the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2021-Jul-29 today archive

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

Entire Buildings Can Be Wrapped In Jackets To Save Energy

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Scientific American: On a normally peaceful residential road outside The Hague, the Dutch city that serves as seat of government, the whine of a hoisting crane and welding tools heralds a not-so-quiet housing revolution. Four workers standing above me on a scissor lift next to an apartment complex guide a thermally insulated facade 40 feet wide and one story tall into place against the existing wall. Its brickwork pattern of muted brown, grey and beige, and the triple glazed windows, perfectly fit the building's existing frame and openings. The original windows and the very old brick walls had allowed cold drafts inside, and warm interior air to escape, wasting much of the energy used to heat the building. The new facade is primarily fire-resistant expanded polystyrene -- essentially, hollow spheres that trap air to create a thick insulation layer -- faced with hardened clay and sculpted into hundreds of very thin rectangles known as "brick slips."

This new building skin, prebuilt in a factory, was one of a dozen such facades to be attached to local buildings when I visited the suburb on a rainy day in early summer, each structure measured to millimeter precision. The installation is part of a concerted effort to transform energy-inefficient public housing into a set of ultralow-emission homes -- without having to open a wall or remake an attic. The building was being wrapped in the equivalent of a winter jacket -- or summer beer koozie -- avoiding the need to insert insulation inside dozens of walls, lofts and attics. A similarly premade, lightweight, highly insulating material, complete with solar panels, would be installed on the roof, too.
The report notes that the average cost to retrofit a family home in the Netherlands is "about $94,000," but it's "comparable to the cost of other routine renovations that deliver no energy savings."

"In one neighborhood in the city of Utrecht, more than a dozen houses and some 250 separate apartments retrofitted in 2019 saw their energy requirements fall from 225 kilowatt-hours per square meter to just 50 kilowatt-hours per square meter, on average. The remaining demand for energy was met with solar power."

Photos and Video

By MDMurphy • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Cost vs. benefit

By bradley13 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Our previous house was built in 1934. We insulated the attic and replaced the windows. The next step would have been to insulate the outer walls, which were completely uninsulated (but about 50cm of solid brick). It was a large building, combined business private, about 500m2 plus another 250m2 of basement/garage. Using round figures:

  • Insulating the outer walls would have saved about 3000 liters of heating oil per year. That's roughly CHF 3000/year.
  • Cost for the insulation would have been about CHF 250,000
  • Math: that gives you a payback in about 80 years

There's just no way this is worthwhile for private people. Perhaps doing whole apartment buildings yields some economy of scale, but it is notable that the government is paying for this. Likely, the payback is still not worthwhile in any economic sense. It is debatable, whether it is worthwhile in any sense at all - just how much energy went into producing those shells?

Of course, tearing building down and replacing them is even worse. Really, the best solution for older buildings is to do the "easy" upgrades, including efficient heating systems, and otherwise live with them as they are.

We hear that a lot

By nospam007 • Score: 3 • Thread

"Why is polystyrene flammable?
Polystyrene is a polymer made from styrene, a substance commercially manufactured from petroleum. This makes Polystyrene a thermoplastic substance, it melts when it is heated and spreads fire very quickly. It is classified as a 'highly flammable' or 'easily ignited' building product."

The next big fire will tell us why it was a bad idea.

Re:better envelope is more than insulation

By ChumpusRex2003 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The primary purpose was insulation. Under UK legislation and renovation or upgrade to a building must also enhance the energy efficiency of the building to meet modern standards. So, for example, if you build an extension to your 100 year old house - then not only must the extended part meet modern energy efficiency standards, the rest of the house must be upgraded too. So, insulation was a mandatory legal requirement.

Aesthetics are also an important criterion for getting planning permission. Councils these days generally do not permit eyesores - hence it is necessary to convince planning inspectors that the aesthetics are suitable for the area.

However, the insulation was relevant here. One of the targets of the council was to demonstrate "aspirational" energy efficiency. They specifically listed thermal specifications significantly in excess of the legal requirement as one of the core specifications that the contractors had to acheive.

The architect when he got the thermal specifications wasn't sure that they were possible - so contacted all the insulation companies he had used before with and asked their technical support departments for details of fire-resistant insulation products capable of meeting these specifications. The replys came back that the specification was unachievable. The architect went back to the main contractor and the council to inform them that the thermal specification in the contract was unachievable and had to be changed. There then followed an increasingly beligerant exchange of e-mail between the customer and prime contractor, and the architect and insulation suppliers - with the prime contractor insisting that it was possible and the council was insisting that the spec was non-negotiable and would not be changed under any circumstances. After being unable to find suitable fire-resistant materials, the architect begged the prime contractor for advice to break the stalemate. The contractor suggested that he look at alternative materials, and suggested a type of PIR insulation which "they had used all over London, and never had a problem with building control".

Eventually, an order went in for the PIR material. The supplier found out it was for a residential tower, and refused to supply it, stating that it was too unsafe. They substituted it for a fire-resistant version, which had a fire test certificate - however, the certificate was only valid for when the insulation was paired with a cement boards, and not used with any other type of combustible material, and certainly not the polyethylene outer cladding used.

It later turned out that the test which the certificate applied to had been manipulated - The first test of the material at a laboratory failed spectacularly. Subsequently, the manufacturer of the material submitted it for a retest, but had secretly agreed with a technician at the test laboratory to insulate the thermocouples with ceramic.

That said, the insulation waas only a part of the issue - the main issue was the flammability of the outer polyethylene panels. The architect and planning inspectors had initially wanted solid metal cladding - and had agreed on brushed zinc. However the council decided that they had to find cost savings and demanded that the architect/contractor cut the budget by 500k. The expensive solid zinc tiles would have to go. In fact things were worse, the prime contractor had mis-quoted when they signed the contract, and had under-estimated the cost of the project by approx UKP 1 million. The council would not reconsider the budget - the cost reduction was non-negotiable. The prime contractor was already in financial trouble and they could not afford to eat a UKP 1 million loss.

At this point nothing mattered any more. For all the extensive effort and discussions about which shade of brushed zinc with brass accents, the only materials which were being considered were the absolute bottom-of-the-barrel materials which were would meet the budget requirements. Aluminium/Polyethylene composite was the cheapest material available - and nothing else would fit within the budget.

$94,000 ..comparable to .. routine renovations

By Fly Swatter • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Excuse me but they must not be using US dollars. $94,000 will buy you a new pool and a new garage. Or 4 new kitchens.

Someone is deluded as to the cost of that 'energy blanket'. Or completely out of touch with reality. Perhaps they live in California.

Currently $94,000 will pay for 52 years of heating oil, and I was being generous with the cost and my use per season. Also for me it would be much cheaper to just gut the home of drywall, add a row of studs to the outside walls packed with insulation, then hang new drywall. Granted I don't own one of these million dollar homes that has become common everywhere.

Estonia Says a Hacker Downloaded 286,000 ID Photos From Government Database

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Estonian officials said they arrested last week a local suspect who used a vulnerability to gain access to a government database and downloaded government ID photos for 286,438 Estonians. From a report: The attack took place earlier this month, and the suspect was arrested last week on July 23, Estonian police said in a press conference yesterday, July 28. The identity of the attacker was not disclosed, and he was only identified as a Tallinn-based male. Officials said the suspect discovered a vulnerability in a database managed by the Information System Authority (RIA), the Estonian government agency which manages the country's IT systems.

My observation

By Gabest • Score: 3 • Thread

July 16 – SK ID Solutions informs RIA of a higher number of queries.
July 21 – RIA detects the mass download of data from the Identity Documents Database (KMAIS) through additional monitoring and closes the service.

Well, 17-18 was weekend, then they remembered to do something about it on wednesday.

Mexico Says Officials Spent $61 Million On Pegasus Spyware

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Mexico's top security official said Wednesday that two previous administrations spent $61 million to buy Pegasus spyware that has been implicated in government surveillance of opponents and journalists around the world. PBS reports: Public Safety Secretary Rosa Icela Rodriguez said records had been found of 31 contracts signed during the administrations of President Felipe Calderon in 2006-2012 and President Enrique Pena Nieto in 2012-18. Some contracts may have been disguised as purchases of other equipment. The government said many of the contracts with the Israeli spyware firm NSO Group were signed with front companies, which are often used in Mexico to facilitate kickbacks or avoid taxes.

Last week, the government's top anti-money laundering investigator said officials from the two previous administrations had spent about $300 million in government money to purchase spyware. But that figure may reflect all spyware and surveillance purchases, or may include yet-unidentified contracts. Santiago Nieto, the head of Mexico's Financial Intelligence Unit, said the bills for programs like the Pegasus spyware appear to have included excess payments that may have been channeled back to government officials as kickbacks. Nieto said the amounts paid, and the way they were paid, suggested government corruption in an already questionable telephone tapping program that targeted journalists, activists and opposition figures, who at the time included now President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his inner circle.
The report notes that Mexico "had the largest list -- about 700 phone numbers -- among the thousands reportedly selected by NSO clients for potential surveillance."

The Elephant in the Room

By CoolDiscoRex • Score: 3 • Thread

Somebody is going to have to address the elephant in the room, so here goes.

Apparently Mexico, a mid-sized nation just south of the U.S., can talk.

We're through the looking glass here, people.

Playdate, the Console With a Crank, Will Not Ship Until 2022

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Playdate, the portable, one-bit gaming system with an analog crank as a primary control option, won't be shipping to those who preordered the console anytime soon. According to CNET, "shipping has been delayed to some point in 2022." From the report: There's only one place you will be able to get yourself a Playdate. You'll need to head straight to the Playdate website, and be ready to pay $179 for the console. This price is for just the console, and not its Stereo Dock accessory or Pen, which can be ordered separately. The only accessory available right now is a $30 cover, which is only available in a bright purple. The prices and availability for these other accessories have not yet been announced.

