the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2020-Nov-21 today archive

Alterslash picks up to the best 5 comments from each of the day’s Slashdot stories, and presents them on a single page for easy reading.

Apple Lets Some Network Traffic Bypass Firewalls on MacOS Big Sur

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Security researchers are blasting Apple for a feature in the latest Big Sur release of macOS that allows some Apple apps to bypass content filters and VPNs..." reports Threatpost. "While users assumed Apple would fix the flaw before the OS emerged from beta into full release, this doesn't appear to have happened."

"Beginning with macOS Catalina released last year, Apple added a list of 50 Apple-specific apps and processes that were to be exempted from firewalls like Little Snitch and Lulu," explains Ars Technica: The undocumented exemption, which didn't take effect until firewalls were rewritten to implement changes in Big Sur, first came to light in October. Patrick Wardle, a security researcher at Mac and iOS enterprise developer Jamf, further documented the new behavior over the weekend. To demonstrate the risks that come with this move, Wardle — a former hacker for the NSA — demonstrated how malware developers could exploit the change to make an end-run around a tried-and-true security measure...

Wardle tweeted a portion of a bug report he submitted to Apple during the Big Sur beta phase. It specifically warns that "essential security tools such as firewalls are ineffective" under the change.

Apple has yet to explain the reason behind the change.

Re:Software firewalls

By bferrell • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

All firewalls are software firewalls

OpenBSD's pf is built-in

By the_B0fh • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
It's a freebsd kernel, with pf. You can always run pf to absolutely block whatever traffic you want. No user land frameworks can block kernel level pf firewall.

This is serious

By dwywit • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It changes the situation from "cautiously trusted" to "untrustworthy"

I won't be surprised to see lawsuits about it.

Re:Software firewalls

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Software firewalls have some major benefits over firewalls running on other machines. The main one is that they can operate on a per-app basis. If an app has no reason to need internet access you don't give it internet access. If it only needs to talk to one specific IP address that's all it gets.

Restricting on a per-app basis mitigates a lot of attacks. Even if the app gets compromised it can't download further payloads, it can't exfiltrate data, and the fact that it even tried can set off alarm bells.

Re:Software firewalls

By MooseOnTheLoose • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Very rarely are firewalls used to block outbound except in corporate environments... In most end user scenarios, everything is allowed out.

That is not correct with regard to Mac users, at least not the "very rarely" part. There is a rater popular program called Little Snitch for which many Mac users pay good money, in order to be able to send and approve/disapprove traffic going out of their systems. This change by Apple breaks Little Snitch and similar programs, at least with regard to traffic to Apple servers. Even if you don't want to block traffic to Apple's servers 100% of the time, there might still be times where you would want certain programs to not have the ability to connect (such as anything that sends out your Apple login while you are using an insecure public connection), and Little Snitch was great for that until Apple did this.

I know of at least one Mac user that has been buying Macs since the days of the Power PC but has said he will never buy another unless Apple either reverses this or the developers of Little Snitch figure out a workaround that makes their product work again for those connections (apparently they are working on it).

For me, this just makes me feel like Apple is trying to take over ownership of MY computer. I paid good money to Apple to PURCHASE a computer, not lease one or rent one, and Apple should not be trying to basically install malware to block the effectiveness of security-related software that I want to run. Maybe you feel that such software does nothing useful, but that is your opinion which which I strongly disagree. But I am more concerned about the arrogance of Apple trying to subvert the functioning of that software. If a third party did this we'd all be properly labeling it as malware but because some people seem to think Apple can do no wrong (obviously I'm not one of them) they are willing to overlook this intrusive behavior in MacOS Big Suck.

Werner Herzog On Asteroids, Star Wars, and the 'Obscenity' of a City On Mars

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
78-year-old filmmaker Werner Herzog shared some interesting thoughts before the release of his new documentary on asteroids, Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds now available on Apple TV+.

From Herzog's new interview with the science site inverse: Herzog tells Inverse he's less concerned than ever that a meteorite will destroy the Earth, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't still be worried about our own extinction. "It may be 100 million years to go until then," Herzog says, before adding, "within the next thousand years, we may have done such stupid things that we are not around anymore to contemplate it...."

There's a theory that all life on Earth came from a meteorite. Do you think that's possible...?

[I]f you expand the question, it wouldn't surprise me if we found life somewhere outside of our solar system, or even within our solar system, because we share the same chemistry with the universe. We share the same physics with the universe. And we share the same history with the universe. So with trillions and trillions and trillions of stars out there, it's highly likely that somewhere there are some forms of life. Probably not as good and interesting as in movies. We can be pretty certain there are no creatures out there like in Star Wars...

Have you heard the theory that we're living inside a simulation?

Yes, but I don't buy it. Because when I kick a soccer ball from the penalty spot, I know this is for real. If the goalie saves it, oh shit, this is for real.

He also discusses the 1998 asteroid disaster film Deep Impact and his own appearance on Rick and Morty, as well as part on The Mandalorian — and the experience of watching its premiere with 1,000 hardcore Star Wars fans. ("It was unbelievable. The first credit appears and there's a shout of joy that you cannot describe... It's evident Star Wars is a new mythology for our times, whether you like it or not.")

But though Herzog's films "often feature ambitious protagonists with impossible dreams, people with unique talents in obscure fields, or individuals who are in conflict with nature," according to Wikipedia, Herzog insists to Inverse that Elon Musk's plan to build a city on Mars is a "mistake."
In a blistering criticism, Herzog describes the idea as "an obscenity," and says humans should "not be like the locusts...."

Herzog is not opposed to going to Mars at all. In fact, the German filmmaker would "love to go [to Mars] with a camera with scientists." But the long-term vision of a Mars city is a "mistake." Herzog's main concern is that humanity should "rather look to keep our planet habitable," instead of trying to colonize another one.

In short, Mars is not a livable place. There is no liquid water at the surface, or air to breathe. Solar wind means inhabitants would be "fried like in a microwave," Herzog says.

Re:Send big polluters & climatechange deniers

By ChrisMaple • Score: 4 • Thread
We want to live in a society not enslaved by the environmentalists and their frauds.

Re:Herzog's an amazing filmmaker

By garyisabusyguy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You should really do some research into SpaceX before deciding what sort of cult they are

Cargo cults, fyi, were a result of primitive groups coming into contact with modern military forces during WW2, and then trying to pray for the planes to come back

I fail to see the connection

Anyhow, Elon's initial goal was to put a functioning greenhouse on Mars, and then somehow leverage that into getting larger governments involved.

Herzog (and you) seems to think that Elon is pretty one-dimensional, and that his goals for Mars involve leaving Earth to rot. Just reading the wiki page on Elon would show that he is pursuing a multi-pronged approach to stem off climate change on Earth by spearheading both Solar Energy and Electric Vehicle industries, while simultaneously creating a plan-b on Mars should Humans face extinction on Earth (due to climate change, killer asteroid, whatever)

And... since Elon thinks in more than one dimension, his rocketry adventure is creating a whole new revenue stream through launch services, NASA missions and Starlink...

