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


  1. Researchers Toilet-Trained Cows In Hopes of Reducing Their Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  2. New York To Ban Sale of All Gas-Powered Vehicles In the State By 2035
  3. Engineers Grow Pancreatic 'Organoids' That Mimic the Real Thing
  4. Uber Drivers Are Employees, Not Contractors, Says Dutch Court
  5. Kape Technologies Agrees to Buy ExpressVPN for $936 Million
  6. Sony Is Nickel-and-Diming PS5 Owners On Upgrades For Games They Already Own
  7. A Horrifying New AI App Swaps Women Into Porn Videos With a Click
  8. Facebook: Some High-Profile Users 'Allowed To Break Platform's Rules'
  9. Intuit Confirms $12 Billion Deal To Buy Mailchimp
  10. Facebook Unveils Superpack, a New Compression Technique
  11. The IT Talent Gap is Still Growing
  12. Apple Patches a NSO Zero-Day Flaw Affecting All Devices
  13. Firm Raises $15 Million To Bring Back Woolly Mammoth From Extinction
  14. Brazil's President Bans Social Networks From Removing Some Posts
  15. Inside the Shadowy World of Disinformation-for-Hire in Kenya
  16. Technology Giant Olympus Hit by BlackMatter Ransomware
  17. Biden To Tap Privacy Hawk For FTC Post
  18. Epic Files Appeal After Loss To Apple in App Store Case
  19. Mozilla Has Defeated Microsoft's Default Browser Protections in Windows
  20. Walmart Says Report That It Will Be Accepting Litecoin as Payment is False
  21. As 'Buy Now, Pay Later' Surges, a Third of US Users Fall Behind on Payments
  22. El Salvador's Bitcoin Rollout Marred by Technical Glitches in Digital Wallets
  23. Singapore Police Deploy Snitch Bots To Test Searching for 'Undesirable Social Behaviors'
  24. Perseverance's New Rock Samples Reveal Water Was Present on Mars For a Long Time

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.

Researchers Toilet-Trained Cows In Hopes of Reducing Their Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: Researchers in Germany recently demonstrated that cattle can be toilet trained to reduce some of their climate impact. By having the young cows pee in latrines made of turf, the team of experts in animal behavior and agricultural science stopped the natural production of nitrous oxide from the cow's urine. Cows are notorious for their contributions to greenhouse gas emissions in large-scale farming; the animals belch (and to a lesser extent, fart) methane, and their urine and poop combine to produce ammonia, which isn't a greenhouse gas itself but is converted into nitrous oxide by microbes in the soil. The team trained nearly a dozen calves to urinate in a makeshift latrine, nicknamed the MooLoo, thereby stopping the urine from becoming part of the problem. The research was published on Monday in Current Biology.

Training the cows was a fairly simple process on paper. First, the scientists penned 16 of the animals into the latrine area. When the cows urinated, they were given food or sugar water, tacit endorsements of their decisions. The next step was teaching them not to pee in the pasture, which the team did by implementing an unpleasant stimulus whenever they did so. That stimulus was originally a loud noise, but when the researchers realized the animals didn't mind it much, they swapped it out for spraying the cows with water, a relatively harmless message of "bad cow." The team found that the cows' ability to hold it and go in the latrine was equivalent to a child's ability with the toilet -- even superior to that of young children. [The team] hopes to bring the latrines to other sites and increase the number of potty-trained cows. "To do this, we must first automate the whole training procedure and adapt it to the conditions on the farm," he told Gizmodo in an email. "We want to tackle this in a follow-up project."
The report notes there are a couple of limitations with this effort. "First, not all of the cows could be potty-trained. Only 10 of the 16 calves quickly learned to pee in the proper place and could routinely reproduce that action," reports Gizmodo. "That's trouble for anyone trying to scale up the practice (there are more than 1 billion cows on Earth). Second, the experiment didn't cover defecation, and cow poop also contains ammonia. There's also still the major problem of methane, a greenhouse gas 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, tied to cows burps and farts."

Whatever happened to Seaweed?

By schweini • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Years ago, someone reported that you can sinificantly reduce cow's greenhouse emissions simply by feeding them a bit of seaweed or something like that. It seemd super easy and effective and cheap.
Whatever happened to that?

Carbon neutral

By The Evil Atheist • Score: 3 • Thread
Cows are carbon neutral. The carbon they release is entirely from the carbon they consume. Stop wasting time on nonsense.

Re:Carbon neutral

By q_e_t • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
From TFS and TFA, the gas at issue is nitrous oxide, not CO2. In any case, plants take in CO2, cows eat it, then fart out methane which is more short lived but more potent than CO2. And also, the only inputs to raising cows aren't grass and air, but also shelter, warmth, vets, feed, distribution of feed, and potentially fertiliser to produce that, which have a carbon input. Many cows sadly never see a blade of grass and the feed is hauled to them using fossil fuels and made from crops that required fertiliser and irrigation.

Re:Whatever happened to Seaweed?

By SlideWRX • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The seaweed was for methane production, this article is about nitrous oxides.

It wasn't covered up; the initial study was in 2014; the long term study finished this year. That's important, because the initial study (Abstract mentions 72 hours) suggested 'up to 99%' reduction, while the long term study (147 weeks) is saying 'up to 80%', still huge, mentions no distinguishable taste difference, and it will change the food we feed cows. Considering the first thing that pops up when searching "cow" and "seaweed" is a dozen articles on it, I don't think anything has been covered up. Farmers don't just switch like a lightbulb when a study comes out; they need to know long term effects on their animals. Need to know which seaweed, at when concentration is healthy, a lot of things.


By Ol Olsoc • Score: 3 • Thread
Unless cows are transmuting other elements into Methane and CO2, they are carbon neutral.

Although a Cow in an alchemists hat? How cool would that be?

If we re-lease already sequestered Carbon or methane in the process of raising cows, yes. But that is Carbon that would be re-released anyhow.

Seriously AGW is real. But we aren't going to combat it this way.

New York To Ban Sale of All Gas-Powered Vehicles In the State By 2035

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
New York is aiming to ban the sale of all gas-powered vehicles in the state by 2035. CBS News reports: A bill amending the state's environmental conservation law was passed by the state's Senate and Assembly and signed by Governor Kathy Hochul last week. Under the new law, 100% of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks will have zero emissions by 2035. That means state agencies will work to develop affordable powering options for zero-emissions vehicles in all communities, improve sustainable transportation and support bicycle and pedestrian options. Several agencies will work to create a zero-emissions vehicle market development strategy by 2023, so ensure more zero-emission cars are available in the state.

Anti-Nuclear thinking is dead end

By SuperKendall • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Assuming a 60 year old nuclear power plant with a history of maintenance problems would still have been operating in 2035

Illinois just canceled shutdown of two plants. It's not impossible to imagine that a 60 year old plant could have easily been kept going long enough to see some much more modern aSMR built to replace it.

nuclear power has turned out to be a dead end.

Luckily what is truly at a dead end is that kind of anti-enviormental thinking that has come very close to destroying the planet.

You want to actually reduce CO2 emissions? Flat out that is not going to happen without nuclear. With wind power literally at a standstill in the UK, and true environmentalists rightfully balking at the implications of filling vast amounts of land with solar panels, the only path forward that makes numerical sense is nuclear power.

