the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2020-May-22 today archive


  1. It's Official: SpaceX Is a 'Go' To Launch NASA Astronauts On Crew Dragon Spaceship
  2. Scientists Find Brain Center That 'Profoundly' Shuts Down Pain
  3. Nvidia's AI Recreates 'Pac-Man' For 40th Anniversary
  4. Researchers Claim New Internet Speed Record of 44.2 Tbps
  5. Dr. Anthony Fauci Says Staying Closed For Too Long Could Cause 'Irreparable Damage'
  6. On Facebook and YouTube, Classical Musicians Are Getting Blocked or Muted
  7. Outlook For Windows Will Soon Sync Email Signatures Across Devices
  8. Google's a Problem For Everyone Who Sells Something Online, Says Expedia Group CEO
  9. Microsoft: Here's Why We Love Programming Language Rust and Kicked off Project Verona
  10. Just Turning Your Phone On Qualifies As Searching It, Court Rules
  11. 'Weird' Nintendo Switch Issue Makes it Easier to Guess Passwords
  12. North Dakota's COVID-19 App Has Been Sending Data To Foursquare and Google
  13. We Lose A Lot When Podcasts Go Closed Instead Of Open
  14. How iPhone Hackers Got Their Hands on the New iOS Months Before Its Release
  15. Microsoft Solitaire Turns 30 Years Old Today and Still Has 35 Million Monthly Players
  16. Amazon's Audible Goes Beyond Books To Chase Spotify in Podcasts
  17. Social Distancing Is Not Enough
  18. Siri, What Time Is It in London?
  19. IBM Is Latest Tech Giant To Cut Jobs in Midst of Pandemic
  20. Linux Desktop Org GNOME Foundation Settles Lawsuit With Patent Troll
  21. Nearly Half of Twitter Accounts Pushing To Reopen America May Be Bots
  22. New 'Spectra' Attack Breaks the Separation Between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  23. US Secures 300 Million Doses, Almost a Third, of Potential AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

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.

It's Official: SpaceX Is a 'Go' To Launch NASA Astronauts On Crew Dragon Spaceship

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from No showstoppers were found during a crucial flight readiness review (FRR) for SpaceX's Demo-2 mission, keeping the company's first-ever crewed flight on track for a May 27 liftoff, NASA officials announced today (May 22). "The Flight Readiness Review has concluded, and NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 mission is cleared to proceed toward liftoff on the first crewed flight of the agency's Commercial Crew Program," NASA officials wrote in an update today. Demo-2 will send NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule, which will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. The mission will be the first orbital human spaceflight to depart from American soil since NASA retired its space shuttle fleet in July 2011. Ever since then, the space agency has relied completely on Russian Soyuz rockets and spacecraft to get its astronauts to and from the orbiting lab.

The FRR began yesterday (May 21) at KSC and stretched into this afternoon. During the meeting, NASA, ISS and SpaceX managers discussed in detail "the readiness of the Crew Dragon and systems for the Demo-2 mission; the readiness of the International Space Station Program and its international partners to support the flight; and the certification of flight readiness," NASA officials wrote in an update yesterday. And everything went very well, NASA officials said. "It was an excellent review," NASA associate administrator Steve Jurczyk said during a teleconference with reporters today. "There are no significant open issues, I am happy to report."
There are still some boxes to tick before Demo-2 can get off the ground. "For example, this afternoon, SpaceX will conduct a 'static fire' of the Falcon 9 that will launch the mission, testing out its first-stage engines while the rocket remains tethered to the ground," reports "And tomorrow (May 23), the teams will hold a 'dry dress' exercise, during which Behnken and Hurley will suit up and the teams will run through many of the procedures that will occur on launch day."

"Data from these two tests, as well as other information, will then be analyzed in detail on Monday (May 25) during a final launch readiness review."

Thank you Boeing

By Canberra1 • Score: 3 • Thread
Boeings outsourcing and screwups made it easy to make the right choice - anyone but them. Go with the company that overtook a retreating brandname.

Scientists Find Brain Center That 'Profoundly' Shuts Down Pain

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A research team from Duke University has found a small area of the brain in mice that can profoundly shut down pain. "It's located in an area where few people would have thought to look for an anti-pain center, the amygdala, which is often considered the home of negative emotions and responses, like the fight or flight response and general anxiety," reports ScienceDaily. From the report: The researchers found that general anesthesia also activates a specific subset of inhibitory neurons in the central amygdala, which they have called the CeAga neurons (CeA stands for central amygdala; ga indicates activation by general anesthesia). Mice have a relatively larger central amygdala than humans, but [senior author Fan Wang, the Morris N. Broad Distinguished Professor of neurobiology in the School of Medicine] said she had no reason to think we have a different system for controlling pain. Using technologies that Wang's lab has pioneered to track the paths of activated neurons in mice, the team found the CeAga was connected to many different areas of the brain, "which was a surprise," Wang said.

By giving mice a mild pain stimulus, the researchers could map all of the pain-activated brain regions. They discovered that at least 16 brain centers known to process the sensory or emotional aspects of pain were receiving inhibitory input from the CeAga. Using a technology called optogenetics, which uses light to activate a small population of cells in the brain, the researchers found they could turn off the self-caring behaviors a mouse exhibits when it feels uncomfortable by activating the CeAga neurons. Paw-licking or face-wiping behaviors were "completely abolished" the moment the light was switched on to activate the anti-pain center.

When the scientists dampened the activity of these CeAga neurons, the mice responded as if a temporary insult had become intense or painful again. They also found that low-dose ketamine, an anesthetic drug that allows sensation but blocks pain, activated the CeAga center and wouldn't work without it. Now the researchers are going to look for drugs that can activate only these cells to suppress pain as potential future pain killers, Wang said.
The study has been published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Important research ask any pain patient

By Edward Nardella • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Speak to people with chronic pain. You'll quickly notice a few trends.

Effective treatment can have a profound positive effect on people. It can easily mean the difference between being bedridden and doing sports or physical labor, being suicidal and ambitious.
Getting (and maintaining) treatment is incredibly difficult and unpleasant. The fear among medical professionals (including pain specialists) of facilitating addiction means that innocent people in need suffer.
Treatments available aren't ideal (side effects suck).

Re:I predict

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

let's fuck with that region of the brain what could go wrong.

For people suffering from intense chronic pain, there isn't much that can go wrong. Almost any effect will be an improvement.

Re:I predict

By gardyloo • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

"[...] something that was called the little death [...]"

It doesn't surprise me that a slashdot poster messes up what la petite mort is.

Err, what?

By Joe2020 • Score: 3 • Thread

... It's located in an area where few people would have thought to look for an anti-pain center, the amygdala, which is often considered the home of negative emotions and responses, like the fight or flight response and general anxiety, ...

The amygdala is a part of the brain, which goes all the way back to the dinosaurs. We inherited our fight-or-flight impulse from them, and it's also the part of our brain which triggers adrenaline (among other things known for increasing our pain threshold). I'm no neuroscientist, but isn't this one of the likeliest regions to look for this?

I guess this must be an insider joke when they say few people would have thought to look there... only a few people are neuroscientists!

Opiates Shut Down Pain

By BrendaEM • Score: 3 • Thread
Opiates shut down pain, but we don't seem to care if people feel pain in this point in our history.

Nvidia's AI Recreates 'Pac-Man' For 40th Anniversary

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Nvidia recently taught its AI system to recreate the game Pac-Man just by watching it being played. Hypebeast reports: No coding or pre-rendered images were used for the software to base the recreation on. The AI model was simply fed visual data of the game being played alongside controller inputs. From there, the AI recreated what it saw frame by frame, resulting in a playable version of Bandai Namco's most recognizable title. Although it's not a perfect recreation of the title and all its assets, all the mechanics and gameplay goals are the same. NVIDIA even believes this is how AI will be applied to game creation in the future. [Rev Lebaredian, Nvidia's vice president of simulation technology] notes the experiment was done in collaboration with Bandai Namco as it celebrates the 40th anniversary of the classic arcade game.

The artificial intelligence program is called GameGAN, with GAN standing for "generative adversarial network," which is a common architecture used in machine learning. GAN works by attempting to replicate input data while also comparing its work to the original source. If the two don't match, the data is rejected and the program looks for improvements and tries again. Although AI programs have generated virtual gaming spaces before, GameGAN is able to use a "memory module" that allows the program to store an internal map of the digital space it's trying to recreate, leading to a more consistent copy.
The AI was trained on over 50,000 episodes and almost never died, the company says. Nvidia will be releasing the recreated game online in the near future.

Do you want Skynet?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

The artificial intelligence program is called GameGAN, with GAN standing for "generative adversarial network"...

A.I. won't make any difference between videogames and the real world. Once this gets into military hardware, we're fucked.

Do you want Skynet? Because this is how you get Skynet.


By narcc • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

You're already giving this "AI" way too much credit. What you seem to image is happening, isn't what's happening.

Tomorrow's AI is going to look a lot like today's AI, which looks a lot like AI 10 years ago, which looks a lot like...

