the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2018-Mar-09 today archive


  1. Researchers Discover Colistin-Heteroresistant Germs In the US
  2. MIT Plans To Build Nuclear Fusion Plant By 2033
  3. Lenovo Lays Off a Chunk of Its Motorola Smartphone Team
  4. California Bullet Train Costs Soar To $77.3 Billion, Will Take 5 Years Longer To Complete
  5. Cable Industry Finally Fights Cord Cutting With Fewer Ads
  6. 'Flippy,' the Fast Food Robot, Turned Off For Being Too Slow
  7. Apple Files Patent For a Crumb-Resistant MacBook Keyboard
  8. Android Beats iOS In Smartphone Loyalty, Study Finds
  9. YouTube Is Full of Easy-To-Find Neo-Nazi Propaganda
  10. FCC's Ajit Pai is Surrounded By a 'Set of People With a Very Traditional Mindset', Says Sir Tim Berners-Lee
  11. China's Alibaba is Investing Huge Sums in AI Research and Resources -- and It Is Building Tools To Challenge Google and Amazon
  12. In a Remarkable Turn of Events, Hackers -- Not Users -- Lost Money in Attempted Cryptocurrency Exchange Heist
  13. Pockets of Water May Lay Deep Below Earth's Surface
  14. Documents Prove Local Cops Have Bought Cheap iPhone Cracking Tech
  15. Downloads of Popular Apps Were Silently Swapped For Spyware in Turkey: Citizen Lab
  16. Sea Level Rise in the SF Bay Area Just Got a Lot More Dire
  17. Windows 10's Next Update Will Be Called 'Spring Creators Update'
  18. Slashdot Asks: What Are Some Apps and Online Services You Use To Discover, Track and Evaluate Movies, TV Shows, Music and Books?
  19. Half of Ransomware Victims Didn't Recover Their Data After Paying the Ransom
  20. Twitter Exploring Letting Everyone Get a Blue Tick For Verification, CEO Jack Dorsey Says
  21. Researchers Provide Likely Explanation For the 'Sonic Weapon' Used At the US Embassy In Cuba
  22. The Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy Returns With the Original Cast
  23. Fake News Spreads Faster Than True News On Twitter -- Thanks To People, Not Bots

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

Researchers Discover Colistin-Heteroresistant Germs In the US

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: For the first time, researchers have discovered strains of a deadly, multidrug-resistant bacterium that uses a cryptic method to also evade colistin, an antibiotic used as a last-resort treatment. That's according to a study of U.S. patients published this week by Emory University researchers in the open-access microbiology journal mBio. The wily and dangerous bacteria involved are carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae or CRKP, which are already known to resist almost all antibiotics available, including other last-line antibiotics called carbapenems. The germs tend to lurk in clinical settings and can invade the urinary tract, bloodstream, and soft tissues. They're members of a notorious family of multidrug-resistant pathogens, called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), which collectively have mortality rates as high as 50 percent and have spread rapidly around the globe in recent years. A 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that there were more than 9,300 CRE infections in the U.S. each year, leading to 600 deaths. Both the CDC and the World Health Organization have listed CRE as one of the critical drug-resistant threats to public health, in need of "urgent and aggressive action."

In the new study, the Emory researchers discovered two strains of CRKP -- isolated from the urine of patients in Atlanta, Georgia -- that can also resist colistin. But they do so in a poorly understood, surreptitious way. At first, they appear vulnerable to the potent antibiotic in standard clinical tests, but with more advanced testing and exposure to the drug, they reveal that they can indeed survive it. In mice, the strains caused infections that couldn't be cured by colistin and the mice died of the infections. Mice infected with typical CRKP were all saved with colistin. So far, there's no evidence of CRKP infections surprisingly turning up resistant to colistin during treatment in patients. But the authors, led by microbiologist David Weiss, say that may be because the evidence is difficult to gather, and the data so far is cause for concern. The researchers concluded that the findings "serve to sound the alarm about a worrisome and under-appreciated phenomenon in CRKP infections and highlight the need for more sensitive and accurate diagnostics."

Great news!

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Now we don't have to worry about artificial intelligence wiping us out.

The US health care industry is TO BLAME.

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Why is that, you ask ?

Slack sterile procedures and a mentality that makes profit the over arching goal.

I wouldn't willingly be an in-patient in ANY hospital in the US, because of the two factors above.

And yes, there are other countries, such as Germany and Switzerland, where they are far more careful about sterile procedures. I have first-hand experience which backs up my claim, which I will cite below.

I sat for weeks waiting outside the ICU ( intensive care unit ) at a major US hospital, while a family member was stricken with a serious illness and was bedridden in that ICU. As I watched, not one single doctor stopped at the alcohol scrub station which was outside the ICU, prior to entering the ICU. Nearly all the nurses DID stop and scrub. The doctors were ( obviously ) in a hurry, and since they have more authority than most other hospital staff, it was unlikely anyone was going to take them to task for not scrubbing. Do you think those doctors carried pathogens with them into the ICU ? If you doubt that, you're either very naive or just plain stupid.

The US health care system is badly messed up. Many doctors want to make lots of money, and time IS money. Until the authorities step up and take action about the slack sterile procedures used in US hospitals, this mess is going to get worse. What's really bad about it is that the pathogens are evolving and, in essence, the US hospitals are a "training ground" which produces pathogens which are resistant to ALL available antibiotic drugs. If you don't think that is a big deal, imagine what the world was like before penicillin, when even a simple infection could and did often mean death.

I have a number of friends who ARE physicians who work in hospital environments, and every one of these people agrees with me that there is a problem with sterile procedures in the US health care system. None of them wants to stand up and raise hell about it because they could find themselves without a job at that hospital as a direct result. It's a hell of a mess. Personally I think government intervention is required, along with very substantial civil and criminal penalties, before the problem is dealt with in an effective manner.

Cue the Slashdot knowitalls, who will try to tell me I am wrong about the above. The thing is, I am not wrong and all of us are in jeopardy because of the current state of affairs. One in-patient hospital visit could be all it takes to underscore that reality. DO you feel lucky ?


I expect its the farming industry, actually.

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

For many, many years the farming industry has subjected livestock to continual doses of antibiotics. This makes animals the perfect breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Our medical industry foresaw this long ago and put a ban on the routine use of antibiotics on human patients as a preventative measure; using them only after diagnosis of something that specifically needs them for treatment. The farming industry did not follow suit, because it is much cheaper for them to keep animals in unsanitary conditions and just continually pump them full of antibiotics so they don't get diseased.

I didn't see anything in the summary specifically saying whether or not this is a likely origin of the resistant bacteria, so I don't know for sure. But I do know that we as a culture continue to abide a medically disastrous approach to keeping our meat prices low, and we are going to really suffer as a result of it.

The real reason for this

By burtosis • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Antibiotics in meat is the #1 cause. Instead of letting genetically diverse animals graze and live in a storybook farm setting, animals are nearly clones and are packed cheek to jowl and force fed suboptimal food that maximizes growth. To keep profits as high as possible they are force fed antibiotics 24-7-365 by the hundreds of millions. This is the most effective way to develop resistance outside of engineering it in a lab setting. It also is a problem in that people want antibiotics for everything, and often don't even finish the course. Between these two practices many of our antibiotics are now becoming worthless. Further there is little money to be made on antibiotics but billions keeping the incurably sick alive, if only for awhile so there is a massive negative pressure to using antibiotics responsibly.

All due to market fundamentalism in the US

By Optic7 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The factors that some posters above have mentioned all point back to factors that are in place because of extreme market fundamentalism, (i.e. neoliberalism) in the US:

1. Slack sterile procedures in hospitals - oh no, we can't force hospitals to fix this because hospital profits.
2. Vast abuse of antibiotics in animal farming - oh no, we can't force meat producers to fix this because industrial agriculture profits.
3. Abuse of antibiotics by doctors, patients, and consumers - oh no, we can't force everyone to only use antibiotics when absolutely necessary because pharmaceutical profits.

In other words, the neoliberal answer to this issue so far has been: we can't fix it because it would affect profits. Just keep on dying.

MIT Plans To Build Nuclear Fusion Plant By 2033

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Mallory Locklear reports via Engadget: MIT announced yesterday that it and Commonwealth Fusion Systems -- an MIT spinoff -- are working on a project that aims to make harvesting energy from nuclear fusion a reality within the next 15 years. The ultimate goal is to develop a 200-megawatt power plant. MIT also announced that Italian energy firm ENI has invested $50 million towards the project, $30 million of which will be applied to research and development at MIT over the next three years. MIT and CFS plan to use newly available superconducting materials to develop large electromagnets that can produce fields four-times stronger than any being used now. The stronger magnetic fields will allow for more power to be generated resulting in, importantly, positive net energy. The method will hopefully allow for cheaper and smaller reactors. The research team aims to develop a prototype reactor within the next 10 years, followed by a 200-megawatt pilot power plant.

Yet another tokamak

By WaffleMonster • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

They should have built a stellarator or literally anything other than a tokamak.

How many tens of billions have been invested in Tokamaks thus far with very little to show for it? Other approaches consistently get shafted for serious funding due to dogma/politics and risk aversion.

Comparatively peanuts have been spent on stellarators to date and they have already demonstrated far better results than any tokamak ever has.

Re:Fusion likely uneconomical vs. alternatives

By WaffleMonster • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Fusion has to compete against direct conversion technologies, where energy is directly converted from its original form into electricity.

Solar voltaic converts light energy directly into electricity. Wind turbines turn energy from moving air directly into electricity. Gas turbines burn natural gas directly in turbines that generate electricity.

Of these only natural gas is base load and cheap gas can't last forever. It would be necessary to factor in necessary investments in storage/conversion and transmission to compare the true overall cost of each option.

got a big reactor

By bigtreeman • Score: 3 • Thread

We've already got a really big nuclear reactor.
It's called the sun.
It distributes power with light which we can safely convert to electricity with solar panels.
About 150M Kms is about as close as we should get to a nuclear reaction of any type.

Re:Yeah, and a rocket to Mars while they're at it

By Kjella • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

OTOH, the secret to never accomplishing anything is to stop trying.

