the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2018-Jun-12 today archive


  1. Solar Has Overtaken Gas, Wind As Biggest Source of New US Power
  2. Seattle Repeals Tax That Upset Amazon
  3. Google Brings Offline Neural Machine Translations For 59 Languages To Its Translate App
  4. Sony Is Blocking Fortnite Cross-Play Between PS4, Nintendo Switch Players
  5. UK Watchdog Issues $334K Fine For Yahoo's 2014 Data Breach
  6. Apple Tries To Stop Developers Sharing Data On Users' Friends
  7. Giant African Baobab Trees Die Suddenly After Thousands of Years
  8. KDE Plasma 5.13 Released
  9. Senate Will Try To Reverse ZTE Deal Via a Must-Pass Defense Bill
  10. Judge Rules AT&T Can Acquire Time Warner
  11. 5% of All Monero Currently In Circulation Has Been Mined Using Malware
  12. Internet Luminaries Urge EU To Kill Off Automated Copyright Filter Proposal
  13. Google Disables Inline Installation For Chrome Extensions
  14. Spanish Football League Defends Phone 'Spying'
  15. Intel Says Its First Discrete Graphics Chips Will Be Available in 2020
  16. Microsoft's Next-Gen Xbox Will Arrive in 2020: Report
  17. Carmel, Libra, and Andromeda Are the Next Wave of Surface Devices: Report
  18. To Hit Climate Goals, Bill Gates and His Billionaire Friends Are Betting on Energy Storage
  19. Vietnam Lawmakers Approve Cyber Law Clamping Down on Tech Firms, Dissent
  20. Bugs Allowed Hackers To Make Malware Look Like Apple Software
  21. Facebook Offers Nearly 500 Pages of Answers To Congress' Questions From Zuckerberg's Testimony
  22. Honeybees Seem To Understand the Notion of Zero, Study Finds
  23. Mars Opportunity Rover Is In Danger of Dying From a Dust Storm

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

Solar Has Overtaken Gas, Wind As Biggest Source of New US Power

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Despite tariffs that President Trump imposed on imported panels, the U.S. installed more solar energy than any other source of electricity in the first quarter. Developers installed 2.5 gigawatts of solar in the first quarter, up 13 percent from a year earlier, according to a report Tuesday from the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research. That accounted for 55 percent of all new generation, with solar panels beating new wind and natural gas turbines for a second straight quarter.

The growth came even as tariffs on imported panels threatened to increase costs for developers. Giant fields of solar panels led the growth as community solar projects owned by homeowners and businesses took off. Total installations this year are expected to be 10.8 gigawatts, or about the same as last year, according to GTM. By 2023, annual installations should reach more than 14 gigawatts.

Re:I forget who

By Joce640k • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

My shares in buggy whips never recovered. I was ruined!

There should be firm laws against this sort of 'progress'.

Re:Because there's Trillions in assets

By Joce640k • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Problem: A lot of them are in charge of running the country!

Re:More info

By crypticedge • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

You assume Musk didn't release the battery patent for the Teslas to public domain a decade ago (he did)

You also assume that Musk isn't producing the battery packs for several other car manufacturers (he is)

Re:More info

By Rob Lister • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Though he presented it as per person, it is actually per utility customer, i.e. household.

How much electricity does an American home use?

In 2016, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,766 kilowatthours (kWh), an average of 897 kWh per month
897kWh/mo / 30 days is 30kWh/day

So the 40% stands.

Re:More info

By apoc.famine • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I think these are two things that people miss when complaining about Musk. For all the legitimate complaints one might have about him, releasing the battery patent so the world could use it was a real commitment to supporting renewable energy and cleaner transportation.

Second, by investing in multiple gigafactories, he's positioning himself to be the sole supplier of batteries for much of automation, despite releasing those patents. Has his cake and eats it too.

I have some serious admiration for the ability to do that. Not a lot of CEOs have the balls to do that and the brains to make it work.

Seattle Repeals Tax That Upset Amazon

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Last month, the Seattle City Council introduced a new tax that would charge firms $275 per worker a year to fund homelessness outreach services and affordable housing. This greatly upset Amazon, Seattle's biggest private sector employer, which threatened to move jobs out of the city. Today, The Associated Press reports that Seattle leaders have repealed the tax on large companies such as Amazon and Starbucks after they fought the measure. From the report: The City Council voted 7-2 Tuesday to reverse a tax that it unanimously approved just a month ago to help provide services in the city. The Seattle region has one of the highest homelessness numbers in the U.S. Amazon, Starbucks and other businesses sharply criticized the tax as misguided. The online retailer, the city's largest employer, even temporarily halted construction planning on a new high-rise building near its Seattle headquarters in protest. Mayor Jenny Durkan and a majority of the council have said they scrapped the tax to avoid a costly political fight as a coalition of businesses moved to get a referendum overturning the tax on the November ballot.

Fix homelessness easily

By fred911 • Score: 3 • Thread

Whereas it's not a 100% fix, a good 90% of the "homeless" are there because of heroin addiction. Legalize the drug, register addicts, dispense pharmaceutical grade product in a clinical environment, eliminate the black market, clean up the streets. There's probably two solutions, the Amsterdam model or Mao's model.

Clean up the vicious opiate addiction cycle and the majority of the homelessness goes away. What's left is easily manageable with current resources.

Re: Money is power

By Rhipf • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

If you shrink that ring down even further to only where the homeless are at the figure jumps to 100%.

Re:Money is power

By SvnLyrBrto • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Better yet: Just don't give out anything at all to randoms who harass you on the street or sidewalk. And in that, I include those students that outfits like Greenpeace, Planned Parenthood, and the HRC send out to bother people for money on the sidewalks. I use these as my examples because I actually agree fairly wholeheartedly with their agendas, but despise this method. Also included are the people who harass outside of storefronts for signatures for whatever ballot proposition committee is paying them. This particular behavior is obnoxious as all hell and should not at all be encouraged. And they won't stop until people stop handing out money, signatures, and whatever else they manage to score.

Better to decide on your own time and under no pressure what charitable causes you care about the most. Then do your research to pick a set of organizations that support those causes in a manner you find most ethical and efficient; and donate to them privately. That way your chances of getting scammed are minimized and your money will be used more effectively.


By Shotgun • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What!? You can't be serious. There was just another dust-up about something President Trump said, calling these gangs "animals". The precursor was a sheriff complaining that they were being forced to release the detainees before ICE could pick them up, because of sanctuary city laws.

Please, pay attention.

$1.06 Billion a year is not enough

By devloop • Score: 3 • Thread
Seattle already spends more than a billion dollars on "solving the homeless crisis":
This is on an estimated homeless population of roughly 12,000 individuals:
This works out to around $88,000 a year per individual. Let that sink in for a second.
Their government is ineffective and inept, giving them more money to waste is not a practical solution.

Google Brings Offline Neural Machine Translations For 59 Languages To Its Translate App

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google is rolling out offline Neural Machine Translation (NMT) support for 59 languages in the Translate apps. Some of the supported languages include Arabic, Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Spanish, French, and Korean (TechCrunch has a full list of the languages in their report). From the report: In the past, running these deep learning models on a mobile device wasn't really an option since mobile phones didn't have the right hardware to efficiently run them. Now, thanks to both advances in hardware and software, that's less of an issue and Google, Microsoft and others have also found ways to compress these models to a manageable size. In Google's case, that's about 30 to 40 megabytes per language. Users will see the updated offline translations within the next few weeks.

pivot language?

By epine • Score: 3 • Thread

Is English considered to be the pivot language, or do all of these models product the same intermediate representation?

