Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2019-Apr-15 today archive

Contents

  1. Fukushima: the Removal of Nuclear Fuel Rods From Damaged Reactor Building Begins
  2. iOS 13 To Feature Dark Mode and Interface Updates, Report Says
  3. Immune Cells May Play a Role In Causing Cavities
  4. TicTocTrack Smartwatch Flaws Can Be Abused To Track Kids
  5. Science and Bicycling Meet In a New Helmet Design
  6. SpaceX Loses the Center Core of Its Falcon Heavy Rocket Due To Choppy Seas
  7. Google Fiber To Pay Nearly $4 Million To Louisville In Exit Deal
  8. DARPA Wants To Make a Better, More Secure Version of WhatsApp
  9. Volkswagen's Former CEO Charged In Germany Over Diesel Rigging
  10. A Hacker Has Dumped Nearly One Billion User Records Over the Past Two Months
  11. Disc-Free Xbox One S Could Land on May 7
  12. Starz Goes on Twitter Meta-Censorship Spree To Cover Up TV-Show Leaks
  13. Hackers Could Read Your Hotmail, MSN, and Outlook Emails by Abusing Microsoft Support
  14. European Commission Gives Final Seal of Approval To Copyright Law Overhaul
  15. Google Quietly Disbanded Another AI Review Board Following Disagreements
  16. Pepsi Says It'll Use an Artificial Constellation, Hung in the Night Sky Next To the Stars, To Promote an Energy Drink
  17. EFF: Facebook Should Notify Users Who Interact With Fake Police 'Sock Puppet' Accounts
  18. Challenging Tesla, Volkswagen Announces Electric SUV, Mass Production of Electric Vehicles
  19. The Rise and Fall of the Bayrob Malware Gang
  20. Former Firefox VP on What It's Like To Be Both a Partner of Google and a Competitor via Google Chrome

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

Fukushima: the Removal of Nuclear Fuel Rods From Damaged Reactor Building Begins

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Workers at the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have begun removing fuel rods from a storage pool near one of the three reactors that suffered meltdowns eight years ago. The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said on Monday that work had begun to remove the first of 566 used and unused fuel assemblies in reactor building No 3. The fuel rods stored in unit No 3's cooling pool were not damaged in the 2011 disaster, when a powerful earthquake and tsunami knocked out Fukushima Daiichi's backup power supply and triggered the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, 25 years earlier.

Tepco said the operation to remove the fuel rods, which are in uncovered pools, would take two years, adding that transferring them to safer ground would better protect them in the event of another catastrophic earthquake. Workers are remotely operating a crane to raise the fuel from a storage rack in the pool and place it into a protective cask. The whole process occurs underwater to prevent radiation leaks. The utility plans to repeat the procedure in the two other reactors that suffered meltdowns.

Re:Solars dangerous too

By sfcat • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Yeh, damn NIMBY's causing Fukushima with their pseudo-regulatory barriers. Solar's also dangerous! What if a solar panel fell and landed on a bird, it could chop the bird in two!...

NIMBY's kill birds!

Ok, let's look at the facts. Lets just start with the total deaths per energy produced. So even with the bad old nuclear designs from the 50s to 70s that we currently use are better than any other energy source. Even with that very few people want to build more BWR or RBMK's. Most scientists and engineers want to build MSRs but to build a nuclear plant you have to follow regulations that written for LWRs and BWRs. For instance, you have to have a Boron system in your nuclear plant by regulation. The Boron system is used to prevent water from splitting into H2 and O2 gasses in a high radiation environment. If too much gas builds up it explodes. So its a good regulation. Except MSRs don't use water for a coolant so there is no Boron system in an MSR. So technically, a MSR plant which can't meltdown and doesn't require external power isn't legal in the US. So an elected official(s) needs to change the regulations but nobody is willing to be the person who changes nuclear regulation due to the NIMBYs. So we have a design that we have been able to build for 60 years, can't meltdown and by any measure is far safer than the LWR and BWRs we are still building. Do you see any MSRs being built?

Consider this, have any of you ever seen an engineering situation where making something a political issue causes better decisions to be made? I doubt it, I never have and you probably haven't either. Making energy production a political issue is just the same as getting the VP of Marketing to choose which web framework you use. We've had a solution that works for decades and instead we delay and promise unicorns which never exist. Your arguments are largely out of ignorance. You probably know about your chosen profession but you clearly don't work in energy. You are expressing your largely uninformed opinions about a subject you haven't spent time researching deeply. And that causes you to believe things that just aren't so and often violate basic principles of physics. But energy production is about physics and physics alone and doesn't give a shit about what you wish was so. Perhaps it would be better to leave these topics to experts but as long as this is a political issue, I don't expect any progress.

Boron doesn't prevent radiolysis!

By Cyberax • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Boron (boric acid) does not prevent splitting of water (which happens at a low enough rate anyway). It's used to reliably shut down the chain reaction, boron is a great neutron poison and borated water is an easy way to deliver it into the core.

As I said, water radiolysis even at full power is generally negligible. The danger is in steam-zirconium reaction, that happens when fuel rods lose cooling and fuel temperature rises past about 800C. This is a purely chemical reaction - zirconium displaces oxygen from water, releasing hydrogen.

Re:You're looking at non-facts.

By sfcat • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

"So even with the bad old nuclear designs from the 50s to 70s that we currently use are better than any other energy source. " = HORSESHIT, moron! Falling off a roof is NOT A RESULT OF ANY POWER SOURCE yet is tabulated as one?

You are dumber than you ought to be given what you've invested time to know halfway. NOBODY DIED AS A RESULT OF SOLAR OR WIND POWER TECHNOLOGIES. They threaten nobody ongoing! Nuclear can't say that.

When dishonest faggots like you try to pretend the likelihood of morons falling off their roof proves industry-investment-dying nuclear power is somehow "safer" than anything else, you know you've hit rock bottom of the slag pool.

To date, 440 workers have died installing solar panels. 150 have died installing wind turbines on windmills. Do you ever get tired of being wrong? And since those sources provide fuck all worth of power, when you divide to calculate deaths by terawatt hour you get that solar kills several times more people than nuclear. But yea, do go on and give us your completely uninformed opinion and continue to insist your guesses are equal to data and years of experience in the field.

Years from now, after nuclear finally gets us off of fossil fuels, how do you think your children or grandchildren will think of environmentalists from now? I bet that years from now, historians will lump you in with anti-vaxers (pro-plaguers), flat earthers and Trumpers. All of those groups deny basic data and facts and do so in the fact of that information for years. All of those groups have leaders who know that they are wrong and only care about that sweet, sweet donation money. Do you think the folks that run environmental lobbying groups actually want a solution to climate change? Don't get in the way of that money train dear.

Re:You're looking at non-facts.

By vyvepe • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

To date, 440 workers have died installing solar panels. 150 have died installing wind turbines on windmills.

Of course, that assessment depends on whether you use total distance travelled, or deaths per launch.

So is it 14 deaths for 537,114,016 miles travelled, 14 deaths for 833 total riders, or 14 deaths for 135 flights?

Next up a discussion of the safest vehicle ever - the Space Shuttle.

You are misleading with a bad analogy.

A Space Shuttle is used to get stuff to an orbit. So the correct metric is number of deaths per kg delivered to the given orbit. Trying to count it per mile travelled is completely stupid because travelling around Earth is not the goal of Space Shuttle.

On the other side, counting number of death per kWh is the correct metric in energy production area. The goal of a power plant is to produce energy. So we must count it per kWh.

Re:You're looking at non-facts.

By rogoshen1 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Well,

I mean.. if it's radioactive enough to be dangerous, it could still be used for fuel. Go far enough down the line with reprocessing and that waste goes from having a half-life of 10,000 years down to about 100.

