the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2019-Jul-12 today archive


  1. Carbon Nanotube Device Channels Heat Into Light
  2. Cloudflare Comes Clean On Crashing a Chunk of the Web Earlier This Month
  3. Giant Batteries and Cheap Solar Power Are Shoving Fossil Fuels Off the Grid
  4. US Mayors Resolve Not To Pay Hackers Over Ransomware Attacks
  5. A New Study Uses Camera Footage To Track the Frequency of Bystander Intervention
  6. Judge Dismisses Oracle Lawsuit Over $10 Billion Pentagon JEDI Cloud Contract
  7. Amazon Becomes Fastest-Growing Music Streaming Service
  8. Monroe College Hit With Ransomware, $2 Million Demanded
  9. A Feud Between Japan and South Korea Is Threatening Global Supplies of Memory Chips
  10. Billions of Air Pollution Particles Found in Hearts of City Dwellers
  11. Revealed: This Is Palantir's Top-Secret User Manual For Cops
  12. FTC Approves Roughly $5 Billion Facebook Settlement
  13. Fatal Accident With Metal Straw Highlights a Risk
  14. Streaming Online Pornography Produces as Much CO2 as Belgium
  15. Bird, One of the World's Largest Scooter Startups, Lost $100 Million in Three Months
  16. Congress is Bad at Rocket League
  17. Donald Trump Blasts Bitcoin, Facebook Libra, Demands They Face Banking Regulations
  18. Bitpoint Cryptocurrency Exchange Hacked For $32 Million
  19. Streaming's Bounty of Choices Overwhelms Consumers
  20. Microsoft is Making Windows 10 Passwordless
  21. Microsoft Defends Planned Partner Program Changes, But Many Aren't Buying It
  22. Scientists Use Camera With Human-Like Vision To Capture 5,400 FPS Video
  23. Prenda 'Copyright Troll' Lawyer Sentenced To Five Years In Prison
  24. A Sunken Cold War Nuclear Sub Is Leaking Radiation At Levels 800,000 Times Normal

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

Carbon Nanotube Device Channels Heat Into Light

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: Rice University scientists are designing arrays of aligned single-wall carbon nanotubes to channel mid-infrared radiation (aka heat) and greatly raise the efficiency of solar energy systems. Their invention is a hyperbolic thermal emitter that can absorb intense heat that would otherwise be spewed into the atmosphere, squeeze it into a narrow bandwidth and emit it as light that can be turned into electricity. The aligned nanotube films are conduits that absorb waste heat and turn it into narrow-bandwidth photons. Because electrons in nanotubes can only travel in one direction, the aligned films are metallic in that direction while insulating in the perpendicular direction, an effect called hyperbolic dispersion. Thermal photons can strike the film from any direction, but can only leave via one. Adding the emitters to standard solar cells could boost their efficiency from the current peak of about 22%. "By squeezing all the wasted thermal energy into a small spectral region, we can turn it into electricity very efficiently," he said. "The theoretical prediction is that we can get 80% efficiency." The study has been published in the journal ACS Photonics.

How much does it cost?

By blindseer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I'll believe this when I see it on the market. I expect this to cost too much to bother.

This might make one of those pocket sized solar cell phone chargers 4 times more powerful but if it also makes it 10 times more expensive then I have my doubts on it selling to anyone but NASA and it's contractors.

I did some work on solar power stuff in university and it became clear that the goal was not raising efficiency but lowering costs. A 10% or 20% PV panel is fine for many cases because making something bigger is typically very cheap. A solar collection power plant out in the desert is already using real cheap land. At a maximum of about 1000 watts per square meter, under a midday sun, isn't that much to work with from the start. Add in weather and day/night cycles, and it's more like 100 watts on the average. Make it cheap and we can spread it out to where this shifting sunlight isn't as detrimental on the whole. Putting that money into something expensive and efficient just means putting your time, money, and materials, into a spot that might not have been a good choice because of some random local event.


By ghoul • Score: 3 • Thread

I know its cool to be talking renewable energy and global warming to get research funds nowadays but this (if it works) may have more application for refrigeration. Imagine ice boxes which dont need electricity to run. They just keep absorbing heat and emitting light. I can see brightly glowing refrigerator trucks driving down the highway.

Re: 80% efficiency

By vtcodger • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I RTFA yesterday and I'm as confused as you are. I don't think the article author understood what the scientists told him or her. My best **GUESS** is that "they" take "waste heat" which is basically non-coherent, broadband IR radiation and pass it through the nanotubes which act as a bandpass filter that emits only a narrow band of IR frequencies on the far side? That filtered signal can then (conceptually) be converted to electricity with 80% efficiency by a suitably designed cell? What happens to the rest of the IR which is rejected(?) by the filter? I have no clue. Reflected? Absorbed and re-emitted? Transported through a wormhole to a galaxy far, far away? I would think that almost all the energy in the IR would be in the portion that has been disappeared, not the portion that is passed through and converted to electricity. i.e -- the overall conversion efficiency -- total_IR_in to electricity_out would likely be **VERY** low?

Anyway, this sounds like it might have practical uses -- perhaps in sensors or communications. But it's far from clear to me that converting "waste heat" to electric power is one of the potential practical uses.

Re:That would be revolutionary...

By blindseer • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Betcha weren't counting erbium-doped waveguide amplifiers. You should have been, but you weren't.

Sure would be nice if the USA was producing erbium. China is where a vast majority of erbium is produced, as well as most rare earth elements. Despite their name they aren't all that rare, only difficult to mine when they earned that name. There's plenty of rare earth elements in the USA but because of the backward laws in this country it's very expensive to mine.

China can do their mining on the cheap because they treat the thorium and uranium oxides in leftovers of the monazite they mine as they should. It's basically just sand, so they pile it up in open air reserves. There's a little radiation from it, and it's toxic if you eat it, but still generally safe to handle with basic protections like gloves, dust masks, and goggles. Kind of like the same stuff they tell people that handle agricultural lime to wear, because that can burn the skin, eyes, and nose if exposed too much.

So, we can't mine for rare earth elements in the USA because the rules on handling thorium and uranium sand are those for weapons grade materials. Anyone that mines for rare earth elements in the USA have to pay for the disposal of this thorium sand as if it is highly enriched plutonium, smallpox, or mustard gas.

Thorium is worthless for making weapons. As evidence for this I give third world hellholes using centrifuges to enrich uranium instead of mining for thorium. If a nation wants nuclear weapons then they will indicate this by building centrifuges, not nuclear reactors. A modern nuclear reactor doesn't need enriched fuels, but even a primitive nuclear weapon will.

Out of a misguided concern for nuclear weapon proliferation we in the USA killed our own industries for nuclear power, rare earth elements, and likely many more. In the mean time we have China providing us with rare earth elements, stockpiling nuclear fuel, and developing an actual low CO2 energy industries in wind, solar, and nuclear power. Then there's nations like North Korea and Iran spinning their centrifuges for enriched uranium claiming they need this for their nuclear power industry, rather than open themselves to a global nuclear power industry where nations would be quite willing to build nuclear power plants for them, train their people in their construction and operation, help them mine for local thorium deposits, and outright give them tons of suitable fuel to get started so they won't need the centrifuges.

If the USA was serious about getting a low CO2 energy economy then they'd be building the infrastructure for domestic rare earth mining and refining, the factories for the solar collectors and windmill magnets that use those rare earth elements, and treating the thorium and uranium byproducts as a vital fuel source and not dangerous materials suitable only for dumping in a deep pit.

The USA is not serious about replacing coal and natural gas. When those in the federal government are serious then we will see rare earth mines open up and those coal miners will be in high demand for their experience.

Re:Would grid-scale batteries even be necessary?

By Rei • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

If they can convert heat into narrow-band light, then convert that light to electricity in a solar panel, does that mean such solar panel would actually continue producing electricity even after the sun goes down, as long as there is some ambient heat to steal?

Not exactly. Even through radiative exchange, entropy must be respected; the maximum efficiency you can gain remains proportional to the temperature difference between two radiating objects, and indeed is actually even lower than the limit imposed by Carnot's theorum for heat engines (due to endoreversible limits)

Now, there still does remain some potential, in that ground ambient temperatures and sky temperatures are not the same. A clear night might correspond to a sky temperature 20-40 degrees (celsius) cooler than the ambient air temperature, so there is some thermodynamic potential there to do work. But not a lot of potential. Remember that with the sun, you're exchanging between a nominal baseline of 5762K and 288K, respectively ;) Tc/Th is ~0,05 for the standard sun/earth exchange, vs. ~0,9 for a typical surface / clear night exchange. You're piling very low efficiency atop a very low heat flow.