Yeah, even though it's ridiculously hard I think research into high energy power is essential, you can always say we should become greener and smarter but in the end physics dictate that it takes a certain amount of power to drive all the household appliances. Sure for a CPU/GPU you can improve calculations/watt but for a water boiler it takes 1 calorie of energy to heat 1g of water 1C and if you can change that you'll have a closet full of Nobel prizes. If we want to give ~10 billion people a modern standard of living we need energy. If we want to start a Mars colony we need energy. If we want to explore the universe we need energy. I don't know how feasible it is to make a miniature sun here on earth, but it's one helluva power source. It's the kind of thing it's probably worth mastering even if it takes us 100 years or 1000 years. I'll admit I'd like to see results a little sooner, but it's like the people researching longevity and immortality. For humanity it looks like a smart topic of research even if it won't arrive in time to save my ass.

Of course you will always have speculative and sham research looking for grants. You will always have dead ends and people beating a dead horse. But I feel pretty confident that these researchers believe in what they're doing and is making an honest attempt. There's a helluva lot of medical researchers trying to find the cure for cancer, many of them won't achieve much at all. But I think the vast majority is genuinely trying. Comparing them to a politician posturing for his reputation while not realistically even beginning to fund the necessary programs is grossly unfair.

We already HAVE one.

By Hallux-F-Sinister • Score: 3 • Thread

MIT announced yesterday that it and Commonwealth Fusion Systems -- an MIT spinoff -- are working on a project that aims to make harvesting energy from nuclear fusion a reality within the next 15 years.

We already HAVE a nuclear fusion reactor. It has been operating for YEARS with an unmatched safety record, harming no one directly except occasionally causing problems for people over-exposed to it without proper shielding. I have spoken of this before, I think, probably right here on slashdot. In their wisdom, our ancestors chose to live a safe distance away from it, at about 98 million miles, give or take a few. which makes the only issue harvesting its output, and storing it for periods when the reactor is unavailable for periods of time, as it often is.

The beauty of this reactor is that it's so big, we can all share it and it won't ever, (from our perspective, anyway,) run out.

HOWEVER, like manna raining down from heaven, all that needs be done is collect enough of the output of this fusion reactor to go until the next time it becomes available. FORTUNATELY, its availability is pretty regular and fairly predictable; in fact, you can set your clock by it, and historically, people have and still do, even if a touch indirectly. All schemes to avoid using the power of this reactor and instead prefer some other, can mostly be attributed either to ignorance, or greed. Ignorance that a better, cheaper, and safer way already exists, and greed that by providing a more "convenient" alternative, you can get people to pay you money for the privilege of using what they could already get for free. Ugh.. people.

Lenovo Lays Off a Chunk of Its Motorola Smartphone Team

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
On Friday, Lenovo confirmed layoffs for the Motorola group in Chicago, where the company designs its modular Moto Z smartphones. "In a statement to 9to5Google, Lenovo denied that it was axing 50% of the workforce, as the site had suggested, but didn't provide any further specifics," reports Fast Company. Android Police now reports that 190 people were laid off. A separate report of theirs claims that the company has "completely abandoned plans to launch the successor to last year's Moto X4, the as-yet unannounced Moto X5." Furthermore, "Motorola will be narrowing its focus back to E, G, and Z phones for the time being," reports Android Police. "It's possible the Moto X name could return at some point, but that's looking unlikely in light of this news." The source also says Motorola will be largely discontinuing its efforts to develop all-new, eccentric MotoMods for its Z phone. The likelihood that MotoMods will continue to be sold after 2019 is looking very slim.

Beaten by generic phones

By MichaelSmith • Score: 3 • Thread

I have a generic android phone which I bought online from shanghai. I paid about half the cost of a Motorola in the shop. Its no wonder the big brands are scaling back production.

Re: Ceeya!

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Motorola let you root any of their phones. They have a part of their website that gives you an unlock code. Been that way for at least 3 years. Probably more.

Nice phones

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

Moto has best bang-for-the-buck phones right now. Their G series is really something.

Its really too bad that non-Chinese companies do not release something similar: reasonable performance for reasonable price.


By PopeRatzo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Goodbye Moto!

Do you have any idea how many times we have heard "This is the end of Motorola!" over the past decades?

Nooo ...

By CptJeanLuc • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Oh man, I hope this doesn't mark the end of the current lineup of Motorola phones. I don't want to have to go on yet another goose chase after a decent and yet affordable phone. I currently own a Moto G, and it has the benefit of not being outrageously expensive, works "well enough" for everyday use while lasting minimum one day on a single charge, it is not iPhone as I do not want to be locked in with the Apple eco-system (not an Apple-hater, I am writing this on my Macbook Air), and very important to me - after a truly sh##y experience with resource-hogging and annoying proprietary setup of my first Samsung smartphone, I want _the vanilla Android experience_!!! As few "customizations" as possible, and with some reasonably new version of Android. And so far, the latest iteration of the Moto G (I had the last one, which turned out to be underspecced and have some battery problems - not so with the latest one at least yet) has really been the only phone to deliver on all of these.

And probably there also goes my dream of the anticipated Lenovo tablet, which I was hoping would do all these things in tablet format. After giving up on my NVidia Shield Tablet primarily due to extremely poor battery life, I have been looking for a vanilla Android tablet that is reasonably priced - and there were announcements I think spring 2017 that there would "soon" be a new tablet from Lenovo that I thought would deliver on all the above metrics, which still has not emerged. And now I am guessing the whole thing will get canned.

Bah ... why must it be so difficult to find reasonably priced hardware that actually works without a lot of annoying customizations designed to lock you in with the ecosystem of some particular vendor.

California Bullet Train Costs Soar To $77.3 Billion, Will Take 5 Years Longer To Complete

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The California High-Speed Rail Authority announced today that the cost of connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco would total $77.3 billion, an increase of $13 billion from estimates two years ago, and could potentially rise as high as $98.1 billion. They also said the earliest trains could operate on a partial system between San Jose and the farming town of Wasco would be 2029, five years later than the previous projection. Los Angeles Times reports: The disclosures are contained in a 114-page business plan that was issued in draft form by the rail authority and will be finalized this summer in a submission to the Legislature. The rail authority has wrestled with a more than $40-billion funding gap, which would increase sharply under the new cost estimates. The biggest immediate driver of the cost increase has been in the Central Valley, where the rail authority is building 119 miles of track between Wasco and Merced. The authority disclosed in early February that the cost of that work would jump to $10.6 billion from an original estimate of about $6 billion. Roy Hill, one of the senior consultants advising the state, told the rail authority board, "The worst-case scenario has happened." In its 2014 business plan, the rail authority optimistically projected that it could begin carrying passengers in just seven years. But the warning signs of uncontrolled cost growth had already started mounting then, even though until this year the rail authority has vehemently denied that it was facing a problem. The project began having trouble buying property for the route almost immediately after it issued its first construction contract in 2013.

Re:Hard to believe

By 404 Clue Not Found • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The state is about 13% of the US economy, not 20%. Still a significant amount. And yeah, while connecting LA to the SF Bay seems like a good idea at first glance, logistically it's still a nightmare no matter what.

So much of the traffic is within the metropolitan areas themselves, and a train wouldn't really help with that. If anything it'd just make traffic worse as people all congregate towards train stations along a single route as opposed to a mesh highway network spread all over the city. Then you'd need a massive park 'n' ride, in already space-starved areas.

The train is estimated to take 3 hours, compared to 5.5 hours by car. But then you have to figure out a way to get to the train station, pay for parking (or at least Lyft), and then figure out how you're going to get around at the other side. Neither the Bay Area nor greater LA are really accessible by public transit. BART and the LA Metro are both pretty sad compared to transit in, say, Chicago or the rest of the developed world. So in all likelihood you'll spend more overall traveling by the train just to save 2.5 hours, and that's only if you're lucky enough to already be living close to the stations and not have to fight traffic to get there in the first place. God forbid the first high-speed terrorist attack happen on the line, then security will add another hour at least.

Let's say you can figure out all that, and convince people it's still worth trying. In fact that's already happened, as the train is a ballot initiative that passed. Who can you trust to implement it? Realistically there are only three entities capable of this: California, the US government, and Musk.

California is trying to build just the first phase over 20 years. Two decades... what other modern technology, except nuclear carriers and spacecraft, has a prototype phase that long? Who knows if this will even be worth it then? The state routinely undergoes massive crises in terms of budgeting, natural disasters (earthquakes and wildfires and education funding and droughts, for example) that divert money away from other parts of the budget. Its cost projections have already increased by $30 billion over a few years, 150% of the original cost estimate pitched to voters. California also has too progressive (read: responsive and populist) a government/legislature to just bulldoze its way through all the environmental and popular hurdles. It won't be easy to convince all the necessary parties that this is worth it.

So, what about the federal government? Heh, good luck getting Republicans to sponsor pork-barrel spending for the bluest state. Socialist transportation? Pfft. We can hardly spend half of a percent on NASA, and that has direct trickle-down effects to the military and industry.

Realistically, that only leaves the private sector. Either a god-savior like Musk or at least a megacorp like Google (maybe to a private employee train at first that just happens to allow limited public access?). Who knows if Google will still be around in 20 years? Most of the California economy right now is tied up in the advertising bubble, and as social media and digital marketing peak and then wane, the state is going to lose a lot of its output, especially once China and India catch up in the next 10-15 years and dump the world full of cheap programmers, much better than the last and current generations. Then who's left? We're right back to ground zero, with a half-assed plan and a bunch of paid-offs bureaucrats masturbating to their pork-barrel pipe dream and ten miles of model track. Yay.


Re:Hard to believe

By burtosis • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
The government has been misplacing a trillion dollars per year for 20 years. It's now sitting upwards of 21 thousand billion, or as I like to say 1/50th of a quadrillion dollars At this point any tax paying citizen should have zero respect for how tax money is spent and demand reform.

Re: Just likely lovely Venezuela!

By PopeRatzo • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Your quake is over due , go watch CSU vids. Your Fukled 5 miles in , if tsunami don't kill you the gas lines on fire will burn you, if not that , then the millions of Mexicans will loot and rape you.

That's just what we tell people like you to keep you from moving to California.

Re:We still need good trains

By Solandri • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Agreed we need good trains. But regular railway track through rural areas costs about $1.5 to $3 million per mile.

This stretch of track is going to cost $10.6 billion / 119 miles = $89 million per mile.

The U.S. bet on highways in the 1940s and 1950s. While highways are probably a good idea for personal vehicles in a country the size of the U.S., they had the side-effect of subsidizing the trucking industry. The higher tire pressures of trucks cause almost all the damage to our roads and highways, but their fuel taxes only pay for about half of it. So in effect, passenger cars are subsidizing the trucking industry, dropping the economic cost of truck transport below that of rail (where you have to pay for labor to transfer cargo from a ship/truck to the train in the source city, then from the train to a truck in the destination city). That's what we need to fix if we want to spur more railway development in the U.S. Make trucks bear the true cost of the damage they do to our roads, and suddenly rail transport will be more financially attractive.