So yea, billions of dollars, decades of effort is what Elon is calling for, but he is funding it through his success and there is a fairly good chance that he will succeed.

Are there strong forces against him? Yes
Is it a far reach that requires expanding capabilities? Yes

Why do you align so strongly with the naysayers? Getting lazy in your old age?

Re:one point disagree

By hdyoung • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
hard physics and engineering background here. No, it's not a pipe dream. Is a self-sustaining colony possible for a billion dollars and a 5-year plan given todays tech? No. Of course not.

But imagine that we develop 1 or 2 more technological generations of robots. Think of the next Boston Dynamics building on top of the current models. Maybe 30 years from now. And, solar prices are dropping like a stone, so imagine 40 years from now we can cover a desert with solar cells and energy is a 100th of the current cost. Rocket fuel is practically free. And the re-useable rockets that Musk is developing have matured, and 30 more years of developing them, imagine what they could be like. A century from now, launching mass into orbit could be 1% of the cost it is now.

Now imagine that several modern economies get together and decide to spend a few trillion dollars setting up a colony on mars. You think I'm crazy? The US GDP is 20 trillion dollars. Put the US, Europe and China together and they could cough up a few trillion worth of resources and work per year and hardly even feel it. The only reason we won't right now is because we're all squabbling over (insert current tiny island of the week or current political figure here).

Difficult? Yes. Impossible? No. Definitely do-able. Massive underground facilities to deal with the radiation. The larger the closed-system, the more stable it will be. Solar and nuclear for the power, with energy storage provided by whatever comes next after Li-ion batteries. You may scoff that I'm pipe-dreaming, but think about how often tech gets replaced, upgraded by a better tech. 25 years ago Li-Ion didn't exist. Whatever it is, the next gen of batteries will put current Li-ion to shame.

Yeah, Venus mining might be difficult, but mining on Mars will look a ton like earth mining, except done by robots with specialized equipment. All the basic elements for a self-sustaining society are there. Water is there.

If you're focused on "I wanna know whats best for my checkbook RIGHT NOW" yeah you have no use for Mars. There aren't going to be any exports send back to Earch from that ball of mostly-rust. However, in 50-100 years, for a few trillion dollars, we'll probably be able to set up a mostly self-sustaining colony. As I said, this is beneficial to the species. Expanding to new territory. More people in more places, evolving to adapt to different living conditions. Insurance in case the Earthers decide to WWIII themselves out of existence. This is what the SMART species would do. Are we smart? I think that I am, but it sounds like you're not. A species full of small-minded people like you are happy to sit on their little rock until something beyond their control wanders by and shatters it, and then.... they're gone. I'd like my species to be different. Challenging doesn't mean pipe-dream. Well within our current understanding of science. The engineering isn't there, but could very well be in 100 years. Think of what our technology was like 100 years ago, and project 100 years in the future. It's plausible.

Re:Herzog's an amazing filmmaker

By UnknowingFool • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Not that final one. Solar wind doesn't penetrate Mars' atmosphere; it won't fry you. Not like a microwave, nor otherwise.

What he's talking about is the radiation on Mars. Mars has no protective magnetosphere.

Over the course of about 18 months, the Mars Odyssey probe detected ongoing radiation levels which are 2.5 times higher than what astronauts experience on the International Space Station – 22 millirads per day, which works out to 8000 millirads (8 rads) per year. . . .And while studies have shown that the human body can withstand a dose of up to 200 rads without permanent damage, prolonged exposure to the kinds of levels detected on Mars could lead to all kinds of health problems – like acute radiation sickness, increased risk of cancer, genetic damage, and even death.

This is a major obstacle to terraforming Mars. Even if humans could transform the atmosphere to be breathable, the radiation would kill most life.

He may be thinking of coronal mass ejections ("solar flares"), but even there, no, won't fry you like a microwave. And they can be dealt with: shield the habitat, and don't go outside if the sun is acting up.

Um. No. You can't go outside without shielding. Period. That means either spending the entire time underground. Or reheat the inner core of Mars. If you have a solution to NASA to do this, propose it.

Luckily it is not up to him

By cjonslashdot • Score: 3 • Thread
Some people value exploration and colonization, others do not. Some people value spectator sports, some do not ($50B is spent on the Olympics every four years). Some people value art, some do not (some paintings have sold for $100M). To each their own. When Herzog says "we should not go", he needs to speak for himself. No one is telling him to go, or to pay for it - nor should they.

In the Last Week America Experienced 1 Million New Coronavirus Cases

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
The total number of U.S. coronavirus cases since the pandemic started has now surpassed 12 million, CNN reports — " an increase of more than 1 million cases in less than a week."

Researchers at John Hopkins University calculate that over a quarter of a million Americans have now died from the disease. Almost every state has reported a rapid surge in cases, and nationwide numbers have been climbing much faster than ever before — with the country reporting a staggering 2.8 million infections since the beginning of the month. On Friday, more than 195,500 new infections were reported — the country's highest for a single day, and far beyond what the nation was seeing just weeks ago. The highest number of single-day cases during the country's summer surge was a little more than 77,100 in July, Johns Hopkins University data shows.

The U.S. on Friday also recorded its highest number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals on a given day: just over 82,100 — according to the COVID Tracking Project. Rising death rates typically follow rising hospitalizations. In just the past week, more than 10,000 U.S. deaths have been reported — nearly double the weekly death toll of just a month ago... The virus is still running unabated in the U.S. and the rate of rising cases is now "dramatically" different from what it was before, White House Coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx told CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta....

The good news? Experts say promising vaccines are on the horizon and until then, there are things the American public can do to help hold down the virus. Those include wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding crowds and washing hands regularly. The University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projected this week about 65,000 lives could be saved by March 1 if 95% of Americans wore masks.

The rising graph (midway through the story) says it all.

UPDATE: CNN reported Sunday that in just the month of November America experienced three million new Covid-19 infections.

Re:Oh noes a virus spreads!

By dunkelfalke • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

moreover, the CDC says that 40% of Americans have a preexisting condition.

Re:Math continues to work, and water is still wet

By tony dafish • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Thanks for playing, but your your math mixes apples and kumquats. Those 253k deaths represent cases that have run their course, 12 million infections include both active and concluded cases. The true US mortality rate, listed by Worldometer is running about 3.4% [ 261.8k / 7,665.6k ]

Re:It's also

By AleRunner • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

You sure about that?

Yes, we're sure about that since the excess deaths, the number of deaths more than a normal season including the flu are more like 300,000, so in fact more people have been dying of COVID-19 than the official numbers, not less.

