the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2019-Oct-09 today archive


  1. Waymo To Customers: 'Completely Driverless Waymo Cars Are On the Way'
  2. Researchers Created Lenses a Thousand Times Thinner To Hopefully Eliminate Ugly Smartphone Camera Bumps
  3. Opera's Desktop Browser Gets Built-In Tracking Protection
  4. AT&T To Sell Puerto Rico Business As It Looks To Pay Down Debt
  5. Comcast Incorrectly Charged 2,000 Customers For Exceeding Data Cap
  6. Blizzard In Hot Water With Lawmakers For Hearthstone Player's Ban
  7. Critical Remote Code Execution Flaw Fixed In Popular Terminal App For MacOS
  8. China Attacks Apple For Allowing Hong Kong Crowdsourced Police Activity App
  9. Tor Project Removes 13.5% of Current Servers For Running EOL Versions
  10. Worker Pay is Stagnant -- Economists Blame Robots
  11. Schneier Slams Australia's Encryption Laws and CyberCon Speaker Bans
  12. Unlike Blizzard, Epic Games Says It Won't Ban Players For Political Speech
  13. To Live or Die by Google Search Brings an Escalating Cost
  14. Today's Politics May Be Bad for Your Health
  15. A Growing Number of Astrophysicists Are Leaving Academia To Work For Tech Startups
  16. Facebook Rejects Biden Campaign's Request To Remove Trump Ads Containing False Information
  17. Utility Giant PG&E Voluntarily Shuts Off Power, Could Impact 800,000 Californians
  18. Internal Email Shows GitHub Plans To Renew ICE Contract
  19. Fedora Drops 32-Bit Linux
  20. Lithium-Ion Batteries Win Nobel Prize for Chemistry
  21. Intel Kills Kaby Lake G, Vows To Offer Drivers For Five Years
  22. Essential Reveals Project Gem Smartphone With Very Long, Unusual Design
  23. 'Call of Duty: Mobile' Smashes Records With 100 Million Downloads in First Week
  24. Google Makes It Easier To Move Music and Video Streams Between Devices
  25. Saturn Overtakes Jupiter As Host To Most Moons In Solar System
  26. Cows Painted Like Zebras Attract Fewer Flies

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

Waymo To Customers: 'Completely Driverless Waymo Cars Are On the Way'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Waymo, the autonomous vehicle business under Alphabet, sent an email to customers of its ride-hailing app that their next trip might not have a human safety driver behind the wheel, according to a copy of the email that was posted on Reddit. The email entitled "Completely driverless Waymo cars are on the way" was sent to customers that use its ride-hailing app in the suburbs of Phoenix.

Both the early rider program and Waymo One service use self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans to shuttle Phoenix residents in a geofenced area that covers several suburbs including Chandler and Tempe. All of these "self-driving rides" have a human safety driver behind the wheel. A driverless ride is what it sounds like. No safety driver behind the wheel, although a Waymo employee would likely be present in the vehicle initially.


By phantomfive • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I will never get in one of these robo-taxis!

Never? What if they worked demonstrably better than human-taxis?

Re:and when someone dies then what? and will the c

By Theaetetus • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Are train passengers liable when someone gets killed? Are bus passengers? Are plane passengers? Are ferry passengers? But they are passenger with an real driver in place.

But with this the EULA will make waymo not an fault for anything.

Since whomever the car hits doesn't sign the EULA, it can't be used to avoid Waymo's liability.

also if they even an red stop button then the passenger may be at fault if they don't hit it before it hits the next Elaine Herzberg

Most trains have emergency stop buttons or levers, but as previously noted, train passengers are not considered legally at fault for failing to hit it. There is no reason to expect that Waymo passengers would be liable.

Re:and when someone dies then what? and will the c

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Don't forget about elevators. If the cable breaks, will the last customer to push a button be arrested for murder?

Rather than an advertising...

By LordHighExecutioner • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
...sounds like a warning!


By stephanruby • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I'm sure people felt the same way about unmanned elevators.

Even the first gas-powered cars were initially required not to go above 5 MPH on public roads and needed a guy walking in front of them with a flag.

Researchers Created Lenses a Thousand Times Thinner To Hopefully Eliminate Ugly Smartphone Camera Bumps

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Camera bumps on smartphones may soon go away thanks to a team of researchers at the University of Utah who've developed a radically thin camera lens. Gizmodo reports: For comparison, the lens elements used in today's smartphone cameras, which gather and focus light onto a tiny sensor, are a few millimeters thick. It might not sound like much, but the best smartphone cameras use multiple elements, which quickly add up, resulting in a thin phone simply not having enough room to house all of them: hence the camera bump trend. But a team of electrical and computer engineering researchers at the University of Utah have succeeded in creating a new type of optical lens that measures just a few microns thick, or about a thousand times thinner and one hundred times lighter than what you'll find in smartphones today.

The lens the researchers created is actually made up of innumerable tiny microstructures, imperceptible to the human eye, and strategically positioned so that each one bends and redirects light towards a camera's sensor. When they're all working together, they produce the same results as a single curved element does. Manufacturing the lenses also required the team to develop a new fabrication process, a new polymer, and custom algorithms to calculate the shape and position of each microstructure. But the resulting lens can be completely flat, and made of lightweight plastic. If you've ever spent a day carrying around a camera with a big lens hanging off the front, you'll appreciate that benefit alone.
The study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Lens causes a bump?

By kbahey • Score: 3 • Thread

No, the lens does not cause the bump.
The thickness of current phones is just fine.
It is the obsession with thinness that is causing the bump ...

Fresnel lens

By flyingfsck • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
A Fresnel lens is not exactly new news.

Anorexia is mental illness.

By BAReFO0t • Score: 3 • Thread

And when it becomes suicidal, people are usually put into a mental hospital.

I think we have reached that point now.

Re:Good progress but

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The thinner the phone, the thicker the case can be without the phone becoming unusable.

If the phone was thicker, it could also be stronger, and wouldn't need a case.

We don't give a shit

By nospam007 • Score: 3 • Thread

We have large battery covers on them anyway because the idiotic 'thinner' movement doesn't leave any place for a decent battery inside.

Opera's Desktop Browser Gets Built-In Tracking Protection

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Yesterday, Opera announced the launch of version 68 of its flagship desktop browser, bringing a tracker blocker that will make it harder for advertisers and others to track you while you browse the web. The company says it also has the additional benefit of speeding up page loads by up to 23%. TechCrunch reports: The new tracking protection feature is off by default (as is the existing ad blocker). The tracking feature uses the EasyPrivacy Tracking Protection List, which has been around for quite a few years now. In addition to the new tracking protection, which is increasingly becoming standard among browser vendors (and which is surely putting some additional pressure on Google and its Chrome browser), Opera is also introducing a new screenshotting feature with this update. That's not an unusual feature, but it's a pretty full-featured implementation, with the ability to blur parts of a page and draw on the screenshots.

Chinese owned

By DigiShaman • Score: 3, Informative • Thread

Opera is mostly Chinese owned.

honest question

By gTsiros • Score: 3 • Thread

why are browsers doing this?

instead of after-the-fact trying to "protect", why not have the client send only the absolute minimum information for the server to respond with the desired information and everything else randomized, null or otherwise invalid?

i go to a page to read a paragraph's worth of text and i am greeted with:

animated advertisements
cookies warnings that if i want to get rid of i have to spend time and effort to configure all of them
request for a newsletter
embedded social media buttons
in-browser notifications request
add shortcut to home screen request
location request (wtf?)
dozens of scripts
PLUS whatever else i forgot or i can not see

i miss the old web

AT&T To Sell Puerto Rico Business As It Looks To Pay Down Debt

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to The Wall Street Journal, AT&T has agreed to sell its Puerto Rican and U.S. Virgin Islands businesses to Liberty Latin America for $1.95 billion in cash (Warning: source paywalled, alternative source), "allowing the telecommunications giant to shave its debt load and move closer to repurchasing shares." From the report: AT&T's operation in Puerto Rico provides cellular, landline and internet connections. It had 1.1 million wireless subscribers. As part of the deal, about 1,300 AT&T employees will be transferred to Liberty Latin America. The two companies said they expect the deal to close within six to nine months. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands account for a small sliver of AT&T's domestic operations, but shedding the unit will help it work down a large debt load accumulated through its $80 billion-plus acquisition of Time Warner last year. The deal signals progress on AT&T's goal of selling noncore assets, something activist investor Elliott Management Corp., which recently disclosed a stake in the company, is also pushing. AT&T has also sold its stake in streaming service Hulu.

More to do with Puerto Rico than AT&T's debt

By DesScorp • Score: 3 • Thread

You don't make money in Puerto Rico without US government subsidies. The whole island's economy is essentially subsidized by Washington DC, and there's been rumblings that perhaps we'd be better off without PR. The island's debts are massive (especially for workers and retirees in the PR local government retirement system), with no realistic means to pay them off. This inevitably results in either a US Government bailout, or a default on those debts. AT&T probably sees the road ahead and wants out. Like the investment banks unloading mortgage backed securities before anyone knew what was in them, Ma Bell is probably grateful to shift this one to the suckers.

