the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2019-Nov-30 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.

Apple's and Microsoft's 2019 Holiday Ads: Naughty Or Nice?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Long-time Slashdot reader theodp writes: In Apple's 2019 holiday ad The Surprise (YouTube, 11.8M views), the reveal at the end is that two young girls thought to have been frittering away time on their iPads have been making an unforgettable, heartwarming tribute to their recently passed grandmother that brings tears to their grandpa's eyes. "This is a master class in comfy reassurance commercialism," writes Fast Company's Jeff Beer. "It's something we see all the time in advertising, where a product of convenience pitches itself as a problem-solver, simultaneously making you feel less guilty for needing it. Better meals. A cool, organized house. A clean house. Screen time. The emotional journey from haggard travel to family loss to inspirational kids, all set to the soundtrack from perhaps the most tear-inducing scene Pixar ever made? It's a sentimental super weapon."

And in Microsoft's holiday spot Lucy & the Reindeer (YouTube, 66K views), 6-year-old Lucy marches outside and uses her Mom's Surface and Microsoft Translator to question Santa's reindeer ("How do you guys fly? What does Santa do in the summer?") after seeing how Microsoft's Cloud solution enabled her Mom to close a big deal with her Japanese clients without having to understand a word of their language.

So, do the Apple and Microsoft holiday ads appeal to your sentimental or cynical side?

hey theodp

By 110010001000 • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

Look on the bright side theodp: they aren't teaching kids anything so they won't be taking your jerb!

Apple is not a replacement for parenting...

By sizzlinkitty • Score: 3 • Thread

I see bad parents brushing off their parental duty to an electronic babysitting device in the Apple ad, They should be reading books and playing games, not handing them some electronic device.

Re:Apple is not a replacement for parenting...

By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Why should bad parents be reading books and playing games?

So Apple is a Substitute for Bad Parenting Skills?

By WindowsStar • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Completely wrong message and just shows you why kids now-a-days have not manners and no skills to interact with other people. Because you cannot parent you have to use a device to tame and calm your kids. Shame on you. Holy Crap what a horrible commercial. Apple you should be ashamed of yourself.

They don't sway me, personally ...

By King_TJ • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I think because I've worked in I.T. for almost 30 years now, I feel pretty confident I already know what I get for my money from any of these devices. I'm pretty darn familiar with the pros and the cons, and how they change things if you give one to one of your kids or other family members.

With Apple's commercial though? I get the idea it starts out trying to set the viewer up with the idea that they "already know what's happening here; just another lame attempt to sell an iPad as a substitute babysitter for the kids", and then it pivots to the surprise. Turns out the devices aid in the kids being creative and inspirational, as they leverage the technology to interact with the family in a meaningful way.

That's not a bad sales pitch either. But the truth is, it all depends on your kid(s) and their motivations for using a tablet. If you don't steer them towards apps that encourage that kind of creativity, they may just see one as another screen to watch cartoons on, or as another portable game console. Too many parents buy these things and think their kids will just automatically do great things with them, because they're "part of this new generation that understands computers". It really doesn't work that way at all.

Ask Slashdot: Is Your Company Using Linux Desktops?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
SomeoneFromBelgium writes: Yesterday I spoke to a friend of mine who works for a company developing mostly integrated network solutions which are purely Linux-based. He complained that he was unable to convince his IT department to provide him and his fellow developers and testers with a Linux desktop. They stated that "it was more secure when using a VM".

We both agreed that the more likely problem is that the IT department is solely geared towards a Windows desktop environment and that they have neither the skills nor the inclination to support any other platform.

This got me wondering: is this also your experience?

I bet Slashdot's readers have stories to tell, with enlightening experiences in corporate workplaces over the years gone by. So feel free to share your thoughts, opinions, and anecdotes in the comments.

And is your company using Linux desktops?

Re:If not then why are you even on Slashdot?

By ahodgson • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I'm mostly a Linux one-trick pony and happy to be one. Life is too short to have to work on Windows.

Switch the Flip

By RedLeg • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Two points:

First: Somebody has their priorities backwards. IT SUPPORTS the business units who bring in the cash. If you're developing linux-based software, of course you need a native linux environment, not necessarily to develop, but to test and debug as it will be deployed.

Solution: Take this up with management, if you couch the argument correctly, it will come DOWN to IT from on high as a directive, as it should be.

Second: I ran into this problem about 20 years ago, and we lost the argument. SO, per IT, go get VMWare...... and then we cloned the IT weenies Windows install, and ran it in a VM hosted in the linux we installed on our desktops.


  • If it breaks, you own both pieces and all the problems. You ARE your own support. If you call IT to support the unsupported architecture, the game is up.....
  • When on the road, we had to "Switch the Flip", and run the linux in a VM hosted by the IT departments windows image, in order to tunnel home through the corporate, windows only, VPN.

Not sure how much of this is relevant twenty years later, but you get the drift.....


The whole VFX / animation industry does

By exophoric • Score: 3, Informative • Thread
CentOS desktops are the norm in VFX. Artists run proprietary DCC softwares built for Linux such as Maya, Nuke, Houdini, Mari, Arnold, Flame... It's even standardized: Unfortunately, a few software vendors only live in the Win/Mac world (namely Adobe) and force us to dualboot.


By markdavis • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

>"Is Your Company Using Linux Desktops?"

Yes, for as long as we have used desktops. 20 years? Now around 250 of them or so.

>"the IT department is solely geared towards a Windows desktop environment. This got me wondering: is this also your experience?"

Nope, I am in charge of the IT department. That makes it quite a lot easier to design the environment around Linux and mostly open-source software :)

The problem is support

By wyattstorch516 • Score: 3 • Thread
Anybody who has a good proficiency with Linux does not want to do desktop support. In the current market they don't need to either. So how is the IT department supposed to support the users?

