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


  1. Rocket Lab Becomes Second Company After SpaceX To Launch and Land Orbital Rocket
  2. Tesla Model 3 Crash Hurls Battery Cells Into Nearby Home
  3. Tech Organizations Back 'Inclusive Naming Initiative'
  4. Xbox Series X Controller Support Coming To Apple Devices
  5. The US Could Soon Ban the Selling of Carrier-Locked Phones
  6. Flash Animations Live Forever At the Internet Archive
  7. IBM Apologizes For Firing Computer Pioneer For Being Transgender... 52 Years Later
  8. US Emissions To Drop 9% In 2020, Putting Country Back On Track For Paris Commitment
  9. GTA Online Is Getting A Big New Heist You Can Play Solo If You Want
  10. Google, Facebook and Twitter Threaten To Leave Pakistan Over Censorship Law
  11. Apple is Lobbying Against a Bill Aimed at Stopping Forced Labor in China
  12. Windows Turns 35
  13. The Few, the Tired, the Open Source Coders
  14. Biden Team Lacks Full US Cybersecurity Support in Transition Fracas
  15. Study Identifies Reasons for Soaring Nuclear Plant Cost Overruns in the US
  16. E-scooters Are Getting Computer Vision To Curb Pedestrian Collisions
  17. Microsoft's Next Phase of Climate Lobbying
  18. Microsoft Teams Takes on Zoom With Free All-Day Video Calling on the Web
  19. Solar Power Stations in Space Could Be the Answer To Our Energy Needs
  20. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter Align To Fight Covid Vaccine Conspiracies
  21. Apple Defends Delay of Privacy Feature, Slams Facebook
  22. SoftBank CEO Says He Doesn't Understand Bitcoin, and Watching the Price Fluctuate Was 'Distracting My Focus On My Own Business'
  23. Twisted Graphene Could Power a New Generation of Superconducting Electronics
  24. Scientists Produce Rare Diamonds In Minutes At Room Temperature

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.

Rocket Lab Becomes Second Company After SpaceX To Launch and Land Orbital Rocket

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Thelasko shares a report from Forbes: In a major milestone, the New Zealand-based launch company Rocket Lab has successfully recovered an orbital-class rocket after parachuting it back to Earth from near-space -- only the second company in history ever to do so. Yesterday, Thursday, November 20 at 9.20 P.M. Eastern Time, the company's two-stage Electron rocket lifted off from the company's launch site on the Mahia Peninsula on New Zealand's North Island.

Named 'Return to Sender', the mission lofted 30 satellites into a sun-synchronous orbit 500 kilometers above the surface of Earth -- the most satellites ever flown on an Electron rocket. Of the satellites launched, 24 were small communications satellites called "SpaceBees" from the California-based company Swarm Technologies. The others included a space junk removal test, a maritime observation satellite, and an earthquake investigation satellite -- while a small gnome also made its way to space for charity. The launch was especially notable, however, for Rocket Lab's recovery efforts. Shortly after the launch, the first stage of the rocket descended back to Earth under parachute, falling into the ocean where it was then recovered by a waiting ship several hours later.
Rocket Lab's plan is to catch its smaller rockets with a helicopter as they fall from space under a parachute. At some point, possibly next year, the first helicopter recovery will be attempted.

"First, the company says it wants to perform a few more splashdown tests in the ocean like this one, to check everything is nominal," reports Forbes. "If all goes well, however, SpaceX quite soon might not be the only private company that's able to launch, recover, and re-launch its own rockets."

first job for space junk removal

By algaeman • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
one gnome, located nearby by the test device...

Re: Congratulations to Rocket Labs

By sconeu • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

This was a system test, to make sure the guidance and the chutes worked. The plan for reusability is to catch the booster with a chopper.

Boeing working on relandable passenger jet

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

That's nothing. Boeing is working on a passenger jet that lands safely at the end of its journey, instead of piledriving itself into the ground.

Re: Congratulations to Rocket Labs

By robbak • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Here is video of their test capture -

Just keep the chopper far enough away from the main canopy. The helicopter's hook captures a drogue chute that trails behind

Re: Congratulations to Rocket Labs

By Rei • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Yeah i dont call this a successful landing then.

You're correct, but it's still an incredible achievement.

Note that they kind of had to do it the way they did. Parachutes work better at smaller scales, while powered landing works better at larger scales. And Electron is very much smaller scales - here's it next to Starship's cargo bay. :) Versus Falcon 9, it also doesn't come in as hot - it has about 10% more orbital energy per kilogram, 6% the mass, and 10% the cross section, so overall it's an easier heating challenge.

Just because parachutes are easier at smaller scales however doesn't make them easy. Of particular note is that SpaceX tried to recover the Falcon 1 with a parachute, and failed - the parachute got destroyed during deployment. They were initially mad at the parachute manufacturer who claimed that they'd be able to do it, but later came to understand the scale of the challenge and how hard that task would have been (though they had already moved on to the Falcon 9 so never pursued it further).

I really love the team at Rocket Lab. They have the same sort of innovative, fast-iterating spirit that SpaceX does (plus, Peter really loves Venus, which earns him points in my book ;) ). Right now they seem perfectly content to eat up the market for "small, dedicated launch vehicles" and are struggling to be able to meet all orders. But I do hope they go bigger eventually.

Tesla Model 3 Crash Hurls Battery Cells Into Nearby Home

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to a facebook post from the police department of Corvallis, Oregon, a Tesla Model 3 crashed at over 100mph, causing batteries from the Tesla to enter two different residences by breaking through the windows, one landing on a person's lap and the second landing on a bed, catching the bedding on fire. "A tire was ripped from the car during the collision and struck the second story siding of a nearby apartment complex with such force that it ruptured the water pipes within the wall, destroying the bathroom to the apartment and flooding the downstairs portion of the apartment as well," adds ExtremeTech. From the report: Tesla goes to some trouble to make certain that the battery cells in its vehicles don't go flying in the event of a collision. But the nature of this impact was obviously sufficient to break whatever solution the manufacturer has developed for dealing with the problem. Previous teardowns of the Model 3 battery pack have shown that the cells are sealed in place with high-strength epoxy.

With that said, there does appear to be a unique problem for BEVs in a situation like this. According to a follow-up post, the Model 3 battery cells can remain hot to the touch and might cause burns for up to 24 hours following involuntary dispersal. That kind of hazard -- specifically, the length of time you might be at risk from harm due to leftover detritus -- seems a potentially significant issue in certain situations. Tesla's epoxy solution shows it has considered the problem, but there may be reason to revisit things. It is unclear if individual cells remain at significant risk for secondary ignition after being separated from the main battery for any length of time or if the majority of fire risk is in the immediate period post-impact. The driver, incidentally, survived, which seems to say something good about Tesla's crash survival measures, at the least. The vehicle, needless to say, did not.

Re:And Tanks

By bgarcia • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Car gas tanks are designed to take a beating and not rupture. Usually they are located low, under the trunk and away from the rear bumper, wrapped in thick structural steel crumple zones making up the unibody of the back of the car.

But none of that is true for large trucks. No, instead, they continue to use "saddle tanks" that are located OUTSIDE of the frame, offering NO protection from direct impact with the fuel tanks.


By quonset • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Tesla has been having quality control problems lately,

Correct. In fact, Consumer Reports has put Tesla's Model Y at the "not recommended" rating due to these issues as reported by owners.

The problems with the Model Y ranged from misaligned body panels to mismatched paint. One owner reported dust, debris, and even human hair stuck in the paint.

Fisher said new vehicles often have reliability problems but Tesla's issues are unusually bad.

"It's some basic stuff they're not getting right, which is disappointing," he said. "It's disappointing that body panels are not aligned so they can't even shut the back hatch. It's disappointing the paint has so many problems. You'd think this is stuff they would be able to get right from the start."

The Model S dropped to "below average", the Model X remained the same at "not recommended" while the Model 3 was still "recommended".

Joking aside

By Viol8 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Here in the UK only diesel powered vehicles are allowed in certain high risk industrial settings (such as refinerys) because of the flammability of petrol and its spark ignition. Not sure how electric vehicles will fare in the same situation with 400+V on tap to the motors.

Things have improved a lot

By tinkerton • Score: 3 • Thread

As a kid in our electric car we had to stop every 100 miles to buy 4000 new batteries, and guess who had to put them in. If that car had crashed it would have sprayed thousands of batteries would have been all over the place. And likely also thousands of empty blister packs because the store wouldn't accept them.
It built character though.

Re: huh?

By Malays2 bowman • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"His point is that Teslas are lousy engineered junk piles...."

100mph into a pole, and surviving...I say the car did what it was supposed to do, protect the driver in a crash.

Of course, like any other car, it's going to get totaled, and pieces are going to go flying.

The LiIon batteries worry me, but gasoline burns too.

Tech Organizations Back 'Inclusive Naming Initiative'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter LeeLynx shares a report from The Register: A new group called the "Inclusive Naming Initiative" has revealed its existence and mission "to help companies and projects remove all harmful and unclear language of any kind and replace it with an agreed-upon set of neutral terms." Akamai, Cisco, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, IBM, the Linux Foundation, Red Hat, and VMware are all participants. The group has already offered a Word replacement list that suggests alternatives to the terms whitelist, blacklist, slave, and master. There's also a framework for evaluating harmful language that offers guidance on how to make changes.

Red Hat's post announcing its participation in the Initiative links to a dashboard listing all instances of terms it wants changed and reports over 330,000 uses of "Master" and 105,000 uses of "Slave," plus tens of thousands and whitelists and blacklists. Changing them all will be a big job, wrote Red Hat's senior veep and CTO Chris Wright. "On a technical level, change has to be made in hundreds of discrete communities, representing thousands of different projects across as many code repositories," Wright wrote. "Care has to be taken to prevent application or API breakage, maintain backward compatibility, and communicate the changes to users and customers." The Initiative nonetheless hopes to move quickly, with its roadmap calling for best practices to be defined during Q1 2021, case studies to be available in Q3 2021 and a certification program delivered in Q4 2021.

Re:Simple way to beat them

By rl117 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Err, yes it does. "Blacklist" came from banking where customers who were debtors who defaulted on their loans were recorded on a list with a black border. A literal "black list". It has nothing to with skin colour. It's still used in the banking world today, albeit no longer in physical form. It is a means for accepting or rejecting future business with a particular person, and so it is quite natural to adopt the same naming conventions for dealing with network packets. After all, the "blacklist" terminology long escaped the banking world into the common vernacular and is use for all sorts of diverse purposes today.

It's stuff like this that makes it impossible to take virtue-signalling SJWs seriously. They disrupt our lives for things which make zero improvement to the world we inhabit. If "blacklists" were historical tools for racial oppression of people with black skin, they might have a point. But there is no basis in historical fact for making these changes. They achieve nothing and are utterly pointless.

