the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2020-Feb-13 today archive


  1. Officials In Australia's New South Wales Celebrate: 'All Fires Are Now Contained'
  2. Netflix Loses Bid To Dismiss $25 Million Lawsuit Over 'Black Mirror: Bandersnatch'
  3. 500 Chrome Extensions Secretly Uploaded Private Data From Millions of Users
  4. Apple Liable For Millions In Unpaid Wages After Court Rules Retail Worker Bag Checks Illegal
  5. Facebook Dating Launch Blocked In Europe After It Fails To Show Privacy Workings
  6. YouTube Censors Senate Floor Speech With Whistleblower's Name
  7. Qualcomm Makes Case To Appeals Court That It Didn't Hurt Competition
  8. Car 'Splatometer' Tests Reveal Huge Decline In Number of Insects
  9. Google's Area 120 Brings Quick Web Games To Slow Phones
  10. Robot Analysts Outwit Humans on Investment Picks, Study Shows
  11. Why Poor People Make Poor Decisions
  12. Judge Temporarily Blocks Microsoft Pentagon Cloud Contract After Amazon Suit
  13. The U.S. is Charging Huawei With Racketeering
  14. An Old Android Virus is Reinstalling Itself Even After Factory Resets
  15. A New Senate Bill Would Create a US Data Protection Agency
  16. MIT Researchers Disclose Vulnerabilities in Voatz Mobile Voting Election App
  17. Analysis Shows Andrew Yang Was Snubbed By Mainstream Media in its Coverage
  18. Let's Get Real About How Important Our Phones Are
  19. Broadcom Announces BCM4389 Wi-Fi 6E Client Chipset
  20. Facebook Dating Launch Blocked in Europe After it Fails To Show Privacy Workings
  21. Steam: Virtual Reality's Biggest-Ever Jump In Users Happened Last Month
  22. Apple's Mac Computers Now Outpace Windows In Malware
  23. Understanding the Impact of Satellite Constellations On Astronomy

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.

Officials In Australia's New South Wales Celebrate: 'All Fires Are Now Contained'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: Fire officials in Australia are celebrating a landmark moment, saying that for the first time in what has been a horrendous wildfire season, every fire in hard-hit New South Wales is now under control. Bushfires have destroyed more than 2,400 homes and burned 5.4 million hectares of land -- or about 13.3 million acres -- in the country's most populous state. More than a week of heavy rain has helped fire crews extinguish or control dangerous fires. And while the deluge has created its own problems, such as flooding and mudslides, firefighters welcomed the news that they finally have the upper hand in combating fires and can focus on the recovery process. "After what's been a truly devastating fire season for both firefighters and residents who suffered through so much this season, all fires are now contained in New South Wales, which is great news," NSW Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said in a video update Thursday. "Not all fires are out," Rogers added, noting that some fires are burning in the state's far south. "But all fires are contained, so we can really focus on helping people rebuild."

Six percent of the sate

By quenda • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

5.4 million hectares is equivalent to 6% of the state, or a quarter of the state's forest.
The area does not mean a lot as there is a regular cycle of bushfires, and the ecosystem is adapted to that.
It does not convey the ferocity of the fires this season, and the difficulty in defending homes and infrastructure from them.

In the past we have seen much larger areas burnt, but never such great damage to farms and towns.

From the Auz Dept of "Thoughts & Prayers"

By seoras • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

We present Get Fkn Used to It.

Re: Good! Now manage the forests...

By MrKaos • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

They did in the past before the demand for green laws...

No. Stop spreading that meme. It was the Liberal government at a federal and a state level that cut the firefighting budgets. Which is why none of the firefighters or survivors without homes wanted to shake the prime ministers hand after he came back from a holiday from Hawaii whilst firefighters were working around the clock and sleeping fully clothed on peoples front yard.

NSW is a state three times the size of the state of Victoria which has double the firefighting budget. Straight out neglect and incompetence got us into this mess whilst prayers and good luck sent rains around before the entire state was turned to a cinder.

So no, it wasn't green laws or any other asshole propagated stories made up by the Liberals, it was their neglect and complete failure to allocate another $800 million dollars to the fire service so that they could do the burning off that they normally do.

Re: Good! Now manage the forests...

By Whiney Mac Fanboy • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Aaaah, another American armchair expert who thinks that Australian conditions are somewhat analogous to Southern California.

Firstly, we give similar fuel reduction advice to the LA county advice you linked to above (example).

I think you just don't understand the scale of this problem - the area burnt in Australia was around one hundred and seventy times bigger than the area burnt in the Californian wildfires.

The fuel was so tinder dry & ambient temperature so hot and the winds so strong that a rare phenomenon -
pyrocumulonimbus (essentially fire tornadoes) was observed more during this (still ongoing) fire season than all past seasons combined.

The idea that you can bulldoze some sort of containment line around towns in the face of this is ridiculous. The fires jumped rivers, roads, EVEN LAKES. Ember attacks can start new fires up to 1/4 mile from existing fire fronts, We even have things like firehawks - birds that deliberately spread fire to flush out their prey. The temperature and speed of the fires in the US just doesn't come close to what Australia experienced (and to a lesser extent in 2009)

The scale & sparse / distributed population of the south-eastern states (outside of the capital cities) are hard for an American to grasp - you need to understand from our perspective, you are analogous to a European lecturing an American on the lack of inter-city trains. You just. dont. get. it. Your clueless advice is unwanted. Please stop offering it.

Yes they would be. If one is a right-wing loon...

By denzacar • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

...with poor reading comprehension, who gets his news primarily in the form of frog-memes and animated gifs on twitter.
And on an occasion, directly from right-wing loon """""""""""""""""""news""""""""""""""""""" sources like PragerU, which deliberately and intentionally spread and create misinformation and lies.

Meanwhile, back in reality...

Were 'Nearly 200' People Arrested for Deliberately Starting Australia Bushfires?
Misinformation spread wildly as bushfires devastated Australia in late 2019 and early 2020.


Netflix Loses Bid To Dismiss $25 Million Lawsuit Over 'Black Mirror: Bandersnatch'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
On Tuesday, Netflix lost a bid to escape a lawsuit brought by the trademark owner of "Choose Your Own Adventure" over the 2018 immersive film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. The series' original publisher, Chooseco, sued the company early last year for $25 million in damages, as the company says that Netflix's new movie benefits from association with the Choose Your Own Adventure series, without the company ever receiving the trademark. From Hollywood Reporter: According to the plaintiff, it has been using the mark since the 1980s and has sold more than 265 million copies of its Choose Your Own Adventure books. 20th Century Fox holds options for movie versions, and Chooseco alleges that Netflix actively pursued a license. Instead of getting one, Netflix released Bandersnatch, which allows audiences to select the direction of the plot. Claiming $25 million in damages, Chooseco suggested that Bandersnatch viewers have been confused about association with its famous brand, particularly because of marketing around the movie as well as a scene where the main character -- a video game developer -- tells his father that the work he's developing is based on a Choose Your Own Adventure book.

In reaction to the lawsuit, Netflix raised a First Amendment defense, particularly the balancing test in Rogers v. Grimaldi, whereby unless a work has no artistic relevance, the use of a mark must be misleading for it to be actionable. U.S. District Court Judge William Sessions agrees that Bandersnatch is an artistic work even if Netflix derived profit from exploiting the Charlie Brooker film. And the judge says that use of the trademark has artistic relevance. Thus, the final question is whether Netflix's film is explicitly misleading. Judge Sessions doesn't believe it's appropriate to dismiss the case prematurely without exploring factual issues in discovery. Netflix also attempted to defend its use of "Choose Your Own Adventure" as descriptive fair use. Here, too, the judge believes that factual exploration is appropriate.
You can read the full decision here.

Trademark, not copyright

By tepples • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The idea that they are the only people that own the idea that a story can have multiple endings and multiple paths is ridiculous.

As I understand this and the previous story, Chooseco doesn't claim exclusive rights in branching-path novels. Chooseco instead claims exclusive rights in in the use of the "CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE" mark to refer to them.

Re:Copyright on an entire idea?

By Aighearach • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The haven't lost a lawsuit, the judge dismissed most of it but allowed the strongest (though still weak) claims to proceed to discovery.

They "lost" their attempt at an early 100% victory, only achieving 85% or so, with the rest simply proceeding to the next stage.

Re: Litigate, litigate

By D-Breaker • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
It's rather dumb because they are basically trying to claim the description for an entire genre of storytelling. Depending on how far you could stretch it, you could even claim it covers a large portion of video games as well as some novelty movies dating as far back as VHS and Laserdisc eras. I view the lawsuit proceeding as a good thing because it will likely provide precedent to prevent them or anyone else from trying again.

Re:Copyright on an entire idea?

By fleeped • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
"Choose Your Own Adventure" contains generic, useful words, that describe a type of game. Like "real-time strategy". Should you be able to trademark "real-time strategy"? Should somebody be able to trademark "Bring your own Booze"? It's not exactly sustainable after a while, as you're gimped in what language you can use to describe your product

Re:Copyright on an entire idea?

By hairyfeet • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

That is because the brand became synonymous with the idea, like Q-Tips or Band-Aid or Vaseline. If you say you want any of those everyone knows you are not saying you must have that specific brand, but the brand name has become so famous that the very concept has been tied to the brand.

So I'm sorry but that is kinda exactly how a successful branding works, you want your brand to become so famous people just assume your brand is the concept. The CYOA guys built the brand through countless products over decades and now like Vaseline and Q-Tips their name has extra meaning, doesn't mean anybody can go out and make Q-Tips and Vaseline, instead you get cotton sticks and petroleum jelly and hey, just like the CYOA guys J&J doesn't sue anybody for making those generic products, only if they put the brand name on it which again is how its supposed to work. If Netflix called it branching paths or your choice or anything else? This wouldn't be an issue, just as you don't see coke or Pepsi suing anybody for having a red can labeled cola or a blue one labeled pop in a TV show, its only when you use someone's specific trademark that you have to get a license...or are you saying that anybody should be able to make Q-Tips or Vaseline or Coke simply because its so famous?