Re:Hyperloop One

By Rei • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Forget Hyperloop, even traditional tunneling costs are lower than this - let alone the costs Boring Company is looking for. While it's easy to focus on the most expensive, ridiculously priced urban tunnel projects in history, which can be over a billion dollars per mile, most tunnels are far cheaper. The Shanghai River crossing tunnel in China, for example, was $27m/mi. For tunnels in the western world, Westerschelde in the Netherlands was $60m per mile. For 11m diameter twin tunnels.

$10,6B for 119 miles is $89m per mile, primarily in "land acquisition", "relocating utility systems" and "the need for safety barriers" - none of which exist on a per-mile basis for a bored tunnel of sufficient depth. You don't even need improvements in boring technology to make tunnels more economical than this, you just need a reasonable bid on a fixed-price contract at current modern pricing. And if you bore, the number of miles can generally be reduced. It's just crazy that 119 miles from Wasco to Merced costs so much. Look at it on a map; it's just farmland.

Cable Industry Finally Fights Cord Cutting With Fewer Ads

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The cable industry is slowly realizing that more advertisements and higher prices aren't the solution to cord cutting. Karl Bode writes via DSLReports: AT&T and Dish have explored offering cheaper, more flexible streaming alternatives (DirecTV Now and Sling TV, respectively), both understanding that getting out ahead of the cord cutting trend is the right play, even if the net result is making less money from traditional television. And on the broadcasting front, several companies this month made it clear they'll be reducing the ad loads on their programming, since charging users a subscription fee and socking them with endless ads is becoming a dated concept in the cord cutting era. Fox, for example, told the Wall Street Journal this week that the company would be reducing TV ad time in its content to two minutes an hour by 2020. Comcast NBC Universal says it's also following suit, having cut advertising time in its own shows by 10%, and reduced the overall number of advertising during commercial breaks by 20%. Given there's 83 million households still subscribing to traditional cable TV, many cable executives are under the false impression they can keep doubling down on bad ideas without the check coming due. But the data indicates this head in the sand approach simply isn't sustainable. Pay TV providers saw a reduction of more than 500,000 traditional pay TV customers during the fourth quarter, a decline of 3.4% total pay TV customers from the year before. That 3.4% decline was up from the 2% rate during in the fourth quarter of 2016 and a 1% rate of decline one year before that.

Re:Much Too Late

By StormReaver • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

They're only about 10 years too late.

Yep. If they had done this 10 years ago, they might have had a fighting chance. As it is, their service got so bad that they overcame people's resistance to change and drove them to the experiment of dropping the service. Now, dropping service has gotten such a good reputation that the rate of doing so is increasing dramatically.

If cord cutting hasn't reached critical mass yet, it is so close as to be nearly unavoidable.

Re:Just cut the cord myself

By Firethorn • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I live in a fairly rural area and have about 4 non-religious stations within reach. Consider that OTA stations are all advertising supported as well.

I'd argue that it's just the opposite: I have so little free time that $8/month for a Netflix plan is well worth it.

They say 693 seconds of advertising per hour, average, for broadcast TV. 11 minutes and 33 seconds of ads.
That is 5 hours, 46 minutes, 30 seconds per month, assuming that you average 1 hour/day.

Using Netflix as a plan to avoid that? $1.38/hour to avoid advertising. That's less than minimum wage. Worth it.

Just cull the damn medical commercials

By nehumanuscrede • Score: 3 • Thread

If they would just cull the " Ask your Doctor if $stupidly_expensive_drug is right for you " ads, it would cut the total ad times by at least HALF.

No one wants to see that sh*t. I personally make it a point to refuse any medication that constantly begs me to use it.

Re:Just cut the cord myself

By blackomegax • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Plus, there's an amazing mental thing that occurs when you cut *all ads* out of your life (to the extent one can, anyway). ublock, netflix-only, pirating, etc. Watching an ad gives some soulless corporate free rent in your mind, sometimes to the tune of HOURS from a 30 second ad. That's time you spend *not being you, but being a corporate drone.*

Not good enough.

By generic_screenname • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I'll come back when I can have a la carte subscriptions to quality content without ads.

'Flippy,' the Fast Food Robot, Turned Off For Being Too Slow

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
He was supposed to revolutionize a California fast food kitchen, churning out 150 burgers per hour without requiring a paycheck or benefits. But after a single day of working as a cook at a Caliburger location in Pasadena this week, Flippy the burger-flipping robot has stopped flipping. From a report: In some ways, Flippy was a victim of his own success. Inundated with customers eager to see the machine in action this week, Cali Group, which runs the fast food chain, quickly realized the robot couldn't keep up with the demand. They decided instead to retrain the restaurant staff to work more efficiently alongside Flippy, according to USA Today. Temporarily decommissioned, patrons encountered a sign Thursday noting that Flippy would be "cooking soon," the paper reported. "Mostly it's the timing," Anthony Lomelino, the Chief Technology Officer for Cali Group told the paper. "When you're in the back, working with people, you talk to each other. With Flippy, you kind of need to work around his schedule. Choreographing the movements of what you do, when and how you do it."

Re:I have seen the future, and it sucks

By Kjella • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Service jobs require providing services to people, whether that's a burger or fixing their plumbing. This all requires human interaction and that robot is never going to take over that job.

Really? If I enter my order on a touch screen, it's cooked by a robot and delivered in a self-service kiosk and it's the same burger... who really appreciates the social interaction with the McD/BK staff? Usually my interaction is "Next, please" "Hi, I'll have [order]." "Anything else?" "No, that's it." "That'll be $X" *pay* *wait* "[order]" "Thanks" *eat* *put trash in bin on way out*. If you want to talk about something that could be replaced with a very small shell script it's the social interaction. I don't know how it could possibly get less personal or less meaningful. And you don't go there for the culinary experience, you go there for standardized grub. A robot is perfect for giving you a consistent experience. Of course if I go to a high-end restaurant with a waiter and a real chef my expectations are different, but it's different leagues.

And even three star Michelin restaurants have "standard" dishes, like they're training the staff to exactly replicate whatever the master chef has cooked up. Granted it's an entirely different level of service but it's not really that unique, personal service that we'd like to imagine. If I go to a steakhouse and get a prime steak cooked to perfection I'll probably put up with a whole lot of other downsides, whatever you think the service is I think it's a small auxiliary. The service is not why I go to your steakhouse and poor service probably won't make me leave as long as the product tastes to high heaven. And the product can be made by a robot.

Re:I have seen the future, and it sucks

By AuMatar • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Good for you. Nobody else gives a shit. I just want my food, I don't care if its cooked by a person, a robot, or if the cow jumps on the grill voluntarily. I don't go to the restaurant for interaction, I go because I don't want to cook. So long as its good, I don't care what prepared it.

Re:How hard can it be?

By Nkwe • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Really, How hard can it be to come up with a burger flipping robot?

Setting aside for a moment the humor aspect of the parent, I think the non-sarcastic answer to this question is actually pretty interesting. If the question is really "How hard is it to automatically cook a hamburger patty?", the answer is that it's pretty easy if you get to design the whole machine in and the environment that it runs in. If you can use a wire conveyor belt and heating elements on both sides similar to how the sandwich toasters at Quizno's and Potbelly and add some stuff for grease management, you are probably set. Even if it turns out that you really need to heat from the bottom and let the patty sit in the grease, you could build something similar to how an automated tortilla cooker works. But on the other hand, if your requirement is to build a device that must operate in conjunction with an existing restaurant grill, without modifying the grill itself, and the device needs to take no more space than would a human standing in front of the grill, and this device has to safely operate around other human restaurant workers amidst the chaos of motion and activity that occurs in a small kitchen, and the device has to be as productive as a human would, the task is pretty complex and hard.

Flippy's too limited

By Ken_g6 • Score: 3 • Thread

It's designed to work with existing appliances and workers. They should just get a machine to do the whole burger, like this.

Re: I have seen the future, and it sucks

By c6gunner • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

I would definitely go to that restaurant!

Well you could try, but it's a little hard to get to. It's called The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Apple Files Patent For a Crumb-Resistant MacBook Keyboard

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to a patent application made public on Thursday, March 8, Apple could be developing a new MacBook keyboard designed to prevent crumbs and dust from getting those super-shallow MacBook keys stuck. "Liquid ingress around the keys into the keyboard can damage electronics. Residues from such liquids may corrode or block electrical contacts, getting in the way of key movement and so on," the patent application reads. Digital Trends reports: The application goes on to describe how those problems might be remedied: With the careful application of gaskets, brushes, wipers, or flaps that block gaps beneath keycaps. One solution would include a membrane beneath each key, effectively insulating the interior of the keyboard from the exterior, while another describes using each keypress as a "bellows" to force contaminants out of the keyboard. "A keyboard assembly [could include] a substrate, a key cap, and a guard structure extending from the key cap that funnels contaminants away from the movement mechanism," the patent application reads.

How about bug resistant screens

By labnet • Score: 3 • Thread

My wifes imac had a bug crawl between the LCD and diffuser and promptly die. It was about 5 pixels big!
Kudos to Apple for replacing it, but you think they could at least seal their screens to stop insects that are attracted to bright lights from crawling in there.

Apple has solved their own problem.

By berchca • Score: 3 • Thread

MacBook users may rejoice, knowing that maybe their next $1,000+ computer won't have the same problems their current $1,000+ computer does...

Fashion before substance!

Re:Prior art

By Daetrin • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Some more recent prior art, the OLPC project:

And i'm sure those are far from the only examples.

Re:design flaw

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Apple started the island key bullshit. Flat tops so your fingers can't sense when they are well centred without feeling for the edges. Difficult to clean, very little travel or tactile feel... And more work to replace if it breaks.

Lenovo had better, liquid proof keyboards in the 90s. They still do.

Re:How about bug resistant screens

By pipingguy • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Are you sure it was a bug and not a feature?

