the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2020-Jul-30 today archive


  1. New Imaging System Creates Pictures By Measuring Time
  2. Should the US Military Be Recruiting On Twitch?
  3. Is Your Chip Card Secure? Much Depends on Where You Bank
  4. The Gig Economy Is Failing. Say Hello to the Hustle Economy.
  5. GOP Congressman Turns Antitrust Hearing Into Personal Tech Support Session
  6. Google's $2.1 Billion Fitbit Deal Faces Full-Scale EU Antitrust Investigation
  7. One Mystery of Stonehenge's Origins Has Finally Been Solved
  8. US Adults Who Mostly Rely On Social Media For News Are Less Informed, Exposed To More Conspiracies: Study
  9. Alphabet Reports First Revenue Decline In Company History
  10. Apple Halved App Store Fee To Get Amazon Prime Video On Devices
  11. A Year After an HR Crisis, Microsoft Backs Away From Releasing a Transparency Report
  12. Apple Emails Reveal Internal Debate on Right to Repair
  13. Google's Web App Plans Collide With Apple's iPhone, Safari Rules
  14. Microsoft To Remove All SHA-1 Windows Downloads Next Week
  15. Libraries Lend Books, and Must Continue To Lend Books: Internet Archive Responds To Publishers' Lawsuit
  16. Top Antitrust Democrat: There's a Case To Break Up Facebook
  17. Telegram Hits Out at Apple's App Store 'Tax' in Latest EU Antitrust Complaint
  18. NASA Launches New Rover, Perseverance, To Look For Ancient Life on Red Planet
  19. Huawei Overtakes Samsung as World's Biggest Smartphone Vendor
  20. Trump Suggests Delaying Election Amid Fraud Claims, But Has No Power To Do So
  21. Scientists Solve Mystery of the Origin of Stonehenge Megaliths
  22. A Plunge In Incoming Sunlight May Have Triggered 'Snowball Earths'
  23. Airbus To Build 'First Interplanetary Cargo Ship'

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.

New Imaging System Creates Pictures By Measuring Time

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: Photos and videos are usually produced by capturing photons -- the building blocks of light—with digital sensors. For instance, digital cameras consist of millions of pixels that form images by detecting the intensity and color of the light at every point of space. 3-D images can then be generated either by positioning two or more cameras around the subject to photograph it from multiple angles, or by using streams of photons to scan the scene and reconstruct it in three dimensions. Either way, an image is only built by gathering spatial information of the scene. In a new paper published today in the journal Optica, researchers based in the U.K., Italy and the Netherlands describe an entirely new way to make animated 3-D images: by capturing temporal information about photons instead of their spatial coordinates.

Their process begins with a simple, inexpensive single-point detector tuned to act as a kind of stopwatch for photons. Unlike cameras, measuring the spatial distribution of color and intensity, the detector only records how long it takes the photons produced by a split-second pulse of laser light to bounce off each object in any given scene and reach the sensor. The further away an object is, the longer it will take each reflected photon to reach the sensor. The information about the timings of each photon reflected in the scene -- what the researchers call the temporal data -- is collected in a very simple graph.

Those graphs are then transformed into a 3-D image with the help of a sophisticated neural network algorithm. The researchers trained the algorithm by showing it thousands of conventional photos of the team moving and carrying objects around the lab, alongside temporal data captured by the single-point detector at the same time. Eventually, the network had learned enough about how the temporal data corresponded with the photos that it was capable of creating highly accurate images from the temporal data alone. In the proof-of-principle experiments, the team managed to construct moving images at about 10 frames per second from the temporal data, although the hardware and algorithm used has the potential to produce thousands of images per second. Currently, the neural net's ability to create images is limited to what it has been trained to pick out from the temporal data of scenes created by the researchers. However, with further training and even by using more advanced algorithms, it could learn to visualize a varied range of scenes, widening its potential applications in real-world situations.

It won't go anywhere

By Sqreater • Score: 3 • Thread
In reality it is only just guessing about reality from the temporal data and what it has stored. It's accuracy depends on how close the stored data is to the temporal data it acquires. Who wants that? It even sounds dangerous.

Re:Looks like somebody has rediscovered LIDAR

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This does seem to be novel and not simply just another LIDAR.

Current LIDAR systems using a single point detector scan the environment in some way, usually by having the light pulses scan over the area so that one vector can be measured at a time. That's why you see spinning optics on LIDAR systems, they are scanning the laser pulses both horizontally and vertically. An alternative is to use a series of special patterns that when combined allow you to get a value for each vector.

These guys have found a way to eliminate the scanning. They flood illuminate the scene and then make a temporal histogram from the returns. Using AI that is trained to recognize what the histograms of various different objects and poses look like they can turn it into an image.

That could be very useful for things like industrial machine vision where you want to check if something has been manufactured or installed correctly, for example. They are also looking at possible consumer applications such as adding 3D data to smartphone cameras.

Not the same as LiDAR

By pz • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The summary is a bit obscure on the point, but the article is clear (and open-access): whereas LiDAR uses a scanned beam and time-of-flight to develop a 3D image of a scene, this research uses pulsed flood illumination, not unlike a camera flash. That is to say, there is no raster scanning of the scene. They collect no spatial information but are able to reconstruct the scene structure just by time-of-flight information alone. In contrast, LiDAR, with a scanned beam controlled by the system at all times (just like RADAR), uses the position of the beam as a critical part of 3D reconstruction. This research is different, and because of that is pretty impressive. They also specifically mention LiDAR in their article as a means to develop ground truth for the training algorithm, so it isn't like they don't know about what LiDAR is and how it works. This research is closer to scene reconstruction through echo-location, but with light.

Re:single point and ai trained.. but..

By aturpin • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
You got it perfectly! The system can tell the orientation of the "banana" (as you say) because it uses not only information about the banana itself but about all objects appearing in the scene. This allos breaking the symmetry you comment. Having a single sensor and no scanning parts makes that the system works orders of magnitude faster than a LiDAR (that scans the scene). We used only one to demonstrate that that's enough to form an image. We don't claim that this is better than LiDAR in terms of resolution, but creating an image using only time information is a conceptual change on what the requirements for imaging are. This means that now you can use any pulsed source, like a wifi antenna, to create an image, for instance. Of course, adding more sensors will improve the image, imagine a camera where every pixel has this capability!

Re:On the AI reconstruction

By aturpin • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
As a matter of fact, different objects give different signals, even if they are at the same distance. The peak position of the signal might be at the same place, but the signal itself is different. Even the signals for two different people at the exact same place are different: One of the keys is that the scene has moving objects and a fixed background, and we exploit that to recognize where objects are and shape do they have. But you're correct by saying that a lot of information comes from what the algorithm has seen before, otherwise the problem would be not possible to be solved.

Should the US Military Be Recruiting On Twitch?

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The U.S. military has for years been using streaming channels and video gaming to recruit people. "Several branches of the military -- with the exception of the Marines -- have had esports teams since 2018," reports The Verge. "And according to, the Army's esports efforts alone generated 3,500 recruiting leads in fiscal year 2019."

But the question is... should they be recruiting on these platforms? According to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), the answer is no. She is proposing an amendment that would ban the U.S. military from recruiting on Twitch. The Verge reports: "Children should not be targeted in general for many marketing purposes in addition to military service. Right now, currently, children on platforms such as Twitch are bombarded with banner ads linked to recruitment signup forms that can be submitted by children as young as 12 years old," Ocasio-Cortez said on the House floor Thursday. "These are not education outreach programs for the military."

Last week, the Army paused its use of Twitch for recruitment after its channel was criticized for banning viewers who asked about war crimes. The Army told GameSpot: "The team has paused streaming to review internal policies and procedures, as well as all platform-specific policies, to ensure those participating in the space are clear before streaming resumes." And earlier this month, Twitch told the Army to stop sharing phony prize giveaways on its channel that promised an Xbox Elite Series 2 controller, only for users to be directed to a recruitment page when they clicked through. The language of Ocasio-Cortez's draft would make that pause permanent, banning US military organizations from using funds to "maintain a presence on or any video game, e-sports, or live-streaming platform."
You can watch the congresswoman's impassioned floor speech here.

Re: I guess

By NagrothAgain • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I guess you should stop the US military from recruiting if you think the military is just a bunch of baby killers.

Yes, or better yet do something about how our military is used so that they don't have such an image. Seeing as how that's kind of exactly her fucking job.

Re:I don't see a problem

By Jarwulf • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
This couldn't be more wrong. A lot of the misconceptions about a military stint are from civilians who watch too many movies and think every 90lb blue eyed female recruit is literally going to be infantry dual wielding machine guns hunting for Charlie in the swamps of 'Nam. The military is actually an increasingly fantastic deal for a lot of people who otherwise don't have a lot going on. Lets face it, not everybody has a Google Machine Learning fellowship waiting for them after high school or college. Contrary to popular culture, the vast majority of the modern military personnel will never be in combat so it effectively functions as highschool 2.0/trade school where you have additional time to orient yourself, get paid by Uncle Sucker, tons of benefits, and the prestige of 'fighting for your country' on top of it all. You tell me whether this is better option than racking up hundreds of thousands on an Ethnic Studies degree or drifting aimlessly from low paying minimum wage job to minimum wage job.

Re:Boo hiss

By LenKagetsu • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The US military is an honorable* profession.

*According to the US military.

Re:Boo hiss

By tinkerton • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The military is an ugly thing. It is made to kill and destroy. It could be an honorable profession if it is strictly defensive. The US military is not. The US has never had to defend itself from any invasion but has focused entirely on dominating the world. Well, at least when it worked. Now it's more a trillion dollar business. No wonder there are career opportunities in a business that size.
There are plenty of people in the military who want to be honorable and who will grab any opportunity to do so. I'm absolutely convinced by that. But that means they are also fully committed to believe the propaganda about what they are doing because otherwise how are they going to live with themselves? How is any drone operator (ok that is usually CIA) playing their videogames all over the world supposed to live with himself or herself? By buying into a good cover story.
Ask the Afghanistan vets if they think the US military is honorable.

Re:I don't see a problem

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Why is it though that you have to join the military to get that kind of training? Why can't it be offered without the possibility of having to fight in a war?

It sounds like you are saying that the military is just making up for poor schooling and lack of opportunities.

Is Your Chip Card Secure? Much Depends on Where You Bank

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A recent series of malware attacks on U.S.-based merchants suggest thieves are exploiting weaknesses in how certain financial institutions have implemented the technology in chip-based credit and debit cards to sidestep key security features and effectively create usable, counterfeit cards. Brian Krebs reports via Krebs on Security: Traditional payment cards encode cardholder account data in plain text on a magnetic stripe, which can be read and recorded by skimming devices or malicious software surreptitiously installed in payment terminals. That data can then be encoded onto anything else with a magnetic stripe and used to place fraudulent transactions. Newer, chip-based cards employ a technology known as EMV that encrypts the account data stored in the chip. The technology causes a unique encryption key -- referred to as a token or "cryptogram" -- to be generated each time the chip card interacts with a chip-capable payment terminal.