500 Chrome Extensions Secretly Uploaded Private Data From Millions of Users

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
More than 500 browser extensions downloaded millions of times from Google's Chrome Web Store surreptitiously uploaded private browsing data to attacker-controlled servers, researchers said on Thursday. Ars Technica reports: The extensions were part of a long-running malvertising and ad-fraud scheme that was discovered by independent researcher Jamila Kaya. She and researchers from Cisco-owned Duo Security eventually identified 71 Chrome Web Store extensions that had more than 1.7 million installations. After the researchers privately reported their findings to Google, the company identified more than 430 additional extensions. Google has since removed all known extensions. "In the case reported here, the Chrome extension creators had specifically made extensions that obfuscated the underlying advertising functionality from users," Kaya and Duo Security Jacob Rickerd wrote in a report. "This was done in order to connect the browser clients to a command and control architecture, exfiltrate private browsing data without the users' knowledge, expose the user to risk of exploit through advertising streams, and attempt to evade the Chrome Web Store's fraud detection mechanisms."

The extensions were mostly presented as tools that provided various promotion- and advertising-as-a service utilities. In fact, they engaged in ad fraud and malvertising by shuffling infected browsers through a maze of sketchy domains. Each plugin first connected to a domain that used the same name as the plugin (e.g.: Mapstrek[.]com or ArcadeYum[.]com) to check for instructions on whether to uninstall themselves. The plugins then redirected browsers to one of a handful of hard-coded control servers to receive additional instructions, locations to upload data, advertisement feed lists, and domains for future redirects. Infected browsers then uploaded user data, updated plugin configurations, and flowed through a stream of site redirections.
The researchers say the campaign dates back to at least January 2019, but it's possible that the operators were active "as early as 2017."

From the ars article

By bobstreo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

PackageTrak Promos
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CrushArcade Ads
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ArcadeFrontier Ads
MapsFrontier Advertising
SuperSimpleTools Promos
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PlayPopGames Ads
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GameZooks Advertisements
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MapsFrontier Advertisement Offers
ExpressDirections Promos
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MapsTrek Offers
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MapsFrontier Advertisements
ArcadeCookie Offers
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GamesChill Ads
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PlayZiz Advertisements
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FreeWeatherApp Promos
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YoYoQuiz Promotions
MapsVoyage Advertising
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SuperSimpleTools Promos
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Apple Liable For Millions In Unpaid Wages After Court Rules Retail Worker Bag Checks Illegal

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The California Supreme Court in a decision (PDF) delivered on Thursday found Apple broke state law by not paying retail workers for the time they spent participating in mandatory bag and device searches, leaving the company liable for millions in unpaid wages. AppleInsider reports: In a unanimous ruling, the court holds employees were and are in Apple's control during mandatory exit searches of bags, packages, devices and other items. As such, Apple is required to compensate its employees for time spent on the anti-theft program, which in this case allegedly amounted to up to 20 minutes worth hundreds or thousands of dollars a year.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye notes courts should consider a number of factors when evaluating employer-controlled conduct, including location, degree of employer control, benefit to employees and disciplinary consequences. Applying the logic to the current case, "it is clear that plaintiffs are subject to Apple's control while awaiting, and during, Apple's exit searches. Apple's exit searches are required as a practical matter, occur at the workplace, involve a significant degree of control, are imposed primarily for Apple's benefit, and are enforced through threat of discipline," Cantil-Sakauye writes. Apple's policy demands hourly retail employees submit to a search of personal packages and bags at the end of each shift and when clocking out for meal breaks. The checks are performed off-the-clock, meaning workers do not get paid for the mandatory procedure.

Re:This is how everyone operates now...

By weilawei • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What 20 minutes, it seems pretty minor to me one way or the other.

Humans are homeostatic systems. If you're living paycheck-to-paycheck, 1/3 of an hour of pay is a big deal. Unfortunately, the homeostatic mechanism also seems to prevent people from empathizing with others who have problems of a different scale.

Re:This is how everyone operates now...

By cusco • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Rather wondering how Apple thought they would get away with this, Amazon was made to pay for the time spent in bag searches over a decade ago, and the diamond companies a couple decades before that.

Re:In CA

By sjames • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

They don't have to accept any. They just have to pay their employees for the time they're held up waiting for the bag check. That is, the employee is off the clock AFTER the bag check is completed. If Apple thinks that is costing too much they are welcome to streamline the procedure.

Re:This is how everyone operates now...

By PrimaryConsult • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What we have now is regulated capitalism. Apple losing this lawsuit shows that it works, though I would argue the employees should see 5x the shorted pay as a punishment to prevent these kinds of shenanigans being "what's the worst that can happen, we pay what we would have had to pay them anyway? Suckers!"

Moving the needle too far into the realms of unregulated capitalism, or socialism, results in an unstable system that eventually collapses.

Re:Or the adult version

By serviscope_minor • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

What is the silly drama about?

Apple, one of the largest and most profitable companies in the world tried to screw over low paid employees by making them work for the company for free.

Facebook Dating Launch Blocked In Europe After It Fails To Show Privacy Workings

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Facebook has been left red-faced after being forced to call off the launch date of its dating service in Europe because it failed to give its lead EU data regulator enough advanced warning -- including failing to demonstrate it had performed a legally required assessment of privacy risks. Yesterday, Ireland's newspaper reported that the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) -- using inspection and document seizure powers set out in Section 130 of the country's Data Protection Act -- had sent agents to Facebook's Dublin office seeking documentation that Facebook had failed to provide.

In a statement on its website, the DPC said Facebook first contacted it about the rollout of the dating feature in the EU on February 3. "We were very concerned that this was the first that we'd heard from Facebook Ireland about this new feature, considering that it was their intention to roll it out tomorrow, February 13," the regulator writes. "Our concerns were further compounded by the fact that no information/documentation was provided to us on February 3 in relation to the Data Protection Impact Assessment [DPIA] or the decision-making processes that were undertaken by Facebook Ireland." At the time of its U.S. launch, Facebook said dating would arrive in Europe by early 2020. It just didn't think to keep its lead EU privacy regulator in the loop, despite the DPC having multiple (ongoing) investigations into other Facebook-owned products at this stage.
A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement: "It's really important that we get the launch of Facebook Dating right so we are taking a bit more time to make sure the product is ready for the European market. We worked carefully to create strong privacy safeguards, and complete the data processing impact assessment ahead of the proposed launch in Europe, which we shared with the IDPC when it was requested."

In a second statement, the Facebook spokesperson added: "We're under no legal obligation to notify the IDPC of product launches. However, as a courtesy to the Office of the Data Protection Commission, who is our lead regulator for data protection in Europe, we proactively informed them of this proposed launch two weeks in advance. We had completed the data processing impact assessment well in advance of the European launch, which we shared with the IDPC when they asked for it."


By azuroff • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

The first one was from the "how-about-that" department.

This one is from the "hold-your-horses" department.

Completely different.

Riddled with bullshit

By Martin S. • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The facebook statements are actually riddled with b.s. and misinformation or misunderstanding. I'm inclined to suspect the former because GDPR is not rocket science it is actually regarded as basic competence of IT professionals here. You register the type of data being used, you provide the commissioner with the contact details of the data controller and have processes in place to ensure the law is obeyed.

it failed to give its lead EU data regulator enough advanced warning is an attempt to paint the Information Commissioner as somehow slow or inefficient, when they in fact conducted the inspected inside 24 hours.

"We're under no legal obligation to notify the IDPC of product launches. However, as a courtesy to the Office of the Data Protection Commission, who is our lead regulator for data protection in Europe, we proactively informed them of this proposed launch two weeks in advance. We had completed the data processing impact assessment well in advance of the European launch, which we shared with the IDPC when they asked for it."

While the first sentence is strictly true it is misdirection to the point of being disingenuous. The Data commissioner has no interest in your product it is very concerned with the personal private data captured, stored, processed and share. This must all be done with process transparency and the safeguards.

Registration is not a courtesy it is the law, it is compulsory. FB were not proactive, they were reactive to the inspection, only providing the necessary documentation after they had already failed the inspection.

YouTube Censors Senate Floor Speech With Whistleblower's Name

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
SonicSpike shares a report from The Hill: YouTube has removed a video from its platform that shows Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) stating on the Senate floor the name of a person who conservative media have suggested is the whistleblower whose complaint triggered the impeachment inquiry of President Trump. The company, home to millions of hours of video content, said in a statement on Thursday that "videos, comments, and other forms of content that mention the leaked whistleblower's name" violate its community guidelines and will be removed from the site. "We've removed hundreds of videos and over ten thousand comments that contained the name. Video uploaders have the option to edit their videos to exclude the name and reupload," Ivy Choi, a spokesperson, said in the statement, which was first reported by Politico.

The video clip removed by YouTube comes from the Senate impeachment trial, when Paul mentioned a name that has circulated in conservative media as the whistleblower. Paul did so after Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts declined to read a question he submitted including that person's name. Paul says he does not know if the name he said on the Senate floor is the whistleblower's or not, but he said it was wrong for his speech to be censored. "It is a chilling and disturbing day in America when giant web companies such as YouTube decide to censure speech," he said in a statement. "Now, even protected speech, such as that of a senator on the Senate floor, can be blocked from getting to the American people. This is dangerous and politically biased. Nowhere in my speech did I accuse anyone of being a whistleblower, nor do I know the whistleblower's identity."
Important to note: Federal whistleblowers are protected from retaliation by the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA). "This law protects federal employees who disclose illegal or improper government activities," notes "Generally, this means the government can't fire, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, or discriminate against a whistleblower."

