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

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.

Web Summit Cancels Next Year's Rise, One of Asia's Largest Tech Conferences, Over Tension in Hong Kong

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The ongoing tension in Hong Kong between the government and pro-democracy protesters continues to spill into the tech domain. From a report: Rise, which is among the largest tech conferences in Asia, will not run next year as planned due to "the ongoing situation in Hong Kong," according to Web Summit, the Ireland-based company that organizes the show. The organizer said it is postponing the sixth edition of its annual conference, which is held in Hong Kong, to March 2021 from March 2020. Web Summit, which hosts similar large-scale conferences in other parts of the world, made the announcement today in an email to previous attendees. A spokesperson confirmed the veracity of the email to TechCrunch. "Over recent months, we have been monitoring the ongoing situation in Hong Kong. Our number one concern is the wellbeing, safety, and security of attendees at our events," it said in a statement. "Given the uncertainty of the situation by early 2020 and after consulting with experts and advisories, we have decided to postpone RISE until 2021."

Postpone a year?

By Empiric • Score: 3 • Thread
I doubt the 70'th year of Chinese Communist Party oppression will change its nature for the 71'st.

Seems an alternate solution is proposed.

Something I've been saying a lot online lately

By Plugh • Score: 3 • Thread
Every chance I get, actually. Because f--k the surveillance state, big brother, china, the nsa, and every other grubbing wanna-be that thinks I can't manage my own information input online. Unfortunately, Slashdot, bless its heart, in almost 2020 still the cannot print Chinese characters properly, apparently. So, you get a pic link instead


Sounds like another useless event anyways

By 0xdeaddead • Score: 3 • Thread

Nothing of value was lost.

We don't need more virute signaling valley people in Hong Kong, thanks, kindly fuck off, we're full.

Most Americans Think They're Being Constantly Tracked, Study Finds

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: More than 60% of Americans think it's impossible to go through daily life without being tracked by companies or the government, according to a new Pew Research study. It's not just that Americans (correctly) think companies are collecting their data. They don't like it. About 69% of Americans are skeptical that companies will use their private information in a way they're comfortable with, while 79% don't believe that companies will come clean if they misuse the information. When it comes to who they trust, there are differences by race. About 73% of black Americans, for instance, are at least a little worried about what law enforcement knows about them, compared with 56% of white Americans. But among all respondents, more than 80% were concerned about what social-media sites and advertisers might know. Despite these concerns, more than 80% of Americans feel they have no control over how their information is collected.


By markdavis • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

>"More than 60% of Americans think it's impossible to go through daily life without being tracked by companies or the government"

And they would be almost correct. It *is* impossible to go through daily life without being tracked, unless you pay for everything in cash, use an open-source-based computer WITH all the apps optimized to prevent spying AND without using any sign-in "services" (such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc), and you don't have a powered-on cell phone on you, don't order anything online, and don't have a car/vehicle model that spies on you, and you don't put some stupid-ass "cloud-based" crap in your house (like Ring, or Nest, or whatever), and you protect your identity with any transaction. Soon you will have to wear a hoodie everywhere, too. It is almost possible, but nobody will do all that is required to prevent it- some of the stuff is easy and even advisable, other stuff is extremely inconvenient.

And as we have already seen, the average person will quickly/gladly/gratefully trade their freedom and privacy for security (or the illusion thereof), convenience, and lower cost. But worse, they will also trade OTHER PEOPLE'S freedom and privacy for "security" through government intervention. There is a balance- where the balance should be is hard to say, but the lines were certainly crossed a long time ago. When freedom of speech, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and gun rights are under constant attack, you know the problem is already extremely serious.

Most Americans Think They're Being Tracked..

By JeremyWH • Score: 3, Funny • Thread
Revealed by data from mind probes

Social Cooling - data driven chilling effects

By mrwireless • Score: 3 • Thread

This is step 2 in the proces towards Social Cooling.

Step 3 is that people will apply self-censorship in order to 'look good', which means we will see large scale data-driven chilling effects.

Cambridge Analytica showed us how all kinds of parties try to influence us nowadays. But I believe that influence is small compared to the power of self-censorship.

While we may see self-censorship as an unwanted side effect, in China they are actively steering towards this.

Re:Reasonable expectation of privacy?

By Kjella • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Since many privacy laws depend on a Reasonable Expectation of Privacy, does this mean if people no longer expect privacy they lose it

Probably, but people generally still expect privacy in bathrooms, bedrooms, phone calls, private homes etc. so the threshold for when the police needs a warrant hasn't moved that much. The difference is all the rest, like if someone kept a record of you from the moment you walked out the door and in all publish establishments to the doorstep of other private spaces most would consider that an invasion of privacy. Like "Here's a record of you arriving alone at the pub. Here's a record of you two leaving the pub. Here's a record of you two taking a taxi back to your place. Here's a record of the other person leaving in the morning." If you've ceased to have any privacy in the public space a whole lot can be inferred about what's going on in private.

And you could of course say that in theory any police stakeout could have recorded that information, which is true but scale, precision and completeness matter. For example, it's probably no big deal if I see one person entering or leaving a military base. But if I had a complete log of everyone coming and going at every base and knew at any time exactly how many people were on staff right and could forecast and detect anomalies based on past patterns the military would probably not be too happy. And that's before we start talking about the data you're willingly sending out of private activities and spaces...

Re: Cards

By DogDude • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
That's 100% false. My company takes credit cards, and for $25/month, we can get all of that information from our merchant provider. They give out a discounted subscription to which shows you where your customers shop and where they live and where they go before and after they go to your business and what else they spend money on. And that's a cheap-o service for the smallest businesses. You want to guess what data the big guys buy?

US Workers Show Little Improvement In 21st Century Skills

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A new government agency report found that U.S. workers are failing to improve the skills needed to succeed in an increasingly global economy. Bloomberg reports: The National Center for Education Statistics asked 3,300 respondents ages 16-to-65 to read simple passages and solve basic math problems. What the researchers found is that literacy, numeracy and digital problem-solving ability in the U.S. have stagnated over the past few years. Some 19% of the test-takers ranked at the lowest of three levels for literacy and 24% lacked basic digital problem-solving abilities. Meanwhile, a shocking 29% performed at the lowest level for numeracy, the same as findings from the previous study conducted in 2012-2014. Almost one in three couldn't correctly answer "how much gas is in a 24-gallon tank if the gas gauge reads three-quarters full."

There were a few bright spots among the research. Latino adults saw their overall scores improve in both literacy and digital problem solving. Some 35% ranked at the highest of three levels for the latter, up from 24% during the 2012-2014 survey period. In addition, high school graduation rates climbed 2 percentage-points to 14%, while the percentage of people with more than a high school diploma jumped 3 percentage-points to 48%.

Blame the OECD

By VeryFluffyBunny • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Andreas Schleicher (, who has no background or qualifications in education, is responsible for propagating this nonsense about "21st Century Skills." There's very few meaningful definitions of what 21st Century Skills actually are, & when they are described, they look more like 300BC skills. I'm not kidding: The Greeks were waaay ahead of Schleicher.

What the USA & many other countries need is simply higher-quality evidence-informed education in traditional subjects, e.g. reading, writing, & 'rithmetic, the sciences, history, geography, the arts, etc..

I know. It's not headline-grabbing material. It's dull & boring & doesn't sell shiny new gadgets, fancy-named EdTech startups, or "This will revolutionise education!!!" mumbo jumbo. It's just good ol' fashioned classroom teaching by well-trained, experienced & decently-paid teachers under stable, supportive conditions, in well-resourced & well-organised schools.

Did you know that in almost every real-world scenario where EdTech was added to curricula, students' scores went down, not up?

Re:Gas tank

By Psychotria • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Well, I was going to write something very similar. They clearly want the salient answer (what is 3/4 of 24) and that is how I imagine most people would interpret the question although I have no data to support this. The question, as stated, is easy enough to calculate in your head: half of 24 is 12, half of that is 6 (which is one quarter); therefore 3 quarters is 6 * 3 = 18. Maybe they don't teach fractions in US schools these days (?) I recently got asked what 75% of 60 was and without hesitation said 45. The person who asked me the question seemed astonished that I answered so quickly and asked me if I'd had the question before. I said, no, but I can read a clock.

how much gas

By spongman • Score: 3 • Thread

three quarters of a tank, duh.