Virtually all chip-based cards still have much of the same data that's stored in the chip encoded on a magnetic stripe on the back of the card. This is largely for reasons of backward compatibility since many merchants -- particularly those in the United States -- still have not fully implemented chip card readers. This dual functionality also allows cardholders to swipe the stripe if for some reason the card's chip or a merchant's EMV-enabled terminal has malfunctioned. But there are important differences between the cardholder data stored on EMV chips versus magnetic stripes. One of those is a component in the chip known as an integrated circuit card verification value or "iCVV" for short -- also known as a "dynamic CVV." The iCVV differs from the card verification value (CVV) stored on the physical magnetic stripe, and protects against the copying of magnetic-stripe data from the chip and the use of that data to create counterfeit magnetic stripe cards. Both the iCVV and CVV values are unrelated to the three-digit security code that is visibly printed on the back of a card, which is used mainly for e-commerce transactions or for card verification over the phone. The appeal of the EMV approach is that even if a skimmer or malware manages to intercept the transaction information when a chip card is dipped, the data is only valid for that one transaction and should not allow thieves to conduct fraudulent payments with it going forward.

However, for EMV's security protections to work, the back-end systems deployed by card-issuing financial institutions are supposed to check that when a chip card is dipped into a chip reader, only the iCVV is presented; and conversely, that only the CVV is presented when the card is swiped. If somehow these do not align for a given transaction type, the financial institution is supposed to decline the transaction. More recently, researchers at Cyber R&D Labs published a paper detailing how they tested 11 chip card implementations from 10 different banks in Europe and the U.S. The researchers found they could harvest data from four of them and create cloned magnetic stripe cards that were successfully used to place transactions. There are now strong indications the same method detailed by Cyber R&D Labs is being used by point-of-sale (POS) malware to capture EMV transaction data that can then be resold and used to fabricate magnetic stripe copies of chip-based cards.

Re:Slow progress

By Fly Swatter • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Going all chip-only is not about replacing cards, they could have done that three times over by now. The problem is getting all the retail card readers replaced. Can't lose that stripe until that is done. I bet the banks haved pushed the expense of replacement onto the store owners, so this will take a loooong time.

Re:Slow progress

By _merlin • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

There's some history here. Back in the day, most merchants didn't have online credit card transaction processing. They had a (mechanical) machine with raised guides for lining up the card that they put the card into with a "carbonless carbon" slip on top, and run a rubber pressure roller across to make an imprint of the raised name, card number and expiry date. Then they'd hand the slip to you to sign, tear off the topmost copy, and keep the other copy to file with the bank. (Were there two other copies? Maybe there were - one for the customer, one that the merchant keeps, and one files with the bank. You'd always keep all your receipts and make sure they lined up with your statement at the end of the month, and I guess the merchants did the same.)

So you were used to handing the cashier your credit card for them to fuss around with the machine. The transaction processors started rolling out electronic terminals, which partially automated the process. You still handed your card to the cashier, but they entered the purchase price into the electronic terminal and swiped the card. The terminal would connect to the network, check that the card wasn't cancelled an that the purchase price could be authorised, and then print two copies of the receipt. You signed one copy that the merchant kept, and you kept the second copy. The transaction would be automatically sent to the merchant's bank, with no need to carry around carbonless carbon slips. The terminals started to supported electronic POS system integration, allowing the cashier to skip entering the purchase price manually.

When swipe and PIN systems started to get rolled out (e.g. EFTPOS in Australia and EPS in Hong Kong), the systems needed a customer-facing keypad. In many cases, the cashier would still enter the purchase price and swipe the card for you, but you'd confirm the price and enter your PIN on a customer-facing display and keypad. For some systems, this was the same keypad the cashier used, connected to a flexible keypad so they could hand it to you.

These systems still weren't wireless, so you'd need to walk to the cash register to pay with a PIN. You couldn't usually pay at your table at a restaurant if your card required a PIN. With a credit card, you could still give the waiter your card, let them enter the transaction into the terminal, then they'd bring your card back along with the receipt for you to sign.

When chip and PIN systems arrived, the payment networks started to mandate that the customer should be able to do all the steps involving the card. This meant that a user-facing card reader, display and keypad were required features for all terminals, and the customer needed to be at the terminal to complete a transaction. This drove a shift towards wireless terminals in restaurants, allowing customers to pay at their table with PIN cards. If the terminal isn't integrated with the POS system, the cashier will still enter the price manually before handing the terminal to the customer to insert their card and enter their PIN if required.

The US has been slow to adopt PIN cards. There's resistance from customers who don't want to remember a PIN or don't want to fuss around with the payment terminal - they're happy just handing their card to the cashier. More importantly, there's resistance from merchants because liability for fraudulent transactions is shifted from the banks to the merchants. The shift to having the customer perform all steps involving the card hasn't completed in the US.

Re:Sounds like you should just wipe the magnetic i

By guruevi • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I think you misread even the summary. They read the necessary data of the chip.

There also exist chip-and-pin skimmers, the operation is slightly different but the design is from the 90s, the protections are trivially easy to crack. Here is an article from 6 years ago:

Re:Slow progress

By goose-incarnated • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Going all chip-only is not about replacing cards, they could have done that three times over by now. The problem is getting all the retail card readers replaced. Can't lose that stripe until that is done. I bet the banks haved pushed the expense of replacement onto the store owners, so this will take a loooong time.

That's not the problem. I'm an EMV dev, doing both chip and terminal development (with occasional development in switching).

The problem is that with the mag-stripe all fraudulent transactions are paid for by some combination of merchant, issuer and bank. The cardholder is not liable, and the burden is on the issuer to prove that the cardholder is liable.

With chip+pin all liability falls onto the cardholder, regardless of whether the chip was used or not, and whether a pin was entered or not, and the burden is on the cardholder to prove that they didn't do the fraudulent transaction.

So, yeah, merchants have an incentive to move to chip+pin, banks have an incentive to move to chip+pin and issuers have an incentive to move to chip+pin, because it means that the cardholder will be left holding the bag if something goes wrong.

Most of the world (Europe, Australia, Asia, ME and Africa) the consumers are apparently happy with being liable by default. For some reason consumers in the US don't want to allow the merchant+banks+issuers to shift the liability to the consumer.

Re:Sounds like you should just wipe the magnetic i

By tflf • Score: 4 • Thread

Yea, those cameras make the consumer feel like the criminal. They even put your mug up on the screen as you checkout so you know you are being watched. If they really want to catch criminals the camera should be on the banks and credit card companies.

Because the general assumption in retail today is everyone is there to steal, and the level of stock "shrinkage" (retail term for theft) supports that assumption. Video recording is part of the response to the problem.
Best to assume there are cameras watching everywhere in retail businesses, including at the till. Most retailers, big and small, (at least in here in Canada) have cameras over each and every till, and each transaction is recorded. Reasoning: reduces employee theft (harder to steal from the till when big brother is watching), reduces after the fact transaction disputes (ie: I got home and found your teller gave me change for a 10. I handed her a 20. This happens way too often) and provides a record to hand to the police in case of robbery or fraud.
Maybe good to know: businesses recover the cost of retail theft by passing it on to their honest customers. It's built into the sticker price. Out of every dollar you spend at a retailer, shrinkage costs run between 3 and 8 cents (some are higher!).

The Gig Economy Is Failing. Say Hello to the Hustle Economy.

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: "We have nothing to sell besides physical touch." The thought jarred Amber Briggle awake some nights. It kept her from eating in the first week of the Covid-19 shutdown when she lost six pounds fretting over the sudden collapse of the business she'd built up her "entire adult life." For seven years, Briggle has owned a massage studio called Soma in Denton, Texas. She grew the operation from a pop-up in her house to a mini-empire with a wall of local "best of" awards. But when Texas Governor Greg Abbott closed businesses statewide on March 21, Briggle realized in an instant it could all be over. Her bills totaled more than $3,000 per month, and it wasn't as if she could give massages from home. "I had nothing, literally nothing," Briggle said. "And this is my life's work. I spent the entire first week crying. What else could I do about it?" Then, in the second week of the shutdown, during a pro-bono consultation with a local business advisor, she was asked if she'd ever considered a Patreon.

As the consultant explained, the digital-subscription platform -- once home mainly to YouTubers and podcast hosts -- had also become an ad hoc safety net for thousands of teachers, cashiers, line cooks, and hairstylists who lost work with the onset of stay-at-home orders. It wasn't just Patreon, either, which added more than 100,000 new users between mid-March and July. OnlyFans reported daily six-figure sign-ups on its popular cam site. Etsy logged 115,000 new sellers in the first three months of the year, more than double the past two years' user growth. Teachable, which lets people make and sell online courses, signed on 14,000 new creators between March and July, and in July reported its first quarterly revenue over $10 million.

US economy is falling apart

By Malays2 bowman • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

We (the US) hardly manufacture consumer goods anymore, we have been coasting on fake money backed by debt that has been impossible to pay back, and now businesses are going under left and right.

  How much longer can we keep up the charade we call "the economy". Empires collapsed throughout history, and we will just be another item on that list.

All of the MAGA, and woke, and other bullshit games won't change the fact that we are about to roll over the tall, steep cliff.

It's become a complete circus, but I am not enjoying the show.

It's called an economic crash.

By Qbertino • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Why don't you just call it what it is? An economic crash. Tens of millions without a job in the U.S. doesn't need a fancy word. I expect a measurable amount of this type of problem to ripple around the globe within the next 24 months.

I'm in Germany and we're doing pretty good right now, because we actually have a working social market economy. I'm out of a job but entitled to Level 1 unemployment support which gives me a cushy 65% of my last post-tax salary which I'm using to up my skills and get some certifications. I can even keep saving.

However, I expect things to go further south even here. We already have 10% decline in economic throughput, and the real wave of the German equivalent of "Chapter 11" hasn't hit us yet. But it is coming.

Looking across the pond it is absolutely clear that the U.S. needs a bottom-up redo of the system. Healthcare is a joke, wealth transfer is just about non-existant, the penal system is at level with Xingjang in China but not with true first world countries and the electorial system with its perpetual 2-party gridlock has become a democracy trainwreck. When the fecal matter has hit the rotary air impeller, as it basically is happening right now, I hope you guys can finally get some *real* reform through and come out with a U.S. that has some serious 20th/21st century-style updates.

As for us here in Europe, we've just decided, much like in the US, to print another quadrobazillion Euros to keep the weak economies happy and this EU thing going. Don't know how that will turn out, but I expect a fluttering inflation/deflation to kick in big time real soon now, for basically anyone on the planet, including us. Once this is over and the robots will move in to replace our jobs the world is going to be all-out Cyberpunk for everyone to see. And yes, I guess you could call that the hustle economy, but right now it's just a big-ass global recession that's eating up social stability.