Rather useless article, with no shred of a deep understanding, whatsoever.

I'm guessing you run the input model from language to IR, and the output model from IR back to language, so you need to have at least two models to use this app. (I suppose you could translate from English to IR and back to English again, for perverse joy.)

Only I haven't read anything about training multiple machine translation models with a shared IR. That strikes me as technically difficult, and I would have thought I'd have seen some loud crowing out there, had it been achieved (it's now been a couple of months since I gave the Internet a good shake on machine learning, and things move fast).


By phantomfive • Score: 3 • Thread
I'm not sure the new model is actually better than the old model. In recent months, I've seen it make bizarre mistakes, like translate "man" as "woman" in contexts where there was no room for mistake. Also it translated 10,000 as a million. Something is wrong with it.

Re:pivot language?

By Lenbok • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I'm not sure to what extent it relates to the specific offline translation modules in the translate app, but a while back the Google Research blog had a post on multi-lingual machine translation models (and that let them do translation between two languages for which they didn't have direct translation training corpus). So at least in that case, there is just a single translation model rather than separate input and output models that go to and from an IR.

Re:pivot language?

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I don't have that detail but I can tell you my experience as a user of machine translation for 15+ years.

Originally it only really worked on formal documents, and even then only produced something you could barely understand. The biggest issue seemed to be that it didn't understand context at all.

Google made some early improvements in making the translated text sound more natural. They also managed to fix a lot of common phrases that didn't quite fit the standard grammar model and thus didn't used to get translated properly. Apparently they did that by using the web as a resource for natural language and by allowing users to submit corrections.

Then AI started to be used. Baidu were the first I think and their Chinese/English translation was a huge improvement over everything else. It seemed to work slightly better going from English to Chinese though, and when Google released their AI updates not long after Chinese to English became nearly perfect.

It's actually incredible how good it is now. Often the resulting translation is not only accurate and seemingly context aware, it sounds like something a person might actually say. You don't have to think about what you are writing either. Before you had to be careful to phrase things so that the software could understand it, but not any more.

There are still some issues, like the way Japanese newspaper headlines often get translated as if it was a person speaking about their own experience (e.g. some houses were flooded, but the translation is "my house was flooded" because the software assumes that context), but for conversations between two people it's like Star Trek or something.

Re:pivot language?

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Try using Google Translate and Bing Translate on a random story from Srad used to be Slashdot Japan before the name change, and the story summaries are written in an informal tone similar to Slashdot ones (but better edited!)


Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Internet mail order order due to erroneous judgment of smart speaker will not be contracted

First of all, about electronic commerce using smart speakers, smart speakers have the ability to order orders to net mail orderers by voice. However, when an order occurred due to misunderstanding or misunderstanding, guidelines on how to handle that order were not shown. In this revised bill, it is clearly stated that "contract through AI speaker has not been established" for misrecognized orders, and it is said that businesses must properly deal with these problems. Also, even if the ordering party makes a mistake, if the system is such that confirmation is not made for the order, the ordering party may be able to argue the invalidity of the contract.

You can see some trivial mistakes, like how two different words in Japanese are translated into the same English word "misunderstanding", but the meaning is clear and things like the ministry name are correct and the sentences are actual English.


Due to misjudgment of transdermal production Ministry said, smart speaker e-store purchase contract would suppose

There are features for e-commerce using the first source to speaker smart speaker audio to Internet mail order companies order allows. But the positives and say mistakes in order occurs, the order what to do of the guidelines was not shown. We're in this amendment, and describing "the agreement through the AI speakers has not been established" in probable order operators must respond properly on these issues. In addition, says is possible if the system check do not for the order if the buyer did mistakes, the officials can claim contract invalid.

It's like something out of the 90s era Bablefish. Not only is the interpretation of the original Japanese poor, but the resulting English sentences are broken too.

Sony Is Blocking Fortnite Cross-Play Between PS4, Nintendo Switch Players

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Earlier today, Nintendo announced during its E3 press conference that Epic Games' Fortnite would be coming to the Switch console. Unfortunately, when Epic Games PR representative Nick Chester confirmed cross-play compatibility, the PS4 wasn't on the list. The Switch version of Fortnite will only support cross-play with Xbox One, PC, Mac, and mobile. The Verge reports: That aligns with past cross-play implementations between Xbox One, PS4, PC, and mobile, with Sony blocking other console platforms from playing with its own. You can cross-play between PS4, mobile, and PC. Unfortunately, this also suggests that PS4 players of Fortnite won't be able to log in to their Epic accounts on the Switch, meaning you won't be able to have any weekly progress carry over or gain access to any of your skins or emotes. This is because your Epic account is tied up with your PSN username in most cases. For instance, you can't log in to an Epic account tied to PSN on the Xbox One version of Fortnite, and it sounds like the same will be true for the Switch.

Re:Who even wants this stuff

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

FYI: This is not about mixing PS4 vs Switch on the same server. It's about once you've ever played on PS4, then Sony is making it impossible to ever use the same Fortnight account to play on Switch.

I got 99 problems

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

and a Switch ain't one.

Weirdly written

By The Grim Reefer • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The Switch version of Fortnite will only support cross-play with Xbox One, PC, Mac, and mobile.

What a strange way to word that. it will "only" work with everything but PS4.

The Verge reports: That aligns with past cross-play implementations between Xbox One, PS4, PC, and mobile,

So did the PS4 used to work with Xbox One, PC, and Mobile?

with Sony blocking other console platforms from playing with its own. You can cross-play between PS4, mobile, and PC.

Wait, no. Sony won't work with any other consoles. But it still works with PC and mobile.

I don't even want to RTFA as it might say that it will work with NES, Atari 2600, Magnavox Odyssey and Ms. Pacman. And if you sacrifice a goat during a blue super moon it will also work with Duesenberg cars, the original Eli Whitney cotton gin, and any abacus built before 1874.

Not about cross play

By darkain • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

For those that don't want to dig into the details, here is the gist of it.

Fortnite uses an Epic Games account to login. If you've EVER logged into a Sony's PS4 with this account and touched Fortnite on it, this account become permanently locked out of both Microsoft's XBox One and Nintendo's Switch. The issue is not about cross play even, people are accepting that it wont happen. The issue is the fact that the outside Epic account becomes locked because of a deal Sony forced upon Epic games.

This of course became front and center in the spot light again today now that the Switch version of the game launched this morning, and a fuckton of people are pissed off that their in-game progress and paid content is entirely inaccessible on the Switch if they've ever touched the PS4 version.

Re:Wait... what?!

By Narcocide • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

With gyro-aim the Switch users are going to mop the floor with everyone using joysticks. That's the real reason Sony doesn't want to play with anyone.

UK Watchdog Issues $334K Fine For Yahoo's 2014 Data Breach

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Register: Yahoo's U.K. limb has finally been handed a $334,300 (250,000 GBP) fine for the 2014 cyber attack that exposed data of half a million Brit users. Today, the Information Commissioner's Office issued Yahoo U.K. Services Ltd a $334,300 (250,000 GBP) fine following an investigation that focused on the 515,121 U.K. accounts that the London-based branch of the firm had responsibility for. The ICO said "systemic failures" had put user data at risk as the U.K. arm of Yahoo did not take appropriate technical and organizational measures to prevent a data breach of this size.

In particular, the watchdog said there should have been proper monitoring systems in place to protect the credentials of Yahoo employees who could access customer's data, and to ensure that instructions to transfer very large quantities of personal data from Yahoo's servers would be flagged for investigation. It also noted that, as a data controller, Yahoo U.K. services Ltd had a responsibility to ensure its processors -- in this case Yahoo, whose U.S. servers held the data on U.K. users -- complied with data protection standards.