Re:Buckle in boys

By ClickOnThis • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Retaliation against a whistleblower may not just take the form of sanctions from their employer. If the whistleblower's name is published, it could lead to online smears, death threats, or worse. It is reasonable for a media-outlet to exercise discretion when a whistleblower could come to serious harm if their identity is exposed. Media are free to restrain themselves voluntarily, even if the law allows them to do something.

During the 1979-1981 Iran hostage crisis, a Montreal newspaper discovered that 6 US diplomats were holed up in the Canadian embassy in Tehran. Canadian officials learned of the story and pleaded with the paper not to publish the story. The dilemma was obvious: exposing the truth would place people in danger, but burying the story would be a violation of freedom of the press. In the end, the reporter refused to file his story, and he had support at the paper. Instead, the story was delayed until the 6 Americans were spirited out of Iran, posing as Canadian citizens.

Sometimes it's appropriate for the media to practice discretion.

Crony Conspirator not Crony Informant ...

By drnb • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Rand Paul's question rejected by Chief Justice Roberts: “Are you aware that House Intelligence Committee staffer Shawn [sic] Misko had a close relationship with Eric Ciaramella while at the National Security Council together and are you aware and how do you respond to reports that Ciaramella and Misko may have worked together to plot impeaching the President before there were formal house impeachment proceedings?”

The rephrased question by Ron Johnson that Adam Schiff declined to answer: "Recent reporting described two NSC staff holdovers from the Obama Administration attending an all hands meeting of NSC staff held about two weeks into the Trump administration and talking loudly enough to be overheard saying, ‘We need to do everything we can to take out the President.’ On July 26, 2019, the House Intelligence Committee hired one of those individuals, Sean Misko. The report further describes relationships between Misko, Lt. Col. Vindman, and an individual alleged as the whistleblower. Why did your committee hire Sean Misko the day after the phone call between President Trump and Zelensky? And what role has he played throughout your committee’s investigation?"

If true that is a Crony Conspirator not Crony Informant.

Re:No, it did not

By LynnwoodRooster • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

the GOP held Senate, made possible by rampant voter suppression fueled by the Supreme Court overturning the Voting Rights Act in all but name,

You mean the Supreme Court tossing out the unconstitutional parts of the Voting Rights Act?

acquitting Trump with no witnesses called

False. There were 18 witnesses called, and the transcripts of 17 of those depositions were released. It is not the job of the jury to call witnesses, it is the job of the House to collect and present the witnesses. Why you want to excuse the incompetence of Schiff, Nadler, Pelosi, and the rest of the House Democrat leadership is bewildering.

Would you Call North Korea a Democracy?

Nope, I would call North Korea the logical conclusion of Bernie's Socialist dream. Where bread lines are a good thing, and All Animals Are Equal except Some (Bernie and the other anointed leaders) are More Equal. Why does Comrade Sanders have 3 houses, when there are homeless in his own State?

To be fair part of your confusion is probably due to the lack of witnesses called.

Again, we had 18 witnesses, and we heard their testimony - all of which was second hand, save one who said it didn't happen, it did happen, and that he wasn't sure (meaning he contradicted his own sworn testimony both ways). Why you can't get that through your head is really quite puzzling...

But even granting that I find it hard to believe you are actually naive enough to think that Trump released the funds out of the goodness of his heart. He got caught.

Is there any proof of your assertion? None? Just your presumption? Then you have nothing. The facts are the facts - the funds were released AHEAD of the legal deadline in the bill.

I get it, you like Trump. But you should start asking serious questions about what that's going to cost you.

So far, it's made a great economy, all boats rising on the tide (you know, that famous idiom from JFK), the general public overwhelmingly happy with the direction of the economy and self-stating they are better off than they were 3 years ago, and overwhelmingly (thankfully!) rejecting the socialism of Sanders and Warren and Buttigieg (by a 60/40 supermajority).

Re: Buckle in boys

By cpt kangarooski • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Nope! The safe harbor covers everything! The operative language is at 47 USC 230(c):

(1)No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider. (2) No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of--
(A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected; or
(B) any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to material described in paragraph (1).

What you're failing miserably to do is to look at the statute in the relevant context.

In traditional media, publishers knew what was in the books and periodicals they printed, and had editorial discretion not to print, or to edit, and therefore, as publishers, were liable for what was in the printed matter. A bookstore, on the other hand, merely sells books, often without a thorough knowledge of their contents, and so is not liable, unless it actually knows or has reason to know of what it's selling that's problematic.

As this was applied to computer bulletin boards, the rule developed that if you do not know, and have no reason to know, of what's being posted on your board, and aren't moderating it in the slightest (not even for spam, malware, or illegal content), then you aren't liable for it. But if you do know, or have reason to know, and you are moderating, even just a little, then you're treated as a publisher and face liability for everything, even the things you miss or moderate incorrectly. This results in everyone making a beeline for no moderation at all.

The law directly quoted above says that the providers of the service (e.g. webmasters, etc.) are just not to be treated as publishers of information that comes from someone else, period, the end, because liability comes from being a "publisher." Furthermore, so long as they are blocking "otherwise objectionable" material in "good faith," they also face no civil liability.

Whether something is objectionable is up to the service. It says so right in subsection (c)(2). Acting in good faith is pretty damn easy, and certainly applies here. There is not a single word in the law that requires that it only apply to obscene or pornographic content. It's way broader. Further, for about 25 years now, court after court after court has upheld its use in just this way.

So good try, but maybe try harder next time, loser.

Re: Buckle in boys

By Nidi62 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If someone is willing to walk into a pizza parlor with a loaded AR-15 because they heard on the internet it had an underground sex ring involving major political figures, it's reasonable to assume there are people out there crazy enough to go after the whistleblower.

Qualcomm Makes Case To Appeals Court That It Didn't Hurt Competition

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Qualcomm is making the case for why it didn't hurt competition in the smartphone chip business. "The company, represented by attorney Thomas Goldstein of the firm Goldstein & Russell, on Thursday appeared before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in downtown San Francisco," reports CNET. "Qualcomm is hoping the appeals court will overturn a ruling by a district court judge that declared it to be a monopoly and ordered it to renegotiate its licensing contracts." From the report: Qualcomm during the hearing didn't dispute that it has a monopoly in 3G and 4G LTE chips. But it maintains that it didn't wield that power to harm competition. "What has gone wrong in the competitive process?" Goldstein said. "The answer is nothing." He noted that Qualcomm's business practices could be an issue of contract violations but not an antitrust issue. The US Federal Trade Commission, meanwhile, tried to make it clear how Qualcomm's "no license, no chip" policy undercut rivals and caused handset makers to shift business to Qualcomm. Brian Fletcher, an attorney who teaches at Stanford University, spoke for the FTC. He said Qualcomm is making it harder for competitors not because its policies have meant lower chip prices but "because it's demanding customers pay Qualcomm even when they decide to buy from rival suppliers."

The hearing is the latest twist in a legal saga that began three years ago when the FTC accused Qualcomm of operating a monopoly and forcing Apple and other customers to work with it exclusively. The FTC also accused the company of charging excessive licensing fees for its technology. As part of the district court's ruling, Qualcomm must submit compliance and monitoring reports for the next seven years and report to the FTC annually. Thursday's hearing marks Qualcomm's attempt to have that ruling overturned. The three appeals court judges likely won't make a decision for three months to over a year as they weigh the evidence.

Car 'Splatometer' Tests Reveal Huge Decline In Number of Insects

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Two scientific studies of the number of insects splattered by cars have revealed a huge decline in abundance at European sites in two decades. The survey of insects hitting car windscreens in rural Denmark used data collected every summer from 1997 to 2017 and found an 80% decline in abundance. It also found a parallel decline in the number of swallows and martins, birds that live on insects.

The second survey, in the UK county of Kent in 2019, examined splats in a grid placed over car registration plates, known as a "splatometer." This revealed 50% fewer impacts than in 2004. The research included vintage cars up to 70 years old to see if their less aerodynamic shape meant they killed more bugs, but it found that modern cars actually hit slightly more insects. [...] The stream research, published in the journal Conservation Biology, analyzed weekly data from 1969 to 2010 on a stream in a German nature reserve, where the only major human impact is climate change. "Overall, water temperature increased by 1.88C and discharge patterns changed significantly. These changes were accompanied by an 81.6% decline in insect abundance," the scientists reported. "Our results indicate that climate change has already altered [wildlife] communities severely, even in protected areas."

relative size

By hamburger lady • Score: 3 • Thread

swallows and martins, birds that live on insects

dang, those are some small-ass birds.

Re:As an aspiring biologist

By memnock • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Strictly anecdotal: In Central Florida in the 90s, the car windshields at night, and during the day in spring, were a mess from all the bugs. Last time I was in Florida, I commented on how relatively clean the windshield was compared to what I remembered from years back. Like I said, it's an anecdote, but I'd bet real data would show that Europe is hardly the only place where this decline is taking place.

Re:Temperature alone doesn't make sense here

By barakn • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I'd certainly argue with anyone who claims that fewer insects is a bad thing

You are a living being that exists on a planet in a network of living beings called an ecosystem. This network's interactions are so complicated that you don't have any idea if fewer insects will lead to collapses of the parts of the ecosystem that provide you food, or will lead to in-migration of other insects that are laden with malaria, chagas, dengue, or some new, exotic disease. Or maybe reduced numbers of herbivorous insects will lead to increased fuel loads that enable your local forests to burn to the ground. So go ahead and argue, you'll just sound like an idiot.

Re:I'm the only one talking science here

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You pulled your HYPOTHESIS out of your ass

To be fair, most hypotheses are pulled out of someone's ass. A hypothesis is just a fancy word for a guess.

after not reading the damn paper the article linked to.