Re:How one black professional feels

By nagora • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"He explained that it didn’t matter that the etymology of the terms had nothing to do with racism."

It does. It really does matter, because if we are going to start censoring words because of things they remind us of rather than what they actually mean then communication is basically fucked.

The person in question needs to grow up and face reality, not demand that reality is changed to suit their hangups.

Dictating language does not work

By bradley13 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Allow me to digress. Once, many years ago, I read an article about the history of words used to describe people with physical disabilities.

  • Originally, people were called "crippled". Sometime in the first half of the 20th century, this word came to be seen as perjorative. After all, it calls to mind people whose bodies don't work quite right - an unpleasant image.
  • So the sensitive people of the day campaigned for a new word. Henceforth, those affected should be referred to as "handicapped". Of course, soon enough, this word came to mean...well, exactly what it means: people whose bodies don't work quite right.
  • The sensitive people needed a newer word, and "disabled" was chosen. It didn't take very long at all for this word to mean...well, exactly what it means: people whose bodies don't work quite right.
  • Since then, the movement has struggled. They tried really hard for "differently abled", but that was such a ludicrous term that it never gained traction. I'm sure they'll come up with something...

Which brings us to TFA, and the snowflake-driven idiocy to be found in the Evaluation Framework. Let's start with the most obvious terms:

  • "Master/Slave" is overtly racist. No, it's not. People of all races have been enslaved. Only in the US is one so unaware of world history that "slave" = "black". More to the point: these terms describe a specific relationship, one where one entity dictates the actions of another. Two machines, or two programs may well have exactly this kind of relationship.
  • "Sanity checks" is perjorative. Because some crazy snowflake may think you've noticed that they are...crazy?
  • "Kill" is violent. Well, actually, when you forcefully end a process, it is pretty violent - no chance to save data, clean house - just...dead. Oh dear, I suppose "dead" may be offensive too...
  • "Marshal/Unmarshal" is militaristic. Putting things into a neat sequence, like soldiers in formation? Seems like a good analogy. Military forces are pretty much omnipresent on the planet, and provide lots of metaphors and terminology.

Let me close with an article I was convinced came from the Onion, but sadly, is very real: University of Wisconsin declares large rock to be racist.

These people definitely need to find something actually useful to do...

Re: Simple way to beat them

By Trailer Trash • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Of course nobody in the black community cares about this stuff. This is an exercise by white people (on the left) that is used to pretend that theyâ(TM)re good people for fixing a perceived problem while avoiding fixing actual problems that would require far more effort. Itâ(TM)s the tech equivalent of knocking down a statue or removing a rock (look it up).

Re:Simple way to beat them

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You're speaking to the parent's point quite well, not arguing against it. We don't use blacklist for firewalls because it's ambiguous in the context of a firewall. That's the context. You and the GP are arguing semantics. You've found one specific example where it makes no sense to use the word blacklist and at the sametime missed the fact that this word isn't actually used for firewall configuration.

On the flip side there are many other areas in computer science where the words blacklist / whitelist / master / slave have far more and specific meaning, and as the parent said, no black person in the entire world gives a fuck nor is racism fixed by this pointless busywork.

Xbox Series X Controller Support Coming To Apple Devices

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Apple and Microsoft are working on adding support for the Xbox Series X controller to Apple devices, according to an Apple Support page spotted by a Reddit user. MacRumors reports: The support page states that Apple devices only support the Xbox Wireless Controller with Bluetooth, Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, Xbox Adaptive Controller, PlayStation DualShock 4 Wireless Controller, and various other MFi Bluetooth controllers. However, small print on the page states: "Microsoft and Apple are working together to bring compatibility for the Xbox Series X controller to customers in a future update." There is no mention of the Sony PlayStation 5 DualSense Controller or the Amazon Luna Controller on the Apple Support page, but MacRumors has spotted code mentioning the controllers in the iOS and iPadOS 14.3 betas.

The US Could Soon Ban the Selling of Carrier-Locked Phones

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: In the U.S., a complicated combination of corporate interests and pre-smartphone era legislation has resulted in more than two decades of back and forth about the legality of phone locking. It's looking like that battle could ramp up again next year. The transition to a Biden administration could shake up the regulatory body that governs these rules. The timing also coincides with a congressional proceeding that takes place every three years to determine what tweaks should be made to digital rights laws. 2021 could be the year of the truly unlocked phone. For some activists, it's a glimmer of light at the end of a very long tunnel.

[H]ow could carriers be forced to provide phones that are unlocked by default? There are a couple of promising avenues, though neither are a given. The "agenda" here meaning something to be decided by a regulating body. In the UK, the regulator Ofcom made that call. The US Ofcom equivalent is the Federal Communications Commission. Under its current leadership of Trump appointee Ajit Pai, the FCC has been staunchly pro-business, passing legislation like the repeal of net neutrality at the behest of companies like AT&T. "Getting this done in an Ajit Pai FCC would be extremely difficult and very unlikely, given how friendly that FCC has been toward private companies and broadband providers," Sheehan says. "Whether or not that could happen in a Biden administration, we don't know. I think it would be much more possible."

Another route would be to take the problem back to its source: Section 1201 itself. Every three years, the US Library of Congress and Copyright Office hold a rulemaking proceeding that takes public comment. It's a chance for advocates to make their case for amending Section 1201, assuming they can afford the legal fees necessitated by such an involved, drawn out process. It's a less overtly political process, as the key decisionmakers at the two institutions don't come and go with each presidential administration like they usually do at the FCC. These sessions have already yielded positive outcomes for fans of repairability, like an exemption that took effect in 2016 that made it legal to hack car computers and other devices. The next proceeding is currently underway. If citizens want to urge the government to amend Section 1201, the first round of comments are required to be in by December 14. Responses and additional proposals will go back and forth through the spring of 2021, until the Copyright Office ultimately decides which changes to implement. Both Sheehan and Wiens are working with other advocates to make their case for a future of unlockability.


By MeanE • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
We have had mandatory unlocked phones here in Canada for a few years now and it's more convenient than you might think. Maybe people sell or give away their old phones and it's rare now to worry that the phone may be locked. You would frequently run into issues where you had to have the original owner go back to try and unlock the phone...and god help you if they were not with that carrier any longer...then you were SOL. If you were lucky it might be an android phone that you could buy an unlock code from some sketchy site online or eBay.

20+ years behind

By khchung • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Quite a few countries had banned carrier-locked phones since *before* 2000.

Nice to see the US finally caught up to this century 20+ years later.

Do the US have number portability yet? Or are you still forced to change your mobile number when moving between carriers?

Flash Animations Live Forever At the Internet Archive

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Internet Archive is now emulating Flash animations, games and toys in our software collection. Jason Scott writes in a blog post: Utilizing an in-development Flash emulator called Ruffle, we have added Flash support to the Internet Archive's Emularity system, letting a subset of Flash items play in the browser as if you had a Flash plugin installed. While Ruffle's compatibility with Flash is less than 100%, it will play a very large portion of historical Flash animation in the browser, at both a smooth and accurate rate.

We have a showcase of the hand-picked best or representative Flash items in this collection. If you want to try your best at combing through a collection of over 1,000 flash items uploaded so far, here is the link. You will not need to have a flash plugin installed, and the system works in all browsers that support Webassembly. For many people: See you later! Enjoy the Flash stuff!

Just donated

By sound+vision • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Oddly enough I just donated to earlier today. Between the Wayback Machine, all the public domain/creative commons content, and now this Flash archive where I already see prime early memes archived for all time... they're doing too much good to ignore.

Just as Flash was about to die

By LucasBC • Score: 3 • Thread

Just as Flash was about to die once and for all, we have Webassembly to help exhume back from the grave.

javascript.options.wasm = false


By Can'tNot • Score: 3 • Thread
I see some Radiskull videos, scrolling through this. Just an FYI: Joe Sparks, who created Radiskull, started making independent videos again a couple years ago. This after a 16-17 year break. He has a Youtube channel, with no subscribers because no one noticed. He hasn't done a whole lot of videos since then, presumably because no one is watching.

The Chapman brothers, who did Homestar Runner (Strong Bad), also started doing shorts again. They also have a Youtube channel, since their old site was all flash, which also has very few subscribers relative to their popularity.

There's been a lot of discussion about Youtube's recommendation algorithm and its various ramifications. I submit that it's crap, even when there's no politics or misinformation involved.

Re:Just donated

By RitchCraft • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I love I've been a PC tech for 30+ years and saved every single one of the drivers I ever used. Last December I took the time to upload all of them because of others doing the same thing. I love building retro PCs for friends, family, and eBay and the archive has been a treasure trove for drivers I didn't have.

Vinyl vs polycarbonate

By AndyKron • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
In 20 years people will be arguing if flash animations play better in the original player, or with an emulator.

IBM Apologizes For Firing Computer Pioneer For Being Transgender... 52 Years Later

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
On August 29, 1968, IBM's CEO fired computer scientist and transgender pioneer Lynn Conway to avoid the public embarrassment of employing a transwoman. Nearly 52 years later, in an act that defines its present-day culture, IBM is apologizing and seeking forgiveness. Jeremy Alicandri writes via Forbes reports: On January 2, 1938, Lynn Conway's life began in Mount Vernon, NY. With a reported IQ of 155, Conway was an exceptional and inquisitive child who loved math and science during her teens. She went on to study physics at MIT and earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering at Columbia University's Engineering School. In 1964, Conway joined IBM Research, where she made major innovations in computer design, ensuring a promising career in the international conglomerate (IBM was the 7th largest corporation in the world at the time). Recently married and with two young daughters, she lived a seemingly perfect life. But Conway faced a profound existential challenge: she had been born as a boy.
[W]hile IBM knew of its key role in the Conway saga, the company remained silent. That all changed in August 2020. When writing an article on LGBTQ diversity in the automotive industry, I included Conway's story as an example of the costly consequences to employers that fail to promote an inclusive culture. I then reached out to IBM to learn if its stance had changed after 52 years. To my surprise, IBM admitted regrets and responsibility for Conway's firing, stating, "We deeply regret the hardship Lynn encountered." The company also explained that it was in communication with Conway for a formal resolution, which came two months later. Arvind Krishna, IBM's CEO, and other senior executives had determined that Conway should be recognized and awarded "for her lifetime body of technical achievements, both during her time at IBM and throughout her career."

Dario Gil, Director of IBM Research, who revealed the award during the online event, says, "Lynn was recently awarded the rare IBM Lifetime Achievement Award, given to individuals who have changed the world through technology inventions. Lynn's extraordinary technical achievements helped define the modern computing industry. She paved the way for how we design and make computing chips today -- and forever changed microelectronics, devices, and people's lives." The company also acknowledged that after Conway's departure in 1968, her research aided its own success. "In 1965 Lynn created the architectural level Advanced Computing System-1 simulator and invented a method that led to the development of a superscalar computer. This dynamic instruction scheduling invention was later used in computer chips, greatly improving their performance," a spokesperson stated.

