the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2020-Sep-20 today archive

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.

With New Security and Free Internet Issues, What Did the TikTok Deal Really Achieve?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Though the U.S. government averted a shutdown of TikTok through a new Oracle/Walmart partnership, that leaves much bigger questions unresolved. The biggest issue may be that banning apps " defeats the original intent of the internet," argues the New York TImes. "And that was to create a global communications network, unrestrained by national borders." "The vision for a single, interconnected network around the globe is long gone," Jason Healey, a senior research scholar at Columbia University's School for International and Public Affairs and an expert on cyber conflict. "All we can do now is try to steer toward optimal fragmentation."
But the Times also asks whether the TikTok agreement fails even at its original goal of protecting the app from foreign influence: The code and algorithms are the magic sauce that Beijing now says, citing its own national security concerns, may not be exported to to a foreign adversary... Microsoft's bid went further: It would have owned the source code and algorithms from the first day of the acquisition, and over the course of a year moved their development entirely to the United States, with engineers vetted for "insider threats." So far, at least, Oracle has not declared how it would handle that issue. Nor did President Trump in his announcement of the deal. Until they do, it will be impossible to know if Mr. Trump has achieved his objective: preventing Chinese engineers, perhaps under the influence of the state, from manipulating the code in ways that could censor, or manipulate, what American users see.
Other questions also remain, including America's larger policy towards other apps like Telegram made by foreign countries. Even Amy Zegart, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and Stanford's Freeman-Spogli Institute, complains to the Times that "bashing TikTok is not a China strategy. China has a multi-prong strategy to win the tech race. It invests in American technology, steals intellectual property and now develops its own technology that is coming into the U.S... And yet we think we can counter this by banning an app. The forest is on fire, and we are spraying a garden hose on a bush."

And another article in the Times argues that the TikTok agreement doesn't even eliminate Chinese ownership of the app: Under the initial terms, ByteDance still controls 80 percent of TikTok Global, two people with knowledge of the situation have said, though details may change. ByteDance's chief executive, Zhang Yiming, will also be on the company's board of directors, said a third person. And the government did not provide specifics about how the deal would answer its security concerns about TikTok...

A news release published by Walmart on Saturday on its website — then edited later — captured the chaos. "This unique technology eliminates the risk of foreign governments spying on American users or trying to influence them with disinformation," the company said. "Ekejechb ecehggedkrrnikldebgtkjkddhfdenbhbkuk."

Re:wtf did the editor fall alseep on the keyboard?

By omnichad • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Not the Slashdot editor. It was on the actual Wal-Mart press release:


By Kohath • Score: 3 • Thread

For a long time, US companies have had to partner with domestic Chinese companies in joint ventures in order to do business in China. Now TikTok is the first Chinese company forced into such a joint venture to operate in the US. It probably won't be the last.

Reciprocity is fair play.


By bugs2squash • Score: 3 • Thread
it at least snagged $5Bn to re-instate the Thomas Kinkade version of US history to school textbooks.

Re:This isn't about "the internet"

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Do USA apps get free speech in China?

This isn't about free speech for a Chinese app. It is about free speech for the American people.

Why should the US government be able to tell American citizens what apps they can run on their phones? Where is the Constitutional authority for that?

"China does it too" is an idiotic argument.

Re:This isn't about "the internet"

By quonset • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

But unlike you he doesn't dwell on it,

Doesn't dwell on it? The guy has it on repeat 24/7. He literally cannot let go any perceived slight. It's why, if you ask about the rally, he'll lie like he always does about how great it was despite his orange makeup stained shirt to the contrary.

that's why he is successful.

He's already had 16 failed businesses and three failed marriages. Currently, only one of his properties isn't failing. Not sure what your definition of successful is, but this ain't it.

Perhaps you can learn a lesson fermion?

Auto correct sucks, but yes, we can all learn from the con artist. We can learn that lying only digs our hole deeper, that whining like a two year old who needs a nap isn't how an adult should act, that when one becomes an adult they should take responsibility for their actions rather than blame everyone else, and putting makeup on a pig still leaves it as a pig.

Could Open Source Licensing Stop Big Pharma Profiteering On Taxpayer-Funded Covid-19 Vaccines?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Two professors at the University of Massachusetts have co-authored a new essay explaining how open source licensing "could keep Big Pharma from making huge profits off taxpayer-funded research" in the international, multi-billion-dollar race for a Covid-19 vaccine: The invention of the "General Public License," sometimes referred to as a viral or reciprocal license, meant that should an improvement be made, the new software version automatically inherits the same license as its parent. We believe that in a time of a global pandemic, a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine should be licensed with General Public License-like properties...

Fortunately, some pharmaceutical companies, national governments, nonprofits like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and international organizations like the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Initiatives — which supports vaccine development — are putting policies in place that embrace openness and sharing rather than intellectual property protection. Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Initiatives officials have stated that all of their funding agreements require that "appropriate vaccines are first available to populations when and where they are needed to end an outbreak or curtail an epidemic, regardless of ability to pay." That's an important start.

However, when there is a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine, the U.S. and other national governments need to create contractual agreements with firms that provide fair and reasonable funding to cover their costs or even some reasonable profit margin while still mandating the open sharing of the processes for vaccine production, quality assurance and rapid global distribution.

Vaccines are getting more expensive in general

By larwe • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Because they're made with more expensive techniques. This isn't the exact article I was trying to find but gives some idea of the numbers. (The actual article I was looking for went into some of the reasons why - apart from contract negotations, companies are ceasing to use old production methods and using new, patented production methods. The efficacy of the product is apparently unchanged, but it is effectively "monopoly priced). Another interesting article

Most of the C19 vaccine candidates that I've read any details about are using exotic manufacturing techniques and are going to fall into this same category. It's all very well saying 'the formula for the vaccine is open source' but if the only people who are willing to actually manufacture it will only do so using patent-protected processes for which they charge a handsome premium... so what?

OK, I'll admit, I'm a "leftie"

By NoNonAlphaCharsHere • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
But, just to play Devil's Advocate, I'll ask: "and who's going to pay the liability insurance?". I remember the Swine Flu thing during Gerry Ford's administration, how they rushed a vaccine into wide public administration, and how, suddenly, unexpectedly, people inoculated started coming down with Guilain Barre Syndrome in way-out-of-proportion odds. Of course, Trump has no (especially pre-election) compunctions about administrating ANYTHING he can claim is a cure-all. So I'll ask: the government pays to rush a vaccine into production, 10 weeks later it's found to be a public-health disaster, who EXACTLY is goint to pay for all the lawsuits?

Imagine a world with no religion..

By AndyKron • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
Wouldn't you think something as important as medicine would be available to all?

Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs: the Books They Recommended

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Slashdot has featured " the 61 books Elon Musk has recommended on Twitter" as well as the 41 books Mark Zuckerberg recommended on Facebook. Both lists were compiled by a slick web site (with Amazon referrer codes) called "Most Recommended Books." But they've also created pages showing books recommended by over 400 other public figuresincuding Bill Gates and the late Steve Jobs — which provide surprisingly revealing glimpses into the minds of two very different men.

Here's some of the highlights...

Bill Gates

By avandesande • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
What was his accomplishments other than the foresight to have a parent on the board of directors at IBM? Asking for a friend.

Only the Paranoid Survive

By Camel Pilot • Score: 3 • Thread

And interestingly, one book appeared on both Steve Jobs' list and Bill Gates' list: Andrew S. Grove's Only the Paranoid Survive. "This book is about one super-important concept," Jobs once said. "You must learn about Strategic Inflection Points, because sooner or later you are going to live through one."

I find it surprising that Job's read and liked this book. It has been a while since I read the book but the most important point I remember is the detailing of the transition of the computer industry from the Vertical to Horizontal. That is, the early major computer players were nearly entirely vertical producing everything from the hardware to the OS to the Apps. The disruption in this business model was the horizontal layering where companies specialize... for example Intel CPUs, Microsoft OS, Others Apps. Jobs as far as I know (I never an Apple user so correct me if i am wrong) kept to the vertical model aka walled gardens.