Re:In other words

By angel'o'sphere • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

You are making the common mistake of "anti vaxers" (not implying you are one) and other people who are simply bad in understanding dynamic systems.

Today you see:
- the infection rate from yesterday
- the infections of the last week etc.
- the hospitalization of people who got infected 5 to 20 days before - not yesterday, not last week
- the death rate of people who got infected 14 to 30 days before - not today, last week or the week before

Current deaths, current hospitalizations, have nothing to do with current infection rates. You will see the death rate of current infection: when those people die - and that i not now or today.

Re:In other words

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

People put on a mask and think they're invincible

I've yet to find someone who thinks that. The only time I've ever heard or seen that has been in anti-mask arguments. What I have experienced and witnessed is the people not wearing masks are also the same people who aren't practicing social distancing properly, aren't using hand sanitizer, and are constantly touching their face.

Does the Human Brain Resemble the Universe?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Does the human brain resemble the Universe?" teases an announcement that an astrophysicist of the University of Bologna and a neurosurgeon of the University of Verona " compared the network of neuronal cells in the human brain with the cosmic network of galaxies...and surprising similarities emerged."

Slashdot reader Iwastheone shares their report: Despite the substantial difference in scale between the two networks (more than 27 orders of magnitude), their quantitative analysis, which sits at the crossroads of cosmology and neurosurgery, suggests that diverse physical processes can build structures characterized by similar levels of complexity and self-organization. The human brain functions thanks to its wide neuronal network that is deemed to contain approximately 69 billion neurons. On the other hand, the observable universe can count upon a cosmic web of at least 100 billion galaxies.

Within both systems, only 30% of their masses are composed of galaxies and neurons. Within both systems, galaxies and neurons arrange themselves in long filaments or nodes between the filaments. Finally, within both system, 70% of the distribution of mass or energy is composed of components playing an apparently passive role: water in the brain and dark energy in the observable Universe.

Starting from the shared features of the two systems, researchers compared a simulation of the network of galaxies to sections of the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum. The goal was to observe how matter fluctuations scatter over such diverse scales. "We calculated the spectral density of both systems. This is a technique often employed in cosmology for studying the spatial distribution of galaxies", explains Franco Vazza (astrophysicist at the University of Bologna). "Our analysis showed that the distribution of the fluctuation within the cerebellum neuronal network on a scale from 1 micrometre to 0.1 millimetres follows the same progression of the distribution of matter in the cosmic web but, of course, on a larger scale that goes from 5 million to 500 million light-years".

The two researchers also calculated some parameters characterising both the neuronal network and the cosmic web: the average number of connections in each node and the tendency of clustering several connections in relevant central nodes within the network. "Once again, structural parameters have identified unexpected agreement levels. Probably, the connectivity within the two networks evolves following similar physical principles, despite the striking and obvious difference between the physical powers regulating galaxies and neurons", adds Alberto Feletti (neurosurgeon at the University of Verona).

The beauty of Mathematics

By Joe2020 • Score: 3 • Thread

It is not uncommon to find similar structures, small or large, throughout nature. Many are often the result of surprisingly simple mathematical equations. This is where mathematics becomes alive and shows us the most beautiful structures.


By uassholes • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
My brain resembles Uranus.


By drwho • Score: 3 • Thread

The universe is much larger, a can be modeled as a stale piece of fairy cake. The human brain is best modeled as a series of interconnected tubes, made of cheese.

Not surprising

By t4eXanadu • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

One property of fractals is self-similarity. A fractal will appear the same and have the same spatial properties at different scales. The universe is filled with fractals (or things that are nearly fractals), both spatial and temporal.

Not even wrong

By physick • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I looked at the paper:

1) The simulate the galactic connectivity, it's not real data
2) They use proximity of neurons instead of their actual connectivity to define "connections"
3) They ignore long-range neuronal connections
4) It's published in Frontiers that will publish anything so long as you pay the OA fees

Email and Web Traffic Redirected for Multiple Cryptocurrency Sites After GoDaddy Attack

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Fraudsters redirected email and web traffic destined for several cryptocurrency trading platforms over the past week," reports security researcher Brian Krebs: The attacks were facilitated by scams targeting employees at GoDaddy, the world's largest domain name registrar, KrebsOnSecurity has learned...

This latest campaign appears to have begun on or around Nov. 13, with an attack on cryptocurrency trading platform "A domain hosting provider 'GoDaddy' that manages one of our core domain names incorrectly transferred control of the account and domain to a malicious actor," Liquid CEO Kayamori said in a blog post. "This gave the actor the ability to change DNS records and in turn, take control of a number of internal email accounts. In due course, the malicious actor was able to partially compromise our infrastructure, and gain access to document storage."

In the early morning hours of Nov. 18 Central European Time (CET), cyptocurrency mining service NiceHash disclosed that some of the settings for its domain registration records at GoDaddy were changed without authorization, briefly redirecting email and web traffic for the site. NiceHash froze all customer funds for roughly 24 hours until it was able to verify that its domain settings had been changed back to their original settings. "At this moment in time, it looks like no emails, passwords, or any personal data were accessed, but we do suggest resetting your password and activate 2FA security," the company wrote in a blog post. NiceHash founder Matjaz Skorjanc said the unauthorized changes were made from an Internet address at GoDaddy, and that the attackers tried to use their access to its incoming NiceHash emails to perform password resets on various third-party services, including Slack and Github. But he said GoDaddy was impossible to reach at the time because it was undergoing a widespread system outage in which phone and email systems were unresponsive. "We detected this almost immediately [and] started to mitigate [the] attack," Skorjanc said in an email to this author. "Luckily, we fought them off well and they did not gain access to any important service. Nothing was stolen...."

[S]everal other cryptocurrency platforms also may have been targeted by the same group, including,, and None of these companies responded to requests for comment.

In response to questions from KrebsOnSecurity, GoDaddy acknowledged that "a small number" of customer domain names had been modified after a "limited" number of GoDaddy employees fell for a social engineering scam.

GoDaddy employees fell for a scam

By RitchCraft • Score: 3 • Thread
You would think the training of employees at a registrar this size would mitigate such simple attacks.

Seriously why GoDaddy

By Ecuador • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

GoDaddy has a horrible track record, they are quite notorious for screwing customers and I would think they are only used by people with no knowledge looking for a cheap registrar. Why on earth would they be trusted for anything serious. Of course, these "cryptocurrency sites" might also be anything but serious, which I guess would explain it...

Re:GoDaddy employees fell for a scam

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

GoDaddy is the biggest because it is dirt cheap. If "being the cheapest" is the core of your business model, it doesn't exactly lead you to hire quality people.

Why Amazon's Echo Shines an Ominous Red Light When Its Microphone is Muted

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
This year Amazon followed up its cylindrical Echo (and its hockey puck-shaped Echo Dot) with a cloth-wrapped sphere-shaped Echo device. And Fast Company reports that one significant change was to the light pipe, "that glowing ring on top of the Echo that signals it's talking or thinking.