Luckily while y'all were faffing about with utterly unreliable "renewable" power sources actual scientists were hard at work designing way, way better nuclear reactors which are now being built all around the world.

And while they were building those new kinds of reactors, politicians on all sides have come to realize nuclear power really is better - which is why the Illinois reactors avoided decommissioning. And why Germany now privately admits they made a terrible mistake in shutting down nuclear reactors, and Japan is restarting nuclear reactors.

Because you cannot meet emission goals any other way.

Nuclear is the future. As it should have been all along.

Unserious solutions from unserious people, again.

By MacMann • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

This is virtue signalling by politicians looking to get re-elected, not the plans of serious people. A serious person with a plan would set goals that start with, "Before I leave office..."

I noticed a lot of this in the Democrat primary for POTUS candidate, a lot of people with 10 year plans. 10 years, so you mean after your time in office and your successor had 2 years to flush it down the toilet? That's not a serious plan from a serious candidate. These people set a goal 15 years out? How many of them will still be in office then? My guess is few to none. Almost certainly none will be in office if someone comes to point out how badly they failed to meet this goal. This is putting a constraint on a future government, a government that may have a different idea on where the government needs to put its priorities.

What would a serious politician do to lower CO2 emissions? Build nuclear fission power plants and fuel synthesis facilities. They'd do that in a time period that is within their ability to be in office. For a 70 year old senator that may be 5 years. For a 45 year old representative that has no term limits then perhaps 15 years is reasonable. If it's 20 years out then it may as well be 2000 years because it's not happening.

There's an anonymous coward that likes to follow me around and post, "Nobody wants nukes!" Okay then, where are the protests? Where's the people holding up signs and blocking bulldozers? There are none. In fact the anti-nuclear politicians and average unwashed hippy do there best to not even mention nuclear power. Why is that? My guess is because if they say anything against nuclear power then people will start asking questions. Questions that there are no good answers for on why we should not have nuclear power. They can point to some badly designed or planned reactor somewhere but that's not an answer on why we should not use nuclear power generally.

What about Chernobyl? Yes, what about it? That was a reactor designed in the 1960s and lacked the most basic safety systems like a containment dome. What of Three Mile Island? Also a 1960s design, and there were people that claimed the damage was minimal enough that the reactor could have been restarted. Fukushima? Again, a 1960s design built without the safety systems of newer reactors and even then more people died in the unnecessary evacuation than from the reactor itself. There was one suspected death from radiation in a worker at Fukushima. The people that fled to the USA by aircraft got more radiation by cosmic radiation in the high thin air than had they stayed in Japan.

There is no argument against nuclear power any more. The only tactic left is to be very very quiet about nuclear power and hope nobody brings it up.

Then is the option for carbon neutral fuels to bring CO2 emissions from ICEVs to the same level of BEVs. Had synthesized fuel technology got anywhere near the same attention of electric cars there's potential we'd have solved the CO2 emissions problem of transportation by now. This bill isn't about lowering CO2 emissions, at least as it appears to me. This is hate of the personally owned automobile. These are politicians and hippies that hate cars. They may tolerate the BEV now but that will change if or when they become popular. They will just find an excuse to hate those. We saw this with a love of natural gas and nuclear power from these same politicians and hippies decades ago. When city buses switched to natural gas and coal plants were being replaced by nuclear plants then they got very unhappy.

I've read my history and this is the same shit on a different decade. They are unserious people making unserious demands, and should anyone take them seriously and do as they say then they get pissed and protest.

What is going to happen is another frenzy to build nuclear power plants to avert an energy shortage like in the 1970s. What will be different is few people will complain. We will come up on a century of nuclear power very soon, and that experience shows nuclear power to be very clean, safe, plentiful, profitable, and so much so that it would be obvious to use it.

Re:Business opportunity!

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

You have no idea. Most people in metropolitan areas don't live in homes that have ease of access to chargers. In fact, in most areas of the US, getting the landlord to keep the pipes from leaking and the toilet flushing requires a lawyer or a visit to a tenants association.

You really think a NYC slum lord would put in chargers? It isn't going to happen.

Don't forget grid stress. Think NYC is going to spend the cash it takes to sling more wires, apartment owners spending for beefed up amperage coming in? Fat chance.

At best, there will be a few metered machines where you can charge your EV and pay $5/minute to use a level 2 charger. And the people there will be grateful for that because the only alternative will be fighting people over chargers at the malls.

Gas stations don't want EV chargers because it means some snotty, bored dude with their Tesla will be harassing their staff for hours on end while their vehicle charges, while hundreds of people come, get gas, and head on their daily life. Good luck forcing them to, because EV charging is not a profit center.

Keep your battery powered toy. Gas stations are not going anywhere, and real work will still be done by gasoline and diesel vehicles because you don't need to charge an IC vehicle for 20 hours... just fill up with fuel in five minutes and be on the road. Between the fact that chargers are so rare, and expensive if you do find one, (as most people don't have a house with a level 3 charger), EVs just make no sense in the US. In Europe, where they have actual infrastructure, and a government immune to corruption, it makes perfect sense, because there are no real rural areas, and one is always within a few kilometers of a charger.

In the US, we can't even get power grids to not collapse (California, Texas)... think they will be beefed up to handle 250kw Tesla chargers? Won't happen.

Re:Business opportunity!

By apoc.famine • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Uh, don't forget that you have to be able to go uphill both ways too. That takes a lot more power than people would otherwise expect.

As an EV owner...

By Vandil X • Score: 3 • Thread
As an EV owner, I am happy to see the market open up and the good intentions to extend the charging infrastructure.

But I would like for each of these elected officials to go on a road trip in one. I want them to experience the joys of L2 charging in a random campground for several hours. I want them to experience arriving at a single,/i> DC fast charger that is in use and having to wait an hour or so for the owner to return from wherever they went, and then have to plug in and charge for an hour. I want them to arrive at a Tesla supercharger that is offline, even though the car says it's on.

Once they've experienced these things, I want them to then think about the nature of their bill and make sure that if they are forcing gas cars to go away, they improve the experience of charging an EV. As it is right now, most people couldn't handle it, and those that can, probably have time to spare on roadtrips for the unexpected charging snafu.

Engineers Grow Pancreatic 'Organoids' That Mimic the Real Thing

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Researchers from MIT have developed a new way to grow tiny replicas of the pancreas, using either healthy or cancerous pancreatic cells. They believe that their "specialized gel" could also be useful for studying lung, colorectal, and other cancers, including how potential cancer drugs affect tumors and their environment. The findings have been published in the journal Nature Materials. MIT reports: Using a specialized gel that mimics the extracellular environment surrounding the pancreas, the researchers were able to grow pancreatic "organoids," allowing them to study the important interactions between pancreatic tumors and their environment. Unlike some of the gels now used to grow tissue, the new MIT gel is completely synthetic, easy to assemble and can be produced with a consistent composition every time. The researchers have also shown that their new gel can be used to grow other types of tissue, including intestinal and endometrial tissue. [...] About 10 years ago, [Linda Griffith, the School of Engineering Professor of Teaching Innovation and a professor of biological engineering and mechanical engineering, and her lab] started to work on designing a synthetic gel that could be used to grow epithelial cells, which form the sheets that line most organs, along with other supportive cells.

