the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2019-Dec-02 today archive


  1. Vulnerability In Fully Patched Android Phones Under Active Attack By Bank Thieves
  2. Coal Power Becoming 'Uninsurable' As Firms Refuse Cover
  3. Putin Signs Law Making Russian Apps Mandatory On Smartphones, Computers
  4. Google, Facebook In EU Probe Over User Data
  5. Prominent Tech Execs Sign Renewed Commitment To Paris Agreement
  6. AWS Brings Quantum Computing To the Cloud
  7. Doctors Are Turning To YouTube To Learn How To Do Surgical Procedures
  8. All New Cellphone Users In China Must Now Have Their Face Scanned
  9. Cord-Cutting Pushed To 'Tipping Point' as Video Streaming Grows
  10. Reptiles Known as 'Living Rocks' Show Surprising Cognitive Powers
  11. 'Grinch Bots' Are Here To Ruin Your Holiday Shopping
  12. Portland Plans To Propose the Strictest Facial Recognition Ban in the Country
  13. Archivists Are Trying To Make Sure a 'Pirate Bay of Science' Never Goes Down
  14. T-Mobile Shows Why It's Still Too Early To Buy a 5G Phone
  15. iOS Apps Could Really Benefit From the Newly Proposed Security.plist Standard
  16. Amazon Lets Doctors Record Your Conversations and Put Them in Your Medical Files
  17. Would You Pay Someone $40 To Keep You Focused on Work?
  18. Physicists Have Identified a Metal That Conducts Electricity But Not Heat
  19. 'Laziness Has Won': Apostrophe Society Admits Its Defeat
  20. Now Even the FBI is Warning About Your Smart TV's Security
  21. Huawei Is Now Making Smartphones Without American Chips
  22. Millions of SMS Text Messages Exposed In Unencrypted Database
  23. 'Massive Issues' Reported For Google's Indexing of JavaScript Content

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.

Vulnerability In Fully Patched Android Phones Under Active Attack By Bank Thieves

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A vulnerability in millions of fully patched Android phones is being actively exploited by malware that's designed to drain the bank accounts of infected users, researchers said on Monday. The vulnerability allows malicious apps to masquerade as legitimate apps that targets have already installed and come to trust, researchers from security firm Promon reported in a post. Running under the guise of trusted apps already installed, the malicious apps can then request permissions to carry out sensitive tasks, such as recording audio or video, taking photos, reading text messages or phishing login credentials. Targets who click yes to the request are then compromised.

Researchers with Lookout, a mobile security provider and a Promon partner, reported last week that they found 36 apps exploiting the spoofing vulnerability. The malicious apps included variants of the BankBot banking trojan. BankBot has been active since 2017, and apps from the malware family have been caught repeatedly infiltrating the Google Play Market. The vulnerability is most serious in versions 6 through 10, which account for about 80% of Android phones worldwide. Attacks against those versions allow malicious apps to ask for permissions while posing as legitimate apps. There's no limit to the permissions these malicious apps can seek. Access to text messages, photos, the microphone, camera, and GPS are some of the permissions that are possible. A user's only defense is to click "no" to the requests.
"The vulnerability is found in a function known as TaskAffinity, a multitasking feature that allows apps to assume the identity of other apps or tasks running in the multitasking environment," reports Ars Technica. While Google has removed the [unnamed] malicious apps from its Play Store, according to Promon, the vulnerability is still unfixed in all versions of Android.

"Promon is calling the vulnerability 'StrandHogg,' an old Norse term for the Viking tactic of raiding coastal areas to plunder and hold people for ransom," the report adds. "Promon researchers said they identified StrandHogg after learning from an unnamed Eastern European security company for financial institutions that several banks in the Czech Republic reported money disappearing from customer accounts."

Unrealistic to the Max

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Do not let people do banking on smartphones.

News flash - people do EVERYTHING on smartphones. You can't just hand everyone a powerful device that can totally replace a computer, then say "Oh but you cannot use it for anything serious".

At this point smart phones have replaced computers for most things they do in their lives - including managing bank accounts.

So what you CAN DO is make sure that anyone who doesn't understand technology is using a platform that is far more serious about keeping user data secure and apps separated by real barriers. This attack we are seeing here, simple is not possible on IOS except for those that have jailbroken... That is the harsh reality that apparently the technical community is unwilling to face while feeding snake oil to the masses because they like how it tastes.

Re:Unrealistic to the Max

By robot5x • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

News flash - you are not obliged to use apps

I regularly do banking on my phone, but I don't use my banks app - just the mobile optimised version of their website. It works great and I don't have to worry about this kind of stuff, or annoying push notifications, etc etc.

Does not seem wise

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I don't use my banks app - just the mobile optimised version of their website.

To me it seems way more a gamble to trust a browser that may well visit scores of dicey websites every day will never be compromised, vs. an application that any least is more distinct and supposedly harder to corrupt in some way.

Re:Unrealistic to the Max

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

You are reducing your security by not using the bank's app.

Android has an API for verifying the integrity of the OS and the app to ensure nothing has been tampered with, which most banks make use of. It's why their apps often take a few seconds to open, they are checking that the phone hasn't been compromised.

The browser doesn't use that API. It also doesn't use other security features like blocking the ability to take screenshots of your bank details.

Banking on a phone?

By DogDude • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
If you're doing banking on a phone, you really deserve whatever happens to you. Of all the things to do on a "smart" phone, banking is the dumbest thing to do, hands down.

Coal Power Becoming 'Uninsurable' As Firms Refuse Cover

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
AmiMoJo quotes a report from The Guardian: The number of insurers withdrawing cover for coal projects more than doubled this year and for the first time U.S. companies have taken action, leaving Lloyd's of London and Asian insurers as the "last resort" for fossil fuels, according to a new report. The report, which rates the world's 35 biggest insurers on their actions on fossil fuels, declares that coal -- the biggest single contributor to climate change -- "is on the way to becoming uninsurable" as most coal projects cannot be financed, built or operated without insurance.

Ten firms moved to restrict the insurance cover they offer to companies that build or operate coal power plants in 2019, taking the global total to 17, said the Unfriend Coal campaign, which includes 13 environmental groups such as Greenpeace, Client Earth and Urgewald, a German NGO. The report will be launched at an insurance and climate risk conference in London on Monday, as the UN climate summit gets underway in Madrid. The first insurers to exit coal policies were all European, but since March, two U.S. insurers -- Chubb and Axis Capital -- and the Australian firms QBE and Suncorp have pledged to stop or restrict insurance for coal projects. At least 35 insurers with combined assets of $8.9 trillion, equivalent to 37% of the insurance industry's global assets, have begun pulling out of coal investments. A year ago, 19 insurers holding more than $6 trillion in assets were divesting from fossil fuels.

Re:With 12k+ people dying of it per year..

By Ambassador Kosh • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

You can't make coal burn clean. The physics just don't support it. You have C + O2 -> CO2 + power
It takes power to capture the CO2 and try to do something with it, quite a lot of power. If you do a good job of capturing the CO2 then you will have very little power. There is just no way around this.

Some of the ideas are to pump all the CO2 into the ground under high pressure. The problem is that CO2 is more dense than regular air and also not visible. If you have a leak it flows downhill and suffocates everything in the path and it takes quite a while to disperse.

Re:With 12k+ people dying of it per year..

By Rei • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

It's not impossible from a physics standpoint. Some rocks will bind with CO2; here in Iceland the Hellisheiði geothermal plant (the big one right outside Reykjavík) does CO2 reinjection (geothermal is low CO2, sometimes very low, but not CO2-free). The high concentration of CO2 makes the water acidic, which helps dissolve divalent cations from the basalt, which bind to form carbonates (magnesite, siderite, ankerite, calcite), and it's worked surprisingly well.** Pumping energy != combustion energy.

That said, economically, it's a lot easier for Hellisheiði. The quantity of CO2 is far lower, and they've already got wells to inject it in. And the local geology happens to be conducive.

** Not all rocks are in their lowest-possible potential energy state. When our last big eruption (Bárðarbunga) happened, for example, there was so much lava rising to the surface at Baugur that not only were the levels of toxic gases too high to support human life, but the rate of fresh lava being oxidized by the air was so high that a gas mask wasn't enough to approach it - you had to have bottled oxygen, as the oxygen levels in the area were too depleted. Over time as you visited the new lava field you could watch it slowly evolve as the surface slowly reacted with oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water to form new compounds.