How Russian Trolls Spread Propaganda Using Uplifting Tweets

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Two associate professors of communication at Clemson spent two years studying online propaganda and state-affiliated disinformation campaigns on social media. This week in Rolling Stone they explain how professional trolls share uplifting "Trojan horse" tweets meant to gain hundreds of thousands of followers, and then "use that following to spread messages promoting division, distrust, and doubt." Professional disinformation isn't spread by the account you disagree with -- quite the opposite. Effective disinformation is embedded in an account you agree with. The professionals don't push you away, they pull you toward them... The quality of Russia's work has been honed over several years and millions of social media posts. They have appeared on Instagram, Stitcher, Reddit, Google+, Tumblr, Medium, Vine, Meetup, and even Pokemon Go, demonstrating not only a nihilistic creativity, but also a ruthless efficiency in volume of production. Russia's Internet Research Agency (IRA) has been called a "troll farm," but they are undoubtedly a factory...

The factory doesn't stop. They attack issues from both sides, attempting to drive mainstream viewpoints in polar and extreme directions. In a free society, we must accept that bad actors will try to take advantage of our openness. But we need to learn to question our own and others' biases on social media. We need to teach -- to individuals of all ages -- that we shouldn't simply believe or repost anonymous users because they used the same hashtag we did, and neither should we accuse them of being a Russian bot simply because we disagree with their perspective. We need to teach digital civility. It will not only weaken foreign efforts, but it will also help us better engage online with our neighbors, especially the ones we disagree with...

Russia's goals are to further widen existing divisions in the American public and decrease our faith and trust in institutions that help maintain a strong democracy... Their work was never just about elections. Rather, the IRA encourages us to vilify our neighbor and amplify our differences because, if we grow incapable of compromising, there can be no meaningful democracy. Russia has dug in for a long campaign. So far, we're helping them win.

Their article includes specific examples from two accounts later suspended by Twitter.

It also notes that "consistent with past Russian activity, they attacked moderate politicians as a method of bolstering more polarizing candidates."

Re: Not what I'm most afraid of, to be frank.

By whoever57 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

While I agree in principle with the idea that there are too few readers to make a difference, I think that the rate of new account creation appears to be very high. Why? Fewer readers would result in account creation declining, not accelerating.

I can only conclude that the rate of new account creation suggests that /. is being targetted as a place to influence people.

Re: Yeah right

By alvinrod • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Just so you know, you're replying to a fake troll account that has swapped the letters 'rn' in place of an 'm' so that it's hard to spot at a glance. I've noticed a lot of these lately and they just make troll/flamebait comments to get people stirred up.

Article is Very Shallow

By Stolovaya • Score: 3 • Thread

I checked out both the Rolling Stone article and the link to I wasn't able to dig deeply behind the since the details are behind a paywall.

So, this all comes off as incredibly shallow. It doesn't give any examples of the "end game" for these accounts. They show attracting followers using posts that a certain group likes or agrees with. One example is someone sharing a poll about 55% of conservative Christians polled would disown their child if they found out they were a "homo sapiens". I get that it's supposed to build negative feelings towards conservative Christians, but it's a huge leap to say posts like that are what's fostering divide, specifically that it's something that comes from the Russians.

The focus seems to be laser-honed on the source, when the source is rather irrelevant. It feels like it's supposed to remove accountability from the people and puts it more on outside sources. I don't see anything that says that the Russians are the sources of extremists groups/ideologies (they aren't). There are people, people here in the US, who happily back those ideologies.

The focus should be on getting people to back down from the fringes. The extremists are awfully loud. It can be hard because they think that they're moral and correct. From everything I can read, this article comes off as total fear-mongering. It's the same shit as the DNC hacks. The focus is on who was doing the hacks, not what came of those hacks (really bad corruption in the DNC).

This is the problem. We're so determined to lay the blame on anyone but the individual. But I don't see anyone focusing on that, unfortunately. :(

Re:Yeah right

By Mashiki • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

[Citation needed]

Citation given.

Convincing you and the rest of America that all news are the same and not to be rusted is the Russian's greatest achievement to date.

Russia didn't have to do it, the news media did it all on their own. Ever wonder why they're the first ones who attack any new news outlet on the block? And in the last 4 years the news media's response to new kids on the block is to automatically label them as alt-right, nazis, racists, and so on.

Re:Yeah right

By arglebargle_xiv • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

They're not literally supermen because no-one is literally Superman, but the Russians are damn good at what they do. It's the same approach that was used all the way back to the cold war, the US does things by throwing as much money as they can at it, the Russians don't have the money to throw so they work smarter. And when it comes to disinformation and harnessing social media's anger-made-easy capabilities, the Russians are the global masters.

Seriously, they are the masters in this, they have both the expertise and the government backing to make what they do incredibly effective, as well as an endless supply of useful idiots to amplify the message for them.

Genetically-Engineered Microbe No Longer Needs to Eat Food To Grow

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Synthetic biologists have performed a biochemical switcheroo," reports Science magazine: They've re-engineered a bacterium that normally eats a diet of simple sugars into one that builds its cells by absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2), much like plants. The work could lead to engineered microbes that suck CO2 out of the air and turn it into medicines and other high-value compounds.

"The implications of this are profound," says Dave Savage, a biochemist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved with the work. Such advances, he says, could "ultimately make us change the way we teach biochemistry...."

In all, the evolved bacteria picked up 11 new genetic mutations that allowed them to survive without eating other organisms, the team reports today in Cell. "It really shows how amazing evolution can be, in that it can change something so fundamental as cellular metabolism," Milo says.

