the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2019-Feb-10 today archive

Users Complain of Account Hacks, But OkCupid Denies a Data Breach

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Zack Whittaker reports via TechCrunch: A reader contacted TechCrunch after his [OkCupid] account was hacked. The reader, who did not want to be named, said the hacker broke in and changed his password, locking him out of his account. Worse, they changed his email address on file, preventing him from resetting his password. OkCupid didn't send an email to confirm the address change -- it just blindly accepted the change. "Unfortunately, we're not able to provide any details about accounts not connected to your email address," said OkCupid's customer service in response to his complaint, which he forwarded to TechCrunch. Then, the hacker started harassing him strange text messages from his phone number that was lifted from one of his private messages. It wasn't an isolated case. We found several cases of people saying their OkCupid account had been hacked.

But several users couldn't explain how their passwords -- unique to OkCupid and not used on any other app or site -- were inexplicably obtained. "There has been no security breach at OkCupid," said Natalie Sawyer, a spokesperson for OkCupid. "All websites constantly experience account takeover attempts. There has been no increase in account takeovers on OkCupid." Even on OkCupid's own support pages, the company says that account takeovers often happen because someone has an account owner's login information. "If you use the same password on several different sites or services, then your accounts on all of them have the potential to be taken over if one site has a security breach," says the support page. In fact, when we checked, OkCupid was just one of many major dating sites -- like Match, PlentyOfFish, Zoosk, Badoo, JDate, and eHarmony -- that didn't use two-factor authentication at all.

Could be true but irrelevant

By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

"There has been no security breach at OkCupid," said Natalie Sawyer, a spokesperson for OkCupid. "All websites constantly experience account takeover attempts. There has been no increase in account takeovers on OkCupid."

It's entirely possible that there has been no breach of passwords, and that they just screwed up session management. There's been many a security failure in a website that permitted an attacker to guess a session ID, and railroad someone's account that way. If you combine that with a feature (or bug) which permits changing the email address without confirmation, you could easily have this kind of security failure without exposing any login credentials.

Unsurprisingly, OKCupid is owned by IAC

By Aryeh Goretsky • Score: 4, Informative • Thread


Unsurprisingly, OKCupid is owned by IAC, the same company that owns (or owned, in this case) AskJeeves, Match.Com, Plenty of Fish, Tinder and a host of other web properties. They are a company that makes money by getting eyeball counts, and things which interfere with that, like security, are tossed by the wayside.

Several years ago, someone signed up using my name and email address for, and a password of "baculum" (go ahead, look it up). There was no attempt to first authenticate me, they just allowed the account to be created and start getting responses, and when I realized what was going on and tried to log in, they sent the password for the account in plaintext to me.

Apparently using IAC properties is (or was) a popular way to harass people. I reached out to their security people, trying to find out more about how an account was created with my email address and no authentication, and asked for information like the IP address it was created from and the time, and got a form letter back saying to come back with a warrant or subpoena.

That they continue to have account abuse issues does not surprise me at all.


Aryeh Goretsky

there are 2 different companies in the world

By sad_ • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

there are 2 different companies in the world;
those that have been hacked
and those that have been hacked, but don't know it yet.

New Study Finds More Post-Surgery Deaths Globally Than From HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria Combined

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
schwit1 shares a report from UPI: About 4.2 million people worldwide die every year within 30 days of surgery -- more than from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria combined, a new study reports. The findings show that 7.7 percent of all deaths worldwide occur within a month of surgery, a rate higher than that from any other cause except ischemic heart disease and stroke. "Although not all postoperative deaths are avoidable, many can be prevented by increasing investment in research, staff training, equipment and better hospital facilities," lead author of the study, Dr. Dmitri Nepogodiev, said in a university news release. Along with finding that 4.2 million people a year die within a month of having surgery, his team discovered that half of those deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

"Although not all postoperative deaths are avoidable, many can be prevented by increasing investment in research, staff training, equipment and better hospital facilities," Nepogodiev said in a university news release. "To avoid millions more people dying after surgery, planned expansion of access to surgery must be complemented by investment in to improving the quality of surgery around the world," he noted.

Where It Is

By JBMcB • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Reminds me of a quote supposedly given by Willie Sutton, a notorious bank robber. When asked why he robbed banks, he replied "because that's where the money is."

Why do people die in hospitals? Because that's where sick people go. Why do people die after surgery? Because one, surgery carries a certain risk. Two, if they are doing surgery on you, there's probably something wrong with you to begin with.

There are absolutely problems with secondary infections, surgical errors, unnecessary surgeries and the like. but a single statistic doesn't say anything about those things.

Re:Lots of folks making jokes

By dr.Flake • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Dying on the OR table is extremely rare.
Anesthesia complications or surgery disasters leading to a direct fatality are 1:100.000 or less.

Those who succumb on a table usually entered the OR in a dismal condition, actively bleeding, whilst having a cardiac arrest etc etc.

Post-surgery, that's where the losses occur. Heart attacks, pneumonia, seizures, sepsis.
Not that all of them can be avoided and everybody's mindset is on minimizing them.

Your condition prior to surgery is the best predictor

Re:But isn't investing in health care socialism? D

By bungo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I don't agree.

I had a major surgery, planned a couple of months in advance. I was in a good condition, but if I didn't have the surgery, then it would have led to a serious condition later on. I was not "pretty fucked up".

One week after being released from hospital, I went back to the hospital's ER, due to pain and fluid leaking from the closed incision. The doctor on duty gave me a prescription for strong pain killers and sent me away.

3 days later, I was back in the same ER. A more experienced doctor knew what was wrong, and proceeded to pump out of me over a pint of smelly fluid. He also contacted one of the surgical team, who ordered tests and a CAT scan. I was admitted back into the hospital and given a course of the strongest antibiotics they had via IV. If I hadn't gone back in to the ER when I did, there was a good change I would have died.

The surgeon told me that when I first visited the ER, they should have contacted her and let her examine me. This appeared to be a standard procedure but the working doctor was not aware of this.

In my case, better training would have prevented an almost fatal outcome.

Re:huge biases against cheap and generic

By GuB-42 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Medicine remains seriously adverse to inexpensive immune and nutritional methods that can make huge differences in surgical recovery and complications.

No it isn't. I don't know any self respecting doctor who wouldn't recommend a healthy diet. By healthy diet I mean the basics: avoid too much sugar, fat, salt, eat the right amount of calories, etc... They also routinely recommend avoiding or favoring some kinds of foods if you have some conditions. As for inexpensive immune methods, they are called vaccines.

The recent "discovery" that vitamin B1+hydrocortisone+a little injected vitamin C can prevent and abort sepsis is a small, belated step in the right direction. Big Medicine is still way behind on injectable vitamin C technology though.

The conclusion of that "recent discovery" is "additional studies are required to confirm these preliminary findings". Many promising preliminary studies don't pass clinical trials unfortunately. Don't claim victory too early.
Vitamin C is effective for treating scurvy, which is a now rare disease caused by the lack of vitamin C. It is a discovery that saved thousands of life in the past. But such a resounding success doesn't make vitamin C a cure-all. Other uses of vitamin C, injectable or otherwise didn't get much conclusive results despite being studied a lot (61759 results for "vitamin C" on PubMed).

That's the anti-vaccine argument

By Solandri • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
You're improperly comparing to a zero base state - post-surgery death vs if the person were living a normal life and didn't need surgery. That leads you to the incorrect conclusion that "something is wrong" when someone dies after surgery.

