the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2021-Jul-22 today archive


  1. Google Turns AlphaFold Loose On the Entire Human Genome
  2. China Plans To Build the World's First Waterless Nuclear Reactor
  3. CIA Director Says He Is Escalating Efforts To Solve 'Havana Syndrome' Mystery
  4. Mercedes-Benz To Go All-Electric By 2030
  5. MITRE Updates List of Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Bugs
  6. Autonomy Founder Mike Lynch Can Be Extradited To US
  7. Leaked Intel i9-12900K Benchmark Shows Gains Over the Ryzen 5950X
  8. California Sues Activision Blizzard Over Unequal Pay, Sexual Harassment
  9. Democratic Bill Would Suspend Section 230 Protections When Social Networks Boost Anti-vax Conspiracies
  10. India Considering Phased Roll Out of Central Bank Digital Currency
  11. Google Pushed a One-Character Typo To Production, Bricking Chrome OS Devices
  12. Toronto-area Woman Wants Freedom Mobile To Stop Assigning Her Phone Number To Other People
  13. Google is Starting To Tell You How It Found Search Results
  14. The Inevitable Weaponization of App Data Is Here
  15. TV Networks Want To Yank Nielsen Accreditation
  16. Banks, Brokerages, PSN, the Steam Store, and More Are Down in Massive Internet Outage
  17. AI Firm DeepMind Puts Database of the Building Blocks of Life Online
  18. How TikTok Sees Inside Your Brain
  19. China Weighs Unprecedented Penalty for Didi After US IPO
  20. Pegasus Spyware Seller: Blame Our Customers Not Us For Hacking
  21. Judge Forces US Capitol Rioter To Unlock Laptop Seized By FBI
  22. After Repair, Hubble Captures Images of 'Rarely Observed' Colliding Galaxies
  23. Drones Are Zapping Clouds With Electricity To Create Rain In UAE Project

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

Google Turns AlphaFold Loose On the Entire Human Genome

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Just one week after Google's DeepMind AI group finally described its biology efforts in detail, the company is releasing a paper that explains how it analyzed nearly every protein encoded in the human genome and predicted its likely three-dimensional structure -- a structure that can be critical for understanding disease and designing treatments. In the very near future, all of these structures will be released under a Creative Commons license via the European Bioinformatics Institute, which already hosts a major database of protein structures. In a press conference associated with the paper's release, DeepMind's Demis Hassabis made clear that the company isn't stopping there. In addition to the work described in the paper, the company will release structural predictions for the genomes of 20 major research organisms, from yeast to fruit flies to mice. In total, the database launch will include roughly 350,000 protein structures.
At some point in the near future (possibly by the time you read this), all this data will be available on a dedicated website hosted by the European Bioinformatics Institute, a European Union-funded organization that describes itself in part as follows: "We make the world's public biological data freely available to the scientific community via a range of services and tools." The AlphaFold data will be no exception; once the above link is live, anyone can use it to download information on the human protein of their choice. Or, as mentioned above, the mouse, yeast, or fruit fly version. The 20 organisms that will see their data released are also just a start. DeepMind's Demis Hassabis said that over the next few months, the team will target every gene sequence available in DNA databases. By the time this work is done, over 100 million proteins should have predicted structures. Hassabis wrapped up his part of the announcement by saying, "We think this is the most significant contribution AI has made to science to date." It would be difficult to argue otherwise.
Further reading: Google details its protein-folding software, academics offer an alternative (Ars Technica)

Their results are not on the entire human genome

By Dr. Bombay • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Two fo the largest proteins, titin and nebulin are not represented in their current data set.
Titin is around ~30,000 amino acids and the current database has a small titin-like sequence from
the rat genome. Apparently their method only works with small globular proteins.

Prediction != Ground Truth

By mtippett • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

IIUC, these are high-confidence predictions, but not the ground truth. It's a step up from exhaustive searches that have been used for decades.

It's highly likely to reduce the problem space by an amazing amount, which is awesome, but we're still operating in best-guess situation. They are good guesses though.

Just saying, but...

By Etcetera • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

...can we not have stories titled "Google Turns xyz Loose On the Entire Human Genome" in the future?

It's been a rough 18 months.



By coastwalker • Score: 3 • Thread

The last century was the century of electronics. This century will be one of microbiology and genetics. Though America might be about to get left behind if Rand Paul has his way.

China Plans To Build the World's First Waterless Nuclear Reactor

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
AltMachine shares a report from Interesting Engineering: Government researchers in China unveiled their design for a commercial molten salt nuclear reactor that is expected to be the first in the world to not utilize water for cooling. As the reactor won't need water it can be deployed in desert regions, allowing operators to utilize otherwise desolate spaces in order to provide energy for large populations. The molten salt reactor is powered by liquid thorium instead of uranium. Molten salt reactors are expected to be safer than traditional uranium nuclear reactors, as thorium cools and solidifies quickly in the open air, meaning that a leak would theoretically result in less radiation contamination for the surrounding environment.

China expects to build its first commercial molten salt reactor by 2030, and the country's government has long-term plans to build several of the reactors in the deserts of central and western China. China's new system works by allowing thorium to flow through the reactor, enabling a nuclear chain reaction before transferring the heat to a steam generator outside. The thorium is then returned to the reactor, and the cycle repeats. The concept of a nuclear reactor powered by liquid salt instead of uranium was first devised in the 1940s. However, early experiments struggled to find a solution for problems including the corrosion and cracking of pipes used to transport the molten salts.
The reactor "could generate up to 100MW" of energy and power about 100,000 homes, according to the report. "The reactor itself will only be 10 feet (3 meters) tall and 8 feet (2.5 meters) wide, though the power plant itself will be larger as it incorporates other equipment including steam turbines."

Another use.

By kqc7011 • Score: 3 • Thread
This small plant can easily supply enough energy for a 50 million gallon per day reverse osmosis desalination plant, even in the Middle East where the oceans salinity has the greatest ppm / mg/L. 50 million gallons per day of desalinated water can turn a large sandy area into fairly productive food producing land. The Carlsbad Desalination Plant out of San Diego is said to use 40MW of power to produce 50 million gallons of potable water per day.

This is a military program, at least in part.

By MacMann • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Irrelevant given that they have plenty of desert.

Even if we can assume the desert is effectively infinite the materials and labor available to them is finite.

Aren't you even going to try to make your arguments look valid any more?

Have you considered that this is not a civil nuclear power prototype? 100 MW. Fits within a 3 meter cube. Does not consume water while in operation. I've seen nuclear reactors like this before.

This would not be the first time new military technology was tested out in the public. The entirety of the space program was a way to test nuclear tipped ballistic missiles without announcing that either participant was testing nuclear tipped ballistic missiles. Redstone, Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo were all out in public. (Though Redstone may not have started that way, that was quite clearly an Army weapon program.) The military played a HUGE part in the development of technology because the rockets, life support systems, navigation, communications, and so on developed in going to space all had direct military applications. NASA was on the surface a civilian program dedicated to scientific discovery but that didn't mean that an underlying purpose was not to build better weapons and train people capable of building those weapons in the future.

It is completely plausible that this power plant is a prototype for a power plant suitable for submarines, cruisers, frigates, destroyers, icebreakers, and aircraft carriers. China has been trying to build a navy capable of going toe to toe with the USA for a very long time. That's not going to happen so long as the USA has nuclear powered vessels and China does not.

This could also be China developing a civil nuclear power program. Two things can be true at once. This is the path to larger nuclear power plants for civilian use, and a path to a military advantage at sea. If China does go to war, and it appears that is what they want, then which is more easily defended against bombing? Solar panels out in the open? Or, a nuclear power plant that does not need to be near a large body of water to operate? This doesn't have to be on a ship to be useful.

Very dangerous

By Sqreater • Score: 3 • Thread
Liquid metal or liquid salt reactors are very dangerous and knowing that, that is probably why the Chinese are putting those reactors in the desert and western part of the country. The Soviets had problems with the liquid metal or salt reactors on their submarines and several famous accidents.

Re:So many things wrong with the summary ...

By Maury Markowitz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

> Because molten salt hits the holy grail of "high temperature low pressure".

That holy grail does not exist. Oh, people have been claiming it has for a long time, just like the "real" holy grail, but invariably when they actually built such a reactor the LWRs proved to have better performance.

When all of this started in the 1950s, the US largely chose LWRs. Insert your favorite conspiracy theory as to why, it doesn't make a difference. That's because all the other countries knew the US was going LWR and deliberately chose some other technology for [insert holy grail here].

So for instance, Canada went heavy water because that meant you [holy grail] don't have to enrich fuel, which we all knew was going to be a huge problem by the 1970s. And the UK chose CO2 cooling because [holy grail] it couldn't cause steam explosions and ran hotter which allowed you to have better thermal efficiency. And the French, who had no uranium supply, started a huge breeder program to close their LWR fuel cycle. Even Germany got in, eventually, using helium cooling for even higher efficiency and super-safe fueling.

And then they actually built these things and they all got hammered by two problems.

One was that they all sucked. CANDU, arguably the best of them, requires a much larger reactor vessel if you want to run on non-enriched fuel, and demands large amounts of really expensive D2O, so they simply can't compete economically. Magnox and AGR were even larger, absolutely enormous cores and little to make up for it and have been compared economically to the Concorde and the UK is now building LWRs. The French designs were complete disasters and completely abandoned.

