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


  1. Stephen Hawking's Last Paper Is Now Online
  2. Tech Suffers From Lack of Humanities, Says Mozilla Head
  3. Facebook Is Testing An Unsend Feature For Messenger
  4. Google AI Claims 99 Percent Accuracy In Metastatic Breast Cancer Detection
  5. How To See If Your Personal Data Was Stolen In the Recent Facebook Hack
  6. Twitter and Salesforce CEOs Spat Over Who is Helping the Homeless More
  7. World's Fastest Camera Shoots 10 Trillion Frames a Second
  8. The UK Invited a Robot To 'Give Evidence' In Parliament For Attention
  9. Cops Told 'Don't Look' at New iPhones To Avoid Face ID Lock-Out
  10. A Mysterious Grey-Hat Is Patching People's Outdated MikroTik Routers
  11. Google CEO Tells Senators That Censored Chinese Search Engine Could Provide 'Broad Benefits'
  12. US Lawmakers Urge Canada To Snub China's Huawei in Telecoms
  13. Apple Rebukes Australia's 'Dangerously Ambiguous' Anti-Encryption Bill
  14. Movie Commentary Tracks Are Back
  15. The FBI Is Now Investigating Facebook's Security Breach Where Attackers Accessed 30 Million Users' Personal Information
  16. FCC Tells Court It Has No 'Legal Authority' To Impose Net Neutrality Rules
  17. Scientists Have Laid Out a Plan To Search For Life in the Universe
  18. Senators Demand Google Hand Over Internal Memo Urging Google+ Cover-up
  19. To Deter Foreign Hackers, Some States May Also Be Deterring Voters
  20. Firefox Removes Core Product Support For RSS/Atom Feeds
  21. Pro-Privacy Search Engine DuckDuckGo Hits 30 Million Daily Searches, Up 50% In a Year
  22. Bees Stop Flying During Total Solar Eclipses
  23. Self-Healing Material Can Build Itself From Carbon In the Air

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

Stephen Hawking's Last Paper Is Now Online

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: When Stephen Hawking died in March at the age of 76, the world mourned a beloved and visionary scientist. But it is some consolation that Hawking's final paper has now been published on the preprint journal ArXiv, demonstrating that even during his last days, he was still pursuing the epic cosmic questions that defined his career. Entitled "Black hole entropy and soft hair," the paper was authored by Hawking along with physicists Sasha Haco, Malcolm Perry, and Andrew Strominger. The work is the third in a series from the team and addresses Hawking's famous brainchild -- the black hole information paradox. Like many physics conundrums, the paradox emerges from the lack of coherence between quantum field theory and general relativity. On the smallest scales of matter, where atoms and quarks abound, there exists a different and seemingly contradictory set of rules to the largest scale of matter, involving stars and galaxies. The search for a "theory of everything" that reconciles these two models is one of the holy grails of modern physics, and was a lifelong fascination for Hawking.

Black holes are notable flashpoints for this tension between quantum field theory and general relativity. According to the quantum rulebook, it should be impossible for information about a particle -- its spin, configuration, mass, and other features -- to be permanently deleted from the universe. But what about matter that falls into black holes, objects with a reputation of not letting anything escape once it passes the event horizon? Can information be scrubbed inside black holes? Hawking suggested that information could indeed be deleted through Hawking radiation, which is a type of theoretical radiation that can escape from inside a black hole. This process has never been empirically observed, but the radiation would supposedly be stripped of all information about its original properties -- and that would violate the rules of the universe as we know them. In his last paper, Hawking and his colleagues speculated that a phenomenon called "soft hair" might resolve the black hole information paradox. The idea is that trails of light and gravity particles might encircle the event horizon, and could store, at the very least, entropic information about matter that fell into the black hole.

Re:I am not a physicist

By SuperKendall • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Having had several hard drives fail I would like to assure the physics community that information can in fact be deleted.

Doesn't sound interesting

By hcs_$reboot • Score: 3 • Thread
"Hawking's last paper gives new insights on physics" would have been juicy, but "last paper is online" resembles the note that left my grandma on the fridge before passing away, except she was much less famous.

Familiar pattern ...

By CaptainDork • Score: 3 • Thread

... wherein bright theoretical scientists try to straighten a persistent bend in their discipline that moves away from their area of expertise.

Hawking essentially says that the information comes out of the black hole, but not in a useful form that could, in theory, be used to construct an original.

Useful to whom?

Just because we can't recognize the processed information and trace it back to its original state doesn't mean shit.

The universe made us. It doesn't need use to put it back together again.

Einstein went down a similar path. He worked all his life trying to extend his theories to perfection.

With almost predictable regularity, Einstein came up with a new Theory of Everything and, like Hawking, provided no opportunity to test the ideas.

Meanwhile, younger theorists, about the same age as Albert had been in his prime, had moved on.

Einstein died trying to take dice away from God.

Hawking, like Newton and Einstein, was one of the rare talents that pop up throughout history and he deserves accolades and honours for his work.

Tech Suffers From Lack of Humanities, Says Mozilla Head

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The head of the Mozilla Foundation, Mitchell Baker, is warning that companies need to diversify their hiring practices to include more people from backgrounds in philosophy and psychology if they want to tackle the problem of misinformation online. He also "warned that hiring employees who mainly come from Stem -- science, technology, engineering and maths -- will produce a new generation of technologists with the same blindspots as those who are currently in charge, a move that will 'come back to bite us,'" reports the Guardian. From the report: "Stem is a necessity, and educating more people in Stem topics clearly critical," Baker told the Guardian. "Every student of today needs some higher level of literacy across the Stem bases. "But one thing that's happened in 2018 is that we've looked at the platforms, and the thinking behind the platforms, and the lack of focus on impact or result. It crystallized for me that if we have Stem education without the humanities, or without ethics, or without understanding human behavior, then we are intentionally building the next generation of technologists who have not even the framework or the education or vocabulary to think about the relationship of Stem to society or humans or life."

"Stem is a necessity, and educating more people in Stem topics clearly critical," Baker told the Guardian. "Every student of today needs some higher level of literacy across the Stem bases. "But one thing that's happened in 2018 is that we've looked at the platforms, and the thinking behind the platforms, and the lack of focus on impact or result. It crystallized for me that if we have Stem education without the humanities, or without ethics, or without understanding human behavior, then we are intentionally building the next generation of technologists who have not even the framework or the education or vocabulary to think about the relationship of Stem to society or humans or life."


By hackertourist • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

And that's where I stop reading.

And you're the poorer for it, because you've missed Baker's entire point. A company that limits its talent pool to one type of person suffers from not just blind spots, but tunnel vision. Such a company tries to solve a problem that requires a full toolbox just by using a hammer.

Re:Thought most STEM workers went to college

By KiloByte • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Lack of replication is often cited as evidence that science is bunk

Because, for replicatable studies, such so-called-science is indeed bunk. You can replicate psychological studies, and for any kind of treatments, you can have control groups, preferably blind. So that "behavioural therapy" of yours can be tested. And that it can but its proponents failed to do so is exactly why we call bullshit.

Re: Companies with money to waste

By KiloByte • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Traditional humanities majors can. Gender studies majors can't

There's a big difference between a rational proto-science (heck, logic originated from philosophy!), quasi-science or even a sane description of something inherently non-scientific (like literature) -- and Orvellian doublethink that teaches people something contrary to obvious observation.

The former group teaches students a way of thinking. The latter group is religion.

Re:Thought most STEM workers went to college

By Gerald Butler • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

> Leaving aside that many "hard" sciences have the same reproduction problem (e.g. climate science)

Yep, all this technology we have based on "Hard Science" only works randomly. It's like magic. The same magic that "Soft Sciences" rely upon.


Re:Moving towards post-truth paradigms in hiring

By malkavian • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Things like CBT, you don't evaluate as a single sample. You look at statistical bodies and meta studies of those "hard science" studies (
It's efficacy is shown to have significance. In other words, it's not a sure fire cure, or working in even a majority of cases, but has an effect well above a lack of intervention of simple conversation.
So, it comes down to "It'll help some people in some circumstances". Which is fine. It's one tool in an arsenal of tools that should be tried, and discarded if it doesn't work in that case.
Where did you get your concept of it not working by reproducing, and that it's not able to be examined or evaluated by "hard science"? Because whatever source you got it from is provably wrong.