The correct comparison is is against what would've happened to the person if they hadn't gone into surgery. Except for cosmetic surgery, going to the OR is usually to treat a life-threatening problem. 4.2 million deaths after surgery vs 313 million surgical procedures is a 1.3% chance of death post-surgery. People opt for surgery because that's a helluva improvement over the ~50% chance of death if they hadn't gone into surgery.

The same miguided argument is used against vaccines. A few dozen children die from vaccines each year. Anti-vaxxers (comparing to a zero base state of no deaths) cite that as evidence that vaccines are unsafe. But the correct comparison is a few dozen deaths from vaccines, vs the tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths if nobody were vaccinated. We opt for vaccines and surgery because they're the lesser of two evils (far, far lesser).

Another example is the crash of United Airlines 232. One of the passengers was a lap child - an infant or small child carried on the parents' lap and traveling without paying for a seat. The head stewardess abroad the flight followed procedure and instructed the parents to put the lap child underneath the seat in front of them like carry-on luggage. When the child died, she was so racked with guilt that she went on a multi-decade crusade to get lap children banned. The FAA finally ruled against her a few years ago. She was incorrectly comparing against a zero base state - the lap child dying vs possibly surviving if it had been belted into a seat. The FAA made the correct comparison. Lap children are allowed because flying is two orders of magnitude safer than driving. If you forced all parents with small children to pay for a seat for those children, a lot of them would opt to drive instead of fly. And as a result a lot more children would die from car accidents than this one lap child on this one ill-fated flight.

Instead of being frustrated over not knowing why the "unnecessary" death occurred, treat it as a gamble. The patient's original status gave him, say, a 50% chance of survival. Surgery gives him a 98.7% chance of survival. So surgery is obviously the better bet and wiser choice. But 1.3% of the time you will still lose that bet. It still boils down to the luck of the draw, except with surgery (and vaccines and lap children) you are stacking the deck far, far in your favor.

We can and certainly should try to improve the 1.3% fatality rate following surgery. But 1.3% is still a good thing, not something to be ashamed or fearful of. People are making jokes because TFA is naively trying to spin this story as if surgery were an additional risk, when it's actually a reduction in risk.

Tesla 'Dog Mode' Will Stop Pets From Overheating In Cars, Elon Musk Says

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his fleet of electric vehicles will be getting a "dog mode" to protect pets from overheating. The feature, which will be rolled out next week, will be able to detect when a pet is locked inside the car -- and keep the temperature at a safe level. The New Zealand Herald reports: There will also likely be a display or some form of communication to inform passers-by that the dog is safe. The feature was added after Musk was inundated with tweets from customers. In October, one Tesla driver asked him: "Can you put a dog mode on the Tesla Model 3. "Where the music plays and the air conditioning is on, with a display on screen saying 'I'm fine my owner will be right back?'" Musk replied: "Yes."

'Dog mode' will likely be an extension of Tesla's Cabin Overheat Protection System. This already prevents temperatures inside the car from reaching unsafe levels when kids or pets are inside. But the screen in Tesla models is likely to now flash a message to pedestrians informing them that the pet inside is safe. The "dog mode" update will be launched at the same time as a "sentry mode" -- designed to ward off would-be thieves. Sentry Mode will use the dashcam to record footage in the event of an attempted break-in. And it is rumored the car will play loud classical music through the stereo system to draw attention to the intruder and encourage passersby to call the police.

Evolution of the feature

By steveha • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Using the Tesla mobile app, it has been possible for at least a couple years to leave the air conditioning on inside the car while leaving the car. I read about a Tesla owner who had a note taped to his car window: "This is a Tesla and its air conditioning is running. The dog is fine. Please don't break my window."

More recently Tesla added a feature where you could use the touchscreen to do the same thing. In the climate controls dialog there is a button, "leave climate control running when car is stopped."

Now the screen will be used to display a message telling people that the pets are fine, please don't break the window. Why not!

This is one of those emergent features that nobody predicted years ago.

Another one: Elon Musk wanted the Model 3 to have a clean look, so Tesla engineers wound up inventing a computer-controlled steerable air blower for the dashboard. You don't have to touch louvers to direct the air, you use a GUI on the touchscreen. This not only looks cleaner, but the computer remembers the air settings per driver, so if a husband and wife want different settings the car just handles it.

One day someone on Twitter said "Hey Elon Musk, when I use the mobile app to turn on the air conditioning and cool down my Model 3 when it's been parked in the sun on a hot day, how about pointing the air blowers at the seats to cool them down?" And Elon Musk replied "Great idea, I'll make it happen." (Quotes paraphrased from memory.)


By atheos • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Yes, so long as the baby barks.

Forget Dog Mode

By PeeAitchPee • Score: 3 • Thread
Let me know when Tesla enables God Mode.


By whoever57 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Please show us on the doll where Elon touched you.....


By stealth_finger • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I don't care about you either. You are another moron on here. Space Nutter. Time to grow up.

Pack up the show lads. This random twat on the internet doesn't care about it.

Scientists Have Reduced the Forecast of Sea Level Rise Seven Times Due To Melting of the Antarctic

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The destruction of the Antarctic ice sheet may not lead to such a catastrophic rise in the level of the oceans, as previously thought. In a new study, the authors calculated that instead of growing by a meter or more by 2100, a growth of 14-15 cm is likely, writes N + 1. At the same time, the melting of the ice of Greenland and Antarctica is not fully taken into account in modern climate models, as it will lead to even more destabilization of the regional climate. Both studies on this are published in the journal Nature. An anonymous reader shares the report from Maritime Herald: In the first study, Tamzin Edwards from King's College London and her colleagues question this prediction. According to Edwards, who is quoted by the college press service, scientists re-analyzed data on ice loss and ocean level 3 million years ago, 125 thousand years ago and in the last 25 years and estimated the likelihood of rapid destruction of unstable sea areas of Antarctic glaciers, which the authors 2016 was associated with a meter increase in the level of the oceans. The hypothesis of such destruction received the abbreviated name MICI (marine ice cliff instability). They found that MICI does not necessarily explain the dynamics of sea level in the past, and without this the probability that the level will grow by more than 39 centimeters by 2100 is only about 5 percent. Edwards notes that in their model, even if the Antarctic glaciers really will collapse rapidly, the maximum increase in sea level will not exceed half a meter, and the most likely growth will be 14-15 cm. At the same time, scientists cannot completely eliminate the MICI phenomenon: they only talk about that more research is needed in this area.

In the second article, Edwards and Nick Golledge of Queen Victoria University in Wellington and their co-authors write that current climate models do not fully take into account the consequences of the destruction of the ice of Greenland and the Antarctic, which will slow down the Atlantic Ocean and further melt the Antarctic ice due to "locking" of warm water in the Southern Ocean (climatologists call such self-enhancing processes positive feedback processes). In addition, according to the authors of the article, the melting of ice in the warming scenario of 3-4 degrees compared with the middle of the XIX century will lead to a less predictable climate and an increase in the scale of extreme weather events.

Re: Well that 9 out of the last 0 apocalypses

By sycodon • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

When you do something 7 times and get different answers each time, you a probably doing it wrong.

Re: When it comes to climate science....

By K. S. Kyosuke • Score: 4 • Thread
We don't need to know *everything* about electromagnetism to understand that absoption spectra exist and what they do to physical systems. So, no, the nature of magnetism is irrelevant for this.

Re: Huh?