Thank you Jimmy Carter.

iOS 13 To Feature Dark Mode and Interface Updates, Report Says

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
9to5Mac has learned of several new features expected to be included in iOS 13. From the report: Dark Mode: There will be a system-wide Dark Mode that can be enabled in Settings, including a high contrast version, similar to what's already available on macOS. Speaking of macOS, iPad apps that run on the Mac using Marzipan will finally take advantage of the Dark Mode support on both systems.
Multitasking: There are many changes coming to iPad with iOS 13, including the ability for apps to have multiple windows. Each window will also be able to contain sheets that are initially attached to a portion of the screen, but can be detached with a drag gesture, becoming a card that can be moved around freely, similar to what an open-source project called "PanelKit" could do. These cards can also be stacked on top of each other, and use a depth effect to indicate which cards are on top and which are on the bottom. Cards can be flung away to dismiss them.
Undo gesture: With iOS 13, Apple is introducing a new standard undo gesture for text input on the iPad. The gesture starts as a three-finger tap on the keyboard area, sliding left and right allows the user to undo and redo actions interactively.
Safari improvements: Safari on iOS 13 for the iPad will automatically ask for a desktop version of websites when necessary, preventing a common issue where websites will render their iPhone version even when running on an iPad with a big screen. YouTube is notorious for this behavior, forcing users to rely on a 'Request Desktop Site' button.
Font management: Font management is getting a major upgrade on iOS 13. It will not be necessary to install a profile to get new fonts into the system anymore. Instead there will be a new font management panel in Settings. A new standard font picker component will be available for developers and the system will notify the user when they open a document that has missing fonts.
Smarter Mail: The upgraded Mail app will be able to organize messages into categories such as marketing, purchases, travel, "not important" and more, with the categories being searchable. Users will also be able to add messages to a "read later" queue similar to third-party email apps. Improved multiple item selection: The focus on productivity on iOS continues with the inclusion of new gestures to allow for the selection of multiple items in table views and collection views, which make up for most of the user interfaces found in apps that list large amounts of data. Users will be able to drag with multiple fingers on a list or collection of items to draw a selection, similar to clicking and dragging in Finder on the Mac.
New Volume HUD and other changes: Other features to come with iOS 13 include a redesigned Reminders app, which is also coming to the Mac, a new volume HUD, better "Hey Siri" rejection for common mistaken noises such as laughter and crying babies, better multilingual support for keyboards and dictation, and expanded in-app printing controls.
Apple is expected to officially unveil the next major iPhone and iPad OS at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on June 3rd.

TLS 1.3

By goosesensor • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Would be great if they could also add support for TLS 1.3 IMAP mail accounts.....

Apple != Innovation anymore

By ironicsky • Score: 4 • Thread

I miss the days when Apple was an innovator.

First widely successful music player? Apple
First widely successful smart phone? Apple
First small footprint TV streaming device for laptops and smart phones? Apple

Hell, go back to the 80's, first widely successful computer platform? Apple.

Without Steve Jobs, apple lost its innovation. Even near the end for Steve, his focus obviously shifted and his level of Innovation went down.

Now, Apple is playing catch up to Android, their Macs aren't innovative, maybe except for the touch bar, and the laser mapping face unlock.

My first two smart phones were iPhone 4 and 4s. My fiance has an iPhone X, and I see absolutely no reason to ever go back. The experience on my Pixel 3 is much, much better.

Re:"Smarter mail" can kiss my shiny metal a...

By radarskiy • Score: 4 • Thread

" I can't simply see individual messages - it insists on folding all previous replies into a single concoction"

If you don't want threading, don't turn on threading. Settings -> Mail -> Organize by Thread -> Off

" no longer a simple chronological set."

Since I can't find anything that prevents iOS from showing my pictures in chronological order in the Photos tab, I can't offer any suggestion on how to re-enable it. It's already doing what you want.

"Please give me simple applications that do nothing unless *I SPECIFICALLY ASK THEM TO*!!!!"

Stop turning on the settings that do the things you don't want.

Re:Apple != Innovation anymore

By DarkOx • Score: 4 • Thread

See i would make the argument Apple is not an innovator or at least has not been since the Apple II. What they have been exceptionally good at is
1) Polishing and integration
2) Timing the market, they are never the first market with any tech; but they have been historically great at get a product out the door just as an idea is taking off.
2a) They do this just in time to learn from others mistakes
2b) They do this early enough that their product is still often many peoples first encounter with a given tech.
2c) They have accelerated to identifying the critical features and branding them.
3) They have been good identifying their missteps and correcting course; ie native apps on iPhone.

However (3) is only in the second Jobsian era - certainly they stuck with Power way to long, They failed at paying the technical debt in MacOS way to long. While Microsoft brought out modern platfoms with real memory protection etc and Linux brought the best of Unix to the desktop; Apple was busy making jigsaw puzzle icons or somethings. Those things nearly destroyed what is now one of the world largest companies at least in terms of capitalization. That is pretty amazing when you think about it. They literally in went from bankruptcy death watch at the end of the 90s to commanding wealth that is the envy of many nations. Quite remarkable. We shall if Tim Cook can screw it up they way Scully did.

A welcome change....

By Rick Zeman • Score: 3 • Thread

"Undo gesture: With iOS 13, Apple is introducing a new standard undo gesture for text input on the iPad. The gesture starts as a three-finger tap on the keyboard area, sliding left and right allows the user to undo and redo actions interactively."

Whoever came up with "shake to undo" should be condemned to use Android for the rest of their life as it's one of the two most un-Apple-like GUI misdesigns in recent history (the other being MacOS Safari in full-screen mode and the jumping clo

Immune Cells May Play a Role In Causing Cavities

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Researchers at the University of Toronto have found that cavities may be collateral damage from an overzealous immune system. New Atlas reports: Traditionally, bacteria have taken most of the blame for cavities and tooth decay. The bugs cling to your teeth as plaque and produce acid as waste, which dissolves tooth enamel, dentin and even filling material. But the new study suggests the story is more complicated than that. Oral immune cells called neutrophils are dispatched by the body in response to invading bacteria -- but the researchers found that they might be a little careless in the battle.

On their own, neutrophils can't damage teeth but the problems arise after acids from bacteria demineralize them. Once weakened, enzymes released by the neutrophils could wreak havoc on other tooth substances. Damage was found to appear in a matter of hours, and worse still, it also seems to apply to tooth-colored fillings, which may explain why they tend to fail within five to seven years. The silver lining of the discovery is that it could lead to new types of treatment, or new standards for testing materials that are to be used in fillings.
The research was published in the journal Acta Biomateralia.

There is a lot of MAY science.

By Futurepower(R) • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
"Immune Cells May Play a Role In Causing Cavities"

The key word is "may".

The issues are not being fully explored.

A Related Story

By TechyImmigrant • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I follow a carnivore diet, on which I dropped 70 pounds and halted my internal inflammation. So no sugar or plants.

6 months in, I went to the dentist.
The hygenist was doing her thing. The dentist walked in and asked "So how is he doing with his flossing?"
The hygenist said "Perfectly - he'd been keep it clean between his teeth, there is zero build up and his gums aren't inflamed any more".
But I had not brushed or flossed once.

So plants and sugar that promote inflammation also contributes to the tooth decay. This is n=1 supportive evidence of that finding.

Carelessness neutrophils

By Livius • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I know we've seen worse in science reporting, but 'overzealous' is not a helpful term to use in describing the immune system.

They still saying acid produced by bacteria is the underlying cause, so nothing new there, *but* they've identified a mismatch between the immune system's strategy for responding to the bacteria and the altered chemical environment created by said bacteria, and that insight potentially could prove very valuable in determining improved treatments.

Re:A Related Story

By mishehu • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Repeat after me: "The plural of anecdote is not data." And certainly the singular of anecdote is not data either

TicTocTrack Smartwatch Flaws Can Be Abused To Track Kids

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
secwatcher shares a report from Threatpost: A popular smartwatch that allows parents to track their children's whereabouts, TicTocTrack, has been discovered to be riddled with security issues that could allow hackers to track and call children. Researchers at Pen Test Partners revealed vulnerabilities in the watch (sold in Australia) on Monday, which could enable hackers to track children's location, spoof the child's location or view personal data on the victims' accounts. The parent company of the TicTocTrack watch, iStaySafe Pty Ltd., has temporarily restricted access to the watch's service and app while it investigates further. Researchers found that the service's back end does not make any authorization attempt on any request -- besides the user having a valid username and password combination. That means that an attacker who is logged into the service could remotely compromise the app and track other accounts that are based in Australia.

The smartwatch, available in Australia for $149 (USD), is designed for children and uses GPS to track the movement of the wearer every six minutes, and offers voice calling and SMS features. The smartwatch's API can be attacked by changing the FamilyIdentifier number (which identifies the family that the user belongs to), which then could give a bad actor complete access to the user's data -- including the children's location, parent's full names, phone numbers and other personal identifiable information.
Researchers with Pen Test Partners collaborated with security researcher Troy Hunt to test the attack. Hunt uploaded a video showing how the smartwatch vulnerability could be exploited to call his daughter -- and how her smartwatch would answer automatically without any interaction needed from her end.

