the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2020-Sep-14 today archive


  1. Sir David Attenborough Delivers Stark Warning In BBC Doc 'Extinction: the Facts'
  2. What To Expect At Apple's 'Time Flies' Event
  3. Google Faces $3 Billion UK Suit Over Use of Children's Data
  4. Verizon Acquires Tracfone In a Deal Worth More Than $6 Billion
  5. Boston Dynamics CEO Talks Profitability and the Company's Next Robots
  6. Hate Speech on Facebook Is Pushing Ethiopia Dangerously Close To a Genocide
  7. A Whistleblower Says Facebook Ignored Global Political Manipulation
  8. Ex-Google Boss Eric Schmidt: US 'Dropped the Ball' on Innovation
  9. Long Before Cambridge Analytica, Simulmatics Linked Data and Politics
  10. Nikola Admits Prototype Was Rolling Downhill In Promo Video
  11. ARM Co-Founder Starts 'Save Arm' Campaign To Keep Independence Amid $40 Billion Nvidia Deal
  12. Pandemic May Permanently Replace Some Human Jobs With Machines
  13. Google To Launch Pixel 5, New Chromecast, and Smart Speaker Later This Month
  14. CISA: Chinese State Hackers Are Exploiting F5, Citrix, Pulse Secure, and Exchange Bugs
  15. Microsoft Wants To Take on Amazon in Connecting Satellites To the Cloud
  16. Microsoft's Underwater Data Centre Resurfaces After Two Years
  17. The LG Wing's Twisting Screen Offers a New Spin on the Dual-Screen Smartphone
  18. Venus Might Host Life, New Discovery Suggests
  19. Google Reverses Lifelong Carbon Emissions To Fight Climate Change
  20. CBP Seized a Shipment of OnePlus Buds Thinking They Were 'Counterfeit' Apple AirPods
  21. IBM Will Feed Four Children For a Day For Every Student Who Masters the Mainframe
  22. The 41 Books Mark Zuckerberg Has Recommended on Facebook
  23. Another Source of Greenhouse Gas: Abandoned Oil Wells

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.

Sir David Attenborough Delivers Stark Warning In BBC Doc 'Extinction: the Facts'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: At 94 years old and with over 60 years of wildlife documentary-making under his belt, Sir David Attenborough is well-placed to share his thoughts about the future of our planet. And on Sunday, in the new BBC documentary Extinction: The Facts, the legendary presenter had a warning for all humans about the creatures we share the Earth with. "Over the course of my life, I've encountered some of the world's most remarkable species of animals," Attenborough says at the start of the hour-long film. "Only now do I realize just how lucky I've been. Many of these wonders seem set to disappear forever. We're facing a crisis, and one that has consequences for us all. It threatens our ability to feed ourselves, to control our climate -- it even puts us at greater risk of pandemic diseases such as COVID-19."

With the help of a number of academics and experts, Attenborough goes on to explain that extinction is now happening much faster than it used to -- with 570 plant species and 700 animal species disappearing since the year 1500. "Studies suggest that extinction is now happening a hundred times faster than the natural evolutionary rate," Attenborough says. "And it's accelerating." A follow-up to Attenborough's 2019 explainer documentary, Climate Change: The Facts, Extinction: The Facts delves into some of the main causes of extinction and disastrous biodiversity loss today, including habitat destruction (either caused by land use or human-induced climate change or both), unsustainable agricultural and fishing practices, and poaching. The documentary examines a number of species across the world that are at risk, from the two remaining northern white rhinos in Kenya's Ol Pejeta Conservancy to the 25 percent of assessed plant species currently at risk of disappearing forever.
Although the documentary is a heavy and often bleak watch, it does end with a message of hope. "One thing we do know, is that if nature is given the chance, it can bounce back," concludes Attenborough.

Sigh, I know, but...

By Dutch Gun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Honestly, as much as I love nature documentaries, I can barely even stand to watch them anymore. They show such amazing, fascinating things, and then, inevitably, they talk about how humans are fucking everything up. It's just too depressing.

I don't suppose we can have just a few nature documentaries that focus exclusively on nature instead of preaching to the choir about climate change and all the other ills of humanity? Or is that simply not allowed anymore? Call me crazy, but I'd bet anyone who watches nature documentaries is probably already on-board with saving the planet, so to speak. Sorry, I know it's important, but it's gotten bad enough that I've literally just stopped watching these shows.

BBC in the UK

By TJHook3r • Score: 3, Informative • Thread
Just for info for foreign viewers - the BBC is currently enemy number 1 of the rightwing majority press due to a perceived 'leftwing bias' in the institution. Leftwing actions in this case being any occasion where a presenter tweets (in their own capacity) or otherwise supports leftwing causes, like alleviating child hunger, stopping racism in football, mentioning climate change.... the UK is not a nice place at the moment.

Re:BBC in the UK

By polyp2000 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

There is no left wing Bias in the #BBC - the BBC board of directors is a wholly elected subsidiary of the conservative party.

Re:Put him on a watch list

By mattr • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Well, that is quite a dastardly lie. How about you read his Wikipedia page which is quite interesting, even overwhelming?

He has been director of programs, wrote, produced and presented, and has won a tremendous number of awards. So he created the partnership, directed the program, wrote the script, interviewed scientists, directed the filming, pioneered new filming techniques to get the shots he wanted, and THEN narrated it all.

He's got 32 honorary degrees and many titles including being knighted. It's like saying the men who first walked the Moon were just some shaggy cropduster types paid to get their feet dusty. Yeah, those shenanigans... On the MOON.

Re:Threats are a waste of time

By Ambassador Kosh • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Lots of stuff from the Green new deal where taken from Germany where it has worked REALLY well. In increased focus on education, infrastructure, and more modern jobs. That means focusing on wind, solar, power storage, better farming, etc. This has created a lot of jobs and even during the height of the pandemic (which was several months ago now in Germany) the unemployment rates did not go above 5% or so.

Other European countries have adopted the same kinds of politics and it has also helped a lot. In the USA more people are already employed in wind and solar than coal and those jobs also don't get outsourced. We can make the country better and focus on technology which helps more long term. Actually, read through the entire list of proposals for the green new deal. Not the stuff from any news organization but the actual proposals. The house bill is only 14 pages long and can be found here.

What To Expect At Apple's 'Time Flies' Event

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
On Tuesday, Apple will hold its annual September event called "Time Flies." Unlike in previous years, the company is not expected to announce new iPhones as they have reportedly been delayed "a few weeks" due to the pandemic. Macworld reports on what we can expect to see announced instead: Apple's invitation was light on details, as always, but it's hard to look at its "Time Flies" tagline and think that this won't mean showing off new models of the Apple Watch. Presumably that means a Series 6, but rumors have also circulated around an additional lower cost model to replace the aging Series 3. [...] While the iPad Pro received a minor update this past spring, the midrange iPad Air has remained unchanged since March 2019. Eighteen months is about the refresh cycle for iPads these days, so a revamped Air seems like a pretty good bet for this week's event. [...] There also remains the question of the iPad mini, last updated at the same time as the Air. It could very well see a similar update to stay in step with the Air, but given that Apple has often let the smaller tablet lie unchanged for years at a time -- which it seems to do with many products with the "mini" moniker -- it's hardly a sure thing.

With new hardware naturally comes new software. The release of a new Apple Watch will certainly require watchOS 7, which in turn will need iOS 14. Likewise, new iPads are unlikely to ship without iPadOS 14. That gibes with a recent Bloomberg report that iOS 14 would be released in mid-September, following the usual schedule for Apple's mobile operating system updates. And given our brave new world where Apple events are not subject to the typical restrictions of time and scheduling, that might be all we have to look forward to this time around. That said, there are plenty of other things that Apple could talk about at this event, assuming they're ready to go -- everything from over-the-head AirPods to Apple silicon-powered Macs.

Blood oxygen but waiting for blood sugar tracking

By Camembert • Score: 3 • Thread
Most likely the new Apple Watch will be launched with blood oxygen tracking, whose measurements will be deeply integrated with the heartbeat sensor. This would be useful in checking sleep quality for example. I read a rumor that the current Apple Watches already have a non-activated oxygen sensor (which to be honest, is not that special, it is more what you do with it reliably that makes the difference), so with some luck these can also benefit from the functionality with the new WatchOS.
Now the evolution towards more health monitoring is useful, but I hope to be wearing my first generation Apple Watch (maybe I will get the battery exchanged) until they finally crack the nut of non-invasive blood sugar monitoring, which would be a tremendous game changer for many people when integrated with good software. I understand that Apple has hired a few people with PHDs on non-invasive sensors, but blood sugar is notoriously difficult to measure non-invasively outside perfect lab conditions, rather in a consumer product that should work reliably off the shelf, no matter your skin color or dryness.
Obviously the above requires serious privacy safeguards, which at least for now Apple has done a good effort to implement for its heath oriented apps.

Time flies

By backslashdot • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Except during the long boring presentation at which they'll announce their products.

Re:Blood oxygen but waiting for blood sugar tracki

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Blood sugar is a difficult problem

If somebody can figure out how to do non-invasive, accurate, real-time blood sugar tracking - hundreds of millions of diabetics will flock to their door. Heck, that might win someone a Nobel prize just because of the outsized impact it would have.

Fact is, there's a huge market for this, but none of the big players have figured it out. Diabetics are either pricking their fingers multiple times every day, or (like my wife) wearing a continuous glucose monitor... which means having a little sensor poking through your skin all the time, and having to move it around to a new site every few days. A non-invasive system would be an incredible breakthrough.