Re:Say hello?

By crobarcro • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Their products are bullshit, but the business proposition is very good.

The adult entertainment

By Ed Tice • Score: 3 • Thread
OnlyFans isn't a hustle. It's (generally) adult entertainment. I have nothing against porn (although I do refuse to pay for it so I'm amazed how much money can be made on OF). I'm sure somebody will post that we should feel bad for the people 'forced' to go to OF and I do have some empathy for them. But lets also be a bit honest. Some percentage of the totally f---ed over population can manage to get through f---ing on camera. Maybe that's not ideal for them. But that portion is mostly the young, female demographic. Everybody else has nothing. So lets assume that the disenfranchised is 20% young enough and female enough to be on OF. So if there is a six figure sign up on OF, that means there are 4x as many people who don't have that option. And of course not every young female in financial distress goes to OF so the actual number of disenfranchised is even larger. The people who can successfully turn to Etsy or OF aren't the problem. It's all the people who *can't*

Wait, what?

By yassa2020 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
The solution to no more gig jobs is panhandling? And who pays the panhandlers?

GOP Congressman Turns Antitrust Hearing Into Personal Tech Support Session

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VICE News: We all have trouble with our email sometimes. We don't typically get to harangue the CEO of Google about why, say, Dad's Gmail is acting up, though. You have to be a member of Congress to pull that. Rep. Greg Steube, Republican from Florida, went there during Wednesday's high-profile congressional hearing about tech giants' market dominance and anti-competitive behavior. Handed the chance to throw any question at some of the most powerful people in the world, Steube pressed Google CEO Sundar Pichai to troubleshoot his parents' recent email issues. Specifically, they weren't getting his campaign emails, which Steube seemed to think was because of an anti-conservative bias among Silicon Valley titans. Pichai responded by implying that Steube and his dad don't understand how Gmail tabs work.

"Suddenly, I get elected to Congress, and I'm now up here in Washington, D.C., and my parents, who have a Gmail account, aren't getting my campaign emails," Steube said. "Why is this only happening to Republicans?" Pichai responded by talking about how Gmail automatically sorts emails by their source, breaking out messages from personal contacts into a folder separate from those sent by self-promoting groups like a congressional campaign. "We have a tabbed organization," Pichai said, veering into tech-support mode. "The primary tab has emails from friends and family, and the secondary tab has other notifications, and so on." Steube interrupted to point out that it was his dad who complained that the campaign emails weren't showing up. And that meant Pichai's statement that the Primary tab should feature all emails from family members didn't make any sense to him. "Clearly, that familial thing that you're talking about didn't apply to my emails," Steube said, glossing over the fact that the emails were coming from his campaign, not from his personal account. "Our systems, probably, are not able to understand that it's your father," Pichai deadpanned.

Re:this is what we get

By unixisc • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Gmail is pretty complicated now that it's not easier to use. It was far better when you could simply move b/w folders and find your mails there. In the process of 'simplifying' things, Google has made it more complicated

Re:Non answer

By WarlockD • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Could be that the congress man is using a single email server and is blasting an unsolicited list of people who bother to click "THIS IS SPAM" button and it increases its weight to throw it away.

Maybe the server does some fucked up stuff in the message meta tag so google discards it.

Mabey the congressman server is banned for doing this every few years. So its more automated than anything.

He has given NO insight on how his mailing list is set up and it also seems he, or his people, have no idea how to properly set up a mailing list to work with Google's anti spam filters. Shoving a bunch of email's in a cc list and blasting it to 5000 people will get your server almost insta blocked on any mail server anti spam filter, regardless of political affiliation.

I mean, he IS from Florida, so he might not know this like his other brothers.

Re:Non answer

By MobyDisk • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The summary is bogus, but your comment is bogus too. I have no idea what that list is, but it definitely does not have any conservative news sources on it. Conservative news sources are things like: Fox news, The Cato institute, The National Review, WBAL, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Examiner, ... On the list is nonsense names like "gaybuzzer" and sites serving viruses while impersonating conservative news DNS names like "" (which is not the drudge report) and "" which is not the Independent Tribune. Readers: don't visit the sites I listed here unless you have confidence in your virus protection! (Strangely it also has "")

Re:Non answer

By laughing_badger • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The summary is bogus, he's asking why people, including his own father (and yours truly) observe Google doing political blacklisting.

They (and you) observe Google doing blacklisting, no more and no less than that. They interpret it as being 'political' due to their own context. You'd need to set up a new account, subscribe to every mailing list across the political spectrum, and monitor delivery success rates to prove anything else. Even that wouldn't prove it conclusively because different groups are likely to frame messages in different ways.

They are using mailing lists in a way that's triggering Google's spam filters. They should stop doing that and take some personal responsibility.

Re:Non answer

By K. S. Kyosuke • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
You need to make your own e-mail service, with blacklists and hookers.

Google's $2.1 Billion Fitbit Deal Faces Full-Scale EU Antitrust Investigation

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to CNBC sources, Google's $2.1 billion bid for fitness tracker maker Fitbit will face a full-scale EU antitrust investigation next week. From the report: Alphabet unit Google this month offered not to use Fitbit's health data to help it target ads in an attempt to address EU antitrust concerns. The opening of a full-scale investigation suggests that this is not sufficient. The deal, announced last November, would see Google compete with market leader Apple and Samsung in the fitness-tracking and smart-watch market, alongside others including Huawei and Xiaomi.

The European Commission, which will launch the probe following the end of its preliminary review on Aug. 4, is expected to make use of the four-month long investigation to explore in depth the use of data in healthcare, one of the people said. Google reiterated previous comments, saying the deal is about devices and not data. "The wearables space is crowded, and we believe the combination of Google and Fitbit's hardware efforts will increase competition in the sector, benefiting consumers and making the next generation of devices better and more affordable," a spokeswoman said.

Horizontal monopoly is the problem

By shanen • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Vertical acquisitions are not the problem. However if the google can use its monopoly power in other areas to convert Fitbit into a dominant monopoly in that horizontal field of activity monitors, that would of course make things worse. However, I would speculate that the google is actually trying to use the high quality personal data from Fitbit to extend its monopoly power in other niches. Basically more dimensions to be added to the models of us lowly human beings. More dimensions means more strings to pull in manipulating us (for advertisers or politicians or whoever).

My favored solution approach is horizontal division driven by a progressive profits tax linked to market share. If any company is too dominant in any market, then it faces the choice of paying the high taxes or dividing itself horizontally to create more choice, more competition, more innovation, and ultimately, more freedom. The high taxes can regulate the company, but dividing it would create higher retained earnings. Even the shareholders win by getting shares in two (or more) companies with higher earnings where they only had one company's shares before.

Getting a bit tangential here, but the google's leverage is related to puling our strings, and this is actually related to the fake news problem. Came to this realization from a discussion of the difference between disinformation and misinformation in a (recommended) recent book called This Is Not Propaganda by Peter Pomerantsev. Both are false, but the disinformation was created to mislead. However I realized the distinction doesn't matter that much because even valid information can be used if you know which strings to pull. This person isn't going to buy into misinformation, eh? Can't even concoct disinformation that would be swallowed? Okay, find a different string and feed valid information to change priorities and redirect into harmless territory... It's all in knowing the target these days.

Mark of the Beast

By sound+vision • Score: 3 • Thread

It's harder to put down your watch than your phone. Having direct access to the watch's data will increase the accuracy and granularity of their location data.

One Mystery of Stonehenge's Origins Has Finally Been Solved

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
For more than four centuries, archaeologists and geologists have sought to determine the geographical origins of the stones used to build Stonehenge thousands of years ago. Pinning down the source of the large blocks known as sarsens that form the bulk of the monument has proved especially elusive. From a report: Now researchers have resolved the mystery: 50 of the 52 extant sarsens at Stonehenge came from the West Woods site in the English county of Wiltshire, located 25 kilometers to the north of Stonehenge. The findings were published on Wednesday in Science Advances. Geologists can often use macroscopic and microscopic features of rocks to match them to the outcropping from which they were taken. Such techniques have allowed researchers to determine that many of Stonehenge's smaller "bluestones" were brought from southwestern Wales. But "the trouble with sarsen stone is that it's all the same," says study co-author Katy Whitaker, a graduate student at the University of Reading in England and an assistant listing adviser at Historic England. "When you look at it under the microscope, you see quartz sand grains stuck together with more quartz."

So the team turned to x-ray fluorescence spectrometry, a nondestructive technique that bombards a sample with x-rays and analyzes the wavelengths of light that sample emits in response, which can show its chemical makeup. The technique revealed the presence of trace elements, or those found in minute quantities, on the surface of Stonehenge's sarsens. Almost all of those stones shared a remarkably similar chemical composition, indicating that they originated together. The data were insufficient to pinpoint where that source was, however. The team's breakthrough came unexpectedly in 2018, when a sample core that had been drilled from one of Stonehenge's sarsens during a 1958 restoration project was returned to England after it spent 60 years in a private collection. The researchers were granted permission to destroy part of the core for a more detailed analysis. "We quietly jumped up and down with excitement," says lead author David Nash, a physical geographer at the University of Brighton in England. Using two types of mass spectrometry, the team determined the levels of 22 trace elements in the core and compared them with the levels in sarsen samples from 20 different sites dotting southern England. The chemical signature of the core exactly matched that of one of the sites -- West Woods, which encompasses about six square kilometers.


By bobstreo • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Scientists will figure out the mystery of posting the same story over and over on /.


By jeromef • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
New to Slashdot? ;-)

US Adults Who Mostly Rely On Social Media For News Are Less Informed, Exposed To More Conspiracies: Study

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to a new report from Pew Research, U.S. adults who get their news largely from social media platforms tend to fllow the news less closely and end up less informed on several key subjects when compared to those who use other sources, like TV, radio, and news publications. TechCrunch reports: The firm first asked people how they most commonly get their news. About one-in-five (18%) said they mostly use social media to stay current. That's close the percentages of those who say they use local TV (16%) or cable TV (16%) news, but fewer than those who say they go directly to a news website or app (25%). Another 13% said they use network TV and only 3% said they read a newspaper. To be clear, any study that asks users to self-report how they do something isn't going to be as useful as those that collect hard data on what the consumers actually do. In other words, people who think they're getting most of their news from TV may be, in reality, undercounting the time they spent on social media â" or vice versa.

That said, among this group of "primarily" social media news consumers, only 8% said they were following the key news story of the 2020 U.S. election "every closely," compared with 37% of cable TV viewers who said the same, or the 33% of print users who also said this. The social media group, on this topic, was closer to the local TV group (11%). On the topic of the coronavirus outbreak, only around a quarter (23%) of the primarily social media news consumers said they were following news of COVID-19 "very closely." All other groups again reported a higher percentage, including those who primarily used cable TV (50%), national network TV (50%), news websites and apps (44%), and local TV (32%) for news.