Their secret #1 favorite books

By Shane_Optima • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
1984 and Brave New World.

Determining which one is which is left as an exercise to the reader.

im more interested in what Woz would recommend

By Don Bright • Score: 3 • Thread

i just ... dont care.

i also dont understand the obsession with these guys.

Browser Extension uMatrix Ends Active Development

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Slashdot reader Hmmmmmm quotes Ghacks: Raymond Hill, known online as gorhill, has set the status of the uMatrix GitHub repository to archived; this means that it is read-only at the time and that no updates will become available.

The uMatrix extension is available for several browsers including Firefox, Google Chrome, and most Firefox and Chromium-based browsers. It is a privacy and security extensions for advanced users that provides firewall-like capabilities when it is installed...

Hill suggests that developers could fork the extension to continue development under a new name. There is also the chance that Hill might resume development in the future but there is no guarantee that this is going to happen.

For now, uMatrix is no longer in active development.


By Shane_Optima • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
I've heard some people talk about using NoScript for similarly fine-grained control beyond what uBlock Origin offers, though I think it's just for JS stuff, not domain access in general.

If I were a user (personally, I'm not motivated enough to go beyond uBlock Origins, though perhaps I should've, at least for my most heavily-visited websites), I'd continue to stick with uMatrix and hope someone forks it at some point. Assuming it wasn't discontinued due to imminent compatibility issues--and it didn't sound like it was--I'd assume it would continue to work for at least a few more years. And regarding security bugs, I doubt its attack vector potential is very high, especially vs. the security gains its offers.

Why is it important?

By Actually, I do RTFA • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'm not sure why it's important the uMatrix is updated. The software works and is stable, there hasn't been a real update since 2019 (Since then all that happened was shifting the default list feed and adding autoupdate functionality to Firefox.). .

Basically, this is people bemoaning the lack of new shineys in something that works and doesn't need them.

As long as security isn't at risk and no browser updates force compatibility issues, it should continue to work, and need updates, just as often under this new no-maintenance plan as otherwise.

Re:Why is it important?

By Shane_Optima • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I agree that people treating this as an immediate death knell is a bit silly. I don't see any rush to abandon or replace it.

That said, Mozilla has been cavalier about breaking extensions in the past and there could be bugs (security or otherwise) moving forward. Bit rot is a thing. It's not an immediate threat, but it is a long term threat.

Re:Why is it important?

By Too Much Noise • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I'm not sure why it's important the uMatrix is updated.

Perhaps, for instance, because it stopped working for mobile Firefox after the last major update?

Too bad...

By Malays2 bowman • Score: 3 • Thread

That these extentions have to exist because even big reputable companies can't be trusted to not abuse their users in every which way possible.

Yes, "trusted", the same guys that expect us to let them hold all of the keys. The only one I trust is myself, and I view anyone who tries to usurp my control and force me to "trust" them as a hostile threat.

"Trust" has been perverted and twisted into "We are in control, not you".

Maybe CS Class Isn't the Best Way To Expose Most Kids To CS

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Long-time Slashdot reader theodp writes: "If we want all students to learn computer science (CS for All), we have to go to where the students are," writes University of Michigan Grand Valley State University CS Professor Mark Guzdial. "Unfortunately, that's not computer science class. In most US states, less than 5% of high school students take a course in computer science.

"Programming is applicable and useful in many domains today, so one answer is to use programming in science, mathematics, social studies, and other non-CS classes. We take programming to where the students are, and hope to increase their interest and knowledge about CS."

America's National Science Foundation (NSF) was intrigued enough by this idea to fund Creating Adoptable Computing Education Integrated into Social Studies Classes, a three-year project created by Guzdial and Grand Valley State University history professor Tamara Shreiner, a project which "aims to provide more students computing education by integrating programming activities into social studies classes and to use the computing to enhance students' data literacy." Along the same lines, the NSF has also greenlighted Northwestern University's CS professor Marcelo Worsley's Computational Thinking and Physical Computing in Physical Education for this fall, which will bring computer science to K-5 gym classes.

While the tech giants have lobbied for billions in spending on "rigorous" K-12 CS courses, could it be that the best "CS class" for most K-12 students is no CS class?

One size does not fit all

By passionplay • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Computer Science is not Computer Programming. And neither is "Using a Program on a Computer" , the same as Computer Programming. If you want someone to be proficient in using Excel, they don't need to take Computer Programming. If you want them to be proficient in VBA, they don't need to take Computer Programming. If you want them to have a career in writing software (notice I did NOT say developer), have them take Computer Programming. If you want them to lead a team of software writers, or architect solutions or develop new ways of doing things using computers, have them take Computer Science. If you want them to build new computers, have them take Computer Engineering. If you want them to lead a team of engineers and a team of software writers, have them take both. Just like you don't have to take algebra to understand the real world, or calculus. Basic functions is good enough. The rest is empirical for most people. Same applies to computers. Teach at the level required. And let them know where to go to learn more. Create the itch to learn. Don't force it on them.


By bjwest • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Computer Science should not be taught in the grade schools. An intro to computer programming, with the grade not counting towards the GPA, perhaps. Being good at programming, like sculpting, painting, drawing, is an art and/or skill that cannot be taught. Introduce the students to it then, based on whether or not they have an aptitude AND interest in it, allow them to take further courses if they so desire.

Re:Simple solution

By alvinrod • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
The idea that everyone should learn programming is pure conceited idiocy on the part of programmers. If we teach kids anything about computers it should be practical information such as protecting their data and avoiding the usual sort of online scams we see all the time. Even that's probably asking a lot.

If programmers think everyone should learn to code what's to stop plumbers from thinking everyone should learn the basics of their trade. They probably have a much better argument since pretty much everyone has a toilet and sink, but not everyone has a programmable computer.

Even if you teach programming in primary schools the best use of it is as a vehicle to teach problem solving skills. Being able to think algorithmically is valuable in all kinds of professions even if a person will never write a lick of code in their life.

Maybe CS is too broad a field

By joe_frisch • Score: 3 • Thread

We no longer teach "engineering", we separate electrical, mechanical, chemical etc because the required knowledge is very different.

Maybe its time to stop thinking of CS as a single field. There is some commonality, but the skills to build a user interface on windows are very different from those to program the embedded controller on a drone, are different from those to write a kernel level driver are different from developing a new machine learning algorithm. Writing in some high level toolkit is different from writing C or similar directly to hardware.

Teach kids logic and critical thinking

By fredrated • Score: 3 • Thread

and CS will just be something they can do if they feel like it.

America's Air Force Secretly Designed, Built, and Flew a Brand-New Fighter Jet

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"The U.S. Air Force revealed this week that it has secretly designed, built, and tested a new prototype fighter jet," reports Popular Mechanics: According to Defense News, the Air Force developed the new fighter in about a year — a staggeringly short amount of time by modern standards. The Air Force first developed a virtual version of the jet, and then proceeded to build and fly a full-sized prototype, complete with mission systems... It took the Air Force just one year to get to the point with the "Next Generation Air Dominance" (NGAD) fighter that it reached in 10 years with the F-35.

The Air Force designed the NGAD to ensure the service's "air dominance" in future conflicts versus the fighters of potential adversaries. The new fighter, then, is almost certainly optimized for air-to-air combat. It's a safe bet the fighter uses off-the-shelf avionics, engines, and weapons borrowed from other aircraft, such as the F-35 and F/A-18E/F...

If the Air Force and industry can design a new fighter in one year, it could come up with all sorts of cool new planes. This could encourage the development of more exotic, riskier designs that contractors would not otherwise want to devote a full decade to develop. The ability to fail — or succeed — faster will drive innovation in the world of fighter jets in ways not seen for a half century or more.