But for every dike that makes it to the surface, there's an order of magnitude more which never do, and just cool underground. So all of that potential for reaction with atmospheric gases (including carbon dioxide) is still there.

Re:Business Oppertunity

By Barsteward • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
"That big insurer is called the State." - change "State" to "your taxes"

Re:This is fascism at its finest

By Mashiki • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Nuclear is one of the cheapest besides hydroelectric. It has a huge initial cost outlay but lasts far longer then coal, NG, or oil power plants in terms of up time, maintenance, and reliability. This isn't exactly difficult for you to research on your own.

Re:This is fascism at its finest

By Rei • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Total US GHG emissions per year

1990: 6 371 000.54
1991: 6 315 615.19
1992: 6 424 934.36
1993: 6 532 069.60
1994: 6 624 835.79
1995: 6 710 067.30
1996: 6 907 699.05
1997: 6 968 461.97
1998: 7 032 526.01
1999: 7 071 461.46
2000: 7 232 010.77
2001: 7 116 810.08
2002: 7 156 652.87
2003: 7 199 262.66
2004: 7 333 052.05
2005: 7 339 039.87
2006: 7 270 326.95
2007: 7 369 967.71
2008: 7 160 600.81
2009: 6 709 369.15
2010: 6 938 591.68
2011: 6 787 419.03
2012: 6 545 969.33
2013: 6 710 218.18
2014: 6 759 995.63
2015: 6 623 775.48
2016: 6 492 267.43
2017: 6 456 718.19

You really can't see the decadal trends? A one-year reversal is meaningless, as many factors (as previously mentioned) add noise to the trends. Here's the per-capita numbers - even starker:

1990: 25.03
1991: 24.58
1992: 24.76
1993: 24.91
1994: 24.98
1995: 25.01
1996: 25.42
1997: 25.32
1998: 25.25
1999: 25.10
2000: 25.41
2001: 24.77
2002: 24.69
2003: 24.63
2004: 24.86
2005: 24.65
2006: 24.19
2007: 24.28
2008: 23.38
2009: 21.71
2010: 22.27
2011: 21.61
2012: 20.69
2013: 21.06
2014: 21.07
2015: 20.51
2016: 19.97
2017: 19.74

77,6% of the peak in 1996. That's a pretty significant change. There's still a long way to go, but it's definite progress. Lastly: Slashdot is complaining that I have too few characters per line, so: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Putin Signs Law Making Russian Apps Mandatory On Smartphones, Computers

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed legislation requiring all smartphones, computers and smart TV sets sold in the country to come pre-installed with Russian software. Reuters reports: The law, which will come into force on July 1 next year, has been met with resistance by some electronics retailers, who say the legislation was adopted without consulting them. The law has been presented as a way to help Russian IT firms compete with foreign companies and spare consumers from having to download software upon purchasing a new device. The country's mobile phone market is dominated by foreign companies including Apple, Samsung and Huawei. The legislation signed by Putin said the government would come up with a list of Russian applications that would need to be installed on the different devices.

Re:Is Apple going to fight this?

By NoMoreACs • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I'm kind of curious to see how Apple responds to this.

Not that I think that Apple really cares about free speech or equal rights of Russian citizens (Their attitude towards China kinda shows that they don't), but they REALLY don't like it when other companies screw with their walled garden of preinstalled Apple applications.

When you mess around with Apple's bit fat profit margins, THAT is when the teeth come out.

Yeah, no doubt!

That's why as of iOS 11 (or more likely, iOS12, articles vary on this) Apple actually allows you to Remove (not just "Hide") pre-loaded Applications on iOS and iPadOS.

And here's a fairly long list of the Preinstalled Apps on iOS/iPadOS that can be deleted:

That appears to be still unpossible with Android, at least without Rooting (which most Normals will never do).

Yet Apple is always the Whipping Boy around here.

Wonder why?

Does this mean Trump has to update his phone?

By Grog6 • Score: 3 • Thread

He gets his info straight from Putin, so he may be exempt.

Meanwhile in the US...

By hcs_$reboot • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Meanwhile in the US most phones come with a US pre-installed software...


By Kyogreex • Score: 3 • Thread
I have to wonder if these will be required to be set up like a lot of current bloatware where they can't be uninstalled.

How Long?

By TheReaperD • Score: 3 • Thread

I wonder how long will it take when a lot of Russians are deleting these apps off their phone for the Kremlin to pass another law to make it illegal to remove these apps? This would go to prove what making these apps mandatory is really for but, I don't think anyone really doubts the real motive behind this law.

Google, Facebook In EU Probe Over User Data

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
European officials have launched a "preliminary" investigation into Facebook and Google in order to determine how people's information is used for ad purposes. The Mercury News reports: The European Commission, which oversees antitrust issues for the European Unions, said it has opened a preliminary investigation into Facebook and Google in order to determine if the two companies are adhering to new regulations meant to give individuals more power over how their personal information is used by social networks and other tech companies. That law, called General Data Protection Law (GDPR), went into effect across the European Union in 2018. "The Commission has sent out questionnaires as part of our preliminary investigations into Google's and Facebook's data practices," said an EC spokesperson in a statement given to this news organization. "These investigations concern the way data is gathered processed used and monetized, including for advertising purposes. The preliminary investigations are ongoing." A Google spokesperson said in a statement, "We use data to make our services more useful and to show relevant advertising, and we give people the controls to manage, delete or transfer their data. We will continue to engage with the Commission and others on this important discussion for our industry."

Facebook didn't comment on the matter.

great so...

By johnjones • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

while the EU commission likes fines personally I would prefer legislation that means the data is portable that includes the profiling data...

for example if you take all your connections data out of facebook at the moment then you do not receive your contacts actual details i.e. phone number or email address they use to sign in
this makes it impossible to setup a rival social network since people can not establish those connections
(facebook might hide behind privacy on this case but they previously allowed yahoo access to that data to populate address books... So really allowing "friends" by default to have the email address would not be a change... they could opt people out)

advertiser Profile wise it would be very interesting how they are targeting and allow the ability to delete that data...

allowing data portability and actual access should be the goal but I'm going to guess its actually a fine...

Re:Invest in the EU

By luvirini • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I think you missed the current world.

it is:

Invest in the EU get taxed and investigated if/when people complain.
Invest in the USA and get mired in trade wars.
Invest in China and lose all your intellectual property.
Invest in Russia and be forced to install spyware
Invest in Most of Latin America and see the markets tank as normal.
Invest in India and be forced to pay a lot in bribes and such to get anything done

and so on..

Include Amazon too!

By BAReFO0t • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The crazy shit they are doing, over in the US (e.g. the Ring camera totalitarian nightmare), warrants having a very close eye on them at all times.

You know you are the victim here, right?

By BAReFO0t • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"Global brand" seems to be your code for "trample ALL the rights, poison the planet, and enslave the population", or in one psychopath-libertarian word "freedom".

I know this is not the case in the US, and not often the case in the EU either, but the GDPR couldn't be more pro-citizen, pro-consumer, pro-YOU.
Its very point is to protect you from the harm that comes to you, when the above psychopath-libertsaians have the spying and peeping 'freedom' to know enough about you, so they have power over you.
In other words, it protects your *freedom* from their 'freedom'.

It boggles the mind, how some US citizens have been brainwashed to cheer for and defend their own biggest enemy against their own interests and rights.

Look, the government is YOUR corporation in this 'free' market. You are the shareholder! You demand returns!

I'm sorry if this is not the case for your government, which, like ours mostly too, is staffed with moles of the enemy.
That isn't the fault of the concept of a democatic government though. That is because you believe the world is fine and dandy and politicians are just stupid, not possibly evil lobbyists, and because you believe having a limited set of pre-chosen choices to vote for, that all^Wboth work for the enemy, means you got to vote and this is still a democracy.

Take back your government!
Don't vote for a politician! BECOME a politician!
Don't let them lobby. BECOME your own lobbyist! (Actually phyiscally meet with politicians, for a coffee, dinner, interview, whatever. If lobbyists can say and do things to achieve that, even if not true, then so can you.)

Is this fuckin gonna be a democracy or not? You decide.

Re:great so...

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

There is already legislation for that. GDPR includes a data portability clause which means they have to let you export your data in a reasonable format.