And the other part of the one-two is that none of the problems they meant to solve actually panned out. Fuel reserves grew faster than it was being burned and fresh fuel costs something like 10x less than breeding it. Enrichment, which was indeed a problem, led to people just solving the enrichment problem. And so forth.

Its fascinating to watch the LWR, which is (now) clearly the best design from any economic measure and beat all comers fair and square, is now being denigrated. And not because there's anything wrong with it, I challenge you to provide proof of any *existing* reactor design that will outperform AP1000 by any economic measure, but because even that high-point of engineering design isn't enough.

The nuclear industry has done a perfectly good job of design over the years. These alternatives will do nothing to address the fact that even the cheapest designs are not completive. All the design in the world won't change the fact that the PV industry got cheap by using cast-off equipment from the chip industry which invests about 1/5th as much money as the entire nuclear industry *every year*.

Re: So many things wrong with the summary ...

By RockDoctor • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
On a surface ship, not an issue.

For a submarine intended to operate stealthily, the heat plume they leave in the sea is a major problem for their stealthiness.

CIA Director Says He Is Escalating Efforts To Solve 'Havana Syndrome' Mystery

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
CIA Director William Burns says he has redoubled the agency's efforts to uncover the cause of Havana syndrome -- the mysterious set of ailments that has afflicted more than 200 U.S. officials and family members around the world. NPR reports: That includes the assignment of a senior officer who once led the hunt for Osama bin Laden to lead the investigation and tripling the size of a medical team involved in the probe, Burns told NPR on Thursday in his first sit-down interview since being confirmed as the agency's chief in March. "I am absolutely determined -- and I've spent a great deal of time and energy on this in the four months that I've been CIA director -- to get to the bottom of the question of what and who caused this," Burns said. "We're no longer the only big kid on the geopolitical block, especially with the rise of China. And as you know very well, there's a revolution in technology which is transforming the way we live, work, compete and fight. And so, CIA, like everyone else in the U.S. government, has to take that into account," he said.

Under Burns' direction, the CIA has tripled the number of full-time medical personnel at the agency who are focused on Havana syndrome and has shortened the waiting period for afflicted personnel to be admitted to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. "I'm certainly persuaded that what our officers and some family members, as well as other U.S. government employees, have experienced is real, and it's serious," Burns said. The director says he is seriously considering the "very strong possibility" that the syndrome is the result of intentional actions, adding that there are a limited number of "potential suspects" with the capability to carry out an action so widely across the globe. A report from last December by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that microwave radiation is the "most plausible" explanation for the symptoms.

To head the task force investigating the syndrome, Burns has appointed a veteran officer who helped lead the hunt for Osama bin Laden. The identity of that officer is still undercover, according to The Wall Street Journal. "We're throwing the very best we have at this issue, because it is not only a very serious issue for our colleagues, as it is for others across the U.S. government, but it's a profound obligation, I think, of any leader to take care of your people," Burns said.
The syndrome first appeared in 2016 at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, where more than 40 diplomats complained of symptoms such as migraines, dizziness, and memory loss. Dozens more cases have been reported in the years since.

Last week, about two dozen U.S. intelligence officers, diplomats, and other government officials in Vienna have reported experiencing mysterious afflictions similar to the Havana Syndrome." The Biden administration is "vigorously investigating" the reports, but the causes of the syndrome still remain unclear.

Microwave radiation

By PPH • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Not likely. Microwave radiation at levels sufficient to produce neurological effects are pretty easy to detect. In a few cases, old school police radar detectors (very broad band and not tuned to scan only police radar frequencies) have been known to alert to high end military radar. It wouldn't take much more sophisticated technology to alert people that 'something' was there. Likewise, ultrasound is pretty easy to detect at significant energy levels.

The best bet for the Havana Syndrome is neurotoxic pesticides of the type used to combat Zika virus carrying mosquitos. Possibly aggravated by some of the inoculations that travelers like embassy personnel are likely to receive.

Re:I suspect it's part of the infrastructure

By belmolis • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
If the problem were due to new security measures in US embassies, it should be found in all of the more recently built or renovated embassies and not in older facilities. That seems not to be the case. To my knowledge Havana syndrome has not been reported from the new embassy in Jerusalem or from the embassy built in 2017 in London. On the other hand, cases have been reported in older embassies, and even in some places that are not US diplomatic facilities at all, such as the Intercontinental London Park Lane hotel.

Maybe it's aliens

By ayesnymous • Score: 3, Funny • Thread
just throwing that out there

âoeHavanaâ Syndrome?

By Dave Knott • Score: 3 • Thread
Doctors and scientists are now supposed to avoid naming diseases geographically, in order to avoid possible prejudice (e.g. âoeDeltaâ COVID-19 variant, instead of âoeIndianâoe variant). I guess that only applies when the country in question is not already the subject of US prejudice.

Re:I suspect it's part of the infrastructure

By cusco • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

You're almost certainly right, and this has been known for quite some time. They're spooks though, so would much prefer to believe that they're under attach than that their equipment is fucking up.

Researchers say bad engineering, not a deliberate attack, may be to blame

Intermodulation distortion occurs when two signals having different frequencies combine to produce synthetic signals at the difference, sum, or multiples of the original frequencies.

From my comment towards the bottom of the thread:
Working in physical security I've seen a similar issue with glass break detectors, which alarm on detection of a specific frequency common to breaking window glass.

On the Coast Guard base we had a glass break detector that went off at irregular intervals for no reason that we could find. After replacing the unit twice the tech was on top of the ladder and heard an odd high-pitched noise just as the newly-replaced detector went off. No one else in the room heard it. Some interaction of multiple pieces of equipment in the room and the HVAC system focused the sound at that point. We moved our device two meters to one side and the false alarms went away.

Mercedes-Benz To Go All-Electric By 2030

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler plans to invest more than 40 billion euros, or $47 billion, between 2022 and 2030 to develop battery-electric vehicles, and be ready for an all-electric car market by 2030. NBC News reports: Outlining its strategy for an electric future, the German luxury carmaker said on Thursday it would, with partners, build eight battery plants as it ramps up EV production, and that from 2025 all new vehicle platforms would only make electric cars. "We really want to go for it ... and be dominantly, if not all electric, by the end of the decade," Chief Executive Ola Kallenius told Reuters, adding that spending on traditional combustion-engine technology would be "close to zero" by 2025. However, Daimler stopped short of giving a hard deadline for ending sales of fossil-fuel cars.

Daimler said that as of 2025, it expects electric and hybrid electric cars to make up 50 percent of sales, earlier than its previous forecast that this would happen by 2030. The carmaker will unveil three electric platforms -- one to cover its range of passenger cars and SUVs, one for vans and one for high-performance vehicles -- that will be launched in 2025. Four of its new battery plants will be in Europe and one in the United States. Daimler said it would announce new European partners for its battery production plans soon.

Re:Shouldn't they release a good electric car firs

By timeOday • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Forget the fact that we don't have a nationwide charging standard

Well, Germany does, it's called LadensÃulenverordnung

In a related story...

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 3 • Thread

Bayerische Motoren Werke announced today that it is developing a new BMW model that has turn signals.

Re:ICE is not the problem, its the fuel source

By shilly • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

ICE would still be a problem even if it were carbon neutral. You still have tailpipe emissions in populated areas, noise, vibration, and nasty smells. On top of that, the driving experience is still worse than EVs: weaker acceleration, jerkier ride (especially acceleration). And you can't routinely refuel at home.

Re:Shouldn't they release a good electric car firs

By shilly • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Reviews of the EQS have been universally positive. The obvious strategy for this EV was to see if they could build something that would live up to the S class brand, using a dedicated EV platform, and if they could do that, the rest of the range would be relatively easier. And the strategy appears to have paid off.

Re:Shouldn't they release a good electric car firs

By Smidge204 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

> Forget the fact that we don't have a nationwide charging standard or reasonably priced lithium ion battery packs for a moment...

SAE 1772-2017 (Type 2 in Europe, Type 1 everywhere else) + CCS. Good for up to 350kw (more than Tesla's 250kw supercharger, and way more than any EV currently on the market can use)

There's a handful of ChaDeMo stations out there in the US, which is a Japanese standard for fast charging used by the Nissan Leaf and one or two others that are no longer manufactured, but those stations were among the first modern stations installed in the country. Tesla is the odd man out. Doesn't mean there isn't a standard - Tesla just doesn't use it.


MITRE Updates List of Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Bugs

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer: MITRE has shared this year's top 25 list of most common and dangerous weaknesses plaguing software throughout the previous two years. MITRE developed the top 25 list using Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) data from 2019 and 2020 obtained from the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) (roughly 27,000 CVEs). "A scoring formula is used to calculate a ranked order of weaknesses that combines the frequency that a CWE is the root cause of a vulnerability with the projected severity of its exploitation," MITRE explained. "This approach provides an objective look at what vulnerabilities are currently seen in the real world, creates a foundation of analytical rigor built on publicly reported vulnerabilities instead of subjective surveys and opinions, and makes the process easily repeatable."