So, about .50 GBP ...

By CaptainDork • Score: 3 • Thread

... per incident.

That's the damages? Seriously?

Massively cheaper than actual security

By gweihir • Score: 3 • Thread

Having some experience with large-corporation implementation of security mechanisms, I would guess this fine is at the very least 10x cheaper than what implementation of actual security would have cost. May as well be 100x or even 1000x. As long as this is the utterly pathetic and laughable reaction to a massive data breach caused by extremely bad security, nothing will change.

Apple Tries To Stop Developers Sharing Data On Users' Friends

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Apple has updated its App Store guidelines to close a loophole that let app makers store and share data without many people's consent. The practice has "been employed for years," reports Bloomberg. "Developers ask users for access to their phone contacts, then use it for marketing and sometimes share or sell the information -- without permission from the other people listed on those digital address books." From the report: As Apple's annual developer conference got underway on June 4, the Cupertino, California-based company made many new pronouncements on stage, including new controls that limit tracking of web browsing. But the phone maker didn't publicly mention updated App Store Review Guidelines that now bar developers from making databases of address book information they gather from iPhone users. Sharing and selling that database with third parties is also now forbidden. And an app can't get a user's contact list, say it's being used for one thing, and then use it for something else -- unless the developer gets consent again. Anyone caught breaking the rules may be banned.

While Apple is acting now, the company can't go back and retrieve the data that may have been shared so far. After giving permission to a developer, an iPhone user can go into their settings and turn off apps' contacts permissions. That turns off the data faucet, but doesn't return information already gathered.

Still the best

By Actually, I do RTFA • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

[Apple:] No one picks on my little brother but me!

It's still better than Google: "Whatever man, you got his permission" or Facebook: "I'll hold down my little brother."


By vanyel • Score: 3 • Thread

That's one of the main reasons I don't use whatsapp - it's model depends on grabbing your contact book and making a worldwide graph of connections. I'm in it whether I want to be or not simply because some of my friends use it.

Giant African Baobab Trees Die Suddenly After Thousands of Years

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Some of Africa's oldest and biggest baobab trees have abruptly died, wholly or in part, in the past decade, according to researchers. From a report: The trees, aged between 1,100 and 2,500 years and in some cases as wide as a bus is long, may have fallen victim to climate change, the team speculated. "We report that nine of the 13 oldest ... individuals have died, or at least their oldest parts/stems have collapsed and died, over the past 12 years," they wrote in the scientific journal Nature Plants, describing "an event of an unprecedented magnitude." "It is definitely shocking and dramatic to experience during our lifetime the demise of so many trees with millennial ages," said the study's co-author Adrian Patrut of the Babes-Bolyai University in Romania. Among the nine were four of the largest African baobabs. While the cause of the die-off remains unclear, the researchers "suspect that the demise of monumental baobabs may be associated at least in part with significant modifications of climate conditions that affect southern Africa in particular." Further research is needed, said the team from Romania, South Africa and the United States, "to support or refute this supposition."


By sd4f • Score: 3 • Thread
I love it when science doesn't have the answers, but tries to look like it does. The article is a case in point; they don't know what killed the trees, or why they died, but... it was climate change...

We all know who to blame

By viperidaenz • Score: 3 • Thread

It's the millennials' fault

Re:Well now we know how the cat is doing

By Luckyo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Far more common case is that people who study trees carry pathogens that jump cross tree species. Another point is that studying trees involves invasive procedures like drilling holes in them to make assessments of age, and as any arborist worth his salt will tell you, older trees are very bad at recovering from such shocks than young trees.

Re:Well now we know how the cat is doing

By plover • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

This has long been a concern of mine. Our area used to be in agricultural "Zone 2", meaning we'd usually experience a few day snap of -22F winter weather. This killed off a wide variety of non-native pests, such as those that arrived here on trucks and railcars from warmer clones during the summers. After a decade of record warm winters, we've been re-classified as Zone 4 and the transient beasts never die off now. So we've now got emerald ash borers; gypsy moths; new wasps, bees, and ants; and various roaches and snakes we've never had to deal with before, They're killing vast numbers of native trees and plants.

Re:Life does not thrive

By rahvin112 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You aren't any kind of biological expert of any kind. This has nothing to do with CO2 affecting the tree, it's about the change in the climate, in particular in this case changing rainfall patterns in the area of the world where these trees grow.

They are blaming climate change because the trees exist in a part of the world that has seen one of the biggest changes in rainfall in the world over the last 20 years with around a 40% reduction in annual rainfall for over two decades. That change in rainfall amount has a drastic effect on the oldest trees because they are less able to handle changes and need significant amounts of water due to their size.

KDE Plasma 5.13 Released

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
jrepin writes: KDE unveils the final release of Plasma 5.13, the free and open-source desktop environment. Members of the Plasma team have focused on optimizing startup and minimizing memory usage. Plasma Browser Integration is a suite of new features which make Firefox, Chrome and Chromium-based browsers work with your desktop. For example, downloads are now displayed in the Plasma notification popup, and the Media Controls Plasmoid can mute and skip videos and music playing from within the browser. Browser tabs can be opened directly using KRunner via the Alt-Space keyboard shortcut. System Settings design has been improved further. Window manager gained much-improved effects for blur and desktop switching. Wayland work continued, with the return of window rules, and initial support for screencasts and desktop sharing. You can view the changelog here.

Pretty cool

By 110010001000 • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
This is pretty cool. One of the biggest features of a desktop is browser integration.

Fixed Akonadi yet?

By Tough Love • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Fixed Akonadi yet? I would say, get rid of the MySQL dependency for a start, or can you not spell ACID? If that is too hard, then just kill Akonadi.

Re:KDE still around

By BlazeMiskulin • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Yes. KDE is "still around".

A quick google of "best linux desktop environments" results in...

  • Lifewire: KDE Plasma is #4
  • Tecmint: KDE Plasma is #2
  • ItsFoss: KDE Plasma is #1
  • FossBytes: KDE Plasma is #1

It might not be the best for you, but it's still one of the top DEs.


By NicknameUnavailable • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Don't let the devs year you call it KDE 5 - they are quite adamant that there is no such thing. It's "KDE Plasma" and they will deny the existence of KDE 5 for hours before revealing that fact if you ask them about it in a support channel. Just a cautionary note for KDE users - DO NOT use the term "KDE 5" if you ask for help from the KDE support people, you'll never remember what your original issue was until the discussion ends.

And there was much rejoicing

By OneHundredAndTen • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Or not. One can't help but feeling that the Linux flagship desktop offerings (Gnome and KDE) are more and more irrelevant with every passing year. Linux keeps spinning its wheels in the desktop, and the prospects are that this will remain true for the foreseeable future. I wouldn't be surprised those two offerings - big, ponderous, resource-hungry, my-way-or-the-highway (especially Gnome) - are contributing decisively to keep things the way they are as far as Linux's share of the desktop market is concerned. Well, at least, under Linux, there (still) are alternatives.

Senate Will Try To Reverse ZTE Deal Via a Must-Pass Defense Bill

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Senate leaders agreed Monday to include language in the annual defense spending bill that would reverse the Trump administration's decision to save Chinese telecommunications company ZTE after it was caught violating the terms of a 2017 penalty agreement by making illegal sales to Iran and North Korea. The language will be part of an amendment in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, a $716 billion defense policy bill, H.R. 5515 (115).

