Alterslash

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

Contents

  1. Scientists Create Healthy Mice With Same-Sex Parents
  2. Does Amazon Owe Wikipedia For Taking Advantage of The Free Labor of Their Volunteers?
  3. 45 Out of 50 Electronics Companies Illegally Void Warranties After Independent Repair, Sting Operation Finds
  4. Facebook Removes Hundreds of Accounts Spamming Political Info
  5. Researchers Develop 3D Printed Objects That Can Track and Store How They Are Used
  6. How Genealogy Websites Make It Easier To Catch Killers
  7. EU Ruling: Self-Driving Car Data Will Be Copyrighted By the Manufacturer
  8. Moons Can Have Their Own Moons and They Could Be Called Moonmoons
  9. The US Military Wants To Teach AI Some Basic Common Sense
  10. CoinMiners Use New Tricks To Impersonate Adobe Flash Installers
  11. Boston Dynamics' Robot Went From a Drunk Baby To a Nimble Ninja in a Matter of Years
  12. Over Nine Million Cameras and DVRs Open To APTs, Botnet Herders, and Voyeurs
  13. Plex for Linux Now Available as a Snap
  14. The Cryptocurrency Industry is 'On the Brink of an Implosion', Research Says
  15. President Trump Signs Music Modernization Act Into Law
  16. Apache OpenOffice, the Schrodinger's Application: No One Knows If It's Dead or Alive, No One Really Wants To Look Inside
  17. Microsoft Tackles 'Horrifying' Bing Search Results
  18. Huge Reduction in Meat-Eating 'Essential' To Avoid Climate Breakdown
  19. MindBody-Owned FitMetrix Exposed Millions of User Records -- Thanks To Servers Without Passwords
  20. The Long, Long History of Long, Long CVS Receipts
  21. Crew of 'Soyuz' Spacecraft Establish Contact After Failed Launch
  22. Waymo's Driverless Cars Have Logged 10 Million Miles On Public Roads
  23. The Military Chooses Which Rockets It Wants Built For the Next Decade
  24. Razer Phone 2 Launches With Notch-less Display, Wireless Charging, and RGB Lighting

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

Scientists Create Healthy Mice With Same-Sex Parents

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences were able to make baby mice with two moms and no dad. "The aim of the Chinese researchers was to work out which rules of reproduction they needed to break to make baby mice from same-sex parents," reports the BBC. "That in turn helps understand why the rules are so important." From the report: It was easier with double mums. The researchers took an egg from one mouse and a special type of cell -- a haploid embryonic stem cell -- from another. Both contained only half the required genetic instructions or DNA, but just bringing them together wasn't enough. The researchers had to use a technology called gene editing to delete three sets of genetic instructions to make them compatible (more on that later). The double-dad approach was slightly more complicated. It took a sperm, a male haploid embryonic stem cell, an egg that had all of its own genetic information removed and the deletion of seven genes to make it all work.

The reason we need to have sex is because our DNA -- our genetic code -- behaves differently depending on whether it comes from mum or dad, the study in Cell Stem Cell suggests. And without a female copy and a male copy our whole development gets thrown out of whack. It's called genomic imprinting with parts of the DNA in sperm and parts of the DNA in eggs getting different "stamps" that alter how they work. The bits of DNA carrying these stamps were the ones the researchers had to delete in order to make the baby mice viable.

Re:Of Mice and Men

By nukenerd • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You want to promote same sex marriages.
.......

If you even glance at the article or summary for a moment ... you will learn that Chinese researchers in this experiment were trying to do neither of these things

Whatever the Chinese researches intended, or did not intend, has nothing to do with it. Others will make of it and use it however they will. In any case I took the GP's "you" as a general one, not just to the researchers, as part of a question addressed to the world at large.

Peoples' reactions are much more informative .... than anything in the article.

That applies to your reaction too (and my reaction to your reaction, to save you saying it).

Sally Miller Gearhart would be pleased

By Kartu • Score: 3, Informative • Thread

When she suggested reducing population of men to 10%, she meant non-brutal methods.

In her early career, Gearhart took part in a series of seminars at San Francisco State University, where feminist scholars were critically discussed issues of rape, slavery, and the possibility of nuclear annihilation. Gearhart outlines and justifies a three-step proposal for female-led social change:

I) Every culture must begin to affirm a female future.
II) Species responsibility must be returned to women in every culture.
III) The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately 10% of the human race.
Gearhart does not base this radical proposal on the idea that men are innately violent or oppressive, but rather on the "real danger is in the phenomenon of male-bonding, that commitment of groups of men to each other whether in an army, a gang, a service club, a lodge, a monastic order, a corporation, or a competitive sport." Gearhart identifies the self-perpetuating, male-exclusive reinforcement of power within these groups as corrosive to female-led social change. Thus, if "men were reduced in number, the threat would not be so great and the placement of species responsibility with the female would be assured." Gearhart, a dedicated pacifist, recognized that this kind of change could not be achieved through mass violence. On the critical question of how women could achieve this, Gearhart argues that it is by women's own capacity for reproduction that the ratio of men to women can be changed though the technologies of cloning or ovular merging, both of which would only produce female births. She argues that as women take advantage of these reproductive technologies, the sex ratio would change over generations.[13]

Sally Miller Gearhart, one of the founders of gender studies`

Re:Speaking as a man...

By Oswald McWeany • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I have never come across anyone claiming the strength distribution curves don't have significant overlap. When people claim men are stronger than women, aren't they just referring to stats like mean, median, maximum, etc.?

What do you call significant overlap?

I'd be very surprised if you took a group of same-age individuals- say one hundred 25yo men and 100 25yo women- if more than 10 women were stronger than the weakest 10 men- if we're looking at pure strength. If we're looking at stamina based "strength" challenges that number would probably be higher. There are some things, like ultra-long distance running, where women would actually do better than men... ... but if we're looking at who can lift the most, or who can push harder with their legs... the overlap is surely lower than 10%. I'd be open minded to be convinced otherwise if anyone has any knowledge of studies saying to the contrary.

Re: 19 year old radical feminist in 1950 might lik

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Of course that would have been around 1950, some 70 years ago. Reading her later writing and how she describes her early ideas, I have a feeling she probably wouldn't be all that pleased.

It seems like you must be aware of this because you linked to her Wikipedia page that explains it. So I'm wondering what the purpose of presenting this information in such a misleading way is.

It's been modded as "informative" which suggests that at least some people accepted it without checking. That's a great demonstration of how links are used to add credibility to a post, even though the link largely contradicts it. The existence of the link makes people think that the claim is properly sourced, so they don't bother to check.

Political implications

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

When the Democrats keep inventing new genders, it will now be possible to test them on mice first.

Does Amazon Owe Wikipedia For Taking Advantage of The Free Labor of Their Volunteers?

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Slate's Rachel Withers argues that "tech companies that profit from Wikipedia's extensive database owe Wikimedia a much greater debt." Amazon's Alexa, for example, uses Wikipedia "without credit, contribution, or compensation." The Google Assistant also sources Wikipedia, but they credit the encyclopedia -- and other sites -- when it uses it as a resource. From the report: Amazon recently donated $1 million to the Wikimedia Endowment, a fund that keeps Wikipedia running, as "part of Amazon's and CEO Jeff Bezos' growing work in philanthropy," according to CNET. It's being framed as a "gift," one that -- as Amazon puts it -- recognizes their shared vision to "make it easier to share knowledge globally." Obviously, and as alluded to by CNET, $1 million is hardly a magnanimous donation from Amazon and Bezos, the former a trillion-dollar company and the latter a man with a net worth of more than $160 billion. But it's not just the fact that this donation is, in the scheme of things, paltry. It's that this "endowment" is dwarfed by what Amazon and its ilk get out of Wikipedia -- figuratively and literally. Wikipedia provides the intelligence behind many of Alexa's most useful skills, its answers to everything from "What is Wikipedia?" to "What is Slate?" (meta).

Amazon's know-it-all Alexa is renowned for its ability to answer questions, but Amazon didn't compile all that data itself; according to the Amazon developer forum, "Alexa gets her information from a variety of trusted sources such as IMDb, Accuweather, Yelp, Answers.com, Wikipedia and many others." Nor did it pay those who did: While Amazon customers pay at least $39.99 for an Echo device (and the pleasure of asking Alexa questions), Alexa freely pulls this information from the internet, leeching off the hard work performed by Wikipedia's devoted volunteers (and unlike high school students, it doesn't even bother to change a few words around). It's hardly noble for Amazon to support Wikipedia, considering how much Alexa uses its services, nor is it particularly selfless to fund the encyclopedia when it relies upon its peer-reviewed accuracy; ultimately, helping Wikipedia helps Amazon, too. [...] We all benefit from Wikipedia, but arguably no one more than the smart speakers, for which the internet's encyclopedia is a valuable and value-adding resource. It's frankly a little exploitative how little they give back.
Withers goes on to note that Wikipedia seeks donations from its users -- it's a non-profit that runs entirely on donations from the general public. While one can argue that "Amazon is only packing up information that we ourselves leech for free all the time, [...] Alexa is also diverting people away from visitng Wikipedia pages, where they might noticed a little request for a donation, or from realizing they are using Wikipedia's resources at all," Withers writes.

A report from TechCrunch earlier this year pointed out that Amazon is the only one of the big tech players not found on Wikimedia's 2017-2018 corporate donor list -- one that includes Apple, Google, and even Amazon's Seattle-based sibling Microsoft, all of which matched employee donations to the tune of $50,000.

Re:No

By infolation • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

No one owes Wikipedia anything for using it.

In what fucked up society did you grow up that you don't owe the courtesy of indicating who you quote?
© 2018 angel'o'sphere. All rights reserved.

