the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2019-Sep-20 today archive


  1. Two Arrested In $10 Million Tech Support Scam That Preyed On the Elderly
  2. Systemd-homed: Systemd Now Working To Improve Home Directory Handling
  3. TiVo Tests Running Pre-Roll Ads Before DVR Recordings
  4. Latest Lakka Release On Raspberry Pi 4 Showcases Great Retro Gaming
  5. iOS 13 Ships With Known Lockscreen Bypass Flaw That Exposes Contacts
  6. Google Reportedly Attains 'Quantum Supremacy'
  7. VPN Apps With 500M+ Installs Caught Serving Disruptive Ads To Android Users
  8. Google Is Investing $3.3 Billion To Build Clean Data Centers In Europe
  9. AI Takes On Earthquake Prediction
  10. Npm CEO Bryan Bogensberger Exits After Eight Months of Turmoil
  11. Edward Snowden Wants To Come Home: 'I'm Not Asking For a Pass. What I'm Asking For is a Fair Trial'
  12. Uber Sues New York City Over 'Cruising Cap' Rule
  13. Walmart Will Stop Selling E-cigarettes
  14. Facebook Suspends Tens of Thousands of Apps Following Data Investigation
  15. Why Prescription Drugs Cost So Much More in America
  16. Traders Who Can't Code May Become Extinct, Goldman's Tech Pioneer Warns
  17. They Want To Believe: People Gather Near Area 51 To 'See Them Aliens'
  18. Secret FBI Subpoenas Scoop Up Personal Data From Scores of Companies
  19. 47% of Organizations Have Cyber Insurance, Up From 34% in 2017: Study
  20. French Court Rules that Steam's Ban on Reselling Used Games is Contrary To European Law
  21. Silicon Valley Is Terrified of California's Privacy Law
  22. Experts Warn World 'Grossly Unprepared' For Future Pandemics
  23. Japan's Hayabusa 2 Targets Final Asteroid Landing

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.

Two Arrested In $10 Million Tech Support Scam That Preyed On the Elderly

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: Two individuals were arrested this week in connection with a fraud scheme that manipulated thousands of victims into paying for invented tech services that they didn't need. The Department of Justice announced that the two individuals Romana Leyva, 35, and Ariful Haque, 33, were arrested Wednesday for their alleged participation in the fraud scheme, which involved convincing victims -- many of whom were elderly -- in both the U.S. and Canada that they needed tech and virus protection services that were neither real nor required.

Between March 2015 and December 2018, both Ariful and Haque were allegedly involved with the fraud ring responsible for the crimes. According to an unsealed indictment, the scheme involved targeting victims with pop-up windows -- sometimes under the guise of being a legitimate tech company -- that claimed their computer had been infected with a virus and directed them to call a number for technical support. In some cases, the message threatened that if the individual closed the window or shut down their computer, it would either bork their device or result in a "complete data loss." Once users contacted the number, they were connected with a fake technician. To convince victims to hand over money, after receiving "permission" from the victim, the fraud ring allegedly remotely accessed the individual's computer, loaded an anti-virus tool that's available for free online, and informed the individual that their computer was infected with a virus (which, again, was a lie).
The DOJ says the scheme was able to successfully scam "at least" 7,500 victims out of a combined $10 million.

Both of the individuals arrested are charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.

Re: So, they sold a service you didn't actually ne

By ArmoredDragon • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

That's why I always get oil changes at Walmart. Really. I can actually count on them to be honest about whether my air filter needs to be changed without needing get my hands dirty to look at it, and they don't charge anything to change wiper blades that you can buy off of the shelf for $6.

Oh and if they fuck something up, they'll actually own it too instead of pretending that it was already that way to begin with. Sure, it costs $10 more for a synthetic oil change at Walmart, but so fucking what? Every other place you go to treats oil changes as a loss leader and they make every mechanic into a salesman.

Had to change bank account

By Tablizer • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

My father fell victim to such a scam. He told me "Microsoft called and they were very helpful."

I told him Microsoft does neither.

It even hit firefox on linux.

By deviated_prevert • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The pacific salmon foundation got hacked a while back by exactly this scam that caused an instant javascript front page redirect. Their home site was a typical .tk hosted POS scam site. It was hilarious. Unfortunately I can easily see some poor sucker looking for salmon fishing info in BC Canada falling for the scam because it really did require a call to top to kill the firefox pid to get the thing down. Though it could not breach the home directory .mozilla at least on Linux, so it was not there when firefox was restarted and was not in site browsing history. I would imagine that it did on OSes like windows XP and Vista though with old un-patched javascript browsers.

Interestingly the hops that the javascript window were making were also secondarily to a site in Moscow so I suspect that there is more to this story than meets the eye. These guys might well be employed by Russian organized crime. That is my bet on the real origins and backers for laundering the money they stole. I traced the traffic as it was at work pinging away waiting for me to enter my personal information or pick up the phone, call the number and talk to these assholes. The phone number was a real one. It was obvious that it was serious javascript hack otherwise all the firefox macros would not have been completely frozen. The java engine was not up during the freeze so it was an internal javascript hack that hosed firefox on linux.

Funny as hell sitting at a Linux laptop and being told by a pop up that my "Windows" computer was compromised though. ROFL

Don't they know when to quit?

By locater16 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Criminals that are millionaires and still get caught always weird me out. Like, is the point the money or the lame criminal activity you're doing, cause the smart thing to do would've been to quit a couple million back, buy new identities, and retire to a life of luxury. But noooo, a life of scamming the elderly is just too glamorous to quit.

Re:Execute them!

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

If you aren't giving decent punishments then what the hell is there to fear of getting caught.

Execution is not a "decent" punishment. Neither is a prison sentence more harsh than many murders receive.

Punishment should be proportionate to the crime.

This is why youth crime is through the roof

Bullcrap. Youth crime is highest is states like Louisiana where sentences are harsh, and lower where sentences are more lenient, such as in New England. Recidivism is highest where sentences are harshest. Our prisons are crime factories.

Systemd-homed: Systemd Now Working To Improve Home Directory Handling

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Freshly Exhumed shares a report from Phoronix, detailing a new set of systemd capabilities shown off by lead developer Lennart Poettering at the annual All Systems Go conference: Improving the Linux handling of user home directories is the next ambition for systemd. Among the goals are allowing more easily migratable home directories, ensuring all data for users is self-contained to the home directories, UID assignments being handled to the local system, unified user password and encryption key handling, better data encryption handling in general, and other modernization efforts. Among the items being explored by systemd-homed are JSON-based user records, encrypted LUKS home directories in loop-back files, and other next-gen features to offering secure yet portable home directories. Systemd-homed is currently being developed in Lennart's Git tree but hopes to see it merged for either systemd 244 (the current cycle) or systemd 245.

Re:analyzing why this upsets me

By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

"Right now your options are basically to glue together a bunch of semi-compatible tools with piles of shell scripts like we've always done, or go with systemd."

Shell scripting is a CENTRAL UNIX FEATURE. Some people don't seem to understand that is a big deal. When Unix was invented, literally none of the stuff that characterizes it was common place. Flat files, everything's a file, unstructured file access, shell scripting, self hosting... All of that was unusual.

When people complain that their Unix system is built out of shell scripts, what they're doing is proving that they don't understand Unix.

When people laud systemd for unifying the various parts of Linux, they're proving it all over again. Systemd does nothing we couldn't do before, it doesn't make the system simpler, and it makes Linux less unixlike by failing to conform to the most basic law of Unix programs: do one thing, do it well, and do it interoperably. It's an attempt to make Linux into windows in spite of the fact that this is not a desirable outcome.

People who don't understand Unix and don't have the competence to reimplement it even poorly apparently have to settle for fucking it up for everyone else.

I avoid systemd like the plague

By kobaz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I develop embedded communications systems. The last thing we need is a tentacle like ecosystem that infects everything it touches (random distro packages require systemd for who knows wtf reason that have no buisiness doing so).

When something in the boot order doesn't start for some reason the box STILL NEEDS TO BOOT and not get locked up in systemd. With svsv, our internal self-healing will either fix the issue or be able to send us alerts that there is one because the boot up actually finished.

Theres plenty of other reasons too that are well documented.

What of that is new?

By BAReFO0t • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

My PC's home directory has been synced to my home server and laptop (and backups), and accessible from my phone, for a decade now.

Encrypting home directories is a standard feature of every Linux distribution, and trivial to set up nowadays. (Although pointless, when you can still alter the OS to spy on you after you decrypted it to use it.)

And home directories are "containers" by definition. (No write rights outside the directory, except places that can and will be deleted at any time. No read rights to other users' private areas, unless allowed.)
The rest is the kernel's job. E.g. using a RBAC solution.

Looks like more half-assed and cancer-injected NIH from the world's most arrogant case of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Just make/ruin your own OS already! And leave actual Linux and actual professionals alone!