Didn't work for me

By Drunkulus • Score: 3 • Thread
I tried calling his daughter but for some reason she never picks up. On the plus side, I was able to use the watch to have his Tesla pick me up and give me a ride to work. 3 stars, would buy again.

Is there a secure one?

By Opportunist • Score: 3 • Thread

This is hardly the first report of kids' smartwatches being insecure tracking devices. We've heard that in 2017, in 2018 again, quite bluntly, if you haven't heard it by now, you probably don't give a rat's ass about your kids' privacy.

Then again, buying such a watch is already a pretty good indicator that you don't give a fuck about your kids' privacy, so...

Science and Bicycling Meet In a New Helmet Design

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
John Timmer from Ars Technica got a chance to take a look at Trek's new bicycle helmet that they claim offers "the first major change in helmet technology in years," and is backed up with peer-reviewed science. Here's an excerpt from Timmer's report: WaveCel is the product of orthopedic surgeon Steve Madey and a biomedical engineer named Michael Bottlang. The two had been working on a variety of ideas related to medical issues and protective gear, funded in part by federal grant money. When considering the idea of a lightweight material that could evenly distribute forces, Bottlang told Ars that they first focused on a honeycomb pattern. But they found that it was actually too robust -- the honeycomb wouldn't collapse until a lot of force had been applied, and then it would fail suddenly.

The design they eventually developed has a shape that allows flexing almost immediately when force is applied. "It starts to glide right away," Bottlang said. The manufacturing technique creates a clear point of failure that allows more extensive flexing once a certain level of force is exceeded -- part of the structure will fold over rather than experiencing a complete failure. Then, once folded, the polymer it's made of will allow neighboring cells to glide over each other. This provides some resistance even after the structure has collapsed. For the helmet, a patch of this material is attached to the inside of a more traditional EPS helmet, which provides impact resistance. But the WaveCel mesh is allowed to float within the helmet and can absorb much of the force of off-axis impacts. The thin strips of soft material that cushion the helmet where it rests on the head (also found in more traditional helmets) are attached directly to the WaveCel mesh.

It looks more uncomfortable than it is. Madey, the orthopedic surgeon, said they've done tests that show that, even if placed directly on the skin, the WaveCel mesh wouldn't break the skin under most impact forces. How does their new helmet work? According to a paper authored by Bottlang and Madey, helmets including the material reduced rotational acceleration from impacts by 73 percent compared to a normal helmet. A slip pad within a normal helmet (MIPS) only dropped acceleration by 22 percent, which seems like a substantial difference.

Testing Apparatus

By alvinrod • Score: 3 • Thread
The helmet sounds interesting, but the testing apparatus ( image from the study) in the linked study is really damned cool. I wish we could get something like that at the office, because it looks like it could one hell of an inverted choke-slam to those in need of such.

MIPS vs 'Normal'

By G-Man • Score: 3 • Thread

It should be noted that MIPS (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-directional_Impact_Protection_System) was only introduced to bike helmets pretty recently. The vast majority of helmets out there - and the majority of helmets on sale today - don't have MIPS. It tends to only be in high-end helmets, or is an additional cost over the non-MIPS version of the same helmet.

Re:Visual inspection

By mysticgoat • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This helmet is worth a close look.

For the last 40+ years, bike helmets have been designed to protect the contents of the head from a single direct impact, They are the best protection for the occasional crash when the cyclist is thrown over the handlebars such that he drops head first onto the pavement from a height of 5 to 6 feet, or less. That kind of crash doesn't happen very often.

Most crashes involve significant shear forces as well as direct impacts. Also most crashes involving other vehicles are a very fast sequence of bounces where each bounce is a complex of impact and shear forces. Foam helmets offer no protection with shearing and often no protection after the first impact.

This helmet's design offers more protection against multiple direct impacts and shear forces.

SpaceX Loses the Center Core of Its Falcon Heavy Rocket Due To Choppy Seas

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: SpaceX successfully landed the center core of its Falcon Heavy rocket on a drone ship last week, but the vehicle accidentally fell into the ocean while in transit to the Florida coast. The company blamed the loss on choppy seas. "Over the weekend, due to rough sea conditions, SpaceX's recovery team was unable to secure the center core booster for its return trip to Port Canaveral," SpaceX said in a statement to The Verge. "As conditions worsened with eight to ten foot swells, the booster began to shift and ultimately was unable to remain upright. While we had hoped to bring the booster back intact, the safety of our team always takes precedence. We do not expect future missions to be impacted."

SpaceX does have ways to secure the rockets it lands in the ocean, including a robot known as the "octagrabber" that latches on to the base of the boosters. But because the center core connects to two side boosters, it has a different design than a normal Falcon 9 booster. So the octagrabber cannot hold on to it in the same way.
The center core is a modified Falcon 9 booster -- one of three that make up the Falcon Heavy rocket -- which flew last week during the second flight of the Falcon Heavy. "Following takeoff, all three cores of the rocket successfully landed back on Earth: the two outer cores touched down on dual concrete landing pads at the Cape while the center core touched down on the company's drone ship named Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic," reports The Verge.

Re:Okay, gotta ask

By JoshuaZ • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Perhaps they should come up with a way to lay the booster down on its side, once it's successfully landed on the drone ship?

Doesn't work. The rockets are not designed to handle heavy horizontal stress. They can handle pretty extreme vertical stress but to make them survive being on their sides that reliably would require a lot more reinforcements which means the rockets would have a lot more mass.

I love it

By Snotnose • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
A bunch of armchair aeronautical scientists telling SpaceX how to fix their problem.

Re:Obvious response

By Bruce Perens • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
It wasn't physically possible. The side boosters came back to Florida, but the center booster was going too fast to land anywhere but in the Atlantic. They will fix the problem, which was that the robot which locks down recovered boosters did not work with the center one from a Falcon Heavy.

Re:Okay, gotta ask

By religionofpeas • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Grabbing it and laying it down is just a matter of engineering.

But there's no need. The center of mass is very low due to empty fuel/oxygen tanks, and heavy engines at the bottom, and the booster is already very stable standing upright. The only thing that needs to be done is grab the legs with an improved octograbber, so it doesn't start sliding around.

Re:I love it

By timeOday • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Let he whose Christmas Tree never fell over cast the first stone.

Google Fiber To Pay Nearly $4 Million To Louisville In Exit Deal

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
As Google Fiber prepares to leave Louisville, Kentucky, Google has agreed to pay the city government $3.84 million to fix damage to city streets. "The payments, to be made over 20 months, will cover removing fiber cables and sealant from roads, milling and paving streets 'where needed' and removing Google's above-ground infrastructure," reports WDRB, citing a news release from Mayor Greg Fischer's office. From the report: Google Fiber also agreed to donate $150,000 to the Community Foundation of Louisville to support Metro's "digital inclusion" efforts, which include "refurbishing used computers for low-income individuals and the enrollment of public housing residents in low-cost internet access through other companies providing service in Louisville," according to the mayor's office. Google Fiber, a unit of the Silicon Valley tech giant, said Feb. 7 that it would abandon the Louisville market after running into too many problems with the micro-trenching technique it used to install its fiber-optic cables as shallow as two inches below the pavement surface of city streets. Louisville, which lobbied for years to get Google Fiber, has the distinction of being the first city to lose the super-fast internet service. The report notes that Google Fiber only reached a small slice of the city, estimating that the service was only available to, at most, about 11,000 households.

Microduct

By Spazmania • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I've worked with microduct under slots cut in the street. Done properly, it works well.

Two inches down? That's nuts. You have to pack sand on top of the duct so it stays in place and then seal the sand so it doesn't wash away. And the seal doesn't stay. You have to keep redoing it until the next time the road is paved.

Why remove infrastructure?

By SuperKendall • Score: 3 • Thread

Couldn't the city just have taken over the cables at least? Why do they have to be removed?

I can see repairing the damage but it seems excessive to go back and remove everything installed.

Re:Why remove infrastructure?

By Richard_at_work • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Well, the problem is that the installation method isn't successful - its a time and money sink that Google wants nothing more to do with, so to leave it in place either means abandoning it in place (which has its own ongoing maintenance problems anyway, to ensure the pavement or roadway is safe) or someone else taking on the time and money sink in maintenance...

Thats why its being removed - its a costly failure and if left in place its an ongoing costly failure.