"The bacteria were given just enough sugar so they wouldn't starve to death," explains long-time Slashdot reader Tangential, "but had access to plenty of CO2 and formate.

"The process of evolution says that life finds a way to cope with stressful conditions like these, and some of the bacteria soon turned to the CO2 as a food source."

The Food is Formate

By careysub • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Bad title. The e. Coli were made into autotrophs, which includes in its definition organisms that derive energy from simple compounds, but make everything else themselves - similar to chemosynthetic bacteria but using one of the simplest carbon compounds - formic acid (HCOOH) and its salts. But they do eat food, the aforementioned formate, to get energy.

This is the only energy source they use (what we usually are thinking about when we say "food") and it makes everything else from CO2 as the carbon source, some of which came from oxidizing formate into CO2 and H2O.

Re:Are you trying to act stupid as a from of humor

By fazig • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
CO2 is a rather low energy state molecule. If an organism is going to utilize an element from that chemical bond it's going to require energy to break that CO2 molecule apart. Plants and some other photosynthetic organisms get that energy from (sun) light.

In this case the microbes do this by making use of the energy in formate that the researches provided it with along with the CO2. The comment #59471700 (at the top of this thread) even pointed out that this is a derivative of formic acid. And formic acid isn't just found anywhere in nature.

Hence you are worrying about nothing essentially.

Re:Which carbon molecules are lower energy?

By fazig • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
I am not a chemist. I'm more from the branch of physics.
And in physics the general idea is that the resulting molecules must be in a lower energy state than before for such a reaction to happen without energy input. The chemists call this 'exothermic'.

Now I can't tell you the energy levels of CO2 vs Al3O2 or whether CO2 + 3 Al -> AL3O2 + C is either +E or -E without looking it up myself.

Naively I would assume that pulling the one carbon from the two oxygens apart is no simple feat, since evolution has not utilized this mechanism where there's no high energy sources around to drive that reaction. But evolution isn't perfect, so this is not a correct assumption.
So I've looked around a bit and found an older book on bond dissociation energies, which is looking at the issue from a different perspective (the energy required to break the bonds):
Page 23 states that CO2 -> CO + O requires 532.2kJ/mol while CO -> C + O requires 1076.4kJ/mol. That would be 1608.6kJ/mol in total to split CO2 first into C + O + O. On page 11 there is AlO -> Al + O that requires 485kJ/mol. This tells me that at least the bond between the Al + O (not sure about Al3O2) is weaker than even the bonds in CO2.
Unfortunately there's no energy listed for a FeO bond so I had to find this .pdf:
It states that the energy of FeO is 409kJ/mol and also confirms the number for the C-O bond.
Given this it makes sense to me that you can reduce FeO + Al -> Fe + AlO since the energy bond in FeO is weaker. CO2 or more specifically CO however is holding together pretty well.

And while I was looking up the energy levels of those molecules I found papers like this one
Though I can't say through what length you have to go to prepare such a catalyst like they used.

Thanks much!

By raymorris • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I really appreciate it.

TLDR of the linked article - efficient catalytic conversion of CO2 appears to be an area of active research, research which shows some hope, but it's not easy.

Can AI Predict the Stock Market? No, But the Attempt Was Interesting

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"We all want to be rich by having a computer just generate piles of money for us," writes long-time Slashdot reader TekBoy. "Here's one man's attempt at using AI to predict the market.

From the article (by tinkerer/writer/network guy Jason Bowling): Models that did great during their initial training and validation runs might do ok during runs on later data, but could also fail spectacularly and burn all the seed money. Half the time the simulation would make money, and half of the time it would go broke. Sometimes it would be just a few percentage points better than a coin toss, and other times it would be far worse. What had happened? It had looked so promising. It finally dawned on me what I had done.

The results cycling around 50% was exactly what you'd expect if the stock price was a random walk. By letting my program hunt through hundreds of stocks to find ones it did well on, it did stumble across some stocks that it happened to predict well for the validation time frame. However, just a few weeks or months later, during a different slice of the random walk, it failed. There was no subtle underlying pattern. The model had simply gotten lucky a few times by sheer chance, and I had cherry picked those instances. It was not repeatable.

Thus, it was driven home -- machine learning is not magic. It can't predict a random sequence, and you have to be very careful of your own biases when training models. Careful validation is critical.

I am sure I will not be the last to fall victim to the call of the old treasure map in the attic, but exercise caution. There are far less random time series to play with if you are looking to learn. Simulate, validate carefully, and be aware of your own biases.

The headline is extra awful

By thecombatwombat • Score: 3 • Thread

Can AI predict the stock market? It didn't work for one guy who immediately says he has no financial background and tried once on a weekend, so let's say no.

Make members of Congress disclose all buys

By rsilvergun • Score: 3 • Thread
on the exchanges the day of the buy. That'll beat any A.I. possible.

Plan for the failures.

By jcr • Score: 3 • Thread

I know someone who runs a fund based on software agents, but he ranks them by performance, and assumes that none will remain on top indefinitely. The trades are made by the algorithms that have performed best over the last year. Last I heard, he was outperforming most managed funds by a healthy margin.


Jason Bowling is an absolute moron

By apparently • Score: 3 • Thread

Thus, it was driven home -- machine learning is not magic. It can't predict a random sequence

This chode thinks that the stock market is random? A stock's price isn't based on any factors? It's just random? Why is the clown allowed to share his opinion about anything?

Not a really smart attempt

By jovius • Score: 3 • Thread

It's rather futile to day trade with an AI, if all it knows is the movement of the stock market (even from a longer time frame). There's no pattern. Maybe in crypto you might get more volatile and playable market in the weekend when enough 'traders' are drunk enough.