The main issue at the moment is that it's often impossible if you don't have an account. I had to take Paypal, Apple and Facebook to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to get them to hand over my data without having an account first.

The issue here is that Facebook isn't handing over all the data it is legally required to, it is withholding some.

Prominent Tech Execs Sign Renewed Commitment To Paris Agreement

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: The U.S. government may be in the process of formally withdrawing from the term of the Paris Agreement, an international accord on targets to fight climate change, but major U.S. employers say they'll stay the course in a new statement jointly signed by a group of around 80 chief executives and U.S. labor organization leaders. The statement, posted at, represents a group that either directly employs more than 2 million people in the U.S., or represents a larger group of 12.5 million through labor organizations.

The group collectively says they are "still in" on the Agreement, which many of the undersigned also supported vocally back in 2017 when the Trump administration announced its intent to formally remove itself. They also "urge the United States" to reconsider its current course and also agree to remain committed to the agreement. The Agreement will not only help to potentially counter the ongoing impacts of global climate change, the group says in the letter, but also prepare the way for a "just transition" of the U.S. workforce to "new decent, family supporting jobs and economic opportunity," implying that bowing out of the Agreement will actually impede the U.S. workforce's ability to compete on a global scale.
Some of the prominent tech executives that have signed the statement include Microsoft's Satya Nadella, Tesla's Elon Musk, Google's Sundar Pichai and Adobe's Shantanu Narayen. "Chief executives from other powerful U.S. companies across industries are also represented, including Coca-Cola's James Quincey, Patagonia's Rose Marcario, Unilever's Alan Jope and Walt Disney's Robert Iger," reports TechCrunch.

Never let perfect be the enemy of good

By rsilvergun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Your quote implies climate change is a hoax (and I'm guessing you know this, if not please come to your senses).

Yes, we can't make prefect predictions, but we do know bad shit is happening. We also know we need to do something about it. We are not because it would inconvenience a handful of billionaires.

Also, I keep asking this but what the actual f* gives with all the climate change deniers on /. lately? This is a bloody science forum. Are these paid shills? Please tell me they're paid shills. I don't want to live in a world where a science forum has climate change deniers who aren't paid shills...

Virtue signaling nonsense from tech industry

By zerofoo • Score: 3 • Thread

Datacenter energy consumption generates as much CO2 as the entire airline industry:

How many of these virtue signaling companies will scale back their data center operations to reduce their energy consumption?

How many virtue signaling tech employees will quit their high-paying jobs that require datacenters?

My guess - none will.

Re:Building renewables would be enough

By blindseer • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

And even more than taxes the 1% will not tolerate a thriving middle class.

Bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit.

The wealthy know that they cannot make money unless the middle class is also making money. There was an old economic theory, that still seems to pop up again and again despite being proven wrong, in which there is a fixed amount of wealth in the world and the only way to become wealthy was to take wealth from others. This is proven wrong by a very simple thought experiment. If there is a tribe of excellent basket weavers on one side of a valley, and another tribe of excellent spear makers on the other side of the valley, then who becomes more wealthy if they meet in the middle of the valley to trade some baskets for spears? The answer is that they both do. Nobody trades down and so both gained in the trade.

A more modern example is the everyday trade of dollars for gasoline. Who wins on this trade? Both the buyer of the gasoline and the seller. With more fuel the buyer gets to drive to work, school, church, a shopping center, or wherever. With the money given in exchange the filling station can now pay for wages, rent, electricity, more fuel to sell, and so on.

The top 1% of the wealthy will understand the need for the other 99% to do well, for if they didn't understand this then they did not get to the top 1% on their own, and are unlikely to stay in this 1% either.

That brings another couple things about the top 1%. Mathematically speaking there will always be a top1% in anything. They might be in this top 1% because they have $2 in their pockets while the other 99% have $1, or this disparity could be far larger. There will always be a disparity in wealth so long as people are allowed to own property.

Another thing about the top 1% is that this is not a static group. People enter and leave this group all the time. These people usually enter this group of wealth by accumulating it over time with effort and intelligence, and certainly some luck. People leave with age (as in dying off), a loss of effort and intelligence, and also just luck.

People understand that with taxes on things people will do less of whatever is taxed. Well, if we tax wealth then people will simply acquire less wealth. This loss of wealth among the 1% will be bad for the remaining 99%. Wealthy people create jobs. Removing this incentive to gain wealth removes this incentive to create jobs.

We give people a break on taxes when they buy a house because we want people to buy houses. We give people a break on capital gains because we want people to invest their money. If we start taxing these stores of wealth, such as in houses and capital, then people will find ways to avoid these taxes or simply lose the incentive to gain this wealth. One way to avoid these taxes is to leave. Should that happen then these people will just spend their money somewhere else, and this will be creating a thriving middle class wherever they went with their wealth.

Re:I'll just leave this here...

By ClickOnThis • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Ah, the illusion of power from quoting out of context. Let's put some context back in, hm'kay?

The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. Rather the focus must be upon the prediction of the probability distribution of the system’s future possible states by the generation of ensembles of model solutions. Addressing adequately the statistical nature of climate is computationally intensive and requires the application of new methods of model diagnosis, but such statistical information is essential.

-- 2001 IPCC Third Assessment Report

Feel good, no impact

By LynnwoodRooster • Score: 3 • Thread
If Paris goals are met by 2030, we'll reduce the temperature in 2100 by somewhere between 0.05 and 0.17 deg C - well below the error limit for measurements. Basically - it does nothing, but is definitely a feel-good move and helps transfer trillions of dollars from the OECD countries to China, India, and a host of small nations...

AWS Brings Quantum Computing To the Cloud

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is helping to bring quantum computing to the cloud, with the company lifting the lid off three initiatives at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas. ZDNet reports: The first is Amazon Braket. Amazon Braket is a new, fully managed AWS service that the company has touted as enabling scientists, researchers, and developers to begin experimenting with computers from quantum hardware providers, such as D-Wave, IonQ, and Rigetti. AWS said the service lets customers explore, evaluate, and experiment with quantum computing hardware to gain in-house experience as they plan for the future. It's a single development environment to build quantum algorithms, test them on simulated quantum computers, and try them on a range of different quantum hardware architectures.

Furthering its quantum mission, the company's new AWS Center for Quantum Computing aims to bring together quantum computing experts from Amazon, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and other academic research institutions to work together on the research and development of new quantum computing technologies. The cloud giant hopes the R&D will result in the solving of real-world problems through quantum technologies. The centre, hosted at Caltech, is aiming to provide the opportunity for customers to develop the necessary skills, and identify when quantum is an appropriate solution, as well as learn how they can design algorithms and discover new applications.

Meanwhile the new Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab is a program that connects customers with quantum computing experts from Amazon and its technology and consulting partners. It is expected the lab will help all involved identify practical uses of quantum computing, and accelerating the development of quantum applications. Lab programs will combine hands-on educational workshops with brainstorming sessions to help customers "work backwards" from business challenges, and then go step-by-step through the process of using quantum computers, AWS said.

Is it useful?

By msauve • Score: 3 • Thread
Maybe yes, maybe no. You won't know until you try.

Doctors Are Turning To YouTube To Learn How To Do Surgical Procedures

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Some doctors say that medical students and residents are turning to YouTube to fill in gaps in their training. The video-sharing platform hosts tens of thousands of surgery-related videos, and the number keeps climbing every year. CNBC reports: CNBC found tens of thousands of videos showing a wide variety of medical procedures on the Google-owned video platform, some of them hovering around a million views. People have livestreamed giving birth and broadcast their face-lifts. One video, which shows the removal of a dense, white cataract, has gone somewhat viral and now has more than 1.7 million views. Others seem to have found crossover appeal with nonmedical viewers, such as a video from the U.K.-based group Audiology Associates showing a weirdly satisfying removal of a giant glob of earwax. Doctors are uploading these videos to market themselves or to help others in the field, and the amount is growing by leaps and bounds. Researchers in January found more than 20,000 videos related to prostate surgery alone, compared with just 500 videos in 2009.