"For the fourth generation, that light pipe has been moved to the bottom of the device, to reflect off tables or countertops, and provide a more ambient lighting experience that blends into one's environment — with a catch." Once you hit the privacy button on your Echo, deafening it from hearing your speech, the ring glows a DEFCON 2 red until you unmute it. (Note: Google uses an orange to convey mute for its Assistant, as does Sony's new PS5 controller that has a mic built in.) It's not just overt; it's borderline warlike, adding a Red October glow to your space. Echos have always glowed red when muted. Now your environment does, too.

When I mention this design decision, which seems to punish consumers who prefer privacy, Miriam Daniel, vice president of Echo and Alexa devices at Amazon, acknowledges, but brushes off, the criticism. "[Red] makes for a strong [statement]. There's always a tradeoff. Is it too bright? Annoying? Too in your face?" she muses. But she argues that the greater benefit is that "it gives people a sense of comfort knowing the mic isn't working."

The article notes that in 2019, Amazon announced it had already sold 100 million Alexa-powered devices.

Re:Are they really related?

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

The mute button is not remotely overrideable. It is (or at least was on earlier versions, no information on this variant) a button that depowers to the actual microphone amp. Therefore it interrupts the data from the mike to the software. Other reports are that this red LED is connected to the same board via hardware, but that's less clear. The other lights don't make use of the red channel at all, so it's possible that the red ring is done via hardware. The onbutton indicator itself should be impossible to fake.

Re:It's recording you, learning.

By Entrope • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

My wife asked why I always carry a gun around the house. I said "because of the mother-loving spybots". She laughed. I laughed. The toaster laughed. I shot the toaster. It was a good time.

Re:It's an LED, retards

By gizmo2199 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Also the facts that the mute button doesn't electrically disconnect the microphone. Alexa is still listening, it just won't respond to your commands unless you unmute it.

Red light conspiracy....

By Malays2 bowman • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

A lot of devices show a red light when it's "off" or "inactive". This has been the case for decades.

Unsorry, but I don't see a psychological warfare conspiracy here.

Another dumb fastcompany article.

By Seclusion • Score: 3 • Thread

Getting triggered because of the light color emitted by a device, WTF!?
I prefer my LEDs dark, barely visible during the day. I don't want every device with a power/activity indicator to also be a night light.
The article writer doesn't remember when nearly all LEDs were red and everything was just fine.

In Historic Test, US Navy Shoots Down an Intercontinental Ballastic Missile

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"In a historic test, a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer shot down an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) warhead aimed at a patch of ocean off the Hawaiian Islands," reports Popular Mechanics: Once the missile launched, a network of sensors picked it up. The data was then handed off to the guided missile destroyer USS John Finn, which launched a SM-3 Block IIA interceptor. Just as the ICBM released a [simulated] nuclear warhead, the SM-3 released an Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) designed to smash itself into the incoming warhead. Infrared cameras recorded a visible explosion as the EKV took out the simulated nuclear warhead.

Most types of ballistic missiles are basically small payload space rockets designed to boost nuclear warheads into low-Earth orbit. Once in space, the warhead coasts through orbit at several thousand miles per hour — the so-called midcourse phase when the warhead is midway between its launch point and target. The warhead then de-orbits into a trajectory that sends it plunging toward its target.

Meanwhile, space-based infrared sensors pick up the hot launch plume of the ballistic missile. A launch alert is passed on to ground-based long range radars, which search the skies for the incoming threat. As the missile falls away and the warhead continues on to its target, missile defense radars track the target, plot its trajectory, and alert any "shooters" in the flight path capable of shooting down the warhead. The shooter then launches an interceptor, and the EKV steers itself into the warhead path...

The article includes video of the test, and concludes that the ability to shoot down missiles is "terrible news for China" — while adding this "could very well cause Beijing to increase its nuclear arsenal."

A single warhead...

By Timothy2.0 • Score: 3 • Thread
Colour me impressed when they can target and destroy the multiple warheads of a MIRV like, say, China's DF-41...

Re:great, but its not going to be very helpful.

By sconeu • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Regardless of what the TFA and TFS say, this is not aimed at China. It's aimed at North Korea, and at other countries like it.

I did missile defense software for 8 years in the early 2000s. Everyone in the business knew that Russia and China could overwhelm point defenses. This sort of thing is to defend against a "rogue nation".

Re:I wonder how effective this system is?

By Aighearach • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Patriot was the first deployed weapon in a series that has culminated in the SM-3.

Current model Patriot missiles shoot down scuds no problem, and in fact also shoot down fighter jets.

So many people don't understand what this technology is, what they've done with it, how many different surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles systems have converged. Our current air-to-air missiles can hit orbital targets when fired from the flight ceiling of our current jets. Our standard surface-to-air protection systems have merged with our ballistic missile defense systems.

Imagine a future that exists. A future where we didn't burn the planet down to the rock. It is perhaps possible.

Re:"terrible news for China"

By K. S. Kyosuke • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Ports are scanned

I, too, can use nmap.

Not an orbit

By GuB-42 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Most types of ballistic missiles are basically small payload space rockets designed to boost nuclear warheads into low-Earth orbit. Once in space, the warhead coasts through orbit at several thousand miles per hour — the so-called midcourse phase when the warhead is midway between its launch point and target. The warhead then de-orbits into a trajectory that sends it plunging toward its target.

Unless I missed something, this is not how ICBM work. ICBM follow a suborbital trajectory, going high into space and falling back to earth. It is just free fall, no de-orbiting.

What is describe here is FOBS. A delivery method developed by the Soviet Union in the 60s but now decommissioned, and also banned.

Assigning Homework Exacerbates Class Divides, Researchers Find

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Education scholars say that math homework as it's currently assigned reinforces class divides in society and needs to change for good," according to Motherboard — citing a new working paper from education scholars: Status-reinforcing processes, or ones that fortify pre-existing divides, are a dime a dozen in education. Standardized testing, creating honors and AP tracks, and grouping students based on perceived ability all serve to disadvantage students who lack the support structures and parental engagement associated with affluence. Looking specifically at math homework, the authors of the new working paper wanted to see if homework was yet another status-reinforcing process. As it turns out, it was, and researchers say that the traditional solutions offered up to fix the homework gap won't work.

"Here, teachers knew that students were getting unequal support with homework," said Jessica Calarco, the first author of the paper and an associate professor of psychology at Indiana University. "And yet, because of these standard, taken-for-granted policies that treated homework as students' individual responsibilities, it erased those unequal contexts of support and led teachers to interpret and respond to homework in these status-reinforcing ways...."