The gel they developed is based on polyethylene glycol (PEG), a polymer that is often used for medical applications because it doesn't interact with living cells. By studying the biochemical and biophysical properties of the extracellular matrix, which surrounds organs in the body, the researchers were able to identify features they could incorporate into the PEG gel to help cells grow in it. One key feature is the presence of molecules called peptide ligands, which interact with cell surface proteins called integrins. The sticky binding between ligands and integrins allows cells to adhere to the gel and form organoids. The researchers found that incorporating small synthetic peptides derived from fibronectin and collagen in their gels allowed them to grow a variety of epithelial tissues, including intestinal tissue. They showed that supportive cells called stromal cells, along with immune cells, can also thrive in this environment.

In the new study, Griffith and [Claus Jorgensen, a group leader at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute] wanted to see if the gel could also be used to support the growth of normal pancreatic organoids and pancreatic tumors. Traditionally, it has been difficult to grow pancreatic tissue in a manner that replicates both the cancerous cells and the supporting environment, because once pancreatic tumor cells are removed from the body, they lose their distinctive cancerous traits. Griffith's lab developed a protocol to produce the new gel, and then teamed up with Jorgensen's lab, which studies the biology of pancreatic cancer, to test it. Jorgensen and his students were able to produce the gel and use it to grow pancreatic organoids, using healthy or cancerous pancreatic cells derived from mice. "We got the protocol from Linda and we got the reagents in, and then it just worked," Jorgensen says. "I think that speaks volumes of how robust the system is and how easy it is to implement in the lab."

pancreatic tumor cells are removed from the body,

By sonamchauhan • Score: 3 • Thread

once pancreatic tumor cells are removed from the body, they lose their distinctive cancerous traits.

Curious - anyone know why pancreatic tumor cells stop being cancerous outside of the body?

All I could find from the abstract is pancreatic tissue stiffness is a hallmark of pancreatic cancer.

Uber Drivers Are Employees, Not Contractors, Says Dutch Court

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Uber drivers are employees, not contractors, and so entitled to greater workers' rights under local labor laws, a Dutch court ruled on Monday, handing a setback to the U.S. company's European business model. It was another court victory for unions fighting for better pay and benefits for those employed in the gig economy and followed a similar decision this year about Uber in Britain. The Amsterdam District Court sided with the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions (FNV), which had argued that Uber's roughly 4,000 drivers in the capital are employees of a taxi company and should be granted benefits in line with the taxi sector.

The court found drivers who transport passengers via the Uber app are covered by the collective labour agreement for taxi transportation. "The legal relationship between Uber and these drivers meets all the characteristics of an employment contract," the ruling said. Uber drivers are in some cases entitled to back pay, the court said. The judges also ordered Uber to pay a fine of 50,000 euros ($58,940) for failing to implement the terms of the labor agreement for taxi drivers.
Uber said it would appeal against the decision and "has no plans to employ drivers in the Netherlands." They added: "We are disappointed with this decision because we know that the overwhelming majority of drivers wish to remain independent. Drivers don't want to give up their freedom to choose if, when and where to work."

Last November, Uber, Lyft and other gig economy companies scored a decisive win in California when a majority of the state's voters passed a company-sponsored ballot measure that cemented workers' status as contractors, albeit with some benefits.

Re:That is how it works

By Richard_at_work • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Except that drivers get penalised for declining too many fares...

So no, the driver can't "choose to decline" without there being a negative outcome for them - which makes them not independent of the "matching platform"...

Do Drivers really want to be paid $0/hr waiting fo

By Joe_Dragon • Score: 3 • Thread

Do Drivers really want to be paid $0/hr waiting for an ride?? or do they want to be paid to be in an spot waiting for an ride / sitting in an taxi rack? / holding in the middle of an high demand area?
Be paid $0/hr (Maybe even lose $) after an long trip to get back to your core area?

Uber can't help but twist it with weasel words

By bloodhawk • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Drivers don't want to give up their freedom to choose if, when and where to work.

why would drivers have to give up that unless Uber demands it? being an employee doesn't mean you are not permitted flexibility unless the employer decides to be aholes.

Re:Laws are for everyone :P

By tlhIngan • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'm not Dutch, but in America, it is common for drivers to have both Uber and Lyft apps active, and accept rides from either.

There are a few more considerations than that to determine if someone is a contractor or employee. After all, an employee can also work for both Uber and Lyft - it's called working two jobs.

Other factors include whether the contract is for a definite term or project (this makes a lot of "endless renewal" contractors employees - the term of employment needs to be well defined), whether the contractor has the freedom to set prices and so on. If Uber and Lyft really wanted to do this, they could - someone wants a ride, and drivers get to quote how much they'd do it for, either in total price or in the price they'd take and the company would add their cut to the customer price. Then the customer can pick the level of service they'd want.

At this point it would satisfy most definitions of contractor if each ride is taken as a separate contract.

Of course, this takes a lot of convenience out of the trip if you have to plan on it - you have to submit a request and wait a few minutes for bids to come in and then choose from the bids. And there might even be fees for this if you cancel the trip if you dislike the bids. Or you need to handle the case where drivers might bid on multiple trips and then have those bids cancelled if one of them is accepted.


By dskoll • Score: 3 • Thread

Quite apart from Uber and Lyft seriously exploiting their employees, there's the little issue of uncompetitive dumping. To my knowledge, Uber and Lyft have never made a profit. This means they are under-pricing their services, most likely in an attempt to kill of competitors, after which they will have the freedom to raise prices and harm consumers.

Any other company that lost money continually for years to subsidize below-market-rate products or services would be shut down for anti-competitive practices.

Kape Technologies Agrees to Buy ExpressVPN for $936 Million

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Kape Technologies Plc agreed to buy ExpressVPN in a $936 million deal that will more than double the cybersecurity company's customer base and expand its tools for private web surfing. Bloomberg reports: Kape will pay $354 million in cash when the deal closes and the equivalent of $237 million in shares, which can be sold after a 24-month lockup, the company said in a statement on Monday. Another $345 million in cash will be paid in two installments, 12 months and 24 months after the close. The deal still needs approval from regulators.

God damn it - Kape are sleazebags

By Sarusa • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I liked Lastpass, then it got bought by sleazebags (and I moved to KeePass). I like ExpressVPN and now it gets bought by this sleazy British/Israeli 'security' firm with a sordid history. Crossrider/Kape was co-founded by an Israeli surveilance agent and a billionaire convicted criminal and produced third party mitm injection software for browsers to steal private data and manipulate traffic.

They also already own another VPN company (CyberGhost), which explicitly can share your data with its parent company (Kape).

Sigh - finding a decent secure, fast, VPN is such a pain in the ass.

Re:God damn it - Kape are sleazebags

By Sarusa • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I am consistently picking firms which are among the best in their category, which means they get lots of users, which means then they are the biggest targets for vulture capital. Put that way it seems sadly inevitable.


By CaptQuark • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Wow! That adds up to over $900 million!! Just like the summary said.

Privacy, Security, and Corporatism

By Stoutlimb • Score: 3 • Thread

Privacy, security, and large publicly traded corporations: Which of these doesn't fit with the other two?

When quarterly earnings are the only morality, privacy and security are for sale to the highest bidder, usually the state, and the centralization of a large corporation makes it so easy.