I rend the abstract. Their point seems to be:

1. The climate is warming
2. Insects are declining
3. Therefore #1 is causing #2

They are probably correct. But higher temperatures are not the only plausible cause. One problem is the lack of an obvious mechanism. Why should higher temps reduce insect populations? Insects are more common in the tropics where temperatures are even higher. So why don't the tropical bugs just migrate north?

Re:Assuming the same number of cars were driving

By barakn • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Nope. I live in a rural area of North America, and on backcountry highways that are mostly driven by local ranchers, and thus where highway usage hasn't increased much, the bug population has still plummeted.

Google's Area 120 Brings Quick Web Games To Slow Phones

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google is countering Facebook's Instant Games with its own bid to make web games more accessible. Its Area 120 experimental lab is introducing GameSnacks, HTML5-based casual games that are designed to load quickly and play well even on poor connections and basic smartphones. From a report: The combination of a lean initial web page, compressed media and just-in-time loading means you can start playing within just a few seconds, even on a phone with less than a 1Mbps connection (all too common in the world) and just 1GB of RAM. All titles work with both touch as well as a PC's mouse and keyboard, and are designed to run on virtually any platform and device. Like many casual games, they're designed to be playable with a minimum of instructions -- important when they're meant to reach people across many different languages. Some are not-so-subtle riffs on familiar titles like Puzzle Bobble and Tetris, but that's probably not a bad thing for gamers who otherwise couldn't play those games on their phones.

Ten days later...

By twocows • Score: 3 • Thread
"Google has cancelled their new effort to compete with Facebook Games"

Robot Analysts Outwit Humans on Investment Picks, Study Shows

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
They beat us at chess and trivia, supplant jobs by the thousands, and are about to be let loose on highways and roads as chauffeurs and couriers. Now, fresh signs of robot supremacy are emerging on Wall Street in the form of machine stock analysts that make more profitable investment choices than humans. From a report: At least, that's the upshot of one of the first studies of the subject, whose preliminary results were released in January. Buy recommendations peddled by robo-analysts, which supposedly mimic what traditional equity research departments do but faster and at lower costs, outperform their flesh-and-blood counterparts over the long run, according to Indiana University professors.

"Using this type of technology to make investment recommendations or to conduct investment analyses is going to become increasingly important," Kenneth Merkley, an associate professor of accounting and one of the authors, said by phone. Whether getting stock calls right is a critical mission of human analysts is debatable. Wall Street research departments serve a variety of functions, among them connecting investors with company executives and gathering earnings and other corporate data. While their buy, sell and hold recommendations still garner attention and can move stocks, the number of clients premising investment decisions off them is probably limited. The study looked at a small and still largely experimental branch of fintech, firms founded on the premise that digital technology does a better job than humans in making equity recommendations. While all analysts use computers, a handful of start-ups has been seeing if programs can handle every aspect of the stock-picking process.


By sexconker • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Robot gamblers perform slightly better than human gamblers. Human cheaters running the show continue to laugh.

Re:Who needs GAs

By cusco • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

That experiment has been carried out numerous times using chimps, darts thrown at a page of the Wall Street Journal, and even chickens who picked stocks by crapping on them. The professional investment advisors always lose.

The market has negative feedback for chartism.

By Ungrounded Lightning • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The financial markets are a feedback mechanism that penalizes any algorithmic system for trading, once it becomes widespread.

Buying drives prices up, selling drives them down. When a sufficiently large amount of the trading is done the same way, based on the same (or closely similar) decision rules driven by the same inputs, this effect more than counters any benefit from the rules being good in the absense of the feedback.

(This is also why low latency in high-speed trading is so important: First to trade gets just the benefit of the rule set, by getting in before the crowd betting the same way drives the market into a loss for themselves.)

Right now most of the trading is still done by humans, sometimes aided by computers running canned investment rulesets. So human psychology and common-wisdom expertise create some commonality in decisions and receive some mob-trading penalty.

If the "Robot Analysts" mad the same recommendations as the human analysts, and the trading done on their advice had the same latency, the results would be about the same and there would be no news. To the extent that they differ, the robots drive a smaller amount of the market and receive a smaller penalty.

Of course that's assuming the study even used actual trading. If it used "what would have happened if" analysis the robots get NO penalty.

So there's nothing surprising here. And there's nothing indicating, to me, that the robots are, in effect, anything more than yet another new "chartist rule" that only works, so far, because it's not yet being played with enough money for the market to break it.

What did the research paper find?

By larryjoe • Score: 3 • Thread

The research paper found that compared to human advisors, robo-advisors (1) produce a more balanced distribution of buy, hold, and sell recommendations, (2) revise their reports more frequently and consider more data, (3) "exhibit weaker short-window return reactions, suggesting that investors do not trade on their signals", and (4) portfolios formed based on the buy recommendations of Robo-Analysts appear to outperform those of human analysts, suggesting that their buy calls are more profitable.

Of course, it's really the last point that is what is touted by this thread's summary: Robo-advisors' buy recommendations earn annualized returns of 6.4-6.9% compared to 1.2-1.7% for human advisors. Of course, 1.7% is horrible when the market indices perform better than that, indicating that it's not that the robo-advisors are so great but that the human advisors are so bad, i.e., investing in a no-load index fund would have far outperformed the human advisors.

This isn't my field, so I'm not certain how to assess the quality of the SSRN site hosting this research paper. However, the paper itself appears to not have undergone peer review. Had it been subjected to peer review, I imagine that comparisons to index fund performance would have been included in the study.

Why Poor People Make Poor Decisions

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: [...] The most significant improvement was in how the money helped parents, well, to parent. Before the casino opened its doors, parents worked hard through the summer but were often jobless and stressed in the winter. The new income enabled Cherokee families to put money aside and to pay bills in advance. Parents who were lifted out of poverty now reported having more time for their children. They weren't working any less though, Costello discovered. Mothers and fathers alike were putting in just as many hours as before the casino opened.

More than anything, said tribe member Vickie L Bradley, the money helped ease the pressure on families, so the energy they'd spent worrying about money was now freed up for their children. And as Bradley put it, that "helps parents be better parents." What, then, is the cause of mental health problems among poorer people? Nature or culture? Costello's conclusion was both: the stress of poverty puts people genetically predisposed to develop an illness or disorder at an elevated risk. But there's a more important takeaway from this study.

Re:not new

By jythie • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Yet research continues to show that the main determining factor for poverty is being born into poverty. While it is a popular idea, genes have never been shown to have any significant influence. Given the number of civilizations that have collapsed over the centuries, this would seem to be born out on the macro scale. Take an individual who grew up in wealth and yeah, maybe they will do ok if it is taken away.. but their kids will be just like the kids who have been in poverty for generations.


By barc0001 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

And as a corollary to that, poor people sometimes HAVE to make objectively dumb financial decisions because they simply do not have the resources to do otherwise at that moment. Payday loan companies, banks with their usurious NSF fees - and some banks strategically ordering transactions to maximize the number of NSF hits on your account for that matter - high fee and rate car loans, etc. All are examples of businesses taking advantage of poor people and their lack of options. Nobody WANTS to get a payday loan at an effective 500% APR, but when the bank NSF'd your last $30 to your name because you forgot about a $15 transaction and your bank also doesn't think you're stable enough to extend overdraft protection to, and there's no food in the pantry till payday in 6 days, and the car needs gas, you hump on down to that payday loan place and experience yet again the high cost of being poor.

Being poor also causes you to pass on ways to get ahead. One vivid story I recall was a friend of mine worked for a startup during the .com bust, and everyone at the suddenly dead .com had no last paycheck from the place, and many were just out of school and living paycheck to paycheck, including my friend. He got a hold of one of the financiers for the dead .com to see if there was something that could be done about the last check because rent was due in a week. The guy didn't have a lot of liquid cash at the moment either but said he felt really bad for my friend and offered to cut him in on another deal he was working on with another startup that was going to be doing an IPO in the next 6 months. He'd let my friend buy in to a bunch of shares that were on private offer, roughly $1000 worth, and then he could cash out when the IPO was done and the exclusion period ended. For the record, if he'd bought that $1000 worth of stock he would have been able to sell it for almost $8000 - 12 months later. But that was the rub - my friend didn't HAVE $1000 and he needed rent money next week so even if he came up with that $1000 it sure as hell wasn't going to sit on some private shares for a year. But if he DID have the money he would have made out handsomely - and while tone-deaf as hell to the immediate problem, it really *was* a generous offer that the guy didn't have to extend.

Re:not new

By thomn8r • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

if you have a highly successful person, take everything from them and cast them out into the world odds are they'll build themselves up again quite quickly

This theory conveniently glosses over the contributing factors of social connections and in a lot of cases, plain luck. If you took someone like Jeff Bezos, stripped him of all assets and dropped him in BFE with no social connections, he probably won't be a billionaire any time soon.

Re:Bad title?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I'm going to take from your comment that you were raised without enough food to eat and a parent or guardian barely living paycheck to paycheck, having to move constantly from community to community to survive, with no family or other social safety net, and yet you managed to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and reach a point where you could comfortably be a dick here on Slashdot? Good for you! You beat the odds. The actual data shows that the most likely cause of poverty, even in America, is in fact starting out in poverty. Yes, there are dysfunctional poor people and there are dysfunctional rich people. Do you honestly think that if Trump's daddy hadn't given him almost half a billion dollars that he wouldn't be a janitor or yard worker? America has lots of opportunity, but it hasn't been very economically mobile for the last few decades. It's expensive to be poor! Everything costs more-- you can't take advantage of as many deals, credit is hard to come by, everything has extra fees attached to it, all purchases are on an emergency short-term basis, and the constant stress distracts you from improving things. I think you missed the entire point of the article, and, in fact, life.

