the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2018-Dec-06 today archive


  1. Scientists Develop 10-Minute Universal Cancer Test
  2. DeepMind Produces a General-Purpose Game-Playing System, Capable of Mastering Games Like Chess and Go Without Human Help
  3. Facial Recognition Has To Be Regulated To Protect the Public, Says AI Report
  4. Google Translate Learns To Reduce Gender Bias
  5. Apple Watch Series 4 ECG, Irregular Heart Rate Features Are Now Available
  6. Tesla's Giant Battery In Australia Saved $40 Million During Its First Year, Report Says
  7. Eastern European Banks Were Attacked Via Backdoors Directly Connected To Local Networks, Report Finds
  8. China Calls For Release of Arrested Huawei CFO Detained In Canada
  9. Snapdragon 8cx Gives Windows Its Most Extreme Arm Chip Yet
  10. Intel Optimistic About Its Next-Gen 7nm Process Technology
  11. Facebook Will Bring Political Ad Transparency Tools To India Ahead of 2019 Elections
  12. Microsoft Is Embracing Chromium, Bringing Edge To Windows 7, Windows 8, and Mac
  13. Motion Impossible: Tom Cruise Declares War on TV Frame Interpolation
  14. Microsoft's Designers Are Now Working Together on the Future of Windows, Office and Surface
  15. Opinion: 5G Has an Exciting Future When It Comes To Dedicated Mobile Apps But Will Do Little To Improve Our General Browsing Experiences.
  16. Facebook Employees Are So Paranoid They're Using Burner Phones To Talk To Each Other
  17. Hackers Behind Breach at Hotel Group Marriott Left Clues Suggesting They Were Working For Chinese Government Intelligence Gathering Operation, Report Says
  18. Microsoft's New Study Finds 162.8 Million People in the US Do Not Use the Internet at Broadband Speeds, Up From FCC's 24.7 Million Estimate
  19. Cuba Offers 3G Mobile Internet Access To Citizens
  20. Sea Levels May Rise More Rapidly Due To Greenland Ice Melt
  21. 24 Amazon Workers Sent To Hospital After Robot Accidentally Unleashes Bear Spray
  22. Australia Passes Anti-Encryption Laws [Update]

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 Develop 10-Minute Universal Cancer Test

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Scientists have developed a universal cancer test that can detect traces of the disease in a patient's bloodstream. The cheap and simple test uses a color-changing fluid to reveal the presence of malignant cells anywhere in the body and provides results in less than 10 minutes. The test has a sensitivity of about 90%, meaning it would detect about 90 in 100 cases of cancer. It would serve as an initial check for cancer, with doctors following up positive results with more focused investigations. The test was made possible by the Queensland team's discovery that cancer DNA and normal DNA stick to metal surfaces in markedly different ways. This allowed them to develop a test that distinguishes between healthy cells and cancerous ones, even from the tiny traces of DNA that find their way into the bloodstream.

Healthy cells ensure they function properly by patterning their DNA with molecules called methyl groups. These work like volume controls, silencing genes that are not needed and turning up others that are. In cancer cells, this patterning is hijacked so that only genes that help the cancer grow are switched on. While the DNA inside normal cells has methyl groups dotted all over it, the DNA inside cancer cells is largely bare, with methyl groups found only in small clusters at specific locations. Writing in the journal Nature Communications, the Queensland team described a series of tests that confirmed the telltale pattern of methyl groups in breast, prostate and colorectal cancer as well as lymphoma. They then showed that the patterns had a dramatic impact on the DNA's chemistry, making normal and cancer DNA behave very differently in water.
The suspect DNA is added to water containing tiny gold nanoparticles, which turn the water pink. "If DNA from cancer cells is then added, it sticks to the nanoparticles in such a way that the water retains its original color," The Guardian reports. "But if DNA from healthy cells is added, the DNA binds to the particles differently, and turns the water blue."

how many false positives?

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
It looks like the false negative rate is 10%. any number on false positives?

How does it deal with solid tumors?

By movdqa • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
DNA in solid tumors may not migrate into the bloodstream (you actually don't want this as this is how cancer spreads).

Badly Oversold

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Disclosure: I'm a cancer biomarker researcher, and these types of studies are my bread & butter. I don't know this group, and they chose to look at tumour types that I'm largely not working on.

So this study is pretty uninteresting, and is getting a lot of unhelpful media attention. The core observation is that there are differences in methylation in tumour and normal, and that these can be detected in a pretty simple assay (10 min, blah blah). That's all either known, or pretty simple extensions of existing work. Nothing wrong with it, just not hype-worthy.

Media is then claiming an AUC of ~0.90 (and an operating point with an accuracy of ~85%). The problem is, their test situation is entirely irrelevant. Most of these analyses were based on a comparison of blood from:
1) healthy age- and sex-matched controls
2) patients with metastatic disease (cancer that has spread throughout the body)

This has a litany of problems:
1) almost all patients are symptomatic pre-metastasis, and thus only a small fraction (~5-25%) of cancers are diagnosed at this stage
2) patients diagnosed with metastatic disease have often elected to avoid testing (cost, access, personal decision, etc.)
3) sadly almost all metastatic disease is lethal -- we routinely cure patients with localized disease with surgery or radiotherapy
4) genomic and epigenomic changes accumulate over time, and metastatic tumours on average have significantly more
5) there is no health-care economics argument for screening for metastatic disease

So essentially, the paper says "we can distinguish black from white with 90% accuracy". That's fine, but the media reports are missing the fact that ~95% of real-life cases are gray, and the accuracy of this test will probably be lower in these white vs. gray comparisons. The likelihood is that this "90% accurate test" is actually going to be ~70-80% accurate in real-world settings. Which is fine, but, you know, matches existing cheap diagnostics in most tumour types anyways!

So in short, this study is over-hyped and goes far to creating a bad culture where people think we are closer to a "cure" than we really are. It's solid science, but in no way worthy of a slashdot article!

Re:Badly Oversold

By Jay Vickery • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I disagree with you when you say this wasn't worth a slashdot post. It might not be worth it to you but between the summary and your comment I learned something which is why I come here.

Re:False positives?

By Luckyo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

In case of cancer, that's wrong. Many cancers are fairly harmless, while procedures to find them and put them into remission are extremely damaging, far more so than cancer itself.

A good example is the modern findings on prostate cancer, which in many cases is much less harmful than measures that clinicians used to put it into remission. Nowadays, certain prostate cancers aren't treated at all and instead merely monitored for example, and patients are likely to live with minimal to no symptoms for decades. Whereas treatment would cause severe symptoms immediately and to an extent permanently.

So in many cases, as shocking as it may sound, it's actually better in terms of health outcome to the patient to get a false negative on cancer test than an accurate positive one. Especially true if it's a generic case like this, where someone may go look for cancer that ends up as a small benign tumour with a series of exceedingly invasive biopsies that may cause severe damage to patient's health.

Oncology is really, REALLY difficult field of medicine, because not only is the illness effectively incurable in most cases, but oncologist must always contrast the harm caused by his actions vs harm caused by the problem he's looking for or trying to address.

DeepMind Produces a General-Purpose Game-Playing System, Capable of Mastering Games Like Chess and Go Without Human Help

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
DeepMind has created a system that can quickly master any game in the class that includes chess, Go, and Shogi, and do so without human guidance. "The system, called AlphaZero, began its life last year by beating a DeepMind system that had been specialized just for Go," reports IEEE Spectrum. "That earlier system had itself made history by beating one of the world's best Go players, but it needed human help to get through a months-long course of improvement. AlphaZero trained itself -- in just 3 days." From the report: The research, published today in the journal Science, was performed by a team led by DeepMind's David Silver. The paper was accompanied by a commentary by Murray Campbell, an AI researcher at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. AlphaZero can crack any game that provides all the information that's relevant to decision-making; the new generation of games to which Campbell alludes do not. Poker furnishes a good example of such games of "imperfect" information: Players can hold their cards close to their chests. Other examples include many multiplayer games, such as StarCraft II, Dota, and Minecraft. But they may not pose a worthy challenge for long.

DeepMind developed the self-training method, called deep reinforcement learning, specifically to attack Go. Today's announcement that they've generalized it to other games means they were able to find tricks to preserve its playing strength after giving up certain advantages peculiar to playing Go. The biggest such advantage was the symmetry of the Go board, which allowed the specialized machine to calculate more possibilities by treating many of them as mirror images. The researchers have so far unleashed their creation only on Go, chess and Shogi, a Japanese form of chess. Go and Shogi are astronomically complex, and that's why both games long resisted the "brute-force" algorithms that the IBM team used against Kasparov two decades ago.

Re:How much longer?

By Waffle Iron • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

What's next; Parcheesi? Tiddlywinks? Backgammon?