Google Faces $3 Billion UK Suit Over Use of Children's Data

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Alphabet's Google faces a multibillion-dollar lawsuit in the U.K. over claims that YouTube routinely breaks privacy laws by tracking children online. Bloomberg reports: The suit, filed on behalf of more than 5 million British children under 13 and their parents, is being brought by privacy campaigner Duncan McCann and being supported by Foxglove, a tech justice group. The claimants estimate that if they're successful, there would be as much as 2.5 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) in compensation, worth between 100 to 500 pounds per child.

The filing alleges that YouTube's methods of targeting underage audiences constitute "major breaches" of U.K. and European privacy and data rules designed to protect citizens' control over their own private information. YouTube has "systematically broken these laws by harvesting children's data without obtaining prior parental consent," it alleges. A spokesperson for YouTube declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday but added that the video streaming service isn't designed for users under the age of 13. It's the first class action suit in Europe brought against a tech firm on behalf of children, according to the claimants. The legal action is being backed by Vannin Capital, a global litigation funder.
"Google's drive to profit from kids' attention has turned corners of YouTube into a weird technicolored nightmare," Foxglove Director Cori Crider said. "The real price of YouTube's 'free' services is kids addicted, influenced, and exploited by Google. It's already unlawful to data-mine children under 13. But Google won't clean up its act until forced by the courts."

Children's Data?

By Jarwulf • Score: 3 • Thread
Call me crazy but I'm less concerned that major corporations know I watched magic school bus for 2 hours than surfed for the next 4 hrs then did my homework every thursday when I'm 8 years old than what I get up to when I'm 25. I can understand being squeamish about using that to manipulate children but when it comes to simply gathering the data I think people got it backwards. Its what they do today as adults that people would want to keep private due to it being intimate or embarrassing or whatever.

Re:$3 Billion UK Suit Over Use of Children's Data

By rtb61 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Didn't you know, kids, they are not customers they have little money, they are leverage on customers, the parents with money. So first target, peer pressure, gets kids with to mock and deride kids without, make it important target children and force them to become image conscious as early as possible so their public indentiy can be targeted and exploited, actively damage the psychological state of the child, so the child will start to apply real pressure on the parents to spend, spend, spend.

They target the children to target their parents, in the sickest ways imaginable. They are utterly ruthless and have zero interest in the psychological health of their victims, just how best they can be targeted, how best their fears can be manipulated and how best their desires can be exploited. They are the High Priest of consumerism, the number one sellers of consumption to excess, they have no morals beyond GREED.

Google are the most evil corporation on the planet, just for being the number one cheerleader of consumption to excess, they target you as a individual to consume beyond your need, all of you, every single one of you, whilst those hypocritical fuckers tell you how green they are, like WHAT THE FUCK.

Verizon Acquires Tracfone In a Deal Worth More Than $6 Billion

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Verizon, the largest wireless network in the U.S., has acquired Tracfone, the largest mobile virtual network operator. The Verge reports: Tracfone is the largest reseller of wireless services in the US, with 21 million subscribers, around 850 employees, and a network of more than 90,000 retail locations. It's owned by Mexico-based America Movil, and along with the Tracfone brand, operates the Net10 and Straight Talk brands in the US. More than 13 million Tracfone customers already rely on Verizon's wireless network; Tracfone doesn't run its own physical network in the US and instead rides on other cellphone carriers' systems for a fee.

The acquisition gives Verizon a bigger foothold in the value and low-income wireless segments. Verizon says it will continue to offer Tracfone's Lifeline service, which allows qualifying customers to receive free phones and free monthly minutes, and StraightTalk, which offers prepaid, no-contract service phone plans. The deal will include $3.125 billion of cash and $3.125 billion in Verizon common stock. Tracfone could also receive an additional $650 million cash payment tied to performance measures. It's expected to close in the second half of 2021.

Anti-trust? That's sooooo 1900-s!

By Cyberax • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
How the heck would this deal be allowed? This is a straight anti-trust violation with no possible upsides (like in T-Mobile + Sprint merger).

Boston Dynamics CEO Talks Profitability and the Company's Next Robots

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat, written by Emil Protalinski: Founded in 1992, Boston Dynamics is arguably the best-known robot company around, in part because its demonstration videos tend to go viral. Now it is attempting to transform from an R&D company to a robotics business, with an eye on profitability for the first time. When we interviewed Boston Dynamics founder and former CEO Marc Raibert in November 2019, we discussed the company's customers, potential applications, AI, simulation, and those viral videos. But it turns out Raibert was transitioning out of the CEO role at the time -- current CEO Robert Playter told us in an interview this month that he took the helm in November. We sat down to discuss Playter's first year as CEO; profitability; Spot, Pick, Handle, and Atlas; and the company's broader roadmap, including which robots are next.
In June, Boston Dynamics started selling its quadruped robot Spot in the U.S. for $74,500. Last week, the company expanded Spot sales to Canada, the EU, and the U.K. at the same price point. Playter says Boston Dynamics has sold or leased about 250 robots to date and business is accelerating. [...] Compared to big manufacturing robotic companies, 250 robots is not a lot. But Playter points out it's a big achievement "for a novel robot like Spot." Other robotic startups would love to get that sort of market validation. "We're penetrating, we're establishing a market, and people are starting to see value. We're adapting Spot to be a solution for some of the industries we're targeting," Playter said.

Spot's success means the company is beating its own internal targets. "We are meeting -- actually exceeding -- some of our sales goals for Spot," Playter said. "We had ambitious goals this year, but we met our Q1 goal. We're meeting our Q2 goal. We have ambitious Q3 and Q4 goals. I think we're probably going to meet or exceed them this year. To become profitable, these products do have to become successful. They have to scale. But right now, I think we're beating plan." The company now has a roadmap to profitability. "I think we'll be profitable in about two and a half years," Playter said. "2023-2024 is when I'm projecting that we are cash positive." To hit that milestone, Boston Dynamics is simultaneously developing robots for logistics (think production, packaging, inventory, transportation, and warehousing)...

Best known robot company?

By Mr. Dollar Ton • Score: 3 • Thread

Come on, compared to the likes of Fanuc, Kuka or even Festo Boston Dynamics is, well, completely unknown in the places where profits are made.

Hate Speech on Facebook Is Pushing Ethiopia Dangerously Close To a Genocide

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Ethnic violence set off by the assassination of a popular singer has been supercharged by hate speech and incitements shared widely on the platform. From a report: Throughout his life, Ethiopian singer Hachalu Hundessa sang about love, unity, and raising the marginalized voices of his Oromo ethnic group. He had always tried to keep his work and politics separate, saying, "Art should not be subject to political pressure." But it became increasingly difficult for him to keep these two worlds apart, thanks to a politically-motivated disinformation campaign orchestrated on Facebook through a network of newly created pages and designed to demonize Hundessa. The incendiary campaign claimed Hundessa abandoned his Oromo roots in siding with Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy. Abiy, Ethiopia's first Oromo leader, has been heavily criticized by hard-line Oromo nationalists who believe he has abandoned his heritage by appeasing other ethnic groups. The impact was devastating.

Hundessa was assassinated on June 29 while driving through the capital Addis Ababa. The man police charged with Hundessa's killing told prosecutors that he was working as an assassin for the Oromo Liberation Front, an armed nationalist group linked to numerous violent attacks -- and who told the shooter that Oromia would benefit from the death of one of its most famous singers. Hundessa's death at age 34 set off a wave of violence in the capital and his home region of Oromia. Hundreds of people were killed, with minorities like Christian Amharas, Christian Oromos, and Gurage people suffering the biggest losses. This bloodshed was supercharged by the almost-instant and widespread sharing of hate speech and incitement to violence on Facebook, which whipped up people's anger. Mobs destroyed and burned property. They lynched, beheaded, and dismembered their victims. The calls for violence against a variety of ethnic and religious groups happened despite the government shutting down the internet within hours of Hundessa's murder. Soon, the same people who'd been calling for genocide and attacks against specific religous or ethnic groups were openly posting photographs of burned-out cars, buildings, schools and houses, the Network Against Hate Speech, a volunteer group tracking hate speech in Ethiopia, told VICE News.

These attacks reflect the volatile nature of ethnic politics in Ethiopia. Abiy's rise to power in 2018 led to a brief period of hope that Ethiopia could be unified under the first Oromo to lead the country. But that quickly evaporated, and the country has since been wracked by violence, coinciding with a rapid increase in access to the internet, where Facebook dominates. And rather than helping to unify the country, Facebook has simply amplified existing tensions on a massive scale.

Re:Nobody cares about genocides

By tmmagee • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

An American citizen should not be afraid of law enforcement. They shouldn't feel that their life is at risk during a simple traffic stop. That is the specific goal that black lives matter is focusing on, and that is reasonable.

Nearly everyone agrees police should not be killing people for no good reason. Relative to other "western" countries its hard to argue there is not a huge fixable problem in need of fixing.

So one would think if they were BLM it would be in their own interests to work to build broad consensus for action to achieve your aim... It's maddening instead they decide squander it by making it all about harms to a specific tribe and for good measure throw in ridiculous incendiary slogans like "defund the police" while your leadership defends looting.... what the fucking hell does anyone expect to be the outcome of that? Is anyone surprised? Even a little?

Humanity is inherently tribal and wouldn't you know it the media has done an expert job weaponizing their control over narratives to make it seem as if blacks are being singled out for extermination by police. Objective statistical evidence adjusted for where crime is does not support this narrative in any significant way. The issues with police unjustifiably killing people overwhelmingly cuts across all ethnicities.