The teachers interviewed for the paper acknowledged the unequal contexts affecting whether students could complete their math homework fully and correctly, Calarco said. However, that did not stop the same teachers from using homework as a way to measure students' abilities. "The most shocking and troubling part to me was hearing teachers write off students because they didn't get their homework done," Calarco said.... Part of the reason why homework can serve as a status-reinforcing process is that formal school policies and grading schemes treat it as a measure of a student's individual effort and responsibility, when many other factors affect completion, Calarco said....

"I'm not sure I want to completely come out and say that we need to ban homework entirely, but I think we need to really seriously reconsider when and how we assign it."

Re: Homework should be illegal

By Entrope • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

If you assign enough homework to keep most of them busy for three hours, a few will need six hours to finish, and then you will be accused of setting them up for failure.

I will leave to the reader the exercise of enumerating the reasons that students couldn't all be sent to the gym after finishing homework, or be left to their own (unattended) devices, after study hall. There are a lot of those reasons, and they should be pretty obvious to anyone who was ever a middle- or high-school student.

Re:Learning requires Inculcation.

By Etcetera • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

We could certainly equal things out by taking the advantage away from the upper class, but the net effect will be an overall reduction in competence among graduates, which does not benefit the greater good.

This is the Progressive Social Justice goal in a nutshell, and criticisms of it remain as salient now as they have been for decades. If you want to provide extra support to those that need it, that's great, and it helps ensure everyone get a shot at Greatness, but don't punish and hold back others from achieving their own potential.

Re: Homework should be illegal

By JillElf • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Well, they could just start removing all children from their parents at birth and place them in government institutions that will make sure everyone gets the exact same education/support. That should work right?
Except of course, some teachers are more talented than others, some kids are more math oriented, some kids are really motivated, some kids prefer to coast, and so forth. Oh, and let's not forget some kids get better prenatal care than others. Guess we need to institutionalize (or sterilize) all biological females until they hit menopause.

Math _is_ a divider

By gweihir • Score: 3 • Thread

At least if taught right. Aptitude for mathematics varies widely. Trying to get everybody in the same level would necessarily include demotivating and hampering those with a higher aptitude. That would be about the most stupid thing one could do.

Assumes a false base state

By Solandri • Score: 3 • Thread
They're assuming that "advantaged" and "disadvantaged" students will perform the same in the absence of any difference in treatment. I think you'll find that if you did absolutely nothing, "advantaged" kids would perform better simply because their parents push them harder to learn (and have the resources to do things like hire tutors). That's the correct base state you need to compare against. Does homework exacerbate this difference? Does it reduce it? Or does it have no effect on it (i.e. you get the same difference between advantaged and disadvantaged kids as when there is no homework)?

After Restoring YouTube-dl, GitHub Revamps Its Copyright Takedown Policy

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
On October 23rd GitHub initially complied with a takedown request for the open-source project youtube-dl — and then after 24 days, reinstated it.

"If there's a silver lining to the episode, it's that GitHub is implementing new policies to avoid a repeat of a repeat situation moving forward," reports Engadget: First, it says a team of both technical and legal experts will manually evaluate every single section 1201 claim. In instances where there's any ambiguity to a claim, the company says it will err on the side of developers and leave their repository online. If the company's technical and legal teams ultimately find any issues with a project, GitHub will give its owners the chance to address those problems before it takes down their work. Following a takedown, it will continue to give people the chance to recover their data — provided it doesn't include any offending code.

GitHub is also establishing a $1 million defense fund to provide legal aid to developers against suspect section 1201 claims, as well as doubling down on its lobbying work to amend the DMCA and other similar copyright laws across the world.


By rgbe • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I just have to say that that is awesome.

Streisand Effect in Play

By SodaStream • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
I wonder how many people thought that Youtube-DL was a thing prior to this?


By malkavian • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Actually, measured responses to new threats are a good way to go if you're in it for the long haul.
Sometimes, when something arises that you hadn't predicted, if the 'attack' is more than you can deal with, it's best to strategically withdraw, concede the battle without vast expenditure of resources, 'regroup' and decide what's possible. This seems to fit the pattern of what occurred.
Once you have time to consider the vulnerabilities of the "attack", you then formulate a retaliation, except this time, you force the opposition to play to your rules, and against fresh fortifications designed to frustrate the previous attack pattern.

In this case, they pulled the repo, because they couldn't confirm that they could win this particular battle, came up with a robust strategy for countering it that they could verify wouldn't just be a resource sink for no gain, then went and reclaimed the ground they'd conceded previously, except this time, they've got a much stronger defense in place.
Keeping clients happy in a knee jerk reaction without due consideration is a fast way to lose the company due to haemorrhaging resource ineffectually. That keeps nobody happy (apart from the 'opposition'). What people crave most is a general stability, which the moves made actually provide (there is now the general understanding that the provider acts sensibly in the long term benefit of the clients).

If people get antsy over something like a the original moves, then all they're likely to do is go somewhere else, that will encounter the same kind of problem, and then they'll move elsewhere, never achieving any real stability until the long term attrition of the less long term focused entities fail, leaving them the options of the 'survivors'. People that keep an eye on the long term understand that disruption is just part of life, and that maturing a service isn't all a case of perfect steps in one direction; it takes effort and thinking, and acting accordingly to the long term benefit.

So, all that considered, why would some corporate lawyer be chastised? From what I can see, they did things sensibly and by the book.

Re: Justice Delayed...

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

There's not takedown provision in 1201.

There is also no safe harbour provision. This wasn't a formal DMCA takedown request like you normally get in section 512. This was a legal letter to Github threatening legal action. Github responded by voluntarily removing the project.

SpaceX Begins a Day With Two Falcon 9 Launches, Seventh Flight of a Recycled Rocket

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
While tonight will see SpaceX's 16th launch of its broadband satellites, that launch will also make history, reports CNET: The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket is set to make its seventh flight, which would be a record for rocket recycling for the company. The booster previously flew on four Starlink missions and a pair of larger telecom satellite launches. SpaceX will likely attempt to land the booster on a droneship in the Atlantic shortly after launch and may also try to catch the two halves of the nose cone or fairing with another pair of ships.

This all happens just about 10 hours after SpaceX is scheduled to perform another big launch on the other side of the country. On Saturday morning [in just one half hour], another Falcon 9 will blast off from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California carrying the new NASA/European Space Agency Sentinel 6 Michael Freilich satellite designed to monitor global sea level rise and improve weather forecasting...

You can watch the whole thing right here.

SpaceX has also begun tweeting photos taken last weekend during its Crew Dragon capsule's flight from earth— and its arrival at the International Space Station.

Falcon 9 Starlink launch scheduled for November 22

By duckintheface • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The launch mentioned in the article is not happening on November 21. It is happening on November 22 at 9:56 PM

Masks are Effective, Despite One Flawed Study From Denmark

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"I think the overwhelming body of evidence suggests that masks are effective," the lead author of a study recently cited by America's Center for Disease Control told the Washington Post.