Related to this finding, the survey respondents were also asked 29 different fact-based questions about news topics from recent days, including those on Trump's impeachment, the COVID-19 outbreak, and others. Those who scored the lowest on these topics were the consumers who said they primarily used social media to get their news. Across 9 questions related to foundational political knowledge, only 17% of primarily social media news consumers scored "high political knowledge," meaning they got 8 to 9 of the questions right. 27% scored "middle political knowledge" (6-7 right) and 57% scored "low political knowledge" (5 or fewer right.) The only group that did worse were those who primarily relied on local TV. 45% of who got their news from news primarily via websites and apps, meanwhile, had "high political knowledge," compared with 42% for radio, 41% for print, 35% for cable TV, and 29% for network TV. The social media group of news consumers was also more exposed to fringe conspiracies, like the idea that the pandemic was intentionally planned.

Re: New York Times

By ttfkam • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Their main columns are fairly middle of the road, maybe slightly liberal. Their editorial columns on the other hand⦠clear conservative bias.

Folks on the left often *hate* their editorial columns, which have a completely separate editorial staff and culture.

But if you think New York Times is clearly liberal, pretty sure what you think is the center is skewed very far to the right relative to the US and downright reactionary conservative when compared to the rest of the world.

If you include the US's allies as a baseline, there is no major left wing party in the US. Democrats would be considered center to center-right. I am hesitant to say what the rest of the world thinks of the political platform of the GOP.

Re: Advice

By Aighearach • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

[the NYT] has a far left slant

The New York Times is, and always was, the nicer, more polite newspaper for rich people in New York, as compared to the Wall Street Journal.

The idea that it is some sort of liberal mouthpiece is hilarious to the point of absurdity. In the Olden Times only people who got their news from AM radio said things this stupid.

Re: New York Times

By RightwingNutjob • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Why would I use Continental Europe, or even the UK as a baseline for the US? We broke from Europe and the European political model 244 years ago. Why would you expect our politics to look like theirs?

The democrats only look right wing to a far leftist. I don't know what decade your formative years were in, but surely you recognize that Democrats in 2020 are repeating a lot of far left talking points like "defund police" (!) and "defund ICE" before that, "cancel the rent" and "decarbonize by 2030"

Re:Depends on the subject

By MobyDisk • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I'm legitimately trying to figure out what is happening on the ground in Seattle. If it was so violent, then why did Fox news have to photoshop a gunman in? and why do they keep playing footage from other protests and claiming they are current? Why couldn't they be showing the legitimate violence? Once I learned that they were doing this I tuned out everything that was happening there and reset my opinion back to zero because I didn't know what to believe.

Not checking sources?

By syousef • Score: 3 • Thread

Yeah, it's almost as if failing to check the source of your information makes you gullible.

Alphabet Reports First Revenue Decline In Company History

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google parent-company Alphabet beat expectations for its second quarter earnings Thursday, marking its first revenue decline in the company's history. CNBC reports: Here's how it did against Refinitiv consensus estimates:

EPS: $10.13 (non-GAAP), vs. $8.21 estimated.
Revenue: $38.30 billion vs. $37.37 billion estimated.

Although the company reported its first annual revenue decline in history (a drop of 2%), the stock rose slightly after-hours. As a result of the customer pullbacks and the general maturing ad market, Alphabet itself cut marketing spending by half and instituted hiring freezes for the second half of the year in anticipation of a slowdown, CNBC reported. Around that time, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said Google would be pulling back on some of its investments for the rest of the year amid the Covid-19 crisis, starting with hiring.

with many more to come

By WindBourne • Score: 4 • Thread
Alphabet is being ran into the ground due to mismanagement.
I've been pointing to Pichai as screwing things up badly, and he continues to prove my points.
Google once was a company that actively sought to 'not be evil'. Now, Pichai is just as bad as Gates and Balmer were.

Bit surprising

By timeOday • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
The US GDP decline of -32.9% last quarter is stunning and obviously a factor. Even so, where is it sending us all? Online.

For amazon, "North American sales were up 43% to $55.4 billion, while international sales grew 38% to $22.7 billion." Wow.

Here are a couple interesting google-related facts about amazon:

"Amazon, one of the biggest advertisers in the world, said it cut marketing expenses by about third in Q2"

Conversely: "Amazon ad revenue surging -> Amazon reports Q2 "other" category revenue, which mostly covers its ad business, of $4.22B, up 41% YoY and subscriptions services"

So, it would seem amazon's business is mushrooming, and they are taking in more ad revenue, and paying less to companies like you-know-who.

Apple Halved App Store Fee To Get Amazon Prime Video On Devices

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Apple agreed in 2016 to halve its App Store fee for Amazon as part of a deal to put the e-commerce giant's Prime Video app on Apple's mobile devices and TV set-top box. Eddy Cue, an Apple senior vice president, and Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos negotiated directly on the deal, according to emails released Wednesday as part of a congressional hearing on anticompetitive behavior. The companies agreed to a 15% revenue share for customers who signed up through the app and no revenue share for users who already subscribed via Amazon or elsewhere, the emails showed.

The deal, announced in December 2017, also allowed Amazon's video service to integrate with Apple's voice-activated digital assistant, Siri, and the iPhone maker's TV app, which launched in 2016. In addition, the agreement gave Apple a 15% cut of subscriptions to Amazon Prime partners like Showtime for users who signed up originally through Apple. Apple generally receives a 30% cut for the first year of an app's subscriptions made through the platform. That fee drops to 15% after the first year. The agreement with Amazon is similar to a program Apple announced earlier this year letting select developers avoid the 30% fee in exchange for integrating with certain features. Amazon is part of that program.
The report also reveals that Apple once considered taking a 40 percent cut from some subscription apps, according to documents shared today by the House Judiciary Committee.

15% has been the standard since 2015...

By cyclonus5150 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
In spring 2015, Apple reduced it's cut of streaming video content provider sub revenue to 15% for new subs gained through Apple TV. This is the same deal enjoyed by Hulu, HBO, and others. These stories are all conflating developers with content providers, which are two different types of partnership with Apple.

Re:So what

By rho • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

So Appke decided that hsving amazon prine in their devise was worh giving Anazon a bit if a orice reducten, Amazon saved a bit of money, and All currently sopported IOS/iPad os/TV os devices got the prome app, whst js the fuss about, apoart from apples bean counters ir looks like evrybody wins?

-- Sent from my iPhoan

Re:So what

By tlhIngan • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

So Appke decided that hsving amazon prine in their devise was worh giving Anazon a bit if a orice reducten, Amazon saved a bit of money, and All currently sopported IOS/iPad os/TV os devices got the prome app, whst js the fuss about, apoart from apples bean counters ir looks like evrybody wins?

-- Sent from my iPhoan

The big deal is that it's designed to be clickbait.

The articles are written to seem that Apple gave Amazon a special deal to get Prime on iOS, something no other company got.

This is because Tim Cook keeps saying "All developers are treated the same" so there's a lot of digging to try to find where Tim Cook gave some company preferential treatment in the App Store.

Where they messed up was that at the same time Amazon got the deal, so did everyone else which is why content providers get 15% across the board. But the articles are written to omit that fact (either intentionally or through ignorance) to get the crowd stirred up as "Apple gave Amazon a special deal! They lied! They said everyone got the same deal!".

Especially since 30% is being parroted around like it's a magic number and Amazon got that halved. It's basically trying to manufacture a conspiracy when one didn't exist

A Year After an HR Crisis, Microsoft Backs Away From Releasing a Transparency Report

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: On March 20, 2019, a Microsoft employee who had been at the company for three years sent an email to a collection of listservs for women at the company, asking how to move up in the organization. She had worked for years without a promotion, and said that her career had been limited because she was a woman. It was a spark to a tinderbox. In the next few days, dozens and dozens of other women replied to the message, each sharing frustration and stories of discrimination and harassment at the company. Some said they had been subject to overt abuse, like being called a "bitch" during business functions, and others said they had been sexually harassed with no ramifications to the harassers. Microsoft's top executives, including CEO Satya Nadella and top Human Resources (HR) exec Kathleen Hogan, were quickly CC'd on the chain. "This thread has pulled the scab off a festering wound. The collective anger and frustration is palpable. A wide audience is now listening. And you know what? I'm good with that," a Microsoft employee wrote in the email chain at the time.

On April 15, 2019, Nadella responded with an email to the entire company, promising reforms to HR that would better serve employees, as well as an annual transparency report that would tell employees how many cases were investigated and how they were resolved. More than a year later, Microsoft has not released this transparency report, and a company spokesperson would not commit to Microsoft doing so when directly asked by OneZero. It's also unclear how much better life is for employees who have faced discrimination and harassment. Five former and current employees who have interacted with Microsoft's human resources department in the last year say there hasn't been a noticeable difference in the way cases have been handled since last March. Two of the former employees left the company during the last year, and told OneZero that a lack of HR action was a primary reason for leaving.

HR is not there for the employee

By AntronArgaiv • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

And they are NOT your friend.

Their job is to keep the employees in line, hire and fire them, while keeping the company from being sued or running afoul of employment laws.

THEIR LOYALTY IS TO THE COMPANY, and they will not take your side, unless it benefits the company.

Not enough white guys left to blame.

By Pinky's Brain • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

That's why this can't go anywhere.

A Report So Transparent...

By crunchygranola • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

A report so transparent that it cannot be seen.

Re:Not enough white guys left to blame.

By Brain-Fu • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The racist/sexist attitude that "all white men are evil" is but one problem among many. It is entirely possible that there is also a real problem of discrimination against women at Microsoft. Speaking out is the first and best thing that should be done about such problems, so they can be corrected.

I feel inclined, though, to answer the question put in the summary "how to move up in the organization," with an answer that is true no matter where one works, nor what one's gender/race might be:

1) Cultivate competence in yourself.
2) Lean in.
3) Trade-up.

To elaborate:

1) You need the skills. There may be some people who rise to high ranks due to nepotism or other meritless circumstances, but for most of us this just isn't a solid success strategy. You need not only specific job-skills (such as technical competence), but also and always communication, persuasion, and leadership skills. Everyone in every role needs all three, and the higher up you go the more you need all three. There are MANY books written on these topics. Hit up your library.

2) Sometimes leadership promotes people on their competence alone. It does happen, when leadership is particularly competent. They reach out to you, tell you how good a job you are doing, and give you raises and promotions. EVERYONE wants this. But the fact is, it is RARE. Extremely so. You cannot count on such treatment if you wish to advance your career, no matter what your race/gender may be. You must actively advocate for your own advancement. The bigger the organization, the more people there are who are competing for that advancement. You can't achieve promotion by cooperative means alone. You must out-compete those co-workers of yours who also want to be promoted. That's just life, deal with it. If you are really uncomfortable with this, that is going to limit your career, and discrimination lawsuits won't fix it. Some therapists offer "assertiveness training" to help with this issue. And also there are plenty of self-help books written about this. But you will need to accept that competence and success in your role just aren't enough to get promoted: you are going to have to push.