Re:not new

By Comrade Ogilvy • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I'm not saying it is a bad approach but the fact is that if you have a highly successful person, take everything from them and cast them out into the world odds are they'll build themselves up again quite quickly. Poverty is not the root cause of people being poor. It is still in large part, a symptom of personality and culture both of which are influenced by genes.

Your thesis is easily disproven.

Consider the most universally lauded cultural super-geniuses of the Western world: ancient Greeks.
The direct descendants of those super-geniuses live in modern Greece, parts of coastal Turkey, Sicily, southern Italy, for the most part. Those areas suffered economically over the centuries. But in the last 75 years since WW2 they have not popped back up due to their proven superior genetic stock and access to the now peaceful Europe. No, they are the economic laughing stocks of Europe.

A few centuries of economic and cultural stress is not shrugged off easily.

Judge Temporarily Blocks Microsoft Pentagon Cloud Contract After Amazon Suit

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A judge ordered Thursday a temporary block on the JEDI cloud contract in response to a suit filed by Amazon. From a report: A court notice announcing the injunction was filed on Thursday, but wasn't public. It's unclear why the documents were sealed. In April, the Defense Department announced that Amazon and Microsoft were the two finalists to provide the contract, ruling out other contenders like IBM and Oracle. Then in July, President Donald Trump said he was looking into the contract after IBM and other companies protested the bidding process. Microsoft was awarded the contract on Oct. 25. Amazon has been protesting the move, saying that it was driven in part by President Trump's bias against the company. Trump often criticizes Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, claiming the newspaper unfairly covers his administration. Last month, Amazon's cloud-computing arm AWS filed a formal motion asking the court to pause Microsoft's work on the JEDI cloud contract, claiming the evaluation process included "clear deficiencies, errors and unmistakable bias." The court granted that motion on Thursday.

I heard of a new company, very interested in this

By bobstreo • Score: 3 • Thread

It's called Cyberdyne Systems.

Whoever wins, we all lose

By Somervillain • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Amazon really wants to halt a contract vital to increasing the DoD's efficiency and our national security because they didn't get it. Lets halt progress that is good for all Americans because we didn't get our piece of the pie!?! Un-American bastards...

I don't think protesting the actions of your government is un-American. Do you? Did you think anyone who went against the Obama administration was "un-American?" So as one American to another...please never use the word "un-American" it is meaningless and you have no right to criticize how "American" any US citizen is. Find another insult....plenty fit Jeff Bezos.

Trump has publicly attacked Bezos because the Washington Post has a habit of reporting facts and facts are not flattering to the Trump administration. What this means is that every newspaper needs to bend to Trump's narrative, regardless if it's remotely true...or else face significant economic consequences including consequences to groups weakly linked to the newspaper. I read the Washington Post. It's articles are pretty neutral to the president. If there is a bias, it's well hidden. Their opinion pages are hostile towards him, but they're clearly labeled as opinion and commentary. Also the Washington Post didn't do anything bad or wrong...they simply didn't report his narrative as he wanted it. So for being independent and prominent, he has made them a target. Trump has even gone to war with Fox News a few I don't view this as a liberal newspaper getting shunned. The Washington Post is not a liberal newspaper...and even conservative ones face Trump's wrath. The only way to avoid it is to report his precise narrative....which is some really 3rd-world dictator stuff right there.

I am not a fan of AWS, but the are, by far, the market leader. I have no doubt that Trump either ordered directly for the DoD to deny Amazon or one of his underlings thought 1 of 2 things...either they would please him by denying Amazon...or they would be fired if they awarded the contract to Amazon

The business community had no problem sitting idle while Trump abused his they see having an unrestrained president and executive branch can cost them money and lots of it. We have checks and balances for a reason....they were happy to sit on the sidelines and not speak out and maybe now they should consider getting involved.

Ensuring the US has a healthy system of checks and balances seems like the most American thing someone could I take issue with you questioning Jeff Bezos' "American" status.

However, ultimately, this is an Aliens vs Predator situation...whoever wins, we all lose. No president should be able to block a multi-billion dollar contract and assign it to the distant 2nd place provider just because he doesn't like his news coverage in a paper owned by the company's owner. I dislike AWS and slightly prefer Azure. I enjoyed seeing AWS lose, but I don't like the reason. I am interested to see how this lawsuit turns out.

Re:Greed at its worst

By NicknameUnavailable • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Every job Amazon "creates" (steals from another sector or extant sector's competition) is a wage slave or burnout position, every single one from the warehouse workers through the software architects. There should be no holds barred in stopping them, and Microsoft is unironically the lesser of two evils here (the lesser of 4 if you could IBM and Oracle who similarly bitched when they lost.)

Re:Bezos is a Retard

By slack_justyb • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Trump is the CEO of the US

Any person who has had any kind of lesson in civics would indicate that this statement right here is enough to send any decent person running to wash themselves in boiling bleach after reading.

Basic rule of business: don't shit talk the CEO of a client, certainly don't make a newspaper to slander them across a wider audience.

Basic rule of a functioning government of free people. Your citizens are free to mound piles and piles of shit talking points at you. At the end of the day, you have to do what is best for the benefit of society, not because you're thin skinned. That's not to say that Trump isn't doing that, but it is that your point is 100% anti free speech. Those running the nation can't hold some citizens shit talking as reasons to deprive citizens, full stop. Maybe might have an argument for foreigners or whatever, but actual 100% legal citizens of your own damn country. No, that's just some burn the first amendment level shittalking that all this Trump doublespeak has got you thinking is a logical conclusion.

Citizens are always going to talk shit about their leaders, that's just the name of the game. The leaders have to elevate themselves above that or not run for office. Anything less than that, isn't a free country. Citizens get to have the most power here, not the leaders. That's why thinking the President is the CEO of anything is antithetical to an actual free country.

The U.S. is Charging Huawei With Racketeering

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Ratcheting up its pressure campaign against Huawei and its affiliates, the Department of Justice and the FBI announced today that it has brought 16 charges against Huawei in a sprawling case with major geopolitical implications. From a report: Huawei is being charged with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) statute. The DoJ alleges that Huawei and a number of its affiliates used confidential agreements with American companies to access those companies' intellectual property, only to then misappropriate that property and use it to fund Huawei's business. In addition to conspiracy, Huawei and the defendants are charged with lying to federal investigators and obstructing the investigation into the company's activity. According to the statement published by the Department of Justice, "As part of the scheme, Huawei allegedly launched a policy instituting a bonus program to reward employees who obtained confidential information from competitors. The policy made clear that employees who provided valuable information were to be financially rewarded."

What is RICO?

By twocows • Score: 4 • Thread
This page explains it pretty well:

The short of it is, RICO is widely misunderstood and misapplied. Remember how House would always say "it's not lupus?" The sense I get reading Ken's articles about the topic, RICO is his lupus.

I don't know anything about the law past what I'm able to find online about it, so you shouldn't take anything I say on it seriously, but at a glance, it looks to me like they might run into trouble proving Huawei engaged in " racketeering activity." That's the complete and comprehensive list of federal crimes that constitute "racketeering activity" and skimming through it, it mostly looks like (obviously) mob stuff and not anything Huawei was engaged in. Again, though, law is an incredibly complicated field and I don't know jack about it past what I can find online. I wouldn't trust a lawyer to give me an educated opinion on technology and you shouldn't expect most of the technophiles here to give educated opinions on law unless they actually practice it.

At least there is evidence

By WaffleMonster • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

For years it has been constant drowning of fear mongering Huawei could be doing this they could be doing that. I always tended to dismiss this crap.

Yet when there is specific compelling evidence of things like a reward programs for stealing shit then I don't mind attacks on Huawei. This is funny as shit.. quoting the indictment:

"HUAWEI launched a formal policy instituting a bonus program to reward employees who obtained confidential information from competitors. Under the policy, HUAWEI established a formal rewards schedule to pay employees of HUAWEI affiliates for stealing information from competitors based upon the value of the information obtained.

Employees were directed to post confidential information obtained from other companies on an internal HUAWEI website, or, in the case of especially sensitive information, to send an encrypted email to a special email mailbox.

A âoecompetition management groupâ was tasked with reviewing the submissions and awarding monthly bonuses to the employees who provided the most valuable stolen information. Biannual awards also were made available to the top âoeHuawei Regional Divisionsâ that provided the most valuable information. A memorandum describing this program was sent to employees in the United States."


By StormReaver • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

A patent is temporary monopoly grated by a patent office in return for publicly sharing details on how to recreate the invention so others can improve on them.

This is how patents are supposed to work, but they don't actually work that way in reality. In reality, they are an extortion device with no redeeming qualities.

Re:Same behaviors sanctioned by American governmen

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
LoL, companies like Boeing, Lockheed, etc. etc. are all so much in bed with the US government that no one can really see the difference with state companies. Do you know you who's French first target for industrial spying counterintelligence? Not China but the USA... They are countless stories of US intelligence providing direct intel to Boeing in order to undermine Airbus contract/offer, or simply steal trade secret (for instance: And don't forget the EU and the USA are very often in direct competition. So please stop to believe that the US are the good guys playing fair, they did/are doing exactly the same thing as the Chinese.

Re:Communist China

By gtall • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The alleged president pretty much admitted as such. He said that if China did what he asked, he'd remove the pressure on Huawei. He generates "crises" so he can then claim to have "saved" the U.S. from said "crises". Typical tinpot dictator.

An Old Android Virus is Reinstalling Itself Even After Factory Resets

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A particularly persistent malware infection has been spreading amongst Android phones -- and removing it only seems to bring it back with a vengeance. From a report: The Trojan xHelper, which Malwarebytes first wrote about last year, is reportedly re-spawning on devices where it's already been removed. If virus-removal software doesn't take care of a nasty infection, a hard reset will usually do the trick. But users report that even a full factory reset of an infected device doesn't wipe xHelper out completely. Within an hour the malware is usually back and ready to wreak havoc. Here's how to remove it.