Re:Not Surprising

By Retired ICS • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Good excuse. "I am going to be dead in 80 years, so what is the point in knowing how to tie my shoes". Off you go to the nuthouse with you.

Re:Not Surprising

By Oligonicella • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Unknown. You gave no information as to their political leanings.

Ghost Ships, Crop Circles, and Soft Gold: A GPS Mystery in Shanghai

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: One night last summer, a ship called the MV Manukai arrived at the port of Shanghai. It would be the American container ship's last stop in China before making its long homeward journey to Long Beach, California. As the crew carefully maneuvered the 700-foot ship through the world's busiest port, its captain watched his navigation screens closely. They showed another ship steaming up the same channel at about seven knots (eight miles per hour). Suddenly, it disappeared from the display. Then it reappeared, then disappeared again. Eventually, mystified, the captain picked up his binoculars and scanned the dockside. The other ship had been stationary at the dock the entire time.

When it came time for the Manukai to head for its own berth, the bridge began echoing to multiple alarms. Both of the ship's GPS units had lost their signals, and its transponder had failed. Even a last-ditch emergency distress system could not get a fix. Now, new research shows the Manukai and thousands of other vessels in Shanghai are falling victim to a mysterious new weapon that can spoof GPS systems. Who could be behind it? The Chinese state? Or could it be daring and sophisticated sand thieves? Read MIT Technology Review story to find out more.

Re:Most "GPS" systems aren't

By Immerman • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Very true for consumer electronics - and I'm betting entirely irrelevant. Call me skeptical, but somehow I doubt that a container ship with a professional-grade GPS system, that spends virtually all of its time hundreds if not thousands of miles away from the nearest wifi hotspot, is going to be using any of the cheap cost-cutting alternatives found in cell phones. It'd be a Grade A fool that trusts their extremely expensive cargo ship to a cut-rate navigation system.

Problem solves itself

By PPH • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

From TFA:

But one thing is for certain: there is an invisible electronic war over the future of navigation in Shanghai, and GPS is losing.

And the losers will be the Chinese. If they are responsible for, or can't crack down upon local GPS jamming/spoofing, the insurance rates of ships visiting Chinese ports will go up. And that cost will be tacked on to the cost of their products.

Commerce runs more efficiently where laws and regulations are predictable, sane and enforced equitably.


By mcswell • Score: 3 • Thread

There's no replacement for those binoculars. (Disclaimer: I was in the US Navy in the early 70s, when binoculars, sextants, analog radar, and LORAN was almost all we had. Plus the Mark I Eyeball.)

Reason: illegal sand mining and oil smuggling ...

By kbahey • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

If you are like me, wondering who is doing this ...

No, it is not the Chinese government, nor the Russians

It is illegal activities by certain ships, spoofing other ships:

From the article ...

Chinese builders call it "soft gold." Sand dredged from Yangtze River, which has the ideal consistency and composition for cement, helped fuel Shanghai's construction boom in the 1980s and 1990s. By the turn of the millennium, reckless sand extraction had undermined bridges, trashed ecosystems, and caused long stretches of the riverbank to collapse. In 2000, Chinese authorities banned sand mining on the Yangtze completely.

The trade continued illicitly, however, expanding to include the illegal dredging of sand and gravel from the Yangtze estuary and the open seas near Shanghai. By day, such ships look innocuous. By night, they lower pipes to the riverbed to suck up thousands of tons of sand in a single session. A full hold can be worth over $85,000. So far in 2019, police along the Yangtze River have seized 305 sand-mining vessels and over 100 million cubic feet of sandâ"enough to fill over a thousand Olympic swimming pools. ...
Under the cover of darkness, AIS can be a useful tool for a sand thief. Ships that are not equipped or licensed for sea travel, for example, have been known to clone the AIS systems of seafaring boats to avoid detection.

And then, there is this ...

Nor are sand thieves the only users of hacked AIS technology. In June this year, an oil tanker with a cloned AIS system rammed an MSA patrol boat in Shanghai while trying to evade capture. Police believe that it had been smuggling oil.

But all this is not definitive, since the article concludes with:

"I don't think it's some rogue actor," says Humphreys. "It may be connected with some experimental capability that [the Chinese authorities] are trying to test. But Iâ(TM)m genuinely puzzled how this is being done."

Fuel Cell Drone Makes An Epic Ocean Crossing

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Earlier this week, a hydrogen-powered delivery drone managed to make a one-hour, 43-minute ocean crossing. New Atlas reports: The exercise was the result of a collaboration between Texas-based drone development company Guinn Partners, Georgia-based Skyfire Consulting, the U.S. Department of Health, and drone manufacturer Doosan Mobility Innovation -- the latter supplied the aircraft, a hydrogen fuel cell-powered DS30 octocopter. Utilizing its temperature-controlled payload system, the drone was used to transport live bacteria samples from a hospital on the Caribbean island of St. Croix to a testing facility on the neighboring island of St. Thomas. This involved crossing 43 miles (69 km) of open ocean. Upon successfully reaching its destination, the copter reportedly still had almost 30 minutes of flight time left on its fuel cell.

43 miles is an "epic ocean crossing"?

By glenebob • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

More like, this article is epic stupidity.

Germany Forces Apple To Let Other Mobile Wallet Services Use iPhone's NFC Chip

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A new German law passed yesterday requires Apple to allow other mobile payments services access to the iPhone's NFC chip for payments to allow them to fully compete with Apple Pay. 9to5Mac reports: Apple initially completely locked down the NFC chip so that it could be used only by Apple Pay. It later allowed some third-party apps to use the chip but has always refused to do so for other mobile payment apps. Reuters reports that the law doesn't name Apple specifically, but would apply to the tech giant. The piece somewhat confusingly refers to access to the NFC chip by third-party payment apps as Apple Pay.

"A German parliamentary committee unexpectedly voted in a late-night session on Wednesday to force the tech giant to open up Apple Pay to rival providers in Germany," reports Reuters. "This came in the form of an amendment to an anti-money laundering law that was adopted late on Thursday by the full parliament and is set to come into effect early next year. The legislation, which did not name Apple specifically, will force operators of electronic money infrastructure to offer access to rivals for a reasonable fee." Apple says that the change would be harmful: "We are surprised at how suddenly this legislation was introduced. We fear that the draft law could be harmful to user friendliness, data protection and the security of financial information."


By Pinky's Brain • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Good letting Apple leverage their monopoly power to get a cut of so many sales while forcing the costs on non Apple users is unjust.

It's bad enough credit card companies are making gains in Europe, don't need more leeches.

Re:...and if Apple was German...

By sit1963nz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
How dare anyone else behave like Americans.

Re: Good

By squiggleslash • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
It's your phone, whether it's their system or not. If they don't want you to be allowed to use your phone as you wish, perhaps they should stop selling them.

Re: Good

By Dorianny • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
It is their country, their laws, No one forces Apple to sell its devices in Germany

Pick one.

By Torodung • Score: 3 • Thread

We are surprised at how suddenly this legislation was introduced. We fear that the draft law could be harmful to user friendliness, data protection and the security of financial information.

On of these two statements is true. Guess which?

Google Cancels Weekly All-Hands Meetings Amid Growing Workplace Tensions

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: Google is getting rid of one of its best-known workplace features: TGIF, its weekly all-hands meeting. The company confirmed to CNBC that it will instead hold monthly all-hands meetings that will be focused on business and strategy while holding separate town halls for "workplace issues." An email announcing the change was previously reported by The Verge.

Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin started TGIFs in 1999 as a forum where employees could regularly express concerns and discuss topics open and freely with management. At that time, the company was small enough to fit in a meeting room, but the all-hands continued to grow as the employee base grew -- until recently, that is. Page and Brin stopped attending regularly in 2019. A company spokesperson said that the meetings had recently become a bi-weekly instead of weekly occurrence. The new model comes as the company cracks down on the open work culture that's long been part of its identity of holding free discussion. Employees have increasingly voiced their concerns about everything from the handling of sexual harassment to government hires and contracts. In recent months, employees have leaked meeting notes to the media, which have shown growing tension between executives and workers.
"In other places -- like TGIF -- our scale is challenging us to evolve," Pichai said in a memo to employees this week. "TGIF has traditionally provided a place to come together, share progress, and ask questions, but it's not working in its current form."