Facebook Is Testing An Unsend Feature For Messenger

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Facebook is reportedly testing a feature that will let you take back what you send via Messenger. The company said it was working on the feature back in April after TechCrunch caught it deleting messages from CEO Mark Zuckerberg. After TechCrunch asked Facebook about its progress on the Unsend feature, the company said: "Though we have nothing to announce today, we have previously confirmed that we intend to ship a feature like this and are still planning to do so." From the report: Now we have our first look at the feature thanks to TechCrunch's favorite tipster Jane Manchun Wong. She's managed to generate screenshots of a prototype Unsend button from Facebook Messenger's Android code. Currently, you can only delete messages from your own inbox -- they still remain in the recipients' inbox. But with this Unsend feature prototype, you're able to remove a message from both sides of a conversation. However, the code indicates that in the current prototype there's a "time limit." That may mean users would only have a certain amount of time after they send a message to unsend it. That would essentially be an editing window in which users could take back what they said.

Doesn't work

By SCVonSteroids • Score: 3 • Thread

The moment a snapshot is taken, it's cemented in the interweeds foreva.

Google AI Claims 99 Percent Accuracy In Metastatic Breast Cancer Detection

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Researchers at the Naval Medical Center San Diego and Google AI, a division within Google dedicated to artificial intelligence research, are using cancer-detecting algorithms to detect metastatic tumors by autonomously evaluating lymph node biopsies. VentureBeat reports: Their AI system -- dubbed Lymph Node Assistant, or LYNA -- is described in a paper titled "Artificial Intelligence-Based Breast Cancer Nodal Metastasis Detection," published in The American Journal of Surgical Pathology. In tests, it achieved an area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUC) -- a measure of detection accuracy -- of 99 percent. That's superior to human pathologists, who according to one recent assessment miss small metastases on individual slides as much as 62 percent of the time when under time constraints. LYNA is based on Inception-v3, an open source image recognition deep learning model that's been shown to achieve greater than 78.1 percent accuracy on Stanford's ImageNet dataset. As the researchers explained, it takes as input a 299-pixel image (Inception-v3's default input size), outlines tumors at the pixel level, and, in the course of training, extracts labels -- i.e., predictions -- of the tissue patch ("benign" or "tumor") and adjusts the model's algorithmic weights to reduce error.

In tests, LYNA achieved 99.3 percent slide-level accuracy. When the model's sensitivity threshold was adjusted to detect all tumors on every slide, it exhibited 69 percent sensitivity, accurately identifying all 40 metastases in the evaluation dataset without any false positives. Moreover, it was unaffected by artifacts in the slides such as air bubbles, poor processing, hemorrhage, and overstaining. LYNA wasn't perfect -- it occasionally misidentified giant cells, germinal cancers, and bone marrow-derived white blood cells known as histiocytes -- but managed to perform better than a practicing pathologist tasked with evaluating the same slides. And in a second paper published by Google AI and Verily, Google parent company Alphabet's life sciences subsidiary, the model halved the amount of time it took for a six-person team of board-certified pathologists to detect metastases in lymph nodes.


By bigtreeman • Score: 3, Informative • Thread

1 in 99 is really bad
1000 women, about 120 will get breast cancer, if we miss-diagnose 10 cases, that could be as bad as 8% failure
fuck statistics


By religionofpeas • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

99% is pretty good for a notoriously difficult problem.

Yeah, sucks if you're part of the 1%, but you'd be part of the 100% if there wasn't any test.

How To See If Your Personal Data Was Stolen In the Recent Facebook Hack

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Recode: Hackers stole personal data from 29 million Facebook users in a recent hack, including information like phone numbers, emails, gender, hometowns and even relationship data. Was your data stolen? (Mine was.) There's an easy way to check. Visit this Help Center page on Facebook's website and log in to your account. It will tell you whether or not your data was stolen, and which data in particular. Worth noting, while Facebook's alert says that no "payment card or credit card information" was stolen, Facebook product executive Guy Rosen did say that hackers would have been able to see the last four digits of a user's credit card through this hack. Facebook also says it will reach out to people directly if their data was stolen.

Not mine

By CrimsonAvenger • Score: 3 • Thread

No Facebook means no Facebook problem....

Twitter and Salesforce CEOs Spat Over Who is Helping the Homeless More

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The CEOs of two of the world's most prominent tech companies got into an online spat on Friday over who was doing the most to address homelessness. From a report: Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey were tweeting at each other about a proposed tax on high-earning San Francisco businesses. It would redirect millions of dollars to help thousands of people who live on the streets, including outside the headquarters of both companies. Benioff tweeted that he was in favor of the tax. Dorsey tweeted that he was not -- prompting a displeased response. "Hi Jack. Thanks for the feedback," Benioff quipped. "Which homeless programs in our city are you supporting? Can you tell me what Twitter and Square & you are in for & at what financial levels? How much have you given to heading home our $37M initiative to get every homeless child off the streets?"

Benioff was referring to an initiative he is spearheading for homeless families. In May he announced that he and his wife would match a $1.5m donation from his company's philanthropic arm. In a second tweet, he alleged that Dorsey had failed to contribute to the city's homeless programs, public hospitals and public schools, despite earning billions and receiving a tax break to relocate in a deprived part of town. Dorsey did not respond.

Is their help actually helping?

By alvinrod • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
It doesn't really matter how much money you throw at something if what you're doing with it doesn't actually help. Perhaps some of these private charities that they are donating to are doing something useful, but San Francisco's approach in general doesn't seem to be at all effective. They were just named the poop capital of the U.S. this last week.

Also, I generally think people that brag about charity are kind of asshole glory hounds. It's a good thing to do, but you don't need to tell everyone else how great you are, especially if it devolves into a public fight like this. Now they both look like jackasses even for all the good that they're doing.

I know this is silly but...

By Chris Katko • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

...if there's ANYTHING we could encourage businesses to COMPETE and measure their virtual dicks by, it should be HELPING PEOPLE.

And not feel good "we trained people to stop being racist" with no scientific verified results. I mean REAL people being REALLY helped. Raw stats. Number of people given free /affordable homes. Number of people given jobs and highschool/college education. FREE MENTAL HEALTH for the homeless.

If anything we should be encouraging through "Slacktivsm" and outrage culture, it's actually demanding companies help the homeless with their billions in profits.

I don't see the "spat"

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 3 • Thread

It sounds like it's all coming from Benioff's side, and Dorsey hasn't risen to the bait. So in what sense is this a "spat"?

Their seems to be two kinds of homeless

By bobstreo • Score: 3 • Thread

1) People who can't afford the prices of current housing.

2) People who wouldn't live anywhere provided to them due to mental health/substance abuse issues. Not that shelters are that much better than a cardboard box beneath an underpass.

You do not gain any credit if your tax dollars/philanthropic efforts close the local/state medical efforts to help the second category.

Talk/twitters are cheap. put your money where your mouth is.

Re:Is their help actually helping?

By ath1901 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Even better, do not "make homeless" people. But that requires lots of "socialist" stuff like free education, health care and mental care which many Americans object to.

It seems to be a universal phenomenon to focus more on helping those who are visibly in need than preventing the need to arise. Emergency aid for spectacular disasters can eclipse the everyday aid of providing education or sanitary facilities. The cost effectiveness of providing emergency aid instead of prevention is also not discussed enough.

The American version of this seem to be a bit stronger than elsewhere. Politicians can be celebrated for personally helping a sick/poor child while at the same time removing social safety nets and thus creating many more. In many other countries they would have been called hypocrites but in America it seems like they get away with it (yes, it is a very anecdotal statement). It seems like emotional stories are much more important than in many other parts of the world and your personal character is more judged by those stories than by your actions.

$37 million isn't much as you point out and helping homeless doesn't help much in the long run. Spending the same amount on improving education in poor areas or even a marketing campaign for more "socialist" policies would probably be a more cost effective choice.

World's Fastest Camera Shoots 10 Trillion Frames a Second

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
bbsguru shares a report from New Atlas: Slow-motion video has always been fun to watch, with the best rigs usually shooting on the scale of thousands of frames per second. But now the world's fastest camera, developed by researchers at Caltech and INRS, blows them out of the water, capturing the world at a mind-boggling 10 trillion frames per second -- fast enough to probe the nanoscale interactions between light and matter. For the new imaging technique, the team started with compressed ultrafast photography (CUP), a method that it is capable of 100 billion fps. That's nothing to scoff at by itself, but it's still not fast enough to really capture what's going on with ultrafast laser pulses, which occur on the scale of femtoseconds. A femtosecond, for reference, is one quadrillionth of a second.

So the team built on that technology by combining a femtosecond streak camera and a static camera, and running it through a data acquisition technique known as Radon transformation. This advanced system was dubbed T-CUP. For the first test, the camera proved its worth by capturing a single femtosecond pulse of laser light, recording 25 images that were each 400 femtoseconds apart. Through this process, the team could see the changes in the light pulse's shape, intensity and angle of inclination, in much slower motion than ever before.

double slit experiment

By Wycliffe • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

This would be interesting to use to record the double slit experiment and find out what is really going on.