DARPA Wants To Make a Better, More Secure Version of WhatsApp

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Defense and Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) appears to be in the process of developing its own ultra secure communication platform. The program is called "Resilient Anonymous Communication for Everyone," or RACE, and it will be similar to WhatsApp in that it will be for everyone to use. Trusted Reviews reports: The objectives of the program are to create a distributed messaging system that can do three things: Exist completely within a network; Provide confidentiality, integrity and availability of messaging; and Preserve privacy to any participant in the system.

DARPA seem to be putting security front and center, and the description of the project claims that "compromised system data and associated networked communications should not be helpful for comprising any additional parts of the system," meaning that DARPA are keen that one breach shouldn't also give them a leg up on access to other parts of the system. So, will we soon be using a U.S government branded DARPA? Probably not, but the chances are that RACE will go some way to creating a messaging app that's resilient to attacks, with the protocol and security they find no doubt dripping through to consumer tech and features in the coming years.

DARPA wants encryption for SPYS

By fish_in_the_c • Score: 3 • Thread

is this not just obvious. what use case would a spy organization have for software that:
Untraceable unreadable distributed long distance communication ubiquitously.
Isn't that basically the holy grail of military encryption.

A name for that project

By zm • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Signal.

Re: No thanks

By illiac_1962 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
You mean like the internet? The one we are using right now to bitch about things anonymously and do our banking?

Re:Could this be a wonderful change?

By Gavagai80 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

DARPA developed the Onion routing the Tor project uses, too -- way back in the 1990s. The US military is always keen to enable private communications between dissidents and demonstrators in disliked nations, and also for Americans organizing activities in said nations. That such tools also happen to be able to protect Americans from the US government is not sufficient reason to kill the projects, apparently. We can only hope the ability of foreign hackers to acquire decryption keys will prevent their use.

Re:No thanks

By Oceanplexian • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
On one hand, no, but on another, isn't that the point of the government? They exist to serve the people. Assuming the code is open source, audited, and done in a way that's completely open and transparent? yeah I think I would trust it.

Volkswagen's Former CEO Charged In Germany Over Diesel Rigging

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Former Volkswagen AG head Martin Winterkorn was charged with serious fraud in Germany for his role in the diesel-rigging scandal that rocked the carmaker and cost it about $33 billion. The former chief executive officer was accused alongside four other managers of equipping vehicles sold to customers in Europe and the U.S. with a so-called defeat device, authorities in Braunschweig said Monday in an emailed statement. Fraud charges carry a sentence of as long as 10 years, and prosecutors also want to seize bonuses paid to the five men, which ranged from 300,000 euros for some managers to about 11 million euros for Winterkorn.

Allegations that VW wrongfully withheld information about the emission software used in its diesel cars have loomed over the company since the scandal first broke in 2015. The crisis involved as many as 11 million diesel cars worldwide, and shattered the Wolfsburg-based company's reputation. Winterkorn's lawyer Felix Doerr said prosecutors haven't given him full access to their files. Unless all information is disclosed to him, he said, he can't comment on the charges.
Winterkorn was also charged with breach of trust for failing to swiftly tell authorities about the defeat devices used "to seemingly meet tightened emission standards for diesel cars and preserve market shares for VW or even increase them for the benefit of the company and the accused themselves," prosecutors said.

Finally

By gweihir • Score: 3 • Thread

That probably means the evidence is extremely solid or they would have swept it under the carpet. Greed, stupidity and no integrity at all.

Re:Finally

By Tablizer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

At first they blamed it all on the engineers. Engineers rarely intentionally rig things that way without management pressure.

I've been pressured to rig IT stuff via management, so I see this from a very personal perspective.

A Hacker Has Dumped Nearly One Billion User Records Over the Past Two Months

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A hacker who spoke with ZDNet in February about wanting to put up for sale the data of over one billion users is getting dangerously close to his goal after releasing another 65.5 million records last week and reaching a grand total of 932 million records overall. From a report: The hacker's name is Gnosticplayers, and he's responsible for the hacks of 44 companies, including last week's revelations. Since mid-February, the hacker has been putting batches of hacked data on Dream Market, a dark web marketplace for selling illegal products, such as guns, drugs, and hacking tools. He's released data from companies like 500px, UnderArmor, ShareThis, GfyCat, and MyHeritage, just to name the bigger names. Releases have been grouped in four rounds -- Round 1 (620 million user records), Round 2 (127 million user records), Round 3 (93 million user records), and Round 4 (26.5 million user records).

Re:So?

By JaredOfEuropa • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

My pass phrase is 1kb long. Good fucking luck with that

Worst pickup line ever...

Re:So?

By Locke2005 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
"Do you think maybe he's compensating for something?" -- Shrek

In other news...

By BringsApples • Score: 3 • Thread

...People all over the world are continuously giving their data away to FaceBook for free.

Sure sure

By jbmartin6 • Score: 3 • Thread
This appears to be the same person behind the "Collection #1" releases circa Jan 18th. it was just a collection of a bunch of older dumps i.e. data aggregated from other breaches. I didn't see any reason to think this person was behind all of the hacks, I got the sense he might also brag he could hack into any porn site on the Internet by putting in his mom's credit card number.

Advice

By Required Snark • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
Never sign up for anything ever.

Really. Don't do online payments, don't subscribe to news organizations, don't stream games, don't get email notifications, nothing. The only sort of safe exception is medical information under HIPPA.

Remember no organization is at risk if they leak your info. The cost of a breach is just factored into the cost of doing business. That's why HIPPA is an exception. Medical information leaks are treated extremely seriously and they can even cause an organization to be shut down.

The only one who is at risk if personal data becomes public is you. Organizations don't give a damn about you.

Disc-Free Xbox One S Could Land on May 7

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft is about to launch an even cheaper Xbox One S. In order to cut costs, the company is removing the Blu-ray disc drive altogether. According to leaked marketing images spotted by WinFuture, the console could launch on May 7th for $258 in Germany. From a report: Given that the launch is just a few weeks away and that those marketing images line up perfectly with previous rumors, chances are this is the real deal. As you can see on WinFuture's images, it looks exactly like an Xbox One S without the disc slot. The console is called Xbox One S All Digital and comes with a 1TB hard drive -- most standard Xbox One S consoles currently also feature a 1TB hard drive. Microsoft states clearly that this console is only for digital games. If you already have physical Xbox One games, you wonâ(TM)t be able to insert them in the console.

Re:No disc = no offline gaming?

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Huh? Why would that be? Offline gaming works just fine on other platforms.

You'll own nothing.

By kimgkimg • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
You'll be able to play your games until MS decides to kill the service, then you'll own nothing. See Zune and Window Phone...

Will you be able to connect a USB blu ray drive?

By xack • Score: 3 • Thread
Or Will Microsoft not give us this option?

XBONE SAD

By cfalcon • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Microsoft continues to lead the pack in terms of ludicrous names.

First we had the Xbox, which made sense. Then we had the Xbox 360, which didn't make much sense. People called it "the 360", so being proper villains, they decided to come up with a name that would make people call their new system "the one", like complete with religious overtones, because that's a good use for whatever part of our meat computers experience religion and awe, some disposable plastic box.

To accomplish this, they named it the Xbox One, which no one calls it, because there's already an Xbox 1, it's the thing that came before the Xbox 360. It gets labelled "one" in retrospect because that is how numbers work.

So it's the Xbone. Microsoft fought this because they thought it was some slur, but really, it's just what it's called.

So then we ended up with the Xbonex and the Xbones.

And now this one- the "Xbox One S All Digital", which is now the XBONE S.A.D.

100% Irrelevant in 2019

By nehumanuscrede • Score: 3 • Thread

When you purchase a hard copy ( disc ) of a brand new game, it is likely already useless as the game developers seem to be incapable of launching and shipping a game that actually works right out of the box. ( It's called incompetence )

You'll put your disc in and your game system will usually tell you that an n gigabyte level patch ( where n is a ridiculously large number ) is necessary before you can actually play the game. It may or may not also require a console firmware update as well.

The way I see it, owning the physical disc is pretty pointless as it usually contains a broken / buggy version of the game. ( Assuming you even get a physical disc. Some are giving you a pretty box with nothing more than a download link / code inside. Even high $$$ professional software is guilty of this. )

Additionally, moving to an all digital / download model is pretty much the final nail in the coffin for the secondary / used game markets.
This will do for consoles what Steam did to PC's.