"We are ready to go and build the next-generation aircraft in a way that has never happened before," says Will Roper, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in an interview with Defense News: Should the Air Force move to buy NGAD in the near term, it will be adding a challenger to the F-35 and F-15EX programs, potentially putting those programs at risk. And because the advanced manufacturing techniques that are critical for building NGAD were pioneered by the commercial sector, the program could open the door for new prime contractors for the aircraft to emerge — and perhaps give SpaceX founder Elon Musk a shot at designing an F-35 competitor.

"I have to imagine there will be a lot of engineers — maybe famous ones with well-known household names with billions of dollars to invest — that will decide starting the world's greatest aircraft company to build the world's greatest aircraft with the Air Force is exactly the kind of inspiring thing they want to do as a hobby or even a main gig," Roper said.


By cdsparrow • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Yeah, but computers are a bit faster than a room full of slide rules too... Really is cool that things like the U2 and SR71 were made back then, and the SR71 is still amazing by today's standards.

Whooda thunk that...

By rnturn • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

... that taking the other services out of the equation would result in shorter design times and lower costs. When the Pentagon keeps going back to military contractors with endlessly updated wish lists for an armament that fits every possible need for every branch of the military it prolongs the procurement process with endless design changes and change requests and then wonders why the damn thing doesn't work the way it was hoped it would. And the weapon is likely obsolete before it's even widely deployed.

The Air Force came up with something that fits their needs. Kudos to them. We should expect, though, that they'll have a ton of criticism leveled at them and the process because a.) the plane can't land on aircraft carriers, b.) it doesn't transfer quite enough of the taxpayers' money to military contractors, and (directly related to "b") c.) doesn't allow enough Senators to make the claim that they've brought jobs to their states.

Re:If they can do that.

By bugs2squash • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
If we're going to war with ant sized people we probably should just use a can of Raid.

It is a Technology DEMONSTRATOR Not a Fighter

By crunchygranola • Score: 3 • Thread

This is definitely a new air vehicle, but it is not a combat vehicle, it is what is called a technology demonstrator. Exactly what is being demonstrated is unclear, the only information we have about it is this is from this Defense News article (which we get filtered through Popular Mechanics with no value added, I guess to monetize for the owner of /.).

Other than the fact that is exists, was flown, was built in a year, and is connected to a next gen fighter program, and is a technology demonstrator, we know nothing about this - not a single characteristic of the vehicle.

Where did you get that piece of misinformation?

By mykepredko • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The U2 wasn't done in 90 days:

The two years it took is impressive from a modern day standpoint but it didn't happen.

Maybe you're thinking of the P-80 which took 143 days (just shy of five months)?

Just out of curiosity, where did you get the idea it took 90 days? I've never seen that referenced anywhere.

Are Tesla's Data-Gathering Cars Secretly Improving Autopilot's Algorithms?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"When the history of autonomous cars is written, the winner will be Tesla," speculates long-time technology pundit Robert Cringely. " Heck, I think they've already won."

But his article includes a disclaimer that it's "based pretty much on logic, not knowledge, which is to say I might again be too frigging stupid to read, much less write." Tesla has more than a million data-gathering devices on the roads. We call them cars. Tesla cars have no LIDAR but they have eight cameras and RADAR. Every night all those cars wirelessly report their driving data back to Tesla. I would love to know how Tesla decided what to put in those reports. Given the limited bandwidth LTE connection involved, it can't be a complete data dump. They have to pick and choose what to report. And what does Tesla do with the reports? I think it comes down to algorithms, mapping, and exceptions. They are logically trying to improve their algorithms, improve their maps, but mainly — after having already parsed billions of miles of driving data — they are looking for exceptional events that are testing their algorithms in ways never seen before...

Tesla has a dual processor system in their cars — two completely distinct computers. Why...? Because every night is an A-B test for Tesla — a test that is running on your car. One processor is driving the car (or following the driver's actions if Autopilot isn't being used, which is most of the time) with production software while the second processor is running beta software, simulating the drive, and noting discrepancies between the two software versions. Multiply this times a million cars per night. Whether Autopilot is used or not doesn't matter: the evolution of the software continues. And it's finished when the beta software stops improving and the outcome shows the only difference between human and Autopilot driving is that Autopilot does it better. Continue for another month or year or decade just to confirm your results, then announce that full autonomous mode is available. That is exactly where I believe Tesla has been heading for as long as those two-processor cars have been on the road.

Tesla's autonomous driving software could be ready right now for all we know. Elon certainly hints at this from time to time in his tweets. And THAT's why I believe Tesla has already won the autonomous driving war, because they have real cars facing real exceptions that you won't find in a simulation, and their dual processor system knows what it knows.

Yes, I reached out to Tesla about this last week. They still haven't replied.

Again, Cringely wants that this is "based pretty much on logic, not knowledge, which is to say I might again be too frigging stupid to read, much less write."

Re:Doesn't matter

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

technology pundit Robert Cringely

No. Just Fucking No.

A Brief History of Robert X. Cringely

In 1986, Mark Stephens was hired as a writer by Inforworld magazine. Writing under the name "Robert X. Cringely", he began his career as a professional bullshitter.

When he was fired a few years later, Infoworld sued him over his continued use of the Cringely name. Eventually they reached an agreement where he was allowed to continue using the name Robert X. Cringely as long as he wasn't working for a competitor of Infoworld.

After Infoworld went out of business, Stephens began claiming that he is "the original Robert X. Cringely". He isn't. Before he was hired by Infoworld there were at least two other people who wrote columns using the the Cringely pseudonym.

At various points in his career, he has also claimed that he was employee number 12 at Apple, he helped them move out of Steve Jobs' garage, and he designed the original Mac trash can icon. None of this is true. Apple employee number 12 was actually Daniel Kottke. The trash can icon was created by Dan Smith and Bill Atkinson and there is no credible evidence that Mark Stephens ever worked at Apple.

In 2015 Cringely announced 'The Mineserver Project' on Kickstarter. These miniature Minecraft servers would be small, inexpensive ARM-based boards, running Linux, slightly more powerful than a Raspberry Pi and selling for $99. The project raised a total of $35,452 from 388 people and the finished boards were supposed to ship in December 2015. They didn't.

For the next two years Cringely was asked about the Minseserver boards and repeatedly claimed that they were finished and ready to ship, but there was always "one more little thing" that needed to be fixed. Then in October 2017 Cringely claimed that his house burned down and all the Mineserver boards were destroyed. Just like his tenure at Apple, there is no credible evidence that any of this is actually true.

It has now been 5 years since Cringely took $35,000 from people and delivered nothing. This isn't particularly interesting or unusual since a lot of Kickstarter projects fail. It happens. But people keep asking him about it and Cringely keeps lying. Blatant, obvious lying. One lie after another, each one bigger and more ridiculous than the last.

Cringely's latest and biggest whopper hit his blog in January 2020 when he announced his new business venture, Eldorado Space. This would be a company using F-104 jets to launch satellites. Cringely says revenue from this business will fund his retirement (he's 67 now) and give him enough money to finally deliver those Minecraft servers he's been promising for the last 5 years.

He also claimed that the business is guaranteed to succeed because his new company has bought all the F-104s in existence, so he won't have any competition. To prove this is all real and legitimate, Cringely found a picture of an F-104 on the Internet and photoshopped the word Eldorado onto it.

The truth and Robert X. Cringely are not well acquainted.


By aaarrrgggh • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I used to think this was a BS attitude until I got my Tesla... it is true. The actionable field is too small from the front camera, and the radar does not seem to fill the gap despite having a stated range of 150m. It would seem to me that at a minimum they need an extreme wide angle camera as well as a telephoto camera in front, and they could use extra side-facing cameras in the front as well, although that is likely not an absolute need. Somehow, the car needs significantly better situational awareness in the time domain, focusing on rate of change rather than real-time position. The autopilot re-write should address that to a degree, but once you look at rate-of-change your visual range requirement should increase dramatically.