Too much truth?

By NaCh0 • Score: 3 • Thread

I like how the article says this sale of land line, cell and internet services is part of ATT's effort to sell off non-core assets.

At least they finally admit phone and internet is an afterthought for ATT.

Comcast Incorrectly Charged 2,000 Customers For Exceeding Data Cap

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Comcast's data-usage meter gave thousands of customers inaccurate readings for two months because of a software bug, causing the broadband provider to incorrectly charge about 2,000 users for exceeding their monthly data caps. Comcast has admitted the error and told Ars it is giving refunds and additional credits of $50 each to customers who paid data overage fees that shouldn't have been assessed.

Comcast engineers found that the problem began after the company started rolling out a new billing system in early August. The data meter was apparently still collecting accurate data, but the numbers were being reported in the new billing system incorrectly. Comcast said it's still trying to figure out if the bug is in the meter software, the billing software, or in the interaction between the two. What Comcast knows for certain, the spokesperson said, is that the problem was fixed when it rolled back to the previous version of its billing software on October 2.
Comcast's statement to Ars said: "While updating our data usage meter to a new system, a software error occurred resulting in a small number of our customers being billed incorrectly. We're very sorry for inconveniencing our customers and here's what we're doing to address it: We fixed the technical issue, we're proactively crediting the accounts affected, and we're giving those customers an additional $50 credit to make it right."


By Roger W Moore • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
It seems an amazing coincidence how these random "bugs" at companies always result in customers being overcharged and almost never in them being undercharged.

I kinda doubt it

By Snotnose • Score: 3 • Thread
I suspect it's more because they thought could get away with it.

I first heard of Comcast in the 80s, when Usenet had stories of the most hated companies in the US. Good for me, they were about as far from me as they could be and still be in the same country. Now that they have spread and influence my media options, all I can say is TGFPB (Thank God For Pirate Bay).

Demand calibrated meters

By tlhIngan • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Want to get any ISP to drop a data cap?

Realize this - everything that is billed by a measured unit has to be calibrated to ensure that they're accurate. This goes for everything - electricity, gas, water, gasoline, scales, etc. If you look carefully, there's a calibration sticker that tells you when it was calibrated, who calibrated it, and when a new calibration is required. Stuff like meters in your house generally are replaced rather than recalibrated since they have to be removed anyways, so it's easier to just install a new one than replace with a new one, recalibrate, and exchange it back.

Thus, if you want to charge by the byte, then Weights and Measures should define a standard of what it is, and ensure that meters provided for them are calibrated so things like this can't happen. If you want to charge by a unit, then the unit has to be properly defined and meters tested to ensure they are accurate.

Demand this, and the added cost of those calibrated meters will probably just kill the whole thing.

And yes, a byte is not necessarily a byte - after all, what is a byte? Does it include Ethernet headers and trailers? Medium specific headers and trailers (DOCSIS, DSL, etc)? Do you include the synchronization bits as well? It needs to be defined so people know what is being measured.

Blizzard In Hot Water With Lawmakers For Hearthstone Player's Ban

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
jimminy_cricket writes: Due to the ban placed on a Hearthstone player for supporting Hong Kong protestors, Blizzard is now receiving criticism from U.S. senators. "Blizzard shows it is willing to humiliate itself to please the Chinese Communist Party," Sen. Ron Wyden said, according to The Verge. "No American company should censor calls for freedom to make a quick buck." "Recognize what's happening here. People who don't live in China must either self censor or face dismissal & suspensions," Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said in a tweet on Tuesday. "China using access to market as leverage to crush free speech globally. Implications of this will be felt long after everyone in U.S. politics today is gone."

Re:Damned either way.

By Shaitan • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Remember the late 90's and first 12 years after the turn of the millenium when we were all joking about our differences in a healthy way without any real hostility? How the hell did militant PC assholes escape their pens and somehow become mainstream? Seriously, there is way more actual racism/sexism/whatever now than in 2010 and it just seems to feed on itself.

Selling out...

By Darkling-MHCN • Score: 3 • Thread

The price of freedom seems to be pretty quantifiable these days, I think China is getting the bargain of the century.

Re:Damned either way.

By Rockoon • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

How the hell did militant PC assholes escape their pens and somehow become mainstream?

We call it "the press"

Seriously, there is way more actual racism/sexism/whatever now than in 2010 and it just seems to feed on itself.

Which is it? Are there more PC assholes, or is racism/etc rising?

"The press" has decided that everything is racist. Even math.

Racism isnt on the rise. The number of things claimed to be racist is on the rise.
Sexism isnt on the rise. The number of things claimed to be sexist is on the rise.

"The press" doesnt care about being honest. They arent here to help you. They dont even like you. They care about money. They want your outrage clicks.

Re:Damned either way.

By hairyfeet • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I blame helicopter parents making sure their little snot bubbles never have to face reality mixed with the school systems "everybody is a winner" bullshit making all these special snowflakes.

And there isn't more "isms" its just now the uber left labels EVERYTHING as an ism that doesn't pass all their purity tests, for a perfect example look at how of the DNC presidential candidates committed political suicide by raising their hand to say they supported free college and healthcare for all illegals. Why would they do that when anyone with a functioning braincell knows the USA can't give healthcare to the entire continent which is EXACTLY what you would have with their "no border enforcement" policy? Simple...they didn't want to be called a racist, eeek!

This is why we can't have nice things on the left anymore, its always "not good enough" and you are an "ist" or a "phobe" if you dare have a differing opinion. A feminist that has fought for 40 years to protect beaten and sexually abused women says that guys can't stay in battered women's shelters just because they say they identify as female that week? "You are a transphobic REEE burn it down!" A trans man runs for student president in an uber left school? "You're a WHITE MAN REEE!" and there are protests.

So there isn't more racism and sexism, its just the uber left and the MSM that crawls behind them have labeled EVERYTHING as racist and sexist with more and more added to the list as their purity tests get more and more batshit.

Rock and a hard place

By twocows • Score: 3 • Thread
I think a lot of businesses looked to China as an untapped market and felt obligated to tap it, lest their competition beat them to it. I think China's starting to prove that maybe it's a riskier investment than initially thought, and I think you're going to see companies and investors re-examining their assumptions here.

For the moment, Activision's hands are forced. They don't want to be the bad guys (reports are a lot of employees are pissed about this), but their strategy relies on the east Asian mobile market. If they pull out, one of their major expansion opportunities dies. Investors bail, they lose money that could have been used to explore other opportunities, etc. It's a downward spiral that doesn't end well. They have no choice here -- they have to be China's bitch, at least for now. Maybe if there's enough will to do so, they can rethink their strategy, but the execution would take years.

Activision's banking on this being a relatively small incident. The number of people bailing is relatively small, people will move on quickly, some of the people who bailed might try to get back in (I suspect accounts are only being soft-deleted), etc. Even if they're wrong and it turns into a major incident, their hands are tied. They have to ride it out for now unless China themselves reverses course. It sucks, I doubt anyone wants to be China's bitch, but that's the bed they made and now they have to sleep in it.

Full disclosure: I currently own a bit of stock in Activision-Blizzard. I'll probably sell after the next positive earnings report because I'm not confident in their long-term strategy anymore -- I think China's going to prove to be too risky in the long run. As long as they don't cave to pressure though, I think this will blow over for now and they'll do well enough to recover just fine in the short term. Sucks, I don't think anyone's happy with this situation. I hear employee morale is very low at the company right now and I believe it.

Critical Remote Code Execution Flaw Fixed In Popular Terminal App For MacOS

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
itwbennett shares a report from CSO: iTerm2 users: It's time to upgrade. A security audit sponsored by the Mozilla Open Source Support Program uncovered a critical remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability in the popular open-source terminal app for macOS. ITerm2 is an open-source alternative to the built-in macOS Terminal app, which allows users to interact with the command-line shell. Terminal apps are commonly used by system administrators, developers and IT staff in general, including security teams, for a variety of tasks and day-to-day operations.

The iTerm2 app is a popular choice on macOS because it has features and allows customizations that the built-in Terminal doesn't, which is why the Mozilla Open Source Support Program (MOSS) decided to sponsor a code audit for it. The MOSS was created in the wake of the critical and wide-impact Heartbleed vulnerability in OpenSSL with the goal of sponsoring security audits for widely used open-source technologies. The flaw, which is now tracked as CVE-2019-9535, has existed in iTerm2 for the past seven years and is located in the tmux integration. Tmux is a terminal multiplexer that allows running multiple sessions in the same terminal window by splitting the terminal screen. The flaw was fixed in iTerm2 version 3.3.6, which was released today.

I use iTerm2

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 3 • Thread

It’s much better than Apple’s built-in terminal. I never warmed to how the built-in tmux integration worked, though, so I’ve always handled that manually. Guess that means I’ve been safe.

Actually this seems like it’d be a lot of work to exploit practically, and would really only be useful if you’re targeting a specific individual who happens to use iTerm2 and its tmux integration.

I've never seen a need for a third-party terminal

By Jeremi • Score: 3 • Thread

Apple's built-in Terminal app is awfully good -- it's fast, has a huge scrollback buffer, and generally just gets out of my way and lets me get my work done.