To avoid a PlayStation 5-style hunt for availability, the Playdate will not sell out. Instead, the ship date will be bumped incrementally back to match the company's ability to acquire the parts necessary to assemble the consoles. At the time this was last updated, shipping has been delayed to some point in 2022. Oddly enough, there is no set launch date for this console just yet. The Playdate is supposed to be shipping the first 20,000 units at some point in 2021. It's likely Panic will be giving more information on a shipping date in one of its video updates like the one we saw in June.

Misleading reporting

By Mekabyte • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Misleading reporting on CNet's part. I cannot say whether or not there will be delays, but the headline should say Will Not Ship Until 2022 _If You Pre-Order Now_. Panic has been very clear about this, and updated their website to indicate whether you were in the first 20000 (which were allocated ahead of time to ship this year) or not. Those first 20000 sold out within minutes, so it's 2022 for most people.

Re:Last two words of the headline are unnecessary.

By shumacher • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I don't know the future, but this isn't just a kickstarter and some naïve geeks in a garage. Panic is no fly-by-night. They've been around for years shipping really high quality Mac and iOS software, and has a more recent bend toward gaming with titles like Firewatch and Untitled Goose Game. Hardware is completely new for Panic though. I don't know who is building their hardware, but they did partner with Teenage Engineering on design. Teenage Engineering has their own line of portable audio and music creation devices, and has become the Pharrell of high-design boutique electronics, with partnerships on hardware undertaken with Baidu, IKEA and Nothing.
So, I don't know if you're wrong, but I feel comfortable saying it's not a foregone conclusion that they'll fail.

Crank handle seems useful

By DrXym • Score: 3 • Thread
For reeling in all the dumb fishies who preordered this thing.

ISS Briefly Loses Control After New Russian Module Misfires

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
destinyland shares a report from CNN: An unusual and potentially dangerous situation unfolded Thursday at the International Space Station, as the newly-docked Russian Nauka module inadvertently fired its thrusters causing a "tug of war" with the space station and briefly pushing it out of position, according to NASA flight controllers. Nauka -- a long-delayed laboratory module that Russian space agency Roscosmos' launched to the International Space Station last week -- inadvertently fired its thrusters after docking with the International Space Station Thursday morning.

NASA officials declared it a "spacecraft emergency" as the space station experienced a loss of attitude (the angle at which the ISS is supposed to remain oriented) control for nearly one hour, and ground controllers lost communications with the seven astronauts currently aboard the ISS for 11 minutes during the ordeal. A joint investigation between NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos is now ongoing.
"The incident also delayed the launch of the Boeing Starliner uncrewed test flight to the station, which had been set to launch on Friday," adds CNN.

"NASA says the move allows the 'International Space Station team time to continue working checkouts of the newly arrived Roscosmos' Nauka module and to ensure the station will be ready for Starliner's arrival.'"

Space is hard...

By Akardam • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

This does not appear to be the first time that the ISS has lost attitude control:

I read a lot of folk here and elsewhere bagging on Nauka in particular and the Russian space program in general. And it's not to say that the module's age or the state of Roscosmos aren't contributing factors. But...

I'd hazard a guess that this was not a stuck-thruster scenario, but a case of the separate GNC in Nauka thinking it was still free-flying, and thinking it wasn't in the attitude it was supposed to be in, and trying to correct it. I'd also like to point out that this is essentially what happened with the first Starliner flight - a US-made, brand new bit of spacecraft kit. If it can happen to that, it can happen to anything.

It's my understanding that at the time of the issue, although Nauka was hard-docked, there were no hard-wired data/control connections between the vehicles. So, I would hazard another guess that the only direct communication between Nauka and the rest of the ISS, if any, was by way of RF links. And, I would also guess that the combined USOS/ROS ISS GNC systems may not be equipped to issue guidance commands to a docked craft that is not hard-wired into the command network.

Either way... I'm glad they got the situation under control, and nobody was hurt. And I'm sure there's lots of smart people checking the health of the station, and working to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Re:So the engines finally fired?

By kot-begemot-uk • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

For whatever reason they did not turn off the control system on the module immediately after the docking. As a result, when the station executed some adjustments after the module docking, the module own system detected a change and fired to compensate. Then the systems entered a tug of war until they shut off the module one.

Either a human error or lovely result from the war in Ukraine. Nauka was built using the old Kurs flight control module which was manufactured in Kharkiv. As you can probably guess, it was too late to through it out and re-integrate the newer domestic ones and any integration with the original vendor is er... a bit problematic.

Re:death trap

By Dan East • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This shows the clout that Russia has in decision making. I remember the crazy amount of stuff that SpaceX had to go through in its first docking of a supply capsule. It had to do all these test maneuvers near the space station, in such a way that if anything failed (a stuck booster, etc) it wouldn't jeopardize the ISS. Then, after all that, it STILL wasn't allow to actually dock. It was grabbed by the station's arm and connected to the ISS that way, and the capsule was totally passive.

It took multiple capsules demonstrating various capabilities before they allowed it to actually dock on its own.

Here, with this Russian module, it had been exhibiting numerous flight control issues IN THAT FLIGHT and still Russia had the ability to say "we don't care, it will dock on its own".


By Dan East • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Right now, it seems like NASA and most news sources are downplaying the severity of what happened. One of the news sources I read yesterday (ars technica) specifically said that the Russian module kept firing its boosters until it ran out of fuel. That's pretty bad, and far more than just "someone forgot to turn off the module's auto-navigation system for a few minutes". It also mentioned how great the risk was - for example the ISS isn't designed for random components to be applying torques to the station. It was built in zero G as lightweight as possible, so there are parts that can't handle a tug-of-war type stress where force is being applied at one point, and a counter-force is being applied at a different point. The station was rotated as much as 45 degrees from where it should have been, basically stopping all collection of solar energy, and it lost communication because the antenna arrays could not be aimed correctly at ground stations, etc.

The counter-force applied by the station's thrusters kept the station from entering a fast rotation that would have torn it apart. I wonder how much fuel was depleted from that system to counter the Russian module?

Anyway, it was much more dangerous and severe than most news sites are reporting.


By pi_rules • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The counter-force applied by the station's thrusters kept the station from entering a fast rotation that would have torn it apart. I wonder how much fuel was depleted from that system to counter the Russian module?

500kg is the number I see being tossed around. At Falcon 9 cargo prices that's $1.2 million in fuel wasted.

Tesla Battery Supplier CATL Debuts Cheaper Sodium-Ion Batteries

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. unveiled a sodium-ion battery Thursday, a type of lower-density cell that uses cheaper raw materials than batteries made from lithium-ion metals. As well as a first generation of sodium batteries, the Ningde, Fujian-based company also launched a battery-pack solution that can integrate sodium-ion cells and lithium-ion cells into one case, compensating for the energy-density shortage of the former while preserving its advantages.

"Sodium-ion batteries have unique advantages in low-temperature performance, fast charging and environmental adaptability," CATL Chairman Zeng Yuqun said. "Moreover, they're compatible and complementary with lithium-ion batteries. Diversified technical routes are an important guarantee for the long-term development of the industry." While China's CATL is the world's biggest battery maker, supplying Telsa and selling 34.1 gigawatt hours in the first half, up 234% year-on-year for a market share of 30%, like other manufacturers it has been hit by rising raw materials costs. The price of lithium carbonate, a core ingredient in most electric vehicle batteries, has doubled this year while the price of nickel, another key metal, is at a five-month high.

Outside of their lower raw materials costs -- there are abundant sodium resources in the Earth's crust -- sodium-ion batteries have a few advantages. A long charging time won't cause battery damage and their chemical reaction is free of corrosivity. But their lower energy density tends to exclude them from powering passenger vehicles that require decent range, so they're mainly used for low-speed electric vehicles and low-end energy storage solutions. Notwithstanding, CATL said that through breakthroughs in R&D, its first-generation sodium-ion batteries have reached 160 watt-hours/kilogram, a measure of energy density of energy, and should exceed 200 Wh/kg in coming generations.

Better article:

By Gravis Zero • Score: 3 • Thread

Chlorine! (Re:Sodium? Holy fuck.)

By MacMann • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I hear that table salt contains sodium, you better get rid of that stuff right now!

There was a time when the mayor of New York City tried to do just that. There's also the time Greenpeace wanted to ban chlorine.

Greenpeace is an antiscience eco-terror group that should be laughed into nonexistence. They are a joke. Any organization modeled after them are also a joke. I find it quite frustrating that the people that scream the loudest for everyone to "follow the science" fail to do so themselves. Here's an idea, follow the engineering. We can follow the science on global warming all we like but that doesn't tell us what to do about it. Greenpeace and groups like them can't seem to come up with solutions, only that they don't like the solutions we've tried.

Don't follow the science. Follow the engineering. If we are going to solve any problems of energy production, CO2 emissions, air and water pollution, or whatever else these terrorists believe to be a problem, then it's going to take people that know engineering to build things.

Re:What about all the other materials they use?

By Tough Love • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

impenetrable firewall.

There ya go.

Re:What they always leave out

By Tough Love • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I suppose a comparison of price/kWH of storage would be too much to ask for. Anybody know?

According to Chinese media reports, sodium-ion cells should start at 500 CNY ($77) per kWh at a small scale, while at a volume scale the cost will be halved to 200-300 CNY ($31-$47) per kWh

This compares to the volume price of LFP cells right now on alibaba of roughly $100/kwh. LFP has similar energy density and is a mature, well understood chemistry that is also largely non-toxic compared to LNC. So... I'm not seeing any killer advantage over LFP just at the moment. Certainly no disruptive breakthrough. I wish them luck.

Re:Sodium? Holy fuck.

By Pravetz-82 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Sodium is only a little more reactive, so when dropped into water, it heats up enough to ignite the hydrogen.