Researchers Claim New Internet Speed Record of 44.2 Tbps

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Researchers based out of Australia's Monash, Swinburne, and RMIT universities say they've set a new internet speed record of 44.2 Tbps, according to a paper published in the open-access journal Nature Communications. That's theoretically enough speed to download the contents of more than 50 100GB Ultra HD Blu-ray discs in a single second. The Verge reports: What's interesting about the research is that it was achieved over 75km of standard optical fiber using a single integrated chip source, meaning it has the potential to one day benefit existing fiber infrastructure. The test fiber connection ran between RMIT's Melbourne City campus and Monash University's Clayton campus, and the researchers say it mirrors infrastructure used by Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN). The findings represent a "world-record for bandwidth," according to Swinburne University Professor David Moss, one of the team members responsible.

Those speeds were achieved, thanks to a piece of technology called a micro-comb, which offers a more efficient and compact way to transmit data. This micro-comb was placed within the cable's fibers in what the researchers say is the first time the technology has been used in a field trial. Now, the researchers say the challenge is to turn the technology into something that can be used with existing infrastructure. "Long-term, we hope to create integrated photonic chips that could enable this sort of data rate to be achieved across existing optical fiber links with minimal cost," RMIT's Professor Arnan Mitchell says.

Re:I don't understand

By jrumney • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

It's around 1 library of congress per second by my paper napkin calculation based on there being around 100 million books and manuscripts per library of congress. Still trying to figure out how many rods to the hogshead you'd get out of that.

Dr. Anthony Fauci Says Staying Closed For Too Long Could Cause 'Irreparable Damage'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: Stay-at-home orders intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus could end up causing "irreparable damage" if imposed for too long, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNBC on Friday. "I don't want people to think that any of us feel that staying locked down for a prolonged period of time is the way to go," Fauci said during an interview with CNBC's Meg Tirrell on "Halftime Report."

He said the U.S. had to institute severe measures because Covid-19 cases were exploding then. "But now is the time, depending upon where you are and what your situation is, to begin to seriously look at reopening the economy, reopening the country to try to get back to some degree of normal." However, Fauci also cautioned states against reducing social distancing measures too quickly, adding they must take "very significant precautions." "In general, I think most of the country is doing it in a prudent way," he said. "There are obviously some situations where people might be jumping over that. I just say please proceed with caution if you're going to do that."
In regard to a coronavirus vaccine, Dr. Fauci told NPR that it remains "conceivable" that a vaccine for the deadly pathogen could be available by the end of the year.

Re:sounds like he is being force fed lines

By jenningsthecat • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

...any opinion he gives to the media that is not based in medical reasoning can be assumed to be forced on him by his master for political reasons.

That was my first thought too. And given that he focused so strongly on the economy, I still consider it likely. But allow me to play devil's advocate for a moment.

Widespread loss of jobs and incomes - that's a kick in the 'nads to public health, especially in a country without public healthcare. Lots of worry and stress - with an associated increase in cortisol, and a drastic decrease in the social contact that might reduce it. Less time outdoors - Vitamin D levels are low. Lower activity levels, plus poorer diet and overeating - bring on the obesity and the heart problems. Depression - if suicide rates haven't risen, I think it's just a matter of time.

All of these factors, and others, are likely taking a tremendous toll on people's physical and mental health. So if we could trade them for a few isolated outbreaks in a well-controlled and sane move towards normality, it might be for the greater good. Admittedly, given Trump's performance so far, that's a damned big IF.

So Fauci could be saying that at some point the measures to prevent spreading Covid might cause more damage than they prevent. I suspect not though - he's smart enough to know that the country doesn't currently have the wherewithal to manage the transition effectively. But I DO think it's possible that his focus on the economy was code for 'there's no medical justification for this stupid plan'. He may also be thinking that if he doesn't keep his job, his replacement will kiss Trump's ass 24-7 and not give a damn about how many people will die. So no, I'm not ready to condemn Fauci just yet.

Re:Need to move past just medical

By hambone142 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The pandemic won't go away soon. A vaccine is likely years off in to the future if developed and tested properly. The quickest vaccine development was for the mumps and it took 4 years. There has never been a vaccine developed for coronavirus.

So (obligatory "not a Trump fan"), how long must we sequester ourselves? One month? Three? A year? Longer?

This thing isn't going away. This is the new normal.

So where do we go from here? We can't stop working forever or for a year or more. What happens when we can get food? What happens when we lose our homes?

Where will it end?

Re:Need to move past just medical

By EvilSS • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
People seem to forget that the whole shelter in place strategy was to prevent hospital over-run like we saw in Wuhan and Italy. We did that. Yay us. Now, I'm not saying we go out and pretend it's gone away (as many idiots are doing now, unfortunately) but the whole idea was to ease restrictions when it was appropriate and to bring them back when an area reached a threshold in terms of health care capacity. It's always been about preventing the deaths that would occur due to overburdened hospitals, not preventing every death.

Of course the whole problem with all of this is that, besides becoming completely polarized by politics, many people are acting like "Lockdown over, virus over!" Crowding into bars, restaurants, stores, beaches, etc. It's supposed to be easing restrictions, not going 100 to 0 to 100 again. The other problem is that I don't see most states re-imposing lockdowns until things are completely out of control. There will just be too much backlash for trying to do it again.

Re:Closed, open, choices, choices

By swillden • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The equivalent argument I heard before all this started was "you can't eat money!!"

Yeah, that's a really stupid argument, and one that indicates a deep ignorance of what economics is. Economics isn't about money, it's about stuff, stuff like food, among other things. Money is just a tool to facilitate the exchanges that the economy is really about.

Even I would have agreed with lots of that crap when I was younger, until I realized economic interests are human interests.

Exactly right.

That said, the positioning of the debate as "lives vs economics" is all wrong. We should be looking at "economics vs economics", specifically, what are the economic effects of doing what we need to to limit the spread of the virus until we get a vaccine vs what are the economic effects of widespread death. Even if the fatality rate is only 0.1%, letting it infect everyone in the US will mean more deaths than all of the US wars except the civil war combined. And that number ignores what would happen if (a) the healthcare system were overwhelmed, which increases the fatality rate by almost two orders of magnitude, and it also ignores the people who recover but are permanently damaged... lungs, hearts, even brains are harmed by the virus. And then there's also the question of what will happen to the economy if it gets bad enough that we have widespread "uncontrolled" shutdowns... meaning people just decide to stay home, and not in a nice, managed "all but essential workers way".

Replace Fauci

By AndyKron • Score: 3 • Thread
Fauci has been compromised. Take him out of the field

On Facebook and YouTube, Classical Musicians Are Getting Blocked or Muted

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Michael Andor Brodeur, writing for The Washington Post: As covid-19 forces more and more classical musicians and organizations to shift operations to the Internet, they're having to contend with an entirely different but equally faceless adversary: copyright bots. Or, more accurately, content identification algorithms dispatched across social media to scan content and detect illegal use of copyrighted recordings. You've encountered these bots in the wild if you've ever had a workout video or living room lip-sync blocked or muted for ambient inclusion or flagrant use of Britney or Bruce. But who owns Brahms? These oft-overzealous algorithms are particularly fine-tuned for the job of sniffing out the sonic idiosyncrasies of pop music, having been trained on massive troves of "reference" audio files submitted by record companies and performing rights societies. But classical musicians are discovering en masse that the perceptivity of automated copyright systems falls critically short when it comes to classical music, which presents unique challenges both in terms of content and context. After all, classical music exists as a vast, endlessly revisited and repeated repertoire of public-domain works distinguishable only through nuanced variations in performance. Put simply, bots aren't great listeners.

These systems aren't just disrupting the relationships between classical organizations and their audiences; they're also impacting individual musicians trying to stay musically present -- and financially afloat -- during the crisis. Michael Sheppard, a Baltimore-based pianist, composer and teacher, was recently giving a Facebook Live performance of a Beethoven sonata (No. 3, Op. 2, in C) when Facebook blocked the stream, citing the detection of "2:28 of music owned by Naxos of America" -- specifically a passage recorded by the French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, whom Sheppard is not. [...] And this wasn't Sheppard's first run-in with Facebook, which has blocked or muted past performances of Faure, Chopin and Bach for being too digitally reminiscent of other performances of Faure, Chopin and Bach.


By sound+vision • Score: 4 • Thread

"Hosting your own" is generally understood to mean not using someone else's hosting service, that is to say, having the data reside in a server that you personally own and operate. There is a non-zero cost associated with this, but it'd be mostly time and effort. "Time and effort" is the name of the game when it comes to performing, recording, and distributing music. The financial costs are insignificant compared to that - I assume most Slashdot readers have a computer somewhere, probably more than one, sitting idle.
The point where a third party becomes involved is connecting your server to the internet, then you have to deal with an ISP. Those often have local monopolies. The good thing with the internet is that it doesn't have to be local. The host I used to use overseas (Contabo out of Germany) would absolutely let you ship a rackmount or desktop tower to their data center, where you had your pick of I think 4 or 5 different backbone providers for the internet connection. I don't know how copyright laws are in the EU, that's not why I chose Contabo, but you could try China.

There are attempts by Google and others to de-legitimize personal web sites hosted in this way, by showing them as somehow lesser or "untrusted" in the browser. That's definitely something to watch - but it doesn't seem to have gained much traction at this point.

Re:There needs to be accountability

By Frobnicator • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The major problem with this is that there's no penalty for false positives.

No, that has nothing to do with it in this case.