Starz Goes on Twitter Meta-Censorship Spree To Cover Up TV-Show Leaks

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
American entertainment giant Starz is continuing to remove tweets that link to a TorrentFreak news report about leaked TV-shows. From a report: Last week we posted a news article documenting how several TV-show episodes had leaked online before their official release. Due to the leaks, complete seasons of unreleased TV-shows such as "The Spanish Princess," "Ramy," and "The Red Line," surfaced on pirate sites. In most cases, there were visible signs revealing that the leaks were sourced from promotional screeners. The leaks also hit Starz, as three then-unreleased episodes from its TV series "American Gods" appeared online as well. The American entertainment company was obviously not happy with that, but its response was rather unconventional.

Soon after the news was published, Starz issued a takedown request through The Social Element Agency, requesting Twitter to remove our tweet to our own article. Twitter was quick to comply and removed the tweet that supposedly infringed Starz copyrights. We disagreed. The article in question never linked to any infringing material. It did include a screenshot from a leaked episode, showing the screener watermarks, but those watermarks were central to the story, as we explained in a follow-up piece. The good news is that many legal scholars, journalists, and lawyers agree with our stance. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), for example, responded that Starz has no right to silence TorrentFreak and also shared that opinion on Twitter, where many others chimed in as well. That's when things started to spiral out of control. Starz takedown efforts only encouraged more people to share the original story about the leaks, which is a classic example of the 'Streisand Effect'. However, Starz didn't budge and issued takedown notices against those tweets as well.

The “Starz effect”...

By Sebby • Score: 3 • Thread
Take the Streisand effect, and multiply it by six!

Leaks or Marketing

By alvinrod • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I wonder if this was a "leak" or if this was done intentionally as marketing. Up until this moment I wasn't aware that the show existed. Advertising costs a good amount of money, but why pay for that when you can just leak a little bit of content and then run around screaming about it in the exact kind of way that is guaranteed to draw attention to yourself?

Can the Streisand Effect be harnessed to achieve greater awareness?

Re:Why is twitter lending itself to this?

By DickBreath • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Capitalists understand that morals are a valuable resource, and as such have marketable value to be sold to the highest bidder.

Re:Leaks or Marketing

By the_skywise • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
That's a pretty complex (and random) system you're thinking of.
If anything I'd say it's more likely that torrentfreak is in bed with Starz - posting the article on Starz' behalf, then Starz gets it taken down, then Torrentleak "blows the whistle".
Anything else is depending on sheer random luck that someone notices and writes a story on it and then hope that the story gains traction. Your ad dollars are better spent on something with concrete results.
I mean, taking that out to its logical conclusion - did the EFF leak the videos so Torrentleak would write the article so Starz would clamp down so EFF could get that sweet sweet outrage funding?

No - I think Starz' "social compliance security team" did their job so that Twitters' "patent and ethics supervisory team" did their job and Torrentleak got burned wrongly because of the short sightedness of both. Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to stupidity - the old adage which is even more true today.

Re:Leaks or Marketing

By DRJlaw • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

If anything I'd say it's more likely that torrentfreak is in bed with Starz - posting the article on Starz' behalf, then Starz gets it taken down, then Torrentleak "blows the whistle".

It's even more likely that you are in bed with torrentfreak and Starz. Then you go on Slashdot and whip up the conspiracy theory outrage machine to spread the word amongst those who can't be bothered to RTFA while pocketing your filthy, filthy lucre.

After all, in bed it's the more the merrier...

Hackers Could Read Your Hotmail, MSN, and Outlook Emails by Abusing Microsoft Support

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
eatmorekix writes: On Saturday, Microsoft confirmed that some users of the company's email service had been targeted by hackers. A hacker or group of hackers had first broken into a customer support account for Microsoft, and then used that to gain access to information related to customers' email accounts such as the subject lines of their emails and who they've communicated with. But the issue is much worse than previously reported, with the hackers able to access email content from a large number of Outlook, MSN, and Hotmail email accounts, according to a source who witnessed the attack in action and described it before Microsoft's statement, as well as screenshots provided to Motherboard. Microsoft confirmed to Motherboard that hackers gained access to the content of some customers' emails.

European Commission Gives Final Seal of Approval To Copyright Law Overhaul

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The European Commission, the European Union's executive body, has approved a long-gestating major reform to copyright law, which had already been passed by the European Parliament last month. From a report: The overhaul contains two controversial provisions that will make online platforms liable for illegal uploading of copyright-protected content on their sites, as well as force Google, Facebook and other digital companies to pay publishers for press articles they post online. "With today's agreement, we are making copyright rules fit for the digital age. Europe will now have clear rules that guarantee fair remuneration for creators, strong rights for users and responsibility for platforms," said European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. According to the French newspaper Le Monde, six countries -- Italy, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg, Poland and the Netherlands -- voted again the reform.

Will hurt EU in the end.

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Informative • Thread

Two countries, Germany and Spain, already tried to pull this stunt before. Germany was first, and Google retaliated by making companies sign a thing stating that if Google was to host those snippets they would do it licence free. Spain didn't like that so they made sure Google couldn't do that in their country. Google was like fine, guess what, we aren't hosting your news snippets at all. Spain complained, tried to take Google to court and told the judges that Google wasn't being fair, because them not hosting such content was hurting tons of business. Courts told Spain Google don't have to do business with anyone they don't want to do business with. In the end news companies in Spain were losing far far more money by not having their content hosted because Google wouldn't pay for license vs going license free.

Punish Google for "illegal" uploads?

By flajann • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Google -- and any other online site -- cannot possibly know the upload contains "illegal" content until the upload is completed. So much babbling here about "Upload Filters" is even more perplexing, as though filter software will need to be installed on your computer before uploads are even allowed!!!!

The EU politicians are idiots, of course, and YouTube has long since had copyright detection where your video will be blocked from viewing if YT's algorithms think your video has protected content.

As far as news stories, Google is doing the news sites a favour, driving traffic to them. Talk about biting your gift horse.

I am not saying that Google is a shining company, as the recent fiasco with James Damore demonstrates. But come on. Google provides so many free services to everyone, why bitch? Maps is a fine example, and I use that app daily to navigate through the rush hours in Berlin. I would actually pay for that service. And yes, yes, I know they are storing my movements -- for me, they have my movements stored all the way back to 2009. I actually find it useful to see precisely when and where I've travelled around the world. It's a privacy issue for sure, but then you don't have to use Google, or you can simply create a burner account if it matters that much to you.

The EU seems hell-bent on destroying the Internet. At least for Europe. All Google and others have to do is simply block Europe (and I'll have my VPN at the ready!!!). How would Europe get along without Google? Bing? Yahoo? Sure. It would be funny as hell if the big Internet companies boycotted the EU. Funny as hell.

Re:Block them all

By Cid Highwind • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

As a content provider my self (photographer), it's disheartening to see my work pop up on social media in numbers without end and I only get compensation from the tiny Internet real estate that I initially did business with.

What value would you put on a "wow, that's neat" *clicks share button* repost of one of your photos on instafacetwit? And how many of those reposters do you expect to pay it?

At least we can see who

By anarcobra • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Is not bought and paid for by the old media trying to destroy the internet.

Re:Block them all

By Blue Stone • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

>As a content provider my self (photographer), it's disheartening to see my work pop up on social media in numbers without end and I only get compensation from the tiny Internet real estate that I initially did business with.

Mate, none of those people sharing your images on social media would have paid you to do that anyway. You realise that, right? Nothing, as such, not even the *opportunity* to make money from those images, has been lost in that respect.

One problem with IP law and the mentality that can surround it is that it gives some people the false impression that creative cultural expression is exactly the same as tangible material property. And it isn't.

I'm not saying that commercial operations should be free to use any image as they see fit without financial and legal obligations to the coyright holder, but I am saying that to expect people who use non-licensed copyrighted material casually on social media the same as if they should have paid for a license, is ridiculous.

European law, with this new copyright law, as well as others such as the so-called 'right to be forgotten' law, has shown itself to still hold to a pre-digital, pre-internet mentality. Copyright is not fit for the modern age, and laws such as the one just passed are, if anything, a step backward.

Stuckists stamping around in their sabots. Except this time, it's not the working classes calling a halt to the new age, it's the establishment and factory owners (which is why it's succeeding and will probably get a lot worse).