I think it's reasonable to question BLM's tactics. Defund the police IMO is an incredibly stupid slogan. The goal should be about creating first responders for certain situations where a police presence is not necessary. Police have guns that can kill people. Introducing guns into a situation inherently makes a situation more dangerous for both the police and the people around them. Like a simple traffic stop for example. The question is how do we go about creating those first responders? What would they look like? It is a reasonable thing to suggest and to think about.

I despise the gangs that run Mexico. They mercilessly kill all journalists and politicians that attempt to interfere with their business. How do I protest them exactly?

Advocate global legalization of drugs and prostitution.

Yes, these are good ideas. And an effort like that would be best served by a non-profit organization (much like BLM) focused on that goal, focused on educating citizens why that goal is important. Another reason why I support BLM's existence (even if I disagree with their tactics and their rhetoric at times).

And because I am not protesting them, does that mean that I don't "care?"

Caring is utterly worthless when disconnected from action.

Black Lives Matter is narrowly focused on an achievable goal, a goal that we should all support. And that is a good thing.

The polling I've seen at present half the country does not support BLM even though nearly everyone agrees police should not be killing people for no reason. BLM is not a good thing... It's a grossly mismanaged thing actively harming their own cause.

As a teacher once told me a long, long time ago: every organization is corrupt and mismanaged to some degree. Every single one. But we need them. As Steve Jobs once said, individuals don't make great things, companies do. And he wasn't talking about non-profits, but the logic is the same. All big goals need some organizing behind them, and if you care about an organization's goal, get involved and be part of the change you want to see. BLM helped start this conversation. They deserve credit for that. I hope they succeed. Me myself, I am in China right now and can't be part of anything that is going on in the states, but when I get back I want to be involved.

And on it goes

By martinX • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

John Connor : We're not gonna make it, are we? People, I mean.
The Terminator : It's in your nature to destroy yourselves.
John Connor : Yeah. Major drag, huh?

Re:Nobody cares about genocides

By h33t l4x0r • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
If you've never been hassled by a cop, then there's no way for you to understand where "defund police" is coming from. If you were ever hassled by a cop on a daily or weekly basis for no good reason, you would certainly change your mind.

If you want to protest & stop Mexican gangs

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
legalize drugs in America so they lose their source of income and so that Mexico can stabilize. Also push your government to stop interfering with South American governments every time they start to Unionize.

Nearly all of the instability South of the US boarder can be traced back to US policies.

Fires have been happening for a long time

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
so we shouldn't bother trying to put out specific fires.

A Whistleblower Says Facebook Ignored Global Political Manipulation

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Facebook ignored or was slow to act on evidence that fake accounts on its platform have been undermining elections and political affairs around the world, according to an explosive memo sent by a recently fired Facebook employee and obtained by BuzzFeed News. From the report: The 6,600-word memo, written by former Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang, is filled with concrete examples of heads of government and political parties in Azerbaijan and Honduras using fake accounts or misrepresenting themselves to sway public opinion. In countries including India, Ukraine, Spain, Bolivia, and Ecuador she found evidence of coordinated campaigns of varying sizes to boost or hinder political candidates or outcomes, though she did not always conclude who was behind them. "In the three years I've spent at Facebook, I've found multiple blatant attempts by foreign national governments to abuse our platform on vast scales to mislead their own citizenry, and caused international news on multiple occasions," wrote Zhang, who declined to talk to BuzzFeed News. Her Linkedin profile said she "worked as the data scientist for the Facebook Site Integrity fake engagement team" and dealt with "bots influencing elections and the like."

"I have personally made decisions that affected national presidents without oversight, and taken action to enforce against so many prominent politicians globally that I've lost count," she wrote. The memo is a damning account of Facebook's failures. It's the story of Facebook abdicating responsibility for malign activities on its platform that could affect the political fate of nations outside the United States or Western Europe. It's also the story of a junior employee wielding extraordinary moderation powers that affected millions of people without any real institutional support, and the personal torment that followed.

Give me a break...

By fatwilbur • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
As a non-US citizen, I think the US is built on one of the best sets of principles and values in the world (evidenced by continuing to be the #1 destination for immigrants, or more starkly, just by talking to immigrants about where they came from and why they chose the US). This election interference stuff though, is the single most stupid thing some Americans cry wolf over. Is it just that you don't know who some opinion ultimately came from? It must be, since no one seemed to mind when Barack Obama endorsed a candidate running for Prime Minister in Canada, in the middle of an election campaign . I have no doubt he likes a weak adversary like Trudeau, but still very improper in the midst of an election.

I don't think what Obama did should be disallowed either, just that anyone in the US who feels no one else in the world should weigh in on their elections is an absolute hypocrite and loses my respect. Who cares what someone says or what memes are posted on social media? If you have evidence of direct hacking or altering voting results, let me know, otherwise literally everything about election interference (added bonus if you push a Russian boogeyman) is laughable stupidity and just anger from some Americans their side didn't win.


By cygnusvis • Score: 3 • Thread
If the US gov uses Facebook to influence its people, this is not a crime. If India uses it to influence its citizens, that is not a crime, etc.... There may be moral issues here but no crimes have been committed if the gov is using it on their own. Internal propaganda is explicitly allowed on the USA and most other nations.

I'm so swayed by a single persons opinion

By GregMmm • Score: 3 • Thread

So this person found multiple blatant attempts by foreign national governments. So, what do you want to do about it? Do you want to be the police of the world? Maybe people didn't agree with how you wanted to deal with this.

You personally made decisions that affected national presidents without oversite. Oh you mean like every election cycle in every country where you try and make one person bad and one person good so others will... wait for it.... vote for them.

Do you really think this hasn't been going on for years, well before Facebook? Here's a thought: Read what you want, think about it, do some research and come to your own conclusions.

Junior employee wielding extraordinary powers: You think very highly or yourself. It's good to have confidence. Of course I don't use Facebook so your powers have no effect on me.

It gives weight to the proposition that...

By zkiwi34 • Score: 3 • Thread

Facebook is thought of as a mass media publisher.

One where there is no ethics involved.

Re:Give me a break...

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

What Obama did was above board because he was trying to get people to vote the right way.

The Russians were bad because they were trying to get people to vote the wrong way.

Hillary was supposed to win. She didn't. So the Democrats had two choices:

1. Advocate policies that appeal to working-class people in the heartland.

2. Blame the Russians.

Ex-Google Boss Eric Schmidt: US 'Dropped the Ball' on Innovation

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
In the battle for tech supremacy between the US and China, America has " dropped the ball" in funding for basic research, according to former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt. From a report: And that's one of the key reasons why China has been able to catch up. Dr Schmidt, who is currently the Chair of the US Department of Defense's innovation board, said he thinks the US is still ahead of China in tech innovation, for now. But that the gap is narrowing fast. "There's a real focus in China around invention and new AI techniques," he told the BBC's Talking Business Asia programme. "In the race for publishing papers China has now caught up." [...] Dr Schmidt blames the narrowing of the innovation gap between the US and China on the lack of funding in the US. "For my whole life, the US has been the unquestioned leader of R&D," the former Google boss said. "Funding was the equivalent of 2% or so of GDP of the country. Recently R&D has fallen to a lower percentage number than was there before Sputnik."

According to Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a US lobby group for technology, the US government now invests less in R&D compared to the size of the economy than it has in more than 60 years. This has resulted in "stagnant productivity growth, lagging competitiveness and reduced innovation". Dr Schmidt also said the US's tech supremacy has been built on the back of the international talent that's been allowed to work and study in the US - and warns the US risks falling further behind if this kind of talent isn't allowed into the country. "This high skills immigration is crucial to American competitiveness, global competitiveness, building these new companies and so forth," he said. "America does not have enough people with those skills."


By hdyoung • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
R&D is important, but economics is equally vital.

Coming from a STEM field, it seems funny that I would say this, but I remember what happened with the USSR. They were our match in science and engineering. If that had been the deciding factor, the US wouldn't be where it is today. We has roughly equal STEM strength, and so economics decided that contest. The USSR simply didn't have the right structure to pull the same level of productivity out of the people. Capitalism won that fight for us.

On the other hand, he's spot on about the immigration thing. Trump says that he's trying to keep out "murderers, rapists and jihadists". But what I see is foreign nationals who get their masters or doctorate in engineering. In past years, they would have all wanted to stay here, but now lots of them are deciding to go back home because they no longer feel welcome. The inventions that they might have come up with? Might have happened here, but not anymore. The productivity of their work? That will go to benefit ANOTHER country, not us. Any companies that they might start and jobs they might create? Gonna benefit somewhere else.

We need to make it easy for people to come here and be productive. The west was open. The USSR was closed. Who won? Why are we trying to break this winning strategy?

I know capitalism is unpopular right now in a lot of places, but the truth is that it's one of our main advantages over China. China is absolutely amazing, but THE AVERAGE US WORKER IS 3 TIMES AS PRODUCTIVE. Not 25% more. Not 50% more. Not twice as productive. TRIPLE productive. That's because our capitalist system is simply a superior economic model to whatever you want to call China's system. I would call it "mostly state-dictated capitalist" or "partly socialist" or something like that. China defies simple explanation, but it's clear that their system does NOT encourage the sort of hard-edged optimization that occurs in the US economy.


By backslashdot • Score: 3 • Thread

Sorry but Europe and the US are waaay ahead of China in almost every technology except maybe mass manufacturing.