If the Senate amendment becomes law, it would automatically reinstate the seven-year prohibition until Trump has certified to Congress that ZTE has met certain conditions. It also would ban all U.S. government agencies from purchasing or leasing telecommunications equipment and/or services from ZTE, a second Chinese telecommunications firm, Huawei, or any subsidiaries or affiliates of those two companies. The amendment language "prohibits the federal government from doing business with ZTE or Huawei or other Chinese telecom companies" and puts the company back on the sanctions list and "holds ZTE accountable for violating their previous commitment," Cotton said.
The senators supporting the amendment include Democratic minority leader Chuck Schumer and two Republican Senators -- Sen Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). "I and obviously every other senator believes the death penalty is the appropriate punishment for their behavior," Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) told reporters after Ross briefed senators on the department's latest ZTE action. "They're a repeat bad actor that should be put out of business. For eight years, ZTE was able to run wild and be able to become the fourth-largest telecom company in the world." If the Senate amendment becomes law, "I would expect there wouldn't be a ZTE," Cotton added.

Re:hard to see this passing.

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

America cant have this cake and eat it too.

Yet, Trump, his administration and supporters believe they can (and deserve it).

... saddled with an illiterate profiteer as its head of state, and hes doing a rather poor job of keeping the curtain closed on who actually runs America.

Trump said he would "drain the swamp." He *never* said he wouldn't fill it back up again.

Possible problem

By squiggleslash • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
I'm not opposed to this in principle, but isn't it technically a bill of attainer, which, for very good reasons, is unconstitutional?


By Tough Love • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I don't understand the legitimacy thing.

You do not understand the legitimacy thing because you do not understand the freedom thing or the rule of law thing. You want to give the despot money, and ignore the teachings of history that appeasement never works? Good thing nobody cares what you think.

That doesn't really reverse the decision.

By sabbede • Score: 3 • Thread
It just means that Trump has to certify that they are meeting the conditions of having the sanctions lifted. Like paying that billion dollar fine. The part about the Federal government not buying their products is good. I don't know why it hasn't been a rule for a long time and applied to just about everything. The government (at any level) shouldn't be buying anything from China. Nor should anything Chinese be part of our infrastructure. That's a pretty obvious security issue.

Bill of Attainder

By mysidia • Score: 3 • Thread

What's this odd amendment crap? The Executive branch has the inherent authority to decide who to prosecute or whether to prosecute or not, But the Congress does not.

An "amendment" to a bill, Or a law Naming a specific person or company such as ZTE and stating that person or company are guilty of a crime or misdeed and/or applying a punishment to a specific company or individual is called a Bill of Attainder, And it is an Unconstitutional action for Congress to try and pass an instrument such as this (US Constitution, Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3: "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed.").

Congress is specifically denied the ability to pass a law naming an Individual or Corporation (such as ZTE) and imposing a punishment ---- this authority is reserved to the courts and to the executive; Congress is specifically denied the authority to find anyone guilty of anything -- that's for other branches of government to handle. So I sure hope this gets challenged appropriately.

Judge Rules AT&T Can Acquire Time Warner

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A federal judge said Tuesday that AT&T's $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner is legal, clearing the path for a deal that gives the pay-TV provider ownership of cable channels such as HBO and CNN as well as film studio Warner Bros. From a report: U.S. District Judge Richard Leon announced his decision in a packed courtroom, ruling that antitrust enforcers at the Justice Department had not proven their case against the merger. The decision, in one of the biggest antitrust cases in decades, is a milestone victory for AT&T as it looks to reposition itself in a rapidly evolving media landscape. Its deal for Time Warner, valued at roughly $80 billion, has been pending since October 2016. The acquisition means AT&T will be the nation's top pay-TV distributor, through its ownership of DirecTV, as well as the owner of some of the country's most sought-after channels: Time Warner's Turner networks -- including CNN, TBS and TNT -- as well as HBO, the most popular U.S. premium network.

Re:Are you fucking kidding me?

By Dragonslicer • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I usually differentiate them by using the terms "free market" and "fair market". Right-wing economics assumes that a fair market is a natural consequence of a free market; center/moderate-left economics rejects that assumption and believes that some amount of government intervention, such as antitrust regulation, is necessary to ensure a fair market.

As the saying goes

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
elections have consequences. You're the first person I've heard make the point that it's hard to run a business due to a _lack_ of regulations. I'm not saying you're wrong (you're dead on actually). But I've just had the narrative of regulations making business harder pounded into my skull so long it's hard to imagine the opposite, even when I logically what you're saying.

There are no conditions

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
none whatsoever. The judge is letting it proceed as is. You have more conditions buying a candy bar from 7-11 than they're getting buying a competitor.

Show up to your primaries

By rsilvergun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
folks. And then at your mid-terms. If you want change you need to start voting these bums out. Don't forget most judges are appointed. The party that appointed this judge didn't. That's why this merger sailed through with zero conditions. And it's why you'll be paying $200/mo for high speed internet in a few years.

Re:Are you fucking kidding me?

By Obfuscant • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

It's the typical business model in most cities as far as cable companies go:

Thank you for your lecture. I've been involved in cable franchise issues before. You seem to know about the act of 1984, but can't remember the followup federal law that prohibits exclusive franchises. Without an exclusive franchise, there is no government-granted monopoly.

You cited the franchise ordnance for Seattly, but apparently failed to read it. Refer to 21.60.050 A. Read all the words.

Technically there's nothing there that necessitates a monopoly,

Nothing necessitates a monopoly, and nothing there GRANTS a monopoly, either.

but there's also nothing stopping a company from acquiring a non-compete clause either

Do you understand that federal law overrides local law in this area? It is against FEDERAL LAW for the city of Seattle to grant an exclusive franchise to ANY cable operator. (Since there are no franchise requirements for ISPs, that's the only franchise issue here.)

Comcast was quite notorious for doing that.

Of course Comcast would try for exclusive franchises while they were still legal. It's common sense for them. BUT -- they've been illegal for more then twenty years. The last franchise agreement between Seattle and Comcast was reached in 2017 -- and the expiring one wasn't exclusive either. The franchise ordnance you cite is explicit on this.

There are also a large number of states which have laws that attempt to hinder or outright prevent local municipalities from creating their own ISP,

This has nothing to do with cable companies, and in any case does not create a government-granted monopoly. It's irrelevant.

Personally I'm of the opinion that cities should be in charge of their own infrastructure

That's a different issue. You've claimed that Comcast has a government-granted monopoly in Seattle, and the existence of three franchised cable companies, along with federal law, proves you wrong.

and allow various companies to offer competing services to the city's residents.

I've already made friends with Google, and it tells me that there are at least 6 residential and 14 business ISPs serving Seattle, and of those 14 at least 7 are gigabit. This is what you call "no competition"?

5% of All Monero Currently In Circulation Has Been Mined Using Malware

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: According to a report released yesterday, criminal groups have mined an approximate total of 798,613.33 Monero coins (XMR) using malware on infected devices. That's over $108 million in US currency, just from coin-mining operations alone. This sum also represents around 5% of all the Monero currently in circulation -- 15,962,350 XMR. Furthermore, during the past year, infected devices were responsible for 19,503,823.54 hashes/second, which is roughly 2% of the entire hashing power of the Monero network. The total hashrate of roughly 19MH/s would result in approximately $30,443 per day based on today's current exchange rates and network difficulty," researchers said. "Similarly, the top three hash-rates will mine approximately $2,737, $2,022 and $1,596 per day, respectively."

How much of the Gold in circulation was stolen...

By ffkom • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
... at some point in time? How much of the money in bank accounts or 10-USD-bills was payment for some illegal activity at some point in time?