China Attacks Apple For Allowing Hong Kong Crowdsourced Police Activity App

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Apple's decision to greenlight an app called HKmaps, which is being used by pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong to crowdsource information about street closures and police presence, is attracting the ire of the Chinese government. An article in Chinese state mouthpiece, China Daily, attacks the iPhone maker for reversing an earlier decision not to allow the app to be listed on the iOS App Store -- claiming the app is "allowing the rioters in Hong Kong to go on violent acts." HKmaps uses emoji to denote live police and protest activity around Hong Kong, as reported by users.

The app's developer denies the map enables illegal activity, saying its function is "for info" purposes only -- to allow residents to move freely around the city by being able to avoid protest flash-points. But the Chinese government is branding it "toxic." "Business is business, and politics is politics. Nobody wants to drag Apple into the lingering unrest in Hong Kong. But people have reason to assume that Apple is mixing business with politics, and even illegal acts. Apple has to think about the consequences of its unwise and reckless decision," the China Daily writer warns in a not-so-veiled threat about continued access to the Chinese market.
"Providing a gateway for 'toxic apps' is hurting the feelings of the Chinese people, twisting the facts of Hong Kong affairs, and against the views and principles of the Chinese people," it goes on. "Apple and other corporations should be able to discern right from wrong. They also need to know that only the prosperity of China and China's Hong Kong will bring them a broader and more sustainable market."

The article also claims Apple reinstated a song which advocates for independence for Hong Kong and had previously been removed from its music store.

Re:South Park really nailed it

By Dutch Gun • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

It takes quite a bit to get the US citizenry riled up, at least to the point that corporations actually fear a backlash. I think we may being seeing the American public finally start to take notice of and start pushing back against China's influence with US corporations. We just saw the NBA politely tell China to piss off, Epic's Sweeny has done the same, making Blizzard look even more spineless in the process. Apple is even saying "no" to China now? Good heavens.

Maybe corporations are finally seeing the long game. That China is going to remain a repressive and hostile regime, no matter how much wealth is generated there, and that eventually, they'll just kick all the US corporations out when they no longer need us.

Hollywood, of course, remains completely silent about this whole thing, as the hypocrites still dance to China's tune, all the while mouthing platitudes about all sorts of causes that won't hurt them financially.

Re:Well, I guess it'll be a game of chicken now.

By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I'm sure that Apple is quite clear about the nature of their relationship with China. They have stuff made there, China copies their stuff, China buys their stuff. Everyone benefits.

But this situation is different from how it's been in the past, because right now a lot of people are incensed about China's influence over American companies and media. So this is a good time for Apple to stand up for itself. If China punishes Apple right now, then Apple will make sure that everyone knows about it, while they are remembering to care.

Apple is allegedly moving some of its production out of China. China has to know that Apple can afford to have their products manufactured anywhere, and that losing them as a customer will have significant repercussions.

Re:South Park really nailed it

By ugen • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Apple is definitely NOT saying "no". They cowtow a party line like a good Chinese citizen they are.

Re:Well, I guess it'll be a game of chicken now.

By phalse phace • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Will Apple stand up to China?


Apple has already caved in and pulled the app from their app store.

Apple removes police-tracking app used in Hong Kong protests from its app store

Comments that didn't age well

By twocows • Score: 4 • Thread

Tor Project Removes 13.5% of Current Servers For Running EOL Versions

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: The Tor Project has removed from its network this week more than 800 servers that were running outdated and end-of-life (EOL) versions of the Tor software. The removed servers represent roughly 13.5% of the 6,000+ servers that currently comprise the Tor network and help anonymize traffic for users across the world. Roughly 750 of the removed servers represent Tor middle relays, and 62 are exit relays -- where users exit the Tor network onto the world wide web after having their true location hidden through the Tor network. The organization said it plans to release a Tor software update in November that will natively reject connections with EOL Tor server versions by default, without any intervention from the Tor Project staff. "Until then, we will reject around 800 obsolete relays using their fingerprints," the Tor Project said in a statement this week.

Tor is broken

By johnsie • Score: 3 • Thread
Tor has been broken for a long time. It's completely compromised at this stage.

Worker Pay is Stagnant -- Economists Blame Robots

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
pgmrdlm writes: American workers are more productive than ever, but their paychecks haven't kept pace. Researchers with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco have identified a culprit: robots. Economists Sylvain Leduc and Zheng Liu theorize that automation is sapping employees' bargaining power, making it harder for them to demand higher wages. Companies across a range of industries increasingly have the option of using technology to handle work formerly done by people, giving employers the upper hand in setting pay. The result -- a widening gulf between wages and productivity. The research may bolster proposals for universal basic income, which is a government cash stipend that typically doesn't come with requirements. Andrew Yang, a Democratic presidential candidate who's running on a platform of giving every American adult $1,000 per month in basic income, tweeted about the economic findings, writing that automation is "making it hard for workers to ask for more."

"We should just give Americans a raise," he wrote. To be sure, automation is leading to massive changes in work that are hitting some industries and workers especially hard, such as lower and middle-skilled workers. For instance, the ranks of office assistants and clerical workers is expected to shrink by 5% through 2026 as offices shift tasks to artificial intelligence and other software, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This could result in a loss of 200,000 jobs.

Re:"And where is the money going to come from?"

By sarren1901 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Tax corporate revenue. It's essentially income for a corporation, such as our income is taxed. Shouldn't I be able to deduct my mortgage, car, food, clothes, gasoline, propane, water and electricity bills off as an expenses that I have to have in order to live? Seems fair to me if a corporation can write off every single thing they have to spend money on, why can't I?

I'm missing why corporations are special. If you took away some of these protections, people would still start companies. It's not like everyone would just stop, sit down and die.

But who are we kidding, we all know the real reason why things are the way they are. Things are precisely the way they are because the top assholes (probably less then 100 people) want things this way.


By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"We should just give Americans a raise," he wrote.

Which increases the value of automation.

Here's a counterproposal: tax corporate incomes, not profits. Spend the proceeds on UBI. If they can't make a profit while being taxed on income, they should let someone with a better idea take over.

Or just print the money, with UBI pegged to inflation.

But frankly, taxing corporate incomes is going to be the only reasonable way forwards when all the "workers" are robots or software agents, and not paying income taxes. Taxing robots or software would be dumb, because you'd have to tie that to their productivity somehow and managing that would be a nightmare.

Re:Okkay, econ eggheads...

By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

All wages are based on minimum wage.

Yes, that's why it must be raised if the poor are to claw their way out of poverty.

You might notice the actual minimum wage has been in line with inflation, or a cost-of-living adjustment.

What? No it hasn't. The federal minimum wage hasn't kept up with inflation for five decades now.

You don't ask the ruling class

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
because if you do they just rule over you. You take from them. Not everything, there's no need to. But if you let them they _will_ take everything.

Re:Okkay, econ eggheads...

By PopeRatzo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If you look at the initial price of a Model T and adjust for inflation, it's about the cost of a Ford Focus is today. In reality that Ford Focus could probably be a lot cheaper, but we've decided that safety and environmental regulations are important and those aren't free.

Let me stop you right there. Safety and environmental regulations add an average of $2500 to the price of a car. The average price of a new car is $34,000, so no, that's not why cars today are so much more expensive.

Inflation. We keep printing more money than we produce in equivalent wealth at the time of printing.

The problem is wages have not come close to keeping up with the true rate of inflation (with health care, education, housing and energy included).

Schneier Slams Australia's Encryption Laws and CyberCon Speaker Bans

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Governments breaking encryption is bad, and "will get worse once breaking encryption means people can die," says one of the world's leading security experts. From a report: "Australia has some pretty draconian laws about forcing tech companies to break security," says cryptographer and computer security professional Bruce Schneier. He's referring to the controversial Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018, which came into force in December. "I actually don't like that, because stuff that you do flows downhill to the US. So stop doing that," he told the Australian Cybersecurity Conference, or CyberCon, in Melbourne on Wednesday. Schneier's argument against breaking encrypted communications is simple. "You have to make a choice. Either everyone gets to spy, or no one gets to spy. You can't have 'We get to spy, you don't.' That's not the way the tech works," he said. "As this tech becomes more critical to life, we simply have to believe, accept, that securing it is more important than leaving it insecure so you can eavesdrop on the bad guys."

Still not clear enough for politicians

By DontBeAMoran • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"You have to make a choice. Either everyone gets to spy, or no one gets to spy. You can't have 'We get to spy, you don't.' That's not the way the tech works."

It can't be more clear than that, but politicians think that since people can be corrupted, then tech has to be corruptible too.

They have to understand that once you corrupt security, then there is no more security for anyone.


By Empiric • Score: 3 • Thread
...once breaking encryption means people can die

Worthy of consideration in trusting governments with "encryption back doors" is that, worldwide, the national government most likely to kill you is your own.

Re:Still not clear enough for politicians

By infolation • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Either everyone gets to spy, or no one gets to spy.

Surely this equation doesn't account for the bad guys. Ultimately, no one will be spying on lawbreakers.