Gene Editing. -- US & Europe invented it .. China hasn't even come up with many novel ideas of how to make it more efficient and accurate
GPU tech - nVidia and AMD are the only two companies
Immunotherapy & vaccines - Germany, UK, France, and USA easily lead -- anyone in the field knows it
Pharmaceuticals -- China rarely invents anything
Battery tech - See what Tesla announces Sept. 22
Self driving cars - USA is waay ahead
CPU design software - the top companies, Synopsys, Cadence, and Mentor Graphics are US based.
Architectural design software - US company AutoDesk AutoCAD
Computer Graphics & Design - Adobe Photoshop/AutoDesk Maya
Computer Game Engines: Unity and Unreal game engines are better than anything Chinese
Computer hardware/Mobile Phones: Apple
Operating Systems: Windows, Linux, iOS, Android
Rockets: SpaceX. ... China has nothing even close
Airplanes: Boeing .. China still can't make high thrust or high bypass turbofan jet engines .. still struggling to build the WS-15 even though they have detailed blueprints of similar Russian engines

Sorry where does China lead? What BS.

We taught them

By RogueWarrior65 • Score: 3 • Thread

What did the US think was going to happen when we've spent decades teaching all of their top people here in American universities?

Re:Its easy to 'innovate'

By bzipitidoo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

No. Copying is not innovation. You're thinking that knowledge can be hoarded. And that America foolishly did not hoard their secrets.

Lockdown does not promote innovation. Openness does. Lockdown doesn't even maintain whatever edge there may be. It's really weird how so many Americans think we have some kind of monopoly on the ability to do science, and that no one else in the world can make the same discoveries. That's the kind of thinking behind such boneheaded moves as restricting the export of encryption technology. While you're sitting there jealously guarding important research findings, others can and will rediscover the same things and more, and leave you in the dust. Then you may see that all the lockdown did was hinder your own scientists and allow other nations to surpass you all the sooner.

A tradition of research, of exploration and curiosity, is what drives innovation. And there, in recent years, America has faltered. America still has that spirit, but anti-intellectualism has increased, and many politicians are openly scornful of education and science.

Another hugely important way America gained such a lead is another tradition, of freedom, especially academic freedom, and the protections ignorant mobs. Many scientists came to America to escape oppression in their home countries. Much of the rest of the world was only too happy to kick out their best and brightest.


By The Evil Atheist • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Who argued that China leading? Learn to fucking read.

Your attitude is PRECISELY what Eric Schmidt is talking about. You think that just because the US leads now, that some magical force would keep the US in the lead forever.

His argument is that China is CATCHING UP. Do you know what that means? It doesn't mean LEADING. Let's get to your specific, stupidly supported, examples:

Gene Editing. -- US & Europe invented it

So what? This isn't a competition about who invented what - it's completely irrelevant. There's nothing magical about being the first inventor of something that makes you immune from being overtaken.

Pharmaceuticals -- China rarely invents anything

So does the US. They know how to drive prices up for existing medications. It's just a bunch of Shkrellis who haven't been jailed for something unrelated.

CPU design software - the top companies, Synopsys, Cadence, and Mentor Graphics are US based.

How do you measure "top company"? If there are Chinese companies with their own software, would you know enough Chinese to use them? Or maybe they just use whatever tool they write to get the job done and see no purpose in monetizing their software tools for the global market?

Architectural design software - US company AutoDesk AutoCAD Computer Graphics & Design - Adobe Photoshop/AutoDesk Maya Computer Game Engines: Unity and Unreal game engines are better than anything Chinese

These are just nonsense comparisons. If there are Chinese companies with their own software, would you know enough Chinese to use them? Or maybe they just use whatever tool they write to get the job done and see no purpose in monetizing their software tools for the global market?

Rockets: SpaceX. ... China has nothing even close

Neither does the US. SpaceX is not a government agency. The US is so inept it has to use a private company to continue its space mission. China already has a space agency that is still capable of sending things into space - including sending a plant to the far side of the moon.

Computer hardware/Mobile Phones: Apple

Which is only possible because they are manufactured elsewhere. The US has no manufacturing capable of producing iPhones.

Operating Systems: Windows, Linux, iOS, Android

Sorry, why does the US and Europe get to claim ownership of Linux? Linux has many developers from China contributing code.

Airplanes: Boeing

The US is giving up a major lead in that one when it allows financial concerns to override safety concerns.

Basically, your argument comes down to your inability to read, leading you to make some statement about nationalistic pride - pride in something you had a small to no part in creating. The question is how long will it take for China to catch up, or in fact, focus on some other direction because some things aren't worth boasting about (game engines, seriously?).

Long Before Cambridge Analytica, Simulmatics Linked Data and Politics

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
NPR reporter Shannon Bond reports of a little-known -- and now nearly entirely forgotten -- company called Simulmatics, which had technology that used vast amounts of data to profile voters and ultimately help John F. Kennedy win the 1960 election. From the report: The [...] company was called Simulmatics, the subject of Harvard historian and New Yorker writer Jill Lepore's timely new book, If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future. Before Cambridge Analytica, before Facebook, before the Internet, there was Simulmatics' "People Machine," in Lepore's telling: "A computer program designed to predict and manipulate human behavior, all sorts of human behavior, from buying a dishwasher to countering an insurgency to casting a vote."

Lepore unearths Simulmatics' story and makes the argument that, amid a broader proliferation of behavioral science research across academia and government in the 1960s, the company paved the way for our 21st-century obsession with data and prediction. Simulmatics, she argues, is "a missing link in the history of technology," the antecedent to Facebook, Google and Amazon and to algorithms that attempt to forecast who will commit crimes or get good grades. "It lurks behind the screen of every device," she writes.

If Then presents Simulmatics as both ahead of its time and, more often than not, overpromising and under-delivering. The company was the brainchild of Ed Greenfield, an advertising executive straight out of Mad Men, who believed computers could help Democrats recapture the White House. He wanted to create a model of the voting population that could tell you how voters would respond to whatever a candidate did or said. The name Simulmatics was a contraction of "simulation" and "automation." As Greenfield explained it to investors, Lepore writes: "The Company proposes to engage principally in estimating probable human behavior by the use of computer technology." The People Machine was originally built to analyze huge amounts of data ahead of the 1960 election, in what Lepore describes as, at the time, "the largest political science research project in American history."

What a load of bullshit

By MatthiasF • Score: 3 • Thread

Computers in those days could barely run statistics over all the country's zip codes much less create an extensive database of voter information for manipulation.

More likely this was a confidence scheme selling psuedo-science snake oil solutions.

The fact several books, television shows and movies involving similar schemes came out in the same time frame probably helped them sell the con.

Contraction of what now?

By Entrope • Score: 3 • Thread

The name Simulmatics was a contraction of "simulation" and "automation."

Clearly, the man Englished as poorly as he programmed.

That was a slower, more sedate time then, where it took a decade for someone to try to bring Isaac Asimov's Foundation novels, and in particular "psychohistory", to a commercial scheme.

more comprehensive article

By n3r0.m4dski11z • Score: 3 • Thread

read it a few weeks ago. was a solid article. The author of the book is a writer for the new yorker.

Nikola Admits Prototype Was Rolling Downhill In Promo Video

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
In late 2016, Nikola Motor Company founder Trevor Milton unveiled a prototype of the Nikola One truck, claiming it "fully functions and works, which is really incredible." A couple years later, in January 2018, the company showed the Nikola One truck moving rapidly along a two-lane desert highway. But last week, the short-selling investment firm Hindenburg Research published a bombshell report, accusing Nikola Motors of massive fraud, having no proprietary technology and vastly overstating the capabilities of their prototypes to investors.

Incredibly, "Hindenburg reported that the truck in the 'Nikola One in motion' video wasn't moving under its own power," reports Ars Technica. "Rather, Nikola had towed the truck to the top of a shallow hill and let it roll down. The company allegedly tilted the camera to make it look like the truck was traveling under its own power on a level roadway." From the report: On Monday morning, Nikola sent out a lengthy press release titled "Nikola Sets the Record Straight on False and Misleading Short Seller Report." While the statement nitpicks a number of claims in the Hindenburg report, it tacitly concedes Hindenburg's main claim about the Nikola One. Nikola now admits that the Nikola One prototype wasn't functional in December 2016 and still wasn't functional when the company released the "in motion" video 13 months later. Nikola claims that the gearbox, batteries, inverters, power steering, and some other components of the truck were functional at the time of the December 2016 show. But Nikola doesn't claim that the truck had a working hydrogen fuel cell or motors to drive the wheels -- the two key components Hindenburg stated were missing from the truck in December 2016.

And Nikola now admits that it never got the truck to fully function. "As Nikola pivoted to the next generation of trucks, it ultimately decided not to invest additional resources into completing the process to make the Nikola One drive on its own propulsion," Nikola wrote in its Monday statement. Instead, Nikola pivoted to working on its next vehicle, the Nikola Two. So what about that video of the Nikola One driving across the desert? "Nikola never stated its truck was driving under its own propulsion in the video," Nikola wrote. "Nikola described this third-party video on the Company's social media as 'In Motion.' It was never described as 'under its own propulsion' or 'powertrain driven.' Nikola investors who invested during this period, in which the Company was privately held, knew the technical capability of the Nikola One at the time of their investment."

Shades of SCO

By linuxguy • Score: 3 • Thread
A few years ago another public company was involved in massive fraud. SCO. They were trying to sue anybody using Linux and not paying them a license fee. And sued IBM for billions of dollars. Clueless investors bought in big time. Their stock went from $1 to $20. Those of us who knew who had some basic understanding of the situation understood that SCO was engaging in stock manipulation. I shorted the stock with every spare penny I had lying around. That bet made me $300K. Recently when I heard that GM and Nikola were partnering up on a venture and the Nikola stock went up some 30% on the same day, I got curious and looked into their website. Alarms started going off immediately after I saw some of the videos they had published touting their products. They had this influencer "heavyD" sit down with the CEO and make all sorts of tall claims that made it sound like they were going to bury Tesla. At first I laughed and then immediately logged into my brokerage account and tried to short Nikola. Fidelity informed me that there were no stocks to borrow (Required for shorting). I moved on. In hindsight, I would have looked into NKLA options. Mark my words. This company will not be around for very long.