Re:Container homedir

By bobby • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

It's a giant monolithic block.

Not sure which distro you use, but all that I've tried not only have loadable modules including device drivers, but they can self-load on need. Quite modular that Linux is.

It's very hard to contribute to for various reasons,

Again, not sure what that means, unless you mean getting something into Linus' kernel tree, then sure, it needs to be difficult. But you're free to write your own drivers / modules.

there are zero alternatives if you want to run a Linux system.

There are tons and tons of pre-compiled kernels on the 'net for free download in the 2.x, 3.x, 4.x, and now 5.x versions. All kinds of compiled-in modules and drivers, or very low-overhead kernels with tons of /lib/modules dynamically loadable drivers.

Not even sure how many hundreds of distros are out there, but there are certainly dozens of great ones.

Re:Can't wait for this

By McGruber • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Why don't they just spin it off into systemd-ux already

Call it the Poettering Operation System, or POS for short.

TiVo Tests Running Pre-Roll Ads Before DVR Recordings

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
As noted by Zatz Not Funny, TiVo is testing pre-roll video ads that start playing when customers view one of their recordings. The Verge reports: The ad spots are noticeably low-res and worse quality than the DVR'd content that starts playing afterward, according to one TiVo owner who has been served spots for Amazon, Keurig, and Toyota. It sounds like the users can fast-forward through the ads, but doing so is "not that seamless."

There are several potential reasons for TiVo ramping up advertising. Maybe the company plans to offer an ad-supported subscription with lower (or no) monthly fees compared to what regular customers are paying (similar to Amazon's Kindle devices with ads). No one who has paid for a lifetime subscription or even a monthly plan will be pleased to see pre-roll ads. TiVo also handles DVR functionality for many midsized and international cable providers. Squeezing in ads wherever possible could be something that those companies are pushing for as more of their customers spend increased time streaming shows and movies elsewhere.

Woohoo, still on a series 2!

By oneiros27 • Score: 3 • Thread

There was a period when I had cable, and it'd turn to random channels in the middle of the night and record ads to try to show me, but I'm using it for over the air now (with a D2A box).

I guess that's one less reason to update to a modern TiVo. (that and having to give up the DVD burner ... not that I've used it at least a year, but it's been a nice feature to have, and they haven't made them in 10+ years)

This is a slippery slope TiVo.

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

If they slide too far I'll have to bite the bullet and go back to DIY and build another MythTV system.

I had a 3-tuner MythTV system for about 7 years, that I built myself, and was very happy with it -- watching live TV on my actual TV, recorded shows in analog SD on the MythTV box (it's just TV) and streaming Amazon Prime via my Blu-ray player -- until TV went digital only. I didn't want to have to deal with upgrading the system and interfacing it with an external SiliconDust/CableCard box, especially as my ISP/cable provider Cox apparently has a reputation for randomly enforcing/ignoring the Copy Control bits within and among different markets. In any case, I probably still won't consider a Cable Co DVR as they're generally crap -- yes, you too Contour.

Currently, I have a 4-tuner, 1TB TiVo Bolt and am pretty happy with it. It streams Amazon well. Haven't "upgraded" the interface to their "New Experience" and don't ever plan to; the current/legacy interface fine.

Re:Because hating people who bought your product

By RyanFenton • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

They're a publicly traded company.

Unfortunately, that means they aren't allowed to just make money by making things that people will buy for a reasonable profit.

No - instead, they have to estimate that they will make MORE money each year, and then suitably match or beat those 'expectations' or else suffer greatly, from having embarrassed board members.

It's a truly stupid way of doing business - but it is how our system works - always pushing towards the same corruption that will destroy every company that doesn't find a way to manipulate the market itself to provide a fitting illusion of growth across time.

Companies start out with good ideas that customers like... then always are twisted after going public, to nickel and dime every aspect of their product - even if it doesn't make them money from making the product horrible, it makes board members happy to imagine it will multiply profit.

Ryan Fenton

What part

By JustAnotherOldGuy • Score: 3 • Thread

What part of "people don't want to see your fucking ads" wasn't clear?

Yeah. That's gonna work.

By Opportunist • Score: 3 • Thread

Dear ad companies. I know you don't employ humans, but have you never bothered to ponder for a moment what humans are like? If anything, they're impatient. Especially when they know they're about to get something they want. Have you ever seen a kid that is about to be let into the room with the presents on Christmas eve? Have you ever tried to distract such a kid with something? No chance. You could have a puppy jumping out of a chocolate cake that blows fireworks out of its ass and the kid wouldn't even look and keep his eyes glued at the door that separates him from the Christmas presents.

Now ponder how much eyeball the average viewer waiting for his movie to start has for the ad you try to force him to sit through.

Didn't YouTube teach you anything? The only thing the average YouTube user sees during your ad is the lower right corner where the seconds tick down to when he can skip it.

Latest Lakka Release On Raspberry Pi 4 Showcases Great Retro Gaming

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
MojoKid writes: Lakka with RetroArch is one of the most comprehensive open-source retro-gaming console front ends available, with support for a wide array of single-board computers and multiple operating systems. Although the more powerful Raspberry Pi 4 was released months ago, the developers of Lakka had a number of bugs to contend with that prevented an official stable release, until yesterday. Lakka 2.3 (with RetroArch 1.7.8) is available now though, and it appears to leverage the additional horsepower of the Pi 4 quite well. It's even able to play some of the more demanding Sega Dreamcast and Saturn games -- among many other retro-consoles, like the Atari 2600, SuperNES, and many others. In addition to the Pi 4, this latest Lakka release also adds support for the ROCKPro64 and incorporates a wide range of bug fixes and feature enhancements.

iOS 13 Ships With Known Lockscreen Bypass Flaw That Exposes Contacts

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Apple released iOS 13 with a bunch of new features. But it also released the new OS with something else: a bug disclosed seven days ago that exposes contact details without requiring a passcode or biometric identification first. Independent researcher Jose Rodriguez published a video demonstration of the flaw exactly one week ago. It can be exploited by receiving a FaceTime call and then using the voiceover feature from Siri to access the contact list. From there, an unauthorized person could get names, phone numbers, email addresses, and any other information stored in the phone's contacts list. An Apple representative told Ars the bypass will be fixed in iOS 13.1, scheduled for release on Sept. 24.

This is par the course for apple

By Wired In Blood • Score: 3, Informative • Thread
As was pointed out on Ars in the comment section, this isn't anything new with apple iOS 12.1.1: iOS 11.1: iOS 10.2: iOS 9.0.2: iOS 8.1.1: iOS 7.0.2: iOS 6.1.3: iOS 5.01: iOS 4.2:

Is this even really a flaw

By SuperKendall • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Sorry but I don't even consider this a flaw.

Someone would have to know your number to facetime you, AND have your phone physically in their possession. Already that is pretty much game over.

Then from there you use Siri to access contacts. But that's a valid use case, why would you NOT want to be able to do that? Are you really going to block that on the off chance someone might actually do this?

What I'm not clear on, is what people would deem a "correction" for this supposed flaw.

Re: Is this even really a flaw

By ljw1004 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Scenario 1. You meet someone new for a date. They surreptitiously get your phone while you're using the restroom or asleep, and they learn all your contacts and stalk you through them.

Scenario 2. You're in an abusive marriage. You lock your phone. But your partner uses this bug to go through your contacts, finds your divorce lawyer, and beats you.

Scenario 3. You're at a high school or college party. A bully gang grabs you, uses the bug to find your contacts, and outs you after discovering a LGBTQ helpline contact, an anorexia support contact, or a suicide support helpline. Or they find embarrassing pictures you've assigned to your contacts, or pet names for them.

Yeah, I consider this a bug. If I lock my phone, I don't want any personal information leaking out of it.

Google Reportedly Attains 'Quantum Supremacy'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter Bioblaze shares a report from CNET: Google has reportedly built a quantum computer more powerful than the world's top supercomputers. A Google research paper was temporarily posted online this week, the Financial Times reported Friday, and said the quantum computer's processor allowed a calculation to be performed in just over 3 minutes. That calculation would take 10,000 years on IBM's Summit, the world's most powerful commercial computer, Google reportedly said. Google researchers are throwing around the term "quantum supremacy" as a result, the FT said, because their computer can solve tasks that can't otherwise be solved. "To our knowledge, this experiment marks the first computation that can only be performed on a quantum processor," the research paper reportedly said.

Re:Google and supremacy

By NoNonAlphaCharsHere • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Google: The superposition of {evil|not evil}.

Re:Breaking encryption?

By cfalcon • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

> If something takes 10.000 years to break, and you don't think it's enough, add 1 bit to the key space and it will take 20.000 years to break

This depends entirely on what you are talking about. The entire reason quantum stuff gets discussed in the same breath as crypto is because there are quantum algorithms that solve certain functions in times that are no longer O(n), but instead O(log(n)) - that is, they no longer scale up with the total number of possibilities, but instead they scale with the total number of glyphs used to express them, in the same way that factoring a 2048 bit integer is really hard but adding two 2048 bit integers together is really easy. If you're relying on factoring to keep your data safe, and someone has a physical implementation of Shor's algorithm, then adding 1 bit to the keyspace doesn't double the time it takes, in the same fashion that adding two 9 bit numbers together doesn't take twice the time of adding two 8 bit numbers together.