That's a common misconception. What explodes is the metal itself. This video explains it very well

The European Union Pulls Ahead of the United States In Vaccinations

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
gollum123 shares a report from The New York Times: The 27 member states of the European Union altogether have now administered more coronavirus vaccine doses per 100 people than the United States, in another sign that inoculations across the bloc have maintained some speed throughout the summer, while they have stagnated for weeks in the United States. E.U. countries had administered 102.66 doses per 100 people as of Tuesday, while the United States had administered 102.44, according to the latest vaccination figures compiled by Our World in Data. This month, the European Union also overtook the United States in first injections; currently, 58 percent of people across the bloc have received a dose, compared with 56.5 percent in the United States. The latest figures provide a stark contrast with the early stages of the vaccination campaigns this year, when E.U. countries, facing a shortage of doses and delayed deliveries, looked in envy at the initially more successful efforts in the United States, Britain and Israel. But the European Union is now vaccinating its populations at a faster pace than most developed countries. More than 70 percent of adults in the bloc have now received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

Re: Not really a surprise

By istartedi • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Senor Gato, the Latino community didn't want to cancel Speedy Gonzales and they don't want to be called Latinx; but I'm sure you'll keep insisting.

Re: Not really a surprise

By widoko7483 • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
What difference does it make what they want? I am Progressive. All that matters is what I want. And I want you to start using the term Latinx.


By Aighearach • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Hey dumb ass, time to upgrade your reading comprehension. Here is your lesson for today: the construction "it doesn't matter which country" does not preclude sets of countries from being referenced.

The More You Know!(TM)

Those are all anti-vaxxer, dog-whistle, arguments.

By denzacar • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

What I do hear on Fox is the argument that it is a choice, no different than the flu shot.

It is not a choice.
It is no more a choice than cruising for bareback sex in front of AIDS clinics and then doing the same with everyone willing to have sex without telling them about the AIDS bit.
Unless you consider suicide or a death of someone you know as valid an option as "just because".
There is no such thing as a "freedom to chose" whether to be a plague rat.

Neither is it anything like a flu shot.
While flu CAN kill and cause tissue damage that takes time to repair - it is nowhere close to COVID-19.
We have SOME acquired immunity against flu viruses - there is no such thing for COVID-19.
Again, suicide or death of someone you know - just because.
And if one is a kind of person who is willing to let someone else die to prove a point... I'd rather they pick option one and step out into the traffic with their eyes closed.
It's quicker and less painful for everyone. Cleaner too.

Fox commentators argue against government overreach when it comes to mask mandates, especially for children in schools, against shutting down schools and businesses, and against any type of policy that would make either vaccinations or proof of vaccinations mandatory.

Again, when it is either of those things vs. suicide or people dying... I'd rather they all collectively commit suicide.
Particularly since any such argument from people who are ALL fully vaccinated is utterly hypocritical bullshit - and arguing that it is a "choice" makes them as guilty as if they've personally killed every single person since the vaccine became available.

I can't see how anyone would have an issue with any of those positions.

It's called willful ignorance. It doesn't hold up in the court of law, or anywhere else.
Particularly as people keep dying just because someone could have the "freedom to chose" whether to be a plague rat.
There is no such freedom. There is only death.

All combat deaths in ALL US WARS EVER, since 1775 on, come out to ~666441 dead.
Currently the US has ~617171 dead of willful negligence and pure vile.

Japan got nuked for far less.
Just something to keep in mind when talking about standards and scale of what constitutes "government overreach".

Re:FOX news is FAKE news

By gtall • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"I can't see how anyone would have an issue with any of those positions."

Fox turned health decisions into political decisions, that's the problem.

Google Bans 'Sugar Daddy' Apps From Play Store

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google's updated its inappropriate content policy to ban "compensated sexual relationships" -- i.e., sugar daddy or sugar dating apps. Ryne Hager writes via Android Police: If somehow you aren't familiar with the term, a "sugar daddy" is more than a caramel candy on a stick. In the more common vernacular, a sugar daddy is a person -- usually an older man, but you could have a "sugar mommy" or maybe a gender-neutral "sugar parent?" -- that spends or gives money in what is typically a transactional relationship, often for sexual favors.

I don't judge, different people enjoy different things, and if all parties are consenting with full knowledge, I don't see how an arrangement like that really harms anyone. But, it seems Google does care, though the company is clear it's not objecting to the nature of the relationship, merely the fact that they're often sexual relationships with a perceived compensation basis, and the company has a blanket ban on sexual content -- at least partly ignoring the primary impulse for many customers behind more generalized dating apps like Tinder and Hinge, as well as many of the messages that even mainstream dating app users swap.


By PPH • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

This guy comes home from the factory one day and breaks the bad news to his wife. "Honey. I just got laid off. I'm in my fifties, with no hope of another job and I haven't been saving much for a retirement. I don't know what we will do."

His wife responds, "It won't be a problem, dear. Remember that cute little practice you started on our wedding night? Where you'd leave a $100 bill on the nightstand after every time we made love? Well, I saved all that money. Better than that, I opened a brokerage account and made some very wise investments. So in reality, we are set for life."

After sitting there, dumbfounded for a few minutes, he says, "Gee honey. If I'd known you'd do that, I would have given you all my business."

That's when she shot him.

That's a shame

By PPH • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

In my younger days, with a huge surplus of funds, I started a practice of finding a qualified woman and offering to pick up the tab for her college education in return for a dating (including sex) relationship. Books, tuition, spending money, etc. And there was no b.s. about the college part either. Maintain a suitable GPA working toward a degree or the deal is off. All (more or less) structured as a legitimate scholarship. There are tax advantages for scholarship contributions. As long as the IRS doesn't raise an eyebrow over the sex part.

Some years later, a friend of mine (familiar with my scholarship deal) told me that her TV news program would be doing an expose on me (sort of joking). They did a story on "evil older men financing young women's college education". I wasn't named (whew!) So the next time I saw her, I asked when they would be doing a story on evil older men financing young women's jewelry purchases and cocaine habits. She said, "Probably never."

In my opinion, it's more about how the funds will be used than how they were earned. Often 'Sugar daddies" are also about maintaining control of a woman. Living above her means, she is hooked. And it's pretty easy for guys to claim "I paid for that." College degrees belong to the people that did the work. And they don't have a "paid for by ..." label attached.


By Ol Olsoc • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

"that spends or gives money in what is typically a transactional relationship, often for sexual favors."

Ironically, that's called marriage.

Any married man knows this, starting with the pimp peddling of "two months salary" from the diamond cartels for the ring.

A guy was sitting at the bar. Another guy walks in and sits beside him the new guy says "A round of drinks for everyone Bartender!"

The first guy asks him "What's the celebration , Buddy?"

"I'm getting married - now I can get sex any time I want!"

First guy says "That's funny. That's why I got divorced.."


By AuMatar • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

No, now that women make (almost) what men do, they aren't forced to marry someone in order to keep a roof over their heads and provide for their children, so they wait until the find some worth their time and affection.

Sorry, that does mean you'll never get laid.


By arglebargle_xiv • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Sex with your girlfriend should be fine, unless your wife finds out about it...

48 Advocacy Groups Call On the FTC To Ban Amazon Surveillance

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: On Thursday, a coalition of 48 civil rights and advocacy groups organized by Athena asked the Federal Trade Commission to exercise its rulemaking authority by banning corporate facial surveillance technology, banning continuous corporate surveillance of public spaces, and protecting the public from data abuse. "The harms caused by this widespread, unregulated corporate surveillance pose a direct threat to the public at large, especially for Black and brown people most often criminalized using surveillance," the coalition wrote in an open letter. "Given these dangers, we're calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to use its rulemaking authority to ban corporate use of facial surveillance technology, ban continuous surveillance in places of public accommodation, and stop industry-wide data abuse."

While a number of firms offer networked surveillance devices to try and make homes "smart," the coalition uses Amazon as a case study into how dangerous corporate surveillance can become (and the sorts of abuses that can emerge) when in the hands of a dominant and anti-competitive firm. From Amazon's Ring -- which has rolled out networked surveillance doorbells and car cameras that continuously surveil public and private spaces -- to Alexa, Echo, or Sidewalk, the company has launched numerous products and services to try and convince consumers to generate as much data as possible for the company to eventually capitalize on. "Pervasive surveillance entrenches Amazon's monopoly. The corporation's unprecedented data collection feeds development of new and existing artificial intelligence products, further entrenching and enhancing its monopoly power," the coalition letter argues.

From this nexus of monopolistic power and unchallenged power, the coalition draws a long list of abuses committed by Amazon that have harmed consumers, communities, and total bystanders. Ring's surveillance devices have been hacked multiple times, have leaked owners' Wi-Fi passwords, and shared locations over the Neighbors App. Vulnerabilities in Alexa risked revealing personally identifiable information, and all this takes place within the context of a lack of transparency around security protocols that force consumers to opt out of surveillance conducted without their consent. On Ring's Neighbors App, racial profiling has been gamified to encourage and escalate surveillance of "suspicious" people. The company collects personal information on children -- a potential violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act -- but has also seen the adoption of its various surveillance devices increase in schools, libraries, and communities across the country. Paired with Amazon's development of deeply biased facial surveillance technology and its partnerships with the police and fire departments of over 2,000 cities, the group argues the potential for abuse outstrips a threshold anyone should be comfortable with.
"This type of surveillance is illegal under the FTC Act in Section 5 and in particular the section that talks about unfair and deceptive practices," said Jane Chung, the Big Tech Accountability Advocate at Public CItizen, in an interview. "There's a list of three things that have to be true in order for a practice to be unfair and deceptive according to the FTC. Number 1: it has to cause substantial injury. Number 2: the injury can't be avoidable. And number 3: the injury isn't outweighed by benefits."