The law, Australian or otherwise, doesn't prevent someone from obtaining Tails, encrypting documents then storing or communicating them freely online via Tor in a way that completely disassociates the encrypted documents from their real identity or equipment.

So the equation is more like 'everyone gets to spy on everybody except the lawbreakers for whom it's business-as-usual'


By flippy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Let me ask a question, accepting your premises for the moment.

Do you think that serious criminals, who are already breaking the law, would have any problem using illegal encryption that couldn't be broken by the government, or that some programmer working for such criminals wouldn't create the illegal encryption for them to use?

simple example

By SirLanse • Score: 3 • Thread
It would be great if the FBI had a key that worked on everyone's back door. Then they could get into a building without breaking down the door or letting them know you have a warrant eavesdrop on them. How long before every cop has a copy of the key? How long before ex-cops and convicts have copies of the key? Caller ID spoofing started out that way. Now you have no idea who is calling.

Unlike Blizzard, Epic Games Says It Won't Ban Players For Political Speech

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Fortnite developer Epic Games said in a statement that it will not ban players or content creators for political speech. From a report: The message comes after Blizzard caught fire this week for banning a professional Hearthstone player for shouting a statement associated with Hong Kong protesters. "Epic supports everyone's right to express their views on politics and human rights. We wouldn't ban or punish a Fortnite player or content creator for speaking on these topics," an Epic Games spokesperson told The Verge. Over the weekend, Blizzard banned Hearthstone player Ng "Blitzchung" Wai Chung from participating in tournaments after he voiced support for the protesters in Hong Kong. In a post-game interview on Sunday, Blitzchung said, "Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age!" Now, he cannot participate in any tournaments for an entire year (effective October 5th), and Blizzard is withholding any prize money he would have received in the Grandmasters tournament over the weekend. Those forfeited winnings have been reported to total around $10,000. Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games, added, "Epic is a US company and I'm the controlling shareholder. Tencent is an approximately 40% shareholder, and there are many other shareholders including employees and investors. [Bowing to China] will never happen on my watch as the founder, CEO, and controlling shareholder."


By imperious_rex • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
It's great seeing a CEO take a stand for freedom of speech and not cave to China, PC snowflakes, and others who easily take offense. Tim Sweeney, your firm stance is commendable and I hope other CEOs follow your lead. Keep up the great work!

China's Tencent's Epic Games...

By hiroshimarrow • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

China's Tencent, which has a large stake in Epic Games, will not ban players for political speech... Currently, what, 40 or 50% ownership in Epic?
Oh... google found it for me: Owners Tim Sweeney (>50%) Tencent (40%)

So... they won't care too much. Their Chinese players already tow the line. They have so much money behind Epic that "banning" won't do... it'd be too much attention. They're gonna get clever with the people that dissent. With Activision/Blizzard they don't own as much of the company's stock, so they thought it could go relatively unnoticed.

I wouldn't expect sinister actions due to free speech being a thing, but if did, i might expect some sort of shadow banning process, where certain matches can't be found, or the player suddenly can't find matches equal to their rank in order to keep progressing up the ladders... or intentional ladder rank slips. Sudden deals with advertisers evaporating, twitch streams suddenly getting demonetized, youtube channels getting copyright strikes for strange reasons... but outright bans... nope. They done tried that and messed it up.

They support "everyone's right to express? Really?

By Wulf2k • Score: 3 • Thread

Are they sure they don't just mean popular speech? Or, "the right" speech?

Because I can see this stance being quickly walked back if somebody shows up to a tourney in some klan regalia.

Re:Its the Hypocrisy that is the Most Galling

By reboot246 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Money does that to people.

The NBA slammed North Carolina over bathrooms. Bathrooms! Then they ignore all of the atrocities in China because they love money more than ideals. Hypocrites all.

The love of money is the root of all evils. As true today as when it was written.

Re:When did we start caring about offending China?

By imperious_rex • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
It changed when China's middle class became larger than the entire US population. It changed when the Chinese gov't made foreign companies realize the Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

To Live or Die by Google Search Brings an Escalating Cost

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Where's the best place to hide a body? The second page of a Google search." The gallows humor shows that people rarely look beyond the first few results of a search, but Lee Griffin isn't laughing. From a report: In the 13 years since he co-founded British price comparison website GoCompare, the 41-year-old has tried to keep his company at the top of search results, doing everything from using a "For Dummies" guide in the early days to later hiring a team of engineers, marketers and mathematicians. That's put him on the front lines of a battle challenging the dominance of Alphabet's Google in the search market -- with regulators in the U.S. and across Europe taking a closer look. Most of the sales at GoCompare, which helps customers find deals on everything from car and travel insurance to energy plans, come from Google searches, making its appearance at the top critical. With Google -- whose search market share is more than 80% -- frequently changing its algorithms, buying ads has become the only way to ensure a top spot on a page. Companies like GoCompare have to outbid competitors for paid spots even when customers search for their brand name.

"Google's brought on as this thing that wanted to serve information to the world," Griffin said in an interview from the company's offices in Newport, Wales. "But actually what it's doing is to show you information that people have paid it to show you." GoCompare is far from the only one to suffer from Google's search dominance. John Lewis, a high-end British retailer, last month alluded to the rising cost of climbing up in Google search results. In the U.S., IAC/InterActive, which owns internet services like Tinder, and ride-hailing company Lyft have signaled Google's stranglehold on the market.

Re:Don't like google, use the Yellow Pages

By Dixie_Flatline • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Yeah, but you didn't get to put an ad in the Yellow Pages that took people there if they were looking for your competitor. You might want to be AAAAAA Plumbing Ltd. to be at the front of the plumbing section, but that didn't affect customers of ZZ Top Plumbing who just wanted to go and find their phone number. Now if you search for ZZ Top Plumbing, AAAAAA Plumbing Ltd. gets to stick a (potentially) misleading ad on top of the search results to grab customers.

C'mon, it's clearly a different thing.

Don't blame Google

By mysidia • Score: 3 • Thread

"But actually what it's doing is to show you information that people have paid it to show you." GoCompare is far from the only one to suffer from Google's search dominance...

Cry me a bleeping river. Many of the most popular search engines BEFORE Google came into the scene as the saviour for internet search degenerated to the point they would have 100% Ads on the first few page results, and the Promoted listings were often in no way displayed as Distinct Sponsored search results.
That and there would potentially also be Banner Ads and Popup Ads after searching.

This is Not because of Google's dominance: Google is the disruptor that started countering the search engine spam plague - made sponsored results distinct, minimized the amount of advertising, and made internet search good again. Did you ever try one of the search engines that came before Google?

There were MANY of them back in the day -- Infoseek, Webcrawler, etc; and over time they all got to be 1000x worse than this than Google is today after eCommerce took off..

Spammers took to using tricks to keyword bomb - fill text and META tags with keywords and brands marginally if at all-related to their content and get themselves to the top result - before Google invented PageRank 1 --- have been a problem since the 90s And above that pervades ALL search not Google search.

I've started using other engines.

By Ungrounded Lightning • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I start on page 2
The first page of a google search is nearly always useless. When I search for a product's web page, I want the manufacturer, not a dozen shills. That information is rarely on the first page.

I do a lot of searching for other things than products. Google used to be useful for that. Now it either buries what I'm interested in so deep I don't bother any more, or doesn't show it at all. I've been using other search engines in order to dig stuff up.

It's particularly annoying when I search for my old slashdot posts, using my handle,, and stuff from the posts, but they don't show up at all.

I'm not sure how much of this is the early-page ads and how much of it is Google's political correctness filtering. But I really don't care. The way you lose the top-dog spot is to stop being useful. Eventually your former customers will find some other way to get done what you will no longer do for them.

Re:Don't like google, use the Yellow Pages

By az-saguaro • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Yes and no. If you had a business number, it was listed in the yellow pages just like residential numbers in the white pages. It was a basic benefit of having a phone number, and the phone books were free if you had a phone. Of course, all you got was an alphabetical listing under your service category, so if you wanted to make a bigger splash, you bought an ad, price per square inch. So, if you wanted to find book stores, you went to B - Bookstores, Retail, then looked at the listings. Everybody was ranked equally in the basic listings (alphabetically). Nobody was hidden, nobody was masked, nobody was pushed to another page or category, and nobody was buried behind irrelevant search results like "bookies", "sports books", or "phone book agents". You designated what category you were, and the phone book put you there. It was fair, with an option to buy additional visibility, but it there was a basic fairness for all. That is what has become ever more glaringly problematic about Google search, no inherent fairness.

On the flip side, the phone book listing was a basic service for those who paid for phone service from Ma Bell. It's called "customer service", but it was a benefit of being a paid customer. Modern businesses looking for a "basic benefit" listing on Google are paying nothing to Google, just assuming a free benefit from an entity with whom they have paid nothing and have no contract. So, perhaps they ought not expect too much.

The phone book was always a very handy thing, and for those who have never used it, you are missing something that has benefits missing from online search. It seems to me that the solution would be to have all of the phone carriers, landline and mobile, have an industry consortium where they maintain a bona fide white pages and yellow pages on line for all to access.