By K. S. Kyosuke • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I wonder if they remember reading in history class that it was generally accepted that the earth was flat once upon a time.

Not only have we known that the Earth is round since the times of Ancient Greece, but we've had a reliable method for estimating its diameter since that time as well. Which makes me wonder what kind of weird history you were taught...

Re: Well that 9 out of the last 0 apocalypses

By sycodon • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Science : Replication.

Re: When it comes to climate science....

By rmdingler • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Intelligence aside, the ability to receive and process evidence contrary to one's belief set is rarer than hen's teeth.

Google Play Caught Hosting An App That Steals Users' Cryptocurrency

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Google Play Store has been caught hosting an app designed to steal cryptocurrency from unwitting end users, according to researchers with Eset security company. "The malware, which masqueraded as a legitimate cryptocurrency app, worked by replacing wallet addresses copied into the Android clipboard with one belonging to attackers," reports Ars Technica. "As a result, people who intended to use the app to transfer digital coins into a wallet of their choosing would instead deposit the funds into a wallet belonging to the attackers." From the report: So-called clipper malware has targeted Windows users since at least 2017. The clipper malware available in Google Play impersonated a service called MetaMask, which is designed to allow browsers to run apps that work with the digital coin Ethereum. The primary purpose of Android/Clipper.C, as Eset has dubbed the malware, was to steal credentials needed to gain control of Ethereum funds. It also replaced both bitcoin and Ethereum wallet addresses copied to the clipboard with ones belonging to the attackers. Eset spotted the app shortly after its introduction to Google Play on February 1. Google has since removed it. Stefanko said it's the first time clipper malware has been hosted in the Android app bazaar. Eset malware researcher Lukas Stefanko wrote: "This attack targets users who want to use the mobile version of the MetaMask service, which is designed to run Ethereum decentralized apps in a browser, without having to run a full Ethereum node. However, the service currently does not offer a mobile app -- only add-ons for desktop browsers such as Chrome and Firefox. Several malicious apps have been caught previously on Google Play impersonating MetaMask. However, they merely phished for sensitive information with the goal of accessing the victims' cryptocurrency funds."


By Luthair • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
implies they were somehow supposed to know.


By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

They were. The Play Store is supposed to be curated.

Tesla Model 3 Becomes Best Selling Electric Car In World

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Jose Pontes of EV Volumes and CleanTechnica has crunched some numbers and found that the Tesla Model 3 is now the best selling plug-in vehicle in the world. "In fact, the Model 3 was approximately 55,000 sales above the #2 BAIC EC-Series, an extremely popular Chinese model," CleanTechnica reports. "The Model 3 gobbled 7% of the plug-in vehicle market, while the #2 EC-Series and #3 Nissan LEAF each had 4%." From the report: After those top three, as the chart shows, the Tesla Model S and Model X were #4 and #5, respectively. They were followed by three Chinese models and then the Toyota Prius Prime and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. The Model 3 (and others) helped push the world plug-in vehicle share up to 2.1% in 2018. (Double that 4 times and we're at about 30% market share.) [...] Remember, 93% of plug-in vehicle sales in 2018 were not Model 3 sales. Nearly 2 million non -- Model 3 electric cars, SUVs, and crossovers made it into consumers' parking spots. Still, there's clearly a new king of the hill, and its young Tesla's 4th model.

Re:Let's get this out of the way shall we

By alvinrod • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Anyone care to update or respond to the list?

If they actually bet on those beliefs, they've probably lost their shoes in the stock market and can't afford to comment. But talk is always cheap and there's no end of people who'd like to convince you that they know what they're talking about. Anyone who was all talk is surely talking about something else right now.

Re:The secret master plan seems to be working

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Tesla are the Apple for the car world. Expensive, extremely "loyal" fans who can't look at them objectively, and a somewhat dubious guy in charge.

Of course Tesla deserve a lot of credit, but Nissan pioneered affordable EVs that were actually reliable and make economic sense. Even today you would be crazy to buy a used Tesla without a warranty. Nissan also build a much bigger, more comprehensive charging network in many European countries where Tesla are sparse or non-existent. It's not going to be fun when CCS enabled Model 3s start hogging them and Tesla don't invest in extra generic chargers at those sites.

LG deserve a lot of credit for pioneering lower cost pouch cells too. It looks like the old cylindrical form factor that Panasonic/Tesla use is not going to complete on price and density in the long run, except for certain performance applications.

None of which is to say that Tesla is bad (although an Elon claim/promise is utterly worthless - where are those solar powered chargers, or full self driving, or sentry mode, or all the other things promised (and sold!) years ago?) but credit where credit is due, e.g. acknowledgement of much cheaper, better spec long range EVs that have already made the $35k Model 3 pretty unattractive.

Re:The secret master plan seems to be working

By steveha • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The Nissan Leaf is very affordable if you buy one used... because the resale value plummets. A new Leaf is $30K and I can buy a low-mileage 2017 Leaf for $15K. A 2012 Leaf is $8K. For a second car, to be used in local driving, a used Leaf is a great value.

A Tesla holds its value much better, perhaps partially because Tesla engineered active cooling in the battery pack so charging doesn't cook the cells. Teslas only lose about 1% battery capacity per year and they start with much higher capacities. Plus Tesla has the Supercharger network. A Tesla really can be your only car, even if you need or want to make long road trips.

Note that the Model 3 costs more than the Leaf and is harder to get. Yet it's still outselling the Leaf. That's customers voting with their money. You may think that Nissan is doing a better job, but the market does not agree with you.

Re:The secret master plan seems to be working

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
It has already happened. The battery price has fallen by a factor of 16 in the last 28 years. It is expected to continue to fall to 60$/kWh in 2025. All hell will break loose when the price breaks through 90$/kWh automobiles total disruption, and then at 75$/kWh when solar/wind storage makes spot market for electricity vanish. Juicy margins of natural gas burning power plants come from that market. When it crashes through 60 $/kWh, domestic distributed storage will disrupt the utilities. Richer people will disconnect from the grid, and rest of the people still on the grid will face higher charges. More will defect. Utilities will follow the life cycle of bus lines and tram lines. All within the next 12 years.

Re: The secret master plan seems to be working

By c6gunner • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

When fuel and maintenance costs are $2,000 less per year than a comparable ICE, the $55k BEV ends up having the same TCO as a $25k ICE after 10 years, and likely has a higher resale value at the end of that term. Only a dumb idiot consumer such as yourself would fail to realize that.

Amazon To NYC After Reconsidering HQ2 Plans: It'd Be a Shame If Something Happened To Your Kids' CS Education

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
theodp writes: Commenting on reports that Amazon is reconsidering its plan to bring 25,000 jobs to a new campus in New York City following a wave of political and community opposition, Amazon issued the following statement: "We're focused on engaging with our new neighbors -- small business owners, educators, and community leaders. Whether it's building a pipeline of local jobs through workforce training or funding computer science classes for thousands of New York City students, we are working hard to demonstrate what kind of neighbor we will be." Yep, it'd be a shame if something happened. The Washington Post earlier reported that New York State Sen. Michael Gianaris, a strong opponent of the Amazon HQ2 deal, described the possibility that Amazon would pull out of the deal -- which totals up to $3 billion in state and city incentives -- as akin to blackmail. "Amazon has extorted New York from the start, and this seems to be their next effort to do just that," he said. "If their view is, 'We won't come unless we get three billion of your dollars,' then they shouldn't come." Over at Vice, Ankita Rao examines what Amazon infiltrating America's school system might look like.