Global Thermonuclear War

Let me ask

By 110010001000 • Score: 3 • Thread
So lets ask a question: if DeepMind is useful WHY ARE THEY USING IT TO PLAY GO AND CHESS? Every "AI" system has this amazing power: the ability to play games. Not every game of course: Chess and Go. So friggin stupid. Yeah we get it, computers are good at playing Chess and Go. Amazing stuff.

Re:Seems to me if it can learn Chess and Go

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

Maybe we can take it a step farther - not fight the war at all, just simulate the fighting using computers. Then, depending on the enemy’s simulated tactics, we can calculate which of our citizens need to report to the disintegration chambers.

more games than you think

By epine • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Have you noticed that all these "AI systems" play Chess and Go? Very odd.

Thank you for spamming the entire thread with your imperceptive and unenlightened comments.

There's nothing odd about the choice of chess and Go whatsoever. Humanity has thousands of years of experience with these games. We know they aren't trivial, and we know they're not so complex that we can't understand progress, when we see it.

Additionally, the large literature of expert games was a useful hand-rail between hand-crafted and fully autonomous.

Quite apart from the neural network portion, Monte Carlo tree search (MCTS) is a fundamental algorithm in computer science, and this work demonstrates that MCTS is ready for prime time, having defeated from scratch exceptionally strong chess programs that have been painstaking hand-tuned over five decades and hundreds of man years. MCTS exists within the large and growing theory of multi-armed bandit problems. These are fundamental problems in many important industries (such as drug discovery, to name just one).

Multi-armed bandit

Recurrent self-learning is another important algorithm in computer science and machine learning.

And finally, the neural network portion is far closer to the human brain than the vast majority of algorithms used in computing. Without any human instruction, these neural networks are learning to detect patterns of almost arbitrary complexity (so long as they seem to help in winning games).

I was reading Galileo in the original last night (English translation, but his original prose). He knew about Kepler, but wasn't sold on elliptical motion. Then he carefully observes four previously unknown moons of Jupiter and correctly determines that they can't all be in circular orbits. The word he used (in English translation) was "oval". But he still didn't choose to accept Kepler's work (apparently, he felt that Kepler's ellipse and his oval were not the same thing).

Galileo was a giant in the history of science. But still a little wooden headed on a few points, nonetheless.

I think Odd Buster Spamalot is nuts to criticise Galileo for not being Newton. Only because Galileo sorted enough of the fundamentals out in the first place (about the proper concerns and methods of science), was it even possible for Newton to become Newton (and he knew it, himself, and he's famous for having said so).

The computers we now apply to neural networks are roughly a factor of one billion times more powerful than the computers of the 1960s (thirty doublings over 45 years gets you there at the traditional pace of Moore's law).

You could complain that neural networks are only good at this one thing, but actually no: they are now state of the art in image classification (IC), speaker-independent large-vocabulary continuous speech recognition (CSR), and machine translation (MT), as well. All of these endeavours also date back to the 1960s, and have thousands of man-years of deep research behind them. Then DNNs come along, finally on a sufficiently powerful computer, with a few small tweaks to the algorithms, and simply cleans up the state of the art with nothing more than a small team of graduate students doing a quick project within the scope of their degree program to push this along (the subsequent move to industrial scale was immediate and brisk). Traditional MT research programs would have hundreds of professional researchers, slaving away for decades, at least, and never accomplished as much.

We're all of ten years away now from the day where no competent doctor ever reads an x-ray (or other radiological image) without computer assistance (definitely including a powerful NN component).

Watson was a bit idiotic, right from the beginning. The problem was Jeopardy, itself, which was always rather facile in the nature of the questions asked, and fundamentally more a test of ridiculously wide and shallow

Re:Let me ask

By Solandri • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Chess and Go are deterministic. You can perfectly know the entire state of the game universe. And for a given system state, any one action always results in the exact same outcome, every time.

Almost no systems in the real world are deterministic. That's why stochastic approaches to AI (develops a statistical model based on multiple repetitions - e.g. fuzzy logic, machine learning) have been much more successful in real world tasks.

Facial Recognition Has To Be Regulated To Protect the Public, Says AI Report

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A new report (PDF) from the AINow Institute calls for the U.S. government to take general steps to improve the regulation of facial recognition technology amid much debate over the privacy implications. "The implementation of AI systems is expanding rapidly, without adequate governance, oversight, or accountability regimes," it says. The report suggests, for instance, extending the power of existing government bodies in order to regulate AI issues, including use of facial recognition: "Domains like health, education, criminal justice, and welfare all have their own histories, regulatory frameworks, and hazards." MIT Technology Review reports: It also calls for stronger consumer protections against misleading claims regarding AI; urges companies to waive trade-secret claims when the accountability of AI systems is at stake (when algorithms are being used to make critical decisions, for example); and asks that they govern themselves more responsibly when it comes to the use of AI. And the document suggests that the public should be warned when facial-recognition systems are being used to track them, and that they should have the right to reject the use of such technology.

The report also warns about the use of emotion tracking in face-scanning and voice detection systems. Tracking emotion this way is relatively unproven, yet it is being used in potentially discriminatory ways -- for example, to track the attention of students. "It's time to regulate facial recognition and affect recognition," says Kate Crawford, cofounder of AINow and one of the lead authors of the report. "Claiming to 'see' into people's interior states is neither scientific nor ethical."

Impossible to regulate

By FoolishBluntman • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
It amazes me that people believe that AI(Machine Learning) can be regulated. There is no hard to purchase component like plutonium for an atomic bomb. The code to do machine vision is available everywhere. It doesn't take special hardware, yes, a good GPU can speed up the training phase but strictly speaking, it's not necessary. Please let me know how someone intends to regulate such a thing.

Goverment Needs to Regulate Own Recognition

By BrendaEM • Score: 3 • Thread
The pot cannot regulate the kettle.

End of story

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Frog 2 (later): Ok it's pretty hot now, what do we do?

Frog: What we need to do is regulate the water temperature!

Frog: *passes regulation*

Water: *ignores regulation, being water*

Frog 1& 2: *die horribly*

Re:Impossible to regulate

By BitterOak • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Murder is regulated: in fact, it's illegal. All you really need to commit murder though is a good sharp kitchen knife and just about everyone has one of those. Laws against murder, however, are fairly effective. Not perfectly effective, of course, but still effective.

There are no privacy implications

By MikeRT • Score: 3 • Thread

You go out in public, you have virtually no expectation of privacy. End of story.

In fact, if I were a privacy activist, I would offer a sweet deal to law enforcement. You can track public movements all you want without a warrant, but the third party doctrine gets legislatively abolished. GPS trackers, facial recognition? Have it. You'll give us full warrant requirements for stored communications in the deal.

Google Translate Learns To Reduce Gender Bias

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google is working to make Translate less gender-biased by giving both a feminine and masculine translation for a single word. "Previously, the service defaulted to the masculine options," reports CNET. "The new function is available when translating words from English into French, Italian, Portuguese, Turkish and Spanish. It provides a similar function when translating into English." From the report: Google Translate learns from the hundreds of millions of already-translated examples available on the internet, creating an opportunity for the tool to incorporate the gender bias it encountered online, according to a Google blog post announcing the change. With the update, Google Translate will present translations for both genders. For example, if you translate "o bir doktor" from Turkish to English, you'll see "she is a doctor" and "he is a doctor" in the translation box. In November, Google also made Gmail's Smart Compose technology stop suggesting gender-based pronouns. Previously, it defaulted to masculine pronouns.

This is purely PR

By lucasnate1 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

This problem already exists with languages that have two forms of 2nd person (dignified and personal). In these cases, google just outputs one case and allows you to click on it in order to get the other. Of course, this interface is less sexy for the brave couch activists of the internet, and therefore a new interface must be invented.

I really think that in the future, most of our gender dramas would be remembered the same way that we remember church officials arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Re:Trans late

By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
We won the war so we don't need to read your link.


By azcoyote • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Interesting. Wikipedia says:

The language is best known for its system of noun classes, numbering four in total. They tend to be divided among the following semantic lines:
I - most animate objects, men
II - women, water, fire, violence, and exceptional animals[7]
III - edible fruit and vegetables
IV - miscellaneous (includes things not classifiable in the first three)

I guess we should be more politically correct in English for those of us who consider themselves to be "edible fruit and vegetables."

Re: Good!

By azcoyote • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I think the confusion is that a noun class != gender. In many languages noun classes tend to follow gendered lines, but usually not exclusively or even always predictably. In some cases this practice can lead to cultural associations that see a particular object as "male" or "female"--such as in medieval Latin the Church (ecclesia) is pretty consistently seen as female. In other cases, however, it's purely semantic and people don't necessarily even think of the object as "having" a gender even though its noun is gendered. Hence in Spanish pan ("bread") is masculine, but I don't recall ever seeing it treated as something intrinsically male.