The videos are a particular boon for doctors in training. When the University of Iowa surveyed its surgeons, including its fourth-year medical students and residents, it found that YouTube was the most-used video source for surgical preparation by far. But residents and medical students are not the only ones tuning in. Experienced doctors, like Stanford Hospital's vascular surgeon Dr. Oliver Aalami said he turned to YouTube recently ahead of a particularly difficult exposure. There's one problem with this practice that will be familiar to anybody who's searched YouTube for tips on more mundane tasks like household repairs. How can doctors tell which videos are valid and which contain bogus information?
"[O]ne recent study found more than 68,000 videos associated with a common procedure known as a distal radius fracture immobilization," the report adds. "The researchers evaluated the content for their technical skill demonstrated and educational skill, and created a score. Only 16 of the videos even met basic criteria, including whether they were performed by a health-care professional or institution. Among those, the scores were mixed. In several cases, the credentials of the person performing the procedure could not be identified at all."

Other studies are finding that YouTube's algorithm is highly ranking videos where the technique isn't optimal.


By LarryRiedel • Score: 3 • Thread
The Lifetime TV network used to be called "Lifetime Medical Television" in the early 90s. Doctors have been using videos for extended and continuing education for several decades.

So you just googled it?

By wolfheart111 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
How to be an an anesthesiologist? Fuck me... I'll just floss more :|

Simpsons predicted it

By Dirk Becher • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Re:I do it...

By SuricouRaven • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I thought the dentist technique is to just stab the vague area until the patient screams. That sound means they found the nerve.

Dr nick riviera

By Joe_Dragon • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

I'll perform any operation for $129.95!

All New Cellphone Users In China Must Now Have Their Face Scanned

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: Customers in China who buy SIM cards or register new mobile-phone services must have their faces scanned under a new law that came into effect yesterday. China's government says the new rule, which was passed into law back in September, will "protect the legitimate rights and interest of citizens in cyberspace." It can be seen as part of an ongoing push by China's government to make sure that people use services on the internet under their real names, thus helping to reduce fraud and boost cybersecurity. On the other hand, it also looks like part of a drive to make sure every member of the population can be surveilled. The Financial Times reported yesterday that tech companies in China are helping to create influential United Nations standards for the facial recognition technology, which will help shape rules on how facial recognition is used around the world.

Face Scan Fight!

By LynnwoodRooster • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
What happens if you're a Chinese citizen in Portland? Or a Portland resident traveling to China? Face scan, no face scan...

China + UN

By skaralic • Score: 3 • Thread

tech companies in China are helping to create influential United Nations standards for the facial recognition technology, which will help shape rules on how facial recognition is used around the world.

If that doesn't send a chill through you, nothing will.


By Real Melancon • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Don't forget China is not a Government, it's a dictatorship. They do what they want, when they want.

Cord-Cutting Pushed To 'Tipping Point' as Video Streaming Grows

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The media ecosystem is undergoing a massive change as streaming video looks to extend its recent dominance over traditional distribution, according to research firm MoffettNathanson, which wrote that a large minority of cable consumers could cut their subscriptions in coming years. From a report: "The video market is in full disruption and this year could be the cord cutting tipping point," analyst Michael Nathanson wrote to clients. "Media companies will need to master a whole new suite of skill sets to win going forward," with content creation, user interfaces and "churn mitigation strategies" among the factors that could determine the next generation of winners in the market. Consumers have been abandoning traditional media bundles for years, instead looking to services like Netflix or Walt Disney's recently launched Disney+ service, which has signed up more than 10 million subscribers since launching in November. Streaming services have made in-roads into a number of major categories of video entertainment, including TV shows and movies. In a measure of how big streaming has become, Wells Fargo Securities wrote that between November 17-23, "The Mandalorian," a series from Disney+ set in the "Star Wars" universe, was the "most in-demand show in OTT and overall on a linear+OTT basis." OTT stands for "over the top" content, which bypasses cable boxes. Linear TV airs at set times, as opposed to being on-demand, as with streaming.

Re:How do you get the stream if the cord is cut?

By MikeDataLink • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

People are getting rid of cable TV and going 100% streaming via internet CABLE connection. That's not cord cutting.

Yes. It's a saying. Like "kick the bucket." Old words that have new meanings. It used to mean cutting the Cable-TV cord for over the air antenna service. It has since morphed to mean cutting subscription TV service from your local carrier - even if you still get Internet service from them.

Gay used to mean happy... now it means something entirely different.

Re:The Shtity Part...

By rogoshen1 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

And god forbid they say anything the chinese government doesn't like...

But yes, exactly. Netflix was great because they were the only game in town for a long while. Most of the content people wanted to watch (from many different providers) was all lumped together in one easy to binge source, with a pretty low price. and it was good.

The content makers saw this, and became jealous. By trying to carve out their own little fiefdom; they will wind up ruining what made people subscribe to netflix in the first place: everything in one location, without commercials.

Aggressively minimizing "Money left on the table" is about the most damaging idea in the history of business. But maybe that's their plan; maintain the status quo through sabotage.

a sucker is born every minute

By Chromal • Score: 3 • Thread
"It'd be great if we could make them pay for every video they watch, but you know what would be even better? To make them pay for every video regardless of whether or not they actually watch it. Then it doesn't matter whether the videos produced are any good or not, what matters is that they're low-risk investment vehicles. Regardless of their quality, people will pay because they're paying regardless of whether or not they watch it or enjoy it. In this manner, economics can debase an entire civilization's culture. Even better than that would be if they don't even pay to purchase videos they don't watch but simply pay for temporary screening access to the videos they don't watch. Holy crap, we're brilliant!" OKAY SURE, WHERE CAN I SIGN UP FOR THIS?

Re:What's going to happen to advertisements

By _xeno_ • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

110 billion dollars in Google's 2018 advertising revenues says you're wrong.

"It makes a lot of money" doesn't equal "it works well." Homeopathic "medicine" is a fairly large industry, and it involves selling people sugar pills.

The problem is that web advertising has an easily measured metric (click-through rates) that correlates to something that they actually want to measure (how much business the ad generated), allowing Google and others to optimize for the metric without actually optimizing for what customers really want. It's a well known, but little discussed issue: a lot of the systems used for targeting ads are effectively over-targeting ads, so that instead of bringing in new business, they're only getting clicks from people who were already interested.

Online ads are currently in a kind of "bubble" phase. They're new, and a lot of people just sort of assume they work. After all, they have metrics showing click-through rates. But people are starting to realize that high click-through rates don't mean anything if you're just targeting people who already knew about the product and wanted it anyway.

The few times people have done real A/B tests - where they advertised online in one area but not in another - they've found that the online ads did nothing. It's known that advertising works, but it's entirely possible that the overly targeted online ads of today simply do not work. And it's not just because of ad blockers.

There is an alternative

By doubledown00 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Although no one will ever do it. The solution is compulsory content licensing like what they do with the radio. All content is available to all services on demand at set rates. If you're on Netflix and want a Marvel movie, no problem. Disney licenses the viewing to Netflix behind the scenes. The viewing can be a pay per view cost or it can be bundled into the user's monthly contract with Netflix.

There is no technical reason this couldn't be done. The problem is the Federal government would have to step in and mandate it......which the content companies as now will never let happen.

Reptiles Known as 'Living Rocks' Show Surprising Cognitive Powers

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Giant tortoises can learn and remember tasks, and master lessons much faster when trained in groups. From a report: Tamar Gutnick and Michael Kuba at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, and Anton Weissenbacher at Schonbrunn Zoo in Vienna trained Galapagos tortoises (Chelonoides nigra) and Aldabra tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea) to bite a ball of a particular colour -- blue, green or yellow. When tested three months later, the tortoises recalled the task. The authors tested three of the tortoises again after nine years and found that all three responded to toys of the correct colour. The researchers also found that both species of tortoise could be conditioned with fewer training sessions if they were taught in groups than if learning occurred in isolation, hinting that tortoises learn from watching their peers.


By tquasar • Score: 3 • Thread
Why do humans believe we are the only smart creatures? I hadn't seen my dog in ten years, when he saw me he was so excited. I was too.

Wtf editors titling for 1st graders now?

By argStyopa • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

"Living rocks"
First, I've never - in 52 years on this planet -breasts them called that.

Second, why would you put that in a title for anything but a 6 year old?