The reason we use exponents

By petes_PoV • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

A femtosecond, for reference, is one quadrillionth of a second.

Probably one of the world's least useful explanations.


By Jfetjunky • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Is it real time, interleaved, or synchronous sub sampling (aka aliasing aka stroboscopic effect)?

Re:double slit experiment

By schweini • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
CHeck out PBS SpaceTime's videos on the double slit experiment! Simply recording quantum things makes for very very strange outcomes:

Re:The reason we use exponents

By Solandri • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Some more intuitive descriptions:
  • In one femtosecond, light will travel 0.3 micrometers (0.0003 mm).
  • In the 400 femtoseconds between the successive image frames shot with this camera, light travels only 0.1 mm.
  • If you shot one second at 10 trillion fps, and played them back at 60 fps of YouTube video, it would take over 5000 years to watch that one second.

The UK Invited a Robot To 'Give Evidence' In Parliament For Attention

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
"The UK Parliament caused a bit of a stir this week with the news that it would play host to its first non-human witness," reports The Verge. "A press release from one of Parliament's select committees (groups of MPs who investigate an issue and report back to their peers) said it had invited Pepper the robot to 'answer questions' on the impact of AI on the labor market." From the report: "Pepper is part of an international research project developing the world's first culturally aware robots aimed at assisting with care for older people," said the release from the Education Committee. "The Committee will hear about her work [and] what role increased automation and robotics might play in the workplace and classroom of the future." It is, of course, a stunt.

As a number of AI and robotics researchers pointed out on Twitter, Pepper the robot is incapable of giving such evidence. It can certainly deliver a speech the same way Alexa can read out the news, but it can't formulate ideas itself. As one researcher told MIT Technology Review, "Modern robots are not intelligent and so can't testify in any meaningful way." Parliament knows this. In an email to The Verge, a media officer for the Education Committee confirmed that Pepper would be providing preprogrammed answers written by robotics researchers from Middlesex University, who are also testifying on the same panel. "It will be clear on the day that Pepper's responses are not spontaneous," said the spokesperson. "Having Pepper appear before the Committee and the chance to question the witnesses will provide an opportunity for members to explore both the potential and limitations of such technology and the capabilities of robots."
MP Robert Halfon, the committee's chair, told education news site TES that inviting Pepper was "not about someone bringing an electronic toy robot and doing a demonstration" but showing the "potential of robotics and artificial intelligence." He added: "If we've got the march of the robots, we perhaps need the march of the robots to our select committee to give evidence."

Pepper's for real

By Drunkulus • Score: 3 • Thread
We've got Pepper at my office. She replaced two receptionists. Yes you have to pre-program her, but she can totally carry on conversations about all your basic office needs. She can notify you if you have a visitor, tell stories to kids, recommend places to eat, give directions to the bathroom etc etc.

Cops Told 'Don't Look' at New iPhones To Avoid Face ID Lock-Out

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
As Apple continues to update its iPhones with new security features, law enforcement and other investigators are constantly playing catch-up, trying to find the best way to circumvent the protections or to grab evidence. From a report: Last month, Forbes reported the first known instance of a search warrant being used to unlock a suspect's iPhone X with their own face, leveraging the iPhone X's Face ID feature. But Face ID can of course also work against law enforcement -- too many failed attempts with the 'wrong' face can force the iPhone to request a potentially harder to obtain passcode instead. Taking advantage of legal differences in how passcodes are protected, US law enforcement have forced people to unlock their devices with not just their face but their fingerprints too. But still, in a set of presentation slides obtained by Motherboard this week, one company specialising in mobile forensics is telling investigators not to even look at phones with Face ID, because they might accidentally trigger this mechanism.

"iPhone X: don't look at the screen, or else... The same thing will occur as happened on Apple's event," the slide, from forensics company Elcomsoft, reads. Motherboard obtained the presentation from a non-Elcomsoft source, and the company subsequently confirmed its veracity. The slide is referring to Apple's 2017 presentation of Face ID, in which Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, tried, and failed, to unlock an iPhone X with his own face. The phone then asked for a passcode instead. "This is quite simple. Passcode is required after five unsuccessful attempts to match a face," Vladimir Katalov, CEO of Elcomsoft, told Motherboard in an online chat, pointing to Apple's own documentation on Face ID. "So by looking into suspect's phone, [the] investigator immediately lose one of [the] attempts."

If you gaze ...

By PPH • Score: 3 • Thread

... into the abyss, the abyss will gaze into you.

Re:Is this a joke?

By CaptainDork • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread


There are two classes of information involved in searches: Things you have and things you know.

Bio-metrics are things you have. Pass codes are things you know.

The things you have are subject to search. The things you know are protected by the 5rh amendment.

Re:Is this a joke?

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

the justification for not needing one for fingerprints is the same for face scans.

Correct. In Maryland v King the Supreme Court put DNA scans in the same category. No warrant or probable cause is needed.

From the ruling: "taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee's DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment."

A Mysterious Grey-Hat Is Patching People's Outdated MikroTik Routers

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: A Russian-speaking grey-hat hacker is breaking into people's MikroTik routers and patching devices so they can't be abused by cryptojackers, botnet herders, or other cyber-criminals, ZDNet has learned. The hacker, who goes by the name of Alexey and says he works as a server administrator, claims to have disinfected over 100,000 MikroTik routers already. "I added firewall rules that blocked access to the router from outside the local network," Alexey said. "In the comments, I wrote information about the vulnerability and left the address of the @router_os Telegram channel, where it was possible for them to ask questions." But despite adjusting firewall settings for over 100,000 users, Alexey says that only 50 users reached out via Telegram. A few said "thanks," but most were outraged. The vigilante server administrator says he's been only fixing routers that have not been patched by their owners against a MikroTik vulnerability that came to light in late April.

Enough Already! There is no grey here

By slacka • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This is the Right Thing To Do! So many times the Goody Two-Shoes so called "white hats" take out the botnets but rather that do this and patch the hacked machines, they just try to disable the current botnet. And surprise, surprise within a few months all the hacked machines are back in a new botnet, more fault tolerant botnet.

It's almost like these researchers realize that doing what this unsung hero did would hurt there job security. We should all celebrate this Russian hero. We need more like him.

Really curious what the angry ones said

By SuperKendall • Score: 3 • Thread

I read the article but there was no mention of what the angry replies said... I'd be really curious to find out in what way they were angry, instead of just saying "thanks, but don't do it again".

It seems like maybe there should be something like statute of limitations, where if an exploit was older than a certain amount it was legal for others to patch it even if it broke systems.

Re:Should have gotten Janit0r.

By quonset • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I'll say it plainly, if you do not maintain your devices then anyone should be free to brick them.

I'll say it plainly, if you do not lock every single door and bolt down your windows then anyone should be free to steal your stuff.

I'll say it plainly, if you do not lock your car then anyone should be free to steal it.

I'll say it plainly, if you do not hold onto your phone every second you are out then anyone should be free to steal it.

Re:Ah yes, outraged...

By TheReaperD • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I remember once that I switched a bad security setting with the intention of switching it right back. Well, I forgot to switch it back. Thankfully a guy from 4chan hacked my system and left me a note to fix it without doing any damage. Left him a thank you note. If you're bitching about this, you're an ungrateful asshole.

Re:Really curious what the angry ones said

By Mistlefoot • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
They were angry because they were administering networks remotely and all of a sudden were not able to as their access was disabled as well.

Imagine you are an incompetent IT doing work remotely and you can't access it anymore. So you have your client login locally to enable that feature again and they read that message to you. Now your client knows you are incompetent too. And then when the client refuses to enable access from outside the network you actually have to leave your desk to do the work. Or find a new customer as you have now been replaced.

Google CEO Tells Senators That Censored Chinese Search Engine Could Provide 'Broad Benefits'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google CEO Sundar Pichai has refused to answer a list of questions from U.S. lawmakers about the company's secretive plan for a censored search engine in China. From a report: In a letter newly obtained by The Intercept, Pichai told a bipartisan group of six senators that Google could have "broad benefits inside and outside of China," but said he could not share details about the censored search engine because it "remains unclear" whether the company "would or could release a search service" in the country. Pichai's letter contradicts the company's search engine chief, Ben Gomes, who informed staff during a private meeting that the company was aiming to release the platform in China between January and April 2019. Gomes told employees working on the Chinese search engine that they should get it ready to be "brought off the shelf and quickly deployed."