Re:Slashdot: progressive stories, ignorant comment

By hey! • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The thing I tell kids in my children's generation who are furious at J.K. Rowling is that this eventually happens to most of us. The world keeps changing, and one day you find you can't get used to it anymore. It doesn't make you a bad person, it just makes you an old fart. This will happen to these kids too: some day they'll find themselves in a world that feels alien.

I will admit that I don't really understand the transgender thing, and I'm not really fully comfortable with it. But what's very clear from the people I've met is that the decision to consider themselves a different gender from their assigned one does more than make them happy: it makes them feel at peace with themselves, despite all the problems it causes for them. So I don't need some all-explaining theory of gender to accept that that's what's good for them, no matter how it makes me feel.

So I'll predict that most of the old farts here will never be 100% comfortable with transgender people. The question is whether they can make a distinction between feeling uncomfortable about something and being harmed by it.

And the Jews?

By elcor • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
Will they also apologize for providing Hitler with machines that helped organize the genocide?

Re:Slashdot: progressive stories, ignorant comment

By Beryllium Sphere(tm) • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Perhaps this will help.

It's not actually a decision. Every trans person has a different life story, but it's really common to hear of them struggling hard not to acknowledge what's in the ROM in their brain. One pattern that happens over and over is that a trans woman will go into some ultra-macho field like special forces hoping that either the femininity will go away or that she'll get killed, which would also solve the problem.

There's hard autopsy evidence for what I just analogized as "the ROM in their brain". Short bibliography:

If it were a decision, then mind-changing would work. What actually happened when the medical profession still thought it was a delusion is that everything up to and including electric shock aversion therapy did not change anyone's internal gender identity.

I talked to one trans woman who was furious about getting asked "When did you know?", because it reminded her of all of the pain of all of the years trying not to know.

It turns out that during fetal development, brain organization and genital differentiation happen at completely different times. Right now it's a theory, not a hypothesis, that a trans person's brain went one way and their swimsuit zone went the other way.

If you want a deep dive, I suggest Dr. Julia Serano's book and web site.

And of course comments are ignorant. We are all born ignorant. We're nerds -- we can learn counterintuitive things.

LGB is incompatible with T

By blindseer • Score: 3 • Thread

I remember seeing a YouTube video with some kind of panel discussing LGBT issues. One member of this panel was a lesbian that pointed out how the idea of transgender people is incompatible with the idea of lesbian people. For a woman to be a lesbian means that there is such a thing as male and female, that it's "healthy" or "normal" to be attracted to someone of the same sex, and socially acceptable for a woman to exhibit traditionally masculine behaviors.

If a parent sees their little girl exhibit behaviors traditionally associated with boys then there's two ways to deal with this. A healthy way to deal with this is to recognize that this is likely to be a short lived phase, could be a start of more masculine behaviors in the future, and may turn out to be an indication that the little girl will grow into a healthy and well adjusted lesbian. An unhealthy way to deal with this is to see this behavior as the little girl being actually a little boy with some kind of congenital defect of being born to look like a girl. The belief then is that this girl is transgendered and therefore should be surgically altered to appear more like a boy.

By creating this fantasy that people can change their sex with surgery we are allowing homophobic parents an "out" for their homophobia. They can claim that their little girl is not in fact a lesbian but is actually a boy in need of expensive and life threatening surgery, followed by a lifetime of pain, sterility, confusion, and hormone supplements.

Whenever the topic of transgenderism come up there will be people that point out that there are in fact people born that don't fit neatly into either male or female. I will not dispute that there are rare cases of people needing surgery to have the appearance of a healthy male or female. That's not someone that is transgender, that is someone that is intersex.

As a society we should find it barbaric for surgeons to remove healthy organs and tissues from a person. The removal of healthy sex organs from someone should be just as appalling as removing both kidneys so a person can live a life with dialysis. Or as a person that wants their pancreas removed to live as a diabetic. A person that wants to have healthy sex organs removed will end up needing constant medical care as this means a lack of vital hormones needed for maintaining their health. Such surgeries can lead to complications later in life, and lead to an early grave from these complications. What I'll see claimed is that by being denied transgendered surgery those affected will often attempt suicide. There's considerable evidence that even successful surgeries can lead to people successfully committing suicide. These people have a mental illness, and surgery will not resolve that.

I don't know anything about Lynn Conway but what I read in this article. One way to interpret the decision to be surgically altered to appear female is to hide homosexuality. In the 1960s it was quite possibly very difficult and/or dangerous to live as a homosexual. Living as a woman may have been a way to avoid this.

It appears that Conway was able to avoid the problems that afflict so many others that had transgender surgery. This is not the norm. Conway should not be held up as some kind of example for women to follow. If Conway is some kind of ideal to follow then it is to show that an ideal woman is a man.

Re:I know several trans people

By aebrain • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You are the gender you are born with, chromosomes decide that, YOU DO NOT. They entire concept is nuts.

Male female is genetics, transgender is a mental disorder, damaging to society as it forces governed society to define gender roles, SO THEY CAN BE CHANGED, crazy as fuck. .

Maybe this will help explain:

Sexual Hormones and the Brain: An Essential Alliance for Sexual Identity and Sexual Orientation Garcia-Falgueras A, Swaab DF Endocr Dev. 2010;17:22-35

The fetal brain develops during the intrauterine period in the male direction through a direct action of testosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hormone surge. In this way, our gender identity (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and sexual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. However, since sexual differentiation of the genitals takes place in the first two months of pregnancy and sexual differentiation of the brain starts in the second half of pregnancy, these two processes can be influenced independently, which may result in extreme cases in trans-sexuality. This also means that in the event of ambiguous sex at birth, the degree of masculinization of the genitals may not reflect the degree of masculinization of the brain. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender identity or sexual orientation,

TLDR; Trans people have the neurology of the gender they say they are.

This is objectively observable on MRI and PET scans, so to say this is a "mental disorder" or commies trying to pollute our precious bodily fluids is, you know, Reality Chellenged. Trumpian.

See also Male–to–female transsexuals have female neuron numbers in a limbic nucleus. Kruiver et al J Clin Endocrinol Metab (2000) 85:2034–2041 and a couple of hundred other papers on the subject.

The present findings of somatostatin neuronal sex differences in the BSTc and its sex reversal in the transsexual brain clearly support the paradigm that in transsexuals sexual differentiation of the brain and genitals may go into opposite directions...

US Emissions To Drop 9% In 2020, Putting Country Back On Track For Paris Commitment

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Greentech Media: The U.S. economy is on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 9 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, BloombergNEF reported Thursday. It's a sign of the impact that COVID-19 shutdowns and the ensuing recession have had on life in the U.S. When workers stayed home and the streets emptied out, it reduced emissions from transportation, which accounted for the largest decline at 4 percent of economywide emissions. The power sector drove another 2.8 percent decline, while reduced industrial activity lowered emissions by another 1.6 percent.

The drastic reduction in planet-warming emissions did not result from concerted action on climate change, so much as an unprecedented and deadly pandemic. Without the COVID-19 crisis, the U.S. would have released just 1 percent less carbon than in 2019, BNEF estimated. The mandated cessation of activities to stop the spread of coronavirus led to the additional reduction of 8 percent. Still, the absolute numbers make 2020 the "greenest" year on record, BNEF analysts Tom Rowlands-Rees and Melina Bartels noted. "The economic disruption of 2020 has inadvertently put the U.S. back on track to meet the commitments it made under the 2016 Paris Agreement, prior to President Trump taking the country out of that pact," they wrote.
The latest drop in greenhouse gas emissions doesn't take into account the effects of the record wildfire season. "The fires burned enough plant matter to release the equivalent of 2.8 percent of 2019 economywide emissions," the report says. "Accounting for that means 2020 nets out at a 6.4 percent decline in overall U.S. emissions."

That was easy.

By hey! • Score: 3 • Thread

We did it literally without even trying.

Re: See?!

By guruevi • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The synopsis also leaves out that US emissions have dropped for the last few years since dropping out of the accords.

Not only that, but the other participants in the accords did not meet their goals and are unlikely to reach them by 2030. In the mean time, the accords do allow China to increase their emissions at current rates until 2030 and only nominally flatten out by 2050.

Not a great argument

By CODiNE • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

If you're trying to get others on board maybe "Like COVID... but even less activity " is not going to appeal. If anything the impression it gives is "Wait we nearly shut everything down and stayed home to only get 10%?!!". That's just going to make carbon reduction seem impossible.

Oh, man ...

By Freischutz • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

US Emissions To Drop 9% In 2020, Putting Country Back On Track For Paris Commitment

This is really going to burn the Republican petrochemical state, using-fossil-fuels-is-patriotism, crowd to the bone since there is nothing they can do about it.

**Mmmmm .... Schadenfreude**

All part of

By gabrieltss • Score: 3 • Thread
the "Great reset". Covid-19 was a PLANNED event. IT DID originate in a a lab in China. Enough of the BULL SHIT cover ups and LIES!

GTA Online Is Getting A Big New Heist You Can Play Solo If You Want

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Rockstar Games announced that Grand Theft Auto Online's biggest update ever will be released on December 15, adding a brand new island, new radio stations, a new armed submarine, and a huge heist that can be completed with friends or solo. From a report: Yesterday, Rockstar teased this new update, The Cayo Perico Heist, with a short video showing off the new location. While GTA Online has had small map expansions, with some new interiors being added to the game world, this is the first major map expansion since the game first released back in 2013. For the first time in GTA Online, players will be able to complete a large heist solo. Previously, all heists required more than one player, which often meant folks would have to rely on random players or corralling friends together.

This is great!

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

I'm starting to think this might be the future of GTA Online. A series of individual missions, maybe tied together by a story. After all, the worst part of the GTA franchise is playing with other people. Eventually we may even get to the point where the updates can be delivered via DVD instead of internet, which will help people with slow connections. The future looks great.

Google, Facebook and Twitter Threaten To Leave Pakistan Over Censorship Law

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Global internet companies Facebook, Google and Twitter and others have banded together and threatened to leave Pakistan after the South Asian nation granted blanket powers to local regulators to censor digital content. From a report: Earlier this week, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan granted the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority the power to remove and block digital content that pose "harms, intimidates or excites disaffection" toward the government or in other ways hurt the "integrity, security, and defence of Pakistan." Through a group called the Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), the tech firms said that they were "alarmed" by the scope of Pakistan's new law targeting internet firms." In addition to Facebook, Google, and Twitter, AIC represents Apple, Amazon, LinkedIn, SAP, Expedia Group, Yahoo, Airbnb, Grab, Rakuten,, Line, and Cloudflare.