It has everything to do with it. There are penalties for failing to detect it, but no consequences at all for false positives.

The DMCA has a serious criminal penalty of up to $500,000 and five years in prison for a first offense conviction. A second offense is up to a million dollars and a decade in prison for repeat offenses. Civil penalties have statutory damages at $25,000 per distributed copy.

If there were serious penalties associated with these failures, maybe on par with copyright infringement a statutory damage of $500,000 paid to the victims for each incorrect flagging and $1,000,000 for repeat incorrect flagging, or even $25,000 payout for each wrongfully-denied server request, you can be sure the bots would be corrected in a hurry. Lawyers rubberstamping bulk takedown requests would think twice after a few colleagues start facing potentially centuries of prison time. There are also musicians who would suddenly find themselves multi-millionaires.

If the teeth were as sharp against violators on the other side, the problem wouldn't exist.

Re:There needs to be accountability

By Darinbob • Score: 4 • Thread

We should have tamped down soon and hard once the copyright holders started getting politicians on their side. Now our rights have eroded and the excuse given is that false positives are all legal and written into the laws. Facebook or Google are stuck here, they can be fined a lot of money for letting copyright violations slip past them and the cost of having humans monitor and respond to any take down request in very short order is huge. It's not technology that causes this, it's the law.

The fines for copyright violation here are immense, they're not just like library fines, or the fines you'd get 30 years ago by illegally mimeographing music for church. Intellectual Property is a huge business now. They paid the politicians to push tough intellectual property laws all across the world through diplomatic action. They even had the provisional government in Iraq, after the fall of Saddam, have intellectual property reform as a priority issue early on even before infrastructures had been rebuilt. It's gotten out of hand, seems like the biggest industries in America now are collecting on copyrighted works and advertising.

I can see the technical complexity

By Camembert • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I understand the desire of a classic record label like Naxos (parent of several labels nowadays) to ensure getting paid for its content. The compositions are usually old and public domain, the modern performances, for example by the great Bavouzet which was mentioned (check out his wonderful Debussy recordings on Chandos), are not.
It will not be easy for bots to notice the difference between Bavouzet’s recording and a live broadcast by a good player, because these bots allow for some variation to deal with processed recordings etc.
It is a ridiculous situation, and probably bots are best not used for classical music until they can handle subtle differences in performances

Re:There needs to be accountability

By rtb61 • Score: 4 • Thread

The problem is, those publishers pay advertising dollars and the little nobodies do not, let's guess why they content is being wiped out, not an accident, a clear work of greed. It's like saying Amazon did not know what they were doing when they slipped in pay for content with prime video subscription content, they knew, they were just being arseholes and I wonder whether they will lose more than they make via this tactic, I cancelled my account upon first exposure and it did feel like being exposed to so dirty disgusting genital flasher, one I could cut off and did. Google knows who PAYS THEM for advertising and who does not and who do you think they will favour, those bots are a who lot more reliable than people realise and Google, the arseholes are relying on "but the computer did it by accident (1 million times)", yep uh huh.

Once corporations get that large, myopic greed sets in at all levels and purposeful abuse of customers becomes the norm, hidden behind lame arse excuses.

Outlook For Windows Will Soon Sync Email Signatures Across Devices

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft is finally bringing cloud support to Outlook for Windows email signatures. The Verge reports: Microsoft originally acknowledged that it was planning some type of sync support for Outlook signatures back in September, and the company says it will now roll this out in a June update. Office 365 and Microsoft 365 subscribers will get access to cloud signature support in Outlook for Windows, allowing users to have a consistent signature across devices. Many companies have had to turn to custom solutions to implement Outlook for Windows signatures that roam across devices, so official support from Microsoft will be welcome. Microsoft is also planning to roll out a new text prediction feature for Outlook that's similar to Gmail's Smart Compose soon. The text predictions will allow and Outlook on the web to write emails for people using predictive tech that offers up suggestions while you type.

First thing to disable

By quonset • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The text predictions will allow and Outlook on the web to write emails for people using predictive tech that offers up suggestions while you type.

I do not need any suggestions. I know what I'm writing. That this only slows down one's ability to type a coherent message, using exactly the words one wants to use in the manner of their choosing, is the reason it will be disabled.

Just like I turn off all those "suggestions" in Word. Since Word can't do a simple indented list correctly when you try to edit one of the lines, there's no way it should be offering any suggestions about the words I want to use.

As I have said before, Windows 10, and by extension crapware like this, is nothing but Clippy on double steroids.

Outlook could do a huge favor..

By Junta • Score: 4 • Thread

And not support fancy signatures at all.

No, I do not need your email to have some logo in the bottom and your contact info fancily formatted and make your most basic email be 512kb before you type a single letter. It does not make your email look professional and all it does is clog up my mailbox with many copies of your inane logos.


By ledow • Score: 3 • Thread

23 fucking years.

To add a simple, obvious, oft-demanded feature. Where the 3rd party solutions cost a damn fortune and are all per-platform bodges.

23 fucking years.

This is why I hate Microsoft - they get to a point where they stop giving a shit and the simplest of features never appears, but they spend ages pissing about with stuff that nobody wants.

I've spent more time explaining to people "It just doesn't work like that, sorry, we either have to pay a fortune (per user per year) for software to do this for us, roll our own, or manually do it" than I care to mention, god knows how much that's cost the millions of other admins worldwide.

And why the fuck does this need cloud? Why couldn't this be put into the ActiveSync protocol so you can retrieve it in a sensible way from any device (similar to the way that you have to jump through hoops to get user images programatically)? It's only HTML / text.

Now do rules!

By ArhcAngel • Score: 3 • Thread
I mean...I kind of understand why some rules live on the Exchange server and some are client only. But I kind of don't.

Google's a Problem For Everyone Who Sells Something Online, Says Expedia Group CEO

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Expedia Group's new CEO isn't mincing words about one of the company's biggest challenges: Google's dual role as a rival in online travel, and a key source of customers through search traffic and paid advertising. From a report: "I think Google's a problem -- it's a problem for everyone who sells something online, and we all have to struggle with that," Peter Kern said during an appearance on CNBC on Friday morning, following his first earnings report as the CEO of the Seattle-based online travel giant. His comments come amid reports that U.S. antitrust regulators are preparing a case against the search giant, focusing on its dominance of digital ads. This Google conundrum is a recurring topic for Expedia Group, but Kern appears to be taking a different approach than his predecessor Mark Okerstrom did before he was ousted from the role last fall. Appearing on CNBC this morning, Kern says Expedia needs to learn to rely less on performance marketing, a form of advertising in which the cost is based on a specific outcome such as a click or sales lead.

Maybe Expedia should not be garbage

By AvitarX • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I can find a flight that is cheap and acceptable in about 1/3 the time (or less) on google vs Expedia.

They make it very easy to see which days are cheaper around my travel time, and add helpful information like nearby airports that are less, and warnings for propeller planes.

Expedia was slow, and spent more time trying to selling me on hotels than letting me plan a cheap flight for my vacation.

The same goes for hotel searching, Google Maps just does it better.

Also, with Google I buy directly from the company I'm flying/staying with, and therefore have better cancellation policies and what not.

Expedia needs to either actually cost less (if they do, they make it too hard to find the less expensive options) or at the very least not sell an inferior product (hotel bookings with punitive cancellation policies).

Not sure

By nospam007 • Score: 3 • Thread

This afternoon I checked for a specific wine on Amazon, no luck.
Then I checked Google to see if perhaps somebody else would have it, and lo and behold I found one, on a web-shop called AMAZON.

I know Google search sucks but Amazon's sucks more.

Not if they are good at SEO

By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Create a product page people will link to, and Google will beat a path to your website. Put some informative content and links there and Google will show it. Be prepared to justify your prices to potential customers.

how funny.

By WindBourne • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Expedia and other on-line companies destroyed the travel industry. Now, they are griping that Google is moving into their arena.
The hypocrisy is amazing.

Microsoft: Here's Why We Love Programming Language Rust and Kicked off Project Verona

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft has explained why it's pursuing 'safe systems programming' through efforts like its experimental Rust-inspired Project Verona language and its exploration of the Rust programming language for Windows code written in C++. From a report: The short answer is that Microsoft is trying to eliminate memory-related bugs in software written in languages like C++, according to Microsoft Rust expert Ryan Levick. These bugs cost a lot to fix and make up a large share of Patch Tuesday hassles. Levick has now offered more insights into Microsoft's efforts behind safe systems programming. Systems programming includes coding for platforms like Windows, Xbox, and Azure, as opposed to programming applications that run on them.

Key systems programming languages include C++, Google-backed Go, and Mozilla-created Rust, but Rust and Go are 'memory-safe' languages while C++ is not. Other languages are memory safe, such as Swift and Kotlin, but they aren't for systems programming. The thing for Microsoft is that it writes a lot of its platform software in C++ and sometimes still in C. While it works hard to address memory issues, the company says it has "reached a wall". "We can't really do much more than we already have. It's becoming harder and harder and more and more costly to address these issues over time," says Levick, who joined Microsoft via its acquisition of Wanderlist, which has become Microsoft To Do. He gave a rundown of Microsoft's safe systems programming efforts in a session at Build 2020 this week.

Misplaced Faith

By AlanObject • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'm not saying that this move to Rust is wrong, but I still have difficulty with the mindset that you just change languages then magically all the bugs stop happening.

