the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2019-Nov-06 today archive


  1. Former Twitter Employees Charged With Spying For Saudi Arabia
  2. Trend Micro Security Incident Involving Selling Customer Data Was an Inside Job
  3. UPS Drone Makes First Home Prescription Deliveries For CVS
  4. Boeing Whistleblower Raises Doubts Over 787 Oxygen System
  5. Intel Performance Strategy Team Publishing Intentionally Misleading Benchmarks
  6. Earth Just Experienced Its Hottest-Ever October
  7. James Dean, Who Died In 1955, Will Return To the Big Screen Via CGI
  8. Fitbit Says Data of Its 28 Million Users Will Not Be Sold Or Used For Google Ads
  9. Screen Time Might Be Physically Changing Kids' Brains
  10. China's Minors Face New Limits On Mobile Games In War On Gaming Addiction
  11. Facebook Sued by California Over User-Data Practices Subpoenas
  12. Google Asks Three Mobile Security Firms To Help Scan Play Store Apps
  13. Tesla Will Unveil Its Cybertruck Pickup on Nov 21 in LA, Elon Musk Says
  14. Apple TV, Apple TV, Apple TV, and Apple TV+
  15. This Website Has Solved Cybersecurity
  16. This Is How the US Military's Massive Facial Recognition System Works
  17. Leaked Documents Show Facebook Leveraged User Data To Fight Rivals and Help Friends
  18. 'Alarming' Loss of Insects and Spiders Recorded
  19. IBM Calls For Regulation To Avoid Facial Recognition Bans
  20. SoftBank Reveals $6.5 Billion Loss From Uber, WeWork Turmoil
  21. 'Game-Changer' Warrant Let Detective Search Genetic Database
  22. Tesla Owners Say Autopilot Makes Them Feel Safer
  23. SpaceX Goes For Two Big Reuse Milestones With Next Launch
  24. Xerox Considers Cash-and-Stock Offer For HP

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

Former Twitter Employees Charged With Spying For Saudi Arabia

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Justice Department has charged two former Twitter employees for allegedly spying on behalf of the Saudi government. A third man is also being charged but didn't work at Twitter. Instead, he allegedly served as an intermediary for the Saudi government and the Twitter staffers. Engadget reports: The Justice Department has charged Ali Alzabarah (the one whose activities first surfaced) and Ahmad Abouammo with using their combined access to monitor Twitter accounts on behalf of the Saudi government. Abouammmo, an American citizen, reportedly snooped on three accounts that included one revealing inner details of Saudi leadership. Alzabarah, a Saudi citizen, is alleged to have obtained personal info for more than 6,000 accounts, including that of high-profile dissident (and Jamal Khashoggi ally) Omar Abdulaziz.

A third man charged at the same time, Ahmed Almutairi, is also facing spying charges but didn't work at Twitter. Instead, he allegedly served as a go-between for the Saudi government and the Twitter staffers. According to both clues in the indictment and a Washington Post source, the trio supposedly partnered with Bader Al Asaker, a Saudi official who runs a charity belonging to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. The Justice Department claimed that Asaker started grooming the Twitter employees in 2014 in a bid to obtain info. Asaker paid Abouammo a minimum of $300,000 (plus a $20,000 Hublot watch) for his espionage work, while Alzabarah reportedly became the director of bin Salman's private office.
Twitter says that sensitive info was limited to a group of "trained and vetted employees," and that there were "tools in place" to protect both users' privacy and their ability to do "vital work."

The Washington Post reports that this marks "the first time federal prosecutors have publicly accused the kingdom of running agents in the United States."


By Anonyrnous • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
Can't say I've even seen spies of a supposed ally nation be charged before.

Also, US I only allies with house of Saud

By raymorris • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Also, the US has a good relationship with one element of Saudi leadership, the house of Saud. That's one part of government in country. The other part is the Wahhabi Muslim theocracy, which runs the schools and bunch of other stuff. Those aren't our friends.

It's more accurate to say "the US has some powerful allies in Saudi Arabia" than to say "the US is allied with Saudi Arabia".

Trend Micro Security Incident Involving Selling Customer Data Was an Inside Job

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Mark Wilson shares a report from BetaNews: Security firm Trend Micro has revealed details of an inside scam which led to personal details of its customers being exposed. The security incident dates back to August this year, and the company says that it was made aware of customers being contacted by fake Trend Micro support staff. Following an investigation lasting until the end of October, it was determined that it was a member of staff that had fraudulently gained access to a customer database and sold personal data to a third party.

Trend Micro says that the employee was able to access names, email addresses, support ticket numbers and telephone numbers, stressing that it was an inside job and not an external hack. The finger of blame points squarely at "a Trend Micro employee who improperly accessed the data with a clear criminal intent", and law enforcement is now involved. While the company says that the incident affects less that 1 percent of its 12 million consumer customers, this still means that the details of over 100,000 people could have been exposed.

Antivirus Companies

By Retired ICS • Score: 3 • Thread

If the Antivirus companies had not sued Microsoft over Microsoft's plan to make the 64-bit edition of Windows "Secure" which would have removed all the security holes that the "security snake-oil" crowd uses (thus putting them out of business, the basis for the suit), then Microsoft *might* have been able to make the Windows OS secure by default, precluding the need for snake-oil, and putting all these shady outfits out of business in the blink of an eye.

Unfortunately Microsoft backed down and decided that a bug-ridden insecure hunk of crap was the best path forward for all concerned.

sounds like

By sad_ • Score: 3 • Thread

it sound like they could use a good security tool to limit and audit access to data.
if only they knew of such a company that sells security products.

UPS Drone Makes First Home Prescription Deliveries For CVS

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
UPS subsidiary Flight Forward has completed the first prescription medication delivery to a customer's home by drone. Reuters reports: Flight Forward's maiden delivery flight on Friday in Cary, North Carolina, beat rivals in one phase of the race for the nascent market. The second drone flight delivered medications to a public space at a retirement community. The packages, roughly the size of small shoeboxes, were lowered from drones hovering at an altitude of about 20 feet. UPS and CVS said on Tuesday the deliveries were the first of their kind under an program approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Regulators are still hammering out rules for how the unmanned winged vehicles will operate in U.S. airspace and guidelines are expected in 2021.


By Topwiz • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Did they send a second drone to deliver the receipt?

Of COURSE they use a prescription drug delivery

By Ungrounded Lightning • Score: 3 • Thread

I guess delivering lifesaving or life-improving medication as a first, news-item-worthy, payload is the "we want it to look good and people to support drone swarms" mirror of going after the most disgusting child-abusing scumbag available when trying out new censorship laws.

Then people who oppose, or suggest ways to discourage, the deployment get to look like murders.

this idea won't fly

By schematix • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

retail has terrible margins in their pharmacy because of their overhead. the only thing that keeps the doors open at CVS/Walgreens is the people who come in to pick up their trifecta (metformin, lisinopril and atorvastatin) also stock up on soda, chips and candy. killing your foot traffic is a recipe for going out of business.

but what do i know?

Boeing Whistleblower Raises Doubts Over 787 Oxygen System

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A Boeing whistleblower has claimed that passengers on its 787 Dreamliner could be left without oxygen if the cabin were to suffer a sudden decompression. The BBC reports: John Barnett says tests suggest up to a quarter of the oxygen systems could be faulty and might not work when needed. He also claimed faulty parts were deliberately fitted to planes on the production line at one Boeing factory. Boeing denies his accusations and says all its aircraft are built to the highest levels of safety and quality. Mr Barnett, a former quality control engineer, worked for Boeing for 32 years, until his retirement on health grounds in March 2017. From 2010 he was employed as a quality manager at Boeing's factory in North Charleston, South Carolina.

In 2016, he tells the BBC, he uncovered problems with emergency oxygen systems. These are supposed to keep passengers and crew alive if the cabin pressurization fails for any reason at altitude. Breathing masks are meant to drop down from the ceiling, which then supply oxygen from a gas cylinder. Mr Barnett says that when he was decommissioning systems which had suffered minor cosmetic damage, he found that some of the oxygen bottles were not discharging when they were meant to. He subsequently arranged for a controlled test to be carried out by Boeing's own research and development unit. This test, which used oxygen systems that were "straight out of stock" and undamaged, was designed to mimic the way in which they would be deployed aboard an aircraft, using exactly the same electric current as a trigger. He says 300 systems were tested -- and 75 of them did not deploy properly, a failure rate of 25%.
Mr Barnett also says that Boeing failed to follow its own procedures, intended to track parts through the assembly process, allowing a number of defective items to be "lost."

"He claims that under-pressure workers even fitted sub-standard parts from scrap bins to aircraft on the production line, in at least one case with the knowledge of a senior manager," reports the BBC. "He says this was done to save time, because 'Boeing South Carolina is strictly driven by schedule and cost.'"