Definitely all interesting questions, but like the article headline, the answers would not really tell us much about the nature or usability of the respective currency.

Internet Luminaries Urge EU To Kill Off Automated Copyright Filter Proposal

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A large group of Internet pioneers have sent an open letter to the European Union urging it to scrap a proposal to introduce automated upload filters, arguing that it could damage the internet as we know it. The Register: The European Parliament's Legal Affairs (Juri) Committee will vote on the proposal contained in Article 13 of the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive next week. The proposal would see all companies that "store and provide to the public access to large amounts of works" obliged to "prevent the availability... of works... identified by rightholders." Despite the inclusion of language that says such measures need to be "appropriate and proportionate," it has caused many to worry that the law will lead to a requirement for all platforms to introduce automated content filtering, and shift liability for any copyrighted material that appears online from the user that posts it to the platform itself.

"By inverting this liability model and essentially making platforms directly responsible for ensuring the legality of content in the first instance, the business models and investments of platforms large and small will be impacted," warns the letter [PDF] signed by "Father of the Internet" Vint Cerf, world world web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, as well a host of other internet luminaries including Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales, security expert Bruce Schneier and net neutrality namer Tim Wu.

How about getting rid of writable media tax first?

By Alwin Barni • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
How about getting rid of writable media tax first?

"Internet Luminaries"

By PopeRatzo • Score: 3 • Thread

My invitation must have gotten lost in the mail.

Re:How about getting rid of writable media tax fir

By bluefoxlucid • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
How about we get rid of the Berne Convention?

Next EU Problem

By SmaryJerry • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Even if they win this argument and individuals are liable for their own copyright infringement, the next argument will be then as a website you have to be able to identify the person who uploaded to your service so the infringing person can be prosecuted. I foresee the days of anonymity gone soon (10 years or less) in the EU's internet.

Limited Internet is an Oxymoron

By xanthos • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
I have faith in the Internet to perform its most basic function: to resiliently get a packet from point A to point B.

Governments and corporations are welcome to erect whatever barriers they see fit to raise, but they will be effective only until they become onerous. Then, as has happened before, an enterprising geek will find a way to rip, decss, vpn, tor, p2p, IPV6 their way around or through the barriers.

The Internet is not regulated, the Internet can not be effectively regulated and serve its intended purpose.

Google Disables Inline Installation For Chrome Extensions

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: Google today announced that Chrome will no longer support inline installation of extensions. New extensions lose inline installation starting today, existing extensions will lose the ability in three months, and in early December the inline install API will be removed from the browser with the release of Chrome 71. Critics have pointed out such moves make the Chrome Web Store a walled garden, while Google insists pushing users to the store ultimately protects them.

So how do I develop?

By ugen • Score: 3 • Thread

I wrote a small Chrome extension previously. I did submit it to the Chrome store (where I can download it) - but during the development process I needed to modify and reload that extensions many times over (as is natural to any dev. process)

Without inline extension installation ability - how would a developer be expected to do that? Is there going to be a special "developer" Chrome version? Or would developer have to submit every line change of the extension to the store in order to test it?

Re:So how do I develop?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Inline installation just refers to installs from a website. What you are talking about can be done locally using the extensions tab in dev mode.

So that's why Firefox...

By urusan • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

So that's why Firefox has been becoming more and more Chrome-like, so it can be an alternative to Chrome after this change!

Mozilla regretting dropping xul now

By xack • Score: 3 • Thread
if i was mozilla i'd be restoring xul support as fast as possible to give chrome refugees a place to get real extensions. But now they rather place the sjw game and give people toy extensions.

Luckily we have the trio of heroes pale moon, waterfox and basilisk.

You brought this on yourselves

By Tough Love • Score: 3 • Thread

You brought this on yourselves. Who would have thought that a Google-owned browser monoculture would increasingly tend towards evil? Solution: use Chromium. Better solution: use Firefox.

Spanish Football League Defends Phone 'Spying'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: Spanish football league La Liga has defended the privacy policy of its app after admitting it was accessing the microphone and GPS of Android users. It said it had been trying to track down venues illegally broadcasting matches, by matching audio data and phone location. The app, downloaded more than 10 million times on the Google Play Store, has been criticised by fans. La Liga said it wanted to "protect clubs and their fans from fraud." The broadcasting of football matches in public places without a paid licence cost the game an estimated 150 million euros ($177m) a year, it said. The new function was enabled on Friday, 8 June.

Re:Illegal Wiretap

By Oswald McWeany • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This may have been asked before, but isn't this a form of an illegal wiretap? I do not think an EULA would cover domestic or international spying by a corporation even with support of police.

Huge privacy violation if nothing else. With the EU's strict privacy laws, if listening in on your users randomly is not illegal, it sure ought to be. I hope La Liga gets punished where it hurts, with massive fines.

This really isn't OK. I don't like apps like Facebook, but what La Liga is doing listening in on a microphone to me is a way worse violation of privacy. I hope La Liga gets kicked in the nuts over this, make an example of them.

Re:Kill smartphone

By Anonymous Brave Guy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Well, nothing to worry about except identity theft, fraud, burglary, car theft, extortion, the physical safety of yourself and your family, misinterpretation of innocent data by governments, employers, insurers and other financial services...

But sure, nothing to hide, nothing to fear. Right. Good luck with that.

Re:Kill smartphone

By sabri • Score: 5 • Thread

Just don't do illegal shit and you have nothing to worry about.

If you're inside a venue that does "illegal shit", you are not liable, and you are not "doing illegal shit". Yet, you justify the invasion of privacy as "nothing to worry about". You, good sir, are a moron.

Did they pay for the bandwidth?

By Solandri • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The app, downloaded more than 10 million times
The broadcasting of football matches in public places without a paid licence cost the game an estimated 150 million euros ($177m) a year, it said.

Data plan on biggest Spanish carrier is 15 Euro for 1.5 GB. Or 1 Euro per 100 MB. That's probably about the size of the sound samples which would need to be transmitted back each month.

(10 million devices) * (1 Euro/mo) * (12 months/year) = 120 million Euros a year.

So the value of the data bandwidth they stole to do this monitoring is probably within an order of magnitude of the purported losses due to piracy. If they want to pay you to run this app to help their anti-piracy monitoring, that's not a problem. But secretly eavesdropping and stealing bandwidth is unethical if not downright illegal.

Intel Says Its First Discrete Graphics Chips Will Be Available in 2020

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Ryan Shrout, reporting for MarketWatch: Intel CEO Brian Krzanich disclosed during an analyst event last week that it will have its first discrete graphics chips available in 2020. This will mark the beginning of the chip giant's journey toward a portfolio of high-performance graphics products for various markets including gaming, data center and artificial intelligence (AI). Some previous rumors suggested a launch at CES 2019 this coming January might be where Intel makes its graphics reveal, but that timeline was never adopted by the company. It would have been overly aggressive and in no way reasonable with the development process of a new silicon design. In November 2017 Intel brought on board Raja Koduri to lead the graphics and compute initiatives inside the company. Koduri was previously in charge of the graphics division at AMD helping to develop and grow the Radeon brand, and his departure to Intel was thought to have significant impact on the industry.


By Bruce Perens • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Intel is making graphics chips, and IHOP is making hamburgers.


By jwhyche • Score: 4 • Thread

I had a IHOP hamburger a few days ago. It was pretty good. Not sure I can say the same about intel graphics chips.

Re:First discrete graphics?