"We're unfortunately seeing a coordinated effort to share our conversations outside of the company after every TGIF," the note reportedly states. "I know this is new information to many of you, and it has affected our ability to use TGIF as a forum for candid conversations on important topics."

Play Crybaby Games Win Crybaby Prizes

By Jarwulf • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
You mean being as leftwing and 'progressive' as possible never satisfies anybody and just makes things worse and just empowers the crybullies and makes them even more obnoxious than ever? To the point that the leftists who started it end up getting eaten by the leftists they created? Whoda thunk it?

Start firing people

By DogDude • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
They just need to fire the assholes. No matter how productive they are, assholes disrupt any organization they're in. If somebody is being disruptive in a way that doesn't help the company, fire them. That's what I do.

Re: How is parent not flamebait?

By NagrothAgain • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
No, it's truth. Much like how my recent Benefits Enrollment meeting got derailed by a lady who turned it into a personal forum to bitch about Transgender Rights, all because one of the plans is called "Family" and another is called "Employee + Spouse." She was offended that they didn't call it "Life Partner" even though both plans will cover any two people who simply declare themselves Partners even without any sort of Legal arrangement. Or how our recent Weekly Standup was turned into an argument about race because she was too "woke" to use the term whitespace and demanded that we change all references to "blank" space.

Re:Play Crybaby Games Win Crybaby Prizes

By malkavian • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The hard hitting engineers are making the world a better place. Most of them aren't ethically opposed to the contracts that Google would like to broker. You can enter almost any arena and make ethical choices about how to operate in it at any given moment. Hell, you can even influence a system from the inside.

It is of course a possibility, but I suspect it's more that the vocal minority are starting to hijack the meetings and derail them to the irritation of the larger majority.

The Left eats itself

By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

The Left eats itself ... it's various factions are incompatible.

Like you're supposed to be loosy goosy about sex, man, and dump those hidebound inhibitions ... er, until somebody complains. Then magically you should have been all puritan. Well, not Puritan, because nobody should have a religion in the workplace, unless it's an exotic one ... because we must welcome all from faraway lands, since they are cheaper to employ .. except that unions don't exactly like that ...

White House Unveils Rules Requiring Online Disclosure of Hospital Prices

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
schwit1 shares a report from The Hill: The Trump administration on Friday unveiled new rules to require increased disclosure of health care prices, in a move officials said would drive down costs by increasing competition. One regulation would require hospitals to provide a consumer-friendly online page where prices are listed for 300 common procedures like X-rays and lab tests. A second regulation would require insurers to provide an online tool where people could compare their out-of-pocket costs at different medical providers before receiving treatment. The rule announced Friday affecting hospitals is a final rule, set to take effect Jan. 1, 2021. The rule for insurers is still a proposal that is not yet finalized. "Hospitals and insurers will fight this. The last thing they want is consumers price shopping," adds schwit1.

Re:What's the angle?

By LynnwoodRooster • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You know who has taken literally millions of dollars from insurance companies, and millions more from lawyers? Elizabeth Warren.

You know who else has taken millions from insurance companies and hospitals? Bernie Sanders.

Makes you wonder just why they're giving millions and millions to the Presidential candidates that want to completely change the medical industry. Maybe those insurance companies and lawyers and hospitals want to buy the best law they can, much like with Obamacare?


By craighansen • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

My condolences for your wife - glioblastoma kills people rapidly, and even today survival rates and times are worse than for many other brain tumors. Immunotherapy has made a big difference in some other brain tumors, but the large variety of mutated cells in a glioblastoma has made this approach less successful. Immunotherapies and chemotherapies are all expensive drugs. Even though they're expensive, most patients will quickly hit the stop-loss threshold after which insurance will pay 100% with no-copays - picking an insurance plan with a stop-loss limit that you can afford is important for this reason.

The co-pay is only what the patient pays, you need to find the negotiated insurance price. The hospital gets the sum of the negotiated insurance payment and the co-pay from the patient - that what you need to compare to the list or chargemaster price. For expensive drugs, many drug manufacturers have programs to rebate or pay all or most of the co-pay, or insurance companies will waive all or most of the co-pay if you buy the drug through a specified mail-order pharmacies. All these programs make figuring out the actual prices complicated.

Hospital "Chargemaster" list prices are rarely what anyone pays. If you have no insurance, hospitals will discount those prices when paid in cash (usually 50%-66%) even when the patient doesn't qualify for needs-based assistance, and insurance companies commonly negotiate pricing that's more like 80-90% off. Needs-based assistance will just write-off all or nearly all the cost. Keeping Chargemaster prices jacked up make it imperative that you have insurance coverage, because insurers can negotiate much better pricing than you can get as an individual nearly all the time.

For drugs, entities such as seem able to negotiate near insurance-company level pricing for cash patients with no insurance - their program provides codes that look like insurer codes to pharmacies, but provide no funding to the pharmacies. Family members have used this to get better prices for drugs that our insurers won't cover for us, such as when a drug is outside their formulary list, or "step treatment": when the insurer requires that you try half a dozen cheaper drug and demonstrate that they're not working for you. In a sense, they're similar to "high deductible" insurance plans, where, until you're spending a bundle on medical care, pay absolutely nothing on your behalf, but do give access to discounted prices.

So, even if hospitals and other medical care providers have to provide these Chargemaster prices, it won't do much at all in the way of enhancing competition or price shopping, because actual pricing varies by so many factors. Even different insurance companies get different pricing from hospitals, and negotiate rules about how procedures are billed, such as whether they're allowed to bill for certain line items, or certain personnel.

Medicare has been running several programs that pay a straight "capitated rate" for certain procedures, a single price per patient no matter whether the patient's case is easy or complicated, whether post-operative infections set in, requiring extended hospital stays or further treatment - these programs give hospitals a big incentive to find the cheapest way to get the job done. Some of these programs pay bonuses based upon average outcomes - for example, paying extra if they can keep infections or other complications low.

Without being able to investigate the precise rules that the White House is writing, it's damn hard to figure out whether these rules are going to help anyone.


By craighansen • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Pricing transparency MIGHT provide inventives to lower prices. Several problems;

  (1) in medical care as others, sometimes price is a signal of quality, luxury, or prestige - so patients might seek out higher priced care because they think it's better.

(2) Hospitals have a capture region - ambulances in a certain region will go to that hospital because it's closer, and patients may really want to go to a local hospital - so hospitals may not compete on price because it customers won't use a farther-away hospital even if it's cheaper.

(3) Doctors & Hospitals have combined together into enormous entities in order to get the upper hand in pricing from insurance companies - Sutter Health just settled an antitrust lawsuit that California was about to reach a trial - as far as I know, details of that settlement aren't even available. Sutter Health controls 24 hospitals, 36 surgery centers, and 5500 physicians (as of 2018) - people may have to travel REALLY far to get non-Sutter-care.

(4) Insurance companies are selling EPO plans, Exclusive Provider "Option" plans, where the ONLY "option" is to get care from who they tell you are covered in their plans - the only option is between their way or no way.

(5) Patients tend to respond to price signals by avoiding medical care altogether. While some medical issues resolve with the passage of time and no treatment, (Back-ache, for example, resolves about as rapidly with no treatment as compared with a variety of non surgical treatments. Surgery to repair knee meniscus damage may have the same average outcome as leaving it alone.) - some medical problems can be treated inexpensively if caught promptly, but become much more expensive if left untreated - (such as common staph infections, where antibiotics are effective early on, but if it progresses to below the skin to "flesh eating," becomes very damaging and expensive to treat. These kinds of issues are behind the requirement that ACA-compliant insurance plans cover a free general health exam once a year. (This is a tricky thing to obtain, by the way, because asking certain questions during that free exam can start procedures that will cost you money.)

Re:&%^@ Yes!

By edwdig • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

That the US government already spends more per person (across the total population) than most European countries, while only covering people under Medicare/caid and the VA?

You do realize those groups are the most expensive people to take care of, right? Old people, poor people, and veterans generally have much more significant health issues than young, middle/upper class people. Private insurance only works at all because we've pulled the most expensive people to care for out of the system and have a huge pool of people who need little to no care paying into the system.