[...] In his letter to the senators, dated August 31, Pichai did not mention the word "censorship" or address human rights concerns. He told the senators that "providing access to information to people around the world is central to our mission," and said he believed Google's tools could "help to facilitate an exchange of information and learning." The company was committed to "promoting access to information, freedom of expression, and user privacy," he wrote, while also "respecting the laws of jurisdictions in which we operate."

Benefits are to Google's employee ideology too

By drnb • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Of course. The benefits are to Google's bottom line not the people of China.

The benefits are to Google's employee political ideology too. They can censor all that "offensive" stuff in the US too, help ensure that the "correct" people are elected to office.

Seriously, we already have internal emails where they propose and/or try to do this. Won't having this new censorship technology facilitate such desires?

Re:Alternative is worse

By larryjoe • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Google isn't considering selling the censorship technology. Logically, any google search product can only add (however slightly) to the pool of information available to people in China. What's the sense of refusing to provide any information on the basis that they're not allowed to provide certain additional information? They already thoroughly tested whether packing up their bag and leaving would pressure China into changing laws -- it didn't.

Censorship is a red herring that Google and China hope the world focuses on. Censorship by Google in China is just a distraction, and as Google and friends would point out, any little bit of any information served up by Google technically constitutes breaking the technical censorship that Google's absence from the Chinese market represents. That such an argument makes sense to some people is literally quite perverse.

Surveillance and collaborating with Chinese authorities to identify "undesirable" people is the problem. Google is being allowed to trade ratting out people in exchange for money. That the Chinese government gets to see Google squirm with PR issues in the US is just icing on the cake.

New Motto:

By Alypius • Score: 3 • Thread
"Aw, fuck it, let's be evil."

Google's new motto

By McFortner • Score: 3 • Thread
"We're not evil.... Oh, wait, we are now!"


By ItsJustAPseudonym • Score: 3 • Thread

"remains unclear" whether the company "would or could release a search service" in the country

It's true. Google has very little experience with releasing search engines. We should totally believe him.

US Lawmakers Urge Canada To Snub China's Huawei in Telecoms

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Two leading U.S. lawmakers, both sharp critics of China, urged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday to consider dropping China's Huawei Technologies from helping to build next-generation 5G telecommunications networks. From a report: Senators Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, said they had "grave concern" about the prospects of Huawei equipment in Canada's 5G networks on the grounds that it would pose dangers for U.S. networks. "While Canada has strong telecommunications security safeguards in place, we have serious concerns that such safeguards are inadequate given what the United States and other allies know about Huawei," the lawmakers wrote in the letter to Trudeau. Warner and Rubio are on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Here's what it translates to

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

"We claim that Huawei telecom equipment is rigged, but even after a whole decade of accusations there is no proof. Nothing. You know since before that our own equipment is rigged, but we still want you to buy it so we can tap your communications."

Support your neighbours.

By XB-70 • Score: 3 • Thread
Now that USMCA is in place, it is absolutely wrong to buy inferior hacked Chinese equipment when the U.S. has products with superior back doors. Let's support 'MADE IN USA' so that the FBI, CIA etc. etc. can listen in instead of the Chinese.

Such warning might carry more weight...

By hyades1 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

...if it wasn't coming from a treasonous bottom feeder who has consistently turned a blind eye while Russia raped Lady Liberty and put a puppet ruler in the White House. And a Democrat who has proved to be, at best, inept when it comes to managing the worst excesses of Rubio, John Cornyn a couple of other Republicans on that committee.

As a Canadian, I want to be crystal clear: I am NOT saying China is trustworthy. Far from it. China is one of the most terrifying governments on the planet, with their efforts to meet and exceed George Orwell's worst totalitarian nightmare. I certainly haven't forgotten that the technological sell-out giving this appalling regime access to Nortel's patents is Canada's fault. It occurred under the Conservative Party government of Stephen Harper, Canada's most recent contribution to North America's apparently limitless capacity for breeding treasonous right wing pricks. Speaking of which...Marco Rubio is the last person who should be yapping at another country about security when he has sold out the United States of America without a second thought. And Warner should shut up because he's been such a little bitch while his own country is being sold out from under him.

Moderated down for plain, honest speech in three, two, one...


By green1 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

except at the usual reaction from the Canadian government is to do exactly anything that the US says. When they say jump, we ask how high?

which is sad, because this is a very transparent ploy to get Canada to buy more US equipment. It's well known that the US equipment manufacturers have put back doors into their equipment in the past, and yet the Chinese ones have never been caught doing so. So really which one should we trust?

US vs China

By sit1963nz • Score: 3 • Thread
BOTH contain spyware. The US has a long history of doing the things they accuse china of, and they do it to their so called allies just as quick. So now you look at who is being the bigger asshole.....and currently that is the USA.

Apple Rebukes Australia's 'Dangerously Ambiguous' Anti-Encryption Bill

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Apple has strongly criticized Australia's anti-encryption bill, calling it "dangerously ambiguous" and "alarming to every Australian." From a report: The Australian government's draft law -- known as the Access and Assistance Bill -- would compel tech companies operating in the country, like Apple, to provide "assistance" to law enforcement and intelligence agencies in accessing electronic data. The government claims that encrypted communications are "increasingly being used by terrorist groups and organized criminals to avoid detection and disruption," without citing evidence. But critics say that the bill's "broad authorities that would undermine cybersecurity and human rights, including the right to privacy" by forcing companies to build backdoors and hand over user data -- even when it's encrypted. Now, Apple is the latest company after Google and Facebook joined civil and digital rights groups -- including Amnesty International -- to oppose the bill, amid fears that the government will rush through the bill before the end of the year. In a seven-page letter to the Australian parliament, Apple said that it "would be wrong to weaken security for millions of law-abiding customers in order to investigate the very few who pose a threat." The company adds, "We appreciate the government's outreach to Apple and other companies during the drafting of this bill. While we are pleased that some of the suggestions incorporated improve the legislation, the unfortunate fact is that the draft legislation remains dangerously ambiguous with respect to encryption and security. This is no time to weaken encryption. Rather than serving the interests of Australian law enforcement, it will just weaken the security and privacy of regular customers while pushing criminals further off the grid."

Re: Encryption is math

By saloomy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Anyone and everyone in tech understands the nature of encryption. It's so sad that politicians don't. At some point, some government is going to pass a shitty version of this law, and then, the real show down begins.

Re: Encryption is math

By forkfail • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Oh, I think they understand it. Easier to get away with certain things when they can claim ignorance, though.

Politicians need to be reined in

By fyngyrz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's so sad that politicians don't.

I'll tell you what's sad. It's sad that Apple hasn't got the balls to say "if you do this, we will no longer make or sell any products subject to these insecurities in your country."

If politicians are not prevented by economic and other (legal, not suggesting otherwise) means from destroying liberty, they will do so - because they are, for the most part, powerful and often rich, and this kind of behavior inevitably makes them more so.

Either we prevent that result, or we prevent the action that leads to that result — otherwise our liberties will continue to erode in favor of benefits for the rich and/or powerful.

Re:Does this really need evidence?

By XxtraLarGe • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The government claims that encrypted communications are "increasingly being used by terrorist groups and organized criminals to avoid detection and disruption," without citing evidence

I know it isn't popular to say that a claim should be accepted without evidence, but I think it would be ignorant to assume that more and more terrorist groups and organized criminals are not using encrypted communications.

Isn't it also ignorant to assume that terrorist groups and organized criminals are going to stop using encrypted communications just because somebody passed a law? And that they won't jailbreak their phones, install encryption software that circumvents "back doors", and then the tech companies will still be helpless to assist in any case? It doesn't take a genius to see that one coming.

Re:Does this really need evidence?

By pr0fessor • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This is the problem criminals don't follow the laws so yes they could get a phone and install encryption on it that doesn't have a back door but even worse they will absolutely use any weakness in encryption to take advantage of the rest of us.

Same with guns the bad guys don't go to a sporting goods store and buy and register a gun that can be traced they get illegal guns.

Movie Commentary Tracks Are Back

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: Last spring, long before Get Out's eventual Oscar win, the movie was released on home video with a commentary track from its writer-director. A decade ago, in the pre-streaming era, this wouldn't have been news: Back then, seemingly every movie got a commentary track, even Good Luck Chuck. Then the DVD market began to decline, and the commentary track went from a being standard-issue add-on to relative rarity. Even recent Best Picture nominees like Mad Max: Fury Road, The Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years a Slave, and Spotlight were released sans tracks -- bad news for anyone looking for behind-the-scenes intel on Mark Ruffalo's little-Ceasar haircut.