Google had no comment ...

By CaptainDork • Score: 3 • Thread

... and:

"To our knowledge, this experiment marks the first computation that can only be performed on a quantum processor," the research paper reportedly said.

I call bullshit.

It's weasel all the way down.

The leading academia do not support this level of technology.


By Danzigism • Score: 3 • Thread
Quantums and their supremacy. What a bunch of qubigots.

Re:Breaking encryption?

By swillden • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

For public key cryptography, I don't trust any claims about quantum-proof. Generally, just keep making the key size bigger and avoid anything based on something that has already been solved, but you know that at some point all of these integer tricks are going to be reducible to just one essential thing, which will be solved in some fashion we can't yet imagine.

Most of the asymmetric post-quantum schemes don't depend on "integer tricks". The oldest example is the Merkle signature scheme, which relies only on the existence of secure hash functions. While Grover's algorithm (the one you referred to that halves the security of symmetric key lengths) does the same length-halving trick on hash functions, that's as easy to address with hash functions as it is with symmetric key sizes.

Many of the other post-quantum schemes are based not on integers, but on complex lattices. I'd love to explain why quantum computers don't have an advantage in solving these sorts of problems, but I frankly haven't put in the time to understand either the problems or the reasons they resist solution by quantum computers... but the consensus of the people who do understand both of those things is that there are no quantum algorithms that can significantly reduce their difficulty.

There's still significant work to be done in this space, but I don't think your dismissive attitude is warranted.

VPN Apps With 500M+ Installs Caught Serving Disruptive Ads To Android Users

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter screwdriver1 shares a report from The Next Web: In a yet another instance of Android adware, New Zealand-based independent security researcher Andy Michael found four apps with cumulative downloads of over 500 million that not only serve ads while running the background, but are also placed outside the apps, including the home screen. The apps in question are Hotspot VPN, Free VPN Master, Secure VPN, and Security Master by Cheetah Mobile. It's notable that all these apps originate from Hong Kong and China, where citizens have typically relied on VPNs to get around the Great Firewall. The apps are live on the Play Store to this date. But in an interesting twist, the apps containing the adware were all VPN or antivirus apps, suggesting that developers are increasingly banking on users' trust in security-related apps to commit "outside ad fraud."

Google has a strict policy with regards to adware and disruptive ads in general. "We don't allow apps that contain deceptive or disruptive ads. Ads must only be displayed within the app serving them. We consider ads served in your app as part of your app. The ads shown in your app must be compliant with all our policies." The company, when reached for a response, said it would take action on the apps if they're indeed found in violation of its policies.
Some VPN apps lie to us and Google shouldn't allow it.

vpn authors seeking new income sources

By jarkus4 • Score: 3 • Thread

After Chinese crackdown on VPN apps they realized there is no chance for normal user growth, so they are looking for new ways to profit from existing users.

Google Is Investing $3.3 Billion To Build Clean Data Centers In Europe

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Google announced today that it was investing approximately $3.3 billion to expand its data center presence in Europe. What's more, the company pledged the data centers would be environmentally friendly. This new investment is in addition to the $7 billion the company has invested since 2007 in the EU, but today's announcement was focused on Google's commitment to building data centers running on clean energy, as much as the data centers themselves.

In a blog post announcing the new investment, CEO Sundar Pichai, made it clear that the company was focusing on running these data centers on carbon-free fuels, pointing out that he was in Finland today to discuss building sustainable economic development in conjunction with a carbon-free future with prime minister Antti Rinne. Of the 3 billion Euros, the company plans to spend, it will invest 600 million to expand its presence in Hamina, Finland, which he wrote "serves as a model of sustainability and energy efficiency for all of our data centers." Further, the company already announced 18 new renewable energy deals earlier this week, which encompass a total of 1,600-megawatts in the U.S., South America and Europe.
Google is also "investing in new skills training, so people can have the tools to be able to handle the new types of jobs these data centers and other high tech jobs will require," the report says. "The company claims it has previously trained 5 million people in Europe for free in crucial digital skills, and recently opened a Google skills hub in Helsinki."

"The cat's on the roof."

By blindseer • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

Scott Adams today describes in his podcast today on how the Democrats are in the stage of "the cat's on the roof" in breaking to their fellow travelers the need for nuclear power. The part on nuclear power starts about 10 minutes in to the video. As I type this the Scott Adams video had about 5600 views, let's see how many more views it gets.

What does this have to do with a cat on a roof? The analogy is described in the video. What does this have to do with Google? Google will soon have the same problem as the Democrats now on the need for nuclear power to solve our energy needs. Google can dump a bunch of their money into wind and solar power but at some point they will have to come to realize how vital nuclear power is to our future. They will have to at some point express support for nuclear power or be considered being lacking in their support for reducing the CO2 emissions from human activity.

Here's more evidence that the Democrats are finally looking at the science and supporting nuclear power. This is an 11 minute video with about 2600 views as I type this. Let's see how many views that gets as well.

What's holding back nuclear power right now are investors nervous about politicians pulling the rug out from underneath any nuclear power projects. There will be money for nuclear power in the USA, such as from companies like Google, once the politicians in both major parties support nuclear power. The Republicans have been supporting nuclear power for some time now. It's not making much press right now but the Trump administration has freed up some space on government facilities for some private development of nuclear power, and issued permits for their construction. These could turn into real world full scale prototypes in a few years so long as the Democrats don't pull out the rug. And the Democrats have a 40 year history of tossing wrenches into the gears of any nuclear power development in the USA.

There is an election coming up in the USA and it appears that the biggest topic of discussion is global warming. The Democrats are now split on supporting nuclear power as part of the solution. How is this going to play out in the general election if the Republicans, when pressed on the matter of global warming, start talking glowingly on nuclear power while the Democrats are still split on it? How will it look if the Democrats stay with their current platform of being anti-nuclear when the Republicans are supportive? Even if the Democrats and Republicans agree on nuclear power then how does this look for the Democrats to do an about face on nuclear power?

How will Google, Democrats, and anyone else that is making global warming an issue, address nuclear power? We are seeing how this is working now. They are saying, "The cat's on the roof."

AI Takes On Earthquake Prediction

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
After successfully predicting laboratory earthquakes, a team of geophysicists has applied a machine learning algorithm to quakes in the Pacific Northwest. From a report: In May of last year, after a 13-month slumber, the ground beneath Washington's Puget Sound rumbled to life. The quake began more than 20 miles below the Olympic mountains and, over the course of a few weeks, drifted northwest, reaching Canada's Vancouver Island. It then briefly reversed course, migrating back across the U.S. border before going silent again. All told, the monthlong earthquake likely released enough energy to register as a magnitude 6. By the time it was done, the southern tip of Vancouver Island had been thrust a centimeter or so closer to the Pacific Ocean. Because the quake was so spread out in time and space, however, it's likely that no one felt it. These kinds of phantom earthquakes, which occur deeper underground than conventional, fast earthquakes, are known as "slow slips." They occur roughly once a year in the Pacific Northwest, along a stretch of fault where the Juan de Fuca plate is slowly wedging itself beneath the North American plate.

More than a dozen slow slips have been detected by the region's sprawling network of seismic stations since 2003. And for the past year and a half, these events have been the focus of a new effort at earthquake prediction by the geophysicist Paul Johnson. Johnson's team is among a handful of groups that are using machine learning to try to demystify earthquake physics and tease out the warning signs of impending quakes. Two years ago, using pattern-finding algorithms similar to those behind recent advances in image and speech recognition and other forms of artificial intelligence, he and his collaborators successfully predicted temblors in a model laboratory system -- a feat that has since been duplicated by researchers in Europe. Now, in a paper posted this week on the scientific preprint site, Johnson and his team report that they've tested their algorithm on slow slip quakes in the Pacific Northwest. The paper has yet to undergo peer review, but outside experts say the results are tantalizing. According to Johnson, they indicate that the algorithm can predict the start of a slow slip earthquake to "within a few days -- and possibly better."


By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I've heard that the Big One would send California off into the Pacific in the next 30 years.

You were misinformed. San Andreas is a transform fault, so it doesn't "open up", it slides laterally. The coastline is moving north. The inland areas are heading south. Both at 20-30mm per year.

There is no chance of California drifting into Pacific to be become another Hawaii.


By Dan East • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Thanks. You just totally ruined Superman (1978) for me.