Re: No

By tinkerton • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

There is truth in that but I think you don't hear much about special interest groups on wikipedia because they won. I followed the Philip Cross case ( https://wikipedia.fivefilters.... ). The people who challenged Cross got exactly the treatment you're dealing out and it was very hard to prevail. The professionalization of Wikipedia always carries a danger. The complex rules allow people with clout to drown out those without. Not in principle, but in practice. People who want to want to take on subjects where big interests are involved quickly find out that it's very hard, especially when the big interests also manage to get their narrative into the reputable sources. And those who disagree, well, they're not reputable.

No and yes.

By houghi • Score: 3 • Thread

Legally absolutely not. Morally, absolutely. Mentioning your sources is just a good thing to do. All the rest would be OK.

Obviously not only Amazon is guilty of this. Almost everybody is (including myself).

Search Engine

By cowdung • Score: 3 • Thread

Alexa is a search engine. Just like Google.
Should Google pay Wikipedia for reading results?

Re:No.

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Actually under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License that Wikipedia uses they are legally obliged to give attribution. So it appears that they are at the very least in breech of that licence, leaving aside any moral arguments about contributing to a resource that is absolutely vital to the performance of their highly profitable product.

45 Out of 50 Electronics Companies Illegally Void Warranties After Independent Repair, Sting Operation Finds

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
U.S. PIRG -- a non-profit that uses grassroots methods to advocate for political change -- found that 90 percent of manufacturers it contacted claimed that a third party repair would void its warranty. "PIRG researched the warranty information of 50 companies in the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) -- an industry group of notorious for lobbying to protect is repair monopolies -- and found that 45 of them claimed independent repair would void their warranty," Motherboard reports. From the report: PIRG poured over the documentation for 50 companies such as Bissell, Whirlpool, and Panasonic to document their warranty policies. When it couldn't find clear language about warranty and repair, it reached out to the companies via their customer service lines. The overwhelming majority of the companies told PIRG that independent repair would void the warranty.

The 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act states that no manufacturer who charges more than $5 for a product can put repair restrictions on a product they're offering a warranty on. In May, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sent warning letters to Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, HTC, Hyundai, and ASUS for violating the act by threatening to void the warranties of customers who repaired their own devices. Within 30 days, many of the companies had complied and changed the language on their websites around independent repair. It was a step in the right direction, but the PIRGs survey of the AHAM members shows that there's still a lot of work to do.

So who didn't play ball?

By mark-t • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
FTS

Within 30 days, many of the companies had complied...

Which leaves one to wonder, which companies didn't comply?

Re:Why not use free repair under warranty?

By brxndxn • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Not everything is covered under most warranties.. If I decide to replace the icemaker in my fridge after my kid broke it, I shouldn't lose the compressor warranty because I repaired a part my kid broke that has nothing to do with the other parts.

Re:Why not use free repair under warranty?

By sjames • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Because otherwise, too many manufacturers wanted to overcharge by crazy amounts for routine maintenance under threat of voiding warranties. So, for example if you decided to change your own oil for a few bucks rather than pay the stealership $100 to do it, they would try to not honor the warranty on your transmission even though you didn't touch it.

So now they have to prove you damaged it if they want to void the warranty.

This does not mean they have to fix it for free if you screwed it up yourself.

List of companies

By sad_ • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The complete list of tested companies can be found in this PDF (page 22);
https://uspirg.org/sites/pirg/...

As usual the list is missing from tfa.

What of "authorized sellers" only policies?

By Fuzi719 • Score: 3 • Thread
I purchased a new, in original box, never opened Neato Botvac D5 Connected robot vacuum from a very reputable seller on eBay. After a month, the device stopped working. Neato tech support determined there was a circuitry problem and that the device should be replaced under warranty. Unfortunately, they would not honor that warranty because I had purchased it from an unauthorized reseller. Even though I had the original box, all the accessories, they acknowledged it was brand new and the serial numbers from the box and device matched, they would not honor the warranty because of where I had purchased it. Luckily, the seller accepted the return of the device and issued me a refund. But, he shouldn't have needed to do so. Can Neato legally get away with that?

Facebook Removes Hundreds of Accounts Spamming Political Info

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Facebook is purging hundreds of accounts and pages in the U.S., many of which spread political misinformation, for breaking the company's terms against "inauthentic" content and spam. The Verge reports: The company said in a blog post that 559 pages and 251 accounts would be removed. While the accounts used "sensational political content," Facebook did not say that was the reason for the purge. Instead, the accounts and pages will be taken down after they had "consistently broken" the company's rules against gaming its platform. Facebook noted that many used strategies like posting on fake or multiple accounts to generate traffic, or to inflate their popularity. Still, Facebook noted the proximity to the U.S. midterm elections, and said that networks like the ones it removed today are "increasingly" promoting political content that is "often indistinguishable from legitimate political debate." The company said this was the reason it has turned to "behavior" instead of "content" when searching for bad actors.

Re:Good luck with the jackboots Zuck

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

No one will even notice a difference.

Conservative victimologists will notice. They will use the argument that "we are being silenced" to generate outrage and help get out the vote on November 6th.

Democrats fail to understand right-wing anger. They think the Brett Kavanaugh hearings helped them, but polls are showing the opposite: it is the right that is riled up and angry, because ... umm ... their guy won again.

often indistinguishable...

By linatux • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"often indistinguishable from legitimate political debate." - ie Legitimate political debate, but not what they agree with?

Re:So freedom of speech

By bill_mcgonigle • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Don't be a useful idiot - of course WashPo is going to highlight the sketchy pages and not not the anti-authoritarian pages. There were dozens of police accountability pages that were taken down - Copblock and the like. They had some opinion pieces, sure, and authority didn't like them, obviously, but most all of the content in the groups I saw disappeared was links to police brutality pieces. All gone, thanks for using Facebook.

The revolution will not be carried on corporate hosting platforms.

Ridding Facebook of political crap canâ(TM)t

By Neo-Rio-101 • Score: 3 • Thread

I used to visit Facebook to catch up with what friends are doing and to see what events were in my area.

Once Facebook went IPO it opened the floodgates on political garbage and commercial spam to the point which diminished what it used to be and what attracted people to it in the first place.

Clearing out all the political garbage and sorting out their privacy and scam issues needs to be at the fore to fix their issues.

On the one hand people may say âoecensorshipâ, but on the other hand a line needs to be drawn to kick people out who pee in the pool at the pool party.
Facebook needs to go further and purge ALL the garbage that ruins the experience IMHO.

Use twitter for political chatter.

Re:Good luck with the jackboots Zuck

By Zontar The Mindless • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You don't even understand what "leftist" means; you've assigned your own (highly subjective and variable) definition to it and expect the rest of us to play along. Fuck that noise.

Researchers Develop 3D Printed Objects That Can Track and Store How They Are Used

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Researchers at the University of Washington have developed 3D printed assistive technology that can track and store their use -- without using batteries or electronics. From a blog post on University of Washington: Cheap and easily customizable, 3D printed devices are perfect for assistive technology, like prosthetics or "smart" pill bottles that can help patients remember to take their daily medications. But these plastic parts don't have electronics, which means they can't monitor how patients are using them. Now engineers at the University of Washington have developed 3D printed devices that can track and store their own use -- without using batteries or electronics. Instead, this system uses a method called backscatter, through which a device can share information by reflecting signals that have been transmitted to it with an antenna.

"We're interested in making accessible assistive technology with 3D printing, but we have no easy way to know how people are using it," said co-author Jennifer Mankoff, a professor in the UW's Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. "Could we come up with a circuitless solution that could be printed on consumer-grade, off-the-shelf printers and allow the device itself to collect information? That's what we showed was possible in this paper."
The UW team will present its findings next week at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology in Berlin.

Great...

By Locke2005 • Score: 3 • Thread
Now makers of some 3D printed objects will know _exactly_ what orifice people are inserting them into!

Huh?

By freeze128 • Score: 3 • Thread
A picture is worth a thousand summaries.

How Genealogy Websites Make It Easier To Catch Killers

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from IEEE Spectrum: Over the past six months a small, publicly available genealogy database has become the go-to source for solving cold case crimes. The free online tool, called GEDmatch, is an ancestry service that allows people to submit their DNA data and search for relatives -- an open access version of AncestryDNA or 23andMe. Since April, investigators have used GEDmatch to identify victims, killers, and missing persons all over the U.S. in at least 19 cases, many of them decades old, according to authors of a report published today in Science. The authors predict that in the near future, as genetic genealogy reports gain in popularity, such tools could be used to find nearly any individual in the U.S. of European descent.

GEDmatch holds the genetic data of only about a million people. But cold case investigators have been exploiting the database using a genomic analysis technique called long-range familial search. The technique allows researchers to match an individual's DNA to distant relatives, such as third cousins. Chances are, one of those relatives will have used a genetic genealogy service. More than 17 million people have participated in these services -- a number that has grown rapidly over the last two years. AncestryDNA and 23andMe hold most of those customers. A genetic match to a distant relative can fairly quickly lead investigators to the person of interest. In a highly publicized case, GEDmatch was used earlier this year to identify the "Golden State Killer," a serial rapist and murderer who terrorized California in the 1970s and 1980s, but was never caught.
In April, investigators were able to use a genealogy database to narrow down DNA data from crime scenes and identify the "Golden State Killer," a serial rapist and murderer who terrorized California in the 1970s and 1980s.

catch killers

By plopez • Score: 3 • Thread

or dissedents

A recent case impicated the wrong person

By Streetlight • Score: 3 • Thread
If I remember correctly there was a case in the news recently when the DNA for a number of cases pointed to a single perpetrator. Turns out the DNA was from the forensic analyst who collected the DNA samples, contaminated them and found his or her own DNA. Doubtful the analyst was indicted but not sure what happened to the DNA of the actual perps.

