the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2021-Jan-13 today archive


  1. Google Trained a Trillion-Parameter AI Language Model
  2. AT&T Kills Off the Failed TV Service Formerly Known As DirecTV Now
  3. The Linux Foundation Now Offers a Suite of Open-Source Management Classes
  4. FTC Settlement With Ever Orders Data and AIs Deleted After Facial Recognition Pivot
  5. ECB's Christine Lagarde Blasts Bitcoin's Role In Facilitating Money Laundering
  6. TikTok: All Under-16s' Accounts Made Private
  7. Pirate Bay Founder Thinks Parler's Inability To Stay Online Is 'Embarrassing'
  8. House Votes To Impeach President Trump a Historic Second Time
  9. UK Nuclear Spacecraft Could Halve Time of Journey To Mars
  10. BeagleV is a $150 RISC-V Computer Designed To Run Linux
  11. Airbnb Blocks DC Reservations Around Inauguration
  12. Ubisoft To Make Star Wars Game, Marking End To EA Exclusivity
  13. Apple Invests Millions To Back Entrepreneurs of Color, Part of Racial Justice Effort
  14. Dropbox To Cut 11% of its Global Workforce
  15. Debian Discusses Vendoring -- Again
  16. Signal's Brian Acton Talks About Exploding Growth, Monetization and WhatsApp Data-Sharing Outrage
  17. NASA Spacecraft Discovers the Universe is Less Crowded Than We Thought
  18. Plaid Pulled Plug on Visa Deal Over Price, Not Antitrust Concerns
  19. Disappointing Chinese Vaccine Results Pose Setback for Developing World
  20. Intel CEO Bob Swan To Step Down in February, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger To Replace Him
  21. EPA Raises Barriers To Climate-Change Rules
  22. WhatsApp Clarifies It's Not Giving All Your Data To Facebook
  23. Most Distant Quasar Discovered Sheds Light On How Black Holes Grow
  24. YouTube Suspends Trump's Channel For At Least 7 Days

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.

Google Trained a Trillion-Parameter AI Language Model

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Google researchers developed and benchmarked techniques they claim enabled them to train a language model containing more than a trillion parameters. They say their 1.6-trillion-parameter model, which appears to be the largest of its size to date, achieved an up to 4 times speedup over the previously largest Google-developed language model (T5-XXL). As the researchers note in a paper detailing their work, large-scale training is an effective path toward powerful models. Simple architectures, backed by large datasets and parameter counts, surpass far more complicated algorithms. But effective, large-scale training is extremely computationally intensive. That's why the researchers pursued what they call the Switch Transformer, a "sparsely activated" technique that uses only a subset of a model's weights, or the parameters that transform input data within the model.

In an experiment, the researchers pretrained several different Switch Transformer models using 32 TPU cores on the Colossal Clean Crawled Corpus, a 750GB-sized dataset of text scraped from Reddit, Wikipedia, and other web sources. They tasked the models with predicting missing words in passages where 15% of the words had been masked out, as well as other challenges, like retrieving text to answer a list of increasingly difficult questions. The researchers claim their 1.6-trillion-parameter model with 2,048 experts (Switch-C) exhibited "no training instability at all," in contrast to a smaller model (Switch-XXL) containing 395 billion parameters and 64 experts. However, on one benchmark -- the Sanford Question Answering Dataset (SQuAD) -- Switch-C scored lower (87.7) versus Switch-XXL (89.6), which the researchers attribute to the opaque relationship between fine-tuning quality, computational requirements, and the number of parameters.

This being the case, the Switch Transformer led to gains in a number of downstream tasks. For example, it enabled an over 7 times pretraining speedup while using the same amount of computational resources, according to the researchers, who demonstrated that the large sparse models could be used to create smaller, dense models fine-tuned on tasks with 30% of the quality gains of the larger model. In one test where a Switch Transformer model was trained to translate between over 100 different languages, the researchers observed "a universal improvement" across 101 languages, with 91% of the languages benefitting from an over 4 times speedup compared with a baseline model. "Though this work has focused on extremely large models, we also find that models with as few as two experts improve performance while easily fitting within memory constraints of commonly available GPUs or TPUs," the researchers wrote in the paper. "We cannot fully preserve the model quality, but compression rates of 10 to 100 times are achievable by distilling our sparse models into dense models while achieving ~30% of the quality gain of the expert model."

Is this why Google translate sucks?

By Mr. Dollar Ton • Score: 3 • Thread

It was much better 4 or 5 years ago, and now it is nearly unusable, even for the widely used languages in places where google does business.

Compute magic

By sg_oneill • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

A trillion parameters is kind of astonishing.

GPT-3 has about 170 billion if I remember right, and that thing is quite mind blowing. GPT4 is projected to have about 20 trillion, but theres a *huge* catch, training the damn thing at the current cost for GPU compute would come in at 8-9 billion dollars (GPT-3 cost about 4.6 million)

Googles clearly is not spending half quarter of a billion on GPU, that would be *extremely* hard to justify to investors. So they've figured out some pretty dark magic to get this to work without spending Googles entire R&D budget on GPU compute for a single project.

1.6-trillion-parameter model

By Anonyrnous • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

They say their 1.6-trillion-parameter model

the researchers pretrained several different Switch Transformer models using 32 TPU cores on the Colossal Clean Crawled Corpus, a 750GB-sized dataset of text scraped from Reddit, Wikipedia, and other web sources

Is it odd that they train a 1.6 trillion parameter model with only 0.75 trillion bytes of data?

In other words...

By SuperKendall • Score: 3 • Thread

..enabled them to train a language model containing more than a trillion parameters.

In other words, Google finally has what is effectively an infinite number of monkeys devoted to language.

And yet a two parameter google search.

By Fly Swatter • Score: 3 • Thread
Gets worse every month. Progress!

AT&T Kills Off the Failed TV Service Formerly Known As DirecTV Now

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
AT&T is killing off the online-video service formerly known as DirecTV Now and introducing a no-contract option for the newer online service that replaced it. Ars Technica reports: AT&T unveiled DirecTV Now late in 2016, the year after AT&T bought the DirecTV satellite company. Prices originally started at $35 a month for the live-TV online service, and it had signed up 1.86 million subscribers by Q3 2018. But customers quickly fled as AT&T repeatedly raised prices and cut down on the use of promotional deals, leaving the service with just 683,000 subscribers at the end of Q3 2020. In 2019, AT&T changed the name from DirecTV Now to AT&T TV Now, creating confusion among customers and its own employees because the company simultaneously unveiled another online streaming service called AT&T TV.

AT&T TV was pitched as a more robust replacement for satellite TV, and it even mimicked cable and satellite by imposing contracts, hidden fees, and a big second-year price hike. Going forward, AT&T TV Now will no longer be offered to new customers, and AT&T TV will be the flagship for AT&T's live-TV streaming business. "AT&T TV Now has merged with AT&T TV," the service's website says in an update flagged in a news article by TV Answer Man yesterday. For existing users, "AT&T TV Now customers' service and plans remain in effect" without any changes, an AT&T spokesperson told Ars. "We have no other price changes to announce at this time."

Fuck AT&T

By HotNeedleOfInquiry • Score: 3 • Thread
I fucking hate AT&T.

Cable TV execs will never change

By Sebby • Score: 3 • Thread

In 2019, AT&T changed the name from DirecTV Now to AT&T TV Now, creating confusion among customers and its own employees because the company simultaneously unveiled another online streaming service called AT&T TV.

This reminds me of how some of my favorite TV shows get killed (Futurama is an example) by the sheer stupidity of TV execs:

- find a good audience and good timeslot for a good show
- for no apparent (or simply stupid) reason, change the timeslot for said show after the audience has grown, leaving audience confused as to when the show now airs
- [for extra stupidity points: repeat above step 1-3 times]
- after some time, kill the popular show, blaming "poor viewership" due to bone-head decision of changing its timeslot
- Rinse, repeat with various shows

Re:AT&T U-Verse

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

Most Poles can find better jobs than that, as long as they speak a little English.

Re:AT&T U-Verse

By sjames • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

There are *FOUR* *LIGHTS*!!!

Keep renaming services!

By nightflameauto • Score: 3 • Thread

AT&T seem to think that swapping names (and apps) on services will make people leap for joy. When they rebranded HBO's streaming service/app to HBOMax the only thing it did was lose all historical data for the people that had been on the previous service. A nice clean watch list, with no history of what shows you were following or had watched. Which was incredibly helpful. Not.

I'd imagine the same thing is happening now with this name swap.

Maybe, just maybe, they should try serving their customers rather than their marketing department's insatiable need to rename and rebrand everything every year or so. I've even heard rumbles HBOMax is due for ANOTHER rebranding in the next year or two because it now contains so much Warner Brothers content that it needs a more apt name. I swear to crap if they dump all historical data on us again I'll drop 'em and never come back.

The Linux Foundation Now Offers a Suite of Open-Source Management Classes

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Linux Foundation has new courses to help you manage open-source projects and technical staff within your organization. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes via ZDNet: Previously, if you want to know how to run open-source well in your company, you had to work with OASIS Open or the TODO Group. Both are non-profit organizations supporting best open source and open standards practices. But, to work with either group, effectively, you already had to know a lot about open source. [...] This 7-module course series is designed to help executives, managers, software developers, and engineers understand the basic concepts for building effective open-source practices. It's also helpful to those in the C suite who want to set up effective open-source program management, including how to create an Open Source Program Office (OSPO).