Re:Too big to fail

By LostMyAccount • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Corporate greed and mismanagement to the rescue once again. Stonecipjher and his merry men were only capable of executing "Cost Cutting for Dummies" and didn't understand what it did to airplane design and assembly, let alone second order functions like safety.

It's a textbook example of short term greed capitalism. Weirdly, the history of the company is like a textbook example of capitalism's paradoxes -- the ability to produce a company that did some amazing things, yet is now self-immolating because greed and ego took over.

Re:Notice where?

By WindBourne • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Boeing S. Carolina is a PURE NON-UNION SHOP.
What is worse than Unions are GOP that are idiots trying to blame Unions for the work that a GOP did.

Re:New form of insider trading

By NoMoreACs • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I read this and I wonder if this guy might have shorted their stock then put in his whistle blower complaint.

Suddenly I am very suspicious that Whistle blowers are operatives, wonder why.

Because you watch too much Fox News, that's why.

"strictly driven by schedule and cost"

By demon driver • Score: 3 • Thread

It's called 'capitalism'. The tougher the competition gets, the more will companies resort to problematic cost-cutting approaches.

Re:I wonder why they switched to cylinders.

By Falconhell • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

We glider pilots use pulse O2 systems most of the time these days, they work very well and use much less O2 than the older constant flow system. The pulse Ox controller known as the Mountain High EDS is very popular. It runs for 50 hours + on 2standard AA batteries, and can be set to start at ground level, 5,000ft or 10,000ft automatically.its good to 18,000 with a canula and 25,000 with a mask.

Intel Performance Strategy Team Publishing Intentionally Misleading Benchmarks

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a post: This week something happened that many may not have seen. Intel published a set of benchmarks showing advantage of a dual Intel Xeon Platinum 9282 system versus the AMD EPYC 7742. Vendors present benchmarks to show that their products are good from time-to-time. There is one difference in this case: we checked Intel's work and found that they presented a number to intentionally mislead would-be buyers as to the company's relative performance versus AMD.

That's one of several problems

By raymorris • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

That's one of the several issues that the article points out.
They also ran two threads per core on Intel, limited it to one thread per core for AMD. They a different and suboptimal type of memory for AMD, etc. Lots of little things.

Re:There are lies, damn lies, and benchmarks

By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It was as good as a second core, originally, until programmers forgot how to write efficient fucking code.

No, it was not, and even Intel never claimed that it was. They always said it increased performance by wide margins only on some workloads. If both threads on a core need to retire instructions that use the same functional units, which is sometimes unavoidable, there is little to no benefit — since the cost of context switches was already reduced dramatically by register renaming.


By bloodhawk • Score: 3 • Thread
Intel, AMD, NVidia etc etc. They all fudge benchmarks or at least do them in ways to show themselves in best possible light. This is a big meh, nothing to see here. Would be more shocking if they weren't doing this. What would be more shocking is if any of them ever showed real apples to apples comparisons without twisting the result and the only way you would ever see that is if the result was so conclusively in favour of themselves.

Re:Classic Intel

By Mashiki • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

They have been smacked down by the FTC repeatedly, they just keep doing it. What it really means is that Intel doesn't see the fines as an issue, not even an issue that impacts their bottom line.

Re:Classic Intel

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

They have a long rich history of anti-competitive behavior

This isn't anti-competitive behaviour, this is marketing, and EVERY company is guilty of it basically on a continuous basis.
I found it very hard to get upset at Intel's misleading benchmarks when AMD published boost figures for Ryzen 3000 which only about 10% of their processors actually hit. Then there's the likes of benchmark specific optimisations that are done.

This isn't even desktop CPUs. It's done in GPUs, it's done by ARM, it's done by Apple and Samsung. It's done for all pieces of hardware, and shit it was even done for software (Browser ACID test anyone)?

The only thing you can do is never trust a benchmark or comparison published or paid for by one of these companies.

Sidenote: This is small fry. What really annoyed me was Intel's dishonest benchmark where they paid a 3rd party which carefully tuned and de-tuned the BIOS in the Intel and AMD systems respectively to misrepresent performance under the guise of being "independent". That was incredibly dodgy.

This is just marketing.

Earth Just Experienced Its Hottest-Ever October

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CBS News: Last month was the hottest ever October on record globally, according to data released Friday by the Copernicus Climate Change Service, an organization that tracks global temperatures. The month, which was reportedly 1.24 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the average October from 1981-2010, narrowly beat October 2015 for the top spot. According to Copernicus, most of Europe, large parts of the Arctic and the eastern U.S. and Canada were most affected. The Middle East, much of Africa, southern Brazil, Australia, eastern Antarctica and Russia also experienced above-average temperatures. Parts of tropical Africa and Antarctica and the western U.S. and Canada felt much colder than usual, however. While all major oceans experienced unusually low temperatures, air temperatures over the sea were still much higher than average.

October is following a 2019 trend. The hottest-ever September follows a record-setting summer, which included the hottest-ever June and July and the second-hottest August. Overall, 2019 will make history as one of the top five warmest years on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Temperatures from November 2018 to October 2019 were above average for "virtually all of Europe," and most other areas of land and ocean, Copernicus said.

That's good new!

By ShieldW0lf • Score: 3 • Thread

Global warming is awesome! I'm excited at the prospect of no more glaciers and no more permafrost.

Re:SuperKendall and PenAndPaper...

By Joce640k • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Yep, the global cooling in the '70s was like the "Scientists say bees can't fly" thing.

Only a single person ever said "bees can't fly" and the press ran with it, painting the whole of science as being confused over bees.

Re:SuperKendall and PenAndPaper...

By DamnOregonian • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

If we cause global cooling before then we can do it again.

Of course we can. We could precipitate an ice age if we wanted to. It's well within our power. There's some critical level of albedo where if the planet crosses, it will trigger a runaway effect for a long period of time.
Of course, we also have the power to undo that. Particulates that block sunlight cool the planet, CO2 warms it.
The critical difference between those 2 factors, is that aerosols tend to wash out of the air in short order- so you must maintain the supply of them in the atmosphere. CO2 takes quite a while to be removed from the cycle.

I'm quite certain we know how to stop global warming, but I'm also quite certain it doesn't involve whatever you are thinking about from the 1980s or whatever.

Let's hope not. That scale of geoengineering sounds pretty fucking dangerous. Though more dangerous than the geoengineering we're doing right now with the disruption of the extant carbon cycle? I'm not qualified to opine.

The solution to global warming will involve nuclear fission, onshore windmills, hydroelectric dams, synthetic fuels, new fertilizers, and a strong and sustainable lumber industry.

We agree.

Re:SuperKendall and PenAndPaper...

By Sique • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
That's not exactly what's happening. The estimates from the first IPCC report are still valid, and we are currently at the upper limit of the ranges they gave. On the other hand, CO2 release has increased more than the first IPCC models estimated, thus measurements at the upper end of the range are within expectations.

Apparently. the models in 1990 were extremely good, and what we experience now was predicted 30 years ago.

In the 2000s, there was much political pressure to tone down the dire warnings from the first IPCC reports, and thus models were introduced that predicted a lower curve for the increasing temperatures. But already then, the real measurements were always at the upper limit of the models, with 1998 being an exceptionally hot year. When the following years didn't surpass 1998, there was much debate about how global warming apparently has stopped, the models were off etc.pp., when in reality. the temperatures were right in the range of the 1990 IPCC predictions. Since the 2010s, temperatures were again raising, with a strong El Nino in 2016/2017 causing all previous highs to be shattered. The El Nino has ebbed, thus the low ocean temperatures, and still, 2019 is on track to be the second warmest year ever since the first continious reports (which started in the 1760ies, and since the 1880ies, are globally recorded).

No, the models are fine. Measurements fit their predictions. Their interpretation by non-scientists, the ways they are mis-understood, ignored, mis-represented or otherwise wrongly reported, are changing.


By reanjr • Score: 3 • Thread

The Earth used to be much warmer. Title is bullshit.

James Dean, Who Died In 1955, Will Return To the Big Screen Via CGI

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Two VFX companies are bringing James Dean back to the big screen to star in the Vietnam era action-drama Finding Jack. Dean passed away in a 1955 car crash at the age of 24. From The Hollywood Reporter: Directed by Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh, the project comes from the filmmakers' own recently launched production house Magic City Films, which obtained the rights to use Dean's image from his family. Canadian VFX banner Imagine Engine will be working alongside South African VFX company MOI Worldwide to re-create what the filmmakers describe as "a realistic version of James Dean." Adapted by Maria Sova from Gareth Crocker's novel, Finding Jack is based on the existence and abandonment of more than 10,000 military dogs at the end of the Vietnam War. Dean will play a character called Rogan, considered a secondary lead role.