Re:Oh, c'mon. Be fair.

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Their projections show that they will recoup the cost. Past experience shows these projections are usually wildly optimistic.

Tax incentives and subsidies are a Prisoner's Dilemma. Each locale feels obligated to offer incentives because other locales are offering them. But they would be collectively better off if no one offered them. Amazon would still expand, but do so on the basis of business efficiency rather than subsidies. If NYC wants to attract more businesses, they should improve their overall friendliness to commerce, rather than lavishing subsidies on one corporation.

These subsides are a race to the bottom. This is what the Commerce Clause in the US Constitution was designed to prevent. The CC has often been abused, but a federal ban on these subsidies would be a legitimate use, and would be an overall benefit to the country's economy, and a relief to the taxpayers.

Re:Oh, c'mon. Be fair.

By fluffernutter • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
You can't lure a kid into programming by thinking that way. A kid can be both, I was, but in the end their interest in programming and/or gaming will be mutually exclusive. I know a kid who is gaming motivated. He likes to hack his nintendo with 3D models and at one point required a Python script. Since he's not interested in programming, he only gains a superficial knowledge of how to install Python on windows and where to put the script and run it. Only if he is interested in development would he attempt to delve into what the script does and entertain the taught of modifying it.

Re:The left failed economics

By Required Snark • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Amazon doesn't pay adequate taxes anywhere in the world. That's true for all the high tech mega-corps. Talking only about jobs and ignoring the civic funding issue is libertarian propaganda.

Saying that tax breaks are not a direct subsidy is a flat out lie. It this circumstance it's a bribe and for Amazon it's a "head I win tails you loose" proposition. It's just like building sport stadiums: a scam to loot the public treasury for private profit. (Just ask St. Louis or San Diego about the Rams and Chargers moving to LA.)

If you don't think that tax breaks are a subsidy then why not tax religion? Just suggest it. I dare you. Tax breaks are money in the pocket. Besides being declared as an agent of the devil by "legitimate" religious figures some nut job will do a drive by and put a bullet into your house or perhaps toss a Molotov cocktail in your direction.

Everyone who profits from sucking off the public teat is the same: they think their free ride is a natural law of the universe and any other option is a perversion of the natural order. Libertarians are just another set of blood sucking scamsters.

Re:Oh, c'mon. Be fair.

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I don't see any way for it to NOT work.

PT Barnum loved people like you.

How many $100-$150k software engineers in NYC are currently unemployed?

Most of these employees will just be shifted from other businesses, which aren't being subsidized, forcing them to either cut back or leave the city. There may be some net job growth, but it is unlikely it is going to be worth $3 billion.

Most tech companies in NYC are already desperate for talent. The limit on creating high paying jobs is not companies willing to hire them, but housing available for people to move to the city. Approving new building permits (cost: ~$0) would do WAY more to grow the NYC economy that this handout to Amazon.

But there is one thing you can be certain of: The politicians are going to label this as a "success" by highlighting every job at Amazon, while ignoring the equivalent number of jobs destroyed elsewhere in the city.

Impact of the introduction

By See Attached • Score: 3 • Thread
The process of placing HQ2 considers cost and resources and not .. environment? Look at a sat picture of the chosen area. Its already packed full of people and civilization. How about going across the river and taking up a place in NJ? Plenty of space and an educated workforce and a local airport,Lots of Highways and .. Ok... a mediocre mass transit system. Amazon, make a solid impact on the place you chose to make your nest. See beyond the green stuff.

Huawei Would Accept EU Supervision To Lay 5G Network

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechRadar: Huawei has said it is willing for its equipment and activities to be supervised by the European Union (EU) as it continues to fend off the threat of restrictions on the use of its kit in 5G networks. Last year it emerged the US, which has long frozen out the company from its own telecommunications infrastructure, had been encouraging other western nations to take similar action. The main basis for Washington's fears is a perception that Huawei is linked to the Chinese government and that the use of the company's equipment risks the possibility of backdoors that could be used for espionage. These fears are heightened by 5G because of the sensitive information these networks will carry. The US is concerned that if its allies continue to use Huawei kit, then America's security will be threatened.

Now, Abraham Liu, Huawei's chief representative to EU institutions, has used a speech to mark the Chinese New Year to repeat the company's denials and to stress its willingness to cooperate with the EU and European governments. "Cybersecurity should remain as a technical issue instead of an ideological issue. Because technical issues can always be resolved through the right solutions while ideological issue cannot," he is quoted as saying. "We are always willing to accept the supervision and suggestions of all European governments, customers and partners." A number of European nations, including the UK and Germany, have expressed concern about the use of Huawei equipment in their telecoms infrastructure, however earlier this week, France rejected proposals that would increase checks
Last week, Huawei pledged to spend about $2 billion over five years to resolve the security issues in the United Kingdom. However, they also claimed that the firm "has never and will never use UK-based hardware, software or information gathered in the UK or anywhere else globally, to assist other countries in gathering intelligence." They added: "We would not do this in any country."

Intelectual property theft

By toejam13 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Recall that Huawei isn't just on the US ban-list due to supposed state espionage fears. They've also been accused of stealing intellectual property from Nortel, Cisco, and possibly Motorola (source). It wouldn't be outrageous to assume they have targeted Ericsson, Nokia, or Alcatel-Lucent as well.

Worse, given the opaque relationship between Huawei and the Chinese government, we have no idea how much of that corporate espionage was performed by government teams, an issue the US has been fighting for some time (source), nor how much financial support the government is providing to subsidize pricing.

In short, banning Huawei is probably a good idea for those more mundane reasons alone.

Re:Intelectual property theft

By Freischutz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Recall that Huawei isn't just on the US ban-list due to supposed state espionage fears. They've also been accused of stealing intellectual property from Nortel, Cisco, and possibly Motorola (source). It wouldn't be outrageous to assume they have targeted Ericsson, Nokia, or Alcatel-Lucent as well.

Worse, given the opaque relationship between Huawei and the Chinese government, we have no idea how much of that corporate espionage was performed by government teams, an issue the US has been fighting for some time (source), nor how much financial support the government is providing to subsidize pricing.

In short, banning Huawei is probably a good idea for those more mundane reasons alone.

In view of the fact that Huawei spying for the Chinese govt. is so far mostly speculation but that the US has been caught with it's pants down planting backdoors in the equipment of US manufacturers and that we have no idea to what extent these US companies were actually cooperating with the NSA backdooring operations, I'd say that there is a stronger case for banning Nortel, Cisco, Motorola, and friends than there is for banning Huawei. That being said I'm still not willing to trust Huawei even as far as I can throw them.

It's a moot point. This is a beachhead.

By Gravis Zero • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Unless every component (both hardware and software) is being produced with total oversight (which it is not), then this agreement is a farce. Huawei can promise anything and everything, sign legally binding agreements, etc and you still couldn't trust them because they are based out of China. This is important because Chinese national security law gives the state (China) absolute authority in all matters when it comes to tech companies.

Besides, once they are widely installed, what are you going to do when you find out they can no longer be trusted (after a system-wide software update), rip out the entire infrastructure?

I said it before and I'll say it again, dictators only pretend to play fair.

Anything to get that foot in the door...

By QuietLagoon • Score: 3 • Thread
Is the ongoing effort to supervise Huawei worth the trouble and expense?

Re:It's a moot point. This is a beachhead.