Cloudflare Comes Clean On Crashing a Chunk of the Web Earlier This Month

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Cloudflare has published a detailed and refreshingly honest report into precisely what went wrong earlier this month when its systems fell over and took a big chunk of the internet with it. The Register reports: We already knew from a quick summary published the next day, and our interview with its CTO John Graham-Cumming, that the 30-minute global outage had been caused by an error in a single line of code in a system the company uses to push rapid software changes. [...] First up the error itself -- it was in this bit of code: .*(?:.*=.*). We won't go into the full workings as to why because the post does so extensively (a Friday treat for coding nerds) but very broadly the code caused a lot of what's called "backtracking," basically repetitive looping. This backtracking got worse -- exponentially worse -- the more complex the request and very, very quickly maxed out the company's CPUs.

The impact wasn't noticed for the simple reason that the test suite didn't measure CPU usage. It soon will -- Cloudflare has an internal deadline of a week from now. The second problem was that a software protection system that would have prevented excessive CPU consumption had been removed "by mistake" just a weeks earlier. That protection is now back in although it clearly needs to be locked down. The software used to run the code -- the expression engine -- also doesn't have the ability to check for the sort of backtracking that occurred. Cloudflare says it will shift to one that does.
The post goes on to talk about the speed with which it impacted everyone, why it took them so long to fix it, and why it didn't just do a rollback within minutes and solve the issue while it figured out what was going on.

You can read the full postmortem here.

Re:Is that regex?

By BarbaraHudson • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Yep. To protect against a SharePoint vulnerability, they modified an existing regex so it ended up doing more backtracking while parsing data, using 100% cpu on all cores - sort of like how a power supply blows and takes the motherboard with it to protect a 50 cent fuse.

This is why we can't have nice things

By Waffle Iron • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The risk of this kind of issue is why, for example, Rust and Golang's regular expressions don't support backrefrences, which can make them such a PITA to use.

Although I reluctantly admit that not crashing the internet and stuff could be more important.

Re:What is backtracking?

By Todd Knarr • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

It's normal behavior. Backtracking means to find a potential match, start to parse it out fully, then discover it's not the best match so you have to go back to the beginning and start over skipping the match you just found looking for a better one. In this case it's the ".*=.*" that gives it away. That's the regexp patter to match things like cookie name/value pairs in an HTTP request line, or at least it's an attempt at it. The problem is that given a string like


you have a lot of potential matches for both ".*" constructs which the parser has to iterate through. Using parentheses to outline the portions that'd fall into each ".*",


is an obvious first match but so is




They probably shouldn't've been using plain ".*" in the first place, rather limiting the set of characters for each one to the legal set for eg. cookie names and values (assuming that's what they were trying to match, the contents of a Cookie header). This is an easy rookie mistake to make, you have to work with complex regexes for a few years and get your fingers burned a few times to learn it from personal experience, or ideally get your fingers smacked with a ruler a few times by a senior dev so you learn from his personal experience not your own and do it in dev or QA rather than production.

Re:Is that regex?

By Rockoon • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
When you solve a problem with regex, you now have two problems.

"You have a problem, so you decide to use a regex"

By riflemann • Score: 3 • Thread you have 2 problems.

Giant Batteries and Cheap Solar Power Are Shoving Fossil Fuels Off the Grid

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
sciencehabit quotes a report from Science Magazine: This month, officials in Los Angeles, California, are expected to approve a deal that would make solar power cheaper than ever while also addressing its chief flaw: It works only when the sun shines. The deal calls for a huge solar farm backed up by one of the world's largest batteries. It would provide 7% of the city's electricity beginning in 2023 at a cost of 1.997 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for the solar power and 1.3 cents per kWh for the battery. That's cheaper than any power generated with fossil fuel. The new solar plus storage effort will be built in Kern County in California by 8minute Solar Energy. The project is expected to create a 400-megawatt solar array, generating roughly 876,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity annually, enough to power more than 65,000 homes during daylight hours. Its 800-MWh battery will store electricity for after the sun sets, reducing the need for natural gas-fired generators.

Re:Perhaps cheapest, perhaps not

By Smidge204 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

What the fuck are you talking about, "not enough sun"?

Germany has bucket loads of solar. Germany's southernmost point is at ~47 degrees latitude... that's about the same as the northern most tip of Maine. Germany is effectively north of Seattle. Virtually all of the continental Unites States is farther south.

So how the hell does the US not have enough sun?

Re:more BS

By blindseer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

We never tried?

Not in the last 40 years we haven't. Not with third generation nuclear power reactors we haven't.

Of course, this paper might be wrong. But let's look at your very repetitive (and therefor a little boring) slashdot posts: They are always full of conviction about how nuclear is cheap and the only possible solution for climate change without ever giving even a little evidence or citations.

You want citations?

Here you go.

Nuclear is going to have to be part of our energy supply in the future or things will get real dark and cold.

Where's the evidence, the citations, that we could ever replace coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear with wind, water, and sun? And do so in any meaningful time frame?

In the USA we were able to add 100 GW of low CO2 nuclear powered generation capacity from 1960 to 1990, with some of those years seeing 10 GW added. Not only can the USA do that again, we must do it again.

To be fair we now have 82 GW or so of wind power generation capacity, and the vast majority of that constructed in the last 10 years. I like wind and I believe we need to keep building at the pace we have, at a minimum. One problem is that even though installed capacity of nuclear and wind are near parity we get 20% of our electricity from nuclear and only 5% from wind. It will take 3 or 4 GW of wind capacity, about 1500 typical windmills, to match the output of a single typical 1 GW nuclear power reactor. That's assuming that there are enough batteries, natural gas, hydro, and perhaps other sources to fill in when the wind doesn't blow.

Saying we shouldn't have more nuclear power is saying that nuclear power is a greater threat to us than global warming. If that is the case then I will say global warming is a hoax, right up there with a flat earth and claims we never sent men to the moon. We need an "all the above" energy strategy, and that includes nuclear power, or I'm calling global warming the biggest pile of bullshit ever concocted.

Re:Yeah, a project in CA will make budget. Sure.

By Dasher42 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

100% electric renewal is undeniably the future. That is still in the far far far distant future. Willfully & politically pushing much cheaper sources of energy away is stupid and expensive. Forcing developing countries to not use cheap energy because of a non-existent "global warming crises" is cruel in the worst possible way.

Anyway, I'm willing to bet $1000 that the project in CA doesn't make budget nor does it work as well as projected.

Hey, 1980 wants its fallacious talking points back.

Renewables are already cheaper than fossil fuel infrastructure in many parts of the developing world, making them preferable in terms of pure up-front material costs.

There's far more in the favor of renewables down the road. Ask Nigerians what they think about the health effects of living near oil pipelines. Ask the people of Shanghai about wearing face masks just to go outside. Renewables reduce disasters, air pollution, and the pretext for large-scale wars in the Middle East that all have huge costs that oil companies and insulated first-worlders don't pay for; they simply plague the global poor.

So, this talking point that renewables are being forced on the world is absurd, and I wonder how much it correlates to the support of slapping huge tariffs on solar panels, like the current US President is doing, while continuing to mold governmental policy around kickbacks around Big Oil.

Healthcare costs

By Dasher42 • Score: 3 • Thread

We should keep evaluating the impact of saved healthcare costs from reduced air pollution alone, because this isn't just about the bean counters.


How many cents for winter backup?

By Pinky's Brain • Score: 3 • Thread

A couple hours of backup is nice, only need to multiply that by a thousand or so to even consider actually shutting down or not building the corresponding dependable power to get us through the winter.

When you are building that winter backup any way the solar power doesn't have to compete with the levelized cost of the fossil fuel power, it has to compete with the fuel cost of the fossil fuel power.

As long as it can't do that, including solar will increase consumer electricity costs.

US Mayors Resolve Not To Pay Hackers Over Ransomware Attacks

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
More than 225 U.S. mayors have signed on to a resolution not to pay ransoms to hackers. It's a collective stand against the ransomware attacks that have crippled city government computer systems in recent years. CNET reports: The resolution was adopted at the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting, which took place late June and early July in Honolulu. "The United States Conference of Mayors stands united against paying ransoms in the event of an IT security breach," the resolution reads. This could give city leaders across the US some leverage against hackers. The 227 mayors who attended the meeting agreed to adopt the resolution, but the US Conference of Mayors represents more than 1,400 cities with populations over 30,000.

So, um, backups?

By Snotnose • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Did they resolve to pay their IT depts enough to make backups, so next time they can just wipe their systems and reinstall everything? I'm gonna have to go with no. Then again, I'm old, I've been watching 'gub'mint' a long time, and realize they not only don't understand the issues, they don't really care as long as they can point the finger elsewhere.

Big, tough mayors

By Chewbacon • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

We won't pay them, but our insurers will!

The fine print gets ya. So pay for a real backup plan, then, and minimize data loss in the event Curtis opens the wrong FWD: CUTE CAT email.