What AI should know are all the macroeconomic indicators, companies' news streams, general news streams related to all of the fields, managers' transactions - history of the stock market and trading reactions to various incidents and so on - all the relevant data of all time; even reddit, facebook and twitter posts and all that. That is the only way to try to "beat the market". It's all about information and the patterns are _there_. Stock market is a derivative of that information.

You could then have the AI play the market at an allowed risk factor and an allowed signal strengths of the future trends and events etc, accounting for the human psychology too...

FedEx Warned Not To 'Invade' New York City With Sidewalk Robots

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
" FedEx delivery robots invade New York City streets," read one newspaper's headline, describing the six-wheeled "SameDay" bots that the company is testing in four cities.

But this week New York City told them they're not welcome, CNN reports: The delivery robot, called Roxo, is not actually being tested in New York, but was visiting the city for a special event, a FedEx spokesperson told CNN. Nevertherless, lawyers for the New York City Department of Transportation delivered a cease-and-desist letter to FedEx on Monday, warning that the robots were violating multiple traffic provisions... Motor vehicles are not permitted to operate on New York City sidewalks, and no motor vehicles may be operated without "having at least one hand" on the the steering mechanism any time the vehicle is moving, according to the letter.

"FedEx's robots wouldn't just undercut the jobs of hardworking New Yorkers -- they would be a danger on our crowded streets," Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Mayor Bill De Blasio's deputy press secretary, told CNN.

Robots are coming

By lgw • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

FedEx's robots wouldn't just undercut the jobs of hardworking New Yorkers

Is New York a state where you can't pump your own gas, or am I thinking of New Jersey? This sort of resistance of progress just prevents standard of living from improving. And when it does improve elsewhere, the middle class tends to leave, and that never ends well.


By CrimsonAvenger • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
The new multinational didn't bribe the right people in the City's government?

nyc just made local lawyers mad

By renegade600 • Score: 3 • Thread

and the lawyers were just gearing up for all the money they could have made with all the tripping lawsuits.

'Pre-Crime' AI Is Driving 'Industrial-Scale Human Rights Abuses' In China's Xinjiang Province

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Long-time Slashdot reader clawsoon writes: Among Sunday's releases from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists on leaked Chinese documents about the detention of Xinjiang Uighurs — which they are calling the largest mass internment of an ethnic-religious minority since World War II — is a section on detention by algorithm which "is more than a 'pre-crime' platform, but a 'machine-learning, artificial intelligence (AI), command and control' platform that substitutes artificial intelligence for human judgment...."
"The Chinese have bought into a model of policing where they believe that through the collection of large-scale data run through AI and machine learning that they can, in fact, predict ahead of time where possible incidents might take place, as well as identify possible populations that have the propensity to engage in anti-state anti-regime action," reports James Mulvenon, director of intelligence integration at SOS International LLC, an intelligence and information technology contractor for several U.S. government agencies. "And then they are preemptively going after those people using that data."

The Chinese government responded by calling the leaked documents "fake news."

Re:Everything old is new again

By sg_oneill • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Its the infernal genius of this oppression. "I was just following the AIs orders".

Lets say you have a battlefield of the not too distant at all future, and soldiers go onto the battle field, and an order comes in from AI command "Shoot everyone in this village, the algorithm detects that they are Jihadis". Later down the track it turns out its a village of vegetarian Sufi pacifists who think terrorism is evil and are only shy of american soldiers is due to their pacifist beliefs.

Well heads are going to roll right? But who takes the blame here. The soldier is just "following orders" under the mistaken intelligence that its full of terrorists. What about the brass who made the order then? Well Its a robot. How do you drag a robot in front of a court marshall?

Thats where it gets scary. You have a system that nobody is responsible for anymore. Oh you could yell at the manufacturer. Sure. But you'd struggle to drag a computer programmer in front of a judge and get a conviction on this. He didnt know the computer wanted to murder the hippies. Theres just nobody to take the blame. And that means theres no repurcussions. Well outside of an revenge fueled foreverwar that suits the military industrial complex just fine.

Here be dragons.

Re:Self Fulfilling Prophecy

By Immerman • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

>Isn't it strange that the Western press almost never mentions the Uighurs?

Why? Where's the profit in mentioning the Uighurs? They had their 15 minutes of fame, talking about them more wouldn't sell ads. They're too far away in space and culture to generate the amount of engagement that celebrity gossip or a gruesome local murder will.

Re:Self Fulfilling Prophecy

By HiThere • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

What is the basis for thinking that China, or any other country sized entity, has ever been communist? Certainly not their name, unless you want to consider North Korea to be a Democracy.

It is my assertion that Communism cannot scale to much more than the size of a large village, and even then it's unstable. It is much more adapted to the size of a large family.

The name is not the thing.

If there's one thing the past few years...

By Mascot • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

...has taught me, it's that when someone discredits a claim by stating "fake news", more often than not a more accurate response would have been "touché."

Re:Self Fulfilling Prophecy

By Immerman • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

No conspiracy necessary once capitalism is embraced as a virtue rather than a tool.

The File /var/lib/dbus/machine-id Matters For Your Privacy (and Devuan Fixed It)

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Long-time Slashdot reader jaromil (Denis "Jaromil" Roio) writes: A few days ago Devuan ASCII 2.1 was announced and one update has been overlooked by most media outlets: our dbus patch to re-generate machine-id at every boot.

This patch matters for everyone's privacy and I hope more distributions will follow our example, let alone Debian. We are dealing with important privacy implications: non-consensual user tracking is illegal in many countries and is not even mentioned in the machine-id documentation so far.

"In theory, the machine-id should be a persistent identifier of the current host," explains the README documentation. "In practice, this causes some privacy concerns..."