The program builds on the accumulated wisdom of many previous training modules on open-source best practices while adding fresh and updated content to explain all of the critical elements of working effectively with open source in enterprises. The courses are designed to be self-paced, and reasonably high-level, but with enough detail to get new open-source practitioners up and running quickly. Guy Martin, OASIS Open's executive director, developed these courses. Martin knows his way around open source. He has a unique blend of over 25 years' experience both as a software engineer and open-source strategist. Marin has helped build open-source programs at Red Hat, Samsung, and Autodesk. He was also instrumental in founding the Academy Software Foundation, the Open Connectivity Foundation, and has contributed to TODO Group's best practices and learning guides.
The " Open Source Management & Strategy program" costs $499 and is available to begin immediately. A certificate is awarded upon completion.

FTC Settlement With Ever Orders Data and AIs Deleted After Facial Recognition Pivot

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The maker of a defunct cloud photo storage app that pivoted to selling facial recognition services has been ordered to delete user data and any algorithms trained on it, under the terms of an FTC settlement. TechCrunch reports: The regulator investigated complaints the Ever app -- which gained earlier notoriety for using dark patterns to spam users' contacts -- had applied facial recognition to users' photographs without properly informing them what it was doing with their selfies. Under the proposed settlement, Ever must delete photos and videos of users who deactivated their accounts and also delete all face embeddings (i.e. data related to facial features which can be used for facial recognition purposes) that it derived from photos of users who did not give express consent to such a use. Moreover, it must delete any facial recognition models or algorithms developed with users' photos or videos.

This full suite of deletion requirements -- not just data but anything derived from it and trained off of it -- is causing great excitement in legal and tech policy circles, with experts suggesting it could have implications for other facial recognition software trained on data that wasn't lawfully processed. Or, to put it another way, tech giants that surreptitiously harvest data to train AIs could find their algorithms in hot water with the US regulator.

Error parsing headline

By rossdee • Score: 3 • Thread

Incomprehensible to me.

ECB's Christine Lagarde Blasts Bitcoin's Role In Facilitating Money Laundering

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde took aim at Bitcoin's role in facilitating criminal activity, saying the cryptocurrency has been enabling "funny business." "For those who had assumed that it might turn into a currency -- terribly sorry, but this is an asset and it's a highly speculative asset which has conducted some funny business and some interesting and totally reprehensible money-laundering activity," Lagarde said in an online event organized by Reuters.

The remarks, made in a conversation largely focused on the euro-area's economic outlook, show top policymakers are taking notice as a speculative fever sweeps cryptocurrency markets. Bitcoin prices have more than doubled since November and topped a record $41,000 earlier this month. Concerns over money laundering and the ability of financial firms to know the identities of their clients have been at the forefront of the cryptocurrency debate. While critics say that instruments like Bitcoin make the illicit transfer of funds easier, crypto advocates say the network of digital ledgers known as the blockchain allows money to be traced more easily than cash and can actually help law enforcement.

All Civil Rights Obstruct Law Enforcement

By MrBrklyn • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I am not a fan of bitcoin and I certainly am not in love with its use in ghetto communities to launderer drug money, but so BE IT. The purpose of civil rights is to make government less easy. That is the core principle. There is no right for the Government to solve every crime as easy as possible. For better or worst, our lives are controlled by citizens. and should not be controlled by government, because government has proven to be the most dangerous criminal organization of them all. It is not impossible to fight crime when bitcoins are involved. It just means the cops and the FBI has to get off there chairs and actually do work. It would help if the FBI would not break any laws, themselves, and stop being a political power broken in the US government. Then they can find time to do their jobs.

Re:So, does that mean that bitcoin is the new cash

By cusco • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Really? There are a lot of financial transactions that can be sufficiently obfuscated as to make them impossible to follow for the most trivial of effort. How do you think the ransom to the Somali pirates is paid? Or someone pays for a cargo container of cocaine? A deposit at CitiCorp cascades through a dozen transfers in the next 10 minutes through half a dozen countries on three continents and VIOLA! Clean money comes out at the other end at a bank in Saudi Arabia, minus 10% for fees. It's so lucrative for banks that former US Treasury Secretaries retire from "public service" to run international money laundry operations (aka 'private banking') for the mega-banks.

Bitcoin will never amount to more than a drop in the bucket in the international money laundry trade.

Re:So, does that mean that bitcoin is the new cash

By Bert64 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's not used because it isn't traceable, it's used because it isn't reversible and can be transferred over distances.

Most perpetrators of such crimes will be located thousands of miles away from their victims, outside of the jurisdiction of any law enforcement agency the victims might be able to go to and outside the physical reach of any vigilante justice an angry victim might try to deliver.

The perpetrator doesn't really care that he can be traced, as there's nothing you can do with that information. What he's more concerned with is that you could stop/reverse the transfer and deny him his spoils.

Re:Fuck you, Christine.

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Gold was useful as currency in pre-technological times when the stock of goods for trade in the world grew only at the same glacially slow rate that new gold was mined. In the 19th century, when exploding technology began to make the whole economic pie larger, there was a series of financial crises in industrial countries caused by there not being enough gold. They tried adding silver to gold ("bimetallism") as a monetary basis, and eventually had to go to fiat currencies whose supply was determined by a central bank of issue in each country. Gold then became a storehouse commodity.

Re:Should be illegal

By ledow • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

There's no need to make it illegal. That would be like making possessing flour illegal because some criminals are converting their monies to flour in order to sent it internationally and then convert it back to cash.

What you do is exactly what they've done - implementing money laundering rules which means that banks etc. do not deal with things that they don't know the origin/destination of.

Paypal say they're going to take Bitcoin. But only between registered Paypal users. There's a reason for that - they're an EU bank and they're required to know who their customers are so that money trails can be followed.

Bitcoin is just a way to - quite literally - launder that information away so that source/destination are unknown. Which is the prime indicator/vector of money laundering.

And the anti-money-laundering laws are all there. Some banks won't even let you fund an account with an online Bitcoin wallet, or accept money back from Bitcoin exchanges - they block the transaction because the entity at the other end doesn't co-operate in money-laundering investigations so they get blacklisted. I had a pittance of Bitcoin in an old wallet and the only way to get it out - after weeks of trying - and into something I could spend was to trust a random, unknown third-party off-shore website to convert it to an Amazon voucher for me. Quite literally a risk, because I'm reliant on them to take my money and return a legitimate voucher and I have no idea who they are! The only other options for me were dealing with untraceable private individuals on the basis of a 5-star rating on an untraceable website, where - again - I send them the Bitcoin and hope that they then recompense me into my bank somehow. And even then - the banks warn that things like that are dodgy and they may refuse the transaction.

And what people miss - money laundering isn't about drug-dealers and smugglers. Those people could pay in stolen jewellery or melted down gold or weapons. Currency is probably the antithesis of their operation.

It's tax evasion that they're worried about. And if there's one thing you don't want to be investigated for, hounded for, subject to audit for, etc. then it's tax evasion. That's how they got Capone, remember.

Bitcoin will just roll on, alternatives will come and go, people will trade and barter in anything that's available - including Bitcoin - but at the end of the day you either have to find someone willing to put their name to transactions and provide services which are visible to banking, tax authorities, etc. and subject to money-laundering, or you have to deal on what is effectively a black market and trust.

TikTok: All Under-16s' Accounts Made Private

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
TikTok users aged under 16 will have their accounts automatically set to private, as the app introduces a series of measures to improve child safety. The BBC reports: Approved followers only can comment on videos from these accounts. Users will also be prevented from downloading any videos created by under-16s. TikTok said it hoped the changes would encourage young users to "actively engage in their online privacy journey." "We hope to inspire them to take an active role and make informed decisions," head of privacy Elaine Fox said. Those aged between 13 and 15 will be able to approve "friends" for comments and choose whether to make videos public. But those accounts will also not be "suggested" to other users on the app.

The accounts of 16- and 17-year-olds will prevent others downloading their videos - but the youngsters will have the ability to turn off this restriction. In addition, TikTok is changing this age group's default settings to allow only their chosen friends to "duet" alongside them - the name given to a facility that allows a user to record themselves in a clip then played adjacent to an earlier recording, so they can be watched simultaneously. Users will not be allowed to duet with clips made by under-16s.

Not in the US

By Arthur, KBE • Score: 3 • Thread
Minors (persons under 18) can't enter into contracts, legally, so all of this is just a bunch of noise.


By mrbumptz • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
All TikTok users under 16 years of age are now...16 years of age!

Pirate Bay Founder Thinks Parler's Inability To Stay Online Is 'Embarrassing'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: As one of the original co-founders of The Pirate Bay, Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi knows a little something about keeping controversial services online. Kolmisoppi and his colleagues spent decades battling a global coalition of corporations, governments, and law enforcement agencies intent on wiping the file sharing website from the face of the internet. Unsuccessfully. Kolmisoppi took to Twitter this week to share some thoughts on Parler's recent deplatforming for failing to seriously police death threats and illegal content before and after the fatal Capitol riots.

"The Pirate Bay, the most censored website in the world, started by kids, run by people with problems with alcohol, drugs and money, still is up after almost two decades," Kolmisoppi said. "Parlor and gab etc have all the money around but no skills or mindset. Embarrassing." [...] Platforming white supremacy and hate speech is a tougher proposition than serving users pirated copies of the Prince discography. But Kolmisoppi was quick to laugh at the fact that despite being backed by billionaires and parts of the US government, Parler didn't seem remotely prepared for the justified firestorm it found itself at the center of. "The most ironic thing is that The Pirate Bay's enemies include not just the US government but also many European and the Russian one," he said. "Compared to gab/parlor which is supported by the current president of the US and probably liked by the Russian one too."