A New Study Uses Camera Footage To Track the Frequency of Bystander Intervention

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CityLab: It's one of the most enduring urban myths of all: If you get in trouble, don't count on anyone nearby to help. Research dating back to the late 1960s documents how the great majority of people who witness crimes or violent behavior refuse to intervene. Psychologists dubbed this non-response as the "bystander effect" -- a phenomenon which has been replicated in scores of subsequent psychological studies. The "bystander effect" holds that the reason people don't intervene is because we look to one another. The presence of many bystanders diffuses our own sense of personal responsibility, leading people to essentially do nothing and wait for someone else to jump in.

Past studies have used police reports to estimate the effect, but results ranged from 11 percent to 74 percent of incidents being interventions. Now, widespread surveillance cameras allow for a new method to assess real-life human interactions. A new study published this year in the American Psychologist finds that this well-established bystander effect may largely be a myth. The study uses footage of more than 200 incidents from surveillance cameras in Amsterdam; Cape Town; and Lancaster, England. The study finds that in nine out of 10 incidents, at least one bystander intervened, with an average of 3.8 interveners. There was also no significant difference across the three countries and cities, even though they differ greatly in levels of crime and violence.
The study actually found that the more bystanders there were, the more likely it was that at least someone would intervene to help. "This is a powerful corrective to the common perception of 'stranger danger' and the 'unknown other,'" reports CityLab. "It suggests that people are willing to self-police to protect their communities and others."

Re: It's not myth

By reanjr • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You should seek psychological and emotional help.

More like...

By blahplusplus • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

... people don't want to worry about lawsuits and legal bullshit. The real problem is not that people don't want to help, but where your help is not wanted or gets you involved in legal bullshit. AKA it's great to help people when you know the people on the other end aren't stupid or beligerant, but if you get involved with people that are idiots, they will suck you into their madness.

So I don't blame people for being of two minds, it's really a lack of any kind of cultural places where people spend lots of time together to build community. When everyone is at work and has little time... people are tired, exhausted and can't be bothered.

Real research on this needs to control for gun law

By Ungrounded Lightning • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Any real research on this needs to control for the local laws (and their enforcement), especially with respect to
  - how self-defence and others-defence is treated after the fact by law enforcement,
  - whether the general population may, and whether significant numbers do, carry guns or other self-defence weaponry
  - what advice the authorities give people about how to handle conflicts
  - whether recent criminal activity includes a pattern of using fake people-in-trouble to lure good samartins into becoming victims.

In New York city, at the time of the infamous murder of "Kittyâ Genovese, the advice from the city authorities to citizens was to not get involved, for fear that they would also be victimized, and instead let the police handle it. (NYC at the time already had the equally infamous and draconian Sullivan act, which disarmed virtually all of the population.)

In urban parts of California, prosecutors have a track record of prosecuting those who self-defend against criminal attack, and of going after such people much harder than they do against violent criminals - to the point of giving the crooks immunity in return for testimony against their self-defending victims.

Also in California (after large-scale car theft led to car alarms with engine-disable features becoming nearly universal) criminal gangs developed a pattern of carjacking by faking a breakdowns and stealing the car of whomever stopped to help.

Even calling in reports of observed crimes is problematic: Criminal gangs have a record of placing members in police departments as dispatchers. (This is mainly to give warning to their members when the cops are on the way. But it also enables terrorism and witness intimidation, by identifying those who report observed crimes for later retaliatory attacks.)

My wife and I regularly stop to help anyone who has trouble in Nevada, Oregon, and other places where concealed weapons carry is common. In California, and other gun-unfriendly states, we don't even slow down.

Re:Task Peer Pressure

By PPH • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

If a group of people are set to do a certain task, then there's peer pressure to continue working on the task,

I used to work for Boeing. At a facility that predated fire alarms, intercoms, etc.* So we had a system of 'safety captains'. Employees assigned hard hats, hi-viz vests and bullhorns. We had a coupe of drills per year under fire department supervision. Safety captain orders everyone out and assemble at assigned spots in the parking lot. The thing was: Company policy was that we were not to leave our desks unless ordered to by the captain.

Nisqually earthquake hits. Everyone dives under desks. Ceiling tiles and light fixtures fall. A few book cases tip. All the power goes out. When the shaking stops, people come out from under desks and wait for the safety captains' orders. Nothing. Those bastards were the first ones out the doors.

*I suspect that some money crossed building inspectors hands in order to maintain the exemption from having to bring buildings up to codes.

Judge Dismisses Oracle Lawsuit Over $10 Billion Pentagon JEDI Cloud Contract

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Last year, Oracle filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government complaining about the procurement process around the Pentagon's $10 billion, decade-long JEDI cloud contract. "They claimed a potential conflict of interest on the part of a procurement team member (who was a former AWS employee)," reports TechCrunch. "Today, that case was dismissed in federal court." From the report: In dismissing the case, Federal Claims Court Senior Judge Eric Bruggink ruled that the company had failed to prove a conflict in the procurement process, something the DOD's own internal audits found in two separate investigations. Judge Bruggink ultimately agreed with the DoD's findings: "We conclude as well that the contracting officer's findings that an organizational conflict of interest does not exist and that individual conflicts of interest did not impact the procurement, were not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law. Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the administrative record is therefore denied."

Today's ruling opens the door for the announcement of a winner of the $10 billion contract, as early as next month. The DoD previously announced that it had chosen Microsoft and Amazon as the two finalists for the winner-take-all bid.

Sucked in Oracle is all I can say

By mfearby • Score: 3 • Thread

Maybe Oracle should try innovation rather than law suits as a way to make a buck.

Re:Sucked in Oracle is all I can say

By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

On one hand, it's sad to see that if it's happening. On the other hand, Oracle has fucked up so many government contracts that it's stupid to even allow them to bid any more, they fuck up everything they touch. On the gripping hand, if Oracle wants people to care about what happens to them, they need to not be complete shitlords.

Oracle does not deserve anyone's business in any context, full stop. Fuck Oracle, fuck Larry, and fuck the horse that rode in on them both.

Amazon Becomes Fastest-Growing Music Streaming Service

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The music app that is adding subscribers to its service at the fastest rate is not Apple Music or Spotify or Google Music, it is Amazon, Financial Times reported this week [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source]. From the report: The number of people subscribing to Amazon Music Unlimited has grown by about 70 per cent in the past year, according to people briefed on its performance. In April Amazon had more than 32m subscribers to all its music services including Unlimited and Prime Music. By contrast, Spotify, the world's largest streaming service with 100m subscribers, is growing at about 25 per cent a year. "Amazon is the dark horse [in music]," said Mark Mulligan, an analyst at Midia Research. "People don't pay as much attention to it [as to Apple and Spotify], but it's been hugely effective." [...] Amazon has gained momentum in recent months, propelled by its ubiquity with consumers and Alexa, its popular intelligent assistant, which can play music through voice commands issued to its wireless Echo speaker.

How much of your paycheck?

By DogDude • Score: 3 • Thread
I'd like to see a study that finds how much of people's paychecks are going to a single company, and if people have any limits or concerns about giving so much money and power to a single company. The idea of having one OmniMegaGlobalCorporation controlling everything is terrifying to me, but apparently, I'm in the minority.

Monroe College Hit With Ransomware, $2 Million Demanded

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A ransomware attack in New York City's Monroe College has shut down the college's computer systems at campuses located in Manhattan, New Rochelle and St. Lucia. The attackers are seeking 170 bitcoins or approximately $2 million dollars in order to decrypt the entire college's network. Bleeping Computer reports: According to the Daily News, Monroe College was hacked on Wednesday at 6:45 AM and ransomware was installed throughout the college's network. It is not known at this time what ransomware was installed on the system, but it is likely to be Ryuk, IEncrypt, or Sodinokibi, which are known to target enterprise networks. The college has not indicated at this time whether they will be paying the ransom or restoring from backups while gradually bringing their network back online. "The good news is that the college was founded in 1933, so we know how to teach and educate without these tools," Monroe College spokesperson Jackie Ruegger told the Daily News. "Right now we are finding workarounds for our students taking online classes so they have their assignments."

More incompetence

By grasshoppa • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Ransomware wouldn't be a concern if they had IT administrators who knew how to take care of their data.

Seriously, how many more highly public examples are we going to need before these places figure that out?

Re:More incompetence

By Kwirl • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
taking care of data is easier when your budget includes enough resources to cover it

Re:More incompetence

By ixuzus • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

What you're describing is good practice and excellent mitigation but it's not a panacea. I had a friend who worked at a company who did exactly what you described. They had a ransomware attack and duly reinstalled and restored using their planned, tested backup strategy, all the while making snide remarks about what it would be like for organisations that didn't have competent IT people like themselves. All was well until the logic bomb in their data went off a week later. Still no problem, the restored from their older air-gapped backup.., and discovered that the logic bomb had remained quietly in their system until it was on all the backups and there was more than one of them. By this point down time and data loss is starting to add up. I think they paid in the end.