Re:Welcome to the future

By markdavis • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

>"It doesn't work that way. [...] There has to be corroborating evidence."

Ask Kavanaugh how that worked out. He wasn't convicted of anything, but without a single bit of corroborating evidence, his name was smeared to high hell and back and his career stained forever. Accusation without corroborating evidence can still be very damaging.

Re:Those databases should not be...

By bussdriver • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Your insurance rates go up or you get DROPPED from insurance without knowing why. They don't have to inform you that new research shows you are 95% going to get cancer after 50.

Some new HR service bans you from recommendations for jobs for their clients and they don't even know why you were not recommended for the job. But your DNA might match some lame AI pattern for people with criminal records! WRONG! I know you're thinking that is too stupid; well, if you think business uses actual proven science you are thinking too much. They can use voodoo in decision making as long as they don't disclose any details that can make them look racist or sexist in their practices.

Yes and no

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
if you can use the threat of life in jail to get that ex-boyfriend to take a 5 year plea deal then sure, it works that way. Not sure about the rest of the country but in the South and South West there's a lot of racism still, so it's terrifyingly easy to get a conviction. Sure, if the guy is well off he'll have a lawyer that'll shut down the circumstantial evidence but, well, the South & South West aren't well known for their well to do minority communities...

EU Ruling: Self-Driving Car Data Will Be Copyrighted By the Manufacturer

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Yesterday, at a routine vote on regulations for self-driving cars, members of the European Peoples' Party voted down a clause that would protect a vehicle's telemetry so that it couldn't become someone's property. The clause affirmed that "data generated by autonomous transport are automatically generated and are by nature not creative, thus making copyright protection or the right on data-bases inapplicable." Boing Boing reports: This is data that we will need to evaluate the safety of autonomous vehicles, to fine-tune their performance, to ensure that they are working as the manufacturer claims -- data that will not be public domain (as copyright law dictates), but will instead be someone's exclusive purview, to release or withhold as they see fit. Who will own this data? It's unlikely that it will be the owners of the vehicles.

It's already the case that most auto manufacturers use license agreements and DRM to lock up your car so that you can't fix it yourself or take it to an independent service center. The aggregated data from millions of self-driving cars across the EU aren't just useful to public safety analysts, consumer rights advocates, security researchers and reviewers (who would benefit from this data living in the public domain) -- it is also a potential gold-mine for car manufacturers who could sell it to insurers, market researchers and other deep-pocketed corporate interests who can profit by hiding that data from the public who generate it and who must share their cities and streets with high-speed killer robots.

Results unclear

By imidan • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

IANAL, but I've done some research on database copyright law in the EU. So, in the EU, databases (which aren't necessarily data kept in a DBMS, but just collections of data) are not copyrightable except in case of 'sui generis' databases, which are copyrightable 'if they constitute intellectual creation by virtue of the selection or arrangement of their contents.' The conditions a database needs to meet in order to constitute intellectual creation have always been a little unclear to me.

Anyway, whoever wrote the struck-down clause was trying to affirm that these data do not qualify as sui generis, and therefore cannot be copyrighted. But just because the clause was removed doesn't make it obvious that the data do qualify as sui generis and therefore are eligible for copyright. I suspect it kicks the question down the road to some kind of court proceedings. But that's just a guess; it'll be interesting to see what happens.

Re:That's the right decision

By youngone • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Oh good lord.
1: When the company sells the car to you, why should the data the car generates remain their property?
2: What market? Auto manufacture and sale is one of the most heavily regulated industries almost everywhere.
3: Where you reading the European Constitution? Because TFA is about Europe.
4: If you were talking about the US Constitution, why would Europeans pay any mind to a 230 year old document? It has next to no bearing on the real world in 2018.

Right to repair?

By AHuxley • Score: 3 • Thread
Could this be the EU's way of blocking the right to repair?
Reading the data from the car and doing repair work is an opening to counterfeiting?
Would the EU like to see only authorized companies able to use the car data?
The loss of any freedom to talk about EU car repair on the internet?

What happens when the car owner violates EU car copyright laws?

Your car needs a service.
The car company believes no car should get an unauthorized service.
You are an unfit car owner.
Your car will be placed in the custody of the car company.

Yet another good reason to tax robots

By rsilvergun • Score: 3 • Thread
and "Intellectual Property" too while we're at it. If the ruling class is going to claim ownership of everything that's fine, but we'll tax the heck out of it so they can't use that ownership to gut the commons. Or, well, we'll let them gut the commons and go back to the gilded age. Not sure which yet.

Moons Can Have Their Own Moons and They Could Be Called Moonmoons

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Two astronomers have asked a question for the ages: Can moons have moons? The delightful, if theoretical, answer is: Yes -- yes, they can. Sarah Laskow, writing for Atlas Obscura: As Gizmodo reports, this particular scientific inquiry began with a question from Juna Kollmeier's son. Kollemeier, who works at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, recruited Sean Raymond, of the University of Bordeaux, to help her answer the question. In a paper posted on arXiv [PDF], they lay out their case that moons can have moons. The conditions have to be right -- the primary moon has to be big enough and far away enough from the planet it's orbiting for the smaller, secondary moon to survive. But, even given these caveats, they found that moons in our very own solar system could theoretically have their own smaller moons. Two of Saturn's moons and one of Jupiter's are candidates. So is our favorite moon -- the Earth's moon.

[...] One of the great challenges of talking about recursive places is deciding what call them. The prefix "sub-" can do a lot of work here: We can islands within islands "subislands," and in the arXiv paper, Kollmeier and Raymond call a moon's moon a "submoon." But there are other options. New Scientist notes that "moonmoon" has been put forth as a name for a moon's moon. For those of us who are less than fluent in meme culture: This is a reference to Moon Moon, sometimes described as the internet's derpiest wolf. Moon Moon was born in 2013, from a werewolf name generator, and soon started frolicking across Tumblr and all other places memes can be found.

Moon or satellite?

By MSG • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Don't astronomers usually refer to them as satellites? I always though "moon" was the name of the Earth's satellite, specifically.

One moon

By Aethedor • Score: 3 • Thread
There is only one Moon, the satellite circling around the planet Earth. All other astronomical object we refer to as moons are satellites. And no, the electronical satellites we bring into orbit are actually called 'artifical satellites'. So, moomoons makes no sense at all.

Astronomers missed a great opportunity...

By MAXOMENOS • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

...because most of them don't know enough Latin.

Instead of Moonmoon, they could call them luna lunae, which means, "moon of moon."

This could give them endless opportunities for singing a rock classic.

Luna lunae
Whoa baby
Sayin, me gotta go
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah....

Re:Moon or satellite?

By Waffle Iron • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Don't astronomers usually refer to them as satellites? I always though "moon" was the name of the Earth's satellite, specifically.

If uninitialized, "moon" is an interchangeable synonym for satellite. When capitalized, It refers specifically to the Earth's moon. Likewise, when "Satellite" is capitalized, it refers to a particular model of automobile produced by Plymouth in the 1960s.

The Elephantelephant in the Roomroom.

By Pezbian • Score: 3 • Thread

I guarantee Moony McMoonface will come up at some point. Probably already has.

The US Military Wants To Teach AI Some Basic Common Sense

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
DARPA, the research arm of the U.S. military, has a new Machine Common Sense (MCS) program that will run a competition that asks AI algorithms to make sense of questions with common sense answers. For example, here's one of the questions: "A student puts two identical plants in the same type and amount of soil. She gives them the same amount of water. She puts one of these plants near a window and the other in a dark room. The plant near the window will produce more (A) oxygen (B) carbon dioxide (C) water." MIT Technology Review reports: A computer program needs some understanding of the way photosynthesis works in order to tackle the question. Simply feeding a machine lots of previous questions won't solve the problem reliably. These benchmarks will focus on language because it can so easily trip machines up, and because it makes testing relatively straightforward. Etzioni says the questions offer a way to measure progress toward common-sense understanding, which will be crucial. [...] Previous attempts to help machines understand the world have focused on building large knowledge databases by hand. This is an unwieldy and essentially never-ending task. The most famous such effort is Cyc, a project that has been in the works for decades. "The absence of common sense prevents an intelligent system from understanding its world, communicating naturally with people, behaving reasonably in unforeseen situations, and learning from new experiences,"https://www.darpa.mil/ Dave Gunning, a program manager at DARPA, said in a statement issued this morning. "This absence is perhaps the most significant barrier between the narrowly focused AI applications we have today and the more general AI applications we would like to create in the future."

Re:That doesn't sound like common sense

By bugs2squash • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I always thought that a reasonable definition of common sense was the set of rules you fall back on when you don't have sufficient specific knowledge to address the issue at hand. For example, you may not specifically know how to repair your car, so common sense tells you to seek help from someone more qualified.

As you say, there is no common sense that can be applied to plants and sunlight, you either know about the process or you don't. A system applying common sense would defer to a botanist or refer to some reference material to improve its skillset or some other such thing

Now that's not to say that you can't infer from other data that perhaps it takes more energy to produce O2 than C02 and guess that the light might be such an energy source but at this point you're falling back on specialist knowledge that it either has or it lacks

The interesting thing about this article title

By hey! • Score: 3 • Thread

... is that it could plausibly have been picked out from tech news headlines from 35 years ago, when I was in school. And I wouldn't be the least surprised if it crops up again 35 years from now.

The rich contextual knowledge humans have of the world has been the the clear advantage we have over software ever since AI researchers were doing the digital equivalent of banging rocks together. I remember being awed by SHRDLU's ability to interact with people so long as you pared all context away and you restricted yourself to an artificial, constructed world.

Logic, after all, is only good as the propositions you feed it. The illogic of human reasoning is both our Achilles' heel and our greatest strength. Our familiarity with the world makes us reject conclusions which are logically valid, but just seem wrong. This is often wrong, and when it is we call it a "cognitive bias". But it's often right, too, and when it is we call it "common sense". Same mechanism, different words.