"Rulemaking is needed to stop widespread systematic surveillance, discrimination, lax security, tracking of individuals, and the sharing of data. While Amazon's smart home ecosystem, facial surveillance technology, and e-learning devices provide a good case study, these rules must extend beyond this one technology corporation to include any entity collecting, using, selling, and/or sharing personal data."

Wait, what?

By Entrope • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

There's a list of three things that have to be true in order for a practice to be unfair and deceptive according to the FTC. Number 1: it has to cause substantial injury. Number 2: the injury can't be avoidable. And number 3: the injury isn't outweighed by benefits.

One would suspect that the behavior also has to be unfair and deceptive in the first place, yet TFS and TFA are awfully short on detail about why this kind of surveillance is deceptive or an unfair business practice.

A lot of things check those three boxes. Shooting someone during a robbery is an example. Given that the FTC does not prosecute that kind of robbery, I suspect the law requires something more than just that.

Re:It's just a smart speaker, gramps, chill...

By saloomy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I think people are fools for throwing Amazon devices around their house, but fuck people who believe their views should be enforced by governmental fiat. If people want to be spied on for a service they enjoy, that is their prerogative. Seriously, what the fuck is happening to America where everyone feels every view they have should be enacted into law and forced on everyone else?

What is most surprising

By ickleberry • Score: 3 • Thread
Is people actually buy this sh1t. Ring door bells and smart speakers? I just don't see the appeal. Even if they didn't spy on me at all I would have no desire to get them

Needs proper regulation, ban is too extreme

By Somervillain • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
It doesn't take too much imagination how the ring doorbell could be abused. I install one and now I can watch everyone across the street. I live in an urban neighborhood with a small street and no front yards, so I would be able to see at least 5 front doors very easily. My biggest concern is actually inaccurate data derived from it. However, there are some obvious salacious problems, like: Oh, my neighbor's mistress is visiting? Pretty good blackmail opportunity. What if a known drug dealer is seen entering his house? Could I send that info to my local police dept? Has the footage been doctored? What guarantee does Amazon provide that footage submitted is accurate? Is there facial recognition technology used? How accurate is it? Who can view data of me entering my home? Could it gather footage of my small children changing clothes too close to the window? This could also be easily used to determine when I am home or not.

Banning is too extreme, but there should be regulations about this. For example, I never consented to 24/7 surveillance of my front door or open windows. Many of these devices are small enough that it would be impossible to even know if you're being watched.

OK, I'm a boring person with no mistresses or vices. So are my neighbors. We have nothing to hide. However, are you comfortable with Amazon having access to surveillance information and selling it to 3rd party marketing/scam firms?

"Hey, we noticed you're walking with a slight limp...have you tried Dr Scholl's orthotic inserts?"
"Hey, we noticed your light is on at 2AM, would you like some melatonin?"
"Hey, we noticed your chair shaking from the window at 10pm every night...pornhub is having a sale on premium, this weekend only!"
"We noticed you're driving a Toyota, Joe Douchebag's Honda is having a President's day sale."
"We've overheard you speaking Spanish, do you need an immigration attorney?"

I don't want Amazon selling my data without my consent because my neighbor installed a ring doorbell or surveillance cam for his own reasons. I want strong regulations on what law enforcement and commercial entities can do with the footage. I commit no crimes. However, I also don't trust the accuracy of these, especially for 3rd party services. Imagine services that could use this data?:

What if a shifty facial recognition company buys the footage to stalk people? LOTS of people would pay good money for a service that catches their partners in the act of infidelity. What if it mistakes me for someone else?...and this other person is entering a woman's house when husband isn't there? Now this service is telling her husband, I entered his house when he was on a business trip? Yeah, for law enforcement, I could get the case dismissed. However, tell that to a jealous husband who shows up on your doorstep and demands answers in front of your wife and kids...because some service said that I am the guy banging his wife. There's no regulation to forbid this. Any laws broken would require an expensive court case I cannot afford. What if an insurance company uses this info to invalidate insurance claims?...and a mistake was made?...well, that's illegal, but you have to go to court to get it sorted out. Even when the law is on your side, you can be bankrupted getting justice.

Sorry, you're using the old way of thinking. This is a new world and a new era. In the old days, we could be lax because footage was stored on video tape and only used for it's intended purpose. Now it's uploaded to the cloud and monetized for reasons we could have never fathomed, which neither the camera owner nor his neighbors consented to nor understood. When used for the intended purpose, I am generally fine with it. It's fine to use a ring doorbell to catch package thieves. It's a huge issue to sell the footage for marketing or other services. It's also a huge issue if people use this cheap, ubiquitous surveillance for blackmail or data harvesting without the consent of those being observed.

Weight Lifting, an Original Olympic Sport, May Be Dropped

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Weight lifting was one of just nine sports at the first Olympics in 1896, but its days on the summer program may be numbered. From a report: After decades of rampant doping, bribery, vote-rigging and corruption at weight lifting's highest levels, the International Olympic Committee finally took action last year by threatening to drop the sport from the Games in the coming months if the International Weightlifting Federation does not introduce a host of fixes, including rigorous drug testing measures and governance reforms.

The prognosis is not good. The leaders of the weight lifting federation failed during a key vote on June 30 to get the support needed to pass a new constitution aimed at addressing concerns from the Olympic committee. Delegates from the United States, Germany and China, among others, could not persuade their counterparts from the former Soviet republics, Latin America and other "old guard" weight lifting nations that would be hurt by tighter antidoping measures. If the federation, known as the I.W.F., cannot keep weight lifting on the Olympic program, millions of dollars would be cut off from a sport that lacks major television contracts or sponsors. Already, the I.O.C. had reduced the number of lifters in Tokyo to 196 from 260 during the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016. The number will be cut again, to 120, at the Paris Games in 2024.

Re:It has been a competition of chemists for decad

By fuzznutz • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
I don't know about that. I know assholes that lift weights.

Re: Olympic sleeping

By Pimpy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Sure, but that doesn't account for the strength disparity. If we ignore the MTF case, consider the FTM one - a woman that starts taking testosterone later in life as part of a transition process will never get the same biological kick-in-the-pants that men have going through male puberty. They will always be at a disadvantage in things like bone density, which in strength sports is a significant factor. Is it right to say that an FTM, who everyone agrees is now a man, will never be able to compete as a man by being fundamentally unable to ever put up competitive numbers?

In powerlifting we use what's called the Wilks coefficient in order to provide a score that's indicative of relative performance that can be used for comparing performance across weight classes and (to some extent) gender. It would seem to me that one would need to come up with a similar kind of coefficient for both MTF and FTM cases and either use this as a basis for carving out their own division, or for better understanding which division to place them in to given their relative strength. Even creating just a 'trans' division wouldn't be sufficient if you wanted to ensure fairness, as the MTF cases will still have the bone density advantage that an FTM will never have. That might take time, however, as there aren't enough competitors from which to take performance data from and from which to come up with a representative model.

This does, however, require acknowledging that regardless of how somebody wants to live their life, there are still biological and physiological advantages/disadvantages that they have inherited from however they lived their life up until the point of transition, which there is presently no mechanism for normalizing. MTF cases that have undergone testosterone suppression for a year only see a drop in muscle mass of ~5%, while starting out from a strength advantage of 20-50%:

I have no problem with trans people competing, but it shouldn't come at the cost of MTF athletes effectively suppressing an entire gender while still failing to account for FTM cases. The IOC needs to stop playing gender politics and start looking at numbers.

Re: Olympic sleeping

By larryjoe • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Figure skating and gymnastics isn't a sport by any reasonable definition of sport either, seeing as they're solo performances with a "score" derived from subjective interpretation by human beings.

And yet they're *the* main attraction at the winter and summer games.

Life is easier when you realize it isn't supposed to make logical sense.

Yet, other supposedly acceptable sports are significantly affected by similar levels of potentially arbitrary judgments. Basketball and football fouls and baseball strike zones are arbitrary calls by a single individual that sometimes are clearly inaccurate and can swing games and careers. American college football even has a small committee that secretly votes on who gets to participate in the playoffs, regardless of which and how many games were won. The committee gets to interpret the meaning of entire games without any challenge or appeal. We call those sports "real sports," but the reality is that arbitrary, non-appealable decisions are made for football, basketball, and baseball that have the same significance as style points for gymnastics.

Re: Olympic sleeping

By RightwingNutjob • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The score in archery and shooting is determined by the physical measureable location of where on the target your shot lands.

The only "subjective" thing about it is an argument over whether or not the hole in the paper touches the ring or not. And the paper and projectiles and measuring tools are standardized so as to minimize any such ambiguity if scoring manually.

You don't get points for style or demerits for holding your gun silly.

Re: Olympic sleeping

By mobby_6kl • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

You don't get points for style or demerits for holding your gun silly.

That's a big mistake IMO. You should totally get bonus points for shooting two guns while doing a sideways slide down handrails while holding a toothpick in your mouth

Windows 11 Now Has Its First Beta Release

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft has released the first beta of Windows 11, available to those enrolled in its Windows Insider Program. From a report: Until today, getting access to Windows 11 meant installing the Dev preview, which Microsoft says is for "highly technical users" as it has "rough edges." According to Microsoft, the beta release is less volatile, with builds being validated by Microsoft (though it's still probably something you'll want to install on a test machine or second partition). Of course, to install the beta you'll need a compatible computer. Figuring out if your hardware will work with the next version of Windows has been notoriously tricky to pin down, but Microsoft's article about preparing for Insider builds directs people to its system requirements page. The company has said that it will be paying close attention to how well 7th Gen Intel and AMD Zen 1 CPUs work during the testing period, so it's possible those systems could be allowed to run the beta but not the final release.

Re:Hardware blocks not fully implemented

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

The company has said that it will be paying close attention to how well 7th Gen Intel and AMD Zen 1 CPUs work during the testing period, so it's possible those systems could be allowed to run the beta but not the final release.

Once they confirm that the "too slow" hardware blocks are fully-working, they'll release it.