Re: But did it win?

By Rei • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Should have called the company "Newton" ;)

Look at the STOP sign at 0:17

By blitz487 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
and the two other posts - all tilted at the same angle. Oops!

Why was NKLA stock up over 10% today?

By ayesnymous • Score: 3 • Thread

Re:If you cannot make it

By WierdUncle • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Faking it seems to be a common strategy in embedded software development, at least in my experience. The developer produces a demo, showing all the right things on the display, but the firmware actually has no working guts.

One chap ran his demo, which appeared to show a temperature controller near completion. Then he went on holiday. The customer came in to check on progress. My colleague and I tried to get the firmware to run, but it was hopeless. The guy had not only faked the demo, he had left it in an unusable state, with no backup. The customer was not pleased. He more or less demanded that the faker be sacked, which we did.

There was another job which we took over, which had all sorts of fancy GUI stuff. It was supposed to be displaying data from some embedded firmware, communicated over a serial link. It looked like the job was nearly ready to go. But there was no "engine room" code. The job had barely been started.

In these two cases, the developer did the job the wrong way round. My approach is to attack the "engine room" code first: make stuff work. You can make it look pretty later; that is the easy bit. I think there may be a mistaken idea that you design a product around its user interface, and fill in the working code later.

ARM Co-Founder Starts 'Save Arm' Campaign To Keep Independence Amid $40 Billion Nvidia Deal

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Arm Holdings, the U.K. semiconductor company, made history for the second time today, becoming the country's biggest tech exit when Nvidia announced over the weekend that it would buy it from SoftBank for $40 billion in an all-stock deal. (Arm's first appearance in the record books? When SoftBank announced in 2016 that it would acquire the company for $32 billion.) But before you can say advanced reduced instruction set computing machine, the deal has hit a minor hitch. One of Arm's co-founders has started a campaign to get the U.K. to interfere in the deal, or else call it off and opt for a public listing backed by the government.

Hermann Hauser, who started the company in 1990 along with a host of others as a spin-out of Acorn Computers, has penned an open letter to the U.K.'s Prime Minister Boris Johnson in which he says that he is "extremely concerned" about the deal and how it will impact jobs in the country, Arm's business model and the future of the country's economic sovereignty independent of the U.S. and U.S. interests. Hauser has also created a site to gather public support -- -- and to that end has also started to collect signatures from business figures and others. He's calling on the government to intervene, or to at least create legally binding provisions, tied to passing the deal to guarantee jobs, create a way to enforce Nvidia not getting preferential treatment over other licensees and secure an exemption from CFIUS regulation "so that U.K. companies are guaranteed unfettered access to our own microprocessor technology."
"This puts Britain in the invidious position that the decision about who ARM is allowed to sell to will be made in the White House and not in Downing Street," he writes. "Sovereignty used to be mainly a geographic issue, but now economic sovereignty is equally important. Surrendering UK's most powerful trade weapon to the US is making Britain a US vassal state."

Meanwhile, Nvidia CEO and co-founder Jensen Huang said: "This will drive innovation for customers of both companies," adding that Nvidia "will maintain Arm's open licensing model and customer neutrality... We love Arm's business model. In fact, we intend to expand Arm's licensing portfolio with access to Nvidia's technology. Both our ecosystems will be enriched by this combination." Hauser responded by saying: "Do not believe any statements which are not legally binding."

Re:This disingenuous fuck.

By ad3a • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Hauser left Arm way before it was sold, and it was already public when it was acquired by Softbank, so this comment does not make any sense at all.

Independent of the USA and its interests?

By thegarbz • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The UK is selling it's country one piece at a time. Lowering food standards, opening the NHS to the US based MIC, hell they angered the Chinese by banning Huawei a few months after approving them for use in infrastructure all based on the good word of the the bad blonde hair president club.

At this point I'm wondering if the USA has pictures of Johnson with his Johnson somewhere it shouldn't have been. ARM not making the UK independent? At this point they may as well be the 51st state already.

Re:This disingenuous fuck.

By ad3a • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
He said exactly the same things 4 years ago, the only difference was that Softbank was a neutral company, which nVidia is not. Only actor to blame here is the UK govmnt of 4 years ago.

Does the UK even have a say?

By Guspaz • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

An American company is buying a Japanese company. Yes, most of ARM's actual physical property is in the UK, but it's not a UK company, so what say would the UK have?

For that matter, if the UK government didn't say anything when the company was sold to Japan, I don't see why they'd object to it being sold to the US.

Re:Does the UK even have a say?

By greatpatton • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Since when the share holder of reference is dictating the company nationality? What if a company stock is equally hold by people or institution of different countries? ARM is a UK company even if the main shareholder is Japanese. ARM was never integrated inside of softbank.

Pandemic May Permanently Replace Some Human Jobs With Machines

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The coronavirus pandemic has the potential to permanently replace some humans with machines, according to a new study on Monday from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. From a report: Layoffs have been higher among workers in industries that can be automated, which increases the risk those jobs will become permanently obsolete, according to the study by economists Lei Ding and Julieth Saenz Molina. At the same time, the spread of Covid-19 has accelerated automation in industries that have been hit hard by the virus or that don't permit remote work. The longer the recession lasts, the deeper the impact of automation will be. "In case the COVID-19 crisis evolves into a prolonged economic crisis, many job losses in automatable occupations could become permanent in the post-pandemic economy, similar to what happened during the recovery from the Great Recession," Ding and Saenz Molina wrote. Industries that were already facing a high risk of automation lost 4.2 more jobs per 100 than jobs in sector facing fewer threats by technology, the study shows, which analyzes data through August.

It was coming anyway.

By nightflameauto • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Any job that's being automated out of existence was bound to hit that point sooner or later regardless. The pandemic is pushing the accelerator in some cases, but it's not the main reason those jobs are being automated. If it's possible to automate it, and automate it in a way that's less expensive than hiring or keeping a human doing the same job? It will be automated. End of story.


By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Working class families could own a car, a modest sized house in the suburbs, and go on vacations, all on a single bread-winner's earning?

In the 1950s, most families owned one car. Today, they own several.

Houses in the 1950s were, on average, half the size they are today. Homeownership rates, at about 65%, are nearly identical today.

Even white males are better off today. Everyone else is much better off.

Re:Covid-19 as a change agent?

By garyisabusyguy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

My mind was going into a different direction

Maybe you remember the old World's Fairs in the lat 30's when they though automation would bring about a 15 hour work week?

Instead we have ended up with an ever increasing 'work efficiency' while the wealthy get stupendously wealthy and the rest get poorer with fewer opportunities to advance

Yes, based on the past 80 years, I suppose most workers are headed for the 'unnecessary' bin, when will the stupendously wealthy decide that the rest of us are just 'too much weight' for them to carry? Will the culling be gentle, or expeditious?


By timeOday • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Good news! The average is heading to 35.

Bad news: each individual is either 0 or 70.


By garyisabusyguy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I am in my late 50's and lived in a large suburban area growing up. We used to leave the house early in the day (or after school) and be called back to home in the evening with the sound of a hearty whistle.

Our 'woods' was a deep flood control canal at the end of the street and there were plenty of older kids and other kids parents to let us know when we were being knuckle-heads and to involve our parents directly if needed

Was it dystopian? Yes
Were we exposed to many influences that today's parents would be horrified by? Yes
Did any of us die, No (with the one exception of a person poisoning his own kids for insurance money)

It was certainly a pattern of parenting common in the 60's/70's which was replaced by the fear addled dreams of whoever was sick enough to stick kids on milk cartons (mostly due to divorce custody issues) and claim they were abducted by monsters.

Google To Launch Pixel 5, New Chromecast, and Smart Speaker Later This Month

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google is planning to launch its Pixel 5 smartphone, a new Chromecast, and a new smart speaker later this month. From a report: Google has started inviting members of the media to a special event on September 30th, promising new hardware. "We invite you to learn all about our new Chromecast, our latest smart speaker, and our new Pixel phones," reads the invite. Google already confirmed its plans to launch a Pixel 5 later this year, complete with 5G connectivity. The Pixel maker revealed its launch plans alongside the introduction of the Pixel 4A last month, promising 5G versions of the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia.

Re:So pumped for this

By AsylumWraith • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

That's precisely why I'm not planning on upgrading from my Pixel 3 XL.

The specs say that coming from the SD 845 in the Pixel 3 XL to the 765G in the Pixel 5 would likely make no difference for me.

I really like the 6.3" screen on the 3 XL though. Buying a Pixel 5, for me, would be downgrading for the bargain price of $699.

Oh well, I've still got a year of updates on my current phone. Maybe they'll realize there is a market for the larger phone after all.

Smart speakers are stupid

By Rick Schumann • Score: 3 • Thread
I prefer my speakers to be directly cabled to an amplifier, which is directly cabled to it's baseband audio source, which is generating it's audio from sources I physically own within my own home, none of which requires an internet connection to operate.