Doesn't work that way. Never has never will.

Yeah they will stop getting crappy pointer bugs but the team with the talent level that wrote crappy pointer bugs in the first place will naturally and effortlessly find new types of bugs to create.

Re:Misplaced Faith

By theJavaMan • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Not all bugs, just bugs that could be avoided by not using a kitchen sink language like C++ that, despite all of its complexity, could not bother with bounds checking and better memory management. When you spend more time trying to understand what the compiler does, or how to trick it into doing what you want, instead of solving the actual computational or business logic problem, then you picked the wrong tool. Apparently everyone has.

Re:How bad at programming do you have to be?

By PPH • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Someone took exception to your remark but failed to handle it properly.

Re:Microsoft buy ads from Slashdot?

By iggymanz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Bullshit, not leading edge at all. Even Azure offererings have all kinds of linux infrastructure because Microsoft not smart enough to lead. Now they're trying to suck up to the people that make and use real operating systems and the stuff that makes the internet work, because they realize they've failed in yet another space. They failed in mobile, failed in server space, failed in supercomputing and the desktop is being eroded away. Fuck Microsoft, the enemy of open source and choice.

Re:Go is NOT a systems language!

By Gerald Butler • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Swift uses automatic, implicit reference counting. This has not insignificant run-time overhead. Sometimes the compiler can figure out that it can avoid the reference increment/decrement and optimize it appropriately, but, this is not guaranteed and cannot be relied upon. C, C++, and Rust all try to have zero run-time overhead. Rust also tries to have zero run-time overhead while at the same time having memory and thread safety without run-time costs. That is what makes it different. It is an entirely different approach that prioritizes all the following: high-level abstractions, zero or minimal overhead, memory safety, thread safety. This is unlike any other language currently out there (that is widely used). It truly is a game-changer. Anyone who doesn't see this probably hasn't spent enough time getting past the perceived SJW reputation of Rust to truly examine the problems that Rust is trying to solve and how the solutions they've developed are quite unique and powerful.

Just Turning Your Phone On Qualifies As Searching It, Court Rules

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A man from Washington state was arrested in May 2019 and was indicted on several charges related to robbery and assault. The suspect, Joseph Sam, was using an unspecified Motorola smartphone. When he was arrested, he says, one of the officers present hit the power button to bring up the phone's lock screen. The filing does not say that any officer present attempted to unlock the phone or make the suspect do so at the time. In February 2020, the FBI also turned the phone on to take a photograph of the phone's lock screen, which displayed the name "Streezy" on it. Sam's lawyer filed a motion arguing that this evidence should not have been sought without a warrant and should therefore be suppressed.

District Judge John Coughenour of the U.S. District Court in Seattle agreed. In his ruling (PDF), the judge determined that the police looking at the phone at the time of the arrest and the FBI looking at it again after the fact are two separate issues. Police are allowed to conduct searches without search warrant under special circumstances, Coughenour wrote, and looking at the phone's lock screen may have been permissible as it "took place either incident to a lawful arrest or as part of the police's efforts to inventory the personal effects" of the person arrested. Coughenour was unable to determine how, specifically, the police acted, and he ordered clarification to see if their search of the phone fell within those boundaries. But where the police actions were unclear, the FBI's were both crystal clear and counter to the defendant's Fourth Amendment rights, Coughenour ruled. "Here, the FBI physically intruded on Mr. Sam's personal effect when the FBI powered on his phone to take a picture of the phone's lock screen." That qualifies as a "search" under the terms of the Fourth Amendment, he found, and since the FBI did not have a warrant for that search, it was unconstitutional.

Attorneys for the government argued that Sam should have had no expectation of privacy on his lock screen -- that is, after all, what everyone who isn't you is meant to see when they try to access the phone. Instead of determining whether the lock screen is private or not, though, Coughenour found that it doesn't matter. "When the Government gains evidence by physically intruding on a constitutionally protected area -- as the FBI did here -- it is 'unnecessary to consider' whether the government also violated the defendant's reasonable expectation of privacy," he wrote. Basically, he ruled, the FBI pushing the button on the phone to activate the lock screen qualified as a search, regardless of the lock screen's nature.


By Kitkoan • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
No, because those don't need you to press a button. The issue wasn't so much of seeing the lock screen, and more with how the lockscreen was made viewable. More closer to this is the idea of a police officer taking a photo of the inside a room if the door was locked by a door chain. Sure, you are able to see basic things (whatever is viewable from the cracked open door), and the lock wasn't altered/unlocked, but this doesn't mean the officer was allowed to reach out and tamper with the door just because it was there.

Re: Can they search you during an arrest?

By Nidi62 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Thats why they are specifically ruling on the FBI search after he was arrested and not the police looking at the phone while he was being arrested.

It's fine, relax

By Impy the Impiuos Imp • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The name was "inside" the phone in that it was data in memory. It's not about the lock screen. It's about needing a warrant to search your papers, with probable cause. Turning on the phone retrieves info and displays it. Should not be done without a warrant.

This is good, because more and more you take your papers with you, in your phone or laptop. Americans take their rights with them wherever they go, and taking their papers into a computer doesn't suddenly mean the government can rummage through it at will. You shouldn't have to give up participating in a modern convenience just to preserve your rights.

You maintain freedom of speech over the Internet, even though electronics are not a mechanical printing press, used to mass produce speech. Isn't that good?

Same thing here, but the memory chips' data are your modern papers.

You don't want a government with that power, because directing it against political enemies is the reason for the 4th. And 5th. Someone, especially another powerful person, irritating you? With no 4th, kings would and did go through your stuff looking for violations of law. And the more powerful and wealthy you are, the more likely they could find something.

Re:Can they search you during an arrest?

By alvinrod • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
A better question might be that if in the process of a police search of a person, an officer came across a sealed envelope in the possession of that person being arrested. Should the police be able to open that envelope without a warrant?

I'd argue that even when they're arresting you the police shouldn't be able to interact with your devices in any way without a warrant. It's sufficient to take them in to police custody and if there's some cause for the police to believe they should be able to search through them, they can get a warrant from the court.

'Weird' Nintendo Switch Issue Makes it Easier to Guess Passwords

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A security researcher has found an odd issue with how the Nintendo Switch console handles login credentials, potentially making it easier for hackers to figure out peoples' passwords, and raising questions about how Nintendo is storing passwords. From a report: The issue revolves around how users log into the eShop from a Nintendo Switch. As security researcher Runa Sandvik explained it, when logging into the eShop before typing in a password, the 'OK' dialogue box is greyed out. When a user enters their correct password, it lights up and lets the user log in. Expected behaviour, so far. But Sandvik found that the 'OK' box also lights up if the user only enters the first eight characters of their password. The eShop won't let the user actually login -- they still need to enter their complete password -- but it does provide visual feedback to someone trying to guess a password that they're on the right track. Essentially, this could give a hacker a better chance of figuring out your password if they only have to determine what comes after the eighth character, although of course they would still need to get that first section too.


By satanicat • Score: 3 • Thread

This was probably something of an intended feature with an unexpected side effect, given the age of so many users. Cant lock an account constantly by entering the wrong password if you cant submit tye login request.

I doubt they are storing passwords though, can easily have the same effect by hashing the first 8 characters of a password during a successful login.

Does it light up ..

By WoodstockJeff • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

... ONLY if the CORRECT first 8 characters are entered, or when a minimum of 8 characters, correct or not, are entered?

Many login screens won't enable the button until a POTENTIALLY legal password has been entered. If the requirement is "8 or more characters", there is no need to submit 7, because it cannot be valid.

Re:Does it light up ..

By JeffSh • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

yeah im not sure how it made it this far. what kind of security researcher is this? it's allowing the submission of any set of characters that are 8 or more. it doesn't do any pattern matching or verification of partial password. you can type in any 8 characters and the submit button becomes available.

this is a major nothingburger. embarassing its even here and people are writing articles about a user interface that requires 8 character passwords before allowing submission.

Re:Does it light up ..

By darkain • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Just verified on my Nintendo Switch. It will check to ensure there is at least 1 letter, 1 number, and 8 characters. Almost ANY combination matching this will enable the OKAY button. It also verifies that there isn't a certain number of repeated characters.

But otherwise, yeah, anything that matches their "password strength requirements" will light up the OKAY button.

This article is total bullshit.


By darkain • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Confirmed, this is exactly what Nintendo is doing. ANY random character combination meeting the normal password requirements will activate the button. This whole article is just total bullshit.

North Dakota's COVID-19 App Has Been Sending Data To Foursquare and Google

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The official COVID-19 contact-tracing app for the state of North Dakota, designed to detect whether people have potentially been exposed to the coronavirus, sends location data and a unique user identifier to Foursquare -- and other data to Google and a bug-tracking company -- according to a new report from smartphone privacy company Jumbo Privacy. From a report: The app, called Care19, and produced by a company called ProudCrowd that also makes a location-based social networking app for North Dakota State sports fans, generates a random ID number for each person who uses it. Then, it can "anonymously cache the individual's locations throughout the day," storing information about where people spent at least 10 minutes at a time, according to the state website. If users test positive for the coronavirus, they can provide that information to the North Dakota Department of Health for contact-tracing purposes so that other people who spent time near virus patients can potentially be notified. According to the app's privacy policy, "location data is private to you and is stored securely on ProudCrowd, LLC servers" and won't be shared with third parties "unless you consent or ProudCrowd is compelled under federal regulations."