"In all honesty, the reason we did The Pirate Bay was to bring freedom and take back control from a centralised system," Kolmisoppi said. "The reason that Gab et al will fail is because they're just whining bitches that have only one ideology: egotism. Sharing is caring y'all." In more recent years, Kolmoisoppi has moved on to fund Njalla, a privacy-centric domain name registration service. One he says was already asked to host Parler, and refused. "Of course we wouldn't," Kolmisoppi said. "We're pro human rights, which includes the right to not be killed by extreme right wing terrorists."

Re:This guy gets it

By mvdwege • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The mob that stormed the Capitol had the resources to take at least one day off, to buy tacticool gear, and in some cases even had private planes. What economic anxiety?

Those few poor people? Bussed in the by the wife of Supreme Court Justice Thomas. As we see again and again, Every Accusation Is A Confession: remember those right-wing stories about bussed-in antifa at BLM protests? Which turned out to be false, but we have receipts for what Gini Thomas did.

Re:I agree.

By tinkerton • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I disagree that BLM protests were legitimate and DC protests were illigitimate. It is important to acknowledge the legitimate aspects of the protests, especially since we have an escalation where the liberal side is getting the upperhand and works together with the technology giants to consolidate control and clamp down on online speech. To me this smacks of a one party state led by a small elite(as opposed to a very broad based one party state in China).

You can try to reduce the riots to Trump's manipulations, point out the falsehoods and dismiss people as suffering from uncontrolled extremist groupthink but that is not good enough.
In fact I mostly would disregard the slogan about stolen elections as false. If you widen it to dubious machinations surrounding the elections then it quickly becomes more complicated. I would consider the media censoring the Hunter Biden laptop story as very significant, showing that one side has control over what can be talked about and what cannot be talked about. Google et al have had 4 years to work on 'avoiding another 2016 election'. All these stories are complicated however and not suitable for a rallying slogan. But they do form a legitimate basis for a general feeling of 'we are getting screwed'.

If you widen it to 'underlying grievances' then there is a lot.
I like to refer to Chris Hedges in that respect. Once a lot of people see their world is falling apart you get extremism, drugs, gambling, violence and so on. You don't fix that by pushing it away and suppressing it. And feeling superior while you're at it.

Re:I agree.

By thegarbz • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Hold them to a higher standard yes, but there are still instances when use of deadly force by the police is both necessary and justified.

Of course there are instances. And no one protests about that. People protest about young boys without weapons being shot. People protest about restrained and cuffed people literally being choked to death on the pavement. People protest about a peaceful arrestee with their hands up being shot. People protest about police threatening to "bust a cap" in some housewife because their 7 year old daughter stole a Barbie. People protest about police shooting an unarmed and placid black guy *in the back multiple times*.

People protest about the wildly different ways a black person is treated from a white person by police.

People protest about the wikipedia list of fatalities by law enforcement per country putting the USA 4x worse than any other western nation, and squarely in the middle of the worst and most corrupt shithole countries in the world.

So please spare us the "poor at risk police" argument, it's a complete load of absolute bullshit much of it created by their own shithouse training that has made them an actual public enemy rather than a public protector.

Re:I agree.

By DrSpock11 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I don't have a solid answer, however it seems to me the BLM protests were in response to what I think most people can agree is a recent rash of fatal shootings of unarmed black people by the police (and a long history of the same).

And this is exactly why the control the media has over people's thinking is so terrifying. The USA has 330,000,000 people in it. There are roughly 1,000 people killed by fatal police shootings a year. Less than a .0003% chance of being shot by police.

Roughly 220 of them per year are black. Out of 37,000,000 Black Americans that's less than a .0006% chance of being shot to death by police. And that number has remained constant over the past few years. There is no increase in Black Americans getting shot by police, the number has remained relatively constant, including 2020. Source:

The reason you believe that there is a sudden increase in the number of Black Americans getting shot by police is because the media has intentionally deceived you to create that impression and enflame racial tensions.

- Any person getting killed by police is one too many. In a perfect world with perfect cops and perfect suspects that number would be zero. Unfortunately, we don't and never will live in that world.
- Yes, the chances of getting shot to death by police are nearly double if you're Black (though still minisculely small). This post isn't about addressing that but I think it's the area where there is legitimate debate to be had.

Re:I agree.

By Sumus Semper Una • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

In fact I mostly would disregard the slogan about stolen elections as false.

Then why was it advertised by the rally host as a "Stop The Steal" rally with banners reading the same? People can and do often have many grievances in addition to the main one when they protest. But given the obvious evidence you can't seriously be suggesting that the DC protests were not, at their heart, about the idea that the 2020 presidential election was "stolen."

I would consider the media censoring the Hunter Biden laptop story as very significant, showing that one side has control over what can be talked about and what cannot be talked about.

It's important to understand the difference between censorship and some outlets choosing to not run a story because the underlying accusation, while salacious, has questionable support. I mean, that's the same argument as saying that the media is guilty of censoring Flat Earth theory because they refuse to run stories about how world governments prevent people from reaching the edge of the world and seeing that it's not really a globe. Is OANN censoring free speech because they don't have a single article mentioning Trump's past links to Jeffrey Epstein? Or did they not run it because it's just salacious happenstance? Please remember to be consistent if you choose to answer that.

House Votes To Impeach President Trump a Historic Second Time

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A House majority, including several Republicans, on Wednesday voted to impeach President Trump for "incitement of insurrection." The New York Times reports: The House had enough votes on Wednesday to impeach President Trump for inciting a violent insurrection against the United States government, as more than a half-dozen members of the president's party joined Democrats to charge him with high crimes and misdemeanors for an unprecedented second time. Reconvening under the threat of continued violence and the protection of thousands of National Guard troops, the House was determined to hold Mr. Trump to account just one week before he was to leave office. At issue was his role in encouraging a mob that attacked the Capitol one week ago while Congress met to affirm President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s victory, forcing lawmakers to flee for their lives in a deadly rampage.

The House put forward and was on the brink of adopting a single article of impeachment, charging Mr. Trump with "inciting violence against the government of the United States" and requesting his immediate removal from office and disqualification from ever holding one again. [...] The vote, which was still underway, set the stage for the second Senate trial of Mr. Trump in a year, though senators appeared unlikely to convene to sit in judgment before Jan. 20, when Mr. Biden will take the oath of office. The last proceeding, over Mr. Trump's attempts to pressure Ukraine to smear Mr. Biden, was a partisan affair. [...]

This time, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, was said to support the effort as a means of purging his party of Mr. Trump, setting up a political and constitutional showdown that could shape the course of American politics when the nation remains dangerously divided. [McConnell said he would not agree to use emergency powers to bring the Senate back into session for a trial before Jan. 19.] The House's vote was historic. Only two other presidents have been impeached; none has been impeached twice, by such a large bipartisan margin, or so close to leaving office.

So when he is acquitted

By wyattstorch516 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Is the headline going to read "President Trump acquitted for an historic second time"?

Re:If at first you don't succeed...

By dmpot • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

As Mark Twain said once: "it's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled." There are people who can never admit that they are wrong under any circumstances, because it would be too much blow to their self-esteem. I think such people form the core of the Trump cult, and like with any other cult, the more efforts they invest in certain beliefs, the more difficult for them to alter those beliefs. Moreover, when they are exposed to information that clearly challenges their beliefs, they often strengthen their original belief.

Re:Trump went too far

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

and maybe legalize weed

I have no idea why the Democrats did not make this a campaign issue.

This election was a referendum on Trump. Biden just had to act like an adult. Raising side issues, especially controversial issues that won't help with swing voters, was not part of the strategy.

This would play so well: die-hard Republicans would see it as a states-rights issue.

In theory, this makes sense. In practice, Republicans only care about "states' rights" when it helps them push their agenda.

Re:The point of impeachment is to get the GOP

By quantaman • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

on record as either pro Trump or anti-Trump.

The point of impeachment is to deter political leaders from trying to overturn elections and inspire insurrections.

Re:Rumor is McConnell will convict

By thegarbz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You do know that Slow Joe wants to ban fracking, right?

Different oil industry person here. Yeah good. It's a horrible process. Yay it made your petrol cheap, but it's not a good thing by any means environmentally and the cheap supply of hydrocarbons into the economy is only further delaying any interest in the world doing anything about it.

Cheap oil is the reason the USA is so horrendously wasteful with it, and one of the reasons emissions per capita in the USA are the second worst in the western world beaten only by Australia which has a hardon for coal, and that gap is closing as even Australia is bringing its emissions downs.

Just because you're in an industry doesn't mean you need to support some of the horrible things it does.

UK Nuclear Spacecraft Could Halve Time of Journey To Mars

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British spacecraft could travel to Mars in half the time it now takes by using nuclear propulsion engines built by Rolls-Royce under a new deal with the UK Space Agency. From a report: The aerospace company hopes nuclear-powered engines could help astronauts make it to Mars in three to four months, twice as fast as the most powerful chemical engines, and unlock deeper space exploration in the decades to come. The partnership between Rolls-Royce and the UK Space Agency will bring together planetary scientists to explore how nuclear energy could be used to "revolutionise space travel," according to the government. Dr Graham Turnock, the chief executive of the UK Space Agency, said using nuclear power in space was "a gamechanging concept that could unlock future deep-space missions that take us to Mars and beyond."

Re: Won't happen.

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Not only that, the UK-Japan trade agreement has, in fact, stricter rules on state aid than the EU asked for.

An obvious solution is to camouflage the aid as boondoggle contracts for stuff like nuclear rocket engines.

Re: I'd like to see....

By beelsebob • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

They are. Current viable nuclear thermal rocket designs are all open cycle, meaning that the hydrogen that you accelerate comes into direct contact with the nuclear fuel, and takes the fission biproducts with it. Closed cycle designs are theoretically possible, but no one really works with them because they have lower Isp.