By craighansen • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Wrong. There was a bill, that was much more meager and had some uncomfortable provisions, The PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) that passed the Senate, but wasn't in condition to pass the House. The replacement of Kennedy with Republican Scott Brown on January 19, 2010 gave Republicans the ability to block bills by filibuster in the Senate, meant that Obamacare could only be passed by taking the PPACA bill, and modifying it with another "reconciliation" bill.

It meant that an existing bill (The PPACA bill) that had passed the Senate earlier, by carefully getting a 60-vote majority, but didn't include much of what Democrats in the House wanted, was the only one that the House could pass to get an act to the White House for signing, and all remaining changes (The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act) had to be of a budgetary nature. Reconciliation bills aren't permitted by Senate rules to be filibustered, so HCERA only needed 51 votes in the Senate. Republicans couldn't block it. But all they're allowed to do is make budgetary changes.

HCERA changed the subsidy levels, the taxes needed to pay for those subsidies - and a key point: killed the special deal for Nebraska Medicaid that was put into the PPACA to get the 60th vote in the Senate. HCERA killed the Nebraska Medicaid deal by depriving that part of the PPACA bill of the necessary funding. It was a clever/evil trick - Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson wouldn't vote for the PPACA except for the added "Cornhusker Provision" that gave Nebraska extra money for Medicaid expansion over any other state. Because it was a monetary provision, the reconciliation bill could zero it out. In 2018, Nebraska passed their Medicaid expansion authorization, even though they never got the extra money.

The other late change to the PPACA was to kill the "public option" that was in the bill, in order to get Independent Joe Leiberman to vote for it, although a state-based public option for Vermont stayed in the bill. Democrats couldn't snake Leiberman, though, by getting the public option back in the reconciliation bill. Obamacare would have been a different system with a public option - many people think it could have lead to employers moving away from providing medical insurance, and people getting something very much like "Medicaid for All" as in the stump speeches of several Democratic Presidential candidates this time around. You have Joe Leiberman to thank or blame, depending on your point of view, for the public option getting ripped out of Obamacare in 2010.

So, to recap, Obamacare never really got 60 votes for the whole program, as expressed in the two bills. They got 60 votes for the PPACA bill, and only got 56 votes for the HCERA bill, which substantially modified the budgetary components of the PPACA bill.

MacBook Pro Teardown Confirms the New Keyboard Is Basically Just the Old, Good Keyboard

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
iFixit's teardown of the new 16-inch MacBook Pro confirms that the keyboard uses the more reliable scissor-style switches that Apple first introduced in its Magic Keyboards in 2015. The Verge reports: The switches on the 16-inch MacBook Pro are so similar to the standalone keyboard, in fact, that iFixit's report says that keys are interchangeable between the two products. The change comes after a long, multiyear debate between Apple and customers over the butterfly switches, causing Apple to revamp the mechanism multiple times to block debris and add extra strength. Apple was also forced to acknowledge that the keyboards were problematic, and offered an extended warranty program for those laptops. Per iFixit, the new keys also have more travel when you press them (about 0.5 mm more), and the keycaps themselves are about 0.2 mm thicker compared to the much-maligned butterfly switches. The teardown also notes that the clips that attach the keycaps to the switches appear to be more reinforced to make it easier to remove or replace them down the line.

Love the old keyboard and larger screen

By SuperKendall • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

As an owner of the old 17" laptop, for me this is the spiritual successor - pretty large screen both in size and pixels, great keyboard, fairly beefy specs (if desired to configure it that way).

The nice thing is the new 16" may be heaver than the 15" model by a bit - but is still a tiny bit lighter than my older 2013 MacBook Pro! So it's a win all around to upgrade.

Model M for Macs from unicomp

By williamyf • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Unicomp (the company that inherited the Model M keyboard from lexmark, which in turn was a spinoff of IBM for printers, keyboards and such) makes a USB model M with Mac layout, flower/command key included. Check into it

It's getting there

By plazman30 • Score: 3 • Thread
The 2015 keyboard only has 1 mm of travel. That's still too thin for me. I prefer 2mm of travel. But even 1mm is better than the piece of crap they've been selling for the last few years. I really wanted to buy a MacBook Pro, but every time I walked into an Apple store or a Best Buy, I'd spend 5 minutes typing on that keyboard and noped right out of there.

Hardcore fan, but glad the experiment is over

By cerberusss • Score: 3 • Thread

I'm really a hardcore Apple fan, but the butterfly keyboard of the 2016-2018 MacBook Pros really had reliability issues. I've got a 2016 MBP and always have to have canned air at home and in the office. Usually it's solved then, except when a piece of debris is really stuck and takes a week or so to loosen. Thank god I work docked (external keyboard/display/everything) during the day, but otherwise I'm happy to move to this new model.

I understand that loads of people actually didn't have any problem with the keyboard. But I think it's a failed experiment, and Apple more or less acknowledges it.

The big question is: will they update the keyboard for all other laptops as well?

Supreme Court Will Hear Long-Running Google and Oracle Copyright Lawsuit

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: The Supreme Court said on Friday that it will hear a dispute between tech giants Oracle and Google in a blockbuster case that could lead to billions of dollars in fines and shape copyright law in the internet era. The case concerns 11,500 lines of code that Google was accused of copying from Oracle's Java programming language. Google deployed the code in Android, now the most popular mobile operating system in the world. Oracle sued Google in 2010 alleging that the use of its code in Android violated copyright law.

Google won two victories in the lower courts but ultimately lost on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which ruled last year for Oracle. Oracle has previously said it is entitled to $9 billion in damages, though no official penalty has been set. Java was developed by Sun Microsystems, which Oracle purchased in a deal valued at $7.4 billion that was completed in 2010. Underlying the legal issues in the case is a technical dispute over the nature of the code that Google used. Google has said that the code was essentially functional -- akin to copying the placement of keys on a QWERTY keyboard. Oracle maintains that the code, part of Java's application programming interface, or API, is a creative product, "like the chapter headings and topic sentences of an elaborate literary work." A number of high-profile tech firms urged the top court to take the case in order to side with Google.

About time that they granted certiorari.

By dgatwood • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

This is a clear situation where two different circuits provided fundamentally contradictory guidance on whether APIs can be copyrighted, so certiorari should have been almost automatic. The irony, of course, is that in this situation, both opinions were in different parts of the same court case. That's pretty hilarious.

The problem with allowing copyright on APIs is that it completely breaks the ability to write software. It is impossible to write software that targets any platform without using (and, in many cases, reimplementing) methods in the core API. The entire software industry would be violating copyright if we start treating APIs as being protected by copyright.

So the software industry is a house of cards, built upon the assumption that APIs cannot be copyrighted. Approximately every programming language, every significant API, etc. is built, at least in part, on the design of, and the lessons learned from, other programming languages and APIs that came before them — including, incidentally, the Sun Java APIs in question. Sun basically copied the design of Apple's (NeXT's) Objective-C collection APIs, and adapted them to Java. So Oracle is suing for making an unauthorized derivative work of an API that is itself an unauthorized derivative work!

We have the technology that we have, entirely because of that assumption, which mostly stems from the out-of-court settlement of UNIX System Laboratories, Inc. v. Berkeley Software Design, Inc., after a judge made it pretty clear that Novell (who at the time owned USL) would likely lose, because APIs are probably not copyrightable. Reversing twenty-seven years of informal precedent would be, IMO, catastrophic. I trust that the SCOTUS will do the sane thing, and not throw the entire industry under a bus.

Re:Look at the bright side

By Newander • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Not test code. Headers.

Ten years later. Still pretending not monopolies.

By michaelcole • Score: 3 • Thread
It's ten years later, and we're still pretending these companies are not monopolies.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

By GrBear • Score: 3 • Thread

The grand battle between Satan and Cthulhu. Who will win? The lawyers of course.

Always look forward to coding with SCOTUS

By WillAffleckUW • Score: 3 • Thread

You know, back in the day, we used to hold Core Wars sessions in the secure basement, and some wicked fast code it was.

RGB isn't just called a wizard for nothing. In fact, she won almost all of them.