Npm CEO Bryan Bogensberger Exits After Eight Months of Turmoil

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
intensivevocoder writes: Bryan Bogensberger's exit from npm, inc was quietly announced Friday afternoon in a press release stating that Bogensberger "resigned effective immediately to pursue new opportunities." This marked likely one of the few quiet actions in Bogensberger's tumultuous tenure as CEO of npm, the popular package manager of Node.js. Bogensberger started as CEO on January 9 this year, as part of a move announced by original author and co-founder Isaac Z. Schlueter as part of a plan to commercialize the service. Bogensberger's involvement with the company started in mid-2018, although he was not formally named CEO until 2019 pending the resolution of visa requirements. "Commercializing something like this without ruining it is no small task, and building the team to deliver on npm's promise is a major undertaking. We've sketched out a business plan and strategy for the next year, and will be announcing some other key additions to the team in the coming months," Schlueter wrote in January.

How does a package manager need a CEO

By sirsnork • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Ok, so I might have been out of the loop, but how the hell does a package manager need a CEO. Perhaps equally as baffling, how could they afford to pay someone for that role

Edward Snowden Wants To Come Home: 'I'm Not Asking For a Pass. What I'm Asking For is a Fair Trial'

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Edward Snowden, who has been living in exile in Russia after leaking American intelligence secrets in 2013 and was sued by the U.S. government over his new book this week, says that he would like to return to the United States if he is guaranteed a fair trial. He said: I would like to return to the United States. That is the ultimate goal. But if I'm gonna spend the rest of my life in prison, the one bottom line demand that we have to agree to is that at least I get a fair trial. And that is the one thing the government has refused to guarantee because they won't provide access to what's called a public interest defense.

Again, I'm not asking for a parade. I'm not asking for a pardon. I'm not asking for a pass. What I'm asking for is a fair trial. And this is the bottom line that any American should require. We don't want people thrown in prison without the jury being able to decide that what they did was right or wrong. The government wants to have a different kind of trial. They want to use special procedures they want to be able to close the courtroom, they want the public not to be able to go, know what's going on.

And, essentially, the most important fact to the government and this is the thing we have a point of contention on, is that they do not want the jury to be able to consider the motivations. Why I did what I did. Was it better for the United States? Did it benefit us or did it cause harm? They don't want the jury to consider that at all. They want the jury strictly to consider whether these actions were lawful or unlawful, not whether they were right or wrong. And I'm sorry, but that defeats the purpose of a jury trial.
In an interview with The Daily Show (video), Snowden pointed out that it seems unlikely that the U.S. government is going to change its stand. He said: Just two days before my book came out, there is a whistleblower by the name of Daniel Hale. He is in prison right now. He was arrested for giving documents to journalists about the U.S. drone program. Extrajudicial killings. The United States government filed, in the same court that they are going to charge me -- Eastern District of Virginia -- a complaint before the judge that said the we demand that the court prohibits the jury from hearing and we prohibit the defendant from saying why he did what did because it's irrelevant. The jury shouldn't be distracted with reasons.

Re: His motivation? The law doesn't care..

By chill • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Sure, that's his main point. Intent is allowed in pretty much every other case, and he was charged under essentially the one thing that doesn't allow it. The law he was charged under his design for foreign spies leaking American secrets to wartime enemies. It was not designed for the case of telling the American public things our own government was doing to us, some of which were later found unconstitutional after they were revesled.

The old law that was designed for wartime spies is not designed for him, and some of the restrictions which are to prevent those foreign spies from releasing more secret information in court, doesn't apply to him.

Your statement was blanket about motivation, not to his specific case.

Re:I don't think he'll get one here

By jwhyche • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Nether Trump or Biden have anything to do with this. All they can do is use the executive branch to charges against them. From there on out its in the hands of the judicial branch. They can press charges but that is about it.

Re:I support the guy

By markdavis • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

>"the constitution is worthless."

That is wrong. 100% wrong. The USA Constitution is the most important document in this country and one of the most important documents in the whole world, for all time.

What is broken is the lack of FOLLOWING it. In many cases it is completely ignored. In others, it is "reinterpreted" in ways that are completely inconsistent with the words, with the intent, and with the context. That is the problem. And it is a big problem.

The Constitution is the ultimate rules-of-the-game book. It sets the stage and the spirit. In many ways, it is brilliant- especially the Bill of Rights. But if we, as a people, decide we are not going to play by the rules, the game is over.

>"we need to break it all down and rebuild it"

No we don't. We simply need to heed it.

Re:His motivation? The law doesn't care..

By swillden • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Motivation/intent *shouldn't* matter. But like I said, I'm not speaking as an attorney. I'm saying what my feelings on this issue might be if I was a juror.

Should motivation matter if you kill your wife? What if she was coming at you with a machete, to chop your head off? What if she was swinging that machete to stop you from shooting your baby?

Motivations are hugely important in courts of law. The crimes which don't consider motivation (or intent as it's usually called) are known as "strict liability crimes" and they're very, very rare, for the excellent reason that justice can rarely be done without considering motivation.

He certainly knew ahead of time that he was likely to come across some terrible information that might cause him some moral outrage. But still, he agreed to the terms of his employment and willfully and knowingly broke them.

With all due respect, you're either frighteningly short-sighted or frighteningly fatalistic. Maybe you don't think it's important that your government be accountable for the actions it takes on your behalf, but I sure as hell do. And there's no way the government can be held accountable while it's allowed to keep secrets that are against the public interest. This is precisely why whistleblower laws have been passed, but those laws have regularly failed to protect the whistleblowers in recent decades, which is why Snowden decided not to chance it and ran. We need it to be possible for "terrible information that might cause moral outrage" among the majority of the citizenry to be published where it can do some good. You can argue about whether or not that was Snowden's intent, or about whether or not he executed his intent in the best way... but that's precisely why we have juries, to give a group of ordinary Americans the opportunity to examine the evidence and make a call.

Re:Fair? He literally committed treason.

By swillden • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

He wants "fair" the problem is that what he did was gather up thousands of highly classified documents from an intelligence agency in digital form en mass that he wasn't even sure what all he had until AFTER he turned it over to a foreign national and they began to sift through it together .... for all he knew he could have been turning over troop locations, foreign assets, all kinds of things and not only did he give it to someone not cleared to see it that was a citizen here, he handed it all directly to a foreign national that was known for leaking classified documents to other people ........ what he deserves is life in prison.

Fine, that's your opinion. What should happen is that a jury of 12 ordinary citizens get to hear all of the evidence of what he did and why and make the decision as to whether not he deserves life in prison. That's what he's asking for, and it's exactly what we try to do in all normal prosecutions.

Uber Sues New York City Over 'Cruising Cap' Rule

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Reuters: Uber Technologies sued New York City on Friday over a new rule limiting how much time its drivers can spend in their vehicles in Manhattan without passengers, saying the rule threatens to undermine the company's ride sharing model. In its complaint filed in a New York state court in Manhattan, Uber called the "cruising cap" rule adopted last month "arbitrary and capricious," and said it was based on a flawed economic model.

Contractor Taxis are bad for cities

By sdinfoserv • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
first of all... taking people you don't know, to places your not already going, for money; is the definition of taxi, it's not a "ride share", so stop lying.. Second, a report came out that showed these type companies are actually bad for the environment contribute to city traffic problems.
So now that we've dispersed the myth of "rideshare", traffic, the environment, let's talk about economic benefits.. oh, the drivers earn sub-minimum wages when all taxes and expenses are included.?1?...
So, really, the only money being made is by the corporate owners profiteering off the workers who are essentially living off the equity of their vehicles... got it. late stage capitalism strikes again....


By Holi • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
"As anyone who's been to NYC can attest, the taxi regulations in that city were some of the dumbest fuckin' regulations in the history of government regulation."

Says someone who does not understand how the medallion system saved New York City.
In the 1930's there weere more then 30k taxis in the city, the streets were so clogged that emergency vehicles could not get through at times.
The medallion system was set in place to limit the number of cars for hire to around 16k.

Uber flouted those rules and now is going to have to live under a similar system for the same reason.

Re:Very, very wrong

By El Fantasmo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You miss the point...

Ride SHARING is not using your car solely to transport others in exchange for payment as your job/primary source of income; that IS a taxi service. If you happen to be out and about or have some SPARE time and want to make a buck then you are SHARING your "ride"; otherwise see my first sentence.

Uber, Lyft et. al., are essentially abusing the "ride sharing" model to avoid labor laws and regulations.


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

80 years ago, when NYC put in taxi restrictions, 1/2 of all cars were taxis (which meant most road use was taxis crusing around), and traffic was so bad that the average mph was less than 2. Not everything is nefarious. Ubers cause a shitton of traffic.

Re:It's not the commons

By serviscope_minor • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

No. NY has been here before and knows how is ends. It will end when the roads are completely jammed. The free market is extremely bad at dealing with limited resources with externalised costs. NYC needs roads to function. Utility, emergency and delivery vehicles are needed for the city to function as a city. Even if you never use a car, you still need the roads to live there.