Now better OS/software design, good access controls, logs, policies, etc can certainly help but all you're really doing is minimising your risk - not eliminating it. And if the attacker is someone who at some stage had trusted access like a former (or current) IT person, contractor, high level manager, etc then all bets are off.

degree options

By geoskd • Score: 3 • Thread

Monroe college offers various degrees in information technology, including a degree in cybersecurity. At this point, any of their students that have any sense what-so-ever are looking seriously at other options; Monroe college is clearly willing to offer a degree program in something they are demonstrably incompetent at...

A Feud Between Japan and South Korea Is Threatening Global Supplies of Memory Chips

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN: South Korea has warned that an escalating trade dispute with Japan could hurt the global tech industry. President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday that Japan's decision to restrict exports to South Korea of materials used in memory chips are a "blow to the economy" and threaten to disrupt global supplies. Japan announced earlier this month that companies would need a government license to export three materials to South Korea. The materials -- fluorinated polyamides, photoresists and hydrogen fluoride -- are used to make memory chips and smartphones.

The export controls are a massive headache for South Korean firms Samsung and SK Hynix, who between them control over 63% of the global memory chip market, according to the latest figures from the Korea International Trade Association. South Korean firms sourced 94% of fluorinated polyamides, 92% of photoresists and about 44% of hydrogen fluoride from Japan In the first quarter of this year, data from the association showed. Samsung, the world's biggest seller of smartphones, said in a statement to CNN Business that it was "assessing the current situation and reviewing a number of measures to minimize the impact on our production."

Re:Threatening with nukes was so Cold War . . .

By shanen • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

. . . now Trade Wars are in vogue.

Kind of leading in the right direction, and I do think Abe is to some degree playing the "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" card to keep Trump buttered up. But mostly I think Abe is imitating Trump's stupidity.

There's been a lot of coverage of this story on Japanese TV, and my closest Japanese source insists it's mostly motivated by some recent lawsuits in Korea against Japanese companies who used conscripted (effectively slave) labor during the war. You may be more familiar with the European version, where slaves from Mauthausen were provided to such companies as Volkswagen and Siemens. In Korea there was also the case of so-called comfort women, essentially sex slaves who "comforted" the troops.

However in both of these cases time is on Japan's side, though Abe seems to be too stupid to understand that. The last plaintiffs are on their last legs, and there's certainly no good reason to start a major trade war on some other pretext.

By the way, I think the winner is going to be China. Again. There's no way that Xi will let this opportunity slip away. China must be really weak in the critical supplies or they would have already stepped up to take the sales away from Japan, but I'm expecting an announcement any day now about alternative sources.

regigging of supply chains

By williamyf • Score: 3 • Thread

While this seems sort of catastrophic, what will happen is that SK semiconductor companies will buy all their photoresists and fluorinated compounds from non japanese suppliers, paying high costs, both in terms of higher shipping costs, longer delays, bigger inventories, and higher prices to lure the suppliers to abandon their ussual clients in north america, japan, china etc.

Meanwhile, the japanese suppliers will beg the other semiconductor manufacturers to get their supplies....

while the regigging takes place, some disruptions to the system will occur, but nothing like a "disruption of global suppy"


roll their own

By iggymanz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

flourite is found all over the world (even north korea) and goes for $450 a ton. South Korea can make their own flouride compounds, nothing special about it.

Not easy for top-notch grade

By csoh • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Disclaimer : Korean here, but trying to just state the fact.
Making HF in small lab settings, or in low grade is relatively easy. Making mass manufacturing facility of top-grade pure HF suitable for semiconductor making process(99.999%) is taking a lot of money&time and, above all, really hard. I think only few fully developed(Maybe US, UK, Ger, Fra, Rus, Jpn?) country can make pure grade of it, and for some other reason(perhaps safety&environment concerns, economical concerns) now only japan is major supplier of that pure grade material. And since HF is very toxic, reactive, unstable compound it can't be contained for a long time(3 months) without dropping quality so shipping distance longer than korea-japan(very short) have some disadvantages too.

Korean government cheated its own people

By thesjaakspoiler • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
That's the whole bottomline of this feud. Japan paid close to $800 million (including favorable loans) in damages for after the war. This included settlements for every individual Korean. Japan proposed to payout those settlements directly to every individual. But the Korean government insisted on receiving all the money and handling the payments themselves. It received all the money but never paid a dime to it's citizens. The agreement was made a state secret and only in 2017 it was exposed to the public. In the meanwhile Koreans are sueing Japanese corporations for their settlement payments while it's their own Korean government that cheated them 40 years ago.

Billions of Air Pollution Particles Found in Hearts of City Dwellers

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The hearts of young city dwellers contain billions of toxic air pollution particles, research has revealed. The Guardian: Even in the study's youngest subject, who was three, damage could be seen in the cells of the organ's critical pumping muscles that contained the tiny particles. The study suggests these iron-rich particles, produced by vehicles and industry, could be the underlying cause of the long-established statistical link between dirty air and heart disease. The scientists said the abundance of the nanoparticles might represent a serious public health concern and that particle air pollution must be reduced urgently. More than 90% of the world's population lives with toxic air, according to the World Health Organization, which has declared the issue a global "public health emergency."

The scientists acknowledged some uncertainties in their research, but Prof Barbara Maher, of Lancaster University, said: "This is a preliminary study in a way, but the findings and implications were too important not to get the information out there." Maher and colleagues found in 2016 that the same nanoparticles were present in human brains and were associated with Alzheimers-like damage, another disease linked to air pollution. While all ages were affected, Maher said she was particularly concerned about children.

It's free to dump into the air

By DogDude • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Well, when it's 100% free to dump your garbage into the air...

Re:Tearjerker headline

By JaredOfEuropa • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I found a particle the other day, but I am not sure it was toxic.

Seriously, in many western cities the air has become much cleaner in the past 40 years. Much, much cleaner. Of course now we’re worrying about ultrafine particulate matter that stays in our lungs for millennia, but it’s all a great many ifs, maybies and mights. Looking at life expectancy and life-shortening diseases, the one thing we can tell for sure is that this pollution does not constitute an immediate health crisis. There may be long-term effects but let’s have a bit more study before we panic, and let’s study the effects rather than just counting meaningless particles in organs.

Libertarian's have the right idea about pollution

By Seven Spirals • Score: 3 • Thread
You fuck up my air, I sue you out of business. That's the idea anyway. The problem is the corporations now have too many legal protections and the complexity of environmental law prevent all but the most well moneyed victims from having any recourse.


By DogDude • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I sue you out of business

That's absurdly impractical. It's nearly impossible to prove, and would cost hundreds of thousands to litigate. Lawsuits are not the answer to all of society's ills. Air pollution is best handled by (big) governments. That's why we have governments: to handle problems that can't be solved in the private sector.

Moral of the story

By Ichijo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

From FTA:

The research, peer reviewed and published in the journal Environmental Research, analysed heart tissue taken from 63 young people who had died in road traffic accidents but had not suffered chest trauma. They lived in Mexico City, which has high air pollution, and had an average age of 25.

Moral of the story: don't live in a polluted city.

Also, don't live within 1/4 mile of a major highway.

In California, dirty air costs up to $1,600 per person per year in health care bills, lost income, and so on. Let's charge that to polluters including heavy-duty diesel trucks. Then maybe they'll switch to electric or move more freight by rail which is three times more fuel-efficient, doesn't tear up the roads, and doesn't cause traffic congestion.

Revealed: This Is Palantir's Top-Secret User Manual For Cops

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter popcornfan679 shares a report: Through a public record request, Motherboard has obtained a user manual that gives unprecedented insight into Palantir Gotham (Palantir's other services, Palantir Foundry, is an enterprise data platform), which is used by law enforcement agencies like the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center. (Palantir is one of the most significant and secretive companies in big data analysis.) The NCRIC serves around 300 communities in northern California and is what is known as a "fusion center," a Department of Homeland Security intelligence center that aggregates and investigates information from state, local, and federal agencies, as well as some private entities, into large databases that can be searched using software like Palantir. Fusion centers have become a target of civil liberties groups in part because they collect and aggregate data from so many different public and private entities.

The guide doesn't just show how Gotham works. It also shows how police are instructed to use the software. This guide seems to be specifically made by Palantir for the California law enforcement because it includes examples specific to California. We don't know exactly what information is excluded, or what changes have been made since the document was first created. The first eight pages that we received in response to our request is undated, but the remaining twenty-one pages were copyrighted in 2016. (Palantir did not respond to multiple requests for comment.) The Palantir user guide shows that police can start with almost no information about a person of interest and instantly know extremely intimate details about their lives.

FTP Forever.