Re:We had nuclear rocket technology in the early 7

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

Cutting travel time in half or more is extremely valuable

It is...except Starship is already being designed with a "three to four months" trip time in mind, and with no nuclear shenanigans to boot.

Is this the nuclear salt water engine?

By caseih • Score: 3 • Thread

Scott Manley recently talked about the fascinating nuclear salt water engine: Also

Fascinating stuff. Unlike most proposals including the idea of detonating nuclear bombs behind the spacecraft, this one is actually feasible. It's a brilliant idea. And it's super efficient. Way more efficient than chemical propulsion. I think it's right up there with ion propulsion, except that it's on a much bigger scale (way more thrust obviously).

Obviously something like this wouldn't be used in the atmosphere. But out in space it would be just fine.

Like most nuclear things, though, fear of weapons-grade enriching has and will stifle its development.

Re:We had nuclear rocket technology in the early 7

By K. S. Kyosuke • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
It's not just that. Even refueling at your destination (here, Mars) is easier with Starship. With a nuclear-powered vehicle, from each tonne of extracted water, you'd be able to utilize around 111 kg of it (somewhat more with LANTR, admittedly, but at the expense of greater technical complexity of a hybrid engine), giving you around 1 MNs of impulse per tonne of extracted water. With methalox propulsion, from each tonne of extracted water, you'd be able to utilize around 950 kg, and together with armospheric CO2 extracted, you'd get around 7.7 MNs per tonne of extracted water. This means a significantly better utilization of in-situ resources extracted compared to the nuclear-powered vehicle. Perhaps the proposed CO2 nuclear rocket for orbital ferry applications would be a good idea for the Martian environment, but it has to be developed first.

BeagleV is a $150 RISC-V Computer Designed To Run Linux

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New submitter shoor writes: Seeed Studios -- the makers of the Odyssey mini-PC -- have teamed up with well-known SBC vendor BeagleBoard to produce an affordable RISC-V system designed to run Linux. The new BeagleV (pronounced "Beagle Five") system features a dual-core, 1GHz RISC-V CPU made by StarFive -- one of a network of RISC-V startups created by better-known RISC-V vendor SiFive. The CPU is based on two of SiFive's U74 Standard Cores -- and unlike simpler microcontroller-only designs, it features a MMU and all the other trimmings necessary to run full-fledged modern operating systems such as Linux distributions. StarFive's VIC7100 processor design is aimed at edge AI tasks as well as general-purpose computing. In addition to the two RISC-V CPU cores, it features a Tensilica Vision VP6 DSP for machine-vision applications, a Neural Network Engine, and a single-core NVDLA (Nvidia Deep Learning Accelerator) engine.


By stikves • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I was wondering why the price was not competitive with Raspberry PI 4, then I decided to dig deeper.

The most similar Beagleboard option I found was this one: (BeagleBone AI). There is a nice comparison chart on Arrow site for their basic model (which is more like RPi).

So basically:
* Extra USB ports (4xUSB3 vs 2)
* Extra camera input (2 vs 1)
* AI co-processor
* DSP co-processor

were there. The other difference was RAM (and eMMC). This new board seems to offer 8GB, and that option on a RPi4 is $40 extra.

When all added up $150 might make sense.

Airbnb Blocks DC Reservations Around Inauguration

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Airbnb said Wednesday it is canceling existing reservations and blocking new ones in the Washington, D.C., area during inauguration week as federal officials remain on alert for potential violence. Axios reports: Airbnb says the move is in response to requests from local, state and federal officials asking people not to travel to D.C. for President-elect Biden's inauguration. Guests whose reservations are canceled will receive refunds and Airbnb says it will reimburse hosts' lost earnings.

"We are aware of reports emerging yesterday afternoon regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration," the company said in its announcement. Airbnb also said it has banned from its platform numerous individuals it has learned that are "either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol Building."

Re:Too bad for landlords

By Anubis IV • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Guests whose reservations are canceled will receive refunds and Airbnb says it will reimburse hosts' lost earnings.

I get not reading the article, but is it really too much to ask that you read the summary?

Re:Why not just say ...

By spun • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Because Corporate America wants to make it very, very clear to Republicans what they think of a party that supports a fucking coup. Coup is bad for business. First thing fascists do when they come to power is seize businesses folks who did not support them wholeheartedly, to give to their supporters. They have shit-canned book deals, killed speaking engagements, stopped donations, and basically done everything in their power to help the few sane republicans realize, they need to stop this.

Given the level of support corporate America has shown conservatives in the past, I hope this helps you all understand what a clear red line you've crossed here. It's all fun and games until someone threatens the billionaires revenue stream.

And to be frank, an attempted coup is everyone's problem.

Re:The dark winter is here

By MightyMartian • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Christ, you guys never give up. There was no steal; Biden beat Trump by 7,000,000+ votes, won the electoral college. And any restrictions now are directly because of the insurrectionists who tried to seize Congress last week. But just keep playing the "oh poor us". All you've done, oh brave AC, is mark yourself among the seditionists.


By Nidi62 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Any excuse for low turn out at the Biden inauguration.

Ah ha! The 4D chess finally makes sense! This whole thing was an attempt by Trump to ensure that Biden's inauguration crowd is smaller than his!

Re:The dark winter is here

By Dragonslicer • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
So what you're saying is that Trump would have won if it weren't for all those citizens being allowed to vote?

Ubisoft To Make Star Wars Game, Marking End To EA Exclusivity

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Ubisoft said it will develop a new Star Wars game, indicating a longtime exclusivity agreement for Electronic Arts on the Walt Disney franchise will come to an end. From a report: The new Star Wars title is set to be the first not published by EA since Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012. The news sent shares of the two game companies diverging Wednesday. Ubisoft climbed more than 7%, and EA fell as much 3.2%. The agreement with EA is scheduled to expire in 2023. In an emailed statement, EA said: "We're proud of our long-standing collaboration with Lucasfilm Games, which will continue for years to come." Lucasfilm said in a blog post Wednesday morning that it had "a number of projects underway" with EA. Ubisoft said only that its game will be set in an open-world environment and will developed by the company's Massive Entertainment team in Sweden, best known for a series of shooting games called Tom Clancy's The Division. The group is also working on a game based on James Cameron's "Avatar" movies.

Apple Invests Millions To Back Entrepreneurs of Color, Part of Racial Justice Effort

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Apple on Wednesday said it was putting $60 million into a fresh round of projects aimed at challenging systemic racism, including its first foray into venture capital funding to back entrepreneurs of color. From a report: Apple said it would invest $10 million in a fund with Harlem Capital, a New York-based early-stage venture firm, with the goal of helping fund 1,000 companies over 20 years. Apple will invest $25 million in Siebert Williams Shank's Clear Vision Impact Fund, which provides financing to small- and mid-sized businesses, with an emphasis on minority-owned firms. Apple will become a limited partner in funds at both.

uh oh

By nomadic • Score: 3 • Thread

I haven't read a single comment but I already predict a lot of triggered right-wing slashdotters are going to be crying in the comments.

Re:What about vagina?

By cayenne8 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread, in order to combat "systemic racism", Apple is going to fund and promote businesses ONLY based on race?

Am I reading this right....they're using racism to fight racism?

Window dressing...

By erp_consultant • Score: 3 • Thread

This is classic virtue signaling. Apple has crunched the numbers and determined that it is cheaper to give money to social cause A, B, and C than not to and get sued by some group or other for alleged racism, sexism...fill-in-the-blank ism. So they give money away and conduct sensitivity classes without any measurable goals or stated timelines.

The groups running social cause A, B and C win because by funding these initiatives Apple is implicitly confirming that racism etc. exists to the extent that corporations must come to the rescue. Proof of these allegations is never asked for nor offered. It is just assumed to be. Apple wins because they save money and headaches, as outlined above, and they get the goodwill associated with the feel good initiatives that they back.

As with most charitable efforts, success is measured by intent rather than results.

Re:What about vagina?

By cayenne8 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Yes, racism can be used to fight racism.

Also, accommodating "diversity" helps promote equality.

In other words....merit be damned, eh?

Wow....I"m just amazed that the irony is lost on so many, and that we've stumbled so far away from the pursuit of actual equality, freedom and common sense.

Is everything today trumped by identity politics?

If so....sad.

Minority including Asians?

By khchung • Score: 3 • Thread

The elephant in the room is obviously, do they include Asians, in particular east/SE Asians? The article mentioned wanting to see more “black and brown” only.

If not, why is it ok to discriminate against Asians?

Dropbox To Cut 11% of its Global Workforce

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Dropbox is cutting its global workforce by about 11%, the company said in an 8K filing released Wednesday. From a report: The move will affect 315 people, who will be notified by the end of the business day. "The steps we're taking today are painful, but necessary," Dropbox CEO Drew Houston said in an employee memo Wednesday. Dropbox committed to preserve job security through 2020, but Houston said that looking ahead to this year "it's clear that we need to make changes in order to create a healthy and thriving business for the future." The company said the job cuts will help it focus on its top priorities for the year, which include evolving the core Dropbox experience, investing in new products and driving operational excellence.

Re: Use this as a chance to get back to basics

By bradley13 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I used to have a paid, private account. Dropbox did one thing - sync files - and did it well. Then they evolved...

Now I run an Owncloud instance for myself and the family. Surprisingly easy, and the data sits on *my* disks. Recommended.