I'm still waiting for RoboTaxis.

By BBF_BBF • Score: 3 • Thread
Robotaxis by the end of 2020, right?
Each Tesla Model 3 will make its owners $30,000 a year!

If it was on schedule to be "functionally" ready in 2020 like Musk said, then I'll be ready for the demonstration on Dec 31st. Not.

Bob isn't an idiot

By aglider • Score: 3 • Thread

But google maps does the same. Sort of. Since long.

It understood from me and my neighbours about a temporary change on a one way street and started suggesting it for directions. Once the change was reverted back it stopped within one day to suggest it.

Whether the two CPUs are used like that, I really dunno, but the data gathering sounds reasonable. A part of the "night" guess which could be not correct: why not using it during the day when the car is on the road and with full 3g/4g coverage?
Shipping a few MB every 10 or 15 minutes looks more reasonable, doesn't it?

Re: Driveways?

By PPH • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

By the second DARPA autonomous vehicle challenge, the ability to select which parts of the terrain were driveable was basically solved. And we've come a long way from that, where video image processing is able to replace LIDAR. Picking a roadway out of a forest image isn't that difficult. And the military has systems in work that can even find driveable terrain between the trees that fall within a vehicle's capabilities. They don't use LIDAR, as that is an advertisement to get shot when used near a battle zone.

US Judge Blocks Attempt to Ban WeChat

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"The popular Chinese messaging and payments app WeChat looks like it might still be available in the U.S. beyond Sunday night, after all," reports the Street: U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler of San Francisco stopped the Trump administration from forcing Apple and Alphabet to take the Tencent Holdings' messaging app offline for downloading by late Sunday, according to a report from Reuters. The decision — which also blocks other restrictions imposed by the U.S. government on the app — follows the U.S. Commerce Department's move on Friday to virtually eliminate access to the application and impair its ability to function, in part by prohibiting companies from distributing or maintaining it and blocking financial transactions over the app in the U.S...

The order also stated that the Commerce Department's orders "burden substantially more speech than is necessary to serve the government's significant interest in national security, especially given the lack of substitute channels for communication."

Re:Need help (genuinely) to understand

By Orgasmatron • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I don't understand why people who are seemingly old enough to pass as adults make this stupid argument over and over again.

The president is using discretionary powers included in a law that was passed by Congress and signed by a previous president. It has been on the books for decades without a court challenge.

Is there a law that allows the president to make a similar discretionary decision to nullify the election results? I don't think there is, partly because no one has been able to cite it, but if there is, why aren't we talking about repealing it? And if there isn't, why are you pretending that there is? Or are you actually so stupid that you think that a president can just say "emergency" and ignore all of our laws?

Re:I was with them until....

By sikiriki • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Well, you didn't read the whole story, did you? Chinese internet is behind a firewall that blocks most of those chat services. Even if some are available right now, there is no guarantee that they will keep working.

Re: lack of substitute channels?

By thomst • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

TFS noted that:

The order also stated that the Commerce Department's orders "burden substantially more speech than is necessary to serve the government's significant interest in national security, especially given the lack of substitute channels for communication."

Leading Gravis Zero to plead:

How is there a lack of "substitute channels for communication"? There are a zillion chat applications which seem like they could easily substitute this particular one. Could someone provide context so this quote doesn't seem insane?

Well, for one thing, just off the top of my head, there're 1.5 giga-Chinese behind the Great Firewall who are prevented by their own governments from using most of the communications and social media platforms that are more popular than WeChat, here in the West. Relatives, friends, and associates of those PRC nationals who reside in or are visiting this country (some non-trivially-large subset of whom are actual citizens hereof) have non-abridgeable, First Amendment rights to communicate with their friends, relatives, business associates, or any other individuals or groups who live or work within China's boundaries. The President cannot override their rights to so communicate simply because his EO asserts an undefined national security risk to their using a platform that virtually every one of the adults and older children who live in or are visiting the PRC uses to communicate throughout their day.

IMnsHO, that is what makes this EO unconstitutional on its face, and I have every expectation that Judge Beeler's decision on this issue will be upheld at every level of appeal.

If the current Chief Executive's legal advisers had done their jobs, they would have anticipated this obstacle, and pursuaded him to limit its scope to Federal employees and contractors. I think it's a safe bet that, had it been so worded, the Magistrate Judge would have ruled it to be reasonable exercise of the President's authority as Commander-in-Chief of the Republic's military, and therefore permissable, despite the modified EO's first-glance conflict with the First Amendment.

If they entirely failed to present him with that alternative language, his legal advisers (not his personal lawyers, but the Office of the White House Counsel team, plus any outside constitutional scholars they might have thought to consult about the phrasing of this specific document) were incompetent and/or derelict. If they did, in fact present to him, and argue the merits of, the limitation of its scope to those over whom the President can argue he has direct authority, and he chose to overrule them, instead, and insisted on the more sweeping restriction, that is on him, and nobody else.

That, at any rate, is my immediate reaction. I caution you that I have not read Judge Beeler's decision, nor am I a lawyer. (If you seek legal advice, you should consult an attorney.) But, as a writer of political fiction, I am something of an amateur student of the Constitution out of necessity, and, regardless of whether the line of reasoning I laid out above lies at the heart of her ruling, or whether she based it on a different, equally-fatal constitutional defect, the point I just raised would be enough to rule the anti-WeChat EO unconstitutional, and therefore legally invalid, entirely on its own.

The President is not a monarch. He does not get to rule by unchallengeable decree. We have rules in this country - one of which is the First Amendment - and he is bound by them.

I'm not at all a fan of WeChat. Nor do I think it's a good idea for anyone in the USA to install it on his/her phone. I feel exactly the same way about TikTok, in part, for exactly the same reason: the Party can (and I strongly suspect does) insist that apps made in the PRC contain undisclosed back doors to which the Party holds the keys, and that apps' makers turn over to the Party any and/or all "private" information they appropriate from their installed user base, as well.

Fuck just a whole bunch of that.

I have an extensive list of my own acts of poor judgement. That using WeChat is not one of them is due almost entirely to my not being of Chinese ancestry. That I wouldn't install TikTok on a bet is largely due to the fact that TikTok's management has been caught using the app to engage in systematic, undisclosed privacy rape as a fundamental part of its business model (plus the whole PRC-mandated spyware potential). But private individuals in this country have the First-Amendment-mediated right to make foolish, even dangerous choices in the phone apps they install. And the President cannot prevent them from doing so by decree, unless he or his lawyers can convince a Federal judge that those apps constitute a valid, immediate, and demonstrable national security threat .

Any evidence that such a threat exists could have been presented to Judge Beeler in chambers, if it existed. That she ruled against the consitutional legality of the EO makes it a safe bet that the President's lawyers had no such evidence to present ...

Re:I was with them until....

By jasonwc • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

That's likely because you aren't in mainland China. Many of the commonly used chat applications in the US are banned in mainland China. For example, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram are banned. Signal is not banned but it has very little usage among the population in mainland China, which is likely why it hasn't been banned. iMessage can be used but Apple controls the key management, which means the government can likely compel them to hand over keys for Chinese devices. Moreover, iPhones are much more prevalent in the US than in China. WeChat has a billion users - virtually everyone in China uses it - it's a chat, payment, and social media platform, and can even be used to pay your subway or cab fare in Shanghai. Moreover, for individuals with limited or no English proficiency, the options may be even further limited. The point is that chat software is only useful if the people you want to speak to are also using it. For communicating with people in China, there's no more prevalent app than WeChat. That doesn't mean it's not used for surveillance or propaganda. It's the only app I know of where your messages are censored in real time. Send a message about a controversial topic and it may never be delivered. You also may be interrogated the next time you enter China. It's a horrible app. Nonetheless, for many Chinese-Americans, it's essential for communicating with their family in Mainland China. Thankfully, a US-purchased device can use the US app store in China. US-purchased device + VPN to Tokyo = access to any software you wish to use.