Android Beats iOS In Smartphone Loyalty, Study Finds

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Android users don't appear to be switching to the iPhone like they used to. According to a new study from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), Android users have higher loyalty than iOS users do. "The research firm found that Android brand loyalty has been remaining steadily high since early 2016, and remains at the highest levels ever seen," reports TechCrunch. From the report: Today, Android has a 91 percent loyalty rate, compared with 86 percent for iOS, measured as the percentage of U.S. customers who stayed with their operating system when they upgraded their phone in 2017. From January 2016 through December 2017, Android loyalty ranged from 89 to 91 percent (ending at 91 percent), while iOS loyalty was several percentage points lower, ranging from 85 to 88 percent. Explains Mike Levin, partner and co-founder of CIRP, users have pretty much settled on their brand of choice at this point. "With only two mobile operating systems at this point, it appears users now pick one, learn it, invest in apps and storage, and stick with it. Now, Apple and Google need to figure out how to sell products and services to these loyal customer bases," he said. It's worth noting that Android hasn't always led in user loyalty as it does now. CIRP has been tracking these metrics for years, and things used to be the other way around.

Tattoos real test of loyalty

By Camel Pilot • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The other day a friend told me of going to a meeting and seeing a guy who had an Apple logo tattooed to his upper arm. We had a good laugh. Now that there is loyalty - perhaps cultish loyalty. So I was going to comment that Apple users are obviously more loyal using this anecdote, but then I did quick image search and sure enough - there are idiots out there with Android logo tattoos. :(

Curious how this would change

By Solandri • Score: 3 • Thread
I'm curious how this would change if app authors gave you a license to both the Android and iOS version of their app when you bought it. I imagine a lot of the loyalty is actually to the person's library of apps, not the OS itself.

Reliability of Survey

By TheFakeTimCook • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

So, they are basing that headline on FIVE whole percentage points?

What was the margin of error in the Survey? Most I've seen are +/- at least 2 or 3 points.

Sorry, completely unconvinced; plus we're talking an aggregate of dozens of Android brands at all imaginable price points, vs. ONE brand of fairly premium-priced phones.

I'd say that, if you tightened that study up a bit, you'd find quite a bit MORE "brand loyalty" on the Apple side.

But that wasn't what the "researchers" were LOOKING FOR, was it?

Re:Moto X FTW

By TheFakeTimCook • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I converted my whole family to the Moto X family. V4 seems to have been "good enough" - my kids finally stopped whining about the iphones I was never going to buy them - and I'm happy with my v5.

So, you're bragging that your family would rather have an Android phone than NOTHING, right?

Got it.

Re:Google services and Android price performance

By TheFakeTimCook • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Every Android phone I have bought had a comparable iPhone at the same price. I buy Android phones because once I do, I don't have to use anything Google if I want. When I buy Apple, I know I'm going to have to use iTunes for something eventually. Then I'll be using Apple software and seeing Apple advertising, and that makes me feel locked in.

What Apple advertising?

Apple doesn't do in-product Advertising in their own products. There are NO pro-Apple ads IN iTunes.

What a moron.

YouTube Is Full of Easy-To-Find Neo-Nazi Propaganda

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes an exclusive report from Motherboard: Through a software-aided investigation, Motherboard has found that while YouTube has managed to clamp down on Islamic extremists uploading propaganda, the video giant is still awash with videos supporting violent and established neo-Nazi organizations, even when, in some cases, users have reported the offending videos. Clips of neo-Nazi propaganda operations, hate-filled speeches, and extremists pushing for direct action have remained on the site for weeks, months, or years at a time. Arguably, many if not all of these videos may fall under YouTube's own policy on hate speech, which "refers to content that promotes violence against or has the primary purpose of inciting hatred against individuals or groups based on certain attributes," including race or ethnic origin, religion, and sexual orientation, according to the policy.

Motherboard built a tool to monitor YouTube and make a record of when the platform removed certain videos, and limited the clips to propaganda for established neo-Nazi and far-right terrorist organizations like Atomwaffen, rather than people in the so-called "alt-right." Most of the videos were discovered through simple YouTube searches of relevant organizations' names, or sometimes through the "recommended videos" sidebar after Motherboard had built up a browsing history of neo-Nazi material. For the sake of comparison, over a week-long period Motherboard also tracked pro-ISIS videos uploaded by the group's supporters and then distributed through a network of Telegram channels. Typically, YouTube removed these Islamic extremism videos in a matter of hours, including those that did not contain images of violence, but were instead speeches or other not directly violent content. But YouTube is playing catch up with neo-Nazi material. YouTube removed only two videos that Motherboard was monitoring: two identical clips of a speech from UK terrorist organization National Action.

How about not letting others invade our countries

By aliquis • Score: 3 • Thread

How about not letting others invade our countries in the first place?

I'm from Sweden which have had the most extreme immigration politics and where this together with Germany may be the hardest subject to discuss whatsoever but even here the people have always been more for less immigrants rather than more and with our current immigration politics the EU "worries" that we'll make it permanent.

What is this EU / that person / organ and why it worries about it?

Sweden has been the most pro-immigration in the EU and taken the largest share per capita and yet somehow that's not enough?

Not even the Swedish or German people wanted this let alone others in the saner parts of EU and still for whatever reason it's something we should have? Why? Decided by whom? Once again: Why? Where's the democratic foundation for that decision?

Call it hatred all you want but it's fairly obvious Europeans from non-Muslim countries on average doesn't want Muslims and Islam to come and affect society, take control, replace our people. That may have been true for Eastern Europeans, former Yugoslavs and Africans too.

Regardless of whatever that's because of values, ethnicity, religion, educational level or whatever what's the problem?

Even if you are (classical) liberal you can respect ownership and as such our right to our countries or plots of land. If you consider every plot of land privately owned then that could of course be sold to whomever by the rightful owner but this is about robbing the natives of the land to pay for the invasion of their countries, loss of their sovereignty, people, identity and influence of their own land which isn't the same. And even if you are a collectivist and base that of state & democracy shouldn't the people of the state in question be in control of what they want to do?

Call it hatred, racism and neo-nazism all you want but it's not necessarily true and it doesn't make it wrong and the opposite right regardless.
The threats of things like civil-war, rising belief in nationalism, expression of hatred, possibly calls for discrimination and so on is just possible end results to try to control and solve the situation once our lands have already been filled with immigrants we didn't wanted here.
But why were they let in in the first place? Why are we flooded? That's the real problem. They shouldn't be here as far as the original population wants. As for whatever you controller the borders originally or forced/encouraged them to go home and similarly forced them to assimilate rather than staying with their original identity and behavior is kinda irrelevant for reaching what the original people actually wanted.

Of course the crazy traitors who encourage this view it as a problem as long as our countries have a majority of natives who can feel this way and as such it need to be flooded even more until we lose democratic control over our lands. But how isn't fighting both the traitors and the immigrants you didn't wanted actually somewhat justified in that scenario?

Re:Right to Free Speech

By HeckRuler • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"protected speech" Don't play word games. The specific term "freedom of speech" goes back at least to 1689 and the idea goes all the way back to 600 BC in old Athens. If you feel the need to invent new terms to try and replace what everyone is already using and understands, you're likely full of shit.

Calls to specific violence is a conspiracy to murder and that's illegal. "Let's go give a wet willie to Locke2005 (849178) next monday after work". That's trying to form a mob for an act of violence (of the most heinous of sorts). Generally advocating violence, like suggesting we tar and feather anyone who doesn't comment their code, that's not illegal. And yeah, these asshats really walk that line don't they? And it sucks that this shit gets down to technicalities. But it's IMPOSSIBLE to keep people from FEELING threatened. Hell, your post makes me feel threatened that my personal rights are going to get taken away and that my political party no longer supports the ideas born out of the age of enlightenment. That winds have changed and times are dark. It sucks. But I'm not advocating we ban you from Slashdot.

Youtube's excuse for brazen censorship

By walterbyrd • Score: 3 • Thread

Why was Pat Condell's most recent video censored? Why was Mark Dice demonetized? Why have PragerU videos been censored? Why did Sargon of Akkad have his channel removed, and I could go on.

None of those channels post anything close to "hate speech" and certainly never call for violence.

Youtube censors any content that does fit google's far left agenda. Even the moderate left has there videos censored.

Then they come up with this bullshit about armies of neo-Nazis posting hate speech to justify politically biased censorship.

I can only hope that people are not stupid enough to believe that crap.

Re:Conveniently ignored...

By LynnwoodRooster • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Firebombing Tokyo was much worse. Without the nuclear bombs dropped a few months later, there may have been many more such firebombings to bring the Japanese to the table to surrender. Of course, there was that little 40 day period called the Rape of Nanking where the Japanese killed over 250,000 people. Talking to my wife's grandmother - who lived through it as an 18 year old girl who was thankfully taken in by a Jewish family (otherwise she was certain to be raped and killed like her best friend), it was horrific. But never mind, USA bad because nuclear weapons.

Re:Sounds better to me than alternative

By penandpaper • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

No the troll mod is appropriate. How is generalizing millions of people to a caricature and a stereotype in any way not a troll?

Also, wtf do you mean "dealt with"? That alone is retarded trollery. Are you going to have a Final Solution to the "nazi" problem? Seriously, are you one of those morons that think that the only way to have free speech is to restrict free speech for opinions you don't like? You do realize that the point of free speech is to protect the speech that is hated not what is universally accepted? You do realize that in that last half century that allowing nazi's/kkk/racists/whateverlabelyoubemoan to speak has had their numbers decreased? You and people that think like you are fuckin moronic.

Karma be damned but you are a idiotic troll.

FCC's Ajit Pai is Surrounded By a 'Set of People With a Very Traditional Mindset', Says Sir Tim Berners-Lee

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Next Monday the web celebrates its 29th birthday. Ahead of it, Sir Tim Berners-Lee spoke with BBC on a wide-range of topics. An excerpt: In Barcelona last week at the Mobile World Congress I heard FCC boss Ajit Pai mount a robust defence of the move, pointing out that the internet had grown and thrived perfectly well in the years before 2015, when the net neutrality provision came in. "He said the same thing to me," Sir Tim tells us, revealing that he had recently been to lunch with Mr Pai. He had told the FCC boss that advances in computer processing power had made it easier for internet service providers to discriminate against certain web users for commercial or political reasons, perhaps slowing down traffic to one political party's website or making it harder for a rival company to process payments. But he failed to change Ajit Pai's mind. "He's surrounded by a set of people with a very traditional mindset, which has been driven by the PR machine of the telco industry, who believe it is their duty in Washington to oppose any regulation, whatever it is." Sir Tim, however, is refusing to concede defeat in this battle. "We stopped SOPA and PIPA," he says, referring to two US anti-piracy measures which campaigners opposed on the grounds they impinged on internet freedoms.