I would wager that it's English's neuter that has actually caused the political strife over gendered language today. The tendency to see all non-living nouns as neuter has made it so that the gender of masculine and feminine nouns has become associated more closely with the actual sex of the object being described. Accordingly, it becomes natural for some to assume that if a masculine word is used about something (e.g. God) then it implies that the object is male, even though grammatically that is not necessarily the case. I've heard people with other languages object that this is not an issue in their language, and I think it's because these other languages do not treat all non-living objects as neuter. For example, the German pronoun man ("one") is seen as avoiding such a problem because it is different from the word Mann ("man"). But really man is still masculine grammatically. The real reason it is not thought of by some as offensive is simply because in German it's common for non-sexed/non-living objects to be masculine or feminine grammatically.

New moonshots

By iamacat • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

Forget about curing cancer or colonizing Mars, the crowning achievment of a Sillicon Valley giant today is gender options in translation.

Apple Watch Series 4 ECG, Irregular Heart Rate Features Are Now Available

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Today, with an update to watchOS, Apple is making its electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) reading feature available to Apple Watch Series 4 owners. It's also releasing an irregular rate notification feature that will be available on Apple Watches going back to Series 1. Both are a part of watchOS 5.1.2. To take an EKG, you open up the EKG app on the Watch and lightly rest your index finger on the crown for 30 seconds. The Watch then acts like a single-lead EKG to read your heart rhythm and record it into the Health app on your phone. From there, you can create a PDF report to send to your doctor.

The irregular heart rate monitoring is passive. Apple says that it checks your rhythm every two hours or so (depending on whether you're stationary or not), and if there are five consecutive readings that seem abnormal, it will alert you and suggest you reach out to a doctor. If you have been previously diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, Apple's setup process tells you not to use the feature. Apple tells me these features are most definitely not diagnostic tools. In fact, before you can activate either of them, you will need to page through several screens of information that try to put their use into context and warn you to contact your doctor if needed. They are also not the sort of features Apple expects users to really use on a regular basis. The EKG feature, in particular, should only really be used if you feel something abnormal going on, and then you should only share the resulting report with your doctor, not act on it directly.
Angela Chen from The Verge notes that these features have only received "clearance" from the FDA, which is not the same thing as FDA "approval": The Apple Watch is in Class II. For Class II and Class I, the FDA doesn't give "approval," it just gives clearance. Class I and Class II products are lower-risk products -- as [Jon Speer, co-founder of Greenlight Guru] puts it, a classic Class I example is something like a tongue depressor -- and it's much easier to get clearance than approval.


By Livius • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

If I just went with the headline, I might think the capability to cause an irregular heart rates was being promoted as a feature.

That's some serious feature creep.

This feature works pretty well, has a lot of text

By SuperKendall • Score: 3 • Thread

I've tried taking an EKG a few times today, the results seem pretty consistent, and agree with what I was expecting in terms of my heart rate (even lower than I thought in fact, shows the value of regular exercise!).

Of interest, there was a fair amount of screen to wade through in turning this on basically telling you it did not replace a real doctor and so on and so forth. Even while you are measuring your heart rate it has a tiny bit of text saying "At no time will we be trying to detect heart attacks". They just report if anything seems odd about the heartbeat and leave it up to you, though they do let you send the EKG results to someone later if you choose.

The results are stored in the Health app on your phone only, not sent to Apple - you can either just keep them there, delete previous measurements, or send them to someone via PDF I think (just sends a graph, no csv style data I could see).

Since you can delete recordings the nice thing is, you could potentially use this to take one-off EKG readings for other people, send it to them via email, and then delete that reading from your own records. I plan to try it out on a few family members at Christmas to see what it says.

Tesla's Giant Battery In Australia Saved $40 Million During Its First Year, Report Says

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Last December, Tesla switched on the world's biggest lithium ion battery in South Australia to feed the country's shaky power grid for the first day of summer. Neoen, the owner of the giant battery system, released a new report for the first full year of operation and revealed that the energy storage system saved about $40 million over the last 12 months. Electrek reports: The energy storage capacity is managed by Neoen, which operates the adjacent wind farm. They contracted Aurecon to evaluate the impact of the project and they estimate that the "battery allows annual savings in the wholesale market approaching $40 million by increased competition and removal of 35 MW local FCAS constraint." It is particularly impressive when you consider that the massive Tesla Powerpack system cost only $66 million, according to another report from Neoen. Here are the key findings from the report:

- Has contributed to the removal of the requirement for a 35 MW local Frequency Control Ancillary Service (FCAS), saving nearly $40 million per year in typical annual costs
- Has reduced the South Australian regulation FCAS price by 75% while also providing these services for other regions
- Provides a premium contingency service with response time of less than 100 milliseconds
- Helps protect South Australia from being separated from the National Electricity Market
- Is key to the Australian Energy Market Operator's (AEMO) and ElectraNet's System Integrity Protection Scheme (SIPS) which protects the SA-VIC Heywood Interconnector from overload

Re:How much is Tesla's?

By LynnwoodRooster • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
According to this, Panasonic has put about $5.5 billion in to the factory, and Tesla has put about $0.6 billion into it. So it's about 90% Panasonic's money, and most of their technology, in the Gigafactory.

Re:Cue the denialists...

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Remember, you are suggesting that we use batteries to hold the grid up for HOURS or DAYS when wind and solar are not producing enough power to meet demand. Right now, the battery being used is only capable of doing this for tens of min, and only while the grid is being reconfigured to fix what ever problem happened to trigger the event.

PG&E is retiring three, count them, one, two , three, peaker plants and replacing them with batteries. They are designed to store 1.2 GWh, 300 MW for four hours. Already.

In less than a decade battery price will fall so much we can store days worth of electricity usage. My Tesla Model 3 stores 75 kWh. That is one week of usage by my home in the winter. 2 days of storage in the summer. We are there.

Re:Cue the denialists...

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 4 • Thread
How much we have spent on oil exploration? how much in cobalt exploration? Are you sure there is no more cobalt to find? Are you sure there is no substitute?

Re:A word about that then.

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

And where coal is not dying, it is being mechanised. The days of labour-intensive underground mining are well dead.

... and the big savings is not when a robot replaces the first human miner, but when it replaces the LAST human. Because then the mine no longer needs ventilation, lighting, safety equipment, redundant support structures, rescue equipment, triple backup pumps and generators, etc.

These add up to huge expenses. Once you have no humans down-hole, you can cut a lot of corners, and save a lot of money.

Re:A word about that then.

By skullandbones99 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

...and renewable energy with battery storage is now starting to eat Natural Gas' dinner:

It is clear that Natural Gas Peaker plants are on the danger list of becoming extinct due to:

1. Battery storage reacts in ms to loss of grid power which is much faster than spinning up a gas fired steam turbine.
2. Battery storage has lower maintenance costs due to no moving parts
3. Battery storage can be used to capture any local power produced and from other sources on the grid including surplus Nuclear so providing power buffering
4. Battery storage has no emissions
5. Saves costs by not paying for keeping Natural Gas Peaker plants on standby
6. Renewable energy + battery storage is scalable from domestic (small) to industrial (large)

You can't deny that the economics of renewable energy + storage will kill off Natural Gas Peaker plants and that will be good for the environment.

Eastern European Banks Were Attacked Via Backdoors Directly Connected To Local Networks, Report Finds

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: Karspesky security researcher Sergey Golovanov writes about recent cybertheft incidents involving hardware backdoors planted by criminals. Each attack had a common springboard: an unknown device directly connected to the company's local network. In some cases, it was the central office, in others a regional office, sometimes located in another country. At least eight banks in Eastern Europe were the targets of the attacks, which caused damage estimated in the tens of millions of dollars. Hardware backdoors are cheap and immune to antivirus. A firmware modified OpenWrt based router can provide covert remote access, painless packet captures, and secure VPN connections with the flip of a switch. Will a flashlight and a ladder be common tools of computer security someday? After the cybercriminals entered a organization's building, connected a device to the local network and scanned the local network seeking to gain access to the resources, they proceeded to stage three. "Here they logged into the target system and used remote access software to retain access," writes Golovanov. "Next, malicious services created using msfvenom were started on the compromised computer. Because the hackers used fileless attacks (PDF) and PowerShell, they were able to avoid whitelisting technologies and domain policies. If they encountered a whitelisting that could not be bypassed, or PowerShell was blocked on the target computer, the cybercriminals used impacket, and winexesvc.exe or psexec.exe to run executable files remotely."

It does seem like VPN's are a widespread now...

