the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2021-Feb-21 today archive

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

Disney+ Added Content Disclaimers to 18 Episodes of 'The Muppet Show'

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
118 episodes of Jim Henson's classic TV series The Muppet Show are now streaming on Disney+, writes the AV Club — but 18 episodes now begin with a content disclaimer... The text of the disclaimers, which cannot be skipped past and include little 12-second timers so you know that you have to sit through them, explain that the episodes feature "negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures," and while "these stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now," Disney has decided to leave them in order to "acknowledge the [content's] harmful impact, learn from it, and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together..."

The disclaimer-worthy stuff includes Johnny Cash performing in front of a confederate flag in his episode and the brief appearance of a puppet dressed as a stereotypical Native American (referred to as an "Indian") in the Jim Nabors episode.

MovieWeb adds: Putting a disclaimer on the show is not a new practice at Disney+. The streamer had previously put disclaimers at the start of several classic animated movies, warning viewers about "outdated cultural depictions." Last month, Disney+ took it a step further by pulling many of these movies from kids' profiles, such as Dumbo, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, and The Jungle Book. The titles are still available to watch on adult profiles with a disclaimer.
To celebrate their arrival on Disney+ the Muppets spliced themselves into posters parodying other TV shows, including The Mandalorian.

But MovieWeb also notes reports that two Muppet Show episodes from season 5 also had to be removed — and another episode heavily edited — due to trouble securing the music rights, "something that also prevented most of the series from getting released on home video for years."

Re:As Richard Pryor observed, Star Wars has a prob

By freeze128 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Star Wars Cantina - There were *ALL* types of races in the cantina. It's the droids that weren't welcome. You completely missed the point.

Re:Sexual Harassment

By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

the reality is that domestic violence / abuse between genders is reversed in the real world a good 10:1

Totally false.

What is true is that most of the worst examples of violence between the sexes seem to be male-on-female, those which create death and/or dismemberment... some high-profile examples of more-literal-than-usual dismemberment aside.

Re:Disney's version of NC-17...

By DarkOx • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

a professor at a low-end university in Michigan

Nice ad-hom there. You know it does not matter if the guy is prof at a low end university, the chair of the English department at Oxford, or anyone else for his assessment to be entirely correct.

People that have a problem with the crows in dumbo are pathetic little scolds who are utterly incapable of seeing the good or humanity in any bit of art. Its their opinions that are of no value; quite independent of whatever credentials they may hold.

The circus is gone - its the past. Everything their has its time and place. The thing about sterotypes is they fall into to categorizes - malicious inventions and relatively correct portraits of the majority of folks in some kind of group in a time or place. The crows are fine example - yes they display some culture and social position that was typical of the time for a certain group (reality) but they are depicted as capable, kind, and virtuous! The crows are friends you'd want to have, company you'd want to keep, unless you are racist a-hole that spends their time judging people (or are for that matter) on very superficial matters.

Its like Huck Fin, elements of Jim's character are the product of his world. He might be ignorant (because he has been kept so) but he isn't stupid or foolish. He takes a lot of abuse but he isn't abusive, he is in actual fact too good for all that. He deserves better and you are supposed to be smart enough to take that away from the book. If it portray the subjection of Jim as the way things ought to be or even just the natural order of things it might be objectionable but it does not do so it portrays it as a grave injustice.

Just like message of Dumbo is great message for Children. Sure the crows may look different from you but they are not to be feared, disliked, or rejected for that you should give them a chance and get to know them for who they actually are; they just might be the best friends you'll ever make. Imagine if we judge People not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character, and art not by the superficial details but by the message they work seeks to send!

Re:Sexual Harassment

By Junta • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Others have pointed out that it's not 10:1, but even at 10:1 it would be a major societal concern.

Giving a select portion of the population the monopoly on sympathy for issues that may effect other people is a very bad idea.


By Tom • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Content Disclaimer: The below text uses words, which are considered harmful by many authoritarians. It is wrong to use words to convince people, as every opinion has the same value, no matter how completely ridiculously fucked up it is.

Stereotypes have such a bad reputation and yet they evolved for a reason. It helps - especially kids and us when we are new to a domain - to think in simplifications. Otherwise the whole of human knowledge is just too large and complex to comprehend.

And successful stereotypes often have a big grain of truth to them as well, that's why they work. The stereotypical German actually does have features that are present in many Germans. Same for stereotypical other countries, races, religions, professions, dogs, houses, cars, ...

There's a good reason that in school, we are taught the general principles, then usually (physics is famous for that) the next year they teach you "well yes, except..." and unravel more of the details.

There's currently a culture developing around us, which focusses too much on bringing all the complexity and differentiation into everything, from the beginning.

Should we teach kids that all black people are dangerous? Of course not. Should we be allowed to include in a show that Germans like sausage? Why the heck not? Later in life they can still learn that there are Vegetarians in Germany, too.

Many of us were brought up on stereotypes, and we aren't haters of everything. In fact, tolerance often develops when we discover by ourselves that our stereotypes don't always apply. That learning process when you actually meet a person from minority X for the first time and figure out within a few seconds that they're just another person, have a quick (internal) laugh about your stereotype and go on with your life - don't take that from people. It's a better teacher than all your diversity programs.

After a Boeing 777 Rained Failed-Engine Debris on Neighborhood Below, More Planes Grounded

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
After a twin-engine, wide-bodied Boeing 777 took off from a Denver airport — carrying 231 passengers and 10 crew members — its right engine failed. It began dropping debris on several neighborhoods below, CNBC reports.

America's Federal Aviation Administration issued a statement saying it was "aware of reports of debris in the vicinity of the airplane's flight path," CNBC adds, noting that less than 30 minutes later the plane had returned to the airport. No passengers were injured.

Today the FAA is issuing an emergency airworthiness directive, "requiring immediate or stepped-up inspections" of similar planes. In a statement FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said the move "will likely mean that some airplanes will be removed from service." Dickson's statement suggests the inspections will be directed at hollow fan blades that "are unique to this model of engine, used solely on Boeing 777 airplanes."

And more steps are being taken in Japan, reports Bloomberg: Meanwhile, Japan's transport ministry on Sunday ordered ANA Holdings and Japan Airlines to ground Boeing 777 planes they operate following the Denver engine failure. ANA operates 19 planes and JAL 13 with Pratt & Whitney's PW4000 engine that saw a failure with United Airlines plane.

Life at Boeing

By Salgak1 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I worked at Boeing from 2007 to 2009, albeit not in the Commercial Aircraft unit.

Some observations:

1. Weird management system. I had three separate lines of management. One on my program, people I worked with and saw every day. A "HR Management" chain, running out of the West Coast (I was in Virginia), who I would occasionally hear from via email. And a "Career Field" chain, for Systems Engineering, based in Philadelphia, that I never heard from personally, but got occasional email blasts from, every year or two.

2. Disappearing benefits. When I joined Boeing, health insurance was free for me and my family, not even any co-pays. Education was encouraged, with 100% coverage of tuition, fees, and books for anything other than Law School.

Over the next two years, health insurance shrank: first, co-pays, and then charging for family coverage, and by the time I left, everyone paid for their coverage,

Education suddenly switched to "all programs must be approved in advance by all three management chains, must be an approved area for your job category, and reimbursement after submission of a 'B' or higher grade", and several months later, it switched again to requiring approval in advance for each individual course.

I left Boeing several months after that: luckily, I had completed my Master's 3 months before the new Education policy hit. . .

Of course it's Denver

By enmock • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

DEN (changed from DIA after all the jaded laborers building it began calling it "Do It Again") is an almost perfect example of how not to do anything.
I worked on the property a couple years ago, and absolutely nothing they did was right. They focus on ensnaring contractors in legal battles instead of completing the work contracted, and waste money intentionally so as to keep budgets inflated. Every single person I met who is in any kind of leadership position for the corporation that is the airport is vastly incompetent. They follow the lead of "too big to fail".