Net neutrality existed before 2015

By rminsk • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

"... pointing out that the internet had grown and thrived perfectly well in the years before 2015, when the net neutrality provision came in"

I hate this argument form Ajit. Net neutrality existed before 2015 and most carriers followed the practice. What happened in 2015 was the FCC had to reclassify broadband as a common carrier under Title II to be able to enforce the principles it had in place. This was because Verizon won the ruling in Verizon Communications Inc. v. FCC (2014).

Re:Talk about stuck

By rogoshen1 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's quite a thing isn't it? Convincing people that rules or regulation that would actually benefit them are somehow evil... and that letting the foxes guard the hen-house is preferable.

Regulation should exist to keep the market (and by that I mean entities large enough to unilaterally exert influence) honest. Free market capitalism works when you have many small players; but it's naive to think a duopoly or monopoly can exist and not rape consumers senseless. And yet somehow...

It's also funny how the telco's are very strongly against any sort of regulation, but are so incredibly quick to get government gimmies when it comes to subsidizing infrastructure improvements (which they may or may not actually complete, despite taking the freebie money) Or exclusive rights (such as with blocking community broadband)

And then have the audacity to turn around and jack up rates to compensate for their 'expense'.


Re:The Internet was under Title 2

By jd • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I certainly did.

Progress towards IPv6 reversed. Internet speeds on major links dropped. Multicast access declined. Key Internet infrastructure security declined. Bandwidth was siphoned off. Deep packet inspection by ISPs increased. Users were censored. This was previously illegal. Freedoms declined. For a country of the free, you seem damn eager to lose the freedom that really matters.

America went from being one of the best countries for Internet to, currently, being ranked alongside North Korea. American Internet is now one of the slowest but also one of the most expensive. Britain, in the 1990s, was slower than the US, it is now not only faster, it's cheaper. Sweden is hardly flat, unlike the Midwest. Swedish users get up to 400 gigabits per second. Yes, two zeros and a g. For a country that's mostly vertical cliffs and volcanic rock, that's not bad.

American ISPs aren't even required to provide what they sell. I pay for 50 mpbs and get 10. That is LEGAL under the Bush changes. I call it fraud. There are no competitors, because Comcast arranged a deal with them. Nobody enters the other person's turf. And, yes, this is from the engineers. That is flat-out illegal, companies may not work together to close a market like that or to threaten competitors who do enter the other person's turf - that falls under racketeering laws.

This is a criminal enterprise.

Re:Net neutrality existed before 2015

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You are exactly right, and this fact completely destroys Ajit's argument.

And I am sure Ajit knows it, too. He isn't arguing from a place of ignorance, but from a place of corruption. He is in a position where he and his allies benefit from his adoption of an obviously fallacious perspective on the issue, and he is just playing his part.

Re:Your tactics are transparent

By rogoshen1 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This must be the most sophisticated trolling attempt I've ever read.

Explain to me what you think the end-game is with letting telco's do whatever they want with the world's communication -- how will that play out?

Had the phone companies possessed the ability to control modems -- basically the what/when/who and how they could dial in the 1970's and 1980's, what would the technology landscape look like today? How much innovation would have been stifled in the name of rent seeking by ATT???

That's the analogy we're dealing with here with NN. Open and free access is a public good, and should not be curtailed by profit seeking entities for their own benefit.

Dress it up however you like. But letting a revolving door exist between industry and the regulators designed to you know.. champion the public good is a disgrace.

China's Alibaba is Investing Huge Sums in AI Research and Resources -- and It Is Building Tools To Challenge Google and Amazon

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Alibaba is already using AI and machine learning to optimize its supply chain, personalize recommendations, and build products like Tmall Genie, a home device similar to the Amazon Echo. China's two other tech supergiants, Tencent and Baidu, are likewise pouring money into AI research. The government plans to build an AI industry worth around $150 billion by 2030 and has called on the country's researchers to dominate the field by then. But Alibaba's ambition is to be the leader in providing cloud-based AI. From a report: Like cloud storage (think Dropbox) or cloud computing (Amazon Web Services), cloud AI will make powerful resources cheaply and readily available to anyone with a computer and an internet connection, enabling new kinds of businesses to grow. The real race in AI between China and the US, then, will be one between the two countries' big cloud companies, which will vie to be the provider of choice for companies and cities that want to make use of AI. And if Alibaba is anything to go by, China's tech giants are ready to compete with Google, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft to serve up AI on tap. Which company dominates this industry will have a huge say in how AI evolves and how it is used.

[...] There have been other glimpses of Alibaba's progress in AI lately. Last month a research team at the company released an AI program capable of reading a piece of text, and answering simple questions about that text, more accurately than anything ever built before. The text was in English, not Chinese, because the program was trained on the Stanford Question Answering Dataset (SQuAD), a benchmark used to test computerized question-and-answer systems. [...] One advantage China's tech companies have over their Western counterparts is the government's commitment to AI. Smart cities that use the kind of technology found in Shanghai's metro kiosks are likely to be in the country's future. One of Alibaba's cloud AI tools is a suite called City Brain, designed for tasks like managing traffic data and analyzing footage from city video cameras.

In a Remarkable Turn of Events, Hackers -- Not Users -- Lost Money in Attempted Cryptocurrency Exchange Heist

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The hackers who attempted to hack Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges on the Internet, have ended up losing money in a remarkable turn of events. It all began on Thursday, when thousands of user accounts started selling their Bitcoin and buying an altcoin named Viacoin (VIA). The incident, BleepingComputer reports, looked like a hack, and users reacted accordingly. But this wasn't a hack, or at least not your ordinary hack. The report adds: According to an incident report published by the Binance team, in preparation for yesterday's attack, the hackers ran a two-month phishing scheme to collect Binance user account credentials. Hackers used a homograph attack by registering a domain identical to, but spelled with Latin-lookalike Unicode characters. More particularly, hackers registered the [redacted].com domain -- notice the tiny dots under the "i" and "a" characters.

Phishing attacks started in early January, but the Binance team says it detected evidence that operations ramped up around February 22, when the campaign reached its peak. Binance tracked down this phishing campaign because the phishing pages would immediately redirect phished users to the real Binance login page. This left a forensic trail in referral logs that Binance developers detected. After getting access to several accounts, instead of using the login credentials to empty out wallets, hackers created "trading API keys" for each account. With the API keys in hand, hackers sprung their main attack yesterday. Crooks used the API keys to automate transactions that sold Bitcoin held in compromised Binance accounts and automatically bought Viacoin from 31 other Binance accounts that hackers created beforehand, and where they deposited Viacoin, ready to be bought. But hackers didn't know one thing -- Binance's secret weapon -- an internal risk management system that detected the abnormal amount of Bitcoin-Viacoin sale orders within the span of two minutes and blocked all transactions on the platform. Hackers tried to cash out the 31 Binance accounts, but by that point, Binance had blocked all withdrawals.

Re:Unicode hack?

By Tom • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

They would never do such a thing! The new TLDs are all for the purpose of users and convenience and helpful to Internet users. That is why we got .aero as one of the first ones...

The real sad part is that nobody stopped them. The good part is that the new TLDs are largely ignored. There was a short period where you would see people advertising their .biz addresses, then it stopped and went back to normal.

So the world was telling ICANN to go and fuck themselves. Allowing Unicode and the entire attacks possible with it was their spiteful revenge.

Re:Unicode hack? - English only Please!

By anon mouse-cow-aard • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
I bet you only speak English. For people who speak other languages, Unicode is rather useful. Yes, different languages use different character sets that can resemble each other. Yes, people can be fooled, but security doesnt trump the ability to have natural looking URLs in the native languages of most of the planet. télé (doesnt work) is much more natural than to a French speaker. At least vidé works (it gets rewritten to canonical There are plenty of legitimate uses for that feature. Add to that that most western european language speakers are completely used to accented characters, so usually the only ones likely to be fooled are the English only speakers. So you want to limit the web to English DNS entries because English speaking people dont notice accented characters. Sorry, world wont comply.


By jetkust • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Just ask them to come forward in person to claim them.

Browser alert on Unicode urls

By enriquevagu • Score: 3 • Thread

I almost never visit (legit) sites using unicode characters. I'd love my browser warning me whenever I visit one -- just in case.

Saw this happen IRL once with a safe-cracker

By bubblegoose • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I had a job installing security systems many years ago. There was a grocery store in a slightly isolated area, it had an alarm hooked up with an outside siren and connected to the phone line. It was the 1980s, there were no cellular backups. The would be safe cracker pulled the outside siren off the wall with his vehicle and cut all of the phone lines, then he broke in and started working on the safe ignoring the inside siren. He had about $1000 worth of power tools in to the back office and started to drill the safe. He didn't count on the baker coming in early to get a start on the day. When the baker showed up, the robber bugged out the back door. He left behind all of his nice tools. He did cause the business some hardship, they couldn't access the contents of the safe for about 3 days until the locksmith could replace the parts he had ruined. Insurance paid to fix his safe and alarm system, after that they had their phone lines buried so they couldn't be cut as easily.

Pockets of Water May Lay Deep Below Earth's Surface

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
sciencehabit writes: Small pockets of water exist deep beneath Earth's surface, according to an analysis of diamonds belched from hundreds of kilometers within our planet. The work, which also identifies a weird form of crystallized water known as ice VII, suggests that material may circulate more freely at some depths within Earth than previously thought. Geophysical models of that flow, which ultimately influences the frequency of earthquakes driven by the scraping of tectonic plates at Earth's surface, may need to be substantially tweaked, scientists say. Such models also help scientists estimate the long-term rates of heat flow through Earth's surface and into space.

Re:yeah right

By PopeRatzo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

this sure sounds plausible and not like some made up bullshit for scientists to get funding

Yes, geologists and geophysicists are well-known for being greedy and money-grubbing. After all, everyone knows they selected those fields just to make a quick buck.

Re:yeah right

By jwhyche • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

If you have access to The Curiosity Stream, or if you can find it else where, you should watch the Wizard of H20. It is about Alain Gachet who figured out a way to use satellite images to find deep water aquifers. Using his technique his has been right 98% of the time.

He is very couscous about making sure the aquifers are sustainable and will recharge. I've added him to my list of hero's to worship.

The documentary actually entities that don't want him to find water for people. They actually think its better to let refugees die of thrust that find them water. Sometimes I wonder if coming out of the trees was such a good ideal after all.

Ice VII?!

By smithmc • Score: 3 • Thread
But that's only two ices away from Ice-Nine!!

Re:yeah right

By techno-vampire • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
He is very couscous about making sure the aquifers are sustainable and will recharge.

This man is a Middle-Eastern grain dish?