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I totally understand why a company would want to put all remote offices into a private company VPN, but it sure seems like it opens them up to physical attacks like this in a way they would not be otherwise... maybe companies should work harder to make everything a worker needs accessible via the internet at large and have a more protected domain that is harder to attack - physical as well as network-wise.

That would help improve the life of remote workers also, as a happy byproduct.

You mean anyone can connect to the network?

By bobstreo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Security 101, deny unauthorized hardware from connecting to the local network, either hardwired or via WIFI. Especially when having anything to do with banks. Going cheap never works well with networking that should be "secure".

Switches and access points are pretty trivial to setup to deny access.

China Calls For Release of Arrested Huawei CFO Detained In Canada

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
China is demanding the release of a senior executive at Huawei after she was detained in Canada on extradition charges to the U.S. Wanzhou Meng, who is also the deputy chair of Huawei's board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, is suspected of violating U.S. trade sanctions against Iran. NBC News reports: The arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer and daughter of the company's founder Ren Zhengfei, spooked investors with U.S. stocks tumbling on fears of a flare-up in Chinese-U.S. tensions. She was arrested in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Dec. 1. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said officials have been contacted both in the U.S. and Canada to demand Meng's release. Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the ministry, said her detention needed to be explained, and both countries had to "effectively protect the legitimate rights and interests of the person concerned." A spokesperson for Huawei said in a statement that it "complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations."

China can't complain

By DNS-and-BIND • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Might have something to do with this;

Chinese officials have defended their decision to bar three US citizens from leaving the country, saying they are suspected of "economic crimes". Victor and Cynthia Liu, children of a fugitive businessman, and their mother, Sandra Han, have been detained since June, the New York Times reported. The US Department of State confirmed to the BBC that they are in "close contact" with the adult Liu children. Their father, Liu Changming, is wanted in a $1.4bn (£1bn) fraud case in China.

FYI - Victor, 19, was born in the U.S. The Chinese are holding a US citizen hostage and then have the nerve to complain?

Re:Trump, lol. No.

By PopeRatzo • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Trump isn't actually in control of this. It would be illegal and improper for him to intervene

Wait a minute, I want to reply to this but I have to stop shaking with laughter first.


By OrangeTide • Score: 3 • Thread

China arrests Americans all the time for much dumber reasons. Turnabout is fair play.


By WindBourne • Score: 3 • Thread
Why is America grabbing her? So what if they trade with Iran? We have no legal say in that. This is no different than Assange. We have no legal rights on this.


By 110010001000 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
That is a pretty dumb comment, even for you. They are shipping US origin products to Iran. There is a US sanction against Iran. Hope you understand, but I doubt you will.

Snapdragon 8cx Gives Windows Its Most Extreme Arm Chip Yet

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 8cx Compute Platform, a new flagship "Extreme" chipset for Windows on Arm notebooks, tablets, and 2-in-1s that promises more connectivity, more power, and battery life in excess of 25 hours. From a report: The new platform also debuts Qualcomm's new nomenclature for that ecosystem of devices, borrowing technologies from Snapdragon for smartphones but shaping them for ultraportable computing. It comes twelve months after Qualcomm announced its first Windows on Arm products. At last year's Snapdragon Summit, partners ASUS and HP revealed a Windows 10 notebook and 2-in-1, respectively, each running Microsoft's software on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835.

The Snapdragon 8cx Compute Platform won't replace the 850 -- or, indeed, be called the Snapdragon 1000 or Snapdragon 8180 as the rumors suggested -- but instead sit above it in the Windows on Arm ecosystem. Described as "a new tier of premium computing" by Qualcomm's Miguel Nunes, senior director of product management, ahead of the Snapdragon Summit 2018 at which SlashGear is Qualcomm's guest, it was also developed from the ground up with computing in mind. Its predecessors were, of course, mobile chipsets coopted into laptop use.

And Patel sez:

By the_skywise • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
That ARM PC sank into the swamp
So we built another one and that also sank into the swamp
So I built Windows 10 RT and that caught fire than sank into the swamp
But the snapdragon... the snapdragon Windows 10 ARM PC will stay! Maybe even become a phone!

Is there machines which allow running Linux?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

Will it run Linux natively? Honest question, as the previous interesting ARM devices were locked to Windows, thanks to their MS or Google neutered bootloader. I have no intention to replace my Intel laptops with ARM ones if I have to do similar fragile jailbreak hacks as with game consoles.

I don't remember it being much of a mess

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I remember the switch from Power PC's to Intel when Apple did it for Mac's. It was a mess for some time

I lived through that switch (in that I had both Motorola and Intel Macs over the years), it didn't seem like much of a mess at all, at least compared to what it could have been. I thought it worked pretty well except for maybe a handful of companies that couldn't make the transition - but Apple really did most everything it could to make the switch go much better than I would have thought... In fact probably OS9 to OSX was more painful I would say.

Honestly they are in even better shape now since they have had so long with Xcode supporting both Arm and x86 architectures and fat binaries (and even bitcode deployment for later compilation!) for some time. For most modern Mac developers supporting ARM probably would not take a ton of work.

I have to admit some part of me wishes Apple would switch to AMD for a while, but I can see how they feel they would really be under their own control if they go all in on ARM.

Intel Optimistic About Its Next-Gen 7nm Process Technology

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
From a report: Originally planned to enter mass production in the second half of 2016, Intel's 10 nm process technology is still barely used by the company today. Currently the process is used to produce just a handful of CPUs, ahead of an expected ramp to high-volume manufacturing (HVM) only later in 2019. Without a doubt, Intel suffered delays on its 10 nm process by several years, significantly impacting the company's product lineup and its business. Now, as it turns out, Intel's 10 nm may be a short-living node as the company's 7 nm tech is on-track for introduction in accordance with its original schedule.

For a number of times Intel said that it set too aggressive scaling/transistor density targets for its 10 nm fabrication process, which is why its development ran into problems. Intel's 10 nm manufacturing tech relies exclusively on deep ultraviolet lithography (DUVL) with lasers operating on a 193 nm wavelength. To enable the fine feature sizes that Intel set out to achieve on 10 nm, the process had to make heavy usage of mutli-patterning. According to Intel, a problem of the process was precisely its heavy usage of multipatterning (quad-patterning to be more exact).

This is where Intel re-labels.

By Rockoon • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Intel will now re-label their 10nm as 7nm.

And before you go there, Intel was the first company to lie about node size.

Good Time to Stop Hardware Obsolencene

By BrendaEM • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
With chip makers struggling to make faster chips, this is a good time to make a stand to stop companies from making comparable hardware obsolete--just because they want to sell chips. If they can make faster chips then buy them, but please do not buy side-graded hardware, that's no better than what you have--because it fills up the landfills. My 7-year-old intel 2600k is only 30% slower than current quad-core offerings. I need more cores, but I am not throwing this motherboard, chip, and memory out, any time soon.


By AlanObject • Score: 3 • Thread
Given that the diameter of a silicon atom is around 0.2nm, that means they are now building transistors out of something like 30-35 atoms across. How far down can this go before it all disappears in some kind of quantum uncertainty blob?


By Software_Dev_GL • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
It's already disappearing into a kind-of quantum uncertainty blob at 7nm (tunneling). I believe it's manageable down to 2.5nm with the right materials, but don't quote me. After that... I don't know. The technologists will probably start using something else, like spin or even photons.

Facebook Will Bring Political Ad Transparency Tools To India Ahead of 2019 Elections

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
As India inches closer to its general elections, Facebook announced today that it is bringing transparency to political ads on its platform in the country early next year. From a report: This would make India the fourth market -- after the U.S., Brazil, and the U.K. -- where Facebook offers users a disclaimer on political ads. Facebook began offering users in the U.S. information about the buyer of a political ad as part of a series of changes last year to fight misinformation and foreign meddling in elections. [...] Facebook said Thursday that it will also maintain an online searchable Ad Library, as it has in other markets, which will document all the ads related to politics from a particular advertiser alongside other information such as range of impressions, demographics that saw the ad, and the budget that went behind an individual ad. India, which is Facebook's largest market, could be the biggest test yet for whether the company has learned from its recent mistakes.

Transparency is the best approach

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Rather than blocking ads from ideologies you disagree with, simply illuminating who is paying for ads would help a lot - what would be great is if they not only would say who is paying for a particular ad, but follow the chain of company ownership backwards and report the string of owners than let to the funding for that ad... Facebook has the kind of size and money it would take to accomplish that.

Now THAT would be some transparency! And to my mind bring some degree of redemption to Facebook.

Microsoft Is Embracing Chromium, Bringing Edge To Windows 7, Windows 8, and Mac

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft today embraced Google's Chromium open source project for Edge development on the desktop. The company also announced Edge is coming to all supported versions of Windows and to macOS. Microsoft wants to make some big changes, which it says will happen "over the next year or so." The first preview builds of the Chromium-powered Edge will arrive in early 2019, according to Microsoft.