I think tracking

By Grand Facade • Score: 3 • Thread

is the whole agenda behind this non-pandemic hysteria.

Gotta soften us up enough so we are willing to accept illegal invasion of privacy.

Of course!

By nospam007 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

North Dakota is the worst of the Dakotas.

How the fuck is it illegal

By Actually, I do RTFA • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

How is it illegal? People are opting in to being tracked. Hell, most people are already sending their location datastream to Google because they have Android phones. And this data is going to a private company because they built an API this company used to make their software. It's literally what happens all the time in most of the case.

If you want better privacy protections, I agree with you! But this isn't a governmental invasion of privacy - it's Google's continued invasion of the world's privacy.

We Lose A Lot When Podcasts Go Closed Instead Of Open

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Mike Masnick, writing at TechDirt: Last year, when Spotify purchased a bunch of podcast companies, we worried that it foretold the end of the open world of podcasting. You can get a Spotify account for free, but unlike most podcast apps, you can't get any podcast you want via Spotify. Spotify has to agree to host it, and as a podcast you have to "apply" (indeed, Techdirt's own podcast was initially rejected by Spotify, though has since been let in). That's a "closed, but free" setup. Most podcasts are both open and free -- published as open MP3 files, using an open RSS feed that any regular podcast app can grab.

Spotify, so far, hadn't done much to close off the podcasts that it had purchased, but perhaps that's changing. Earlier this week it was announced that one of (if not) the most popular podcasts in the world, Joe Rogan's, would now be moving exclusively to Spotify. News reports have said that Spotify paid over $100 million to get Rogan's podcast on board, while some have put the number closer to $200 million. While it's totally understandable why Rogan would take that deal (who wouldn't?), it does remain a sad day for the concept of an open internet. When we lock up content into silos, we all lose out. The entire concept of podcasts came from the open nature of the internet -- combining MP3s and RSS to make it all work seamlessly and enabling anyone to just start broadcasting. The entire ecosystem came out of that, and putting it into silos and locking it up so that only one platform can control it is unfortunate.

I'm sure it will get many people to move to Spotify's podcasting platform, though, and that means those that do offer open podcasting apps (most others) will suffer, because most people aren't going to want to use two different podcast apps. Even if the initial economics make sense, it still should be seen as a sad day for the open internet that enabled podcasting to exist in the first place.

Re:Story of everything

By o_ferguson • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

No, it comes from "pod" which are what whales live in. A pod cast is a limited-interest broadcast going out to your pod, or group of intimates who listen to your broadcasts and share your interests.

Do a Google ngram search and you'll find people using it in print before Ben Hammersley, and using it correctly.

Hammersley made the mistake of thinking it was related to the iPod (which also stole its name from podcasting) because that device just happened to be popular when he first learned the world, and his mistake has made fools like you repeat it (and ride Jobs' dick) ever since.

Never forget that Jobs stole literally everything about Apple from somewhere else. None of it is original work.

Re:Spotify is closed, but YouTube is an open close

By phantomfive • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Seems like Joe was sick of YouTube demonizing his videos.

I think the $100million contract probably swayed his opinion a bit.

Re:Those evil people...

By SteveSgt • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

You're not wrong, edi_guy.

As one of the earliest podcasters, I also struggled with how to pay for it, but as a non-profit, I managed for almost 3 years through grants and donations. Selling subscriptions to listeners for access to extra content wasn't as successful. Micropayments might have been one of the better systems. Whoring for advertisers, as an alternative, makes for a pretty bleak existence.

I think we're more likely to be stuck with the Netflix model of a few gatekeeper aggregators charging a subscription fee. In such a model those aggregators have ultimate power over what gets distributed. That's sad, because it creates the same kind of narrowing of discourse and limiting of perspectives that we had when there were only a few large TV networks.

I liked to blame Apple back when I produced a show, because when they first brought podcasts to iTunes, they had the heft and the resources to implement a micropayments system.

But as a consumer who's no longer a producer, I'll argue that if a show is exclusively on Spotify, instead of openly available for any RSS reader to download, then it's no longer a "podcast", but rather some other proprietary distribution method. It may be an Internet-transmitted audio or video program, but it is NOT a podcast.

Rogan.. SGN... who's next

By The New Guy 2.0 • Score: 3 • Thread

This falls on the same week when Some Good News was sold outright to CBS All Access, removing it from YouTube.

We went from Free MPEGs, to YouTube and such, now as paywalled.

Just the would moving on here... everybody wants to get paid!

Rogan smelled a rat

By erp_consultant • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

In recent times YouTube has been censoring or demonetizing content that they deemed inappropriate. If it is just some dumb cat video with 5,000 views then big deal but if you have a podcast like Rogans' with millions of views then it is a very big deal.

To me it's a lot like when Howard Stern went to satellite radio. Yes, it is a big pay day but it is also a way to retain creative control over his content. I'm pretty sure that Spotify told Rogan to just keep doing what he's doing.

As far as following him to Spotify I'll probably just find something else to listen to and watch. Not really looking to add any new apps to my phone.

How iPhone Hackers Got Their Hands on the New iOS Months Before Its Release

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Security researchers and hackers have had access to a leaked early version of iOS 14, the iPhone's next operating system, since at least February, Motherboard reported Friday. From the report: That's almost eight months before the expected official release of iOS 14, given that Apple usually publishes the new iOS in September along with the announcement of new phones. Sometimes, screenshots and descriptions of new features leak before the official reveal. This time, however, an entire version of the operating system has leaked and is being widely circulated among hackers and security researchers. Motherboard has not been able to independently verify exactly how it leaked, but five sources in the jailbreaking community familiar with the leak told us they think that someone obtained a development iPhone 11 running a version of iOS 14 dated December 2019, which was made to be used only by Apple developers. According to those sources, someone purchased it from vendors in China for thousands of dollars, and then extracted the iOS 14 internal build and distributed it in the iPhone jailbreaking and hacking community.

So hackers paid $99 for Dev Prog membership

By drnb • Score: 3 • Thread
So hackers paid $99 for membership in the Apple Developer Program and downloaded the developer betas just like thousands of other 3rd party developers.

information is very mobile

By hdyoung • Score: 3 • Thread
It's almost like it's impossible to keep a secret once it's in the hands of more than about a dozen people. Our government can't do it. Apple can't do it. Nobody can do it.

This is why I know that our government isn't hiding aliens. My grandfather worked for the government as an engineer during WW2 and after. He worked on some really secret stuff. I asked him about aliens in the government. His answer was this: no way, cause we can't even keep our nuclear secrets out of the hands of our worst enemies. The number of people required to hide a large conspiracy guarantees that the conspiracy will come to light. It's simply human nature.

Microsoft Solitaire Turns 30 Years Old Today and Still Has 35 Million Monthly Players

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Microsoft's Solitaire game is turning 30 years old today. Microsoft is celebrating the occasion with a world record attempt of the most games of Microsoft Solitaire completed in one day. From a report: 35 million people still play Solitaire monthly, according to Microsoft, with more than 100 million hands played daily around the world. Microsoft Solitaire was originally included as part of Windows 3.0 back in 1990, designed specifically to teach users how to use a mouse. Grabbing virtual cards and dropping them in place taught the basics of drag-and-drop in Windows, which we still use today in many parts of the operating system. Microsoft Solitaire, originally known as Windows Solitaire, is one of the most played games in the world as it shipped in every version of Windows for more than two decades. That means it has shipped on more than a billion PCs, and it only stopped being a dedicated part of Windows with the release of Windows 8 in 2012.

People still play solitaire

By Rosco P. Coltrane • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Becuase people still have boring jobs on Windows computers without any other game installed on it.

more importantly it was a benchmark

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
In the "old days," seeing how fast the cards bounced after a winning game was a solid indicator of how fast a computer was.

Re:I build a lot of Windows 10 computers...

By spywhere • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
It needs the .exe files, and cards.dll for the games to function

Re:I build a lot of Windows 10 computers...

By gbjbaanb • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Winaero has an installer of the old Win7 games packaged up for Win10.

Re:Why does Solitaire track statistics

By CastrTroy • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Have you played the new solitaire that they have? the one you have to download from the MS app store? It has ads, MicroTransactions, and probably a whole boatload of tracking built in.

Amazon's Audible Goes Beyond Books To Chase Spotify in Podcasts

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In recent months, Audible, the audiobook service owned by, has been meeting with talent agencies and producers to discuss acquiring potential new podcast projects -- or, in the terminology that Audible prefers, "Audible Originals." From a report: Audible is offering anywhere from a few hundred thousand dollars to a few million dollars per show, according to people familiar with the matter, more than every competitor except Spotify. So far, Audible has already purchased shows from documentary producer John Battsek, as well as from comedians Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish.