Hulu Boosts the Price of Its Live-TV Service

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Hulu said Friday it will increase the price of its online cable TV alternative product Hulu Live by $10 to $55 a month in what is the latest sign providers are having trouble making money on discounted packages of channels that rival cable. From a report: Hulu Live, which offers about 60 channels such as ESPN and CNN, was first introduced two years ago. The price increase takes effect Dec. 18, the company said in a statement. So-called skinny bundles -- cheaper online alternatives to cable packages -- have struggled recently as budget-conscious consumers seem more willing to just cut out traditional cable networks entirely. Sony is shutting down its offering, PlayStation Vue, in January.

FIFTY-FIVE? Who do they think's going to pay that?

By twocows • Score: 3 • Thread
The one show they had I cared about (South Park) they lost access to. They have ESPN... but unless you're into multiple sports, that's probably not a huge sell. The only sport I care about is ice hockey, and NHL TV's worst deal is only $25/mo (the single team season pass is a better deal, $115 per six month season). As far as CNN... I really can't stand them, but if I was some kind of CNN zealot, they literally have a "Live TV" link on the top of their website.

I have never actually paid for Hulu, but the people I know who actually do pay for Hulu have told me it's barely worth it for $10/mo. I don't exactly know who they think is going to stay subscribed at over five times the price.

Try unbundling Disney, ESPN, and locals

By Miamicanes • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

There's a good reason why "skinny" bundles feel increasingly obese and expensive:

1. Inclusion of local broadcast channels. In most markets, carrying local broadcast channels costs the service provider at least $10-20/month per subscriber. Is it REALLY that onerous to use a goddamn antenna to potentially slash $10-20/month from your monthly bill without sacrificing anything besides one or two square feet of space and 5-50 feet of coax (coax that's probably ALREADY THERE from an earlier cable or satellite subscription)? I mean, I could almost see paying for locals if you lived in rural Iowa or a small far-fringe town in South Dakota... but Jesus H. Christ, 85% of Americans statistically live within 20 miles of their region's transmitter towers, and could almost get an acceptable signal with a LITERAL fsck'ing coat hanger.

2. Forced inclusion of ESPN and Disney. These two channel families individually cost more than the sum total of ALL the remaining cable channels in most "skinny" bundles. ESPN and Disney love to play hardball & require inflicting their channels on all subscribers as a condition of making them available to any. At least, until SlingTV told them both to fuck off and launched its service without them to prove it was willing to do it, until ESPN and Disney came back to the negotiating table willing to bargain. This is why SlingTV is relatively cheap compared to everyone else (at least, SlingTV without Disney & ESPN).

IMHO, the golden era of satellite TV was Voom... HD and exceptionally high-quality minimally-compressed SD channels via satellite, with an antenna fed to your box's second coax input. From a usability standpoint, it was all one coherently-numbered channel lineup, because the box simply grabbed the signal from the satellite or OTA antenna as appropriate & sent it to the TV. Dish & DirecTV did the same thing for HD customers, until they finished launching their new constellations whose sole purpose was to retransmit local channels and made paying for them mandatory.

Xbox One November Update Arrives With Google Assistant, Gamertag Updates, More

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft's November 2019 update for Xbox One consoles is now headed out to everyone. From a report: After a period of testing with Xbox Insiders, several new features are now rolling out to the public, including Google Assistant support, the option to use any Gamertag, text filters, and more. Perhaps the biggest update here is support for Google Assistant. While it doesn't run on your Xbox, Google Assistant support allows you to issue commands to control your Xbox from your phone or smart speaker. It works much like the Amazon Echo integration that hit Xbox consoles several months ago, letting you turn your Xbox on, launch games, and more with your voice. The Gamertag updates in the November 2019 update bring more choice to players on consoles. Microsoft announced a plan earlier this year to revamp Gamertags, allowing you to choose any name you want. If you pick a Gamertag that's already taken, you'll have a numbered suffix added to it. "With the November 2019 Xbox Update, these gamertag options are now supported on console, including profiles, friend lists, messages, Clubs, LFG and more," Microsoft says.

Billboards Love Streaming Wars Because That's Where Ads End Up

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Streaming services are the hottest thing in entertainment these days. But when it comes to getting the word out about the newest offerings, it's traditional media that often benefits. From a report: Apple, Disney and other big tech and media giants are increasingly turning to outlets like TV, billboards and newspapers to promote their new online products. Spending on broadcast and cable ads by streaming services jumped 19% to $209 million over the past 10 weeks, according to data from researcher ISpot.TV. The biggest spender was Apple, which launched its Apple TV+ service on Nov. 1. It accounted for almost one-quarter of the spending, followed closely behind by , with $37 million in TV ad purchases.

"Television is the easiest place to find people who like TV," said Brian Wieser, global president of business intelligence for GroupM, the ad buying unit of WPP. Disney, which introduced its new Disney+ streaming service on Tuesday, relied heavily on its own networks for marketing. Ads ran on ESPN's Monday Night Football, while ABC aired the first episode of the service's new "High School Musical" series the Friday before the launch. The company also promoted the service on its radio network and in the hotel rooms at its theme parks.

AppleTV+ ads are on other streaming services

By drinkypoo • Score: 3 • Thread

Who cares about television? You advertise on other streaming services if you want to find people willing to pay for streaming services.

Billboards are cheap to put ads on. You do have to police them, though. If they degrade, nobody will tell you, or fix it... unless you complain to the ad company that owns them.

Re:AppleTV+ ads are on other streaming services

By omnichad • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You advertise on other streaming services if you want to find people willing to pay for streaming services.

You're correct on one point. If my streaming provider started showing advertising, that would be a certain way to get me to move to another product.

Disney + and 'The Mandalorian' Are Driving People Back To Torrenting

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: A simple glance at torrent websites shows that plenty of people are stealing from the brand new steaming services -- episodes of The Mandalorian and Dickinson all have hundreds or thousands of seeders and are among the most popular shows on torrent sites. I reached out specifically to Disney, Apple, and Netflix to ask what their policy was on going after pirated content, and haven't heard back, but it's obvious that these companies assume that at least some of their viewers aren't paying the full price for their services. Given that you can watch as many as six simultaneous streams with Apple TV+, and four with Disney+ and the top Netflix package, the more common form of piracy -- password sharing -- is built into the system. But for pirates who don't have any access to the legit services, what makes stealing content particularly appealing in this age is that there are few if any people who face consequences for the crime.

Since the discontinuation of the "six strikes" copyright policy in 2017, there's been lax enforcement of copyright laws. Rather than going after individuals for exorbitant fines for downloading a handful of songs like copyright holders did a decade ago, enforcement these days has focused on the providers of pirated content, with the much more efficient goal of taking down entire streaming sites rather than just a few of their visitors. Of course, as the continued resilience of The Pirate Bay shows, the current strategy isn't particularly effective at stopping piracy, either. But it does mean that those who only download already-stolen content are safer than they've ever been.

Obligatory oatmeal

By tangent3 • Score: 3 • Thread

Obligatory oatmeal

Re:"Driven to piracy?"

By WolfgangVL • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Following your logic, we're stealing stuff back.

Every time copyright is extended, decades of content is taken at gunpoint from the public domain.

Re:"Driven to piracy?"

By SuiteSisterMary • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

By that logic, anybody that cares to should be able to download GPL software, modify it, then sell it for profit without releasing their source. After all the original creator hasn't 'lost' his code. He can continue to 'provide it.' So why should somebody that wants the benefit of his work be forced to comply with the conditions under which he's released his work?

This is the age of apps like Plex, too.....

By King_TJ • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The content providers seem to think everyone has shifted from having any interest in owning and controlling their own copies of content to being content to pay subscriptions for permission to stream it.

I'd counter that's really only true for the consumer who doesn't care a whole lot about the music, video or movie content except that he/she wants to be entertained by "something good" on-demand. Granted? That makes up a LOT of people, and the industries like Disney are going to make a fortune from them.

But you've also got a lot of younger and/or less experienced subscribers, who haven't yet been burned multiple times by paying for services who arbitrarily took away a lot of their favorites that they just assumed would always be there as long as they kept paying the monthly or annual fee.

And the big fans of specific shows or bands are always going to want to ensure they have their content readily accessible.