Re:Globalist Democrats block national interests

By Austerity Empowers • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I absolutely scream bloody murder when the Trump Administration engages in extra-legal activities. Which is like a day ending in y at this point.

I am absolutely NOT OK with China, in this case, with China spying on us. But I am less OK with Trump making the decision for me on what applications I can run, unless he has a really damned good reason and requests that authority from Congress like he's supposed to. He has no good reason, he's just trying to get a cut from a business deal he's not really involved with.

Chinese Intelligence Compiles 'Vast Database' About Millions Around the World

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Australia's national public broadcaster ABC reports: A Chinese company with links to Beijing's military and intelligence networks has been amassing a vast database of detailed personal information on thousands of Australians, including prominent and influential figures. A database of 2.4 million people, including more than 35,000 Australians, has been leaked from the Shenzhen company Zhenhua Data which is believed to be used by China's intelligence service, the Ministry of State Security. Zhenhua has the People's Liberation Army and the Chinese Communist Party among its main clients.

Information collected includes dates of birth, addresses, marital status, along with photographs, political associations, relatives and social media IDs. It collates Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and even TikTok accounts, as well as news stories, criminal records and corporate misdemeanours. While much of the information has been "scraped," some profiles have information which appears to have been sourced from confidential bank records, job applications and psychological profiles.

The company is believed to have sourced some of its information from the so-called "dark web". One intelligence analyst said the database was "Cambridge Analytica on steroids", referring to the trove of personal information sourced from Facebook profiles in the lead up to the 2016 US election campaign. But this data dump goes much further, suggesting a complex global operation using artificial intelligence to trawl publicly available data to create intricate profiles of individuals and organisations, potentially probing for compromise opportunities.

Zhenhua Data's chief executive Wang Xuefeng, a former IBM employee, has used Chinese social media app WeChat to endorse waging "hybrid warfare" through manipulation of public opinion and "psychological warfare"....

The database was leaked to a US academic, who worked with Canberra cyber security company Internet 2.0 and "was able to restore 10 per cent of the 2.4 million records for individuals...

"Of the 250,000 records recovered, there are 52,000 on Americans, 35,000 Australians, 10,000 Indian, 9,700 British, 5,000 Canadians, 2,100 Indonesians, 1,400 Malaysia and 138 from Papua New Guinea."

Vast database of....

By martynhare • Score: 3 • Thread
Ten thousand Brits. The US on the other hand has a database on all of us, through PRISM. Besides, from what I have heard (from leaked British intelligence documents) China sends hot women to find ways to blackmail you, while we already know our MI5 co-operates with MI6 to send you to Pakistan for an involuntary manicure if you're under too much suspicion.

By comparison and also considering modern divorce rates, I think I'll sign up for the Chinese special interest lists instead!

Love your counrty

By AndyKron • Score: 3 • Thread
Thank goodness our government doesn't do that

Lions, Tigers, Bears

By awwshit • Score: 3 • Thread

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears! Oh My!

As if China is the only one. What does Australia itself have? How about the US? You could argue that there are different intentions but that is no excuse. We seem to have forgotten privacy is a basic human right.


By spitzak • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

EVERYBODY is making such lists, including the USA and the Australians.

The fact that Cambridge Analytica got in trouble did not make the lists disappear, anybody who does not care about the legality (or contractual obligations) of their actions can still do exactly the same thing now, even Cambridge Analytica can.

The best that can possibly be hoped for is public shaming for using the information. I suspect this works about equally well for the Chinese as Cambridge Analytica. I also suspect the end result will be that everybody gives up and we live with micro-targeted propaganda.


By SuperDre • Score: 3 • Thread
"US intelligence Compiles 'Vast Database' About Millions Around the World" it's not only the chinese, the US is doing exactly the same, even spying on its own allies (that's why they don't want their allies to switch to Huawei hardware, because that hardware is actually much more secure than the US counterparts and the US can't hack those, whereas with US hardware the backdoors are fully open for them, also the reason why they don't want providers in the US to use Huawei).

Is Momentum Growing for Universal Basic Incomes?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"A successful basic-income trial in Stockton, California, has inspired a chain of similar pilots in other cities," reports Business Insider: The city council of Saint Paul, Minnesota, voted to approve funding for a pilot there on Wednesday. The program is set to begin this fall and will give up to 150 low-income families $500 per month for up to 18 months — no strings attached... "I think there's a budding realization that not only is this a good thing for us to try, but that we may not have any other option," St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter said on a Wednesday press call...

"We're obviously seeing an unprecedented crisis in our communities across our country," Carter said. "We're coming to a recognition that we don't have a funding problem. We have a priorities problem."

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced he was donating $3 million to a coalition of "Mayors for a Guaranteed Income." The group currently has 25 mayors -- two who are already overseeing pilot programs in their own cities -- while Chicago, Newark, and Atlanta "have created task forces to help design their programs," and the mayor of Pittsburgh would like to launch one of their own by the end of the year.

In another article, Business Insider created a map showing the locations of 48 basic income programs that have happened around the world (based on data from the Stanford Basic Income Lab). But they also provide this summary of their current state: So is basic income the real deal or a pipe dream? The results are still unclear. Some, like the initial pilots for Uganda's Eight program, were found to result in significant multipliers on economic activity and well-being. Other programs, however, returned mixed results that made further experimentation difficult. Finland's highly-touted pilot program decreased stress levels of recipients across the board, but didn't positively impact work activity.

The biggest difficulty has been in keeping programs going and securing funding. Ontario's three-year projects were prematurely cancelled in 2018 before they could be completed and assessed, and the next stages of Finland's program are in limbo. Likewise in the U.S., start-up incubator Y Combinator has been planning a $60M basic income study program, but can't proceed until funding is secured.


By Bender0x7D1 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Here's my argument against it: The rich - the ones who are going to foot the bill for UBI - will leave. A billionaire can easily live anywhere on the planet that they want. See what happened to France and NYC.

Also, your argument about "more building" falls flat since you are saying that rent won't go up because there will be more building - but don't explain why the cost of building wouldn't go up when people have more money. (Also: "We have no idea what the UBI would be" just says that you have no idea, and no argument, and are just hand waving support for your argument.)


By dgatwood • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

No, you wont. What will happen is that all those vacancies will go away. And more people will chose to live on their own instead of cramming all together like they do now. There will be greater demand for housing because more people will be able to afford to live on their own.

How, exactly, do you conclude that a scenario with no vacancies will not cause rents to increase?

Because if there is less need to cram together, there will also will be less demand for living in cities in general. More demand overall does not necessarily mean more demand in any given location, and particularly not in areas where there are already approximately no vacancies.

The reality is that although some people choose to live in cities because they want to live in cities, most people live in cities because they work in cities. If they don't have to work just to survive, a lot of them won't bother to keep living in cities.

Don't believe me? Take a look at the Bay Area housing market collapse caused by just a couple of companies declaring that people can work from wherever they want for one year. Imagine what would happen if all of the Bay Area's low-wage workers all said, "You know what, the UBI is enough to live on anywhere else in the country. Screw you all. I'm moving to Idaho."

And of course, the temporary skyrocketing cost of goods and services because of lack of workers would then drive a lot of the tech workers to say, "Screw you all. I'm moving to Nebraska." And now you have a new equilibrium with lots more vacancies than you had before, at least in big cities.

Re: The problem with universal basic income

By Local ID10T • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

An ancedote to support your stagnant/decreasing pay comment:

In the early 1990s, I was a part-time college student working part-time as a general office temp (receptionist, filing clerk, mail room, etc.) thru Manpower temporary services. No special skills, just show up a couple days a week to various places and fill in for people who were out... paid $20 / hour. I lived in a 2 bedroom apartment in a "luxury" complex for $720 / month. After college, my first tech job (junior system admin & pc tech support) started at $75,000 / year with a $50,000 two-year retention bonus.