Dropped DropBox

By RitchCraft • Score: 3 • Thread
I ditched DropBox back when they decided to break all the links I made over the many years to my files. I was even a yearly subscriber to their 100GB plan. Learned my lesson there, I will never pay for a service like DropBox again. I host my own files on NAS equipment on site now. It's just too risky putting your hard work into the hands of companies that couldn't give a crap less about you even if paying for the service.

Re:Should merge with SalesForce

By ranton • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

SalesForce should buy DropBox now. SalesForce seriously could become a major competitor for enterprise solutions to MS, Google and IBM.

SalesForce would be better off buying Box, whose market cap is a third of DropBox. Box also focuses more on large enterprise customers than DropBox, which was even mentioned in DropBox's own SEC filings. So all around Box seems to make more sense for an acquisition than DropBox.

Re:Use this as a chance to get back to basics

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I got an email saying I used up my 12GB free space ... because my father shared his photos with me. I left Dropbox the first time I got that stupid email (which was many years ago). Yes *someone else's* shared folder counts towards your storage limit.

Back when they were the first cloud sync service you may tolerate that kind of shit. In 2020, with all the alternatives including Seafile and Owncloud, there's no reason to put up with it.

Trying to figure out...

By PhantomHarlock • Score: 3 • Thread

Trying to figure out what the major motive force behind this downturn is. In pandemic times, you'd think they'd be doing well along aside all other remote work tools.

There's a couple of things they're fighting uphill against.

Number one is Microsoft's now tight integration of its OneDrive services with windows 10, plus apple's iCloud for that small market share. It's 'easy' for casual users to just use what's already there.

Second is their own 'improvements' which have made the product worse for people who just want file syncing and sharing and nothing else. The application has progressively tried to lead you more and more into using their own tool set which I have no interest in. All I want is seamless file sync in windows explorer. I don't need another UI to deal with. A lot of people here seem to share the same opinion, but we would be in the category of 'power users'. Perhaps that market segment just isn't glamorous and sexy anymore and now everyone's doing it, so Dropbox faces a crowded field full of built in monopolies from OS makers.

I pay for the DropBox plus tier and I use it quite a lot to access files between my desktop, laptop and phone. It's still fine for that though I'm considering hosting my own when I upgrade my RAID array to a NAS unit. Now that I have reliable synchronous gigabit fiber at home, there is no speed advantage to hosting at a data center. There is a safety advantage in the files being mirrored at a remote location however, in terms of backup.

The trade off in security is questionable in regards to being hacked on a service versus your own server, which you have to make sure and patch and keep up to date. Usually a service will win out in that regard despite recent high profile intrusions.
If they keep making the desktop software more and more annoying, it's a good reason to go find something else. What they need is 'DropBox light' which has the basic core file sharing functionality and nothing else. Messenger Lite for Facebook is a good example to follow.

Debian Discusses Vendoring -- Again

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Jake Edge, writing at LWN: The problems with "vendoring" in packages -- bundling dependencies rather than getting them from other packages -- seems to crop up frequently these days. We looked at Debian's concerns about packaging Kubernetes and its myriad of Go dependencies back in October. A more recent discussion in that distribution's community looks at another famously dependency-heavy ecosystem: JavaScript libraries from the npm repository. Even C-based ecosystems are not immune to the problem, as we saw with iproute2 and libbpf back in November; the discussion of vendoring seems likely to recur over the coming years. Many application projects, particularly those written in languages like JavaScript, PHP, and Go, tend to have a rather large pile of dependencies. These projects typically simply download specific versions of the needed dependencies at build time. This works well for fast-moving projects using collections of fast-moving libraries and frameworks, but it works rather less well for traditional Linux distributions. So distribution projects have been trying to figure out how best to incorporate these types of applications.

This time around, Raphael Hertzog raised the issue with regard to the Greenbone Security Assistant (gsa), which provides a web front-end to the OpenVAS vulnerability scanner (which is now known as Greenbone Vulnerability Management or gvm). "the version currently in Debian no longer works with the latest gvm so we have to update it to the latest upstream release... but the latest upstream release has significant changes, in particular it now relies on yarn or npm from the node ecosystem to download all the node modules that it needs (and there are many of them, and there's no way that we will package them individually). The Debian policy forbids download during the build so we can't run the upstream build system as is."

Hertzog suggested three possible solutions: collecting all of the dependencies into the Debian source package (though there would be problems creating the copyright file), moving the package to the contrib repository and adding a post-install step to download the dependencies, or removing gsa from Debian entirely. He is working on updating gsa as part of his work on Kali Linux, which is a Debian derivative that is focused on penetration testing and security auditing. Kali Linux does not have the same restrictions on downloading during builds that Debian has, so the Kali gsa package can simply use the upstream build process. He would prefer to keep gsa in Debian, "but there's only so much busy-work that I'm willing to do to achieve this goal". He wondered if it made more sense for Debian to consider relaxing its requirements. But Jonas Smedegaard offered another possible approach: analyzing what packages are needed by gsa and then either using existing Debian packages for those dependencies or creating new ones for those that are not available. Hertzog was convinced that wouldn't be done, but Smedegaard said that the JavaScript team is already working on that process for multiple projects.

Re:Local NPM Registry

By Eric Sharkey • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

For a long time, Debian has been striving for Reproducible Builds, where building a source package produces the same output every time. Even with a local NPM registry, it would be nearly impossible to keep track of what was in the registry at the time of doing the build unless that content is actually in the source package itself.

Surprised there's no "alien"/"debhelper" approach.

By skids • Score: 3 • Thread

Many, many years ago I had a little fun making an extension to automatically convert CPAN perl code projects to an installable package. There was adequate meta-data in CPAN to do a pretty good job at it. The current package managers for the java/js/c# generally astound me with the amount of cruft in the packaging system... I wouldn't say it would surprise me if they were missing some information to make that possible, but I'd suspect they should have all the bases covered there.

Security and reliability

By vanyel • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Seems to me all too many things, particularly websites, fetch things from third parties on the fly, making them susceptible to compromise by things they have given up control over, whether it be security or gratuitous changes. Keeping the things you know work local will make things much more stable.

Re: Fetishization of source code.

By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

"From the view of the outsider, all this fetishization of the source code happening by the Debian people seems ridiculous."

That's because you care more about convenience than freedom. Use a different distro.

It's the corporate / Windows mindset.

By BAReFO0t • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Of seeing software as applications. Monolithic fortresses that do not cooperate and do not share. All because they got the business model wrong (Development is a service, not software a "property"), and it now depends on not sharing with others so that blackmailing works.

For example, it is ridiculous that I can't use the Photoshop tools in Word, or vice versa. If the data format fits, it should work, no questions asked.
This is one reason for Unix's "do one thing and do it right" and "everyting is a file".

This is also why frameworks are part of that cancer.
And container formats like Snap. (Dependency hell is a solved problem, boys and girls. Portage has no problem installing more than one version of a library in parallel and having software use the right version.)

And deveopers that grew up in a world like that niw pour into open source software, thinking they can take their 'culture' with them.
Just look at how Steam is implemented. There is no Linux version of Steam. It ignores pretty much every rule there is. File system, place of files, package manager, hell it doesn't even use Linux facilities but runs on Wine. It is still 100% Windows. Grafted onto Linux like a truck onto a human cheek.

I have hope that this will change though, even thougj you can't teach them. IFF we stay stong in the face of their clueless cockiness (Yes, hello Poettering!), and they get older and hurt themselves with their bad choices a time or two, and learn from it by themselves.

As a wise man once said: Those who do not understand Unix, are doomed to re-invent it. Badly. In two or three decades. After much bickering and arrogant cocky behavior typical for the youth. ... ;)

Signal's Brian Acton Talks About Exploding Growth, Monetization and WhatsApp Data-Sharing Outrage

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Brian Acton is crossing paths again with Facebook. From a report: Over more than a decade of building and operating WhatsApp, the company's co-founder first competed against and then sold his instant messaging app to the social juggernaut. Only a few years ago he parted ways with the company that made him a billionaire in a bitter split over messaging and privacy. Now Acton says the ongoing outrage over what Facebook has done to the messaging service he helped build is driving people to his latest project -- Signal. Acton, who serves as the executive chairman of the privacy-conscious messaging app's holding company, told TechCrunch in an interview that the user base of Signal has "exploded" in recent weeks. "The smallest of events helped trigger the largest of outcomes," said Acton on a video call. "We're also excited that we are having conversations about online privacy and digital safety and people are turning to Signal as the answer to those questions." "It's a great opportunity for Signal to shine and to give people a choice and alternative. It was a slow burn for three years and then a huge explosion. Now the rocket is going," he said. The event Acton is referring to is the recent change in data-sharing policy disclosed by WhatsApp, an app that serves more than 2 billion users worldwide. Poll: Which Messaging App Do You Prefer To Use?

USA played itself

By cygnusvis • Score: 3 • Thread
People were organizing in a publicly visible place where authorities could watch and try make sure things stayed civil. US companies banned them all and now they are using a highly secure private place to organize. Now they are unmoderated and there may be no voice of reason and are not under the watchful eye of the public. Forcing the bad actors underground and out of the public space will make things worse.

Protocols, not apps.

By TheNameOfNick • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I know the kids don't use email because it's deeply uncool, but at least with email you can use Outlook and I can use Thunderbird and we're not talking about people leaving one for the other and severing half their contacts with that move. We need a better IM protocol, not a better app.

Re:Signal asked for my phone number, privacy?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Privacy and anonymity are two different things.


By period3 • Score: 3 • Thread

My (personal) phone plan only gives 250MB of data but unlimited SMS. This is quite common in Canada. Interestingly the Signal webpage seems to imply the opposite: that using data is cheaper. Is this more typical in other countries? As it is, this is a non-starter for me. Sending a few photos would quickly exhaust my available data.