CISA: Chinese State Hackers Are Exploiting F5, Citrix, Pulse Secure, and Exchange Bugs

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has published a security advisory today warning of a wave of attacks carried out by hacking groups affiliated with China's Ministry of State Security (MSS). From a report: CISA says that over the past year, Chinese hackers have scanned US government networks for the presence of popular networking devices and then used exploits for recently disclosed vulnerabilities to gain a foothold on sensitive networks. The list of targeted devices includes F5 Big-IP load balancers, Citrix and Pulse Secure VPN appliances, and Microsoft Exchange email servers. For each of these devices, major vulnerabilities have been publicly disclosed over the past 12 months, such as CVE-2020-5902, CVE-2019-19781, CVE-2019-11510, and CVE-2020-0688, respectively. According to a table summarizing Chinese activity targeting these devices published by CISA today, some attacks have been successful and enabled Chinese hackers to gain a foothold on federal networks.


By hackingbear • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This is called tit-for-tat.

Re:Was Commander Joseph Rochefort a state hacker?

By currently_awake • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
The rules change during a declared war. Example: The CIA organizing and supporting the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iran was a crime. Doing the same to WW2 Italy would be legal.

let me fix that...

By SuperDre • Score: 3 • Thread

Let me just fix the title:

"CISA: US State Hackers Are Exploiting F5, Citrix, Pulse Secure, and Exchange Bugs"

Microsoft Wants To Take on Amazon in Connecting Satellites To the Cloud

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft is looking to challenge Amazon in offering a service that connects satellites directly to the company's cloud computing network, according to documents the company filed with the Federal Communications Commission last month. From a report: The effort shows how the two largest providers of cloud infrastructure -- data centers in far-flung places that can host websites and run applications with a smorgasbord of computing and storage services -- regularly seek to one-up each other. That way, the companies can appear ready and willing to meet many of the needs of prospective customers. Microsoft plans to connect a Spanish imaging satellite to two ground stations -- both located in Microsoft's home state of Washington -- to show that it can directly download satellite "data to the Azure Cloud for immediate processing," the FCC documents said.

A ground station, sometimes called an earth station, is the vital link for transmitting data to and from satellites in orbit. Microsoft notably proposed to construct one of the two ground stations itself at its data center in Quincy, Wash. The FCC on Sept. 2 authorized Microsoft to perform proof-of-concept demonstrations of the service. The authorization gives Microsoft a six month license that allows for communications and imagery data downloads. The Spanish satellite, called Deimos-2, was launched into orbit in June 2014. The satellite is operated by a subsidiary of Canadian satellite imagery company UrtheCast and, for the tests, the Deimos-2 satellite will only be in range of Microsoft's antennas for "just a few minutes."

Sounds great ...

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 3 • Thread

Microsoft Wants To Take on Amazon in Connecting Satellites To the Cloud

Inter-connecting a network of satellite networks, that are literally in the sky -- like some sort of Sky Network, or Skynet -- with vast ground resources. Sounds great! Add this to Microsoft's recent DoD Jedi contract award and what could possibly go wrong?

[ ... insert M$ EEE jokes here ... ]]

Big improvement

By ceoyoyo • Score: 3 • Thread

It used to be hacking satellites was a pain because you needed to put up a big dish antenna. Doing it through the Internet will be much more convenient.

Microsoft's Underwater Data Centre Resurfaces After Two Years

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Two years ago, Microsoft sank a data centre off the coast of Orkney in a wild experiment. That data centre has now been retrieved from the ocean floor, and Microsoft researchers are assessing how it has performed, and what they can learn from it about energy efficiency. From a report: Their first conclusion is that the cylinder packed with servers had a lower failure rate than a conventional data centre. When the container was hauled off the seabed around half a mile offshore after being placed there in May 2018, just eight out of the 855 servers on board had failed. That compares very well with a conventional data centre. "Our failure rate in the water is one-eighth of what we see on land," says Ben Cutler, who has led what Microsoft calls Project Natick. The team is speculating that the greater reliability may be connected to the fact that there were no humans on board, and that nitrogen rather than oxygen was pumped into the capsule.


By gavron • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I've ran data centers. This is awesome. As others have pointed it's hard to replace drives or deal with other failures, but given that:

1. COOLING COSTS are way down. Let the sea water do its thing. Sure, it contributes to ocean heat, but immeasurably so.
2. RELIABILITY is way up. 1/8 failure rate of land-based datacenters? Less heat cycles? Less heat per cycle? Awesome.
3. SECURITY is a breeze. You can protect underwater containers easier than a building on a public roadway. Nobody will "drive a truck" through those "fences".

Good on Microsoft for having forward thinking enough to try this, and putting their resources into it. I can't wait for the white paper with data, and I'm not even a MS fan but this is awesome!


Re:Keep it on land?

By williamyf • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

It took them an entire day to pull it out of the water and open it -- salvage ship time is not cheap. Is running power and data to an underwater datacenter really cheaper than running a pipe?

Yes it is cheaper to run power and data to the submerged DC, rather to have it on land, in terms of energy and CO2 pumped to the atmosphere (refrigerating is pretty expensive in DCs).

Google had a paper mill in a nordic country near the sea converted into a DC, and pumped cold water from the ocean to cool it (right what you advocate). Check their numbers and you will see.

Also, underwater transoceanic Tbps optic fibers (including the power to feed the regenerating amplifiers) is a well understood science, so feeding the submerged DC a few Km from the coast power and data is relatively simple.

Since after this experiment they saw that failure rates are lower than in a normal datacenter, maybe next time, they will leave it submerged for longer, maybe 4 years, and if that proves successfull as well, they'll leave it submerged for the intended ussefull life of the servers...

Re:Keep it on land?

By cayenne8 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Reminds me of the old adage of "how do you make a MS Windows server truly secure"?

"You unplug it, pull the harddrives out, put it into a metal cage and bury it in the ground 10 ft deep encased in concrete."

I guess just putting it underwater adds an extra level of security?



By kyrsjo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Regarding security, I'm not so sure. While physical theft would be extremely difficult, denial of service would be easy and hard to find who did it. A small boat-anchoring "oops" can take out data and power for a few days, and diver with a explosives could utterly obliterate the thing without anybody seeing it.

Off-shore wind farms

By Pravetz-82 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
This will mesh very well with off shore wind farms. There is already power there. There is a place to anchor the containers.
Even if current pylons can't be loaded with submerged DCs, maybe future projects will account for both.

The LG Wing's Twisting Screen Offers a New Spin on the Dual-Screen Smartphone

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
LG is no stranger to two-screen smartphones in recent years, but the company has just officially announced its boldest foray into a dual-screen device in recent memory: the LG Wing. It's a wild-looking, swiveling-display smartphone that looks to -- quite literally -- offer a new spin on what a phone can do. From a report: The new phone is inspired by LG's current trends of dual-screen smartphones like the G8X ThinQ and the Velvet, along with the company's classic swiveling LG VX9400 feature phone released over a decade ago. The Wing is set to be the first device under LG's new "Explorer Project" branding, aimed at exploring ways to "breathe new life into what makes a smartphone." Wing's most interesting feature, of course, is the two OLED panels. The first is a standard 6.8-inch main screen without any bezels or notches (instead, LG has chosen to go with a pop-up lens, since apparently the Wing didn't have enough moving parts to worry about). But it's the second 3.9-inch panel that's underneath the main display that makes the Wing 2020's most unique-looking phone. Instead of folding out for two full-size (or one flexible) panels side by side, the Wing's main display twists around and up to reveal the second screen, in a shape that looks a lot like a Tetris T-block.

But why

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Folding screens I totally get, I've been wanting a viable design for quite some time as I think they are a great idea for keeping a lot of screen space in a pocket.

But this twisting design... this seems like the ultimate expression of that joke phrase "They spent so long working out how they could, they didn't stop to think if they should". What use is it really to have one of two screens twist like that? Even as one of the most Pollyanna pro tech guys out there, I can't think of a real use fo this.

Maybe in the end it's just a more durable hinge design than the others and would be used that way?

Re:But why

By Nidi62 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Folding screens I totally get, I've been wanting a viable design for quite some time as I think they are a great idea for keeping a lot of screen space in a pocket.

But this twisting design... this seems like the ultimate expression of that joke phrase "They spent so long working out how they could, they didn't stop to think if they should". What use is it really to have one of two screens twist like that? Even as one of the most Pollyanna pro tech guys out there, I can't think of a real use fo this.

Maybe in the end it's just a more durable hinge design than the others and would be used that way?

It seems to me the most logical setup wouldn't be folding, or twisting, but rather sliding. Instead of the top screen rotating, have it slide to the side and back, leaving it flush with a second screen. This would essentially give you the screen real estate of a small tablet with the general form factor of a phone.

Venus Might Host Life, New Discovery Suggests

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
There is something funky going on in the clouds of Venus. Telescopes have detected unusually high concentrations of the molecule phosphine -- a stinky, flammable chemical typically associated with feces, farts and rotting microbial activity -- in an atmospheric layer far above the planet's scorching surface. From a report: The finding is curious because here on Earth, phosphine is essentially always associated with living creatures, either as a by-product of metabolic processes or of human technology such as industrial fumigants and methamphetamine labs. Although toxic to many organisms, the molecule has been singled out as a potentially unambiguous signature of life because it is so difficult to make through ordinary geological or atmospheric action. Swathed in sulfuric acid clouds and possessing oppressive surface pressures and temperatures hot enough to melt lead, Venus is a hellish world. But the particular cloud layer where the phosphine is present happens to be relatively balmy, with ample sunlight and Earth-like atmospheric pressure and temperature. The results will have to be carefully vetted by the scientific community. Yet they seem likely to spark renewed interest in exploring our sister planet next door.