MITRE's 2021 top 25 bugs are dangerous because they are usually easy to discover, have a high impact, and are prevalent in software released during the last two years. They can also be abused by attackers to potentially take complete control of vulnerable systems, steal targets' sensitive data, or trigger a denial-of-service (DoS) following successful exploitation. The list [here] provides insight to the community at large into the most critical and current software security weaknesses.

Re:Most dangerous obviousness

By MavEtJu • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Software development is like the September that never ended: You keep getting new people every year who don't have the defensive part of programming in their mindset.

Re:Today's Internet is a joke.

By Entrope • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Remember when Conan talked cybersecurity a few years ago?

I am disappointed. I was looking forward to an interview like this:

"Governator, what is best in life?"

"To crush your enemies' stack, see their remote shell before you, and to hear the lamentation of their overflowed buffers!"

Saw a bunch of those today

By raymorris • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I went through some code today and found about 40 security issues. This list covers them.

This list actually isn't the worst things you can do.
The score is how *commonly* these errors are made, multiplied by how severe they are.

Re:Most dangerous obviousness

By Tony Isaac • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You obviously have a higher standard of quality than most developers I've interviewed. In my interviews, I always ask the candidate to describe how to perform a SQL Injection attack and how to protect against it. Most, including "senior" developers, have no idea. And most of those who have an idea what it is, don't know precisely how to thwart it (parameterized queries) or why it is an effective technique.

Autonomy Founder Mike Lynch Can Be Extradited To US

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The founder of UK software firm Autonomy can be extradited to the US to face charges of conspiracy and fraud, a London court has said. The BBC reports: Mike Lynch sold Autonomy to US computer giant Hewlett Packard (HP) for $11 billion in 2011. He denies allegations that he fraudulently inflated the value of Autonomy before the sale. Dr Lynch has been facing civil charges at the High Court in London, where HP is suing him for damages over the deal. But separately, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) is pursuing criminal charges against him. Judge Michael Snow said he would deliver his ruling in that action without awaiting the civil verdict, saying it was "of limited significance in the case." Dr Lynch was released on bail by the judge in London.

Dr Lynch told BBC Radio 4's Today program that the decision was not unexpected, because of the terms of the extradition treaty the UK has with the US. "We have this imbalance and this default extradition treaty which can be used [in] any dispute that's going on with American companies and their interests." "The insanity of this extradition treaty [is that] it doesn't rely on any facts," he suggested. Dr Lynch added that he felt the extradition treaty was "imbalanced" and that the British public did not realize that the US justice system works entirely differently to the UK's. He said it was "particularly egregious" that the DoJ was not waiting to see the full judgement from the UK High Court, which will be due in nine weeks' time.

He claimed his former chief financial officer Sushovan Hussain, who was jailed for five years in 2019, did not receive a fair trial. Dr Lynch said no defense witnesses turned up to Mr Hussain's trial because they were told they would be arrested if they entered the US. His lawyer Mr Morvillo said:"At the request of the US Department of Justice, the court has ruled that a British citizen who ran a British company listed on the London Stock Exchange should be extradited to America over allegations about his conduct in the UK. "We say this case belongs in the UK. If the home secretary nonetheless decides to order extradition, Dr Lynch intends to appeal."


By evanh • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Seems to me like Dr Lynch does have his facts straight. The accusations HP is bringing are a UK matter to be resolved in UK courts. The US shouldn't be involved.

And he's pointing out how the existing extradition treaty between UK and US allows easy abuse by US entities.

Autonomy's accountants punished in UK

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Informative • Thread
The British accounting profession fined Autonomy's accounting firm and two individual accountants - and kicked one accountant out of the profession for five years. From The Register 17 Sep 2020: Deloitte has been fined £15m by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) for “serious and serial failures” in its auditing of British software company Autonomy prior to the latter’s acquisition by HP for $11bn. The FRC not only fined the audit company £15m but also penalised senior audit partner Richard Knights half a million pounds, suspending him from membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales for five years. He had worked on Autonomy’s accounts between 2005 and 2010. Knights’ fellow auditor, Nigel Mercer, who took over from Knights in 2010 as “audit engagement partner”, was fined £250,000 and received a severe reprimand. Deloitte must also pay £5m in legal costs claimed by the FRC’s executive counsel.


By thegarbz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Seems to me like Dr Lynch does have his facts straight. The accusations HP is bringing are a UK matter to be resolved in UK courts. The US shouldn't be involved.

Civil cases and criminal cases have nothing to do with each other. The US is always involved in any investigation of fraud involving the acquisition by a US company. It's like if I sell you a highly volatile chemical that explodes and kills you when you open it, the excuse "well I'm in the UK so the US doesn't have any business bringing a murder charge against me" won't really fly.

And he's pointing out how the existing extradition treaty between UK and US allows easy abuse by US entities.

Nope, he's appealing to the court of public opinion. The UK extradition treaty relies on proving that there's reasonable suspicion of a crime having been committed and that this crime is also a crime in the other jurisdiction. I.e. if he'd had sold his business to ARM instead of the HP he'd be facing the UK criminal justice system instead.

Gotta hand it to him, he's won you over.


By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

There is a problem with the UK-US extradition treaty. Usually for extradition to happen it has to be a crime in the home country and there has to be a trial to establish if the evidence meets a minimum standard. That's not the case with this treaty.

He has a fair point about not getting a fair trial too. By UK standards the US system is not fair, it's too influenced by money (good layers are very expensive) and the ability to select jury members is an issue. Conditions in US prisons often result in human rights violations too.

The inability to call witnesses is a big one. In the UK courts can use video links if the person cannot attend, and often do when people are abroad. In fact it's hard to see why this entire trial could not be conducted via video link with him in the UK on bail.


By JasterBobaMereel • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigated the deal in 2013, before dropping the case two years later because of "insufficient evidence".

Leaked Intel i9-12900K Benchmark Shows Gains Over the Ryzen 5950X

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
UnknowingFool writes: An engineering sample of Intel's next flagship processor, the i9-12900K, was shown to beat AMD's current flagship 5950X in Cinebench R20 by 18% in multi-core and 28% in single-core tests. The next generation of Intel processors is believed to use a hybrid big.LITTLE design where 8 of its 16 cores are for low power usage and 8 are for full power. The low power cores only run in single thread where the high power cores can run 2 threads. No official word on pricing or release date from Intel though but engineering samples and B600 motherboards are being sold in China for $1,250 and $1,150, respectively. According to leaker OneRaichu, the results for the 12900K were gathered using water-cooling and without overclocking, so it's possible the final score could be even higher. The rumors suggest the processor will come with 16 cores and 24 threads with a boost clock speed of up to 5.3GHz.

Not even released yet...

By sidekick2 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
And only vulnerable to 4 critical CVEs. I'm joking, I'm joking.... it's 6. :)

"leaked" benchmarks of cherry-picked samples

By wgoodman • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This is a pr move, nothing else. Intel does this all the time to try to stay relevant. They picked the best of the best and used it on whatever synthetic benchmarks make it look best against a processor that's almost a year old.

Alder Lake is 10nm

By Solandri • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
This is manufactured on Intel's 10 nm process, with a density of 100.8 million transistors per mm^2. That's competitive with TSMC's 7FF process that AMD is currently using (96.5 MT/mm^2). So this is a pretty apples-to-apples comparison of Alder Lake vs Zen 3. And falls in line with my theory that there's really not much speed/power difference between the different companies' architectures, and most of the performance differences we're seeing are due to manufacturing process size. Intel's 14nm process was 37.5 MT/mm^2, which was a massive disadvantage.

AMD opted not to pay for TSMC's 5nm process (173 MT/mm^2) for Zen 3, which is what Apple's processors are being manufactured on. That's a big enough gap with Intel's 10nm that AMD probably could've left Intel in the dust had they chosen to pay TSMC more (Apple is only expected to take half of TSMC's 5nm capacity this year). Likewise, Intel could leapfrog AMD and possibly even Apple by paying TSMC to use their 5nm process. (And if you want more fun things to think about, TSMC's 3nm process is supposed to be about 250 MT/mm^2, Intel's 7nm process is estimated to come in between 200-250 MT/mm^2.)

If you go back the last 30 years, you see that Intel always had an advantage in manufacturing process density. It wasn't that their processors were better. They simply could build them smaller (and thus faster and using less power). Up until a few years ago when they stumbled and ran into problems rolling out their 10nm process.

Re:"leaked" benchmarks of cherry-picked samples

By willy_me • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

From the article:

The Core i9-12900K is rated with a 125W PL1 and 228W PL2.

And they also mention it is not overclocked and that power requirements are about the same, or a little bit less, then the current i9.

So yes it uses lots of power but that will be with all cores active. If it is just a single core then power consumption should be reasonable. And it sounds like that single threaded performance could be quite good.

Re:Alder Lake is 10nm

By alvinrod • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
AMD is using TSMC’s 5nm process, just not for their current parts. The Ryzen 6000 series using Zen 4 will be fabricated on TSMC 5nm and likely regain the top position for that reason alone, but there will certainly be some architectural improvements as well if that weren’t enough for whatever reason.