By Seven Spirals • Score: 3 • Thread
I mean fuck the police, not file transfer protocol. I swear I'd be safer in my city without them.

Re:Isn't it funny?

By jeff4747 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

our jobs from being take

You lost your job picking strawberries for $2/hour?

If you want to end illegal immigration, you do it by going after the people that hire them. No jobs, no immigrants.

The fact that we never do so should be a clue about how serious the problem of illegal immigration actually is. Imagine if thousands of employers were knowingly hiring terrorists. "Yes, death to America, here's your paycheck and the explosives are right over there."

Instead, the people in charge are the ones hiring illegal immigrants. "They're destroying our country.....but someone's gotta mow my golf courses."

But that would be far less fun than giving in to the fearmongering, wouldn't it?

"Person of Interest"

By sjames • Score: 3 • Thread

I wonder how often a "person of interest" is someone they have real articulable reasons to believe has committed a particular crime vs. they figure they must have done something wrong vs. they look about 22, wear a short skirt and they'd sure like to know where to be to "randomly" run in to her.

Re:"Person of Interest"

By stephanruby • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I wonder how often a "person of interest" is someone they have real articulable reasons to believe has committed a particular crime vs. they figure they must have done something wrong vs. they look about 22, wear a short skirt and they'd sure like to know where to be to "randomly" run in to her.

In San Francisco, police officers can find out what medication a person is taking.

This came out during a wrongful termination lawsuit. A police officer in San Francisco was dismissed for accessing that database for personal reasons, but his defense was that absolutely everyone in his precinct used that database to look up prospective dating partners and that he had been unfairly singled out for doing so. Apparently, law enforcement databases are excluded from HIPAA regulations.


By mveloso • Score: 3 • Thread

The other product that does this is CopLink, which is used by a couple of other fusion centers and police departments. Functionality like this is usually offered as part of a smart cities play.

It's actually a really interesting application of data for a number of different reasons. Example: you can find addresses/areas that are associated with criminal activity, by the number of degrees. So for example, person A was picked up for crime B. Person A was picked up with person B for crime B. Person C was arrested with person B for crime C. Person D was arrested for crime D. But unless you're paying attention you might not notice that they all live in the same apartment building, or that all the cars driven by them are registered to person E at location F.

FTC Approves Roughly $5 Billion Facebook Settlement

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Federal Trade Commission voted this week to approve a roughly $5 billion settlement with Facebook over a long-running probe into the tech giant's privacy missteps, WSJ reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source]. From the report: The 3-2 vote by FTC commissioners broke along party lines, with the Republican majority lining up to support the pact while Democratic commissioners objected, the people said. The matter has been moved to the Justice Department's civil division and it is unclear how long it will take to finalize, the person said. Justice Department reviews are part of the FTC's procedure but typically don't change the outcome of an FTC decision. A settlement is expected to include other government restrictions on how Facebook treats user privacy. The additional terms of the settlement couldn't immediately be learned. An FTC spokeswoman declined to comment, as did a Facebook spokesman. Facebook said April 24 that it was expecting to pay up to $5 billion to settle the probe. A resolution was bogged down by a split between Republicans and Democrats on the FTC, with the Democrats pushing for tougher oversight of the social-media giant.

Another huge corporation gets slap on the wrist...

By nwaack • Score: 3, Informative • Thread
for screwing over the people of the United States. News at 11.

Re:So the delay was about...

By Actually, I do RTFA • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The politicians don't get a piece of the $5 billion. It goes to the government. The politicians get shockingly small campaign contributions (like $20,000-$100,000 each with a total of $7,000,000 over a decade) to make the fine only $5 billion instead of $10 billion.

Not true

By rsilvergun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
there's a wide variety of ways to funnel money to politicians. The most common are speaking tours and book deals. A politician has a lackey ghost write a book, then a Super PAC buys up all the copies and gives it away for free to "members". Easy peasey money laundering. Also, go look up what Paul Ryan's been up to, he's part of the revolving door where he's got a cush job for high pay and no work with plenty of time to ready for his next presidential run.

The only politician I know who's stayed clean and been in politics for any length of time is Bernie Sanders (Warren has some questionable defense industry ties that while I can't blame her for nonetheless exist). As near as I can tell his book actually sold to people too, which is crazy 'cause the guy was givin' the contents away free on his YouTube channel and at Parks around the country :).

Proportionality of fines

By OneHundredAndTen • Score: 3 • Thread

I understand that in at least one of the northern-European countries, when somebody is fined the amount is calculated on the basis of the income of the person being fined. Companies should be fined on the same basis. $5B sounds like a lot of money, but it probably is little more than pocket change for Facebook. In fact, they may regard it as a sort of registration fee to access realms that will make them vastly reacher.

As long as companies don't suffer enough as a result of fines imposed on them, such companies will carry on doing what they are doing.

Fatal Accident With Metal Straw Highlights a Risk

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The disturbing death of a woman in Britain renewed a debate that has followed bans on plastic straws around the world. From a report: A British woman was impaled by a metal straw after falling at her home, a coroner said in an inquest this week that highlighted the potential dangers of metal straws. Such straws have surged in popularity as cities, states and even countries have banned single-use plastic straws. A British straw ban will go into effect in April, but the worldwide environmental push against single-use straws has encountered opposition from some caregivers and advocates for people with disabilities. They have voiced worries about the safety of rigid straws and the overall availability of straws for people who are unable to drink without them. [...] Many people with disabilities rely on straws to drink, Ms. Sauder said, but could have difficulties finding them in states and cities, such as California and Seattle, that have banned or restricted single-use straws.

Starbucks plans to eliminate its ubiquitous green plastic straws at 28,000 of its locations around the world in 2020. It's not easy being green for Starbucks, however. In 2016, the coffee chain recalled stainless steel straws sold at its shops because they posed an injury risk. At the time, Starbucks said it had received reports of three children in the United States and one in Canada who had been lacerated by the straws, which were sold with reusable beverage containers. Dentists say that improper use of metal or glass straws can also be bad for teeth. "Clearly, chewing on a metal or glass straw can be hazardous to your teeth and your health," said Dr. Timothy Chase of SmilesNY Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry in New York. "Just like we tell people not to chew on pens." Dr. Chase added that it's important to keep reusable straws clean to avoid infection-causing bacteria.


By Shotgun • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Additionally people don't typically walk around their houses with knives or forks in their mouths

I'm a PIRATE! I always have my cutlass in my mouth, you insensitive clod!


By barc0001 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Oh BS. This was a freak accident. Lots of people have 8-10 inch long metal chopsticks in their homes that they reuse, how many deaths have those caused. Or scissors, knives, long nails, curtain rods, etc. Should we ban all those too? Freak accidents happen. One guy even drowned in his pet's water dish after falling and hitting his head on the counter. Should we ban pets now too?


By duke_cheetah2003 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The gigantic mass of plastic in the ocean is not the result of using plastic straws in the US or EU. Nearly all of it is from third world monkeys who don't properly manage their waste.

The part you left out, is a lot of that waste is first-world waste we sold to these third world countries (or paid them to take it, either way. Both type of transactions have/do occurred.)

However you're right. It's third-world countries mismanaging waste that's lead to plastic pollution to the degree it's escalated to. Not that we're 100% innocent of the entire thing.

But you know, a lot of that did come from us, and we do bear some of the responsibility for it being mismanaged.

You wouldn't turn over your hard earned cash to a financial manager you were pretty sure wasn't going to do a very good job. We kinda did that with our garbage. We turned it over and figured that's the last we'll see of that. Well, it's in the ocean now.

You babies

By PopeRatzo • Score: 3 • Thread

Worried about some little metal straw. You gotta learn to live like this couple from Oklahoma, who were recently arrested while driving in a stolen car with an open bottle of Kentucky Deluxe bourbon, a gun, a rattlesnake, and a canister of uranium.

I mean, who wants to live forever, right?

Re: absolutely

By cute-boy • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

This whole banning of straws thing is, frankly, absurd. If plastic straws are ending up in the ocean, the problem is littering... not the straws.

Evidentially, plastic straws (and many other plastics) are ending up in our environment in huge numbers, and having a large impact. Evidentially, we are doing a terrible job controlling littering. Its not absurd to remove the cause of a problem, it's the best thing you can do.

The Hierarchy of hazard controls has elimination as the most effective control. Asking people to stop littering is at the other end of the control spectrum.

Streaming Online Pornography Produces as Much CO2 as Belgium

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The transmission and viewing of online videos generates 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, or nearly 1 per cent of global emissions. On-demand video services such as Netflix account for a third of this, with online pornographic videos generating another third. From a report: This means the watching of pornographic videos generates as much CO2 per year as is emitted by countries such as Belgium, Bangladesh and Nigeria. That's the conclusion of a French think tank called The Shift Project. Earlier this year, it estimated that digital technologies produce 4 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions and that this figure could soar to 8 per cent by 2025. Now it has estimated the CO2 emissions due to online videos alone. The report's authors used 2018 reports by companies Cisco and Sandvine to work out global video internet traffic. They then estimated how much electricity was used to carry this video data and view it on different devices, from phones to TVs. Finally, they estimated the overall emissions using global average figures for carbon emissions from electricity generation. Online video accounted for 60 per cent of global data flows in 2018, the report states, or 1 zettabyte of data (one thousand billion billion bytes).