Basic starting jobs do not pay that now. Housing costs have gone up as well.

Re: The problem with universal basic income

By 1s44c • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Not everything is Marxism, there are many other things in the world.


By bloodhawk • Score: 3 • Thread
Firstly it is NOT a UBI, what they are doing is social security as it absolutely has strings attached as it is for "low income families". Like all these experiments it is only UBI in name as there is nothing universal about it and it absolutely does have strings attached.

You Can Microwave This Notebook When It's Full - Then Reuse It Again

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
A new product wants to upgrade the act of taking notes in a spiral-bound notebook — with the resuable "Rocketbook Wave Smart Notebook": You can write on it using any Pilot Frixion pen, marker, or highlighter, and once you're done, you can scan the notes, doodles, and drawings into the Rocketbook app to store them in a cloud. Used up all of its pages? No problem. Make sure you've scanned all your notes, and then throw your notebook into the microwave. Yes, the microwave. Throwing it into the microwave will erase everything you've written from the notebook.

To avoid getting into the science of it, let's just call it magic.

The notebook's pages are designed with grids, so it's perfect for either writing or drawing, and they actually feel like real paper, so you'll still feel the joy of handwriting. That's really a thing. Ask anyone who journals. Inside the app, you can use the smart search to quickly find something in your notes, according to date or a search term.

The "science"

By rufey • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

After going to the linked article, which is definitely more like an advertisement, it said I could purchase one on Amazon.

So I went over to Amazon and read some of the user questions and answers. The "science" behind this is mostly the Pilot FriXion pens, which use ink that turns invisible at about 140 degrees F. One user posted a question about if the ink would disappear in a hot car, to which at least one replied that it happened to them.

What the microwave (aka heat) doesn't erase are the indentations left behind. And since the ink turns invisible, the more you use it and microwave it, the ink residue builds up over time, so this isn't a buy once and use it for the rest of your life type product.

And at nearly $25 for a single notebook that has 80 pages about 8x9 in size, not to mention you have to use special markers/pens, I'll pass.

I come to Slashdot for news for nerds, stuff that matters, not advertisements.

No point in re-using paper

By flyingfsck • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Paper is a simple biodegradable product, so paper doesn't really have garbage problem. It would be better to make a re-usable plastic product.

Are you fucking kidding?

By RightwingNutjob • Score: 3 • Thread
"To avoid getting into the science of it, let's just call it magic."

In what world and for which intended audience is ad copy like that not a straight-up insult?

I hope to god whoever came up with that marketing slogan lost his job for incompetence.

Welcome to slashdot

By Jason1729 • Score: 3 • Thread
To avoid getting into the science of it, let's just call it magic.

I can't think of anything that describes the modern management of Slashdot better than this.

Also, this product has been available for years. It was on shark tank years ago. So...good job there too, Slashdot.

Yes, the microwave.....

By fred911 • Score: 3 • Thread

''Yes, the microwave. Throwing it into the microwave will erase everything''

Works for kittens and bad children also. I wouldn't want to live life without one..

Could Smart Technology Help Save the World's Honey Bees?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
CNN Business reports: Climate change, intensive agriculture, and the use of pesticides and fungicides in farming is ravaging the world's bees. Commercial beekeepers in the United States lost 44% of their managed colonies in 2019, according to research from the University of Maryland. Now, technology startups are developing smart devices that give beekeepers access to detailed information about the state of their hives, aiming to reduce losses and improve bee health.

Among them is Ireland's ApisProtect, which has just launched a sensor that alerts beekeepers if there is a problem in their hives. The small internet-connected sensor is placed under the roof of the beehive and measures a number of metrics including temperature, humidity, sound and movement. Data from the sensor is sent via the cloud to ApisProtect's HQ in Cork, Ireland, where the data is processed, analyzed and then sent back to the beekeeper...

With bees in demand for a booming pollination industry, there are a number of other startups promoting new technologies, including Pollenity in Bulgaria, Arnia in the United Kingdom and BeeHero in Israel.Pollenity was founded in 2015 by Sergey Petrov and has raised $1.2 million in funding. Its Beebot smart sensor device is aimed at small and hobbyist beekeepers, and it is also working with six universities from across Europe on an EU-funded research project called HIVEOPOLIS. The project aims to improve the welfare of bees by reinventing hives using a number of technologies, including a robot bee capable of "dancing" to direct the hive's swarm.

"The robot bee will tell the other bees where to go to find nectar and pollen," Petrov says. "Not only will this direct them to certain fields for pollination but also navigate the bees away from dangerous areas, like where pesticides are being used."

but what can the average person do?

By v1 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Probably planting more things that flower for the bees to eat is the easiest thing for most people to do.

Even NOT doing things can help. This summer after I mowed, the clover in my lawn bloomed, and I had large swaths of white patches in my yard. While my neighbors were running around mowing again to get rid of the white, I left the clover alone and saw quite a few bees in my yard.

Several variety of wildflowers volunteered on the side of my house, and I've let them grow, cultivated them a bit, and every time I'm on that side of the house I see mobs of bees and wasps all over the blooms. I'm not sure what exactly they are, but they're covered in a nonstop series of blossoms that aren't going to give up until the frost hits, they've been blooming for months. The bees absolutely LOVE them!

You can help the bees out quite a bit even with very little effort.

Honey bees are not endangered

By dmay34 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread


Honeybees are not endangered. Honeybees are about as endangered as cows are, which is to say that they are not anywhere close to being endangered.
There is a simple evolutionary law to understand: The single most successful evolutionary trait a living thing can have is being useful to humans. Honeybees are gonna be fine.

That said, the mistake that is made is that it's not honeybees that are endangered, it's basically EVERY OTHER SPECIES of insect, especially wild bees. We have seen population collapses in many species of wild insects including pollinators. Honeybees are not the most important pollinators to be concerned about.

betteridges law of headlines

By goombah99 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

says no.

Robot bee

By Rei • Score: 3 • Thread

Well, I can already see some weaknesses. Which is that first off, bees tend to ignore other bees' waggle dances if they're already happy with how their foraging is going, and they may even waste time "arguing" with other bees if they disagree about the "advice" they're giving (there's a certain frequency buzz which amounts to shouting "NO!", and they can even get in outright fights about it). E.g. if a bee found little forage in the aforementioned location, or a predator, or a dead bee, or whatnot, it tries to keep other bees from getting directed to that location.

Also, even bees that aren't having much foraging success don't always listen to a bee giving a waggle dance (although they're more likely too). And of course, waggle dancing on the comb has a limited range over which bees can "see" (actually, electrostatically-feel) the dance. Basically, a robot waggler may direct some bees to a particular field, and some bees away from a pesticide target... but not most of them.

Re:every third mouthful...

By Rei • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Bees are friggin' amazing animals. Particularly as a collective, but even as individuals.

I love how they always maintain an internal concept of the position of the sun as it moves over time (in order to be able to navigate to distant landmarks relative to it), regardless of latitude or time of year - how their brains basically calculate the proper motion of the sun under any circumstances. So when they waggle dance (up = direction of the sun; angles relative to that = the offset to fly; time per waggle = distance), the direction is relative to the sun's current position, not the position of the sun when they saw it last - and the listeners further adjust it for time delay when they fly out.

But then of course, you only have limited navigation precision when you're a tiny bee getting blown around and whatnot. So that gets them to a couple dozen to a couple hundred meters of a target. They then switch to visual navigation. And not simply instinctive visual navigation. They learn what sort of flower A) colours, and B) patterns are currently corresponding with good rewards in that particular area, and tend to focus on them; they have long-term memory. They also have techniques to avoid repeated visits to the same flower.