If the message sounds familiar, it's because this is not the first time these tech giants have publicly expressed their concerns over the new law, which was proposed by Khan's ministry in February this year. After the Pakistani government made the proposal earlier this year, the group had threatened to leave, a move that made the nation retreat and promise an extensive and broad-based consultation process with civil society and tech companies. That consultation never happened, AIC said in a statement on Thursday, reiterating that its members will be unable to operate in the country with this law in place.

Pot Meet Kettle

By Arthur, KBE • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
Only governments can censor.

Oh, wait....


By fluffernutter • Score: 3 • Thread
This is a lot like COVID-19 threatening to leave.

Re:We've heard that one before..

By Arthur, KBE • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
"92.3% of all quotations on the internet are false".

-- Abraham Lincoln

Tech companies complain about being censored! LOL

By oogoliegoogolie • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Big tech has been increasingly censoring users that don't conform their very narrow social and political convictions for years. Now when someone else wants to control the message, big-tech babies complain about "being censored." Ha Ha

Oh the irony!
Now the shoe is on the other foot!
What comes around goes around!
Treat people how you want to be treated by them!
They sure can dish it out, but they sure can't take it!
Let's see how they like it!

Re: We've heard that one before..

By BarbaraHudson • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Hey, how can I get my country to pass similar laws?

No Google, no Facebook, no Twitter - boy is that gonna open up space for new domestic startups!

Apple is Lobbying Against a Bill Aimed at Stopping Forced Labor in China

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Apple lobbyists are trying to weaken a new law aimed at preventing forced labor in China, the Washington Post reported Friday, citing two congressional staffers familiar with the matter, highlighting the clash between its business imperatives and its official stance on human rights. From the report: The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would require U.S. companies to guarantee they do not use imprisoned or coerced workers from the predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang, where academic researchers estimate the Chinese government has placed more than 1 million people into internment camps. Apple is heavily dependent on Chinese manufacturing, and human rights reports have identified instances in which alleged forced Uighur labor has been used in Apple's supply chain.

The staffers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks with the company took place in private meetings, said Apple was one of many U.S. companies that oppose the bill as it's written. They declined to disclose details on the specific provisions Apple was trying to knock down or change because they feared providing that knowledge would identify them to Apple. But they both characterized Apple's effort as an attempt to water down the bill. "What Apple would like is we all just sit and talk and not have any real consequences," said Cathy Feingold, director of the international department for the AFL-CIO, which has supported the bill. "They're shocked because it's the first time where there could be some actual effective enforceability."

A Bad Apple

By Stonefish • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Corporations aren't moral entities, their goal is to maximize profits. Leveraging forced labor in countries which suppress freedom of speech is OK if this maximizes profits. Employing lobbyists is OK to maximize profits. However the people associated with these decisions are moral entities and they and their families should be ashamed and uncomfortable with this approach. Chinese people are generally nice people however any Government which suppresses freedom of speech and freedom of the press is prone to excesses and judgements which benefits them and theirs rather than the public good.
Democracies aren't perfect, just look at Trump however they're better than the alternatives.

It's hearsay. Don't get all worked up

By presearch • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Two unnamed congressional staffers said they thought they might know what Apple was thinking.
We don't know about the proposed bill, or what Apple may or may not object to, or why.
We do have unsubstantiated jumps to the worst possible motivations on Apple's part.

There's no story here (yet).

Re:Laws like this are how you bring jobs back

By timeOday • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Since the summary calls out "supply chain" rather than the phones themselves, I would guess that's where the problem lies. Tracing every sub-sub-component back to where the ore was dug out of the ground is actually very difficult to do or control, and production of them no longer exists in the US - or rather, never has, since it's been long enough that everything is different now.

I am not saying we shouldn't do this. Just pointing out it would require a whole new regulatory regime that currently doesn't exist, because there is no mechanism for tracing the provenance of parts and supplies like this.

Re:Laws like this are how you bring jobs back

By tk77 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

And yet the bill was sponsored by a Democrat, and was passed by the House, with 230 Yea's from Democrats, 176 from Republicans. 2 Republicans voted Nay. 2 Democrats and 20 Republicans didn't vote.

I'm not sure how much credit I would give to the Trump administration over it.

This isn't Apple being vile, but reasonable

By virtig01 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

"Apple lobbyists are trying to weaken a new law aimed at preventing forced labor in China ...
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would require U.S. companies to guarantee they do not use imprisoned or coerced workers"

This is a case of intent vs. results. The intent may be noble -- to reduce or eliminate forced labor in western China -- but a law by no means guarantees such a thing will occur.

Here's what Apple sees: increased cost and effort trying to certify their circuitous supply chain while competitors Huawei, Xiaomi, and others continue their current manufacturing practices unabated.

Windows Turns 35

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Tom Warren, writing for The Verge: The PC revolution started off life 35 years ago this week. Microsoft launched its first version of Windows on November 20th, 1985, to succeed MS-DOS. It was a huge milestone that paved the way for the modern versions of Windows we use today. While Windows 10 doesn't look anything like Windows 1.0, it still has many of its original fundamentals like scroll bars, drop-down menus, icons, dialog boxes, and apps like Notepad and MS paint.

The PC revolution -- um no.

By fish_in_the_c • Score: 3 • Thread

The PC 's were well on their way to wide stream adoption before windows came out. When it first came out it was basically a glorified UI / program manager around MS-DOS. IBM-DOS was also not a bad product , but the Apple IIe , Apple IIc , TRS-80 and commedore-64 all had their own systems and were useful for work of one kind or another. A lot of good tech and innovative ideas were simply out marketed by louder voices and I honestly think MS held the PC market back by 3 to 8 years of advancements vs had they not been in the market at all. OS/2 was a far better product. X-windows/Linux was not bad either and mac OS , not to mention XOS all had some very good tech that took much longer to be adopted because MS did not play well with others but managed to weasel it's way into the majority of the PC market by being cheaper and having better marketing.

Re:35 Years ago

By Tablizer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I'd qualify it this way:

The "microcomputer" revolution started with Apple II + PET + TRS-80. I would say the "PC revolution" started with the release of VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet software. Although VisiCalc wasn't first released on the IBM PC, VisiCalc propelled business sales, which ultimately led to the "Wintel" platform dominance.

PC's weren't popular for home use until Windows came out. Before Windows, Commodore ruled consumer sales.

(Commodore could have been bigger than Apple today if they had played their cards right. They squandered their early dominance. First, the '64 was hard to modernize & expand because of its finicky architecture, much of it designed to keep it cheap*. Second, the Amiga failed to lash onto desktop publishing quickly enough, leaving that to Mac. They should have made bundling deals with the likes of Aldus. Amiga had hi-res color before Mac. They are the Yahoo of the 80's: given the golden keys to The Future, but misplacing them.)

* Arguably they wouldn't have dominated if they tried to make a more flexible architecture because such abstraction often requires more expensive/powerful hardware. In the early days one had to "play it tight" with hardware to get decent performance. Tramiel was brilliant at squeezing hardware costs, but didn't really understand and/or focus on compatibility and upgrade migration.

Re:The Second Most Important Contribution from MS

By thegreatbob • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
I always thought the joke was that Microsoft made it famous as a result of needing to frequently use it to interrupt uncooperative/crashing software on Windows (and displayed as one of two suggestions on the Blue Screen of maybe Death, the other being to press Enter to return to Windows). NT (3.x in 1993/94, but more so 4.0 due to its longevity) certainly made sure everyone saw it with that login screen(saver), and I feel like this claim has no less merit.

Not gonna complain

By marcle • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I started out with MSDOS, and thought Windows was for wimps. I suffered through all the various versions, stayed with Win 7 for as long as I could, then finally made the switch to Win10 on modern hardware (Zen 2, NVMe, etc.) I have to say I'm pretty happy with it. It's fast, slick, and stays out of my way (after tweaking with ShutUp10 and ClassicShell). Settings got moved around, but I figured out where to find things, and there's some functionality and low-level access that's improved.
I'm not saying it's anywhere near perfect, but all my long-time apps work fine, everything is ultra fast, and my 4K monitor looks great. What's not to love?

The PC revolution started ten years earlier.

By hey! • Score: 3 • Thread

I know, I was there. And this is the machine that kicked it off. It ran CP/M, which was released forty-six years ago.

The IBM PC project was an attempt by IBM to capture the nascent market on office personal computers before CP/M running on S100 bus hardware could get gain a foothold. That was a real danger because those machines while primitive by modern standards were quite solid, reliable and versatile. Apple also had a pretty good primitive computer out at the time -- the Apple II.

MS-DOS started just a quick and dirty CP/M clone tro run on x86 instead of 8080 ISA. IBM couldn't be bothered to make an operating system for a toy like the IBM-PC, so they turned to Microsoft. Microsoft found Tim Paterson and paid him $75K for his CP/M clone.

Around the same time that MS-DOS came out, Digital Research also released a 16 bit version of CP/M. But MS-DOS had a huge advantage -- businesses were snapping up IBM-PCs because having an "IBM" on your desk was a big status symbol. The thing was, it was pretty much a paperweight. There wasn't any compelling software to run on it. Forget word processing. Executives didn't do their own typing. They dictated into a recorder and a girl from the typing pool transcribed it.

So the PC was well on its way to fulfill IBM's plan for it, to be a quick and dirty little money spinner, when an actual useful piece of software arrived for it in January of 1983: Lotus 1-2-3. With the arrival of a spreadsheet program, all those expensive paperweights on peoples' desks became *very* useful. Lotus was the killer app and what created Microsoft's future dominance in desktop operating systems.

This is a classic example of market positioning and network effects beating technology. At the time MS-DOS was becoming an industry standard, far more advanced operating systems were appearing on cheap hardware. OS-9 (Not MacOS-9) was a unix like operating system released for 6809 in 1979 with an 68000 port in 1983. I can tell you from hands-on experience that was a very advanced operating system for upper-low-end hardware at the time, including preemptive task scheduling, separate user and kernel modes, and on CPUs with an MMU, protected memory. On processors supporting a 32 bit memory address bus they offered a flat memory model.

MS-DOS's unexpected success also upset Microsoft's technology plans. They had licensed UNIX and released Xenix around 1980, expecting Unix-based operating systems to take over computing. But with the anti-trust breakup of AT&T, Bell Labs was free to sell Unix, so Microsoft sold XENIX to SCO. They moved their XENIX engineers to the OS/2 project, which again failed to knock MS-DOS of its throne. MS-DOS and Lotus thrived, in part, because they were in a goldilocks position in 1981: able to take advantage of the very latest affordable hardware in that year. In two or three years hardware far outstripped MS-DOS, but it was too late. DOS was entrenched, and millions of dollars were spent in the economy to make PC do things *despite* DOS.