By Solandri • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
In modern terminology, the difference between "discrete" and "integrated" graphics is not whether it's a standalone plug-in card. It's the presence of VRAM - high-speed, high-bandwidth RAM dedicated for use by the video card for 3D rendering. Discrete GPUs come with their own VRAM. Integrated GPUs use system RAM (though they're increasingly showing up with their own small buffer of high-speed RAM that acts more like a cache), with a much smaller amount of dedicated RAM for framebuffers.

The video cards from the era you've linked either used system RAM, or only did 2D graphics using a few MB of onboard RAM for the framebuffer. So they are analogous to today's integrated graphics. The need for the GPU to have gobs of its own high-speed VRAM didn't arise until 3D graphics began pushing frames faster than you could transfer needed data across the bus from system RAM to the video card. Most of that VRAM is taken up by textures used for 3D graphics, so only 3D graphics cards have large amounts of it. A framebuffer, found on both 3D and 2D graphics cards, is only 8 MB for 1080p 32-bit color. So there's no need for large amounts of VRAM in an integrated video card.

Back then, we called them a 3D video card vs a 2D video card. That nomenclature was abandoned once even low-end 2D video cards became capable of rudimentary 3D graphics. The distinction then shifted to whether it was a "serious" 3D graphics card with its own dedicated VRAM, or whether it was a 2D video card (commonly integrated into the motherboard) which could do 3D graphics in a pinch by borrowing system RAM to use as VRAM.

Discrete graphics?

By DontBeAMoran • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

So it's a GPU that won't tell anyone about the kind of porn you watch?

Re:First discrete graphics?

By kriston • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

No, the i740 had its own, dedicated VRAM. Therefore, this is not Intel's first discrete graphics chipset.

Microsoft's Next-Gen Xbox Will Arrive in 2020: Report

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Brad Sams, writing for Thurrott blog: This past week, I was tipped off that the next generation Xbox was codenamed Scarlett and in an effort to track down if this information was accurate, I was able to view content that highlighted several unannounced Microsoft products that are coming in the next two years. Microsoft is planning for the next Xbox console release to arrive in 2020. But what is more interesting, is that Microsoft describes 'Scarlett' as a family of devices; meaning we may see multiple pieces of hardware released that year.

X-Ad Machine

By DarkRookie • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
The XBox is no longer a video game console.
It is an ad machine. Has been since they removed the blade interface from the 360
90% of the home screen is ads and 'recommendations' (Fancy way of saying ads.)

Re:Make it a platform play

By beelsebob • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The problem with that approach is that it destroys all benefits of a console. Games devs target consoles exactly because they know exactly what hardware they're targeting, and what performance constraints they have to hit. Making versions with all kinds of different hardware in them just makes them under-powered PCs.

Re:So buying the X right now wouldn't be too smart

By jonesy16 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Where do you see 3-year life cycle? I have an Xbox One that I bought in 2013. It still does and will always play every Xbox One game released. A new hardware platform in 2020 would be a 7 year life cycle for a console which is completely reasonable. Remember that the Xbox One S and Xbox One X are effectively mid-cycle refreshes that just try and keep the platform viable until the next generation. They didn't drastically alter anything other than supporting some higher resolution needs of a subset of users.

Carmel, Libra, and Andromeda Are the Next Wave of Surface Devices: Report

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Brad Sams, writing for Thurrott blog: To help grow to the footprint of the brand, Microsoft is working on updates to its existing products as well as a couple new offerings. I was able to view a few pieces of internal documents that outlined some of the future plans of the Surface brand that identify previously unknown codenames for upcoming products. The Surface Pro 6 is internally known as Carmel, the upcoming low-cost Surface Tablet is going by the name of Libra, and then, of course, there is the Andromeda device that we have been talking about for many months. The Libra tablet is likely the device that Bloomberg reported about earlier this year; a low-cost Surface tablet slated for 2018. The Surface Pro 6 (Carmel) does not list a shipping date and considering that Microsoft only recently released the LTE variant of the Surface Pro 5, this product may not arrive as soon as many have hoped. That being said, a refresh of the product is in the pipeline and actively being developed. And then there is Andromeda; here is where this gets a bit more interesting. According to the documentation, the device is scheduled to be released in 2018. Microsoft thinks of this hardware as a pocketable device to create a truly personal and versatile computing experience.

Sealed devices.

By b0s0z0ku • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Sealed, non-upgradable, non-repairable devices costing near or over $1000? No thanks. I can get a real laptop for that price -- why buy a crippled device?

Re:Sealed devices.

By Miser • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Yup. I was going to mod you up but then of course couldn't reply.

No more Surfaces here. Microsoft de-supports them too quickly, can't repair them (requiring the extended warranty) and they act "goofy" for no apparent reason - just this morning someone with a Surface Pro 3 had it "shut off" for no apparent reason and had to do the "un plug" "re plug" "stand on your head dance" to get it to come up again. No more. The blame lies squarely on Microsoft as it's both their hardware and operating system. You'd think it would just work, right? (sarcasm intended)

To Hit Climate Goals, Bill Gates and His Billionaire Friends Are Betting on Energy Storage

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Akshat Rathi, writing for Quartz: The world needs radical new energy technologies to fight climate change. In 2016, Quartz reported that a group of billionaires -- including Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, Mukesh Ambani, and Richard Branson -- launched Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) to invest at least $1 billion in creating those technologies. Now, 18 months later, Quartz can reveal the first two startups that BEV will be investing in: Form Energy and Quidnet Energy. Both companies are developing new technologies to store energy, but taking completely different approaches to achieve that goal.

The way to reach the world's climate goals is straightforward: reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions to zero within the next few decades. But the energy technologies that can help us get there tend to need lots of money and long lead times to develop. That's why many conventional investors, who are looking for quicker returns, have burned their fingers investing in clean tech. The wealthy investors of BEV want to remedy that. Their $1 billion fund is "patient capital," to be invested in only companies working on technologies capable of cutting global carbon emissions by at least 500 million metric tons annually, even if they may not provide returns on investment for up to 20 years.


By K. S. Kyosuke • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Low specific energy is less important in stationary storage and poor charge retention is less important when talking about, say, weather-related weekly cycles and very low priced intermittent electricity sources. The fact that NiFe batteries don't use any rare or problematic materials could easily render them relevant again in the future if mechanisms for automated maintenance of the electrolyte get improved.

Re:There are many roads to lowering emissions

By LordWabbit2 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

There will be some warming, but not enough to cause any alarm.

Unless we reach a tipping point. in which case it doesn't matter what we do, we will all be fucked. After that the best we can do (as a species) is try ride out the storms, the droughts, and hope that some of us make it through the next phase, which is worse btw, another ice age. We may survive as a species (I think) but our civilization will be back in the dark ages.

There is no need to impose hardship on anyone when the solutions are more desirable on their own

For whom? Do you honestly think mega corporations like the petroleum / oil industry are just going to roll over and play dead because something better came along? I know it's just conspiracy theory talk, but how many people have "disappeared" when they showed up with a car that could run on water?
One of the major problems we have is population control, people keep fucking and breeding, I don't see the solution other to impose some hardships, like China did with their one child policy. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

I bet you are one of those people who doesn't bother to recycle because "They will do it afterwards, why must I bother!". Sadly you are wrong, they don't, it goes into a landfill and gets buried. Even places that do recycling and fetch your nicely separated recyclables don't bother trying to recycle it if you haven't cleaned it properly first. They simply chuck it into the landfill.

Molten salt batteries and storage

By XXongo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I think you and headwind are talking about different things.

You are talking about eutectic salt thermal energg storage: https://energydesignresources....

He is talking about molten-salt electrolyte batteries:

Completely different things.