Today, it's possible to "go digital" and phase out physical collections of CDs or DVDs (even Blu-Ray) by setting up a home media server of your own. Apps like Plex do a beautiful job of enabling this, and even allow streaming your collection to a designated group of personal friends or family members as well as to your own mobile devices for on-the-go watching or listening. But thanks to the industry's copy protection slapped on the physical media people purchase, and thanks to some content only being available via streaming subscription? People resort to torrents, Usenet groups, and other sources to "pirate" digital copies with the protection already removed for them. Then, it can be added to their media server for convenient use as desired, and no more risk of a provider pulling it.

Re:"Driven to piracy?"

By DontBeAMoran • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

It's worst in Canada. There's so many commercials that news programs are down to 22 minutes.

The Org That Doles Out .Org Websites Just Sold Itself To a For-Profit Company

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Today, the Public Interest Registry (PIR), which maintains the .org top-level domain, announced that it will be acquired by Ethos Capital, a private equity firm. From a report: This move will make PIR, previously a non-profit domain registry, officially part of a for-profit company -- which certainly seems at odds with what .org might represent to some. Originally, ".org" was an alternative to the ".com" that was earmarked for commercial entities, which lent itself to non-profit use. That's not all: On June 30th, ICANN, the non-profit that oversees all domain names on the internet, agreed to remove price caps on rates for .org domain names -- which were previously pretty cheap. Seems like something a for-profit company might want. Removing price caps wasn't exactly a popular idea when it was first proposed on March 18th. According to Review Signal, only six of the more than 3,000 public comments on the proposal were in favor of the change.

who gets the sales money?

By j-beda • Score: 3 • Thread

When a non-profit gets sold, who gets the money?

I suppose a non-profit still has an owner, unlike a charity which is more "community" owned. But should an owner be allowed to start a "non-profit", use that status to grow the business, and then sell the business an "make bank"?

Another ICANN machination

By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

This is just another ICANN scheme. The former CEO of ICANN is now one of the guys behind the Ethos Capital purchase and the former ICANN guys are with this new Ethos Capital group. The PIR guys are also involved with Ethos. Unbelievable what ICANN still gets away with.

Re:who gets the sales money?

By whoever57 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

When a non-profit gets sold, who gets the money?

When you form a non-profit, you have to spell out how any assets would be distributed if it is liquidated. Naturally, distributing to the owners isn't one of the options for a valid 501c(3). You have to spell out other charities (or types of charities) that would receive the funds.

good rules of thumb

By liquid_schwartz • Score: 3 • Thread

Today, the Public Interest Registry (PIR), which maintains the .org top-level domain, announced that it will be acquired by Ethos Capital, a private equity firm.

Anything with 'Capital' in the name is probably a bit of a scam or rent seeker with little or no actual value added. Along the same lines anything described as 'private equity' is usually like locusts that eat value then move on leaving little behind. That the two often go together is no surprise.

Re:Not the first time

By Gavagai80 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The reason for a company to purchase the .org registry is to avoid competition. You can't charge $100/year for gTLDs these days because new registrants have choice. The solution? Buy .org, which has tens of millions of mostly very old well-established domains. The owners of all those websites don't want to lose their branding and site traffic by trying to migrate an established site to a new domain name -- especially if those owners are non-profit organizations which move slowly or small operators who can't afford a marketing campaign to establish the new brand/URL.

This is the perfect opportunity to raise prices by 500% or more, accept a perhaps 40% max drop in customer count (still leaving you with millions of customers), and rake in huge profits for at least a few years.

Google Almost Made 100,000 Chest X-rays Public -- Until it Realized Personal Data Could Be Exposed

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Two days before Google was set to publicly post more than 100,000 images of human chest X-rays, the tech giant got a call from the National Institutes of Health, which had provided the images: Some of them still contained details that could be used to identify the patients, a potential privacy and legal violation. From a report: Google abruptly canceled its project with NIH, according to emails reviewed by The Washington Post and an interview with a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. But the 2017 incident, which has never been reported, highlights the potential pitfalls of the tech giant's incursions into the world of sensitive health data. Over the course of planning the X-ray project, Google's researchers didn't obtain any legal agreements covering the privacy of patient information, the person said, adding that the company rushed toward publicly announcing the project without properly vetting the data for privacy concerns. The emails about Google's NIH project were part of records obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request. Google's ability to uphold data privacy is under scrutiny as it increasingly inserts itself into people's medical lives. The Internet giant this week said it has partnered with health-care provider Ascension to collect and store personal data for millions of patients, including full names, dates of birth and clinical histories, in order to make smarter recommendations to physicians. But the project raised privacy concerns in part because it wasn't immediately clear whether patients had consented to have their files transferred from Ascension servers or what Google's intentions were.

google selling Health data?? we need single player

By Joe_Dragon • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

google selling Health data?? we need single player badly to take the profit out of Healthcare. USA pays the most and we rank lower then Cuba.

"Until it Realized Personal Data Could Be Exposed"

By bagofbeans • Score: 3 • Thread

Google realized nuthink. It had to be told, and probably told hard.

This is Stupid

By Paxtez • Score: 3 • Thread

I was curious what sort of data since the summary was vague. Buried in the middle of a random paragraph:

QUOTE: ...found dozens of images still included personally identifying information, including the dates the X-rays were taken and distinctive jewelry that patients were wearing when the X-rays were taken, the emails show.

So, not names, no birth dates, or even medical record numbers. But jewelry and maybe the date. In a few dozen images out of a 100,000 images.

Machine Learning is already better at spotting a lot of different diseases / conditions than trained professionals. This is good technology that will save many lives that should be encouraged.

Re:google selling Health data?? we need single pla

By spun • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

In France, doctor's make $80/year on average, and they have no shortage of doctors. Their health care system costs them less, per capita, with better health outcomes than we have.

And for your information, salary is not profit. it's an expense. Nobody, I mean literally nobody, is talking about getting rid of salaries. No US plan I've heard of even talks about reducing salaries. It's reducing drug costs and big pharma profits that will net us most of our savings in a single payer situation. Monopsony beats monopoly every time.

Re: google selling Health data?? we need single pl

By spun • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Did you read the article? They're not on strike for higher pay! They are striking to KEEP public hospitals public, even though private hospitals would pay more. Christ.

Your family in France may be unimpressed, but that does not change the fact that France's health outcomes are better than ours in every key metric like infant mortality rates and average longevity. I just changed insurance providers and I had to wait six months to just get a routine checkup, because no clinics in my plan were accepting new patients. And when I was seen, I had to drive twenty miles. Let's not pretend that our experiment with for profit medicine has been at all successful. It has done nothing but prove the free market fails to deliver quality, affordable health care.

Taiwan Stops Selling Huawei Phones That Identify It as Part of China

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Taiwan suspended sales of three Huawei smartphone models that identify Taiwan as part of China, striking a fresh blow in a long-running conflict over references to sovereignty. From a report: Phone carriers were ordered to stop offering Huawei's P30, P3O Pro and Nova 5T models starting Thursday because their displays included the words "Taiwan, China" for time zones and contacts, said Peter Niou, a deputy director at the National Communications Commission in Taipei. The reference impairs Taiwan's "national dignity," Niou said. The halt adds Huawei to the list of global brands, from Coach and Givenchy to JPMorgan, that have had to respond to the sovereignty dispute between separately governed Taiwan and China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory. The two fashion brands, owned by companies in the U.S. and France, apologized to China's government after offering T-shirts that identified Taiwan as a country.

Roll over again...

By jenningsthecat • Score: 3 • Thread

...two fashion brands ...apologized to China's government after offering T-shirts that identified Taiwan as a country

Go kiss some more totalitarian ass you bloated capitalist pig-fuckers.

Isn't Taiwan part of China?

By omnichad • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I thought both sides agreed that Taiwan was part of China, but disagreed on which side (ROC or PRC) had sovereignty over both Mainland China and Taiwan.

Re:Isn't Taiwan part of China?

By twocows • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I came here to say that. Both the ROC (Republic of China) and the PRC (People's Republic of China) can be shortened to "China." While the short form "China" typically refers to the latter (aka mainland China), you'd think Taiwan (aka the ROC) would actually prefer that the shorthand "China" not "belong" to the PRC, as it's part of their official name, too.