I was under the impression (from reading other articles) that the issue wasn't about the speed of older processors, but instructions / features available on newer hardware than Microsoft wants to take advantage of, like for "security" (probably meaning anti-piracy) reasons. I mean, simply disallowing the OS to run on older hardware -- especially after confirming that it *does* work -- would be, well, stupid.

Personally, most of my hardware is older and if MS continues down this path they'll "innovate" themselves out of a customer. Windows 10 will be the last version for me and I'll (finally) make the switch to just using my Linux systems for everything -- that I've been too lazy to do so far. I think I'm mainly using my Windows systems for Excel and Publisher files (as well as some Lotus spreadsheets -- I also have SmartSuite) that will be a PITA to convert to LibreOffice. In the end, I'll probably just move Office Pro 2010 and SmartSuite to the Windows 10 VM on my larger Linux system while I either migrate things to LibreOffice or leave things as they are.

Microsoft is contributing to global trash

By wakeboarder • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Seriously, stop forcing consumers and business to upgrade at the behest of the hardware industry. Let us keep our computers, quit invalidating good hardware. It's also stupid because windows 11 will be slower and more hardware intensive (how do I know this? because I know how MSFT works).

Can home users create local accounts yet?

By xack • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Without using tricks or converting after install? Otherwise not interested.

Re:I don't think my computer will run it.

By Tough Love • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I don't think my computer will run it either because I have no interest whatsoever in installing it and if I happen to buy a computer that has it preinstalled I will immediately overwrite it. After all, Windows is nothing more than a pale imitation of KDE, plus spyware.

Re:Hardware blocks not fully implemented

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

probably meaning anti-piracy

Why would it mean anti-piracy? Microsoft has done precisely nothing to reduce piracy in the past decade including keeping all the same mechanisms to bypass activation from Windows 7, all the way through to now.

They don't care.

Personally, most of my hardware is older and if MS continues down this path they'll "innovate" themselves out of a customer.

Forget the hardware, MS has already screwed the pooch:
- Most BIOS do not have fTPM enabled by default meaning automatic update won't install Windows 11.
- Most BIOS when presented with the Windows 10 USB install stick will boot it in Legacy mode meaning Windows 10 by default is installed in Legacy mode. Better still right up until version 19XX something the installer defaulted to a partition scheme not compatible with UEFI so even if you did convert the primary drive to a GPT partition table it would fail to boot. If you are legacy booting automatic update won't install Windows 11.
- Even among UEFI secure boot is largely disabled on machines so automatic update won't install Windows 11.

I look forward to an absolutely lackluster set of update numbers coming from MS the next couple of years.

Tencent Is World's Worst Stock Bet With $170 Billion Wipeout

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China's unprecedented crackdown on its technology industry has turned Tencent Holdings from a market darling into the world's biggest stock loser this month. From a report: The Chinese Internet giant had tumbled 23% in July as of Wednesday, set for its worst month ever after erasing about $170 billion of market value. That marks the fastest evaporation of shareholder wealth worldwide during this period, Bloomberg data shows. Nine of the top 10 losers in shareholder value this month are Chinese companies, including Meituan and Alibaba Group Holding. Tencent's shares rebounded by 7.1% on Thursday morning, tracking broader gains in Chinese stocks after Beijing intensified efforts to alleviate concerns about its crackdown on the private education industry. The Shenzhen-based firm is one of the key casualties of an official campaign that targets some of the nation's tech behemoths considered posing a potential threat to China's data security and financial stability. The selloff in its shares intensified earlier this week after Beijing broadened the regulatory clampdown to include other once high-flying industries such as private education.

Earth to China

By Pollux • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This is why your economy isn't #1 in the world. Because investors won't put their money into a country when the country can arbitrarily destroy any company it wants overnight.


By waspleg • Score: 3 • Thread

Stop selling them the rope to hang us with.

PS, You can't legally own anything in China as a foreigner. Never forget.


By timeOday • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
That's OK. Perpetual ownership of land doesn't really make sense, we didn't create it and each of us is only here for a short while. In practice you are buying the right to keep others off it during your lifetime, so you can have privacy and use it productively, which is good. But destroying it forever or handing it down for a dozen generations like old Europe is not fair or productive or anything else that is good.

Re:Earth to China

By allcoolnameswheretak • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This is why your economy isn't #1 in the world. Because investors won't put their money into a country when the country can arbitrarily destroy any company it wants overnight.

This is one of the things that give me hope that democracies and free societies will continue to flourish and dominate the 21st century, despite the recent rise and growing influence of China.

The autocratic system is efficient in some respects - it's easy to get things done when the great leader is only surrounded by fearful yea-sayers. But ultimately it is self-defeating, because you need freedom of thought and unshackled critical thinking to make real progress and create great innovations. But of course the autocrats can tolerate that only up to a certain point, until they are threatened in their illegitimate rule and feel the need to clamp down.
Creative thinkers and entrepeneurs like Elon Musk will not move to a repressive country like China to build their industries that generate progress.

This is why most modern innovations happened during the Age of Enlightenment and continue to happen in the West.

Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney Over 'Black Widow' Streaming Release

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Black Widow has a new enemy: the Walt Disney. From a report: Scarlett Johansson, star of the latest Marvel movie "Black Widow," filed a lawsuit Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court against Disney, alleging her contract was breached when the media giant released the film on its Disney+ streaming service at the same time as its theatrical debut. Ms. Johansson said in the suit that her agreement with Disney's Marvel Entertainment guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release, and her salary was based in large part on the box-office performance of the film.

"Disney intentionally induced Marvel's breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel," the suit said. The suit could be a bellwether for the entertainment industry. Major media companies are prioritizing their streaming services in pursuit of growth, and are increasingly putting their high-value content on those platforms. Those changes have significant financial implications for actors and producers, who want to ensure that growth in streaming doesn't come at their expense.

Re:Rich people problems

By willy_me • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I doubt this lawsuit was even instigated by Scarlett Johansson. You can bet she has agents who are also paid based on her earnings. These agents would also see a cut in pay due to the movie streaming. And considering agents specialize in dealing with these sorts of contracts - they would have cried foul long before Scarlett noticed. She is an actor, a good actor who is probably focused on her acting roles and not the specific details of contracts.

Of course once Scarlett was alerted (presumably) she would have obviously given her OK to sue. But the legal actions are likely the result of those individuals, also impacted by the loss of earnings, who specialize and are comfortable with such actions. This is exactly why one works with qualified agents - even if they take a big cut.

Re: Rich people problems

By taustin • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This all sounds like the standard "Hollywood account" crap that's been going on for as long as movies have been made. As have the lawsuits over it.

If the contract actually says "exclusive theatrical release," she'll win. If there's some loophole her agent missed, there will probably be a settlement we'll never hear the details of (or even hear about at all), for a lot less.

Either way, it's business as usual in Hollywood.

Re:Rich people problems

By superdave80 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
No, she is fine if you want to stream it in the safety of your own home, but only AFTER it has had a theatrical release (from which she gets her cut). If you want to risk COVID to see 'Black Widow' a few weeks/months earlier, that's your decision to make.

Re:Look what happened with Tenet

By taustin • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

All she wants is for Disney to live up to what it agreed to in the contract. They agreed to an exclusive theatrical release, and then broke that agreement. If Disney felt that changes to the market required a different approach, they should have renegotiated the contract. Instead, they just ignored it.

Which, in Hollywood, is a day that ends in "y."

Re: Rich people problems

By Lonewolf666 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Did she have a clause saying "you can't sell this movie to Netflix for $5M"? Of course not- she can expect them to try to maximize their own profit, and quite reasonably at that.

If the article is to be believed, Disney promised an "exclusive theatrical release". That means showing the movie only in cinema at least for a while, before it becomes available on streaming services. The contract may or may not have loopholes, the court will figure it out.
Hollywood has a reputation for "creative accounting" though, so I would not be surprised if the lawsuit is justified.

Facebook's Next Hardware Launch Will Be Its Ray-Ban 'Smart Glasses'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Facebook's next hardware launch will be its long-awaited Ray-Ban 'smart glasses,' CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed on an earnings call this week. When exactly the glasses will arrive is unclear. We least heard they were launching some time in 2021, but the pandemic has changed a lot of companies' plans, and Zuckerberg did not comment on a time frame. From a report: "Looking ahead here, the next product release will be the launch of our first smart glasses from Ray-Ban in partnership with EssilorLuxottica," said the Facebook CEO. "The glasses have their iconic form factor, and they let you do some pretty neat things."

We don't know what those "neat things" are, though Facebook has previously confirmed that the glasses will not have an integrated display and are not classified as an augmented reality device. Will they be able to make voice calls? Will they have access to a smart assistant? It's not clear. Though without an integrated display, they will presumably rely on a paired smartphone app for controls, similar to Snap Spectacles or Amazon's Echo Frames.

I'v got some questions

By bobstreo • Score: 3 • Thread

1) Can you turn off location tracking?

2) How bad will the built-in ads be?

3) Can you pay extra to not have ads?

Re:Marketing pitch:

By Anachronous Coward • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of ass."

my life, the movie

By sdinfoserv • Score: 3 • Thread
Because the only way for FB to scrape more of your personal information is a constant, real-time, 24x7 datastream. Complete with everything you see, GPS coordinates, eye movement tracking to capture what you look at, and sound capture to track what you say, hear and pay attention to. Meanwhile, the data stream is edited by "AI" (meaning call centers full of low wage foreign slaves), to inject marketable meta-data into the stream. All for the consumption of marketers, government tracking agencies, or anyone with a check book interested in finding and tracking dissidents, journalists, scientists, liberals, or any other group deemed undesirable. What could possible go wrong?


By awwshit • Score: 3 • Thread

We really need to drop the 'smart' marketing when we take things and put a chip in them. Not one single device called a 'smart' device is actually smart, its probably a buggy piece of junk that barely works.

x-ray glasses finally ?