"It's a really puzzling discovery because phosphine doesn't fit in our conception of what kinds of chemicals should be in Venus's atmosphere," says Michael Wong, an astrobiologist at the University of Washington. Planetary scientist Sanjay Limaye of the University of Wisconsin-Madison agrees. "The bottom line is we don't know what's going on," he says. (Neither Wong nor Sanjay were involved in the work.) After the sun and moon, Venus is the brightest object visible to the naked eye in Earth's sky. For thousands of years, people told stories about the glittering jewel that appeared around sunrise and sunset. Venus's brilliance is what made it attractive to Jane Greaves, a radio astronomer at Cardiff University in England. She typically focuses her attention on distant newborn planetary systems but wanted to test her molecular identification abilities on worlds within our cosmic backyard. In 2017 Greaves observed Venus with the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, searching for bar code-like patterns of lines in the planet's spectrum that would indicate the presence of different chemicals. While doing so, she noticed a line associated with phosphine. The data suggested the molecule was present at around 20 parts per billion in the planet's atmosphere, a concentration between 1,000 and a million times greater than that in Earth's atmosphere. "I was stunned," Greaves says.
Further reading: The original paper in the journal Nature Astronomy; and the case for life on Venus.

Not so fast

By Ecuador • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Well, the fact that we have detected phosphine on Jupiter since the 1970s (1975 paper attributing the GRS to phosphine, and also on Saturn, I wouldn't say the "it's aliens" explanation is the most likely.
I mean throwing in there that on Earth it is produced by biological processes might make a scientific article get picked up by the media, but the only thing the authors are saying is that they don't know how it got produced on Venus...

In a related story

By Chris Mattern • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

Slashdot Might Host Duplicates, New Discovery Suggests.

Have we checked the polarization?

By Immerman • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Seems like it would be really easy to search an atmosphere for airborne life - just look for polarization twisting in light shown through the atmosphere. Any time you have an imbalance of left- and right-handed molecules you'll get polarization twisting in one direction. And while inanimate chemcial reactions produce equal numbers of left- and right-handed molecules, life (on Earth, but it seems very likely as a general principle) produces one-handed molecules, since using both chiralities would essentially involve simultaneously evolving perfect mirror-image copies of every bio-mechanical system in its cells.

Re:Has what to do with life?

By Iwastheone • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
The MIT team followed up the new observation with an exhaustive analysis to see whether anything other than life could have produced phosphine in Venus’ harsh, sulfuric environment. Based on the many scenarios they considered, the team concludes that there is no explanation for the phosphine detected in Venus’ clouds, other than the presence of life.

“It’s very hard to prove a negative,” says Clara Sousa-Silva, research scientist in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS). “Now, astronomers will think of all the ways to justify phosphine without life, and I welcome that. Please do, because we are at the end of our possibilities to show abiotic processes that can make phosphine.”

“This means either this is life, or it’s some sort of physical or chemical process that we do not expect to happen on rocky planets,” adds co-author and EAPS Research Scientist Janusz Petkowski.

Re:Not so fast

By leptons • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
If anything this discovery is useful for someday rejecting phosphine as an indicator of life, if we can determine how it was created on venus without biological involvement. This discovery is still a step forward for science.

Google Reverses Lifelong Carbon Emissions To Fight Climate Change

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A few months after Microsoft pledged to undo by 2050 the climate harm it's done to the atmosphere by emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, Google said it's already done so. "We have eliminated Google's entire carbon legacy," Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said Monday in a blog post. From a report: Carbon dioxide, which can trap heat from the sun in the earth's atmosphere in a process called the greenhouse effect, is a key part of climate change problems humans are causing on the planet. Google said it became carbon neutral in 2007, meaning it offset carbon emissions related to its operations. That's typically done by purchasing "carbon offsets," actions like planting trees, but carbon offsets are a complex and sometimes shady business. The search and Android giant reversed its carbon footprint by buying "high-quality" carbon offsets, Pichai said. Carbon emissions are a major issue for companies seeking to become more environmentally responsible. Google has long pushed for sustainable operations. That's easier at a profitable tech giant, though, than at a more conventional business.


By reanjr • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Bullshit. Google didn't reverse anything. They paid an environmental tax. That's it.

Re:You have been fined one carbon credit...

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

carbon offsets are a complex and sometimes shady business

No, carbon offsets are ALWAYS a shady business.

Purchasing "carbon offsets" is complete absolute bullshit and does nothing to reduce emissions. You're just generating more pollution and then "offsetting" it by buying credits from someone who generates less pollution. Its just a shell game, shuffling things around, and there is no net reduction of emissions.

There is only one way to reduce carbon emissions and that is BY ACTUALLY REDUCING WHAT YOU PUT INTO THE ATMOSPHERE.


By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Not even that. Carbon offsetting means they paid other people to do stuff that reduces carbon emissions, e.g. building renewable energy projects. The problem is that doesn't actually remove any carbon from the atmosphere, it just prevents some being emitted in the future.

Buying your way to the Feels

By techmage • Score: 3 • Thread

Now instead of taking shortcuts, Google actually tried to offset its carbon footprint, we would see some change. Buying carbon credits is the same as paying a sin tax: he behavior continues and the government gets some coin. Just another day in the life of extreme corporations.


By Jiro • Score: 3 • Thread

For a reason that most people pushing carbon offsets don't notice.

Carbon offsets are in limited supply. The reason that Google can pay a certain price for them is that there's a certain supply, and a certain demand. If many companies bought carbon offsets, the demand would go up. Since only so many carbon offsets can be produced, that means that the price of carbon offsets would go up and it might not even be possible to buy enough of them at all.

In other words, the fact that everyone is not buying carbon offsets makes it deceptively cheap and easy for the few companies who are to do so. The fact that Google can do so economically doesn't show that it would be economical as a general practice.

CBP Seized a Shipment of OnePlus Buds Thinking They Were 'Counterfeit' Apple AirPods

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
U.S. Customs and Border Protection proudly announced in a press release on Friday a seizure of 2,000 boxes of "counterfeit" Apple AirPods, said to be worth about $400,000, from a shipment at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. But the photos in the press release appear to show boxes of OnePlus Buds, the wireless earphones made by smartphone maker OnePlus, and not Apple AirPods as CBP had claimed.

Re:'Counterfeit' is subjective

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

These clearly say "OnePlus" on the box in bold red. For them to be counterfeit they have to be trying to pass them off as Apple products.

They take the generate shape of an in-ear headphone, can't patent that or obviously Apple would have tried to.

CBP Screwup or Apple?

By Daemonik • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

We already know Apple teams up with CBP regularly. They fight to keep legitimate salvaged parts out of repair shops every day claiming they are counterfeit parts despite having come from breakdowns of Apple devices. How much of a stretch is it to believe that they would take an opportunity to knife a competitor in the back?

So what happend?

By bickerdyke • Score: 3 • Thread

It wasn't clear from the tweet what actually happened: Did they seize counterfeit ibuds and use a wrong picture for the tweet or did they actually seize the wrong product?

Re:So what happend?

By ssyladin • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

CBP seized the wrong product. They look physically similar to the AirPods, and that was justification enough. This happened to SparkFun a while back where their totally legit house-branded yellow digital multi-meters looked enough like Fluke low-end multi-meters that CBP seized and destroyed the shipment. In that case all parties acted like responsible adults and everything was cool. Thing is - Apple (should have) had little to no direct control of this. CBP acts on behalf of, but independent of, IP holders. CBP made a mistake here, thoug - that's clear enough.

Hopefully Apple, CBP, and OnePlus can come to a happy solution.

Re:'Counterfeit' is subjective

By Tx • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

A copyright infringing product is not the same as a counterfeit product. If they're not passing them off as Apple earbuds, then they're not counterfeit Apple earbuds, as the CBP claimed. End of story.

And for copyright infringement to be in question would require court cases to be held and verdicts (or at least preliminary injunctions) passed against OnePlus before there would be any question of seizing products, which is not the case here.

IBM Will Feed Four Children For a Day For Every Student Who Masters the Mainframe

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
This week brings a special event honoring the IBM Z line of mainframes, writes long-time Slashdot reader theodp: As part of this week's IBM Z Day event, looking-for-young-blood IBM is teaming up with tech-backed K-12 CS nonprofits and CSforALL and calling on students 14-and-up to Master The Mainframe during the 24-hour code-a-thon to open doors to new opportunities with Fortune 500 companies.

"The rewards for participants are substantial," explains Big Blue. "For every student who finishes Level 1, IBM will donate to the UN World Food Programme #ShareTheMeal... In celebration of IBM Z day, we will double the donation for all students that complete Master the Mainframe Level 1 between Sept 15 — 30 2020. Just 1 hour of your time will feed 4 children for a day."
"Through three interactive Levels, you will access a mainframe and get skilled up on the foundations of Mainframe," according to IBM's announcement at, "including JCL, Ansible, Python, Unix, COBOL, REXX, all through VS Code. Round it all out with a grand challenge where you craft your own fully-equipped Mainframe creation."

"One mainframe is equivalent to 1,500 x86 servers," the site notes. It also points out that mainframes handle 30 billion transactions every day, "more than the number of Google searches every day" — including 87% of all credit card transactions, nearly $8 trillion payments a year.

Good idea but too late for the US/Europe I think

By ErichTheRed • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

There are some industries that legitimately need the mainframe computing model (airlines and banks are the most cited examples, but others exist too.) Companies still pay good money for systems programmers and such, and it's undeniable that retirements are causing a talent shortage. However, I think the chance to make fairly decent money in a niche where you're not a dime a dozen is lost on today's CS grads. Anyone graduating now has been told that every app is a web app, and the only language that matters is JavaScript. It doesn't help that basically everything from the mainframe era can't really be presented in new hot sexy AI ML blockchain serverless functions terms.