In the last few years, though, several high-profile films -- everything from Star Wars: The Last Jedi to Lady Bird to Get Out -- have been released with commentary tracks. That means you can spend your umpteenth viewing of Peele's film listening to him talk about how he modeled the opening credits on those of The Shining, or how the film's title was inspired by a routine from Eddie Murphy Delirious. For casual movie watchers, such details may not be too thrilling. But for film nerds who absorb behind-the-scenes trivia and how-we-made-it logistics, tracks like the one for Get Out remain the cheapest movie-making education available.

There are some great ones and mostly not so great

By mykepredko • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

You should be able to tell five minutes into the commentary - unfortunately most are pretty dry and not really that interesting (Star Wars, I'm lookin' at you).

Generally the great ones have the actors and directors together and they actually like each other and can riff off of each other. For the most part great ones are quite funny, but they can really expand on the movie experience and in many cases make the movie a lot more enjoyable.

In the poor ones the director rambles on and on about the different shots and what made it memorable to them (but of little interest to anybody else including wanna be filmmakers) and the actors talk about clothing, makeup and how hard it is finding a good meal while they were on location.

Here are a few of my favourites:
- Big Trouble in Little China by John Carpenter and Kurt Russell
- The Silence of the Lambs Criterion DVD (not on the Criterion BRD version of the film) with Jonathan Demme, Jodi Foster & Anthony Hopkins
- Dogma with Kevin Smith, Ben Affleck (he's not too stuck up here) and Jason Mewes
- UHF by Weird Al Yankovic
- Transformers by Michael Bay (seriously)
- Blackhawk Down by Ridley Scott
- Shaun of the Dead by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg (As well as the commentaries on the other two Cornet movies)
- The last two seasons of "Breaking Bad"

Re:There are some great ones and mostly not so gre

By Burdell • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The best commentary track ever is by "The King" on Bubba Ho-Tep. It is an entire track of Bruce Campbell in character as Elvis, not having the first clue what he's watching. "Commentary! The Musical" on Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is pretty good too.

I guess the thing I enjoy about both of those is that they aren't actually commentary tracks, they're additional productions along side the original video.

Re:There are some great ones and mostly not so gre

By HornWumpus • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Spinal Tap 20th anniversary edition.

The two main actors, in character, talking shit about everyone in the film, 20 years on. It's as good as the original was.

Also: 'Fight Club', the story of the line 'I haven't been fucked like that since grade school'. Was first 'I want to have your abortion'. The suits heard the 'grade school' line, asked to go back, but no.

The FBI Is Now Investigating Facebook's Security Breach Where Attackers Accessed 30 Million Users' Personal Information

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An online attack that forced Facebook to log out 90 million users last month directly affected 29 million people on the social network [alternative source], the company said Friday as it released new details about the scope of an incident that has regulators and law enforcement on high alert. The company said the FBI is actively investigating the hack, and asked Facebook not to disclose any potential culprits. From a report: Through a series of interrelated bugs in Facebook's programming, unnamed attackers stole the names and contact information of 15 million users, Facebook said. The contact information included a mix of phone numbers and email addresses. An additional 14 million users were affected more deeply, by having additional details taken related to their profiles such as their recent search history, gender, educational background, geolocation data, birth dates, and lists of people and pages they follow. Facebook said last month that it detected the attack when it noticed an uptick in user activity. An investigation soon found that the activity was linked to the theft of security codes that, under normal circumstances, allow Facebook users to navigate away from the site while remaining logged in. The bugs that allowed the attack to occur gave hackers the ability to effectively take over Facebook accounts on a widespread basis, Facebook said when it disclosed the breach. The attackers began with a relatively small number of accounts that they directly controlled, exploiting flaws in the platform's "View As" feature to gain access to other users' profiles.

Shadow accounts ?

By Guybrush_T • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Maybe that will be the opportunity to see if shadow accounts actually exist.

FCC Tells Court It Has No 'Legal Authority' To Impose Net Neutrality Rules

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Federal Communications Commission opened its defense of its net neutrality repeal yesterday, telling a court that it has no authority to keep the net neutrality rules in place. From a report: Chairman Ajit Pai's FCC argued that broadband is not a "telecommunications service" as defined in federal law, and therefore it must be classified as an information service instead. As an information service, broadband cannot be subject to common carrier regulations such as net neutrality rules, Pai's FCC said. The FCC is only allowed to impose common carrier regulations on telecommunications services. "Given these classification decisions, the Commission determined that the Communications Act does not endow it with legal authority to retain the former conduct rules," the FCC said in a summary of its defense filed yesterday in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The FCC is defending the net neutrality repeal against a lawsuit filed by more than 20 state attorneys general, consumer advocacy groups, and tech companies. The FCC's opponents in the case will file reply briefs next month, and oral arguments are scheduled for February.

Re:Definition in law

By presidenteloco • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
"tele" - to or at a distance
"Communication" (from Latin commūnicāre, meaning "to share") is the act of conveying meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs and semiotic rules.

Sounds an awful lot like a good definition of what the information communication infrastructure of the Internet does.

Internet information-communication service providers are CLEARLY telecommunications service providers under any non-crack-smoking interpretation of the common sense meaning of English language terms.

Re: Dismiss the telecom suit with prejudice

By saloomy • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

That doesn't matter for most connections, but it does matter since you are using interstate connections most of the time you connect to anything (except maybe your corporate office or mail server).

While I am a proponent in general of Net Neutrality, and I want ISPs to treat the internet as just a phone call with no ifs, ands or buts; the FCC is right in this case. What we really need is for this question to be answered where the framers meant for it to be answered: in law.

We can't change the rules for something as long-lasting and fundamental as the internet every time we change administrations. We can't rely on the executive branch to define the rules. The constitution calls on Congress to make the rules, and the administration (executive branch) to enforce them. Congress has to act. This purview should be codified into a bill, and passed. Thereby Establishing legal authority and imperative.

Re:A subtle but important difference

By edi_guy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"[B]roadband providers do not make a stand-alone offering of telecommunications," the FCC also said. "[B]roadband providers generally market and provide information processing capabilities and transmission together as a single service, and consumers perceive that service to include more than mere transmission."

This to me is further reinforcement that Pai only really cares about the corporations involved. Everyone I know from tech saavy-to-noob, young-to-old, just wants straight up Internet access. None of the extra junk services that Comcast, TimeWarner, etc want to sell you. Pai is just such a straight up Corp shill I can't believe people from all political stripes aren't insisting that he be fired.

Wouldn't this go against previous court rulings?

By Joe Gillian • Score: 3 • Thread

I don't have exact case names, but I specifically remember that the Obama-era FCC went to court because the telcos sued them claiming the FCC did not have the authority to regulate net neutrality under Title 1 (information services). The telcos won, and the courts told the FCC that if they wanted to mandate net neutrality, they'd have to do it under Title 2 (by regulating ISPs the same as telephone companies).

That was EXACTLY what Tom Wheeler did - he moved ISPs under title 2 and began regulating them as Title 2 Common Carriers, which DID give the FCC the authority to mandate net neutrality because that's what the courts told him he had to do.

I would hope the court would respect stare decisis and tell Ajit Pai that he cannot have it both ways, preferably forcing him to restore the regulation of ISPs under Title 2.

Re: Dismiss the telecom suit with prejudice

By postbigbang • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It was answered IN LAW. See Title II and common carrier assertion that the previous FCC administration re-classified broadband directly into the scope of jurisdiction. Then Pai say, nope, mishandled the public input process with a faux astroturfing complaint, and proceeded to let the telcos have their ways-- no nexus under Title II.

So there WAS law. It treated all of those old fashioned 56K, ISDN, private line, inter-NAP, and other cricuits from SONET and ATM through to WDM lambas.... until it didn't, under Pai.

And so the states litigating this are indeed correct, and if we don't bust the monopolies, they will indeed strangle you and I and have already started the processes to do so. While this is happening, 5G promises to unwind many decades of state control nexus over telecommunications IN IT'S ENTIRETY by a wholesale reclassification of all telephony away from telecommunications into something UNREGULATED. Don't be a fool. The regs were there, are there, and they're being end-run by countless telco attorneys that are sidestepping the law by FCC fiat.

Scientists Have Laid Out a Plan To Search For Life in the Universe

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: A blue-ribbon panel of researchers chaired by the University of Toronto's Barbara Sherwood Lollar assembled the report at the behest of the US Congress, which asked in a 2017 law that a "strategy for astrobiology" be developed to prioritize "the search for life's origin, evolution, distribution, and future in the universe." The 196-page report does not offer easy access to ET, but the steady drumbeat of scientific advancement it documents suggests an increasingly sophisticated understanding of what we know -- and don't know -- about biology on our planet and beyond.