AMD is already having difficulties keeping the market supplied as is with manufacturing being done on the 7nm process node from TSMC which has significantly more wafers available. It also doesn’t have a company (Apple) that probably makes more revenue in certain weeks than AMD does all year bidding against them for those limited wafers either.

California Sues Activision Blizzard Over Unequal Pay, Sexual Harassment

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: The video game studio behind the hit franchises Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush is facing a civil lawsuit in California over allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and potential violations of the state's equal pay law. A complaint, filed by the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing on Wednesday, alleges that Activision Blizzard Inc. "fostered a sexist culture" where women were paid less than men and subjected to ongoing sexual harassment including groping. (Activision and Blizzard Entertainment merged in 2008.)

Officials at the gaming company knew about the harassment and not only failed to stop it but retaliated against women who spoke up, the complaint also alleges. Years after the online harassment campaign known as Gamergate targeted women in the video game world, the California lawsuit depicts an industry that can still be unwelcoming and even hostile to female employees. "All employers should ensure that their employees are being paid equally and take all steps to prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation," said DFEH Director Kevin Kish. "This is especially important for employers in male-dominated industries, such as technology and gaming."

The lawsuit alleges that Activision Blizzard's female workers who spoke to investigators "almost universally confirmed" that their time at the company was "akin to working in a frat house." Male employees drank on the job and came to work hungover, the lawsuit said. The alleged sexual harassment ranged from comments about women's bodies and jokes about rape to the unwanted touching of female employees by their male peers. The complaint, which was the result of a two-year investigation by DFEH, claims that the unequal treatment of women went beyond company culture to the more formal parts of their jobs. Women were allegedly paid less than men, both when they were hired and during the course of their employment. They were also assigned to lower-level positions and passed over for promotions, despite doing more work than their male peers in some cases, according to the lawsuit. One woman said her manager told her she wouldn't be promoted because "she might get pregnant and like being a mom too much." The sex discrimination was even worse for women of color, the suit claims. At least two African-American women reported being singled out and micromanaged. Some of the women who came forward with complaints of discrimination or harassment faced involuntary transfers, were selected for layoffs or were denied certain opportunities, the suit said.
In a statement, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said the company had worked to improve its company culture in recent years and accused the DFEH of not adequately trying to resolve the claims against it before resorting to a lawsuit.

"The DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard's past," the statement read. "The picture the DFEH paints is not the Blizzard workplace of today."

In response to the company's rebuttal, former Blizzard Entertainment employee Cher Scarlett tweeted: "This is certainly LONG overdue. I would be hard-pressed to find someone that wasn't witness to sex in the game lounges, coke in the bathrooms during a cube crawl, or a woman who wasn't sexually harassed at least once. I am so proud of these women." Scarlett added: "Blizzard has claimed that the DFEH report is false/misleading/irresponsible. I can tell you that I knew what was going to be in this report before I read it because during my time there - for only a YEAR - I witnessed ALL OF THESE THINGS. AND NAME NAMES."

Why don't the wimmin

By Tokolosh • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

Start their own gaming business? They will mop the floor with Activision. They will be more creative, more efficient, lower payroll and culturally acceptable.

Then they can do a hostile takeover and put the frat boys in their place!

Let's back this up a second.

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

When I'm hearing things from a community that thinks that the "dickwolves" comic is a "rape joke," I have difficulty determining what exactly a rape joke is, or what specifically is wrong with it. A joke that was targeted against women, and laughing about women being raped -- ok, I understand taking offense to that. But I think the Dickwolves controversy was over the top.

I have been in favor of equality in the workplace for a long time. Women should not be discriminated against, for being women -- passed up for promotion, or any such thing. That said, if a woman does intend to get pregnant, then that seems to me like a reasonable consideration -- no different than if I say, "Hey, I intend to take off Q2" -- that's going to have an impact on how I'm evaluated. Even more so if I say, "I'm not sure about my life. I think I'm going to move to India for a couple months, join a cult, and see how it goes. I may or may not come back." A company could absolutely pass me up from a promotion for saying such a thing -- I wouldn't envision it any differently.

But now going further -- I don't see what specifically is wrong with a "frat-house-like" work culture, and I think it'd be sad if there were no such places. I'm sure that there are workplaces that feel like sorority houses, as well -- I wouldn't want to see those lost as well, either. (Perhaps a nail salon or something.) I think that women who are sensitive to a frat-house like work culture environment just shouldn't work there, -- and I don't exactly see men lining up to work in the nail salons, either.

All in all, I'm in favor of a multi-cultural society, and trying to make all cultures look and work the same, doesn't work for me, and I don't think it's going to work for others, either. If people want to create a company but don't like a particular culture, -- why can't they create a different culture, perhaps even an objectively superior culture, in a different company?

I'm liking less and less the idea that the state is going to regulate culture- in home, school, or workplace.

Posting anonymously, because I don't want to get fired from anywhere.

Not mentioned in the article

By quonset • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

While NPR generally does a good job of covering a story, they botched this one. One woman at Blizzard committed suicide "during a business trip with a male supervisor who had brought butt plugs and lubricant with him." This same woman was harassed by other coworkers who shared a nude photo of her at party.

As the first article relates:

"Male employees proudly come into work hungover, play video games for long periods of time during work while delegating their responsibilities to female employees, engage in banter about their sexual encounters, talk openly about female bodies, and joke about rape."

The second article had this comment from someone who worked there:

“I was there from 2015 to 2016, and it was as bad as described in the documents then,” Cher Scarlett, a former software engineer for Activision Blizzard’s, told Yahoo Finance.

But let's go to the comments and hear what the experts have to say.

Re:Why don't the wimmin

By Dutch Gun • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Not all game companies are like that. In fact, I'd argue *most* game companies aren't like that, or certainly none I've worked at (20+ years game industry experience). My current employer is very emphatic about creating a friendly and welcoming workplace for everyone. Not just lip service either, as far as I've seen. No frat boy mentality.

Here's a hint: don't believe the companies that shout out how enlightened they are for all the world to see. Most of the companies who treat their people well simply try to make good games, and aren't interested in scoring additional PR points. It's actually hard for me to imagine working at a company that allows, or at least covers up, *physical groping* of female employees, along with the other allegations. Christ...

We're also seeing game developers grow older, and hopefully a bit more mature. More of my colleagues are married, have children, and we'll probably even see more with grandchildren at some point. I'm not the only dev around with several decades of experience, and many devs like me are far less likely to put up with abusive nonsense.

If this holds up in court, I don't mind seeing Activision-Blizzard get hammered for this. It'll make the industry better as a whole by signalling that sort of crap just can't happen.

Re:Why don't the wimmin

By Luke has no name • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Man, you really come off as a sack of shit. Did you read the complaint? Did you see the allegations of sexual harassment and straight-up propositioning from superiors?

You either didn't, or you're enough of a jackass to read it and *still* think it's a joke, or that somehow women aren't capable of writing or designing games, or that women don't like games as-is, or that any of your goddamned stupid comments have anything to do with the article.

Democratic Bill Would Suspend Section 230 Protections When Social Networks Boost Anti-vax Conspiracies

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Two Democratic senators introduced a bill Thursday that would strip away the liability shield that social media platforms hold dear when those companies are found to have boosted anti-vaccine conspiracies and other kinds of health misinformation. From a report: The Health Misinformation Act, introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), would create a new carve-out in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to hold platforms liable for algorithmically-promoted health misinformation and conspiracies. Platforms rely on Section 230 to protect them from legal liability for the vast amount of user-created content they host.

"For far too long, online platforms have not done enough to protect the health of Americans," Klobuchar said. "These are some of the biggest, richest companies in the world and they must do more to prevent the spread of deadly vaccine misinformation." The bill would specifically alter Section 230's language to revoke liability protections in the case of "health misinformation that is created or developed through the interactive computer service" if that misinformation is amplified through an algorithm. The proposed exception would only kick in during a declared national public health crisis, like the advent of Covid-19, and wouldn't apply in normal times.

Woke Dictionary

By davide marney • Score: 3 • Thread

"Misinformation", n. Information I disagree with.

"Disinformation", n. Information I disagree with that also contradicts what I'm trying to say.

A few lawsuits from families of dead would be nice

By clambake • Score: 3 • Thread

When the news suggests vaccines are unsafe based on no evidence and your family member listens to that advice and dies, that should be an open and shut wrongful death suit as surely as that girl who convinced her boyfriend to commit suicide for laughs. This is no different, its a bad actor convincing someone else to hurt themselves for their benefit. That girl was found guilty, so should everyone else peddling garbage as truth.

It's a little bit different

By rsilvergun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
the Republicans are trying to eliminate Section 230 so they can use lawsuits to silence any speech they disagree with (while using their nearly unlimited coffers to defend against any lawsuits that come their way). Basically they want to have the cake and eat it too.

The Dems, being dumb as a blade of grass and more than a little corrupt in their own rights, want to reform S230 so that dangerous lies can be censored and (here's the corrupt part) because their donors would like to kill Section 230 so they seize control of the Internet. FB & Twitter will be able to comply with these laws or pay the fines when they don't. Anyone wanting to compete with them will not.