Inside the hive they're fastidiously clean animals, to the point that they'd rather die from dysentery than defecate in the hive, if bad weather keeps them inside for too long. Dead bees, pests, etc are all removed and dumped outside. Workers produce propolis to "caulk" cracks in their hive, but they don't over-seal it, as they want to maintain proper temperature and humidity. If there's a pest hiding in a part of the hive they can't get to, they'll try to seal them in with propolis. When they need more airflow to some part of the hive, workers will decide to dedicate themselves to functioning as living fans. And of course, the process of making honey itself is all about proper reduction of the water content of the regurgitated nectar (from - it should be noted - a structure that's more like a crop than a stomach; thinking of it as vomit really isn't correct).

It seems every time people assume they're dumb animals acting purely on instinct and unable to adapt to unexpected circumstances, they're proven wrong. One of my favourites was all of the experienced beekeepers commenting that, surely the Flow Hive couldn't work, because if you take the honey out of sealed cells, they'll be empty cells sealed with wax, and the bees would just keep assuming that they're stored honey. Except they don't - the bees are apparently able to tell somehow that the cells are empty, remove the wax, and start refilling them. Then again, this probably shouldn't be surprising, as bees have heavy evolutionary pressure to sense what's going on inside the comb, as there's all sorts of pests adapted to stealing honey or eating larvae, underneath the wax.

(It's a shame that bees are vulnerable to such a massive range of pests and diseases :( Humans spreading beekeeping around the world has unfortunately spread so many problems that used to be localized to only one specific place )

US Teens Are Being Paid to Spread Disinformation on Social Media

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Washington Post covered "a sprawling yet secretive campaign that experts say evades the guardrails put in place by social media companies to limit online disinformation of the sort used by Russia" during America's last presidential campaign in 2016.

According to four people with knowledge of the effort, " Teenagers, some of them minors, are being paid to pump out the messages..." The campaign draws on the spam-like behavior of bots and trolls, with the same or similar language posted repeatedly across social media. But it is carried out, at least in part, by humans paid to use their own accounts, though nowhere disclosing their relationship with Turning Point Action or the digital firm brought in to oversee the day-to-day activity. One user included a link to Turning Point USA's website in his Twitter profile until The Washington Post began asking questions about the activity. In response to questions from The Post, Twitter on Tuesday suspended at least 20 accounts involved in the activity for "platform manipulation and spam." Facebook also removed a number of accounts as part of what the company said is an ongoing investigation...

The months-long effort by the tax-exempt nonprofit is among the most ambitious domestic influence campaigns uncovered this election cycle, said experts tracking the evolution of deceptive online tactics. "In 2016, there were Macedonian teenagers interfering in the election by running a troll farm and writing salacious articles for money," said Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab. "In this election, the troll farm is in Phoenix...."

The messages — some of them false and some simply partisan — were parceled out in precise increments as directed by the effort's leaders, according to the people with knowledge of the highly coordinated activity, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect the privacy of minors carrying out the work... The messages have appeared mainly as replies to news articles about politics and public health posted on social media. They seek to cast doubt on the integrity of the electoral process, asserting that Democrats are using mail balloting to steal the election — "thwarting the will of the American people," they alleged. The posts also play down the threat from covid-19, which claimed the life of Turning Point's co-founder Bill Montgomery in July...

By seeking to rebut mainstream news articles, the operation illustrates the extent to which some online political activism is designed to discredit the media. While Facebook and Twitter have pledged to crack down on what they have labeled coordinated inauthentic behavior, in Facebook's case, and platform manipulation and spam, as Twitter defines its rules, their efforts falter in the face of organizations willing to pay users to post on their own accounts, maintaining the appearance of independence and authenticity.

One parent even said their two teenagers had been posting the messages since June as "independent contractors" — while being paid less than minimum wage.

Re:What I find interesting

By doom • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

From my outsider poiint of view, you say that and I don't even know if you are referring to the left or the right. That statement can equally apply to either side.

And that is what we technically refer to as "bullshit". Seriously, "both sides!"? You can't possibly be for real.

For what it's worth: yes, my fellow members of the liberal-left are quite capable of biased nonsense-- the nuclear power issue remains a prime example-- and yet the sheer quantity egregious nonsense coming from the right is up at a tsunami level. Just start with Trump-- and no, you don't get to claim that he's an outlier, not after putting him in office and backing him up for years-- the question isn't whether he lies a lot, the question is his rate of lies per minute. It's a trivial matter to put together videos of him contradicting himself, how do you shrug those off? Out of context? Everyone does it? Q: on Covid-19 has Trump played the issue *down* or *up*?

Re:What I find interesting

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The Democrats are too nice. The Republicans don't give a fuck, but the Dems stick to their principals even when it costs them.

Take SCOTUS. The Republicans refused to hold hearings for Obama's pick. He could have just appointed the guy and told them to swivel, but instead he took the high ground and made some speeches.

Now the situation is reversed again the Republicans don't care that they look like massive hypocrites, they will appoint someone weeks before the election anyway. Winning is all that matters, commandments are for idiots that believe that kind of thing.

Re:What I find interesting

By doom • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

One more time: Maybe "both sides", but no not equally and retreating back to that is in itself a sign of how bad off you and you're side is doing.

You don't need to be perfect to point out that the other guy is worse, and sometimes the other guy really and truly is worse. At this point the right in this country is transparently, overwhelmingly bad to historic proportions, and no amount of "whatabout" maneuvers is going to hide that from anyone who's been paying attention for even a second.

Collusion with foreign governments to influence American elections, abusing government office for private profit, encouraging violent, arguably seditious behavior among a radical faction... recently we got up to using federal agents to commit kidnapping and murder on US soil...

Re: Big deal.

By Malays2 bowman • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

"Sorry but you are vastly outnumbered, nutjob. You'll learn that Americans want law and order when Trump gets reelected on November 3rd and we start arresting and prosecuting your violent, insane mobs"

Small comfort to those business owners who finds out that their insurance won't pay enough or at all when their buildings are burned down, on top of the contracters who charge as much as the building is worth just to haul the debris away.

I'm sick of Trump. I'm sick of the hate and division he has caused, I'm sick of his private torrettes moments when he says that he wants to use medieval style torture methods on illegal immigrants, and I am just sick of his extreme arrogance. No, I'm not posting any links here to cite this, because it's time you crawl out of your shell of ignorance and go look it up youself, hopefully finding out other things along the way of why your shiny knight is really rusted all over and cheaply painted up to hide the damage.

I am truly worried about what could very well happen on election night, to the point I've been telling my friends to stay home that night and get ready for some serious trouble and to guard their homes.

Re:Am I missing something?

By Sumguy2436 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

No, Most journalists working for major news organizations are overseen within those organizations for properly sourcing their articles.

10-20 years ago I probably would have agreed but these days it's all "anonymous sources" and "people familiar with the thinking". Telling people what to think has become more important than reporting what actually happened. Major newspapers have become a mirror of social media: they're political echo chambers.

Newly-Released Trove of Recordings from the 1980s Includes Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Steve Jobs is now known for revolutionizing just about every part of the tech world, but back in 1988, he was perhaps best known for getting fired," remembers SFGate: In his first product reveal since his dismissal from Apple in 1985, Jobs unveiled a new project called NeXT at a meeting of the Boston Computer Society. An audio recording of the event was unearthed and released as part of a trove of early tech recordings released by Charles Mann, as reported in an extensive feature by Fast Company...

Computing advances included a UNIX operating system that allows multi-tasking, a one million pixel display, CD quality sound and a then unprecedented 256 MB of storage. The computer would be completely built by robots rather than a human assembly line, which he said resulted in a defect rate 10 times lower than its competitors. The partnership with academia makes even more sense once you consider the price-tag of $6,500.

Fast Company's tech editor Harry McCracken was at the 1988 event, and quotes Jobs as saying "The Macintosh architecture is going to peak next year sometime. And that means that there's enough cracks in the wall already, and enough limitations to the architecture, that the Mac's pretty much going to be everything it's ever going to be sometime next year."