I am not at all surprised that such a massive failure occurred there. I am only worried that this is not the exception to airports, but instead the rule.

The devouring

By UnixUnix • Score: 3 • Thread
McDonnell ate Douglas, and now McDonnell-Douglas is eating Boeing.


By DNS-and-BIND • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
I prefer Juan Brown's (blancolirio's) video on the incident. He's always on top of incidents as soon as they happen, presents the evidence in a clear way, states facts and opinions separately, and is regularly demonetized by Youtube. In short, he's exactly the kind of person we want to go to for this kind of news, and he doesn't wear his uniform while on camera, either. He had a great one on the final summation of the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash a few weeks ago.

Re:Life at Boeing

By MobyDisk • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Everything you describe is pretty normal.

While I've never seen HR as part of the management chain per-se, the management system you describe is incredibly common. There's management of a project "These people are working on building a jet-powered smoothie machine" then there's management of a discipline "These people are systems engineers.

I have not known of a company offering totally free health insurance in 20 years. In my experience shrinking of benefits happens slowly and subtly. A switch from PPOs to HMOs to HSAs. The new offering is cheaper and has some perk like the company kicking-in money, so everyone goes to that. Then they raise the price to the original price over a few years, then they remove the incentives, then they retire the old plan.

Tuition reimbursement is expensive and every company I've worked for required everything you have listed, and the reimbursement was based on continued employment at some minimum performance standards for a few years. They don't like people taking tuition money then leaving. Funny story on that: I worked for a company that offered tuition reimbursement, but the reimbursement vested, so they employee was required to partially repay the tuition if they left within like 2 years or something. An employee went through school for comp sci then got laid-off a few months later. So the company had to pay the entire amount and release the "golden handcuffs." A few months later that person got re-hired for a new project, at a new position, with higher pay since they now had the degree. Great deal for the employee! And they did stick around!

Are Texas Blackouts a Warning About the Follow-on Effects of Climate Change?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
This week in America, "continent-spanning winter storms triggered blackouts in Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and several other states," reports the New York Times. But that was just the beginning... One-third of oil production in the nation was halted. Drinking-water systems in Ohio were knocked offline. Road networks nationwide were paralyzed and vaccination efforts in 20 states were disrupted.

The crisis carries a profound warning. As climate change brings more frequent and intense storms, floods, heat waves, wildfires and other extreme events, it is placing growing stress on the foundations of the country's economy: Its network of roads and railways, drinking-water systems, power plants, electrical grids, industrial waste sites and even homes. Failures in just one sector can set off a domino effect of breakdowns in hard-to-predict ways....

Sewer systems are overflowing more often as powerful rainstorms exceed their design capacity. Coastal homes and highways are collapsing as intensified runoff erodes cliffs. Coal ash, the toxic residue produced by coal-burning plants, is spilling into rivers as floods overwhelm barriers meant to hold it back. Homes once beyond the reach of wildfires are burning in blazes they were never designed to withstand... The vulnerabilities show up in power lines, natural-gas plants, nuclear reactors and myriad other systems. Higher storm surges can knock out coastal power infrastructure. Deeper droughts can reduce water supplies for hydroelectric dams. Severe heat waves can reduce the efficiency of fossil-fuel generators, transmission lines and even solar panels at precisely the moment that demand soars because everyone cranks up their air-conditioners...

As freezing temperatures struck Texas, a glitch at one of two reactors at a South Texas nuclear plant, which serves 2 million homes, triggered a shutdown. The cause: Sensing lines connected to the plant's water pumps had frozen, said Victor Dricks, a spokesman for the federal Nuclear Regulatory Agency. It's also common for extreme heat to disrupt nuclear power. The issue is that the water used to cool reactors can become too warm to use, forcing shutdowns. Flooding is another risk. After a tsunami led to several meltdowns at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant in 2011, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission told the 60 or so working nuclear plants in the United States, many decades old, to evaluate their flood risk to account for climate change. Ninety percent showed at least one type of flood risk that exceeded what the plant was designed to handle. The greatest risk came from heavy rain and snowfall exceeding the design parameters at 53 plants.

"All these issues are converging," said Robert D. Bullard, a professor at Texas Southern University who studies wealth and racial disparities related to the environment.

"And there's simply no place in this country that's not going to have to deal with climate change."

Re:design for stress not minimal conditions

By jezwel • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
What figures are you using ? Wind turbines are up to 14MW for off shore now, and on shore looks to be creeping up to 10MW. Maximum energy usage on ERCOT was around 75GW (August 2019), which means about 10,000 windmills using that 1.8 factor mentioned a few posts up.
Double that for more safety factor and you're still looking at 20k - nowhere near your 293million.

Re:Yes climate change AND..

By Geoffrey.landis • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

BTW the texas power seperation was desgined back when Texas had a Democrat governor

Texas has not had a Democratic governor since 1995. That was twenty-five years ago.

When a solidly Republican state has to search back 25 years to find a Democrat to blame for their troubles, you know they're stretching.

False flag

By ArhcAngel • Score: 3 • Thread
The climate is always changing. Stop listening to political assholes.

Re:Yes and Cruz shows how his ilk will address it

By lorinc • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The universe does not care whether its laws are intuitive to you or not. They just exist, independently of whose there to see them and his/her ability to model them. In fact, our most precise model to date, quantum mechanics, is certainly not intuitive at all.

Science is is nothing more than post facto explanation. It turns out that it the laws of the universe do not change over time, then it can also be used as a reliable predictor, but it's not its primary role. Its primary role is to understand how things work, not make prediction. You can make reliable prediction without understanding how things work and with a model that is obviously wrong from a physical point of view. Modern machine learning (especially deep learning) does exactly that.

Democracy is only able to make decision as intelligent as the majority of its members. So if poor decisions are made, its not because the models are "not credible", it's because the majority is not educated enough to understand the models, and maybe too stupid to realize how important it is to raise its comprehension skills up to the level where they can be used to make better decisions.

Re: Yes climate change AND..

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Why aren't most roads privately owned? When a corporation builds a new estate why not let them own the roads and be responsible for maintaining them? The residents can pay a subscription to use them, and the company can repair them, clear them when necessary etc.

The reason is because roads are essential public infrastructure and you are completely fucked if you can't afford to use the roads leading to and from your house, or the owner of the road decides it's not worth maintaining any more. Imagine the rent for your road to work going up to $5000/day, like the price of electricity just did in Texas.

Electricity should be like roads. Essential public infrastructure. If a company wants to own it they can, but they have a public service mandate and strict limits on what they can charge.

Martin Scorsese Argues Streaming Algorithms Devalue Cinema into 'Content'

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
In a new essay for Harper's magazine, Martin Scorsese argues the art of cinema is being systematically devalued and demeaned by streaming services and their algorithms, "and reduced to its lowest common denominator, 'content.'" "Content" became a business term for all moving images: a David Lean movie, a cat video, a Super Bowl commercial, a superhero sequel, a series episode. It was linked, of course, not to the theatrical experience but to home viewing, on the streaming platforms that have come to overtake the moviegoing experience, just as Amazon overtook physical stores.

On the one hand, this has been good for filmmakers, myself included. On the other hand, it has created a situation in which everything is presented to the viewer on a level playing field, which sounds democratic but isn't. If further viewing is "suggested" by algorithms based on what you've already seen, and the suggestions are based only on subject matter or genre, then what does that do to the art of cinema...?

[A]t this point, we can't take anything for granted. We can't depend on the movie business, such as it is, to take care of cinema. In the movie business, which is now the mass visual entertainment business, the emphasis is always on the word "business," and value is always determined by the amount of money to be made from any given property — in that sense, everything from Sunrise to La Strada to 2001 is now pretty much wrung dry and ready for the "Art Film" swim lane on a streaming platform.