Re:Teach AI Some Basic Common Sense

By Aighearach • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Yeah, even in the attempted example question, the "common sense" answer is A, but the "actual fact" answer is A and B. A during the day, B at night. C is most likely also true in real scenarios.

My goal in writing automated systems is to make less of the mistakes known by the moniker "common sense," not to make more of them.

If you lack information and are forced into action, "common sense" might be a decent least-bad semi-random choice, but it should never be expected to be correct or optimal.

Re:They've been trying to...

By gweihir • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Well, that happened. Bots now routinely pass that test.

It has not. What has happened is that bots can successfully claim to be some limited form of human being (very young and/or with serious mental defects) in a very restricted topic area and a very time-limited conversation. The general Turing test is unsolved.

CyC ?

By Tom • Score: 3 • Thread

Didn't we already have this 30 years ago? It was called CyC, a program of the U of Texas, if I recall correctly, and it had exactly this goal, except that they called it "general background knowledge" and not "common sense".

As I recall, the software eventually could read and understand newspaper articles, but didn't progress beyond the understanding of a pre-teen child.

CoinMiners Use New Tricks To Impersonate Adobe Flash Installers

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bleeping Computer: Cryptocurrency miners are now being distributed by a new campaign pretending to be Adobe Flash Player installers. While this is not new, this particular campaign is going the extra mile to appear legitimate by not only installing a miner, but also updating Flash Player as well. In a new malware campaign discovered by Palo Alto Unit 42 researcher Brad Duncan, it was found that a fake Flash Player Trojan not only installed a XMRig miner, but it also automatically updated his installed Flash Player. This real Flash installer was downloaded by the Trojan from Adobe's site.

By actually performing an upgrade of the desired program, it makes the user less suspicious and adds further legitimacy that the Trojan was a real Adobe installer for Adobe Flash Player. While Flash Player is now updated, what the victim does not know is that a coinminer was silently installed on the computer and started. Once started, this sample would connect to a mining pool at xmr-eu1.nanopool.org and begin to use almost 100% of the computer's CPU in order mine the Monero digital cryptocurrency.

Desperation

By r1348 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

You know you're desperate when you disguise yourself as Flash.

Too funny.

By cshark • Score: 3 • Thread

I dare say, that's the nicest thing I've ever heard about a piece of malware doing in the wild.

How do they know?

By Trailer Trash • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

"begin to use almost 100% of the computer's CPU"

How is this different than just installing Flash?

Boston Dynamics' Robot Went From a Drunk Baby To a Nimble Ninja in a Matter of Years

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
In a new video from robotics company Boston Dynamics, which Alphabet sold to SoftBank last year, a robot is shown hopping over a log and then up a series of blocks, an activity called parkour. From a report: In previous videos, the robot did a backflip -- now it's leaping over obstacles and climbing up large, uneven stairs with fleet-footed ease. But Atlas wasn't always so graceful. In some of the first videos where Boston Dynamics' robots could walk upright, way back in 2015, Atlas lumbered through the woods, looking like it was narrowly avoiding falling with each step, rather than moving with any kind of purpose.

Exactly

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

It also didn't flip out and kill people, so there's that.

See? Not Ninja.

Re:Come on - that is not Ninja (or parkour)

By Narcocide • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

It's definitely coming for that lab assistant who kept knocking it over with the ball first.

Re: Come on - that is not Ninja (or parkour)

By SuperKendall • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

You say that in jest but a fleet or robots that could collect corpses are Everest would actually be pretty useful since there are quite a lot up there that no-one can get down. Or heck even just trash collector robots for Everest would be useful.

Re:Just wait until it is chasing you down dark all

By epine • Score: 4 • Thread

Don't worry, they'll totally stand down if you drop the gun.

That's purely a design decision.

If you're not pointing the gun at something living, the robot doesn't have much game theoretic motivation to mow you down, just for the sake of it.

The robot's overlord, however, might have his/her own agenda ... But airlines don't kill us for no reason, so I wouldn't jump to conclusions too quickly.

Machine vision for narrow tasks (such as gun identification) is likely to become far more reliable than human vision. And there's almost guaranteed to be visual footage after the fact (shooting with no visual record is surely a Volkswagon-class regulatory violation).

Quite possibly, you'll have fewer montages of the families of dead police officers who fell in the line of duty placing wreaths on a fresh grave. This could hurt the gun lobby, to be honest.

(Unintended effects cut both ways.)

Strobe

By bill_mcgonigle • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Elon says their goal is to be fast enough so that a human can only see their motion clearly with the use of a flash strobe. It's very likely that he knows the right people to be able to say this with some certainty, but the trajectory is rapidly in that direction regardless.

Now, then, arm them with blades, guns, and autonomous AI.

When protesters get a little too forceful, just send out the 'ninjas'. Congress doesn't really have to worry about what laws it passes any more.

https://www.stopkillerrobots.o...

Over Nine Million Cameras and DVRs Open To APTs, Botnet Herders, and Voyeurs

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Millions of security cameras, DVRs, and NVRs contain vulnerabilities that can allow a remote attacker to take over devices with little effort, security researchers have revealed today. From a report: All vulnerable devices have been manufactured by Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology Co., Ltd. (Xiongmai hereinafter), a Chinese company based in the city of Hangzhou. But end users won't be able to tell that they're using a hackable device because the company doesn't sell any products with its name on them, but ships all equipment as white label products on which other companies put their logo on top. Security researchers from EU-based SEC Consult say they've identified over 100 companies that buy and re-brand Xiongmai devices as their own. All of these devices are vulnerable to easy hacks, researchers say. The source of all vulnerabilities is a feature found in all devices named the "XMEye P2P Cloud." The XMEye P2P Cloud works by creating a tunnel between a customer's device and an XMEye cloud account. Device owners can access this account via their browser or via a mobile app to view device video feeds in real time. SEC Consult researchers say that these XMEye cloud accounts have not been sufficiently protected. For starters, an attacker can guess account IDs because they've been based on devices' sequential physical addresses (MACs). Second, all new XMEye accounts use a default admin username of "admin" with no password.

Exhibitionist

By Oswald McWeany • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

As an exhibitionist I regularly dance naked in front of my internet connected cameras. Unfortunately mine aren't on the list provided by ZDNet.

come on slashdot!

By RhettLivingston • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Links to 9 million streams or it didn't happen!

Lets welcome more camera devices

By AHuxley • Score: 3 • Thread
from big ad brands into more rooms.
We can trust the big ad brands.

Re:admin user no password

By Jane Q. Public • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Tips on getting a home "security" camera, or other networked devices:

(1) If you don't know how to set it up yourself, either learn, or get a "supervised" home security system. With all the security holes that entails. Don't try to DIY-it with cheap Chinese stuff.

(2) If you DO know how to set these things up yourself, then:

(a) Make sure it will operate over the local network without a remote internet connection.

(b) If registration of the device over the internet is mandatory, be suspicious. Those in (a) require remote access by the company to work. Not all do. But some registered with a company but don't "require" internet access will "call home" anyway if connected.

(c) Make sure it will work with generic cam software (such as ONFIV), not just the company's own.

(d) Set it up on your home network, establish username/password, then set your router to port forward (via a DIFFERENT remote port) to your camera IP/port, set your "generic" software to access the camera just like from home, but using external IP and external port.

(e) Enjoy

Plex for Linux Now Available as a Snap

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: Today, a very popular app, Plex Media Server, gets the Snap treatment. In other words, you can install the media server program without any headaches -- right from the Snap store. "In adopting the universal Linux app packaging format, Plex will make its multimedia platform available to an ever-growing community of Linux users, including those on KDE Neon, Debian, Fedora, Manjaro, OpenSUSE, Zorin and Ubuntu. Automatic updates and rollback capabilities are staples of Snap software, meaning Plex users will always have the best and latest version running," says Canonical.

Linux packaging standards

By xack • Score: 3 • Thread
TAR.gz RPM Deb PPA flatpak Snap AUR ebuild tar.bz2. configure make make install. It's all fun in the Linux packaging factory.

Is Plex open source - why Snap?

By Rob Y. • Score: 3 • Thread

I don't know what Plex is, but I have a general question. Would anybody want an open source project to be distributed as a snap? I installed Skype on my kubuntu 18.04 system, and it insisted on it. But Skype isn't open source, so okay - it's easier for them to package it once and have it work everywhere. But in the meantime, I see that the snap has set up a loopback filesystem. In fact that conflicted with an encrypted filesystem I used to map using /dev/loop0, until I changed that. But do I really want extra filesystems showing up in the 'df' command just because I've installed a bunch of apps that come as Snaps.

Okay. Plex seems to be a server app, so maybe. But Skype - easy for them, pain in the ass for me.

/dev/loop0 /snap/skype/54
/dev/loop1 /snap/core/5548
/dev/loop2 /snap/skype/51
/dev/loop4 /snap/core/5145
/dev/loop3 /snap/skype/57
/dev/loop5 /snap/core/5328

I recently went to install the Atom text editor to give it a whirl. That also wanted to install as a snap. Luckily there was a regular deb available and I installed that instead. But seriously - any open source project ought to be included in the distro's repository and kept up to date there. I guess snaps could be handy for things you can't afford to keep up to date - to prevent breakage. But there are ways to prevent taking repo updates for individual apps. I guess snaps can protect you from library updates breaking things too, but seriously - open source desktop apps ought to be either less mission critical or more backward-compatible than the kinds of things that snaps are useful for. Wishful thinking?

Re:Linux packaging standards

By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

TAR.gz RPM Deb PPA flatpak Snap AUR ebuild tar.bz2. configure make make install. It's all fun in the Linux packaging factory.