Re:Why would it be mentioned in upstream docs?

By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Linux is not Unix.

Right, Linux is a Unixlike, and systemd makes it less Unix-like.


Yeah, that's what Homer says when he realizes he did or said something stupid. You're showing uncharacteristic self-awareness there.

Re: that is only for privacy-fags

By rnturn • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

``There's quite a bit of software which uses that setting for licensing.''

Which is about as bad an idea as when software licensing was tied to the system's network MAC or IP address. Change/update that network controller? Replace motherboard? Sure, that doesn't happen often but when it does, you're screwed. I still remember having to beg a vendor to re-license an expensive software package when DEC dropped support for an older Ethernet controller and we replaced it with one for which support would be continuing. Legato used to tie their licensing to networking information and all it took was adding a second network controller to the system to invalidate the licensing of your backup software. I lost count of the number of times that the server teams had discussions with the networking team that, because of software licensing, we couldn't be changing IP addresses at the drop of a hat whenever they had some crazy idea about changing the network architecture.

I can see how "machine-id" might have seemed like a great idea to work around problems with licensing based on components that can be replaced but the proponents of that file completely missed the privacy aspect (or didn't care). What's wrong with the host ID?

Re:man page

By Artem S. Tashkinov • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Most PCs come with embedded NICs whose unique HW address can be read by any application. I don't understand what's all the fuss about.

And then NVIDIA GPUs have unique IDs as well,

grep UUID /proc/driver/nvidia/gpus/*/information

And then we have user-accessible


which uniquely identifies partitions and these UUIDs only change if you reformat the partitions. And then most people have different partition schemes (except the ones who use Windows installed by an OEM).

Then you have a gazillion of unique IDs at



And then you can read your monitor information and even its EDID in some cases from /var/log/Xorg.log

In short, if you're obsessed with your PC being as average as possible and not uniquely identifiable by the software you run you should be using a VM.

Re:Why would it be mentioned in upstream docs?

By caseih • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

There's the unix standard, and then there's the so-called "unix way" or philosophy. Which are you referring to? Systemd remains compatible with sysv init, so you can still implement a posix unix system with systemd and expect things like legacy init scripts and even run levels to still work (debian ran init scripts under systemd for a long time during the transition to systemd targets). Even syslog is still supported, although most distros don't enable it by default for whatever reason (likely that no one but system administrators ever really reads the logs).

In many respects systemd follows the unix philosophy more than the various hacks and subsystems that have been employed by init systems and unix systems in general over the last few decades. Systemd is highly modular; you can install and use the parts you need. The individual parts of systemd generally focus on one thing, and those bits can work together. Sounds a lot like the unix philosophy to me. Instead of having lots of services implement (often poorly) daemonization routines internally, you can have systemd do that. Also process supervision was always a hack in the past. Init scripts meant for one distro might not work quite right on another distro.

There's only 1 truly safe & private computer

By jmccay • Score: 3 • Thread
The only truly safe & private computer is one that is not attached to any network & isolated to one or two people who are routinely tested for violations of policies.

Jimmy Wales' New Social Network Skyrockets To 345,000 Members, Will Hire Journalists

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Jimmy Wales' new social network WT.Social started November with just 1,500 members. Four weeks later, it's skyrocketed up to 345,680 members -- and that's just the beginning.

Next year Wales plans to hire journalists, with the site's users acting as their "editors-in-chief," fulfilling the dreams Wales had for the site's earlier incarnation as a crowd-sourced news platform Wikitribune, reports the journalism magazine Press Gazette: Wikitribune originally employed about ten to 12 journalists who created content and hit publish on stories for the site. But the whole editorial team was laid off in October last year after Wales told them costs were unsustainable with not enough money coming in from crowdfunding and no major investors. [On WT.Social] he instead enabled thousands of users to publish articles, a right that had previously been limited to Wikitribune's staff journalists....

"[T]here was a real feeling that this site was a journalists' website and you as a member are allowed to help them as a junior mini-journalist on the side. And that just didn't really work. Whereas to really foster that sense of community engagement and moral ownership of what they're doing, you kind of want to reverse that and say actually the journalists are here to serve whatever you're interested in so send them out, get them busy, you be the editor-in-chief and direct their work....

"We'll say: 'Here are some of the most active communities, you work for them -- what do they need you to do? What are the things that they want you to look into? Who do they want you to go and hunt down and interview?' So it's really putting journalists at the disposal of people who are in a certain area."

Wales tell the Press Gazette that his original WikiTribune site had had a design that was "too intimidating" for non-journalists. "People felt like 'okay I have to go and write a whole big piece, edit it, publish it, all of that' rather than just sharing, interacting in a much more casual way..."

"So far [on WT Social] that's proven to be overwhelmingly true," Wales added. On his new site users are signed up for four "subwikis" by default -- Internet News, Long Reads, Fighting Misinformation, and Upcoming Newsworthy Events -- and this has started some good conversations. "People come on the platform and they're discussing things, sharing things, writing things in a much more fluid way."

WT.Social is currently looking for volunteer laravel or vue developers, as well as admins, and there's even a paid position as a community assistant.

Wikipedia mated with Reddit

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Funny • Thread
Looks like a Wikipedia made love with Reddit and resulted a handicapped Slashdot.

Where is the WT social news link?

By thereitis • Score: 3 • Thread

Do I need to login to read the news?

Already Leftist

By wispoftow • Score: 3 • Thread

Following the herd, I signed up to see what it’s all about and to see whether I could help. The email from “Fiona Apps” concludes with:

“Everyone is welcome, but I'd like to make a special call for women, LGBTQIA, and non-white folks. You are under-represented in online moderation, and as such online moderation does not protect you as it should. Let's change that, together...”