And yes, this means Chrome extension support.

Re: Oh, goody.

By squiggleslash • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

KDE Konqueror.

KHTML (Konqueror) was first. Apple forked that to make Webkit. Google initially used Webkit and then forked Webkit to make Blink.

Blink powers Chrome/Chromium, Opera, and the future versions of Edge. It's based upon Webkit.

Webkit powers Safari. It's based on KHTML.

KHTML powers Konqueror. It's something the KDE team hacked together from chewing gum, old razor blades, and discarded coffee grinds.

Discarded coffee grinds powers Mr Coffee. They're based on coffee beans.

You see where this is going.

So bye bye Mosaic

By squiggleslash • Score: 3 • Thread

While it wasn't the original web browser, Mosaic was probably the web browser that did the most to popularize the web, with Netscape - which was a ground up rewrite by some of the original Mosaic team - taking that and pushing it even further forward.

In the early nineties, Spyglass licensed Mosaic, and implemented a much modified version called Spyglass Mosaic.

In 1994, Microsoft licensed Spyglass Mosaic, and the first version of IE was essentially a reskinned Spyglass Mosaic.

Since then, the code has been built upon multiple times. So IE11 still has some traces of Mosaic in it. Edge is a fork of IE11, so it's fair to assume that trace elements of Mosaic are in there too.

This is basically the end of that chapter of history. Chromium is based upon KHTML. Firefox never had any links beyond shared developers with Mosaic, both Netscape 1-4, and Netscape 6, were complete ground up rewrites.

Re:A chromium based browser to download a chromium

By Rob Y. • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Nice try. But, now that they've announced versions for Windows 7 and Mac, it's pretty obvious that, in addition to not wanting to spend development resources on a redundant browser engine, they're real goal is to get Edge telemetry onto non Windows 10 boxes. So if you want to get rid of spyware, you're gonna have to use vanilla Chromium.

I guess if desktop Linux were a factor, they'd be 'porting' it there too - but (much as they 'love' Linux these days) they're still not fond of the idea of desktop Linux as a viable competitor to Windows.

SO: Microsoft is pushing Edge over the ...

By grep -v '.*' * • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
... Edge?

For the sake of browser diversity

By xack • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Microsoft needs to release the old edge source and keep it going as a back up in case Chromium goes evil. Plus we need to get Firefox to be a good browser again wih XUL support for extentsion diversity.

Motion Impossible: Tom Cruise Declares War on TV Frame Interpolation

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: At 9:46 last night, Tom tweeted an 87-second video in which he and his go-to director Christopher McQuarrie explained the concept of video interpolation and why it is the death of all good things. Video interpolation, they explained, is a digital video effect used to improve the quality of high-definition sport. "The unfortunate effect is that it makes most movies look like they were shot on high-speed video rather than film," said Cruise. "This is sometimes referred to as the 'soap-opera effect'." They explained that most HD televisions come with video interpolation switched on by default, they explained how to switch it off, and then they both nodded with total sincerity.

Now, it's worth noting that Tom Cruise is by no means the first film-maker to rail against motion smoothing. Back when he was still the Guardians of the Galaxy director, James Gunn tweeted that he, Edgar Wright, Rian Johnson and Matt Reeves were also peeved about the default nature of video interpolation, to which Reed Morano replied that she started a petition to fix the issue a number of years ago, to little avail.

Why did it fail? Possibly because none of these people are Tom Cruise. Because Tom Cruise has made a career of total commitment. Take him to a premiere and he'll spend hours on the red carpet, shaking every single hand until everyone's happy. Put him in a movie with helicopters in it and he'll teach himself to fly a helicopter to the level of a veteran stunt coordinator. Break his ankle on the side of a building, and he'll stagger out of frame on his ruined legs rather than blow a shot.

Easy explanation.

By nospam007 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"The unfortunate effect is that it makes most movies look like they were shot on high-speed video rather than film,"

That is easy to explain it's because they were shot on high-speed video rather than film.

Re:Always wondered what this was

By omnichad • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

So how often do you sample the CCD? That sampling rate is your frame rate. And keep in mind that today's "frame" is an accumulation of all the light hitting the sensor since the last frame. To sample more frequently, you get less light and a noisier image. Yes, you can do something like a "rolling shutter" but there are limits before it starts messing with motion.

Re:Blur problem more than slow LCD transitions

By omnichad • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

What I think is happening is that the CRT is producing a kind of impulse sampling of the moving image whereas the LCD is producing zero-order hold (square-step, see output. The human visual centers appear to perceive the "strobed" image of the CRT as smooth motion, the "change-and-hold" image of the LCD as blurred, even at high frame rates and with rapid pixel response.

Right idea, wrong conclusion. Phosphor glows for a few seconds after the electrons hit it. If you've ever looked at an incandescent light bulb after turning it off, you'd see it glows for several seconds before going completely dark. The actual effect is ghosting, but the perceived effect is smoother motion transition.

Re:Always wondered what this was

By jrumney • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
The real issue is that the interpolated frames wake up your body thetans, but Tommy doesn't want to get into that, because only people who have fully paid up for OT III are allowed to have this knowledge.

Re:Always wondered what this was

By bobbied • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

So why not just record the movies at 120 frames per second? Then there's nothing to interpolate

It's too fast at 120 FPS. Just drives up costs for no real benefit. You cannot see much more than about 50 FPS at reasonable distances.

Movies to film where traditionally shot at 24 FPS, even IMAX film is shot at that rate. Standard definition TV was 30 FPS interlaced. The biggest issue here is that FILM has way better resolution than Video, but runs as 24 FPS instead of 30 FPS. Translating from 24 to 30 is not an easy bit of math, so there are a number of schemes to deal with it.. Usually you just duplicate film frames every so often to bring 24 FPS up to 30, some just run the film at 30 FPS but it looks weird (think Charlie Chaplin walking in black and white, it's too fast and looks strange because old silent films where shot at even lower FPS.)

I actually find that old "film" based movies don't display well in HD or 4K, even if shot in 70mm. Most of these feature films did not have the production quality to support higher resolutions and I find myself being distracted by the in appropriate set detail or costumes and special effect artifacts that wouldn't be visible on a DVD. I remember the first time I saw the first "Pirates" move in HD from Blu-ray, it was horrible.

Frame rates of 120 FPS are about 3 times what you actually need as a frame rate. You cannot see much more than 40, though eye strain may be an issue. The way to avoid that, is to use 40 FPS frame rate, but scan it at 120 FPS (i.e. show the same frame 3 times). They actually did this with film projectors, where they'd flash the same frame multiple times.

Recording at 120 FPS may sound neat, but the problem is it simply isn't worth going above 40 or 50 regardless of the material. Higher frame rates simply drive streaming bandwidth up, storage sizes up and production costs up, but add no perceived value to the end customer. Resolution though, IS worth it, if not now in the future.

Microsoft's Designers Are Now Working Together on the Future of Windows, Office and Surface

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft has changed the way it approaches design. The new Office icons unveiled this week are the first glimpse at a far bigger design overhaul that's going on inside the company. Windows is also getting its own icon changes, but the bigger change is a collaborative effort going on between the Windows, Office, and Surface teams. From a report: "This is definitely a cross company effort," explains Jon Friedman, Microsoft's head of Office design, in an interview with The Verge. The company's design leaders -- Friedman with Office, Albert Shum on the Windows side, and Ralf Groene for Surface -- all work together now. "We operate like an internal open source team," Friedman says.

"So we're all openly sharing our design work, critiquing the work, working on it together. What we've found is that the best way to develop our Fluent Design system is to truly open source it internally. What's happened is that we're getting the best of everyone's work that way."

Re:Wow! Wonderful Idea!

By Gilgaron • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Yeah it is kind of glaring sometimes that Windows has some theme settings and then Office just does whatever it feels like. Even the versions of Office that have themes don't let you just match the OS theme. So, while it seems like an easy/stupid fix for corporate culture they clearly haven't been sharing notes in the past.

Microsoft has changed the way it approaches design

By QuietLagoon • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Will the "new way" be as successful as the "new way" Microsoft implements Quality Assurance?

Re:They found another way

By ConceptJunkie • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Well, they don't know how to make them better, but they have to change something...


By Voyager529 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Having fixed issues with deleting user data, excessive CPU and disk I/O during updates, poor-to-nonexistent control of installing updates, user preferences regarding information density and screen resolutions, Outlook handling large mailboxes gracefully (especially with non-o365 servers), Access being super picky about version compatibilities, Sharepoint being an utter disaster, most of the newer Exchange server controls being exclusively Powershell applets, Hyper-V shadow copies being temperamental, convoluted licensing models, and coming to terms with the fact that consumers simply don't want to be locked into a vertical Microsoft ecosystem like Google or Apple...I'm glad they're finally able to spend development time on making prettier icons.