By Gravis Zero • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It is breathtaking to see such xenophobic racism modded up to +5 on Slashdot.

This has nothing to do with xenophobia, nor racism. I do not trust the Chinese government which has been employing statism. The Chinese people are just as much victims of their government as anyone.

What did Trump do with his trade war to people's brains?

Nothing. That guy is soon to be exposed as a criminal and will be headed to jail.

A year ago nobody would dare say something like this, it would be at -1 Troll.

Literally, no. There has been news about the wrongdoing and human rights violations by the Chinese government for much longer than a year. This isn't something new.

Ask Slashdot: Could Nikola Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower Have Worked?

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
dryriver writes: For those who are unfamiliar with the story, from 1901-1902, inventor Nikola Tesla had a 187-foot-tall experimental wireless electricity transmission tower called the "Wardenclyffe Tower" built in Shoreham, New York. Tesla believed that it was possible to generate electrical power on a large scale in one part of the world and transmit that electrical power to electrical receivers in far away parts of the world wirelessly, using parts of Earth's atmosphere as the conducting medium. Tesla had huge problems getting the project financed -- powerful banker J.P. Morgan didn't play along and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson didn't help a pleading Tesla either. An excerpt from a Wardenclyffe documentary shows the tower finally being dynamited and sold for scrap in 1917. The Wardenclyffe Tower never reached operational status; wireless electrical transmission between continents never happened; Tesla became an emotionally broken man who died regretting that he did not manage to finish his life's work; and to this day nobody knows exactly how the Wardenclyffe Tower was supposed to function technically. To the question: Do you believe that Tesla's dream of electrical devices anywhere in the world essentially being able to draw electrical power from the sky with a relatively simple antenna could have worked, had he gotten the necessary funding to complete his experiments?


By thrich81 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

If you are trying to imply that lasers don't exhibit the inverse square law in the relation of area power density with distance you are wrong. Lasers do propagate power via the inverse square law once you get past near field effects (same as any antenna), that's why laser beamwidths are spec'ed in milliradians, the angular extent of the beam. Constant angular extent = inverse square law power density. The reason lasers get a reputation for tight power propagation is because they can be produced with very small beamwidths to begin with. That all applies to propagation in a vacuum or a medium which doesn't interact with the laser light, but once you get into mediums which actually interact with the light (to attempt some sort of self-focusing) you start to deal with scattering and losses to heating the medium, too; one reason why the megawatt laser weapons envisioned in the past haven't been fielded.


By StormReaver • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

What is believe? Either the math / physics works or it doesn't. Science is not an opinion based enterprise[.]

I think you're missing the real question in your quest to be snarky. The real question isn't whether the physics work or not; that's like saying that time travel either works or it doesn't, but without any evidence either way. Of course that's the case. Just like explosions can be controlled to propel large, heavy objects into space.

The real question is whether Tesla understood physics at a level sufficiently advanced to make wireless, intercontinental electrical transmission work. If so, then he would have expanded our knowledge of physics.

That presumes that such a feat is already allowed by physics, but the mechanism for doing so needs to be discovered by humans. To me, it seems at least plausible. After all, we watch wireless transmission of electricity over multi-mile distances all the time, and we know how it works. Tesla believed that he understood how to manipulate that same energy over vastly greater distances.

Re: Believe?

By sjames • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

No socialist ever said otherwise. The socialist contention is that overall we work less for the same things if we don't have rich dudes skimming off a heap of the productive effort so they can have a solid gold toilet seat and play golf all day.

The dudes with the solid gold toilet seats greatly appreciate your ignorance. At least in the abstract sense.

Re: Believe?

By postbigbang • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It's very possible to tap into the magnetosphere. The varying layers all have interesting phototropic controls as the earth spins on its axis. It's somewhat static, but changes as we go through the day (add in slight lunar-effect changes, too).

Screw it up, just a bit--- and neutralize it in some way, and watch the atmosphere become damaged beyond your wildest imagination. If you thought Climate Change was fun, strap on.

Gravity keeps the atmosphere and weather somewhat intact against the 1000miles/hr rotation of the earth, but we're also very happy with the shielding the magnetosphere provides, layer densities (so yeah, we can breathe), and the insulations it provides from solar winds.

There is a huge iron core inside the earth that moves around, which is why the north magnetic pole is moving. It plays a huge part in how the Van Allen Belt and the magnetosphere keep this planet's life intact. Muck with this at our peril.

Triumph or folly?

By az-saguaro • Score: 3 • Thread

There is an intrigue here that goes beyond the mere physics and engineering of it all. This is really about triumphs and folly.

1 - It could be brilliant. This could be the engineering equivalent of Fermat's Last Theorem. A brilliant mathematician has a clever insight to answer an interesting problem, writes the notes on a napkin so the story goes, and then the idea is lost. It turns out though that the math problem is not so innocent or trivial, but no one after Fermat can come up with a suitable proof. Perhaps Tesla's experiment was the real deal, but we cannot know now that he is gone.

2 - It could be pure silliness. This occurred in the same era as early flight and early automotive manufacturing. We have all seen those compilation videos of early flight attempts when people built wacky flying-falling machines in their garage with nothing more than just a nifty "idea" devoid of any bonafide engineering. Tesla had the same focus on early electrical science and technologies, and for each clever good idea he had, he might have had another that was a dog.

Were those who failed to fund him close minded fools or insightful sages?

Nothing is stopping anyone from trying now. There are plenty of people with enough technology wealth to fund the experiment if it seemed worthy, but no one is volunteering. It is telling that a modern company like Tesla can honor him with an eponymous name, but not by funding projects not relevant to modern life, instead focusing on technologies that make sense for now, like electric vehicles.

And, times have changed. Even if the idea was scientifically and technically meritorious, it might not be pragmatic or allowable today. Since then, we have developed a robust air travel industry, vital low earth orbit technologies, an electromagnetic spectrum filled with communications, and an overdue appreciation of the environmental hazards of our technologies. Tesla's invention would compete or interfere with them, so might not survive.

How Hackers and Scammers Break Into iCloud-Locked iPhones

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Motherboard's Joseph Cox and Jason Koebler report of the underground industry where thieves, coders, and hackers work to remove a user's iCloud account from a phone so that they can then be resold. They reportedly are able to do this by phishing the phone's original owners, or scam employees at Apple Stores, which have the ability to override iCloud locks. The other method (that is very labor intensive and rare) involves removing the iPhone's CPU from the Logic Board and reprogramming it to create what is essentially a "new" device. It is generally done in Chinese refurbishing labs and involves stealing a "clean" phone identification number called an IMEI. Here's an excerpt from their report: Making matters more complicated is the fact that not all iCloud-locked phones are stolen devices -- some of them are phones that are returned to telecom companies as part of phone upgrade and insurance programs. The large number of legitimately obtained, iCloud-locked iPhones helps supply the independent phone repair industry with replacement parts that cannot be obtained directly from Apple. But naturally, repair companies know that a phone is worth more unlocked than it is locked, and so some of them have waded into the hacking underground to become customers of illegal iCloud unlocking companies.