'Grinch Bots' Are Here To Ruin Your Holiday Shopping

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Consumers may think they're avoiding the crush this holiday season by shopping online, unaware that as they're trying to get through the digital doors, so too are hordes of bots. And they're throwing elbows. From a report: Up to 97 percent of all online traffic to retailer login pages this holiday shopping week comes from bots, largely operated by organized gangs of cybercriminals, according to estimates by cybersecurity firm Radware. The bots fill out online forms and navigate retail sites faster than a real person can, and try to swiftly purchase limited supply gifts before you've even filled up your cart. The items are then sold for a higher price on third-party sites. The cyber thieves also crack into accounts, drain accounts of rewards and other digital currency, conduct credit card fraud, and more, said Ron Winward, a Radware spokesman. "Website operators are seeing uptick in bot activity leading up to Cyber Monday from people trying out their bots," said Winward. "People are really competing with automated infrastructure and bots to get hot holiday items."

Saw this today on Facebook

By Hadlock • Score: 3 • Thread

There is a "mini gameboy" with "168 games" that they are selling on Facebook for $20 + S&H ($22)

If you go over to alibaba they have it for $15.78 or whatever, plus $3.75 shipping; $19.53

$2.47 isn't a very high profit margin but if they take the orders from Facebook, and then use alibaba to drop ship them you don't need more than about a $0.20 profit for this to be worth your while, especially if you are already doing it with 100 other items. There's probably a point of diminishing returns when you factor in the facebook ad fees but you're probably more than breaking even since you never have to carry inventory or hire people to ship things for you

conflating free market activity with criminality?

By Chromal • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
While nobody is going to defend fraudulent unauthorized entry to a computer system with stolen credentials, that is hardly the same thing as buying items on sale for later price mark-up and resale, which as far as I know is how a free market system is supposed to work. I'm a little confused as to why this article is trying to conflate apparently lawful free market activities with computer-based fraud. You want to be critical of fraud, I mean, that's great. If you want to be critical of free markets, then you are the enemy of the west and the free world, no?

Did this happen to my Steam controller?

By Colourspace • Score: 3 • Thread
I ordered one at the crazy price of £4 (+ £7 handling ;) ) on Friday, woke up yesterday to find Valve had unilaterally decided to cancel my order and refund me. I was in a good hour before 'sold out'. What's the point in have electronic POS (piece of shit) if you can't tell your available stock to at least +/- 50 SDK's. Park up before you hit the limit and piss people off. You can always sell the last surplus later.

Pricing is too low

By registrations_suck • Score: 3 • Thread

Al this really means is manufacturers, distributors and retailers are pricing their products too low. They should charging what the products are selling for on the re-seller sites.

Portland Plans To Propose the Strictest Facial Recognition Ban in the Country

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harrymcc writes: As the federal government plods along on developing privacy laws, some cities are taking matters into their own hands -- with facial recognition technology at the top of the list. Now, Portland, Oregon, has plans to ban the use of facial recognition for both the government and private businesses in the city, a move that could make Portland's ban the most restrictive in the United States. The proposed ban comes after cities including San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley in California, and Somerville in Massachusetts, have already banned the use of facial recognition by their city government agencies, including police departments. But Portland's ban goes a step further by expanding to private businesses -- if it makes it into law and takes effect in spring 2020, as planned. It could be a preview of what to expect across the country. "I think we're going to start to see more and more [private sector bans]," says ACLU of Northern California attorney Matt Cagle, who helped draft the San Francisco legislation that later served as the model for Oakland and Berkeley. "People are really concerned about facial recognition use and the tracking of their innate features by governments and private corporations."

Really, now people are concerned?

By misnohmer • Score: 3 • Thread

So people are concerned about businesses tracking their faces, but those same people have no problems giving Facebook, Google, and other companies intimate details of their lives (including many pictures of their faces, and more)? If you have a smartphone, there are multiple companies which know exactly where and when you've been, with whom, and more than likely why (based on your conversations via messaging apps or using "free" email).

Archivists Are Trying To Make Sure a 'Pirate Bay of Science' Never Goes Down

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A new project aims to make LibGen, which hosts 33 terabytes of scientific papers and books, much more stable. From a report: It's hard to find free and open access to scientific material online. The latest studies and current research huddle behind paywalls unread by those who could benefit. But over the last few years, two sites -- Library Genesis and Sci-Hub -- have become high-profile, widely used resources for pirating scientific papers. The problem is that these sites have had a lot of difficulty actually staying online. They have faced both legal challenges and logistical hosting problems that has knocked them offline for long periods of time. But a new project by data hoarders and freedom of information activists hopes to bring some stability to one of the two "Pirate Bays of Science." Library Genesis (LibGen) contains 33 terabytes of books, scientific papers, comics, and more in its scientific library. That's a lot of data to host when countries and science publishers are constantly trying to get you shut down.

Last week, redditors launched a project to better seed, or host, LibGen's files. "It's the largest free library in the world, servicing tens of thousands of scientists and medical professionals around the world who live in developing countries that can't afford to buy books and scientific journals. There's almost nothing else like this on Earth. They're using torrents to fulfill World Health Organization and U.N. charters. And it's not just one site index -- it's a network of mirrored sites, where a new one pops up every time another gets taken down," user shrine said on Reddit. Shrine is helping to start the project. Two seedbox companies (services that provide high-bandwidth remote servers for uploading and downloading data), Seedbox dot io and UltraSeedbox, stepped in to support the project. A week later, LibGen is seeding 10 terabytes and 900,000 scientific books thanks to help from and UltraSeedbox.

Heroes of humanity

By Noah Draper • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Let's give them a blanket copyright exemption and have done with it. Every bit of effort to take this down has resulted in foolish waste of effort. And it is arguably in the best interest of humanity to sustain the project. isn't it amazing how much money is unavailable for helping people but how much money man hours in effort is wasted trying to destroy times like this to fix the lack of access issue in scientific documentation. They can't justify spending money to help people but they can justify throwing money down the tube to sabotage well future of humanity? And our legal processes support the systematic sabotage of humanities public knowledge base? why not just cut to the Chase and nuke the whole world. If your goal is to ruin lives and degrade the future, it would be a whole lot more efficient to initiate a nuclear winter.

IPFS is the answer for something like this.

By pecosdave • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Keep a central publishing site with IPFS links, encourage pinning, do some yourself, publish the site to IPFS also that way if the site itself goes offline it's still around.

IPFS is the answer to keeping something online.

Re:Heroes of humanity

By Guybrush_T • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Except there is a big lobby against them, which are whole companies making money out of scientific publication. Elsevier and others have managed to completely lock down scientific articles, causing that reaction to "free" science.

They have the law with them (they force anyone who wants to publish anything to give them exclusivity), and they make a ton of money out of thin air, so they won't let it go easily.

Re:33 TB ? That seems an incredible understatement

By NotTheSame • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

If the average scientific paper is a pdf file 500K in size, 33TB would hold 66,000,000 papers.

The University of Ottowa estimates there have been 50M papers published since 1665, so 33TB seems to be in the right ballpark.

Re:Heroes of humanity

By Tom Rothamel • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The existence of sci-hub and libgen kind of puts the lie to the value that Elsevier and its contributors add to scientific publication. They want to charge even open access publications thousands of dollars for hosting, this new environment shows that the proper cost is close to free.

T-Mobile Shows Why It's Still Too Early To Buy a 5G Phone

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T-Mobile's nationwide 5G network launches on Friday, the company announced Monday morning. But don't fall for the marketing hype. From a report: It's still too early to buy a 5G phone, even though T-Mobile is now taking orders for two new ones, including the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ and OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren. It's still a big step, though. T-Mobile will turn on its 600 Mhz 5G network, which will cover most of the country. That's impressive, since most of the 5G networks you've heard about so far are only available in limited areas in a small number of cities. The trade-off though, is T-Mobile's network is using low-band 5G, which means it's good at providing slightly boosted speeds inside buildings and is available in far more places than what competitors offer. Some of the 5G Ultra Wideband networks you've heard about from AT&T and Verizon provide the opposite. They have super fast speeds, but only work in really small pockets when you're standing near a tower outside.

5G has a place ..

By satsuke • Score: 3 • Thread

It's a little early to write it off entirely.

AT&T & Verizon use millimeter wave 5G, which is 10ghz+.

This tech has a range of tens to maybe 100 meters.

However, there's already administrative actions in motion to reuse C-band satellite spectrum for mobile 5G. So 4-8ghz (in parts).

That won't go as far as TMO's 600mhz spectrum, but it _does_ make it economically feasible to deploy high throughput 5G to wide areas, rather than the very very narrow corridors it's currently deployed.

And just to point out, that Sprint on 2.5ghz has the spectrum to deploy 5G with gigabit speeds now...