The acquisitions by the dominant audiobook service in the U.S. are part of a new, multimillion-dollar shopping spree, designed to establish Audible as a more enticing destination for podcast fans and to fend off growing audio-storytelling competition, particularly from Spotify. Audible has been funding original series for years now, but after starting with programs from well-known authors, the company is now prioritizing celebrity hosts and shows that can help broaden its audience beyond the avid audiobook listener. Audible is also considering changes to its business model. Under the current system, each month subscribers pay $14.95 and receive credits for one book and two original shows. Now the company is debating selling original shows individually so that customers don't need to be subscribers to listen, said the people, who asked not to be identified while discussing terms of private business deals. Audible has also explored the possibility of rolling out a lower-priced plan that would offer access to originals but not books. None of these plans have been set, and the company declined to comment for this story.

Social Distancing Is Not Enough

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
We will need a comprehensive strategy to reduce the sort of interactions that can lead to more infections. The Atlantic: COVID-19 has mounted a sustained attack on public life, especially indoor life. Many of the largest super-spreader events took place inside -- at a church in South Korea, an auditorium in France, a conference in Massachusetts. The danger of the indoors is more than anecdotal. A Hong Kong paper awaiting peer review [PDF] found that of 7,324 documented cases in China, only one outbreak occurred outside -- during a conversation among several men in a small village. The risk of infection indoors is almost 19 times higher than in open-air environments, according to another study [PDF] from researchers in Japan. Appropriately, just about every public indoor space in America has been shut down or, in the case of essential businesses such as grocers, adapted for social-distancing restrictions. These closures have been economically ruinous, transforming large swaths of urban and suburban life into a morbid line of darkened windows.

Today, states are emerging from the lockdown phase of the crisis and entering a queasy period of reopening. But offices, schools, stores, theaters, restaurants, bars, gyms, fitness centers, and museums will have no semblance of normalcy until we learn how to be safe -- and feel safe -- inside. To open these spaces, we must be guided by science and expertise. Fortunately for us, researchers are discovering the secrets of how COVID-19 spreads with a combination of clever modeling and detective work. Before we review the relevant studies and draw out lessons for the future of the great indoors, a brief word of humility. Our understanding of this disease is dynamic. Today's conventional wisdom could be tomorrow's busted myth. Think of these studies not as gospels, but as clues in a gradually unraveling mystery.

Guided by science and expertise

By t4eXanadu • Score: 3 • Thread

Fat chance of that in the U.S.. We are guided by intuition, mediocrity, and conspiracy theories. Looks like it's working pretty well for us, so far. /s

Re:We know what works, masks and testing/trace

By JoshuaZ • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The public has also NOT seen any reliable data on exactly how many people are dying from Convid-19. Someone who dies of Cancer and happens to test positive for the virus did not necessarily die of the virus.

That's true, but the evidence is that that's a very thing. In particular, we can look at excess deaths compared to the number of deaths the same time of year last year or the previous year. This data suggests that most countries, including the US, are actually undercounting COVID deaths

Re:We know what works, masks and testing/trace

By Aighearach • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The masks are a bit of a problem. The medical ones require knowledge in use, and ... depend on scarce resources and training.

What happened is that laypeople, such as yourself, misunderstood the context of some knowledge and applied it unthinkingly to a new context.

The context in which your information was valid is where workers are working with dangerous chemicals and can be injured by any amount of exposure. Or at least, the risk of injury due to exposure begins at a low level of exposure; or there is merely no safe level of exposure to the chemical. In this context, even the slightest leak in the mask for a few seconds is a failure of the personal protective equipment.

However, none of that is the same for protecting against infectious disease. In this context, you can't actually protect yourself to the same level in the first place, and partial protection is more valuable. In a factory chemical exposure situation, if the PPE isn't effective enough, you can shut down the factory to protect the workers. So you can demand some high level of success at preventing exposure. But with an infectious disease, that's not the case. You can't fully protect any one individual. And if the mask leaks, most likely nothing bad happened. It isn't at like standing in a room with dangerous chemicals in the air, when any unprotected breath causes some level of damage. Instead, the rate of protection simply lowers the speed that the disease spreads. Which is all the mask can do in the first place! So even imperfect masks are completely effective; they slow the spread.

Context matters, don't port your knowledge to a new platform without good testing of the logic in the new context.

Re:We know what works, masks and testing/trace

By Aighearach • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

False, a loose-fitting bandana should easily get you past 35%.

If you tie the edges properly it should be as effective as a pillowcase, which is about 60%.

You seem to have a bit of an irrational hangup about "100%" which is silly because it is an unattainable absolute. Because absolutes are not possible, you should have already known that less than 100% effectiveness is the goal. The goal is the real improvement we can make, not an imaginary improvement we can't make. Reducing your exposure 50% is huge and that is what a typical cloth covering can do.

Re:We know what works, masks and testing/trace

By Anachronous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Best analogy I've heard is to imagine your breath on a cold day when you can see it. That is water vapor droplets you are exhaling while you breathe, talk, etc. If you have ever worn a scarf in the winter you can see the effect it has. Some droplets still leak out, but their effective range is reduced substantially.

The best analogy I've heard is to imagine everybody runs around naked. If someone pees on you, you get wet right away. If you're wearing pants, some pee will get through, but not as much. But if the guy who pees is also wearing pants, the pee stays with him and you don't get wet at all.

Siri, What Time Is It in London?

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
John Gruber, writing at Daring Fireball: Nilay Patel [Editor-in-Chief of news website The Verge] asked this of Siri on his Apple Watch. After too long of a wait, he got the correct answer -- for London Canada. I tried on my iPhone and got the same result. Stupid and slow is heck of a combination. You can argue that giving the time in London Ontario isn't wrong per se, but that's nonsense. If you had a human assistant and asked them "What's the time in London?" and they honestly thought the best way to answer that question was to give you the time for the nearest London, which happened to be in Ontario or Kentucky, you'd fire that assistant.

You wouldn't fire them for getting that one answer wrong, you'd fire them because that one wrong answer is emblematic of a serious cognitive deficiency that permeates everything they try to do. You'd never have hired them in the first place, really, because there's no way a person this stupid would get through a job interview. You don't have to be particularly smart or knowledgeable to assume that "London" means "London England", you just have to not be stupid. Worse, I tried on my HomePod and Siri gave me the correct answer: the time in London England. I say this is worse because it exemplifies how inconsistent Siri is. Why in the world would you get a completely different answer to a very simple question based solely on which device answers your question? At least when most computer systems are wrong they're consistently wrong.

Think Google is better

By Anne Thwacks • Score: 3 • Thread
If you had a human assistant and asked them "What's the time in London?" and they honestly thought the best way to answer that question was to give you the time for the nearest London, which happened to be in Ontario or Kentucky, you'd fire that assistant.

If I could fire Google, I would.

Searched on Google Maps for Edmonton - a place in London, England about 6 miles from where I live, I get Edmonton in Canada or Australia. This is a persistent menace.

Answers on the other side of the world replacing much nearer ones, are a daily issue - including Google maps sending people to other countries.

If it is more than an hour's drive away, they at the very least it needs "are you sure?" even if there is no obvious alternative - it could be a typo.

And yes, I did mean "Las Vegas" the bar two miles away, and not the place with a similar sounding name 5,000 miles away.

Artificial intentigence? No it is

Actual Idiocy

Re:OK voomer

By _xeno_ • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

When Apple introduced Siri, they sold it as understanding context. One of the example dialogs in the keynote that introduced Siri was asking Siri what the weather was, then following up with "how about in Chicago?" and having her understand that meant "what's the weather in Chicago?" In fact, that was one of the major selling points of the original Siri: it understands context.

Except it doesn't. Or, in this case, it's trying too hard to understand context - it's using the user's current location to figure out how to decode "London." (This is a common problem in Apple Maps, too, incidentally: their geocoder is terrible and frequently confuses addresses. There are times when you can literally copy an address out of an Apple Maps point of interest, paste it into the search field, and find that Apple Maps all of a sudden locates the same street address in a completely different town. Never mind that you searched for a complete address, with state, town, and zip code given. This causes problems when you attempt to navigate to an address given in a meeting invite: there's no guarantee Apple Maps won't randomly change the town on you. Hope you checked the destination it picked carefully!)

Siri was sold as being something you could "hold a conversation with" except that - well, you can't. Siri is, like pretty much every actual "VUI" (yeah, that's a real industry term), based entirely on keywords. Stray too far from a pre-written phrase, and it just doesn't work.

It also helps that Siri is now an overloaded term. "Siri suggestions" are supposed to use on-device machine learning to learn things you frequently do and make suggestions based on that. So it would make sense that Siri as voice assistant would use that information. Except it can't, because that's all kept on-device (assuming you trust Apple is telling the truth). Instead, voice assistant Siri has its own database of "what you likely mean" that's kept on Apple's servers, because voice assistant Siri is all implemented server-side. (Your phone sends an audio recording, and all the speech-to-text and processing is done server-side.)

So, in theory, if you asked voice assistant Siri about London, England enough, voice assistant Siri would learn that's what you meant when you say London. But Siri suggestion Siri wouldn't. Instead Siri suggestion Siri learns what you likely mean based on things you do on your device itself. Likewise, if Siri suggestion Siri sees you're looking at London, England in Apple Maps, voice assistant Siri won't pick up on that context.

Incidentally, when I tried asking my iPhone what time it is in London, it just gave me the local time, completely ignoring the "in London" part.