I miss the Phone Book

By speedlaw • Score: 3 • Thread
When I was a baby merchant, an old guy said, in a rough voice "Kid, you need to buy the biggest phone book ad you can afford". I though the ads were massively over priced, so I went to this internet thing back when 2400 baud was fast. It worked well until Google dynamically re indexed every search....and you had to game it, over and over. Now I hire someone to do two pages of HTML written in some stone-age Word version were no longer on page one or two. Today, I wish we still had the phone book...because once you paid, your ad didn't didn't change was in the same place for a full year. I've pissed away beaucoup Dollars chasing Google. Fuckem...

Today's Politics May Be Bad for Your Health

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: An Iowa man is so bothered by the political climate that his psychologist says he asked for a higher dosage of his anxiety medication. A Chicago woman is so uneasy about politics that she has needed two dental implants to deal with her teeth-grinding habit. And a New York woman says she suffered her first flare-up of multiple sclerosis in 10 years due to political angst. Americans are stressed and politics is a major cause, according to psychologists, psychiatrists and recent surveys.

A study published in September in the journal PLOS One found that politics is a source of stress for 38% of Americans. "The major takeaway from this is that if our numbers are really anywhere in the ballpark, there are tens of millions of Americans who see politics as exacting a toll on their social, psychological, emotional and even physical health," says Kevin Smith, lead author of the study and chair of the political science department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Re:lol no shit

By TheHardWayOut • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"Donald Trump is no more of a corrupt incompetent moron than any of the people who came before him."

Obviously untrue.

In his refusal to release his taxes or divest from his business interests, he had broken important norms on Day 1 that set him apart from every president back to Nixon. Since then, his administration has been a flood of graft, nepotism, and despotism unlike anything the country has seen in over a century.

His son in law is in charge of middle-east peace. Foreign governments are booking rooms in his hotels and leaving them empty, then telling him how much they love his hotels on the phone, then the phonecalls are being deliberately mishandled to keep them from the public. He's publicly and privately asking foreign governments to help damage his opponents, then refusing the comply with congressional oversight because he deems it invalid.

He bullshits his way through every question he's asked on every topic, and in the rare cases he seems to have actual information at hand, it usually turns out to be made up.

He fires people for kissing his ass insufficiently, even when sufficient ass kissing would place them in legal jeopardy. That's not normal. If you think that's normal, you're incorrect.

He stared directly into a solar eclipse.

He slurs his words, sometimes the same word repeatedly as he struggles to make his mouth obey his brain.

Everyone he fires says he's out of his goddamn mind. The only defense he's ever offered is, "They're bitter that they got fired." Really? All of them? Nobody Obama fired said he was out of his goddamn mind. Nobody Bush fired said he was a crooked lunatic with no understanding of the responsibilities or limitations of his job.

If it's all lies, he's the single worst judge of character in the history of the presidency. Occam's Razor says he's mentally ill, and it's now being backed up by documentation released by the White House itself.


By Tempest_2084 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
I've banned all political discussion on my Facebook feed. I use a tool called Facebook Purity which lets me filter out posts based on keywords (among other useful tools). That doesn't stop everything, but that stops a lot of it. I've had to do the old 'Unfollow but stay friends' thing with several people though because all they seemed to want to do is post political crap on FB all day. I've been a much happier person since.

Re:My co-workers

By butchersong • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
That part was expected. I'm not sure what else people would want Turkey to do. So long as Assad doesn't do something stupid this is the best case scenario unless you're obsessed with carving out a Kurdish state there and destabilizing the region for.. some other unnamed country to expand their territory. You know how you can tell it is the right move? The media and intelligence community are against it. Has there been a single action since sept 11 that we shouldn't have done the opposite of what those groups suggested?

Happiness is...

By TigerPlish • Score: 3 • Thread

...a day away from the TV ...a day away from work, ...a day away from the phone and radio.. ...a day at the outdoors rifle range ...a day at the disc golf course ...a solid hour at the piano ...anything that takes me away from the non-stop political shitshow I've been witnessing since 1974, which was my first exposure to Politics. Nixon. If you people think Trump is crazy, Tricky Dicky will heartily recalibrate your craycray meter.

Barcelo vs. Cuchin (Puerto Rico 1980 General Elections)
Carter. The Shah. The hostages.
Reagan. ---- Iran/Contra, I have no recollection of those events...
Bush the First.
Clinton ---- the beginning of the sellout of america
Bush the Second

All of the above make today look sane, Trump is just a continuation of the eternal shitshow.

Tune out, go outside. Like I'm about to. 5 o'clock whistle's about to blow

Re:The Real News is very very bad.

By BringsApples • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I repeat, it's collapsing due to complete lack of empathy.

1) The rich aren't empathetic because they feel like the poor should simply apply themselves to their lives more.
2) The poor aren't empathetic because they feel like the rich should simply be paid a "normal" salary, instead of making waaay more money than they need to live.

Both are correct, so what to do? Empathy will start the "what to do" off, in the best way.

If you're poor, you should know that even rich people go through struggles and that these struggles are as real as any other struggle.
If you're rich, you should know that even poor people have goals, and making more and more money isn't the only goal worth having.

A Growing Number of Astrophysicists Are Leaving Academia To Work For Tech Startups

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Space scientists are abandoning the heavens to help you decide what to wear and watch and listen to. Whether it's stars or Stitch Fix, it's all about machine learning. Wired: Chris Moody knows a thing or two about the universe. As an astrophysicist, he built galaxy simulations, using supercomputers to model the way the universe expands and how galaxies crash into one another. One night, not long after he'd finished his PhD at UC Santa Cruz, he met up with a few other astrophysicists for beers. But that night, no one was talking about galaxies. Instead, they were talking about fashion. A couple of Moody's astrophysicist pals had recently left academia to work for Stitch Fix, the online personal styling company now valued at $2 billion. Moody gawked at them. "They were like, 'You don't think this is an interesting problem?'" he says. Indeed, he did not. But when his friends described the work they were doing -- sprinkling in phrases like "Bayesian models" and "Poincare space" -- predicting what clothes someone might like started to sound eerily like the work he'd done during his PhD. Quantifying style, he discovered, "turns out to have really close analogues to how general relativity works."

Four years later, Moody works for Stitch Fix too. He belongs to a growing group of astrophysicist deserters, who have stopped researching the cosmos to start building recommendation algorithms and data models for the tech industry. They make up the data science teams at companies like Netflix and Spotify and Google. And even at elite universities, fewer astrophysics PhDs go on to take postdoctoral fellowships or pursue competitive professorships. Now, more of them go straight to work in Silicon Valley. To understand what's driving astrophysicists into consumer product startups, consider the recent explosion of machine learning. Astrophysicists, who wrangle massive amounts of data collected from high-powered telescopes that survey the sky, have long used machine learning models, which "train" computers to perform tasks based on examples. Tell a computer what to recognize in one intergalactic snapshot and it can do the same for 30 million more and start to make predictions. But machine learning can also be used to make predictions about customers, and around 2012, corporations started to staff up with people who knew how to deploy it.

I see a growing problem...

By kackle • Score: 3 • Thread

But when his friends described the work they were doing -- sprinkling in phrases like "Bayesian models" and "Poincare space" -- predicting what clothes someone might like started to sound eerily like the work he'd done during his PhD. Quantifying style, he discovered, "turns out to have really close analogues to how general relativity works.

Yes, but in the end, you are predicting fashion trends. The same trends that are fickle, change all the time, and are possibly mocked by the next generation. Profitable, perhaps, but not very helpful to mankind, I'd argue.

I've noticed what I would call a big problem lately: The smartest of us can so easily waste our time/lives today. I'm not talking about "having fun" or "zoning out on TV", etc., but rather situations like TFA describes, or the endless electronic device distractions, the constant "news" feeds, the delirious enthusiasm for the latest technology products to buy that don't enhance our lives much at all (or we ignore the downsides of each new thing we pile on) and/or the fact that certain situations have become so complicated, that we spin our wheels frequently dealing with their fallout, when, in reality, the reason for the complication doesn't pan out if anyone bothered to stop and actually think about it. Let me provide a poor example...

My old car came with a $200 option where the rear-view mirror automatically tints when it thinks it's nighttime and it senses bright lights from behind. All that complication, the electronics, the manufacturing, the pollution and energy behind the electronics' creation and continual use, just to replace the manual flip switch that they've had for several decades. Why? The thing even weighs more, reducing the MPG of thousands of cars. WHY? I also think that someone(s) smart spent much time basically making an expensive mirror.

There's a large bridge in town at such a position that the mirror (which you can't tint by hand) won't tint when the sunset is blinding from behind because the mirror knows it's daytime! And, after ~ 10 years, the LCD "tint" started to bleed, making the mirror useless. I replaced it with one from the junkyard for $5 which I still have 10 years later.

I think we could get so much further in a generation or two than fancier websites.

Re:Straight out of Idiocracy?

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

Why? How long have you had a hairy erection?

Quandary- Make Millions or Explore Unknown?