Indeed, the recently gained knowledge it highlights is the front end of a wave: Only the Viking mission in the 1970s hunted rigorously for signs of life on other planets, and now the first new NASA mission to do so, the Europa lander, is being designed. In the past four years alone, scientists using data gathered by space probes on Mars discovered evidence of past surface water, the presence of nutrients and organic molecules, and methane gas in the atmosphere that varies by season. This doesn't mean life exists now on Mars, but it is helping contribute to an understanding of astrobiology as a discipline that looks at physical and chemical processes over time to determine if the conditions for life once existed or may do so in the future.

Much work on astrobiology is Earth-focused; it is the only place we know life exists and thus is our guinea pig for detecting life from a distance. The Galileo space probe found signs of life on our planet in 1990. The report stressed that recent discoveries of life on Earth that exists without the sun's energy, deep under the ocean or the ground, should inform what we look for on other worlds. Scientists are expanding their understanding of habitability beyond a binary and into a spectrum, which may sound trite, but previous research relied on blunt instruments and blunter assumptions about alien life -- starting with the idea that it would appear on the surface.

Re:This story is less than credible.

By MrLogic17 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The point was to test if life could be detected from space.
We tested that idea using the only place we know life exists.
The test worked.
We now have a positive test result. We now know, for a fact, that life can be detected from space -because we did it.

Now the hard part - look for it elsewhere, and may, just maybe, get a positive result there too.

The larger point of the article is that while we're using tests for planet surface based life, when there's a decent chance for non-surface life. Therefore we need to expand the toolset we use, because we've become biased based on our test data (Earth).

blunter assumptions

By g01d4 • Score: 3 • Thread

blunter assumptions about alien life -- starting with the idea that it would appear on the surface

Life evolves to fit environmental niches. It's not a stretch to hypothesize that some sort of continual environmental change might also be required for life to kick in - let alone evolve. I think you're likely to see more environmental change on a planet's surface. While you may be able to transplant life somewhere like Europa, the chance of it actually beginning there might be a lot less than if it were more dynamic.

Re:complete and total waste of time and money...

By Gilgaron • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Oh they aren't spending billions on this, I didn't look up what this project would cost, but NASA's whole budget was 20. DoD was 700, by comparison. We'll probably spend more money making M16s than this project will run.


By Impy the Impiuos Imp • Score: 3 • Thread

The besr bet outside the solar system is teasing out the spectral lines of a star as it passes through the atmosphere of a planet in front of it, and looking for the kinds of complexity you only find with life.

It requires incredible tech but they're already getting there.

One issue I see

By Locke2005 • Score: 3 • Thread
Any species willing to advertise their location to any and all possible xenophobic invaders can't be classified as an intelligent species... I'm lookin' at you, homo sapiens!

Senators Demand Google Hand Over Internal Memo Urging Google+ Cover-up

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: Three Republican senators have sent a letter to Google demanding the company hand over an internal memo based on which Google decided to cover up a Google+ data leak instead of going public as most companies do. The existence of this internal memo came to light on Monday in a Wall Street Journal article that forced Google to go public with details about a Google+ API bug that could have been used to harvest data on Google users.

According to the report, the internal memo, signed by Google's legal and policy staff, advised Google top execs not to disclose the existence of the API bug fearing "immediate regulatory interest." Google's legal staff also feared that the bug would bring Google "into the spotlight alongside or even instead of Facebook despite having stayed under the radar throughout the Cambridge Analytica scandal," and would "almost [guarantee] Sundar will testify before Congress," akin to Facebook's CEO. In a letter sent today to Google, three GOP senators want to see this internal memo for themselves by October 30, and also with on-the-record answers to seven questions in regards to what, why, and how Google handled the Google+ API data leak.

What could go wrong?

By PopeRatzo • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I don't know about you guys, but I totally trust the Senate to investigate google in an ethical and unbiased way and not try to use this to gain political advantage or punish perceived enemies.

The crime in Watergate was still pretty bad

By rsilvergun • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Breaking and entering to get dirt on your political rival. And no, "everybody did it" is not an excuse. Nixon had a pretty crazy disregard for the rule of law, going so far as to kick off the Drug War in order to crack down on the left wing because he knew they smoked pot. That's not a conspiracy theory, his own people came out later, admitted it and apologized for it.

I'd call this a hit piece except Google gets along just fine with the Republican majority. They supported the last few Supreme Court Nominees (albeit on the sly via various PACs) and were happy to take the tax cut.

What this is really is enemy creation. Racism is winding down as an effective vehicle for making bogymen. But any good ruling class needs a way to divide the working class. Instead of Black/White they're working on Technocrat/Blue Collar as the next point of division.

This is how the Japanese created their divides to keep the working class from organizing, BTW. They declared some professions as "bad" (unclean ones, like butcher and undertaker) and kept books of who was who based on family names. That's how you create classes without racial divides.

What annoys me is we see this pattern over and over again. The Japanese, India Caste systems, American Racial Slavery, hell the Canadians have been caught doing it with Eskimos (South Park made fun of it). You'd think the working class would catch on to the trick and stop being fooled but so far, no dice...

Re:So Dems don't care I guess

By Pascoea • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

and it'd be interesting to know what the underlying cause is.

I'm going to guess it has something to do with us being insulated from how truly shitty of a life some people in this world have. The threshold for having a "shitty day" for most people in the US is generally somewhere between "stuck in traffic" and "lost my job", not "I haven't eaten this week".

Re:There was no leak

By terjeber • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Did they really have enough logs to confirm there wasn't a leak?

They did a quick questionnaire in the hacking community. They asked plainly asked, "Have you hacked Google+", all the answers came "Google what?" So then they knew.

Re:So Dems don't care I guess

By Mashiki • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If the republicans are perpetual victims of such bias from everyone- how do they have the current president and hold both houses?

Republicans don't see themselves as perpetual victims, but they acknowledge that there are particular organizations that are biased against them and between the two? You bet. There's *a lot* of money at stake, and the democrats/progressives and in general most of the left are pro-globalization/demolishing western culture/etc and this directly aligns with progressive agenda 'we can change the world because reasons.' Note that here in the west the left have had a monopoly on media and education for the better part of 40 years. I use "the left" in a broad term in this case, but you can round it out from environmentalism shifting to hyper-environmentalism that humans need to die. To higher education moving from that into a diploma mill situation where the shittiest courses(gender studies and the ilk of shitty humanities courses), are mandatory or you can't graduate or even pass the first year and teaching that republicans/conservatives/libertarians are evil/wrong/degenerates or whatever else. Or that "speech is dangerous" or "speech is violence" that are commonly used by progressives and the left, you can round it out with the blanket uses of racist, sexist, misogynist, rapist, and nazi if you're feeling ambitious.

Now you ask how can they hold both houses and the president. That one is far easier, because the rest of society has had enough of the politically correct, don't say mean words, if you say the wrong thing we'll ruin your life, we need to pander to special interests that amount to 0.02% of the population, we can find the money for illegals/foreign country/some special cause - but we can't find the $1.17/mo for people on social assistance, or disability, the person waiting 18 months for cataract surgery(to use an example from here in Ontario), fuck you and your "but I just want a nice blue collar job" you're gonna work 3 jobs in the service industry and like it pleb, "culture - lol? diversity is our strength, you don't have a culture" "we need to import more people from the 3rd world, oh and raise your taxes to do it" bullshit that's been building up over the last ~15-20ish years or so. This isn't unique to the US either, over the last couple of years here in Canada the same thing has happened.

How can you be the "victim party" that faces everyone's bias and be the party in power?

See this is the part where it diverges, this isn't a republican issue. It's a people who don't buy into the identity politics and who is or isn't pushing it, you've seen it already. ~30-40 years ago? You betcha that conservatives were doing the same. But now we've got the groups who blame men for whatever reasons, they're the fault of all of societies ills, push all men are rapists/abusers/etc. Tell whites or asians that they're privileged, so they don't deserve the spot in university/job openings for only particular groups of people. It has to go to the person who's 'getting their scores adjusted' because they couldn't cut it otherwise. That *insert minority/trendy sexual identity/etc* should have the job because *random diversity reason here* and not the best person for the job. A decade ago everyone had pretty much bought into it? Oh you bet their ass they did, it was trendy hot shit. Everyone bought into the "we need to help people" well helping is good and believed that it was a case of "this person didn't have the resources, so lets help them out." It turns out that people have problems when the unqualified or diversity pick gets pushed through a head of them though because it simply "looks good for social capital."