While Finding Jack will be live action, The Hollywood Reporter understands that Dean's performance will be constructed via "full body" CGI using actual footage and photos. Another actor will voice him. Preproduction on Finding Jack starts Nov. 17, with a goal for a worldwide release on Veterans Day 2020. Magic City Films is handling the foreign sales.
"We searched high and low for the perfect character to portray the role of Rogan, which has some extreme complex character arcs, and after months of research, we decided on James Dean," said Ernst, who also produces with Golykh for Magic City Films alongside Donald A. Barton of Artistry Media Group. "We feel very honored that his family supports us and will take every precaution to ensure that his legacy as one of the most epic film stars to date is kept firmly intact. The family views this as his fourth movie, a movie he never got to make. We do not intend to let his fans down."

Sounds like Monty Python

By darth_borehd • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Monty Python had a bit where a director insisted on using Marilyn Monroe to star in his new movie. The interviewer points out that Marilyn Monroe died. Then he says she will be in every shot, lying on the couch and so on. Then the interviewer points out she was cremated. The director fudges again and said they will use a body double for the more physical shots, but that she will be always be on-screen falling out of cupboards and so on.

Because the idea of using dead movie stars in new movies was considered absurd.



By Kjella • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You're telling me you can't find an actor good enough for your special baby? Methinks your movie is gonna fail, nothing can survive that much hubris.

My guess is this is a PR stunt. The guy died 64 years ago, anyone who was a fan back then will be 80+ so the value of his likeness is probably not all that much. They found some heirs willing to make a buck and is betting on more people to go see the movie for the novelty than the movie itself.


By denzacar • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

It's be a boring match.
Muhammad wins by default as Jesus is a no-show. Being imaginary and all that.

Personally, I'd rather watch a match between Joe Smith and L. Ron Hubbard.
Now THAT would be a bloody affair, with eye-gouging, ball-biting, limbs and blood all over the place...

Though Hubbard would probably win.
He knows that Joe's weaknesses are prison windows and bullets, while Joe never even heard of IRS and psychiatry, which were Hubbard's kryptonite.

Re:Who is James Dean?

By FilmedInNoir • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Make more sense to have Jimmy Dean in the movie. He's still culturally relevant on a count of his breakfast sausage empire.

Where this is all headed

By Solandri • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Is the construction of a photorealistic computer-generated 3D avatar who will eventually replace actors. We're already partway there with the likes of Hatsune Miku and CGI TV cartoons created by tying the animated characters' motions to actors (who since you never see their real faces are easily replaceable should they demand a raise). As the graphics and animation become more sophisticated, it will eventually supplant the need for a real human actor. Studios will love it because they'll no longer have to pay multi-millions to movie stars, will own and control everything their virtual movie stars do, and the virtual stars will never age, die, or get involved in scandals which destroy their marketable value.

Fitbit Says Data of Its 28 Million Users Will Not Be Sold Or Used For Google Ads

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
After acquiring Fitbit for $2.1 billion last week, many users were left wondering if Google would have access to their health information, such as the number of steps they take each day, their breathing patterns, sleep quality or menstrual cycles. Fitbit has since addressed those concerns in a blog post, claiming user data would not be sold or used for Google advertising. "Consumer trust is paramount to Fitbit. Strong privacy and security guidelines have been part of Fitbit's DNA since day one, and this will not change," the company said in a statement. From a report: Google already keeps a trove of information on people, including location data, search history and YouTube viewing history. The company also creates advertisement profiles of users based on information such as location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, possible weight (need to lose 10lb in one day?) and income. Even if Google claims it won't use Fitbit health data for advertising, the acquisition is probably bad for user privacy, said Paul Bischoff, a privacy advocate with Comparitech. Just because the companies say user data will not be used for advertising now does not mean that won't change, he said.

"Fitbit says health and wellness data will not be used for advertising, but that leaves plenty of other information for Google to gather, including users' locations, device info, friends' lists, messages, profile photos, participation in employee wellness programs, and usage logs," he said.
The report notes that users can delete their accounts via the Fitbit website. The company said it would then permanently delete data associated with the account after a seven-day grace period.

Re:Fitbit won't have a say in the matter

By DickBreath • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
That's probably why Google would like Fitbit to make that statement now. To reassure people that Google really cares about their privacy.

Of course it could be worse. It could be Facebook.

Re:Sure for now

By tlhIngan • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Sure that's true for now, but how long will it be before they have altered the deal (and we should pray they don't alter it any further). Or through some poorly explained Rube Goldberg process the data falls into Google's lap for reasons completely unrelated to advertising, but only now it's been added to the pool of data being used for advertising going forward. I'm sure they'll be really sorry.

Right now, fitbit is correct - the data will not be used for advertising. But once Fitbit falls under the Alphabet umbrella, the Alphabet privacy policy applies, which means basically all data is to be used by all subsidiaries. So advertising, YouTube suggestions, and many other things will have access to your data.

Right now they're still separate companies and the best you can do is to unlink your Google account from your Fitbit account and make them independent, otherwise it's much too easy to get the data linked up together. Of course, you don't know if they haven't maintained the tokens used to link in the future, but there you go.

And finally, check out the wording. Google Advertising - but companies like DoubleClick, AdMob and such are not "Google Ads" - and they're part of Alphabet, not Google. Might be a journalistic thing, but might also be a very carefully worded statement - since Google Ads is something completely different from Alphabet's advertising networks like DoubleClick, AdMob and others. (Google Ads were the little neat text ads they inserted on search results. DoubleClick and such were those popups/popunders/flashy and other banner ads everyone hates and AdMob are pretty much every app advertising).

You want an assurance? Ask why that data isn't being stored into Google Health - the health records part that holds all this health data and squirrels it away from the rest of Alphabet because it's so sensitive and likely HIPPA protected.

Re:Fitbit's CURRENT MANAGEMENT says ..

By Truth_Quark • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Google's entire business model is selling access to their vast data.

I was involved in discussions around acquiring data from Tomtom for a traffic management and safety project, and I was surprised to learn that the fitbit data was amongst that product. It was anonymised and aggregated so that one trace's movements weren't linked to each other, so useless for advertising, but still adding a huge amount of value for planning infrastructure.

Google will absolutely be selling this data. The may well aggregate it into flows at times of day or week or year, but that data is already available for purchase, or at least analysis based on that data is available for analysis. Taking this off tomtom, who are actually the market leader in traffic flow information, will not be lost on google.


By Sarusa • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Here's how it goes:

- Now: 'user data will never be sold or used for ad targeting'
- One year: 'You will now need to log into a Google account instead of your Fitbit account'
- 18 months: 'Our privacy terms have changed'

( And then 2-3 years, Google quietly shutters the entire brand )

That didn't take long...

By mschaffer • Score: 3 • Thread

...for them to start lying.

Screen Time Might Be Physically Changing Kids' Brains

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: A study published today in JAMA Pediatrics warns that kids' literacy and language skills suffer with screen use, and MRI scans of their brains appear to back up the findings. Forty-seven 3- to 5-year-olds took a test to measure their cognitive abilities, and their parents were asked to answer a detailed survey about screen time habits. Questions included: How frequently do they use that screen? What type of content are they viewing? And is there an adult sitting with the child talking about what they're watching? The answers were scored against a set of screen time guidelines put out by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The kids also had their brains scanned in an MRI machine.

The scans revealed that kids who spent more time in front of screens had what the authors call lower "white matter integrity." White matter can be roughly thought of as the brain's internal communications network -- its long nerve fibers are sheathed in fatty insulation that allows electrical signals to move from one area of the brain to another without interruption. The integrity of that structure -- how well organized the nerve fibers are, and how well developed the myelin sheath is -- is associated with cognitive function, and it develops as kids learn language. Lead author John Hutton of Cincinnati Children's Hospital told MIT Technology Review there's a clear link between higher screen use and lower white matter integrity in the children his team studied. That structural change appears to be reflected in the results of the cognitive test the kids took as well, which showed high screen time associated with lower levels of language and literacy skills.
Signe Lauren Bray, a researcher at the University of Calgary who was not involved in the study, downplays the findings by pointing out that it's a small and preliminary study. "It's absolutely not clear that screen time causes differences in brain development and there are many factors that could explain the association found here," she says.

Regardless, "Caution is warranted," Hutton says. "Children are not small grown-ups, and their needs change with development."

Duh. It's called neurplasticity.

By shanen • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Everything changes kids' brains. Adults, too.

Having said that, here's the fMRI research I'm interesting in seeing: Where do people store memories of what they read?

In particular, I suspect that speed readers store a lot of what they read in the visual cortex (with a more associative organization), while readers who vocalize probably store the material in other parts of the brain (with more linear structures). It would also be interesting to compare with readers of ideographic languages (Chinese) and hybrid languages (Japanese) to see how they store and remember books. Webpages and minor stuff would be harder to track, but it should be relatively easy to do fMRIs while talking to people about entire books that they've read.