Documents Prove Local Cops Have Bought Cheap iPhone Cracking Tech

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
GrayShift is a new company that promises to unlock even iPhones running the latest version of iOS for a relatively cheap price. From a report: In a sign of how hacking technology often trickles down from more well-funded federal agencies to local bodies, at least one regional police department has already signed up for GrayShift's services, according to documents and emails obtained by Motherboard. As Forbes reported on Monday, GrayShift is an American company which appears to be run by an ex-Apple security engineer and others who have long held contracts with intelligence agencies. In its marketing materials, GrayShift offers a tool called GrayKey, an offline version of which costs $30,000 and comes with an unlimited number of uses. For $15,000, customers can instead buy the online version, which grants 300 iPhones unlocks.

This is what the Indiana State Police bought, judging by a purchase order obtained by Motherboard. The document, dated February 21, is for one GrayKey unit costing $500, and a "GrayKey annual license -- online -- 300 uses," for $14,500. The order, and an accompanying request for quotation, indicate the unlocking service was intended for Indiana State Police's cybercrime department. A quotation document emblazoned with GrayShift's logo shows the company gave Indiana State Police a $500 dollar discount for their first year of the service. Importantly, according to the marketing material cited by Forbes, GrayKey can unlock iPhones running modern versions of Apple's mobile operating system, such as iOS 10 and 11, as well as the most up to date Apple hardware, like the iPhone 8 and X.

Re:We don't need to weaken encryption

By pnutjam • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I'd decrypt for a third party pledged to access only what the warrant is seeking. I don't think it's fair to decrypt and give blanket access for fishing expeditions.

Re:Sue their arse

By pnutjam • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
We'll see how quick apple is to patch this. It definitely shouldn't be out of their reach.

Re:FBI feigning incompetence?

By plover • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The FBI is mostly whining because they want on-line real-time undetectable wiretapping. Cracking open a locked phone is no different than gaining a warrant and taking the phone in the first place - the suspect is aware that his phone has been taken (or is dead), and it usually happens only after a serious crime has been committed and the suspect has been identified. I have no problem with police using tools to examine evidence after a crime has been committed.

But demanding flawed cryptographic algorithms, on the other hand, permit drift-net trawling of everyone's phones. Did you text someone about the weapon or the assassination plot? These crimes can now be thwarted before the victims are injured -- look, our pre-crime unit saves lives! But the drift-nets don't discriminate, and gather information about misdemeanor or non-criminal activity, too: small drug sales, shoplifting, or in the case of the Cheetohead-in-charge, researching climate change, donating to Hillary, or badmouthing Putin.

If anything, the current administration is so corrupt that the FBI themselves should be putting on the brakes, saying "no, we don't even want the tools to exist since you're just going to use them to ask us to further violate the Constitution for you."

Re:The Fourth Amendment

By AutodidactLabrat • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
It only requires that the Police lie to the judge.

Re:Sue their arse

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

And if they DON'T patch it, and they DON'T go after their ex-employee for the damage they did to the security of their systems, then you can just take it to assume that Apply is complicit with their ex-employee and the government at undermining the safety and security of their customer's information.

Downloads of Popular Apps Were Silently Swapped For Spyware in Turkey: Citizen Lab

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Matthew Braga, reporting for CBC: Since last fall, Turkish internet users attempting to download one of a handful of popular apps may have been the unwitting targets of a wide-reaching computer surveillance campaign. And in Egypt, users across the country have, seemingly at random, had their browsing activity mysteriously redirected to online money-making schemes. Internet filtering equipment sold by technology company Sandvine -- founded in Waterloo, Ont. -- is believed to have played a significant part in both.

That's according to new research from the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, which has examined misuse of similar equipment from other companies in the past. The researchers say it's likely that Sandvine devices are not only being used to block the websites of news, political and human rights organizations, but are also surreptitiously redirecting users toward spyware and unwanted ads. Using network-filtering devices to sneak spyware onto targets' computers "has long been the stuff of legends" according to the report -- a practice previously documented in leaked NSA documents and spyware company brochures, the researchers say, but never before publicly observed.
Citizen Lab notes that targeted users in Turkey and Syria who attempted to download Windows applications from official vendor websites including Avast Antivirus, CCleaner, Opera, and 7-Zip were silently redirected to malicious versions by way of injected HTTP redirects. It adds: This redirection was possible because official websites for these programs, even though they might have supported HTTPS, directed users to non-HTTPS downloads by default. Additionally, targeted users in Turkey and Syria who downloaded a wide range of applications from CBS Interactive's (a platform featured by CNET to download software) were instead redirected to versions containing spyware. does not appear to support HTTPS despite purporting to offer "secure download" links.

HTTPS all the things!

By TheDarkener • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Even seemingly irrelevant content. This day in (the WWW's) age gives no excuses beyond being too lazy to update legacy websites and platforms. It should be the default everywhere and there should be a GOOD reason to transfer anything unencrypted.


By VeryFluffyBunny • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
So Sandvine are a bunch of scumbags who sell surveillance and malware tech to oppressive regimes that endangers journalists, political activists, and anyone associated with them, eh?


By isj • Score: 5, Informative • Thread


Many of the newer DPI and PCEF engines are quite flexible, and can be configured by the customer (ISP/MNO/MVNO). The functionality is neutral and can be used for benign purposes (eg. redirect to top-up pages) or malign purposes (replacing a download). Sandvine is not the only vendor of such equipment - there's also Cisco, Allot, Huawei, ZTE, Procera, Alcatel, ...

The article doesn't indicate if Sandvine helped with it or if it was done by the Turkish telco themselves. Given Sandvine's history with the Comcast bittorrent connection reset years ago, I wouldn't be surprised if Sandvine helped, or implemented specific features to facilitate the stuff in Turkey.

European Union

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3 • Thread

It's becoming increasingly clear that no turk living today will ever see their dream of someday joining the EU realized in their lifetime.

Turkey is another perfect example of collective gullibility, where a majority democratically and freely chose a leader because they were clueless enough to actually believe him when he told them he would respect democracy and freedom once in power.

Frankly, I'm getting sick and tired of seeing country after country falling for the same old crap that's been going on for millenia time and time again. A supposedly intelligent species that simply cannot learn from the mistakes of its past and repeats them again and again and again is a textbook example of an evolutionary dead-end.

Re:The many joys...

By SuricouRaven • Score: 4 • Thread

It's not a binary. America certainly isn't the utopia of freedom and democracy that many citizens claim it to be - but it's still far, far better than Turkey. In America, questioning the whims of the ruling class probably isn't going to achieve much - but it isn't going to result in your mysteriously disappearing one day either. There have been a number of reports in the last year of that happening in Turkey.

Sea Level Rise in the SF Bay Area Just Got a Lot More Dire

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: San Francisco Bay Area residents have long been aware of the threat that sea level rise poses to their coastal existence -- but things suddenly look a lot more serious. A new study examines the simultaneous phenomena of rising sea levels and subsiding coastal land, and as Wired reports, the situation is pretty dire. Models that factor in just sea level rise predict that at least 20 square miles could be underwater by 2100. Once you add in subsiding land, that jumps to nearly 50 square miles, and could get as bad as 165 square miles. Or, put another way, by the end of the century, half of the runways and taxiways at San Francisco Airport could be submerged.

The study found that most of the Bay's coastline is sinking at a rate of less than 2 millimeters a year -- and while that may not sound like a lot, the millimeters can add up fast. "You talk to someone about, 'Oh the land is going down a millimeter a year,' and that can be kind of unimpressive," says William Hammond, a researcher at the University of Nevada Reno who studies subsidence (but was not involved in this particular project). "But we know as scientists that these motions, especially if they come from plate tectonics, that they are relentless and they will never stop, at least as long as we're alive on this planet."

Re:Climate Change is real.

By lgw • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

If you believe sea levels will rise, sell now. Problem solved. But I expect you want someone else to solve the problem for you by imposing tyrannical restrictions on those people.

Re:Stay sane

By OrangeTide • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

SF is about dressing in layers. At night it's cold and windy, in the morning it is cool and foggy, and in the afternoon it can be mild and pleasant.
I prefer the weather in San Jose-Santa Clara, and the massively lower crime rate. (well, I suppose the white collar crime rate is high in Silicon Valley)

P.S. SFO isn't even in SF. It's like 3 cities away.

Re:Climate Change is real.

By HiThere • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Claiming that land plant life will benefit from rising CO2 levels isn't exactly substantiated by experiments. It's also not exactly refuted.

The plants grow more vigorously, but have a harder time producing proteins, and experience some additional trouble reproducing. This, of course, varies by species, but it's "generally true" among the particular species tested (generally important agricultural plants). And this is when other conditions (temperature, humidity, etc.) are held constant...which, of course won't happen. So the results don't exactly reflect what should be expected, because they only investigated variation in one variable.

Now among sea life there will be problems among those with enzymes that depend on, e.g., calcium ions reacting in a particular way. In general, any enzyme that is sensitive to a change in pH will experience a change in activity, and this is almost always to the detriment of the organism that has evolved to use it. So far it looks like jellyfish will do well, and some fish will do well, but others will experience problems. And, of course, any animal that depends on precipitating Calcium will experience problems, including all shell-fish. I haven't heard of many detailed studies, but the basis of the problem generally is at the molecular level, so expect generalized difficulties in survival, with occasional species benefiting. (All animals evolved to fit the circumstances experienced by their ancestors...plants too.) The basic problem can be expressed as "it's going to take more energy to drive the reactions in the way the bodies expect them to go...or, occasionally, the current reaction will overdrive in the changed environment.)

P.S.: About plants on land: The grow faster, but they are weaker, and more likely to break under environmental stresses, say rain or a heavy wind. And, as I said, they are lower in protein. So every herbivore is going to be switching to a diet high in carbohydrates. So they'll need to eat more to get sufficient protein. People have already demonstrated that this is survivable is you can get enough food, but they've also demonstrated that it's rather unhealthy.

Re:Climate Change is real.

By Whibla • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I don't think you quite grasp the scale of this issue for larger countries, and the inability to buy dykes and pumps for poor countries. The US would need more concrete than has ever been produced. Making concrete produces a lot of CO2, so producing the unprecedented quantities of concrete will help ensure those structures are ineffective.

Also, you don't need concrete to build dykes and if the Netherlands could do it with 17th century tech I'm sure most countries can manage either that or relocating people to slightly higher ground. It doesn't matter though because if you cannot handle a meter of sea level rise you could get wiped out tomorrow by a mid size storm.