Re:We'll need nuclear power

By blindseer • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You are correct, I didn't point that out. Here's a few links to put the waste problems of solar and wind power into perspective.


Wind and solar have far greater waste problems than nuclear. Can we reduce the waste from wind and solar? Sure, just as we can learn to reduce the waste produced from nuclear energy. Can we improve the methods of recycling and disposing of waste produced from wind and solar? I imagine we can, just as we can with waste from nuclear power.

Solar power is not only an environmental disaster it is an economical disaster. Perhaps in the future solar power can improve beyond what nuclear offers now but that's assuming nuclear does not also improve. Solar is trying to hit a moving target and falling behind every year. I'm generally okay with wind, it's not all that reliable but it also is not that expensive, does not produce terrible amounts of toxic waste, and allows for use of the land below for farming and ranching. Wind does kill birds but birds are jerks, I say let them die.

Nuclear power is safer than wind and solar. Nuclear power is less expensive than wind and solar, with some exceptions in a few locations. Nuclear power produces less CO2 per energy produced, with perhaps hydro being better in a few locations. Nuclear power produces less waste than wind and solar. Nuclear power is the best source of energy we have right now and we'd be fools to not expand our fleet of nuclear power plants.

Re:We'll need nuclear power

By jeff4747 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I think your post managed to get every single point wrong. That's an impressive achievement.

Storage also adds cost to energy sources that are already more expensive than nuclear power

Natural gas, solar and wind cost about the same per kWh. Natural gas is slightly cheaper, wind and solar obviously only work part of the time.

Then comes coal, more expensive than all three.

Then comes nuclear, more expensive than coal.

We've been building windmills and solar collectors for a very long time now.

Grid-scale wind and solar are still relatively new. Most have been built in the last 10 years. That's not a "very long time now".

Now that we've started building nuclear power plants again we can expect the prices to come down

Sorry, we stopped again. Turns out pretending nuclear is cheap is not an optimal strategy. And now Westinghouse is going bankrupt.

We saw something like this happen in Australia when a coal fired plant failed unexpectedly and a battery pack designed for storing wind power picked up the slack and likely saved the nation from a widespread power outage. There is part of a grid in Southern Australia grid that was rather unreliable, mostly due to the limited power generation on it. The battery is designed to 1) level out the brownouts and 2) allow wind-generated power to be used more often.

A plant in this area of Australia's grid failed, and the battery supplied power until other generators came on-line. It did not "save the nation", because the grid we're talking about serves a relatively small part of the nation. Without the battery, there would have been a brownout or blackout in that small population, but the rest of the nation wouldn't have cared - their grids would have disconnected from the shitty one as had happened many times before.

Wind and solar are expensive, more expensive than nuclear.

You're wrong on this. Nuclear is twice the cost of solar and wind. Citation above. There's also the non-trivial matter of the waste stream, which is not covered in the pricing in that citation.

Vietnam Lawmakers Approve Cyber Law Clamping Down on Tech Firms, Dissent

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Vietnamese legislators approved a cybersecurity law on Tuesday that tightens control of the internet and global tech companies operating in the Communist-led country, raising fears of economic harm and a further crackdown on dissent. From a report: The cyber law, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019, requires Facebook, Google and other global technology firms to store locally "important" personal data on users in Vietnam and open offices there. The vote in the National Assembly came a day after lawmakers delayed a decision on another controversial bill that had sparked violent protests in parts of the country on the weekend. Thousands of demonstrators in cities and provinces had denounced a plan to create new economic zones for foreign investment that has fueled anti-Chinese sentiment. Some protesters had also derided the cybersecurity bill, which experts and activists say could cause economic harm and stifle online dissent.

What they should do is this...

By Harvey Manfrenjenson • Score: 3 • Thread

Facebook, Google et al. should say: "This is the product we make. Our product is designed to have certain privacy safeguards in place, and we won't abide by your laws because it violates our company policy.* If this means our product is illegal to use in your country, then we're sorry, I guess people won't be using it in your country."

The downside: they don't do business in Vietnam. How big a fucking deal is that? For companies of this size, not a very big deal, I'm guessing.

The upside: They look like the good guys, and they get a huge amount of good publicity, for once.

The other upside: Vietnam's government has just forbidden the entire population of Vietnam from using Google and Facebook-- popular products that they want to use, and that almost everyone else in the world gets to use. They're going to be pissed off. Royally. Maybe it becomes a lot harder for you to hold onto your political power.

(*) Yes, yes, I know. Facebook and Google are both shitty companies that violate their own privacy policy all the time, both in ways that we know about and in ways that we don't. I have no illusions about that. Nonetheless, the blatant authoritarianism represented by this Vietnamese law is *even worse* than what we have to deal with in the US (IMO), and these companies can take a meaningful stand against it if they choose to do so.

Bugs Allowed Hackers To Make Malware Look Like Apple Software

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: For years, hackers could hide malware alongside legitimate Apple code and sneak it past several popular third-party security products for Mac computers, according to new research. This is not a flaw in MacOS but an issue in how third-party security tools implemented Apple's APIs. A researcher from security firm Okta found that several security products for Mac -- including Little Snitch, xFence, and Facebook's OSquery -- could be tricked into believing malware was Apple code, and let it past their defenses. "I can take malicious code and make it look like it's signed by Apple," Josh Pitts, the security researcher at Okta who discovered these bugs, told Motherboard. In a blog post published Tuesday, Pitts explained that the issue lies with how the third-party security tools implemented Apple's code-signing APIs when dealing with Mac's executable files known as Universal or Fat files.

The balances with security products.

By jellomizer • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

We all hate virus scanners, and other security products, because they slow our systems way down, they often will slow our systems more then the actual malware would. However the designers need to find some sweet spot on speed of their tools vs effectiveness of these tools. So flaws like this is understandable, because actually validating the signature will take more time to process vs. the current number of malware that uses this trick.

Now that it is known, I expect security companies will now have to fix their code to check for this, and slow our systems down further. Part of the popularity of these closed ecosystems of iOS vs MacOS is the ability to only allow good actors to work on your platform, while blocking any unknown actors (good or bad) from causing harm, reducing the need for external security software which will slow the system down.

Re:The balances with security products.

By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What I "hate" (that's a strong word) is that there's no Free OS that is based first and foremost around the concept of security. I for one would be happy to give up most of my system's performance for a significant improvement in security, especially if the system were also more reliable. I can have a second system for high-performance tasks.

Most people who are not gamers have much more computing power than they really need now (at least in desktops and laptops) and spend most of their time web browsing. Their systems are mostly idle and they could afford to give away substantial performance in exchange for security.

Facebook Offers Nearly 500 Pages of Answers To Congress' Questions From Zuckerberg's Testimony

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Washington Post: Facebook pledged to continue refining its privacy practices and investigating its entanglement with Cambridge Analytica in nearly 500 pages of new information supplied to Congress and published Monday (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source) -- though the social giant sidestepped some of lawmakers' most critical queries. Much as it did during the hearing, Facebook told lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee that it is reviewing all apps available on its platform that had access to large queries of data, a process that already has resulted in 200 suspensions.

Facebook did acknowledge that its consultants embedded in 2016 presidential campaigns, including President Trump's team, "did not identify any issues involving the improper use of Facebook data in the course of their interactions with Cambridge Analytica." In another exchange, Facebook said it had provided "technical support and best practices guidance to advertisers, including Cambridge Analytica, on using Facebook's advertising tools." Facebook also pointed to new tools meant to address its privacy practices, including a feature called Clear History, which "will enable people to see the websites and apps that send us information when they use them, delete this information from their accounts, and turn off our ability to store it associated with their accounts going forward," the company said.
The social network did continue to sidestep many of the lawmakers' questions and concerns. The Washington Post provides a couple examples: "Delaware Sen. Christopher A. Coons (Del.), for example, probed whether Facebook had ever learned of any application developer 'transferring or selling user data without user consent' and in violation of Facebook's policies. In response, Facebook only committed in writing that it would 'investigate all apps that it had access to large amounts of data.'"