In practice, "iCloud unlock" as it's often called, is a scheme that involves a complex supply chain of different scams and cybercriminals. These include using fake receipts and invoices to trick Apple into believing they're the legitimate owner of the phone, using databases that look up information on iPhones, and social engineering at Apple Stores. There are even custom phishing kits for sale online designed to steal iCloud passwords from a phone's original owner. [...] There are many listings on eBay, Craigslist, and wholesale sites for phones billed as "iCloud-locked," or "for parts" or something similar. While some of these phones are almost certainly stolen, many of them are not. According to three professionals in the independent repair and iPhone refurbishing businesses, used iPhones -- including some iCloud-locked devices -- are sold in bulk at private "carrier auctions" where companies like T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and cell phone insurance providers sell their excess inventory (often through third-party processing companies.)

Stolen iPhone

By Dan East • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Very interesting timing on this story. Friday my son's iPhone 7 was stolen at school around 11 AM. Before he made it home at 3 PM his iPhone had been taken over - he had emails between 2:42 and 2:45 showing where someone had changed his gmail password, logged into his gmail account on a different phone, changed the password on his Apple account (which used the gmail account for the Apple ID), and disabled Find My Phone on his stolen phone (and the email from Apple helpfully indicated that now the device could be reset and logged into without the Apple ID credentials). The IP address that was done from was at his high school (the phone did not have cellular service - he used it with WiFi only).

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that someone at this relatively small school knew how to take over an iPhone locked with a 6 digit passcode. It appears that gmail was the weak link here. My guess is to what happened is that since the google apps were installed on the iPhone, when a "lost password" was triggered from a different phone, Google sent a reset code to the stolen phone. I haven't bothered to try and test this, but my hunch is that the reset code that Google sent to his phone was a notification accessible while the phone was locked.

The lesson I have learned here (in any case, since the first step that occurred was his Google account password was changed and logged into from a different phone) is NEVER use gmail addresses for your Apple ID. That was the attack vector, and if it is too easy for someone to change your gmail password, then it's too easy for them to take over your hardware devices as well.

Re:Stolen iPhone

By sessamoid • Score: 4 • Thread
Always nice to have random strangers on the internet giving unsolicited parenting advice.

Re:Stolen iPhone

By Mortimer82 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
That sucks, clearly a well planned theft by someone in the know. Did you not have 2FA enabled on your Gmail? I personally use their Authenticator app.

Having at one point in my life having done customer service for World of Warcraft, I cannot recommend enough that everyone use Authenticator options wherever available for online accounts, especially high value ones such as Gmail. While in your case it was clearly someone based at the school, in general there is a enormous industry in the business of compromising accounts of all types.

DoorDash and Amazon Won't Change Tipping Policy After Instacart Controversy

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Forbes: The tipping controversy that prompted Instacart to reverse a compensation plan to its contract workers isn't likely to go away: Rivals DoorDash and Amazon Flex are continuing to adjust driver pay based on how much they get tipped, saying doing so ensures a minimum payout. The practice, which has its roots in the way brick-and-mortar restaurants pay waitstaff, has been adapted to suit the needs of app-based delivery companies. The difference is that gig-economy workers are independent contractors, and so aren't protected by the minimum wage laws. Instacart, a $7.6 billion grocery delivery company, made a change in October 2018 that workers would receive at least $10 per delivery order. Customers and shoppers didn't realize that the tips were counting towards that minimum instead of being a bonus on top. So if someone tipped more, Instacart effectively had to pay less. That's how one Instacart delivery driver ended up with Instacart only paying 80 cents and the rest of the minimum being met with tips.

The company reversed its decision on Wednesday after public outcry, admitting that counting tips in its payout totals was "misguided" and has moved to a new pay scale that doesn't factor in tips at all. But DoorDash and Amazon Flex, the contract workforce that delivers packages for Prime Now, continued to stand their ground. DoorDash claims it has been transparent about the tips being part of its delivery driver pay since it made the change in 2017, including on a blog post on whether customers should tip, and maintains that delivery-driver retention and overall satisfaction both "increased significantly" since the change. Both DoorDash and Instacart insist that they never turned the payment dial down if someone received a large tip. Instead, both companies used an algorithm to calculate a base pay rate that would include things like time and effort it took to deliver. If that base pay plus tip fell short of the price they guaranteed, then both companies would pay out more to make sure its delivery drivers reached the payout they had been promised. But in cases where the tip plus its initial calculation reached the promised payout, then the companies would only contribute the amount that the algorithm had calculated the delivery person deserved.
One simple solution if you want to make sure your tip gets into the hand of your digital delivery worker: tip in cash.

Here is another solution

By OneHundredAndTen • Score: 3 • Thread
What about giving them decent wages? Sure, the services will provide may be more expensive. But, then again, maybe not - after all, there is competition, right? I always find it amazing how certain employers - in particular, those in the restaurant business - have convinced the rest of Americans that it is the latter's duty to directly contribute to maximize the former's profit.

Re:Are tips in the app visible to the driver?

By b0s0z0ku • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Delivery address:
Joe Blow
666 Anywhere Lane
Apt 2 - Cash Tip!
Anytown, OK 24601

Re:All Right!!

By b0s0z0ku • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
You SHOULD always tip in cash. It puts money into the pockets of the workers, and takes it out of the managers' pockets and the pockets of other grubby people who may want a cut.

Re:Are tips in the app visible to the driver?

By locopuyo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
If you tip before service it's no longer a tip. It's just paying more.

Re: All Right!!

By Gilgaron • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
I've not held a job for tips, when my brother had one the way taxes were taken out was set to assume a large number of unreported cash tips. The whole thing is a big mess.

Trump's Border Wall Could Split SpaceX's Texas Launchpad In Two

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes the Los Angeles Times A launchpad on the U.S.-Mexico border, which it plans to use for rockets carrying humans around the world and eventually to Mars, could be split in two by the Trump administration's planned wall... Lawmakers said they were concerned about the effect on the company's 50-acre facility after seeing a Department of Homeland Security map showing a barrier running through what they described as a launchpad...

James Gleeson, a SpaceX spokesman, declined to provide details on how the fence would affect the facility. "The Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently requested SpaceX permit access to our South Texas Launch site to conduct a site survey," he said in a statement. "At this time, SpaceX is evaluating the request and is in communication with DHS to further understand their plans...." Musk is working on a new, more powerful vehicle known as Starship to eventually ferry humans to Mars. SpaceX recently announced that it would test the Starship test vehicle at the site in south Texas.

There seem to be some disputed facts here?

By argStyopa • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

"Lawmakers said they were concerned about the effect on the company's 50-acre facility after seeing a Department of Homeland Security map showing a barrier running through what they described as a launchpad..."
Does it? Let's check this out: As you can see on the wiki about the South Texas site ( ) and a map of the site from SpaceX show that the launch sites (ostensibly the "pads") are just south of Brazos Island State Park pretty much right on the coast, with the control center buildings almost directly west of them. The launch area is about 2.8 miles north of the Rio Grande, which is actually the border (but the Trump wall wouldn't of course be precisely in the river, it would logically be set back somewhat).

Yet USA today says:

The Texas fencing is full of gaps.
The border fence begins in Texas, but it's miles inland from the border's edge at the Gulf of Mexico. Elsewhere, fences start and stop with huge gaps in between. This is all pedestrian fencing, pictured in red on the map, designed to stop people from crossing

...with the diagrammed fence just east of Brownsville, complaining that the proposed fence starts "miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico" 10-12 miles from the SpaceX site, and nearly 15 miles from the pads themselves.

So the USA today map and overflight show that the proposed border wall starts at least a dozen miles from the plotted site of the SpaceX facility.

Someone's astonishingly wrong or lying deliberately.

Re:OK, but why...