Is Scorsese right? Slashdot reader entertainme shared some reactions gathered by the BBC's Entertainment reporter. Elinor Carmi, research associate at Liverpool University's communication and media department sees a "battle between the old and new gatekeepers of art and culture." "At its core, curation has always been conducted behind the scenes", with little clarity as to the rationale behind the choices made to produce and distribute art and culture, she says. Take the U.S.'s Motion Picture Association film rating system. The 2006 documentary, This Film Is Not Yet Rated, explored how film ratings affect the distribution of films, and accusations that big studio films get more lenient ratings than independent companies... "[I]t would be a mistake to present the old gatekeepers in romantic colours compared to new technology companies. In both cases, we are talking about powerful institutions that define, control and manage the boundaries of what is art and culture," Carmi says....

So is Scorsese right to suggest that streaming services reduce content to the "lowest common denominator"? Journalist and media lecturer Tufayel Ahmed suggests they are an easy target, and the reality is a little more complex. He says the focus on "pulling in the numbers" can mean some of the best shows don't get the promotion and are therefore cancelled... "Some of the best stuff on streaming seems to get little buzz, while tons of marketing and publicity is thrown behind more generic fare that they know people will watch. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy." Scorsese himself directly benefited from this by relying on Netflix to fund his 2019 gangster film The Irishman after traditional studios baulked at the cost. "There's an argument to be made about streaming services investing in publicity and marketing for these projects to create awareness," says Ahmed.

But if responsibility in part lands on the shoulders of streaming services, the choices of the audience themselves cannot be forgotten. "Algorithms alone can't be blamed for people consuming lowbrow content over series and movies that are deemed worthy, because people have flocked to easy viewing over acclaimed dramas on television, for example, for years."

The BBC ultimately argues that perhaps "the streaming algorithms really aren't to blame after all, but simply made in our image." But in his essay Scorsese remembered how the brave pioneering decisions made in the 1960s by film distributors and exhibitors led to that moment's "shared excitement over the possibilities of cinema" — and seems to want to preserve that special feeling: Those of us who know the cinema and its history have to share our love and our knowledge with as many people as possible. And we have to make it crystal clear to the current legal owners of these films that they amount to much, much more than mere property to be exploited and then locked away. They are among the greatest treasures of our culture, and they must be treated accordingly.

Is it a show or is it a movie?

By Stonent1 • Score: 3 • Thread
This happens a lot, I'll pass by someone watching something on the TV and take interest in it, and ask if it's a series or a movie and they'll say "I don't really know". It all looks the same. And since the same production value exists for the most part for a Netflix show and a Netflix produced movie, it's hard to tell unless you stop the stream and pull up the info. But in some cases, shows like Mandalorian I feel have upped the production value of what a show can be. It feels many times like I'm watching a movie.

Re:Maybe on to something?

By rudy_wayne • Score: 4 • Thread

I've noticed a decline in good movies over the last 3-4 years. I originally thought it might be me, I'm getting older and there really hasn't been many new movie plots coming out of Hollywood.

Ever since movies were first invented, 90% of them have been crap. The reasons why they suck may have changed over the years, but the overall level of quality has remained steady for the past 100 years:

5% Good
5% Watchable, more or less
90% Suckage

To all the "old man yells at clouds" assholes

By ZombieCatInABox • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

I don't even know if anyone is going to bother scrolling down to read this post, but here goes anyway.

Although I regret that I'm probably not going to live long enough to see this, I still take great comfort at the thought that someday, you'll all be old too, and you too will have to deal with your own bunch of agist, heartless, entitled, ungratefull, whiny little shitfucks that will show you as much respect, understanding and compassion as you're currently showing the generations that preceded you and basically gave you everything you have, including your fucking life.

Re:Martin Scorsese

By Frank Burly • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Scorsese isn't saying that companies shouldn't make suggestions, so much as saying that we should think of ourselves as lovers of art rather than consumers of content. In that role, it is worth seeking out the recommendations of artists we enjoy rather than the next cat video that will keep us from doing something productive.

If anything, wide-variety allows low quality novelty to drown out higher quality material that asks something of the viewer. Every deuce I've dropped has been unique. Sturgeon's Law of 90% crap was made when there were gatekeepers. Now, a genius can publish for the world, but must fight for attention against an unending current of amplified 90+% crap.

Re:Brave And Daring

By JBMcB • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Which movie, ever, required bravery to produce?

Citizen Kane pissed off the most powerful news tycoon in the US. Seven Years in Tibet got pretty much everyone involved in the project banned from China forever. Scorsese is banned from China for Kundun. Sergei Eisenstein pissed off Stalin, but was so popular he managed to get away with it long enough to die of natural causes. Fritz Lang's last German film was banned by Goebbels, who offered him a "job" making films for the Reich. Lang hocked his wife's jewelry and left for Paris the same day.

America Has Vaccinated More People Than Any Other Country in the World

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Despite America's vast population of nearly 330 million people, 43.6 million Americans have already received one or both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Axios writes: The U.S. has carried out more vaccinations than any country in the world, and given a first dose to a higher percentage of its population (12%) than all but five countries: Israel, the Seychelles, the UAE, the U.K. and Bahrain. In fact, the U.S. is distributing doses three times as quickly as the EU, adjusted for population, and nearly five times as quickly as Canada.

The U.S. has some major advantages over most of the world. Not only does America have the money to reserve more doses than it could possibly use, it also has the capacity to manufacture them domestically. Canada's slow rollout and the recent dispute over doses between the EU and U.K. have underlined the difficulties of relying on imports...

It also helps that the two most effective vaccines on the market were developed entirely (Moderna) or partially (Pfizer/BioNTech) in the U.S.

Their article concludes that "Despite crumbling infrastructure and chaotic politics, the U.S. remains a scientific, technological and manufacturing powerhouse."

The Associated Press reports that America's daily inoculation average "climbed to 1.7 million shots per day last week," adding "but as many as double that number of doses are soon expected to be available on average each day."

Credit where credit is due

By eclectro • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

So the decision by Trump to manufacture the vaccines domestically rather than throwing in with the EU or another country was correct?? I remember the day that Trump said no to that!

It would also indicate that the criticisms from political candidates on the left were outright wrong - that there was no plan to distribute vaccines. Because obviously there was.

It does not foretell a positive future if you have to rely on dishonesty to win your campaign.

Different narrative

By Okian Warrior • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I know I'll get down-modded for this, but it's important to know that there is an alternative narrative available.

Up to date Covid data is available here.

It takes a long time to load, but the information is very well presented and allows the user to examine and compare data in various forms. It's collected and presented by Oxford University (in the UK), and so has less of the extreme political bias found in the US.

The OP article - 10 hours old, as I type this - states that 43.6 million Americans have been vaccinated (one or more doses), but the number is actually over 61 million. For comparison, the number of people in the US over age 65, the cohort with the highest risk, is about 50 million. The US is vaccinating around 1.5 million people per day, with some variation due to weekday/weekends.

The Covid case fatality rate is US: 1.8%, World: 2.2%, EU: 2.4%, UK: 2.9%.

By that metric, the US is doing pretty good.

Vaccinations "new per day", per 100 people (mark the checkbox for this) shows US: 0.51 (vaccinations per 100 people per day), UK: 0.57, and World: 0.04.
EU data isn't available on that chart, but US and UK are way higher than Germany, France, Spain, or Italy (roughly 0.2 vaccinations per 100 people per day).

By that metric, the US is doing pretty good.

I realize that there's a narrative to support here, but it's important to note that there is also an alternative narrative.

Namely: that comparatively speaking, the US isn't dealing with the Coronavirus that badly.


By im_thatoneguy • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

If you look at the per capita rate, as mentioned in the block quote, five countries are ahead of us.