What is Google doing to address this attack vector

By ITRambo • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
Is Google actively working on the issue, to block all but specific files from lingering after a reset? This is important, as I like Android but will switch to an iPhone if Google can't do a much better job. Come on Google. Do your best, not 98% of the best.


By DontBeAMoran • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I don't use a phone either. Nor a computer, for that matter. In fact, I don't even use the internet! Did I mention that I don't watch TV and I'm vegan?

A New Senate Bill Would Create a US Data Protection Agency

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Europe's data protection laws are some of the strictest in the world, and have long been a thorn in the side of the data-guzzling Silicon Valley tech giants since they colonized vast swathes of the internet. Two decades later, one Democratic senator wants to bring many of those concepts to the United States. From a report: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has published a bill which, if passed, would create a U.S. federal data protection agency designed to protect the privacy of Americans and with the authority to enforce data practices across the country. The bill, which Gillibrand calls the Data Protection Act, will address a "growing data privacy crisis" in the U.S., the senator said. The U.S. is one of only a few countries without a data protection law (along with Venezuela, Libya, Sudan and Syria). Gillibrand said the U.S. is "vastly behind" other countries on data protection. Gillibrand said a new data protection agency would "create and meaningfully enforce" data protection and privacy rights federally. "The data privacy space remains a complete and total Wild West, and that is a huge problem," the senator said.

In good company

By frdmfghtr • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The U.S. is one of only a few countries without a data protection law (along with Venezuela, Libya, Sudan and Syria).

Wow, thatâ(TM)s really good company to be in...

Re:Keyword: Enforce

By Mr. Dollar Ton • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Yes, good observation, John Galt. When a business segment ignores the problems it creates for decades and instead of "self-regulating" engages in more and more egregious behaviour, it may get slapped. Welcome to the real world.


By bobstreo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

A well meaning congresscritter proposes legislation to "protect" privacy

All the rest of Congress argues over months what "privacy" actually means.

Many corporations add their input to the discussion.

A new bill is drafted with nice additions like some extra money for a few states to improve the security of chicken and pig factories.

The final draft is revealed, with no definition of privacy, and sweeping reforms in copyright enforcement, extending the protections of Mickey Mouse infinitely.

Re:Not going to happen

By giampy • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Right. Europe also has less of a lobbying problem as in general campaigns use public funds and afaik private contributions are illegal.

Re:Keyword: Enforce

By sinij • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Did anyone go to jail over Equifax breach? It doesn't get more egregious than that.

MIT Researchers Disclose Vulnerabilities in Voatz Mobile Voting Election App

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Academics from MIT's computer science laboratory have published a security audit today of Voatz, a mobile app used for online voting during the 2018 US midterm elections and scheduled to be used again in the upcoming 2020 presidential election. From a report: MIT academics claim they identified bugs that could allow hackers to "alter, stop, or expose how an individual user has voted." "We additionally find that Voatz has a number of privacy issues stemming from their use of third party services for crucial app functionality," the research team said in a technical paper released today. "Our findings serve as a concrete illustration of the common wisdom against Internet voting, and of the importance of transparency to the legitimacy of elections," researchers added. MIT academics urge states to continue using paper ballots rather than mobile apps that transmit votes over the internet. They say the current paper ballot voting system is designed to be transparent, and allow citizens and political parties to observe the voting process. "Voatz's app and infrastructure were completely closed-source," said James Koppel, one of the MIT academics.

Really, the vulns aren't a big deal

By mveloso • Score: 3 • Thread

Really, there are only two issues that they brought up that I can see:

1. the credentials on-device aren't really safe, and
2. the vote payload isn't signed with the user's credentials.

The problem with these kinds of analyses is that they're done by scaremongers. Given the context of the app and reality, how likely is it that these can actually be exploited at scale?

And in any case, are these issues worse than paper ballots, or a compromise of the analog reporting system? In in-person elections you don't even have to show ID to vote, for the most part. How is that safe and secure?

Most of this analysis is moot anyway. Can you submit a vote without going through the Jumio verification system? If not, the rest of this analysis is a waste of time.

Re:Really, the vulns aren't a big deal

By MightyYar • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

At the end of the day, a technical analysis does not matter. The idea of remote voting is fundamentally flawed, as it fails to guarantee an anonymous vote. It does nothing to prevent vote buying, proxy voting by an abusive relative, stealing of votes (for instance, at a retirement home), voter intimidation, etc. A secure voting location is absolutely vital to a fair election. Even absentee ballots need to be minimized - we recently had a tainted election in NC thanks to those.

Analysis Shows Andrew Yang Was Snubbed By Mainstream Media in its Coverage

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Scott Santens, writing for Vocal: Back in June of 2019, I tweeted about the latest egregious example of MSNBC excluding Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang from their ongoing coverage of the 2020 Presidential candidates. There had been previous examples, but that was the worst up to that point because they had photos of all 20 candidates who were going to be in the first debates, and instead of including Yang as one of them, they included someone who wasn't even going to be there. I then started to add each new example as a new reply, and that ongoing thread has now been covered over and over again with each new example as a source of entertaining absurdity. It's been covered by traditional media outlets like The Guardian, Vox, and The Hill. It's also been covered by new media like Ethan and Hila Klein of the H3 Podcast for their two million subscribers. I have gotten many requests to put the entire thread in one place outside of Twitter, so this article has been created to meet that request. Each time a new example occurs, I will update the thread on Twitter, and update this page on Vocal too. I have also made a point here of expanding on the thread in a way I can't on Twitter, by expanding the timeline with earlier examples that had occurred before I started my thread. So instead of starting in June, this timeline starts back in March.

Re:What? Mainstream media enforces a narrative?

By penandpaper • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

> Trump and the right criticize the media for printing true, but negative things about them, and not printing bad stuff about people they hate.

No, they are criticized for publishing overtly biased opinion and lies as if it were objective truths.

> multinational corporations ... mainstream media

A distinction without a difference.

Any other words that should not be used because Trump uses it? I hear he drinks water too.

> we clearly mean the second thing.

You may imply class war but the literal meaning isn't as woke as you like to think it is. Nor does that mean anyone that is not as woke as you will automatically assign the progressive definition you want in conversation.

Colloquial terms are used because the average person understands it and uses it. It's a familiar term... Trump uses familiar terms! Well that's not acceptable we need your implied progressive terminology that no one gives a crap about outside of reddit.

Re:What? Mainstream media enforces a narrative?

By colonslash • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Yang's version of UBI would not have replaced all other social programs.

It would have stacked with social security, and the social security taxes wouldn't have gone away. With universal healthcare, another one Yang's plans, medicare wouldn't have been an issue, either. People would have to choose between UBI and food stamps, but if they were getting more out of food stamps (and other programs), they could have kept getting those instead of opting for UBI.


There are lots of people who are doing just a little bit better than are covered by the social programs like food stamps, but they'd still get UBI. And with UBI, unlike other social programs, people don't have to worry about losing it when their conditions change.

I'm not sure where this disinformation comes from, but it's probably from the same corporate owned media that snubbed Yang and continue to snub Bernie and Tulsi.

Re:What about Tulsi Gabbard, too?

By Toonol • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
And Warren, a native American.

Re:What? Mainstream media enforces a narrative?

By spun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

But Trump does not give a rat's ass about biased opinions or lies, he uses them every day. So generic biased opinions and lies are not why Trump complains. He complains because they aren't kissing his ass.

I've explained the difference between the terms. I can bring you to the water but I can't force you to drink it.

Class war is just another term for class conflict or class struggle. It need not escalate to actual violence. But the rich certainly use violence to keep the poor in line.

Trump uses terms his narcissistic, disease addled brain can comprehend. Look at Trump's vocabulary now as opposed to the way he spoke ten years ago. Trump's mind is failing and it shows.

And about your sig. please, if you can find me any instances of Romney being called a racist nazi, share them. Otherwise, I really thin you are lying. Nobody said that about Romney because he was not a fucking psychopath. He was a normal republican, the kind that we can actually debate.

Trump is something new. He wants to be king, and has said as much, many times. He's not joking. Trump wants to end our democracy, while Romney believed that democracy is the best form of government out there. Unlike Trump, Romney understands that democracy is the tool we use to ensure the peaceful transition of power.

I respect Romney. I respect John McCain. Tell me what democrats you respect?

And this is unusual?

By Targon • Score: 3 • Thread

The media is STILL ignoring Bernie Sanders as much as it can, and downplays it when he does well. Bernie brings in 7000 people to an event in New Hampshire, and not a single mention, but if Biden gets 100 people in a room there would be coverage. What happened to Yang is more about there not being a big enough level of support, and until there is at least a 25% in a given state or in polls, the media will generally ignore anyone that is relatively new or unknown.

Let's Get Real About How Important Our Phones Are

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Samsung unveiled three flagship smartphones earlier this week. The phones pack the most powerful processor in any Android smartphone, boast an impressive set of camera sensors and offer a range of other features. Commenting on the new phones, a Washington Post columnist writes: "And with prices ranging from $1,000 to $1,400, either one is hard to justify as much more than a luxury." John Gruber of DaringFireball comments: This is the same nonsense we hear about Apple's phones, post-iPhone X. Yes, phones that cost $1,000 or more are expensive. Yes, that's outside the budget for most people. But why in the world would anyone argue this is "hard to justify"? Phones are, for most people, the most-used computing device in their lives. They are also their primary -- usually only -- camera. A good camera alone used to cost $500-600.

There are way more people on the planet who'd rather have a $1,400 phone and a $400 laptop than the other way around. But you'll never see a tech reviewer claim that $1,000-1,400 is "hard to justify" for a laptop. It's ridiculously out of touch to argue otherwise. And, the fact that top-of-the-line phones have reached these price points does not negate the fact that truly excellent phones are available at much lower prices.