MS-DOS is like SARS-COV-2. It's not so much that it's remarkable in itself, it's just happened to be perfectly suited to take off under the conditions that prevailed.

The Few, the Tired, the Open Source Coders

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Reader shanen shares a report (and offers this commentary): When the open source concept emerged in the '90s, it was conceived as a bold new form of communal labor: digital barn raisings. If you made your code open source, dozens or even hundreds of programmers would chip in to improve it. Many hands would make light work. Everyone would feel ownership. Now, it's true that open source has, overall, been a wild success. Every startup, when creating its own software services or products, relies on open source software from folks like Jacob Thornton: open source web-server code, open source neural-net code. But, with the exception of some big projects -- like Linux -- the labor involved isn't particularly communal. Most are like Bootstrap, where the majority of the work landed on a tiny team of people. Recently, Nadia Eghbal -- the head of writer experience at the email newsletter platform Substack -- published Working in Public, a fascinating book for which she spoke to hundreds of open source coders. She pinpointed the change I'm describing here. No matter how hard the programmers worked, most "still felt underwater in some shape or form," Eghbal told me.

Why didn't the barn-raising model pan out? As Eghbal notes, it's partly that the random folks who pitch in make only very small contributions, like fixing a bug. Making and remaking code requires a lot of high-level synthesis -- which, as it turns out, is hard to break into little pieces. It lives best in the heads of a small number of people. Yet those poor top-level coders still need to respond to the smaller contributions (to say nothing of requests for help or reams of abuse). Their burdens, Eghbal realized, felt like those of YouTubers or Instagram influencers who feel overwhelmed by their ardent fan bases -- but without the huge, ad-based remuneration. Sometimes open source coders simply walk away: Let someone else deal with this crap. Studies suggest that about 9.5 percent of all open source code is abandoned, and a quarter is probably close to being so. This can be dangerous: If code isn't regularly updated, it risks causing havoc if someone later relies on it. Worse, abandoned code can be hijacked for ill use. Two years ago, the pseudonymous coder right9ctrl took over a piece of open source code that was used by bitcoin firms -- and then rewrote it to try to steal cryptocurrency.


By solidraven • Score: 3 • Thread
Simultaneously, on top of the SJWs everyone is highlighting, neckbeards still are a serious issue in FOSS development. I've been on more than a few projects where I just said screw it (a few ten thousand lines of contribution in) and quit because I got fed up with some arrogant jerk who thinks he's a gift to the world. It's one thing when someone isn't complying with the architecture that was put forth in the development documentation, I agree that needs to be pointed out. But it's a whole other when you start picking on folks who joined the team over the last few months because they dare to put some of their own time into expanding the feature set they actually need themselves. I literally got berated for adding a well-received feature to a major FOSS project a couple of years ago, a feature which was on the wish list of the development tracker I might add. The only reason it made it in was because the neckbeard only noticed it after a few patches, he couldn't pull the plug on it anymore without also deleting other people's "approved" work - which made use of some of the support functions I wrote. So yeah, since then I've stopped contributing to projects and I just spend time on things that I get paid for instead.

Re:OS got CoCed up

By Entrope • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Codes of conduct are inherently less about what you do than how you do it. That's why they're called codes of conduct rather than codes of ethics. People who prioritize CoCs over actual work put the cart before the horse.

Re:And don’t forget

By nomadic • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

His point was these attacks were so bad that nobody wanted to be in charge of open source projects which is obviously completely false.

I won't even get into the idiotic argument that these "woke" SJW-types you're all terrified of care at all about 99% of open source projects, which nobody has heard of.

Re:Space Station 13 is the poster child for this

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

When a project starts small it's easy to contribute lots of code to but the individual or team probably doesn't have a lot of time to handle pull requests or track down bugs that only affect other people's configurations.

When it gets big the barrier to entry for working on it gets much higher. You can't just contribute code, there is a huge amount to learn first. The quality of patches starts to deteriorate, and I'll admit I've been guilty of that. Had an SMS/HTTP gateway library that was being used in a project at work which didn't support some particular encoding that was used in the Philippines so I added support, but being a work thing I had limited time so did the minimum possible (receive only, no test cases) to get it working. Of course I submitted the patch as required by the licence and of course they asked me to do a proper job and not half arse it. I had to apologise and explain that I couldn't, and that was that.

Open Source is NOT "socialism" but...

By tiqui • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

it suffers from some of the basic problems and for a similar basic reason: Human Nature which tends to produce the Tragedy of the commons.

Early on in the open source movement, people like Bill Gates tried to attack it by claiming it was "socialist" and "anti-capitalist" - many here should remember that it was a real thing that people with businesses selling close source software thought they could influence average people and politicians to oppose it by tying to Karl Marxs. That tie never existed except superficially; People were indeed working at their ability level and giving the results away - BUT there was never any government force involved.

We're mostly past the point of people objecting to open source code on those [quasi-polititcal] grounds, but it does not fix the underlying commons issue, which has in some ways become worse as companies have embraced this code for their products. It use to be the case that open source coders would work hard and see lots of people using their code with no compensation, people involved could get moral satisfaction feeling that they were helping others with their skills. Now, however, many such coders see big companies using that code to make piles of cash with nary a nod to the coders - that's less morally satisfying and will tend to amplify the negative effects of the Tragedy of the Commons.

There are problems here that have never been resolved and which will act as a natural governor of the rate and quality of Open Source code development. I'd love to offer a possible solution, but it'll take somebody wiser than I am to come up with one that truly works.

Biden Team Lacks Full US Cybersecurity Support in Transition Fracas

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
When it comes to protecting sensitive information from foreign hackers, President-elect Joe Biden's team is largely on its own. The federal government, which has some of the most sophisticated antihacking technologies in the world, is offering limited assistance to Mr. Biden's transition operation in securing its email and other communications, despite concerns that the team is likely a top espionage target for Russia, China, and other adversaries, WSJ reported Friday, citing people familiar with the transition. From the report: The lack of government cybersecurity support is among the obstacles the Biden transition team has faced as a result of the Trump administration's refusal to acknowledge Mr. Biden's election victory and make available the resources of the federal government ahead of his inauguration in two months. Normally, the General Services Administration would own and manage the setup of government email accounts for a presidential transition team, which are typically assigned the "" domain. The cybersecurity wing of the Department of Homeland Security typically assists in helping a transition to protect those newly created government email accounts, according to current and former officials, and could rely on information from U.S. intelligence agencies to inform its protective efforts. The Trump administration is blocking many of the transition-related resources usually provided to a president-elect, including government email accounts. The GSA so far has declined to identify Mr. Biden as the winner of the election, citing ongoing litigation, even though Mr. Trump has no clear path to victory, according to legal experts. Frozen out of the government network, the transition team is relying on a standard, paid Google Workspace network, the report said.

Re:The President Elect has not been chosen.

By MachineShedFred • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If you want to live by splitting hairs and technicalities, then fine. However, we have sufficient data from certified elections from the Secretaries of State in each state to know who won. Even if by some miracle Trump's legal horseshit manages to flip Michigan (it won't, as there is no legal mechanism for un-certifying election results once they are certified, which they have been) he still loses 290 - 248.

Even if the absolutely ridiculous happens - Michigan, Arizona, and Nevada flip - he still loses 273 - 265. Georgia is in the bank, and that's the fucking ball game.

Time for Trump to be a man and concede, or go down in history as the sorest of sore losers. At this point he's starting to make school children that don't know any better look graceful in defeat by comparison. It's fucking sad.

Also, don't forget that when Trump won in 2016, he was sitting in the Oval Office with President Obama on the 5th of November, and GSA let loose with transition funding on the 8th of November. This is just pure obstructionism on the part of a sore loser, and the sycophants of said sore loser.

Re:What level of support is normal at this stage?

By MachineShedFred • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Trump's team received GSA funding on 8 November 2016. Basically every Presidential election has been long decided before now, with the notable exception of 2000, and each incumbent / outgoing President had the class to work with the incoming winner regardless of party because it's what's best for the country and they weren't pissy little bitch losers like the current outgoing President.

Re: Election not certified

By chill • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Yes it has. The Presidential Transition Act was passed in 1963. It is the responsibility of the head of the GSA to ascertain the apparent winner of the election so a transition can be started as soon as possible to ensure a smooth process.

Re:Election not certified

By dgatwood • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Why the ANY administration provide support to the presumed president-elect if the election hasn't been certified?

Because it is the only approach that isn't utterly stupid. Let's look at the four possible scenarios here:

  • They provide support in a timely manner. The election is certified as-is. The transition occurs smoothly.
  • They do not provide transition support in a timely manner. The election is certified as-is. The transition potentially has major problems, up to and including compromising national security. The outgoing President gets (rightly) blamed.
  • They provide support in a timely manner. The election is reversed. The transition is aborted. The small financial cost is noise. The current administration continues doing what they do.
  • They do not provide support in a timely manner. The election is reversed. The current administration continues doing what they do.

The only cost of providing transition support early is financial, and it isn't much. So providing support is not a problem even in the extraordinarily unlikely event that the Republicans manage to subvert democracy and overturn the results of a free and fair election. By contrast, the cost of not providing transition support is potentially immeasurable. It could cause the next 9/11.

Once you have a presumptive president with reasonable certainty — and we're way past that point already — you start the transition process. Period. Realistically, there can be no harm caused by doing so, and this is doubly true when the losing candidate is the incumbent, because the courts are deciding between a transition team and no transition team, rather than between two competing transition teams. Thus, there is simply no way to justify not providing that support unless your goal is to screw up the country as much as humanly possible while watching the world burn.

Re: Election not certified

By sjames • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The basic electoral process in the USA is that after the votes are tallied, the loser is man enough (or woman enough) to admit the results and give a concession speech for the good of the nation. Then if the incumbent was not the winner, the transition begins.

Once the concession happened, the elections were certified after a bit of checking just to be sure, and the actual EC process was seen largely as a formality. This happened in parallel with the transition team getting set up.

Even the famous "Dewey defeats Truman" incident corrected quickly and things got on (no transition needed).

The 2000 election was an absolute disaster of an election with the margin of victory down to 300 or so votes, an incomplete recount, AND a mismatch between the popular vote and the EC. Even there, neither candidate launched a raft of evidence free lawsuits all over the place.

The transition of Obama to Trump went quite smoothly in spite of close margins and a mismatch between popular vote and the EC.