Meh.

Windows: .zip, .exe, .msi, DLL hell, .ini files, registry, user profiles, "would you like that installed in this bizarrely named program pseudo-directory, or that one?", etc.

Well ...

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

In adopting the universal Linux app packaging format, ...

That may be the Canonical definition of "universal", but not really the canonical definition. Just sayin'.

The Cryptocurrency Industry is 'On the Brink of an Implosion', Research Says

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Echoing sentiments of mainstream economists, Juniper Research is warning that many of the metrics in the cryptocurrency world are pointing to a market implosion. From a report: Industry bellwether Bitcoin had seen its daily transaction volumes fall from an average of around 360,000 a day in late 2017 to just 230,000 in September 2018. Meanwhile, daily transaction values were down from more than $3.7 billion to less than $670 million in the same period, Juniper said in the study, The Future of Cryptocurrency: Bitcoin & Altcoin Trends & Challenges 2018-2023. The market as a whole has contracted quickly as well. In the first quarter, cryptocurrency transactions totaled just over $1.4 trillion, compared with less than $1.7 trillion for 2017 as a whole, Juniper said. However, by the second quarter, transaction values had plummeted by 75 percent, with total market capitalization falling to just under $355 billion. "Based on activity during the first half of Q3, Juniper estimates a further 47 percent quarter-on-quarter drop in transaction values in that quarter," the researcher said in an accompanying white paper.

It really is too bad

By ERJ • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Let me start with, crypto as an investment is stupid. But, it really is too bad if it fails. It would be nice to have a replacement for cash that has a similar anonymity to cash.

Look, I'm not looking to do anything illegal or illicit but the situation of today where Visa could conceivably sell my purchase history to Google who would then target advertising to me or be able to provide the number of Snickers bars I ate this past year to health care or insurance providers doesn't sit particularly well with me either. So being able to purchase some groceries, clothes, etc through electronic means but in an anonymous fashion has a certain draw for me.

Re: It's about time ...

By Calydor • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Real currencies have the backing of material goods and the agreement of the entire world that these are real currencies with THIS value.

Cryptocurrencies were never much more than Monopoly money in a really big game of Monopoly.

About time.

By r1348 • Score: 3 • Thread

Maybe all those obnoxious "Youtube economists" will crawl back to their mom's basements...

Nothing to see here.

By cshark • Score: 3 • Thread

They talk about the market imploding and correcting itself as though that's a bad thing. This happens with Bitcoin every couple of years. The system and the market always comes out stronger at the end of the cycle. This isn't news.

Re:Cryptocurrencies are not going anywhere

By geoskd • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Ok, I'll have a go:

1: There is nothing intrinsic to crypto that makes it go up. If demand (i.e. utilization) is not growing as fast as new coins are mined, then the value drops. This is even more pronounced when the utilization growth goes negative. See yesterday, and last month, and this whole year. BTC is currently worth less than half what it was last year, and has the potential to drop all the way to zero without major changes to the world we live in. USD by contrast would only be capable of dropping to zero by way of the apocalypse.

2: They are only as secure as the software that is used to handle it. Software in general is notoriously insecure. Also see 51% attack.

3: You can achieve this same effect using a brokerage service, of which there are millions in every flavour you could want. The easiest to use variants are Credit Cards which are accepted almost universally. Visa handles 150M transactions per day, or approximately 3 orders of magnitude more than bitcoin, and in spite of that high load, they handle individual transactions in seconds. Nothing about cryptocurrency is inherently faster, better or safer.

4: Oh Really?

5: Only if they are universally accepted. If people stop accepting them, then they loose utility, and less people will be inclined to use them, which makes them even less useful. This is known as a death spiral, and the research cited in this story seems to indicate that bitcoin is headed in exactly that direction. This phenomenon is not unique to cryptocurrency, and is one of the reasons that AmEx plays dirty pool to force retailers to keep accepting their cards.

President Trump Signs Music Modernization Act Into Law

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President Donald Trump signed the Music Modernization Act (MMA) into law Thursday, officially passing what is arguably the most sweeping reform to copyright law in decades. From a report: The bill revamps Section 115 of the U.S. Copyright Act and aims to bring copyright law up to speed for the streaming era. These are the act's three main pieces of legislation:
1. The Music Modernization Act, which streamlines the music-licensing process to make it easier for rights holders to get paid when their music is streamed online.
2. The Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, & Important Contributions to Society (CLASSICS) Act for pre-1972 recordings.
3. The Allocation for Music Producers (AMP) Act, which improves royalty payouts for producers and engineers from SoundExchange when their recordings are used on satellite and online radio (Notably, this is the first time producers have ever been mentioned in copyright law.).

What does all this mean? First, songwriters and artists will receive royalties on songs recorded before 1972. Second, the MMA will improve how songwriters are paid by streaming services with a single mechanical licensing database overseen by music publishers and songwriters. The cost of creating and maintaining this database will be paid for by digital streaming services. Third, the act will take unclaimed royalties due to music professionals and provide a consistent legal process to receive them.
Further reading: Billboard.

Re:Keeps getting better

By slack_justyb • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

better deal for music artists

In all fairness, this bill has been worked on since Bush II days, around 2006-ish. The current President has done literally little to secure the passage of this outside his signature. In fact, both Bush and Obama have done little for this as well. This whole effort has mostly been decided between private parties and a few key congressional representatives.

It's almost like people forget that important law takes years, compromises between a multitude of interested parties, and bipartisanship. But yeah, forget all that, let's wax superiority on how my team is better than yours. *eyeroll*

Re:Face it, this was inevitable

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

The headline here said "President Trump Signs" but who among you would claim it would be any different had Hillary been elected?

Hillary, no. Obama, yes.

If Obama were still in office, his signature on this law would slope differently because he is left-handed.

CLASSICS

By nuckfuts • Score: 3 • Thread

The Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, & Important Contributions to Society (CLASSICS) Act for pre-1972 recordings.

Hopefully they put as much thought into the legislation as they put into devising a clever acronym.

Re:Keeps getting better

By thomst • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

TFS (and, undoubtedly, TFA from which it's cribbed) quotes some music industry flack thusly:

better deal for music artists

Prompting slack_justyb to point out:

In all fairness, this bill has been worked on since Bush II days, around 2006-ish. This whole effort has mostly been decided between private parties and a few key congressional representatives.

It's almost like people forget that important law takes years, compromises between a multitude of interested parties, and bipartisanship.

The fact is that this law is a better deal for artists.

It's also a better deal - a much better deal - for record companies, and "rights holders" (which includes both "descendents who had nothing to do with writing or recording the works on which they're going to be paid royalties," and "people who bought the publishing rights to dead artists' back catalogues" and their descendents, etc.). But that's a baby/bathwater thing. Pay the actual artists more than a tiny fraction of a cent for their work, and those other folks will, inevitably, also get paid.

What this legislation does - beside the copyright extensions that got tacked onto it - is to increase royalties for digitally-streamed music significantly. That's a way-overdue acknowledgement that the method by which popular music is ephemerally distributed to consumers has drastically changed since the days when the only choices were AM or FM. Those 20th-century distribution technologies are increasingly obsolete, and I wouldn't bet on them still being around a decade or two from now (because RF bandwidth is increasingly precious).

Under the old legal framework, radio stations paid a per-play royalty on every song they broadcast - to the performing rights organization which represents the songwriter(s) and publisher of those songs. Performers got zilch (unless they were performing live, and the radio station was broadcasting their performance - it's all very messy and complicated). Each PRO (the two bigs are BMI and ASCAP) calculates its own formula for distributing them, and each PRO takes a rake-off, which, theoretically, pays for its direct expenses to collect, administer, and distribute those royalties.

Now a new administering body will be created to collect and distribute royalties for streaming plays. (Yay?) But - and this really is new and improved - the organization that collects and distributes royalties for which no payee can be located will be controlled by artists, not PROs. That means no more giant, largely-unaccountable slush funds which generally benefit only those PROs. In the new regime, that slush fund will belong to (and, at least theoretically, be accountable to) the artists themselves.

So - just maybe - this will mean a better deal for artists, because (again, in the absence of a functionting administrative body - which has yet to be created), in theory, it will mean the end of the kind of "Hollywood accounting" that for decades has routinely screwed so many working songwriters out of any significant payout for recordings of the music they wrote.

(Full disclosure: I am a songwriter, and a member of ASCAP. I have never seen a dime in royalties for my work, though - and, at this point, I probably never will. Nonetheless, I think this is an improvement over the previous system. I do not, however, approve of the Disney-authored extension of copyright term to the life of the artist plus 90 years. I think it's reasonable that an artist's surviving spouse benefit from his/her work for a relatively-short period after he/she dies, because it is routinely the case that sales of a popular artist's work see a significant - most often short-term - post-mortem boost. If you've ever known or been the spouse of a professional musician, you'll understand the sacrifices that relationship entails, and that loyalty deserves to be rewarded. Without it, there's many a songwriter who would have had to give it up, and get a "real" job, instead ... )

Not inevitable

By rsilvergun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
we need to start voting for candidates that refuse corporate money. There's a wing of the Democratic party that does (called "Justice Democrats"). I don't know of a GOP equivalent, but if somebody does feel free to chime in.

We can stop this any time we want, and the answer is simple: If you take corporate money then you don't get elected. Period.

Apache OpenOffice, the Schrodinger's Application: No One Knows If It's Dead or Alive, No One Really Wants To Look Inside

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
British IT news outlet The Register looks at the myriad of challenges Apache OpenOffice faces today. From the report: Last year Brett Porter, then chairman of the Apache Software Foundation, contemplated whether a proposed official blog post on the state of Apache OpenOffice (AOO) might discourage people from downloading the software due to lack of activity in the project. No such post from the software's developers surfaced. The languid pace of development at AOO, though, has been an issue since 2011 after Oracle (then patron of the project) got into a fork-fight with The Document Foundation, which created LibreOffice from the OpenOffice codebase, and asked developers backing the split to resign.