Those numbers are also slightly out of date. The US is now ahead of Bahrain. The current leaderboard is:
Doses/100 people
1) Israel - 82
2) Seychelles - 62
3) UAE - 56
4) UK - 26
5) US - 18

So how did Israel get so many doses? I'm sure we would be far more competent at jabbing people if we had 200 million doses in a warehouse? They organized a cooperation to act as a giant Pfizer population experiment. That's where the new study demonstrating single-dose efficacy comes from and why all of a sudden there are a bunch of articles on vaccine efficacy out of Israel.

Israel promised to vaccinate its citizens fast and prove whether Pfizer's vaccine can bring herd immunity.

How did Seychelles get so many doses? The UAE donated enough vaccines from China to vaccinate half of their population after volunteering to use their population as test subjects for China. They are also one of the only locations to approve the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, which thanks to Russians being seemingly disinterested in receiving has ample supply, especially for a small wealthy nation that Russia has an interest in bringing into its diplomatic sphere of interest.

The UK is massively helped ironically by its stumbling and failures. The confusion and chaos from its clinical trials resulted in few countries quickly approving it and meaning the UK got a huge bulk of the initial supply to itself when it approved the vaccine anyway.

So all in all the US is doing quite well despite being too big to serve as a good location to serve a large scale clinical trial or receive enough doses to benefit from one benevolent benefactor filling a single plane with vaccine.


By im_thatoneguy • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

There are a lot of problems with using a state as a clinical trial.

1) The US can't close borders between states easily. Effectively people have freedom to travel between states unimpeded. So achieving Herd Immunity within one state would be difficult to prove. A nation can easily seal its borders. What if you have someone who lives in Kansas City, Missouri but works in Kansas City, Kansas? Do you shut down all interstate traffic?

Without a sealed border a study will be challenging.

2) It would be a disaster from a political\fairness perspective.

"We've decided that we will vaccinate every single person in XYZ while every other state\province gets 1/10th of that supply."

Favoritism at the federal level of that degree would very likely not only look bad but also probably go to the supreme court. "Federal government allocates all of the vaccine supply to battleground state XYZ!"

3) It might not even be legal with patient privacy law in the US.

Israel will give Pfizer unspecified "subgroup analyses and vaccine effectiveness analyses, as agreed by the Parties," leaving open the possibility that more personalized categories of data could be delivered.

4) At least the US isn't possible to participate because our healthcare system is a patchwork disaster of different providers whose systems aren't required to talk to each other. You would ideally need a large country with a central healthcare digital records like the UK or else at least have a centralized records system like Israel.

Israel really is the sweet spot. It's big enough to offer robust data. It's got a centralized digitized patient records database. It's small enough that diverting vaccines doesn't disrupt global supply. It has some of the most secure borders control in the world. It's apparently willing to just hand over data, privacy be damned (good luck getting so much data out of an EU country to a private company), it's got a massive civil defense\public health infrastructure that can be mobilized to vaccinate quickly and it's got a high enough infection rate that it can be tracked.

Another good candidate would be a country like Singapore but it's got so few cases that it otherwise wouldn't qualify. However someplace like New Jersey just wouldn't work well. It's a porous border with New York. It would get hung up in legal and ethical battles for months over whether or not the population can be used as an experiment. The data would be opaque and inaccessible because they would have to work through literally tens of thousands of medical providers' separate databases and patient records systems.

Think for a second...

By Roger W Moore • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
China has a population of 1.4 billion. The US has a population of 330 million. Those two simple facts are all you need to know that at some point China will have vaccinated more people than the US. So if you use the measure of "number of people vaccinated" China will inevitably surpass the US at some point.

That's why the _number_ of people vaccinated is a stupid measure: the _fraction_ of people vaccinated is the only sensible way to compare vaccination programs between countries. The US is still doing very well by that measure but it is not the world leader. So by all means be proud of your vaccination program - it's clearly much better than Canada's - just don't try to pretend it is better than it actually is.

Did Facebook Change Its Rules to Placate the Right?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Former lobbyist/political advisor Joel Kaplan joined Facebook in 2011 to lead its Washington D.C. outreach, reports BuzzFeed news.

But some employees said they were very unhappy with decisions made by both Kaplan and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: In April 2019, Facebook was preparing to ban one of the internet's most notorious spreaders of misinformation and hate, Infowars founder Alex Jones. Then CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally intervened... [H]e overruled his own internal experts and opened a gaping loophole: Facebook would permanently ban Jones and his company — but would not touch posts of praise and support for them from other Facebook users. This meant that Jones' legions of followers could continue to share his lies across the world's largest social network. "Mark personally didn't like the punishment, so he changed the rules," a former policy employee told BuzzFeed News, noting that the original rule had already been in use and represented the product of untold hours of work between multiple teams and experts.

"That was the first time I experienced having to create a new category of policy to fit what Zuckerberg wanted. It's somewhat demoralizing when we have established a policy and it's gone through rigorous cycles..." said a second former policy employee who, like the first, asked not to be named so they could speak about internal matters...

Zuckerberg's "more nuanced policy" set off a cascading effect, the two former employees said, which delayed the company's efforts to remove right wing militant organizations such as the Oath Keepers, which were involved the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. It is also a case study in Facebook's willingness to change its rules to placate America's right wing and avoid political backlash.

Internal documents obtained by BuzzFeed News and interviews with 14 current and former employees show how the company's policy team — guided by Joel Kaplan, the vice president of global public policy, and Zuckerberg's whims — has exerted outsize influence while obstructing content moderation decisions, stymieing product rollouts, and intervening on behalf of popular conservative figures who have violated Facebook's rules. In December, a former core data scientist wrote a memo titled, "Political Influences on Content Policy." Seen by BuzzFeed News, the memo stated that Kaplan's policy team "regularly protects powerful constituencies" and listed several examples, including: removing penalties for misinformation from right-wing pages, blunting attempts to improve content quality in News Feed, and briefly blocking a proposal to stop recommending political groups ahead of the US election.

Since the November vote, at least six Facebook employees have resigned with farewell posts that have called out leadership's failures to heed its own experts on misinformation and hate speech. Four departing employees explicitly cited the policy organization as an impediment to their work and called for a reorganization so that the public policy team, which oversees lobbying and government relations, and the content policy team, which sets and enforces the platform's rules, would not both report to Kaplan.


By ArchieBunker • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Not all right wingers are racists and bigots. However I have yet to see a Biden flag at a white supremacist rally.


By Kisai • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Left-wing people support rules and policies that benefit everyone. Sometimes to their own detriment when it elevates psychopaths into position of power.

Right-wing people support rules and policies that benefit themselves first. That happens to also support corporations because "corporations are people" in the context of American politics. This keeps psychopaths in in power.

Bad political positions like libertarianism (right wing with no government) and anarchy (left-wing with no government) remove government in favor of "community" cooperation and you immediately see the problem. Right-wingers would just as soon sell you poison as they would sell each other into slavery. Everything, is property. Traditionally slavery was a consequence for crimes, and the person who they're indebted to wouldn't treat them like garbage, because that makes them less useful, but guess what happens when there's no rules about it? You get psychopaths who treat humans like cattle, or vermin. Anarchy on the other hand, has no concept of property. Everything is owned by nobody, but psychopaths would just horde things as if they own it.

So the common theme here, is elevating and allowing psychopaths to consolidate power, leads to instability and resentment. That's what's happened in in the United States under the previous president. Under 2016, they elevated a psychopath who cares only about himself, and a bunch of right-wing psychopaths saw themselves reflected in him, unwilling to recognize that they are only in it for themselves, and they will get screwed. This was also reflected in the Jan 6 event when they somehow believed they would get pardons from the president.

Psychopaths, be it left wing, or right wing, are only in it for themselves, and they will throw anyone under the bus if they will face no consequences for it. They only do things that further their own causes, and for example pardoning a bunch of people who were guilty of the crimes he himself probably saw nothing wrong with.