Let's get really real.

By Fly Swatter • Score: 4 • Thread
This blog entry is just someone trying to justify the expense of the phone they want. No one needs a $1000 phone.

I disagree

By fred6666 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

A good camera maybe cost $500-600 (though most popular models were $200-300 at most) but would last 15 years.
People are keeping their phone for 2-5 years, making that $1000 payment harder to justify.

Also, most people would be far better off with a $400 or less phone. They will do the exact same thing (Facebook, emails, calls, pictures) as on a $1400 phone.

A good laptop (maybe $1400 is too much, $800 should be enough for the average joe) will also last you a lot longer than a phone. You are also much less likely to drop or loose your laptop than your phone.

And finally phones depreciate much more quickly than laptops.

So yes, $1400 is VERY hard to justify for most people.

Yes, let's get real

By whitroth • Score: 3 • Thread

How much did you pay for that zombie controller - I mean, you *are* a zombie. When was the last time you looked up at the real world?

Watch videos on a phone? You really enjoy watching something made to be seen on 24" or wider on that? That's like the time I saw parts of Thor, on a cross-country flight, on the 8" screen above the head of the person in front of me, with sunlight fading the screen.

But then, too many of you shouldn't be on a computer anyway... or we'd not see such a flood of stupid posts.

The Wisdom of George Carlin

By Petersko • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?"

Threads like this are primarily composed of myopic, self-important morons who think that just because they do not get the point of something it must mean there is no point to get.

Is this author serious?

By twocows • Score: 3 • Thread

But why in the world would anyone argue this is "hard to justify"?

Because you can get a phone for 1/5 the price that is able to do all the same tasks AND has a removable battery, 3.5mm jack, and usually other desirable features or traits? Like, is he serious? "Why is it hard to justify throwing away money pointlessly?" I wish I had that kind of money to throw around. Must be nice.

Broadcom Announces BCM4389 Wi-Fi 6E Client Chipset

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Wi-Fi Alliance announced the new Wi-Fi 6E terminology for 802.11ax operation in the 6 GHz band last month. At CES 2020, Broadcom announced a number of Wi-Fi 6E access point solutions. Today, Broadcom is announcing the BCM4389 client Wi-Fi 6E chipset. From a report: Consumers can expect to see the chipset in the next generation of high-end smartphones. We have already covered the advantages of Wi-Fi 6E in terms of lower latency, higher throughput, and the availability of more number of 160 MHz channels in our coverage of the Wi-Fi Alliance announcement at CES. The BCM4389 builds upon Broadcom's success with the BCM4375, which happens to be the currently leading client Wi-Fi 6 chipset in the smartphone market. In addition to the new 6 GHz support with tri-band simultaneous operation and 160 MHz channel support, the BCM4389 also brings in additional power efficiency, thanks to its 16nm process technology and architectural improvements.

The BCM4375 is a 28nm chipset with 2x2 2.4 GHz and 2x2 5 GHz support, while the new BCM4389 adds 2x2 6 GHz to the mix. The scanning radio accounts for the additional radio chain. The Bluetooth 5.0 functionality has also received a boost with MIMO support. Broadcom claims that the new implementation can reduce pairing time by a factor of 2 and also alleviate glitching issues when connected to Wi-Fi at the same time (compared to the BCM4375). The icing on the cake is that the MIMO support works with implicit beamforming ensuring that legacy Bluetooth devices stand to benefit too.

Re: Just what the hooker asked for

By Miamicanes • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You can be a fair distance away, as long as there's a clear-air path and/or reflective surfaces between them. Think of it as behaving kind of like light. If you put an arc light in a hallway, you'll still get illumination in rooms with no direct view of it from light bouncing off the walls & ceiling before passing through an open doorway, a crack underneath, or through an interior window.

At 6GHz, a single access point won't work well for a home that isn't a door-free studio apartment, but if you put in a bunch of them (interconnected via wired ethernet or functional equivalent), it'll work brilliantly... high throughput, with minimal interference from neighbors.

What *really* needs to improve, though, is the way APs deal with hand-offs. Present-day roaming is too dependent upon Enterprise-level management & explicit client support that rarely exists (esp. in Android-land).

Instead, we have clients that connect to one, then blindly hang on until they have no choice besides giving up. So... your phone connects to the AP in your bedroom, struggles to use it as you move around the house despite having 3 others within literal plain sight, then finally gives up when you close the bathroom door. It then connects to the AP you put in the bathroom, and struggles to remain connected to it as you subsequently move around the house. Without proper 802.11r (and some other extension) support by the client, this is today's sad reality.

Ubiquiti HAD a kick-ass solution for roaming by naive clients. The APs all pretended to be the same one, compared signal-strength notes over ethernet, and only the best one communicated with the client. Unfortunately, they took away the feature. They CLAIM it was because it "didn't scale".

It's true, it didn't work well in large networks with lots of users... but for HOME networks with a shit-ton of stupid, brain-damaged 802.n clients stuck in the 2.4ghz ghetto and neighbors stomping over each other, it was FANTASTIC.

My theory is that some patent troll sued Ubiquiti, and they abolished the feature instead of fighting or paying royalties precisely because it was most useful to purchasers OUTSIDE Ubiquiti's core Enterprise market. But it still sucks, because for the specific use case I mentioned, it was the only solution that actually *worked* in real life, with random low-quality clients.

Why the "E"??

By BAReFO0t • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Wasn't the whole point of the new terminology, to make names simper?

I thought it was supposed to be Wifi 6, period.

What will be next?

Wifi 6EX S XFX Titan II Turbo?

Facebook Dating Launch Blocked in Europe After it Fails To Show Privacy Workings

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Facebook has been left red-faced after being forced to call off the launch date of its dating service in Europe because it failed to give its lead EU data regulator enough advanced warning -- including failing to demonstrate it had performed a legally required assessment of privacy risks. From a report: Late yesterday Ireland's newspaper reported that the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) had sent agents to Facebook's Dublin office seeking documentation that Facebook had failed to provide -- using inspection and document seizure powers set out in Section 130 of the country's Data Protection Act. In a statement on its website the DPC said Facebook first contacted it about the rollout of the dating feature in the EU on February 3. "We were very concerned that this was the first that we'd heard from Facebook Ireland about this new feature, considering that it was their intention to roll it out tomorrow, 13 February," the regulator writes. "Our concerns were further compounded by the fact that no information/documentation was provided to us on 3 February in relation to the Data Protection Impact Assessment [DPIA] or the decision-making processes that were undertaken by Facebook Ireland." Facebook announced its plan to get into the dating game all the way back in May 2018, trailing its Tinder-encroaching idea to bake a dating feature for non-friends into its social network at its F8 developer conference.

The company...

By LatencyKills • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
that destroyed privacy and reduced meaningful human interactions to (what I had thought anyway) was the bare minimum, now offers to step up to a whole new level. Good luck, human race! You'll need it.

Re:Facebook Dating Launch Blocked in Europe

By Teun • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
It's got nothing to do with what users knowingly share with each other.
It has all to do with what Facebook is going to do with this and all the other data they have on you.
Like how long are they going to retain it, who are they going to share it with or offer for sale, can it be deleted in a simple way etc.

Re:Facebook Dating Launch Blocked in Europe

By Freischutz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It's got nothing to do with what users knowingly share with each other. It has all to do with what Facebook is going to do with this and all the other data they have on you. Like how long are they going to retain it, who are they going to share it with or offer for sale, can it be deleted in a simple way etc.

... and given the whole Cambridge Analytica Ltd mess I'd say that the EU has voiced a legitimate concern. If Facebook can't be bothered to set up and enforce proper mechanisms to guarantee privacy I see no reason why the EU commission should not keep kicking Facebook in the balls until they do.

Re:Dating Service, or...

By Opportunist • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Well, considering how Facebook mixes and matches data, there's a pretty good chance that if you get ads for divorce lawyers, you need one soon...

Re:The company...

By hey! • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

One of the things that old time science fiction got really wrong about the future was that it assumed people developed tech to solve problems. Nobody realized how much money was to made perpetuating problems.

I introduced many people to their first experience with a computer. They didn't even know what a computer looked like; if you asked them to draw one they'd draw one of IBM's iconic 700 series tape drives. I can confidently report that the human managed to propagate itself before computers were involved.

Yes, there was loneliness, anxiety, and frustration back then, but social media hasn't eliminated those things. Why would it? Those things drive user engagement.

Steam: Virtual Reality's Biggest-Ever Jump In Users Happened Last Month

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Valve's gaming marketplace Steam includes an opt-in hardware survey feature, and the results are published as percentages of surveyed users on a monthly basis. You'll find all kinds of data about Steam-connected computers every month, and this includes operating systems, video cards, VR systems, and more. In the latter case, that figure is counted out of all Steam users -- as opposed to a less-helpful stat like "70 percent of VR fans prefer Product A, 30 percent Product B." We were intrigued (but not surprised) to see a jump in connected VR devices for the reported month of December 2019. That's the holiday season, after all, and it's reasonable to expect Santa's deliveries of headsets to affect data.

What surprised us was the continued growth of that metric through the following month -- and a statistically significant one, at that. The latest survey, taken during January 2020, says that 1.31 percent of all surveyed Steam users own a VR system, up from 1.09 percent the month prior. By pure percentage points, this is the largest one-month jump in pure percentage since Valve began tracking VR use in 2016 -- by a long shot. (For perspective, the same survey indicated that 0.9 percent of Steam computers run on Linux, while 3.0 percent use MacOS or OSX.)
Based on Valve's conservative January 2019 estimate of 90 million "monthly active users," Ars Technica estimates there are "1.17 million PC-VR users connecting to Steam."