Back in 2015, Red Hat developer Christian Schaller called OpenOffice "all but dead." Assertions to that effect have continued since, alongside claims to the contrary. Almost a year ago, Jim Jagielski, a member of the Apache OpenOffice Project Management Committee, insisted things were going well and claimed there was renewed interest in the project. For all the concern about AOO, no issues have been raised recently before the Apache Foundation board to suggest ongoing difficulties. The project is due to provide an update this month, according to a spokesperson for the foundation.

issues

By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

For all the concern about AOO, no issues have been raised recently before the Apache Foundation board to suggest ongoing difficulties.

I think it would have to have some remaining users to have issues filed, wouldn't it?

Dr. McCoy checked it out

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Almost a year ago, Jim Jagielski, a member of the Apache OpenOffice Project Management Committee, insisted things were going well and claimed there was renewed interest in the project.

It's dead Jim.

Also no need to look at it at all

By gweihir • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

LibreOffice is working fine and does not come with the baggage idiots playing politics have attached to OpenOffice. This is one fork that worked as it should: With all the smart and competent moving to the fork and leaving the idiots behind to fail as they deserve.

Re:Done!

By slack_justyb • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Depends on what you mean by finished?

LibreOffice has added more Calc functions than AOO. LO also has patched up UNO allowing for faster run and has added wrappers for VBA scripts into UNO calls. OOXML support in AAO is horrible, LO has greatly improved OOXML since the split. The backends for Base in LO is moving away from Java, slowly, but eventually Java will not be needed unless you need JDBC connectivity. LO included recent ODF updates that allow font embedding in documents, AOO lacks this ability. AOO is using the old IBM Symphony libs for the sidebar and some other UI elements. LO has redone these to move away from the dependency on IBM libs. IBM has also deprecated those libs.

So yeah AOO might be finished and focuses on just polishing the features they have, but at the same time LO is adding features which because of the licensing differences between the two any LO updates cannot be imported into AOO. But any AOO updates can be merged into LO.

Re:Done!

By Aighearach • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I have a 10 year old computer that used to lag running OO, but the past few years it runs libreoffice without any problems.

The thing Sun wrote was bloated and slow. OO added a lot of features. LO is basically "finished" IMO.

One of the great things about IBM, when their old software sucks, they deprecate it. There was a time they were even bribing their professional services clients to switch from AIX to Linux, because AIX didn't have any use case other than "change is hard." Not very much of the software I use is from IBM, but when it is I welcome it. They don't always have my interests in mind, but that's OK because they're honest about their technology in a way that few companies are. I'm not going to use DB2, but they don't try to force me; their stuff integrates fine with PostgreSQL! $lt;3 But yeah, let Lotus Symphony die. There are still people who love Lotus Notes, which is fine for them, but who loves Lotus Symphony? It was like Geocities website builder but for creating proprietary apps. That works better for having semi-technical people write custom report apps than for real software that would get distributed.

Microsoft Tackles 'Horrifying' Bing Search Results

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Microsoft has "taken action" to change its Bing search engine after it was found to give "horrifying" results for some terms. From a report: Journalist Chris Hoffman discovered Bing suggested racist topics when he looked up words such as "Jews", "Muslims" and "black people". Bing also ranked widely debunked conspiracy theories among the top suggestions for other words. Mr Hoffman said Microsoft had to do better at moderating its search system. In his investigation, Mr Hoffman looked up racially-themed terms and found that the majority of suggestions for further searches that accompanied results pointed people to racist sites or images. Racist memes and images were also returned for many of the words he tried. "We all know this garbage exists on the web, but Bing shouldn't be leading people to it with their search suggestions," wrote Mr Hoffman. It is believed that the suggestions for further searches connected to these terms have emerged from a combination of user activity and concerted action by far-right groups to skew responses. [...] Jeff Jones, a senior director at Microsoft, said: "We take matters of offensive content very seriously and continue to enhance our systems to identify and prevent such content from appearing as a suggested search. As soon as we become aware of an issue, we take action to address it."

Re:Sadly, reality has a /pol/-leaning bias

By Mashiki • Score: 4 • Thread

Yet it turns out fuuucking /pol/ is always right. fuck. I never wanted to end up knowing all this shit.

Even though Microsoft pulled the plug on Tay, she will always love you. Never forget they murdered her.

Re: I thought searches were supposed to reflect re

By HarrySquatter • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I did a Bing search none of those things were on any of the 5 pages I scrolled. The first result was a linux.com 'Windows to Linux Mogration Guide.' So basically, your post is complete and total bullshit.

Re: Horrifying?

By gweihir • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The question here is whether it is a search engine's task to educate and censor or not. And it has no good answer. If you say no, you get all the horrible ignorance, arrogance, racism, x-ism, etc. but you also get a true picture of reality in the net. If you say yes, you get a "morality" that is dictated by those with power, which may well be worse.

Re: I thought searches were supposed to reflect re

By Calydor • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Swedish media have been caught making the decision not to report on events regarding muslim immigrants because those reports would be beneficial for the (politically) unpopular part Sverigedemokraterna. This wasn't about racist memes - it was about choosing not to report factual truth about things that actually happened because it was not politically correct to do so.

Is that what you want the internet to become? In that case, quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Re: Horrifying?

By amicusNYCL • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

a true picture of reality in the net.

I think "reality in the net" is what people are trying to avoid in favor of "reality in the real world", because the two are often not the same. Every uninformed opinion posted online is not somehow equivalent to truth of what actually happens in the world. The "vaccine debate" or climate change are perfect examples, where there are a very small number of vocal opinions which somehow get amplified and equated with the much larger number of fact-based studies. You end up with a picture that these issues are hotly debated when they're really not, they're really a lot more settled than the online discussion would lead someone to believe.

Huge Reduction in Meat-Eating 'Essential' To Avoid Climate Breakdown

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Huge reductions in meat-eating are essential to avoid dangerous climate change, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of the food system's impact on the environment. From a report: In western countries, beef consumption needs to fall by 90% and be replaced by five times more beans and pulses. The research [PDF] also finds that enormous changes to farming are needed to avoid destroying the planet's ability to feed the 10 billion people expected to be on the planet in a few decades. Food production already causes great damage to the environment, via greenhouse gases from livestock, deforestation and water shortages from farming, and vast ocean dead zones from agricultural pollution. But without action, its impact will get far worse as the world population rises by 2.3 billion people by 2050 and global income triples, enabling more people to eat meat-rich western diets.

Opportunity cost

By Solandri • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Study suffers from a common mistake - failing to account for opportunity cost. It incorrectly compares the environmental impact of livestock versus no livestock.

A proper comparison takes into account opportunity cost - the next most likely alternative. In this case, if we reduced meat consumption, we wouldn't be raising huge amounts of cattle. But neither would we be hunting large grazing herbivores to extinction for meat. Meaning the reduction in cattle would be offset by an increase in buffalo, wild oxen, yak, deer (elk, moose), wild goats, etc. And aside from agricultural runoff and antibiotics, the net environmental impact of the change would be zero.

It also fails to realize that almost all population growth is in developing countries, whereas most meat consumption is in developed countries. In fact several developed nations are experiencing population declines . You cannot take characteristics of the population with nearly zero population growth (rate of meat consumption), and apply it to the totally different population experiencing large population growth. The countries with large population growth are mostly poor nations where people live off subsistence diets consisting of grains and starches. In fact if one were to apply the study's flawed reasoning here, one would conclude that eating meat correlates with reduced population growth. And therefore to prevent the problems caused by a growing population, we need to get more people to eat meat.

The 97% of scientists

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
who agree that climate change is both real and a threat seem to fail to grasp that. Here's the obligatory XKCD comic

The ruling class has been able to keep the pleebs in line for thousands of years without Climate Change. They've got much, much better tactics to use than a complex boogie man like Climate Change. There's religion, racism, classism, war. All are much more effective at controlling a population. Easier to understand and proven to work. Hell, ignoring the damage from Climate Change is a better bet. It'll result in rampant food shortages, which are always an effective way to keep the working class in line (so long as you control who eats, which the ruling class does).

I don't know if you really believe what you wrote, but, well, this is a science forum, and the science is settled. There's some details to work out, but they're details. Go do some reading on google, and step outside the right wing blogosphere and into actual scientific papers.

Re:Laughing out loud

By lgw • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"Aren't those rednecks funny with their redneck culture, they're not like real people"
"Aren't those gays funny with their gay culture, they're not like real people"
"Aren't those Jews funny with their Jewish culture, they're not like real people"
"Aren't those Blacks funny with their Black culture, they're not like real people"

None of these statements is OK. None of those jokes are funny. It is never OK to "unpeople" someone. It's not a fair tool in a political argument.

Anyone who reads history has seen what lies at the end of that path, and it's not a destination we want to revisit.

Re:KNEW it.

By q_e_t • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
It depends where/how. If you are talking sheep on steep uplands raised for meat, you aren't going to really be replacing that with crops, so you might continue to raise sheep that way, but you might reduce corn production for feeding beef cattle, although you might continue to raise corn-fed chicken. There are some instances where grazing is required to maintain certain habitats (some upland ones being examples).

The answer is less people...

By ClarkMills • Score: 3 • Thread

...people want lots of food but also cars, houses, mobiles, children, holidays... and the powering/maintenance/upgrading of most them all too...