And yes, there's a few numbskulls on the left who want to kill S230 because they see people getting sick from anti-vaxx lies. I get that. One of my best friends of over 30 years is anti-vaxx and I'm terrified he's going to get sick and die and there's not a damn thing I can do about it (I tried, so did our other, more sensible friends). But these lefties are fools. Just like with Citizens United (which was brought by Unions) they'll be outmaneuvered and taken advantage of.

For fuck's sake leave S230 alone. It's a pillar of the Internet and without it the Internet dies.


By backslashdot • Score: 3 • Thread

I am no anti-vaxxer but you never want the government deciding what is misinformation and what isn't. You may be cool with it now, but if (actually "when," not if) the government shifts they may not like what you say.

Re: Kiss the 1st goodbye

By sabbede • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
That's pretty far from the truth. I'll be kind and say that you fell for the propaganda.

Republicans favor the status quo, Democrats favor change. Democrats tend to lie when promoting changes and frame resistance to their policies or attempts to reverse them as, well, the way you did.

And yes, voter fraud laws (which have overwhelming public support, and even more so among minority communities Dems falsely claim are targeted), are expected to disproportionately impact Democrats, by people who believe Democrats depend on fraud to win. That Democrats are actively trying to pass laws that would make elections less secure, less reliable, and far easier to cheat in, does little to dispel that notion.

India Considering Phased Roll Out of Central Bank Digital Currency

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
India's central bank is considering launching a digital currency, according to a top executive, giving a clear indication of its intentions for the first time after previously stating that it was studying the idea. From a report: T Rabi Sankar, the deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India, said at a conference today that the central bank is considering introducing the nation's digital currency in a "phased" manner while legal changes are made to the South Asian nation's foreign-exchange rules and IT laws. The digital currency, which will be backed by sovereign, will lower the economy's reliance on cash, enable cheaper and smoother international settlements, and protect people from the volatility of privacy cryptocurrencies, he said. "Every idea has to wait for its time, and the time for CBDC [central bank digital currency] is near. We have carefully evaluated the risks," he told an audience at a conference held by think-tank Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.

Beware features of government digital currency

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Government based digital currency is something I think may be worth pushing back on. If you have not been following this, it's been in the works for quite some time now and has these "features" that may be of interest to most Slashdot readers:

1) Can be blocked from making "undesirable" purchases, by person.

2) Can adjust negative interest rate, per person, to force you to spend money before it all evaporates (negative interest rates are a real thing in some banks already).

3) Government will know everything you buy, exactly.

4) Possible geographic restrictions on where currency can be spent (when the unfavorable nation of the week is changed no digital money can be sent there or spent by people there any longer).

You can read more about this, including some benefits, here.

I just don't think any benefits outweigh the horrible cons.

Google Pushed a One-Character Typo To Production, Bricking Chrome OS Devices

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google says it has fixed a major Chrome OS bug that locked users out of their devices. Google's bulletin says that Chrome OS version 91.0.4472.165, which was briefly available this week, renders users unable to log in to their devices, essentially bricking them. From a report: Chrome OS automatically downloads updates and switches to the new version after a reboot, so users who reboot their devices are suddenly locked out them. The go-to advice while this broken update is out there is to not reboot. The bulletin says that a new build, version 91.0.4472.167, is rolling out now to fix the issue, but it could take a "few days" to hit everyone. Users affected by the bad update can either wait for the device to update again or "powerwash" their device -- meaning wipe all the local data -- to get logged in. Chrome OS is primarily cloud-based, so if you're not doing something advanced like running Linux apps, this solution presents less of an inconvenience than it would on other operating systems. Still, some users are complaining about lost data.

Re:Google Beta.

By scamper_22 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

And this one is very weird as well.

Based on my reading, this is a bug that WOULD occur 100% of the time on a BASIC login. This is not some obscure bug somewhere. This would be caught by literal sanity testing of the build as in.

1. Log in
2. Launch an app or two
3. Looks good.

This would fail in Step 1. You can't login.


By Anonymous Coward • Score: 3, Informative • Thread

If you can recover from it it's not bricked


By Waffle Iron • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

If you can recover from it it's not bricked

Well, mine *is* bricked now.

When I saw their instruction to "powerwash" the device, I went ahead and put it on the driveway, then gave it a thorough once-over on all sides with full pressure.

After that, when I tried to power it on, all I got was a wisp of foul-smelling white smoke.

Re:Google Beta.

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

My guess would be that someone pushed a change at the last minute when they shouldn't have, but it must have been someone with the credentials to do that.


By The MAZZTer • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Google has extensive automatic and manual testing for Chrome. Even the alpha (dev) channel builds have been solid enough to use as a daily driver pretty much for the entire lifetime of Chrome with a few builds here and there as exceptions. I assume they have similar testing for Chrome OS. My guess is someone made "a quick fix" and bypassed this testing to get it into the next release on time.

Toronto-area Woman Wants Freedom Mobile To Stop Assigning Her Phone Number To Other People

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter Goatbot writes: Another day another telco failure. Freedom Mobile repeatedly reassigned a customer's phone number. From the report: A Toronto-area woman says Freedom Mobile is still assigning her cell number to other people, even though she took the number with her when she moved to a new provider last year. Tsahai Carter, 22, made the switch last August. Since then, she says, on three separate occasions she's received phone calls and text messages intended for other people who'd been assigned the same number by Freedom Mobile. Carter, who lives north of Toronto in Markham, Ont., has also fielded phone calls from frustrated customers, wondering why someone else is getting their calls and messages. "They're getting mad at me for taking over their phone number, when really I had nothing to do with it," said Carter. "So it's a bit stressful." This isn't the first time Freedom Mobile customers have complained about a mix-up in phone numbers. In 2019, CBC reported on another customer who'd been given a number by Freedom Mobile that was still in use by someone else: a man who'd ported the number with him when he moved from Freedom to Fido.

Is this really newsworthy?

By CastrTroy • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Is this really newsworthy?

Seems like something you would read on you local news website, but definitely doesn't seem like it fits on a site with a global audience like Slashdot.

Telecom needs to update its infrastructure.

By jellomizer • Score: 3 • Thread

There are way too many things that shouldn't happen with our telecom services today. But the Telecos just wave their hands and say there isn't anything we can do about it.

Oh look anyone can fake caller ID, and we cannot possibly track back the caller... However they do know who to send the phone bill too, as well to route the call so both people can communicate with each other.

People with duplicate phone numbers, most modern databases have a feature that forces unique entries... USE IT!!

For those without unlimited plans, why does Texting cost so much, while messaging over your data plan is much cheaper.

The Telco industry really needs a kick in butt. Without politicians coming to their aid.

We don't care. We're the phone company.

By Mal-2 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Re:Is this really newsworthy?

By AleRunner • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Is this really newsworthy?

Seems like something you would read on you local news website, but definitely doesn't seem like it fits on a site with a global audience like Slashdot.

This is not a normal news site. This is "news for nerds". That someone managed to do such a completely fucked up implementation of number portability, something I've worked on, is honestly interesting news to me. If you think about it's kind of obvious this is would happen. Normal procedure when your customer leaves is to de-allocate their number and anyone who knows the basics of number handling should know that. That would be a basic requirement for implementing number portability. That people who have no clue about this are in charge of nationally important infrastructure, which cellphones are, should be important news for everyone. When America can't do basic telecoms any more that is real "end of times stuff".

If this doesn't excite you then please find yourself a New York Times subscription. I'm sure they won't report this.

Google is Starting To Tell You How It Found Search Results

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Alphabet's Google will now show its search engine users more information about why it found the results they are shown, the company said on Thursday. From a report: It said people googling queries will now be able to click into details such as how their result matched certain search terms, in order to better decide if the information is relevant.

Remove all results related to ...

By RitchCraft • Score: 3 • Thread
... eBay, Amazon, and Wal-mart then you *might* get something relevant to your search. I'm tired of having to add -ebay -amazon and -walmart to all my searches.

I'd really like to know.

By Geoffrey.landis • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Many times I'd really like to know how they picked the pages they send me to.

Specifically, sometimes I'd like to know "why in the world did you sent me to a page that doesn't actually contain the term I was searching for or anything remotely like it?"

Re:I'd really like to know.

By ArchieBunker • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Google shows you what is popular, not what is accurate. Even wrapping quotes around words doesn’t guarantee you’ll get them.

The Inevitable Weaponization of App Data Is Here

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
After years of warning from researchers, journalists, and even governments, someone used highly sensitive location data from a smartphone app to track and publicly harass a specific person. From a report: In this case, Catholic Substack publication The Pillar said it used location data ultimately tied to Grindr to trace the movements of a priest, and then outed him publicly as potentially gay without his consent. The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the outing led to his resignation.

The news starkly demonstrates not only the inherent power of location data, but how the chance to wield that power has trickled down from corporations and intelligence agencies to essentially any sort of disgruntled, unscrupulous, or dangerous individual. A growing market of data brokers that collect and sell data from countless apps has made it so that anyone with a bit of cash and effort can figure out which phone in a so-called anonymized dataset belongs to a target, and abuse that information. "Experts have warned for years that data collected by advertising companies from Americans' phones could be used to track them and reveal the most personal details of their lives. Unfortunately, they were right," Senator Ron Wyden told Motherboard in a statement, responding to the incident

Re:Thanks google and apple

By cusco • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It just astounds me that people don't turn off Location almost all the time. If some app insists on Location access I'll turn it on until it finishes installing, and then turn it off again. I've only run into one app that wouldn't work with it off (although a number of them complain about it), and I uninstalled it immediately.