Sony Is Nickel-and-Diming PS5 Owners On Upgrades For Games They Already Own

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to Insider, Sony is charging a $10 upgrade fee to bring cross-generational games from a PS4 to a PS5. From the report: When new game consoles launch nowadays, a variety of games on that new console are also available on the previous generation of consoles. The next major PlayStation 5 exclusive game, for instance, is also headed to the PlayStation 4: "Horizon Forbidden West" launches in early 2022, and millions of players will get it on the last generation console. [..] Unfortunately, when PlayStation 4 owners do finally find and purchase a PlayStation 5, those cross-generational games don't automatically make the leap with them. Instead, Sony intends to charge $10 apiece for that upgrade -- and that's only after fans criticized Sony for an even stranger policy.

"Thursday was to be a celebration of 'Horizon Forbidden West' and the amazing team at Guerrilla working to deliver it on February 18, 2022," PlayStation leader Jim Ryan said in an update on a Sony blog post earlier this month. "However, it's abundantly clear that the offerings we confirmed in our pre-order kickoff missed the mark." Ryan was referring to a previously announced pre-order announcement for "Horizon Forbidden West" that revealed the only way to get both the PS4 and PS5 versions of the game was to order an $80 "digital deluxe" edition -- a $20 increase over the base level $60 price of a PS4 video game.

Sony had previously announced that any PlayStation 5 games in the "launch window" would only need to be purchased on one console to own both the PS4 and PS5 versions. "Horizon Forbidden West" has been delayed repeatedly, which pushed it out of the ambiguous "launch window" Sony set for the PlayStation 5 (which launched in November 2020). When PlayStation fans cited this, Sony caved. Moreover, Ryan laid out a clear upgrade path for the future -- albeit one that's still open to scrutiny. "Moving forward, PlayStation first-party exclusive cross-gen titles (newly releasing on PS4 & PS5) -- both digital and physical -- will offer a $10 USD digital upgrade option from PS4 to PS5," Ryan said. "This will apply to the next 'God of War' and 'Gran Turismo 7,' and any other exclusive cross-gen PS4 & PS5 title published by Sony Interactive Entertainment."
Microsoft's policy, on the other hand, states that if you owned a game on a previous Xbox console, you own it on the current consoles. If there's a newer version of that game for your newer console, that's the version you get when you buy and download the game.

Simple fix

By sidekick2 • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread
Don't buy a PS5. Teaches Sony a lesson.

Xbox is Superior to PS5 in every way.

By bit trollent • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

Too bad the only people who can buy xboxes are resellers.

Oh well... hardly have any time for gaming these days anyway, and PC gaming roxors my soxors.

There is an awesome helicopter combat game on xbox. I play with my sweet joystick and throttle...

MS Flight Simulator is sweet too. I can fly between NYC skyscrapers with collision detection telling me if I'm as good a pilot as I think I am.

Still rocking an older i7, an Nvidia GTX 1080, and still maxing out most games' graphics settings..

Re:Simple fix

By Synonymous Cowered • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Don't buy a PS5. Teaches Sony a lesson.

Yeah, but then you don't get even more realistic rippled water reflections. Who can possibly play a game without that?

Realistically this is best

By SuperKendall • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

From the customer standpoint, at first yeah it seems better that everyone on Xbox is "free".

But if you really think about it, Sony's approach is way heather if what you want is better games, because the game companies will actually get paid to do a better job. You get a much better PS5 port if the company knows there might be some significant revenue in it, vs. just re-rendering the textures on an Xbox X version of a game and calling it a day.

Over the course of a few years I think you'll find that the PS5 has more truly next-gen games than does the Xbox because there's not really any incentive to build many Xbox games that do anything except target the lowest common denominator.

A Horrifying New AI App Swaps Women Into Porn Videos With a Click

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Karen Hao, reporting for MIT Technology Review: The website is eye-catching for its simplicity. Against a white backdrop, a giant blue button invites visitors to upload a picture of a face. Below the button, four AI-generated faces allow you to test the service. Above it, the tag line boldly proclaims the purpose: turn anyone into a porn star by using deepfake technology to swap the person's face into an adult video. All it requires is the picture and the push of a button. MIT Technology Review has chosen not to name the service, which we will call Y, or use any direct quotes and screenshots of its contents, to avoid driving traffic to the site. It was discovered and brought to our attention by deepfake researcher Henry Ajder, who has been tracking the evolution and rise of synthetic media online.

For now, Y exists in relative obscurity, with a small user base actively giving the creator development feedback in online forums. But researchers have feared that an app like this would emerge, breaching an ethical line no other service has crossed before. From the beginning, deepfakes, or AI-generated synthetic media, have primarily been used to create pornographic representations of women, who often find this psychologically devastating. The original Reddit creator who popularized the technology face-swapped female celebrities' faces into porn videos. To this day, the research company Sensity AI estimates, between 90% and 95% of all online deepfake videos are nonconsensual porn, and around 90% of those feature women.

OK, imagine your boss being fucked

By Somervillain • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Sure, but deepfakes aren't the problem here; it's masturbating to them or otherwise imagining the woman in sexual situations. In this situation, you're making her uncomfortable by telling her about it, not by making the deepfake.

And the question posited was how does this affect her reputation? I'd argue it doesn't, simply because deepfakes are a thing, so no one should assume a porn of someone means they did porn.

Fair point. Do you report to a woman, directly or indirectly? Our director is a woman and has 200 people reporting to her directly or indirectly, including me. Now imagine if we circulated a video of her swallowing the cum of workers we deepfaked in. Rationally, what you said makes sense. However, this woman is Indian as are many of my coworkers. Already a ton have regressively stupid issues reporting to women. Now they are openly bonding over fantasies of sex with her? I think in the mind of regressive shitheads it would lower her reputation and make it harder for some to respect her. Should it? Absolutely not, but there are assholes on this planet.

However, a point to consider is you and I can debate this detached from the situation, like how I can debate the Gaza strip with detachment. I live in the US, not Israel or Palestine. I have no dog in the fight. For her, she has to wonder if such a video diminished her standing or the respect of her subordinates or even her bosses. You and I can say "nahhh..only an asshole would think that." However, if we're wrong...oh well, no problem for us. She has to worry if this could harm her or lead to someone else getting the next promotion, etc.

Re:Ask your female friends

By arglebargle_xiv • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Whoa just had sex?!? What's it like?

Not bad, although I had to buy my hand dinner first.

Re:Why is it horrifying?

By fafalone • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
We do have many examples of teachers being fired because their nudes, even just topless shots, unintentionally leaked, even when they leaked by students stealing and/or cracking their phones/accounts to get them. You might be able to prove a fake is a fake, but it's hardly an unwarranted concern.

How cute

By nospam007 • Score: 3 • Thread

Researcher believe, that you can keep something secret on the internets.

There are other sites who posted the actual link, heck, there's even videos on how to get the best results.

Re: Ask your female friends

By shmlco • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

"What people don't know is that in a domestic abuse situation resulting in death it is almost always the woman who murdered the man."

Or not.... "One in four women in the U.S. will be targeted by an abusive partner in their lifetime. ... Almost one out of five or 16.3% of murder victims in the U.S. were killed by an intimate partner; [AND] women account for two out of three murder victims killed by an intimate partner."'

And if you follow the first link below, you'll see tons of stats like, "1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence (e.g. beating, burning, strangling) by an intimate partner in their lifetime."

Since almost all of these events happen more to women than men, I'd say the level of caution is justified.

Stats come from NCADV and DOJ. If you have a reputable source for your original assertion, feel free to post it.