Dear Microsoft:

By nuckfuts • Score: 4 • Thread

Windows is also getting its own icon changes...

For the love of God, who gives a flying f*ck about new icons? Give us back a working Start menu!

I work on multiple versions of Windows and Windows Server every day, and I am constantly hunting for things. Do I right-click or left-click the Start button?

I used to be able to get to anything I needed by drilling down through a menu or two. Now I resort to the search functionality constantly. Not to mention that settings for related things must be accessed in completely different places. Network-related settings are a good example:

  • Right-click network icon -> Open Network and Sharing Centre
  • Left-click network icon -> Network Settings (Control Panel -> Network & Internet)
  • Run ncpa.cpl -> Change adapter settings

Want to edit network settings for a VPN connection, or authentication details? Two completely different places. I was recently trying to get rid of a remembered WiFi network in Windows 10 and I had to Google how do it!

It's a complete mess.

Opinion: 5G Has an Exciting Future When It Comes To Dedicated Mobile Apps But Will Do Little To Improve Our General Browsing Experiences.

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Charlie Osborne, writing for ZDNet: However, there is a problem that no-one is talking about: the conflict between the rapid acceleration of wireless technologies and politics which is, unwittingly, going to render some of these improvements potentially pointless.

In the UK and across Europe, there are two laws of particular interest: the EU's 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the so-called Cookie Law, passed in 2012. Ever heard someone expel a breath and a long list of expletives while they are attempting to look something up, book a service, or fact-check through the Internet on their smartphone? The likelihood is, they've come across both regulations in full force, stirring up annoyance and a rapid, frustrated smashing of fingers to screen as pop-ups scream for consent, T&Cs demand acceptance, and visitors must go through tick-lists of what data they are happy to be collected and in what manner.

The EU's GDPR, which enforced data reform, protection, and collection changes across Europe, has resulted in a plethora of pop-ups which delight in lecturing visitors on data collection practices. Combine these two well-meaning regulations and you have a melting pot of sheer frustration when it comes to mobile browsing. When you are forced to stop and be lectured by pop-ups at every turn which must be manually shut down, one by one, it really doesn't matter how quickly you were brought to the page in the first place.

Malicious Compliance

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

All the popups are is a wanton act of malicious compliance. Of course, all that is required for compliance is to NOT COLLECT ANYTHING, but have a link at the bottom of a page that a user can follow to a page where they can enable data collection.

Instead, web hosts are complying with the law in the most obstructive, annoying way possible, so that users will complain about the law and get it overturned, again allowing site hosts to collect data transparently and without the users' knowledge or consent.

Re:in the UK/Europe

By Freischutz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The subject line should include "in the UK/Europe"..... Their regulations may not impact other countries....

Sure they will. The EU is collectively the world's largest economy and it is the world's largest single market. If you want to export your stuff there you have to meet their standards and abide by their laws and regulations and in that case companies are in many cases best off applying these to their entire production California has a similar effect within the US, if they set emissions standards, most car companies in the US have to abide by them however much they may loathe having to do it. The alternative is deciding not to market their cars in the world's 5th largest economy which may be ideologically satisfying from a ultra-conservative point of view but which would be pretty stupid from a strictly capitalist point of view. So if you are a US, Canadian, Brazilian, Chinese software company and you want to market your stuff in the EU and draw revenue from there you'd better bone up on EU regulations or you may find yourself nursing a rather large headache. I suppose software companies are in the unique position that they can geo-locate customers and selectively screw them over or not based on whether they are rest-of-world or European, in which case I'm pretty happy to be in the latter category.

But can I make clearer phone calls with 5G?

By the_skywise • Score: 3 • Thread
what you say?! Use my smart phone for TALKING!?

Blame regulatory pop ups not the advertisement

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
My browser experience has gone down seriously with auto playing videos, videos that relocate themselves to thwart scrolling past them, annoying animations that follow you around, nagware asking for permission to push notifications, sites begging to turn of blocker, sites graying out payload and asking for registration....

That little pop-up from European regulations saying "this site uses cookies" is not even a flea bite compared to what the ad-networks do to the browsing experience.

Ad industry sock puppet?

By ceoyoyo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Methinks Charlie Osborne is in the pocket of the ad industry.

Hey, heard about this cool new technology? It's pretty much unrelated to my point that your browsing experience sucks because my corporate overlords have to ask for permission before they spy on you.

Facebook Employees Are So Paranoid They're Using Burner Phones To Talk To Each Other

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Facebook's reputation has only continued to get more sullied in recent weeks, and it's taking a toll on employees. According to a new report, things over at the old FB are, well, kind of grim. From the report: "People now have burner phones to talk shit about the company -- not even to reporters, just to other employees," one former employee said. Another described the current scene as a "bunker mentality," meaning that after nearly two years of continuous bad press some people are, to borrow a phrase, leaning in as hard as they can to cope. "It's otherwise rational, sane people who're in Mark's orbit spouting full-blown anti-media rhetoric, saying that the press is ganging up on Facebook," said the former employee. Further reading: Facebook Employees Are Calling Former Colleagues To Look For Jobs Outside the Company and Asking About the Best Way To Leave.

Re:Gilets jaunes

By Rockoon • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
These arent tax breaks targeted at the rich. These are taxes targeted at the rural and suburban populations.

The press -is- ganging up on Facebook

By timholman • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

"It's otherwise rational, sane people who're in Mark's orbit spouting full-blown anti-media rhetoric, saying that the press is ganging up on Facebook," said the former employee.

In a very real sense, that is true. The media have been in a continuous uproar since the 2016 Presidential election and the Brexit vote, because the "wrong side" won, and Facebook is a very convenient target for part of the blame. It's not as if Facebook's business model was any different before 2016; the company has always had slimy business practices. The media simply gave Facebook a free pass up to that point.

It must be enormously frustrating to Zuckerberg and Sandberg to fight this battle, because their political leanings are no doubt on the progressive side, and Facebook fundamentally did nothing different in 2016 than it did in 2012. They can't comprehend why they're suddenly the bad guys. It's just that in the modern world of social media (which they helped to create), when the mob goes hunting for witches, someone has to be thrown on the pyre.

Re:How would anyone know?

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

Since the point of using a burner phone is not to let people know, how would anyone credibly be able to assess the widespread use of burner phones?

Simple. Just load the Facebook app on the burner phones and ... Oh, wait.

Re:Gilets jaunes

By Kohath • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Russians weigh the same as a duck

Facebook app

By Tough Love • Score: 3 • Thread

When you choose your burner, be very careful it doesn't have the Facebook app preinstalled.

Hackers Behind Breach at Hotel Group Marriott Left Clues Suggesting They Were Working For Chinese Government Intelligence Gathering Operation, Report Says

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Marriott said last week that a hack that began four years ago had exposed the records of up to 500 million customers in its Starwood hotels reservation system. Private investigators looking into the breach have found hacking tools, techniques and procedures previously used in attacks attributed to Chinese hackers, Reuters reported, citing three sources who were not authorized to discuss the company's private probe into the attack. From the report: That suggests that Chinese hackers may have been behind a campaign designed to collect information for use in Beijing's espionage efforts and not for financial gain, two of the sources said. While China has emerged as the lead suspect in the case, the sources cautioned it was possible somebody else was behind the hack because other parties had access to the same hacking tools, some of which have previously been posted online.

Russian hackers

By mschaffer • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

What is the probability that they were just Russian hackers pretending to be Chinese hackers?

Microsoft's New Study Finds 162.8 Million People in the US Do Not Use the Internet at Broadband Speeds, Up From FCC's 24.7 Million Estimate

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: A new study by Microsoft researchers casts a light on the actual use of high-speed internet across the country, and the picture it presents is very different from the F.C.C. numbers. Their analysis, presented at a Microsoft event on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., suggests that the speedy access is much more limited than the F.C.C. data shows.

Over all, Microsoft concluded that 162.8 million people do not use the internet at broadband speeds, while the F.C.C. says broadband is not available to 24.7 million Americans. The discrepancy is particularly stark in rural areas. In Ferry County, for example, Microsoft estimates that only 2 percent of people use broadband service, versus the 100 percent the federal government says have access to the service.

[...] Accurate measurements on the reach of broadband matter because the government's statistics are used to guide policy and channel federal funding for underserved areas. "It's a huge problem," said Phillip Berenbroick, a telecommunications expert at Public Knowledge, a nonprofit technology policy group. "The result is that we're not getting broadband coverage and funding to areas that really need it."

Money Talks

By nehumanuscrede • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Especially in rural areas.

Broadband -might- be available ( heavy emphasis on might ) but the costs for high speed internet out there are a bit high which tends to drive most folks away from it.