So far I haven't managed to find or stumble across any such research, though it seems pretty straightforward... Anyone have any hot leads to share?


By Jhon • Score: 3 • Thread

physically change kids brains? It's that one of the main parts about "growing up" and brain devolopment?

Good or bad?

By tttonyyy • Score: 3 • Thread

Any mentally engaging activity is likely to change brain structure given enough time, but whether that change is beneficial or detrimental seems to remain a mystery.

If your child was obsessed with making stuff with Lego no doubt there would be a discernible change there too. An inclination towards engineering, who knows?

But, we perceive screen time as bad and therefore interpret any brain adaptation as bad too, but perhaps there is some later life benefit?

(Personally I doubt it, I think screen time is a thin do-this-for-minor-reward activity - easy endorphins. Not uncommon with certain other male activities that we'd best not talk about here - also perceived negatively).

China's Minors Face New Limits On Mobile Games In War On Gaming Addiction

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
New anti-addiction guidelines for minors that set out limits for time and money spent on mobile games have been introduced by China's state censor, following previous calls to curb excessive gaming. PolygamousRanchKid writes: State media published the new rules on Tuesday, which introduced a stricter real-name registration system and, for the first time, an age rating system. The State Administration of Press and Publications (SAPP) guidelines also include limiting gaming to between 8am and 10pm, with no more than 1.5 hours each day -- or three hours on holidays -- and no more than 400 yuan (US$57) to be spent each month on in-game purchases. Gaming analyst Daniel Ahmad said the new rules were in line with expectations as many of the limits already existed in computer games and were being extended to mobile titles. He expected the real-name registration and rating system to have the greatest impact on underage players. "The introduction of a stricter real-name registration and age rating system is certainly new and will have a larger impact given that these systems will be harder for minors to hack or cheat," said Ahmad, who works for gaming consultancy Niko Partners.

Bread and circuses

By Gabest • Score: 3 • Thread
You have to feed and entertain the masses to successfully control them. Chinese don't learn history?

Facebook Sued by California Over User-Data Practices Subpoenas

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California revealed for the first time an 18-month investigation into Facebook's privacy practices and accused the social media giant in a court filing on Wednesday of hampering the investigation. From a report: Revelation of the probe is the latest bad news for Facebook, which is already under investigation by 47 U.S. states. Some states, particularly New York and Nebraska, have raised concerns that Facebook and other big tech companies engage in anti-competitive practices, expose consumer data to potential data theft and push up advertising prices. Facebook had no immediate comment. The Facebook investigations are part of a larger landscape of probes of big tech firms by the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, as well as the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. California's investigation began in 2018 as a probe into the Cambridge Analytica scandal but "expanded over time to an investigation into whether Facebook has violated California law, by among other things, deceiving users and ignoring its own policies in allowing third parties broad access to user data," the agency said in a court filing.

The cost of being in the Data Business

By jellomizer • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
As much as these tech companies want to be fast and nimble. When your company holds and distributes data that affects peoples lives, there is going to need a degree of responsibility with such data. Including protecting from and sharing it with sometimes seemingly the same group of people.

If you were to talk to me in 2005 about Facebook and Google, I would say the content they showed isn't their responsibility as they just show what others say and what they are thinking. Having the government Subpoena the data and force them to block content would be a violation of free speech, privacy and just a bad thing.

However now much of these data that is shared and is influencing people is often generated not by someones point of view. but from a carefully calculated material designed to get the attention of the largest group of people, and make them feel like they will need to act on something which they normally wouldn't have. Manipulating the system algorithms to promote false ideas. Vs being a system of open discourse.

As these companies have grown and have a large and easily targeted user base. They have a responsibility to be good stewards of the data they have and what is shown and viewed, as well constantly vigilant on people who are tricking the system in place. Yes this is expensive for the companies. However like other businesses there is a cost to be doing business. Airlines need to make sure their fleet is in safe working order, Hospitals need to make sure their equipment is clean and sanitary. The factory needs to make sure their products meets the specification they say it is. It adds to the cost of doing business, but it is a necessary component to make sure the business is running for the general good.

Google Asks Three Mobile Security Firms To Help Scan Play Store Apps

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Google announced today that it partnered with three private cyber-security firms -- ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium -- to start a new project called the App Defense Alliance. From a report: The purpose of this new project, Google said, was to unify malware and threat detection engines and improve the security scans that Android apps go through before being published on the Play Store. Currently, when an app developer creates and submits an Android to be listed on the official Play Store, the app is scanned by Google employees with a system called Bouncer and another called Google Play Protect. In the past, Google said that both systems have been able to detect thousands of malicious Android apps submitted to the Play Store. However, while this system has been efficient, it hasn't been perfect, and many malicious apps slipped through across the years, from banking trojans to ransomware strains. Over the past few years, Android malware authors have also adopted to counteract and negate Bouncer and Play Protect scans.

Sort by permissions

By mrwireless • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

In my opinion it would be great if you could search and sort apps by the amount of permissions they require. That would already help people find the least invasive apps, which probably have a large overlap with other malicious apps.

The Apple Advantage.

By jellomizer • Score: 3 • Thread
This is one thing Apple has been very careful with vs Google. The closed gates of the Apple Store for Apps, where the posted applications have a full review before being accepted for posting. While this also means Apple misses out on a lot of really great Apps that Android users have, it also means for the most part the Apple Apps are relatively safe to run on your device.
That said, I have noticing Apple has been cheeping out lately and lot of apps are now Boggy Ad Filled disasters.

Tesla Will Unveil Its Cybertruck Pickup on Nov 21 in LA, Elon Musk Says

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday said Tesla will unveil the Cybertruck, its pickup truck on Nov. 21 in Los Angeles. Musk also tweeted that it's the location and month in the opening credits of the movie Blade Runner. From a report: Musk has teased the pickup truck before. In summer 2018, he said the truck would include "power outlets allowing use of heavy duty 240V high power tools in the field all day, no generator needed." In January, he said that Tesla might be ready to unveil it by the summer "It will be something quite unique, unlike anything," Musk said at the time. Then, in June, Musk said on the podcast "Ride the Lightning" that the Tesla pickup truck "will be better than a [Ford] F-150 in terms of truck-like functionality, and be a better sports car than a standard [Porsche] 911."


By ArchieBunker • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Because the vast majority of people with lifted trucks never have more than a bag of groceries in the back. Have you ever seen one full of stones or manure? Hell they never even get dirty.

Re:What will the rednecks do?

By Shotgun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Contrary to your ignorant stereotype, rednecks are some of the most innovative people you'll ever meet. Offer this at a price that they can afford, and they'll throw out their smelly, noisy generators so fast and hard that you'll need to dodge. They've got nothing against an electric vehicle. They just want to get a job done.

This one feature:

By Shotgun • Score: 3 • Thread

the truck would include "power outlets allowing use of heavy duty 240V high power tools in the field all day, no generator needed."

This one feature will set it beyond the reach of every ICE driven truck out there and make it the envy of every construction worker. Hauling a generator out to a remote job site is a royal PIA. Maintaining jugs of gas makes it worse. Having to listen to the damn thing rattle on all day sucks. Then the truck is great to haul everything out to a camp or hunting site, but you don't want to run a generator for heat as you'll either have to listen to it or it'll scare off the game.

One reason the IBM PC took off ahead of "better" systems, was that IBM made it modular. The ability to add functionality with plug-in cards made the machine adaptable to different situations. I'm going to go ahead and predict that flexibility will soon be killer-feature that will drive adoption. From being able to power my house during an outage, to having power in remote locations, the electric car provides more than just transport.


By squiggleslash • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I suspect he feels that ferrying computer programmers, accountants, etc, who want to show off their conservative bona-fides between their HOA-ridden suburban ranch style house and the office is probably not a good use case for a pickup truck, even if it's the most common.

Re:What ever happen to the small Pickup Truck?

By Dread Cthulhu • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
There are several somewhat smaller pickups available for sale in the US (Ford Ranger, GM's Colorado/Canyon twins, Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, and the Honda Ridgeline) but one issue they run into is that they just aren't that much cheaper than an F-150 or Tundra. The issue is that making a big vehicle really isn't much more expensive than making a small one; the design cost is the same, setting up the tooling & assembly line costs the same, the raw materials to make it bigger are cheap; steel is less than $800 per ton, all the electronic bits and stuff will cost the same, and so on. The only real difference is the bigger engine & transmission costing a few grand more to make. So overall, when big pickups cost only a few thousand more to make than mid-sized ones, it should surprise no one when they sell for only a few grand more, and that many people will be willing to pay that extra bit for the larger size.