Re:Protocols, not apps.

By TheNameOfNick • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I have used XMPP. It struck me as convoluted and it was difficult to tell what the requirements for secure communication were and if communication was secure if the requirements were met. The protocol was clearly designed with these things as an afterthought, and that is not what I mean with "a better protocol". Any protocol that wants to take Whatsapp's cake needs to be secure from the start and simple enough that I can install an app for it on my mothers phone and not get weekly support calls. XMPP is too much potential and too little implementation. At the very least it would need a "minimal implementation profile" that covers the basics which just have to work, including secure end-to-end encryption.

NASA Spacecraft Discovers the Universe is Less Crowded Than We Thought

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An anonymous reader shares a report: While we might think of space as a vast sea of blackness, all we have to do is look up at night to see that it's punctuated by countless stars, galaxies and even a few planets visible to the naked eye. Scientists recently used data from NASA's New Horizons mission out beyond Pluto to measure just how dark the cosmic background really is. What they found has implications for what we thought we knew about the makeup of the entire universe. In short, space is so dark there can't be as many galaxies out there, adding their faint glow to the backdrop, as astronomers have previously estimated.

"It's an important number to know -- how many galaxies are there?" Marc Postman of the Space Telescope Science Institute said in a statement Tuesday. "We simply don't see the light from 2 trillion galaxies." That was the earlier estimate derived from Hubble Space Telescope observations, but a new study forthcoming in the Astrophysical Journal and co-authored by Postman suggests the total number of galaxies in the universe is probably in the hundreds of billions rather than the trillions. Interestingly, this is closer to an even earlier figure guessing there were around 200 billion galaxies. That was based on Hubble data from the 1990s.

Re:Science Fiction stories

By smooth wombat • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Such as Ringworld or Dyson spheres? I believe in Niven's book(s) he does mention the amount of material necessary to build the ring, which is a perfectly reasonable amount based on our solar system alone.

As for the spheres, such as the ones in Roger McBride Allen's Ring of Charon series, again, there should be sufficient amount of matter in our own solar system to create a sphere around the Sun.

Considering some of the other solar systems we have detected with multiple planets the size of Jupiter or Saturn, there seems to be enough matter to create these structures so long as you don't go overboard.


By Tx • Score: 3 • Thread

I'm kind of confused by the article on hubblesite. It starts off with the quote about there not being enough light to account for two trillion of galaxies and so there must be fewer galaxies than thought, but by the end of the article, it's talking about there being more light than can be accounted for, and possibly more galaxies than previously thought. This bit;

So, what could be the source of this leftover glow? It’s possible that an abundance of dwarf galaxies in the relatively nearby universe lie just beyond detectability. Or the diffuse halos of stars that surround galaxies might be brighter than expected. There might be a population of rogue, intergalactic stars spread throughout the cosmos. Perhaps most intriguing, there may be many more faint, distant galaxies than theories suggest.

I'm assuming I misread or misunderstood something, anyone want to enlighten me?

Re:Science Fiction stories

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4 • Thread

One AU is 1.5e11 meters.

The area of a Dyson Sphere at one AU would be 4*PI*R^2 = 2.8e23.

The mass of Jupiter is 1.9e27 kg.

So that is about 6700 kg per square meter. That should be plenty.

I bought a universal remote today

By nospam007 • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

- and I'm rather dissatisfied...
It does not control the Universe. Not even remotely.

Re:Miss Universe

By nightflameauto • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

We only publicize the Earth results. Our candidate for Miss Universe can't travel to the main competition, and the hosting organization refuses to host the main competition on Earth, so in compromise, allow Earth's citizens to believe they have the right to refer to her as Miss Universe.

Plaid Pulled Plug on Visa Deal Over Price, Not Antitrust Concerns

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Visa will no longer be buying fintech upstart Plaid, as the companies on Tuesday announced the "mutual termination" of the $5.3 billion agreement that was signed one year ago and opposed by U.S. antitrust regulators. From a report: This is more about the rising value of fintech companies than it is about the U.S. Justice Department. It also turns Plaid into a very appealing target for growth equity investors, IPO bankers and SPAC sponsors. DOJ sued to block the deal in November, claiming it would eliminate Plaid's future ability to compete in the online debit market, thus giving Visa a monopoly. Visa said it would vigorously defend itself, in part because Plaid has no online debit products nor any in the pipeline. Visa also sought an expedited process to begin in the spring, whereas DOJ sought a December trial. The two sides met just before the holidays, but I'm told that DOJ would only agree to split the difference.

Disappointing Chinese Vaccine Results Pose Setback for Developing World

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Scientists in Brazil have downgraded the efficacy of a Chinese coronavirus vaccine that they hailed as a major triumph last week, diminishing hopes for a shot that could be quickly produced and easily distributed to help the developing world. From a report: Officials at the Butantan Institute in Sao Paulo said on Tuesday that a trial conducted in Brazil showed that the CoronaVac vaccine, manufactured by the Beijing-based company Sinovac, had an efficacy rate just over 50 percent. That rate, slightly above the benchmark that the World Health Organization has said would make a vaccine effective for general use, was far below the 78 percent level announced last week. The implications could be significant for a vaccine that is crucial to China's global health diplomacy. At least 10 countries have ordered more than 380 million doses of the Sinovac inoculation, CoronaVac, though regulatory agencies have yet to fully approve it.

A senior official in Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China that had already ordered CoronaVac, said on Wednesday that an advisory panel would strictly review the vaccine based on clinical trial data before it was rolled out there. "Those countries that have ordered the Chinese-made vaccines are probably going to question the usefulness of these vaccines," said Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and an expert on health care in China. "Countries with opposition parties might use this to challenge the decision made by the incumbent government, and that will likely have domestic political implications in these countries," Mr. Huang said. Sinovac did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Quick observation

By Okian Warrior • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

To use "Operation Warp Speed" to step up and help repair the image of the United States by working with Western Europe to provide at-cost, subsidised, or even free doses of what was developed by Pfizer, BioNTech, Moderna, etc. to the rest of the world.

Quick observation: In previous catastrophes, America has stepped in and done exactly that sort of humanitarian act.

For a recent example, when Haiti was hit by hurricane Matthew, the US sent an aircraft carrier and a hospital ship (which set out before the hurricane ended) to help out with the recovery. The carrier served as a landing base for relief efforts, and the nuclear-powered vessel used its desalination abilities to hand out free water. US troops patrolled the country and helped keep the peace for the duration.

...and afterwards we went home. We didn't conquer the country, we left in peace so they could continue their way of life.

The US has a long history of offering and stepping in with humanitarian aid. I have no doubt that once our elderly population is safe, we'll be ramping up production and giving away the vaccine worldwide.

The US definitely does some shit, but just this past year alone we brokered a peace deal in the middle east - something many people thought wasn't possible.

The image of the United States doesn't need repair.

Re:Perfect Opportunity

By Dorianny • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Here's a list of what the EU is paying:

Oxford/AstraZeneca: â1.78 Johnson & Johnson: $8.50 Sanofi/GSK: â7.56 Pfizer/BioNTech: â12 CureVac: â10 Moderna: $18

Brazil is paying $10 for CoronaVac.

This vaccine is not particularly cheap but could be subsidised. Clearly the Oxford/AstraZeneca one is by far and away the lowest cost but it is only about 75% effective.

It's not that simple though, both CoronaVac and the Oxford/AZ one might not stop you getting COVID but have been shown to lessen the symptoms even when they "fail". So even if all you can afford the cheapest one it's worth having, even if you don't get full immunity it will help you.

China will sell it to any country that wants it at $10 on a huge loan, and have them by the balls. China will hang the debt over their heads anytime they even think of step out-of-line of China's international policies.

Re:Perfect Opportunity

By kbahey • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

both CoronaVac and the Oxford/AZ one might not stop you getting COVID but have been shown to lessen the symptoms even when they "fail".

Even Pfizer and Moderna do not stop you getting COVID.
One has 52% efficacy for stopping the infection and the other is 67%.
The 95% figure they have is about them stopping the disease (severe symptoms, need for hospitalization, death).
The above figures are from the Emergency Use Authorization documents at the FDA.

According to the BBC, the Butantan Institude in Brazil says the CoronaVac vaccine is 100% effective in preventing severe cases and death. And it should be effective, since it has an inactivated virus, so more proteins the immune system can make antibodies and memory for ...

What is frustrating is the lack of full expert panel reviewed test results for CoronaVac for everyone to see. You have different countries quoting different figures without backing data on how the tests were conducted, efficacy measured, ...etc.

Only Pfizer and Moderna did that. Maybe Oxford/AstraZeneca in the UK only.

Vaccine Efficacy: Disease vs. Infection ...

By kbahey • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Before calling people names, you should stop being ignorant, and understand what the terms are.

Efficacy for the current vaccine is about preventing disease, not infection. This means that you can get infected, but the immune system trained by the vaccine kicks in and attacks the replicating virus to prevent the infection from progressing to disease. In the mean time, you may be shedding the virus and may infect others.

The VRBPAC committee that approved the Pfizer vaccine said in its report:

Vaccine effectiveness against transmission of SARS-CoV-2

Data are limited to assess the effect of the vaccine against transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from individuals who are infected despite vaccination. Demonstrated high efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 may translate to overall prevention of transmission in populations with high enough vaccine uptake, though it is possible that if efficacy against asymptomatic infection were lower than efficacy against symptomatic infection, asymptomatic cases in combination with reduced mask-wearing and social distancing could result in significant continued transmission.