Outside the US I haven't seen the push, as 4G seems to be good enough for many areas.

It will always be too early.

By BAReFO0t • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Since you can only get higher speeds with mote bandwidth and only get more bandwidth at higher frequencies and only get higher frequencies with direct line of sight since everything blocks them.

That is a hard physical limit, and no magic in the universe will ever make 5G fast enough to be any more than a a fusion of wifi and 4G in a single protocol.
Unless you plan on jamming everyone else and using a high-powered ultra-wide bandwidth radio, you will never see wifi speeds at 3G distances. Sorry.

I had hopes for that "private virtual base statiom via interference of real base station signals" technology. Which would be the best bet to fight this problem, from what I understood.
But since we never heard from that again it seems there was a catch there too.


By ebonum • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Now my 2 hour streaming movie will download in 2 minutes instead of 15. It still plays exactly the same, but more is always better!

Phone companies are so skilled

By Areyoukiddingme • Score: 3 • Thread

Here we go again. Time to roll out new cell phone connectivity. It's only happened 6 or 7 times before, so naturally the phone companies will botch this roll out even worse than any prior one. So now both 600 MHz and 6 GHz will both be called 5G, while behaving radically differently. That won't be at all confusing.

Meanwhile the much ballyhooed 700 MHz spectrum auction in which Google participated is now more than a decade old and after all their shenanigans to trigger the FCC's open network, services, devices, and applications rules, what have we got? Can you tell the difference? Feeeel that openness... Or have the incumbent asshole companies continued their incumbent asshole ways? I'm thinking they have.

I'd like to hear how anything is better, if anybody can actually be specific.

Google Stadia and 5G

By Colourspace • Score: 3 • Thread
Two things that need to die already.

iOS Apps Could Really Benefit From the Newly Proposed Security.plist Standard

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Security researcher Ivan Rodriguez has proposed a new security standard for iOS apps, which he named Security.plist. From a report: The idea is simple. App makers would create a property list file (plist) named security.plist that they would embed inside the root of their iOS apps. The file would contain all the basic contact details for reporting a security flaw to the app's creator. Security researchers analyzing an app would have an easy way to get in contact with the app's creators. Rodriguez said the idea for Security.plist came from Security.txt, a similar standard for websites, that was proposed in late 2017. Security.txt is currently going through an official standardization process at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), but it has been widely adopted already, and companies like Google, GitHub, LinkedIn, and Facebook, all have a security.txt file hosted on their sites, so bug hunters can get in touch with their respective security teams. Rodriguez, who is an amateur bug hunter in iOS apps, said he decided to propose a similar thing for iOS apps because getting in touch with an app's dev or security team has been a problem in the past. "I spend most of my free time poking mobile applications which has lead me to find many vulnerabilities and I have yet to find one that has an easy way to find the correct channel to responsibly disclose these issues,"Rodriguez told ZDNet.

Telling the world...

By SirAstral • Score: 3 • Thread

Is faster based on what history shows. Just make sure you properly evaluate the risk of taking credit for discovering the vulnerability.

You already have contact info for apps...

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

All iOS apps have to provide contact links for the app maker, so there's already kind of a path to find someone to reach out to defined already... Not sure how much more this ads other than possibly a more direct security contact. But I would start with the app support link before I started looking in the app binary for a plist (which takes some work to get to).

Amazon Lets Doctors Record Your Conversations and Put Them in Your Medical Files

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Amazon's next big step in health care is with voice transcription technology that's designed to allow doctors to spend more time with patients and less time at the computer. At Amazon Web Services' re:Invent conference on Tuesday, the company is launching a service called Amazon Transcribe Medical, which transcribes doctor-patient interactions and plugs the text straight into the medical record. From a report: "Our overarching goal is to free up the doctor, so they have more attention going to where it should be directed," said Matt Wood, vice president of artificial intelligence at AWS. "And that's to the patient." At last year's re:Invent, AWS introduced a related service called Amazon Comprehend Medical, which "allows developers to process unstructured medical text and identify information such as patient diagnosis, treatments, dosages, symptoms and signs, and more," according to a blog post. Wood said the two services are linked and can be used together. Voice-to-text transcription is one of the many areas where Amazon is battling with cloud rivals Microsoft and Google. All three companies operate speech assistants that can in real time translate spoken words and sentences and offer text translation. Businesses can use the technology in a variety of ways to weave into their applications.

[...] A big challenge for Amazon, a huge consumer company with tons of customer data, is ensuring that its health-care tools are compliant with privacy rules and regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and when it comes to transcription, maintaining an extremely high level of accuracy to avoid problematic outcomes or potential liability. Imagine, for instance, if the machine learning system inputs the term "hyper" instead of "hypo," or if doctors noticed so many inaccuracies that they ended up doing the work manually anyway. Wood said the service is HIPAA compliant. He said it took a lot of work for the technology to correctly annotate the "domain specific language and abbreviations" that are common in the medical field, and added that the accuracy is very high. Amazon hasn't published research showing how its accuracy compares with other offerings, but Wood said the company hasn't ruled it out.

Not a bad idea as an idea

By UnknowingFool • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
One of the things that a doctor routinely has to do is write in your medical file what you might have said regarding symptoms, medications, treatment etc. Some doctors record this and have someone transcribe it later. However most have to write what you said at the time of your visit or remember it later. This leaves a lot of room for interpretation and error. Automatic transcription of conversations is a good idea; however, I don’t trust Amazon in the slightest not to figure out some way to profit from it or break confidentiality.

Re:single payor

By jellomizer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I am not sure how that makes it any better or worse then what we have now.

Insurance companies are collecting more and more information about the visit than before. They entice people to join wellness programs whre they will collect more information.... Single Payor means we have one organization to complain too if they go to far. Currently, we have a slew of private companies who do their own thing.

Another thing that's illegal with the GDPR.

By BAReFO0t • Score: 3 • Thread

Probably the best new law we enacted in the last 50 years or so.

Re:Do not want in medical file

By cayenne8 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
But, I don't want audio and/or video recorded of my visit with my Dr.

Not often, but there are times when you speak to your physician off the record....or just asking questions, etc...that you want to know, but may not be directly with regard to you at that time, but you still don't want it on your record, especially if the question is not directly about you, but perhaps about a loved one, etc.

I don't think that the exam room is the proper place to have legally "bugged".

Hell, it's hard enough to get patients to open up and talk and get a good diagnosis as it is currently even without the proposed threat of transcribing everything they say or do in the exam room.

Re:Do not want in medical file

By pslytely psycho • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

1. Yahoo
Date: 2013-14
Impact: 3 billion user accounts

2. Marriott International
Date: 2014-18
Impact: 500 million customers

3. Adult Friend Finder
Date: October 2016
Impact: More than 412.2 million accounts

4. eBay
Date: May 2014
Impact: 145 million users compromised

5. Equifax
Date: July 29 2017
Impact: Personal information (including Social Security Numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some cases drivers' license numbers) of 143 million consumers; 209,000 consumers also had their credit card data exposed.

6. Heartland Payment Systems
Date: March 2008
Impact: 134 million credit cards exposed through SQL injection to install spyware on Heartland's data systems.

7. Target Stores
Date: December 2013
Impact: Credit/debit card information and/or contact information of up to 110 million people compromised.

8. TJX Companies, Inc.
Date: December 2006
Impact: 94 million credit cards exposed.

9. Uber
Date: Late 2016
Impact: Personal information of 57 million Uber users and 600,000 drivers exposed.

10. JP Morgan Chase
Date: July 2014
Impact: 76 million households and 7 million small businesses .

You were saying?

Would You Pay Someone $40 To Keep You Focused on Work?

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An anonymous reader shares a report: Lacking any of the necessary willpower to go back to my work, I spiraled further into a procrastination hole and clicked on the link. "Working on something hard? Distracted? Overwhelmed? Imagine a place where you know you'll get your work done," the landing page read. I didn't believe such a place really existed, outside of maybe a plane at 35,000 feet before the advent of inflight Wi-Fi. But I was feeling preoccupied and stressed, and I wanted this mythical destination to be real, so I signed up for one of the company's sessions last month. That's how I found myself inside a drab office building in downtown San Francisco, feeling more like I was on my way to a dentist appointment than to experience the latest productivity solution to come out of Silicon Valley. Focused has a deceptively simple premise: What if you could pay someone to help you accomplish undistracted work for a couple of hours?