By swell • Score: 3 • Thread

Are these the x-ray glasses I've been waiting for? They've been promised since 1950 but I wasn't able to save enough money to buy them. I've always wanted to see what girls really look like under those clothes!

White House Touts Broadband Part of New Infrastructure Deal

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The White House announced Wednesday that its " once-in-a-generation investment in our infrastructure" would include a part dedicated to improving Americans' access to the internet. From a report: Later, the Senate passed a critical test vote by 67-32, suggesting possible passage of the entire infrastructure bill in the coming days. "This bipartisan deal is the most important investment in public transit in American history and the most important investment in rail since the creation of Amtrak 50 years ago," President Joe Biden said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. "It will deliver high speed internet to every American."

Neither precise details of the broadband section nor the text of the whole bill has been released yet. The White House said in a related statement that a $65 billion investment for broadband, out of $550 billion in new spending, would ensure that "every American has access to reliable high-speed internet," comparing it to the electrification of the country a century ago. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, part of the Commerce Department, published a comprehensive interactive online map last month. The document shows how poorer, more rural and tribal areas generally don't have affordable broadband access.

monopolies = bad

By MrLogic17 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

It had better include provisions to break service monopolies.
A disturbing percentage of the country has only 1 high-speed provider, and when municipal competition comes along, they get shut down.

Rural is rapidly fixing itself, with a combination of cell data plan advancements, and StarLink.

It should be.

By jellomizer • Score: 3 • Thread

Being that internet access is needed for modern participation in today culture. It really should have as much attention as our road ways, water supply, power grid, telephone and TV.

Commercial companies normally don't have issues leaving people out of their service range, especially if they can make more money by just focusing on a concentrated area. If you live in a rural area and still have broadband, you may want to thank your local government who demanded that they cover you in order for them to service the town center.

Ignore the man behind the curtain

By WoodstockJeff • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This is typical of most legislation. It has thousands of small bits that appeal to niche groups that will then ignore the parts that hurt them. Slashdot people obviously see the "spread broadband further", and ignore pretty much everything else the bill does.

They were hoping to get more through, but this is what they could manage without losing support.

Prove It, Please

By ytene • Score: 3 • Thread
Dear White House,

It isn't that I think you're lying. In fact, you might very well believe every word of your statement. Unfortunately, however, we've learned from bitter experience that not all claims made by government - especially where broadband is concerned - can be trusted.

Fortunately, you came to the right place! Here at slashdot, we pride ourselves on offering [sometimes] practical suggestions for exactly this sort of challenge. And, you guessed it, we have some suggestions for you.

It's so simple. It's great that you managed to secure $65 billion in new spending for broadband. Let us help suggest how you can keep track of it. Just a few real simple things.

First, set up a web site with a real-time track of how much money, to the cent, you give each and every contractor tasked with installing broadband services. You could probably show us a "top ten" of those receiving the largest sums of money.

Second, make it a requirement that in return for the funding, each company receiving funds must provide you with details showing exactly how many connections they make with the money. But more than just connections, there's some other things they need to tell us:-

1. Total number of new connections. Obviously you'll need to hire auditors to confirm that their claims are accurate - and impose jail terms for directors of companies that make fraudulent claims. That's a given, right? Good. And the companies will need to be able to show that these are "additional" connections, over and above their existing roll-out plans. And you'll have to be able to validate that by looking at Zip Codes for these funded connections, just to ensure that they aren't spending public money rolling out connections to urban areas, right?

2. Basic Line Performance details. For each new connection made with this funding, we'd need to see actual trace test results that show the basic line speed achieved for these new circuits. Again, we'd expect this to be auditable and we'd expect you to conduct some random, sampled testing, just to make sure that nobody is making exaggerated claims. Same jail time terms as above, of course.

3. Line Performance by Distance details. We do understand that we won't see the same line speed results for residences way out in the countryside compared with those in urban areas, but we do expect to see broad consistency if we compare line speeds based on the distances between endpoint and exchange. So they need to give that data, too. Good news is - it's *easy*. As part of their circuit testing, they just need to run TDR or OTDR tests with calibrated test equipment and certify the results. Simples.

4. Network Neutrality Commitment... Sorry, almost forgot to mention. It's just this tiny little thing. We need you to make the allocation of funds to any service provider absolutely and totally conditional, on the perpetual commitment that no service ever provided over the connections you fund will EVER be subject to any form of bandwidth management or network throttling. Yes, you guessed it! More jail time for management at companies that forget that little requirement.

Thanks, Gov.

Re:We should just call this ...

By jellomizer • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Debunking The 5G Nationalization Myth

I don't expect it will change any minds, but it was on the top of the google search of "nationalize broadband and 5G" that didn't like directly to an overt conservative news site.

Nikola Founder Trevor Milton Indicted on Three Counts of Fraud

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted Nikola's founder and former executive chairman, Trevor Milton, and charged the former executive three counts of fraud, the company confirmed. The grand jury charged Milton with two counts of securities fraud and wire fraud while allegedly lying about "nearly all aspects of the business." From a report: "Today's government actions are against Mr. Milton individually, and not against the company," a Nikola spokesperson said in a statement. "Nikola has cooperated with the government throughout the course of its inquiry. We remain committed to our previously announced milestones and timelines and are focused on delivering Nikola Tre battery-electric trucks later this year from the company's manufacturing facilities." The US Attorney's Office in Manhattan did not immediately return Roadshow's request for comment, but CNBC reports that Milton surrendered to authorities and will appear in court later today. Milton resigned as executive chairman of Nikola last September following an in-depth financial investigation report from Hindenburg Research. Hindenberg confirmed it took a short position on the company's stock when revealing numerous allegations against the company, including a number of falsehoods Milton presented.

It's far too common

By Beryllium Sphere(tm) • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

After the first few paragraphs, this is paywalled, but the first few paragraphs give you the idea. A Fortune reporter looked at just how widespread outright criminality is in the tech industry, and how people come to the defense of the crooks.

Re:Not Just Nikola Harmed

By Ecuador • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I am not sure I understand, but you are saying that companies like Scania (of the VW Group) invested on fuel cells because of a startup that was obvious vaporware from the start (even the name gave it away!)? When, for example a huge company like Toyota has been investing heavily on that dead end technology way before Nikola appeared? I seriously doubt it, if they were following someone, they were following Toyota.
And in the end, almost any engineer/physicist/etc will tell you hydrogen fuel cells are a bad idea, if you invest money on them it's on you...

Re:It's far too common

By garyisabusyguy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I think that a combination of Dunning-Kruger, sunk cost fallacy and cognitive dissonance is what keeps people "hooked" to these cons, no matter if they are a company, a cult leader or a politician

They are lied to and convinced they were right all along, they continue to believe because they have already put so effort into it and they shy away form the shame and pain of being wrong.

Move fast and break things...

By thragnet • Score: 3 • Thread

especially the law.

Re:Fry him.

By EnsilZah • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

There's also Volta Trucks.
I heard someone wanted to call their EV startup Ohm, but the name met with some resistance.

New Android Malware Records Smartphones via VNC To Steal Passwords

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Security researchers have discovered a novel piece of Android malware that uses the VNC technology to record and broadcast a victim's smartphone activity, allowing threat actors to collect keyboard presses and app passwords. From a report: First spotted in March 2021 by Dutch security firm ThreatFabric, this new piece of malware, named Vultur, is a departure from other Android malware strains that usually rely on fake login screens floating on top of legitimate apps to collect a victim's credentials. Instead, Vultur opens a VNC server on the infected phone, and broadcasts screen captures to an attacker command and control server, where the Vultur operator extracts passwords for desired apps.

Of course skipping over...

By Junta • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The fact that the user must grant a whole lot of suspicious permissions, that even once granted the phone will activate a notification that something fishy is going on..

Sure, there may be improvements to make, but the security model seems to be working pretty well as the malware has to beg the user to let the infection happen with clear warnings and indicates the extra suspicious activity, and ultimately, even if someone did go all in, can be removed like any other application.

Re:Lame & for shame

By Junta • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The thing is, everything is doing its job, at least in this case. There are permissions to block everything that this thing does and 'infection' requires the user to accept a litany of highly suspect permissions, and to ignore the 'something is potentially fishy' indicator.

We still don't have a scenario where an unrooted device is afflicted in most of the traditional malware expectations (e.g. nstalling without user knowledge, doing things surreptitiously without any warning that it might be happening, difficult to uninstall when desired, and ability to self-propogate).

It's an app that describes pretty much exactly what its going to do to a user and a user says 'well ok then'. At some point there's a limit for what a platform can do to protect its userbase when faced with users that just accept everything.

Re:Lame & for shame

By vux984 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"Applications should not normally have permissions to record the screen, or take screenshots outside of their own sandbox."

They DON'T have permission, and you have to manually give it to them, and I'd be surprised if its even just a click through. Normally for stuff like screen recording from other apps you have to manually enable it for the app through the accessibility settings.

This is the process to install a VNC server on android (which is what the malware is leveraging).


It's not exactly 'click ok' and your pwnd.

LinkedIn To Allow Most Employees To Work Remotely, Reversing Course

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
LinkedIn will allow most employees to opt for full-time remote work as offices gradually reopen, Chief People Officer Teuila Hanson told Reuters. From the report: This new policy from Microsoft's professional social networking site is a reversal of the company's initial indication last October that employees would be expected to work from an office 50% of the time, when COVID-19 pandemic restrictions lift. The updated policy, offering employees the flexibility to work remotely full-time or work at an office part-time, will apply to LinkedIn's global workforce of more than 16,000 employees. "We anticipate that we'll definitely see more remote employees than what we saw prior to the pandemic," Hanson said in a Wednesday interview ahead of the announcement, adding that some jobs would require in-office work.