Facebook: Some High-Profile Users 'Allowed To Break Platform's Rules'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Facebook gives high-profile users special treatment, which includes immunity from its rules for some, and allowed Brazilian footballer Neymar to post nude pictures of a woman who had accused him of rape, according to a report. The XCheck or "CrossCheck" system steers reviews of posts by well-known users such as celebrities, politicians and journalists into a separate system, according to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal. Under the program, some users are "whitelisted" -- not subject to enforcement action -- while others are allowed to post material that violates Facebook rules, pending content reviews that often do not take place.

People are placed on the XCheck list -- where they are given special scrutiny -- if they meet criteria such as being "newsworthy," "influential or popular" or "PR risky." Names on the XCheck program included Donald Trump, US senator Elizabeth Warren and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, although the report does not state whether those names were whitelisted at any point. By 2020 there were 5.8 million users on the XCheck list, the Wall Street Journal said. In one example cited by the WSJ, Brazilian football star Neymar responded to a rape accusation in 2019 by posting Facebook and Instagram videos defending himself, which included showing viewers his WhatsApp correspondence with his accuser. The WhatsApp clips included the accuser's name and nude photos of her. Instagram and WhatsApp are owned by Facebook. Instead of immediately deleting the material, which is Facebook's procedure for "nonconsensual intimate imagery," moderators were blocked for more than a day from removing the video, according to the WSJ.

The WSJ investigation details the process known as "whitelisting," where some high-profile accounts are not subject to enforcement at all. An internal review in 2019 stated that whitelists "pose numerous legal, compliance, and legitimacy risks for the company and harm to our community." The review found favoritism to those users to be both widespread and "not publicly defensible." "We are not actually doing what we say we do publicly," said the confidential review. It called the company's actions "a breach of trust" and added: "Unlike the rest of our community, these people can violate our standards without any consequences." According to another internal document, enforcement procedures and rule-drafting were subject to interventions from members of Facebook's public-policy team and senior executives. One 2020 memo from a Facebook data scientist added: "Facebook routinely makes exceptions for powerful actors." The WSJ also reported that the system suffered from enforcement delays that allowed posts to stay up before they were eventually prohibited. In 2020, posts being reviewed by XCheck were viewed at least 16.4 billion times before being removed.
A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement: "A lot of this internal material is outdated information stitched together to create a narrative that glosses over the most important point: Facebook itself identified the issues with cross check and has been working to address them. We've made investments, built a dedicated team, and have been redesigning cross check to improve how the system operates."

Liability for Facebook?

By chx496 • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

I'm not a lawyer, especially not a Brazilian one, but if the internal moderation team was blocked from actually removing the revenge porn images due to decisions from higher-ups (even if they were made quite a bit beforehand), wouldn't that make Facebook potentially liable for distributing revenge porn? It's one thing to hide behind "a user posted this, we're not responsible", but it's another thing to have a situation where you knew this was wrong (their internal moderation team wanted to remove it) and kept it up anyway (because of some internal policy).

Since Facebook is based in California, and California does have laws against revenge porn, could they be held liable here in a civil lawsuit by the victim?

Can't be too bad

By ixneme • Score: 3 • Thread
As someone who has never used Facebook, I am honestly amazed at the amount of vitriol in these recurring posts. If you're seriously that angry, stop using Facebook. If it's not worth quitting Facebook for you then stop with the righteous indignation, you're part of the problem.

Re:Can't be too bad

By Moryath • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The problem with Facebook is that it has become big enough to be ubiquitous and default - in a way that Twitter (which isn't really "competition") isn't.

It's really hard to maintain a "principled stand" when most of your family members are on Facebook and they use things like the events system to try to organize get-togethers, or to send around pictures of family events. It's really hard to maintain that "principled stand" when getting the word out that you're looking for a new job means reaching out to people who are mostly using Facebook these days. It's really hard to maintain connections to your old college groups or high school friends when all of them moved from email listservs, yahoo groups or similar setups to... a Facebook page.

I mean, you CAN cut yourself off from Facebook, but for many people, that means becoming a virtualized hermit. If there were viable alternatives, OR if Facebook hadn't choked off the third-party alternatives that could collate stuff or help you keep up with notifications, that'd be one thing, but FB is a fucking monopoly at this point.

Truthfully, that's part of the problem. FB's far overdue to get the Ma Bell treatment. Most of their functions ought to be split off. Definitely all the companies they did "leveraged buyouts" or otherwise absorbed, like Instagram and Whatsapp, need to be spun back off again to generate some proper competition in the market.

That PR Statement

By aerogems • Score: 3 • Thread

Is quite notable for it's complete lack of denial. The fact that they also resort to a thinly veiled ad hominem is further proof that everything you see is legit.

Re:Facebook gets more disgusting

By GrumpySteen • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What a fantastic strawman you've got there.

This article is about posts that violate Facebook's TOS being allowed to stay up if they're from high profile users. Trump and Elizabeth Warren are both named as being on the list of people who are allowed to violate TOS along with a Brazilian football star.

It has nothing to do with which US political party the person is a member of. It has everything to do with how many followers they have and how many views their posts get.

But here you are spewing out a bunch of BS about democrats defining misinformation and reversing the roles to allow Republicans to define what qualifies as misinformation.

Maybe what we need is a way to limit posting to people who will read and comprehend the summary (if not the actual article) before they post drivel that proves that they've done neither, as you've done here.

Intuit Confirms $12 Billion Deal To Buy Mailchimp

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
It was teased earlier this month and now it's confirmed: Intuit said on Monday it would buy email marketing company Mailchimp for about $12 billion in a cash-and-stock deal. Reuters reports: The deal, expected to close by the second quarter of fiscal 2022, will be financed through cash on hand and new debt of about $4.5 billion to $5.0 billion, Intuit said. The deal for Atlanta-based Mailchimp, which operates a marketing platform for small and mid-market businesses, will help Intuit expand its product base for small businesses. California-based Intuit's products include TurboTax, a software that helps Americans file income tax returns, and QuickBooks, a cloud-based application that helps small businesses manage payments.

How much is that per spammable address?

By TheNameOfNick • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's impossible to get rid of spam if spammers get paid billions.

Holy shit

By cheesybagel • Score: 3 • Thread

$12 billion. Just wow. I heard there was money in spam and this certainly proves it.

I'm not American

By trawg • Score: 3 • Thread

... but in solidarity with everyone I know there that suffers because of Intuit's lobbying of the US federal government to prevent you all from having simple, free tax software provided by the state, I look forward to moving as many services as I can off Mailchimp as soon as possible.

copy and paste summaries are lazy AF

By drinkypoo • Score: 3 • Thread

The deal for Atlanta-based Mailchimp, which operates a marketing platform for small and mid-market businesses

They operate a spam service, you gormless fuckwad.

Facebook Unveils Superpack, a New Compression Technique

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes: Facebook unveiled a new compression technique they call 'Superpack compression.' In a blog post written by software engineer Sapan Bhatia, they claim that their compression improves Android app size by 20% over the default Zip compression used by Android. The post gives an overview of the compression ideas. The basis of these ideas is called out to be a key insight in Kolmogorov Complexity, that any data can be represented in the form of programs that generate that data. Facebook's tool, Superpack, mines out such small programs and optimizes them using compiler techniques.

This plot seems familiar.

By nightflameauto • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

I would have never thought Richard would go work for Zuck. I mean, why not just go work for Gavin Belson again?