Study Identifies Reasons for Soaring Nuclear Plant Cost Overruns in the US

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A new analysis by MIT researchers details many of the underlying issues that have caused cost overruns on new nuclear power plants in the U.S., which have soared ever higher over the last five decades. The new findings may help the designers of new plants build in resilience to the factors that tend to cause these overruns, thus helping to bring down the costs of such plants. From a report: Many analysts believe nuclear power will play an essential part in reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases, and finding ways to curb these rising costs could be an important step toward encouraging the construction of new plants, the researchers say. The findings are being published this week in the journal Joule, in a paper by MIT professors Jessika Trancik and Jacopo Buongiorno, along with former students Philip Eash-Gates SM '19, Magdalena Klemun PhD '20, Goksin Kavlak PhD '18, and Research Scientist James McNerney.

Among the surprising findings in the study, which covered 50 years of U.S. nuclear power plant construction data, was that, contrary to expectations, building subsequent plants based on an existing design actually costs more, not less, than building the initial plant. The authors also found that while changes in safety regulations could account for some of the excess costs, that was only one of numerous factors contributing to the overages. "It's a known fact that costs have been rising in the U.S. and in a number of other locations, but what was not known is why and what to do about it," says Trancik, who is an associate professor of energy studies in MIT's Institute for Data, Systems and Society. The main lesson to be learned, she says, is that "we need to be rethinking our approach to engineering design."

Re:I wonder if it's not just nuke plants...

By Kisai • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'm pretty sure, no make that sure enough to bet money on it, that the reason a lot of engineering projects get propelled into high cost overruns is because they can't be built within one term of the local/state politicians wanting a photo-op.

Politician 1, circa year 2000, shows up for a ground breaking
Politician 2, circa year 2004, shows up to inspect the place, so everything has to be put on pause so they can get their photo op
Politician 3, circa year 2008, shows up for a photo op when the plant is built.

That's the minimal expectation where it aligns perfectly. Now what if something like this happens?

Politician 1, circa year 2018 shows up for a ground breaking
Politician 2, elected in 2020 who didn't care for this project decides to cancel or throw cold water on the project, but because of sunk costs, canceling isn't even an option. So they constantly rag on the project like it's the worst thing the previous government ever did.
Politician 3, elected in 2024, believes Politician 2 was meddling with the project, shows up for a photo op promising to complete the project for some political PR. However due to lost time the plant takes additional time to complete. Plant is completed in 2026, overbudget and late.

Like the political process, we all know costs time and money. It all depends if the politicians are on board with the project, or want it canceled. You see this all the time with transit projects. One politician's pet project gets canceled for another politician's pet project, by the time anything gets built, a much better thing could have been built for more money and less time, but instead it got wasted on sunk costs in changing the project.

There is one additional thing that comes up, and this is more specific to transportation projects, but is still the same problem, is that people don't like to look at ugly things. So what could be a very low-cost transport system turns into a high-cost "architect's dream" where every station ends up being in competition with every other station for looking pretty. This adds a lot of cost. I imagine the same goes for power and water treatment plants, where people don't want to see this ugly thing in their backyard so they want it to look as seamless into the background as possible, even covering it up to look like other buildings nearby. (I walked by a building the other day, and glanced in the window to see that the building was mostly a facade over a water distribution point and the entire lower floor was nothing but huge pipes.

Re:the reason is a more verdant relationship

By Mononymous • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Systems like San Onofre are not environmentally sustainable as their primary cooling is not a closed circuit, and existing systems like three mile island expect to casually vent radioactive byproducts into the atmosphere as a feature in the event of even the slightest concern. in 2020 this is considered generally undesireable.

Radioactivity is everywhere. It's important to talk about it with nuance and precision. That means mathematics, but how do we educate the innumerate public? Barring science-fiction level breakthroughs, fission power is our only hope to turn the tide of climate change. But our system is going to allow the critical decisions to be made by voters and legislators who can't handle logarithms and inverse-square laws.

The key phrase

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 3 • Thread

"... if more components of the plant, or even the entire plant, could be built offsite under controlled factory conditions, such extra costs could be substantially cut.

Study suggests micro plants built off site

By gurps_npc • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

That was my take away from reading the article. Big plants require massive changes in plans due to different physical locations - i.e. rivers, soil, near by roads, etc.

But small nuclear plants that can fit on a single 18 wheeler truck can be delivered to any site, using perhaps 100s such micro plants to deliver the same power as a larger power plant. Spread them out in a huge facility and any problems will be small and contained.

If one breaks, it can be moved away by a crane.

Re:I wonder if it's not just nuke plants...

By thomst • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

AmiMoJo observed:

It's events within the nuclear industry itself that are the problem. ... Some of it is just incompetence like using the wrong materials and having to rip it all out, some of it is failure to properly survey the site and find obstacles early enough.

Apropos of which, a friend of mine (who is now deceased) was the project safety manager for Diablo Canyon. While inspecting the work on a containment-vessel wall through which several large-diameter pipes critical to the operation of Unit 1, he discovered that the sub-contractor that constructed it had somehow managed to build it backwards. That meant the fittings for the pipe pass-throughs were several inches out of their designed alignment.

When he brought the problem to management, the solution he offered - to tear down and re-build the entire wall right-way-round - he was met by horrified protests about the estimated $35 million cost of the fix. "Can't we just build adapters to get the pipes lined up? That'd keep us on-time and on-budget."

My friend - who had been with the firm for more than two decades and had his position and pension at risk - refused to sign off on the proposal. "The NRC requires us to use only designs approved by their staff. If we asked them for permission to alter the design they approved for this reactor, it will take months to years to gain approval, assuming they'll even entertain the notion," he told them. "And construction on the reactor will be at a full stop until they issue that approval - assuming they ever do."

"But you're going to submit that request over my formal, signed objection," he continued, adding, "and my resignation both from the position of safety inspector for this project, and from the company. The plain fact is that the pipes we're talking about are crucial to the reactor's safe operation. Your proposed solution to this problem will - not 'can,' but 'will' - compromise the integrity of those pipes in a way that could lead to catastrophic failure of the containment vessel, and potentially even to a core meltdown. I not only refuse to be a party to that gamble, I promise you that, as soon as I submit my resignation, I'm going to call a press conference to explain to the world exactly why I resigned, and the hazard to everyone within a hundred miles or more that you're proposing to create. Good luck in getting a license to operate this unit, after that."

Eventually, his employers gave in, and paid to have the wall torn out and rebuilt according to the properly-aligned blueprints. And my friend - whom I miss terribly - went on to spend another decade working for that same company, in a series of increasingly-responsible roles, culminating in his being given responsiblility for building one of the most technically-challenging airport projects in history.

And here's how good a friend he was to me: he spent three days helping us move from the Bay Area to Mariposa County, back in 2000 ...

E-scooters Are Getting Computer Vision To Curb Pedestrian Collisions

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: Last year, electric scooters were booming in big cities across the United States and other countries as urbanites embraced a relatively novel way of getting around town. The rentable, battery-boosted rides also brought a rising number of pedestrian-involved crashes as some riders illegally zipped down sidewalks and darted around traffic before the craze was interrupted by the pandemic. Downtowns became ghost towns when businesses told workers to stay home, and e-scooter business slowed, dropping as much as 70 percent. As people reemerge from shutdowns, wary of congested trains and buses, the micromobility industry may enjoy a post-pandemic renaissance, analysts say. People are buying more of the two-wheelers in some markets. China-based Niu saw sales rise sales 6.3 percent internationally as cities such as Boston, New York and Minneapolis expanded bike lanes to encourage social distancing, setting the framework for a potential e-scooter comeback.

By the time the novel coronavirus is in the rearview mirror, riders could be encountering a new type of e-scooter, one that picks up safety tools from modern cars. Last week, micromobility companies Luna and Voi Technology came together to kick off a test fleet of e-scooters with pedestrian detection. The test scooters are deployed in Northampton, England. Luna, a Dublin-based start-up, developed the system of cameras and sensors that it says will enable the scooters to learn and respond to their environments. Voi, a Swedish e-scooter manufacturer, integrated Luna's computer vision system into 50 of its e-scooters. [...] The immediate goal for Voi and Luna is to have the devices detect people and objects in a scooter's path, even if the rider doesn't see them. The idea is to make scooter users and pedestrians feel safe as they navigate busy streets, which is the most significant issue plaguing cities with legalized shared e-scooters, according to Fredrik Hjelm, CEO of Voi.

In related news ...

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 3 • Thread

New regulations will also require all new e-scooters to have back-up cameras.

Interpreting the title

By s_p_oneil • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Anyone else interpret that title as "It turns out a lot of people are too stupid to drive an e-scooter safely"?

Re:Interpreting the title

By R3d M3rcury • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Well, safety is the other person's problem.

Motorists should watch out for e-scooters because motorists can kill e-scooter drivers.
Pedestrians should watch out for e-scooters because e-scooter drivers can kill pedestrians.

So as long as everybody gets out of my way, there won't be any problems. Why can't people see this?

Microsoft's Next Phase of Climate Lobbying

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft has brought on the government affairs firm Lot Sixteen to lobby on sustainability and climate change, a newly public filing shows. From a report: While Microsoft has lots of in-house and outside lobbyists working on all sorts of things, it's the first time an outside firm will be lobbying only on climate and environmental topics, Microsoft confirmed. "The company made bold, new climate commitments this year. Adding a firm dedicated to this effort reflects this priority issue," said Kate Frischmann, a Microsoft spokeswoman. The company has made new environmental commitments and funding announcements this year including... in January, Microsoft pledged to become "carbon negative" by 2030 and announced a $1 billion fund for technologies and methods that pull CO2 directly from the atmosphere. They also set a goal of having "zero waste" from their operations, products and packaging by 2030.

Microsoft doing something right!?

By 1s44c • Score: 3 • Thread

What happened to the world that Microsoft are the good guys here? This is weird and unfamiliar.

Re:Microsoft doing something right!?

By GameboyRMH • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Perhaps by accident, from a pure greed perspective it makes sense for a tech company to push for decarbonization - gives various tech solutions behind telecommuting an advantage over travelling and face-to-face interaction, and data centers are the easiest things in the world to switch to renewable power.

You first

By smooth wombat • Score: 3 • Thread
to lobby on sustainability and climate change

Unlike the Microsoft campus which is acre upon acre of steel and concrete and blacktop mixed with a few square feet of grass or trees.

Re:Microsoft doing something right!?

By cayenne8 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Actually not that old or fat, but my first thought is...who gives a fuck on this?

I'd rather a Microsoft that had software that didn't have all the telemetry on it. I'd rather have one with most consistency across the board on apps, etc....and to make their software easier to use to find things to configure.

Hell, there shouldn't be so many fscking hoops to sum through to get into outlook and make it stop putting "smart quotes" in for regular quotes...makes cutting and pasting linux strings a PITA....or having to dig through a bunch of crap that isn't really obvious to just have it skip to the next open email when you delete the one you're reading.

Sure, I figure how to do it, but it wasn't intuitive.