For $40 a pop, cofounders Nodira Khoussainova, 32, and Lee Granas, 40, put on a study hall of sorts, perfect for a certain breed of multitasking, multi-side-hustle, 21st-century adult. (They do also offer financial aid.) The company has two newly opened offices, one in San Francisco and one in nearby Oakland, where clients show up with laptops and one or more daunting tasks they hope to cross off their to-do lists. The startup feels, in some ways, like a natural outgrowth of a culture that's obsessed with optimization and an economy in which more people work remotely than ever. It caters to the same type of person that productivity apps, books, and gurus do, but it also provides access to what's essentially a coworking space. Yet unlike other products and services that promise to help you get more things done, Focused doesn't treat procrastination like a personal moral failing. Its founders believe that people probably can't do everything they want to alone -- they need a real, live human supporting them, even if it's someone they pay.

Well gee, if I did...

By zarmanto • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
If I were to pay someone to keep me focused on work, I wouldn't very well be reading /. right now, would I?

I do not need to pay

By oldgraybeard • Score: 3 • Thread
a stranger $40.00! I am married.

Just my 2 cents ;) and yes happily married I know the rules ;)

Re:Fundamentally flawed business plan

By Kjella • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I agree that it's fundamentally flawed, but I would suggest differently that the ones who need their services the most are people who don't value their work enough in the first place to remain mentally engaged in it on their own, and therefore are not likely to want to pay someone else to help keep them focused on it.

If all your work is mentally engaging I'd say lucky you, even though I don't generally hate my job there's definitively times where I'm basically whipping myself to focus and get shit done. Of course I value the paycheck and all that way down the line but in the moment it's easy to let your mind wander off. Particularly if you're pouring through logs trying to figure out where and why something went wrong rather than creating any grand masterpieces. This is also where a two minute mental break or talking to a coworker to see if they have any ideas can be good.

My guess is this is for the people who don't have the discipline to come back, rather than two minutes it was an hour watching cat videos and the talk turned into a water cooler chitchat instead or maybe your brain has a touch of attention deficiency disorder and you just zone out rather than focus. It won't stop the procrastinators that don't even get started but there's plenty who get started with a lot of ambition and then it just fizzles away. Maybe these people need someone to keep them on track, but I think it's more the commitment they get from going than the actual service.

What's my motivation?

By Gravis Zero • Score: 3 • Thread

Do I get paid more for working hard or diligently? Is there a fixed amount of work each day and after that I get to go home? What is my motivation for being focused on work?

Re: No

By AntronArgaiv • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'd be more focussed if my employer didn't think open offices, hot desking and bare concrete floors weren't so cool.

Physicists Have Identified a Metal That Conducts Electricity But Not Heat

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Researchers have identified a metal that conducts electricity without conducting heat - an incredibly useful property that defies our current understanding of how conductors work. From a report: The metal, found in 2017, contradicts something called the Wiedemann-Franz Law, which basically states that good conductors of electricity will also be proportionally good conductors of heat, which is why things like motors and appliances get so hot when you use them regularly. But a team in the US showed this isn't the case for metallic vanadium dioxide (VO2) - a material that's already well known for its strange ability to switch from a see-through insulator to a conductive metal at the temperature of 67 degrees Celsius (152 degrees Fahrenheit). "This was a totally unexpected finding," said lead researcher Junqiao Wu from Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division back in January 2017. "It shows a drastic breakdown of a textbook law that has been known to be robust for conventional conductors. This discovery is of fundamental importance for understanding the basic electronic behaviour of novel conductors." Not only does this unexpected property change what we know about conductors, it could also be incredibly useful - the metal could one day be used to convert wasted heat from engines and appliances back into electricity, or even create better window coverings that keep buildings cool.

Not the first [Re:Wiedemann-Franz Law]

By Geoffrey.landis • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

It's only a law for a certain restricted range of materials, ones in which thermal energy of conduction electrons are the main conductor of heat.

Superconductors are also materials that conduct electricity better than heat (in fact, they conduct electricity infinitely better than heat. Cooper pairs of electrons carry charge but can't carry thermal energy; if you give them thermal energy, it breaks the pairs). So this is not actually the first material found that does so; it's just that it does this at above room temperature, not at cryogenic temperatures.

The article actually does state this-- the summary is misleading:

  Researchers already knew of a handful of other materials that conduct electricity better than heat, but they only display those properties at temperatures hundreds of degrees below zero, which makes them highly impractical for any real-world applications.


By DeathToBill • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"which is why things like motors and appliances get so hot when you use them regularly"

No. Just no. Someone failed thermodynamics. They get hot because they have resistance. They dissipate that heat to the environment because they're good conductors. If they were poor conductors, they would get hotter through being unable to dissipate the heat.

old [Re:Not the first [Re:Wiedemann-Franz Law]]

By Geoffrey.landis • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

...odd that this two-year-old research result suddenly makes the news, though.

Re:Wiedemann-Franz Law

By shmlco • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Most "laws" exist within a given domain. For example, engineers can pretty much accept the "laws" of thermodynamics for the majority of common cases. It's only when you start getting very, very small, very, very cold, or extremely hot that the laws start spewing nonsense... an indication that you've reached the edges of your domain and that you're going to need a new set of "laws" to cover those aspects. Quantum mechanics, anyone?

Re:Wiedemann-Franz Law

By frank_adrian314159 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

So you're saying you believe that scientific method has been adhered to if you like the results and not if it hasn't. What AOC has to say about it is irrelevant to the scientific findings and the only reason you bring it up is because you're a conservative climate change denier and want to tar the science with political crap.

Let me clue you in. Science is science. And the findings are pretty clear right now. What you decide to do about it is politics. The two are separate and need to be handled differently, not conflated to muddy the waters.

I'll make it even clearer. Anyone who conflates the two is doing service for neither the science nor the politics of the matter.

But so you finally understand, GO AWAY TROLL.

'Laziness Has Won': Apostrophe Society Admits Its Defeat

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A society dedicated to preserving the "much-abused" apostrophe is to be shut down as its chairman said "ignorance and laziness" had won. From a report: John Richards, who worked in journalism for much of his career, started the Apostrophe Protection Society in 2001 after he retired. Now 96, Richards is calling time on the society, which lists the three simple rules for correct use of the punctuation mark. Writing on the society's website, he said: "Fewer organisations and individuals are now caring about the correct use of the apostrophe in the English language. We, and our many supporters worldwide, have done our best but the ignorance and laziness present in modern times have won!" Richards started the society after seeing the "same mistakes over and over again" and hoped he would find half a dozen people who felt the same way.

Laziness is the whole point!

By Scarred Intellect • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"they're" instead of "they are"

"can't" instead of "can not" or "cannot"

"it's" instead of "it is"

"woudldn't" instead of "would not"

So if anything, its a victim of it's own success. (to the observant reader, that was intentional)

Re:Aristrocrat weirdo

By nagora • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This is not true. It's not even close.

fz called it

By znrt • Score: 3 • Thread

the crux of the biscuit
is the apostrophe

It is good to try to get things correct

By Alain Williams • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

We all, occasionally, make mistakes so take a little effort and try to get it right. Correct use of apostrophes does make reading & understanding text easier -- for me anyway. Many do not care: they expect their readers to put in the work to understand what they meant but did not take the time & effort to write properly.

Lynn Truss wrote an excellent book Eats, Shoots & Leaves that talks about correct use of the comma. Read it: you will make what you write easier to understand.

Here's how to use an apostrophe

By turp182 • Score: 3 • Thread

The Oatmeal lays this out in a rather fun and methodical way.

Now Even the FBI is Warning About Your Smart TV's Security

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
If you just bought a smart TV on Black Friday or plan to buy one for Cyber Monday tomorrow, the FBI wants you to know a few things. From a report: Smart TVs are like regular television sets but with an internet connection. With the advent and growth of Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services, most saw internet-connected televisions as a cord-cutter's dream. But like anything that connects to the internet, it opens up smart TVs to security vulnerabilities and hackers. Not only that, many smart TVs come with a camera and a microphone. But as is the case with most other internet-connected devices, manufacturers often don't put security as a priority. That's the key takeaway from the FBI's Portland field office, which just ahead of some of the biggest shopping days of the year posted a warning on its website about the risks that smart TVs pose. "Beyond the risk that your TV manufacturer and app developers may be listening and watching you, that television can also be a gateway for hackers to come into your home. A bad cyber actor may not be able to access your locked-down computer directly, but it is possible that your unsecured TV can give him or her an easy way in the backdoor through your router," wrote the FBI. The FBI warned that hackers can take control of your unsecured smart TV and in worst cases, take control of the camera and microphone to watch and listen in.