Here is a summary of a peer reviewed paper on Moderna's vaccine. The relevant part is:

Although mRNA-1273 is highly efficacious in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, there is not yet enough available data to draw conclusions as to whether the vaccine can impact SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Preliminary trial data suggests there may be some degree of prevention of asymptomatic infection after a single dose. Additional analyses are underway of the incidence of asymptomatic infection and viral shedding post-infection to understand the vaccineâ(TM)s impact on infectiousness.

And here is an article, and another, and yet another explaining the difference between efficacy in preventing disease, vs. infection, and the need to continue with the social distancing and masks even as vaccines are being rolled out.

Re:Perfect Opportunity

By vux984 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Canada bought vaccines for 5 times their population.

Canada placed advance orders for 5 times their population to be delivered for multiple vaccines from multiple suppliers. Some of the suppliers may never deliver, some of the vaccines may not perform and may be worthless.

Its about as "evil" as setting up a recurring order for toilet paper at walmart; to send you a package biweekly for the next 2 years. And then seeing that walmart is having production issues, and may not deliver, and the toilet paper is a brand new product that may not actually even work as expected -- going to amazon and placing a recurring order their new TP too.

And then the headlines scream..."OMG ... this asshole just ordered 96 packages of toilet paper".

Except they didn't, they didn't clear the shelves, and hog all the paper for themselves at all.

They just put in pre-orders at every company promising a vaccine and committed to buying x amount over the next period of time. Meanwhile if any supplier ends up not working out Canada isn't solely depending on a stockpile that doesn't work, or dealing with a shortage due to a supplier that didn't deliver. That's entirely in developed countries rational self interest.

Can you imagine the headlines if one of the vaccines proves unsafe or just doesn't work; and then the country has to explain to its citizens why millions of citizens are going to get infected, and thousands will die because they bet on the wrong horse?

Fuck canada. And fuck the developed world.

No. Fuck you. And fuck hyperbolic headlines.

Canada committed to buy millions of doses of unproven potential vaccines. It's betting on all the horses. Those funds will allow the vaccine producers to ramp up production and helps ensure they actually get produced and delivered to anyone at all ever; that up front investment/commitment reduces the risk for the producers and ultimately lowers the costs for other customers.

And if the vaccines are all good, and the suppliers all deliver on time in the amounts ordered and Canada does actually ends up with a surplus (something that is by no means assured), dollars to donuts they'll resell the surplus at cost, or even donate it.

There is plenty gained by ordering more than is needed; to ensure more is produced and delivered: RISK MITIGATION.
But there is nothing gained by hoarding vaccine they don't actually need.

Intel CEO Bob Swan To Step Down in February, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger To Replace Him

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Intel CEO Bob Swan is set to step down effective Feb. 15. From a report: VMWare CEO Pat Gelsinger will take over the position, sources told CNBC. Intel's stock was up about 13% in premarket trading following the news. VMWare's stock was down nearly 5%. Swan was named CEO in January 2019 after serving as interim CEO for seven months. During Swan's tenure, Intel has suffered blows from competitors. Over the summer, Intel reported that its latest generation chips would be delayed while AMD's were already shipping inside laptops. Apple announced in the fall that it would use its own proprietary chips in its Mac computers, breaking a 15-year partnership with Intel for its chip supplies.

Not sure VMware's leadership is an improvement

By LostMyAccount • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

VMware has been working as hard as it can to squander the market dominance it had, I'm not sure if Pat's ideas of jacking up licensing and selling overcomplicated side features is going to be a winner for Intel.

Re:He always was there to get Intel past 10nm woes

By Rockoon • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
or Intel has decided upon a plan, and that plan includes using the connections of the former VMware CEO.

Intel needs a reliable vertical footing that doesnt include the main stairwell, because the rent-a-fabs are taking over everything mainstream.

The people that think Intels problem stems from losing the performance crown are wrong. Intels problem is yields and the solution is chiplettes. They must still be 1 to 2 years away from developing a production-ready chiplette design, as it takes 5 to 6 years to go from initial design to production. Magic bullets here only come in the form of significant process advantages such as the density advantage that their old 3D trigates offered, but no longer do.

A significant process advantage like Intel had before, would now be something like 4nm trigates, a generation ahead on process combined with a novel transistor packing that itself is equal to being a generation ahead. Those days are over. Intel is now, at best and being very generous, about equal on process as everyone else, and Intel also abandoned their novel transistor packing several years ago after wasting about 5 years both trying to get it practical at 10nm and trying to bring the yields up at 14nm, neither of which happened.

The big funny is of course that Intel had once produced a chiplette design, as their original dual core chips were actually two chips side-by-side on an interposer, and also funny is that their "iris pro" also uses a somewhat chiplette design, a cpu module and an edram module side by side on an interposer.

It is precisely the focus on performance that is in error, an error that outsiders often make when evaluating intels market position, and clearly also an error that Intel has made. The focus should be on the economics of it and that is where Intel is really failing badly. Intel has not failed to produce 10nm chips, since they have been in production for years. They cannot produce them in volume due to bad yields, but their smallest 10nm designs (best yields) have been in production for years, but those small chips dont perform anything like their 14nm monoliths do, only have 2 cores, and dont make intel much money, at all, and wouldnt even at massive volume, until yields improve.

Re:Intel CEOs have NOT competent for years. Opinio

By Guspaz • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Pat Gelsinger, an electrical engineer, was the chief architect of the 486. How is he "another non engineer guy"?

Going Home Again

By crow • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I remember when EMC hired him away from Intel where he was the CTO. He was one of the top executives, and could easily have ended up as CEO of EMC had things gone differently. I'm not at all surprised Intel wants him, and he has been at VMWare for a long time now, so it's not surprising that he's looking for a new challenge.

Thank you, Guspaz commenter!

By Futurepower(R) • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Thank you, Guspaz commenter, for saying that! That information is not in today's Slashdot summary.

Intel's Patrick Gelsinger on the hot seat (June 5, 2008) Quote from that story:

"Patrick Gelsinger is an electrical engineer. He joined Intel in 1979, worked on the design of the 80286 and 80386 microprocessors, and was the chief architect for the 80486 chip."

Another story: How Pat Gelsinger saved VMware. That article gives part of New Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger's history. (Nov. 14, 2017)

Gelsinger and Meyer: Two CPU Designers Who Changed the World (Feb. 11, 2013)

Quoting 3 paragraphs:

"Gelsinger is the more famous and recognized of the two engineers because he was with Intel for so long and was often its public face, especially after the retirement of Intelâ(TM)s charismatic CEO, Andy Grove.

"Gelsinger joined the company in 1979 right out of high school. The recruiter's note on him is somewhat legendary: "Smart, arrogant, aggressive -- he'll fit right in." He did. Gelsinger worked his way up through the company's ranks, and also through school. Intel would cover his tuition so long as he maintained a B average.

"While working on the 80286 project, Gelsinger earned a B.S. in electrical engineering, and he got his Masters degree from Stanford while working on the 386. By the time Gelsinger was 25, Andy Grove offered to let him lead the 80486 project to keep him from quitting the company, since Gelsinger wanted to go to Stanford full time to earn his PhD in electrical engineering."

EPA Raises Barriers To Climate-Change Rules

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Environmental Protection Agency is creating higher barriers for regulating the emissions that contribute to climate change, setting new rules that effectively block the federal government from imposing new restrictions on several heavy industries. From a report: The agency, which first introduced a proposal to create the higher bar in August, packaged these new standards in a rule making it issued Tuesday. The rule, to be published in the Federal Register Wednesday, sets new criteria for what is considered a significant contributor of greenhouse-gas emissions. In the rule the agency says that determination is required by law and finds that oil and gas producers, refiners, steelmakers and other heavy industries don't meet the criteria, prohibiting the EPA from regulating their emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Tuesday's action may not have staying power, however. President-elect Joe Biden's team has announced plans to freeze and potentially undo any new regulations, such as this one, that are still pending when it takes power next week. The Biden transition team didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Mr. Biden, however, has criticized the Trump administration for rolling back environmental regulations aimed at arresting climate change. President Trump has pushed for ways to check expanding environmental regulations, saying they hurt U.S. businesses like manufacturers and energy producers.

Re: Environmental Pollution Agency

By Ost99 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Then you tax imports from countries that has not implemented a Co2 tax.
And all of a sudden your more efficient and clean domestic industry will outcompete China.

Re:Death Cult

By bugs2squash • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
The Europeans seem to be able to at least partially impose their standards on good for import though, I don't see why the US could not follow suit.

Re:Environmental Pollution Agency

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It's a real dick move because the next administration, taking over in a week's time, will seek to undo it. So all this is doing is wasting Biden's time and political capital.

Some people might make a quick buck while it's being reversed but most won't bother because they know that longer term it's not viable to e.g. design a car that uses current emissions targets when they will get tighter relatively soon.

Re:Environmental Pollution Agency

By bugs2squash • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
There's money to be made in any crisis, especially if you are already rich. One Machiavellian strategy might be to profit now from pillaging the environment and your offspring profit again later by investing the gains in whatever people desperate to survive need next.

Re:Death Cult

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Any manufacturing that isn't done here will be done in China. What part about this don't you understand?

Presumably you also think tariffs are for presidential temper tantrums rather for levelling discrepancies which arise by the attempt to outsource bypassing of manufacturing and labour laws?

WhatsApp Clarifies It's Not Giving All Your Data To Facebook

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: WhatsApp has published a new FAQ page to its website outlining its stances on user privacy in response to widespread backlash over an upcoming privacy policy update. The core issue relates to WhatsApp's data-sharing procedures with Facebook, with many users concerned an updated privacy policy going into effect on February 8th will mandate sharing of sensitive profile information with WhatsApp's parent company. That isn't true -- the update has nothing to do with consumer chats or profile data, and instead the change is designed to outline how businesses who use WhatsApp for customer service may store logs of its chats on Facebook servers. That's something the company feels it is required to disclose in its privacy policy, which it's now doing after previewing the upcoming changes to business chats back in October.