Google Quietly Disbanded Another AI Review Board Following Disagreements

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google is disbanding a panel in London to review its artificial-intelligence work in health care, WSJ reported Monday, as disagreements about its effectiveness dogged one of the tech industry's highest-profile efforts to govern itself. From a report: The Alphabet unit is struggling with how best to set guidelines for its sometimes-sensitive work in AI -- the ability for computers to replicate tasks that only humans could do in the past. It also highlights the challenges Silicon Valley faces in setting up self-governance systems as governments around the world scrutinize issues ranging from privacy and consent to the growing influence of social media and screen addiction among children. AI has recently become a target in that stepped-up push for oversight as some sensitive decision-making -- including employee recruitment, health-care diagnoses and law-enforcement profiling -- is increasingly being outsourced to algorithms. The European Commission is proposing a set of AI ethical guidelines and researchers have urged companies to adopt similar rules. But industry efforts to conduct such oversight in-house have been mixed. Further reading: Google Cancels AI Ethics Board In Response To Outcry.

Way too simplistic

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Sorry, but why would we trust multi-billion dollar companies to self regulate

Because if they do not they die, or are punished rather badly.

their clear goal is maximizing profits

Here's the problem with being afraid of that - you have no idea what that actually means. In fact, even GOOGLE does not know what that really means.

No-one knows what actions would truly "maximize profits". Certainly not the people outside the company's top execs who have no inkling of the roadmap for the company, and very little ability to understand what will even be possible in five years or longer. But for those inside the company, even then actions are just an educated guess.

So companies may be trying to "maximize profits" but since there is no one sure way to do so, instead what they are really doing is trying to follow a mission statement to move a company forward toward one or more end goals. Often those goals can have some altruistic purpose to help people, alongside the goal to help the company.

getting as much of your data as possible.

Some but not all, Google for sure this is indeed true of.

We need to be regulating them

Oh so you'd like the citation much worse? You'd like all other companies to end up like pharmaceutical companies, the most heavily regulated industry there is?

The problem with using regulation as the only tool to shape company actions is that if a company is large enough it can easily control the regulations that supposedly control them. Then not only can they do what they like without worry about government, but they use regulations as a tool to ensure competitors cannot function well, thereby removing the only real force that actually changes company behavior - market pressure. If you can't have some small company come up and compete against you, a company will do what it likes forever - the more regulation the better.

Re:Way too simplistic

By GameboyRMH • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The 737 Max 8 disaster should be the final nail in the coffin of the idiotic idea of self-regulation. Boeing didn't stop themselves from making relatively basic mistakes even though they knew it could cost them dearly, which it did. How could anyone continue to defend self-regulation after this?

Re:Way too simplistic

By ceoyoyo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

That agency, the FAA, delegated some of its regulatory oversight tasks to Boeing. The GP's comment is insightful: it was considered critical to have independent oversight, so a government agency was set up. That agency decided to compromise on its oversight responsibility in favour of a small degree of self-regulation, and disasters occurred.

Companies can (and do) set up advisory boards, but those are advisory only. Real regulation must be imposed by an independent body with legal power to do so.

Re:Why would you trust the men with guns?

By Thaelon • Score: 4 • Thread

And when the men with gavels fail, there's an amendment between the first and third that exists explicitly for turning a corrupt government off and back on whether it likes it or not.

When. Not 'if'.

Expected behavior

By rossz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This is what happens when a significant majority of your workforce does not wish to hear any opposing viewpoints and actively punish anyone who does not toe the party line. They create a self-imposed echo chamber so that "all is well" in their tiny little world.

Pepsi Says It'll Use an Artificial Constellation, Hung in the Night Sky Next To the Stars, To Promote an Energy Drink

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A Russian company called StartRocket says it's going to launch a cluster of cubesats into space that will act as an "orbital billboard," projecting enormous advertisements into the night sky like artificial constellations. And its first client, it says, will be PepsiCo -- which will use the system to promote a "campaign against stereotypes and unjustified prejudices against gamers" on behalf of an energy drink called Adrenaline Rush, reports Futurism. From the report: Yeah, the project sounds like an elaborate prank. But Russian PepsiCo spokesperson Olga Mangova confirmed to Futurism that the collaboration is real. "We believe in StartRocket potential," she wrote in an email. "Orbital billboards are the revolution on the market of communications. That's why on behalf of Adrenaline Rush -- PepsiCo Russia energy non-alcoholic drink, which is brand innovator, and supports everything new, and non-standard -- we agreed on this partnership."

Heinlein even called the company, sort of.

By Ungrounded Lightning • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

In _The Man Who Sold The Moon_ the idea was to go to the (thinly disguised) Coca Cooa company and sell them the rights to turn the moon into a billboard - a giant bottle cap - by launching small rockets to spread soot to selectively darken the surface.

But the idea was not to actually DO it. It was to NOT do it, and build an ad campaign on how it had bought the rights in order to head off one of its rivals (7 up, also thinly disguised as "6+"). The 7up/6+ logo would be easily readable from Earth, but the Coca Cola / (whatever he called it) was too "busy" to be clear.

7up was independent at the time. But it's now owned by PepsiCo.

Wankarrius

By Tablizer • Score: 3 • Thread

The 7-year-old in me is hoping hackers re-shape the constellation into a giant you-know-what.

Paraphrased Futurama

By DaFallus • Score: 3 • Thread
Leela: Didn't you have ads in the 20th century?
Fry: Well sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio. And in magazines. And movies. And at ball games and on buses and milk cartons and t-shirts and written in the sky. But not in dreams. No siree!

"Orbital billboards are the revolution"

By roc97007 • Score: 3 • Thread

Yeah, no they're not. Hard no. Absolutely, positively, no.

But hey, there's a bright side. It'll give us a way to test anti-satellite defenses.

I expect more, Slashdot

By Areyoukiddingme • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I expected better from Slashdot. You're getting trolled, folks. The dimmest object you can see with the naked eye is magnitude +6. Those are only visible in very dark rural areas. In big city suburbs, the best you can see with the naked eye is magnitude +4. A cubesat's reflected sunlight magnitude is typically +10 or +11. Cubesats are only barely visible to a very large telescope when illuminated solely with sunlight.

Now if each cubesat is an active light emitter, that's a whole different thing. Let's say it's primarily solar powered. Let's further say Pepsi spends $BIG_NUM on 44% efficient multi-junction solar cells. If 3 of the 6 faces of the cube are solar cells, that's 300 square centimeters of solar cell. Solar irradiance outside atmosphere is 1367 watts per square meter. 300 square centimeters is 0.03 square meters. 1367 * 0.03 * 0.44 = 18.04 watts. Let's say the other 3 faces of the cube are LEDs. 18 watts of LEDs from Amazon gets you 1260 lumens. 1260 lumens from 0.03 square meters is 42,000 lux. That's like a tiny spot of direct sunlight as seen from Earth. That's pretty good, though the angle at which it's visible is limited by altitude and it having only 3 illuminated faces. There's no image whatsoever. It's just a bright spot.

These are all best case numbers, of course. In reality the three faces of the cube won't operate at maximum efficiency since they can't all face the sun directly at once, and in LEO they don't see sunlight at all for half their orbit, etc etc. Still, if they worked at it, it could be pretty obnoxious.

EFF: Facebook Should Notify Users Who Interact With Fake Police 'Sock Puppet' Accounts

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a senior investigative researcher at the EFF: Despite Facebook's repeated warnings that law enforcement is required to use "authentic identities" on the social media platform, cops continue to create fake and impersonator accounts to secretly spy on users. By pretending to be someone else, cops are able to sneak past the privacy walls users put up and bypass legal requirements that might require a warrant to obtain that same information...

EFF is now calling on Facebook to escalate the matter with law enforcement in the United States. Facebook should take the following actions to address the proliferation of fake/impersonator Facebook accounts operated by law enforcement, in addition to suspending the fake accounts.

- As part of its regular transparency reports, Facebook should publish data on the number of fake/impersonator law enforcement accounts identified, what agencies they belonged to, and what action was taken.

- When a fake/impersonator account is identified, Facebook should alert the users and groups that interacted with the account whether directly or indirectly.

The article also suggests updating Facebook's Terms of Service to explicitly prohibit fake/impersonator profiles by law enforcement groups, and updating Facebook pages of law enforcement groups to inform visitors when those groups have a written policy allowing fake/impersonator law enforcement accounts. "These four changes are relatively light lifts that would enhance transparency and establish real consequences for agencies that deliberately violate the rules..."

"Facebook's practice of taking down these individual accounts when they learn about them from the press (or from EFF) is insufficient to deter what we believe is a much larger iceberg beneath the surface."

Is there anybody out there?

By alvinrod • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Are there any real people on social media these days? Seems mostly to be a lot of simulacra marketing something at you.