Yeah, I'm going to have to side with the GP here, on a number of points:

Length of Coastline - 1,914 km
GDP - $770 billion
GDP / km of Coastline - $402 million / km

Length of Coastline - 133,312 km
GDP - $18.57 trillion
GDP / km of Coastline - $139 million / km

So, firstly, the cost to build dykes around the coast of the US would be, proportionally, about 3 times as expensive for them as it is for the Netherlands. Secondly, close to 2 orders of magnitude (well 70 times) more dykes would be required. Thirdly, you keep going on about storm surge being more pertinent than sea level rise, and while technically you're correct here the effects happen to be cumulative.

In fact, in addition to being cumulative, since storm surge is driven by storms (duh) and storms derive their strength from sea temperatures as sea level rises due to warming so to does the size of the storm surge.

I can't really be bothered to go deeply into the topic of materials, as I'm hungry, but again, unless you want to incur unsustainable upkeep costs for those dykes concrete is pretty much the only long term option available - and even then the upkeep will be merely astronomical. And, like the GP says, producing that quantity of concrete, if there's even enough of the right type of sand to make it all, would only exacerbate the problem.

Re:Climate Change is real.

By Stephan Schulz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

His question is legitimate.

I don't see any question in the AC's comment, just a lot of statements that make no scientific sense at all.

CO2 absorption of IR comes no where close to explaining global warming, as is well known.

Your statement is unspecific enough to have no clear semantics. No, the direct effect off the CO2 increase does not fully explain the observed global warming. But then nobody except maybe some builders of straw men claims that. Arrhenius had identified the major feedbacks more than a century ago. We do have good explanations for the temperature increase, and anthropogenic influences, primary CO2 emissions, are indeed the root cause of the observed warming, and our best estimate is that they explain all the warming.

Perhaps you don't know enough to answer his questions

Maybe I don't know enough. We can all fall prey to the Dunning–Kruger effect. But in this case, again, there were no questions.

Windows 10's Next Update Will Be Called 'Spring Creators Update'

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The Verge reports: Microsoft is planning to reuse its "Creators Update" naming for a third Windows 10 update. The software giant has strangely not yet officially named its next Windows 10 update, due next month, but it has been testing a future update that appears to reveal the spring update name. "Windows 10 Spring Creators Update" has been spotted in the latest test builds of the Redstone 5 update expected to be released later this fall. Microsoft first launched Windows 10 Creators Update last spring, followed by the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update in the fall. The new Windows 10 Spring Creators Update naming was originally spotted in Microsoft blog posts last year, but this is the first time it has appeared in the operating system itself.

Re:What the hell is "Creators" update?

By ErichTheRed • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

It taps into the current trend of portraying "creators" in the media. In the IT/Dev space, it's usually the stereotypical web startup hipster with the hemp satchel, ironic mustache, Moleskine notebook and MacBook Pro with Github and Slack stickers on it.

Microsoft is trying to replace those Macbooks with Surfaces, so slapping the label "Creators' Update" on Windows is seen as one way to do it. Almost all web developers I've seen are Mac users though, so I think it's just for effect.

Spring creators rejoice

By iTrawl • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Spring creators around the world say "it's about fucking time somebody did something for us". Now they can make springs large and small with the ease of technology, and step out of the stone age.

Re:I am not a Creator

By arth1 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

I thought the update was meant for spring creators. If you have metal wire and a pair of pliers, you should be all set.

Re:What about consumers and business peeps

By Ranbot • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Also a consumer and use my home PC mainly for games. I tried not to install the last "Fall" update, but after avoiding it for about a month Windows dropped the illusion of choice and forced the install on me. The update destroyed my video frame rates. I waited for a follow-up Windows or Nvidia update, and I tried to troubleshoot the issue with everything I could find online about it (I wasn't the only one), but my patience ran out after about a week. I rolled back the update and everything was fine again.

So, yeah, this non-creator doesn't care what's in the update other than it better not fuck up what's already working. I will continue to ignore the suggested apps and Windows-sponsored social experiences. I will continue not using Edge. And Microsoft, yes, I play games; and I know you gather information from me to know that too. But, no, I do not want you to reinstall the Xbox app for the third time, and if you do I will uninstall/disable it again.

They should do like Android...

By Bearhouse • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Use words borrowed from edible things...y'a know, like Turkey, Lemon...

Slashdot Asks: What Are Some Apps and Online Services You Use To Discover, Track and Evaluate Movies, TV Shows, Music and Books?

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Earlier this week, news blog Engadget had a post in which the author outlined some of the apps that could help people keep track of TV shows, books, and music habits. A reader, who submitted the story, said the list was quite underwhelming. Curious to hear how Slashdot readers tackle these things.


By jarkus4 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I use goodreads site to track my reading and find some future reading. Quite pleasant way for tracking what you have read, tons of book ratings/reviews and easy way to discover more books by authors you like (especially useful for new releases). Even if I find book somewhere else I tend to check its description and reviews to check if its worth buying.

TV Calendar

By Fuzi719 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
I find TV Calendar ( to be invaluable.

The Pirate Bay

By Xenolith0 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Why, The Pirates Bay's Top 100 Videos of course.

I would have said Netflix

By bobstreo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

When they had actual numeric ratings, it was much easier to determine how bad a movie was (kind of like the moderation here.

Turds up or turds down would be ok, if they showed the count. Netflix does seem to have a reasonably good notification system via email or recommended for you categories.

For curating my collections, I have a couple different programs I use on different systems.

    Kodi does a good job scraping shows, movies and music data.

Calibre does a good job with eBooks.

  I was using a program called Shelves on my phone so I didn't buy copies of paper books I already owned.

For new releases of books or movies, social media will usually let you know when something of interest I also have some publishing houses that send me emails regarding new releases.

A couple apps come to mind

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

My go-to app for discovering new TV shows and movies is called “friends and coworkers”. There’s often enough information to be found there which makes it easier for me to decide whether or not a show sounds interesting.

If I can’t find it there, though, I generally go to the “extended family” app. I’ve discovered a few gems thanks to that service.

Half of Ransomware Victims Didn't Recover Their Data After Paying the Ransom

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: A massive survey of nearly 1,200 IT security practitioners and decision makers across 17 countries reveals that half the people who fell victim to ransomware infections last year were able to recover their files after paying the ransom demand. The survey, carried out by research and marketing firm CyberEdge Group, reveals that paying the ransom demand, even if for desperate reasons, does not guarantee that victims will regain access to their files. Timely backups are still the most efficient defense against possible ransomware infections, as it allows easy recovery. The survey reveals that 55% of all responders suffered a ransomware infection in 2017, compared to the previous year's study, when 61% experienced similar incidents. Of all the victims who suffered ransomware infections, CyberEdge discovered that 61.3% opted not to pay the ransom at all. Some lost files for good (8%), while the rest (53.3%) managed to recover files, either from backups or by using ransomware decrypter applications. Of the 38.7% who opted to pay the ransom, a little less than half (19.1%) recovered their files using the tools provided by the ransomware authors.


By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
I am shocked, shocked that paying ransom to criminals does not always result in getting what I paid for!


By omnichad • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

By failing to unlock the files, they decrease the chance future victims will be willing to pay.

Let's all be happy about it. It keeps more people from paying. I've always wondered if these non-successful recoveries were due to black hats trying to teach the public at large to stop paying ransoms. It also helps spread the message that there is no substitute for backups.

Re:but half did get their data..

By gnick • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

If there's only a 50% chance I'll get my data back, I should only have to pay 50% of the ransom.

I paid double the ransom so I have a credit ready for next time.

The bottom line...

By jcr • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

If you need to keep your data, 1) don't use any Microsoft products, and 2) keep backups.


Twitter Exploring Letting Everyone Get a Blue Tick For Verification, CEO Jack Dorsey Says

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: Twitter could one day allow everyone to be verified by one of the company's signature blue ticks, according to CEO Jack Dorsey. In a livestream on Periscope, Dorsey said Thursday that opening verification to more people could help to make sure people on the platform are who they say they are. "The intention is to open verification for everyone, and to do it in a way that is scalable where we (Twitter) are not in the way. And people can verify more facts about themselves and we don't have to be the judge or imply any bias on our part," Dorsey said. Twitter introduced the blue checkmark in 2009. It was initially available to public figures such as celebrities, but has since expanded to others like journalists and bloggers. Users need to apply for the blue tick, explaining why they need one.

The Tick you say?

By Sporkinum • Score: 5, Funny • Thread


Blue tick?

By TimMD909 • Score: 3 • Thread
We all know The Tick is blue (now), but do we all need a hero behind us yelling, "Spoon!"?


By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 3 • Thread

Except this things has not just been used for verification, the withdrawal of it has been used as "punishment" for people saying things that Twitter management and staff do not like.

Good way to weed out the crap

By Kazoo the Clown • Score: 3 • Thread
I unfollow blue-ticked accounts.

Researchers Provide Likely Explanation For the 'Sonic Weapon' Used At the US Embassy In Cuba

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from IEEE Spectrum: Last August, reports emerged that U.S. and Canadian diplomats in Cuba had suffered a host of mysterious ailments. Speculation soon arose that a high-frequency sonic weapon was to blame. Acoustics experts, however, were quick to point out the unlikeliness of such an attack. Among other things, ultrasonic frequencies -- from 20 to 200 kilohertz -- don't propagate well in air and don't cause the ear pain, headache, dizziness, and other symptoms reported in Cuba. Also, some victims recalled hearing high-pitched sounds, whereas ultrasound is inaudible to humans. The mystery deepened in October, when the Associated Press (AP) released a 6-second audio clip, reportedly a recording of what U.S. embassy staff heard. The chirping tones, centered around 7 kHz, were indeed audible, but they didn't suggest any kind of weapon. Looking at a spectral plot of the clip on YouTube, Kevin Fu, a computer scientist at the University of Michigan, noted some unusual ripples. He thought he might know what they meant.

Fu's lab specializes in analyzing the cybersecurity of devices connected to the Internet of Things, such as sensors, pacemakers, RFIDs, and autonomous vehicles. To Fu, the ripples in the spectral readout suggested some kind of interference. He discussed the AP clip with his frequent collaborator, Wenyuan Xu, a professor at Zhejiang University, in Hangzhou, China, and her Ph.D. student Chen Yan. Yan and Xu started with a fast Fourier transform of the AP audio, which revealed the signal's exact frequencies and amplitudes. Then, through a series of simulations, Yan showed that an effect known as intermodulation distortion could have produced the AP sound. Intermodulation distortion occurs when two signals having different frequencies combine to produce synthetic signals at the difference, sum, or multiples of the original frequencies. Having reverse engineered the AP audio, Fu, Xu, and Yan then considered what combination of things might have caused the sound at the U.S. embassy in Cuba. "If ultrasound is to blame, then a likely cause was two ultrasonic signals that accidentally interfered with each other, creating an audible side effect," Fu says. "Maybe there was also an ultrasonic jammer in the room and an ultrasonic transmitter," he suggests. "Each device might have been placed there by a different party, completely unaware of the other."