They were responding to another (very controversial) outlier study whose findings " conflict with those from a number of other studies," according to the New York Times, citing numerous experts. "Critics were quick to note [that] study's limitations, among them that the design depended heavily on participants reporting their own test results and behavior, at a time when both mask-wearing and infection were rare in Denmark."

The Washington Post reports: In the large, randomized study published Wednesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers observed more than 6,000 people in Denmark from April to June when mask-wearing was not required in the country. Fewer people in the group that was advised to wear masks contracted the virus — or about a 14 percent reduced risk because of mask-wearing — but the difference was not statistically significant, indicating that the medical masks issued were not particularly effective at preventing the wearers from being infected. Other experts, however, argue that the study was conducted when there was relatively less community spread of the virus and that testing the participants' antibodies cannot reliably measure whether they had the virus during the time of the study.

"We think you should wear a face mask at least to protect yourself, but you should also use it to protect others," lead author Henning Bundgaard told The Washington Post. "We consider that the conclusion is we should wear face masks." Bundgaard said even the small risk reduction masks offer "is very important, considering it is a life-threatening disease..."

"Because the issue has become so politicized, there's a real risk — and it's already being used in this way — that studies like this will be sort of cherry-picked and presented as conclusive evidence that masks are completely ineffective," Columbia University virologist Angela Rasmussen said... In letters and blog posts, public health experts express concern about the design of the study and warn that policymakers could misinterpret the research to mean that masks are ineffective. "However, the more accurate translation is that this study is uninformative regarding the benefits (or lack thereof) of wearing masks outside of the healthcare setting," one letter states. "As such, we caution decision-makers and the media from interpreting the results of this trial as being anything other than artifacts of weak design."

Even the Denmark study itself acknowledged its own limitations, citing "Inconclusive results, missing data, variable adherence, patient-reported findings on home tests, no blinding, and no assessment of whether masks could decrease disease transmission from mask wearers to others."

And it also acknowledges large gaps in adherence to proper mask usage among its participants: "Based on the lowest adherence reported in the mask group during follow-up, 46% of participants wore the mask as recommended, 47% predominantly as recommended, and 7% not as recommended."

The Post notes that America's Center for Disease Control reiterated that people do benefit from wearing a mask that can filter out virus-carrying droplets, and last week "cited multiple studies evaluating mechanical evidence that concluded masks can block certain respiratory particles, depending on the material of the mask..."

Re:And it tested the wrong thing

By jabuzz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Thing is you don't exhale pure individual virus particles. They come out in water droplets of various sizes that *ARE* largely trapped by thin, loose fitting masks with air gaps around the edges.

Comparing the virus size to the pore size in the filter material for at source filtering is an irrational and flawed methodology.

As such if everyone was wearing a three layer cloth face covering then the rate of transmission would plummet. The is reason to believe that widespread usage of face coverings would along with hand washing and some social distancing would drop R below zero and save many lives.

Effective only if used properly

By bb_matt • Score: 3 • Thread

Some wear masks and consider them a shield against getting the virus, rather than some protection from *spreading* it.
You can get N95 respirator masks if you can find them and assuming you don't get ripped off these days, which is about the best you can get.

All too often, you'll see the same people with the mask not covering the nose, halfway down the chin, constantly fiddling with it by touching and pulling the area around the nose and mouth. Sure, you can adjust it, just be careful and tug it gently from the bottom of the mask! So frikkin' obvious.

The vast majority of cheap masks - even a damn t-shirt folders over twice - what they'll do is simply stop the distance that droplets spread when someone talks, coughs or just breathes - and that's *good* - it cuts the risk. Even if it cuts it by 10 to 15 percent, it's better than nothing.

But masks like these are clearly not going to protect you in the unfortunate event that you happen to walk unwittingly into a pretty much invisible cloud of covid-19 infected droplets.

That's rare, unless you in the habit of frequenting heavily crowded places with high infection rates and poor ventilation - then your luck diminishes, obviously.

Then we get people who just use the same mask again and again without washing it - probably more at risk of getting skin condition than anything else, but it will also increase the risk of getting covid-19 if there's droplets that made it onto the surface mask but didn't penetrate any further.
Scrumple that mask up in your pocket, touching the surface with the virus on it ... and yeah, you'll be unwittingly increasing risk.

I think everyone should watch those videos where they demonstrate how a powder invisible except with infra-red light, spreads amongst a group of people.
It is alarming. From a single source, within a small period of time, when the infra-red light is turned on, the stuff is *everywhere* - people's faces, door handles, light switches. It should be a wakeup call.

If you think about how easy it is to actually get the virus if you are unlucky - heck, an infected person goes into a rest room, coughs whilst washing hands, leaves. You enter seconds later - bang - there's a good chance you've now got it, simply be being in the wrong place at the wrong time...

Re:Those are the expected numbers

By quonset • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

If the masks were much more effective than that in preventing an infection in a real setup the effect would be epidemiologicaly more evident.

I'll provide the facts, but you'll find some excuse to ignore it or for why its' wrong.

From Kansas:

“Some counties have been the controlled group with no masks and some have been experimental group with masks are worn and the experimental group is winning the battle. All of the improvement in the case development comes from those counties wearing masks,”

From Alabama:

In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey announced a statewide mandatory mask order on July 16. Since then, the state saw a significant drop in daily Covid-19 cases, with numbers peaking above 2,000 toward the end of July and hovering over a 1,000 a month later. And now, cases have plummeted to 574 a day.

“The mask absolutely played a very important role and we really have had no other significant limitations or interventions other than the mask,” Dr. Scott Harris, state health officer at the Alabama Department of Public Health, told NBC News this week.

From South Carolina:

South Carolina has no statewide mask requirements, leaving 11 jurisdictions with mask mandates and 61 without. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s latest findings, from mid-August, report that communities with mask mandates saw a drop of 34 cases per 100,000 people for the four weeks after the requirements were implemented, compared to before the orders took effect. In the same period, jurisdictions without mask requirements saw a rise of 24 cases per 100,000 people.

"Our South Carolina mask analysis data shows us what we already knew, wearing face masks works,” Dr. Linda Bell, an epidemiologist at the South Carolina health department, told NBC News in an email.

From Ohio:

DeWine during his coronavirus briefing on Thursday said mask orders, some of which were first issued locally, have made a difference. In Franklin County, for example, DeWine said, “When the use of masks went up dramatically where you were getting 90% or so, we started seeing a slow down.”

Back in May it was predicted that wearing a mask could reduce infections by up to 80% and used the comparison between Japan, which never locked down, and the U.S.