Basically a binary compressor

By cheesybagel • Score: 3 • Thread

Hardly surprising you get improved compression with a domain specific compression algorithm.
That was how WinRAR also gots its claim to fame, with different binary compression algorithms.


By Thelasko • Score: 3 • Thread
I'm sure Facebook will make it free, as long as you let it send a copy of your data to their servers.

The IT Talent Gap is Still Growing

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
IT executives see the talent shortage as the most significant adoption barrier to 64% of emerging technologies, according to a new Gartner survey. From a report: Across compute infrastructure and platform services, network, security, digital workplace, IT automation, and storage and database, respondents cited a lack of qualified candidates as a leading factor impeding tech deployment at their companies. "The ongoing push toward remote work and the acceleration of hiring plans in 2021 has exacerbated IT talent scarcity, especially for sourcing skills that enable cloud and edge, automation, and continuous delivery," Gartner research VP Yinuo Geng said in a press release.

"As one example, of all the IT automation technologies profiled in the survey, only 20% of them have moved ahead in the adoption cycle since 2020. The issue of talent is to blame here." The talent gaps are particularly acute for IT automation and digital workplace solutions, according to the executives surveyed -- a reflection of the demand for these technologies. According to McKinsey, nearly half of executives say their embrace of automation has accelerated, while digital and technology adoption is taking place about 25 times faster than before the pandemic. For example, Brain Corp reported that the use of robots to clean retail stores in the U.S. rose 24% in Q2 2020 year-over-year, and IBM has seen a surge in new users of its AI-driven customer service platform Watson Assistant.

Re:... Of talent for the low wages they will pay f

By RightSaidFred99 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I don't really understand this argument. If there are X candidates and Y jobs, the ratio of X to Y determines salary. Are you suggesting IT professionals are just sitting on the sidelines refusing to work because the wages are too low? Are they instead working at McDonald's? I really can't imagine how you imagine this scenario of yours to be working.

Now, I do agree that raising wages will pull more people in from other fields in the long term but IT work has always been relatively high wage compared to other more difficult or dangerous fields, so I don't really think there's all that much wiggle room.


By cheesybagel • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Imagine trying to raise a family with an IT job. Is it a wonder women run away from these jobs?

Not a talent gap...

By erp_consultant • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

it's a loyalty gap. Many employers don't want to train their staff any longer. They want to parachute in people with the "right" skills that can "hit the ground running". In other words, they want somebody else to train for the needed skills. Meanwhile they hand out piddly 3% raises with no promotion path and expect loyalty.

Employers have created a generation of job hoppers. At one time there was a stigma attached to job hopping. Now the opposite is true - if you stay in one place for too long you are seen as dead wood, untrainable and lazy. Two years seems to be about the sweet spot. By then you should have figured out if there is any promotion path and what to expect in the way of raises. If the promotion path is not apparent to you then there isn't one and you are in a dead end job.

So the next time I hear about some executive moaning about IT skills gap I'm going to suggest they take a look in the mirror. You are the author of you own destiny.

You're blaming people for skills shortage?

By TJHook3r • Score: 3 • Thread
I can't believe that people don't want to invest their precious free time in learning esoteric new skills in unproven new technologies so that companies can hoover up their knowledge without investing a dime in old-fashioned concepts like 'training' or 'R&D'!

Just a thought

By zkiwi34 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
The whining of industry might be assuaged a bit if they STEPPED UP and offered to train people in these areas. But no, they still want/expect freshly minted and cheap from some country somewhere else.

Apple Patches a NSO Zero-Day Flaw Affecting All Devices

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Apple has released security updates for a newly discovered zero-day vulnerability that affects every iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. Citizen Lab, which discovered the vulnerability and was credited with the find, urges users to immediately update their devices. From a report: The technology giant said iOS 14.8 for iPhones and iPads, as well as new updates for Apple Watch and macOS, will fix at least one vulnerability that it said "may have been actively exploited." Citizen Lab said it has now discovered new artifacts of the ForcedEntry vulnerability, details it first revealed in August as part of an investigation into the use of a zero-day vulnerability that was used to silently hack into iPhones belonging to at least one Bahraini activist.

Last month, Citizen Lab said the zero day flaw -- named as such since it gives companies zero days to roll out a fix -- took advantage of a flaw in Apple's iMessage, which was exploited to push the Pegasus spyware, developed by Israeli firm NSO Group, to the activist's phone. Pegasus gives its government customers near-complete access to a target's device, including their personal data, photos, messages and location.

Re:"Named such because..."

By gregarican • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I think "zero day" indicates that it's publicly disclosed, so that the vendor has no heads-up to patch it. There have been many cases where the discoverer notifies the vendor privately so that the vendor has an opportunity to patch it. Of course those premises go back to the days when there hasn't been a 24x7 news cycle, social media firestorms, etc.


By ArchieBunker • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

People with Android phones asking, what's an update?

Firm Raises $15 Million To Bring Back Woolly Mammoth From Extinction

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Ten thousand years after woolly mammoths vanished from the face of the Earth, scientists are embarking on an ambitious project to bring the beasts back to the Arctic tundra. From a report: The prospect of recreating mammoths and returning them to the wild has been discussed -- seriously at times -- for more than a decade, but on Monday researchers announced fresh funding they believe could make their dream a reality. The boost comes in the form of $15m raised by the bioscience and genetics company Colossal, co-founded by Ben Lamm, a tech and software entrepreneur, and George Church, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School who has pioneered new approaches to gene editing.

The scientists have set their initial sights on creating an elephant-mammoth hybrid by making embryos in the laboratory that carry mammoth DNA. The starting point for the project involves taking skin cells from Asian elephants, which are threatened with extinction, and reprogramming them into more versatile stem cells that carry mammoth DNA. The particular genes that are responsible for mammoth hair, insulating fat layers and other cold climate adaptions are identified by comparing mammoth genomes extracted from animals recovered from the permafrost with those from the related Asian elephants. These embryos would then be carried to term in a surrogate mother or potentially in an artificial womb. If all goes to plan -- and the hurdles are far from trivial -- the researchers hope to have their first set of calves in six years.

Copy and paste works so well for programming..

By Fly Swatter • Score: 3 • Thread
Lets try it with DNA!

People do not heed lessons from history

By UnknowingFool • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Having watched many movies, this can only end in disaster. Basic lessons that are often ignored:
  1. do not crack open a meteorite; it's always "aliens"
  2. do not resurrect the dead; instant zombie apocalypse
  3. do not lend money to Sean Bean; you are not getting it back

Re:Talk about first world problems

By LostMyAccount • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Elon will change his name to Elon Tusk.

This technology may have other applications

By hyades1 • Score: 3 • Thread

"The scientists have set their initial sights on creating an elephant-mammoth hybrid by making embryos in the laboratory that carry mammoth DNA."

Perhaps we can look forward to a time when another extinct species, the moderate Republican, could be rescued from the elephant graveyard that is American history.