That said, it was most likely an excuse to bar the sales of a mainland Chinese brand. I support that result either way.

Re: Isn't Taiwan part of China?

By billyswong • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Taiwan is under constant threat of China that if people ever dare to change the constitution of ROC, China will reopen the war. There are often unofficial talk by Chinese that a military-unification in such case shall be "keep island not people", which strongly hint they are blood-thirst for massacre and full scale ethnic cleansing.

So, no. A rational human won't do the change of constitution you talk of when you got a mad neighbor wielding nuclear bombs on hand.

Re:Isn't Taiwan part of China?

By Zontar_Thing_From_Ve • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I thought both sides agreed that Taiwan was part of China, but disagreed on which side (ROC or PRC) had sovereignty over both Mainland China and Taiwan.

It's far more complicated than this. What you have unwittingly done is equivalent to me finding out that your mother voted for a Republican governor in the last election your state had and deciding you must have voted Republican too. To give you a short version of events...

The KMT was the political party that Sun Yat Sen founded and ruled China before the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) won the Civil War in China in 1949. Chiang Kai Shek was the last KMT president in China and his government fled to Taiwan to theoretically continue to Civil War against the CCP. The CCP has never ruled Taiwan. Taiwan was sort of returned to China at the end of WWII but the legal document is vague and from a strictly legal standpoint, a lot of things were undefined and it's not totally clear exactly who Taiwan was given back to. China under Chiang took control of it, but again, the document is kind of vague that covers it. Some have argued that it was technically given to the USA, although the USA has never claimed Taiwan.

Chaing had hoped to relaunch the Civil War from Taiwan and retake the mainland and for a very long time, government officials who fled to Taiwan with him asserted that they were the legal government of China, but in exile. The government in China under Chiang was the Republic of China (ROC) and this term is still used in Taiwan to this day, but it only refers to Taiwan now. As late as 1966 there were plans to restart the Civil War and invade China, but Chiang finally put an end to that thinking. After his death, his son took over as President of Taiwan and enacted great political reforms, including the legalization of opposition parties to the KMT. The largest of the opposition parties is the Democratic Progressive Party )DPP) and they currently hold the presidency of Taiwan. The DPP and parties that share similar ideology are referred to as "pan-green parties" in Taiwan politics, with the KMT and its allies being "pan-blue parties". The argument that Taiwan is an independent country right now has been advocated by many in the pan-green parties. Since Taiwan is roughly split in half between pan-green and pan-blue supporters (much like the US is almost equally divided between Republican and Democratic supporters) about half of Taiwan would have a problem with your statement that Taiwan is part of China. The 4 years or so between the end of WWII and the fleeing to Taiwan by the KMT did not provide enough time to integrate Taiwan back into mainland China, so you can make a case that since Japan forced China to cede Taiwan to them in 1895, Taiwan has never really been part of China. At a minimum the CCP has never ruled it. And the KMT does indeed proclaim that Taiwan is part of China without really defining what exactly "China" means although the KMT no longer asserts that it is a government in exile for all of China.

Apple To Remove Vaping Apps From Store

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Amid growing health concerns over e-cigarettes, Apple will remove all 181 vaping-related apps from its mobile App Store this morning, Axios reports. From a report: The move comes after at least 42 people have died from vaping-related lung illness, per the CDC. Most of those people had been using cartridges containing THC, though some exclusively used nicotine cartridges. The company has never allowed the sale of vape cartridges directly from apps. But there were apps that let people control the temperature and lighting of their vape pens, and others provided vaping-related news, social networks and games.

No vaping in the Walled Garden

By mschaffer • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

While I don't condone vaping, I support the right for people to have vaping-related apps. But, I suppose that Mother Apple knows best.
(I wonder if Mother Apple wears a suit like Mom does?)

Re:No vaping in the Walled Garden

By bistromath007 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"I don't condone vaping."

Either you don't know what the word "condone" means, or you've got a major stick up your ass about other peoples' business.

So, back to traditional smoking then?

By gweihir • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This whole thing is beyond ridiculous and is bordering into evil now. Classical smoking kills masses of people, vaping is much, much safer, even with the (now identified bad THC liquids) in the picture. But the "new" thing gets measured on standards that the old thing could not satisfy in a million years and people are now pushed in entirely the wrong direction.

Truly bizarre

By squiggleslash • Score: 3 • Thread

Yes, there are (overstated by those hyping them, understated by those hyping vaping) health risks, but it's not as if these apps exist to promote vaping or nicotine use. They are presumably used by people who have already made the decision to vape. And a sizable number of vapers, hopefully the majority, have decided to vape in order to stop using a far more deadly way of feeding their addiction.

I'm not getting the anti-vaping stuff right now. Clearly the industry needs regulation, but it's an industry that's migrating people from an extremely unsafe practice to a far safer version and saving a non-trivial number of lives in the process.

Re:No vaping in the Walled Garden

By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

In this context, condone means "approve or sanction". But not condoning is not the same thing as condemning. Before you concern yourself with the stick up your neighbor's ass, first remove the log from your own.

A Jury of Random People Can Do Wonders For Facebook

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Jonathan Zittrain, co-founder of Harvard's Berkman Klein Center, writes about how and why Facebook might take inspiration from the U.S. jury system in reviewing the truth value of political ads. An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from the article: What we need are ways for decisions about content to be made, as they inevitably must be when platforms rank and recommend content for us to see; for those decisions yet not to be too far-reaching or stiflingly consistent, so there is play in the joints; and for the deep stakes of those decisions to be matched by the gravity and reflectiveness of the process to make them. Facebook recently announced plans for an "independent oversight board," a tribunal that would render the company's final judgment on whether a disputed posting should be taken down. But far more than its own version of the Supreme Court, Facebook needs a way to tap into the everyday common sense of regular people. Even Facebook does not trust Facebook to decide unilaterally which ads are false and misleading. So if the ads are to be weighed at all, someone else has to render judgment.

In the court system, legislators write laws, and lawyers argue cases, but juries of ordinary people are typically the finders of fact and judges of what counts as "reasonable" behavior. This is less because a group of people plucked from the phone book is the best way to ascertain truth -- after all, we don't use that kind of group for any other fact-finding. Rather, it's because, when done honorably, with duties taken seriously, deliberation by juries lends legitimacy and credibility to the machinations of the legal system.

What they need are consistent standards

By onyxruby • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Time and again "fact check" sites tend to very quickly reveal their bias. Take Snopes for example. What used to be a favorite fact checking site quickly became a partisan joke once they got into politics. When they started 'fact checking' the Babylon Bee (a satire and spoof site like the Onion) you knew they had jumped the shark. The result is no different than the NY Times or Washington Post. If your liberal you accept their results, if your conservative you dismiss their results for their known liberal bias. People who are liberal likewise will reject conservative sites for what they see as conservative bias. Unfortunately most fact checking website are worthless for the public at large as they are seen as partisan echo chambers.

Pick your fact check site and you can pretty quickly find any number of examples of 'facts' that they got wrong. Here's just one set of examples, you can readily find many others with a little bit of searching.

As memory serves Facebook's original foray into fact checking were questionable at best:

In order for the public at large to have faith in fact checking results Facebook needs to:
* Employ fact checkers in proportionate numbers for liberal, independents and conservatives
* Hold their fact checkers responsible
* Acknowledge when they get it wrong
* Quickly update their fact checking results when they get it wrong

Re:Truth is simple, lies are complex

By SirAstral • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"(and hyper-hard in the case of conservatives who do not value facts or truth as much as they value tribalist identity)"

The fact that you are only pointing out conservatives here when this is a problem everyone has pretty much shows you are exactly what you accuse others of being.

If people are rejecting your preferred news sites do you think it might be cause they feel that they cannot trust them?

I read everyone's news because no one is without bias. And it is my opinion that anyone bitching about the bias in news is a moron that should be busy minding their own because they lack the intellectual capacity to be productive for others when it comes to disseminating truth!

When people bitch about having just stepped in shit... they are talking about having just experienced a person like you.

You mean a group of easily manipulated fools?

By gweihir • Score: 3 • Thread

Because that is pretty much what the average jury seems to be. Apparently general incompetence and not following current events are requirements to be on one.