Uber won't stop until they have filed all the roads with cars and it's complete gridlock massively harming the economy of the city because they don't have to pay for that cost. And at the point where a company can extract a small amount of profit by making other people incur massive costs, regulation is needed.

Also merely being "valuable" isn't a sufficient argument in its favor. Blood diamonds are also valuable, that doesn't make them a good thing or even something we should have at all.

Walmart Will Stop Selling E-cigarettes

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Walmart said Friday it will stop selling e-cigarettes as the number of deaths tied to vaping grows. The decision from America's largest retailer may influence other stores and marks a significant blow to the vaping industry. From a report: "Given the growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity and uncertainty regarding e-cigarettes, we plan to discontinue the sale of electronic nicotine delivery products at all Walmart and Sam's Club US locations," the company said in a statement. "We will complete our exit after selling through current inventory." Earlier this year, Walmart raised the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21. The changes took effect July 1 at all American Walmart and Sam's Club locations. The company said at the time that it would stop selling sweet-flavored e-cigarettes, which have become popular among teenagers. The eighth person in the United States died Thursday from lung disease related to vaping, according to Missouri health officials.

Re:And they'll pull "violent video game displays"

By torkus • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The problem with the Gun Debate is there are so many stupid people on both sides of the debate.

I don't have problem with Guns. However if it is a high capacity semi-automatic rifle that is no longer a tool. It is an instrument of killing people.

Including yourself it seems. Let's break down the terms and get edjamacated:

high capacity - ahhh war cry from anti-gun people. Limiting the number of bullets in a magazine doesn't make a gun less deadly. It's NOT like in the movies where the slide locks back after 10 minutes of shooting at each other then the Good Guy (tm) takes the last shot and kills the Bad Guy (tm). Also, changing a magazine takes - at most - a few seconds. If you think some miraculously uninjured person is going to realize, be in a position to act, decide to do so, and then get to the assailant in time then you're still watching too many movies

semi-automatic - FML another misguided war cry. Just because it has the word 'automatic' in it doesn't mean it's a semi-machine gun and thus a loophole in the laws banning select fire guns. It's not. That's not AT ALL what it means. Most hand-guns are semi-automatic. Many (probably most) rifles are too. Examples of firearms that are NOT semi-automatic: A bolt action rifle. A pump-action shotgun. Moving on from this stupidity.

rifle - ok, i'll give you this o...oh wait. The significant majority of gun deaths (or, separately but similarly gun homicides) are caused by hand guns, not rifles.

So your string of buzz words that you don't understand led you to a conclusion based on fantasy and your confirmation-biased beliefs. A rifle can be used for killing people, hunting, target shooting, or collecting (people collect far stupider things after all) and more. But it requires a user to decide which and uneducated, fear-mongering people seem hell-bent on forcing their literally incorrect beliefs on everyone out of some sense of misguided moral outrage.

For the children now...don't forget to throw that in too.

Re:And they'll pull "violent video game displays"

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Most of the vaping deaths have been linking to homebrew THC liquids. So a ban on commercial products is unlikely to fix the problem.

Most vaping deaths linked to THC

Re:And they'll pull "violent video game displays"

By cayenne8 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
And let's not forget, that anyone even remotely trained with an AR type rifle, can shoot 3x 10 round magazines as a 30 rounder.

Hell, I believe the shooter in that last tragic FL school shooting actually WAS using 10 round magazines....but that wasn't widely publicized.

I guess it doesn't fill the narrative.

But its all words. I mean, 30 round magazines for many modern rifles has been STANDARD capacity for decades.

Its only recently the people problem has krept up and whack-o's are going out and trying to commit suicide by cop and take out as many folks around them as they can.

Hell, guns used to be MUCH easier to get....there were no background checks till 1998....and you could buy a gun at the hardware store or even Sears from the catalog and have it mailed to you at home, no background checks at all.

Yet...we didn't see people going berserk and shooting up malls back then, even though we had the same weapons and they were easier to attain.

It is a people problem...I can assure you none of my weapons have of their own accord jumped up and harmed a living creature.

All these laws they'd trying to push, do is affect the overwhelming majority of law abiding citizens.....the criminals won't obey them, and in the end, this just gives criminals the edge of the average citizen.

Confirming - 10 round magazines

By Firethorn • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I can confirm that the parkland shooting was done with 10 round magazines - results were not materially different than 30 round magazines would have had.

"Cruz went in with only 10-round magazines because larger clips would not fit in his duffel bag, Book said."

A number of other shootings have been done with 10 round magazines, and in a number of school shooting with higher capacity magazines, it was found that the shooters were "tactically reloading" as they moved, changing magazines with less than 10 rounds fired for fresh ones when no targets were present.

Yet...we didn't see people going berserk and shooting up malls back then, even though we had the same weapons and they were easier to attain.

Actually we did. One particularly horrific case had a guy wandering around with a 10 gauge shotgun. He was eventually stopped when a civilian got a shotgun of his own from a local store and shot him. The guy was shooting just one barrel at his targets then reloading. He'd only shoot the second barrel if a threat appeared.

It was just that news back then was much more local in nature, and lower population levels meant that it did happen less often. Today, we hear about spree killings from around the world. Back then? If it wasn't in your city or state, odds were it was a byline.

Better yet

By PPH • Score: 3 • Thread

Stop selling XXL yoga pants.

Facebook Suspends Tens of Thousands of Apps Following Data Investigation

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Facebook revealed Friday that it had suspended "tens of thousands" of apps that may have mishandled users' personal data, [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source] part of an investigation sparked by the social giant's entanglement with Cambridge Analytica. From a report: The suspensions -- far more than the hundreds against which Facebook has taken action against in the past -- occurred for a "variety of reasons," the company said in a blog post, without elaborating. They were associated with about 400 developers. Facebook said it had investigated millions of apps and targeted those that Facebook said had access to "large amounts of information" or had the "potential to abuse" its policies. Facebook said some of the apps were banned for inappropriately sharing users' data, the same violation of company policy that led to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. It added that its investigation, now 18 months long, isn't yet complete.

Data abuse all the way down

By Nidi62 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Facebook said it had investigated millions of apps and targeted those that Facebook said had access to "large amounts of information" or had the "potential to abuse" its policies. Facebook said some of the apps were banned for inappropriately sharing users' data

So...did they suspend themselves?

Why Prescription Drugs Cost So Much More in America

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The US spends more per capita on medication than anywhere else in the world. It's a key electoral issue. From a report on Financial Times (paywalled): All over the world, drugmakers are granted time-limited monopolies -- in the form of patents -- to encourage innovation. But America is one of the only countries that does not combine this carrot with the stick of price controls. The US government's refusal to negotiate prices has contributed to spiralling healthcare costs which, said billionaire investor Warren Buffett last year, act "as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy." Medical bills are the primary reason why Americans go bankrupt. Employers foot much of the bill for the majority of health-insurance plans for working-age adults, creating a huge cost for business.

In February, Congress called in executives from seven of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies and asked them: why do drugs here cost so much? The drugmakers' answer is that America is carrying the cost of research and development for the rest of the world. They argue that if Americans stopped paying such high prices for drugs, investment in innovative treatments would fall. President Trump agrees with this argument, in line with his "America first" narrative, which sees other countries as guilty of freeloading. For the patients on the trip, the notion is galling: insulin was discovered 100 years ago, by scientists in Canada who sold the patent to the University of Toronto for just $1. The medication has been improved since then but there seems to have been no major innovation to justify tripling the list price for insulin, as happened in the US between 2002 and 2013.

Re:Someone has to pay R&D

By rogoshen1 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

As close to zero as possible.

There is no reasonable justification for drug ads to be on television in the first place. Doctors should be reading the journals and keeping apprised of new developments (hell even going to conferences?)

But a patient should never walk into the doctor's office and say "I saw this commercial with a happy lady who was no longer worried about her moderate to severe psoriasis, I want what she's having."

Re:VA medical services are good? Quite the contrar

By Cyberax • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Many privately insured people beg to differ too. Private insurance is a huge disaster in the US. You just don't hear (or ignore) complaints about private insurance. Actual studies show that VA is just as good as the private sector:

Re: We need more competition

By larryjoe • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Or even better, ask the rest of the world about their health outcomes versus cost.

The best health outcome is in the US, the problem is whether you can afford it.

Yes, if you cherry pick the best outcomes in the US, they are comparable but not better than the rest of the world.

However, among the industrialized countries, the US has some of the worst indicators of health outcomes, including overall mortality (#104 out of 236), infant mortality (#32 out of 35 OECD countries), maternal mortality (worst rate of all developed countries), etc. This is not an arguable point. With almost any metric of health for the entire country, the US system is clearly among the worst in the developed world, even before considering that these poor outcomes are achieved at much higher cost.

No sane country would support such bad results at such high costs, unless the people who benefit financially from the system have sufficient influence on the government.