In other words, another so-called Progressive site that is just as regressive as what it claims to overthrow. Thanks, but no thanks.

Sorry, can't stand Creepy Wales.

By BAReFO0t • Score: 3 • Thread

Wikipedia has done enough damage with its centralized system, giving the power to delete ALL the edits, to exactly those with enough of an agenda, obsession and free time, that they should not be allowed to do that. Yeah yeah, "everyone" who disagrees with them and their convenient definition of credibility and notability is a vandalizing conspiracy theorist by definition, especially when they are not. We know the drill.

Now go ahead and tell me how I have to prove to you that I am not a conspiracy theorist for being allowed to make that statement. Which of course is a trick question, since as long as I disagee with you, that's what I shall be. Nevermind that my very argument is that we should not let conspiracy theorists and other crazy people with an agenda run important things like news. Even if their conspiracy theory is that everyone is a conspiracy theorist.
(Congratulations if you read that far. ;)

Re:Already Leftist

By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Aha, so here is the crux of your claim. Your claim is that white people have certain common "views and values". And presumably non-whites have different "views and values".That is wrong and that is what makes you SJWs disgusting creatures and racists. We are all individuals. You think just because a person has certain skin pigmentation, or chooses to fuck a particular type of person they must have things in "common". Guess what? We don't.

Earth is Getting Windier -- Which Helps Wind Turbines Generate More Green Energy

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"The world is getting windier," reports WBUR, citing a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. And they add that this could actually be a boon to wind farm operators, "since faster wind means more efficient wind turbines."

Researchers analyzed decades of weather data and determined global wind speeds have risen dramatically over the past 10 years... Princeton University scholar Timothy Searchinger, one of the study's authors, says researchers expect wind speed to continue to increase, he says, which has multiple positive effects. Green energy through wind turbines will see these impacts. "When you increase the wind speed by a little bit, you still increase the power quite a lot," he says...

As a result of increasing wind speed, the average wind turbine generated roughly 17% more electricity in 2017 than it did in 2010, the study found...

Now, humans can capitalize on this change for at least the next decade, he says. "When you size wind turbines, you can size them differently to take advantage of that additional power," he says. "That's really the key point, is that if we can predict these changing patterns 10 years in advance, we can size our turbines so that they take advantage of the maximum amount of wind that is reasonable and economical."

Re:The Climate is balancing itself

By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

That makes sense. That is why the Earth grew all those wind turbines in order to keep itself balanced.

So is

By ArchieBunker • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

SuperKendall. Put a turbine in front of that guy's mouth and you can mine bitcoins all day!

Re:TFS is worthless

By LynnwoodRooster • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
What part of cyclical do you not understand? What happens when that cycle turns down - and you start losing all that power. And, due to your giddiness now, you've decommissioned all the dispatchable power so you have no backstop for the loss in wind power as the cycle turns back down?

Only takes a little extra windspeed, too.

By Ungrounded Lightning • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Also: It only takes a little extra windspeed to get a lot of extra power.

Wind power is proportional to the CUBE of the wind speed, so a 26% wind speed increase doubles the available energy.

Wind is ugly.

By backslashdot • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

We need solar or nuclear .. I mean FFS I flew across the country and there is so much desert in this country! And no I am not in Mongolia, I am in the US. Why the hell aren't we putting solar panels out there? Are we dumb?

To power the entire of the USA's energy needs, we only need to cover an area smaller than West Virginia with present-day average solar panels. If we built that, our presidents will no longer have to touch balls and perform fellatio on Saudi kings. Think about that, and then you have to ask how much do we really need West Virginia?

OK wait sorry I didn't know your grandma lives there .. turns out we can literally and figuratively fit like four West Virginias just in the Mojave desert .. whose grandma lives in the Mojave desert?.. Nobody's. So now why the hell don't we do that? It doesn't all have to be in the Mojave .. but I am saying we could put a big amount of them there. We also have 2000 square miles of rooftops in the US .. we spread some there.

This is the land coverage to provide energy we need:

As for nuclear, yeah we should do that too btw .. stop being a wuss about it.

Netflix Cancels Rebooted 'Mystery Science Theatre 3000'

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Netflix's reboot of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 made this year's "Best Of" lists from both The New York Times and Rotten Tomatoes. Yet apparently their bosses didn't like them, and have shot them into space.

Forbes reports: In a controversial move poisoning Thanksgiving for many indie comedy fans, Mystery Science Theater 3000 host Jonah Ray tweeted that Netflix has cancelled the young reboot after two seasons... The reprise of Mystery Science Theater 3000 -- whose maiden incarnation made hordes of fans airing on Comedy Central and Syfy throughout the '90s -- ran on Netflix for two seasons and 20 episodes beginning in 2017 after a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign by creator Joel Hodgon fueled its return.

"We don't know what the future holds for the show," Ray added in a later tweet, "it always seemed to figure out how to survive. From Comedy Central to Syfy. Then kept alive by RIFFTRAX & Cinematic Titan. Whatever happens, I want everybody to know that getting a chance to be on this show was a dream come true." Shortly after news of the show's cancellation, Hodgson tweeted reassurance to fans that he'll look to revive the series elsewhere....

Earlier this month, Shout! Factory TV announced the debut of an MST3K Twitch channel that unspools the series and promises to feature "related programming...." Fans can also turn to Pluto TV's 24/7 MST3K channel to gorge on the series pre-Y2K catalogue (1988-99).

The MST3K staff is also currently on a sprawling 60-plus city tour that will stretch into March 2020.
In 2008 Joel Hodgson, the show's creator, answered questions from Slashdot readers. "I've been a fan so long, I can't even remember when," posted CmdrTaco. "I've been shuttling my MST coffee mug from desk to desk for like 15 years now, so I'm pretty pumped that he'd waste your time with us."