On March 6 in Japan, a country of 126 million, 21 people died of COVID-19. On the same day, 2,129 people died in the US - over 10 times the deaths in Japan. (The US population is only 2.6 times greater by comparison). While America begins reopening, Japan never closed. As I write these words, Japan shows no new cases, with only 624 deaths. Today, the US added 14,325 cases, despite tweets from the White House that nationwide numbers are declining. The USA continues to lead the world: 781 new deaths today bring the total US number to 81,568, according to the Worldometer coronavirus website.
. . .
The reason, DeKai points out, is that nearly everyone there is wearing a mask.

But please, tell us how none of this points to the overwhelming fact masks are effective at slowing and preventing infections.

Calling the study "flawed" overstates the case.

By hey! • Score: 3 • Thread

I'd call the Danish paper "limited", which is true of any scientific paper. It doesn't have the probative power to support the kinds of conclusions people started draw from it, and to attack those excessive inferences others started trotting out the adjective "flawed", which describes almost every scientific paper.

People need to understand that in any complex real-world problem a single paper almost never never resolves anything. It's nearly always possible to cherry pick evidence that supports any position you care to take. This doesn't make every opinion equal; opinions that fit the *totality of available evidence* are better informed.

Re:And it tested the wrong thing

By grep -v '.*' * • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

means that .25% gets through. A cloth mask that filters 20% lets through 80%,

I'm being pedantic here, but it's important.

Two N95 masks with 95% filtration " means that 25% gets through." Lets 25% get thru?!? While a 20% cloth mask lets thru 80%? Why is the N95 so inefficient?

NOT -- because there's a leading zero before that decimal point. So it's 0.25%, so the decimal stands out, so it's not mis-read. So PUT IT THERE. Otherwise it's easy to miss that decimal point and misread it and come to a wrong conclusion. (So says my 1975 physics teacher. And he's right. Leading 0's don't always mean octal.)

Deep Frozen Arctic Microbes Are Waking Up

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares an opinion piece from Scientific American: Permafrost covers 24 percent of the Earth's land surface, and the soil constituents vary with local geology. Arctic lands offer unexplored microbial biodiversity and microbial feedbacks, including the release of carbon to the atmosphere. In some locations, hundreds of millions of years' worth of carbon is buried. The layers may still contain ancient frozen microbes, Pleistocene megafauna and even buried smallpox victims. As the permafrost thaws with increasing rapidity, scientists' emerging challenge is to discover and identify the microbes, bacteria and viruses that may be stirring. Some of these microbes are known to scientists. Methanogenic Archaea, for example metabolize soil carbon to release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Other permafrost microbes (methanotrophs) consume methane. The balance between these microbes plays a critical role in determining future climate warming. Others are known but have unpredictable behavior after release...

It is clear that the warmer we make the Arctic, the weirder it will get, as temperatures at the surface become more extreme and thawing deepens. With the coalescence of microbes reawakening from the deep and surface conditions unprecedented in human history, it is challenging to assess risks accurately without improved Arctic microbial datasets. We should pay attention to both known unknowns, such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and unknown unknowns, including the potential risks from the resurrection of ancient and poorly described viral genomes from Arctic ice by synthetic biologists. For all of these reasons, we must come up with guidelines for future Arctic research. As travel through the region increases, the likelihood of pathogen export and import rises as well. The planetary protection guidelines that space agencies follow to prevent interplanetary contamination can provide a framework for how microbial investigation can safely continue. Biosurveillance measures must be put into place to protect communities in the Arctic and beyond. As the Arctic continues to transform, one thing is clear: as climate change warms this microbial repository during the 21st century, the full range of consequences is yet to be told.

65 millions years ago

By hcs_$reboot • Score: 3 • Thread
Maybe we'll discover the microbes that killed the dinosaurs (and forget the asteroid theory).

Take that to the bank.

By AndyKron • Score: 3 • Thread
Life doesn't give a fuck what we think


By dgatwood • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

We should pay attention to both known unknowns, such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria,

I had no idea ancient humans let pathogens develop resistance to the antibiotics we use today and casually let them spread in the environment, where they still reside in melting permafrost today.

You laugh, but the fact is that our antibiotics mostly come from modern bacteria, which evolved those chemicals as a defense mechanism to be able to fend off territorial incursions by other modern bacteria. Most of the mechanisms that were useful for attacking million-year-old bacteria likely would not be useful against modern bacteria. Thus, those attack mechanisms likely would not have been conserved in their DNA over millions of years, or if they were, they would only be conserved in a tiny percentage of modern bacteria. So there's a very real possibility that none of the antibiotics we have now would be effective against million-year-old bacteria, because the particular vulnerabilities that they target might not even have existed in bacteria from so long ago.

Of course, some of the basics (alcohol, bleach, bismuth) probably will still be effective in any case, as will antibiotics derived from other bacteria from that era. And some of the modern antibiotics probably will be effective, because some antibiotics target pretty generic cell structures that probably existed millions of years ago, too. Either way, it isn't guaranteed.

Re:Yeah, yeah, ancient aliens^Wmicrobes, we know .

By MrNaz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Except that's not how it works. The "arms race" between microbes isn't analogous to military technology.

Ancient microbes that have been dormant may no longer pose a threat to modern organisms, and so their defenses against those threats evolved away. Similarly, modern microbes that are not exposed to ancient microbes may not have had a chance to develop offensive tools against them.

A better analogy than "arms race" is probably something like rabbits. Rabbits seem like fuzzy little harmless critters, but they overran Australia in the 1950s to the point that they voraciously ate entire farm crops. Any organism that is not in its rightful place will either die quickly, or cause havoc in the new ecosystem. Our planet is a finely calibrated system of interconnected subsystems, and moving parts from one place to another breaks stuff in unpredictable and almost always bad ways.

Oh, crap

By gweihir • Score: 3 • Thread

This is the first really big accelerator. Nobody really know how bad it will be, but it will at least offset all we an do to reduce our emissions for a long time.

T-Mobile Becomes First Carrier To Enable 988 Number For Mental Health Services

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
T-Mobile has added support for the 988 emergency mental health services number more than a year and a half ahead of the Federal Communications Commission's deadline, the company announced on Friday. The Verge reports: T-Mobile customers who dial 988 will be connected to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) and its network of crisis centers across the US. T-Mobile says it is the first carrier in the US to make 988 available to its customers. T-Mobile chief technology officer Abdul Saad said in a statement that making the shorter emergency number available to customers was "a matter of urgency for us, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and the holiday season approaches." People in need of mental health support can still contact the NSPL by calling 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) or by using online chats.

Suicide prevenion is such a selfish thing

By BAReFO0t • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

Instead of not creating an environment that makes you suffer so much, that death becomes the better option, in the first place,
we're gonna half-assedly demand that you stay alive to serve our selfish needs of being able to continue to use you and to not feel bad about missing you, and serve you pressure to stay alive with a side of shaming you for your "selfish" wish to not suffer, because your existence is actually all about us, and you should just stay alive and keep suffering pain that we literally cannot imagine. That way *we* feel better. Because *we* are the poor poor ones, suffering here. Please understand(TM).