By MrKaos • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Why would an IMD product be more harmful than any other audio signal of normal intensity and spectral content? That question needs to be answered before this theory can be taken seriously.

Standing waves. I've been spending the last three years working in this space with audio processing, before I even open the paper I said to myself "I bet intermodulating waveforms" is a factor and there it was on the second page. I will most certainly read this whole paper however I thought I'd share some of my experiences that were a by-product of what I was trying to understand.

Out of curiosity I tried the experiment on myself and a few friends and found that if you hit the right frequency with a person, they will practically hit the roof and run away if they have any form of Tinnitus. I did a spectral analysis of the waveform and the best I can describe it is like audio teeth, waveforms with a specific Q, amplitude and frequency separation. I could'nt see anyone handling more than a few seconds of it, I have no doubt you would be very sick in much less than a minute.

If there were two devices they would cancel AND reinforce certain audio spectrum within the human hearing range thus you would get a combination of modulating and standing waveforms would be *really* disorientating, anything more than 5watts at that frequency range would be nasty. Just moving around in the room would make it oscillate.

It's not just humans and please don't hold this against me, I love dogs too, but not when they bark until 5am and sleep all day while I am driving down a freeway fatigued. Complaining to neighbors doesn't work but an intermodulating waveform oscillating between 23k and 25k works in under 10 seconds. No neighborly confrontation required.

The last thing I found is that it doesn't have to be actual damage to your hearing to produce the effect. I have my hearing tested often, I know exactly where the damage is and the effect is not necessarily related to damage.

A final point though is wind turbines. I think the effect is the same however it is intermodulating infrasound with very long waveforms relating to the characteristics of the turbine blades in different turbines interacting with each other. I would not live near these devices any more than living next to a main road, it will slowly make you sick.

Obviously my pithy experiments aren't controlled so I'm interested in what this paper has to say, maybe it can answer some questions I have.

TV remote controls

By ctrl-alt-canc • Score: 3 • Thread

Ancient TV RC used ultrasound transmitters. They are no more used in the civilized world, but maybe in Cuba are still there. People of the embassy were busy with two remote controls in a fight to decide which TV sitcom to view and...

Re:TV remote controls

By PPH • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Back in my days working on secret stuff, meeting room windows were equipped with piezoelectric transducers used to defeat laser inferometer microphones. It's possible that our embassy was so equipped. This would explain one ultrasonic source. Possibly even multiple sources in rooms with lots of windows and poorly installed systems.

Re:Heinlein's Razor

By PPH • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

That's Hanlon's Razor and ....

Oh, never mind.

Re:Ultrasonic transmitter and jammer?

By Cro Magnon • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

That would be a shitty thing to do!

The Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy Returns With the Original Cast

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Jonathan M. Gitlin reports via Ars Technica: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy deserves a special place in the geek pantheon. It's the story of hapless BBC radio editor Arthur Dent, his best friend Ford Prefect, and the adventures that result when Prefect saves Dent when the Earth is unexpectedly destroyed to make way for a galactic bypass. Written by the late, great Douglas Adams, THGTTG first appeared as a radio series in the UK back in 1978. On Thursday -- exactly 40 years to the day from that first broadcast -- it made its return home with the start of Hexagonal Phase, a radio dramatization of the sixth and final book of an increasingly misnamed trilogy.

Although Adams died suddenly and unexpectedly in 2001, the universe he gave birth to lived on. Beginning in 2004, the original radio cast was reunited to dramatize the third, fourth, and fifth books. In 2005, a film adaptation was released, and then in 2009 came a final novel in the "trilogy," And Another Thing..., written by the novelist Eoin Colfer. It's this story that the BBC is now dramatizing, again using many of the original cast, along with newcomers like Jim Broadbent, Lenny Henry, and Stephen Hawking. Yes, that Stephen Hawking.

Re:You can say what you want

By CeasedCaring • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
TV Trillian is Sandra Dickinson, who married Peter Davison - the 5th Doctor Who. Their daughter, Georgia Moffet, is married to David Tennant, the 10th Doctor.

Re:Hashtag sorry-not-sorry

By bickerdyke • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

(I actually tried to read it, but when you start out with, "throw away the entirety of the previous books," you might as well just write a different story.)

I'm afraid to burst your bubble, but THAT happened at the 3rd book. Could anyone imagine a better end than when at the end of the 2nd book, all literally comes together and the story forms a perfect circle?

Yes, Douglas Adams put lots of his typical humor in the next three volumes - but it will always feel like an add-on that's just loosely attached. And then... what is canon? I'd go for the books, but they already were re-writes that would not match a hypothetical "radio series canon".

My only consolidation is that Douglas Adams himself said, he didn't care about continuity because he had so much fun re-inventing the whole story again and again for each medium and rather cared what worked in that form (from TV to computer game) than what matches the previous installments.

A white man playing Ford Prefect?!?

By elrous0 • Score: 3 • Thread

Fucking whitewashing.

Re:You can say what you want

By Big Hairy Ian • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Given that Sandra Dickinson was Married to Peter Davidson (Time Lord known as The Doctor) and their daughter Georgia Moffett (Also a Time Lord and daughter of The Doctor) is married to David Tenant (Also a Time Lord known as The Doctor). Christmas dinner round there's must have been a hoot!

Unexpectedly? That is a lie and you know it!

By portwojc • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Unexpectedly destroyed? Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz makes it quite clear that all the planning charts and demolition orders were on display for fifty Earth years.

Fake News Spreads Faster Than True News On Twitter -- Thanks To People, Not Bots

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A new study shows that people are the prime culprits when it comes to the propagation of misinformation through social networks. Tweets containing falsehoods reach 1,500 people on Twitter six times faster than truthful tweets, the research reveals. Science Magazine reports: The lead author -- Soroush Vosoughi, a data scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge -- and his colleagues collected 12 years of data from Twitter, starting from the social media platform's inception in 2006. Then they pulled out tweets related to news that had been investigated by six independent fact-checking organizations -- websites like PolitiFact, Snopes, and They ended up with a data set of 126,000 news items that were shared 4.5 million times by 3 million people, which they then used to compare the spread of news that had been verified as true with the spread of stories shown to be false. They found that whereas the truth rarely reached more than 1000 Twitter users, the most pernicious false news stories routinely reached well over 10,000 people. False news propagated faster and wider for all forms of news -- but the problem was particularly evident for political news, the team reports today in Science. At first the researchers thought that bots might be responsible, so they used sophisticated bot-detection technology to remove social media shares generated by bots. But the results didn't change: False news still spread at roughly the same rate and to the same number of people. By default, that meant that human beings were responsible for the virality of false news.

"Truth" afffected by politics

By Roodvlees • Score: 3 • Thread
The websites they used to determine what's 'true' are very biased in favor of the establishment and progressiveness.
Like taking the climate panic as true. Even though the whole thing is based on a suspicion that's been proven wrong.

This should not come as a surprise

By e3m4n • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

How many times did we roll our eyes and think to ourselves âoemorons!â when someone we knew sent us an email regarding the US post office contemplating charging postage for email delivery? And how many times did we get that rediculous email asking us to foreward to everyone we knew because Micro$uck was tracking the email in order to make email more efficient?

I used to tell people that those were virusâ(TM). Not computer code virusâ(TM) but rather ones spread by infecting human hosts by compromising rational thought.

Re: Fact checking

By ISayWeOnlyToBePolite • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You'll want to do some fact checking yourself as the article does not support your position. What is true is that a wildlife resources agency officer was asked to leave an Outback Steakhouse because an individual customer at another table became panicked due to the presence of his gun. What is false is that he's a state trooper or local police officer AND that the Outback Steakhouse has a "gun free zone"-policy, they do not and they have apologized to the officer. You're perfectly justified in feeling that a wildlife resources agency officer is equivalent to a police officer and state trooper and that he was told that there was a "gun free zone"-policy is bad enough, regardless if there is such a policy or not. However as a matter of fact checking the two propositions are false. Thus as far as fact checking, the mixture rating.

Re:Fake news is more interesting

By mjwx • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The truth is not boring, its just that you never get to hear the interesting truths.

The old saying goes, "Truth is stranger than fiction" and that is quite true, but fiction is far more pleasing than the truth. So many prefer to live in a world of fiction. The problem is that many "news" agencies like the Daily Mail and Fox News have trained their reader/viewership to reject news that is based on facts and written in neutral (as in non-inflammatory) language as fake whilst accepting biased, opinion based news written to incite anger as true.

This is a case of people confirming their own bias.
1) Fake news organisation publishes fallacious and thought terminating cliche ridden piece about $thingYouDontLike.
2) Joe the biggot reads piece, shares on Twunter with the byline "Oh my Setekh, this is totally true about $thingIDontLike #PoliticianIDontLike #ThingIDontLike #LikeTotallyAndNotMadeUp #Selfie ".
3) Jane the slightly lesser biggot re-twunts it, then John the casually racist does the same and it eventually reaches Sally the well intentioned but not that bright who believes it because she doesn't question the facts presented when they're popular. Unfortunately there are a lot of people like Sally in the world.

It spreads because its written to be inflammatory and prevent us from thinking about the information critically, which is why it works well on those that aren't that bright however it's initially spread by people who simply want to confirm their own bias. Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites are perfect for this because their entire business model revolves around keeping you in an echo chamber so you don't want to leave. If Facebook really did crack down on fake news, users would leave in droves.

fake news it is crafted to outrage people

By XXongo • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Perhaps fake news is designed to excite people while real news isn't.

This is it precisely. Fake news is deliberately crafted to outrage people. Real news is messy-- it doesn't have all the details, and there is always some "well this side makes a point but the other side has a point, too."

Also, real news is reported by a lot of sources-- people don't feel the need to spread "did you see what Trump just did" news when it's on all the news channels and headlines in all the newspapers, but they do feel the need to spread the "here's something outrageous that isn't in the news but should be" stories that are not in the news because they are made up.

But overall, yes: fake news spreads faster because it is crafted to outrage people.