Some clips are available on Soundcloud, but the full trove of tech recordings includes 200 full hours of audio and 16 more of video (available on a USB drive for $59.95) showing luminaries from the early days of personal technology. "In 1985, for instance, a month after Commodore announced its groundbreaking Amiga computer in New York City, president Tom Rattigan came to Boston to show it to BCS members and argue that it left the Mac in the dust." Other recordings include Dan Bricklin, co-creator of VisiCalc, Osborne computer designer Adam Osborne, and investor Esther Dyson, McCracken writes:

Jobs is on three recordings — one from his first Apple tenure, and two from NeXT. Bill Gates is on five. There are folks who were already legends (mobile-computing visionary Alan Kay, marketer extraordinaire Regis McKenna) and up-and-comers (budding PC tycoon Michael Dell, age 23). Everyone from Sony cofounder Akio Morita to psychedelics advocate and part-time technologist Timothy Leary is represented; just the Apple-related material, including CEO John Sculley talking about the company in the 21st century and Hypercard creator Bill Atkinson demoing his brainchild, is a feast...

The audio of Jobs's NeXT demo at the BCS — and dozens of other recordings — exist solely because Mann realized more than 35 years ago that the talks going on at computer user-group meetings and conferences were history in the making... In May 1982, the BCS hosted Applefest, an Apple II-centric fair that featured already-iconic Apple cofounders Jobs and Wozniak as keynote speakers. In this excerpt, fielding a question from the audience, they talk about software copy protection. Woz does so from a technical bent; Jobs, who speaks of a future involving low prices and convenient electronic distribution, sounds like he was thinking about the App Store decades before it appeared. This is rare, rare stuff; if you know of even one other example of surviving audio or video of Jobs and Wozniak talking about Apple together, I'd love to hear about it.


By paul_engr • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Entire set of recordings on a usb for $60 Seems like a fuckload of fuck to me. Put that shit on youtube. It's history and should be shared for perpetuity, not turned into a cash cow.

Re:Misleading quote

By Jarwulf • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Without Woz he would have been a car salesman or at most some petty marketing executive. Without Jobs Woz would have been like most engineers who grind out their days as a working stiff contributing to boring projects in ways that only a few dusty technical manuals would know about while the executives and faces get all the credit. And then been warehoused in an old folks home anonymous and forgotten.

Last-Minute TikTok Deal Averts Shutdown

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"President Donald Trump said Saturday he's given his 'blessing' to a proposed deal that would see the popular video-sharing app TikTok partner with Oracle and Walmart and form a U.S. company," reports CBS News: Mr. Trump has targeted Chinese-owned TikTok for national security and data privacy concerns in the latest flashpoint in the rising tensions between Washington and Beijing. The president's support for a deal comes just a day after the Commerce Department announced restrictions that if put in place could eventually make it nearly impossible for TikTok's legions of younger fans to use the app. Mr. Trump said if completed the deal would create a new company likely to be based in Texas...

TikTok said Oracle and Walmart could acquire up to a cumulative 20% stake in the new company in a financing round to be held before an initial public offering of stock, which Walmart said could happen within the next year. Oracle's stake would be 12.5%, and Walmart's would be 7.5%, the companies said in separate statements. The deal will make Oracle responsible for hosting all TikTok's U.S. user data and securing computer systems to ensure U.S. national security requirements are satisfied. Walmart said it will provide its ecommerce, fulfillment, payments and other services to the new company. "We are pleased that the proposal by TikTok, Oracle, and Walmart will resolve the security concerns of the U.S. administration and settle questions around TikTok's future in the U.S.," TikTok said in a statement.

"According to a source close to the matter, ByteDance would keep the rest of the shares," reports a public TV station in Australia. "But since the Chinese company is 40 per cent owned by American investors, TikTok would eventually be majority American-owned."

Today America's Treasury Department told CBS that the deal still needs to close with Oracle and Walmart, and those documents and conditions then need to be approved by government regulatory. But because of today's announcement, "the department said Saturday that it will delay the barring of TikTok from U.S. app stores until Sept. 27 at 11:59 p.m."

Bread and circuses

By Powercntrl • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This was nothing more than Trump wanting to appear tough on China without it backfiring by pissing off farmers and factory owners that buy their raw materials from China. His base gets to see him put a feather in his cap right before the election, and many of them probably aren't clued into the fact that TikTok is essentially just Vine reincarnated. It's just the latest in a line of ephemeral social media apps that would've lost its userbase as they grew up and got real jobs, but will now likely meet a much sooner demise at the hands of evil corporate overlords. Something similar happened to this once-popular P2P music sharing service I forget the name of... (and ultimately made no difference in the ability to pirate music today).

The real sinister part of what happened here is the president threatening to shut down an app he didn't like. If that isn't enough to make the partisan blinders fall off, there's not much hope left for this country.

Re:It's no coincidence that Oracle bought it

By backslashdot • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

As I posted before, but worth saying again .. Oracle would be far worse than China. Think Google/Facebook on steroids times ten.

Just watch this interview with the CEO of Oracle:

China despite it's bad intentions can do less damage than Oracle. This is like jumping from the frying pan straight into the fire. Not sure why there is very little awareness or publicity about this.

Re:I'm confused

By moronoxyd • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Yes, it's about moving control and benefits to US companies - by presidential orders.

Next up are all the gaming companies owned by Tencent.
US has taken giant leaps into becoming a dictatorship in the last few years. I think rest of the world should start acting, because in four years it's too late.

As someone from 'rest of the world' as you so kindly call us, this is not really our problem. Trump was democratically elected in your country, and he mostly sticks to US interests. If your people want your country to be lead by an idiot, well, that's up to you. We will respect your decision.

In four years it's too late for what? From an international perspective Trump didn't do all that much damage - especially if you compare him with someone like W Bush.

As someone from the rest of the world, I have to disagree: Trump did a lot to damage the relationships with the classic American allies, pulled out ot treaties and international organisations, supported (even if only verbally) dictators and outspoken enemies of the US, hurt international trade, gave Iran an excuse to resume building nuclear weapons, ignored the thread of climate change and COVID. He might not have started wars as G.W. did, but he did everything else he could to destabilize the US and, due to the political and economical connections, the rest of the world.

Saying that we are not Americans so we are not affected by what he does is pretty ignorant of how the world works.

Re:Mafia style

By infolation • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Although Trump initially said the US should get a cut/backhander from the TikTok deal, he got challenged in the US courts. Trump's now explicitly admitted that he can't take a cut of the deal.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has admitted there is no legal path to letting the U.S. Treasury take a cut of any deal between a U.S. entity and the video-sharing app TikTok, a unit of China's ByteDance — a proposition experts had criticized as unprecedented and possibly illegal.

Trump said he was stunned to learn that the Treasury could not receive any payment in exchange for the U.S. signing off on the deal.

"Amazingly, I find that you're not allowed to do that," Trump said. "If they're willing to make big payments to the government they're not allowed because ... there's no legal path to doing that. ... How foolish can [the United States] be?"

Re:Bread and circuses

By thegarbz • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

This was nothing more than Trump wanting to appear tough on China

Oh it's even dumber than that. Trump didn't even know what TikTok was until his first Fox News questioned why they allowed k-pop stars to virally suggest people register for his campaign in Tulsa without any intention of going. Despite how I think it didn't have much of an impact there's plenty of news sites that blame TikTok for the poor turnout at his first campaign event.

Check out this lovely trend:

May: Trump had a cry about TikTok carrying videos of him mashing up all of his stupidities with the hashtak #trumpisms. That's the first time Trump mentioned TikTok
June: Trump's Tulsa rally gets a ghost acceptance thanks in part to a Tiktok campaign to register for tickets without intending to go that went viral. Since then a new base level of TikTok was in the news including Trump's favourite pundits questioning why they are allowed to continue to operate and why they didn't filter this campaign out.
July: First time TikTok and national security get mentioned in the same article, because Trump needed something to justify his tantrum.

What I don't understand is how a guy that fat can have such thin skin.