That is how experienced all suicide prevention I ever saw. And I saw a lot.

Zero understanding. Zero empathy that one's problems might *actually* be big enough, and zero taking one seriously that it might *acually* be such a bad, non-resolveable situation. Because the average person just cannot accept or even imagine that it could *actually* be that bad. Or that painful. (Emotional pain is "not real anyway". Nevermind the pain center lighting up like a flare in MRTs.)

Everything is easy, if you just ignore the problems and don't dive deep enough into the situation that that person *actually has to deal with*.

No, ... suicial people don't actually want to die.
But you, dear "friend", would need to dedicate and use up all of your actual life to make a change there.
And ... See? ... You are not willing to spend many hours *every single day* to actually save one. ... You are just willing to make empty half-hearted promises, and demanddemanddemand that one "just" "snap out of it" anyway.
Yeah, and if I demand it enough, two drops of gasoline will last all the way to Alaska, and pigs will fly too. --.--

If you can't save me... and as we showed, you don't want to ... then at least don't be a dick about it.
I don't like it either, you know?

If you want to ACTUALLY do something to prevent the death of a loved one, make their life as nice as possible. And I don't mean lazy material nice. I mean that expensive emotional nice. Nothing has a higher chance of saving somebody, than a long welcome hug and a dash of hope. And accept if sometimes, that's just not enough for the bad that is *actually* out there.
This is *not* about you.

Re:Can I send them to the White House

By h33t l4x0r • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
It's probably 4 years too late, but worth a try I guess.

The last number you should call

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

This is the last thing you should ever do if you value your rights. Calling this number will automatically result in the same loss of rights that you would suffer if you were involuntarily committed, on an "emergency" basis until you can be evaluated. Of course, you will never pass your evaluation, because there is more profit to be had in your commitment.

I know this because it happened to a family member of mine. He called the NSPL one night when he was feeling despondent, and within an hour, the county sheriff showed up to confiscate his firearms, arrest him, and deliver him to a mental hospital where he has been held against his will ever since. In the phone call he never even once mentioned suicide or a desire to kill himself or harm anyone else. The worst thing he said was that he was feeling hopeless and like the world was against him and that he sometimes wished he'd never been born. He really just wanted someone to talk to at 3AM and didn't want to wake up anyone in his family.

This is the kind of shit that happens to you when you involve government in your life. The government's version of "helping" is not what you think "helping" is.

"Mentally-Ill hotline? I'm insane."

By Dirk Becher • Score: 3 • Thread

Hotline: Calling the mentally-ill hotline when you are mentally-ill isn't insane at all! Go away you silly fraud!

The hotline had a success rate of 100% for years to come.

Re: New faster way for cops to shoot family dog,

By e3m4n • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Where I live they rarely do anything for a stolen vehicle. Most of the time it shows up a few days later abandoned. I cant imagine a swat response. But do me a favor and use the term demilitarize instead of defund. Having lived through Bill Clintons slashing of the defense budget in 1992 while enlisted, I can tell you it never works out the way you intend. Those special pet projects like teaching flipper to retrieve torpedos never get cut and instead they short us on manpower and supplies. You cant just cut the budget and tell them to figure out how to make it work. They will always do something different than what you intended. Instead just prohibit or extremely limit the conditions in which certain equipment can be deployed and when specific tactics can be used.

Astronomers Discover New 'Fossil Galaxy' Buried Deep Within the Milky Way

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
fahrbot-bot shares a report from Phys.Org: Scientists working with data from the Sloan Digital Sky Surveys' Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) have discovered a 'fossil galaxy' hidden in the depths of our own Milky Way. The proposed fossil galaxy may have collided with the Milky Way ten billion years ago, when our galaxy was still in its infancy. Astronomers named it Heracles, after the ancient Greek hero who received the gift of immortality when the Milky Way was created.

The remnants of Heracles account for about one third of the Milky Way's spherical halo. But if stars and gas from Heracles make up such a large percentage of the galactic halo, why didn't we see it before? The answer lies in its location deep inside the Milky Way. "To find a fossil galaxy like this one, we had to look at the detailed chemical makeup and motions of tens of thousands of stars," says Ricardo Schiavon from Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) in the UK, a key member of the research team. "That is especially hard to do for stars in the center of the Milky Way, because they are hidden from view by clouds of interstellar dust. APOGEE lets us pierce through that dust and see deeper into the heart of the Milky Way than ever before." APOGEE does this by taking spectra of stars in near-infrared light, instead of visible light, which gets obscured by dust. Over its ten-year observational life, APOGEE has measured spectra for more than half a million stars all across the Milky Way, including its previously dust-obscured core.

To separate stars belonging to Heracles from those of the original Milky Way, the team made use of both chemical compositions and velocities of stars measured by the APOGEE instrument. [...] Stars originally belonging to Heracles account for roughly one third of the mass of the entire Milky Way halo today -- meaning that this newly-discovered ancient collision must have been a major event in the history of our galaxy. That suggests that our galaxy may be unusual, since most similar massive spiral galaxies had much calmer early lives.
The findings have been reported in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.


By Tablizer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I thought collisions usually create an elliptical galaxy, erasing the spiral nature. Perhaps this immigrant galaxy wasn't big enough to ellipticise us entirely, just the core.

There seems to be a threshold because one doesn't see many galaxies that are say 80% elliptical (fuzzy and round) and 20% spiral. M81 seems to be about the maximum of hybrids in terms of round middles. The visible part is about 40% round/fuzzy and 60% spiral (although processing and/or different filters show somewhat different mixes).

If the colliding galaxy were just slightly bigger, it would perhaps have turned M81 into a full out elliptical, and that's why around 40% seems to be about the max mix.

Just relax, it won't hurt I promise

By AndyKron • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
We are Milky Way. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

Milky Way Geometry

By ytene • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
This sounds fascinating, but it rather raises a question...

We know the overall shape of the Milky Way galaxy based on dozens if not hundreds of other research projects, so we have a reasonably good idea of the size and shape of our galactic home. What we’re told is that the Milky Way is a more-or-less entirely ‘normal’ galaxy. We see galactic arms - areas with stars packed more densely - radiating out from the galactic core - and we are told this is entirely normal because we see it across the universe.

But a merger with Heracles, a galaxy which we’re told accounts for a third of the stars in the Milky Way halo, sounds like a pretty major event to me.

So what I’d like to better understand is how the Milky Way has managed to retain such a relatively uniform galactic shape after such a significant merger? Everything we know about galactic collisions would seem to suggest that the result would be, well, a bit of a mess.

Could this merger explain the presence of the Milky Way’s arms? Could the calculations be off? Is it simply the fact that the resultant merged galaxy has had billions of years to “settle down”? Something else? Very interested to learn if anyone can explain how something this significant has not had a larger long-term impact.