I'd rather MS spend their time and money making their OS and apps more refined and user friendly....and more unified.

Climate? Geez....not that worried about it myself, but there' plenty of better qualified folks to be worrying about that than MS.

Microsoft Teams Takes on Zoom With Free All-Day Video Calling on the Web

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: Microsoft is making a big push to entice fans of Zoom over to Microsoft Teams with a new all-day video calling option that can be used for free. While the software giant launched Microsoft Teams for consumers on mobile earlier this year, it's now bringing Teams' friends and family features to the desktop and web allowing you to create a Microsoft Teams meeting for up to 300 friends and family that can run all day free of charge. You won't need a Microsoft Account or the Microsoft Teams app to join calls, as you can join free via a web browser. Microsoft Teams will also support seeing up to 49 friends or family members in a gallery view or through its Together Mode feature that puts you side by side in a virtual environment. With Thanksgiving just a week away, it's clear Microsoft is positioning Teams as a way for families to connect virtually during the pandemic.

Re:" of Zoom"

By leehwtsohg • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I'm a zoom fan. It works better for me than any other platform I've worked with over this pandemic. Zoom calls with many participants work better in terms of video quality than skype calls one-on-one. Screen sharing works well, control sharing works well. For me it was indispensable over the last months.

Same old same old from MS

By marcle • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You may not need a MS account to join a meeting, but you sure as heck need one to set up a meeting. This is just an obvious ploy to sign up new suckers, I mean, subscribers, who will then be monetized up the yin-yang.

Re:Same old same old from MS

By RightSaidFred99 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I did long ago, MS has all my details as do Facebook and Google. So far nobody has showed up to do an anal probe yet.

I might have to actually call someone on my own to come do that. I've been misled.

Solar Power Stations in Space Could Be the Answer To Our Energy Needs

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Amanda Jane Hughes, Lecturer, Department of Mechanical, Materials and Aerospace Engineering at University of Liverpool Stefania, and Soldini Lecturer in Aerospace Engineering at University of Liverpool, write: A space-based solar power station could orbit to face the Sun 24 hours a day. The Earth's atmosphere also absorbs and reflects some of the Sun's light, so solar cells above the atmosphere will receive more sunlight and produce more energy. But one of the key challenges to overcome is how to assemble, launch and deploy such large structures. A single solar power station may have to be as much as 10 kilometres squared in area -- equivalent to 1,400 football pitches. Using lightweight materials will also be critical, as the biggest expense will be the cost of launching the station into space on a rocket. One proposed solution is to develop a swarm of thousands of smaller satellites that will come together and configure to form a single, large solar generator. In 2017, researchers at the California Institute of Technology outlined designs for a modular power station, consisting of thousands of ultralight solar cell tiles. They also demonstrated a prototype tile weighing just 280 grams per square metre, similar to the weight of card.

Recently, developments in manufacturing, such as 3D printing, are also being looked at for this application. At the University of Liverpool, we are exploring new manufacturing techniques for printing ultralight solar cells on to solar sails. A solar sail is a foldable, lightweight and highly reflective membrane capable of harnessing the effect of the Sun's radiation pressure to propel a spacecraft forward without fuel. We are exploring how to embed solar cells on solar sail structures to create large, fuel-free solar power stations. These methods would enable us to construct the power stations in space. Indeed, it could one day be possible to manufacture and deploy units in space from the International Space Station or the future lunar gateway station that will orbit the Moon. Such devices could in fact help provide power on the Moon. The possibilities don't end there. While we are currently reliant on materials from Earth to build power stations, scientists are also considering using resources from space for manufacturing, such as materials found on the Moon.

Re:To earth?

By fish_in_the_c • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

First off, I'd would love to stop using fossil fuels, they make a mess and global warming is gonna bite us.

(this goes to the expensive fossil fuel comment)
I'm not form the 'show me' state, but I'll believe it when I see it. From what I can tell most 'renewable' sources are still not well developed and cost more the fossil fuels. If they cost less ( per kilowatt) they would have already taken over the industry. Shell corporation is more then able to pivot and become a major provider of solar wind etc. They have deep pockets. The question is , is the technology viable and will it produce the same or better product ' aka cost + profit' if it did then it would already be the winner. It doesn't.

So why aren't we going away from fossil fuels, greed, or efficiency you take your pick. Me I have enough income I will be able to pay for electric if it goes up 10 or 20% but there are lots of people out there who would really be hurt by that change and Grandma not being able to afford air conditioning is the pits. Replacing fossil fuels will not be a short term winner for the consumer , no matter how you frame it, unless there can be some serious improvements in renewable generation. Also, nuclear still has a serious waste problem and I don't know of any coal plants that have poisoned a area the size of road island for 1000 years , so it has at least a reputation problem ( if not a real risk problem) that needs to be dealt with , which is why it gets so much resistance.

Re:To earth?

By stabiesoft • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
I think 10/20% is optimistic. As an example, Hawaii runs around 27c/kwh. Diverse sources including solar and oil. In TX, it runs closer to 12c/KWH. Also diverse sources but in TX, nat gas is cheap, not so much in HI. So that tells me pure solar would run closer to HI prices instead of TX prices. Full disclosure, I have panels and have had them for 15 years now. They will never pay for themselves even with the 50% subsidy I got when I put them up, Never.

Re:To earth?

By Mostly a lurker • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I could not decide whether to mark your comment overrated or to post my rebuttal. I have decided on the latter.

See Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2019

Newly installed renewable power capacity increasingly costs less than the cheapest power generation options based on fossil fuels. The cost data presented in this comprehensive study from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) confirms how decisively the tables have turned.

Power generation is not the only issue in phasing out the use of fossil fuels, of course, but economical replacements are coming.

Re:To earth?

By kenai_alpenglow • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
What's the cost and reliability of power in California...? No thanks.

Re:To earth?

By raymorris • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

> coal power should've been made illegal long ago

Should have, and would have been except for one little thing.
Back in 1970, fifty years ago, some folks anti-war who were into peace signs and such were really worried about nuclear weapons research. They had made a name for themselves protesting and underground teat of a bomb in Alaska. Generally they were very worried about nuclear research. As it happened, they were need up sharing an office with some other hippies who who were focused on the environment. The two groups got along pretty well and together formed an organization around both peace and green, which they called Greenpeace.

For fifty years or so the green movement, led by the example of Greenpeace, fought against having nuclear research and therefore nuclear power, simply because Greenpeace had leadership from two different groups with different concerns. They insisted solar-electric was the only way and it was just a couple years from ready. For sixty fucking years. That's why we're still burning coal today.

We're still burning coal decades after we could have gotten rid of it precisely because of what GP said - people who favor one particular power source demonizing people who point out that another clean source is actually ready to use today, and has been for decades. All because some people 50 years ago happened to end up sharing an office space.

One of the founders of GreenPeace, Patrick Moore, has written more about this for anyone interested.

YouTube, Facebook and Twitter Align To Fight Covid Vaccine Conspiracies

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have said they will join forces with fact-checkers, governments and researchers to try to come up with a new way of tackling misinformation. From a report: Vaccine misinformation has been rife on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, with many questioning their efficacy. At the same time, countries are preparing to roll out coronavirus vaccines in a bid to end the pandemic. It is unclear how the initiative will improve the fight against fake news. Fact-checking charity Full Fact will co-ordinate the collaboration. Taking part in the effort alongside Facebook, Google-owned YouTube and Twitter are the UK's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport; the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism; Africa Check; Canada's Privacy Council Office; and five other international fact-checking organisations. With funding from Facebook, an initial framework will launch in January, setting out new standards for tackling misinformation, as well as a set of aims on the best way to respond to such information.

Exercising caution isn't a conspiracy theory

By stevegee58 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
I'm not an anti-vaxxer. I get my flu vax every year and just got my shingles shot. That said it's common knowledge that vaccines take years to get into the pipeline and the potential Covid vaccines are clearly being rushed. If the authorities insist on rushing the Covid vax into distribution it seems reasonable to wait and see how the first wave of vaccinations go. I hope I'm proven to be overly cautious.

Re:Exercising caution isn't a conspiracy theory

By Aristos Mazer • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

And sharing that sentiment of reasonable caution is not what FB, Twitter, etc, are combatting. They're combatting the "this vaccine is a government attempt to...

  1. ... take over your mind
  2. ... murder your children
  3. ... make money at your expense
  4. ... {insert nefarious inexplicable scheme here}.


Re:Meanwhile on Slashdot, on a story about a vacci

By Aristos Mazer • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

All she did was say that Trump is not a doctor. Fauci is. That's factually accurate, not anti-vax, and completely in line with good science principles.

Re:Exercising caution isn't a conspiracy theory

By cayenne8 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

And sharing that sentiment of reasonable caution is not what FB, Twitter, etc, are combatting.

I dunno.

I'm of the feeling that they will likely err on the side of extreme caution or whatever you want to call that ANY statements remotely negative or cautious expressed about the covid vaccines will be marked or deleted as wrong think, conspiracy and fake.

We've not seen social media be sensible about most any of the things they've seen fit to censor.

Re:Exercising caution isn't a conspiracy theory

By eth1 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I'm not an anti-vaxxer. I get my flu vax every year and just got my shingles shot. That said it's common knowledge that vaccines take years to get into the pipeline and the potential Covid vaccines are clearly being rushed. If the authorities insist on rushing the Covid vax into distribution it seems reasonable to wait and see how the first wave of vaccinations go. I hope I'm proven to be overly cautious.

Well, TBH, most of us probably won't be able to get in on the first round of Covid vaccinations, anyway, since they'll almost certainly prioritize healthcare workers.

Even so, I'll probably get one ASAP, my logic being this, given the current front-runner candidate vaccines:
- It seems that the vaccines have been proven effective
- It doesn't seem like there have been severe reactions or problems caused by them
- I will almost certainly get Covid, given enough time
- There *might* be some long-term effects of getting vaccinated, but there seems to be a very good chance of long term effects from getting Covid

It comes down to which potential long-term effects would be worse - and I'm leaning towards the ones from actually getting sick.

Apple Defends Delay of Privacy Feature, Slams Facebook

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Apple has slammed Facebook and other internet giants for their ad-targeting practices in response to a letter questioning a decision by the iPhone maker to delay a new privacy feature. From a report: The Cupertino, California-based technology company criticized Facebook's approach to advertising and user tracking, according to a written reply sent to several human rights and privacy organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Human Rights Watch: "By contrast, Facebook and others have a very different approach to targeting. Not only do they allow the grouping of users into smaller segments, they use detailed data about online browsing activity to target ads. Facebook executives have made clear their intent is to collect as much data as possible across both first and third party products to develop and monetize detailed profiles of their users, and this disregard for user privacy continues to expand to include more of their products."