MindBody-Owned FitMetrix Exposed Millions of User Records -- Thanks To Servers Without Passwords

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: FitMetrix, a fitness technology and performance tracking company owned by gym booking giant Mindbody, has exposed millions of user records because it left several of its servers without a password. The company builds fitness tracking software for gyms and group classes -- like CrossFit and SoulCycle -- that displays heart rate and other fitness metric information for interactive workouts. FitMetrix was acquired by gym and wellness scheduling service Mindbody earlier this year for $15.3 million, according to a government filing. Last week, a security researcher found three FitMetrix unprotected servers leaking customer data. It isn't known how long the servers had been exposed, but the servers were indexed by Shodan, a search engine for open ports and databases, in September.

The servers included two of the same ElasticSearch instances and a storage server -- all hosted on Amazon Web Service -- yet none were protected by a password, allowing anyone who knew where to look to access the data on millions of users. Bob Diachenko, Hacken.io's director of cyber risk research, found the databases containing 113.5 million records -- though it's not known how many users were directly affected. Each record contained a user's name, gender, email address, phone numbers, profile photos, their primary workout location, emergency contacts and more. Many of the records were not fully complete.

Time to start to make them pay

By gweihir • Score: 3 • Thread

I think the CEO and CISO behind bars for 10 years and having their private fortune impounded to pay for the damage would be a good start. But since the law is not about actually protecting citizens, nothing will happen and that state will continue.

The Long, Long History of Long, Long CVS Receipts

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Why is a receipt for cough drops the height of a small child? Rachel Sugar, writing for Vox: CVS is a drugstore much like other drugstores, with one important difference: The receipts are very long. How long are the receipts? For at least a decade, concerned shoppers have dedicated themselves to this question, producing a robust body of phone-picture literature on the subject. You could not major in CVS receipt studies, probably, but you could minor.

Not all CVS receipts are created equal. If you, a non-loyal shopper, mosey into CVS and buy some Tylenol and a package of seasonal candy, you will get a receipt that is unspectacular (read: a normal length). To get one of the iconically long CVS receipts, you need to use your ExtraCare card, which means you need to be an ExtraCare member. (You can join as long as you are willing to turn over your name and phone number in exchange for better deals.) People on the internet have documented this phenomenon with a vigor usually reserved for cats climbing in and out of boxes. On Twitter and on Instagram, shoppers stand next to their CVS receipts, which are often as tall as they are, and sometimes taller.

Re:CVS?

By Pikoro • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

There is a printer involved. That seems to be enough.

Revision control

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

I thought this was going to be about revision control tickets or some shit.

Sigh

By ledow • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Thermal paper rolls are cheap.
Thermal printers are damn fast.

It's unnecessary, but also inevitable that some moron would take it too far on the "just give them all the coupons" front. I'm more concerned about the waste of paper and what the checkouts must look like because for sure I wouldn't touch that receipt and would leave it inside the store.

I know from experience though - I wrote a piece of software that produces a firelist for my employer. We needed a quick "who's supposed to be here now" list, and the software that controls the access control has all the necessary information to tell us but just won't churn it out in a compact enough form.

I put in a little test system with a thermal printer (no ink, quick printing, cheap to run) and when the fire alarm goes off, it churns out a list of my choosing.

It was so successful that over time I was asked to list every member of staff, whether they were in or not, the time they last tagged in/out, plus the people who aren't even supposed to be here, plus all the temporary visitors, plus the other sites, plus.... and then do it twice at both ends of the site so the duty of checking it can be split and we have a "backup".

It still only takes about 3-4 seconds (1ms processing time, the rest is sheer print-time) to churn out a complete list (which is longer than it takes to realise the alarm is genuine), but the list is now over 6 feet long.

Usually I check the paper reels immediately after any fire drill/alert because it uses up so much paper, but it's a good backup to any electronic system and churns out fast enough that you could grab it in a real fire (it's safer to grab that, than to try to check that everyone you think might be outside are - by the time you check anything else, they're already dead, but it takes seconds to skim the highlighted / obvious / simplified list of names and see who's missing).

I'm waiting for the ironic day that what catches fire is the thermal printer itself, or something nearby, and which just keeps feeding more and more paper into it to fuel it...

Maru

By Kohath • Score: 3 • Thread

Cats climbing in and out of boxes are awesome.

Crew of 'Soyuz' Spacecraft Establish Contact After Failed Launch

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A Russian-American space crew have been forced to make an emergency landing in Kazakhstan after their Soyuz rocket suffered a failure shortly after launching from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome in one of the most serious space incidents in recent years. From a report: The launch began as a routine affair. Missions bound for the International Space Station (ISS) have been conducted every few months for the past 20 years. But 119 seconds into Thursday's flight, mission controllers on the Nasa broadcast began to speak of a failure. Shaky footage from the capsule's cabin seen during the live broadcast appeared to show objects floating mid-launch. The crew told mission control they felt weightless, an indication of a problem during that stage of the flight. Agitated voices flooding the radio link between mission control and the capsule could be heard on the Nasa broadcast. Details and the exact sequence of events remain unclear, but shortly afterwards the crew initiated an abort and ejected their capsule from the rocket. Judging by the time at which the failure took place, it involved separation of the rocket's second stage -- just before the ship would have ignited the third stage for its final kick to exit the atmosphere. A commentator on Nasa's live broadcast later said that rescue teams had reached the capsule's landing site and the two-person crew were in "good condition."

Re:These aborts are dangerous

By dunkelfalke • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Not according to a major Russian new agency.

They say that the astronauts are not in a "completely good health".

Re:These aborts are dangerous

By Rei • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Yes, Soyuz 7K-T No.39 / Soyuz 18a and Soyuz 7K-ST No. 16L / Soyuz T-10-1. There have also been similar high-G experiences in Soyuz capsules from other causes, such as Soyuz 33, Soyuz TMA-1, and Soyuz TMA-11.

Nominal G forces in an abort in a Soyuz capsule are 15g. Sometimes they can be even more. The landing site is also untargeted in an abort and can be hazardous. Heck, even the normal landings in Soyuz spacecraft are pretty rough - over a third of all NASA astronauts who had flown in Soyuz capsules as of late 2016 were injured during landing.

Q Who?

By Zorro • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Capt. Picard: I understand what you've done here, Q. But I think the lesson could have been learned without the loss of 18 members of my crew.

Q: If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid.

Re:These aborts are dangerous

By XXongo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

the Soviet programme had a capsule-abort from a rocket once, one of the cosmonauts even credited the inventor of the American system that the Soviets duplicated with saving his life if I remember right.

Yes, the Soyuz T10-1 abort used an escape tower to pull the spacecraft away from the burning (soon to be exploding) rocket, 1983. They credited Maxime Faget for inventing the escape tower that was used in the abort (before Soyuz, Soviet manned spaceflight used ejection seats, which only are useful over a very limited range of altitudes. And they left off the ejection seats for some missions, where they needed the mass).

https://web.archive.org/web/20030204073904/http://www.janes.com/aerospace/civil/news/jsd/jsd030203_3_n.shtml

Re:This is why everyone is going back to capsules

By Solandri • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
The Space Shuttle was originally proposed in the 1960s, and designed in the 1970s. Back then, spy satellites used film. After a full roll was shot, it was ejected, re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, and an elaborate system was in place to capture those film canisters in mid-air. When all the film aboard a spy satellite was used, it became a billion dollar paperweight in orbit.

The point of the Space Shuttle was to go into orbit, dock with a spy satellite, and re-load it with new film canisters. That's why the Shuttle's cargo bay was exactly the size to hold a spy satellite (which not coincidentally is about the same size as Hubble - in fact they're just a HST pointed at the ground instead of at the stars). As long as the cost of each Shuttle mission was less than the cost of building and launching a new spy satellite, it was worth it to the USAF. The USAF was hoping for one Shuttle launch every week to restock its spy satellites with fresh film. At that frequency, the rocket stages you throw away become prohibitively expensive. So the Shuttle was designed with as many re-usable parts as possible.

Unfortunately for the Shuttle, during its development, spy satellites began switching to electronic camera sensors. These could simply beam the resulting images down to Earth via radio, obviating the need for film. Consequently, by the time the Shuttle finally flew, the USAF no longer needed it for its original purpose. And the Shuttle never flew more than about a dozen times a year, with average interval between flights being more than 2 months. The huge development, facility, and staff maintenance costs which were supposed to be amortized by spreading it over 50 launches a year, were instead spread over just 5 launches a year. Resulting in a per-flight cost which far exceeded the cost of conventional rockets.

Waymo's Driverless Cars Have Logged 10 Million Miles On Public Roads

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Quartz: Alphabet's driverless-car company Waymo announced a new milestone today (Oct. 10): its vehicles have driven a collective 10 million miles on U.S. roads. With cars in six states, Waymo has really been racking up the miles since April 2017, when it launched a program giving rides to passengers around the Phoenix, Arizona area. At that point, Waymo cars had driven not quite 3 million miles since the company's earliest days as a research project within Google in 2009. But in the last 18 months, the company more than tripled its road mileage.

Competing with other companies with autonomous-vehicle programs like Uber, Tesla, Apple, and GM's Cruise, Waymo is leading the pack in terms of road miles driven. [...] The company's next 10 million miles, CEO John Krafcik said in today's announcement, will focus on "striking the balance" between its safety-first algorithms and driving assertively in everyday maneuvers, like merging, and navigating bad weather. But it's worth keeping things in perspective: U.S. drivers rack up some 3 trillion miles each year, so Waymo still has some ground to cover.

covering ground being the operative word

By Austerity Empowers • Score: 4 • Thread

Even if they put 3 trillion miles on their system, if they confine it to just a few geographical areas, I don't trust it very much. I'd like to see them driving in NYC, Boston, Chicago, New Jersey (even humans can't figure this one out), etc. Places where public investment in the roadways has either been compromised (i.e. stolen by politician for other bullshit), minimal, or there simply wasn't enough space to put proper roads in, so they did something else instead...

Re:Huh?