Because of other countries

By DaveV1.0 • Score: 3 • Thread
Other countries put in price controls and the companies want to make a profit. The united states is subsidizing lower drug costs around the world.

My favorite Cherry Pick is MRI machines

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
people who want to attack single payer bring up the fact that the US has more MRI machines per capita than anywhere else in the world. First, it's not true anymore, Japan passed us. Second, it's completely irrelevant to whether or not you can actually get an MRI when you need one.

It's right up there with "You can keep your private health insurance if you like it". I've never met anyone below C level that liked their private health insurance except for people who a) never use it and b) haven't realized that it doesn't actually cover anything.

Traders Who Can't Code May Become Extinct, Goldman's Tech Pioneer Warns

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Just how important will the ability to write computer code be to a successful career on Wall Street? From a report: According to R. Martin Chavez, an architect of Goldman Sachs Group's effort to transform itself with technology, "It's like writing an English sentence." As Chavez prepares to leave the company, the onetime commodities staffer who rose to posts overseeing technology and ultimately trading is reflecting on his "26-year adventure" in the industry. "The short, short description of it is making money, capital and risk programmable," he said in a Bloomberg Television interview. "There are certainly many kinds of manual activities that computers are just better at."

Chavez, 55, outlined strengths that can help humans stay relevant, such as their relationship skills and ability to assess risks. Yet he predicted that longstanding career dichotomies on Wall Street, like trader versus engineer, will go away. To keep working, people will need both of those skills. Even money is going digital, a shift that goes far beyond cryptocurrencies, he said, pointing to the success of Stripe as an example of creating new ways to move funds. Stripe, for its part, has become one of the most valuable companies in Silicon Valley.

"Things have changed since I first started",

By FilmedInNoir • Score: 3 • Thread
said Chavez, "Why, when I was a young lad all our trading was powered by steam engine."

Could the whole system go extinct, please?

By fat man's underwear • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Why do we still cling to ancient notions of "trading" as if we're still Bronze Age herders bartering hand-made tools? I was looking forward to a technology-driven leisure society of abundance so I could focus on reading obscure novels and talking to new people as I bike across the country.

Instead I am stuck in a mindless grind of office work designing next year's landfill.

Re:It's all about high speed trading

By Altus • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What an unbelievable waste of valuable resources. So many brilliant software, hardware and communication engineers across all of these firms, wasting their time turning rich people's money into more money instead of using those amazing skills to develop anything that would move the human race forward. Imagine what could be done with that talent if it were directed somewhere thats actually productive.

Re:It's all about high speed trading

By ErichTheRed • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You could say that about basically anything, but you're right about financial arbitrage being the ultimate resource drain. Interesting problems, but they don't really move the world forward. You could argue that more efficient markets encourage investment, but I don't think most investors are actually turning their money piles into useful stuff...they're just making bigger piles faster. I'm a realist about the situation though...unless someone invents a Star Trek style replicator capable of producing anything on demand, and/or the value of human labor drops to zero, the financial system is going to continue with little change.

Then again, we also have half the world's Ph.Ds working at Google and Facebook figuring out ways to squeeze a few more clicks and interactions out of an impression, or trying to perfect the profile they've built on everyone to target their advertising even more.

Both finance and internet advertising are draining potential science talent away from math and science research simply because they pay much better. Getting a science Ph.D and going into academia is a lottery...if you're lucky and publish like crazy you'll get a tenured faculty position, but increasingly that's less likely.

They Want To Believe: People Gather Near Area 51 To 'See Them Aliens'

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Hundreds of people arrived early Friday at a gate at the once secret Area 51 military base in Nevada at the time appointed by an internet hoaxster to "storm" the facility to see space aliens and at least two were detained by sheriff's deputies. From a report: The Storm Area 51 invitation spawned festivals in the tiny Nevada towns of Rachel and Hiko nearest the military site, and a more than two-hour drive from Las Vegas. The Lincoln county sheriff, Kerry Lee, estimated late Thursday that about 1,500 people had gathered at the festival sites and said more than 150 people also made the rugged trip several additional miles on bone-rattling dirt roads to get within selfie distance of the gates.

An Associated Press photographer said it wasn't immediately clear if a woman who began ducking under a gate and a man who urinated nearby were arrested after the crowd gathered about 3am Friday. Millions of people had responded to a June internet post calling for people to run into the remote US air force test site that has long been the focus of UFO conspiracy theories. "They can't stop all of us," the post joked. "Lets see them aliens." The military responded with stern warnings that lethal force could be used if people entered the Nevada Test and Training Range, and local and state officials said arrests would be made if people tried.

Re:And so it begins

By BringsApples • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I doubt there'd be any political fallout over soldiers protecting a military base, from what will be presented by all media outlets as "a bunch of alien nutters", more or less.

Re: And so it begins

By jwhyche • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

No he wouldn't Are you people so detached from reality that you actually believe this shit?

If the military had a sense of humor...

By GameboyRMH • Score: 3 • Thread

...they'd get a human-sized little-green-man pool toy, fill it with helium, tie it to a Humvee and drive it out to the protesters. Then announce over the loudspeaker "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!? IS THIS NOT WHY YOU ARE HERE!?"

I stand corrected

By jwhyche • Score: 3 • Thread

Some idiots did actually show up. I guess I was wrong.

Re: And so it begins

By jwhyche • Score: 4 • Thread

Oh bull fucking shit. He hasn't ordered the killing of anyone in cages, much less children. It is this kind of deranged thinking that just goes to show how sick the left has become with the blind hatred of one man. You lost an election, your birthday wasn't taken away nor where any of you put against the wall and shot. Get over it.

Secret FBI Subpoenas Scoop Up Personal Data From Scores of Companies

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The F.B.I. has used secret subpoenas to obtain personal data from far more companies than previously disclosed, The New York Times reported Friday, citing newly released documents. From the report: The requests, which the F.B.I. says are critical to its counterterrorism efforts, have raised privacy concerns for years but have been associated mainly with tech companies. Now, records show how far beyond Silicon Valley the practice extends -- encompassing scores of banks, credit agencies, cellphone carriers and even universities. The demands can scoop up a variety of information, including usernames, locations, IP addresses and records of purchases. They don't require a judge's approval and usually come with a gag order, leaving them shrouded in secrecy. Fewer than 20 entities, most of them tech companies, have ever revealed that they've received the subpoenas, known as national security letters.

The documents, obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit and shared with The New York Times, shed light on the scope of the demands -- more than 120 companies and other entities were included in the filing -- and raise questions about the effectiveness of a 2015 law that was intended to increase transparency around them. "This is a pretty potent authority for the government," said Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas who specializes in national security. "The question is: Do we have a right to know when the government is collecting information on us?"

That All Depends

By BlueStrat • Score: 3 • Thread

"Do we have a right to know when the government is collecting information on us?"

That all depends on if we're still a nation of laws or a nation of rulers who do whatever they want.


Re:That All Depends

By PPH • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

For instance during an active investigation into your actions.

And that's OK. Particularly since I'm not doing anything wrong. I'm just not thrilled with the fact that suddenly some senator's nephew is underbidding me for all my contracts.

47% of Organizations Have Cyber Insurance, Up From 34% in 2017: Study

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Cyberattacks are now considered by most execs to be the top business concern, far outranking economic uncertainty, brand damage, and regulation, according to a survey by insurance consultancy Marsh and tech giant Microsoft. From a report: The global survey of over 1,500 business leaders illustrates the rapid change in business leaders' perceived risks to their organizations and shows that having a cyber insurance policy is now more common than two years ago. In 2017, Marsh and Microsoft found that 62% of respondents saw cyberattacks as a top-five risk, whereas this year 79% do. The share of respondents who see cyber attacks as the number one risk has also risen from 6% to 22% over two years. This year, the second most widely considered top-five risk is economic uncertainty, followed by brand damage, regulation, and loss of key personnel. [...] According to Marsh and Microsoft's survey, 47% of organizations have cyber insurance [PDF], up from 34% in 2017. Additionally, 57% of large firms with annual revenues of over $1bn report having cyber insurance compared with 36% of organizations with revenues below $100m. Nearly all respondents, totaling 89%, are confident their cyber insurance policy would cover the cost of a cyber event.

French Court Rules that Steam's Ban on Reselling Used Games is Contrary To European Law

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A French high court this week delivered a blow to Valve, ruling that European consumers are legally free to resell digital games bought on Steam, just as they're able to resell packaged, physical games. From a report: The ruling was delivered by the High Court of Paris (Tribunal de grande instance de Paris) two days ago, according to a report on French games site Numerama. In a statement released today, Valve pledged to appeal the decision. The court's ruling is a victory for French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir, which filed a suit against Steam four years ago, alleging anti-consumer rights activities. The court rejected Valve's defense that argued Steam is a subscription service. According to Numerama, the court found that Steam sells games in perpetuity, and not as part of a subscription package. The ban on reselling games is therefore counter to European Union laws on digital goods that are designed to block prohibitions on "the free movement of goods within the Union." According to EU law, all goods, including software, can be sold used without the permission of the maker or the original seller.