16,000 employees to run LinkedIn? Really?

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

I mean I can understand Facebook needing a lot of people to moderate its fluid, high-bullshit-content website. But LinkedIn? It's just a collection of overhyped resumes and social contacts ferchrissake. What the hell are 16K employees needed for?

Re:16,000 employees to run LinkedIn? Really?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I work here (been at LinkedIn over 5 years) and I honestly don't know.

The engineering teams are large because we never use any off the shelf or existing opensource products - we like to reinvent the wheel in house every time. (At LinkedIn we do Promotion Driven Development.)

We don't use docker or kubernetes because we tried to build our own. Like most things we try to build internally, it fails. A few things (like Kafka) succeeded but most internal projects are a maintenance nightmare and require teams of engineers to develop, test and run.

Sometimes the excuse for needing to build things in house is because existing software doesn't "work at our scale". And sometimes that might be true. But it would seem to be easier to improve existing open source software so it DOES work at scale than build something internal from scratch.

FWIW we're finally moving to Azure and starting to use docker and kubernetes after abandoning some of our internal projects but it was years wasted..

As for non-engineering teams, no idea why we have so many people. Not a clue.

Re:Never leaving the home office

By Opportunist • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I have had a couple employers in my lifetime. This one is something special.

First, it's a company where I can be absolutely certain that it WILL continue to exist. Not going into details, but if this company fails, the country fails. Second, for the first time in years I have a department head that knows what I need from him: Cutting the red tape. That's all I need in a manager. And that's what he's great at. We work well together. I like that. I am an internal consultant, meaning that the people I work together with and consult rarely change. I like that too. The pay is average, nothing to write home about, but it is as much as I need. I don't care too much for money. It's more than I spend, so it is sufficient. The projects are interesting and keep me motivated. That's a plus too,, nothing is more boring than testing one webapp after the next. The training packages are great, it's basically a limitless training budget, or at least I didn't manage to find its limits yet.

There isn't really a lot of incentive for me to switch employers. I do know that it could be way, way worse.

Cook, Pichai Join CEOs Urging Congress Pass Path to Citizenship

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
More than 90 chief executive officers, including those at Apple, Amazon and Facebook on Thursday urged Congress to pass a law offering a citizenship path to young immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children. From a report: In a letter to President Joe Biden and congressional leaders, the executives said thousands of the immigrants -- known as Dreamers -- are "valued employees at our companies," but a federal judge's recent ruling against a program protecting them "throws into chaos" their ability to live and work legally in the U.S. "Securing a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers not only is the right thing to do, but is a huge economic benefit to the United States," the CEOs wrote in the letter. "The latest court ruling makes it all the more urgent that Congress take up and pass a legislative solution right away." The letter seeks to increase pressure on Republicans in Congress who are likely to oppose Democrats' efforts to pass the measure allowing for legal status for as many as 8 million undocumented immigrants.


By jacks smirking reven • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The legislature can do many things at once if it could actually focus itself for any length of time. That said the issue of immigration reform, pathway to citizenship and the Dreamers has been an ongoing issue for years now, I recall it going back to the Clinton admin even and it still seems like the can gets kicked down the road every Congressional session. Things were so close in 2013 with the Gang of Eight immigration bill that actually made it through the Senate before Boehner and the Republican House left it to wither. Then Trump gets elected and immigration reform takes two steps backwards.

Americans have gotten quite a lot of help with the Rescue Plan, the Child Tax Credit that just went into effect (low key one of the largest social safety net programs to pass in our lifetimes, almost an entire UBI for families) and they could get more if the infrastructure plan could get off the ground.

As much as both parties do in fact suck it's become plainly clear that the Tea Party movement, followed by the Trump movement with the Machiavellian leadership under McConnel has broken the Republicans into a purely reactionary force unwilling to do anything because they do not believe in anything anymore. It is pure obstruction and they apparently will take the opposite position of anything their base perceives as "liberal" or "socialist" no matter how much it might help them or economic sense it makes.

Re: Priorities?

By OrangeTide • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

People who grew up here are my fellow Americans. It's the law that fails to recognize what is obvious to the rest of us.

Re:Why not follow immigration path?

By goldspider • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

We COULD consider making the legal process less onerous and expensive, allowing far more people to legally emigrate.

But that's also unacceptable, for reasons that totally aren't motivated by racism and xenophobia.

Does nothing to prevent future illegals

By magzteel • Score: 3 • Thread

I'm on board with the proposal, but I want it tied to border security.
Open borders plus proposals like this just invite more people to violate the borders

Close the border, let the wage markets work

By Eravnrekaree • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

These are billionaire psychopathic CEOs talking that just want to squeeze workers to death and suppress wages to enrich themselves more. The fact is that importing more cheap labor into the country increases poverty for the American citizen by downward depressing wages. Let the domestic free market work and wages will go up, rather than distorting it with illegal aliens from the third world, which also ends up leading to more fiscal problems with increasing welfare expenditures the taxpayer has to pay for on top of the downward wage depression.

When you reward something, you get more of it. There is massive criminality on the southern border. There are cartels and human trafficking, people across the border, and it can be a very lucrative business for cartels. Its as if the democratic party loves it and is in the pocket of it, because they do everything they can to enable this activity. When you do something like give amnesty, you are actually causing more of the problem of children and slaves being trafficked across the border. There is massive criminality and savagery there of children being basically used for labor and being trafficked alone across the border and like horrendous things and the more you reward this the more its going to happen. So to protect the safety and well being of people what really needs to done is you deport them immediately when they cross the border. You stop rewarding them, and then you shut down the cartels who can't do this any more. When you give amnesty, you are basically giving money to the cartels and allowing them to continue to profit off of this by enabling the criminal activity. When you deport all illegals, you put the cartels out of business and the trafficking the children and drugs being smuggled across, stops. If people cannot be rewarded for it, they won't try, instead, they will stay home and make their own countries better places to live, rather than take the easy way, which actually doesnt solve anything. And that brings us to what needs to happen is improving the conditions in the countries they come from and that starts with stopping the illegal aliens and crossings so that people have an incentive to stay in their own country and make it better.

Critical to that is the wall. The wall is misunderstood. Its not an impenetrable barrier, instead, its designed as a tool for border control because a wall makes crossing slower. Of course anyone can climb it, thats the point, they have to climb it, which slows them down, puts them in a more vulnerable position, which gives border control time to get to the scene, and makes it easier to catch illegals as they come down the wall. Part of the wall is physical and part electronic to detect crossings as they happen to allow border patrol to get to that area.

We need to stop all immigration and instead we need to train Americans for the new STEM jobs of the future. We don't need cheap labor any more because the low wage jobs will be taken over by robots. As this happens more Americans will move into better paying jobs and the low wage jobs will be automated. The result will be crash in poverty rates as fewer and fewer Americans live in poverty and a great improvement in the overall living conditions. This is already happening with the labor shortages for low wage jobs. We should just let these labor shortages play out as it will eventually lead to automation of these jobs, most of these jobs were low wage jobs anyway and the cause of that shortage is people moving into better paying jobs. We should just let automation happen, rather than trying to prop up old slave wage labor patterns by importing foreign aliens from the third world.

Pfizer Vaccine Effectiveness Drops To 84 Percent After Six Months, Study Finds

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Hill: The effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine fell from 96 percent to 84 percent over six months, according to data released on Wednesday. The preprint study funded by the companies determined that the vaccine's effectiveness reached a high point of 96.2 percent within two months after the second dose. But the efficacy "declined gradually" to 83.7 percent within six months, with an average decrease of about 6 percent every two months. But even with the slip in efficacy, the data indicates the vaccine offers protection six months later.

The ongoing study with more than 44,000 participants across the Americas and Europe determined the vaccine was overall 91.1 percent effective, after 81 cases emerged among the vaccinated and 873 among those who received the placebo. The efficacy of the vaccine against severe disease including hospitalizations remained high, at 97 percent. Researchers will continue to observe participants of the study up to two years and combined with "real-world" data "will determine whether a booster is likely to be beneficial after a longer interval." If the efficacy continued to decrease at the current rate, it could fall below 50 percent within 18 months, suggesting that booster shots could be needed.

Re:Stupid people

By NicknameUnavailable • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

True. Which is why there are so many COVID cheerleaders on Slashdot. Pretty sick if you ask me. You guys might want to re-examine your priorities in life.

Nerds aren't born, they're forged through ostracization.

Re:Stupid people

By tragedy • Score: 4 • Thread

"COVID cheerleaders"? What are you even talking about? The people you're talking about aren't cheering on the virus. If we wanted to do that, we would put on fake personas where we discourage mask use, vaccination and other safety measures while just keeping ourselves safe. In fact, I'm fairly sure that at least some segment of the anti-mask/anti-vax crowd are people at the cross section of introvert and sociopath who are concerned for themselves, but are happy for the pandemic to drag on as long as possible, so they encourage other people to be unsafe.

I, personally, would be quite happy to work from home forever (although there are tons of public places I want to be able to get back to), but I very, very much want people to be responsible about this pandemic, because people are dying and being effectively maimed in massive numbers. Sane, well-adjusted people are concerned when people are presentably dying in large numbers.

two advantages

By DrYak • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

It will be very hard to vaccinate the whole world faster than the virus can naturally mutate and decrease a vaccine's effectiveness.

We have two mechanism playing at an advantage for us:

- Coronaviruses have a slower mutation rate (they have an exonuclease function on nsp14 - giving them "proof-reading" capability) compared to your average RNA virus.

- Vaccine specifically target the Spike, the protein that the virus needs to enter the host cell. The vaccine can't mutate than one too much or it loses its ability to infect humans. The virus is in a "key-and-lock" matching dead-end.

- Unlike Influenza virus which has a segmented genome and thus can very easily shuffle around segements if two different virus infect the same host (E.g.: a swine infected by both an avian and human strain), coronavirus lack some similar mechanism to drastically increase recombinations, and thus cannot as easily bring a sudden entirely new Spike in the game.