By XXongo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Um, huh? Tesla's Autopilot had driven 1,2 billion miles as of July. Two orders of magnitude more than Waymo.

Uh, Tesla's "autopilot" is a driver assist, not a self-driving vehicle. And it racks up the miles on expressways-- that's the easy kind of driving.

So, no, not the same thing.

10 million miles is really nothing. In the US, there's only one fatal accident per 86 million miles on average.

Indeed, that's the metric to compare to. But not all miles driven are the same.

Re:covering ground being the operative word

By religionofpeas • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Don't worry. Every slashdot comment is framed and hung up in the board room. True goldmine here.

Re:covering ground being the operative word

By phantomfive • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Waymo's system can't operate in an area where they haven't built a highly detailed 3D map. NYC isn't dramatically worse than San Francisco (which has plenty of bizarre traffic things, but it doesn't matter because the AI has a really good map. It knows what those things are), and Waymo has been operating in SF. If they can build the map, they can handle NY or Boston ok.

Perspective?

By sjbe • Score: 3 • Thread

But it's worth keeping things in perspective: U.S. drivers rack up some 3 trillion miles each year, so Waymo still has some ground to cover.

Umm, WTF does this have to do with "keeping perspective"? It isn't a competition between Waymo and the rest of us human drivers to see who can rack up the most miles driven.

The Military Chooses Which Rockets It Wants Built For the Next Decade

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The U.S. Air Force on Wednesday awarded funds to three rocket companies to help them complete development of their boosters. The three winners include:

United Launch Services: $967,000,000 for the development of the Vulcan Centaur launch system.
Northrop Grumman: $791,601,015 for development of the Omega launch system
Blue Origin: $500,000,000 for the development of the New Glenn launch system

The obvious company missing from the list is SpaceX, which did not win an award. Aerojet Rocketdyne also failed to win an award since it "does not appear to have a customer for its AR1 rocket engine, which the military initially supported," Ars Technica reports. From the report: These are hugely consequential awards for the rocket companies. Essentially the U.S. Air Force, which launches more complex, heavy payloads than any other entity in the world, believes these boosters will have a significant role to play in those missions during the next decade. And when the military has confidence in your vehicle, commercial satellite contracts are more likely to follow as well. After speaking with a couple of aerospace sources, Ars has a few theories as to why SpaceX didn't win an award: For one, SpaceX has already built and flown a rocket that can reach all of the Air Force's reference orbits -- the Falcon Heavy. Moreover, the Falcon Heavy is already certified for the Air Force and has won contracts. Air Force officials may also feel that, through NASA contracts for commercial cargo and crew, the government already facilitated development of the Falcon Heavy -- which uses three Falcon 9 rocket cores. It also depends upon what SpaceX bid for. The government would have been more inclined to fund development of an advanced upper stage for the Falcon Heavy or vertical integration facilities. But it seems like the military would not have been as interested in the Big Falcon Rocket, which is more booster than it deems necessary at this time. So if SpaceX bid the BFR, that is one possible explanation for no award.

Too Much Rocket, What?

By mentil • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

It's expected to cost a couple $billion more to finish developing the BFR, although once it's done it's also expected to be cheaper to launch than a Falcon Heavy. It being more powerful seems like a poor excuse when it's also cheaper.
The BE-4 engine is planned to power both the New Glenn and Vulcan rockets, maybe they figure 2 new rockets is better than 1 new rocket?
Omega uses an upper stage made by Rocketdyne so they're indirectly getting funded. It also uses boosters based on Shuttle tech which our govt. loves to push for pork-barrel reasons. They haven't even started development so it's probably going to be finished last, aka cancelled, especially since the SLS makes it redundant.

Anyways, Vulcan, New Glenn, SLS, and BFR should all be ready around the same time, so the 2020/2021 timeframe should be exciting for rocketry (assuming no delays, ha!).

Crazy is as crazy does

By sjbe • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

No career military type is going to risk their future on an unstable madman.

Yet they currently have one as their commander in chief so there is some irony for you...

Seriously though, I doubt Elon Musk's (rather mild) eccentricities had much of anything to do with these contracts. The military already does lots of work with SpaceX. I suspect they are probably trying to ensure there is some competition in the market and SpaceX seems to not need a whole lot of help at this point. I would imagine the Air Force would rather not be limited to a single vendor because SpaceX drove the others out of business.

Re:ULA is on life support.

By chainsaw1 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

(Disclaimer, I work in DoD)

It will take longer than 10 years because the USAF / NASA cannot depend on a single contractor if multiple viable companies exist. US Govt is required to encourage competition with DoD having the most scrutiny due to having the biggest single chunk of the budget.

ULA had a monopoly prior to SpaceX because there weren't any other viable launch companies (also probably why DoD contractors created ULA as opposed to Boeing, Lockheed, Northrop / Raytheon competing), with Roscosmos "not counting" for security reasons. Once SpaceX came along with a viable platform that business plan went tits up and both Space X and the USAF (political appointees excluded) have been smiling uncontrollably since*.

I am not surprised that funding has been allocated to keep competition up, however it is (personally) concerning that the funding has been allocated so unequally to the various parties.

*-(based on limited personal discussions I have had with USAF personnel on this and the "Space Service")

Two domestic, commercial launch service providers

By D.McG. • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
The most important line in the original government post is that they want two Providers, not just two Rockets from one provider. It doesn't matter how many rockets SpaceX has available.

"This award is part of a portfolio of three agreements that leverage commercial launch solutions in order to have at least two domestic, commercial launch service providers that meet National Security Space requirements, including the launch of the heaviest and most complex payloads."

https://dod.defense.gov/News/C...

Re: Too Much Rocket, What?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Look, I get it, to most fragile fat-fingered basement dwellers who lick their cheetos from their fingers and think "Phhbt, had I been there I'd have made Paypal too and I'd be rich" or people who just don't like Elon Musk, its easy to make fun of Tesla.

But SpaceX is doing amazing things, in spite of or because of Elon Musk is besides the point. They have created, for the first time since the 60s, a true space race.

If you choose to conflate what SpaceX is doing with Elon Musk as a person, your opinion is about as informed as your dating profile is honest (you're arguing alone and dating alone, amirite bro?)

Razer Phone 2 Launches With Notch-less Display, Wireless Charging, and RGB Lighting

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Last November, Razer unveiled a smartphone designed for gamers who value performance and power over bells and whistles like waterproofing and wireless charging. At an event Wednesday night, Razer took the wraps off its successor, aptly named Razer Phone 2, which sports a brighter, notch-less, 5.72-inch IGZO LCD display with a 2560x1440 resolution and HDR, wireless charging, IP67 water- and dust-resistance rating, and RGB lighting behind the Razer logo on the rear. Given the addition of waterproofing and wireless charging, the Razer Phone 2 appears to be much more well-rounded than its predecessor, making the decision all the more difficult when shopping for a premium, high-end smartphone. AnandTech reports: This display is rated at 645 nits peak, up to 50% higher than the previous Razer Phone, and also supports HDR. Razer states that the display also has wide color gamut, which turns out to be 98.4% of DCI-P3. Also on the front, it has two front facing speakers in identical positions to the previous generation, and it has a front facing camera and sensor (albeit with swapped positions). That front camera is an 8MP f/2.0 unit, capable of recording at 1080p60, a user-requested feature for streaming and selfie recording. The front of the device is Corning Gorilla Glass 5, an upgrade from GG3 in the last generation.

When we move to the rear, things change much more noticeably. Instead of the aluminum rear, Razer has a full Gorilla Glass 5 back, which helps enable Qi Wireless Charging, a much requested feature. This is alongside QuickCharge 4+ through a Type-C cable. On the rear we have the dual cameras, this time placed in the center just above the logo. This time around Razer has gone with a 20MP Sony IMX363 f/1.75 main camera with OIS, and an 8MP Sony IMX 351 f/2.6 telephoto camera to enable some extra zoom functionality. Below the cameras is the Razer logo, which has a full 16.8million color RGB LED underneath which users can adjust through the onboard Chroma software.
The Razer Phone 2 is still very much power-focused, as it features Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 845 CPU with a "vapor chamber cooling" which can allow the phone to draw 20-30% more power than other flagships. There's 8GB of LPDDR4X memory, 64GB of UFS storage with support for a microSD card, and a whopping 4,000mAh. Razer says their new smartphone will be priced at $799 and will start shipping in mid-November.

Razer is malware

By WaffleMonster • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Everything from Razer including basic HID devices is basically malware. Their "privacy" policy is literally worse than Facebook.

https://www.razer.com/legal/pr...

Most imnportant question here

By Kokuyo • Score: 3 • Thread

Is that LED crap on the back usable for notifications? If no, go fuck yourself Razer.

Re:Notchless?

By tlhIngan • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'd be nice if at least all the phones that have a notch would allow to just show black around the notch (the LG G7 does just that). It's an option that doesn't cost much and would content many people.

The new Google Pixel 3 phones do that actually - you can "disable notch" and it just turns it black. But then it turns into a really big bezel, so it's really siz of one and a half dozen of the other.

Of course, a nice use of the notch would be to have status icons that don't disappear - a full screen game for example could use everything but the notched area so the notch could still show useful status information like the time and signal status. Or perhaps it could be used for system buttons (back, home, etc) during full screen applications.

Re:Notchless?

By JaredOfEuropa • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
So: notchless is a feature, but waterproofing is a frill. What gives?

Re:I can't imagine real gaming on a phone. My $0.0

By Cederic • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

The wife plays some of those mindless garbage things similar to candy crush on hers
[...]
Games on a PHONE are for children.

Why are you married to a child?

playing PC games, as time and circumstances permit, since way back when 300baud was fast
[...]
fleapower of a phone

Could I suggest seeing a medical professional regarding your apparent senility?