But, now the interesting part. Look at the media, entertainment rags, and whatever else for the last couple of days over Kanye West. What do we have left-leaningm progressives, their pundits and democrats saying? He's a house negro, dumb, token, white supremacist, minstrel(aka puppet). That

To Deter Foreign Hackers, Some States May Also Be Deterring Voters

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A number of states are blocking web traffic from foreign countries to their voter registration websites, making the process harder for some U.S. citizens who live overseas to vote, despite the practice providing no real security benefits. From a report: On its face, the "geo-targeting" of foreign countries may seem like a solid plan: election officials around the country are concerned about foreign interference after Russia's efforts leading up to the 2016 election, so blocking traffic to election websites from outside the United States might seem like an obvious defense starting point. But cybersecurity experts and voting rights advocates say it's an ineffective solution that any hacker could easily sidestep using a virtual private network, or VPN, a commonly-used and easily-available service. Such networks allow for a computer user to use the Internet and appear in a different location than they actually are.

Re:Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner

By XxtraLarGe • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

For my money I want to see voting made mandatory, like Jury Duty.

Nothing says freedom like compulsion! Have you ever considered that many people who don't vote do so consciously because they don't like any of the available choices? Or that they don't believe in government in the first place (i.e. anarchists, Amish, some pacifists)? Or how about sortitionists, who don't even believe in elections?

Then there's Jury Duty. I think jury duty would be better if they allowed people to voluntarily sign up. There's probably no shortage of retirees and unemployed that wouldn't mind making a few extra bucks.


By flajann • Score: 3 • Thread
By "interefering", do they mean crackers breaking into online voter servers? Or just posting opinions and the like in social media?

If the latter, that hardly "interfering". Just voicing opinions. Double-plus good oh my brother!

Re:Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner

By cayenne8 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

For my money I want to see voting made mandatory, like Jury Duty.

Well, Jury duty isn't truly mandatory....

If you don't register to vote, then you are not put into the pool of possible jurors.

I"m not sure I like mandatory.

I understand your feelings behind it, and I would applaud more people participating in general, HOWEVER, I don't like a free country forcing the citizens to do something...maybe they don't like any of the choices, you know?

And also...if someone isn't interested enough in utilizing their right as a citizen to vote, to go register, and show up at the polling place, etc...I'm guessing they are likely also too un-interested to be an INFORMED voter.

If someone is un-informed, then I would posit they are likely to be more readily swayed by foreign propaganda as we have seen the Russians do, and I"m sure other state actors do (surely this isn't first attempt by foreign states)....

So, while I agree with your intentions on that, I disagree in that it might not be the best idea.

I'd rather have few voters that were better informed on what and who they are voting for, rather than a larger voter pool filled with many or most who don't know the issues or the candidates.

The uninformed are much easier to be swayed by exteral forces that might not have the US's best interest in mind.

At least those are some of my thoughts on it...

Re:It isn't what but how.

By XxtraLarGe • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Yes, other groups such as Russia. This is how we wound up with Trump.

The whole Russia false narrative is getting really old, and I can't believe how many people have fallen for it. Hot off the press: Obama Had a Secret Plan in Case Trump Rejected 2016 Election Results It's pretty easy to see that when Trump won instead of lost, they decided to go forward with the false narrative anyway, and their useful idiot friends in the media helped to perpetuate it.

Re: It isn't what but how.

By Uberbah • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Jill Stein being in the race and taking more votes in 3 states than Hillary lost by is how you got Trump.

That's also wrong, as more Republicans voted for Johnson and McMullen than Democrats did for Stein. Take third parties out of the race and Clinton would have done worse, not better. In fact she would have lost at least Minnesota, as she was ahead of Trump by only 45,000 votes in that state - Johnson and McMullen put together had more than three times that many.

Firefox Removes Core Product Support For RSS/Atom Feeds

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Starting with Firefox 64, RSS/Atom feed support will be handled via add-ons, rather than in-product. Mozilla's Gijs Kruitbosch writes: After considering the maintenance, performance and security costs of the feed preview and subscription features in Firefox, we've concluded that it is no longer sustainable to keep feed support in the core of the product. While we still believe in RSS and support the goals of open, interoperable formats on the Web, we strongly believe that the best way to meet the needs of RSS and its users is via WebExtensions.

With that in mind, we have decided to remove the built-in feed preview feature, subscription UI, and the "live bookmarks" support from the core of Firefox, now that improved replacements for those features are available via add-ons.

By virtue of being baked into the core of Firefox, these features have long had outsized maintenance and security costs relative to their usage. Making sure these features are as well-tested, modern and secure as the rest of Firefox would take a surprising amount of engineering work, and unfortunately the usage of these features does not justify such an investment: feed previews and live bookmarks are both used in around 0.01% of sessions.

Re:Cue the 0.01% of users who "need" RSS

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I'm the same but opposite. I use Firefox's Live Bookmarks all the time. Why I would want to use some external program to give me a shitty UI with badly formatted text is beyond me. I click on a live bookmarks, see the title of all the latest updates and if one of them interests me I click it, it opens the page in a new tab. That's how I got to this /. article.

Next step: deprecate API(s)

By ccr • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The pessimist in me thinks that if anything is to be learned of past history of Firefox development, the next step after removing a feature from core and into extensions is to deprecate / remove the API(s) this extension relies on to function. Or at least the APIs that enable it to work in a comfortable manner vs. UI experience.

Personally I use RSS feeds of 7 different blogs (wow, blogs still exist?) in order to easily follow when new posts are made. It's not much, but at least I don't have to manually check them out, quick browse through live bookmark menu is enough.

Re:Cue the 0.01% of users who "need" RSS

By hey! • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

And yet, people are becoming so accustomed to being treated like sheep, they can't see the point of something that would give them control of their own attention span.


By caseih • Score: 4 • Thread

Previewing RSS feeds of web-related items is not browser related? Previewing an RSS feed is something I do on nearly a daily basis with Firefox. I do this so I can more efficiently browse some forums I participate in (in a browser).

RSS parsing simple thing and I don't understand why they feel it's such a burden, or why you feel this would be bloat. Parsing markup is what a browser does.

Mozilla is a strange organization. They are well funded now, but somehow can't find enough money to cover basic features?

At least, hopefully, there'll still be a plugin for viewing RSS feeds. After all what good is an RSS feed if you can't view it? And no I don't want to use a standalone RSS reader for handling RSS feeds that point back to web pages!


By danomac • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I hope Pocket is next on the chopping block, it has no reason to be in the main build of Firefox.

Pro-Privacy Search Engine DuckDuckGo Hits 30 Million Daily Searches, Up 50% In a Year

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Some nice momentum for privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo which has just announced it's hit 30 million daily searches a year after reaching 20 million -- a year-on-year increase of 50%. Hitting the first 10 million daily searches took the search engine a full seven years, and then it was another two to get to 20 million. So as growth curves go it must have required patience and a little faith in the run up. It also recently emerged that DDG had quietly picked up $10 million in VC funding, which is only its second tranche of external investment. The company told us this financing would be used to respond to an expanding opportunity for pro-privacy business models, including by tuning its search engine for more local markets and expanding its marketing channels to "have more of a global focus."

Re:Thought it said Pro-Piracy

By mjwx • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I would have been up for that.

Oddly enough, that's what I use DuckDuckGo for mostly. If you're looking for a torrent it's easier to find using DDG due to the number of DMCA takedowns Google has to comply with (and I dont blame Google for that either).

Re: DuckDuckGo is liberal biased

By atrex • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Incompetent? Can you please tell me the level of Unemployment prevailing at this moment?

Trying to use the unemployment rate as an example of Trump's competency doesn't make a very good argument.
Just look at the 10 year graph of the unemployment rate
All Trump managed to do is not screw up the trend that very clearly was established under the previous president.
And it's the same for wage growth: although when you compare/contrast vs inflation real world wage growth has actually decreased the last two years vs the previous two years.
You can try arguing GDP next, but, again we're mostly still seeing the same kind of numbers/trends that began in mid/late 2010.

Now, lets have a look at something that did drastically change under Trump, Health Insurance.
See that big giant increase in the price index at the end of 2017 compared to the rest of the graph? That's the result of the GOP gutting parts of the ACA and Trump refusing to pay out the by law guaranteed Medicare/Medicaid subsidies.

Okay, I'm sure you want something to criticize the previous president for, so here we go:
Those are some pretty bad deficit numbers under Obama's first few years. The country hadn't run that big an annual deficit since WW2. On the other hand, he used that deficit to drag the country out of a pretty bad economic recession left behind by the W Bush administration and managed to decrease it back down to 2008 levels by the end of his term. Unfortunately, instead of the deficit continuing to go down under Trump, it's gone up instead thanks to a massive tax give away to the rich and corporations.