Re:Thanks google and apple

By ThurstonMoore • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I'm guessing you don't use an iPhone. We have the option of never, always or ask each time the app is opened. Thank you Apple.

Re:Thanks google and apple

By ctilsie242 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

On Android, you can fake your location, both in the developer settings, as well as with third party GPS spoofing apps that can do things like have one move around a small area, create a fake trip, and so on.

Wish something like XPrivacy was still around and updated. It was an extremely useful tool for granting apps permission to stuff that they demanded, but ensuring that what they obtained was worthless, such as a basic fleshlight app that wants full access to phone logs, GPS, contacts, photos, music, as well as the mic and camera. It would be able to get all that... but the mic would just get static, camera a black image, music was random jumbles of characters, and photos was just some stock stuff. If apps wants so many permissions, they can have them, with things like this.

Just wait until your employer/wife gets this info

By Somervillain • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The Pillar said it used location data ultimately tied to Grindr to trace the movements of a priest...

Replace "Grindr" with "Starbucks" and this isn't even a reportable story, and the data is hardly weaponized.

If you're a priest using the Grindr app, you have much larger privacy concerns to be worried about, or you're practically trying to get caught.

The priest, weaponized himself.

OK, you have no sympathy for the priest, but what if this was your employer...oh, you stopped by at a rival office for a job interview? you suddenly find yourself taken off all major projects, if not laid off. Oh, you said you had a "doctor's appointment," but we see you were actually at your house...or at a movie theater. What if that was used as a cause of dismissal? What if an AI flagged you incorrectly as not being at work when you were supposed to be?

I think it would be a huge story if my employer knew I was at Starbucks. I don't want my boss knowing where I am, even if she doesn't care...hell, my boss would be miffed if I went to starbucks and didn't invite her.

It doesn't take much imagination to think how this would be scary. I don't even do anything wrong that I am ashamed of, but I don't want it taken out of context. I tell my wife I am going for a walk, but really go get a donut...I don't want to have that conversation as to why I am cheating on my diet.

What if the lack of data is used against you? You forget to charge your phone and there was a murder of someone you knew....what if the police make you as a suspect because you don't have an electronic alibi?

What if an insurance company uses this location data to deny or restrict coverage? Should they be able to restrict coverage of someone's diabetes medication because they saw they stopped at Dunkin Donuts? Do you want to have to submit receipts to prove you were just getting coffee and not eating junk food.

I am especially afraid of this data incorrectly interpreted. What if there was a glitch that did put me in the wrong place at the wrong time?...a crime scene, being home when I was actually in the office...make a quick trip to drop something off for a friend, say an attractive coworker, but due to error data, it looks like I am there for 2 hours? My wife knows I am not banging her, but what if she's got a psycho husband who has questions for me?

Even if you live a perfect life, you should be concerned about this data being used against you. It's not legal nor regulated nor would any future service provider have any obligation to correct their mistakes. No matter what the truth is, any accusation leveled at you is damaging. It's just basic human psychology. If you were given 2 identical has an accusation of rape and the other doesn't, which would you hire? Even if you knew the algorithm that made the accusation was error-prone, you have one candidate with a serious accusation and another with none...both are equally appealing. Could you mentally disregard the accusation?...and not wonder if it's true or if there are other things the person is hiding? Accusations ruin lives. They don't even have to be true.

Re:Just wait until your employer/wife gets this in

By cusco • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I read a few months ago that someone was almost convicted of a murder based on the location data of his phone, except that witnesses and security cameras were able to verify that he was two floors below the event when it happened and never went higher in the building.

TV Networks Want To Yank Nielsen Accreditation

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The nation's big TV companies are calling for a new yardstick. From a report: A trade organization representing Disney, ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal, Fox Corp. and other media giants is calling for the organization that signs off on Nielsen's methodology for measuring TV viewership to yank accreditation, an aggressive maneuver in an era when media outlets and the advertisers who support them are scrambling to figure out how to count viewer eyeballs across an increasingly unwieldy array of new entertainment venues, digital behaviors and screens. The trade group, the VAB, on Wednesday sent a ten-page letter to the Media Rating Council urging the group to pull its backing of Nielsen's ratings, citing Nielsen's diminished ability to count viewership during the coronavirus pandemic. "Nielsen's COVID-period conduct as a ratings service violated at least five minimum standards," the VAB said in its letter, "with the damage done to their largest subscriber clients still creating material negative impact into July 2021."

Does not matter TV networks and

By oldgraybeard • Score: 3 • Thread
Nielsen are lost in the wilderness looking for relevance.

Nielsen ratings are pointless

By Rosco P. Coltrane • Score: 3 • Thread

TV is so ridden with adverts and so fucking hopeless that I'm pretty sure people's brain simply turn off when the ads run. Which, in the US is 15 minutes of ads for 3 minutes of "content" - and I use the word content in the most generous sense. I mean after decades of that stringent brainwashing regimen, surely people's brain have rewired themselves to survive the onslaught of stupidity.

That's if the viewers simply leave the TV on and go do something else, like have a poo or cook dinner or something.

Nielsen boxes have no way of knowing whether the target brains are staying put in front of the idiot box, and in a state suitable to receive more brainwashing content.


By JBMcB • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The sad fact of the matter is that the smart TV, cable and streaming companies can do a much, much better job at tracking everything you do than anything Nielsen can Frankenstein together. Keep in mind that Roku based TV's track *absolutely* everything you watch and do. Not just what channels you watch, but what shows you watch, what movies you watch on streaming service, which Youtube videos you look at, *everything* Nielsen can't hope to compete with that.

Re:Too much stuff

By DarkOx • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

This my guess. OTA is probably the most expensive delivery format the networks have but it also is critical to them being able to differentiate themselves with advertisers vs other media - they get claim the really can reach every last eyeball.

However as the ratings drops, what they can justify charging for that also goes down and gradually the return on the enterprise gets worse and worse. Don't like the data - obvious answer stop counting.

Visited the US about 10 years ago...

By bradley13 • Score: 3 • Thread

...when my mother passed away. As the only child, I had to clean up her affairs. Because my kids wanted to come along, they did, but...I'm getting to TFA... I had little time for them, so they watched a lot of TV. My mother only had the basic stuff, so that's what they watched.

Oh. My. FSM.

All channels were at least 1/3 commercials. Lots of the kids programs were basically extended commercials. Ones that weren't, were braindead: SpongeBob? Spare me ever hearing that again. Nature channels? Grade school, and even in our two week window, lots and lots of repeats. I'm not British, but BBC's free content puts US programs to shame. Funny, how it wasn't available. Probably because it doesn't run 1/3 commercials.

US TV could die a death, and no one would miss it....

Banks, Brokerages, PSN, the Steam Store, and More Are Down in Massive Internet Outage

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Many websites -- including banking pages, brokerages, and gaming services -- have been affected by what looks to be a major internet outage. From a report: As website owners and companies that run services that provide the backbone of the web scramble to solve the issue, consumers have been left unable to access services like Ally Bank, Fidelity, Sony's PlayStation Network, Airbnb, and more. Several airline sites are also having issues: Delta, British Airways, and Southwest's sites are all having major issues. At the moment, it's unclear what's causing the outage, though DownDetector reports that both AWS and Akamai, a pair of content delivery networks that host much of the internet, are both experiencing issues. Akamai's status page reports that the company is currently investigating an issue with its DNS service. Cloudflare's CEO has chimed in to say that its service isn't to blame.

Re:The Cloud

By Ostracus • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Did you miss the part about CDN? Do you not understand how the internet works? This isn't the 60's.

Redundancy, Redundancy, Redundancy, Redundancy...

By jellomizer • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

A key design point of TCP/IP is that the message packet can allow for alternate routing of message even if a portion of the infrastructure is loss.
Arpanet the precursor to the current Internet was made off of Military budget as a network that will function if a portion of the US was nuked.

However with ISP monopolizing many areas, and get solo contracts on infrastructure, as well with companies being cheap and the fact the Internet graph has been trending into a bow tie pattern. We are getting a lot of single points of failure, in which a small issue can cause wide scale problems.

If your business is critical to be connected to the Internet, you better have redundant lines from different carriers that follow a different routing path, if you use cloud services, you should probably be using their competitors too, in case they go down.

I would also note, you should be keeping local backups yourself as well with remote backups stored in a different area of the world.

Redundancy is a lot of work, but it only really safe way to protect yourself.

On and off again

By JonnyCalcutta • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

I hate myself but, have they tried turning it off and on again?

All services are up and running.

By tekram • Score: 3 • Thread
That didn't last very long if anyone noticed. In fact by the time I noticed and checked, it was up and running around 1:00 PM EDT.

Sorry, sorry

By UnknowingFool • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
I didn't plug the server back in after I made my coffee. But then again management will not buy me an AC power strip. I am not spending $10 of my own money if I do not have to.

AI Firm DeepMind Puts Database of the Building Blocks of Life Online

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Last year the artificial intelligence group DeepMind cracked a mystery that has flummoxed scientists for decades: stripping bare the structure of proteins, the building blocks of life. Now, having amassed a database of nearly all human protein structures, the company is making the resource available online free for researchers to use. From a report: The key to understanding our basic biological machinery is its architecture. The chains of amino acids that comprise proteins twist and turn to make the most confounding of 3D shapes. It is this elaborate form that explains protein function; from enzymes that are crucial to metabolism to antibodies that fight infectious attacks. Despite years of onerous and expensive lab work that began in the 1950s, scientists have only decoded the structure of a fraction of human proteins.

DeepMind's AI program, AlphaFold, has predicted the structure of nearly all 20,000 proteins expressed by humans. In an independent benchmark test that compared predictions to known structures, the system was able to predict the shape of a protein to a good standard 95% of time. DeepMind, which has partnered with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), hopes the database will help researchers to analyse how life works at an atomic scale by unpacking the apparatus that drives some diseases, make strides in the field of personalised medicine, create more nutritious crops and develop "green enzymes" that can break down plastic.

And dromeda

By Impy the Impiuos Imp • Score: 3 • Thread

and develop "green enzymes" that can break down plastic.

Wasn't that the big bad in The Andromeda Strain?

Does this mean ?

By timelorde • Score: 3 • Thread

All those years having my screen saver fold proteins was a waste of time?

No it was not a waste fof time

By goombah99 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

There are three major protein folding screen saver projects. 1. Rosetta at home. 2. THe World Community Grid human proteome project and 3. folding at home. Additionally there is the game Fold-it.

All of these have had great breaktrhoughs over the years. With the exception of folding at home the rest including the game are based on the early and successful folding algorithm "rosetta". This program is used to design new drugs, new enzymes, and figure out the function of genes by structure. Critical viral proteins and pathway proteins have been identified in those. Folding at home it different, it's more about protein simulation and uses molecular dynamics. It's actually quite bad at predicting protein structure but it models fluctuation dydnamics. This can in favorable case help us understand how protein actually work. For example, how might a covid spike bind and ACH receptor by altering it's shape?

the Alpha FOle version 1 was also derived from Rosetta as well but with AI goodness added. And as you might expect Rosetta itself is now available in an AI flavor. Rosetta has basically come in at the top of every casp competition since 1996 until this last year when it was edged out by the new version of Alpha Fold. The unstated thing about this competition is that it wasn't simply that someone did really well. it's that every algorithm including rosetta improved by the largest leap and bounds ever in the last decade. It just happens that alpahfold did the best this year. The point of the casp competiton isn't to decide "whos best" but rather "what approach works best" then the next time all scientist will incorporate the advance into their algorithms. So AI is a great secret sauce now. and the particular ways AI is applied matter. Unlike the other compeitors Alpha fold did no release their algorithm details (however unlike the other competitors they did just publish a paper on it and are siad to release some of the source code-- it remains to be seen if this is full scientific disclosure as that would require all the training sets and protocols too).

So no you did not waste your effort by donating cycles of cpu time. Tonnes of scientific papers, discoveries and algorithmic improvements came out ot that. People have learned to predict function of proteins from predicted structures rather than measured structures.
The world community grid human proteom project and followions that were even larger produced the same databases that alpha fold just published but 8 years ago. And these became hugely important in understaning the pathways of human biology.
It remains to be seen how much better or complete the new database dump from the alpha fold people was. They have this very annoying tendency not to acknowledge all the owrk that came before them or even work that was fully identical in nature. So if it seems like I'm dissing their work it's because they are not doing all that others have to advance science by sharing their science. It's a net negative when someone says they have a better algorithm but then won't share it with others. That's pighead science. It's like stealing GPL code and not publiching your improvement. I dearly hope they will fully disclose their advances and make me wrong but they didn't do that 3 years ago either. SO we'll see.
On the other hand the work you did with your screen saver was fully shared with the world in data,, results, alpgorithms and protocols. It was piuoneering in that it showed the idea of predicting structures across whole genomes could work, and now we have learned to use that to predict function. SO good for you.

How TikTok Sees Inside Your Brain

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A new video investigation by the Wall Street Journal finds the key to TikTok's success in how the short-video sharing app monitors viewing times. From a report: TikTok is known for the fiendishly effective way that it selects streams of videos tailored to each user's taste. The algorithm behind this personalization is the company's prize asset -- and, like those that power Google and Facebook, it's a secret. WSJ created a batch of individualized dummy accounts to throw at TikTok and test how it homed in on each fake persona's traits. TikTok responds most sensitively to a single signal -- how long a user lingers over a video. It starts by showing new users very popular items, and sees which catch their eyes.

TikTok doesn't see inside my brain

By Known Nutter • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Hate to be "that guy" but TikTok doesn't see inside my fucking brain. Don't have it, don't use it, never will.

Wow, some secret algorithm

By Viol8 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

So the longer someone watches a video the more interested they probably are in it? Amazing, who knew?

It's a whole lot of very short videos

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
This means you're going to have a lot more data points to go off of. By fire up in 8-hour show hop video on YouTube all they know is that I listen to a show hop video for 8 hours. In that same 8 hours I probably would have watched a couple hundred tiktok videos. It's going to drastically change how their algorithm works and how effective it is.

Re:Wow, some secret algorithm

By Last_Available_Usern • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
True, there's nothing amazing about that. What's impressive is interpreting *what* the video is about to create keywords they can use to correlate other videos a user may be interested in. I believe this is the main reason TikTok offers so much music to attach to videos as a lot of the songs are contextual and can create additional mechanisms to group videos by content.

China Weighs Unprecedented Penalty for Didi After US IPO

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Chinese regulators are considering serious, perhaps unprecedented, penalties for Didi Global after its controversial initial public offering last month, Bloomberg News reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. From a report: Regulators see the ride-hailing giant's decision to go public despite pushback from the Cyberspace Administration of China as a challenge to Beijing's authority, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is private. Officials from the CAC, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of State Security, the Ministry of Natural Resources, along with tax, transport and antitrust regulators, began an investigation on-site at the company's offices, the cyberspace watchdog said in a statement. Regulators are weighing a range of potential punishments, including a fine, suspension of certain operations or the introduction of a state-owned investor, the people said. Also possible is a forced delisting or withdrawal of Didi's U.S. shares, although it's unclear how such an option would play out.

Deliberations are at a preliminary phase and the outcomes are far from certain. Beijing is likely to impose harsher sanctions on Didi than on Alibaba Group Holding, which swallowed a record $2.8 billion fine after a months-long antitrust investigation and agreed to initiate measures to protect merchants and customers, the people said. "It's hard to guess what the penalty will be, but I'm sure it will be substantial," said Minxin Pei, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College in California.

One of these days...

By Anubis IV • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

withdrawal of Didiâ(TM)s U.S. shares

although itâ(TM)s unclear

Iâ(TM)m sure it will be substantial


Re:I'm really torn

By phantomfive • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'd say that the US in the decade after World War II would be a somewhat reasonable template for a place to start anew

The US in the decade after WW2 was rather corrupt. During the war there was all kinds of corruption, and corporations were able to get away with over-charging for things (and even outright graft) because it was "for the war effort." The whole system was an old-boys-club which is portrayed in Mad Men. Granted, it was still an improvement over the graft during the 20s, like the Teapot Dome scandal. Or the political bosses where dead people voting actually did sway elections.

You may say it was great for workers because unions were stronger. But the golden age of unions had already passed by the 50s. In that era, mafiosos were starting to take over the unions because they saw them as a useful power structure. And they were.

You might like that tax rates were higher in the 50s, but that was just on paper. In reality, the corruption allowed loopholes so big that only a few unlucky people were ever forced to pay the top rate.

In short, anyone who says "the past was a great place, better than now" probably doesn't know much history.

Pegasus Spyware Seller: Blame Our Customers Not Us For Hacking

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The maker of powerful spy software allegedly used to hack the phones of innocent people says blaming the company is like " criticising a car manufacturer when a drunk driver crashes." From a report: NSO Group is facing international criticism, after reporters obtained a list of alleged potential targets for spyware, including activists, politicians and journalists. Investigations have begun as the list, of 50,000 phone numbers, contained a small number of hacked phones. Pegasus infects iPhones and Android devices, allowing operators to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones and cameras. NSO Group has said the software is intended for use against criminals and terrorists and made available to only military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies from countries with good human-rights records. But a consortium of news organisations, led by French media outlet Forbidden Stories, has published dozens of stories based around the list, including allegations French President Emmanuel Macron's number was on it and may have been targeted.

Re:Blame these governments first, Apple second

By BeerFartMoron • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I don't normally blame screwdriver manufacturers for car thefts, but when their screwdrivers say, "Guaranteed to start all model year Toyota's.", well, that's different. Hard for me to fault Toyota in that case.

There is bounty money to be made in bug hunting. There is even more money to be made in bug hording and exploiting. NSO made their own decisions on which way to go.

Cars versus guns versus hacking tools

By twocows • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Cars are primarily used for their intended purpose: driving. Accidents are an unintended but (currently) inevitable consequence.

Guns are intended to be used to kill or injure. However, there are both valid and invalid reasons to do this. Valid reasons include hunting, self-defense, and putting down tyrants. Invalid reasons include just about everything else. This is why they're a lot more controversial.

Hacking (or cracking, if you prefer) tools are intended to be used primarily for something unethical. There may be ethical applications of compromising computer systems, but the vast majority of applications are unethical, as is the typical use case. That's why they're almost universally seen as unethical and why making them makes you a bad guy.

We blame you

By kyoko21 • Score: 3 • Thread

We blame you because apparently you vetted your customers before you sold the software so the responsibility is on you. If you did your jobs properly and did your research then you would know that you would not want them to have/use the software.

Who knows, maybe they used the software on you guys and you didn't even know.

Or perhaps you guys don't use iphones or android and are still on Blackberries? :-)

I kinda wonder

By Opportunist • Score: 3 • Thread

Considering where that company is located, do they feel the same about IG Farben and their culpability concerning the production of Zyklon B?

NSO BS: NSO monitored how Pegasus was being used

By schwit1 • Score: 3 • Thread

Once the phone numbers started coming in NSO could see that the targets were dissidents and journalists. NSO should have pulled the Pegasus plug on the offending government and told the targets.

Judge Forces US Capitol Rioter To Unlock Laptop Seized By FBI

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN: A federal judge forced a US Capitol rioter to unlock his laptop Wednesday after prosecutors argued that it likely contained footage of the January 6 insurrection from his helmet-worn camera. The judge granted the Justice Department's request to place Capitol riot defendant Guy Reffitt in front of his laptop so they could use facial recognition to unlock the device. The maneuver happened after the hearing ended and Reffitt's lawyer confirmed to CNN that the laptop was unlocked. Investigators seized the laptop and other devices earlier this year pursuant to a search warrant.

Reffitt has been in jail since his arrest in January. His case received national attention after his son spoke publicly about how Reffitt had threatened to kill family members if they turned him into the FBI. The case became an example of how former President Donald Trump's lies tore some families apart -- Reffitt's son and daughter testified against him in court or before the grand jury. He pleaded not guilty to five federal crimes, including bringing a handgun to the Capitol grounds during the insurrection and obstructing justice by allegedly threatening his family. The felony gun charge was added last month, and undercuts false claims from Trump and prominent Republican lawmakers that the rioters weren't armed and that they had "no guns whatsoever." The case raised intriguing constitutional questions about the right against self-incrimination, but Judge Dabney Friedrich agreed with prosecutors that the unlocking was within the law.
"As the court here noted, requiring a defendant to expose his face to unlock a computer can be lawful, and is not far removed from other procedures that are now routinely approved by courts, with proper justification: standing in a lineup, submitting a handwriting or voice exemplar, or submitting a blood or DNA sample," CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig said in an email.

Honig said judges try to strike a balance "between respecting a defendant's privacy and other rights on the one hand, and enabling prosecutors to obtain potentially crucial evidence with minimal intrusion on the defendant's rights, on the other." The "potentially crucial evidence" here may include footage of the handgun that Reffitt brought to the Capitol or comments he made about his intentions that day.

Re:It will be interesting...

By SirSlud • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

the warrant already says you are likely to be hiding something, so I don't see how you can't use your same reluctance to allow them to request access to a device as being any different than requesting a key to a physical space

of course, as noted below, the courts are there to rule on how the hair splits when the key is in your pocket, on your finger tip, or in your brain

Re:No guns whatsoever?

By OrangeTide • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Because a Democracy is about rule by consent. It doesn't matter if you have bad judgement, are an asshole, or are mentally ill: if the government is going to subject you to its power, then you have a moral right to have a say in who runs that government.


It's incredibly frustrating at times. There are people out there that we can't trust to operate a car or own a firearm. But we entrust them with something far more dangerous, a right to vote and a right to free speech. If we start picking and choosing who gets what rights, then they really aren't (universal) rights anymore they're privileges.

Re:It will be interesting...

By mrbester • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Almost as if you shouldn't have Face Unlock enabled on your laptop where you have documented your crimes.

Re: It will be interesting...

By tsqr • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

His face is not protected by the 5th. His password is.

It's all bullshit; we're either"secure in our papers" or we're not - and as they were obviously talking about our information, zeroes and ones are no exception.

You're secure in your papers, until a judge issues a lawful warrant requiring you to surrender your papers. The 4th Amendment is pretty clear about that.

Re:No guns whatsoever?

By tragedy • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I wonder about that. I've always voted for the candidate I think will best represent the interests of disadvantaged people, usually at the expense of my own interests. Am I breaking democracy by doing this, or are you breaking democracy by not doing it, or does democracy work fine with a mix of the two?

I think there may be a false dichotomy there. If you want to put the interests of others over your own interests, I think that simply means that you are making the interests of others your own interests. For example, if you put the well being of your own children over your own, l think most people would not really consider that you putting the interests of others over your own because it's natural for the interests of your children to be your own interests. I think the same applies when you are voluntarily placing the interests of strangers above your own.

This is a bit like the problem with the golden rule. The one that states "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". It seems to work well enough as a basis for ethical behavior in the general case, but the reality is that not everyone wants the same things. For example, an extreme masochist blindly following the golden rule would clearly not act towards others in a manner that most people would consider moral or ethical.

I should also point out that the GP did have " and working for advancement in issues I care about." I'm pretty sure that covers the situation where issues you care about might be in conflict with your own direct interests.

After Repair, Hubble Captures Images of 'Rarely Observed' Colliding Galaxies

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
UnknowingFool shares a report from CBS News: After being down for a month due to a computer issue, Hubble was brought back up last week. NASA released images captured by Hubble over the weekend including a rare observance of two galaxies that are colliding. The other interesting image is that of a spiral galaxy with three arms, as most spiral galaxies have an even number of arms. "I'm thrilled to see that Hubble has its eye back on the universe, once again capturing the kind of images that have intrigued and inspired us for decades," NASA administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement. "This is a moment to celebrate the success of a team truly dedicated to the mission. Through their efforts, Hubble will continue its 32nd year of discovery, and we will continue to learn from the observatory's transformational vision."

Thats not an arm

By Antique Geekmeister • Score: 3, Funny • Thread

It's _really happy_ to see another galaxy after a long time of social distancing.

Forgive me, the humor was too obvious. The isolation of the pandemic has been hard on all of us.

Three arms?

By sabbede • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Must be where the Moties are.

Re:Rare Observance?

By Alain Williams • Score: 4 • Thread

A pedant writes: "Rare observation" is a reflection of how often astronomers choose to look at them; "rare occurrence" tells you that that there are few instances of colliding galaxies.

Drones Are Zapping Clouds With Electricity To Create Rain In UAE Project

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
turp182 shares a report from USA Today: [T]he UAE is now testing a new method that has drones fly into clouds to give them an electric shock to trigger rain production [...]. The project is getting renewed interest after the UAE's National Center of Meteorology recently published a series of videos on Instagram of heavy rain in parts of the country. Water gushed past trees, and cars drove on rain-soaked roads. The videos were accompanied by radar images of clouds tagged "#cloudseeding." The Independent reports recent rain is part of the drone cloud seeding project.

The UAE oversaw more than 200 cloud seeding operations in the first half of 2020, successfully creating excess rainfall, the National News reported. There have been successes in the U.S., as well as China, India, and Thailand. Long-term cloud seeding in the mountains of Nevada have increased snowpack by 10% or more each year, according to research published by the American Meteorological Society. A 10-year cloud seeding experiment in Wyoming resulted in 5-10% increases in snowpack, according to the State of Wyoming.
According to a researcher that worked on the drone initiative, "the aim of the UAE's project is to change the balance of electrical charge on the cloud droplets, causing water droplets to clump together and fall as rain when they are big enough."

Re: Interesting...?

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

If downwind is the ocean, no problem. If it's (commonly) a mountain range where few people live, then small problem.

The winds in the UAE blow from the NW, which is the Persian Gulf. Especially during the summer, these winds contain a high amount of humidity, so getting some rain out of them may be plausible.

The area downwind most like to be deprived of water is the Al Hajar Mountains of northeast Oman.

There's only so much

By AndyKron • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
If you make it rain in one place, another place isn't getting rain.

Re:There's only so much

By gosso920 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plains.

The Independent reported no such thing.

By denzacar • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The Independent reports recent rain is part of the drone cloud seeding project.

The Independent reported no such thing. In fact, it reports that electrical charging of clouds with drones is yet to be attempted.
Clouds were seeded with "chemicals such as silver iodide", dispersed from airplanes.

The cloud seeding operations work through manned aircraft firing chemicals such as silver iodide into the clouds in order to cause increased precipitation.
The National reported the heavy rainfall caused waterfalls to appear in the city of Al Ain and made driving conditions hazardous.
In an effort to curb the country's sinking water table, the UAE invested $15 million in nine different rain-making projects in 2017.
One system set to be trialled in the UAE uses drones to shoot electrical charge into the clouds to increase precipitation.

As for the science... it seems to be at best a rather theoretical concept.

And a rather more cautious one, with the addition of further authors to the later studies.

Perhaps a stupid question, but...

By Hmmmmmm • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

In light of all the massive rainfalls, etc. as of late. Can you seed heavy rain clouds or even hurricanes before they come on coast, therefore dumping most of the water at sea, rather then flooding areas?