We need a "first world problems" category

By Trailer Trash • Score: 3 • Thread

Seriously. This is the kind of stuff that we've known forever makes complete sense to humans and no sense at all to computers and AI. Worse yet, if I lived across the time zone line from London, KY, I might actually be asking that if I ask someone "What time is it in London?" Human interaction is really, really complex.

Re:PROTIP: Cultural conditioning cannot be "AI"ed!

By ceoyoyo • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

A friend posted an article recently with the question: "if I tell you the meeting on Wednesday is moved forward one day, is the new time on Tuesday or Thursday?"

Apparently the answer depends on an individual's psychology, not even on their culture.

Humans Make Mistakes Too

By MountainLogic • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
About a decade ago I was working for a global tech company in Redmond, Washington, USA (no not Microsoft). I hosted a meeting where an exec from another global company living in the UK was invited. Late the night before the meeting I got an email that said he would not be there until 10:30 AM. Turns out he told his company's travel dept that he had a meeting in Redmond. When he got off the plane at 10 PM the night before the meeting he left the small airport fond the lone taxi and gave the cabbie the address to the hotel. Without hesitating, the Cabbie told him that the ride would be over $1k and take 8 hours if he wanted to get to Microsoft first thing in the morning. (he arrived on the last flight into Redmond) Turns out cab rides from Redmond, Oregon, USA to Redmond Washington USA happens more often than you might think. Redmond Oregon is the small airport that serves the tourist headed to Bend in central Oregon and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac) serves Redmond, Oregon. So type in Redmond USA as your destination and you might get a surprise.

IBM Is Latest Tech Giant To Cut Jobs in Midst of Pandemic

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
IBM cut an unspecified number of jobs across the U.S., eliminating employees in at least five states. The company declined to comment on the total number, but the workforce reductions appear far-reaching. From a report: "IBM's work in a highly competitive marketplace requires flexibility to constantly add high-value skills to our workforce. While we always consider the current environment, IBM's workforce decisions are in the interest of the long-term health of our business," company spokesman Ed Barbini said Thursday in a statement. "Recognizing the unique and difficult situation this business decision may create for some of our employees, IBM is offering subsidized medical coverage to all affected U.S. employees through June 2021." Based on a review of IBM internal communications on the Slack corporate messaging service, the number of affected employees is likely to be in the thousands, said a North Carolina-based worker who lost his job along with his entire team of 12. "This was far ranging -- and historical employment ratings, age and seniority did not seem to matter," he said. The person asked not to be identified on concern that speaking publicly may impact his severance package.

Because of course they did

By Third Position • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

How many years has it been since IBM was in the news for anything besides firing people? Did they buy Red Hat because they were running out of their own people to fire? Is IBM even in any other business besides firing people? Maybe they should repurpose the company as a consultancy for companies that want to fire lots of people? If IBM still has expertise in anything, it's firing people. They might as well capitalize on it.

Re:Changing Tunes

By MNNorske • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Obviously you didn't read the first part of the posting where the OP was opining that this might be a wakeup call for other people that tech jobs are not going to be immune if this keeps going on. After which the OP contrasted that for the moment it's merely been a work from home adventure so far.

So far I'm very thankful that this has mostly been an inconvenience for my wife and me too. But, it's just a few business/budgetary decisions from where we are to unemployment if this keeps up for too long.

One of the new guys on my team previously worked on software that supported the health insurance industry and half of his former team was laid off. My wife's hospital has furloughed or laid off most of the medical staff that supports elective surgeries, doctors and management still on staff are taking hefty pay cuts. When I had to take one of my children in to the ER a couple month's back right as the lockdown started a friend of mine who is a nurse in the ER there told me that their traffic was down to 1/4 to 1/3 of what it normally is.

How long before all the tech people who support those hospitals or the insurance companies start to see their jobs cut? How many other industries are going through the same issues?

Re:Did IBM buy Red Hat? Or did Red Hat buy IBM?

By deKernel • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

RedHat assimilating IBM would be the best thing to happen to IBM. They are that big boulder in the river that is slowly but surely eroding away from the water rushing around it. I used to work for a division of IBM, and I know first-hand how they grind everything good within their structure to the point where eventually the good departs and all that is left is mediocrity or worse.


By Necron69 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

They finally got my ex-father-in-law. He's 70, and had worked for IBM since the late 90s as a bigwig VP in Global Services, after a long career at StorageTek and PepsiCo. He didn't want to retire yet, but wasn't given any choice about it.

He was the last of a generation, being a self-taught computer guy who never went to college. He used to brag that they ran all of Pepsi in the 70s on a mainframe with 128k of RAM, and he regularly schooled programmers half his age who never learned how to flowchart and design a program properly.

It's next to impossible to have a career like that anymore. Best wishes, sir.

- Necron69

Re: IBM is offering subsidized medical coverage

By j-beda • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

"IBM is offering subsidized medical coverage to all affected U.S. employees through June 2021"

How nice of them!! Truly a humane and caring company.

Oh, wait, I have that FOR FREE from the Ontario provincial government, so I don't have to rely on the goodwill of a corporation to pay for my medical bills IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC.

To be fair, it isn't "free" in that it is paid for by Ontario residents by way of taxation. Calculated as part of your provincial taxes, for Ontario on Form ON428 line 81, it gets included on your T1 line number 42800.

So it isn't really something provided by "them" the government, rather it is something collectively provided by "us", albeit organized and administered by the government.

I do agree that this is a much saner way of providing for health services compared to tying it directly to employment.

Linux Desktop Org GNOME Foundation Settles Lawsuit With Patent Troll

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The GNOME Foundation has settled a US lawsuit brought against it by Rothschild Patent Imaging, complete with an undertaking by the patent assertion entity that it will not sue GNOME for IP infringement again. From a report: In a so-called "walk away" settlement, Rothschild Patent Imaging (RPI) and the open-source body are discontinuing their legal battle that began in October last year. RPI sued for alleged IP infringement of one of its patents by the GNOME photo-organising tool Shotwell, marking the first time a free software project had been targeted in that way. In a statement at the time, the GNOME Foundation said RPI "offered to let us settle for a high five-figure amount, for which they would drop the case", something it said would be "wrong" to do. The open-sourcers thus countersued RPI, aided by lawyers from New York law firm Shearman Sterling who agreed to work on the case for free. Neil McGovern, exec director of the foundation, said in a canned statement today: "I'm exceptionally pleased that we have concluded this case. This will allow us to refocus our attention on creating a free software desktop, and will ensure certainty for all free and open source software in future." GNOME Foundation executive director Neil McGovern has told The Register: "For those asking about payment, I can confirm we paid RPI and Leigh Rothschild a grand total of $0.00 for the settlement."

In all fairness to Rothschild

By cynic783 • Score: 3, Funny • Thread
they can eat a bag of male genitalia

Walk aways are expensive in their own right

By slack_justyb • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

McGovern also told Brock that the open-source community "managed to raise over $150,000 from over 4,000 individual donors" to fight the case, adding: "One of the strengths of the community is how passionately we care about what we do, and how we rally around each other when there's trouble."

And it's highly likely that the funds contributed were just enough to take care of all of the filings. Patent trolls usually set the dollar amount to something just under the required filing fees. RPI going in more than likely knew GNOME was a 501(c) and would retain legal counsel pro bono, hence the quoted high-five offer from them. So if we take the high end of that, say $90,000. Then $150,000 for the filing doesn't seem too far off the mark. The $90k settlement is way more tempting than $150k filing. Had this been a for-profit, I'm sure the settlement price would have been in the middle-six figured amount. At any rate, I'm pretty sure that that vast majority of that $150k raised had to be spent just to secure the walk away.

Fighting patent trolls in the United States is ridiculous expensive. The American rule for attorney fees is just idiotic. Every other Western country implements the British rule and that's why patent troll cases are mostly an American thing. I don't want to say entirely because there is indeed debate about NPEs in patent litigation around the world. But by far and wide America is the home of patent trolling and the difference in the American and British rule is a cornerstone in that difference. I still struggle to find people who can make a convincing argument in favor of the American rule when compared to the need for proper litigation.

Re:In all fairness to Rothschild

By yukaTHEnojo • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
The size of said bag was never defined. Use your imagination. In my imagination it is a magical bag of endless holding.

Re:Walk aways are expensive in their own right

By MNNorske • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
I had to look this up.

American Rule - both parties to civil actions bear their own attorney costs.
British Rule - the losing party must pay the attorney fees for both parties

It would seem that the British Rule would encourage parties to only file suit if they have a reasonable assurance that they will prevail if it comes to trial. The American Rule would appear to favor bringing more cases to trial.

I could see where it could be argued that the British Rule might reduce the incidence of patent trolls filing frivolous lawsuits. Because they would need to be sure that they will prevail in court. And, they're less likely to file multiple simultaneous cases for fear of losing all of them at once and bankrupting themselves in the process.

Nearly Half of Twitter Accounts Pushing To Reopen America May Be Bots

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to a new study from Carnegie Mellon University, researchers have found that bots may account for between 45 and 60% of Twitter accounts discussing covid-19. The normal level of bot involvement for U.S. and foreign elections, natural disasters, and other politicized events is usually between 10 and 20%. MIT Technology Review reports: Many of those accounts were created in February and have since been spreading and amplifying misinformation, including false medical advice, conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus, and pushes to end stay-at-home orders and reopen America. They follow well-worn patterns of coordinated influence campaigns, and their strategy is already working: since the beginning of the crisis, the researchers have observed a greater polarization in Twitter discourse around the topic.