Sociopaths are just like Psychopaths, in that they only care about themselves, however they care a lot more about how they personally are seen, and most "internet troll" behavior falls under this rather than psychopaths, but there's nothing stopping someone from being both. So a lot this conflict you see on twitter and facebook is between sociopaths going "gotcha" and "owned!" while actually accomplishing nothing, because leftwing and rightwing trolls just yell past each other, they don't have debates, they aren't even listening to each other.

And that's my entire take on "both sides"ing, essentially there is no "both sides" anymore. You just have two insulated groups of social media trolls leading their own sheep to the slaughter.

You're setting up a false dichotomy

By rsilvergun • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Just because FB isn't as far right as, say, Parler doesn't mean it doesn't have a pretty clear right wing bias. Now, some of this bias is natural. Wild conspiracy theories of the sort that lend themselves to doom scrolling don't get very far on the left. We debunk them and stop sharing them. On the right they get air time on 3 cable news networks and mention on local TV and talk radio.

But even accounting for that you can find stats on the top political posts on FB and they're entirely right wing. You would think, especially with the "liberal Hollywood elite" that at least 1 or 2 left wing posts would crack the top 10, but it just doesn't happen.

Finally you've got stuff like this and this:

“Right-wing populism is always more engaging," a Facebook executive said in a recent interview with POLITICO reporters, when pressed why the pages of conservatives drive such high interactions. The person said the content speaks to "an incredibly strong, primitive emotion" by touching on such topics as "nation, protection, the other, anger, fear."

Facebook's right wing bias is very well documented. Your post exaggerates the bias to absurdity in an effort to discredit it. You're being disingenuous at best.

Re:You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

By Known Nutter • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Of course, this sounds great IF you also buy into the narrative that anything from the conservative side is inherently misinformation and/or racist.

I don't believe that personally, but you have to admit that anything coming from the conservative side must be taken with a huge boulder of salt. This condition is mostly of their own doing. Do you agree?

I voted D all the way down, but I can admit that Trump was right about a few things which I agreed with. Maybe it was the four years of his and his party's narcissistic lying, half-truths, manipulative tactics (Mitch), and criminal activity which has led to the level of distrust you have described?

Take a recent seemingly benign event that occurred when Cruz jutted down to Cancun with a huge suitcase -- allegedly for a one-night turn and burn -- who takes two huge bags for turn and burn? Then lied to Fox News (!) about the whole affair.

How can you listen to Mitch say the impeachment trial could not move forward while Trump was in office, then a week or so later say the trial was unconstitutional because Trump is no longer in office? You can only explain it by admitting that Mitch is trying to dupe everyone. It boggles the mind.

When you see story after story after story like this, it becomes much more difficult to believe that it's ALL misinformation and "fake news". It just happens all too often. I'll keep my boulder of salt the size of a boulder as I listen to "the conservative side", thank you kindly.

Re: Zuckerberg

By sjames • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The last election happened during extraordinary circumstances. I was happy to vote by mail, and I assuredly was not in any way pressured.

I note that in other years, other voter turnout efforts such as free rides to the polls were also decried as leftist. Same for things like automatic registration

Also note that coercing someone to vote in a particular way is never legal. It may be easier with mail in voting but it remains quite illegal.

As you yourself admit, there aren't even any reports of alleged voter coercion, much less any proven cases.

Amusingly, in Michigan, there were two cases of fraudulent voting (not coerced), both were for Trump.

Elon Musk Co-Authors COVID-19 Paper Accepted For Publication In 'Nature'

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Slashdot reader Rei writes: On 15 February, 2021, the paper Discrete SARS-CoV-2 antibody titers track with functional humoral stability was accepted for publication by the prestigious journal Nature — interesting not only for being a large-cohort study on COVID-19 reinfection, but for the presence of one of its coauthors: one Elon Reeve Musk. According to reporting, Musk — concerned in April 2020 with maintaining the schedule for the SpaceX crewed launch in May and wanting to make sure that an outbreak wouldn't set back plans — contacted academic researchers and worked with them to set up an antibody testing research programme. Over 4,000 SpaceX employees volunteered and were provided with periodic free testing at work to look for infection and monitor previously-infected people for reinfection. The programme gave SpaceX an advance heads up about upcoming threats, such as the growing wave in Texas in June, and continues to this day, with a new focus on mutant COVID strains.

The primary results of the study? Past infection provides a strong, although not perfect, barrier to reinfection; the level of antibodies strongly indicate the level of risk of reinfection; and this bodes well for vaccines, which tend to result in much higher antibody levels than infection.

One of 30 authors

By gweihir • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

That is a "courtesy" listing, not an actual authorship.

Re:bodes well for vaccines? Which ones?

By dgatwood • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

One vaccine (AstraZeneca) already found to be almost as useless as tits on a bull against the mutant strain prevalent in South Africa so they've stopped using it... and that variant already popping up in USA and elsewhere. It is also suspected the other vaccines will similarly be a dismal failure against that mutant, research on that ongoing.

I assume you're talking about B.1.351. The Pfizer vaccine is about two-thirds less effective at neutralizing it, but it does still appear to result in neutralization. The Moderna vaccine is about five-sixths less effective at neutralizing it, but it also does still appear to result in successful neutralization.

One problem with using a chimpanzee adenovirus as a vector is that it is useless in people who have a strong immune response to the vector, because their immune system destroys most of the virus before the virus has time to cause their bodies to create a meaningful number of spike proteins. There's a very real possibility that the AstraZeneca vaccine would be more effective against that COVID strain in parts of the world where chimpanzees are not a native species.

Re:One of 30 authors

By Sepulep • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
well, the author contriutions are listed, he is said to have "managed sample and data collection" and (co-)"designed the study."

Re: One of 30 authors

By BAReFO0t • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I just love that he completely ruins the calling black Americans "African-American" thing.

You know what we call them in the rest of the word?

Which is what you do if you're not racist.

Musk deserves credit

By FeelGood314 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
This is a high quality granular study that many others can use to make policy decisions and better models. The study's main requirements were money, logistics, coordination, management support and clear goals. Do you not think Elon Musk contributed to all of those? Even better the study 's goals where to help Musk's companies not to further a political end so I would put a higher level of trust in the results.

Node.js/Deno Creator Discusses Rust, C++, TypeScript, and Vim

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Ryan Dahl, creator of Node.js and Deno, gave a new interview this week to the IT outsourcing company Evrone: Evrone: You have hands-on experience with lots of programming languages: C, Rust, Ruby, JavaScript, TypeScript. Which one do you enjoy the most to work with?

Ryan: I have the most fun writing Rust these days. It has a steep learning curve and is not appropriate for many problems; but for the stuff I'm working on now it's perfect. It's a much better C++. I'm convinced that I will never start a new C++ project. Rust is beautiful in its ability to express low-level machinery with such simplicity.

JavaScript has never been my favorite language — it's just the most common language — and for that reason it is a useful way to express many ideas. I don't consider TypeScript a separate language; its beauty is that it's just marked up JavaScript. TypeScript allows one to build larger, more robust systems in JavaScript, and I'd say it's my go-to language for small everyday tasks.

With Deno we are trying to remove a lot of the complexity inherent in transpiling TypeScript code down to JavaScript with the hope this will enable more people to utilize it.

Evrone: Gradual typing was successfully added into core Python, PHP, and Ruby. What, in your opinion, is the main showstopper for adding types into JavaScript?

Ryan: Types were added to JavaScript (with TypeScript) far more successfully than has been accomplished in Python, PHP, or Ruby. TypeScript is JavaScript with types. The better question is: what is blocking the JavaScript standardization organization (TC39) from adopting TypeScript? Standardization, by design, moves slowly and carefully. They are first looking into proposing Types-As-Comments, which would allow the JavaScript runtimes to execute TypeScript syntax by ignoring the types. I think eventually TypeScript (or something like it) will be proposed as part of the JavaScript standard, but that will take time.

Evrone: As a respectable VIM user, what do you think of modern programmer editors like Visual Studio Code? Are they good enough for the old guard?