By caseih • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Correct. Most illegal aliens entered the country at a port of entry and overstayed their visa. In fact the country of origin with the most number of illegal aliens in the US is.... Canada.

Most drugs come across ports of entry, or by boat. There was a major drug bust recently along the southern border at a port of entry that reinforced that fact.

NPR did a story a while back on a bit of border wall (already funded, not part of the Trump demands) that will soon cut right through the middle of one of the US's only butterfly sanctuaries. This will not only inconvenience the land owners and the many thousands of people who visit this place (including campers), but it will also cut off many animals from their only source of water, and interfere withe the migratory paths of many species. And even stranger, there were not any existing problems with hordes of illegal aliens crossing over the frontier there or drugs. One wonders why the administration was so bent on pushing this wall through in this spot. Doesn't make any sense.

Re:Floodplains & new borders?

By swillden • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

If I was to build a fence inside my property, after a number of years the land would become legally my neighbours

Not true, presence of a wall somewhere on your property doesn't move the property line. Nor does the lack of a fence/wall prevent an adverse possession.

That depends on many factors. It depends on how well-defined the legal boundary is, on how long the adverse possession continues, on what use the other party makes of the bit of your property, and more.

I doubt you could find any competent attorney who wouldn't counsel you to immediately raise a complaint about the location of the fence. You might not have to insist on it being moved, but you almost certainly want to make it abundantly clear to your neighbor that you know where the actual boundary is, and make sure they and the relevant land registrar do, too.

I almost had to go to court over a misplaced fence once, but avoided the battle by quickly moving the fence to the correct location when the land changed hands. In my case the issue was further complicated by the fact that the adverse possession was incorporated into a right-of-way... but when the farmer who owned the field behind my house sold to a real-estate developer the right-of-way was removed anyway; it became part of the backyards of a row of homes and a new right-of-way, on a paved suburban street, was added. My attorney counseled me to quickly move the fence after the property changed hands and before construction started. The developer still might have tried to dispute the change, but it put them in the position of trying to move an established boundary marker that also matched the legal boundary -- an easy argument for me and hard for them. In any event the developer never contacted me and my new neighbor never knew there had been any dispute. Possibly the farmer never told the developer about it.

If I'd waited until a house was built and sold and then tried to assert my ownership of part of my neighbor's backyard, my lawyer says I may well have lost, even though the legal description of the actual boundary was clear. The nature of the use of the adverse possession (right-of-way, at first, residential property, later) and the way you go about trying to fix it matter. Grabbing it back while it wasn't used at all was the ideal solution.

In the case of a wall between the US and Mexico, that boundary has its own problems, but the wall clearly wouldn't change anything. In the area where the border is defined by the course of the Rio Grande, there have been many disputes over land that switched sides when the river moved. In 1970 a treaty was signed that settled all the previous disputes and established clear rules for addressing new changes in the river course. This is well settled, and the presence of a wall on US soil wouldn't change anything.

Re:OK, but why...

By rufey • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Indeed. The SpaceX property, according to Google Maps (plus code: XRWV+X3 Port Isabel, Texas), is situated north of the Rio Grande river, which *is* the border between the US and Mexico. The terminus of the Rio Grande river where it dumps into the Gulf of Mexico is right there, and from satellite images, the ground looks kinda like wetlands.

Its located at the mouth of the river where it dumps into the Gulf of Mexico. The land looks like a mix of dry and marshy ground. The issue isn't that part of SpaceX's property is in Mexico (its not). Its that you can't build a wall like is being proposed in wet, marshy ground, so the actual wall will be north of the actual border, which means you can be on the south side of the wall and yet be standing on ground belonging to the US.

Re:There seem to be some disputed facts here?

By quantaman • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

So the USA today map and overflight show that the proposed border wall starts at least a dozen miles from the plotted site of the SpaceX facility.

Someone's astonishingly wrong or lying deliberately.

Yes, the currently proposed and constructed wall starts a dozen miles west of the SpaceX facility.

Now DHS and CBP is proposing even more wall and fencing (after all, the usual narrative includes walling the entire border). And one of the proposed sections would go further east, through the SpaceX facility.

SpaceX Seeks Approval For Up To 1M Earth Stations for Its Satellite Service

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
SpaceX just filed a new earth-station license application with America's Federal Communications Commisions, seeking blanket approval "for up to a million earth stations" for customers of their Starlink satellite internet service, reports GeekWire: Those satellites have already received clearance from the FCC, and SpaceX plans to launch the first elements of the initial 4,425-satellite constellation this year, using Falcon 9 rockets.... Eventually, SpaceX wants to build up the network to take in as many as 12,000 satellites in low Earth orbit...

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said the Starlink project aims is to provide high-speed, reliable and affordable broadband data services to consumers in the U.S. and around the world, including an estimated 3.8 billion people who are underserved by existing networks. When he unveiled the project four years ago in Seattle, he said revenue from the internet service would pay for his vision of creating a city on Mars.

The application assures regulators that the earth stations will "incorporate advanced technologies to enable highly efficient use of the spectrum and enhance the customer's broadband experience."

Re:Is anyone else concerned...

By mentil • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

LEO has enough atmospheric drag that without regular boosts, debris/satellites will deorbit and burn up within a few months. There won't be a permanent debris field in LEO. Furthermore, satellites are small. At the same altitude, they're all traveling at the same speed to maintain orbit. Reaching end to end on the surface of the Earth, imagine how many cars could drive with a few cars' lengths between them. Now reduce that to 1 cars' length because you know the satellites are never going to slam on their brakes. Also LEO has a larger diameter than the equator, so bump that up by a bit. It's a very large number. Then there are other orbit angles and slightly different altitudes...

Re:Bring It On

By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Good point. SpaceX is owned by an ex-Paypal executive.

Problem for Astronomical Photography?

By irchans • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I wonder if thousands of satellites will mess up astronomy. Right now, when I take a 30 minute exposure, it is very unusual for a satellite to pass through the frame destroying the image. (Maybe a few times per thousand hours of observing.) But with thousands of satellites or potentially one day millions of satellites...

Re: Revolutionary

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Yea but then you have one big monopoly in the sky... remember when googles motto was do no evil?

A business is only a monopoly if people are forced to use it. Like, for instance, today's rural Internet access. If you're lucky, there is broadband cable available to your neighborhood. But because there is never more than one provider outside large cities, a satellite alternative would be good competition.

Re:Is anyone else concerned...

By Dread Cthulhu • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
To add some math about the amount of available space - the Earth has a surface area of 510 million square kilometers. Give each satellite a comfortable 25x25km block (625km^2) area in its orbit, and each plane can hold over 800,000 satellites. Add in that in the LEO orbits these satellites are in will bring any debris or broken satellites down in 10 years or so, and things will be fine.

Should All Government IT Systems Be Using Open Source Software?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Writing at Linux Journal, Glyn Moody reports that dozens of government IT systems are switching to open source software.

"The fact that this approach is not already the norm is something of a failure on the part of the Free Software community..." One factor driving this uptake by innovative government departments is the potential to cut costs by avoiding constant upgrade fees. But it's important not to overstate the "free as in beer" element here. All major software projects have associated costs of implementation and support. Departments choosing free software simply because they believe it will save lots of money in obvious ways are likely to be disappointed, and that will be bad for open source's reputation and future projects.