Re:Truth is simple, lies are complex

By gweihir • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

That's why you need to remind people of the lies, otherwise they forget, and since the truth is the most simple answer, it will win.

Actually, that is not true at all. Things people remember and believe they understand (usually falsely) are simple. Hence any good demagogue will push simple statements, never complex ones. "Mexicans/Arabs/[some other people] are raping out daughters." "Drugs are bad." "We are the greatest country on the planet." "A wall will keep us safe." "The others are the bad guys." and so on. None of these are true in this absolute form and many are outright lies. Yet they are all simple and all of these get used time and again in some form or other to manipulate people and they _work_.

And on the other hand, in the age of Science, actual truth can get very complicated and is often only accessible to experts and people investing significant time.

Re:What they need are consistent standards

By swillden • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It's easy to say that we're going to find a bunch of unbiased people to do our fact checking. I would imagine that all of the fact checking websites claim to have done exactly that.

That's exactly the wrong approach, and I would hope that none of the fact-checking websites make that claim, because no one who has seriously thought about the problem could possibly believe that it can work.

The right approach is to find a bunch of people who commit to demanding high standards of evidence, and to actively seek out disconfirming evidence -- for all claims but especially for the claims that agree with their own biases. The way to de-bias isn't to suppress bias, it's to identify bias and work specifically to counter it. This applies not only to political bias but also to all of the many cognitive biases that all of us have.

Better to acknowledge and own your bias. Once you have done that than you can take steps to mitigate the bias.

Completely agree.

Physicists Irreversibly Split Photons By Freezing Them In a Bose-Einstein Condensate

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Physicists from the University of Bonn and the University of Cologne have succeeded in cooling photons down to a Bose-Einstein condensate, causing the light to collect in optical "valleys" from which it can no longer return. The findings have been published in the journal Science. Phys.Org reports: A light beam is usually divided by being directed onto a partially reflecting mirror: Part of the light is then reflected back to create the mirror image. The rest passes through the mirror. "However, this process can be turned around if the experimental set-up is reversed," says Prof. Dr. Martin Weitz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Bonn. If the reflected light and the part of the light passing through the mirror are sent in the opposite direction, the original light beam can be reconstructed. The physicist investigates exotic optical quantum states of light. Together with his team and Prof. Dr. Achim Rosch from the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Cologne, Weitz was looking for a new method to generate optical one-way streets by cooling the photons: As a result of the smaller energy of the photons, the light should collect in valleys and thereby be irreversibly divided. The physicists used a Bose-Einstein condensate made of photons for this purpose, which Weitz first achieved in 2010, becoming the first to create such a "super-photon."

A beam of light is thrown back and forth between two mirrors. During this process, the photons collide with dye molecules located between the reflecting surfaces. The dye molecules "swallow" the photons and then spit them out again. "The photons acquire the temperature of the dye solution," says Weitz. "In the course of this, they cool down to room temperature without getting lost." By irradiating the dye solution with a laser, the physicists increase the number of photons between the mirrors. The strong concentration of the light particles combined with simultaneous cooling causes the individual photons to fuse to form a "super-photon," also known as Bose-Einstein condensate.
"Perhaps quantum computers might one day use this method to communicate with each other and form a kind of quantum Internet," says Weitz.

Re:But light already is bosons!

By fazig • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Scratch that 90's. My bad. It was 2010.

Quantum magic

By Dunbal • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
This stuff is all done with mirrors...

gobbledygook buzzword soup

By goombah99 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I have not read the scientific paper but this write up of it makes it sure sound like a load of rubbish. Emission of photons from excited dye molecules imples a population inversion which isn't usually how one describes cooling in a conventional sense. One might consider these even to be negative temperatures but that's ill defined thermodynamic where many conventional conceptions go wrong and the language we normally use introduces confusion.

Additionally people conflate so many ideas about what is a photon? When photon is interacting with matter we might call this a photon but thats sort of a factorization of the shrodinger equation into terms that look like a conventional photon, terms that look like matter and a whole bunch of cross terms we hope are really small so that terms like "dipole" and "polarization" are useful to describe the additional phenomena that happens beyond just plain ole photons and ye olde matter. BUt when all those cross terms get as big as the ordinary terms then it's not really a photon. All sorts of weird shit happens and if you keep saying it's a photon then you are fitting a square peg into a round hole language wise.

And when describing coupled entangledments of photons, singling out the photon again gets goofy.

Reminds me of all the nonsense spoken about Vortex light. Vortex light does not have orbital angular momentum because photon orbital angular moment is something entirely different. Yet people talk that way and it's confusing. There's a simple irrefutable proof that vortex light isn't a new form of light with orbital angular momentum, its just a different basis set with the same number of degrees of freedom as ordniary light. Yet the aura of mystery in discussing becomes buzzword enriched. beyond comprehension


By dtmos • Score: 3 • Thread

What does it mean to "cool" a photon? Since the magnitude of its velocity is constant, does this just mean that a high-energy (i.e., short-wavelength) photon becomes a low-energy (i.e., long-wavelength) photon?

Or is there a subtlety I am missing?

The Black Death Plague Just Reappeared In China

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
At least two people in China are under close observation and are receiving treatment for infections of the same plague that devastated Europe in the mid-1300s. The two confirmed cases originated in north China and were confirmed by doctors in Beijing earlier this week. From a report: The pneumonic variant of the plague, which affects the lungs, can easily spread to others through the air. It is one of the three main forms of plague infection, alongside bubonic and septicemic, but it's believed that the pneumonic form was largely responsible for the rapid spread of plague during the Black Death pandemic that wiped out as much as half of Europe's population centuries ago. While it hasn't led to a full-scale pandemic for some time, plague -- a bacterial infection that is treated with antibiotics -- is known to persist in certain animal populations across Asia as well as the Americas and Africa. The pneumonic form, however, is rare and considered to be a more serious threat. It is almost always deadly if not promptly treated. China's Xinhua news agency didn't provide many details on the condition of the two patients or if they had contact with others. The report simply notes that "relevant disease prevention and control measures have been taken."

Pneumonica can't be always deadly

By Viol8 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Otherwise humanity would have gone extinct in the 14th century. Our ancestors are the survivors who were resistent which is probably why plagues caused by this disease eventually died out long before modern antibiotics came on the scene.

Re:Pneumonic or Bubonic

By Dunbal • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Pneumonic spreads like wildfire and is highly lethal, but it spreads so fast it burns itself out because it runs out of people to kill. It's a danger in densely populated urban areas. Bubonic plague is slower and gives the carrier more time to spread the love, allowing it to reach places pneumonic plague can't.

Re:No worries...

By dj245 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

There are ten times as many cases per year in the USA than in China, so it is all right then...

10 times as many? Check your facts. In 2017 there were five, generally we average 7 cases per year, of which 80% are bubonic (not airborne). If we assume that the other 20% are pneumonic (airborne) plague, that's 1.4 cases per year of.

China just reported 2 cases of pneumonic plague. And China is often found to be understating (lying) about problems like this.

Re: In before WindBourne gets too excited

By careysub • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

An airborne outbreak (pneumatic instead of lympatic) of the same microorganism;

Not exactly. Same species sure, but pneumonically transmitted Yersinia pestis is a different strain from bubonic or gastrointestinal transmission. For example "One of the major virulence determinants encoded on the pPCP1 plasmid that is required for the development of pneumonic plague is the protease Pla.".

Re:what made the plague so bad was

By careysub • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The plague was not the cause of the deaths, it was a symptom... Plague is not usually not as dangerous as the stories will tell; it was the hunger that made people more susceptible to the plage. That was why large parts of Europe had so many deaths.

This appears to be a muddled recounting of some recent views about the calamitous 14th Century in Europe. There was a catastrophic famine in Europe from 1315-1317 in which full recovery of the food supply for survivors did not occur until 1322. The Black Death arrived in 1347, 25 years after the end of this period of hunger. It is hypthesized that the damage this starvation period had on surviving children led to increased vulnerability to infection that facilitated the catastrophic effects of the plague in mid-life.

As Roger W Moore posts here, we know for a fact that those who were reputed to have died from the plague actually did die from Yersinia pestis infection because we can examine mass graves with DNA analysis.