3) If the above fails, find another job. But when you switch jobs, switch out to a higher position than the one you are in now. Employers are often keen on poaching unrecognised talent from other organizations, and the fact that you have a job is already a demonstration of your competence (which makes you more desirable in their eyes, because you have already been vetted.) Don't get stuck on the false narrative that employers value loyalty so they don't want to hire someone who is leaving for a promotion, out of fear that you will then turn around and leave THEM for a promotion. That is a fairy-tale and is not reflective of what goes through peoples minds as they are interviewing you.

So, there's my advice, for whoever wants it.


By RightSaidFred99 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I haven't had a promotion in years either. Unfortunately, I'm a dudebro so I don't get to chalk it up to some *ism.

Seriously, why the fuck is people's first stop "[rac|sex]ism is the only explanation". I run into assholes all the time, but when I do it's just an asshole, not some evil racist|sexist. If I were other than a dudebro I get to chalk it up to my gender or race? If I'm not working hard enough to get a promotion, I have to look at my work and admit that I'm where I should be, but if I'm female or of a different race I get to automatically skip that decision process "hmm.. must be *ism".

That dude who got promoted, why it's not because he's the person everyone goes to with questions and who works his ass off - I've been here longer so it must be because of *ism.

People are so fucking self deluded and entitled, and these companies are feeding into it. I guess the companies will get what they deserve in the end when they fail because they are short-circuiting meritocracy.

You can't cheat reality. No matter what you do eventually the best people (most talented|hardest working) will win. Real racism/sexism needs to be rooted out with no tolerance, but results will ultimately speak for themselves.

Apple Emails Reveal Internal Debate on Right to Repair

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Tim Cook didn't reveal anything new during his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. But emails his company shared with the committee spoke volumes. These internal discussions reveal that what looks like Apple's united front against Right to Repair is really an internal debate, rife with uncertainty. From a report: The New York Times editorial in favor of Right to Repair last April set off a fire alarm inside Apple's public relations team. When Binyamin Appelbaum reached out to research the issue, Apple's VP of communications said in an internal email that "We should get him on the phone with [Apple VP Greg] Joz [Joswiak] or [Senior VP] Phil [Schiller]." That spawned an instant debate. "The larger issue is that our strategy around all of this is unclear. Right now we're talking out of both sides of our mouth and no one is clear on where we're headed."

The emails show the high profile of Right to Repair inside Apple as leaders debate how to respond to a request for comment on an upcoming column. "The piece is using [Senator] Warren's new right to repair for agriculture to talk about the broader right to repair effort and plans to use Apple as a symbol in that fight. We're meeting with everyone shortly about the overall strategy and then I'll connect with [Greg 'Joz' Joswiak]." The email goes on, "Appelbaum has, of course, talked with iFixIt [sic] and others." They're right about that! The conversation resulted in a set of talking points that Kaiann Drance, VP of Marketing, talked through with Appelbaum. Afterwards, Apple PR wrote, "Kaiann did a great job and emphasized the need for a thoughtful approach to repair policy because of how important it is to balance customer safety with access to more convenient repairs." Apple was less convincing than they hoped. The editorial, carrying the weight of the Times' entire Editorial Board, came out forcefully in favor of Right to Repair. Of Apple specifically, the Times remarked, "The company is welcome to persuade people to patronize its own repair facilities, or to buy new iPhones. But there ought to be a law against forcing the issue."

Definition of repair

By michaelmalak • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Replacing a battery is not "repair"

A bill moving slowly through Massachusetts

By drkshadow • Score: 3, Informative • Thread

At the public hearing, Apple devices took front-and-center. Apple isn't the only ones, though -- Lenovo, Dell, Google, Amazon, etc make all of their devices extremely hard to repair, and almost never offer any repair information, materials, or access.

Some years ago, my company tried to get access to Lenovo parts and repair information. Their requirement was $100 000 per year in sales. This was a small town out West, and Lenovo was something of a direct competitor -- we were doing local repair work because the only other option was Staples or drive 60+ miles to the next town over where you might also get support from Office Depot. $100 000 per year in sales for Lenovo would have been contrary to our state of being. As a result, we got parts off eBay, billed $60/hr, and repaired local users' computers when we could -- they're just computers, really. (If you needed to fix a BIOS, well, that was a motherboard replacement. With a forevermore incorrect serial number.)

Re:A bill moving slowly through Massachusetts

By LostMyAccount • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I worked for a Dell partner and even with internal Dell contacts could not get part numbers or access to parts for a Latitude laptop. The laptop shipped with an M.2 SATA module but had the space and ports for 2.5" SATA disk but required a supplementary cable that wasn't inside the laptop, and I couldn't figure out how to get this cable to save my life. I ultimately got a part number, but the part was unobtainium until the laptop had been out for about 18 months and I guess scrap parts hit the market.

My general take on this is that modern end-user technology production is designed around an efficiency model where it's all literally made once and as close to actual units sold numbers as is possible. The concept of "parts" is meaningless, as they only exist as either limited production overruns/surplus or as breakdowns from complete manufactured units. The intention is just to manufacture a bunch of complete units and then the line is switched to whatever the next model is. That parts exist at all is almost an accident.

I'm also not sure from a manufacturing perspective whether "hard to repair" is a result of deliberate engineering to defeat disassembly and repair, or whether it's just a byproduct of high tech assembly and reliability combined with on-trend thin design. If the dumb thing is mostly meant to be put together once by robots and then epoxied into place, is that a conspiracy against repair or just engineering for a purpose?

Re:Definition of repair

By omnichad • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Might require repair afterward. Perfect example - the 2015 Macbook Pro. The battery is glued to the top case with an adhesive so strong that Apple replaces the entire top cover (trackpad, keyboard, and all) instead of the battery when they're doing the replacement.

3rd-party repair involves using acetone to soften the glue and pry/floss it out. One wrong move and the acetone damages the trackpad or the screen.

Re:edited email?

By biofunnel • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Actually, "[sic]" abbreviates "sic erat scriptum", translated, "thus was it written".

It is generally used to indicate the material being quoted is wrong in some way, but it is repeated verbatim. It means it was -not- corrected or altered, but instead is "left wrong".

Looks like the company name is actually "iFixit", not "iFixIt" (wrong casing), and so the "[sic]".

Google's Web App Plans Collide With Apple's iPhone, Safari Rules

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google and Apple, which already battle over mobile operating systems, are opening a new front in their fight. How that plays out may determine the future of the web. From a report: Google was born on the web, and its business reflects its origin. The company depends on the web for search and advertising revenue. So it isn't a surprise that Google sees the web as key to the future of software. Front and center are web apps, interactive websites with the same power as conventional apps that run natively on operating systems like Windows, Android, MacOS and iOS. Apple has a different vision of the future, one that plays to its strengths. The company revolutionized mobile computing with its iPhone line. Its profits depend on those products and the millions of apps that run on them. Apple, unsurprisingly, appears less excited about developments, like web apps, that could cut into its earnings.

The two camps aren't simply protecting their businesses. Google and Apple have philosophical differences, too. Google, working to pack its dominant Chrome browser with web programming abilities, sees the web as an open place of shared standards. Apple, whose Safari browser lacks some of those abilities, believes its restraint will keep the web healthy. It wants a web that isn't plagued by security risks, privacy invasion and annoyances like unwanted notifications and permission pop-ups. Google leads a collection of heavy-hitting allies, including Microsoft and Intel, trying to craft new technology called progressive web apps, which look and feel like native apps but are powered by the web. PWAs work even when you have no network connection. You can launch PWAs from an icon on your phone home screen or PC start menu, and they can prod you with push notifications and synchronize data in the background for fast startup. PWA fans include Uber, travel site Trivago and India e-commerce site Flipkart. Starbucks saw its website usage double after it rolled out a PWA.

The split over native apps and web apps is more than just a squabble between tech giants trying to convert our lives online into their profits. How it plays out will shape what kind of a digital world we live in. Choosing native apps steers us to a world where we're locked into either iOS or Android, limited to software approved by the companies' app stores and their rules. Web apps, on the other hand, reinforce the web's strength as a software foundation controlled by no single company. A web app will work anywhere, making it easier to swap out a Windows laptop for an iPad. "What you're seeing is the tension between what is good for the user, which is to have a flexible experience, and what's good for the platform, which is to keep you in the platform as much as possible," said Mozilla Chief Technology Officer Eric Rescorla.

Learn how to read

By Comboman • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Did you even read the summary?


"Google leads a collection of heavy-hitting allies, including Microsoft and Intel, trying to craft new technology called progressive web apps, which look and feel like native apps but are powered by the web. PWAs work even when you have no network connection"

So nice of you to keep it neutral

By SuperKendall • Score: 3 • Thread

The summary was doing a good job summing, up, but went off the rails:

Choosing native apps steers us to a world where we're locked into either iOS or Android...Web apps, on the other hand, reinforce the web's strength as a software foundation controlled by no single company.

Sure is mysterious who you are backing here!

Except that as we've seen in the past, a far extension of web technologies like Web Apps, in practice is supported by a handful of platforms only... so you'll be choosing between iOS and Android anyway.

Only, you will have also traded away privacy and security - for nothing.

Can we just all admit Google wants to create Flash 2.0, and they don't want the iPhone to kill or marginalize it like it did the original Flash simply by not supporting it?

Original iPhone Vision Very Different

By ravenscar • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Interestingly, the initial vision for the iPhone was that there would be no native 3rd party apps. They would all be written as a web app.

This quote from Jobs is in the article linked below:
"The full Safari engine is inside of iPhone. And so, you can write amazing Web 2.0 and Ajax apps that look exactly and behave exactly like apps on the iPhone. And these apps can integrate perfectly with iPhone services. They can make a call, they can send an email, they can look up a location on Google Maps.

And guess what? There’s no SDK that you need! You’ve got everything you need if you know how to write apps using the most modern web standards to write amazing apps for the iPhone today. So developers, we think we’ve got a very sweet story for you. You can begin building your iPhone apps today."

Re:Learn how to think

By rho • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I've gone down the PWA rabbit hole a few times. All in all, I really like the concept, and for simple things they work really well. The problem right now is on iOS the service worker has some limitations that prevent it from being really useful, but it's close.

The service worker concept does skeeve me out a bit. I'm not sure I want some chucklehead's JS doing things in the background that touch on things like notifications and background sync. And the available ways you can shoot yourself in the foot, multiple times, with PWAs is pretty impressive. At a certain point it may be more efficient to learn native app development, or pay a native app developer, and just take the 30% app store hit. Number one is what the GP was talking about, which is lack of network connectivity. If you're not super careful, your app will at best seem broken. At worst, you can open yourself up to fraud. Frameworks help in mitigating this, but it's not simple.