But a wave of misinformation on social media, not helped by Facebook's abysmal track record on privacy and its reputation for obfuscating changes to its various terms of service agreements, has resulted in a full-blown WhatsApp backlash that has users fleeing to competitors like Signal and Telegram. [...] WhatsApp executives, as well as Instagram chief Adam Mosseri and Facebook AR / VR head Andrew "Boz" Bosworth, are now trying to set the record straight, perhaps to little avail at this point.

"We want to be clear that the policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way. Instead, this update includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data," the company writes on the new FAQ page. It also stresses in the FAQ that neither Facebook nor WhatsApp read users' message logs or listen to their calls, and that WhatsApp doesn't store user location data or share contact information with Facebook. (It's also worth noting that data sharing with Facebook is extremely limited for European users due to stronger user privacy protections in the EU.) WhatsApp chief Will Cathcart also took to Twitter a few days ago to post a thread (later shared by Bosworth in the tweet above) trying to cut through the confusion and explain what's actually going on. "With end-to-end encryption, we cannot see your private chats or calls and neither can Facebook. We're committed to this technology and committed to defending it globally," Cathcart wrote. "It's important for us to be clear this update describes business communication and does not change WhatsApp's data sharing practices with Facebook. It does not impact how people communicate privately with friends or family wherever they are in the world."

Rule #1 - we don't talk about fight club

By erp_consultant • Score: 3 • Thread

Rule #2 - never believe anything that is uttered by Facebook execs.

Re:I Don't Give A Fuck

By GuB-42 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Using deception for people own good is a morally dubious stance.

We had a very public example with the downplaying of the importance of masks in the early stage of the pandemic. Most likely the intention was to prevent hoarding and panic buying, and when we see what happened with toilet paper, it may have been a good thing. But as expected, now that the shortage is no more and public stance has reversed, people are not happy... These things are debatable but the general consensus here seems to be that it is better to tell people the truth.

Using deception to push your own preferences or agenda is pure evil.

What your post exemplifies is that we are all a bit manipulative. We like to blame politicians for lying when we do the same thing to push our favorite software. We like to blame billionaire for tax evasion as we do, or pay for undeclared work. We blame leadership for favoritism when we go towards our friend and family business instead even if they are not the best fit. We are just like the people we hate so much, just on a smaller scale.


By stikves • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Metadata is the problem, not the contents of the chats.

Once governments know Facebook has this data, they will want access. That has caused arrests in China in the past:, but also wrongful arrests here in US as well: https://www.criminallegalnews....

Yes, Facebook needs to recoup their investments, and needs to make money. But that does not mean we should agree to give up our basic privacy.

Yes, not all the data.

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
WhatsApp spokesperson You'rani Diot said,

WA will not share ALL the data. It is planning to share a very small limited set of data not even 1 Kb or so.

The data will be, your name, social security number, date of birth, place of birth, mother's maiden name, the name of the street you lived in, your high school football team mascot, the name of the bully who wiped the gym floor with your ass, name of the girl laughed hysterically when you asked her to be your prom date

Yeah, they're not giving your data to Facebook!

By JustAnotherOldGuy • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Yeah, they're not giving your data to Facebook, they're selling it, which is completely different!

Most Distant Quasar Discovered Sheds Light On How Black Holes Grow

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
fahrbot-bot shares a report from Phys.Org: A team of astronomers led by the University of Arizona has observed a luminous quasar 13.03 billion light-years from Earth -- the most distant quasar discovered to date. Dating back to 670 million years after the Big Bang, when the universe was only 5% its current age, the quasar hosts a supermassive black hole equivalent to the combined mass of 1.6 billion suns.

In addition to being the most distant -- and by extension, earliest -- quasar known, the object is the first of its kind to show evidence of an outflowing wind of super-heated gas escaping from the surroundings of the black hole at a fifth of the speed of light. In addition to revealing a strong quasar-driven wind, the new observations also show intense star formation activity in the host galaxy where the quasar, formally designated J0313-1806, is located. The researchers will present their findings, which have been accepted for publication in Astrophysical Journal Letters, during a press conference and a scientific talk at the 237th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society, which will be held virtually Jan. 11-15.

which will be held virtually Jan. 11-15.

By war4peace • Score: 3 • Thread

...starting the day before yesterday. Don't miss it! :)

Redshift makes more sense

By Laxator2 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

At the end of the article it shows the relevant information: redshift = 7.642.
When you go that far in the past, distances given in billion of light-years do not have much use, as the universe has changed in the time it took for the light of the quasar to reach us.

Still, a detection at a redshift of 7.6 is indeed impressive.

A Luminous Quasar at Redshift 7.642, arXiv:2101.03179 [astro-ph.GA]

YouTube Suspends Trump's Channel For At Least 7 Days

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
YouTube has taken action against President Donald Trump and barred new videos from being uploaded to his channel for at least seven days, citing violations of its policies and "concerns about the ongoing potential for violence." NBC News reports: It's the latest action against Trump after last week's deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. Twitter and Facebook have both also suspended or blocked the president's accounts. YouTube issued "a strike" to Trump's channel, and said comments would also be disabled indefinitely. The company also said it removed new content posted Tuesday.

Re:No excuse.

By Ed Tice • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
You posted your comment on the day that the US House of Representatives is meeting in order to impeach the President for actual crimes. Your logic is the equivalent of "Joey stole Jim's lunch money so its okay if Jim rapes Suzy." The goal is not to silence people who think they have a legitimate grievance. The goal of actions is to stop the spread of misinformation that lead to people incorrectly thinking they have a grievance. Reducing teenagers' access to tobacco is unlikely to make any current addicts quit, but it does reduce the number or new addicts.

Re:social credit culture

By squiggleslash • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The Democrats have not disputed the results of the 2016 election. They've said the election was influenced by foreign interference, which is a fact, and they've argued that the electoral college is an anachronism that has failed to do its duty when it puts a divisive politician with no desire to serve the country into power ahead of the winner of the popular vote. And they've complained that voter suppression schemes have generally prevented thousands of legitimate voters from voting for no reason other than to sway the election towards the Republicans.

And virtually everyone who is both informed and not a sociopath argued it was a terrible result.

But there were never any serious claims that the election itself was false - that the vote counts were criminally altered, that there were bogus ballots or serious amounts of voter fraud.

But, let's pretend that they did the same thing, did you notice how Democrats did NOT violently storm the Capitol building in 2017 and attempt to murder Biden?

Nature abhors a vacuum

By tflf • Score: 3 • Thread

The only thing worse than having government decide what is acceptable behaviour is having anyone else (especially business) do it.

Absent direction from those elected to provide it, other social structures will respond to a social and political vacuum. Before January 11, there were already calls for action from what appeared to be a good-sized portion of the population. Media businesses, including social, were under intense pressure due to the perception they "enabled" the growing chaos resulting from the constant stream of legally unproven accusations of a stolen election eminating from the Trump universe. Advertisers are "enjoying" the same pressure to get action. The events of January 11 tipped the scales, and the bans are the logical and largely expected result.

Regular people, even in large numbers, may complain to politicians, and businesses, but, action is highly unlikely. However, when money talks, business respond, usually very quickly. Politicians do as well, but, their response pace is glacial.

Re:Please define "riot" "insurection" "incitement"

By squiggleslash • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Waters was much clearer about what she was calling for, she called for :

Letâ(TM)s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them theyâ(TM)re not welcome anymore, anywhere. Weâ(TM)ve got to get the children connected to their parents

Simply claiming she called for "harassment" leaves open what she actually meant and leaves open in people's minds the idea she might have been calling for violence, whereas it's clear she's demanding peaceful protests.

Which is constitutionally protected and NOT incitement, no.

As for the other examples: those times marches with left wing themes have included property destruction they have been described as riots, yes, but they're relatively rare. The criticism here is that right wingers have described all BLM marches as "riots" when 90%+ of them were entirely peaceful, and most of the violence at the other 10% were law enforcement instigated and even, in some cases, instigated by white supremacists.

As for 2018, not sure what event you're talking about (assuming you meant Capitol), but I'm pretty sure the Capitol wasn't packed with activists holding bundles of zip ties and armed with tasers, and the outside didn't have a gallows set up ready for hanging captured politicians.

Re:In other news...

By Darinbob • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This has ALL been debunked already. No matter how many web sites you find with debunked evidence that doesn't make it true. Just like flat earthers can point you to all sorts of web sites, all sort of evidence, and enough hand waving to power a small city for a year, it still doesn't make any of it true. Those videos and photos are taken wildly out of context (unsued ballots being burned for example). Jumps in numbers are logical given that they're not all counted at a uniform rate; a large batch gets put into machines, later in the morning the numbers get updated on an official site. This just shows a huge ignorance on how elections are counted.

Here's the kicker. People are upset on one hand that the states' rules weren't followed precisely, then they turn around and demand that the "solution" is to throw out all the rules and instead let the state legislators decide the winner. Not one of those "stop the steal" people has suggested starting the vote over from scratch and see if Trump can win the second time, and not one of those "stop the steal" people has suggested tossing out the electoral college and relying upon the popular vote, instead their recourse is to stop, delay, litigate, threaten the secretaries of state into finding new votes, and threatening the vice president. Absurd that their biggest enemies are not the Democrats but their fellow Republicans who are too honest to cheat.