Re:Enforcing this?

By LenKagetsu • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Europe doesn't allow for that kind of shit. If you try and pussyfoot your way around a court ruling with "UMM ACKSHUALLY" you'll just be told "That's not how it works you little shit" and hit with several fines in the process.

Re:We came here to escape persecution

By Immerman • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I suspect it's because in Europe the population has spent the last couple hundred years fighting to push back that oppression, while Americans have wallowed in patriotism, congratulating each other on the freedoms won by our ancestors, as though such things endured without maintenance. And done almost nothing as corporations and the government have steadily eroded them.

If this stands, Steam DRM is illegal in the EU

By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The court says that what's relevant here is EU law, which obviously has ramifications outside of France.

But there's literally no way to have phone-home DRM which complies with this law. None. Whatsoever.

The court claims that EU law prevents having to ask a third party for permission for resale. But that is exactly what phone-home DRM does, when the action we're discussing is resale.

If this ruling is correct, Steam (and everyone else!) would have to cease using phone-home DRM in the EU at all, because it would interfere with the ability to resell the product without getting permission from Steam.

Obviously, I think that this is a desirable outcome.

Obviously, nobody who uses DRM to control others' access thinks so.

So what does Steam do in the case in which this ruling is upheld not only in France, but in the EU in general? Issue a DRM-removal patch for everything they ever sold in the EU, and then stop doing business there?

Obviously Steam will continue to lean on the "subscription service" argument. But that's a losing strategy too, because if they win that then the consumer rights groups will have standing to sue them for fraud; Steam presents itself to customers as selling games, not merely renting them. But any titles with phone-home DRM are clearly rentals in fact.

If the EU can stand strong on this law, then Steam is well and rightly screwed, with emphasis on the "rightly". I have a lengthy Steam library myself these days, but I don't kid myself into thinking that I "own" anything with DRM on it. I just don't pay more for it than I'm willing to lose. Literally the only thing in my Steam library that I paid full price for was HL2, and I don't regret that in the least as I enjoyed the whole experience (except for having to install Steam, which was a hilariously poorly implemented process, and still is. But that's another rant.)

Re:Those Darn Socialist

By registrations_suck • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

One of the reasons why this generation no longer is collecting wealth, is more complex then just wages for their work. But the fact it is difficult for them to collect property which they can trade for when they no longer need it. The working poor decades ago, were still able sell items they may own but not really need to get them out of a temporary rut, or the money from a garage sail may enough to give yourself a vacation. Selling Books, CD, Tapes, Records you no longer want to read, Selling old and unused appliances that you don't want. Going to someone who could probably use them.

Today there is less and less that you own, and if money is tight you can stop services, but that doesn't bring capital back in.

This is an interesting concept. If I were not posting in this thread, I would mod you up.

I'm not sure it is correct, but it is worth exploring.

I think a more correct answer may be because people are more interesting in buying experiences than they are in buying property. Experiences such as hanging out with their friends, doing shit on line, using services of various kinds, traveling, etc.

What they don't want to do is accumulate baggage that holds them down - material trinkets they have to deal with as they move around (the books, cds, etc. that you mention) from place to place or support their on-the-go lifestyle convenience needs (listening to or watching shit on their phone). I think most of them also don't have physical space to store much property (vehicles, etc.) as they live in tight urban environments like cockroaches with roommates, or with parents, etc. They want to live where things are happening, not at a distance from anything, so that puts real limits on the physical property that they can accumulate.

Last but not least - some people just don't want much stuff. I'm a fat old man and I look around and I think, "Jezuz - what do I need all this shit for?" I wish I could get rid of most of it. I can't wait to get rid of most of it. And yet I buy more shit most every day. I've got shelves of books I have not looked at in years. I finally threw away probably 100 of them because even thirft stores didn't want them, for FREE! Couldn't even give them away on Craigslist. Of the ones that are left....I just came make myself throw them out, even though I should.

At the end of the day, I think people don't accumulate wealth because of the decisions they make, not because they are being pushed into a "rental" model on everything they wish to consume. But your idea is still an interesting one.

Re:Not going to work

By ath1901 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I hope the ruling stands. Re-sell works even better with digital goods since they do not degrade.

What it means is that Steam and publishers can no longer over charge for old games. They profit from the difference between the original sales price and the re-sell price (which is lower because time has passed). It is really silly that age old games like Spore from 2008 still cost about $15.

I'd mostly like the ruling to stand for personal reasons. I am a happy Steam user because it is easy and convenient to use. I do not like the ambiguous ownership though and I believe this ruling would clear that up. My game investments are currently tied to the company Steam. What if Steam changes their user agreement or stops supporting my platform? What if I just don't like them anymore and want to go somewhere else? If this ruling stands, I can sell the games on Steam and repurchase them on another platform. It means I actually own the games I paid for. It also means I can "sell" my own games to another user like my kids and actually have two games running at the same time! I see nothing wrong with this, just benefits for the consumers.

Silicon Valley Is Terrified of California's Privacy Law

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Silicon Valley is terrified. In a little over three months, California will see the widest-sweeping state-wide changes to its privacy law in years. California's Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) kicks in on January 1 and rolls out sweeping new privacy benefits to the state's 40 million residents -- and every tech company in Silicon Valley. California's law is similar to Europe's GDPR. It grants state consumers a right to know what information companies have on them, a right to have that information deleted and the right to opt-out of the sale of that information.

Since the law passed, tech giants have pulled out their last card: pushing for an overarching federal bill. In doing so, the companies would be able to control their messaging through their extensive lobbying efforts, allowing them to push for a weaker statute that would nullify some of the provisions in California's new privacy law. In doing so, companies wouldn't have to spend a ton on more resources to ensure their compliance with a variety of statutes in multiple states. Just this month, a group of 51 chief executives -- including Amazon's Jeff Bezos, IBM's Ginni Rometty and SAP's Bill McDermott -- signed an open letter to senior lawmakers asking for a federal privacy bill, arguing that consumers aren't clever enough to "understand rules that may change depending upon the state in which they reside." Then, the Internet Association, which counts Dropbox, Facebook, Reddit, Snap, Uber (and just today ZipRecruiter) as members, also pushed for a federal privacy law. "The time to act is now," said the industry group. If the group gets its wish before the end of the year, the California privacy law could be sunk before it kicks in.
TechNet, a "national, bipartisan network of technology CEOs and senior executives," also demanded a federal privacy law, claiming -- and without providing evidence -- that any privacy law should ensure "businesses can comply with the law while continuing to innovate." Its members include major venture capital firms, including Kleiner Perkins and JC2 Ventures, as well as other big tech giants like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Oracle and Verizon

"It's no accident that the tech industry launched this campaign right after the California legislature rejected their attempts to undermine the California Consumer Privacy Act," Jacob Snow, a technology and civil liberties attorney at the ACLU of Northern California, told TechCrunch. "Instead of pushing for federal legislation that wipes away state privacy law, technology companies should ensure that Californians can fully exercise their privacy rights under the CCPA on January 1, 2020, as the law requires."

Re:Cost of article 27 representation

By skegg • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

a non-EU establishment is exempted from designating an EU Representative when the processing is only occasional and does not include, on a large scale, processing of special categories of data as referred to in Article 9(1) GDPR

General Data Protection Regulation - EU Representative

Even I can see the loophole should a non-EU establishment wish to avoid being subject to GDPR. DON'T COLLECT THE DAMN INFORMATION. If those companies want to store information relating to their customers' ethnicity, sexual orientation or political opinions, then follow the rules.

Re:And they should. Or not.

By ToTheStars • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Doubtless Zuckerburg wasn't thinking about the user's privacy at all when he built Facebook.

Oh, I think he was. He was thinking about how stupid Facebook users were for trusting him with it.


Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

Zuck: Just ask.

Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

[Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?

Zuck: People just submitted it.

Zuck: I don't know why.

Zuck: They "trust me"

Zuck: Dumb fucks.

Re:You haven't read it, have you?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
As a software developer for a multi national tech company, and somebody who thought "it's about damned time" (And immediately asked "when can the US get this?)" I will agree with that GDPR was a nightmare, and probably caused more than a few sleepless nights in the legal departments of firms all over the place.
What I can say purely my perspective, this had some VERY interesting fallout:
  • Companies were not lying when they said GDPR was expensive to implement (in my case we spent MONTHS working the problem).
  • Even if we don't have this set of laws in the US, it's honestly easier (and cheaper) for most firms to extend these protections to all customers regardless of where they live.
  • This also led to a lot of VERY frank and open discussions about what is considered PII (personally identifiable information), and where does this exist in various systems. This meant having to examine old systems that have been mouldering in various nooks/crannies for years.
  • This same discussion is now a normal talking point of most engineering lifecycles, and has led to an interesting paradigm shift: Instead telling developers to implement the massive "Lets Collect Everything" and shove it into hadoop (where most data goes to die), this has allowed us change to "Do we really need to collect this data?" "Is it relevant?" "How do we implement a kill switch for this?" among other things (and this is a mix of managers, developers and sales folks talking about this).