Apple TV, Apple TV, Apple TV, and Apple TV+

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Dustin Curtis writes about Apple TV: Apple TV is a hardware device. Apple TV is an app on Apple TV that curates content you can buy from Apple and also content you can stream through other installed apps (but not all apps, and there is no way to tell which ones). Apple TV is an app on iOS/iPadOS devices that operates similarly to Apple TV on Apple TV. Apple TV on iOS/iPadOS syncs playback and watch history with Apple TV on Apple TV, but only if the iOS/iPadOS device has the same apps installed as the Apple TV -- and not all apps are available on all platforms. Apple TV is also an app on macOS, but it does not show content that can only be streamed from external apps on an Apple TV or iOS/iPadOS device.

Apple TV is an app or built-in feature of other devices, like smart TVs and streaming set-top boxes, but when Apple TV is running on a third party device, it does not show content from other installed apps on that device. Apple TV Channels is a feature on all Apple TV apps that lets you subscribe to external services like HBO and Showtime, which then display content within Apple TV. When Apple TV is on Apple TV or iOS/iPadOS, though, most Apple TV Channel services also have their own app. If you are logged into the app, the service's content already shows up in Apple TV. Apple TV Channels can only be viewed within Apple TV; you cannot watch an Apple TV Channel service's content on any non-Apple TV device, app, or the web. [...] Apple TV+ is a subscription streaming service from Apple that functions like an Apple TV Channel but is not an Apple TV Channel. Apple TV+ content can also be viewed in a web browser at; no other Apple TV apps, devices, or features can be used in a web browser.
He adds, "other than that, though, Apple TV is relatively straightforward."

Public service message

By Lucas123 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The term "Apple TV" was written 44 times in this article containing a total of 465 words, meaning roughly 10% of the words used in the article consist of Apple and TV.

Oracle is going to sue

By squiggleslash • Score: 3 • Thread

So now Apple is copying Java...

This Website Has Solved Cybersecurity

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A new parody website generates random excuses to explain why companies got hacked and apologizes to their users. From a report: Big companies that hold our personal data get hacked almost every day, but most don't really know how to deal with getting hacked, especially when it comes to telling users what happened. If you've read some data breach disclosures or notices, you know the classic "we take your privacy and security seriously" -- truly the "thoughts and prayers" of cybersecurity. No matter how bad the hack is, companies always have an excuse. Luckily, there's now a website that automatically generates more original, and entertaining, apologies you can use if your company gets hacked. It's called "Why the fuck was I breached?" and its excuse generating algorithm spills out truly hilarious excuses.

Here are a few examples:
"The fucking hacking people used Heartbleed to hack the coffee maker. But we have since worked with industry leading specialists, so it will never happen again."
"The fucking Fancy Bears used a vulnerability in Windows XP SP1 to hack the coffee maker. But we have since worked with industry leading specialists, so it will never happen again."
"The fucking Iranians used the open door in our basement to transfer 7 petabytes of data. But we have since upskilled our cafeteria staff, so it will never happen again."
"The fucking teenage hacking prodigies used nefarious techniques to partially disrupt our services. But we have since watched a YouTube video on cyber security, so it will never happen again."
"The fucking cyber terrorists used IoT malware to extract some private keys. But we have since worked with law enforcement, so it will never happen again."

Why the fuck....

By Rick Zeman • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

...didn't they stick the words "take seriously" in there?

Who hasn't been hacked?

By RightSaidFred99 • Score: 3 • Thread

At this point we should start looking at major companies that haven't been hacked and ask them what they're doing right/different. My current assumption is that it's just a difficult problem. Probably a lot of angry privacy obsessed Slashdotters work at companies who have been hacked, and we all know Slashdotters are the world's best, smartest so what's the deal?

Are there a small handful of companies that have sensitive data that get frequent hacking attempts but which have never had a breach?

Re:Who hasn't been hacked?

By bugs2squash • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
per The Dallas Morning News

Military officers gathered and studied bullet holes in the aircraft that returned from missions. One early thought was that the planes should have more armor where they had been hit the most — fuselage, fuel system, the rest of the plane — but not on the engines, which had the smallest number of bullet holes per square foot.

Abraham Wald, a leading mathematician, disagreed. Working with the Statistics Research Group in Manhattan, he asked an odd question: Where were the missing bullet holes — the ones that would be all over the engine if bullets were equally distributed?

They were on the missing planes, the ones that had been shot down. So the vulnerable place wasn’t where all the bullet holes were on the returning planes. It was where the bullet holes were on the planes that didn’t return.

Re:Who hasn't been hacked?

By Sarten-X • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

That's simple. The companies that aren't getting hacked are doing security right. The problem is that doing security right is hard.

It's not going to get any easier by taking another company's solution and bolting it onto your company. In fact, that is actually worse than doing nothing, because now you have a false sense of security thinking that everything's just fine, so there's less motivation to improve things. If your company has to solve its own problems, there's a better chance of finding other problems along the way.

In broad strokes, the steps are straightforward. Identify your threat model, secure things that are easy (in order of highest impact to the threats), and change your processes to make the hard things easy. That's just basic security practice, not really corporate... but it's the only advice that works for everyone.

Re:Why the fuck....

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

If they took our privacy seriously they wouldn't be harvesting every scrap of personal information they possibly can after people click "I believe you!".

What they mean is, "We take your privacy -- seriously."

This Is How the US Military's Massive Facial Recognition System Works

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Over the last 15 years, the United States military has developed a new addition to its arsenal. The weapon is deployed around the world, largely invisible, and grows more powerful by the day. From a report: That weapon is a vast database, packed with millions of images of faces, irises, fingerprints, and DNA data -- a biometric dragnet of anyone who has come in contact with the U.S. military abroad. The 7.4 million identities in the database range from suspected terrorists in active military zones to allied soldiers training with U.S. forces. "Denying our adversaries anonymity allows us to focus our lethality. It's like ripping the camouflage netting off the enemy ammunition dump," wrote Glenn Krizay, director of the Defense Forensics and Biometrics Agency, in notes obtained by OneZero. The Defense Forensics and Biometrics Agency (DFBA) is tasked with overseeing the database, known officially as the Automated Biometric Information System (ABIS).

DFBA and its ABIS database have received little scrutiny or press given the central role they play in U.S. military's intelligence operations. But a newly obtained presentation and notes written by the DFBA's director, Krizay, reveals how the organization functions and how biometric identification has been used to identify non-U.S. citizens on the battlefield thousands of times in the first half of 2019 alone. ABIS also allows military branches to flag individuals of interest, putting them on a so-called "Biometrically Enabled Watch List" (BEWL). Once flagged, these individuals can be identified through surveillance systems on battlefields, near borders around the world, and on military bases. The presentation also sheds light on how military, state, and local law enforcement biometrics systems are linked. According to Krizay's presentation, ABIS is connected to the FBI's biometric database, which is in turn connected to databases used by state and local law enforcement.


By GrahamJ • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I get why the military would want this, but what I don't get it why it's acceptable for there to be no civilian oversight. Such a system can be used to abuse the rights of US citizens and there should be oversight to ensure this does not happen. The military should not be above the law.


By pjwhite • Score: 3 • Thread

I'd like to volunteer to keep an eye on the Biometrically Enabled Watch Baseline System (BEWBS).

That sure would be easier

By raymorris • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Things sure were simpler in World War 1, weren't they.

The US still has 58 active B-52 Stratofortress bombers, with each aircraft capable of carrying 108 bombs (500lb each). The 70 B-1s in the US inventory have a similar capacity, meaning in a single flight, using only these two ancient bombers, the US could bomb almost 14,000 buildings.

That's 14,000 bombs which each each aircraft flying only once. Using only these two 1950s-1970s area aircraft.

If the US wanted to "carpet bomb entire city", that sure would be a heck of a lot easier than the surgical strikes to get one guy at a time, like they did two weeks ago, killing ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. No need for biometric and DNA databases if they wanted to carpet bomb, just have all the pilots fly one mission and the war would be over in about a day.

Fortunately or unfortunately, in the 1970s US policy changed to trying "win the hearts and minds" of people in belligerent nations, rather than defeating them and getting it over with, like was done in World War 2. Looking the nations defeated in WW2, Italy, Japan, etc, I wonder if they ended up better off being defeated than they would have if there had been decades of war trying surgical strikes. I'm not certain either way.

Certainly it would be a lot *quicker* if the US spent about a week taking out every major building in Iran, then start fresh.

Leaked Documents Show Facebook Leveraged User Data To Fight Rivals and Help Friends

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A cache of leaked Facebook documents shows how the company's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, oversaw plans to consolidate the social network's power and control competitors by treating its users' data as a bargaining chip. NBC News reports: This trove comprises approximately 7,000 pages in total, of which about 4,000 are internal Facebook communications such as emails, web chats, notes, presentations and spreadsheets, primarily from 2011 to 2015. About 1,200 pages are marked as "highly confidential." Taken together, they show how Zuckerberg, along with his board and management team, found ways to tap Facebook users' data -- including information about friends, relationships and photos -- as leverage over the companies it partnered with. In some cases, Facebook would reward partners by giving them preferential access to certain types of user data while denying the same access to rival companies.