That's a stupid way of calculating impact

By melted • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

One would need to consider how much CO2 does not chasing women and not fathering children save? Without passing moral judgment on masturbation, those two things alone seem like they'd be very strongly carbon positive.

Re:Save the world.

By lgw • Score: 4 • Thread

Hmm...well, I suppose we could suggest that AOC add to her Green New Deal...that she immediately begin generously giving blow jobs to all guys out there she can find, so as to help cut down on the CO2 generated from pr0n.

I always assumed that's how she got anywhere in politics in the first place.


By therealkevinkretz • Score: 3 • Thread

Since the article doesn't link to the study, here:

They seem to be a neo-Luddite group and they call for "digital sobriety" enforced by regulation on the uses of digital systems.

Re:Save the world.

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

I half expected that to go a different direction: ... that she strengthen the Communications Decency Act to ban all porn on the Internet.

Wouldn't it be easier to just get rid of Belgium? I mean, if they're producing as much CO2 as streaming porn ...

[which should have been the Headline]

Belgium Produces as Much CO2 as Streaming Porn

Re:Save the world.

By jcr • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

If we had a global referendum on whether we'd rather have porn or Belgium, I wouldn't bet on Belgium.


Bird, One of the World's Largest Scooter Startups, Lost $100 Million in Three Months

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Bird has its eyes on another capital raise, according to a report. Business Insider: The scooter company, one of the largest in a swarm of similar micromobility startups, has already raised $718 million in its short lifetime, according to Pitchbook data, and now it reportedly needs up to $300 more by the end of the summer. A fresh infusion could raise the Santa Monica, California-based company's valuation beyond its current $2.3 billion, potentially helping Bird pass its competitor Lime as the most highly valued startup in the space. The Information also reported that Bird lost $100 million in the first quarter of 2019, with its revenue shrinking to $15 million during the same time period.

Who are these investors?

By DogDude • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Ideally, I'd love to see some journalism about the people who invest in these absurd companies. I'm perpetually amazed at people throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at badly, BADLY run companies with no business plan to speak of.

It is 1999 again.

By AlanObject • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

$2.3 Billion valuation on $15 Million quarterly sales.

I'll bet their internal sales meetings are epic.

And people call Elon Musk delusional.

Re:Just a Fad

By garcia • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

It absolutely shocks me. I simply don't understand how they're losing any investment money because I simply cannot fathom how they raised any in the first place.

Why are investors readily funding $1 scooters with billions as opposed to funding truly viable transit methods, instead? What are they being sold on where they believe they will honestly be able to recoup any of these dollars they're burning?

Re:Who are these investors?

By JaredOfEuropa • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Question is, why are they doing it, then?

They do it because they think the company can be grown, operate in different countries while building a huge customer base, and subsequently be hyped up enough to be sold off to the next round of bag holders, or go public, so they can cash out. Your start-up doesn't need to work, it only needs to be sold, and there's plenty of suckers out there.

Scratching my head

By farble1670 • Score: 3 • Thread

I've been scratching my head on their business model ever since I saw my first scooter. Take a $250 (probably more) e-scooter, rent it for next to nothing where it gets beat to shit on rough city streets. Deal with the logistics of finding these scooters left all over the city in bushes, ditches, ravines, etc., cleaning them, repairing them, and charging them. Deal with a good percentage of them getting outright destroyed (thrown in rivers, stripped for parts).

Deal with the inevitable lawsuits as people that have never ridden scooters wreck themselves not wearing a helmet on an e-scooter than can go 20MPH. I've ridden one and 20MPH on a scooter with hard rubber wheels and without any sort of shock absorption is no joke.

How could they possibly be profitable? Yet in my city, Lyft has gotten in the game now and is renting scooters and bikes in competition with Lime and Bird.

Congress is Bad at Rocket League

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shared a story: On Wednesday, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) hosted a Rocket League tournament in Congress, pitting members against each other in 2v2 matches. The ESA paired up with Congress' Future Forum caucus to teach members about the e-sports and gaming communities. A whole slate of members picked up the game and faced off head-to-head, teaming up with staff members. The two-hour event was streamed on Twitch and featured Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Katie Hill (D-CA), Marc Veasey (D-TX), and Jimmy Gomez (D-CA).

The event included everything from professional commentary to post-game interviews and minor trolls from the chat calling for lawmakers to learn how to use their boosts. "SOMEONE TELL THEM THE BOOST KEY PLEASE," one person in the chat wrote. "Next time, we could do a first-person shooter. That's more my thing," Hill said. The only thing they left out was a winners ceremony. It's unclear who actually won, but it didn't seem like any of the members cared. It was obvious the lawmakers weren't pros at Rocket League, and an ESA representative said on the stream that they were looking to find a game that was easy to pick up and play, something that wouldn't take much time for them to master.

Congress is bad

By OffTheLip • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
at pretty much everything. At least they have consistency going for them.


By ArylAkamov • Score: 3 • Thread

"trolls telling them how to play the game and use their boost"
That word really has lost all meaning, hasn't it?

Donald Trump Blasts Bitcoin, Facebook Libra, Demands They Face Banking Regulations

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
President Donald Trump on Thursday night warned Facebook over its plan to create digital currency Libra, a move that poses a new obstacle to the company's cryptocurrency ambitions. From a report: "Facebook Libra's 'virtual currency' will have little standing or dependability. If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter and become subject to all Banking Regulations, just like other Banks," Trump said in a series of posts on Twitter. In the tweets, the president also expressed scepticism of digital currencies in general. "I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air," Trump wrote. "Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity." Trump's entrance into the debate over Bitcoin and Libra could mark a significant development for crypto enthusiasts. The White House has largely remained silent on the subject even as federal regulators like the Securities Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and units of the Treasury Department have grappled with how to regulate virtual coins.

Trump represents old school money launderers

By mea2214 • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
Bitcoin poses a risk to the trillions currently being washed via old school unregulated money laundering. Trump represents their interests.

Re:Trump represents old school money launderers

By jeff4747 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You read that guy's post backwards. Traditional money laundering would go away because bitcoin does money laundering more easily, not because bitcoin would make money laundering impossible.

Re: This is true for the dollar too.

By Oswald McWeany • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Why think of 1 BTC being with $10000 USD one day, and $13000 USD the next? It's just as valid to think of 1 USD being worth 0.0001 BTC one day, and 000076923 BTC the next. LOOK HOW UNSTABLE THE USD IS!!!

The USD stays relatively stable with all other currencies though and BTC is the one that fluctuates against all of them. The overall purchasing power of the USD stays pretty stable. $5 can be exchanged for approximately the same goods on any given day as it could a month before or after that same day. The same can't be said for BTC.

I am so confused..

By CptLoRes • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Normally I would say bitcoin is a unsustainable pyramid scheme, but now that Trump is against it I no longer know what to think..

Well, if we're on this path anyway

By nehumanuscrede • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You may as well apply the same labels and regulations to Pay-Pal.

They could use some regulating to be honest since they like to play games with your funds at the drop of a hat :|

Bitpoint Cryptocurrency Exchange Hacked For $32 Million

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitpoint announced it lost 3.5 billion yen (roughly $32 million) worth of cryptocurrency assets after a hack that happened late yesterday, July 11. From a report: The exchange suspended all deposits and withdrawals this morning to investigate the hack, it said in a press release. In a more detailed document released by RemixPoint, the legal entity behind Bitpoint, the company said that hackers stole funds from both of its "hot" and "cold" wallets. This suggests the exchange's network was thoroughly compromised. Hot wallets are used to store funds for current transactions, while the cold wallets are offline devices storing emergency and long-term funds. Bitpoint reported the attackers stole funds in five cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ripple, and Ethereal. The exchange said it detected the hack because of errors related to the remittance of Ripple funds to customers. Twenty-seven minutes after detecting the errors, Bitpoint admins realized they had been hacked, and three hours later, they discovered thefts from other cryptocurrency assets.

Inside Job?

By JcMorin • Score: 3 • Thread
There is a high chance, it's an inside job. Either owner or an rogue employee that need a "raise". If not their cold wallet was not secure at all.

You keep using that word...

By Nkwe • Score: 3 • Thread

the company said that hackers stole funds from both of its "hot" and "cold" wallets.

You keep using words like "cold" and "offline", I don't think those words mean what you think they mean...