I'm a bit confused here

By Riceballsan • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
While personally I hate the general process of law enforcement in the current era. To my knowledge stings etc... are legal, considering how often I see unmarked cars pulling people over, hearing about undercover cops buying drugs etc... Also kind of weird that EFF is actually working more towards Facebook cracking down on anonymous accounts. IMO they should however be more fighting towards CONSISTENT rules. IE treat law enforcement sockpuppets discovered the same as if an ordinary joe is caught using a fake name. IMO facebook shouldn't be treating cops differently, IMO if they catch John Doe using a fake account, I don't think they should be telling all his friends that he's actually John Smith. Nor do I like the idea of telling the Mafia that the person they were negotiating with was actually Officer Jim Johnson and can be found at 123 Fake St.

Re: My Homeowners association forbids stakeouts

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Pure genius.

For some other HOA life hacks you may want to experiment with a few of these:

1. HOA legalizing marijuana for in neighborhood use.
2. Prostitution is legal between the hours of 6pm and 11pm.
3. Residents must be asleep by 11pm.
4. Each month a home owner is randomly selected to be a god king. All residents must worship and follow the edicts of said being.

First thing I did when getting god king was to make myself permanently king and ban leaving the kingdom. Public beating Tuesday is gaining popularity... or else.

Re:And and and we want a pony!

By GameboyRMH • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Well I know about the NRA, but who's PETA astroturfing for? It looks like a bunch of genuinely incompetent vegan nutballs.

The EFF is wrong here

By MobyDisk • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I am an EFF member, but they are wrong here. Internet web sites should not be enforcing how people use the site. We've been talking about this slippery slope since the late '90s, and the real implications we experience are worse than the ones we speculated about back then. Web sites shouldn't be taking down hate speech because it is defined differently in every municipality on the planet. They shouldn't be taking down fake accounts because everyone's definition of fake -vs- legitimate varies. Definitely don't interfere with law enforcement (or help them) since law enforcement varies around the world. We can't write an algorithm to determine if someone is a cop and if their actions are legal. Facebook should not preventing advertisers from targeting certain groups because then every group will have a complaint about the advertisers - it will never end.. Advertising laws vary in every country. Don't try to stop Russian election trolls because the trolls are almost indistinguishable from valid commentary. Free speech is free speech. If you subscribe to stupid stuff, you get what you asked for. What one person thinks is a troll is another person's legitimate opinion.

The computer is a tool and should be wielded just like a hammer or a typewriter or a pen. Stop trying to teach the computer morality, it won't work. Instead, teach the humans to use the tool correctly. They should read things on Facebook with the same skepticism that they read The National Enquirer. People need to stop blaming the tool when they are duped!

Challenging Tesla, Volkswagen Announces Electric SUV, Mass Production of Electric Vehicles

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes the AP: Volkswagen is planning to release a fully-electric SUV in China which could compete with Tesla's Model X. The German automaker said Sunday the ID. ROOMZZ will be unveiled at the upcoming Shanghai Auto Show and will be available in 2021. Volkswagen says the zero-emission vehicle can go approximately 450 kilometers (280 miles) before the battery has to be recharged.
Volkswagen also claims it will have "level 4 autonomous driving," Reuters reports, adding that this electric SUV "is the latest move in Volkswagen's aggressive growth strategy in China, where electric cars are given preferential treatment by authorities..." In fact, the company's chief executive says nearly half of VW's engineers are working on products for the China market, though the electric SUV will eventually be shipped to other markets. "We plan to produce more than 22 million electric cars in the next 10 years."

VW's head of e-mobility also tells Reuters that Volkswagen will convert eight of their factories to mass produce electric Volkswagens, and eight more factories to to mass-produce electric cars under a different brand.

Falling behind

By sjbe • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

found the guy that paid too much for tesla stock.

Cute. Of course I'm on record multiple times here on slashdot saying that I wouldn't touch TSLA with a barge pole. WAY overvalued. The company is a good company but the stock price lost any tether to reality some time ago. That has nothing at all to do with the quality, capabilities, and popularity of their cars. They are already the top selling luxury car maker in the US, outselling BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Audi. In fact they sell as many cars as BMW and Mercedes combined in the US. That doesn't happen by accident.

stock that will nosedive with traditional automakers getting into the game, hardcore... with their massively larger manufacturing capacity and a century of automotive manufacturing experience over their upstart competition that's still operating like a 'start up' instead of a legitimate contender, and run by a buffoon that can't keep his fucking mouth shut.

I work in the auto industry making wiring for both ICE and EV automobiles. While the big auto companies are quite capable in many ways as you say, they also by and large have no idea what to do about EVs and they aren't taking them very seriously to date. We make parts for the Chevy Bolt EV and I've seen first hand their project management and it's not impressive. They are trying very hard not to cannibalize their current car sales and in the process they are failing to invest in the future of cars which increasingly appears to be EVs. They haven't invested seriously in battery tech, they aren't making big investments in EV infrastructure, most of the EVs they have made have been half-assed compliance cars with shitty range and poor features. Explain to me how you think they are going to suddenly magically figure out the formula for making a good EV without actually making any. How are they going to compete with Tesla or other companies that invested early when they have a substantial advantage in battery cost and supply and performance?

It's not too late yet for the big auto companies to get in the game but they had better do so fairly soon. (soon meaning serious products within the next 5-10 years with big investment starting NOW) If they wait much longer than that, they'll have basically ceded big market share to Tesla and any other car maker that does take EVs seriously. When EVs reach a tipping point there will be some big auto companies that take the train to bankruptcy-ville if they aren't working hard on EVs now.

the changes that happened in the fallout of the 'emissions scandal' is the best thing to happen to the industry since the assembly line.

I hope you are right but I doubt it. VW is run by some seriously ethically challenged people. They knew what they were doing was wrong and did it anyway. Same people who green-lit the diesel scandal are in charge today. No reason to believe they have suddenly learned how to be ethical or that they seriously care about EVs. I'd be happy to be wrong but there is little evidence to suggest I am to date.

Re:towing?

By fluffernutter • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Slashdot I'm in and done with in minutes. A video you have to watch the whole thing, at the speed they want to go not you.

Re:Success!

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

Apparently you missed why Musk built Tesla?

Musk said that Tesla has the ability to accelerate the auto industry’s progress toward the adoption of electric vehicles by 5 to 10 years. Lighting even that small fire could be very important if you consider what a decade of delay can do for climate change, he said.

So as much as you hate Musk and Tesla, give some credit where credit is due.

His plan all along was to push the major automotive companies to go electric. It looks like he succeeded.

Battery tech is advancing

By sjbe • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

What we really need are advances in battery energy storage.

They'll happen but it's going to take time. The good news is that batteries are already more than good enough that we could switch many/most cars from ICEs to EVs today with only modest changes to habits and infrastructure. Basically if you have a garage and don't need to routinely travel longer than 200 miles in a single trip, you can switch to an EV today.

No more IC engines, and cars can be redesigned from the ground up better using space that the engine, fuel delivery, and exhaust systems once took up.

I don't think ICEs will ever go away completely but I can see a day when they are a rarity or at least a minority. That's going to take a few decades to get to however. There are some use cases where ICEs just make more sense than pure EVs. But even the ICEs that remain I think will mostly be electrified because it will make economic sense to do so.

If we can get the energy per unit volume within an order of magnitude of gasoline, propane, or other fossil fuels, transportation would be radically changed.

You are measuring the wrong thing. What matters is usable energy/power per kilogram for the whole drivetrain. You are making the mistake of comparing the energy content of a volume of gasoline with the energy content volume of a battery but that's a flawed comparison. Gasoline is useless without a very large and very heavy engine to turn it into useful work. Just using the volumetric energy content of gasoline doesn't tell you anything really useful because the liquid does nothing by itself. You need to know how much the whole system weighs, how efficient it is at turning that energy into useful work, and how much it costs to do that. While there are some limitations and caveats, existing EVs today already have substantially better fuel economy for a given power and weight output for a wide variety of use cases. My Chevy Bolt EV has more torque than my pickup truck, vastly better fuel economy, comparable range (about 238 vs 275-320 miles) and only weighs about 300kg less. A Telsa Model X actually weighs more than my pickup and has more power, more torque, FAR better fuel economy, comparable range, etc.

And the good news is that battery technology is going to continue to get better. ICE technology is close to as good as it will ever get. An ICE produces more heat than it does useful work and there is no way to change that. Given that EVs are already matching or exceeding ICE performance in many cases and have lots of room to improve as battery tech improves, the future seems dim for ICEs in the long run.