This might helps us outpace virus mutations with our vaccine campaign.

And even if we could do that -which would be an unparalleled feat of logistics all in human history-

Not true, there are even slower mutating viruses (mostly DNA-based ones) that we have nearly eradicated using even older (and slower) vaccine production technologies.
We have outpaced viruses with vaccines in the past.

the virus will still continue to exist and evolve in animals and find its way back into the human population.

Well, that I agree:
given the first SARS and then MERS one and two decades ago, chances are, by 2028, there will could be some SARS-CoV-3 emerging causing yet another new disease.
(Those will simply be considered a different virus).

Study Design...

By Thelasko • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
From what I've seen, it seems the study wasn't well designed to determine time as the cause of effectiveness drop. The drop in effectiveness could very well be caused by variants. The delta variant in particular. They merely compared whether the placebo group contracted Covid to the control group. Further testing to determine a breakdown by variant would have been much more insightful.


By hey! • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

No I did not. As I said SARS-COV-2 can infect other mammalian species, but the ecology of a persistent zoonosis is not nearly as simple as you imagine. For example the reason China is often implicated in flu outbreaks is that it's common to raise both poultry and pigs on the same farm -- something that was true in the US when 1918 flu emerged. This makes it possible to link human populations with migratory birds, e.g., migratory birds to domestic ducks to pigs to people, or migratory birds to chickens to people.

Amazon's Older Kindles Will Start To Lose Their Internet Access In December

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Amazon's Kindle e-readers with built-in 3G will begin to lose the ability to connect to the internet on their own in the US in December, according to an email sent to customers on Wednesday. The Verge reports: The change is due to mobile carriers transitioning from older 2G and 3G networking technology to newer 4G and 5G networks. For older Kindles without Wi-Fi, this change could mean not connecting to the internet at all. As Good e-Reader first noted in June, newer Kindle devices with 4G support should be fine, but for older devices that shipped with support for 3G and Wi-Fi like the Kindle Keyboard (3rd generation), Kindle Touch (4th generation), Kindle Paperwhite (4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th generation), Kindle Voyage (7th generation), and Kindle Oasis (8th generation), users will be stuck with Wi-Fi only. In its email announcement, Amazon stresses that you can still enjoy the content you already own and have downloaded on these devices, you just won't be able to download new books from the Kindle Store unless you're doing it over Wi-Fi.

Things get more complicated for Amazon's older Kindles, like the Kindle (1st and 2nd generation), and the Kindle DX (2nd generation). Since those devices relied solely on 2G or 3G internet connectivity, once the networks are shut down, the only way to get new content onto your device will be through an old-fashioned micro-USB cable. For customers affected by the shutdown, Amazon is offering a modest promotional credit (NEWKINDLE50) through August 15th for $50 towards a new Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Oasis, along with $15 in-store credit for ebooks. While arguably the company could do more to help affected customers (perhaps by replacing older devices entirely) this issue is largely out of Amazon's hands.

Are you fuc*ing out of your mind?

By franzrogar • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Quote: "While arguably the company could do more to help ..."

Why? I ask, why on Earth SHOULD they do it?

I mean, why would Amazon do "more" than offering "advice and money help to upgrade"?

Did the companies that sold old PCs offered you money to buy the "new" 3 1/4 disk reader when you had 5 1/2? Because 5 1/2 stopped delivering...

Did the companies that sold you LP players offered you money to buy the "new" cassette tape reader (portable or not)? Because (sadly) LPs stopped delivering... (gladly they came back).



By sjames • Score: 3 • Thread

On the other hand, if your (great) grandpa still has an old candlestick phone, you can still wire it to a POTS line and use it normally.

Re:14 years seems reasonable

By Poison.Pill • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I wish I had mod points to use.

I'd love for a lot of my electronics to be working 14 years after I purchased them. I don't believe I'm typing this, but Amazon should be commended for supporting these devices as long as they have instead of forcing us to by new devices every few years like some fruity companies out there.

As a first gen Kindle owner...

By RobinH • Score: 3 • Thread
I got a first generation Kindle with a 2G/3G connection. It cost about $250 back when I got it. I've loved it, particularly I once purchased a book through the Kindle store while on a vacation on a cruise ship while nowhere near shore - it worked through the cell on the ship, and I've never had to pay a monthly service. That was amazing, honestly. The Kindle store hasn't worked on the device for a couple years now, but I can still purchase a book on my phone and it'll show up on the Kindle. All in all, it's been excellent, and I don't care if it stops working, or if I have to use an "old fashioned" micro USB connection to get a book on it. It's lasted a long time for a device purchased at the height of Moore's law. This is an overblown story.

Re: Is the author 12?

By e3m4n • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
If we are talking the kindle e-readers, it was a waste of money to go with anything but wifi. The reality is that even reading 1 book per day (which is less than realistic for 300pg or larger books) youre talking about less than 1mb files. Turn on mobile hot spot. Fetch your next book. In fact by disabling the radio in the kindle until such time you actually need it, you double the battery life. I only have to charge it once per month and I read my kindle voyager from 2015 at least 1hr per day. Having to tether a kindle to put books on it isnt the end of the world. Likely you will do 3 or 4 books at a time and only takes 1min to do. Keep in mind these are books of mostly text and a tiny amount of markup for AZW/mobi format.

First Detection of Light From Behind a Black Hole

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Stanford University astrophysicist Dan Wilkins has spotted the first detection of light from behind a black hole. Phys.Org reports: "Any light that goes into that black hole doesn't come out, so we shouldn't be able to see anything that's behind the black hole," said Wilkins, who is a research scientist at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. It is another strange characteristic of the black hole, however, that makes this observation possible. "The reason we can see that is because that black hole is warping space, bending light and twisting magnetic fields around itself," Wilkins explained. The strange discovery, detailed in a paper published July 28 in Nature, is the first direct observation of light from behind a black hole -- a scenario that was predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity but never confirmed, until now.

"Fifty years ago, when astrophysicists starting speculating about how the magnetic field might behave close to a black hole, they had no idea that one day we might have the techniques to observe this directly and see Einstein's general theory of relativity in action," said Roger Blandford, a co-author of the paper who is the Luke Blossom Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Stanford and SLAC professor of physics and particle physics.

The original motivation behind this research was to learn more about a mysterious feature of certain black holes, called a corona. Material falling into a supermassive black hole powers the brightest continuous sources of light in the universe, and as it does so, forms a corona around the black hole. This light -- which is X-ray light -- can be analyzed to map and characterize a black hole. [...] As Wilkins took a closer look to investigate the origin of the flares, he saw a series of smaller flashes. These, the researchers determined, are the same X-ray flares but reflected from the back of the disk -- a first glimpse at the far side of a black hole. [...] The mission to characterize and understand coronas continues and will require more observation.

Light from the far side of the black hole

By tinkerton • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

It's not so much that they capture xrays from behind the black hole, the first proof of general relativity was about light bending round the sun and even that did not show that it bends, it showed that it bends twice as much as you'd expect in newtonian gravity. So a gravitational lense could have been imagined even by Newton.
The new thing appears to be - if i get it right- that they are capturing light created at the other side of the black hole, so it resembles more getting glimpses of the far side of the moon.It's the magnitude of the bending which makes the observation cute.

Re:Uhm. W T F?

By gtall • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

"you can be pretty sure that no event horizon will exist according to a proper quantum gravity theory"

No I can't. There are more quantum gravity theories than there are quantum gravity theorists.

Regarding stuff coming out, maybe you are thinking of Hawking radiation, i.e., pairs of photons, one of which gets drawn into the blak hole and one which escapes to have lunch in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. The escaping photon adds a bit of energy to the universe but the caught one adds a bit of negative energy to black hole causing it to shrink just a tiny bit. Eventually, the black hole "evaporates" but don't wait around for it, it will take over 10^{100} years.

However, this too is just a theory. We are currently advertising for black holes to fill out health inssurance forms so we can have them tested. . .pay kind of sucks though.


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

From the abstract; "The X-rays that are seen reflected from the disk, and the time delays, as variations in the X-ray emission echo or ‘reverberate’ off the disk, provide a view of the environment just outside the event horizon. ... These are photons that reverberate off the far side of the disk, and are bent around the black hole and magnified by the strong gravitational field."

This doesn't sound exactly like gravitational lensing...

"bent around the black hole and magnified by the strong gravitational field" sounds exactly like gravitational lensing to me,

The bit about "reverberating" doesn't make any sense as written, but it is just quoting words from this reference, which is a little clearer that what they mean by "reverberate" is just the light-crossing delay:

"If, as is usually the case, the luminosity varies with time, then the response from the surrounding gas will also vary, but after a time delay due to light-crossing time. This delay or reverberation lag ranges from milliseconds to many hours for irradiation of the innermost accretion flow at a few gravitational radii ..."

Misleading headline and description.

By rpresser • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This is the most important sentence in TFA (boldface added):

He observed a series of bright flares of X-rays—exciting, but not unprecedented—and then, the telescopes recorded something unexpected: additional flashes of X-rays that were smaller, later and of different "colors" than the bright flares.

The point here is that the X-ray flares were emitted on "our" side of the hole -- and then echoes appeared that were identifiable as echoes. The X-rays had traveled around the hole one or several times before escaping in our direction.

This is not just "lensing" of light from the far side of the hole a long ways off. This is "reflection".

Einstein's prediciton

By rnturn • Score: 3 • Thread

``The strange discovery, detailed in a paper published July 28 in Nature, is the first direct observation of light from behind a black hole -- a scenario that was predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity but never confirmed, until now. ''

I don't believe Einstein predicted anything involving black holes. He did, however, predict that light could be bent by a strong gravitational field. This was demonstrated, if memory serves, during an eclipse many decades ago.