For example, Facebook gave Amazon special access to user data because it was spending money on Facebook advertising. In another case the messaging app MessageMe was cut off from access to data because it had grown too popular and could compete with Facebook. All the while, Facebook planned to publicly frame these moves as a way to protect user privacy, the documents show. State and federal authorities are now closely scrutinizing Facebook's business practices. In October, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that 47 attorneys general from states and U.S. territories plan to take part in a New York-led antitrust probe into Facebook. Over the summer, the House Judiciary Committee held hearings over antitrust concerns in Silicon Valley while the Federal Trade Commission also continues to examine the firm's practices.

Re:Facebook and users

By Rick Schumann • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I'd like to point out to you that whenever you or anyone else makes comments like you just made, this is what it looks like to everyone:

Well, {other group} does {similarly bad thing(s)}, therefore it's okay for {subject of discussion} to do {bad things}, stop complaining about it.

Seriously, it does. In your specific comment it looks like you're making excuses for Facebook because some other group does bad things, too, therefore somehow what Facebook does/did is okay. Is that the message you really want to send, here?

'Alarming' Loss of Insects and Spiders Recorded

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Insects and spiders are declining in forests and grasslands across Germany, according to new research. From a report: Scientists have described the findings as "alarming," saying the losses are driven by intensive agriculture. They are calling for a "paradigm shift" in land-use policy to preserve habitat for the likes of butterflies, bugs and flying insects. Recent studies have reported widespread declines in insect populations around the world. The latest analysis, published in the journal, Nature, confirms that some insect species are being pushed down the path to extinction. It is becoming clearer and clearer that the drivers of insect decline are related to farming practices, said Dr Sebastian Seibold of the Technical University of Munich in Freising, Germany. "Our study confirms that insect decline is real - it might be even more widespread then previously thought considering, for example, that also forests are experiencing declines in insect populations," he told BBC News. "I think it's alarming to see that such a decline happens not only in intensively-managed areas but also in protected areas -- so the sites that we think are safeguarding our biodiversity are not really working anymore."


By Volatile_Memory • Score: 3 • Thread

My cats may be responsible for much of the spider loss. At least in my house.


By blindseer • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If we weren't so many people on this planet it wouldn't have been an issue.

Let's assume I agree with you. If overpopulation is a problem then should not nations with stable or shrinking populations, which largely coincides with the nations with the largest emissions of air pollution and global warming inducing CO2, close their borders to immigration? These nations can't reduce the global human population if all this does is encourage growth in other nations because if things get bad there then they can just leave for somewhere else.

Another thing that this current mass movement of population is bringing is people predominately moving from tropical regions where heating is unnecessary or rare to colder regions where lots of energy is used for heat, and more materials needed for shelter. Mining for more fuel and raw materials is bad for the environment.

Immigration is bad for the planet, we should do what we can to reduce it. The people that feel the need to flee a location with poor prospects for work, food, and other necessities then we should do what we can so that they can produce the jobs, food, and safety where they are. Part of that should also be controlling their population growth where they are.

We need controls on immigration, including building walls if we must. There's already too many people in the USA, we shouldn't make things worse with more people.

not to worry

By ruddk • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

They all seem to have migrated into my house

I'm (not) Outraged!

By kackle • Score: 3 • Thread
This isn't about politics or statues or bathrooms, therefore it is unimportant.

They're in my basement

By argStyopa • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

I live in a rural American Foursquare house, built in 1907.

I'm pretty sure you could repopulate any number of the worlds' spider species with the numbers and variety in my basement (cellar). We've identified two MAIN populations in the house: the living area spiders who are darker, quicker, and smaller across both hunting and orb-weaving spiders. The basement orb weavers are much bigger, territorial, and translucent. They DGAF about humans and are pretty much just busy waging constant wars against each other and the also-sizable centipede population.

Occasionally we'll get the sense that there's been some resolution to the politics of our basement arachnids, for a short time we'll see a wave of the 'basement style' spiders crop up, mostly in a radius around the basement door (refugees, we believe) but their insouciance about humans and other spiders costs them where they don't have dominance.

Just saying. Feel free to come and negotiate with the mother spiders down there about maybe taking some of their overflow. We'd be fine with long as she is.

IBM Calls For Regulation To Avoid Facial Recognition Bans

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IBM, one of several big tech companies selling facial recognition programs, is calling on Congress to regulate the technology -- but not too much. From a report: China has built a repressive surveillance apparatus with facial recognition; now, some U.S. cities are rolling it out for law enforcement. But tech companies worry that opponents will react to these developments by kiboshing the technology completely. IBM's proposal joins calls for federal facial recognition regulations from Microsoft, Amazon and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Big Tech is threatened by a yearlong groundswell of bans and proposed restrictions on facial recognition bubbling up in cities like San Francisco and states like Massachusetts. The companies say these moves would cut off beneficial uses of the technology, like speeding up airport security or finding missing children.

In a white paper, IBM is calling for what it calls "precision regulation." That means limiting potentially harmful uses rather than forbidding use of the technology entirely. IBM proposes treating various kinds of facial recognition differently. Face detection software, which simply counts the number of faces in the scene, is less prone to abuse than face matching, which can pick specific people out of a crowd. "There will always be usecases that will be off limits," IBM Chief Privacy Officer Christina Montgomery tells Axios. "That includes mass surveillance and racial profiling."


By b0s0z0ku • Score: 3 • Thread
IBM ... helping Fascist pigs since 1935. They sold the Nazis the calculating equipment used to run the Holocaust. F'em.


By geekoid • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Any technology use to protect the citizens of a country, will eventually be turned on the citizens of that country.

Criminals have rights until proven guilty.

In order for something like this to work, it needs to violate the privacy of ALL citizens to find who they are looking for.

Condescension, much?

By jenningsthecat • Score: 3 • Thread

"There will always be usecases that will be off limits," IBM Chief Privacy Officer Christina Montgomery tells Axios. "That includes mass surveillance and racial profiling."

Proclaiming "usecases" as "off limits" is meaningless because enforcement is impossible. Thanks to Big Tech privacy and autonomy are already dead and buried, and Christina Montgomery certainly knows this. She also knows that Big Tech has demonstrated a willingness, nay an eagerness, to trample human rights by assisting repressive agencies and regimes in the name of profit. Her utterance is merely the 'spoonful of Aspartame' that makes the unthinking less likely to notice the poison they're being forced to swallow. Fuck Montgomery, fuck IBM, and fuck Big Tech.

SoftBank Reveals $6.5 Billion Loss From Uber, WeWork Turmoil

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Masayoshi Son is finally disclosing the damage from SoftBank Group's bets on WeWork and Uber. From a report: The Japanese investment powerhouse on Wednesday reported its first quarterly operating loss in 14 years -- about $6.5 billion -- after writing down the value of a string of marquee investments. It swallowed a charge of 497.7 billion yen ($4.6 billion) for WeWork, whose spectacular implosion turned the once high-flying shared-office startup into a Silicon Valley punchline. The losses call into question the billionaire founder Son's deal-making approach just as he's trying to raise an even larger successor to his $100 billion Vision Fund. The investment vehicle had been a driver of profit growth at SoftBank, contributing over $14 billion in mostly paper gains over the past two years. Now, the shrinking valuation of Uber and WeWork, once among the brightest stars in the SoftBank constellation, raises the prospects of more writedowns in the Vision Fund's portfolio with its high exposure to businesses that prioritize growth over profitability.

My shocked face

By Nidi62 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You mean just because a guy struck gold using a y-shaped stick once doesn't mean he can find gold every single time?

So much of the start-up/investor/VC culture we are in right now assumes that having a good idea once (or simply being lucky enough to be an early enough mover) translates into automatic continued success or indicates some type of expertise or genius far beyond what actually exists. How many of these people actually go on to have followup successes? Very few.

And this ignores the fact that so many of the companies they "invest" in have no real path to real "profitability". Their only way to profit it to keep growing and adding investors. They're nothing more than legal ponzi schemes. It seems more and more that investors aren't owners, they're customers. They are the ones that the true owners hope to profit from, not the users/traditional "customers". And they are being sold a bill of goods.


By stabiesoft • Score: 3 • Thread
I am seeing a pattern where the rage has been to create disruptive centralized monopolies initially losing money to gain monopoly status and then presumably raise prices after the monopoly has been established. So far, it is not working well. Amazon has succeeded, but not so much with retail as it has with cloud. Google and FB are succeeding, but with advertising revenue, not direct revenue.