"Drawing an exponential trend line of Steam's MAU between August 2017 and January 2019 would get us closer to a count of 1.6 million active VR hardware owners on Steam, and that doesn't include any estimate of Steam-ignorant Oculus users. However you slice it, the juiciest detail can't be argued: a 20.2% jump within a major PC-VR ecosystem in 30 days."

Oculus was sold out for Christmas

By BenJeremy • Score: 3 • Thread

The Quest became a hot item after Link became a thing (allowing the Quest to act as a Rift S and play SteamVR and Rift games through a single USB-C cable).

This is a game changer... I find it far more convenient to use the Quest than my PCVR headsets, both for the standalone stuff (Beat Saber in 360 mode is great) and PCVR games. It's also more accessible for many people.

It also helps that developers are figuring out how to create better VR experiences, and the underlying hardware/software is getting better at smoothing things out.

Or perhaps...

By ebcdic • Score: 3 • Thread
... there was a big drop in the number of non-VR-owning Steam users?

Upgrading to VR

By sinij • Score: 3 • Thread
For me, upgrading to VR means building entirely new gaming PC, migrating to Windows 10, purchasing VR gear, figuring out ergonomics. Why would I spend thousands on upgrades and hundreds on VR headset for something that isn't widely supported? Why would I want to go back to 1280 x 1440 resolution in VR? Why would I want to deal with 8ms+ response time in VR?

Re:I know I am old.

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Have you ever dreamed and realise you were dreaming? You know, decided to try flying, or do similar things not possible in real life? (No this isn't an ad spot for Inception, look up lucid dreaming). Most people have. Those same people didn't wake up and then jump out of their windows.

Your argument is an extension of the violent video games argument, something which has been statistically proven false time and time again. I highly doubt the argument will suddenly become true simply because it looks more immersive.

Separation of universes is a massive flaw in gaming. Sure it's okay to play Elite Dangerous in front of a screen maneuvering a spacecraft. But holy crap is it incredible to actually feel like you're sitting in the cockpit, to wonder where the other craft is not by staring at a dot on the radar, but by leaning forward and actually looking up out of your cockpit canopy.

I also like playing "The Climb" and likewise like actual rock climbing. Just because The Climb forces you to make dangerous jumps doesn't translate that into the real world. Give the human brain a bit more credit.

Not a surprise, multiple things led to this

By thegarbz • Score: 3 • Thread

1. Valve announced Alyx
2. Boneworks was released (a hotly anticipated VR game)
3. The Link cable was released for the Oculus Quest.

All of this lead to severe shipping shortages during the holiday period and HMDs selling out not only from Oculus (the quest was hard to get) but also from Valve (the Index was briefly unavailable twice).

Some people naturally waited for Jan to place their orders.

Apple's Mac Computers Now Outpace Windows In Malware

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to cybersecurity software company Malwarebytes' latest State of Malware report, the amount of malware on Macs is outpacing PCs for the first time ever. Recode reports: Windows machines still dominate the market share and tend to have more security vulnerabilities, which has for years made them the bigger and easier target for hackers. But as Apple's computers have grown in popularity, hackers appear to be focusing more of their attention on the versions of macOS that power them. Malwarebytes said there was a 400 percent increase in threats on Mac devices from 2018 to 2019, and found an average of 11 threats per Mac devices, which about twice the 5.8 average on Windows.

Now, this isn't quite as bad as it may appear. First of all, as Malwarebytes notes, the increase in threats could be attributable to an increase in Mac devices running its software. That makes the per-device statistic a better barometer. In 2018, there were 4.8 threats per Mac device, which means the per-device number has more than doubled. That's not great, but it's not as bad as that 400 percent increase. Also, the report says, the types of threats differ between operating systems. While Windows devices were more prone to "traditional"; malware, the top 10 Mac threats were adware and what are known as "potentially unwanted programs."


By AndyKron • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Apple malware: It just works

Nonrepresentative data?

By mysidia • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Malwarebytes said there was a 400 percent increase in threats on Mac devices from 2018 to 2019, and found an average of 11 threats per Mac devices, which about twice the 5.8 average on Windows.

Ok.. So the number of malicious programs targetting Macs in the wild increased from like 4 to something like 16 ?

And they found 11 threats/device from people who use Malwarebytes on Macs.

I suppose that makes sense; the people who become they have malware on their macs are likely to be the people who install Malwarebytes, but most Mac owners probably never consider using their software, so they should expect to have heavily biased data.

Also; the system security features in current versions of OS X that segment and restrict applications are huge.
It is misleading: this whole idea of just "counting" numbers of threats, before making sure it is an Apples to Apples comparison... for example Adware should not be counted in the same bucket as Malware and crimeware.

Potentially unwanted programs that compromise the operation of a single app or cause some inconvenience or have privacy concerns should not be lumped in the same bucket as malware that can deliver an arbitrary payload later or steals files or data or functions as a Ransomware, Keylogger, or RAT, etc.

[crtl]+[f] (TFA): "linux"

By syn3rg • Score: 3 • Thread
"Phrase not found"

consider the source

By v1 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This isn't an independent report, it's from Malwarebytes , a company that profits from people buying anti-malware software.

Who better to exaggerate the issue?

Sure, there's malware for the mac. (and for web browsing users in general, on any platform) but I haven't seen an increase. I've only ran into three cases on campus here in the last four years, none of them recently. (and all of those I manually identified and removed personally - I just happened to look at the symantec logs two weeks ago, and was unable to find ANY log of action taken on ANY of the mac here at any point in the past...)

It looks to me like they're trying a little jumpscare to generate a bump in sales. Can't blame them for that I suppose, but people need to recognize it for what it is, and take it with the grain of salt it deserves.

Re:"App downloaded from the Internet"

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Yep, UAC is designed to make software behave better, not to offer extra security.

Before Vista and UAC software would do what it liked with no consequences. Write files all over the place, write to the registry, change the user's settings. Vista made all that generate UAC prompts that annoyed the user, which in turn made software developers think twice before doing something that would upset their customers.

Over time software got better and the number of UAC prompts decreased.

Understanding the Impact of Satellite Constellations On Astronomy

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
jrepin writes: In June 2019, the International Astronomical Union expressed concern about the negative impact that the planned mega-constellations of communication satellites may have on astronomical observations and on the pristine appearance of the night sky when observed from a dark region. Now IAU presents a summary of the current understanding of the impact of these satellite constellations, and considers the consequences of satellite constellations worrisome. They will have a negative impact on the progress of ground-based astronomy, radio, optical and infrared, and will require diverting human and financial resources from basic research to studying and implementing mitigating measures. The IAU notes that currently there are no internationally agreed rules or guidelines on the brightness of orbiting manmade objects.

Given the increasing relevancy of the topic, the IAU "will regularly present its findings at the meetings of the UN Committee for Peaceful Uses of Outer Space ( COPUOS), bringing the attention of the world Government representatives to the threats posed by any new space initiative on astronomy and science in general."

Zero real astronomers

By backslashdot • Score: 3 • Thread

No way any real astronomer would be anti-satellite. We are dealing with a minority, wouldnâ(TM)t be surprised if the same anti-science people pushing anti-GMO, anti-vaccine, anti-telescope in hawaii, etc. are fueling this. We literally have people that never cared a damn about astronomy suddenly being huge advocates of the field. No doubt a temporary faux-alliance to block space technology. Mark my words, once they succeed they will turn on Astronomy as well as they already have. Watch how they successfully blocked the telescope in Hawaii from being built. It will be a matter of time before some South American tribe claims the VLT telescope is violating some ancient sacred septic tank network. Guaranteed the anti-satellite movement is just another front of the broader anti-science movement. Some foolish astronomers are playing right into their hands. Let me ask you this, who will be left when they come for your telescopes?


By boner • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

You need math to calculate the position and track of a satellite relative to your location.
Solar wind can heat the upper atmosphere increasing the drag on satellites hence making them decay more. Satellites need to actively manage their positions to deal with this (and other) effects.

Lightning flashes generally are not recorded by light telescopes because the domes are closed, they do interfere with radio astronomy.

Most observatories (radio and visual) are in population sparse areas and/or high/dry mountains.

No liquid nitrogen telescope was ever ruined by a satellite, tons of images were....

And you can't ignore data for half a second when you are exposing a sensor for 800... the image is tainted. Stacking will help but S/N becomes worse.

Re:Zero real astronomers

By hackertourist • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

That's a load of nonsense. Astronomers have valid concerns and are addressing them in a civilized manner. First by working with the satellite operator, second by gearing up to set standards for how reflective satellites can be. Nothing about this is anti-science.


By 4im • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Mod parent up!

Us amateur astronomers and astrophotographers already have to face lots of obstacles as it is, and we don't get a chance to set up our (usually not cheap) equipment anywhere other than close to wherever we stay (home or on vacation).

Why should we be denied our right to a decent view of the night sky, when every civilized place allows us a "NO" on neighboring buildings that would impair our "normal" view around (building codes).

Frankly, these mega-constellations' reason of existence is the US's "free" capitalist inability to build up decent Internet connectivity for everybody, much unlike the oh-so-socialist east asian or european states.

Seriously, the rest of the world doesn't care for this "solution" to a very US problem. Please don't tell me about bringing decent connectivity to $POORPLACE, the poor people there won't be able to afford it anyway.

Re:Zero real astronomers

By hey! • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

By the same logic, real drivers who are stuck in traffic jams wouldn't complain because that's *anti-car*.

Note what you're claiming here: the premier international organization of professional astronomers has been co-opted by a cabal of anti-vaxxers, and somehow none of those "real astronomers" noticed.

Conspiracy theories flourish because on some level believing that a sinister cabal is working against you is more comforting than the reality that you can't always have everything you want. The heart manufactures reasons to believe or disbelieve what it will, and those reasons feel more persuasive than logic, evidence or common sense.