Facebook also didn't address Democratic Sen. Patrick J. Leahy's concerns. He asked Facebook to detail if the Obama campaign in 2012 had violated "any of Facebook's policies, and thereby get banned from the platform." Facebook said: "Both the Obama and Romney campaigns had access to the same tools, and no campaign received any special treatment from Facebook."

You can view the nearly 500 pages of new information here.


By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 3 • Thread

Facebook also didn't address Democratic Sen. Patrick J. Leahy's concerns. He asked Facebook to detail if the Obama campaign in 2012 had violated "any of Facebook's policies, and thereby get banned from the platform." Facebook said: "Both the Obama and Romney campaigns had access to the same tools, and no campaign received any special treatment from Facebook."

Leahy's "concern" is clearly to try to exonerate the Obama campaign and get the "Trump used teh (now) evil Facebook data slurping" weapon back.

Re:Obama's campaign caused the rule changes

By DarkOx • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Ideally everyone should be voting for good or for ill.

I strongly disagree with that statement. Democracy is about the people deciding how our nation will go forward. However before every election there is usually a set of questions that can be identified which will likely be decided by the next term of government. Frankly people should be 'responsible' in their voting. They should form whatever opinion they like and vote their conscience for sure but they also should:

1) Know what the current issues are
2) Know the policy options and where each candidate stands
2a) Know something about the personal history of each candidate and decide if they are appropriate / qualified.
3) Have some understanding of the basic facts around those issues.

If they are not willing to do those things than no they should not vote. There are way to many people who just vote for their team - or vote for someone because someone else told them to do it. I don't think that constructively contributes to our societal decision making at all. In fact it actually just brings us nearer to mob rule. Its one of the BIG reasons I am opposed to early voting (not absentee just early) like it should have to be post marked near the date of the election. Early voting amounts to voting often before the all facts are in; it irresponsible!

Re:Obama's campaign caused the rule changes

By ISayWeOnlyToBePolite • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Oh yeah Obama using Facebook data to win an election is fine Now that Trump did the same thing we need congressional hearings.

Thank you for summarizing the mindset that is so wrong with the US. Seemingly there are no issues that can be discussed without falling into partisanship.

Honeybees Seem To Understand the Notion of Zero, Study Finds

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A new study published in the journal Science finds honeybees are able to understand the concept of zero numerosity, joining the ranks of dolphins, parrots, and primates. reports: The study authors set out to test the honeybee on its understanding, marking individual honeybees for easy identification and luring them to a specially-designed testing apparatus. The bees were trained to choose an image with the lowest number of elements in order to receive a reward of sugar solution. For example, the bees learned to choose three elements when presented with three vs. four; or two elements when presented with two vs. three. When the scientists periodically tested the bees with an image that contained no elements versus an image that had one or more, the bees understood that the set of zero was the lower number -- despite never having been exposed to an "empty set."

Re:Why is this surprising?

By asylumx • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Because they went to the zero case to RECEIVE a reward, which is the opposite of the instinct you described.

Re:Bees are fascinating animals.

By Rei • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Son of a beekeeper

You know, I'm going to have to start using that as a minced oath. ;)

What does zero mean though?

By DrXym • Score: 3 • Thread
Even in the case of zero the bee is still being shown a picture. In the bee's brain that might count as a "something" where this pure "something" is more attractive than that dirty "something" when it is collecting nectar. It might not be anything more than that.

Still not as evolved as humans

By DontBeAMoran • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

We took the concept of "nothing" and made a TV show about it.

Re:Or they did 3 years of control studies

By Bite The Pillow • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

they did 3 years of control studies to eliminate any other possibilities.. Its right there in the article you incurious pseudointellectual.

Mars Opportunity Rover Is In Danger of Dying From a Dust Storm

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to NASA, the Mars Opportunity rover is currently trying to survive an intensifying dust storm on the red planet. "The storm's atmospheric opacity -- the veil of dust blowing around, which can blot out sunlight -- is now much worse than a 2007 storm that Opportunity weathered," reports NASA. "The previous storm had an opacity level, or tau, somewhere above 5.5; this new storm had an estimated tau of 10.8 as of Sunday morning." Engadget reports: The storm was first detected on Friday June 1st by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, at which point the rover's team was notified because of the weather event's proximity to Opportunity. The rover uses solar panels, so a dust storm could have an extremely negative impact on Opportunity's power levels and its batteries. By Wednesday June 6th, Opportunity was in minimal operations mode because of sharply decreasing power levels. The brave little rover is continuing to weather the storm; it sent a transmission back to Earth Sunday morning, which is a good sign. It means there's still enough charge left in the batteries to communicate with home, despite the fact that the storm is continuing to worsen.

re: designed to last 90 days

By King_TJ • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Seriously, you have to take those claims of "designed for 90 days of operation" with some big grains of salt.... There's no way they'd spend all the money, time and energy on R&D to get something like this put on Mars, when they REALLY only expected it would be used for a few months.

That might be the length of time they NEEDED to complete the original planned research project, so in a worst-case scenario, NASA doesn't have to say they failed. But I'm quite certain this thing was engineered with the hopes it would run for years and years -- as it has done.

Re:Communicate With Home?

By Joce640k • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

someone needs to loose their engineering degree.

I don't know about that but somebody definitely needs to learn to spell "lose".

It's only four letters, FFS.

Re: Communicate With Home?

By careysub • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

At the moment the problem is not how much dust will be on the solar panels after the storm. It is that it will lose all power during the storm, the heaters will stop working, and will then be unable to reactivate afterward.

The story reports an optical depth of the dust storm of tau=10.8. This is astoundingly dark. The transmittance of light through the atmosphere is 1/e^tau so that only 1/50,000 (0.002%) of the sunlight is getting through! It is effectively perpetual night there right now. This is probably darker than even the heaviest storm clouds on Earth (which only go up to blocking 1/20,000 of the sun light). Thus far the storm has cut off power for six days.

Although the storm also moderates temperature, since it prevents radiation cooling at night, it also means that the day time high temperatures are not reached either, so that the heaters have to be cranked up constantly (though not to the level of coldest night chill), with no power replacing what is being drained from the batteries.

It the batteries drain to the level that they can no longer supply the heaters then whether there is dust on the panels after the storm ends will be moot. Opportunity will be dead.

Re:Job well done and then some...

By The Cynical Critic • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
The problem with the RTG isn't that it's going to decay completely, it's that being about the size and weight of car it's packed with way more power hungry systems the RTG may not be able to power anymore once it's been going around for the better part of a decade. Sure, it's got batteries to cover for peaks, but those have been needed from the start and will probably decay faster than the RTG and a battery failure was after all what killed Viking 2 despite also being RTG powered.

Solar panels definitely also decay over time, but those on the Mars Pathfinder mission saw a long term degradation of only about 0.15% per (earth) year. Their decay doesn't also require more energy to be used for heating due to less waste heat being produced.

I'm probably worrying too much and the thing that kills Curiosity probably is the environment with the way the soil is rich in really corrosive substances like perchlorate.

Re:Obligatory XKCD

By ClickOnThis • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Others have supplied more uplifting endings to this strip:

And my favourite: