the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2021-May-02 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.

Should Colleges Break Down How Much Money Students Make For Each Major?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Boston Globe published some thoughts from a professor of political science at Fordham University: A bipartisan group of senators, including Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, are backing a bill called the College Transparency Act. It would require public and private colleges around the country to report how many students enroll, transfer, drop out, and complete various programs. Then that information would be combined with inputs from other federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, so that the "labor market outcomes" of former students could be tracked.

In other words, the act would create a system that publicizes how much money students make, on average, after going through particular colleges, programs, and majors. According to Senator Whitehouse, "Choosing a college is a big decision, and yet too often families can't get the information to make apples-to-apples comparisons of the costs and benefits of attending different schools." The purpose of the College Transparency Act is to allow people to make these comparisons. Its other sponsors are Republicans Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Tim Scott of South Carolina.

Unfortunately, the College Transparency Act could reshape how students, families, policymakers, and the public view the purposes of higher education.

To be sure, privileged students will still be able to pursue their academic passions, but many students will be channeled into paths with a higher payoff upon graduation. Many students who might want to explore geography, philosophy, or the fine arts will be advised to stay away from such majors that do not appear lucrative... The system would publicize only some outputs of college — especially how much money students make — and not, for instance, surveys of graduates' satisfaction. This would have the effect of nudging students and families into viewing college as being primarily about making money...

If students learn to read complex texts and write research papers, practice public speaking, find a mentor, and make friends, then they often do well after college regardless of major.

Re:Don't follow your passion!

By ChatHuant • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

people with a general education in the humanities don't typically go on to be responsible for financial crashes, privacy-destroying adware, or cryptocurrency ponzi scams

Well, lessee how some people with general education in humanities do then...

Let's take, for example, Adolf Hitler. He did not like science or technology. He wanted to be an artist, and he applied to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. I have to agree though, he did NOT create any cryptocurrency Ponzi scams, so you have a point here.

For another random example, how about Mao Zedong? He studied to become a teacher of history (which he was, for a period after graduation); while in university, he joined the Philosophy and Journalism Societies. But no participation in adware is known, so you have another point here!

Let's see another student of humanities then: Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin. He studied at the Orthodox Spiritual Seminary in Tiflis, so no evil STEM education for him either. And again, he was not involved in either cryptocurrency or adware. Your point still stands!

Well, your argument appears proven! Obviously the world's greatest suffering was brought by the evil scientists and their dastardly Bitcoin!

Re:Don't follow your dreams into poverty

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

That has go to be the saddest post I've read in a long time. There's just so much in there:
- The concept of going into debt for education.
- The idea of doing something to make money instead of something you enjoy.
- The idea that life is about money because money gives you choice while at the same time acknowledging that to get said money you're not doing something that makes you happy.
- The idea that life sucks just because you don't have money.

I guess that must be life in the land of opportunity. In the rest of the world we do what we have a passion for and are happy as a result.

Re: will working at Starbucks show projected tips

By nealric • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

As a lawyer, I've never actually encountered one of these "nepotistic spawn" that you refer to. I'm sure they exist in the world, but "upwards of 50%" is an absurd made up figure.

college is not vocational training

By cjonslashdot • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
The purpose of college is not to get a job. So the suggestion makes no sense.

Re:Don't follow your passion!

By ranton • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

And joke all you want, but people with a general education in the humanities don't typically go on to be responsible for financial crashes, privacy-destroying adware, or cryptocurrency ponzi scams.

LOL, you really didn't do your research before making this statement.

Let's look at some big players in the run up to the financial crisis
1) Lloyd Blankfein - Goldman Sachs - History
2) Joseph Cassano - AIG - Political Science
3) Vikram Pandit - Citgroup - Electrical Engineering
4) John Thain - Merrill Lynch - Electrical Engineering
5) Richard Fuld - Lehman Brothers - Bachelors of Arts degree (couldn't find more specifics)
6) Henry Paulson - Goldman Sachs - English
7) John Mack - Morgan Stanley - History
8) Jamie Dimon - JP Morgan - Psychology
9) Bernie Madoff - Ponzi Scheme - Political Science (not a banker, but you did mention ponzi schemes)

I'm sure if I spent more time looking I could find some guys with finance degrees, but most of these guys have liberal arts degrees in the humanities. There is simply nothing about a well rounded education that helps make someone more moral.

Tesla Has Already Sold 10% of Its Bitcoin

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Newsweek writes: Elon Musk has hit back at a critic who claimed he pumped and dumped Bitcoin to "make a fortune" after Tesla reported first quarter earnings that surpassed market expectations... The company appears to have sold 10 percent of its Bitcoin portfolio in the first quarter, which it said had a "positive impact" of $101 million on revenues.

On Monday, Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports, called out Musk, CEO of Tesla, on the Bitcoin sale. He tweeted: "So am I understanding this correctly? Elon Musk buys Bitcoin. Then he pumps it. It goes up. Then he dumps it and makes a fortune." Musk replied: "No, you do not. I have not sold any of my Bitcoin. Tesla sold 10 percent of its holdings essentially to prove liquidity of Bitcoin as an alternative to holding cash on balance sheet."

In a transcript of the Q1 2021 earnings call posted by the Motley Fool, Tesla CFO Zachary Kirkhorn said the company intends to hold its Bitcoin investment long-term and called it "a good place to place some of our cash that's not immediately being used for daily operations".

Bitcoin was worth roughly $40,000 in early February at the time Tesla's $1.5 billion investment was reported.

Re:Just like carbon credits

By Pseudonym • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Selling carbon credits and buying cryptocurrency with it certainly feels counter-productive.

Re:"I have not sold any of my Bitcoin"

By h33t l4x0r • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
This was just a dry run. They're timing it to see how fast they can leave everyone holding the bag.

Re:"I have not sold any of my Bitcoin"

By The Evil Atheist • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Apparently many people want an unregulated monetary system. They think what we have now, that's what we've always had, therefore anything that's different is automatically better. Never mind that the hodge-podge of regulations we have are the result of unfortunate experience. Some people are determined to reinvent the tyre-puncture and relearn the hard-earned experience of previous generations.

Re: Just like carbon credits

By aRTeeNLCH • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
If you reinvest into future growth, you may not be a profitable company, but your value may well be going up nicely. I work for such a company, that rarely posted a good profit, but in the last 10 years the company did grow in head count by a factor of 4, turnover has more than doubled.

Re:Amend the carbon laws

By Lisandro • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Been stating the same for a while now. Whatever good Tesla is doing for the world climate, it's being completely negated by this BTC bullshit.

A single BTC transaction consumes, end to end, 1140 kWh, which is just fucking bananas. To put that figure in context, is the energy consumed by an average US household over a month and a half. Or enough energy to drive a Tesla Model 3, with all long range + performance options, for 3100 miles.

Elon Musk Teased on Twitter with Ideas for SNL Comedy Sketches

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"Always the innovator, Elon Musk is crowdsourcing ideas for his upcoming Saturday Night Live appearance," writes USA Today.

SFGate reports: Both Musk fans and critics weighed in, with the tweet drawing over 4,500 quote tweets at time of publication (and 113,000-plus likes from his devotees). One of the top responses skewered his recent move to Texas.

"How about a skit where a selfish billionaire has a tantrum and makes a showy to-do about moving his factory to another state, but that new state is so dysfunctional it has a third-world power grid and runs out of electricity to run his factories and cars? That would be hilarious...."

As a result of his controversial image, "SNL" announced that cast members will not be required to act alongside him if it makes them uncomfortable. No cast member has publicly decline to perform yet, but cast member Chris Redd did jump into the Twitter fray to correct Musk on his use of the word "skit."

Page Six describes more of the suggestions from Twitter: Some commenters suggested ideas, including, "Extraterrestrials found your Tesla Roadster sent to space in 2018 & are trying to figure out what it is," "You play Chris Hansen on "To Catch a PP loan" with Ross Gerber," and, "Something about how it is all a simulation," while many of the responses to Musk's tweets were real zingers.

"You meeting with SNL writers using the same motivational techniques you use with $TSLA engineers. Elon: I need this done tomorrow or you're fired. SNL Writer: In your dreams a-hole," one user responded.

Fun fact

By bjoast • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
In Swedish, the word skit means shit.

Re:Man, the left really can't meme or tell jokes

By MobileTatsu-NJG • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Man, the left really can't meme or tell jokes...

Ask Tucker Carlson about Jon Stewart some time.

I have to question

By troff • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"Always the innovator" and "Elon Musk is crowdsourcing ideas". If you can't see how he's clearly not the one doing the innovating, you shouldn't be writing articles about him.

Re:Man, the left really can't meme or tell jokes

By jacks smirking reven • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I don't think you want to start an argument on which side of the political and cultural spectrum the vast majority of influential comedy has come from throughout history..

SNL is such a has-been of network TV

By King_TJ • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'm really surprised it's still on TV at all... except I guess there's still a market out there for anyone daring to make fun of well-known figures, even if it's poorly done?

Elon's smart for leveraging the media anyplace he can, especially when he runs a business that spends nothing on traditional advertising. But someone really thought it was "hilarious" to write a skit about him getting disgusted with liberal policies in CA and moving the business to TX? There's really no humor at all in that, when you understand what the complaint was about. The power outage situation in TX was thanks to corrupt folks put in charge of regulating that industry, and really not directly because of TX promoting more a more business-friendly environment.

Whatever.... I've long ago quit watching SNL and felt like my IQ was slowly draining out of my brain when someone insisted I watch a random recent skit of theirs from a video stream.

Investigation Finds Links Between Seamy Slander Sites and Reputation-Management Services

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
This week the New York Times published their online investigation into the seamy world of the professional slander industry. ( Alternate URL.)
At first glance, the websites appear amateurish. They have names like, and Photos are badly cropped. Grammar and spelling are afterthoughts. They are clunky and text-heavy, as if they're intended to be read by machines, not humans. But do not underestimate their power...

One woman in Ohio was the subject of so many negative posts that Bing declared in bold at the top of her search results that she "is a liar and a cheater" — the same way it states that Barack Obama was the 44th president of the United States. For roughly 500 of the 6,000 people we searched for, Google suggested adding the phrase "cheater" to a search of their names. The unverified claims are on obscure, ridiculous-looking sites, but search engines give them a veneer of credibility. Posts from appear in Google results alongside Facebook pages and LinkedIn profiles....

That would be bad enough for people whose reputations have been savaged. But the problem is all the worse because it's so hard to fix. And that is largely because of the secret, symbiotic relationship between those facilitating slander and those getting paid to remove it.

Who, exactly? The Times spoke to:
  • Cyrus Sullivan, the Portland-based owner of one site who also runs a reputation-management service "to help people get 'undesirable information' about themselves removed from their search engine results. The 'gold package' cost $699.99. For those customers, Mr. Sullivan would alter the computer code underlying the offending posts, instructing search engines to ignore them...."
  • 247Removal's owner Heidi Glosser, who "charges $750 or more per post removal, which adds up to thousands of dollars for most of her clients. To get posts removed, she said, she often pays an 'administrative fee' to the gripe site's webmaster. We asked her whether this was extortion. 'I can't really give you a direct answer,' she said." She appeared to have links to...
  • Web developer Vikram Parmar, who seemed to be running several sites that produced slander while also simultaneously running sites that made money by removing that slander.

But finally, the Times reminded their readers that "in certain circumstances, Google will remove harmful content from individuals' search results, including links to 'sites with exploitative removal practices.' If a site charges to remove posts, you can ask Google not to list it.

"Google didn't advertise this policy widely, and few victims of online slander seem aware that it's an option. That's in part because when you Google ways to clean up your search results, Google's solution is buried under ads for reputation-management services..."

Re:the FBI should step in

By blastard • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Extortion. This is the sort of racketeering and corrupt practices that organized crime run. RICO was made for this.

"it would be a shame if your reputation was sullied."

Reputation is weaponized

By fustakrakich • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This is what will happen with the social credit system some people around here are advocating. Pure destruction by gossip.

Re:the FBI should step in

By quonset • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I don't think RICO works here, it's intended to catch you when you order someone else to commit crime.

False. It's when you commit the crime as part of an organization (see the definition for organization). To wit:

(1) racketeering activity means (A) any act or threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter, or dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act), which is chargeable under State law and punishable by imprisonment for more than one year;

And the list goes on. See link above for more matters covered under the statute. What these people are doing is most likely extortion. Make up something to defame them, then say for a few bucks they'll make the bad things go away.

Under the Common Law, extortion is a misdemeanor consisting of an unlawful taking of money by a government officer. It is an oppressive misuse of the power with which the law clothes a public officer.Most jurisdictions have statutes governing extortion that broaden the common-law definition. Under such statutes, any person who takes money or property from another by means of illegal compulsion may be guilty of the offense. When used in this sense, extortion is synonymous with blackmail, which is extortion by a private person. In addition, under some statutes a corporation may be liable for extortion.

Seamy slander sites

By jhylkema • Score: 3 • Thread

like Yelp?

Re: the FBI should step in

By Todd Knarr • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Except that in most cases the sites aren't merely platforms that just happen to be used by some people to upload that material, the sites actively and explicitly solicit that material and encourage users to upload it. Courts have held that the site's active involvement can lead to it being held responsible for material to the degree it was involved in getting it published. That degree of involvement is, in fact, exactly the difference between a security company and a mob boss running a protection racket.

GitHub Joins Movement Against Google's FLOC

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes's developer newsletter: GitHub is blocking Google's new third-party cookie tracking alternative, Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), across all of GitHub Pages. Those GitHub Pages served from the domain will now come with a Permissions-Policy: interest-cohort=() header set, although Pages sites with custom domains will not.

Several big names have also spoken out against the new alternative and implemented similar moves. WordPress is proposing automatically blocking FLoC by default on its websites, dubbing it a security risk. However, WordPress says it may add a setting that will enable admins to control whether FLoC is allowed.

Firefox, Brave, and Vivaldi have also issued similar moves...

One web developer recently published a guide showing others how to opt their site out of Google's FLoC Network. Developer Paramdeo Singh shows you how to ensure your web server doesn't participate in the network by adding a custom HTTP response header to web and proxy server configurations.

How's "DNT: 1" working for you?

By TheNameOfNick • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Asking the bully nicely does not work. Chrome is the problem. So GitHub tells the browser not to include GitHub in the calculation of your interests. Let's assume Google actually ignores your visits to GitHub and doesn't use the number of "privacy conscious" sites you visit as another data point: How many other web sites do you visit which will gladly participate because your browser will send them information about you with every visit? If you're using Chrome, you're part of the problem.

Ya, but ...

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Will there be an exception for a FLOC of this?


By Rosco P. Coltrane • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Well it is Google, so you can be certain of two things:

- The user-facing UI and functionality is very useful, very polished, very professional, incredibly useful and addictive
- The backend is designed to put you under as much surveillance as possible, and steal as much of your personal data, and isn't in your best interest

The idea of course being that the shiny front-end is so addictive that you forget how nasty and creepy the back-end is, or you give in to keep using it.

In this case, the shiny is Chrome of course.


By kot-begemot-uk • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Perfect comment, just one error in it.

Instead of "This is Google" you should have written "This is Doubleclick"

The original Google, whose advertising technology was based on mathematics and site content died when it tried to swallow the scumshite adf*cker parasite. The Doubleclick parasitic life form took full control of its bodily functions and has been driving the empty (and growing) hulk of Google ever since.

While at it - anything that will put us back towards the "ad derived from site content" paradigm instead of creepware is good in my book. Github decided to screw 'em? Excellent. More of the same.

Survey Confirms Popularity of JavaScript, Python, C/C++, While C# Overtakes PHP

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Analyst firm SlashData surveyed over 19,000 respondents from 155 countries for its "State of the Developer Nation" survey — and now estimates that there's 24.3 million active developers worldwide.

TechRadar reports: The report pegs JavaScript as the most popular language that, together with variants including TypeScript and CoffeeScript, is used by almost 14 million developers around the world. Based on SlashData's observations over the past several years, more than 4.5 million JavaScript developers have joined the ranks between Q4 2017 and Q1 2021. This is the highest growth in terms of absolute numbers across all programming languages...

Next up is Python with just over 10 million users, followed by Java with 9.4 million, and C/C++ with 7.3 million. The report notes that Python added 1.6 million new developers in the past year, recording a growth rate of 20%.

From ZDNet: SlashData estimates the next three largest developer communities are using C/C++ (7.3 million), Microsoft's C# (6.5 million), and PHP (6.3 million). Other large groups of developers are fans of Kotlin, Swift, Go, Ruby, Objective C, Rust and Lua...

SlashData, however, notes that Rust and Lua were the two fastest growing programming language communities in the past 12 months, albeit from a lower base than Python.

And Visual Studio magazine couldn't resist emphasizing that C# "has ticked up a notch in popularity, overtaking PHP for No. 5 on that ranking..." "C# lost three places in the rankings of language communities between Q3 2019 and Q3 2020, but it regained its lead over PHP in the past six months after adding half a million developers," the report states... "C# is traditionally popular within the desktop developer community, but it's also the most broadly used language among AR/VR and game developers, largely due to the widespread adoption of the Unity game engine in these areas..."

It was a different story one year ago, when the 18th edition of the report said: "C# lost about 1M developers during 2019... [I]t seems to be losing its edge in desktop development — possibly due to the emergence of cross-platform tools based on web technologies."

The language might see more desktop development inroads as new initiatives from Microsoft such as Blazor Desktop (one of those "cross-platform tools based on web technologies") and .NET MAUI provide a wide array of desktop approaches.

Re: Just pointing out ...

By OneSmartFellow • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Yeah, J-Lo is popular
Kim Kardashian is widely used

Re:Just pointing out ...

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It also depends hugely on the methodology of the survey.

Who do they count as a "developer"? Python and JavaScript are used by many people whose main job is not software development. C++ and Rust, much less so. My daughter is a microbiologist. She uses Python for statistical analysis of data. So does that count?

Self-selecting surveys tend to measure passion rather than popularity. So an evangelical language like Rust will do better than a language of shame like PHP. Sure, I use PHP more than I use Rust, but I would never publicly admit to that.

Metric LOC bad proxy for use

By MrBoring • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Because certain languages are more verbose than others, LOC is a bad proxy for usage. With the advent of Spring Boot, Java needs less coding than it previously did. That doesn't make the application more functional, it just shifts the LOC to a framework.

Languages like VB tend to be more purpose driven with less, follow this alleged yet verbose "best practice pattern". I could, for example directly wire a dialogue to a data source.

Another complaint I have is omitting languages like COBOL. I bet if you did LOC for COBOL it would rank higher.

Re:Just pointing out ...

By narcc • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

There are no "languages of shame". What reason would anyone have to be ashamed?

Would you be ashamed to use a language that is easy to use? Why? The whole point of programming languages is to make programming easier! If it's easy to use, that should be a point in favor of the language!

You see that on this site pretty often. "That language is for n00bs!" or "Being easy attracts crappy developers who write crap code that I have to fix!"

Imagine that in a different profession. Would you think a carpenter who uses a sledge hammer and crowbar for framing was smarter than the guy using claw hammer because other tool makes it "too easy"?

What about a language that's popular? Why be ashamed of that? It's usually popular because it's good at whatever niche it's found for itself. Aren't we supposed to use the 'right tool for the job'?

There is certainly no reason to be ashamed of using JavaScript or PHP:

PHP is used because it's better than the alternatives at things that matter.

JavaScript was never the only option for the web. It beat competing technologies on its own merits.

We live in a world were only need to get three companies to agree to an alternative to JS. There reason no one has tried is because JS is actually a pretty nice language, once you take a few minutes to learn it. Surprisingly few people do, leaving the rest to complain when it doesn't behave identically to Java.

Odd tangent: It's very easy to find capable PHP developers, which helps keep it on top. But the same isn't true for JavaScript. It's damn near impossible to find competent JS developers, which is why bizarre things like ES6 and Typescript even exist. (Yes, it's weird. Image some 'Python with braces' language that compiles to Python.) It's difficult at all, but it's like pulling hen's teeth to get people to sit down and learn a language they think they know just because it looks like C!

Back to your post: Who they count as a developer, it seems, should be anyone who uses the language. Take R, for example. No one writes applications in R, but that doesn't mean there are no R developers. There's a good chance that you daughter will, at some point, use R for statistics and modeling the same way she uses Python now. She would count as an R developer.

I use PHP more than I use Rust, but I would never publicly admit to that

You use it more frequently because it's better than Rust for whatever it is you're doing more often. That's no reason to feel shame. That just means you can make practical decisions, and not just ones based on personal insecurities.

popular = crap (usually)

By cjonslashdot • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
McDonalds hamburger: popular. Bud beer: popular. Python: popular.

With a Rare Nighttime Splashdown, SpaceX Returns Four ISS Astronauts to Earth

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Four astronauts in a SpaceX Dragon capsule successfully splashed down into the Gulf of Mexico this morning at 2:57 a.m. ET — returning from the International Space Station in the first U.S. crew splashdown in darkness since the Apollo 8 moonshot in 1968. reports: It was an express trip home, lasting just 6 1/2 hours... "We welcome you back to planet Earth and thanks for flying SpaceX," SpaceX's Mission Control radioed moments after splashdown. "For those of you enrolled in our frequent flyer program, you've earned 68 million miles on this voyage...."

The 167-day mission was the longest for a crew capsule launching from the U.S. The previous record of 84 days was set by NASA's final Skylab station astronauts in 1974. Saturday night's undocking left seven people at the space station, four of whom arrived a week ago via SpaceX...

Once finished with their medical checks on the ship, the astronauts planned to hop on a helicopter for the short flight to shore, then catch a plane straight to Houston for a reunion with their families. "It's not very often you get to wake up on the space station and go to sleep in Houston," chief flight director Holly Ridings told reporters.

The astronauts' capsule, Resilience, will head back to Cape Canaveral for refurbishment for SpaceX's first private crew mission in September... A tech billionaire has purchased the entire three-day flight, which will orbit 75 miles (120 kilometers) above the space station. He'll fly with a pair of contest winners and a physician assistant from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, his designated charity for the mission.

SpaceX's next astronaut launch for NASA will follow in October.

Meanwhile, what has Blue Origin...

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

...done to date? Gone on some airplane rides after all these years. And yet they have the gall to complain they didn't get the contract, despite their track record of not doing shit?

Re:"The Beating of a Liberal"

By jellomizer • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

So you are advocating violence towards people who Fox News tells you you shouldn't like?
And for what? Because a random person was snotty to you in High School? A Prius driver wouldn't let you pass them? That guy who got a four year degree was able to get that job you wanted to take, then shortly got promoted out of it?

Maybe it is because your life isn't like Leave it to Beaver, with a submissive wife who cooks you meals all day and cleans your home, while you get to spend quality time with your kids, after they had been worn out with adventures all day where they never actually hurt themselves and other.

The reason why liberals are not nice to you, because of statements like that that make them scared of you, because it shows how much of a bad person you are. So they will either avoid you, or confront you. Because you are resorting to violence vs. actual logical arguments, you are not changing anyone, you are just making yourself and others within you party look like violent terrorist, where you just end up forcing Liberal Groups to take away your rights, because you are not using the rights you have properly.

You are not helping a cause for your right to bare arms, by going in and shooting people. It just further justifies laws to take guns out of your hands.
You are not helping free speech by treating people.

Besides, you might be surprised how many Marines are loyal to their country and wouldn't hurt a legally elected representatives, just because they can.

Re:Space TSA.

By jellomizer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I have a friend who is Hobbyist Pilot, he once took me out on a flight in a Cessna. No TSA, or metal detectors, he had the key to get onto the airplane.

Re:Meanwhile, what has Blue Origin...

By jellomizer • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

What can they do? They don't have contracts to do them.

Financially Musk put a lot on the line for SpaceX, most CEO's probably wouldn't have put in that much risk.

Bazos got lucky with Amazon, Having an online store, wasn't a big achievement, it was just a different form for a mail order catalog. But he got in at the right time to get peoples interest, and to his credit was able to expand the company before the .COM bubble popped so it could weather the downfall.

Musk for SpaceX and Tesla, there really wasn't any good time to get in, he had to be the first mover, take on a lot of debt, and flack in order to get his businesses to where they are now.

Bazos is just mad that Musk beat him in those fields, where he just kinda go in to say Me To!

Re:I don't understand the private flight

By jfdavis668 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Watch the Crew Dragon tour videos on Youtube. There's a lot more room than you think. It can actually hold 7 passengers, NASA just doesn't need that and fills the rest with cargo.

The FSF Says ThinkPenguin's Wireless-N Mini Router 'Respects Your Freedom'

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Friday the Free Software Foundation awarded their coveted "Respects Your Freedom" (RYF) certification to another new product: the Free Software Wireless-N Mini Router v3 (TPE-R1300) from ThinkPenguin, Inc.

Just 45 products currently hold the FSF's certification "that these products meet the FSF's standards in regard to users' freedom, control over the product, and privacy." (That is to say, they run on 100% free software, allow the installation of modified software, and are free from DRM, spyware and tracking.) The FSF writes: As with previous routers from ThinkPenguin, the Free Software Wireless-N Mini Router v3 ships with an FSF-endorsed fully free embedded GNU/Linux distribution called libreCMC. It also comes with a custom flavor of the U-Boot boot loader, assembled by Robert Call, who is the maintainer of libreCMC and a former FSF intern.

The router enables users to run multiple devices on a network through a VPN service, helping to simplify the process of keeping their communications secure and private. While ThinkPenguin offers a VPN service, users are not required to purchase a subscription to their service in order to use the router, and the device comes with detailed instructions on how to use the router with a wide variety of VPN providers...

"ThinkPenguin once again demonstrates a long-standing commitment to protecting the rights of their users. With the latest iteration of the Wireless-N Mini Router, users know that they'll have up to date hardware they can trust for years to come," said the FSF's licensing and compliance manager, Donald Robertson, III.

Phoronix points its readers to the device's page at "should you be looking to build out your wireless network using the decade old 802.11n standard."


By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 3 • Thread

By whom? The only reason I even know this certification exists is because Slashdot has run two or three stories about it over the years.

Re:Who would use this?

By LostMyBeaver • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
What exactly makes it secure? It took me about 4 minutes to find a possible buffer overrun in 6rdcalc.c which can likely be exploited by a specially formed dhcp packet if 6rd works properly.

People who use unsafe std c libraries... especially where performance isn't even remotely an issue... with no bounds checks should not be coding such things.

This looks like a barely hobbyist grade project.

Re:Make your own linux router with Raspberry Pi

By lkcl • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You can turn a Raspberry Pi ($35 for the 2GB RAM Raspberry Pi 4 Model B) into a wireless access point.

you can indeed... and how much proprietary firmware was required, to do so? you had to first actually boot the GPU with a completely untrustable piece of firmware, before you could even boot the CPU, and then you had to download yet another piece of completely untrustable firmware blob into the WIFI *as well*.

in case the significance of that has not sunk in, here are some reminders:

* broadcom proprietary WIFI drivers with two ehap buffere overflows https://www.bleepingcomputer.c...
* IOS drive-by zero-click kernel memory corruption over WIFI

that latter one ended up actually getting exploited: journalists were targetted https://www.securedatarecovery...

then there is, plain and simple, that whilst the actual routers / dongle *hardware* itself can do far more than the proprietary firmware "allows", you get absolutely zero control or rights to sort that out.

example: the USB AR9721 - now obselete due to short-sightedness on Qualcomm's part - was, thanks to *two years* of patient work with the original Atheros team, capable of MESH NETWORKING mode.


because given that the full source code was available for the entire firmware, as properly libre-licensed source code, it was easy to patch. did the original proprietary AR9271 firmware from Atheros themselves do that? of course it didn't.

by delivering a product which has the full source code even of the WIFI firmware, you get the right to use the product in ways that *YOU* decide.

then - even more than that - Thinkpenguin's business model is based on long-term support. i know Chris and Bob quite well: they told me some of the horror stories of customers performing upgrades (both windows *AND LINUX*), only to be completely disconnected from the internet.


because during the course of the upgrade, the new proprietary non-free firmware for the WIFI - the only connection that the person's computer had to the internet - broke. once broken due to some arbitrary unexplained incompatibility, they're utterly screwed. desperate costly investigation shows that "oh dear, the device is obsolete" - not because of the hardware but because the *vendor cannot be bothered to update the driver firmware*

the kicker: *this costs businesses money*.

by complete contrast, if you have a business that uses Thinkpenguin products, the chances are pretty close to 100% that any driver or OS upgrade *will* work, because the full source code is available.

bottom line is that this is actually extremely important and has nothing to do with how "cheap" some random latest piece of kit off the internet is. Thinkpenguin's products are bought by users and companies that want reliable kit that won't cost their business money by breaking simply because the vendor of the proprietary hardware can't be bothered to support it.

or decides that it controls your hardware


Re:Who would use this?

By lkcl • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

People who really care about Free software, which is - not that many, if we're honest.

i spent considerable time with Chris and Bob, and found out that Chris used to work for Lindows (aka Linspire). Chris was a QA Engineer at the time, checking that proprietary products (PCI cards, USB modems, Sound cards) actually worked. he was shocked to find that the failure rate was insanely high.

this was what inspired him to start Thinkpenguin: actually vetting the hardware in advance, to make sure that it worked, and only selling hardware that worked, worked well, and stayed working even after an upgrade.

he told me several nightmare stories of PCIe and USB cards that bricked Intel PCs due to silicon and BIOS level errata, how he got people calling up from rural areas in the U.S. because he was literally the only supplier in the country of USB ACM compliant dial-up Modems - this is Windows users btw! - these are people who must have spent a fortune to download the latest version of Windows over their dial-up service using their Windows XP era "Winmodem"... only to find after a reboot that *there's no driver firmware*!

the list goes on and on.

this is business, plain and simple. it's actually nothing to do with some "woo, woo, omg, freedom's soooo important" moronic bullshit, *actual* people *actually* are adversely affected by proprietary products that cost them and their business money because those proprietary products don't damn well do the job. even on WIndows, not just Linux.

The value add

By jhylkema • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Knowing that it's going to work out of the box the first time without having to spend days upon days trawling forums and fighting with it. The idea that it respects your freedom by only using Free Software(TM) is mainly RMS's political ideology.

Linus Torvalds Reflects In New Interview on Linux's Earliest Days

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Linus Torvalds gave a long new email interview to Jeremy Andrews, founding partner/CEO of Tag1 (a global technology consulting firm and the second all-time leading contributor to Drupal). Torvalds discusses everything from the creation of Git, licenses, Apple's ARM64 chips, and Rust drivers, to his own Fedora-based home work environment — and how proud he is of the pathname lookup in Linux's virtual filesystem. ("Nothing else out there comes even close.")

But with all that, early on Torvalds also reflects that Linux began as a personal project at the age of 21, "not out of some big dream to create a new operating system." Instead it "literally grew kind of haphazardly from me initially just trying to learn the in-and-outs of my new PC hardware.

"So when I released the very first version, it was really more of a 'look at what I did', and sure, I was hoping that others would find it interesting, but it wasn't a real serious and usable OS. It was more of a proof of concept, and just a personal project I had worked on for several months at that time..."

This year, in August, Linux will celebrate its 30th anniversary! That's amazing, congratulations! At what point during this journey did you realize what you'd done, that Linux was so much more than "just a hobby"?

Linus Torvalds: This may sound a bit ridiculous, but that actually happened very early. Already by late '91 (and certainly by early '92) Linux had already become much bigger than I had expected.

And yeah, considering that by that point, there were probably just a few hundred users (and even "users" may be too strong — people were tinkering with it), it probably sounds odd considering how Linux then later ended up growing much bigger. But in many ways for me personally, the big inflection point was when I realized that other people are actually using it, and interested in it, and it started to have a life of its own. People started sending patches, and the system was actually starting to do much more than I had initially really envisioned....

That "anybody can maintain their own version" worried some people about the GPLv2, but I really think it's a strength, not a weakness. Somewhat unintuitively, I think it's actually what has caused Linux to avoid fragmenting: everybody can make their own fork of the project, and that's OK. In fact, that was one of the core design principles of "Git" — every clone of the repository is its own little fork, and people (and companies) forking off their own version is how all development really gets done.

So forking isn't a problem, as long as you can then merge back the good parts. And that's where the GPLv2 comes in. The right to fork and do your own thing is important, but the other side of the coin is equally important — the right to then always join back together when a fork was shown to be successful...

I very much don't regret the choice of license, because I really do think the GPLv2 is a huge part of why Linux has been successful.

Money really isn't that great of a motivator. It doesn't pull people together. Having a common project, and really feeling that you really can be a full partner in that project, that motivates people, I think.

Re:Rather Linus was kicked than Stallman

By Third Position • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Theo didn't make the mistake of taking the king's schilling, so he can do and say as he pleases. He is one of the few people in open source who still can.

Linus and Stallman are at the mercy of corporate funded foundations for their funding and their positions, which is why they can't just tell their tormentors to fuck the hell off.

Re:Rather Linus was kicked than Stallman

By Yvan Fournier • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Leadership in technical projects is not limited to people skills, though neglecting those can cause some issues.

If Linus's leadership had been so bad, Linux would not have made it to 2018. And I can understand that when somebody proposes (or in some cases, insists) on pushing patches which either add complexity/reduce consistency/add breakage, the people who decide upon these patches don't have time to waste, and need to make a point that things need to be a lot better before they are ready for integration.

In a single team of small to medium size, not putting people off is essential, but in very large projects, with varied contributors, you can't afford the time to clean up people's patches for them, so being abrasive is probably much less consequential to the project's long term success than accepting low-quality contributions simply avoid hurting people's feelings. Diplomacy is good, but not nearly as essential as justice (abrasive remarks are based on technical points, not on developer's longstanding/newbie/friend/foe favorites, and no one is pursued/picked on). In the enterprise, you can find plenty of nice and diplomatic people who tick all the required boxes but make horrible leaders either because they lack other skills or simply don't care enough.

Stallman is another story. We would not have had the GPL without him, and a lot of his predictions came true, or are on the right track (and reading them 15 years ago it was obvious we were on that track). But though his inflexible nature probably drove him to his achievements, it does not help in having a nice personal life. That may be the price to pay, and he is the one paying it. If it suits him, fine. In any case, he may have his faults, but I certainly would not trust those who try to kick a founder out of the organization he built. And especially not using "cancel" techniques. There are plenty of other organizations promoting free software, created by people who had other approaches and priorities than the FSF, for those who do not like RMS. So why attack the FSF board, unless there are ulterior motives/power plays ?

But as to why Linus seems more "popular", there is probably a mix of many factors. Timing, being in the right place in the right time, and focusing on technical aspects whereas RMS focuses more on fundamentals and tells many people what they do not want to hear. In any case, Linux would not be where it is today without the GPL, and GNU tools would not be as ubuquitious without Linux. HURD may have been nice on paper, but is one case where RMS's intransigeance was a disadvantage.

The role of Git

By AleRunner • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The role of git in making committers equal in power is really interesting. I wonder if any of the BSD projects will ever talk about whether they agree that the "commit bit" was bad for their projects? Maybe the people that work on those projects are people who don't see it as a problem?


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

So there you have it, the GPL was integral to the success of Linux.

As Linus said multiple times - the GPLv2 was integral to the success of Linux. The fact that he points out the version - on multiple occasions - indicates he's not a fan of the license's later iteration.


By F.Ultra • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
No he didn't. He did reflect upon his own behaviour though and decided that he needed to change things.

How Should We Honor the Legacy of Dan Kaminsky?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Last week came the news that Dan Kaminsky, security researcher (and popular speaker at security conferences), had passed away at the age of 42. In a half hour the DEF CON security convention will hold a special online memorial for Dan Kaminsky on Discord.

But interestingly, Kaminsky was also one of ICANN's "Trusted Community Representatives," part of a small community involved in a ceremonial root key generation, backup and signing process. (Since 2010 Kaminsky was one of the seven "Recovery Key Share Holders" entrusted with a fragment of a cryptographic key and reporting in for its annual inventory.)

So who will take Dan's place? Slashdot contacted ICANN's vice president of IANA Services, Kim Davies. His response? We maintain an open invitation for volunteers who believe they are qualified, and review those volunteers when a vacancy arises. The selection process is documented, but in essence means we try to maintain a balance of skills and geographic location so that in the aggregate the TCRs are diverse.

The selection is not in chronological order, and will not necessarily result in selecting someone who most matches Dan's attributes. Ultimately the replacement will be a volunteer that the evaluation panel feels best contrasts and complements the attributes of the remaining TCRs.

Davies also shared this remembrance of Dan Kaminsky: He played a critical role in the evolution of the DNS by bringing attention to the practical cache poisoning vulnerability he discovered. He was a greater collaborator who worked closely with us to rapidly address the issue in critical infrastructure, and then worked to promote technologies like DNSSEC that can mitigate it effectively in the long term. He really provided a significant catalyst that resulted in DNSSEC being put into widespread production in 2010.

His service as a Trusted Community Representative was just a part of his commitment to these issues, and while his work on the DNS is perhaps his most famous contribution, he has an amazing resume of accomplishments throughout his career.

Personally I found him a delight to work with and we are deeply mourning the loss.

Of course, there's another way to follow in Dan's footsteps. Long-time Slashdot reader destinyland writes: Jeff Moss, founder of DEF CON and Black Hat, has proposed nominating Kaminsky for the Internet Hall of Fame, or even creating a Kaminsky award to honor "the core ideals" of the security researcher. But there's another complementary direction to go in... Black Hat board member Matt Devost tweeted last weekend that, "No one that knew Dan Kaminsky well is talking about DNS today. They are talking about kindness, boundless energy and positivity, spontaneous adventures, and how hard he worked to lift others up. Want to emulate one of the greatest hackers of all time? Let that be your guide."

And last week a self-described hacker named Dr. Russ even tweeted, "In an effort to honor Dan Kaminsky's character and legacy, we should all make a random act of Kaminsky weekly. Make it a point to be kind and helpful to someone, friend or stranger. Legit helpful and kind, take it over the finish line. Be the persistent guide he was. Then do it again."

I propose we call that "pulling a Kaminsky."

Presumably in the way later generations in William Gibson's Count Zero talked of " pulling a Wilson...."

Re:Update your god damn computer

By bill_mcgonigle • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

> Looking at you boomers

The kind that double post the same thing minutes apart? This is prime performance art!

IIRC Dan supported the ICANN community process. Who else here was a community member before ICANN decided to become autocratic and wipe out almost all of the community involvement?

Given that ICANN can't be democratic at this point, to honor the intent of the community effort, we can honor Dan by supporting secure and decentralized web technologies that take the power away from corporate interests. He had NO problem giving Sony a huge black eye for their social malfeasance. So it should be for any who would abuse their power to make the Internet a worse place for the little guy.

Random acts of kindness

By Registered Coward v2 • Score: 3 • Thread
a real novel idea.

Breaking and entering.

By Ostracus • Score: 3 • Thread

In the spirit of security research I declare today as pentesting slashdot day.

Re:DNS cache spoofing?

By maladroit • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Bruce Schneier's thoughts, from a long time ago, that kinda address this:

There may be more info in these stories:

Kaminsky's slashdot id:

"May his memory be for a blessing"

By Beryllium Sphere(tm) • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

That's a Jewish mourning phrase. I'm not Jewish so there's a good chance I don't get the full meaning, but as I understand it it doesn't mean passive recollection, but instead means all the ways the person's actions continue to change the world after they are gone. It can mean accomplishments that have lasted, or lives they have changed for the better, or actions by the living inspired by their example.

If his legacy is to inspire acts of kindness that will be sweet and fitting.

Jews will not be unanimous about that interpretation but the sentiment resonates with me.

Bytecode Alliance Expands as Microsoft, Google, Intel Promote Fast, Secure Development with WebAssembly

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
There was a big announcement this week from Mozilla. They've joined Fastly, Intel, and Microsoft "in announcing the incorporation and expansion of the Bytecode Alliance, a cross-industry partnership to advance a vision for fast, secure, and simplified software development based on WebAssembly." Building software today means grappling with a set of vexing trade-offs. If you want to build something big, it's not realistic to build each component from scratch. But relying on a complex supply chain of components from other parties allows a defect anywhere in that chain to compromise the security and stability of the entire program.

Tools like containers can provide some degree of isolation, but they add substantial overhead and are impractical to use at per-supplier granularity. And all of these dynamics entrench the advantages of big companies with the resources to carefully manage and audit their supply chains.

Mozilla helped create WebAssembly to allow the Web to grow beyond JavaScript and run more kinds of software at faster speeds. But as it matured, it became clear that WebAssembly's technical properties — particularly memory isolation — also had the potential to transform software development beyond the browser by resolving the tension described above. Several other organizations shared this view, and we came together to launch the Bytecode Alliance as an informal industry partnership in late 2019. As part of this launch, we articulated our shared vision and called for others to join us in bringing it to life... [W]e asked prospective members to be patient and, in parallel with ongoing technical efforts, worked to incorporate the Alliance as a formal 501(c)(6) organization. That process is now complete, and we're thrilled to welcome Arm, DFINITY Foundation, Embark Studios, Google, Shopify, and University of California at San Diego as official members of the Bytecode Alliance.

We have a real opportunity to change how software is built, and in doing so, enable small teams to build big things that are both secure and fast.

Achieving the elusive trifecta — easy composition, defect isolation, and high performance — requires both the right technology and a coordinated effort across the ecosystem to deploy it in the right way. Mozilla believes that WebAssembly has the right technical ingredients to build a better, more secure Internet, and that the Bytecode Alliance has the vision and momentum to make it happen.

Been done, and failed before

By Canberra1 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
See TI's CoolGen for the concept. Words like automatic code generation, compiles to different targets. Per above every single magic bullet - or pixie dust, is undone, because web presentation and standards grew and broke the old. Think of all those apps that ran under NT4, VB and IE. Think of 100% writeoffs because Chrome made all that IE stuff obsolete. Get rid of legacy mode. Make them start again. Profit! See https://developers.slashdot.or.... One is sure Dilbert also has 'No Code' cartoons. Bottom line is knowing your business rules and having a design is always needed, and coding without specifications first, becomes more RAD/JAD reinvented. Just add the buzzwords Deep Dive, Pivot and redouble efforts, and jam in the word Agile for good luck. All this IT stuff, to avoid having to train staff to punch in command line on a 24*80 or 52*132 Greenscreen, or the delightful compactness of a DOS/Win 3.1 windows layout. But it got the job done. The real kicker is many fools want to sell product, not knowing Google, Facebook and Ebay platforms will trump costly Salesforce and SAP like interfaces AND require endless maintenance. On security, consider this - VM, Multiple CPU's, Multiple windows, Remote or active fetches, and letting the OS decide that input string should be executed. Who remembers KISS?

Re:With this group involved

By Misagon • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

This is not about WebAssembly in the web browser but about safe execution server-side.

By using virtual machine code it becomes possible to have multiple server apps/instances running more safely contained from each-other with much less overhead than with hypervisors, Docker containers or even process boundaries.
In other words, it is like JVM or CLR but also for lower-level languages such as C and C++.

The system uses capability-like abstractions for containment (borrowed from CloudABI/Capsicum on FreeBSD), which should be a bit safer still than JVM/CLR. This means however, that it is also like its own operating system platform.

WASM/WASI is already in production on major sites such as Shopify.
Weirdly enough, a lot of the adoption of WebAssembly on the server has been from the Rust community, even though Rust is a worse match to WebAssembly's ISA than C is and shouldn't need WebAssembly's added safety features as much.

Re:1996 Called

By BAReFO0t • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

No, they weren't wrong. But no, it wasn't the implementation either.
It's the platform. Or, more properly, the inner platform. The layers upon layers that re-invent the wheel, and mount it on top of the old wheel, instead of just improving the old wheel.

E.g. we got hardware memory addresses and OS ports for talking to hardware, UNIX sockets, Ethernet , IP sockets, TCP ports, and then ... webSockets... (*audible sounds of a head banging on a table*)

Just use freaking virtual memory addresses that also serve as communication channels! Map parts of memory to other computers, and be done with it! Use regular file system paths for everything, and one single service to map human-readable names to those memory addresses! Hell, IP addresses could just be replaced by bog standard pointers to chunks of a huge global virtual memory. Though for efficiency reasons, using paths of pointers, like //45949430/3854939/34935459/1 would be more efficient than one massive and inflexible pointer. But I digress, the general point should be clear: Be a real programmer: Re-use! Improve iff necessary. Do not duplicate!

Re:Lock it down or feature creep kills it

By BAReFO0t • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

WebAssembly is almost useless, and a mere proof of concept right now. It still lacks the actual APIs to talk to the browser. Everything has to go through a JS adapter you are forced to write, defeating most of its purpose.

We can lock down the *purpose*.
But locking down the half-completed single home so it doesn't become a skyscraper complex will leave you with an incomplete house.
The purpose, I think, is to remove the limitation of having to use JS. To make browsers allow any language that allows compiling to wasm. (Which, thanks to llvm, is easy.) So all browser APIs must be available to WASM, and in fact you can have JS just compile to WASM too and remove it from the browser. (yay!)

The real problem is that browsers nowadays are feature-creep monsters. Ever since Google tried to steal the power from the W3C, that previously tried to reign in the utter spaghetti code of crap that was HTML 3.2 during the IE 3/4 and NN 3/4 era, by creating the What(TheFuck)WG, to dump their spaghetti code into the "living standard" [insert pictures of The Thing], and dump as many stupid kitchen sinks ("features") in browsers as possible, so nobody else can keep up, so everyone else dies and they can rule the web.

The web should be a distributed *document*. Period.
For everything else, there's already existing better lower-level interfaces. (Think the many RPC solutions and existing bytecode standards.)

Re:Yet another bytecode... but is it better?

By Misagon • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The big difference is that WebAssembly is for lower-level languages, such as C and C++ (without having to be different like CLR's "Managed C++").
In that way it is more like ANDF than JVM.

I hate that WebAssembly was made to run in web browsers as a way to make faster, bigger web applications when the right way IMHO would have been the opposite: to use Javascript only for added value, not even being a requirement that is was enabled.

But for servers and desktop programs, something like ANDF to get traction is long overdue IMHO.
I disagree with many of the design choices though, such as how things are mapped into the single address space, how the vector/SIMD extensions are too much of a subset of a bad example and how it does not natively support all of Rust's data types.
But WebAssembly is still very young, so things could change.

BTW. My favourite machine languages are 68020, A64 and The Mill variants.

Samsung Lost More than $268 Million During Power Shutdown in Texas

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
The Austin-American Statesman reports that Samsung " lost at least $268 million due to damaged products after its semiconductor fabrication plant in Austin was shutdown during the February's Texas freeze, according to the company." Samsung executives said the company's semiconductor business saw profits fall in the first quarter, mainly due to disruptions and product losses caused by the shutdown. Samsung's Austin fab was offline for more than a month after it was shut down due to power outages during the freeze... About 71,000 wafers were affected by production disruptions, said Han Jinman, executive vice-president of Samsung's memory chip business. He estimated the wafer loss is equivalent to $268 million to $357 million.

Semiconductor fabs are typically operational 24 hours a day for years on end. Each batch of wafers — a thin slice of semiconductor used for the fabrication of integrated circuits — can take 45 to 60 days to make, so a shutdown of any length can mean a loss of weeks of work. Restoring a fab is also a complicated process, and even in the best of circumstances can take a week... NXP Semiconductors was also among the facilities that were shut down in February, as its two Austin fabrication facilities were offline for nearly a month. In March, the company estimated the shutdown would result in a $100 million loss in revenue and a month of wafer production...

Jinman said Samsung is working with the state, municipal government and local utility companies to find solutions to prevent similar shutdowns in the future.

Re:Risk analysis

By cusco • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It's risk analysis as done by executives. "If we spend money to winterize it will reduce profits and lower my stock value for 5-6 years. Storms like this only occur every decade or so, and I'll leave to go loot some other company within 7-8 years. There's no upside to me to winterize, so we'll take the winterization subsidy and spend it on stock buybacks."

Risk analysis as done by power engineers or insurance analysts would have called for winterizing the grid before it happened the previous time in 2011. Samsung and NXP should probably pay for either winterizing the portion of the grid they use, or for connecting to the national grid, since the gods know the Texas power companies won't do it on their own.

Re:Needs a UPS

By cusco • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I wonder if it would have cost less than $350 million to connect their fabs to the national grid instead of relying on a Third World government to make the power companies fix theirs.

Re:Needs a UPS

By Registered Coward v2 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Big business in TX managed to twist the "you WILL winterize the grid" into "we STRONGLY SUGGEST you winterize the grid" by pulling the teeth out of the regulators. Because TEXAS we want our independence! (independence to continue to be idiots, apparently?)

So the recommendations were ignored. And then SURPRISE it happens again. And AGAIN "no one could have imagined this would have happened!"

Idiots that fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it. Sometimes I wonder if that club's headquarters is in TX.

I don't know but they certainly have a very large chapter of the club.

"Independence" is a two-part thing. First part is isolating yourself, check, you got that. Second part is being able to take care of yourself. If you can't do the latter, trust me, don't do the former.

Funny how all the "independent" Texans that want the guvment are lining up for Federal aid. The Feds should have told them to drop dead, but they were already doing that anyway...

Re:Needs a UPS

By JeffOwl • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
The grid isn't any worse than what we had out on the west coast. At least here the grid doesn't periodically set the state on fire. A few years ago I was transferred by my company to our Texas location, our largest. Our company never lost power during the "disaster" until out power company called us and said "Hey, we are having some issues right now, ERCOT is telling us to shed load, can we shut you down for a day? We'll make it up to you." And they did. We agreed to let them cut our power with 6 hours notice so we could do an orderly shut down of some critical infrastructure. We were without (external) power for 24 hours and, doing the math, essentially got the next month of power for free in exchange. Financially, we actually came out ahead. But then we have a contract that "guarantees" a level of service and specifies under what conditions they can intentionally cut our power. I guess Samsung didn't think that was necessary, or they thought getting the "cheap" rate was worth the risk of being low priority to the power companies. As a side note, because of the criticality of our work, we have two independent feeds coming from different directions, so a tornado taking out a big tower isn't a problem unless it is close enough that we are going to take physical damage anyway.

Re:Needs a UPS

By Freischutz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

No, a backup supply could be achieved by connecting Texas' grid to the other grids.

This is a political issue: the reason Texas' grid is not connected to the other grids is to avoid federal regulation.

Texas' politics and politicians caused this problem.

That is true, and connecting the Texas grid to other grids would be a good idea but it would also not be necessary if Texas regulations mandated proper weather proofing which is precisely what they are trying to avoid by not hooking up to the federal grid. If Texas wants to become some kind of high-tech hub it has to get used to the idea that squeezing a few more pennies out of the electricity grid through de-regulation is not going to be worth much in the long term if it causes month long electricity outages. On the other hand, if I was Samsung, I'd not build any kind of facility in Texas that relies on an un-interrupted electricity supply including this new chip fab:

California's Power Grid Hits 95% Renewable Energy. Sort of.

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Something remarkable happened last weekend, according to a climate change newsletter by the Los Angeles Times.

California, the world's fifth-largest economy, hit nearly 95% renewable energy. Sort of... There are several caveats. For one thing, Saturday's 94.5% figure — a record, as confirmed to me by the California Independent System Operator — was fleeting, lasting just four seconds. It was specific to the state's main power grid, which covers four-fifths of California but doesn't include Los Angeles, Sacramento and several other regions. It came at a time of year defined by abundant sunshine and relatively cool weather, meaning it's easier for renewable power to do the job traditionally done by fossil fuels.

And fossil fuels actually were doing part of the job — more than the 94.5% figure might suggest. California was producing enough clean power to supply nearly 95% of its in-state needs, but it was also burning a bunch of natural gas and exporting electricity to its Western neighbors. It's impossible to say exactly how much of the Golden State's own supply was coming from renewables.

That said, what happened on Saturday is definitely a big deal.... The 94.5% record may have been fleeting, but it wasn't some isolated spike. Most of Saturday afternoon, the renewables number topped 90%, with solar and wind farms doing the bulk of the work and geothermal, biomass and hydropower facilities making smaller contributions. Add in the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant — which isn't counted toward California's renewables mandate — and there was enough climate-friendly power at times Saturday to account for more than 100% of the state's electricity needs...

The important thing now is making sure the puzzle pieces of the grid fit together on hot summer evenings, like the ones last August when insufficient supplies after sundown led to rolling blackouts.

Re:There are lies

By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Saying âoeCaliforniaâ(TM)s power grid hits 95% renewable energyâ when it only happened for 4 seconds is like saying a twin turbo v8 car gets 100 miles per gallon because it rolled down a 100 mile hill in neutral and only 1 gallon of gas was used while the engine idled.

Saying "Californiaâ(TM)s power grid hits 95% renewable energy when it only happened for 4 seconds" is like saying a car can do 316.11mph when it only does it for a few seconds to prove a point. Which it can, and it did. Just like California's grid hit 95% renewables.

If they were trying to say "California now runs on 95% renewable power" because it happened for four seconds that would be a lie. But this is merely proper use of language which has confused you.

Re:There are lies

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The grid hit 95% renewable energy and didn't collapse or explode as predicted. Somehow it managed to balance those sources and react to both changing demand and supply without issue.

Because like Germany's grid, California's grid allows it to share power with nearby states. California can draw from Washington's dams in summer and Arizona nuclear in the winter. And like Germany, it uses natural gas as a backup source.

Re: The Next Step

By Uecker • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Currently Germany has 200% of its electricity production in renewables (nameplate capacity). You can look at how much annually it takes from those, and how instead they had nuclear replaced by coal.

Electricity production 2010 vs 2019 in Germany :
coal: 134,2 TWh vs 105 TWh
lignite: 107 TWh vs 52 TWh
nuclear: 133 TWh vs 71 TWh
gas: 86 TWh vs 87 TWh
renewables: 101 TWh vs. 234 TWh

Re: California is the world's fifth-largest econo

By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Liar or fool?

As it turns out, you are a fool. Try research, it helps.

Re:There are lies

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Germany is an interesting example. They reduced their carbon emissions by 35% and need to do another 20% to hit their goal of a 55% reduction by 2030. So clearly their plan is working, and yes that does include emissions in other countries when they import energy from them.

Again, this runs contrary to the popular narrative that they are building coal plants or exporting emissions.