Who here remembers....

By c-A-d • Score: 5, Funny • Thread


Yes. This is where I think Google is going to end up.

Microsoft To Remove All SHA-1 Windows Downloads Next Week

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Microsoft announced this week plans to remove all Windows-related file downloads from the Microsoft Download Center that are cryptographically signed with the Secure Hash Algorithm 1 (SHA-1). From a report: The files will be removed next Monday, on August 3, the company said on Tuesday. The OS maker cited the security of the SHA-1 algorithm for the move. "SHA-1 is a legacy cryptographic hash that many in the security community believe is no longer secure. Using the SHA-1 hashing algorithm in digital certificates could allow an attacker to spoof content, perform phishing attacks, or perform man-in-the-middle attacks," it said. Most software companies have recently begun abandoning the SHA-1 algorithm after a team of academics broke the SHA-1 hashing function at a theoretical level in February 2016.

Great cover story

By Valkyre • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"However, the OS maker didn't specify if the Windows-related files that are being removed from its downloads center on Monday will be replaced with new download links signed with SHA-2, leaving many too wonder if they'll ever be able to download some of Microsoft's old tools."

So much this. Easy excuse to get rid of anything that could be helpful or supportive of your older products and force more people against their will to your new not-ness.

Libraries Lend Books, and Must Continue To Lend Books: Internet Archive Responds To Publishers' Lawsuit

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Internet Archive, in a blog post: Yesterday, the Internet Archive filed our response to the lawsuit brought by four commercial publishers to end the practice of Controlled Digital Lending (CDL), the digital equivalent of traditional library lending. CDL is a respectful and secure way to bring the breadth of our library collections to digital learners. Commercial ebooks, while useful, only cover a small fraction of the books in our libraries. As we launch into a fall semester that is largely remote, we must offer our students the best information to learn from -- collections that were purchased over centuries and are now being digitized. What is at stake with this lawsuit? Every digital learner's access to library books. That is why the Internet Archive is standing up to defend the rights of hundreds of libraries that are using Controlled Digital Lending. The publishers' lawsuit aims to stop the longstanding and widespread library practice of Controlled Digital Lending, and stop the hundreds of libraries using this system from providing their patrons with digital books. Through CDL, libraries lend a digitized version of the physical books they have acquired as long as the physical copy doesn't circulate and the digital files are protected from redistribution. This is how Internet Archive's lending library works, and has for more than nine years. Publishers are seeking to shut this library down, claiming copyright law does not allow it. Our response is simple: Copyright law does not stand in the way of libraries' rights to own books, to digitize their books, and to lend those books to patrons in a controlled way.

"The Authors Alliance has several thousand members around the world and we have endorsed the Controlled Digital Lending as a fair use," stated Pamela Samuelson, Authors Alliance founder and Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law at Berkeley Law. "It's really tragic that at this time of pandemic that the publishers would try to basically cut off even access to a digital public library like the Internet Archive ... I think that the idea that lending a book is illegal is just wrong." These publishers clearly intend this lawsuit to have a chilling effect on Controlled Digital Lending at a moment in time when it can benefit digital learners the most. For students and educators, the 2020 fall semester will be unlike any other in recent history. From K-12 schools to universities, many institutions have already announced they will keep campuses closed or severely limit access to communal spaces and materials such as books because of public health concerns. The conversation we must be having is: how will those students, instructors and researchers access information -- from textbooks to primary sources? Unfortunately, four of the world's largest book publishers seem intent on undermining both libraries' missions and our attempts to keep educational systems operational during a global health crisis.

Libraries buy books

By gurps_npc • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

And the people that borrow books from libraries are not likely to buy those books. It is a net gain for the book publishers, particularly because:

1) Most books lose money
2) It gives the book sellers a steady, reliable stream of cash, allowing the publishers to plan better, even if they lose money on the book.
3) The few that make money tend to make so much money - and quicker than the libraries purchase the popular books - so the libraries do not impact their profit significantly
4) Libraries create readers, particularly young readers.


By crow • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If the libraries win, this could be a huge win for Netflix. If you really want a deep library of movies and TV shows, you need their DVD service. Now imagine if instead of mailing you DVDs, they streamed them, but you had to check out a virtual DVD to do it.

In essence, this would result in mandatory licensing of all movies and TV shows that have been released on DVD or Blu Ray.

Of course, to stand up in court, they would probably need to create a streaming system that mimics the DVD, as opposed to extracting just the movie. And they may hit a DMCA issue with the encryption. It would certainly keep their lawyers well paid for a good long time.

Library eBooks

By crow • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Publishers are happy with the current systems libraries use to loan out ebooks. The library buys a license for a given book, and they get to loan it out a certain number of times or for a certain amount of time, whichever comes first. There are several different companies managing these systems, and the terms are a bit different for each one, but essentially the library ends up paying a per-use fee instead of a one-time fee, so it creates a steady revenue stream for the publishers, and it means that if you want an ebook, the library will only have relatively new or popular titles.

This system switches back to the model where the library pays once, and then loans out forever.

I can see why the publishers are up in arms over this, but ultimately they're probably wrong. The issue here is that library budgets aren't going to change either way, so the publishers will receive the same amount from libraries each year regardless of the system in use. The difference is the amount and diversity of materials available to patrons. Ultimately this is not about money from libraries but money from people, as the publishers want to minimize the content available from libraries so that more people have to pay them to get what they want.

Re: Follow the LACK OF money

By MakerDusk • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
I'm starting to wonder if the overlending was part of a strategy to force a court case that sets precidence for 1:1 lending being allowed, but not 1:infinite. Even if damages are paid for the short illegal period, there's an overall victory that clearly defines rights for ebooks going forward.

Whatever happens with this case...

By DanielRavenNest • Score: 3 • Thread

Download and save as much IA content as you can handle, in case they get nuked from orbit. They are a unique resource. Not just books, they have lots of other content.

Top Antitrust Democrat: There's a Case To Break Up Facebook

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Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), who ended Wednesday's hearing by saying some Big Tech companies need to be broken up, says that Facebook in particular lacks significant competitors and should not have been allowed to buy Instagram and WhatsApp. From a report: Cicilline chairs the antitrust subcommittee, which has been looking into competition issues in the digital space. "Mr. Zuckerberg acknowledged in this hearing that his acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram were part of a plan to both buy a competitor and also maintain his money, power, or his dominance. That's classic monopoly behavior," Cicilline said on the "Axios Re:Cap" podcast. Cicilline's criticisms weren't limited to Facebook, pointing to the power Google and Amazon also hold in their respective markets. "I think what we saw today was confirmation that these large technology platforms have enduring monopoly power," he said in the interview with Axios' Dan Primack. A key issue remains whether existing antitrust law is broad enough to address the modern tech industry, especially companies that provide their products at no direct charge to consumers. "Congress is going to have to 'think outside the box' in a comprehensive way about what antitrust laws should look like in the 21st century," Neguse told Axios' Ashley Gold after the hearing.

Re:Refuse to censor for Democrats, get canceled

By dgatwood • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Apple's App Store is, IMO, guilty of some pretty serious monopoly abuse of the sort that can only adequately be solved by forcing Apple to allow third-party app stores. Breaking Apple up isn't useful, because it would not be possible for Apple to support the App Store if it were not under their roof without doing precisely what would be required to support third-party app stores, having a single third-party app store wouldn't benefit anyone very much, and the sort of coordination required would not necessarily prevent abuse unless there is more than one.

So I understand why they're looking into Apple, but I can't imagine anyone sane advocating for that particular remedy.

Re:So, how is this supposed to work?

By crow • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Well, they can force Facebook to spin off Instagram and Whats App. They might even force them to spin off Messenger, though that's a bit more tricky.

What this really shows is that they need to change the law on mergers to ban them if both companies are worth more than $1B or something like that, so Facebook would never have bought other large competitors in the first place. (This would also have prevented many banks reaching the "too big to fail" status when we hit that crisis.)


By JBMcB • Score: 3 • Thread

It's not enough to be a monopoly. To violate the Sherman anti-trust act, which I assume the representative was talking about, you have to go to unreasonable measures to maintain your monopoly. When Standard Oil was broken up, this meant they had exclusive contracts for oil shipment and processing, meaning no competitor could use their refineries, or buy oil fields, or use oil tankers, without Standard Oil's consent.

The equivalent, in Facebook terms, would be Facebook signing exclusive carrier contracts with ISPs so that no other social media platform could operate without their approval. Or, that Amazon and Google couldn't host competing social media services on their cloud platforms or they wouldn't be able to advertise on Facebook.

As it stands, there are no natural or artificial barriers to anyone starting up a competing social media service. New variations of Facebook services pop up all the time. There isn't a lot of evidence that Facebook does anything to actively suppress or undermine these services, besides copying their features with more or less success. Microsoft had a few social media platforms that failed. Google had a couple that failed. I think if companies with those level of resources can't compete with Facebook, the issue isn't that Facebook is using some monopoly position to force competitors out of the market. I think they just provide a service people prefer. (Anyone use Google+? Holy cow it was awful.)

Break it up

By taylorius • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Gov: So we're breaking Facebook up
Zuck: What? Into two divisions?
Gov: Read this, all in here.
Zuck: What's this part about "scattered to the four winds?"

Re:Sure but...

By saloomy • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I don't know of a single market segment where Apple as a majority of the share of... anything. They are surely not a monopoly. Every single product they offer has competitors. Large companies don't mean they are monopolies. You want to break up a monopoly? Start with the De Beers Diamond company.

Telegram Hits Out at Apple's App Store 'Tax' in Latest EU Antitrust Complaint

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Apple has another antitrust charge on its plate. Messaging app Telegram has joined Spotify in filing a formal complaint against the iOS App Store in Europe -- adding its voice to a growing number of developers willing to publicly rail against what they decry as Apple's app "tax." From a report: A spokesperson for Telegram confirmed the complaint to TechCrunch, pointing us to this public Telegram post where founder, Pavel Durov, sets out seven reasons why he thinks iPhone users should be concerned about the company's behavior. These range from the contention that Apple's 30% fee on app developers leads to higher prices for iPhone users; to censorship concerns, given Apple controls what's allowed (and not allowed) on its store; to criticism of delays to app updates that flow from Apple's app review process; to the claim that the app store structure is inherently hostile to user privacy, given that Apple gets full visibility of which apps users are downloading and engaging with. This week Durov also published a blog post in which he takes aim at a number of "myths" he says Apple uses to try to justify the 30% app fee -- such as a claim that iOS faces plenty of competition for developers; or that developers can choose not to develop for iOS and instead only publish apps for Android.


By stevez67 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Apple's 30% fee on app developers is consistent with fees charged by other tech companies. Control of what's allowed (and not allowed) in a store is part of the store owner's right and responsibility. Delays to app updates due to app review processes are routine in the industry because reviews take time and developers don't always adequately address the store policies. An app store where developers could do as they please would be vastly more hostile to user privacy. Every store (digital or brick n mortar) gets full visibility of which products users are purchased as part of running a store.