By littlewink • Score: 3 • Thread
Which shall it be? Shall I keep pursuing my Ph.D (3 more years of slavery studying under my egotistical asshole mentor)? Or should I turn to data science(where linear algebra and a little probability are all the challenges I'll face). I'll make a six-figure salary almost immediately and millions over the next decade. I might even get laid! 8=)) Which is best? It doesn't take an astrophysicist to make that decision!

Re:Straight out of Idiocracy?

By Nidi62 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Why? How long have you had a hairy erection?

Apparently not long enough

Science becoming less fun

By joe_frisch • Score: 3 • Thread

I've worked as a staff scientist at a national lab for the last 30 years, and IMHO the work has gradually become less appealing. Its difficult to pin down a major cause - more budget tracking more regulations, etc, a general bureaucratization of the work. Attempts to squeeze $2B projects into $1B budgets that result in the work all feeling sort of slip-shod. Its even possible that budget squeezed projects are overall more efficient (though that is not at all clear to me), but they are less fun to work on.

No one goes into astrophysics or similar fields for the money, they do it because the work is fun and interesting. As that declines, the field becomes less attractive relative to other fields I"m still here and not planning to leave, but I'd say the probability of my leaving has been gradually increasing with time. (though at the moment I have fun projects - though an insane level of work)

The question of how much society should spend on fundamental research is of course a fair one.

Facebook Rejects Biden Campaign's Request To Remove Trump Ads Containing False Information

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
In a letter to Joe Biden's presidential campaign, Facebook doubled down on its policy to allow speech from politicians to go unchecked regardless of the truthfulness of their claims. From a report: The letter was a response to the Biden campaign's request for Facebook to reject or demote ads from President Donald Trump's re-election campaign that contain false claims. The Biden campaign's original request to Facebook, addressed to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg and global elections policy chief Katie Harbath, pointed to an ad by the Trump campaign that contains a statement that has not been proven by evidence that the former vice president "offered Ukraine $1 billion to fire the prosecutor investigating a company affiliated with his son." The Biden campaign wrote: "The allegation of corrupt motive has been demonstrated to be completely false." The campaign said the claim should be covered by Facebook's pledge to reject political ads with "previously debunked content."

Re:Not saying it's good or bad but...

By mobby_6kl • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Between Trump and Warren the latter is obviously the only reasonable choice, like it's not even close.

Which is why I wouldn't trust Americans to necesserily make it of course.

Re:Ms. Mash is Satan's little helper..

By skids • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The Mueller report did publicly prove the obstruction part. Be careful with your antecedents.

Re:I hate Biden with a passion

By meta-monkey • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I can't find the ad itself, but from the NYT article the CNBC piece references:

“Joe Biden promised Ukraine $1 billion if they fired the prosecutor investigating his son’s company,” a narrator says, using video from an event in which Mr. Biden mentions the money. “But when President Trump asks Ukraine to investigate corruption, the Democrats want to impeach him.”

I believe this is true. Biden promised Ukraine $1 billion in loan guarantees on the condition they fire the prosecutor. The prosecutor was investigating his son's company. What's not proven is the corrupt intent, that he did this only or partly because of the investigation into his son's company. But the ad doesn't say that. It implies that this is fishy looking enough to investigate, which it probably is.

So, I don't think Biden has a leg to stand on here. The language used in the ad is true. He just doesn't like the implication.

Re:Ms. Mash is Satan's little helper..

By bobbied • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The Mueller report did publicly prove the obstruction part. Be careful with your antecedents.

Then impeach him for that obstruction and forego all this made up stuff.. If obstruction was proven, then it should be easy.

But we all know why the democrats are on this duplicitous path, they know they really don't have anything that the voting public is willing to impeach over.

Might Leave Facebook, as Well

By BrendaEM • Score: 3 • Thread
I left twitter, and Facebook might follow.

Utility Giant PG&E Voluntarily Shuts Off Power, Could Impact 800,000 Californians

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Pacific Gas & Electric began cutting off power to nearly 800,000 customers across large swaths of Northern and Central California Wednesday morning, in a planned outage that it says is necessary to avoid the risk of fire. From a report: PG&E gave residents in more than 30 counties advance warnings about the power cut, which it says would "proactively" reduce the dangerous effects of a potential "widespread, severe wind event" forecast for Wednesday. The utility giant's transmission lines have been linked to wildfires that have devastated communities in California. It filed for bankruptcy protection in January, and it's been roundly criticized for mismanagement and safety failures. As of Wednesday morning, people in Humboldt, Marin, Napa, Sonoma and other counties are currently without power in the initial phase of PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoff. "The decision to turn off power was based on forecasts of dry, hot and windy weather including potential fire risk," PG&E said in a statement about the outage.

Re:Time to chainsaw up boys!

By OrangeTide • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

PG&E and tree contractors have been crawling all over California this year. And the fire inspectors gave me multiple notices to cut back the trees and grass on my rural property. California does require property owners to cut back brush and PG&E is required by law to clear fire hazards and provide clear emergency routes for fire and utility trucks.

That idea that California is sitting on our collective thumbs because of misguided environmentalism is horseshit leaking from your brain.

Re:Cut off service vs fixing the problems.

By reanjr • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

It's basic risk assessment. They just got hit with $billions in fees/fines over the last incident. They can't really afford to have that happen again. If the company is responsible for the fires, then they have to be able to make these sorts of decisions based on their own criteria.

If - on the other hand - we wanted to solve this in a public manner, we would instead make inspections a government service paid for by taxes on companies like PG&E (likely contracted out to OTHER private parties, unaffiliated with energy producers).


By zkiwi34 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Nah mate. This is payback for the lawsuits against them.

Re:Let's admit it.

By HiThere • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

That is a lie. Or perhaps you're just misinformed.

PG&E buried the power lines to Pt. Reyes seashore though forests decades ago.

What's going on is that conditions have changed, and that's causing forests that used to be healthy to start dying. Some of it's weather, but more is climate. E,g, pine beetles are now living where they previously couldn't survive the winter, and are killing trees that used to be safe from them. I think there's also something about the gypsy moth spreading into new areas. A dry year or two isn't a real problem, and even seven are survivable by a healthy tree. When it gets infested by insects that it's not adapted to, that's a whole different story.

Re:Inverse condemnation

By guruevi • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I guess both sides in the US are against science. The alt-right thinks global warming is a hoax, the conservatives see no economic solution, the independents don't know enough about it and the left says women are biologically the same as men.

Internal Email Shows GitHub Plans To Renew ICE Contract

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
GitHub CEO Nat Friedman explained why the company plans to renew a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), even though he and others at GitHub oppose ICE's policy of separating children from parents at the border, Motherboard reported on Wednesday, citing an internal GitHub email. From a report: The email shows the continuing debate within the tech industry about whether companies should work specifically with ICE, and comes as a host of other companies have dealt with employee protests over corporate involvement with ICE. "In August, the GitHub leadership team learned about a pending renewal of our product by the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. Since then, we have been talking with people throughout the company, based on our own personal concerns and those raised by Hubbers," Friedman's email reads, referring to GitHub employees. Evan Greer, deputy director at activism group Fight for the Future tweeted a copy of the email on Tuesday. Motherboard also separately obtained a copy of the email from a source inside GitHub. The product up for renewal is a license of GitHub Enterprise Server, an on-premises deployment of GitHub that customers can run on their own server, according to the email. ICE originally bought a license in April, 2016.


By memory_register • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
GitHub is part of a publicly traded company that does all sorts of routine business with the federal government. ICE fulfills a necessary constitutional duty of the federal government. Next story, please.

This is not News For Nerds

By jwhyche • Score: 3 • Thread

This is not news for nerds. This is nothing more than left wing propaganda. It has no business being on /.

Re:This is not News For Nerds

By jwhyche • Score: 4 • Thread

This is not news for nerds. This is nothing more than left wing propaganda. It has no business being on /.

Oh look at that. Already ruffled some feathers. To bad. .


By gtall • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Cannot we just let them shack up with the Evangelical Christians? They are big believers in Jesus (I hear), that friend of the poor and needy. Hell, they even have megachurches to house some of them, like that dirty little squit in Houston, Joel Osteen, the one who had to be shamed into opening his church after that last big hurricane down there. Even Trump is a baby Christian and he's got lots of golf courses with hotels, he'd be happy to show us his new Christian values and take in a few loads. ICE has problems finding room to put up tents for them but golf courses have lots of room.

Fedora Drops 32-Bit Linux

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Brian Fagioli, writing for BetaNews: Beginning with the upcoming version 31 of the operating system, i686 32-bit processor support is being dropped by the Fedora Project. "The i686 architecture essentially entered community support with the Fedora 27 release. Unfortunately, there are not enough members of the community willing to do the work to maintain the architecture. Don't worry, though -- Fedora is not dropping all 32-bit packages. Many i686 packages are still being built to ensure things like multilib, wine, and Steam will continue to work," says Justin Forbes of Fedora Project. Forbes further explains, "While the repositories are no longer being composed and mirrored out, there is a koji i686 repository which works with mock for building 32-bit packages, and in a pinch to install 32-bit versions which are not part of the x86_64 multilib repository. Of course, maintainers expect this will see limited use. Users who simply need to run a 32-bit application should be able to do so with multilib on a 64-bit system."