The other issue is that this is IBM we're talking about. Even the most naive student knows that they've spent the last decades selling off almost everything technical, and sending the rest to India. If I were a student, I'd be thinking, "Sure, I'll master the mainframe, then the company employing me will get sold the offshoring package and I'll be left with a bunch of skills I can't sell anywhere." Companies hate that they have to pay a premium for mainframe people and I guarantee IBM has a nice convenient sign-here-and-all-your-problems-will-disappear "service engagement."

It's a tough spot. Some workloads just aren't suited to a different platform or non-batch processing, and it's not just lazy business processes. I've seen many "mainframe replacement" or "strangle the mainframe with web services" projects that only get partway there or fail because there's so much tied up in the whole ecosystem.

Put another way

By DrXym • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Learn our shitty 1970s bizzaro environment or some kids will starve.

Re:1500 x86?

By bws111 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Even if true (doubtful) that is a completely useless statement. WHAT mainframe did you replace with DL580s? The smallest current generation mainframe has a Processor Capacity Index of 98. Yeah, you could probably replace that with DL580s (if you want to give up all the security and availability). The largest current mainframe has a PCI of 183,267 (>1800 times faster), with 40TB usable memory (there is actually more memory than that because it is RAIM), and an I/O bandwidth of 1152GB/sec. No way you are replacing that with '4x DL580s'.

Re:Why the games with feeding children?

By JaredOfEuropa • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
It works both ways... don't sign up for their course and they'll starve 4 children...

Easy! Wait...

By AndyKron • Score: 3 • Thread
You can be good at something in 20 hours so the kids have 4 hours to burn

The 41 Books Mark Zuckerberg Has Recommended on Facebook

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Last week Slashdot featured " the 61 books Elon Musk has recommended on Twitter," as compiled by a slick web site (with Amazon referrer codes) called "Most Recommended Books." But the same site has also created a page of books recommended by Mark Zuckerbeg.

Zuckerberg's list includes books by Peter Thiel ( Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future), Richard P. Feynman ( "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!") and Jay-Z's memoir Decoded.

Zuckerberg also says he liked Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game as well as Ender's Shadow, the author's "parallel" retelling of the same story from a different point of view.

But Zuckerberg also recommends the 1995 book Orwell's Revenge, an alternate version of 1984 in which new communications technologies create a positive future with new choices and sources of information.

And despite Facebook's reported role in the spreading anti-vaccine misinformation, Zuckerberg himself recommends the book On Immunity, which he says "Explores the reasons why some people question vaccines, and then logically explains why the doubts are unfounded and vaccines are in fact effective and safe."

On Immunity

By Rosco P. Coltrane • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Zuckerberg himself recommends the book On Immunity

He originally picked it up hoping to find hints on how to avoid being held legally responsible for anything, but it turned out to be another subject matter altogether. But he kept on reading.

Re:Why would you care?

By Randseed • Score: 4 • Thread
Fuck Zuck.

Re:Why would you care?

By JaredOfEuropa • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
It's not even about his ethics or personality. I care equally little about what books Obama reads, or Oprah. Those are recommendations that carry weight only because these people are celebrities, and we are somewhat curious about them and what motivates them.

Re:a better list

By SkonkersBeDonkers • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Dumb or stupid are definitely not the right words. Willfully ignorant and/or deliberately obtuse might be appropriate. He definitely has a skill for manipulating crowds. He's like a carnival barker.

But he is most definitely not any kind of genius, not even a business genius. He got $400 million from his father over the years before/at his death. Even if he'd just socked that into low risk mutual funds it could be worth over $2 billion and with even a modicum of decent investment strategies, far far more than that.

In other words, the fact that Trump isn't worth in the multiple tens of billions is a sure indicator of just how bad he does business. Someone like Warren Buffet would have surely got there with that kind of starting capital.

Re:These guys really reading books?

By thomst • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

DrTJ opined:

I somehow doubt that either of them actually have read all these books. At least not completely.

Elon might be interested to do so, if he had the time, but running a bunch of high-profile companies and start-ups (to the level where is sleeping on factory floor, as rumoured), I doubt that he can prioritize the activity of reading books very frequently, as each might require many hours.

Yeah, I'm sure he works nonstop, 27 hours a day, 8 days a week, 64 weeks a year.

Nobody who's successful works all the time. Peope who work in high-stress jobs especially need time off to recover and recharge. Elon slept at the giga-factory while it was mired in what he called "production hell." That was years ago. And a lot of those books were in print when he was a high school and freshman college student, which is when most intelligent people who aren't still fourteen years old read the books that influence their personal philosophy and direction in life from then onward.

There's no question that he's read, for instance, Iain M. Banks' Culture books. His SpaceX booster recovery ships are both named after Culture vessels, the name of his "neural lace" effort is a direct cop from the ubiquitous brain backup technology from which citizens of the Culture benefit literally from birth, and he constantly drops references to the books in conversations and texts. None of the Culture books can possibly help him manage his many business interests - but what they can do is help fuel his imagination.

Which they clearly do.

As for your laughable suggestion that he has assistants read the diverse array of books on that published list, and then summarize them for him (and sticking specifically to the Culture books, for the moment), where, exactly, would be the fun in that? Because, if there's anything Elon Musk is good at - besides changing the world for the better, and becoming incredibly rich in the process, I mean - it's having fun. If you, for instance, were to follow his Twitter account (which I, personally, do not), you'd soon be familiar with his prediliction for wisecracks, riffs, and joking around in general.

As for Mr. Zuckerberg, and don't think he has the time, nor the interest to do so.

And, again, Zuckerberg was once a high school student, as well as a college undergrad. And, again, nobody - and I mean NOBODY - is a greasy grind 24x7. That goes double for highly successful people. And, especially in the tech industry, they all read for pleasure, for self-improvement, and to continue to broaden their perception and understanding of the world, in addition to "work stuff."

If you had any actual experience with the world of work, you'd realize that ...

Another Source of Greenhouse Gas: Abandoned Oil Wells

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Sacramento Bee published a video showing dozens of oil tankers anchored off California's coast as the current demand for oil plummets. But looking toward the future, they've also published along with it a special warning from the director of the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute: California Resources Corporation, the state's largest oil and gas producer, is the latest oil producer to seek bankruptcy, aiming to wipe out more than $5 billion in debt and equity interests... This bankrupt company also faces more than $1 billion in costs to properly plug and abandon its 18,700 wells in the state. That problem goes far beyond CRC. A state-commissioned report found that cleaning up California's 107,000 oil and gas wells could cost a staggering $9.2 billion.

Saddling taxpayers with cleanup costs after pocketing the profits would be outrageous, yet many oil producers have done just that, walking away from millions of wells across the U.S. With more bankruptcies coming, the risk that oil companies weasel out of well cleanup keeps increasing... The risks aren't just financial. When wells sit idle, they corrode and leak. Experts point to nearly 75,000 wells in California that are "idle" or near-idle, producing little to no oil, or "orphaned," having no viable or responsible operator... [M]ethane frequently leaked by idle wells is a greenhouse gas that warms the planet 87 times more than the same amount of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. Potentially tens of thousands of idle wells are leaking methane into the air, worsening climate change and increasing the risk and magnitude of heat waves and fires like those we're suffering now.

Yet Governor Newsom's administration keeps rewarding this polluting industry, including CRC. This year, state oil regulators have issued more than 1,600 permits for new wells. More than 300 went to CRC. This will only increase cleanup costs once wells stop producing or their owners go bust. Even if the state stopped issuing permits today, plugging and cleaning up existing wells at the current snail's pace will take decades. California can't just keep approving drilling, waiting for this tottering industry to collapse. We need a plan for a managed, just transition.

One solution gives Gov. Newsom a chance to tackle multiple problems at once: accelerating well remediation. By using the state's authority to speed well cleanup we can reduce the environmental and fiscal risk from these wells and create good jobs.

Re:how are you gonna pay for that ???

By SuricouRaven • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

1) and 2) have a fundamental difference: Who the 'we' is. In case 1), the 'we' consists of the tax-paying population of the country, collectively. But in case 2), the 'we' consists only of those people who purchase refined oil products.

Thus 1) is going to meet with more objection, as it violates people's moral sensiilities to be required to pay (indirectly) for something that is of no benefit to themselves.

So... wait what?

By skovnymfe • Score: 3 • Thread
If there are thousands of abandoned wells by now bankrupt companies... why do oil companies need to open up new wells? Just open up the old ones.

Re: how are you gonna pay for that ???

By rmdingler • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I'm not sure how it works elsewhere, but in Texas, the oil & gas industry-funded Railroad Commission plugs orphan wells not capped off by bankrupt operators. It takes a while for an orphan well to qualify, 12 months IIRC, but there are other RRC programs that allow another contractor to take over (adopt) an abandoned well.

It's probably an order of magnitude worse in bankrupt oil-producing nations like Venezuela, a socialist paradise, but the capitalist US still has the resources and wherewithal to clean up these industrial messes.

Re: how are you gonna pay for that ???

By flyingfsck • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

"require a security deposit equal in value to the final well cleanup to be held in escrow for every new permit." - That is exactly how it works at the moment.

The amount is about $10,000, which should be sufficient to plug a well, but ridiculous environmental regulations have exploded the cost of cleanup to a much larger number, so the money in escrow is not enough.

Re: how are you gonna pay for that ???

By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The amount is about $10,000, which should be sufficient to plug a well, but ridiculous environmental regulations have exploded the cost of cleanup to a much larger number, so the money in escrow is not enough.

Which of the regulations are ridiculous?