My bad, I guess that wasn't as much of a criticism of the last guy as the graph initially made it out to be.

Ok, here's one we can really criticize Obama for, excessively increased military spending: ... or can we?
Oops, sorry. I guess it was actually Bush who decided to start a war in Iraq in 2003 that didn't end until they hauled out Bin Laden in 2011. Oh, let's not forget the War on Terror in Afghanistan from 2001-2014 either, that at least in was in response to us being attacked first on 9/11. Except, 15 out of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia...


By Jzanu • Score: 3 • Thread
That claim about a search engine that filters everything through Yandex, the openly Russian intelligence service scoop, is idiotic.


By Mashiki • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

In short, I don't think Google can put up a walled garden, no matter what they try. They're a browser based service, and as such will always be subject to the disconnected nature of browsers.

Newspapers also didn't believe that if they went walled garden it wouldn't backfire in a spectacular fashion either, but it did. The thing is, google might try to do it if it looks like there are massive drop-offs in continuous users, but enough of a user base to remain profitable. In the worst case scenario? They try to leverage their ad service so it only works with one or two browsers, in turn sites starved for money try to force users to use a particular browser. The usual useragent tricks no longer work as the browser requires authing off a unique hash.

There's plenty of ways they could do it, of course they'd also set themselves up for some ripe trustbusting.


By jwhyche • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

You found them stunningly poor? I have found them for the most part to be completely useless. 90% of the shit that gets sent back is nothing but ads. I'm doing a search for kernel RAID tweaking and I get a page full of shit where I can hire someone to do it for me, or shit that has nothing to do with the shit I'm looking for.

I found what I was looking for using duckduckgo. Damn, Linux has a nice RAID level.

Bees Stop Flying During Total Solar Eclipses

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A new study published by the Entomological Society of America found that bees stop flying when the moon obstructs the sun during a total solar eclipse. "Using tiny microphones suspended among flowers, the team recorded the buzzing of the bees through all stages of the eclipse," reports Smithsonian Magazine. "The bees were active and noisy right up to the last moments before totality, the part of a total solar eclipse when the moon blocks all direct sunlight, and a night-like darkness settles over the land. As totality hit, the bees went totally silent in unison." From the report: The clear drop from buzzing to silence was the most striking change during the eclipse, but additional, smaller changes in the bees' buzzing could give the researchers clues about how the insects responded. As ecologist Candace Galen of the University of Missouri notes, the bees' buzzes lasted longer as it gradually got darker approaching totality. Increased buzz length suggests the bees started flying more slowly, they were taking longer flights, or some combination of both.

"The way I think about it is, if you're driving on a road and it gets foggy, you slow down," explains Galen. When there is less visibility, slowing down helps you process information and maintain situational awareness -- and like the bees did during totality, if there's absolutely zero visibility, you should probably pull over. Adjusting speed to acclimate one's senses to an environment that suddenly shifts is a common behavior in many animals, and it's been observed in bees when they fly before sunrise or sunset.

Not just Bees

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

All wildlife doesn't seem to cope with a total solar eclipse. We saw some really strange things during the last one. Firstly there was dead silence. Birds stopped flying, they actually stopped making sound completely. Also kangaroos were freaked out. They congregated in a common area and huddled together. I've not seen anything quite like it.

how is the polarization of light during total ecl

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

... as bees use polarized light for navigation that may be the key.....Read Randolf Menzel

Saw the eclipse on a farm, interesting reactions

By ToTheStars • Score: 3 • Thread

I saw the 2017 eclipse from my uncle's farm, and it was definitely worth the trouble (and the traffic afterwards) -- not ten minutes after it was over, we (other family gathered there) were already excited for 2024! Definitely an unearthly experience, and being on a farm, I got to see lots of animals reacting to the eclipse (as well as being awed myself, even though I knew it was coming -- I can only imagine how it must have felt to people who didn't know what was happening).

All the chickens ran into the coop, and when the eclipse was over, the rooster crowed.

All the gnats went to ground, which was very nice because I'd been swatting them all afternoon leading up to the eclipse (and would have been very cross if one had distracted me during totality).

My uncle had been worried that his goats might freak out, because they didn't like being left outside for too long after sunset, but they didn't seem concerned (maybe it was short enough that they didn't regard it as 'night time' the way the other critters did).

By far the funniest reaction was that of a neighboring farmer (as my aunt explained it to me), who was frantically asking for pairs of eclipse glasses for all of her animals -- "What if they look at the sun???" Fortunately, my aunt managed to explain to her that the animals would be okay -- us humans were the only critters dumb enough to look at the sun while it was out!

Self-Healing Material Can Build Itself From Carbon In the Air

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
MIT chemical engineers have reportedly designed a material that can react with carbon dioxide from the air, "to grow, strengthen, and even repair itself." According to MIT News, "The polymer, which might someday be used as construction or repair material or for protective coatings, continuously converts the greenhouse gas into a carbon-based material that reinforces itself." From the report: The current version of the new material is a synthetic gel-like substance that performs a chemical process similar to the way plants incorporate carbon dioxide from the air into their growing tissues. The material might, for example, be made into panels of a lightweight matrix that could be shipped to a construction site, where they would harden and solidify just from exposure to air and sunlight, thereby saving on the energy and cost of transportation. The material the team used in these initial proof-of-concept experiments did make use of one biological component -- chloroplasts, the light-harnessing components within plant cells, which the researchers obtained from spinach leaves. The chloroplasts are not alive but catalyze the reaction of carbon dioxide to glucose. Isolated chloroplasts are quite unstable, meaning that they tend to stop functioning after a few hours when removed from the plant. In their paper, [the researchers] demonstrate methods to significantly increase the catalytic lifetime of extracted chloroplasts. In ongoing and future work, the chloroplast is being replaced by catalysts that are nonbiological in origin.

The material the researchers used, a gel matrix composed of a polymer made from aminopropyl methacrylamide (APMA) and glucose, an enzyme called glucose oxidase, and the chloroplasts, becomes stronger as it incorporates the carbon. It is not yet strong enough to be used as a building material, though it might function as a crack filling or coating material, the researchers say. The team has worked out methods to produce materials of this type by the ton, and is now focusing on optimizing the material's properties. Commercial applications such as self-healing coatings and crack filling are realizable in the near term, they say, whereas additional advances in backbone chemistry and materials science are needed before construction materials and composites can be developed.

Quite scary...

By LordHighExecutioner • Score: 3 • Thread
...look at the effects

Re:Lime Mortar sets this way

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Cambodia Siam Reap. Temples were glued together with palm sugar and some kind of green moss/fungus reaction.And more palm oil to stop the sugar dissolving by water until it became waterproof enough. Rediscovered.

Grey goo

By pablo_max • Score: 3 • Thread

This sounds like the opening chapter for a book predicated on the grey goo scenario.

Re:Lime Mortar sets this way

By Solandri • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
H2 sits at a high energy state (elemental forms are defined as zero, most other molecules have negative Gibbs free energy, indicating a lower energy state). Generating molecules with high Gibbs free energy usually requires putting energy into the system. Since the mortar reaction drives itself (the mortar sets), more likely it forms H2O, which sits at a very low energy state (which is why water is the end product of a lot of combustion reactions).

CO2 is also a very low energy state (why it's also the end product of combustion of respiration), so converting it into nearly anything else requires putting energy in to drive the reaction up the energy gradient. Plants convert CO2 (and H2O) into glucose by using energy from sunlight (photosynthesis) to drive the reaction. Presumably this material does the same.

Also, the idea isn't completely new. Self-healing fiber reinforced polymers (like fiberglass or carbon fiber) have been made by encapsulating small amounts of the two components of epoxy (resin and hardener) separately inside the FRP. When the FRP develops a crack, some of these capsules are also broken open. The liquid resin and hardener ooze out, mix, and harden into epoxy to seal the crack. The material in TFA is a bit different in that it pulls the required materials out of the air.

Re:Like a 'Tree' and 'Wood'?

By Rei • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Or like concrete. The concrete itself actually becomes stronger, denser and less permeable with age by absorbing carbon dioxide and converting to limestone.

The main reason why this is considered a bad thing is because modern concrete uses steel rebar reinforcement, and carbonation reduces the concrete's pH. High pH in concrete is required to protect the steel. Once the pH drops enough to prevent the passivation of the rebar, it begins rusting, expands by nearly an order of magnitude, and the concrete spalls out.