Re:GDPR is important

By spun • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Taxes are voluntary, just like eating at a restaurant is voluntary. Don't want to pay for your food? Fuck off out the restaurant. Did you slaughter a bunch of natives to take this land? No? Well the US government did, so this shit is ours now. Not yours. And if you want some of this land we ganked, you have to follow our rules. Just like you can't go in a restaurant without pants on, you can't own land here without paying taxes.

Nobody owns Antarctica you selfish chucklefuck, you could always move there. Or you could seastead, there's enough trash in the pacific to make a damn palace. But honestly what you do after you fuck the fuck out of the US isn't our responsibility, just like it isn't the restaurant's responsibility what you fucking eat after you leave.

Fuck right off with that juvenile libertarian bullshit. We have every right to charge taxes for the services you receive, and if you don't like the bargain, you are free to live somewhere else.

Re:And they should. Or not.

By theskipper • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Noted, but let me shake my fist at the sky for a moment. If you stray from the standpoint that privacy should be opt-in full stop, you're already losing. Granted, the horse has left the barn but she's not totally out of sight yet. I.e. it should still be the conceptual goal to shoot for.

Fundamentally, none of these advertising companies are entitled to a single stitch of our info which is what they're shooting for, entitlement. This includes big names like Facebook, Pinterest, Snap, but, more insidiously, the hundreds of data slurping companies that operate quietly in the background (think "analytics" and go from there).

Further, companies whose core model does not rely solely on privacy exploitation, like Amazon, should ideally only be "entitled" to your shipping address, credit card number, and a few other database fields. Telecom/ISPs too. (It could be argued that Google's search is so good that it's an actual product. And this is what separates Google from FB in terms of defining privacy exploitation even though their business models are similar.)

The pure exploitation companies do not have a primary use case for collection like Acxiom does (credit evaluation). Every bit of info these companies collect is used for privacy exploitation and solely for the use of increasing shareholder/private owner value. There is no other primary value but they want to fully entrench this as a normal business model and all the benefits that come with it. That's what's dangerous, you won't be able to regulate them from the standpoint of true privacy in the future. If you don't start with a hardcore opt-in position, the foundation will have already been poured in their favor.

Directly to your point, I would argue there is no such thing as a "well-behaved" company. All assets will be exploited for the purpose of generating revenue. Especially when times get tough it's amazing the amount of rationalization and creativity that goes on when one's dinner is threatened. All that weasely language in the DNA companies TOS is there for a reason. Which leads to...

The info they're collecting is going to be on their backup tapes forever. As has been stated numerous times before, it's not about "nothing to fear". It's how can this data be used against me in the future (erroneously or financially). Average Joe doesn't realize what's going on behind the curtain because he hasn't seen a direct consequence of what can (will) happen to their info being used against them. Information will be sold out the back door to insurance, auto dealers, retailers, etc. that will result in "smart pricing" against them.

A federal law will cement their privacy-exploitation business models and supply a moat against any consumer-friendly actions in the future. How? Through $700/hr lawyers pre-building loopholes into the law through lobbying efforts.

TL;DR: Privacy exploitation should not be normalized as business model. Screw 'em all.

Experts Warn World 'Grossly Unprepared' For Future Pandemics

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Prominent international experts are warning that a virulent flu pandemic capable of spreading across the world in 36 hours, killing up to 80 million people, is entirely plausible and efforts by governments to prepare for it are "grossly insufficient." The Guardian reports: The first annual report by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, an independent group of 15 experts convened by the World Bank and WHO after the first Ebola crisis, describes the threat of a pandemic spreading around the world, potentially killing tens of millions of people, as "a real one." There are "increasingly dire risks" of epidemics, yet the world remained unprepared, the report said. It warned epidemic-prone diseases such as Ebola, influenza and Sars are increasingly difficult to manage in the face of increasing conflict, fragile states and rising migration. The climate crisis, urbanization and a lack of adequate sanitation and water are breeding grounds for fast-spreading, catastrophic outbreaks.

The report acknowledges governments and international institutions have taken steps to increase preparedness for outbreaks in the five years since the Ebola crisis in west Africa, but concludes current preparedness is "grossly insufficient." A growing lack of public trust in institutions in some countries, exacerbated by misinformation, hinders disease control, said the study. The report outlined seven steps to ensure the world's health system is better prepared for the next health emergency, calling on heads of states to increase funding and for international organizations to build preparedness into funding mechanisms. "Poverty and fragility exacerbate outbreaks of infectious disease and help create the conditions for pandemics to take hold," said Axel van Trotsenburg, acting CEO of the World Bank. "Investing in stronger institutions and health systems will promote resilience, economic stability and global health security."

Apocalypse now

By ceg97 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Prophets of doom can be both secular and religious. Eighteen years ago experts warned Y2K was going to cause the world to crash. Apocalyptic predictions arise more from psychologic causes e.g. feelings that something bad will happen than objective evidence.

cui prodest

By Escogido • Score: 3 • Thread

so some experts who are paid for preventing epidemics say they are not paid enough to prevent epidemics. nice try.

they may be RIGHT, fwiw, but how do we, laypeople, know? still a nice try though.

Re: That is indeed the case

By e3m4n • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Your assuming it will erupt outside your borders. Theres such an open borders push right now, that the most likely scenario is that we will hear about pockets of outbreaks first, and by the time the reality sinks in, too many refugees will have already carried it in. The longer the incubation period, the harder to contain.

Re:Apocalypse now

By apoc.famine • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Wow, you're on /. and you're that ignorant of Y2K?

It wasn't a prophecy of doom, it was a real deal issue. So do you know what everyone did? They fixed it before most of the problems happened. Y2K is a fantastic example of how people around the world can identify an upcoming problem and rally to prevent most of the ill effects.

You have to remember, Y2K was before YOLO came on the scene, so instead of collectively saying "fuck it", we fixed it.

Duh. The world is big and no one's in charge.

By eepok • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Seriously. How can anyone be surprised by this announcement?

There are 195 countries in the world. Each with their own system of states, provinces, counties, cities, towns, and off-the-grid citizens. There are over 7 billion of us right now! Most humans cannot even comprehend what a "billion" of anything entails aside from the number of zeroes you need to represent it mathematically. Those citizens speak over 6,000 languages and aren't particularly concerned with the threat of global pandemics because they're worrying about the granular things in life.

-- My daughter needs new shoes.
-- My neighbor is too loud.
-- I need to ask for a raise.
-- Gosh I wish my plumbing didn't need constant attention.

Of course the world isn't prepared for something that is best managed by I dominating central power. There is no dominating central power! The world is big, complex, conflicted, and full of people with vastly differing preferences, understandings, and capabilities, means, and will.

A non-comprehensive list of things the world is not ready for:

1. Global Pandemics (see summary and article)
2. Global thermonuclear war
3. Genocide
4. Hurricanes
5. Tornadoes
6. Earthquakes
7. Tsunamis
8. Famine
9. Economic Collapse
10. Clever and moderately-well-funded guerillas utilizing extreme ideologies, firearms, and homemade explosives.

Look, I like knowing things, but it does no good to start a panic about disaster readiness (Plan A). If it's your job to prepare Plan A, then do so. If you're going to tell the world about it, prepare them for Plans B-Z because WE ALL KNOW that Plan A falls apart real quick.

Japan's Hayabusa 2 Targets Final Asteroid Landing

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The team overseeing the Hayabusa2 mission for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is putting the vehicle through its paces one more time as it prepares to release the last rover it has on board. "That rehearsal, which took place Sept. 16 (Sept. 17 local time at mission control), sent two target markers toward the asteroid," reports From the report: Each target marker is a reflective ball that's about 4 inches (10 centimeters) across and filled with smaller balls -- like a high-tech beanbag. Hayabusa2 launched with five of these markers and had already deployed two, one last October and one in May. Two more left the spacecraft during the rehearsal this week, according to JAXA. During the procedure, the spacecraft photographed the target markers every 4 seconds, producing the raw material that mission personnel have turned into stunning would-be multiple-exposure images.

As the camera snapped, the target marker itself stayed more or less in the same place, while the spacecraft itself rose at a speed of about 4 inches per second, according to a statement from JAXA. All told, the target markers took a few days to reach the asteroid's surface, on account of the space rock's very weak gravity. Since deploying the two target markers, Hayabusa2 has focused on observing the pair, which it will continue to do until Sept. 23, according to JAXA. The agency has not yet announced when it will deploy the spacecraft's final rover. That deployment marks the last task Hayabusa2 needs to complete before it ferries its precious space-rock cargo back to Earth. The spacecraft will leave Ryugu in November or December.