Apple's letter, reviewed by Bloomberg News, defended the company's decision to delay an iPhone feature that requires users to give explicit permission before letting apps track them for advertising purposes. The enhancement was added as part of the company's iOS 14 operating system in September, but a requirement that all apps use it was delayed until early 2021 after several developers, including Facebook, said the change would hurt their businesses. The human rights and privacy organizations criticized the delay in a letter earlier this year to Apple.

Re:The problem is really Facebook!

By Freischutz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Because the delay in the deployment of this feature was literally caused by Facebook's high pitched whining about them not being able to monitor the movements of every user, ferret out every intimate detail of the user's private lives and selling that data to the highest bidder?

And how does that have anything to do with Apple rolling out a privacy-increasing feature on Apple devices?

Perhaps because Apple really does care about Facebook dollars more than it allegedly cares about the privacy of its users?

I wonder...

I think the fact that Apple spent money on implementing this feature proves you wrong. The delay is probably just to assess the possible legal and financial liabilities of being sued by Facebook and hundreds of thousands of app developers who feel entitled to track you, harvest data about your private life without your consent and then sell that data to all and sundry. It is bad enough that Facebook already has tracking mechanisms built into practically every web page on the internet. Facebook is most definitely not entitled to scrape my PCs and mobile devices for data as well. Personally I'm not crying any rivers over Facebook and hundreds of thousands of other app developers being significantly less able to track every move I make and monetise my private life without my consent. Consumers and app developers being forced to choose between (a) buying/selling an app and having/selling privacy with it or (b) getting an app for free, being tracked, spied upon and having their private life sold to the highest bidder suits me just fine. I for one will always select option (a). As far as I am concerned Apple cannot roll this feature out soon enough and to hell with Facebook and the rest of that deplorable ilk.

I wish Apple hadn't delayed

By andymadigan • Score: 3 • Thread
I wish Apple hadn't delayed this feature. I'm really looking forward to it killing a lot of bad business models.

However, it's worth pointing out that if you're really concerned, you can disable this kind of tracking on iOS already, on iOS 14 go to Settings > Privacy > Tracking and disable "Allow Apps to Request to Track".

The big change that was delayed until next year is forcing any app that wants to do this to go through an opt-in permission prompt.

I think the harm done by Apple in waiting to roll out the feature is minimal. In six months, it'll be out, and the companies relying on this tracking will have to find a new scam, like selling fake COVID-19 vaccines.

SoftBank CEO Says He Doesn't Understand Bitcoin, and Watching the Price Fluctuate Was 'Distracting My Focus On My Own Business'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Business Insider: Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son said that he "doesn't understand" bitcoin, and that he spent a good chunk of his time tracking its movement while invested in the cryptocurrency. Son, who made the remarks at The New York Times DealBook conference, said he was told by a friend to invest "1% of his personal assets" into bitcoin, meaning he invested "about 200 million." After investing the money, Son said he would spend about five minutes each day looking at bitcoin prices fluctuate.

While speaking with host Andrew Ross Sorkin, Son said he found the investment to be "distracting [his] own focus on [his] own business." Son quickly grew tired of checking the price of bitcoin every day. This reoccurring distraction from checking prices every day led Son to sell his stake in bitcoin, and he estimates that he lost around $50 million. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Son lost closer to $130 million when he sold his stake in 2018, citing sources who are familiar with the matter. "I feel so much better," Son said of exiting the cryptocurrency.
"I think digital currency will be useful," Son added. "But I don't know what digital currency, what structure, and so on."

Re:Don't understand?

By Ol Olsoc • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Bitcoins are underpinned by wishful thinking. The value of bitcoin is based on nothing. One cannot forecast the value of bitcoins. One cannot look at a balance sheet, a crop report, a government report, and determine if it will go up or down.

Pretty much this. It is truly as if some people got together and decided to prank the world. We might as well decide that monopoly game money is real.

Re:Don't understand?

By DaveV1.0 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

We might as well decide that monopoly game money is real.

But that is exactly how dollars and euros work. That is why I said that he does not really understand dollars or euros.

No, it is not how dollars and euros work. They work because they are backed by one or more governments. Those governments have the ability to raise money via taxes and fees, they have physical assets (land, building, vehicles,etc) , they have reserves of precious metals, etc.

Bitcoin is backed by wishful thinking. There is no organization, no government, no assets, there is nothing at all behind bitcoin to back up the claim of it having value. This is why bitcoin's value shifts so much for no apparent reason.

The Government of the United States says the dollar has value and that it is backed by the "full faith and credit" of the United States of America. The European Union says the euro has value. Who says the bitcoin has value?

Re:In other news

By Moryath • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
What's to understand about Bitcoin? Cryptocurrencies are mostly pump-and-dump scams or pyramid scams.

Cryptocurrency Scams Took in More Than $4 Billion in 2019: Ponzi schemes are the latest form of bitcoin fraud, with big platforms like one called PlusToken drawing the most money

Bitcoin is easy

By dmay34 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Bitcoin is easy to understand. It's a casino designed as a market intended to trick dumb people into handing over real money in exchange for playing games that the whales manipulate.

I don't know how this is so hard to understand.

Re:In other news

By Kisai • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Yep. Crypto currencies are not investment tools.

Either someone wants to be paid in cryptocoins because the conventional payment systems fail them (eg illegal activity like drugs and malware, porn or porn-adjacent materials (eg webcam modeling), adult websites, gambling) or they begrudgingly accept cryptocoins because they want to deal with someone who has already been excluded from existing payment technologies including paypal/square/stripe/apple-pay/etc. Bitcoin itself is a tool of last resort before physically withdrawing paper money and mailing it and taking that risk.

Investing or keeping coins is just a surefire way it loses its value everytime it hits a "dump".

Twisted Graphene Could Power a New Generation of Superconducting Electronics

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine: In 2018, a group of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) pulled off a dazzling materials science magic trick. They stacked two microscopic cards of graphene -- sheets of carbon one atom thick -- and twisted one ever so slightly. Applying an electric field transformed the stack from a conductor to an insulator and then, suddenly, into a superconductor: a material that frictionlessly conducts electricity. Dozens of labs leapt into the newly born field of "twistronics," hoping to conjure up novel electronic devices without the hassles of fusing together chemically different materials. Two groups -- including the pioneering MIT group -- are now delivering on that promise by turning twisted graphene into working devices, including superconducting switches like those used in many quantum computers. The studies mark a crucial step for the material, which is already maturing into a basic science tool able to capture and control individual electrons and photons. Now, it is showing that it could one day be the basis of new electronic devices.


By Meneth • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Looks like it requires temperatures below 3 Kelvin. Links to two of the papers on Arxiv.

And the advantage over conventional...

By ffkom • Score: 3 • Thread
... superconductors is? I'm missing a discussion of this in the article. I mean basic research on new materials is all great and fine, but when you claim "a new generation" then you should probably at least mention what is supposed to be the "generational leap".

Scientists Produce Rare Diamonds In Minutes At Room Temperature

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Iwastheone writes: While traditional diamonds are formed over billions of years deep in the Earth where extreme pressures and temperatures provide just the right conditions to crystalize carbon, scientists are working on more expedient ways of forging the precious stones. An international team of researchers has succeeded in whittling this process down to mere minutes, demonstrating a new technique where they not only form quickly, but do so at room temperature.

This latest breakthrough was led by scientists at the Australian National University (ANU) and RMIT University, who used what's known as a diamond anvil cell, which is a device used by researchers to generate the extreme pressures needed to create ultra-hard materials. The team applied pressure equal to 640 African elephants on the tip of a ballet shoe, doing so in a way that caused an unexpected reaction among the the carbon atoms in the device. "The twist in the story is how we apply the pressure," says ANU Professor Jodie Bradby. "As well as very high pressures, we allow the carbon to also experience something called 'shear' -- which is like a twisting or sliding force. We think this allows the carbon atoms to move into place and form Lonsdaleite and regular diamond."

These regular diamonds are the type you might find in an engagement ring, while Lonsdaleite diamonds are rarer and found at meteorite impact sites. Using advanced electron microscopy, the team was able to examine the samples in detail, and found that the materials were formed within bands they liken to "rivers" of diamond. The team hopes the technique can enable them to produce meaningful quantities of these artificial diamonds, particularly Lonsdaleite, which is predicted to be 58 percent harder than regular diamonds. "Lonsdaleite has the potential to be used for cutting through ultra-solid materials on mining sites," Bradby says. The research was published in the journal Small, while you can hear from the researchers in this video.

Re:Enough with the scientific units!

By Iwastheone • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The only reason I submitted this story was because of their creative measurement term, I knew it'd be perfect for all the nerds here. :^) Here are a couple more links with better info. From

With this new process developed by scientists there could be scope to make more diamonds for jewelery purposes. “If we could get the amount of pressure that we need to form this right down, there would be a possibility that we could make some traditionally sparkly looking diamonds. But I think that’s a ways down the track,” Bradby added.

The research team’s plan now is to make more diamonds by lowering the pressure needed to form it. “We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve to see if we can do that,” Bradby said.”If we can get the pressure right down to a reasonable level – because at the moment something like 300 tonnes is required on a very small area to make this diamond – if we can get that down much lower, then you can start to get into the area where bulk amounts of it can be manufactured. And that’s what the dream is.”

Informative link:

Re:Enough with the scientific units!

By Iwastheone • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
..., one more link.

The ability to make diamonds at room temperature, in a matter of minutes, opens up numerous manufacturing possibilities. Specifically, making the "harder than diamond" Lonsdaleite this way is exciting news for industries where extremely hard materials are needed. For example, diamond is used to coat drill bits and blades to extend these tools' service life.

The next challenge for us is to lower the pressure required to form the diamonds. In our research, the lowest pressure at room temperature where diamonds were observed to have formed was 80 gigapascals. This is the equivalent of 640 African elephants on the tip of one ballet shoe!

If both diamond and Lonsdaleite could be made at lower pressures, we could make more of it, quicker and cheaper.

Units of measure

By argStyopa • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

" 640 African elephants on the tip of a ballet shoe" I'm sorry, but unless you use more standard units of measure like "Libraries of Congress" or "Olympic-sized swimming pools" I can't understand wtf you're talking about.

Article take-away

By yo303 • Score: 3 • Thread

OK, Slashdotters, stop making fun of the units, and talking about deBeers.

The important information here is that they are using shearing as well as pressure, and are detecting lonsdaelite, a stronger-than-diamond hexagonal-cell carbon lattice. Diamond is cubic lattice structure.

Re:640 African elephants on the tip of a ballet sh

By geekmux • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Americans will measure with literally anything BUT metric.

Sorry, could you repeat that ignorance? I couldn't quite hear you over the neighing of dozens horses trapped inside every fucking engine on the planet...