Other distro

By fred6666 • Score: 3 • Thread

I guess those running old computers as servers / embedded x86 boards will be running another distro anyways.
Fedora has always been desktop / big server oriented.

Re:Other distro

By KiloByte • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Not even that. Fedora's user base has nearly evaporated, making the distro merely an unstable branch of RHEL. It's RHEL/Centos what sees some serious use -- and that's big servers only. Not a big share by number of users, massive share by profit.

At least there always is T2 to the rescue

By ReneR • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
were all of those, and MIPS, SPARC, ... are still supported and you can even build your optimised flavour:

When is it dropping?

By Comboman • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Kinda confusing that "drops" is slang for both "releases" and "cancels".

Re:Other distro

By caseih • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Fedora users have "evaporated?" Fedora is still a very popular distro, especially for those (yes they do exist) who like Gnome and want the latest shiny gnome stuff. Fedora is not just a development stream for RHEL. It really is its own community, and it's still quite popular.

Lithium-Ion Batteries Win Nobel Prize for Chemistry

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"This is a highly charged story," began Olof Ramstrom, a member of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry, announcing that a trio of chemists who spent decades developing the lithium ion battery were today awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work. From a report: These batteries, small and powerful compared to older battery technology, made possible pocket-sized mobile phones, laptop computers, electric cars, and renewable energy devices such as solar panels that can help address the problems of climate change, Ramstrom says. The prize will be shared by John B. Goodenough from the University of Texas at Austin, M. Stanley Whittingham from Binghamton University in New York, and Akira Yoshino, who works at Asahi Kasei Corporation and Meijo University in Japan. They will split the roughly $1 million award. Lithium batteries have been touted as Nobel-worthy for years, says Bonnie Charpentier, president of the American Chemical Society. "I think that it's magnificent that Goodenough won this year," she says, noting that at age 97 he is the oldest Nobel laureate. Yoshino is 71, showing that the research stretched across generations.

Indeed, it was in the 1970s that Whittingham began investigating the use of lithium, the smallest and lightest metal in the periodic table of the elements. That size and weight made it possible to pack a lot of lithium into a small space, unlike the large and heavy lead-acid batteries that dominated at the time. Lithium had another advantage: it easily gave up its electrons, and batteries produce electricity when electrons flow from one end, called the anode, to the other end, called the cathode. Whittingham put metallic lithium in one end and a layered material called titanitum disulphide at the other; the titanium had spaces that could capture the flowing electrons. However, this combination of materials also had the unfortunate potential to explode.
Slashdot interviewed Goodenough two years ago. You can read the interview here.

Fun With Prizes Department

By swschrad • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

first time the peaceful Nobel Prize committee has awarded a prize for a salt and batteries.

I'll see myself out....

Re:Fun With Prizes Department

By Rei • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Li-ion batteries really are amazingly simple devices. It's all about the nuances, however. I like Jack Rickard's description of them as "magic rocks". The cathode is a mixture of common, relatively nonspecific metal oxides...e.g., a rock... while the cathode is usually natural graphite or amorphous carbon and sometimes some silicon....e.g., another rock. Two rocks, each touching a piece of foil, sitting in some (relatively nonspecific) salty organic liquids and separated by a thin strip of plastic. A small amount of intercalated lithium just moves from one side to the other and back - no chemical bonding. And yet it's a way better battery technology than anything that came before it.

Finding the optimal specifics, however, has been a massive endeavour. The degradation mechanisms are complicated and hard to observe as they occur. And there's a lot of luck that they even work at all. For example, as you charge a cell, the anode swells, and this tends to break it up. And if something loses an electrical connection to the current collector, then it's no longer contributing as part of a battery. Meanwhile, you *also* have the problem that the charged anode becomes very reactive and tends to react with the electrolyte, consuming both, and leaving degradation products that slow the flow of lithium ions. But in a stroke of luck, the two problems cancel each other out: degradation forms an SEI (Solid-Electrolyte Interphase) that not only dramatically slows down any further degradation, but also effectively "shrinkwraps" the anode together and to the current collector.

Li-Ion did not make solar possible

By Khyber • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

"These batteries, small and powerful compared to older battery technology, made possible pocket-sized mobile phones, laptop computers, electric cars, and renewable energy devices such as solar panels"

Lithium Ion did not make solar panels possible. Solar panels existed well before Lithium Ion batteries, and many solar installations still prefer lead acid for the sheer current delivery potential.

Re:Fun With Prizes Department

By Rei • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

People have been trying to move on to any of a variety of "next gen" systems for a while, but its really tough. Your intercalation frameworks act as a scaffolding that control where the lithium goes on each side and how, greatly simplifying things. They're hard to get rid of.

For example, as per Goodenough's first (unreliable) cell, there's a strong desire to use pure metallic lithium (with no "wasted" graphite mass) as the anode. But if, during the discharge, even just 1% of the lithium breaks off, it gets surrounded by an (insulative) SEI, and then it's wasted, just floating there. It'll never contribute again. After just 50 cycles you'll be down to only 60% of your lithium left - not even close to acceptable. Vs. with graphite where if you left 1% of your lithium behind, well... no problem, it's still there for the next cycle.

Same sort of problems on the cathode end, where people either want to use lithium oxide / superoxide / hydroxide (Li-air), or lithium sulphide (Li-S). The problem with li-air is that (among many other things) it's poorly reversible, while with Li-S, you create a bunch of really soluble intermediary lithium polysulphides, which tend to just bugger off over to the anode side. You can reduce this to relatively acceptable levels with a mesoporous carbon sponge as a scaffold to try to trap them in little pockets, but then you've added so much weight that you're not really gaining much if anything.

There's always neat work going on and the drumbeat of advancements keeps on continuing, however. :)

Re:And the next nobel prize goes to...

By hackertourist • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Nobel prizes are never about the bleeding edge. It's for research that has proven to be a breakthrough, and is awarded after the breakthrough has happened.

Intel Kills Kaby Lake G, Vows To Offer Drivers For Five Years

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When Kaby Lake G debuted at CES 2018, it made a big bang. No one expected sworn rivals Intel and AMD to collaborate on a CPU package, marrying a 7th-gen Kaby Lake CPU with a unique AMD Radeon RX Vega GPU. But what began with a bang ended Monday with an unceremonious memo. From a report: The Product Change Notification published by Intel on Monday confirmed that pretty much every single Kaby Lake G, including the Core i7-8706G, the Core i7-8705G, and the Core i5-8305G, would be discontinued. Last call for orders will be on January 17, 2020, and the final shipments are scheduled for July 31, 2020. While the end of life of a processor isn't typically a big deal to consumers who own them, one sticking point could have been driver support. Specifically, Kaby Lake G drivers for the custom AMD Radeon RX Vega M graphics come only from Intel. With a normal discrete GPU, the consumer would download drivers from the original company, such as Nvidia or AMD. With Kaby Lake G kaput, where does that leave Kaby Lake G-owners? Intel said the company will follow its standard policy and provide driver support for Kaby Lake G for five years from the launch of the product. All told, that probably means another 3.5 years of driver updates.

Because... Intel

By WalrusSlayer • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Did Intel have an infusion of Product Management staff from Google in the past five years? They seem to love killing things off and leaving customers high and dry.

...cough... Edison ...cough...

Consumer Rights Act

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

In the UK the Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that a product must last a "reasonable length of time". For most electronics like computers and TVs that's six years. So if Intel abandon their CPU after 5 years and it becomes unfit for purpose due to lack of drivers, you are entitled to compensation. From the vendor, not Intel.


By slashdot_commentator • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

While the end of life of a processor isn't typically a big deal to consumers who own them,

Bullshit. It was a huge deal for me. I had the misfortune of purchasing a laptop with an Arrandale family CPU. Intel abandoned the CPU months later, a year before Microsoft released its new Windows 10 system. I couldn't upgrade my laptop to Windows 10, despite having a perfectly functional and recent CPU, because Intel wouldn't update the IGP video driver so my laptop would qualify for the free upgrade to Windows 10.

Re:Consumer Rights Act

By jwhyche • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I'll see you one better. I think when a company decides to stop supporting something, everything related to that product should become public domain.

Essential Reveals Project Gem Smartphone With Very Long, Unusual Design

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Andy Rubin, the controversial mobile industry executive who co-founded Android, left Google amid allegations of sexual misconduct while retaining a huge severance package, and went on to create the Essential Phone, has tweeted photos teasing an upcoming device with an elongated design and very tall UI composed of card-like apps. The Verge reports: It look extremely small in his hands, too. The device has a large button and volume rocker on the right edge and a fingerprint divot around back, below what appears to be a single main camera. And as you can see, these devices have some decidedly flashy finishes that change color when you view them at different angles -- a sea green that shifts to yellow and blue, for example.

An Essential spokesperson confirmed to the The Verge that this is the company's new phone, adding: "We've been working on a new device that's now in early testing with our team outside the lab. We look forward to sharing more in the near future." A couple hours later, Essential tweeted some slightly more official images of the new phone, which it's calling Project Gem.
XDA-Developers also spotted some leaked code that mentions the divot on the rear of the device may activate its voice assistant when you tap your finger to it. They also suggest it runs Android and packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 processor.