A number of factors could account for this surge. The global nature of the pandemic means a larger swath of actors are motivated to capitalize on the crisis as a way to meet their political agendas. Disinformation is also now more coordinated in general, with more firms available for hire to create such influence campaigns. But it's not just the volume of accounts that worries [Kathleen M. Carley, the director of the University's Center for Informed Democracy & Social Cybersecurity]. Their patterns of behavior have grown more sophisticated, too. Bots are now often more deeply networked with other accounts, making it easier for them to disseminate their messages widely. They also engage in more strategies to target at-risk groups like immigrants and minorities and help real accounts engaged in hate speech to form online groups.
"Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions to this problem," the report concludes. "Banning or removing accounts won't work, as more can be spun up for every one that is deleted. Banning accounts that spread inaccurate facts also won't solve anything"

"Carley says researchers, corporations, and the government need to coordinate better to come up with effective policies and practices for tamping this down."

Re:And the other half ...

By cusco • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

How many people do you think sit in the cab of a tractor while it's plowing or sowing? How close do people get to each other in the field or orchard while weeding or harvesting? Let me guess, you're a city kid who's never been around an actual farm, right?

Vaccine [Re:And the other half ...]

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

Even worse than that, who can say that there will be a vaccine for the Coronavirus?

There probably will be. There has never in history been such an intensive research effort as the current effort to make a vaccine, with over a hundred different vaccines being developed. And our understanding of molecular biology is vastly better than even that of a few years ago.

The problem is, if we stick to normal verification protocols, a vaccine would take eighteen months at a very minimum to test and approve, and then months to even years to ramp up production. They are instead fast-tracking verification and testing, which may get the vaccine here faster, but at some risk.

History has shown that skipping quality control in the interests of speed can sometimes be a bad decision. "Move fast and break things" can be a good philosophy to get things done in a hurry... but not if you're one of the people who get broken by moving fast.

Re:And the other half ...

By Shotgun • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Random internet doofus doesn't understand any reality.

Really, not understanding that eventually the virus will spread regardless of how long she hides under her bed, and that meanwhile no one is producing the goods and services that keep us all living is just the ultimate fail.

Re:And the other half ...

By caseih • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

No megacorps don't own most of the farms. I'm not sure why you think that. I am part owner of a large farm and while I know of some very large farms across Canada, none of them are owned by "mega corps." The largest farm I know is owned by tribal band, who rents it out to another huge farmer who's big but no "mega corp." Farms are consolidating due to the realities of current economics (extremely low margins, increasing costs, low commodity prices), but they are owned by private women and men and their families by and large.

Anyway farmers are busy planting right now across north America. It's shaping up to be a decent year. If you want to see what real farming is about in America, there are a lot of talented folk posting regular content to YouTube so you can get an idea of what it's all about. There're Welker Farms, Millenial Farmer, Harmless Farmer, Cole the Corn Star, Brian's Farming Videos, to just name a few.

There is no doubt there are mega corps involved in agriculture, such as the huge multi-national chemical companies. But the reality on the ground where your food is actually grown is that some of the most talented but humble people I know (not including myself of course!) work long hours to make a living on very slim margins, which feeds every one. As a farmer, no I don't want everyone to think they'll starve. No I'm not worried about my stock price.

Re:And the other half ...

By satanicat • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Hey look, your point is valid whether it plays out exactly like that or not.

But you're looking at one possibility. What happens if the virus is allowed to run unchecked? Sooner or later you end up in the same situation, except with many-digits of people dead.

I can say where I am in Canada, we started this lock down before you guys did in the US, not by long but technically before. In my province (state) for the last week or so we haven't had any more than 1 new case per day reported. And businesses are starting to open up, so are our freedoms. It's not 100% to start, and businesses are being phased back into more normal operation, but it's happening. At the moment in Canada there are basically 2 out of control hotspots now. These rules are in fact working.

I don't think we can even say that people healthy today and asymptomatic would still be in as good a shape a year from now. The top doctors have literally been telling us they don't know a lot about it yet, and they are making experience based educated guesses.

But, since you asked, "who is the sick fuck here"? I assert they are the person who left the comment:

Then the easiest thing to do is let the sick, infirm, and old to die and let everyone else go about their business. They're the ones most susceptible to covid-19. Those of us with healthy immune systems are generally asymptomatic so the worst that happens is we transmit it someone else.

Having to deal with the constant barrage of, "I can't connect to VPN" because they're too lazy to plug in a cable has gotten old.

And the person who agreed with them.

Frankly that would be like saying problems caused by rush our traffic in Japan could be solved with a nuke. If nothing else it's distasteful.

New 'Spectra' Attack Breaks the Separation Between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: Academics from Germany and Italy say they developed a new practical attack that breaks the separation between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies running on the same device, such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Called Spectra, this attack works against "combo chips," specialized chips that handle multiple types of radio wave-based wireless communications, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE, and others. More particularly, the Spectra attack takes advantage of the coexistence mechanisms that chipset vendors include with their devices. Combo chips use these mechanisms to switch between wireless technologies at a rapid pace. [The new Spectra attack allows attackers to break the barrier between these technologies to launch denial-of-service (DoS), arbitrary code execution (ACE), or information disclosure attacks.] Additional details are not available, but the research team plans to provide a technical rundown during a virtual session at the Black Hat security conference in August. An academic paper will also be available at that time.


By jmccue • Score: 3 • Thread

We have spectre, now spectra, nice name for a sequel. I guess the names are appropriate considering we have this James Bond Movie Spectre (wikipedia)

Bluetooth always made me nervous and I told everyone I know to disable it, some even listened. Another reason for me to get a tin foil hat

US Secures 300 Million Doses, Almost a Third, of Potential AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
schwit1 shares a report from Financial Post: The United States has secured almost a third of the first one billion doses planned for AstraZeneca's experimental COVID-19 vaccine by pledging up to $1.2 billion, as world powers scramble for medicines to get their economies back to work. While not proven to be effective against the coronavirus, vaccines are seen by world leaders as the only real way to restart their stalled economies, and even to get an edge over global competitors. The U.S. Department of Health agreed to provide up to $1.2 billion to accelerate AstraZeneca's vaccine development and secure 300 million doses for the United States.

"This contract with AstraZeneca is a major milestone in Operation Warp Speed's work toward a safe, effective, widely available vaccine by 2021," U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar said. The vaccine, previously known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and now as AZD1222, was developed by the University of Oxford and licensed to British drugmaker AstraZeneca. Immunity to the new coronavirus is uncertain and so the use of vaccines unclear. The U.S. deal allows a late-stage -- Phase III -- clinical trial of the vaccine with 30,000 people in the United States.

Re: Looks Like Enough

By drewsup • Score: 4 • Thread

This is actually a good idea, get people to donate blood as per regular, test blood, if you are positive, you get informed, if you test that youâ(TM)ve had it and have the anti-body, they can use the plasma to treat others, and keep the blood.
The testing is free, the blood bank gets the blood, the needy get the plasma , thatâ(TM)s a win/win/win!

Re:Fake News

By orlanz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

There is a lot in those two sentences that the reporter probably didn't understand and mixed up topics.

At this time, we don't know if the COVID-19 behaves like the flu family or smallpox. Both have vaccines but only the latter can achieve "herd immunity". The former mutates quickly and every season you get a new set of strains that you need to get a new shot for. By the time you get herd immunity, its already mutated into something new that the herd is no longer immune. So could COVID-19 and then this vaccine would be useful in killing off the original strain but we need a new one for the new strain.

The other part of this is that the vaccine itself may not work or the immunity's lifetime is too short. It hasn't gone through enough testing. But this investment of capital will really help speed that up. Kudos to the administration for finally doing something. But we need to keep in mind that like all investments, it may not pan out. If it doesn't, then we should just move on to the next viable option rather than waste time debating the decision.

And COVID-19 appears to be leaning toward smallpox-like because we should have had atleast one new viable strain by now.

Re: Looks Like Enough

By CaptainDork • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'm glad to see a commonsense post.

Throwing 2.2 trillion dollars at the virus in the US has done not one fucking thing to mitigate the virus.

For that much money, I should be able to test myself every 15 minutes and have a goddam orgasm on every tenth occasion.

People don't need money. They need an answer to the virus such that we can go back to normal.

All we've done so far is given welfare checks to everybody. That makes every Republican a social Democrat and gives a vacuous definition to fiscal conservative.

It's a sad state of affairs when the America I used to know (I'm 74) succumbs to confusion, incompetence, ignorance, stupidity, capitalism, and politics instead of innovation, research, and development, and improvisation and a reliance on the scientific and healthcare professions to tackle a problem in their wheelhouse.

May be useless

By Roger W Moore • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Actually there is a very good chance that all 300 million doses sit in refrigerators or are simply thrown away. There is zero guarantee that what they have will work as a vaccine at all.

Re: Looks Like Enough

By skids • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

the next time the Democrats take power, as they must eventually, they're just going to spend the treasury dry again

Give it up. We all know what happens with the tax cuts when the R team is in charge. There is no fiscally conservative major party, just politicians who turn around and complain about it whenever its convenient for them.