By mSparks43 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Because what they make is high quality, its really not that hard to understand, even for a Linux guy like me.

It's not tax

By nospam007 • Score: 3 • Thread

It's rent.

False Contentions

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

These range from the contention that Apple's 30% fee on app developers leads to higher prices for iPhone users;

Since when have app prices been too high? They are in fact absurdly low.

to censorship concerns, given Apple controls what's allowed (and not allowed) on its store

That's kind of a concern to me also but I do think closed platform have the right to say who and what appears on that system - and then users have the right to say what is closed off is too much, and they are going elsewhere. I guess so far Apple's closed down system has not closed down so far that it drives users away.

to criticism of delays to app updates that flow from Apple's app review process;

This is absolute bullshit. Apple's review process USED to be absurdly long. But these days no developers I know of have complained about long review times for well over a year, with many updates and even app submissions being accepted the same day.

to the claim that the app store structure is inherently hostile to user privacy, given that Apple gets full visibility of which apps users are downloading and engaging with

Also false. Apple does know who downloads apps, but they do NOT get sent data about engagement. That's all local to the device. That is why so many apps include analytics packages.

It's kind of nuts to claim a store owner knowing what a person has purchased violates privacy; at some point someone somewhere is going to know something, just by the fact you accessed or purchased something online.


By CoolDiscoRex • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I dunno. The metal shells > plastic maybe, but Apple phone batteries exhibit higher-than-normal wear to the extent that Apple throttles the CPU to compensate ... my co-worker is on his 4th replacement for his beats headphones ... the keyboards (enough said)... I opened my iMax years ago to find that expensive “Apple Memory” is cheap consumer-grade Hynix ... I had to fight with them when they stuck me with a lemon GPU (8600M with known faulty thermal issue causing premature gpu death) ... their iOS devices have less RAM than most equivalently-priced Androids and they don’t even list it because “specs don’t matter” (while touting every other spec) ... Bugs languish for years, unfixed ... the App Store is a scammer’s bazaar and search never worked ... 90% of apps are cheap clones of successful apps with predatory “subscriptions” ... I mean ... compared to Windows and cheap plastic PC stuff, I grant you it seems higher quality, especially MacBooks trackpads versus shitty pc trackpads ... but what lies beneath doesn’t always deliver. I mean, think about it, they have the highest profit margins in the industry, and profit is the difference between what you pay for and what you get.

NASA Launches New Rover, Perseverance, To Look For Ancient Life on Red Planet

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NASA is heading back to the Red Planet. The agency launched a new rover, a car-size robotic explorer named Perseverance, to Mars on an ambitious mission to scour the planet for evidence of ancient life. From a report: The rover, which launched into orbit Thursday at 7:50 a.m. ET, is designed to study the geology and climate of Mars. NASA says the mission and its subsequent discoveries could lay the groundwork for eventual human exploration of the Red Planet. Perseverance is loaded with seven scientific instruments to explore the Martian landscape and assess whether the planet was ever able to sustain life. The six-wheel rover is also carrying a small helicopter, dubbed Ingenuity, to perform experimental test flights in Mars' thin atmosphere, which, if successful, would mark a milestone in powered flight.

"For the first time ever, we're going to fly a helicopter on another planet," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Monday in a news briefing, adding that future missions to other worlds could use similar helicopters as airborne scouts. The Perseverance rover launched aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Typically, crowds gather along beaches near Cape Canaveral to witness NASA launches, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, the agency encouraged space fans to stay home and participate virtually, instead -- particularly as new infections continue to surge in Florida and across the country. Matt Wallace, the mission's deputy project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said the rover has already lived up to its name, as engineers persevered through the pandemic to ready the spacecraft for its much-anticipated launch. "Nothing prepared us for what we had to deal with in the middle of March as the pandemic struck -- not just our team, but communities across the country and the world," Wallace said. "At that point in the mission, we were in our final assembly activities."


By bobbied • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

This rover carries a RTG, so it will be able to survive the deeply cold temperatures and dust storms without complaint. So the power they have will be consistent and known in advance. On the other hand, RTG's do supply less heat over time so the power budget will be continually declining over time...

What does this mean? Well, if they succeed in landing this rover, the length of time the rover will provide full functionality will be limited, but we should know well in advance when the power will be insufficient for continuing actual science activities. My guess (and this is just a guess) much like the Voyager probes, which have produced useful science for decades, even after much of their instrumentation has been powered down due to the decreasing power from their RTG's, this rover will continue to produce science data for years after there isn't power enough to drive. So Perseverance is likely going to be a good name.

Wish we would send more

By dmay34 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
I wish we would dust off the old Opportunity designs, manufacture a few dozen, and send some more of those all over the planet. Most of the cost in these rovers is in science planning and engineering design, which is already done. We could stuff five of those guys the nose cone of an Atlas V. Spread them all over the planet. Every one of them would make new discoveries every day.

In other news...

By imperious_rex • Score: 3 • Thread
K'Breel, Speaker for the Council, made this statement to the press:

"We have received information that the Blue Planet is sending multiple metal invaders to our peaceful world and they will arrive in approximately a half solar cycle. This is more than sufficient time for us to make preparations for when the invaders arrive. We will gird our gelsacs for the impending battles and victory shall be ours. We will make the Blue Planet pay for their acts of hostility, and they WILL taste the bitterness of defeat!"

The Speaker for the Council then abruptly ended the press conference before any reporters could ask questions.


By Solandri • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Viking 1 and 2 were powered by SNAP-19 RTGs. The two landers lasted 4 and 6 years. One died due to a battery failure (used to store electricity generated from the RTG for later use) at 4 years. The other lasted 6 years until an errant command pointed its antenna in the wrong direction. Pioneer 10 also used the SNAP-19, and it was functional for 30 years, until it traveled so far that we couldn't detect its signal anymore. Though NASA estimates the RTG's power generation has dropped below the minimum necessary to maintain operations.

Other RTG-powered spacecraft have typically lasted decades, with Voyagers 1 and 2 still going. So barring other components failing (like Curiosity's badly designed wheels), errant commands, or some natural disaster like a meteor strike, the RTG-powered rovers could hypothetically last for decades. It's worth noting that Spirit and Opportunity were limited to about 20-60 minutes of activity each day due to the limited power provided by the solar panels (more when they got lucky and a dust devil cleared the panels of dust), and had to shut down for nearly half the year during the Martian winter. Curiosity (powered by an RTG) can operate continuously. They're just having to limit its activity to avoid putting more holes in its wheels.

Re:Good news

By Pascoea • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
And you just made me waste 30 seconds to type out a reply to tell you to kindly piss off. They built a robot designed to fly a helicopter on another planet, put it on a big damn rocket, and launched it off Earth. What have you accomplished today?

Huawei Overtakes Samsung as World's Biggest Smartphone Vendor

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For the first time ever, Huawei has shipped more smartphones worldwide over a quarter than any other company, according to a new report from analyst firm Canalys. From a report: Huawei has long harbored ambitions to overtake Samsung as the world's biggest smartphone seller, and going by the numbers from Canalys, that's just what happened during the April-June period this year. That doesn't mean Huawei will hold onto the top spot for long, as the results were clearly influenced by the ongoing pandemic. Canalys' figure of 55.8 million Huawei smartphones shipped is actually down 5 percent year-on-year, while Samsung slid 30 percent to 53.7 million. More than 70 percent of Huawei's devices are now sold in China, which hasn't been hit as hard by COVID-19 as many of Samsung's major markets. Samsung, meanwhile, is a tiny player in China. "Our business has demonstrated exceptional resilience in these difficult times," Huawei said in a statement to The Verge. "Amidst a period of unprecedented global economic slowdown and challenges, we've continued to grow and further our leadership position by providing innovative products and experience to consumers."

So, 55.8M factory malware platforms?

By Rick Schumann • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
Just sayin'.

The torch passes further eastward

By timeOday • Score: 3 • Thread
From Motorola, to Blackberry, to Ericson, to Apple, to Samsung, to Huawei, it's kind of impressive how many companies have taken their turn in the lead. But the overall movement has clearly been towards China, and I don't see where it would migrate from there any time soon.

Trump Suggests Delaying Election Amid Fraud Claims, But Has No Power To Do So

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President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested that perhaps the United States would need to "delay the election" on November 3, claiming that mail-in voting would make this fall's election "the most inaccurate and fraudulent in history." From a report, shared by numerous readers: Trump has no power to unilaterally delay elections, which were set for the day after the first Monday in November through a mid-19th century law passed by Congress. Since then, it has never changed, said presidential historian Michael Beschloss. But Trump is trailing in the polls by double digits to Democrat Joe Biden, and election experts have long worried that the president would actively try to interfere with the election in order to prevent a potential loss. As states grapple with how to help citizens vote safely during the coronavirus pandemic, many have turned to mail-in voting as a potential solution that allows people to cast their ballots without waiting in long lines at potentially crowded polling places.

Re:Damn what a moron

By Aighearach • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Trump would still be removed from office, the house would choose the President and the Senate would choose vice, but all house voters for a state get a single vote, which makes the Republicans have majority in both the house and senate,

Hence, they choose Trump/Pence.

False. The House is sworn in on January 3rd. It would be the newly elected House members that would be choosing the President, not the old ones. We don't know the makeup of that Congress yet, but things are looking pretty good for the Dems. ;) Also, keep in mind that all the blue states will vote on time and will be able to send Reps, States that choose not to hold an election will have many of their contests held up in the Courts, because a delay might not be legal in all those places. And they can't just appoint Electors to choose their Representatives, or have their Legislature appoint them, or have their Governor appoint them; the Constitution covers this, and says:

When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

All members of the House of Representatives have their terms expire after two years. If there is no election, there will be a vacancy, and they all they can do to fill it is schedule a Special Election. States that don't vote won't be participating in choosing the new President, if Congress has to decide it.

None of this is opinion, or controversial. It is all very clearly spelled out in the Constitution for people smart enough to remember the whole thing.

Re: Damn what a moron

By MightyMartian • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

There is an important caveat to the Westminster and most other parliamentary systems. A government defeated by a vote of no confidence, or the current government in place after the writ is dropped (an election is called), or after an electoral defeat and before a new government is sworn in, is called a caretaker government. Caretaker governments have only limited powers. In a Westminster governing system, there must always be governments, there must always be Ministers to advise the Crown (or President, if a parliamentary republic), but such a government lacks wider political and democratic legitimacy.