'Game-Changer' Warrant Let Detective Search Genetic Database

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: Last week, a Florida detective announced at a police convention that he had obtained a warrant to penetrate GEDmatch and search its full database of nearly one million users. Legal experts said that this appeared to be the first time a judge had approved such a warrant, and that the development could have profound implications for genetic privacy. "That's a huge game-changer," said Erin Murphy, a law professor at New York University. "The company made a decision to keep law enforcement out, and that's been overridden by a court. It's a signal that no genetic information can be safe."

DNA policy experts said the development was likely to encourage other agencies to request similar search warrants from 23andMe, which has 10 million users, and, which has 15 million. If that comes to pass, the Florida judge's decision will affect not only the users of these sites but huge swaths of the population, including those who have never taken a DNA test. That's because this emerging forensic technique makes it possible to identify a DNA profile even through distant family relationships. [...] Genetic genealogy experts said that until now, the law enforcement community had been deliberately cautious about approaching the consumer sites with court orders: If users get spooked and abandon the sites, they will become much less useful to investigators. Barbara Rae-Venter, a genetic genealogist who works with law enforcement, described the situation as "Don't rock the boat."
A spokesman for 23andMe said in a statement: "We never share customer data with law enforcement unless we receive a legally valid request such as a search warrant or written court order. Upon receipt of an inquiry from law enforcement, we use all practical legal measures to challenge such requests in order to protect our customers' privacy." did not respond to request for comment.

Same story, different day

By blindseer • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I remember in grade school having one day where some people from the local sheriff office came in to take every student's fingerprints. This memory stuck with me because as a little kid this was a bit scary. There were people with guns telling everyone what to do, not explaining why, and it involved getting black ink on my hands.

I found out later that the story told to parents was that this was to more quickly and easily children if there was a kidnapping, lost child, etc. I found out that the fingerprint cards were given to the parents with instructions to keep them safe. I had a couple questions about this practice. Just how popular of a practice was this? And, how effective is taking fingerprints in confirming the identity of a child? Or, put another way, if a child didn't have fingerprints taken at school then just how were children identified?

I don't recall hearing about the taking of fingerprints from children being routine anywhere. Perhaps the sheriff at the time just thought this was a good idea but it didn't go any further.

What I did find out many years later is that fingerprints are rarely used to identify children. The most basic reason for this is in the case of a lost child the possibility of fingerprints being used is rare. The child is simply never found, is found dead and decomposed, or if found alive then the child is able to be identified by photos and such. Remember that even though DNA identification gets a lot of attention it is still a very new thing, only getting even close to common in the last decade or so, and therefore is still not used all that often. What is far more common, at least from what I've seen, is that dental records, blood typing, and other medical data is used.

One problem with using fingerprinting to identify a person is that it is rare to have fingerprints on file somewhere, and kept in a way that is authoritative. Taking fingerprints of children at a school creates a kind of authoritative database. The teachers and deputy sheriffs will confirm that the fingerprints on the card where of the child named on said card. The parents given the cards will confirm that they received the card from the school and that they kept it unaltered. Which brings to mind the true reason of these fingerprint cards being created. If there is a crime in the area, and fingerprints were found, the sheriff can ask parents for the fingerprint cards.

Also, being a small, scared, and stupid, little kid at the time I cannot recall if the deputies only took only one set of fingerprints or if parents received all the fingerprint cards produced.

What does this have to do with DNA identification? Everything. What is happening now is not any different than what happened long long ago in a small Midwest school far far away. We have people trying to scare us into giving up little bits of our freedom for the promise of safety in the future.

I went into detail on my experience with fingerprinting as a schoolchild in part to ask the question on if this is unique, are other parents being scared into giving the police fingerprints of their children in the hope it can be used to identify a lost child? I also did this to hopefully nail home that this has gone on for a very long time, and that there are plenty of other tools to identify people in cases of crimes being committed.

The use of DNA as a means of identifying people is a bit unique here as it gives familial data with a detail far more precise than blood type, hair color, etc. Apart from that... same story, different day.

Re:How much is that data worth?

By JeffOwl • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
It isn't just about what you do with your DNA. It is about your siblings, parents, children, cousins, etc... who provide their DNA, who can then be linked back to you through other means even if you never play their game.

Re:I don't like this

By lrichardson • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"Tunnel Vision", as applied to LE investigations, is already a serious problem. Allowing cops to just run any and all DNA from a crime scene against a huge database is going to get lots of matches ... with varying degrees of accuracy. One of those matches lives in the area? Bingo, there's their culprit, no further investigation really necessary, amirite?

Apart from the highly dubious legality of demanding a third party help with an investigation, this is going to result in a few highly publicized ***SUCCESSES*** ... like the Golden State Killer ... and a lot of cases where individual have their lives ruined by lazy LE with their blinders on.

Maybe one or two outrageous court awards will deter this ... but, based on the evidence of the last few years, even outrageous settlements (mostly paid by insurance policies) haven't deterred the even more outrageous LE behaviour. Because there is zero repercussion to the individual officers.

Re:Why do these companies even retain the data?

By bugs2squash • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
so they can funnel it to the mormons

Re:Why do these companies even retain the data?

By timeOday • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
The reason they can't very well discard your genotype after giving you the results is because a genotype in isolation doesn't tell you anything. In order to do anything interesting like find other people you're related to, or tell you where your ancestors came from, or what diseases you should watch out for, you have to build a large dna database labeled with that info - where it came from, what diseases they have or ended up getting, and so on.

Tesla Owners Say Autopilot Makes Them Feel Safer

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Bloomberg has conducted a survey of Tesla Model 3 owners," writes Slashdot reader Thelasko. "Some of the most interesting data are responses to questions about Autopilot." Here's an excerpt from the report: We asked 5,000 Model 3 owners about their experience with the electric sedan that Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk says will lead the world into a new era of driverless transportation. [...] Six drivers claimed that Autopilot actually contributed to a collision, while nine people in the Bloomberg survey went so far as to credit the system with saving their lives. Hundreds of owners recalled dangerous behaviors, such as phantom braking, veering or failing to stop for a road hazard. But even those who reported shortcomings gave Autopilot high overall ratings. More than 90% of owners said driving with Autopilot makes them safer -- including most of the respondents who simultaneously faulted the software for creating dangerous situations. Bloomberg also asked Model 3 owners about the quality and reliability of their vehicles, as well as the service and charging.

Re:safety data

By Rei • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Misleading figures, because Autopilot is only supposed to be used on highways that are much safer per mile than other types of road anyway.

The most popular place to use Autopilot is stop-and-go traffic. Accidents in stop-and-go traffic are very much commonplace.

Additionally since Teslas are quite expensive

3-year 12k mi $0-down lease rates (which take into account TCO) are only $126 more expensive for a Model 3 SR+ than a base Accord - a difference made up for a typical river by gas and maintenance savings alone. A longer-term perspective would favour the Tesla even more.

owners tend to come from higher socioeconomic classes who experience fewer accidents anyway.

Tesla's stats contain the difference between Teslas using and not using AP, so it's the same vehicle.

Tesla has been called out on this BS before but keep pushing it.

I don't know what you call "pushing" - I see no "pushing" from Tesla on the publications. They were asked during an earnings call to publish regular AP statistics, and thus, they do so.

Their drive attention detection system allows people to sleep at the wheel,

As a general rule, if you find someone literally asleep at the wheel, they've used a defeat device on their steering wheel. There's a number of different "guides" out there on how to make them, because humans suck. :P

Completely manual car makes me feel safer

By Darth Maul • Score: 3 • Thread

I drive a manual transmission car and I swear it makes me a safer driver, and I feel safer in my car. The reason being, I am forced to pay attention at all times. I cannot have anything in my hands, and I need to pay attention to traffic far ahead to anticipate clutch / shifter action to minimize wear and tear.

All of these nanny controls just make drivers more willing to check the Facepage while driving.

Re:Feelings are irrelevant.

By jellomizer • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I work with data all the time. No one cares about the data unless it is compressed to a single number. With the suggestion to do or not do something. In which the data is so simplified that people will take it as the opinion of that random guy in the Analytics team.

What is worse is when the data shows something counter intuitive is in play. So the person/group that made the initial intuitive decision feels likes they are on the spot for making a bad decision.
The data doesn't make such value calls, it is just pointing out the trend and effect.
The groups who really understand data, are often unhappy with the simple answer and ask for more numbers to explain it. And when a something counter intuitive is found, the group who gets data is actually excited to see data showing something beyond what they emotionally thought.

If people don't do anything with hard data, you can probably get better results knowing how people feel.

Back during the 1970's with the Gas Crunch people got small cars. They felt unsafe in them, even though they had technology such as crumple zones and better safety belts that actually made the cars safer than their larger counterparts where if there was an accident the car frame would be fine, but you would be head first in the solid oak dashboard or the windshield.