Is that a new Essential phone in your pocket

By bobstreo • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

or do we need to call HR?

Re:Horrible design

By religionofpeas • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Not to mention the horror of watching someone's vertical video they recorded on this phone.

Lost your phone?

By JustAnotherOldGuy • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

"And as you can see, these devices have some decidedly flashy finishes that change color when you view them at different angles -- a sea green that shifts to yellow and blue, for example."

Cop: "Your phone was stolen? What color is it?"

You: "Umm, it's green. I mean blue. Or maybe yellow. It depends how you look at it..."

Cop: "Goddammit, what color is your fucking phone?"


By DigiShaman • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It's the SJW crowd that does a disservice to women. Just today on the Drudge headline, Matt Lauer was accused of Rape. Ok, so one of the women was raped, and came back for more sex. Ummmm....ok..... right. And then, we had the Democrats push with slanderous fictitious nasty allegations of rape on Brett Kavanaugh. Almost got him, and coined the term "Kavanaugh-ed". And then who could forget the Duke lacrosse case in which DA Mike Nifong was disbarred for "dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation".

So here we are, a degenerate society that fervently stands with the philosophy of "The seriousness of the charge, not the nature of evidence". Well, fuck that society!!!


By Fringe • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Until it's been through an actual trial, with the ability to present counter-evidence and to refute or challenge the "evidence" presented, it is indeed "unsubstaniated."
An accusation is not proof.

'Call of Duty: Mobile' Smashes Records With 100 Million Downloads in First Week

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The mobile version of video game franchise "Call of Duty" racked up 100 million downloads in its first week, industry site Sensor Tower said on Tuesday, dwarfing the debuts of previous smashes including "Fortnite" and "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" (PUBG). From a report: PUBG, Fortnite and Electronic Arts' "Apex Legends" scored 26.3 million, 22.5 million and 25 million respectively in their first week of release. "This is by far the largest mobile game launch in history in terms of the player base that's been built in the first week," said Randy Nelson, head of mobile insights at Sensor Tower. "Call of Duty: Mobile" was launched by its publisher Activision Blizzard Inc on Oct. 1 and Sensor Tower said the numbers reflected worldwide unique downloads across Apple's App Store and Google Play in the period since.

1.1 GB

By campuscodi • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Wanted to install this, then I saw it's 1.1 GB. Nope. I'll live without.

Re:1.1 GB

By Nidi62 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Wanted to install this, then I saw it's 1.1 GB. Nope. I'll live without.

The embedded Tencent tracking takes up a lot of space.

Wagging the Dog

By FirstNoel • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

They need some good press at the moment, looks like they'll take anything.

With their kowtowing to China here recently, they got to keep the investors happy.

Google Makes It Easier To Move Music and Video Streams Between Devices

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google is finally introducing a way for users of its smart speakers and streaming adapters to move media between those devices. From a report: The company introduced a new feature called Stream Transfer Tuesday that makes it possible to move an ongoing music stream, podcast or YouTube video from one compatible device to the next. At launch, these devices include Google Home and Nest smart speakers as well as Google Nest smart displays and Chromecast-equipped TVs. The transfer of a stream can be initiated either with voice commands like "Hey Google, move the music to the living room speaker," via the Google Home app on a mobile device, or through a new media interface on Nest smart displays. Users can also start watching a YouTube video on their Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max smart display, and then press the cast button to move it to their Chromecast-equipped TV. Alternatively, they can move videos with a voice command.

What's wrong with copy-pasting?

By DrYak • Score: 3 • Thread

If I want to move somewhere and keep consuming the media currently playing on a non-movable device (e.g.: workstation), what's wrong with just copy-parting (*) or just QR-code(**) + flashing the URL to a movable device (e.g.: smartphone) ?

Why do one need to involve a giant Rube-Goldberg-esque or Tinguely-esque contraption involving the Cloud (a.k.a. someone else's computer) and always-on listening privacy nightmare (Voice assistants. Remeber the /. about Google employee being traumatized by spurious records of loud sex) ?

Specially since transferring the URL over is probably faster than uttering the complex sentence describing want you need ?

I kind of understand people who use screen shots or take pictures with their phone instead of digging in the menu to "save the image as..." or go all the way to the scanner / office all-in-one to scan a document.

But transfering a youtube stream from one device to another ?


(*) - if using some keyboard sharing system between your laptop and workstation, such as the opensource edition of Synergy.
(**) - Some apps even have the URL's QR-Code as a built-in feature.

Don't cross the streams

By shortscruffydave • Score: 3 • Thread
Don't cross the streams

This is news?

By Rick Zeman • Score: 3 • Thread

Apple's AirPlay has been doing this for years, either via device icons in the media programs, or via voice for Homepods: "Hey Siri, move this to the kitchen."


Saturn Overtakes Jupiter As Host To Most Moons In Solar System

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Astronomers have spotted 20 more moons orbiting Saturn, bringing the total number of Saturnian moons to 82, surpassing the 79 that are known to orbit Jupiter. The Guardian reports: The scientists discovered the moons when they set algorithms to work on decade-old images captured from the powerful Subaru telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. By comparing images taken over hours and days, the algorithms distinguished between stationary stars and galaxies and moons that hurtled around the planet. Depending on the angle of approach, comets and asteroids straying too close to Saturn in the early solar system would have become locked into radically different orbits around the planet. Only three of the new moons have so-called prograde orbits, meaning they circle Saturn in the same direction that it rotates. The other 17 are in retrograde orbits, meaning they orbit the planet backwards. One is the most distant moon ever spotted from the planet.

The outer moons of Saturn fall into three broad families according to how they orbit the gas giant. Two of the new prograde moons appear to belong to a group that swings around Saturn at an angle of about 46 degrees. The moons, named after Inuit mythology, may once have belonged to one far larger moon that broke apart in the distant past. The new retrograde moons appear to belong to another group named after Norse mythology and are also thought to be fragments of a much bigger parent moon that was smashed to pieces in the solar system's violent past.

Wake me

By rossdee • Score: 3 • Thread

when they have counted all the bits in Saturn's rings.

Early bombardment

By DrYak • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The language has been used to try to convey the information that over the eons since the birth of the solar system, the "smashing to pieces" has progressively decreased as there are have been less and less left over asteroids to do the smashing part.

The past has been much more violent than the present era when most of the asteroid have already been smashed and the left overs are much stable.
e.g.: Nowadays, the Earth is seeing a lot less smashing than a couple of billion years ago. (Though in the Earth's specific case, the Moon has also played an important role in that by playing the role of a giant asteroid collector / shield. Still the planets eventually clearing their orbit of debris is also the reason why there's less left over now)

Whats the minimum size for a moon?

By Viol8 • Score: 3 • Thread

It seems they're increasingly including random lumps of rock that arn't even close to being round. So how large do they have to be? 1km, 100m, 1m? Or is there no minimum size in which case they might as well include ever bit of rock floating in the rings.

Werewolves on Saturn

By Nadir • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Werewolves on Saturn never revert back to their human form.

Re:Was this written by a bot?

By sheramil • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
loving the Scottish accent there.

Cows Painted Like Zebras Attract Fewer Flies

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Slashdot reader ClickOnThis writes: An article on CNN reports results from a team of Japanese researchers who discovered that painting cows to look like zebras makes them less attractive to biting flies. I think they're a shoo-in for a 2020 Ig Nobel Prize. From the article: "A team of Japanese researchers recruited six cows and gave them each black-and-white stripes, black stripes and no stripes. They took photos of the cow's painted right side, counting the number of bites as they happened and watching how the cows reacted. While unpainted cows and cows with black stripes endured upward of 110 bites in 30 minutes, the black-and-white cows suffered fewer than 60 in the same period, researchers found. Zebras' stripes have more than aesthetic value; they help fend off bloodsuckers. Past studies have proven flies are less likely to land on black-and-white surfaces -- the polarization of light impairs their perception, so they can't properly decelerate, researchers wrote." The downside is that ranchers would need to spray down their cows multiple times a week for best results. "But fewer bites would improve the health of the cows, which would benefit the economy," reports CNN. "Plus, subbing in paint for pesticides would benefit the environment and human health, too, researchers said."

The study has been published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Re: Let's just eat Zebra burgers

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

......I wondered if the mosquitoes are simply out off by the chemical smell of paint.

No. They controlled for that by painting some cows solid white or solid black.

If it was the smell of the paint then they should have also experienced fewer bites. They didn't.


By rizole • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

There's also the theory that the small scale convection currents created by a temperature difference between the black and white stripes makes it harder for flies to land.


By Kokuyo • Score: 3 • Thread

This sounds like the perfect plan to breed flies with better vision/flying skills.

Striped shirt

By OlRickDawson • Score: 3 • Thread
Would people wearing striped shirts be bit less than those wearing solid colors? That would be an interesting test and would further this theory. I'm not volunteering for that test, though.


By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

This sounds like the perfect plan to breed flies with better vision/flying skills.

Zebra have been around for 2-4 million years. This hasn't resulted in flies with better vision skills yet.