Re:Cows, meet barn door

By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Perhaps you missed the memo, but we all know that the Russians got Trump elected. Everyone wanted Hillary, but those darn Russians!

Is that so hard?

By Impy the Impiuos Imp • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I want two hard-wired LEDs, one for mic and one for camera, any time they are powered on, such that it cannot be finessed off with software.

Re:Well,not for me..

By 110010001000 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I don't get it. Why do you connect the TV to the network at all then? Also, why do you trust your Roku, but not your TV? Bizarre.

The battle is lost! LTE connection is dirt cheap!

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
My good old DLP, bought in Circuit City in 2006 finally died last Thursday. So got a new one, a smart TV. Did not give it any WiFi access. But pretty soon it could become impossible to secure it.

My CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machine for my apnea was upgraded last week. The older model had a small display screen giving average number of hours of use, number of days of use etc. The insurance company used to bug me for these usage details. The nurse was so happy, "We wont nag you anymore! This machine comes with its own modem (?) and it can file the reports automagically through the cell network! We will know the hours of use!"."

With a start I realized the LTE chip is cheap, ridiculously cheap!. Candybar phones are now less than 25$, retail. Bulk order without phone hardward, and a simple data connection, it could be as cheap as 5$. It will not be costly for any device maker, to bypass the WiFi and directly make an LTE phone home function built into the TV or any appliance for that matter. Fridge, washing machine, hair drier ... any powered device can call home and spy on you for just 5$!

Re: Overblown

By NoMoreACs • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Why are y'all talking about these things as "TVs" still. What they are are embedded computers running specialized applications. Many of these "smart TVs" are just running Android of one flavor or another.

With Android's (in)security record, that makes me feel ever-so-much-more happy, thanks!

Huawei Is Now Making Smartphones Without American Chips

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"American tech companies are getting the go-ahead to resume business with Chinese smartphone giant Huawei Technologies Co., but it may be too late," reports the Wall Street Journal.

Huawei is just building its smartphones without U.S. chips. Huawei's latest phone, which it unveiled in September -- the Mate 30 with a curved display, telephone and wide-angle cameras that competes with Apple Inc.'s iPhone 11 -- contained no U.S. parts, according to an analysis by UBS and Fomalhaut Techno Solutions, a Japanese technology lab that took the device apart to inspect its insides...

While Huawei hasn't stopped using American chips entirely, it has reduced its reliance on U.S. suppliers or eliminated U.S. chips in phones launched since May, including the company's Y9 Prime and Mate smartphones, according to Fomalhaut's teardown analysis. Similar inspections by iFixit and Tech Insights Inc., two other firms that take apart phones to inspect components, have come to similar conclusions.

Re:A lesson

By jellomizer • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I thought this was a lesson to not start trade wars with your largest trading partner? You are under the impression that only America can make and design chips. While I expect some of the technology may be from the technology transfer, a lot of it is actually from other countries' own ingenuity.

Countries buy from the United States because we are usually easy/predictable to deal with. It is like buying a brand name item, it may not be the best, but they are normally predictable and you know what you are getting.

The Trade Wars and Tough Negotiation with unpredictable results will only hurt the US Brand Name, and prolonged over years, which means companies may reevaluate their risks and try someone else.

Re: A lesson

By Mashiki • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Even if you include the million Uyghurs in the Xinjiang internment camps, China's per capita incarceration rate is less than a third that of America.

That's if you trust China on their incarceration rates. Since we already know that the police engage in sweeps and disappearances akin to the STASI and people just disappear. East Germany also had a very low incarceration rate, the dead don't need a jail cell.

Re: A lesson

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

So pretty much all of the world, excluding the USA, is retarded in your opinion?

Maybe it's you. Also, China did sign up to it.

Re:A lesson

By hey! • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

This mischaracterizes the decisions that led to this. It wasn't that CEOs and investors didn't understand the long term consequences of technology transfer, it was that they didn't care. The net present value of the future costs was, for them, less than the immediate profit to be made.

It's like gold mining -- a notoriously dirty occupation that leaves behind giant cyanide contaminated tailing ponds. Everybody involved knows it's going to happen, but expects to be long gone with their money by the time the issue of cleaning up arises.

Re: Predictable

By chill • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

They got their start by stealing everything. Their early network switches were cloned Nortel -- right down to the exact same typos in the manuals and help text.

But they didn't just sit on their asses, they studied, learned, and innovated.

Steal as much as you can, ignoring IP law until you catch up as how America did it 200 years ago. The only people this is a surprise to us is the ones that don't pay any attention to history. This is how the game had always been played.

Millions of SMS Text Messages Exposed In Unencrypted Database

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"A massive database storing tens of millions of SMS text messages, most of which were sent by businesses to potential customers, has been found online," reports TechCrunch. The database belongs to a company that works with over 990 cell phone operators and reaches more than 5 billion subscribers around the world, according to the researchers.

TechCrunch writes: The database is run by TrueDialog, a business SMS provider for businesses and higher education providers, which lets companies, colleges, and universities send bulk text messages to their customers and students. The Austin, Texas-based company says one of the advantages to its service is that recipients can also text back, allowing them to have two-way conversations with brands or businesses.

The database stored years of sent and received text messages from its customers and processed by TrueDialog. But because the database was left unprotected on the internet without a password, none of the data was encrypted and anyone could look inside. Security researchers Noam Rotem and Ran Locar found the exposed database earlier this month as part of their internet scanning efforts... Many of the messages we reviewed contained codes to access online medical services to obtain, and password reset and login codes for sites including Facebook and Google accounts...

One table alone had tens of millions of messages, many of which were message recipients trying to opt-out of receiving text messages.


By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

sent by businesses to potential customers

In other words: unsolicited spam.

Digital social media natives at work

By Confused • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The story sound so terrible usual.

Some shady startup a digital customer relation enabler company was founded by a digital-technology innovator woman to watch. Being digital technology enabled, they probably called themselves something more glorious than spammers but that's what they do.

They successfully sold their services to companies to lazy or stupid to do their own spamming, get wonderful press-accolades for being so digitally native.

Profit - at least for some.

Meanwhile back in the trenches, why change stuff that works? The code cobbled together in a weekend while the company has struggling to find their first customer still works fine, doesn't it? At least until someone manages to take a peek under the hood.

'Massive Issues' Reported For Google's Indexing of JavaScript Content

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
The way Google is indexing JavaScript content is "still a massive issue," reports Search Engine Journal: As much as 60% of the JavaScript content is indexed within the first 24 hours after indexing HTML. But there is also bad news. As much as 32% of the tested pages have unindexed JavaScript content after one month, due to a variety of reasons...

Indexing delays can cause Google to take a lot more time in discovering newly added pages on your news website... If it takes ages for Google to index your JS-dependent product description, your competitors will be taking the top positions for prominent queries....

We also checked a random sample of URLs from popular ecommerce and news websites. On average, JavaScript content is not indexed in Google in 25% of these websites' pages. This is one of the results of the two waves of indexing. The second wave is not guaranteed. Indexing JavaScript can fail due to many reasons, or may not happen at all....

If you are using JavaScript for generating important content, you have to implement it wisely and keep it under control.


By Z00L00K • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

In a way you are right - and if search engines don't index javascript generated content then that habit might go away instead. On the other hand many sites are probably enforcing the javascript generated content in order to enforce trackers to work as well.


By Bite The Pillow • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Feature, not a bug.

"If you are using JavaScript for generating important content, you have to implement it wisely and keep it under control"

Graceful fallback has been an idea for a very large amount of JavaScript's lifetime. It shouldn't be a surprise.

All of this will improve with webasm

By peppepz • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Can't wait for sites to be distributed as .exe intead of .com. :-)


By evanh • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It's the "frameworks" and "toolkits" themselves that need to ditch scripting.

Same as for the ad industry. Take away the option of tracking and they'll stop using it.

What day is it?

By mwa • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Are we pissed at Google for sucking up all information or are we pissed because they're not getting enough or getting it fast enough?