A concept?

By Socguy • Score: 3 • Thread
Common' VW, stop hyping concepts and start delivering cars...

The Rise and Fall of the Bayrob Malware Gang

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Three Romanians ran a complicated online fraud operation -- along with a massive malware botnet -- for nine years, reports ZDNet, netting tens of millions of US dollars, but their crime spree is now over. But now they're all facing long prison sentences.

"The three were arrested in late 2016 after the FBI and Symantec had silently stalked their malware servers for years, patiently waiting for the highly skilled group to make mistakes that would leave enough of a breadcrumb trail to follow back to their real identities."

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: The group started from simple eBay scams [involving non-existent cars and even a fake trucking company] to running one of the most widespread keylogger trojans around. They were considered one of the most advanced groups around, using PGP email and OTR encryption when most hackers were defacing sites under the Anonymous moniker, and using multiple proxy layers to protect their infrastructure. The group operated tens of fake websites, including a Yahoo subsidiary clone, conned and stole money from their own money mules, and were of the first groups to deploy Bitcoin crypto-mining malware on desktops, when Bitcoin could still be mined on PCs.

The Bayrob group was led by one of Romania's top IT students, who went to the dark side and helped create a malware operation that took nine years for US authorities and the FBI to track and eventually take down. Before turning hacker, he was the coach of Romania's national computer science team, although he was still a student, and won numerous awards in programming and CS contests.

Using PGP is now "advanced"?

By gweihir • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I would have considered that standard procedure. At work, it is completely standard for anything confidential.

Re:Romainian == Gypsy

By St.Creed • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Loads of Romanians are not part of the ethnic group of gypsies or "Roma". And it's been racists like you who have contributed to a lot of the problems with the ones that are gypsies, or Roma. Members of those groups are doing quite well in a lot of countries. But they are thoroughly marginalized in Romania and other Eastern European countries where they are living below subsistence level and are forced to be criminals just to survive. As this has been going on for centuries, it's become a vicious cycle: they are discriminated against for being criminal when distrust and exile forced them into it in the first place. Or vice versa - who can tell after centuries?

Re:Romainian == Gypsy

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The Roma name was applied when they were falsely thought to have originated in Romania. Though at the time, during the Cold War, that nation was unable to object, today's Romania wants no more to do with them than does any other part of Europe.

The English word comes from an even earlier era, when they were falsely thought to have come from Egypt.

Former Firefox VP on What It's Like To Be Both a Partner of Google and a Competitor via Google Chrome

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Sidewalk Labs, the urban innovation arm of Google's parent company Alphabet, plans to build a $1 billion high-tech neighborhood in Toronto. The problem? It is facing an opposition from residents who have called for its demise. As the backlash gains momentum, it could force Sidewalk Labs to abandon or alter its vision. On paper, Sidewalk Labs' idea arguably has some merits: It wishes to "set new standards" for how cities are designed and built. But some are apprehensive of Google's plans, because the company has a knack for assuming more control over things and killing local competition.

Johnathan Nightingale, a former VP of Firefox, has seen such behavior first hand. He draws some parallels: I spent 8 years at Mozilla working on Firefox and for almost all of that time Google was our biggest partner. Our revenue share deal on search drove 90% of Mozilla's income. When I started at Mozilla in 2007, there was no Google Chrome and most folks we spoke with inside were Firefox fans. They were building an empire on the web, we were building the web itself. I think our friends inside Google genuinely believed that. At the individual level, their engineers cared about most of the same things we did. Their product and design folks made many decisions very similarly and we learned from watching each other.

But Google as a whole is very different than individual Googlers. Google Chrome ads started appearing next to Firefox search terms. Gmail and Google Docs started to experience selective performance issues and bugs on Firefox. Demo sites would falsely block Firefox as "incompatible." All of this is stuff you're allowed to do to compete, of course. But we were still a search partner, so we'd say "hey what gives?" And every time, they'd say, "oops. That was accidental. We'll fix it in the next push in 2 weeks." Over and over. Oops. Another accident. We'll fix it soon. We want the same things. We're on the same team. There were dozens of oopses. Hundreds maybe? I'm all for "don't attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence" but I don't believe Google is that incompetent.

This is not a thread about blaming Google for Firefox troubles though. We at Mozilla wear that ourselves, me more than anyone for my time as Firefox VP. But I see the same play happening here in my city and I don't like it. And for me it means two things: The question is not whether individual Sidewalk Labs people have pure motives. I know some of them, just like I know plenty on the Chrome team. They're great people. But focus on the behavior of the organism as a whole. At the macro level, Google/Alphabet is very intentional. When Google wants to get a thing done, it is very effective. Mistakes happen, but when you see a sustained pattern of "oops" and delays from this organization -- you're being outfoxed. Get there faster than I did.

Google intentionally crippled Firefox

By xack • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
They turned Mozilla into Mo$illa by paying them to remove XUL and other features. They cripple competition like Waterfox and Pale Moon by serving up outdated html and give them harder captchas. They even got Microsoft to chromify their browser. I repeat my calls for a truly independent browser foundation that tells Google to get lost.

Re:Past, now and then

By arglebargle_xiv • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

All of this is stuff you're allowed to do to compete, of course. But we were still a search partner, so we'd say "hey what gives?" And every time, they'd say, "oops. That was accidental. We'll fix it in the next push in 2 weeks." Over and over. Oops. Another accident. We'll fix it soon. We want the same things. We're on the same team.

"I'm so sorry I hit you. I won't do it again, I'll change. It won't be like all the other times. I don't really mean to hurt you. I'm only doing this because I care about you. And you have to admit you brought this on yourself to some extent. Without me you'd be nothing, no money, no way to survive. Don't you dare think of leaving me!".

"stuff you're allowed to do to compete"

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Ehe, no you fool. Even if they weren't officially a monopoly, sabotaging one service for a specific competitor's product to promote your own is the definition of anti-competitive practices.

Fact of the matter is, Google isn't keeping Mozilla around out of good will. Much like Intel and AMD, they HAVE to keep at least one competitor alive or they'll get officially declared a monopoly. And just like Intel, while doing so they'll sabotage the competitor just enough so they'll retain market dominance without ever risking the regulators.

But lets be honest, he's not a fool. He never complained because he understood Firefox is just a regulatory loophole. And the real damage was in the protocols and other internet bodies decision that kept being ruled over in Google's favor since Mozilla was tipping the balance in their favor thanks to this relationship.

Decentralized protocols... DRM... Ad blocking... Mozilla been lining up to Google's agendas time after time.

It's all a huge scam.

Hanlon's razor applies.

By DrYak • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Which is more likely?

- That Google engineers are laughing maniacally in the style of a movie's evil character, while thinking at the best strategy to kill their competition in a horrible death?
For no reason except for the evulz, because they aren't making their money by *selling* software, they make money by marketing the shit out of people online, no matter what browser they used, as long as these people online to be marked?

- Or that they're just horribly lazy, because they test of their product on their own web engine, because that's what they use themselves while developing? And it happens to work anyway, because once you factor in Google Chrome and all the other browser running on a Blink/WebKit/KHTML core, you happen to cover close to 90% of all only browser, so often errors go unnoticed and later aren't put on top of the priority list due to low exposure?

In the absence of equivalent to the Halloween documents leak, I would more likely presume the second options.

I'm not saying that it's not bad. It *is*. Their careless-ness could very easily lead to a new era of microsoft-levels of monopolies and smothering of alternatives. They are seriously at risk to fuck up the computing ecosystem, and instance taking care about competitive behaviour (like the EU) should monitor them closely and force them out of such destructive behaviours.

It's only that the phenomenon probably isn't conscious and planned, it very likely due to very massive levels of carelessness, simply because they can get away with it. Somebody (like e.g.: the EU) should come and slap them on the hands, and theach them not to try to get away with carelessness but pay attention.

Don't sleep with the enemy

By DogDude • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
In business, your competition IS your enemy. That's not an exaggeration. It's not life or death, but it's financial life or death. I work for a small, successful retailer, and we won't do business with Amazon. At all. We don't sell through them. We don't buy from them. We don't even buy company snacks at Whole Foods any more. Whether it has that much of a difference to either us or them is immaterial. We're in a financial fight for our lives, and we're not going to give up a penny or any information to our competition.

Mozilla shouldn't have anything to do with Google. Zero. They need to find some other way to sustain themselves other than sucking from the teat of the company that's trying to kill them (financially).