Brazil's President Bans Social Networks From Removing Some Posts

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil is temporarily banning social media companies from removing certain content, including his claims that the only way he'll lose next year's elections is if the vote is rigged -- one of the most significant steps by a democratically elected leader to control what can be said on the internet. From a report: The new social media rules, issued this week and effective immediately, appear to be the first time a national government has stopped internet companies from taking down content that violates their rules, according to internet law experts and officials at tech companies. And they come at a precarious moment for Brazil. Mr. Bolsonaro has used social media as a megaphone to build his political movement and make it to the president's office. Now, with polls showing he would lose the presidential elections if they were held today, he is using sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to try to undermine the legitimacy of the vote, following the playbook of his close ally, former President Donald J. Trump. On Tuesday, Mr. Bolsonaro repeated his claims about the election to thousands of supporters in two cities as part of nationwide demonstrations on Brazil's Independence Day.


By inode_buddha • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

The Brazilians show Texas how it's done. Bravo!

Just ban the bozo

By Opportunist • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

And be done with it.

We voted our troll out, time for

By Tablizer • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

you to do the same

Two approaches to an information monopoly.

By Eunomion • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
1. Break up the monopoly. This is the approach favored in a democracy.

2. Preserve the monopoly and seize control of it. Favored by supporters of dictatorship.

The Texas state government and Jair Bolsonaro have self-identified in the latter camp.

Bolsonaro's son is the boss of fake news

By viniciuscb • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Bolsonaro's second son, Carlos, is suspect of being the boss of the "hate office" or "gabinete do ódio" (currently under investigation in the Brazilian high court). This "office" is the source of lots of fake news and disinformation, that is propagated through part of the brazilian population via Telegram and Whatsapp groups. Bolsonaro already told, in a public speech, that he owes his son the 2018 election victory. Part of my family is now living in a fantasy world, after years of being informed through these whatsapp groups.

Inside the Shadowy World of Disinformation-for-Hire in Kenya

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
New research by Mozilla Fellows Odanga Madung and Brian Obilo reveals that Kenyan journalists, judges, and other members of civil society are facing coordinated disinformation campaigns on Twitter -- and that Twitter is doing very little to stop it. Highlights of the investigation include: Disinformation campaigns are a lucrative business. One interviewee revealed that disinformation influencers are paid roughly between $10 and $15 USD to participate in three campaigns per day. Payments are made directly to the influencers through the mobile money platform MPESA.

Twitter's trending algorithm is amplifying these campaigns, and Twitter is placing ads amid all this misinformation. Eight of the 11 campaigns examined reached the trending section of Twitter. The campaigners we spoke to told us that this is their number one target, as it affords them the amplification they seek.

These campaigns run like a well-oiled machine. One of the influencers who researchers spoke to explained a complex system of using Whatsapp groups to coordinate and synchronize tweets and messaging. Anonymous organizers use these groups to send influencers cash, content, and detailed instructions.

These campaigns are increasingly targeting individuals. No longer focusing on just broad issues and events, disinformation campaigns are increasingly identifying and targeting individuals, like members of the Linda Katiba movement and the Kenyan judiciary. This work is also beginning to border on incitement and advocacy of hatred, which is against Kenyan Law.

Verified accounts are complicit. One influencer we spoke to claimed that the people who own coveted "blue check" accounts will often rent them out for disinformation campaigns. These verified accounts can improve the campaign's chances of trending.

And facebook is cashing in on this cow

By dknj • Score: 3 • Thread

Anonymous organizers use these groups to send influencers cash

Now we know the real reason behind why Facebook made the change to the terms of service. Injecting themselves as a middle man to make money off disinformation campaigns. How long does this go on until the world wakes up to these social media companies being the enabler?

We're woke to Tik-Tok but Facebook always gets a pass and points at 2000-era forums as the boogie man. HMMMM.

Re:And on slashdot?

By RobinH • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I've had similar thoughts about Slashdot for a while now. I think some of it relates to the moderation system. I think the Slashdot moderation system works well for technical articles like "Linux won't include Blah in next release". On an article like that, you'll get +5 Informative posts that really are informative. But when it comes to political stories, the moderation is highly partisan. Now whether it's that the typical Slashdot moderator is highly partisan, or there's a lot of paid highly partisan moderation, I can't really tell. But if I had to bet, I'd say the former. Slashdot doesn't have a big enough audience to warrant significant nation-state type influence (but it does attract a lot of trolls, like the Nazi ascii art poster). On the other hand, how do you tell the difference between a paid Russian shill and someone who hasn't read any 20th century history and legitimately thinks Marxism is a great idea because... like... "Scandinavians are totally socialist and its a utopia there"? My point is that informed people continually die of old age and are replaced by new uninformed people and there's a constant painfully slow transfer of knowledge going on. I think a lot of this is the same phenomena we've seen forever.

Technology Giant Olympus Hit by BlackMatter Ransomware

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Olympus said in a brief statement that it is " currently investigating a potential cybersecurity incident" affecting its European, Middle East and Africa computer network. From a report: "Upon detection of suspicious activity, we immediately mobilized a specialized response team including forensics experts, and we are currently working with the highest priority to resolve this issue. As part of the investigation, we have suspended data transfers in the affected systems and have informed the relevant external partners," the statement said. But according to a person with knowledge of the incident, Olympus is recovering from a ransomware attack that began in the early morning of September 8. The person shared details of the incident prior to Olympus acknowledging the incident on Saturday. A ransom note left behind on infected computers claimed to be from the BlackMatter ransomware group.

"Your network is encrypted, and not currently operational," it reads. "If you pay, we will provide you the programs for decryption." The ransom note also included a web address to a site accessible only through the Tor Browser that's known to be used by BlackMatter to communicate with its victims. Brett Callow, a ransomware expert and threat analyst at Emsisoft, told TechCrunch that the site in the ransom note is associated with the BlackMatter group.

Olympus? Giant?

By Thelasko • Score: 3 • Thread
Next you're going to tell me about a hack at mega-corporation Eastman Kodak.

Biden To Tap Privacy Hawk For FTC Post

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
President Biden will nominate Georgetown University law professor Alvaro Bedoya to be a Democratic commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission, people familiar with the matter told Axios. From a report: Bedoya, founding director of the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown, will bring a bevy of experience on privacy issues to the FTC's work on tech. If confirmed, Bedoya will solidify the Democratic majority at the FTC with current commissioner Rohit Chopra set to leave the agency as Biden's nominee to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Bedoya previously was chief counsel of the Senate Judiciary privacy subcommittee and worked on issues including mobile location data and facial recognition.


By DuroSoft • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
This is really great news. I don't recall ever seeing a "privacy hawk" get appointed to anything in the federal gov, so this could bring some real change.


By jellomizer • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

What will normally happen with peoples in such positions, their ideologies will often get moderated once they are are in a position where they need to implement such ideas.

Unfortunately, for most politicians who actually care about the impact of their work, will often be coined a lair, or a flipflopper because real life has implementing based on ideology is going to lead to pure failure.

Ideology looks good on paper, and may simulate well, also it is a good speaking point as it is often simple enough for people to understand, and often easy to get a majority to jump onto to. However real life, you need more than just Majority approval, also within that majority, there is a large group of people who fully don't grasp the consequences of such ideology. As well the minority who doesn't have that ideology, cant be constantly at war with them as well. As if a good size minority opposing you, your ideology is just not going to work.

Good, but suspicious.

By BAReFO0t • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Of course, I love that everybody in the western world seems to have gone pro-privacy now,
when people like us were laughed at in the past.

But: How did they all magically switch sides so quickly? Was it even five years?
Why the sudden complete reversal? And across so many so different countries?
What's behind this?
Because knowing this things, that just sounds suspicious. Like there's a nasty catch.
I'm just not buying it.
Feeding one something very attractive is exactly the first step in every good con. So people are consumed by their own consumption and can't tell they're actually being played.