Ryan: Everyone I work with uses vscode and they love it. Probably most people should use that.

I continue to use VIM for two reasons. 1) I'm just very familiar and fast with it, I like being able to work over ssh and tmux and I enjoy the serenity of a full screen terminal. 2) It's important for software infrastructure to be text-based and accessible with simple tools. In the Java world they made the mistake of tying the IDEs too much into the worldflows of the language, creating a situation where practically one was forced to use an IDE to program Java. By using simple tooling myself, I ensure that the software I develop does not become unnecessarily reliant on IDEs. If you use grep instead of jump-to-definition too much indirection becomes intolerable. For what I do, I think this results in better software.

He Absolutely Does Not Get JavaScript

By Slicker • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I have been writing software since the early 1980's. Since then, the trend has been to try and reduce complexity by reducing developer freedom and visibility--keeping him or her more constrained to use only approved ways of coding. This makes micro-level code more readable but at substantial expense to execution performance is macro-level complexity. But that is the instinct--force people, through the language, to code better. However, experience has taught me that better is a very relative thing for which one needs freedom and visibility. Solving the problems of sloppy code are far better addresses by better management practices and in allowing developers to spend the time to improve code readability through revisions. The idea of checklists on code leads to very poor code quality of the kind that absolutely plagues the industry today.

Typeless languages offer huge advantages in terms of the speed of development and maintenance. The common argument against is that it can introduce hard to find bugs but, in practice, that just isn't the case. In fact, I found it more often the opposite. I also used to believe in strongly typed languages because it seemed intuitive that more specificity would lead to clarity and unambiguity. It was PHP that finally convinced me that I was mistaken. JavaScript confirmed that and taught me also that I was wrong about conventional object orientation. The truth is that the vast majority of the time, the compiler/interpreter can be more efficient at deciding the underlying type and this takes a lot of complexity out of the programmer's necessary thinking processes. Consequently, the actual functional importance of the software your writing become your focus and, in the rare times that a typelessness induced bug occurs, it tends to be easy--not hard--to find. It's simply lost among far less complexity.

As for C++, I was a very strong advocate for object orientation for a number of years. Once again, the theory I followed wound up getting me bit, repeatedly, by practice. Software tended to be all the things exactly opposite of what the theory offered--vastly more complex (not less), far less re-usable (not more), for example. The most typical struggle was in trying to re-use because changes to base classes often broke all kinds of things downstream. And working in one class, you have to constantly look around and wonder what is in other files with other classes and various abstracted things. Even just to pass parameters into a method, you have to pass the right kinds of things among a vast and growing list of them. And to get the objects your need as parameters can require a long laundry list of other things you need to do... Some stable class libraries, like KDE, are kept reasonably stable within each major version, at least (and I really like KDE). However, even the language specification itself and the boost library has grown extraordinarily in complexity. It's not generally an efficient way to write applications software...

JavaScript's proto-type object orientation solves the problems with conventional object orientation. I also like how Rust does it, though. I think a big part of JavaScript's success is in freedom and visibility--the two things conventional object-orientation specifically aims at taking away from you. In JavaScript, you can inspect the objects you have at any point. You can act different based on what is in them so it can be reasonably safe for them to be changed. And JavaScript is not only faster at developing but also at executing. Conventional object-orientation has huge processing overhead just to instantiate one object. Every property in it, for example, must has new memory allocated. Memory allocations are the most CPU expensive activities an operating system typically has because memory must also be defragmented, on the fly.

--Matthew C. Tedder

This guy does not even know C is not C++ ???

By gweihir • Score: 3 • Thread

At least his answer seems to imply that.

C is a completely different beast than C++. C++ is a bloated monster with tons of special case and a bad type and run-time system. C is a minimalist "extreme performance" language that runs basically everywhere and lets you do anything as it assumes you know what you are doing. Because of that, C does not have broken OO either. (It does not have compiler-level OO at all, it does have coder-level OO.)

As the creator of Node.js

By Rosco P. Coltrane • Score: 3 • Thread

please kindly die. What a dreadful thing to inflict on the world.

Re:He Absolutely Does Not Get JavaScript

By phantomfive • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Typeless languages offer huge advantages in terms of the speed of development and maintenance

That's a lie.


By MrKaos • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Ryan: Everyone I work with uses vscode and they love it. Probably most people should use that.

Everyone I work with uses VSCode. I use it also for that reason. I think it's a trash Editor, barely better than Notepad.

It supports neovim, really well. Or maybe neovim supports vscode. I think that makes it visexual.

Parler Apparently Temporarily Blocked Its Own Co-Founder and Former CEO

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Parler, the social media site popular among conservatives, appeared to have banned its cofounder and former CEO on Friday," reports BuzzFeed News, "before restoring his access later in the day."

An anonymous Slashdot reader shares their report: John Matze, whom Parler's management fired earlier this month, told BuzzFeed News that he believed he had been banned after making several posts and comments on the platform earlier this week. Screenshots that Matze shared on a Telegram channel showed that his account had been made "private" on Friday after he'd made a post asking his 722,000 Parler followers what they thought the "fair market value" of the company was. Earlier this week, he had made a post on Parler asking followers to join him on Telegram, a popular messaging app. When BuzzFeed News attempted to communicate with the handle, it received a message that the account had been "blocked."

"I know it's a ban because I know how the architecture works," Matze told BuzzFeed News over text. "I can't log in anymore."

After BuzzFeed News contacted a Parler spokesperson about the situation, the social network unblocked the account, according to Matze, who provided a screenshot. The spokesperson did not provide any comment.

Re:A mere technical glitch and section 230

By DarkVader • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The real world doesn't work like you think it does.

McD's absolutely can kick somebody out for shit-talking their food. They usually don't bother, but if somebody starts doing it loudly enough that it bothers the other customers, the shit-talker is getting bounced. And they DO bounce people all the time. Some McD's even have security guards to bounce people who are being too obnoxious.

Show up at McD's with a big swastika poster and start talking about how you want to start a race war and see how long it is before you get booted and banned, with trespassing charges coming your way if you ever go back. They're not gonna care if you want to buy a burger, and they're probably gonna have cops escort you off the property.

You want to sue them for bouncing you? Go right ahead, but you WILL lose in court.

Neither Twitter nor McD's can bounce you because of your race or gender. But either one can bounce you because you're being an asshat.

Free Speech

By Arthur, KBE • Score: 3 • Thread
I thought conservatives are ALL ABOUT free speech. Why is this **conservative** network banning this person for free speech?

free as in beer

By awwshit • Score: 3 • Thread

Free as in beer, not as in speech. Figures.

"You know, a free press is not freedom for the thought you love, but rather for the thought you hate the most. People need to tolerate the Larry Flynts of the world so they can be free." --Larry Flynt

Re:To be fair...

By Ol Olsoc • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The full text of the first amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

That is "it".

And isn't it amusing that the same people who believe that if they aren't allowed to plan the overthrow of a Republic, they are being censored, at the same time believe that the Press must be censored, because it reports things that they don't like.

It is not about free speech in any form. It's about suppression of anything that doesn't conform to a weird crypto conservative conspiracy worldview. That they call if free speech, then ban opposing opinions is just something they've learned, which is accuse your enemy of what you are doing already.

Anyhow, I like that it is up again, because gathering all the nuts in one place is a great way to keep track of them.

Re:To be fair...

By Darinbob • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

There's a whole lot of cancelling going on by the right wing right now against their own who aren't ideologically pure enough. Hypocrisy is a live and well.

Could Drinking Coffee Lower Your Risk of Heart Failure?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
The New York Times reports: A large analysis looked at hundreds of factors that may influence the risk of heart failure and found one dietary factor in particular that was associated with a lower risk: drinking coffee...