Example where my parents live ( US ):

5MB down - $70.00
10MB down - $90.00
25MB down - $110.00

Internet only. Advertised speeds you may, of course, never achieve. They have exactly one provider to choose from.

Most get a better connection / price via a smartphone / hotspot. ( assuming a tower is in the general vicinity )

Definition of "broadband" changed in 2015

By bartwol • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

In 2015, the FCC upped the definition of "broadband" from 4 Mbps to 25 Mbps (

In the New York Times article, statistical truth is obscured by political mission.

Re:the real reason broadband is so important.

By TrekkieGod • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You're not wrong that they're pushing for it due to business opportunities, but telemetry and advertising aren't the only business opportunities that come with fast internet. Everybody is hopping on the streaming media bandwagon. And if you're Microsoft instead of Netflix or Hulu, they provide services like azure and skype, office 365, all of which benefit from broadband.

You're not wrong that increased access to broadband is good for megacorporations. You're way off base to imply it's one-sided, and especially in the implication that their benefit is entirely for services that go against the end-user interest.

Depressing, a hated co more honest than gov

By DCFusor • Score: 3 • Thread
Title really says it all. Ground reality is a heck of a lot closer to what MS is saying than the FCC.

Re:Screw broadband

By Puls4r • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Huh? Most rural people have a well, a septic field, and propane. What in the hell are you talking about water mains for?

Cuba Offers 3G Mobile Internet Access To Citizens

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Cuba's population is to be offered internet access via a 3G mobile network from later this week. From a report: Telecom provider Etecsa said citizens would be able to start subscribing to the service from Thursday. Until now, locals have mostly relied on wi-fi hotspots and internet cafes and the 3G service has been restricted to state-employed journalists and foreign businesses among others. This will change -- but many will still be unable to afford the new contracts. Etecsa's packages range from a month's use of 600MB of data for 7CUC ($7) to 4GB for 30CUC. Users get a bonus 300MB use of local .cu domain websites. But the average state wage for the island's 11.2 million residents is the equivalent of about $30 per month.

Just enough for indoctrination

By drinkypoo • Score: 3 • Thread

That's really not enough data to do anything of consequence, except deliver a small amount of propaganda to users' handsets. Congratulations on keeping it dictatorial, Cuba.

Re: Just enough for indoctrination

By lucasnate1 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Quite the opposite. The only thing that a broad band gives is YouTube videos and pics. Under a slower connection, one must resort to what scares american children the most: text, which has a long history of encouraging independent critical thought.


By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 3 • Thread
My donkey and my 56 Chevy can only use 2G though :(

But hey, I hear the healthcare is good

By MikeRT • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Not long ago, I read an article about how Cuban police will sometimes stop buses to search for contraband food. Is it endangered species they're after? Nope, extra cans of stuff we can legally get off the shelf for about $1 in our Oppressive, Reactionary, Sexist Hellhole.

And you thought checkpoints to make sure people aren't driving drunk or stoned were tyranny. Imagine the police sifting through your groceries to make sure you're not smuggling cans of beans, rice and meat.

This is why I have never understood why seemingly intelligent people point to Cuba and are astounded that they have "good healthcare." That's the natural outcome of what happens when you impoverish your people to that level and then give everyone with an above average IQ only a few state-approved employment choices in STEM. You are going to get a lot of doctors because in any "free society" many of those people would be engineers, scientists and others working in private industry that doesn't exist in Communist Cuba.

Cuban doctors sent to Brazil by their government have said they'd literally rather be trash collectors in Brazil where they're free to make their own choices in a non-totalitarian state than be medical professionals back home.


By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Cuba has two parallel currencies. The normal peso can't be legally exchanged for foreign currency, and is worth about 4 cents on the black market. The CUC can be converted, and is pegged one-to-one with the US dollar.

Many corrupt dictatorships have parallel currencies. The elite are paid in the convertible currency, which they can then sell on the black market for a huge profit (2500% in Cuba).

The fact that the 3G service described in TFA can only be bought with CUC means that normal people, paid in unconvertible pesos, can't use it unless they buy CUC on the black market at an exorbitant markup.

Marxist Utopia works better in theory than in practice.

Sea Levels May Rise More Rapidly Due To Greenland Ice Melt

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Rising sea levels could become overwhelming sooner than previously believed, according to the authors of the most comprehensive study yet of the accelerating ice melt in Greenland. Run-off from this vast northern ice sheet -- currently the biggest single source of meltwater adding to the volume of the world's oceans -- is 50% higher than pre-industrial levels and increasing exponentially as a result of manmade global warming, says the paper, published in Nature on Wednesday. Almost all of the increase has occurred in the past two decades -- a jolt upwards after several centuries of relative stability. This suggests the ice sheet becomes more sensitive as temperatures go up.

The researchers used ice core data from three locations to build the first multi-century record of temperature, surface melt and run-off in Greenland. Going back 339 years, they found the first sign of meltwater increase began along with the industrial revolution in the mid-1800s. The trend remained within the natural variation until the 1990s, since when it has spiked far outside of the usual nine- to 13-year cycles.

Denialists lost the severity gamble, HARD.

By GameboyRMH • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Denialists would often ask, "what if these imperfect estimates are too high?" and scientifically-minded people would counter with "what if these imperfect estimates are too low?" In the last few years it's been obvious that they were mostly too low (as in conservative) across the board. Oddly enough the constant unfounded accusations of bias toward climate science has created a real bias toward conservative estimates, as scientists all fear overestimating and becoming the deniosphere's celebrated Chicken Little.

Re:I've stopped paying any attention to this shit

By BCGlorfindel • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This is an extremely confused response. This essentially says that the more scientists are concerned about a problem the less you are concerned. If you keep seeing a lot of different articles and ways something might be a problem, and one isn't personally a subject matter expert, deciding to then dismiss all of it is the opposite of good logic. That said, it is true that by nature of media coverage the less concerning predictions about climate change get less attention in the general media, so you might not see them as much, but that doesn't change the fact that the broad consensus is pretty severe. Studies like this are trying to figure out just how severe that is, and even the mild predictions are pretty serious. Honestly, your response comes across a little as someone who has decided that you aren't going to bother making any even small changes in your lifestyle and then found a justification for it.

I largely share the parent's conclusions, and am pretty convinced it's the most rational response too.

If we walk back to Gore's noble prize for an inconvenient truth and the IPCC's work, at that time those calling for action and change all cited the scientific consensus, that the science was settled. Anyone with a dissenting opinion on the impacts or the best course of action was called a denier.

The thing is, the crowd trying to push an agenda of carbon taxes, industry cutbacks, etc has repeatedly dragged out scientific studies like the above out to declare that we must act now because, oh no, it's even worse than we feared.

The rational crowd though is starting to question how come the scientific consensus that was so settled, is now being overturned on a seemingly annual basis, and maybe those pushing for change and dragging this reports into the spotlight are just playing chicken little to get their agenda through.

An easy example, the most recent IPCC 5AR(2013, so 7 extra years of research since Gore's Nobel prize), says the following on sea level rise to 2100:
For the period 2081–2100, compared to 1986–2005, global mean sea level rise is likely (medium confidence) to be in the 5 to 95% range of projections from process-based models, which give 0.26 to 0.55 m for RCP2.6, 0.32 to 0.63 m for RCP4.5, 0.33 to 0.63 m for RCP6.0, and 0.45 to 0.82 m for RCP8.5. For RCP8.5, the rise by 2100 is 0.52 to 0.98 m with a rate during 2081–2100 of 8 to 16 mm yr–1.
We have considered the evidence for higher projections and have concluded that there is currently insufficient evidence to evaluate the probability of specific levels above the assessed likely range. Based on current understanding, only
the collapse of marine-based sectors of the Antarctic ice sheet, if initiated, could cause global mean sea level to rise substantially above the likely range during the 21st century. This potential additional contribution cannot be precisely quantified but there is medium confidence that it would not exceed several tenths of a meter of sea level rise during the 21st century.

Scenario 8.5 is to show the worst case, if emissions are still accelerating in 2100, and has it's range of 0.52m to .98m sea level rise by 2100. That's what the "settled" science says, but then along comes a headline claiming things are happening much faster, even "increasing exponentially as a result of manmade global warming".

The good news for the scientific crowd though, is if you read closer, the Nature article linked does acknowledge the IPCC work and makes far more modest claims, merely that this may alter future IPCC corrections. This is in contract to the chicken littles writing the headlines.

Ignoring all of the oh-no it's even worse and now it's even more important to act crowd is a good idea, they are generally trying to use deception to manipulate people.