Arguably as important as any cost savings is the use of open standards. This ensures that there is no lock-in to a proprietary solution, and it makes the long-term access and preservation of files much easier. For governments with a broader responsibility to society than simply saving money, that should be a key consideration, even if it hasn't been in the past.... Another is transparency. Recently it emerged that Microsoft has been gathering personal information from 300,000 government users of Microsoft Office ProPlus in the Netherlands, without permission and without documentation.

He includes an inspiring quote from the Free Software Foundation Europe about code produced by the government: "If it is public money, it should be public code as well. But when it comes to the larger issue about the general usage of proprietary vs. non-proprietary software -- what do Slashdot's readers think?

Should all government IT systems be using open source software?

Re:Open data standards and open APIs

By Anne Thwacks • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
In the "olden days" (when NASA was going to the moon) it was common for engineering procurement to require a "second source" - before aerospace would buy anything, there had to be an alternative source.

If you had an invention, you had to licence it to a competitor, or it would not be bought Typically, government procurement would buy from multiple suppliers, quantities in inverse proportion to price, to ensure that multiple suppliers would always be available.

I am not sure when this practice stopped - but it seems that things are no longer done this way - and as a result, we get Microsoft, Oracle, and Intel (or, to use the technical term: "totally shafted").

If that is not the decline and fall of civilization as we know it, I don't know what is.


By nine-times • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Honestly, I've come to think that's a bit of a cop-out. If the government can't use FOSS, then I think they should fund the software they need, which should then also be open source.

That may sound excessive, but it's an investment. It accomplishes a bunch of stuff. First, over the long term, it does away with licensing costs. It also allows them to access the source code and verify its security, and then make modifications as needed. Also very importantly, it frees them from proprietary interests. They're not beholden to do things the way their vendor wants and serving their vendor's interests.

Also, whatever improvements they make to the FOSS are likely to be needed somewhere else. Improving public software serves the public interest.

The reality is, buying proprietary software may be "efficient" when looking at the short-term immediate cost, but it's much harder to say what will be efficient and cheap when viewed over the next several decades. I suspect that investing in public software now will pay off several times over in the next 50 years, and that's the sort of timeline the government should be considering.


By i.r.id10t • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Except Canvas is AGPL licensed.

  Sure, you'll loose those nice integrations with Big Blue Button (conferences tool), some of the Speed Grader stuff, the equation editor, the "record from webcam" function in the HTML editor, etc. since those are licensed services or hosted via 3rd party contracts, but you can also replace them yourself.

Strangely, what the college I work for pays for Canvas hosting and support (not a license fee) is about what we paid Angel/Blackboard for license and hosting, but the software is better and our support experience is better AND we get a LOT more resources.

Open Standards are the most important part.

By biggaijin • Score: 3 • Thread

It seriously offends me when I download something from a government Web site and discover that I cannot read it without buying a copy of Microsoft Word or some other proprietary software. It is not my government's job to guarantee Microsoft a market for their products.

Re:All IT systems should be using open source soft

By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Windows is not open source, but users and developers are cheaper.

You're ignoring the cost of running Windows. Not just the up front costs, but the maintenance costs, and the lost opportunity costs when closed source makes something difficult or impractical.

I'd rather not pay the taxes needed to support all OSS.

OSS supports YOU at the same time you support IT. It's not all outlay, you get the software back, and you get improvements from others.

Alphabet's 'Verily' Plans to Use Tech To Fight The Opioid Crisis

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Verily, Alphabet's life science division, is building a tech-focused rehab campus in Dayton, Ohio to combat the opioid crisis," reports CNBC. Verily will join two health networks, Kettering Health Network and Premier Health, to create a nonprofit named OneFifteen. Alexandria Real Estate Equities will design and develop the campus, which will offer both inpatient and outpatient services. There is no single solution to treating substance abuse, with strategies spanning from intensive rehabilitation programs to drop-in meetings. Verily hopes to get a better understanding of what works and what doesn't work in helping people get and stay sober....

Initially, Verily will focus on understanding what works in the clinic and then track patient behavior when they get out to see what sticks, Danielle Schlosser, senior clinical scientist of behavioral health at Verily, said in an interview. Verily will use a "variety of means" to track what works, she said, adding that patients would have to consent to being monitored... OneFifteen CEO Marti Taylor said "Because we will have facilities, an entire ecosystem and data, we'll be able to take a more holistic understanding of a person's health both inside and outside as we follow them long-term."

Verily's blog points out that Americans under 50 years old are more likely to die from unintentional overdoses than any other cause, and that two-thirds of those deaths involve an opioid. "In the face of one of the greatest public health crises the U.S. has seen, we feel compelled to act," they write, saying their company is "focused on making health information useful so people can live healthier lives."

Their blog says their team recognized "the absence of high quality information to guide individuals, communities, and legislators" for picking effective recovery treatements. "Leaning into our capabilities of building health platforms, we are setting out to create a 'learning health system' that aims to address this critical information gap in addiction medicine."

Opioid use ...

By b0s0z0ku • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
Opioid use is the symptom, not the illness. We need to figure out why the US is the #1 consumer of opioids per capita in the world -- why, in a country of such abundance, people feel the need to numb their pain and escape their lives.

In Two Years

By Cmdln Daco • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

In Two Years when Google decides this isn't something they are interested in anymore, and they pitch the whole thing, what will become of the dependencies they have created in 'clients'?


By VeryFluffyBunny • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Google's track record with managing data related to healthcare is about as bad as it can get. Remember Google's epic failure to predict flu outbreaks? Remember Google's violations of patient privacy & breach of contract with the UK's National Health Service? This is nothing more than a time-wasting distraction from an important issue.

How about prosecuting & jailing the executive board of Purdue Pharma for their role in creating the epidemic of prescription opioid addiction & abuse? We're supposed to put people who enact dangerous, harmful, criminal behaviour in jail, right?

Jailing doctors and big pharma

By pablo_max • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

Seriously, how are these doctors and phama guys not in jail?
Why are they prescribing opioids for everything in the US? I friend of mine got her wisdom teeth out and she was prescribed 50 opioid pills?
When I got mine out in Europe, I was given ibuprofen.

It seems clear that your doctors are given kickbacks from big pharma in order to get as many people addicted as possible. The doctors, in this case, are government sanctioned drug dealers and pharma is Columbia.
How is this accepted by you guys? Why is it OK? Something, something freedom?

Re:Opioid use ...

By LostMyAccount • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I keep thinking there must be a way to engineer a close-to-optimal recreational drug and wonder why it hasn't happened.

As for design criteria:

* Diminishing returns on adding additional doses. Either because the drug itself can't bind to receptors beyond some optimal dose, or because its some kind of binary drug with its own antagonist which isn't potent enough until you take the 3rd or 4th tablet. IIRC, some sublingual buprenorphine formulations include nalaxone, which makes them useless for injection but the nalaxone has weak oral bio-availability, so when taken orally it doesn't take effect.

* Relatively short half-life, losing effectiveness after about 4 hours. This might help with ancillary problems where a user has poor motor reflexes or where long-term side effects contribute to some of the problems of "drug use". If you could get pretty high and then it went away relatively quickly, it'd be better than getting moderately high but having the effect last 8 hours, at least from a behavior/lifestyle/side-effects basis.

* No synergistic effects with common other drugs. Try to avoid the problem of taking $engineered_drug and alcohol or other drugs and making a worse or dangerous effect.

It seems like if we had a *better* drug that was legal we'd solve a lot of problems and perhaps keep a lot of people from bothering with more dangerous, expensive black market drugs.

Cannabis seems to pretty close to this, but not quite perfect.