The analysis included extensive, decades-long data from three large health studies with 21,361 participants, and used a method called machine learning that uses computers to find meaningful patterns in large amounts of data. "Usually, researchers pick things they suspect would be risk factors for heart failure — smoking, for example — and then look at smokers versus nonsmokers," said the senior author, Dr. David P. Kao, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado. "But machine learning identifies variables that are predictive of either increased or decreased risk, but that you haven't necessarily thought of."

Using this technique, Dr. Kao and his colleagues found 204 variables that are associated with the risk for heart failure. Then they looked at the 41 strongest factors, which included, among others, smoking, marital status, B.M.I., cholesterol, blood pressure and the consumption of various foods. The analysis is in Circulation: Heart Failure. In all three studies, coffee drinking was associated more strongly than any other dietary factor with a decreased long-term risk for heart failure.

Drinking a cup a day or less had no effect, but two cups a day conferred a 31 percent reduced risk, and three cups or more reduced risk by 29 percent...

Should you start drinking coffee or increase the amount you already drink to reduce your risk for heart failure? "We don't know enough from the results of this study to recommend this," said Dr. Kao, adding that additional research would be needed.

Junk Science Rules!

By RossCWilliams • Score: 3 • Thread
Thus proving that junk science is the norm.

Re:Post two weeks from now:

By larwe • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
"Study found that after selecting/processing data, p-values were obtained that exceeded a threshold. It has thus been proven beyond all doubt that further funding is required to investigate the real-world results of spending said funding".

Caffeine and alcohol are probably the top two substances where "research" a) will always garner some public media exposure on a slow news day, and b) has already had so much time and funding ploughed into it that if there was truly any strong correlation to be found, it would already have been found. All further funding is simply buying larger and larger microscopes to zoom further and further in on a fractal curve; all odd-numbered research conclusions are positive, all even-numbered ones are negative, but both yearn for additional funding to kick the flip-flop back to its other state.

Brewing methods, and what is coffee?

By dsgrntlxmply • Score: 3 • Thread
I read a journal article some years ago that claimed an increased risk in patients who reported drinking traditional Swedish pan-boiled coffee, but not for some other brewing methods. Observing what people buy at Starbucks when I am stuck with that as my only coffee option, I believe most Americans buy one to three scoops of coffee ice cream either melted or reheated, but still termed "coffee". I have never seen a claim that eating any type of ice cream is good for the heart. I'll stick to espresso.


By Tablizer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I've been seeing studies on Coffee for 40 plus years, and there is a rough pattern of good, bad, good, bad, good, bad, etc. Coffee is probably a wash as long as you don't drink more than 2 cups per day.

So enjoy a nice warm cup of joe and don't think about it. You got better things to worry about.


By Rockoon • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Caffeine is a diuretic...

It is also important to note that caffeine isnt the only complex molecule in a cup of coffee, just like nicotine isnt the only complex molecule in a puff of cigarette smoke.

Of importance may also be when people drink coffee, with consumption being more frequent earlier in a persons day.

Sophisticated New Malware Found on 30,000 Macs Stumps Security Pros

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Long-time Slashdot reader b0s0z0ku quotes Ars Technica: A previously undetected piece of malware found on almost 30,000 Macs worldwide is generating intrigue in security circles, which are still trying to understand precisely what it does and what purpose its self-destruct capability serves.

Once an hour, infected Macs check a control server to see if there are any new commands the malware should run or binaries to execute. So far, however, researchers have yet to observe delivery of any payload on any of the infected 30,000 machines, leaving the malware's ultimate goal unknown. The lack of a final payload suggests that the malware may spring into action once an unknown condition is met.

Also curious, the malware comes with a mechanism to completely remove itself, a capability that's typically reserved for high-stealth operations. So far, though, there are no signs the self-destruct feature has been used, raising the question why the mechanism exists. Besides those questions, the malware is notable for a version that runs natively on the M1 chip that Apple introduced in November, making it only the second known piece of macOS malware to do so...

The malware has been found in 153 countries with detections concentrated in the US, UK, Canada, France, and Germany.

Red Canary, the security firm that discovered the malware, has named it "Silver Sparrow." Long-time Slashdot reader Nihilist_CE writes: First detected in August of 2020, the Silver Sparrow malware is interesting in several unsettling ways. It uses the macOS Installer Javascript API to launch a bash process to gain a foothold into the user's system, a hitherto-unobserved method for bypassing malware detection. This bash shell is then used to invoke macOS's built-in PlistBuddy tool to create a LaunchAgent which executes a bash script every hour. This is the command and control process, which downloads a JSON file containing (potentially) new instructions.

Besides the novel installation method, Silver Sparrow is also mysterious in its payload: a single, tiny binary that does nothing but open a window reading "Hello, World!" (in v1, which targets Intel Macs) or "You did it!" (in v2, which is an M1-compatible fat binary). These "bystander binaries" are never executed and appear to be proofs-of-concept or placeholders for future functionality.

Re: Where is the control server ?

By MacMann • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Poe's law? Nevermore!

Re: Sigh

By BAReFO0t • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I think everyone did that at least once in their programming career, usually when young. First, it is exciting and against the rules, second, it teaches you and shows that you know a lot about a system.

Also, you gain the power to fight back. Which is good for self-confidence. And then you succeed at other things and you don't even need it anymore, which is a constant reminder of your own confidence.

Kinda a programmer rite of passage.


By DontBeAMoran • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The real problem here is that we invented the word "malware" to replace "trojans", "viruses" and other annoying software because people are too stupid to differentiate between a self-installing, self-propagating virus and a trojan that needs to be installed by the user itself.

Just make an honest effort

By Impy the Impiuos Imp • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

an M1-compatible fat binary

God, the distal end of the LGBTQ acronym is changing so fast I can hardly keep up.


By raburton • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The malware is not "sophisticated". There is an installer that you need to download and install the malware yourself. So you only get it through utter user stupidity.

From the article: "It remains unclear precisely how or where the malware is being distributed or how it gets installed."

If they managed to get 30,000+ people to install it, that's quiet interesting, especially as they say they don't know how that's been done. The level of sophistication (although it seems like a perfectly valid starting point for something much more) seems out of keeping with the number of installs or using fancy zero day exploits for a mass infection campaign. I suspect it was probably bundled with something, but do mac users install as many random, dubious apps on desktops as they might on their phones? Given the hello world samples included it might just be a little developers toy/ debugging aid that accidentally got shipped with a legit product.

Developer Claims Chrome Uses 10x More RAM Than Safari

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
MacRumors writes: Under normal and lightweight web browsing, Google Chrome uses 10x more RAM than Safari on macOS Big Sur, according to a test conducted by Flotato creator Morten Just (via iMore).

In a blog post, Morten Just outlines that he put both browsers to the test in two scenarios on the latest version of macOS. The first test was conducted on a virtual machine, and the second on a 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro with 32GB of RAM. In the first round of testing, Just simulated a typical browsing pattern of opening Twitter, scrolling around, and then opening a new tab with Gmail and composing an email.

Under that test, Just found that Chrome reached 1GB of RAM usage, while Safari used only 80MB of RAM.

The two-tab test was only the start, however. With 54 tabs open, Just found that Google Chrome used 24x more RAM per tab compared to Safari. Both browsers, according to Just, were free of any extensions, and this specific test was conducted on his actual MacBook Pro, not a virtual machine. Per his findings, Chrome used 290MB of RAM per open tab, while Safari only used 12MB of RAM per open tab.

Wow he is quite clueless

By Ecuador • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

He is quite clueless. He saw Safari's memory usage not increasing at all when opening new tabs and still did not question his methodology. All because it fit his narrative about how Safari is lighter, because he sells a software that makes websites into apps, so it is whatever memory usage Safari has - minus a bit as from his own admission he just loads a safari based webview with the website as an app, so all the extra safari functionality is not included. Oh, right, what he highlights as the smart part of his app is that it loads the mobile version of the site. Genius! /facepalm

Re:Invalid test

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The computer I'm typing this on is 9 years old. I have a laptop that is stuck on 4GB of RAM (limit of the mobile Intel i7 from 8 years ago) that runs Chrome just fine too.