Re:I've stopped paying any attention to this shit

By JoshuaZ • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
First of all, the US is one of the countries which is doing the least to help out with climate change. Note in contrast for example, that Sweden is reaching its 2030 goals for renewable energy by the end of the this year Moreover, the US per a capita CO2 production is over twice that of the EU and about three times the world average We're doing less than other countries, and have more that we can easily do. But many of the things that one can do, like eating less meat, getting a hybrid or electric car, getting home solar panels, will not just be good for the environment, but will save you money.

Re:Jesus tapdancing Christ, stop with this shit

By Immerman • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

New flash - the entire history of the modern human species has occurred in a single ice age - the current Quaternary Ice Age started about 2.6 million years ago, about a half-million years before homo erectus evolved.

You may be thinking of the latest glacial period within that ice age, and yes, we were possibly coming out of that before our carbon-based economy gathered anything like its current momentum. However, we've accelerated the process considerably by adding major new forcing factors in the form of deforestation, desertification, and significantly boosting the heat retention of the atmosphere - and that's changing things considerably faster than normal, and there is a very real risk that on our current course we'll cause the ice age to end, and the Earth to transition to it's opposing quasi-stable hothouse state.

And while the Earth is always changing, it's the speed of that transition which can be a problem - most trees and other plants can't migrate very quickly, and if the climate lines move faster than they can, they likely go extinct, and take much of their associated ecosystems with them. And we're already in the midst of one of the larger extinction events the planet has seen thanks to pollution, over-hunting and ecosystem destruction. A second, independent extinction event on a similar scale may well reduce biodiversity to the point of ecosystem collapse. It's happened several times before, and it can take the planet many thousands of years to recover. Bad news for anyone who wants to eat regularly in the interim.

Perhaps even worse, at least for us, is that it's looking like such transitions don't happen smoothly. As the thermal engines driving weather destabilize, weather patterns become less predictable from year to year, and the rate of crop failure increases considerably as a result. And when people get hungry, wars break out.

Re:Denialists lost the severity gamble, HARD.

By GameboyRMH • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Three conservative rags and a conservative think-tank flying in the face of science with cherry-picking and strawmen, I think that says it all.

24 Amazon Workers Sent To Hospital After Robot Accidentally Unleashes Bear Spray

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Joe_Dragon shares a report from ABC News: Twenty-four Amazon workers in New Jersey have been hospitalized after a robot accidentally tore a can of bear repellent spray in a warehouse, officials said. The two dozen workers were treated at five local hospitals, Robbinsville Township communications and public information officer John Nalbone told ABC News. One remains in critical condition and 30 additional workers were treated at the scene. The official investigation revealed "an automated machine accidentally punctured a 9-ounce bear repellent can, releasing concentrated Capsaican," Nalbone said. Capsaican is the major ingredient in pepper spray. The fulfillment center was given the all clear by Wednesday evening. "All of the impacted employees have been or are expected to be released from hospital within the next 24 hours. The safety of our employees is always our top priority and a full investigation is already underway. We'd like to thank all of the first responders who helped with today's incident," Amazon said in a statement Wednesday night.

Re:I for one welcome...

By bluegutang • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Yes, but.

It also allows the employer to prevent publicity of anything unflattering that goes on in the facility.

Re:I for one welcome...

By aicrules • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
A robot without specific programming for a situation will just continue on operating like it didn't happen. Duh....

Heh. I bear sprayed my family once.

By swillden • Score: 3 • Thread

I have a few cans of bear spray, for when I go hiking in bear country, obviously. Just after I got the first one, I was camping with my extended family. Wishing to know how the spray dispersed (range, cloud shape, etc.), in case I ever needed to use it, I decided it would be a good idea to do a little test. The family (about 15 people) was sitting around the campfire chatting. It was a windless day, so I decided I could go in any direction to do my testing. I picked a direction and walked about 100 yards from camp, squeezed the trigger and noted the size and shape of the resulting orange cloud. The cloud quickly dissipated, so I walked back to camp and to my trailer to put the bear spray away. I also sat down in the trailer and started reading a book.

About five minutes later, I heard shouts of pain and anger from the direction of the campfire. I walked out to find everyone fleeing the area, rubbing their eyes and complaining loudly. It turned out that there was a little bit of air movement after all. Not enough to be felt, but enough to waft the (invisible) cloud of bear spray a hundred yards in a few minutes. And it turned out that I had chosen a direction that was directly upwind of the campfire.


Editorial issues...

By billybob2001 • Score: 3 • Thread

"an automated machine accidentally punctured a 9-ounce bear repellent can, releasing concentrated Capsaican,"

  1. 1. Does this product only repel 9-ounce bears?
  2. 2. What is "Capsaican"? Is it Capsaicin, but in a can?


By VeryFluffyBunny • Score: 3 • Thread
...will be aggressively denying any liability for endangering their employees & will deduct any loss of profits from their wages.

Australia Passes Anti-Encryption Laws [Update]

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Earlier today, Australia's House of Representatives passed the Assistance and Access Bill. The Anti-Encryption Bill, as it is known as, would allow the nation's police and anti-corruption forces to ask, before forcing, internet companies, telcos, messaging providers, or anyone deemed necessary, to break into whatever content agencies they want access to. "While the Bill can still be blocked by the Senate -- Australian Twitter has been quite vocal over today's proceedings, especially in regards to the [Australian Labor Party's] involvement," reports Gizmodo. ZDNet highlights the key findings from a report from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS): The threshold for industry assistance is recommended to be lifted to offenses with maximum penalties in excess of three years; Technical Assistance Notices (TANs) and Technical Capability Notices (TCNs) will be subjected to statutory time limits, as well as any extension, renewal, or variation to the notices; the systemic weakness clause to apply to all listing acts and things; and the double-lock mechanism of approval from Attorney-General and Minister of Communications will be needed, with the report saying the Communications Minister will provide "a direct avenue for the concerns of the relevant industry to be considered as part of the approval process."

The report's recommendations also call for a review after 18 months of the Bill coming into effect by the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor; TANs issued by state and territory police forces to be approved by the Australian Federal Police commissioner; companies issued with notices are able to appeal to the Attorney-General to disclose publicly the fact they are issued a TCN; and the committee will review the passed legislation in the new year and report by April 3, 2019, right around when the next election is expected to be called.
In short: "Testimony from experts has been ignored; actual scrutiny of the Bill is kicked down the road for the next Parliament; Labor has made sure it is not skewered by the Coalition and seen to be voting against national security legislation on the floor of Parliament; and any technical expert must have security clearance equal to the Australia's spies, i.e. someone who has been in the spy sector." Further reading: Australia Set To Spy on WhatsApp Messages With Encryption Law.

UPDATE: The encryption bill has passed the Senate with a final vote of 44-12, with Labor and the Coalition voting for it. "Australia's security and intelligence agencies now have legal authority to force encryption services to break the encryptions, reports The Guardian. Story is developing...

Re:Decrypt This Blockchain!

By currently_awake • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Fascism = corporations own the government. Socialism = government own the corporations. For the poor and the middle class they look the same, for the rich and powerful it affects who to bribe.

Straight forward solution

By srichard25 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

There's a rather straight forward solution to this problem, but I doubt tech companies have the backbone to do it. Every tech company should stop selling their products and services to Australia until this law is reversed. Take away the iPhones, Facebook, Android, and every all website from anyone in Australia. Let the people of Australia decide if they want these gadgets or if they want a government that can break encryption.

Re:Decrypt This Blockchain!

By mjwx • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You know, socialism and fascism are not actually mutually exclusive in practice.

And yet, so many socialist countries manage to own the means of production AND manage to pull the fascism hat out of their ass all at the same time. East Germany to Venezuela...some things never change.

The common trait you're looking for isn't fascism, it's authoritarianism.

Fascism is far right authoritarianism.
Communism is far left authoritarianism.
Fascism is a government based on ultra-nationalism, it simply needs authoritarianism to achieve this (read: to silence and suppress their opposition).

Re:Let's see them try

By Sloppy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Once again, the wrench cartoon is unironically used in a situation where it actually indicates that the citizen ends up being protected against the most common and concerning attacks.

Here is why a $5 wrench does not completely compromise the privacy given by cryptography: it is impossible to hit someone with a wrench without them knowing about it. In fact, you can't even show a wrench to someone purely for intimidation purposes, without them knowing about it.

Massive slurping on an internet backbone, using wrenches? Can't do it.

Secretly investigating someone by wrench-cracking their crypto without them at least being able to talk to a lawyer? Can't do it.

It's a technological measure, and it works. Crypto nerds have already beaten the wrench is most conceivable scenarios. The situations where the defense doesn't work? Doesn't matter, because those scenarios are someone's silly movie fantasy.

Re:Decrypt This Blockchain!

By walterbyrd • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

> Fascism = corporations own the government.

That is absolutely *not* what fascism is. Not even close.