This feeling of being unsafe is the reason why still today. Soccer Moms buy large Minivans then SUVs not because they are better for the family, but because they feel safer driving them.

Feelings change peoples minds, data doesn't


"It put me in daner, but I felt safer"

By Stolpskott • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

An interesting potential takeaway from this line:
"More than 90% of owners said driving with Autopilot makes them safer -- including most of the respondents who simultaneously faulted the software for creating dangerous situations."

Drivers who faulted the autopilot software for creating dangerous situations simultaneously felt that the software kept them safer.
If they were safer, that means that the autopilot either reduced the overall number of dangerous situations they got into or reduced the severity of the individual dangerous situations, compared to when they were driving themselves.
In other words, users were saying "autopilot put me in x number of dangerous situations, but my own driving would have put me in dangerous situations more frequently, or situations that were more dangerous".

Can I get real-time location data for those drivers, so that I can get a Tesla and program the autopilot to never get within 10 miles of them?

Re:safety data

By RightSaidFred99 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Look, I'm an Apple hater. I admit it's mostly irrational I just can't stand them, but I will concede if cornered that most of their products are pretty well designed and high quality. But I despise them. You are a Tesla hater. At least admit it's an irrational hatred instead of labeling everyone shills or fanboys.

Automatic driving is coming. It's a ways off but the progress has been pretty good and the bar isn't that high to be "better than a human". But the naysayers always seem to forget that part in favor of "OMG an accident on autopilot shut it down stupid tesla!!!!".

I don't know if Tesla is going to succeed as a company longterm or not, but they will definitely have a place in history for electric car innovation.

SpaceX Goes For Two Big Reuse Milestones With Next Launch

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
SpaceX is returning to the launch pad to send its second batch of Starlink Internet satellites into low Earth orbit. "On Tuesday, SpaceX completed a static test firing of the Falcon 9 rocket's first stage that is presently scheduled to launch on November 11 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida," reports Ars Technica. "Beyond the primary mission, this flight is going for two rocket reuse milestones." From the report: This will be the first time that SpaceX has attempted to fly the same Falcon 9 first stage four times. This particular stage flew on July 25 (Iridium 7 mission) and October 8 (SAOCOM 1-A) in 2018 as well as February 22 (Nusantara Satu and Beresheet spacecraft) this year. Additionally, SpaceX will also attempt to reuse a payload fairing for the first time. After a Falcon Heavy launch of the Arabsat-6A mission in April, SpaceX recovered both halves of the payload fairing from the Atlantic Ocean. Those fairings have since been refurbished -- it is not clear how much work needed to be done to clean them and mitigate the effects of any salt water damage -- and will now fly on the Starlink mission.

Looking forward to starlink operational

By bruceki • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
I live in a rural area, with no options for broadband other than very high latency geosynchronous service. Hoping they keep their schedule and I get a choice about broadband in 2020.

Great but not definitive.

By Gravis Zero • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'm glad they are upping their reusable rocketry game but it's important to remember this isn't a developed field, not by a long shot. There will be a failure at some point but that doesn't mean that's the limit of the technology but rather it means there is more development to be done and new materials to be tested.

Baby steps.

Re:Escaping the gravity well on a budget

By ElizabethGreene • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

the payload fairing reuse saves $6 million (5.4 million Euros), minus the cost of refurbishing.

For perspective, a non-expended LEO launch sticker price is $62 million dollars and they are already cheaper than any of the established competition. Fully reusable fairings have the mathematical possibility of increasing their gross margin on flights by 9%. The net is probably half that, but still very non-trivial.

According to Mr. Musk, the big impact of this is they don't have room, space on the factory floor, to manufacture fairings in quantity. The cost savings of the fairing is a nice-to-have, but not a key driver.

Re:Escaping the gravity well on a budget

By necro81 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Perhaps this trend toward the reusable will not be exploited to the detriment of future humanoid payloads?

Payload fairings are not used for Dragon capsule launches, since the capsule it aerodynamically robust all on its own.

When it comes to the Crew Dragon (i.e., the human-rated capsule), NASA and SpaceX have agreed that they will not be re-used for human spaceflight. When they are re-used, it'll just be for ferrying cargo.

Xerox Considers Cash-and-Stock Offer For HP

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to The Wall Street Journal, Xerox is considering making a cash-and-stock offer for HP (Source paywalled; alternative source), which has a market value of about $27 billion. From the report: There is no guarantee Xerox will follow through with an offer or that one would succeed. HP, which installed a new chief executive just last week, is more than three times the size of Xerox and any bid would be at a premium to its current stock price, the people said. Working in Xerox's favor: It expects a $2.3 billion windfall from a deal to sell stakes in joint ventures with Fujifilm Holdings Corp., which was announced Tuesday along with the dismissal of a $1 billion-plus lawsuit filed against Xerox by the Japanese technology company. Xerox has also received an informal funding commitment from a major bank, known as a "highly confident letter," the people said.

A deal would join two household names with storied pasts that have been scrambling to retool their businesses as the need for printed documents declines. Both companies are in cost-cutting mode and a union could afford new opportunities to shed expenses -- to the tune of more than $2 billion, the people said.

Re:More mergers

By gtall • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I think we need a new Slashdot filter, any mention of Creimer in the text of a Slashdot post gets the -2 rating and becomes invisible.

Re:2 weak companies does not equal 1 strong compan

By squiggleslash • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Sears is run by an ideological nutcase, and at the time of the merger both companies were doing fine (K-Mart had just emerged from bankruptcy but the new K-Mart was profitable.) So this is a very bad example even if your overall point may have some merit.

My concern is that this'll end up the same way the merger of DEC and Compaq did, or Compaq and whoever it was that bought Compaq* did, with no real cost savings to be gotten and ultimately the merged company shrinking to the size of one of its parts. Xerox and HP don't really overlap in that many areas, I'm struggling to see where the cost savings are going to come from. Even when they kinda make the same stuff, they don't really - Xerox has high end expensive printing equipment, HP has low end printing equipment, for example (assuming we're talking about the right HP, which is another question), and I'm struggling to see where else they actually make the same kinds of things.

* Yes, I know, I'm making a point here!

HP & /Samsung

By p51d007 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
When the Galaxy note 8? blew up (pun intended), Samsung needed CASH. HP, wanted to get into the A3 (11x17) printer market, so they bought up the Samsung copier/printer division. (I know this because we we a Samsung, Toshiba, Konica-Minolta, Kip dealer). Then, they kept the Samsung hardware, changed the firmware, GUI to work with the HP software. I guess they aren't making as much money as they thought they would. As anyone knows, the hardware isn't where they make the money. It's on the consumables. Ink, toner, fuser, image units. It just makes me shake my head they get away with the insane pricing of ink & toner. The black, is expensive enough, but, they sometimes charge 3-4 times the price, for the cyan, magenta, yellow ink/toner. It's the SAME thing, save for the pigment. Boy, people complain about the price of oil...but price ink/toner per gallon or liter and see what that costs!

H-P beware: Xerox destroyed SDS

By NikeHerc • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
In 1969 Xerox bought Scientific Data Systems (SDS,, a maker of relatively inexpensive and extremely powerful 16- and 32-bit computers, and renamed it Xerox Data Systems (XDS). In 1975 Xerox shuttered XDS and deprived the world of the only elegant computers I ever worked on in a 44.5 year career that spanned the range of 8-bit to 64-bit machines.

SDS legacies included its Fortran IV, the most amazing Fortran compiler I ever used; Meta-Symbol, a meta assembler of incredible power and versatility; and UTS and CP-V, which were operating systems for the 32-bit computers.

The astute /. reader will have noticed an ironic article from eight days ago: "50 Years Ago, the Internet Was Born In Room 3420" ( The experiment that evolved into the Internet began on two SDS computers.

Of the dozen or more machines I programmed in assembler in my career, the SDS/XDS Sigma 5 through Sigma 9 and 5xx series of 32-bit machines were the only machines with an elegant, well thought out instruction set.

H-P beware, you could be the next casualty.

Re:Monopolism is the logical end state of capitali

By smoot123 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Monopolism is the logical end state of capitalism.

Perhaps in a static world. In the world I live in, new products, technologies, and capabilities are continuously being produced which upsets the existing equilibrium. As a result, older dominant companies (HP, IBM, Sears, GM, the list goes on and on) fall out of favor and shrink. New markets emerge and flocks of startups pop up to frantically compete in the new market.

What we're seeing here is a classic example of two older, established companies trying to keep making money in a relatively static market. In printers, the name of the game is now incremental cost reduction and feature addition. Cash-cowing the product lines, in other words. In the mean time, all the investment, excitement, growth, and revolutions are in other markets.