In a gracious note this week, Hodgson emailed fans that "We've had a wonderful time working with the Netflix team, and will always be grateful to them. After all, they gave us the opportunity to spend the past few years aboard the Satellite of Love, and made it possible for new generations to discover the joys of riffing cheesy movies with your friends..."


By skam240 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

For someone who claims they love the show you act awfully upset for someone who never watched it. There's really no social justice theme in the new show unless you consider having a women in the cast is as such.

Re: Glad I cancelled Netflix

By SuricouRaven • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

They own a lot more than they brand. Disney's most valuable asset is their image as the epitome of family-friendly, so they don't put the Disney brand on anything which might detract from that reputation. This is why you don't get to see the famous Disney castle logo at the start of Deadpool. Remember that Disney actually owns everything Fox used to own, following their recent mega-acquisition, but you won't see them eager to put a Disney logo on Family Guy.

Re: Glad I cancelled Netflix

By BLToday • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

A cartoon? Geez. Wow. I guess mature adult has no meaning here.

Really?! You must be so mature that you refuse to event look at political cartoons or even the cover of The New Yorker.

Disney mostly owns National Geographic Channel, ESPN, ABC, Fox Movies, FX networks. 50% partners with Hearst on A&E and History Channels.

Re: Glad I cancelled Netflix

By Lije Baley • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Pay no mind to the would-be arbiters of "maturity". They're either trolling or insecure.

Queue slow theme music

By kaoshin • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
To tell the truth, MST3K never was the same without Joel Hodgson. No offense, but the other eras are kind of like watching Timothy Dalton play the part of James Bond. I just recently took my family to see the MST3K LIVE tour showing the movie "No Retreat, No Surrender", and it was really funny.

The Bonkers, Bristly Story of How Big Toothbrush Took Over the World

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
In a few decades, two warring toothbrush giants have carved out a market worth billions, with the help of a little science and some clever marketing. But where does it go next? From a report: Not so long ago a toothbrush was a humble thing. A stick, in essence, with some bristles on the end. But with the rise of the electric toothbrush, they've become high-tech accessories. You can buy toothbrushes with associated apps, toothbrushes that automatically access the internet and order you new accessories when they divine that you need them and, for some reason, toothbrushes that are artificially intelligent. They can cost as much as a flatscreen TV or an engagement ring. An estimated 23 million people in Britain now use electric toothbrushes. Their rise is partly driven by our -- somewhat belated -- national realization that oral health is important, and by the fact that we have more disposable income than we did a generation ago. But it is also a story about the rise of an industry; about a struggle between market pressures and medical requirements; about the blurry line between research and public relations. And, in the end, about whether spending the cost of a weekend away on an ergonomically designed, ultrasonic, matte-black thing which looks like a defunct lightsaber will actually do more good than a $2 manual toothbrush from the supermarket. Is the electric toothbrush just a marvel of modern marketing or does it deserve plaudits for achieving what frustrated dentists (and parents) have struggled to do: getting us to spend a little more time brushing our teeth?

Re:But not subjectively better

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

My wife won a basic Sonicare in a work raffle, and it sat in our closet for 6 months before I decided to give it a go. It is shocking how much better than a manual toothbrush that thing is. After 2 years of using that I had a chance at a heavily discounted Diamondclean and snapped that up. Again, it's yet another very noticeable step up in how clean my mouth is.

I've always had shitty morning breath, but now I wake up 8 hrs later with a fairly fresh mouth. I just realized that I'm sitting here after breakfast and coffee without having brushed this morning yet and my mouth still feels pretty clean from last night. I think once a day with this brush is better than twice a day with a manual.

And I'm considering dropping down to annual dental checkups instead of every 6 months because they aren't finding anything to really do in my mouth. This last one they complained that I wasn't wrapping my floss far enough around my teeth, and there was slight tarter buildup to either side of the closest point where my teeth come together, because I was only flossing that narrow point well.

FFS, if that's your single concern about my dental health and my checkup takes all of 15-20 minutes, what exactly are we doing this 2x a year for? Prior to the stupid Sonicare, with good brushing and flossing they always had plenty to scrape and pick at. These brushes shake the shit right off your teeth. Plus the slight gum recession from brushing a little too hard I was getting has entirely stopped.

I'm a cheap bastard who absolutely does not go for shiny new things. Had I not gotten one of these for free I'd never have tried one due to the pricetag. Now I'm considering if it's weird or not to give them as christmas gifts to some of the family. I feel like when my dad finally got a snowblower. Yes, it was expensive. But it was so much massively better than shoveling that it was entirely worth it. Sometimes new tech is more than just a shiny status symbol.

Re:Much ado about nothing

By stabiesoft • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Skip the expensive toothbrush. Buy floss instead. Any toothbrush is going to do a fine job. None are going to do what floss does.

Re:A highly profitable non-problem

By Archtech • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The devil is in the details. What do you understand by "natural whole foods", for instance? If your understanding of the term includes grains, you will not get good results.

And if doctors have been saying that for many decades, why hasn't anyone paid attention to them? because people keep getting sick.

I got my oral-b at the flea

By drinkypoo • Score: 3 • Thread

I got an oral-b electric with no extraneous functions at the flea market for $25. I don't know what truck it fell off of, but it was in sealed packaging. About five years on, it's still running strong, so I guess it must be authentic. NiMH batteries FTW, I guess. This one doesn't have a screen or anything, which may be why it's still working. It also doesn't have AI, so I don't have skynet up in my mouth or whatever.

I swear by my Sonicare

By JustAnotherOldGuy • Score: 3 • Thread

This is just my personal experience, but I swear by my Sonicare. It works.