Re:Chrome uses a lot of memory, if it can

By Cley Faye • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
That's the important part. Chrome uses what's available. On my "beefy" system, it takes a lot, but most of it is cache. It doesn't prevent other applications from taking up memory. On a work computer with very little RAM (4GB), it took way less and leave the machine perfectly usable for other tasks beside browsing.
This race to "I use less memory on a benchmark" serves no purpose aside from calling one piece of software "bloated" when in the end it does nothing wrong.

This developer is an idiot.

By martynhare • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
...because (s)he doesn't even know what processes to measure RAM usage against, (s)he didn't include all the processes involved, which is why the RAM use looked so low. In reality, the Safari favours casual users and Chrome favours power users in a default configuration, as demonstrated by the Brave team in their comparisons (see for more info)

However, even Brave's comparison doesn't reflect reality. Chrome has three possible split process models and the most paranoid is used by default to help mitigate Spectre/Meltdown vulnerabilities. Running with --process-per-site --disable-site-isolation-trials causes far less RAM to be used overall (see for more information). WebKit2 as used by Safari is far less paranoid by default and does not do isolation per site instance. While I'm not going to go out of my way to run benchmarks, it's plain to see from Brave's results that Safari will lose to Chrome the moment users tweak the process model to be less paranoid.

Also, if you don't care for security, there's always the option to go for a single process model and let multithreading do all the work, like the good old days. Operating systems like Windows, which are light on threads but heavy on processes would benefit from this the most.

Re:Invalid test

By DontBeAMoran • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

My main desktop machine has 64GB of RAM. If that RAM is just sitting there, unused, what good is it?

Do we really need to explain this? It's there for when you want to open more tabs and/or other programs. And if your reply is "I never use more than half that" then it means you wasted money by buying 64GB instead of 32GB.

Could an Ethically-Correct AI Shut Down Gun Violence?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Next Web writes: A trio of computer scientists from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York recently published research detailing a potential AI intervention for murder: an ethical lockout. The big idea here is to stop mass shootings and other ethically incorrect uses for firearms through the development of an AI that can recognize intent, judge whether it's ethical use, and ultimately render a firearm inert if a user tries to ready it for improper fire...

Clearly the contribution here isn't the development of a smart gun, but the creation of an ethically correct AI. If criminals won't put the AI on their guns, or they continue to use dumb weapons, the AI can still be effective when installed in other sensors. It could, hypothetically, be used to perform any number of functions once it determines violent human intent. It could lock doors, stop elevators, alert authorities, change traffic light patterns, text location-based alerts, and any number of other reactionary measures including unlocking law enforcement and security personnel's weapons for defense...

Realistically, it takes a leap of faith to assume an ethical AI can be made to understand the difference between situations such as, for example, home invasion and domestic violence, but the groundwork is already there. If you look at driverless cars, we know people have already died because they relied on an AI to protect them. But we also know that the potential to save tens of thousands of lives is too great to ignore in the face of a, so far, relatively small number of accidental fatalities...

Re:What does that mean?

By bill_mcgonigle • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

> AI is the new magic

And, further, in this case an omniscient God.

The author is writing childlike fantasy scripts.

um, no

By cascadingstylesheet • Score: 3 • Thread
Humans can't even agree on this stuff. Is it "ethically correct" to shoot someone who is invading your home? You'll find no agreement among humans about this. Who gets to set the algorithms?

Re:Solution looking for a problem

By dhickman • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Why does a LEFTIST not recognize the right to self-defense?

For the right of self-defense to be acknowledged, then the state has to allow that the individual has ownership of their own life and the fruits of their labor. Thus individuals can use whatever force is needed in order to protect their lives, and the fruits of their labor.

When the state does not allow self-defense, then it is obvious that its subjects do not own their own lives or the fruits of their own labor.

Most people do not understand that gun control has nothing to do with guns violence or safety. The US already has plenty of laws on the books to deal with that. They just need to be enforced. Gun Control is all about CONTROL. Armed citizens will not willingly allow themselves to become subjects. For the LEFTISTS to create their society based on positive rights, the US population must be subjects

We tried that already. Violent crime up 400%

By raymorris • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Nearly 15% of crimes in the US involve the use of a white car. We should ban white cars in order to reduce white-car crime.

That reasoning is of course ridiculous. It's also precisely the same reasoning used by anti-Constitution people when they talk about "gun crime". Not because the people are stupid; the arguments they hear and believe seem to make sense until you think things through. Enough so that multiple countries and multiple states have tried gun bans.

That's good news in that we no longer have any need to predict how a gun ban would work, or argue about whether what the effects *would* be. Gun bans have been done, so we can see how they worked. We can see what the effects actually are. No need to predict the past.

It has been debated whether a gun ban might reduce violent crime or if, by turning citizens into defenseless victims, a gun ban would in fact increase violent crime. The question is whether disarming law-abiding citizens will increase victimization, or if violent criminals will turn in their weapons when they are outlawed. After the near total ban in UK, that debate can now be answered by looking at what the results actually were.

When the UK gun ban assured criminals that law-abiding citizens will always be defenseless victims, the ban resulted in violent crime nearly tripling as shown by statistics from the Home Office.

Official crime rate information from the Home Office indicates that in the five years prior to the ban, 1.2 million violent crimes were reported. After the ban took effect, there were over 5 million violent crimes in the following five years. That's a increase of 400% in violent immediately following the ban. Home Office data shows that rape went from 27,000 to nearly 47,000 when potential attackers were assured there was no risk that a law-abiding woman might defend herself with a firearm. Other serious crimes show the same pattern. Total sex offenses increased from 158,000 to over 245,00.

People who know a little about crime and about how criminals operate realize this. PoliceOne (2013) found that law enforcement professionals agree nearly unanimously that bans such as the US ban from 1994-2004 do not reduce violent crime, yet anti-gun organizations such as Violence Policy Center (2013) continue to advocate exploiting public confusion on the issues.

PoliceOne (2013) asked 15,595 police professionals around the country and found that 76% of police professionals say that legally armed citizens are important to reducing crime. In the same survey, 70% of law enforcement say that a ban on so-called âoeassault weaponsâ would be ineffective, and 86% indicate that defensive action by armed citizens can reduce casualties in what might otherwise be a mass casualty crime. The citizens who stopped attackers at Pearl High, Parker Middle School, Appalachian Law School, New Life Church, and many others provide examples. The PoliceOne (2013) survey found that 95% of officers agree that a ban on full capacity magazines, such as the 1994-2004 ban, is not effective. As police officers are charged with protecting the public, there is a clear argument to be made that policy makers should provide law enforcement with the tools police indicate they need, including the support of citizens who are able to defend themselves and others.
      This guidance from law enforcement professionals may be particularly useful to people who are not particularly knowledgeable about self-defense and firearms, to offset politically motivated misinformation directed at individuals two are not well informed about these topics. For example, anti-gun organization Violence Policy Center (VPC) advises its operatives that âoethe public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic ⦠can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weaponsâ (Assault Weapons and Accessories in America Conclusion section, para. 3, 2013). Similarly, the strategy VPC advocates is to focus on cosmetic appearance, âoethe weapons' menacing looksâ, as they point out that to the uninformed, âoeanything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gunâ (VPC Conclusion, para 3, 2013).

Re:We tried that already. Violent crime up 400%

By raymorris • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Here are URLs for all of the data:

PoliceOne. 2013. Gun policy & law enforcement: Survey results.
        Retrieved from http://ddq74coujkv1i.cloudfron...
        Accessible from

UK Home Office. A summary of recorded crime data from 1898 to 2001/02.
Retrieved from

UK Home Office. Recorded crime statistics for England and Wales 2002/03 â" 2013/13.
        Retrieved from

Violence Policy Center. 2013. Assault Weapons and Accessories in America
        Retrieved from