I don't get why people repeatedly don't seem to get that "offline" really needs to be off line - as in not on the network, as in requires human interaction to access.

Streaming's Bounty of Choices Overwhelms Consumers

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Consumers are so stressed about finding the right thing to watch on their streaming services that, after a few minutes scanning the options, many decide to watch something they've already seen, revert to traditional TV, or turn the tube off altogether. From a report: As more companies jump into the streaming wars, the choice-overload problem could alienate customers, drive away subscribers and limit the industry's growth. U.S. adults typically spend a little over 7 minutes searching for something to watch on a streaming service, according to a new report from Nielsen's MediaTech Trender, a quarterly consumer tracking survey focused on emerging technology. Younger adults ages 18-49 take between 8 and 10 minutes to browse before giving up, while older adults typically spend around 5 minutes. Overall, 21% of respondents say that "when they want to watch, but they don't know exactly what," they end up giving up the hunt.

Choice between Crap, Junk, and @#$%

By gbooker • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The problem isn't the quantity of titles, it's the lack of quality. I've done this hunt before with friends and it was nothing more than a repetition of "is this worth watching? No, move to the next." If we had found a title worth watching, the hunt would be over and we would have watched it but most times it was nothing but failure until we gave up. That's why I eventually cancelled my Netflix account. I re-up it once a year or so for a bit just to watch the new seasons to the few series we care about but the hunt through the sea of muck isn't worth it anymore.

Bounty of choices...

By Freischutz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
With everybody doing a Gollum impression and hissing “My Precious!!!” as they set up their own streaming service around their own little content collection it’s the collective price tag of subscribing to all those services that will overwhelm consumers. What will kill this industry is spreading the content people want to see over dozens upon dozens of separate services that each charge a $20+ subscription and optimistically believing that people will subscribe to a dozen or more of them at that price tag.

Corporate greed strikes again

By CptLoRes • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
In streaming, corporate media finally seemed to have a solution against piracy. Something more convenient to use at a reasonable price. And the drop in piracy reflected this. But if there is one thing corporations are exceedingly good at, it is to take a good thing and exploit it until it turns into something bad. So expect piracy numbers to start raising again in the near future..

Netflix is plagued by foreign programming

By cliffjumper222 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I dunno, maybe I made a mistake by watching a Korean drama once, but my Netflix suggestions is just full of foreign programming now. I suspected it was my fault, but then I went to Japan and opened up Netflix there and there was a ton of great American content for me to watch! It turns out it's all licensing. Netflix has got virtually nothing in the US from US content providers so they fill up on foreign content and the same goes for overseas. The best way to watch decent TV is to get the ol'VPN going again it seems.

Re:Damned kids.

By Waffle Iron • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

And we were too busy tweaking the fine tuning, vertical hold and tint knobs to absorb the shows anyway.

Microsoft is Making Windows 10 Passwordless

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft is planning to make Windows 10 PCs work without passwords. From a report: While the company has been working on removing passwords from Windows 10 and its Microsoft Accounts for a number of months now, the next major update to Windows 10 next year will go one step further. You'll soon be able to enable a passwordless sign-in for Microsoft accounts on a Windows 10 device. This means PCs will use Windows Hello face authentication, fingerprints, or a PIN code. The password option will simply disappear from the login screen, if you decide to opt in to this new "make your device passwordless" feature. [...] This will also extend to business users through Azure Active Directory, allowing businesses to go fully passwordless with security keys, the authenticator app, or Windows Hello.

5th Amendment?

By stevegee58 • Score: 3 • Thread
How can I plead the 5th and remain silent about my passwords if law enforcement can just thrust my face in front of my webcam?

PINs have been hacked!!!

By Comboman • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
A hacker has revealed a list of 4 digits PINs used by many banks, on-line services and credit cards. If your PIN is on this list, change it immediately.

Re:You'd have to be insane to use a "Microsoft acc

By CastrTroy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

How is it any different from using your Google or Apple account to sign into your phone?

Re:Or just too clueless.

By nospam007 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"Likewise if a plumber could not use a pipe cutter or a bricklayer user a trowel."

Well, they cut pipes and lay bricks and you need 2 people to do that.

And nobody ever asks them to uncut a pipe or make the pipes have a different color, the bricklayer is also never asked if it's possible to make the bricks bigger, when the house is finished.
If the uses and methods are unlimited, the time to learn these will be too, a computer is not a hammer.

Re:PINs have been hacked!!!

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I switched to a 8-digit PIN. You won't found that on any 4-digit PIN list!

What are you talking about. I found your numbers in that list TWICE!

Microsoft Defends Planned Partner Program Changes, But Many Aren't Buying It

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Last week, Microsoft quietly published information to its partner web site which made it clear that one of its program's main benefits -- internal use rights (IURs) -- would be axed in July 2020. Since then, Microsoft's been attempting to do damage control, including by holding a webcast that meant to shed more light on the reasoning behind the move. But most partners seem unconvinced about Microsoft's stated reasons, with more than a few saying they might go so far as to quit the partner program as a result. ZDNet: In a 20-minute recorded Ask Me Anything (AMA) entitled "Partner Transformation and Partner Business Investments" recorded on July 10, Microsoft execs talked about the priorities and trade-offs the company is making in regard to its partner program in fiscal 2020 and beyond. More than 230 partners attended the presentation live. (Note: It looks like Microsoft has removed the video of the AMA from YouTube.) Erez Wohl, General Manager of Business Strategy and Partner Investments in the One Commercial Partner organization, told partners that Microsoft "has the richest incentive portfolio in the industry," and that it would spend $400 million more on its partner program in fiscal 2020 (starting July 1, 2019) than it did in the previous year. He and his colleague Toby Richards, General Manager of Go-To-Market & Programs in the Microsoft One Commercial Partner organization, talked up some of the advanced specializations, new commerce capabilities and other new partner benefits that would be coming to the program this year.

But webcast attendees were largely there for one reason: To dispute Microsoft's plan to eliminate internal use rights. Yet Microsoft officials held fast to their stance, saying the company had to make some trade-offs in order to deliver on other priorities, such as making it easier for partners to connect with more users, partners and sellers. [...] For what it's worth, someone I know at Microsoft said Microsoft is currently incurring about $200 million in costs annually (and growing) resulting from its services being used by partners via IUR products.
Update Microsoft capitulates and agrees to undo planned partner product-licensing changes.

Internal Use Rights

By 110010001000 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Literally no one who reads Slashdot knows what "Internal Use Rights" is. What is it?


By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Microsoft used to let all paying "partners" use all their software for free. Nowadays, they are doing nothing other than pushing everyone in their shitty, broken, worthless spy-"cloud" system, meaning Microsoft suddenly has to pay for all the stuff those freeloaders use, instead of the freeloaders running copies of Microsoft's software on their own hardware. And that's why they are no longer interested in giving this away, because it suddenly has an actual cost for Microsoft.

Re:Internal Use Rights

By luvirini • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

It is a program where as a partner you can use Microsoft products for own use without a separate lisence.

Basically you pay Microsoft a (fairly small) sum of money and fulfill the other conditions like having certified professionals and you get to you a varying number of the different products.

This is litterally the entire point of partnership

By WaffleMonster • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

There are no other useful benefit to the program. Market / listing bits are nothing more than spam magnets nobody actually takes seriously.

This is like an ice-cream truck driver selling a daily ice cream delivery service for a yearly rate and then deciding instead they would just drive around and blare the ice cream music instead of actually delivering the goods.

Re:Internal Use Rights

By thereddaikon • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

IUR is an incentive for the partner program, the benefits go both ways. Microsoft wouldn't do it if it didn't make sense. From Microsoft's POV their partners act as a revenue stream. Many of these are MSP and IT consulting firms and Microsoft wants them to use their products on projects. It makes sense to let them use the products internally if they are making sales for Microsoft. Usually these firms will be hired out for large scale projects, so its advantageous to let them run their HyperV cluster internally for free if they sale 5 clusters worth of licenses this month. Depending on how that is setup, what its doing and what year it is that could be a lot of licenses. M$ is notorious for changing their licensing scheme on a whim.

Scientists Use Camera With Human-Like Vision To Capture 5,400 FPS Video

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from PetaPixel: A team of scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) have figured out how to capture super slow-motion footage using what's called an "Event Camera." That is: a camera that sees the world in a continuous stream of information, the way humans do. Regular cameras work by capturing discrete frames, recapturing the same scene 24 or more times per second and then stitching it together to create a video. Event cameras are different. They capture "pixel-level brightness changes" as they happen, basically recording each individual light "event" as it happens, without wasting time capturing all the stuff that remains the same frame by frame.