After I started using one, my dentist noticed the difference right away. Better gums, less plaque, and better overall oral health.

He's said repeatedly he wished everyone would use one. They can make a hell of a difference with virtually no effort.

Wild Silkworms Produce Proteins Primed for Bioprinting

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A mix of silkworms' proteins acts as a scaffold for 3-D-printed tissues and organs. From a report: Many research groups are testing "ink" made from silk proteins to print human tissues, implants and perhaps even organs. The process is a less costly alternative to conventional 3-D printing with collagen, a key protein in the body's natural scaffolding. Researchers in Assam, a state in India, are investigating using local silkworm species for the task -- they recently submitted a patent for bioinks using a combination of proteins extracted from local species Antheraea assamensis and Samia ricini, as well as the commonly used Bombyx mori. The scientists have woven them into synthetic structures ranging from blood vessels to liver lobes; in a paper published in September in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, they described mimicking the cartilage of an entire ear. Silk is a natural polymer, a substance with long, repeating molecular chains. It is mechanically strong and completely biodegradable, well suited for applications in tissue engineering.

To use it, researchers draw liquid silk from the silkworm's glands or dissolve silk fibers in solvents. They carefully mix the gelatinous liquid with a patient's stem cells, then build structures layer by layer with a 3-D printer. After implantation, the cells grow and replace the silken scaffold, which eventually degenerates into amino acids. Extracting and purifying collagen from animal remains, a common medical source, is complex and expensive. "Compared with collagen, silks have an immense advantage in terms of supply and processing. Local sourcing is also a clear plus in their use in India," says David Kaplan, who heads the department of biomedical engineering at Tufts University and is not involved in the new research. Silk from domesticated silkworms has been used widely in bioprinting, but Biman B. Mandal's laboratory at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati in Assam is among the first to incorporate wild silks.

Study Reveals Music's Universal Patterns Across Societies Worldwide

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
From love songs to dance tunes to lullabies, music made in disparate cultures worldwide displays certain universal patterns, according to a study by researchers who suggest a commonality in the way human minds create music. From a report: The study focused on musical recordings and ethnographic records from 60 societies around the world including such diverse cultures as the Highland Scots in Scotland, Nyangatom nomads in Ethiopia, Mentawai rain forest dwellers in Indonesia, the Saramaka descendants of African slaves in Suriname and Aranda hunter-gatherers in Australia. Music was broadly found to be associated with behaviors including infant care, dance, love, healing, weddings, funerals, warfare, processions and religious rituals. The researchers detected strong similarities in musical features across the various cultures, according to Samuel Mehr, a Harvard University research associate in psychology and the lead author of the study published in the journal Science. "The study gives credence to the idea that there is some sort of set of governing rules for how human minds produce music worldwide. And that's something we could not really test until we had a lot of data about music from many different cultures," Mehr said.

published in Science

By at10u8 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Universality and diversity in human song Science 22 Nov 2019: Vol. 366, Issue 6468, eaax0868 DOI: 10.1126/science.aax0868

So many questions

By Evtim • Score: 3 • Thread

The subject of the study is quite interesting. I have thought about it and heard people asking it: why is it that some tunes catch on and other do not? And why so very few people created the vast majority of music we like to listen to?

Consider the classical period of concert music. I guess the composers explored the "phase space" of musical phrases and compositions that was in front of them. In a relatively short time the majority of what we listen to from that period was created by very few individuals. Did they extract all the catchy tunes from the endless (but not all harmonic and musical) possible variations (BTW, is the number of harmonic phrases finite or infinite?) so that is why there are no Mozarts today? What is so special about those tunes that they became immortal?

Regarding musicality and sense of rhythm, what I have read is that it is an universal human trait. To the point that a person with no sense of music and rhythm, who does not like any music is considered deviant. And that humans enjoy music and dance greatly. Music has proven therapeutic effects; it has an enormous influence on our feelings and emotions. What you listen to at age 12-18 stays with you for life. Young people associate themselves with a particular style of music so strongly that a fanship and heated arguments to rival football fans are common. It seems there never was a society, or a tribe, that did not make music, dance and song. Personally, I love all art and above all cannot even imagine my life without music and literature. It seems the majority of humanity shares that with me regarding music.

What's this all about?

Somebody should write a thick book to summarize what we know so far. It seems to me that music is one of the most fascinating aspects of our lives.

Re:Article is bloody useless

By phantomfive • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
To be honest, the lullaby examples they give are not particularly convincing. They may be similar in some way, but it's not immediately obvious how. Maybe someone else can figure that out.

Here's a link to the original study.

Incidentally, I absolutely disagree with their assertion that tonality is universal.....the existence of atonal music is an extremely obvious counterpoint. An older example is that some types of Buddhist chanting are atonal, in the same way that a Japanese bell is designed to be atonal. Is this music? It's atonal. Maori Haka is another example of atonal music.

Difficult to avoid contamination

By joe_frisch • Score: 3 • Thread

The study looks well thought out, but what I read didn't make it clear to me how well they controlled for exposure to other cultures. Music seems to travel between cultures fairly easily - consider jazz, developed in the US, but clearly having roots in both European and African music, and now distributed very widely around the world.

It would have been interesting to see some metric for communication between cultures - maybe some non-musical cultural markers, and musical similarities.

For me personally, only the music I grew up with seems to have a strong impact on me, music from other cultures seems random to me. (to be clear, I'm not implying it IS random, but rather that my brain does not lock onto its patterns in the way it does for music that is familiar to me)

Re:Article is bloody useless

By LenKagetsu • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
"Cooking is very similar across the world. They use heat on food and put it in bowls"