A caretaker government is there basically to keep the wheels in motion until a new government is chosen. It cannot, as a general rule, pass legislation (during elections and before a new government is sworn in, Parliament is dissolved anyways). It cannot make any significant policy changes. In essence, in countries like the UK, Canada and Australia, when a government becomes a caretaker Ministry, the Queen or Her Vice-regal representative holds considerably more direct power through the Reserve Powers, and would almost certainly refuse the advice of any caretaker PM who tried to do anything beyond paying the bills and maintaining the status quo.

In the US system, even a defeated President is still President in every sense of the word until January 20th, giving him two and a half months beyond his defeat. A fairly weak constitutional convention suggests that the outgoing President should maintain the status quo and prepare for the transition, but Trump is no ordinary President, and I doubt very much he or his Cabinet is going to sit idly by for 10 weeks and meekly prepare, particularly if the loss is a close one. A caveat to that is that the new Congress is sworn in at the beginning of January, and if the Dems take both houses, that certainly limits the amount of time he can try to drag out any legal challenges.

Being Canadian I, of course, prefer the Westminster system. There are clear conventions on what a caretaker government can and cannot do, a head of state that, while in normal times, defers to the Government, actually holds significant Reserve Powers which could be used to outright dismiss any caretaker Ministry that caused too much trouble.

An interesting sidenote to all of this is that in Canada there was in fact one defeated Prime Minister who actually refused to recognize the electoral results. In 1896, Conservative PM Sir Charles Tupper lost the election to Sir Wilfred Laurier's Liberals. The Liberals, however, did not gain a majority, so Tupper operated under the theory that Laurier would be unable to form a stable a government (a requirement in the Westminster system for the head of state to appoint a PM and Cabinet). Tupper tried to stay right where he was, but Lord Aberdeen, the Governor General, invoked the Queen's Reserve Powers, and refused to accept any of his appointments or any advice, thus making Tupper's position untenable, and Tupper was ultimately forced to stand down.

Re:Makes sense . . . for him

By nightflameauto • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

His statements lately on the upcoming election have been two-fold at nearly every opportunity. He continues to say if mail in voting is allowed, it will be the most fraudulent vote in American history. He, and his staff, continue to put out statements declaring that, if Trump isn't the clear and outstanding winner come November, the election results are fraudulent.

This is win-win for him. If he manages to convince the right people that the election needs to be pushed back, great, he stays in power. If he doesn't, he's planted the seeds and had his rabid base convinced for months that the results are bunk and should be thrown out if he loses.

The whole thing is terrifying for those of us that like to think the foundations of what passes for American Democracy still exists. But in this day and age, it's no longer that surprising.

Re: Damn what a moron

By SvnLyrBrto • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

> Being Canadian I, of course, prefer the Westminster
> system.

Hell... being American, I would prefer to scrap our current system and switch to a Westminster-style parliamentary system. For that matter, at this point I think I'd happily settle for direct rule by the Queen herself.

Re:Damn what a moron

By Gavrielkay • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
I am very much afraid that as in 2016 we are underestimating the number of people who will crawl out from under rocks in order to vote for the guy who tells them the comfortable lies they like. I remember going to sleep on election night 2016 "knowing" that there was no way this country could actually elect such a sorry excuse for a human being as Donald Trump, but I'm not making that mistake again. Trump could well win, and Democrats and all sane Independents need to fully own that fact. Convince everyone you know to go vote no matter what. The Republicans need to suffer such a defeat that they never support such an incompetent, dangerous, racist, sexist, lying sack of shit again.

Scientists Solve Mystery of the Origin of Stonehenge Megaliths

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: Researchers have announced that they have solved a centuries-long mystery surrounding the origin of most of the large stones that make up the outer ring of Stonehenge, in an article published to the journal Science Advances on Wednesday. Using geochemical data, researchers have determined that 50 of the 52 large stones, sarsen megaliths, originated from the West Woods in Wiltshire, England, some 15 miles from where the prehistoric monument stands. The smaller stones near the center of the structure, called bluestones, had previously been traced to Wales, nearly 125 miles away. Researchers still don't know exactly how the 30-ton stones were transported. "How they were moved to the site is still really the subject of speculation," David Nash, University of Brighton geomorphologist and lead researcher on the study, told Reuters.

"Given the size of the stones, they must have either been dragged or moved on rollers to Stonehenge. We don't know the exact route but at least we now have a starting point and an endpoint."


By PuddleBoy • Score: 3 • Thread

"Researchers still don't know exactly how the 30-ton stones were transported."

And this fits the definition of "solved" how?


By Joce640k • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Let's see if this helps:


By flyingfsck • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
They dragged the stones over there with wooly mammoths and put the stones in a circle to keep the herd of wooly mammoths in. The blue stones were milk stools to sit on while milking the mammoth cows. The alignment with anything is purely coincidence.


By jfdavis668 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Stonehenge predates the Indo-European speakers in England and the Druids. Druids weren't very interested in it anyway. They worshiped nature, not some man made thing in a field. Only modern neo-druids care about it.


By cusco • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I can't remember the source now, but it's claimed that the bluestones were likely looted from an earlier religious site considerably closer to their point of origin. There are apparently two sets of weather-caused patinas on them, indicating that they were in one place for a long time before being moved to their current location and weathering some more. I suppose it would be the ancient equivalent of the Spanish building churches on the ruins of Inca and Aztec temples.

A Plunge In Incoming Sunlight May Have Triggered 'Snowball Earths'

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Jennifer Chu writes via Phys.Org: At least twice in Earth's history, nearly the entire planet was encased in a sheet of snow and ice. These dramatic "Snowball Earth" events occurred in quick succession, somewhere around 700 million years ago, and evidence suggests that the consecutive global ice ages set the stage for the subsequent explosion of complex, multicellular life on Earth. Scientists have considered multiple scenarios for what may have tipped the planet into each ice age. While no single driving process has been identified, it's assumed that whatever triggered the temporary freeze-overs must have done so in a way that pushed the planet past a critical threshold, such as reducing incoming sunlight or atmospheric carbon dioxide to levels low enough to set off a global expansion of ice.

But MIT scientists now say that Snowball Earths were likely the product of "rate-induced glaciations." That is, they found the Earth can be tipped into a global ice age when the level of solar radiation it receives changes quickly over a geologically short period of time. The amount of solar radiation doesn't have to drop to a particular threshold point; as long as the decrease in incoming sunlight occurs faster than a critical rate, a temporary glaciation, or Snowball Earth, will follow. These findings, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, suggest that whatever triggered the Earth's ice ages most likely involved processes that quickly reduced the amount of solar radiation coming to the surface, such as widespread volcanic eruptions or biologically induced cloud formation that could have significantly blocked out the sun's rays.

Be prepared!

By jcr • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Gonna buy myself a coal-burning stove just in case.


Re:may day may day

By thomst • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Joce640k misspoke:

There's no "may" about it.

The ONLY thing that can possible cause a change in The Earth's temperature is the amount of sunlight reaching it.

(...and the only thing that can affect that is the Earth's atmosphere, hence global warming due to increased CO2)

Er ... no. Not at all.

In the case of sudden, global glaciation events, every instance for which a direct cause has been established thus far has turned out to be the result of a major bolide impact. You may, for instance, be familiar with the K-T event, in which a nickle-iron asteroid struck what is now the Gulf of Mexico, just offshore from the Yucatan Peninsula, creating first a worldwide firestorm, followed immediately by an ice age (caused by suspended smoke and dust), which caused most of the dinosaurs to go extinct - along with many, many other species.

For a global warming event that is very strongly correllated with an abrupt, extreme rise in CO2 levels, you might want to read up on the Permian-Triassic Extinction Event ...

Airbus To Build 'First Interplanetary Cargo Ship'

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Airbus-France will build the huge satellite that brings the first Martian rock samples back to Earth. The BBC reports: This material will be drilled on the Red Planet by the US space agency's next rover, Perseverance, before being blasted into orbit by a rocket. It'll be the Airbus satellite's job to grab the packaged samples and then ship them home. The joint American-European project is expected to cost billions and take just over a decade to implement. But scientists say it's probably the best way to confirm whether life has ever existed on the Red Planet. Any evidence is likely to be controversial and will need the powerful analytical tools only found in Earth laboratories to convince the doubters, the researchers argue.

The Airbus satellite will be a Goliath among spacecraft. The Earth Return Orbiter (ERO) will weigh 6.5 tonnes at launch in 2026 and use a mix of chemical and electric propulsion to get to Mars, orbit the planet and then return to Earth with its rock consignment. Thales Alenia Space of Italy will be a lead subcontractor working on this aspect of the design. The inclusion of a powerful ion engine will require a lot power, hence the use of immense solar arrays. These panels will give the satellite a "wingspan" of 39m, more than 120ft. But the really remarkable facet of the satellite's mission is the game of catch it will have to play high above Mars. Nasa will put a rocket on the planet later this decade to fire the rocks collected by Perseverance into orbit. The Airbus spacecraft will have to manoeuvre itself into a position to capture these samples that will be packaged inside a football-sized container. After ingesting this container, the satellite must then prepare it for return to Earth.
"This is not just twice as difficult as any typical Mars mission; it's twice squared - when you think about the complexity involved," said Dr David Parker, the director of human and robotic exploration at the European Space Agency (Esa). "And this satellite that Airbus will build -- I like to call it 'the first interplanetary cargo ship,' because that's what it will be doing. It's designed to carry cargo between Mars and Earth," he told BBC News.

Failed Generation

By monkeyxpress • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

From now until 2026 when this thing will (probably not) launch, is around the same time it took to build the apollo rockets. It's just ridiculous when we are surrounded by such incredible technologies compared to the 1960s, that we have built an economy that focuses most of humanity's efforts on various casino activities (derivative trading, selling houses to each other) or making people click on ads.

I sincerely hope that the last 50 years will be seen as an anomaly during the industrialisation period, and that after all the turmoil we are in now, at the other end of it, we get back to valuing real contributions towards prosperity and progress, rather than people who create ever more complicated paper shuffling schemes.

Hopefully They Won't Contain

By zenlessyank • Score: 3 • Thread

Demonic alien seeds in the rocks.

Re:Saved some cash, ask SpaceX to act as an Uber

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Even if SpaceX do meet their goal (which is highly questionable at this stage), Europe is still going to want independent capability to do this kind of thing. It's the whole reason why we have our own space programmes really, we could just pay someone else to launch our satellites but then we would be reliant on them to get to orbit.

Japan is the same, they want to maintain that capability in case they need to fit warheads to the rockets one day, and so they can stay current with space technology.

Re:Failed Generation

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

There's China. They have manned rockets, will soon have a space station, are headed to the Moon and Mars. Their Mars lander launched last week.

Twice Squared

By prefec2 • Score: 3 • Thread

So it is 4 times as difficult as a normal Mars mission. It could be worse. However, there are a lot of firsts in this mission. Landing a huge device on Mars. Starting a device which gets into orbit around Mars (or at least far enough up to be captured and then into orbit). Create a transfer orbit. Capture at Earth. All remote controlled. They try to play a real world KSP Duna mission.