As ETH Zurich explains, some of the advantages of this type of image capture is "a very high dynamic range, no motion blur, and a latency in the order of microseconds." The downside is that there's no easy way to process the resulting "footage" into something you can display using current algorithms because they all expect to receive a set of discrete frames. Well, there was no easy way. This is what the folks at ETH Zurich just improved upon, developing a reconstruction model that can interpret the footage to the tune of 5,000+ frames per second. The results are astounding: a 20% increase in the reconstructed image quality over any model that existed before, and the ability to output "high frame rate videos (more than 5,000 frames per second) of high-speed phenomena (e.g. a bullet hitting an object)," even in high dynamic range "challenging lighting conditions."
Their findings have been published in a research paper titled High Speed and High Dynamic Range Video with an Event Camera.

I remember proposing this exact thing...

By Rei • Score: 3 • Thread

... several times in Slashdot over the years (most recently, here). Great to see it actually getting some research! Now I actually have a proper term ("Event Camera") for it. :)

Re:I remember proposing this exact thing...

By Rei • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I'll note that I do envision this going further (as I've written in the past). A particularly important one would be recording data in absolute polar coordinates, along with a path for the camera over time, so that rotation of the camera does not spam you with new data for each pixel. E.g. if column 1 of your "CCD" corresponds to 5,86 degrees east of due north, and the camera is rotated so that column 2 of the "CCD" now corresponds to to 5,86 degrees east of due north, all that changes is that column 2 is now storing data to where column 1 was storing it previously. You only want things that actually change in the scene to trigger refresh events. Ideally the metadata would allow multiple camera sources to be included into the same scene, which would aid in stereoscopy or true 3d reconstruction. Additionally, datastreams wouldn't be strictly confined to "RGB", but would allow for whatever spectral windows the camera wants to record.

As described previously, compression becomes trickier with an event camera. Realistically you want A) to record changes in light intensity as splines, and only trigger a new datapoint when a single spline can no longer accurately represent the light intensity curve that's been observed since your last datapoint; B) trigger new datapoints for adjacent pixels that "nearly need to switch splines", so that you can write out data in blocks, thus reducing per-pixel overhead; and C) bundle as many blocks into a single time writeout as possible, thus reducing per-timestamp overhead. There are tradeoffs, of course - (B) for example creates datapoints sooner than they might be needed, while (C) reduces your temporal resolution (your worst case being "everything written all at once", aka, frames).

Realistically, CCDs are poorly suited for an event camera, as they read out everything in rows, all pixels at once. You really want an event-driven paradigm in the sensor hardware itself - the hardware itself accumulating light-curve splines and triggering write-out events when the deviation of the light curve can no longer be represented with a single spline. Likewise, for compression, you want datapoint write-outs from one pixel to trigger new datapoint write-outs from blocks of their neighbors that are almost ready, and potentially from nearly-ready non-adjacent blocks as well - all at the hardware level. You want your bus to simply listen for events from your sensor, bundle together all newly-read data into a compressed format with all required metadata, and to write them out.

Prenda 'Copyright Troll' Lawyer Sentenced To Five Years In Prison

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
John Steele, one of the attorneys behind the 'copyright troll' law firm Prenda, has been sentenced to five years in prison. The attorney was one of the masterminds behind the fraudulent scheme that extracted settlements from alleged pirates. Because of Steele's cooperative stance, his sentence is significantly lower than that of co-conspirator Paul Hansmeier. TorrentFreak reports: During a hearing this morning, U.S. District Judge Joan N. Ericksen convicted Steele to a five-year prison sentence. In addition, the disbarred attorney must pay his victims little over $1.5 million in restitution. Today's sentencing ironically comes 11 years after Steele was first admitted to the bar. The lower sentence, compared to Hansmeier, comes as no surprise. It was specifically recommended by the prosecution, which stressed that Steele didn't shy away from the ugly truth of his crimes and was very cooperative following the indictment.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Steele deserved a significant prison term. However, his cooperation and genuine remorse should be taken into account. Based on the sentencing guidelines Steele faced a potential prison sentence of more than 12 years, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Langner recommended five years in prison instead. Judge Ericksen went along with this recommendation. The Judge noted that courts "are not a tool in the box for anybody's hustle," adding that the five-year sentence was "imminently fair," as the Star Tribune report. "I condemn the actions that you took in committing this crime. I congratulate you, however, on the actions you took" in responding to the charges, Judge Ericksen said.


By fluffernutter • Score: 3 • Thread
I'd prefer if they changed copyright laws so this wouldn't be possible, rather than just sending people to jail.

Differ with judge on the legal hustle

By Beeftopia • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

FTA: "The Judge noted that courts "are not a tool in the box for anybody's hustle"" - but that's not true. Lots of people make a living via the legal system. Large swaths of the plaintiff bar are looking for that big case that's going to yield the big payout. Just sayin'. The courts most assuredly are a tool in the hustle toolbox. These clowns got hung by their balls because they crossed the wrong people.

Re:I imagine its easy to be remorseful...

By Joce640k • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

... once you've been caught and are facing a long jail term.


Re:True justice would be...

By jwhyche • Score: 4 • Thread

An we send another one to prison to take up space on the public doll. Our prisons are already too full of non violent offenders? Take the money back and repay his victims; apply appropriate fines. Then take his ass out back, strap him to a pole, and give him 10 lashes with a raw hide whip.

Re:No such thing as non-criminal copyright though.

By jwhyche • Score: 4 • Thread

Copyrights should be like trademarks. As long as someone is defending them they should be valid. Once that defense stops they slip in to public domain. That person can be a trust, a cooperation, individual or a family. At some point a copyright will not be worth defending an will slip into the public domain.

A Sunken Cold War Nuclear Sub Is Leaking Radiation At Levels 800,000 Times Normal

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Using a robotic sub, a team of investigators has detected traces of radiation leaking from Komsomolets -- a Soviet nuclear submarine that sank 30 years ago in the Norwegian Sea. The recorded radiation levels are unusually high, but scientists say it's not threatening humans or marine life. Gizmodo reports: On April 7, 1989, while cruising at a depth of 380 meters (1,250 feet), a fire broke out in the aft section of Komsomolets, a Soviet nuclear-powered attack submarine out on its first patrol. Its captain managed to bring the beleaguered sub to the surface, but it sank about five hours later. All 42 sailors were killed in the incident, known as the Komsomolets disaster. The 120-meter-long (400-foot) nuclear submarine still rests some 1,700 meters (5,575 feet) below the surface of the Norwegian Sea, about 320 kilometers (200 miles) north of the Norwegian mainland.

And it's leaking radiation, according to a press release issued by Norway's Institute of Marine Research (IMR). The amount of cesium radiation leaking from the wreck is significant, at about 800,000 times the typical reading for the Norwegian Sea, but it "poses no risk to people or fish," according to a collaborative research team involving IMR and the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (DSA). A leaking radioactive sub certainly sounds scary, but this research suggests the wreck is not currently endangering the Norwegian Sea and outlying areas. Normally, radiation levels in the Norwegian Sea are at 0.001 Becquerel (Bq) per liter. Around the wreck, however, they are as high as 100 Bq per liter. For reference, the acceptable amount of radiation in food is 600 Bq per kilogram, as established by the Norwegian government in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster.

Re: Nice headline

By K. S. Kyosuke • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I think the problem is, what if starts leaking more than twice (for reasons of corrosion, for example) in *less* than thirty years.

Re:Salvage Operation

By Zocalo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The Norwegian Sea is a large body of mostly open ocean in international waters, with only a small part of it being Norwegian territorial, and since the wreck is in international waters there's nothing stopping a ship from any other nation from going there. However, 1,700m is hardly a trivial depth for marine salvage (it's been done though), you'd also have to deal with the arctic weather conditions, and almost certain monitoring of shipping traffic loitering in the area by both the Russians and Norwegians. Then there's the small matter of extracting the reactor (that might not be structurally sound) from the sub's titanium hull, or at the very least cutting the hull into pieces so you can just raise the section containing the reactor, or even just the fuel rods and their housings. The number of countries that could even consider a viable attempt to raise the sub under those conditions, covertly or otherwise, already have access to enriched uranium far more readily than it would take to make off with the Komsomolets or have no use for it, so no, it's not likely to happen.

All sailors did not die

By guacamole • Score: 3 • Thread

Almost all crewmen escaped the burning submarine when it surfaced, but 42 (most of the crew) died from hypothermia.

Re:Salvage Operation

By CrimsonAvenger • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What would it take for a foreign power to, say, scoop up the reactor chamber of the sub, or even the whole damn thing, and spirit it away for later processing?

A big ship, some deep-sea diving gear, a couple of colossal winches, and a metric fuckton of money.

And then they'd have a few hundred kilograms of U235. Note that the only bomb in history to use U235 was used on Hiroshima. ALL other nuclear weapons were made with Pu239, so what you recovered from the sub would basically be useful for...are you ready for this?...powering a nuclear reactor....

Re:Basic web search...

By thegreatbob • Score: 4, Funny • Thread