounts of telemetry has reeked of bullshit for years now. This is just another crappy data metric to put a price tag on. And yes, it will sell.

Also, it would make excuses like "It wasn't me!" completely moot.

Perhaps that's the entire point. We'll be able to pinpoint who farted in a crowd with precise accuracy using a combination of Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS triangulation. Just when we've started to conquer harassment, someone pulls a new way to do it out of their ass.

Needed for cows! No really!

By wisebabo • Score: 3 • Thread

Actually if they could make a version of this for cows (and "persuade" the cows not to chew it on the way down) it might be able to retrieve some important data on their methane production.

For those who don't know, methane is a much (20x) "stronger" greenhouse gas (and that's not even counting the smell). Ruminants are supposedly a large source of the gas (and I guess leaks from oil production and distribution) and so if a way to reduce their "emissions" were found that still allowed them to digest their food that could play a small but not insignificant role in reducing climate change. Perhaps genetically engineering the microbes so that they are not so methanogenic or adding some methane consuming microbes to their intestinal flora would do the trick.

Or perhaps either 1) reducing the amount of "meat" eaten (not for me) or 2) perhaps growing the meat in tissue cultures or 3) making really good substitute "meat" using genetically engineered plants that taste like meat (through the inclusion of hemoglobin like iron associated proteins that give meat its taste).

Re:Grunthos the Flatulent

By mjwx • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

The main utility of such a pill + phone app would be to let everyone else around me know when I'm about to fart. I will know anyway.

Also, it would make excuses like "It wasn't me!" completely moot.

The main utility of such a pill is to give you enough notice to move closer to the dog.

Besides, I can usually track my farts based on the sounds emitting from my arse... if not the smell.

The scatological is still the highest humor

By alternative_right • Score: 3 • Thread

Underneath all of our fancy gadgets, clothing, titles, money, and neurosis, we are still giggling monkeys in the bush, lighting our farts and hoping that the resulting glee will somehow diminish the pain of eternal darkness after death. No wonder our society is so neurotic.

Senior Citizens Will Lead the Self-Driving Revolution

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Villages in Florida -- home to 125,000 residents, over 54,000 homes, 32 square miles, 750 miles of road, and three distinct downtowns -- will soon get a fleet of robot taxis. "Voyage, a startup that has been operating a handful of self-driving cars in the San Jose, California-based retirement community also called The Villages, announced today that later this year it will expand to the much-larger Villages north of Orlando," reports The Verge. "This is thanks to a successful Series A fundraising round that raked in $20 million in 2017." From the report: It's an indication that, strangely enough, many of the first people to fully experience the possibilities presented by self-driving cars will be over the age of 55. Most experts agree that robot cars will first roll out as fleets of self-driving taxis in controlled environments -- college campuses, business parks, dedicated freeway lanes, city centers, or retirement communities. Self-driving startups get to boast about providing a real service for people in need, while seniors get to lord over their grandchildren about being early adopters of a bold new technology. They're also getting something a little more valuable: Voyage is giving the owners of The Villages and the smaller San Jose development equity stakes of 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively, according to The Information. Voyage's self-driving cars aren't fully driverless. Safety drivers will remain behind the wheel just in case there's a need to intervene. And to compliment its digital mapping capabilities, the startup says it will partner with Carmera, a 3D mapmaker for autonomous vehicles. This type of partnership is necessary for what Voyage believes is "the largest deployment (by area size) of self-driving cars in the world."

Re:Once the price comes down, anyway

By Kjella • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Most senior citizens donâ(TM)t have copious amounts of spare cash - so this first really needs to filter down to the low end of the automotive market.

But you don't need "most", you need a market that has moderate wealth and who'd desperately like to get back to the freedom of having a car. I think my parents would be a good case, they lost their driver's licenses involuntarily - okay my mom gave hers up, but only because it was obvious she wasn't fit to drive anymore - and they have a down paid house and comfortable economy. They could take taxis and occasionally they do but it's to them different, it's like not their car, driven by a stranger and for some things like going to their cabin it feels awkwardly expensive even though that's more psychological. I mean let's say they'd probably have a $30k car each if they could drive, together plus extra "I want it" factor... I think they'd pay $100k for a self-driving car.

Not that this sounds like anything like that, it's a slow-moving ride with a safety driver meaning it's basically just testing of the kind Google has been doing for many years. This seems to be more of a novelty, but I guess they're hoping to be bought by someone trying to jump on the SDC bandwagon. I'd be very surprised if this is the path to market dominance. But they, the more the merrier I just wish they'd get there... they've barely started to put the safety driver in the back seat, much less kick him out entirely.

Re:Have some dignity, for crying out loud !

By scottrocket • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Drive slower? My grandmother drove fast as hell. She felt that as long as she could come to a halt before a red light that is all that's required. She drove like an NYC cabbie. I don't why, but slow she was not. Much to everyone's concern.

Did she come from Pasadena?

Re:The wife has epilepsy and can't drive...

By JaredOfEuropa • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The elderly & the blind (vision impaired) are all early candidates

Exactly. I don't understand why the authors of the article find it strange that the early adopters of self driving cars are people who have problems driving themselves. For them, there's a clear business case that justifies the expense. The fact that the Villages is a closed community filled with prospective clients makes it a perfect candidate for a pilot. Not strange at all...

Nobody here has been to the Villages in FL

By swb • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Reading these comments, it seems nobody has actually been to the Villages in Florida.

The summary is right, it's huge -- it goes on and on and on. What it leaves out, though, is that the entire place is meant to be navigable on foot but mostly via golf cart. Everybody there has a customized golf cart, and you can go anywhere in the Villages via golf cart and everyone does. There's almost no automobile traffic.

The place is split up into "towns" with each one having a little town square and often its own recreational features (pools, community centers, golf courses, etc). They're all open to all Villages residents, too, and the little squares have businesses that are unique.

It's also pretty affluent -- the newer parts of the Villages are pretty luxurious and I think they get a lot of money for the homes/townhouses. The older parts are more similar to small prefab houses, but I think the whole place is in demand and while parts are cheaper, none are cheap. (Side fact: very high STD incidence in the Villages).

Anyway, it seems like a reasonable place to test self-driving cars due to the limited traffic. The downside is you'll never pull these people out of their golf carts. I'd wager that there are people who can't drive a car but still drive their golf cart. Plus, most of the residents are still in a pretty mobile/independent stage of living. If you already can't drive at all, you probably have other problems that make living in your own home a challenge, limiting the audience for self-driving cars.

Re:Welcome to the modern Ghetto!

By aussie_a • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You're a complete psycho. If someone says something to them you are going to commit murder?

For fuck's sake. I hope someone locks you up before you do anyone serious harm.

Get a grip.