What do you think?
Is this the result of politicians finally realizing that the spying agencies of their own countries got them by the balls, and can make or destroy them with the knowledge the have about them, and need to be reigned in? (Then why make it a law for everyone?)

(It's not like we can do anything other than sit it out anyway, can we? Or is anyone here planning on running the show in the next few years? ;)

Whose privacy?

By kmoser • Score: 3 • Thread
Whose privacy? Citizens' or the government's?

Epic Files Appeal After Loss To Apple in App Store Case

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Epic Games filed a notice of appeal Sunday following a judge's decision in its antitrust lawsuit against Apple. From a report: U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers mostly sided with Apple, rejecting Epic's claims that the iPhone maker is a monopoly. She also didn't rule that Apple needs to restore Fortnite, Epic's hit game at the center of the lawsuit, to the App Store or Epic's Apple developer account. She also rejected the need for third-party App Stores and didn't force Apple to lower its App Store revenue cut of 15% to 30%.

The judge, however, said that Apple has engaged in some anticompetitive conduct and she ordered the Cupertino, California-based technology giant to allow all app and game developers to steer consumers to outside payment methods on the web. All developers for the first time could be able to include a button in their apps to let users pay for transactions online, circumventing Apple's fees. She also ordered Epic to pay at least $4 million in damages to Apple for breach of contract, which included collecting payments outside of Apple's in-app-purchase system.

Re:This is what I call capitalist judge...

By saloomy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
It seems like her ruling was a swell compromise. Apple will now have to compete with outside payment methods. That said, the App Store review process remains in tact, and Apple does not have to allow side-loading of Apps. This means that the Apps that we use will stick with the App Store distribution model that protects users from harmful apps that would mine, open vulnerabilities, or steal our info surreptitiously, or track our location endlessly, and kill our battery life. The usual retort to this argument is you can always refuse to side-load apps. I don't like the idea because if I say... bank with a bank, or have a piece of hardware (like a car or a home appliance) that needs an App, and the company gets bought, or has a change of heart (or simply now can bypass the App Store restrictions), and only offers their app outside the store, I can not be sure what the App will do. That being said, I know Apple's review process isn't perfect by any stretch, but at least it does keep out a lot of the bad behavior that would otherwise be present. No alternative distribution model leaves developers with no choice but to make their apps behave well. Also, it's not like there was a problem to solve. The availability and multitude of apps of all kinds are present, so innovation isn't being severely restricted. It is a healthy ecosystem.

Re:Definition of "win"

By UnknowingFool • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
How is it a "win" for Epic if Fortnite is still banned from Apple's App Store. How is it a win if they cannot change Apple's percentage of the cut? The only win is that Epic can use their own payment system for a game not on Apple's platform.

Re:This is what I call capitalist judge...

By crmarvin42 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
The judge explicitly rejected EPICs characterization of the iOS ecosystem as its own market. They also rejected Apple's characterization of the market as all apps. Instead they went with mobile gaming as the market in question. This, in essence, splits the iOS app store into 2 markets. (Games vs Everything Else) and combines the games market with the corresponding games market on other mobile platforms (Android, Nintendo Switch)

They also pointed out that between Apple and Google there exists a duopoly, and that neither has a monopoly as long as their market shares are more-or-less equivalent.

So please, can we let the tired, old, long-debunked, and now legally rejected assertion that Apple has an own-platform monopoly die the final death?

Re:This is what I call capitalist judge...

By Pieroxy • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

To me, that's just a matter of perception of "market share". For Apple devices, that market share is 100%.

Yes, and by that measure, Camaros represent 100% of the Camaro market. Chevrolet should be held accountable for that monopoly.

*Anything* is a monopoly if you remove the rest of the product from the assessment.

A Curse upon Epic and Tim!

By space_spaghetti • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Epic and Tim Sweeny have put me, and others, in the most horrible position of siding with Apple. That alone should indicate that some real greasy shit has taken place. Pardon my language. Tim and Epic went into the Apple TOS knowing they would pit Apple users against Apple in a bid to simply get more money from users. This was a plot. A shortsighted greedy plot. A real business would have developed and marketed their game so good that Apple users would be wanting it so bad that Epic could sit down with Apple for a unique price sharing cut, but instead they agreed to the TOS and then called the courts, yuck, disgusting.

Mozilla Has Defeated Microsoft's Default Browser Protections in Windows

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Mozilla has quietly made it easier to switch to Firefox on Windows recently. From a reporrt: While Microsoft offers a method to switch default browsers on Windows 10, it's more cumbersome than the simple one-click process to switch to Edge. This one-click process isn't officially available for anyone other than Microsoft, and Mozilla appears to have grown tired of the situation. In version 91 of Firefox, released on August 10th, Mozilla has reverse engineered the way Microsoft sets Edge as default in Windows 10, and enabled Firefox to quickly make itself the default. Before this change, Firefox users would be sent to the Settings part of Windows 10 to then have to select Firefox as a default browser and ignore Microsoft's plea to keep Edge. Mozilla's reverse engineering means you can now set Firefox as the default from within the browser, and it does all the work in the background with no additional prompts. This circumvents Microsoft's anti-hijacking protections that the company built into Windows 10 to ensure malware couldn't hijack default apps. Microsoft tells us this is not supported in Windows.

Microsoft's anti-hijacking protections?

By takionya • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
This circumvents Microsoft's anti-hijacking protections that the company built into Windows 10 to ensure malware couldn't hijack default apps

This is bullshit and you know it. The only purpose of these “protections” is to force Edge onto the end user. How sad to see slashdot reduced to regurgitating Microsoft propaganda on what used to be a technology forum.

Re:Regain market share and that might matter

By godrik • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Oh, WOW!

I did not realize that firefox's share dropped SO much recently. (spoiler alert, they did not drop THAT much)
Not long ago, they were still at 15% (5 years ago). I wonder what happened.


Looking at the charts, there seem to be two stories that unfolded at the same time.

1/ The share of mobile phone browser increased significantly. There are about twice the number of mobile browsers as desktop browser. And firefox is essentially absent from that market. But still even on the desktop, they are only 8%.

2/ The second story is pretty much that chrome ate everybody else.

Re:Regain market share and that might matter

By Anonymice • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I really don't understand the hate that Firefox gets. I run a lot of tabs & for me it has always out performed Chrome. I just don't understand why it lost so much ground to Chrome or why the tech community has been so happy to jump unquestioningly into the embraces of Google.

The Mozilla organisation as a whole may have made a couple of missteps along the way, but I still trust it far more than I trust Google.

The tech community is usually extremely resistant about unquestionably handing so much power over our open infrastructure to commercial monopolies, and yet it's skipped into the embraces of our Google overlords with open arms.

I don't get it!?!

Re:Microsoft's anti-hijacking protections?

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The only purpose of these “protections” is to force Edge onto the end user.

Hi Gen Z'er welcome to the world of technology. Since you're new here let us give you a brief history lesson. Once upon a time there was a browser, and it was the default. There were not protections. Then 5 minutes later that wasn't your browser anymore because EVERY FUCKING PIECE OF SOFTWARE HIGHJACKED IT. Literally hundreds of pieces of software happily installed another browser covertly highjacking every URL with the sole purpose of of displaying you ads. And no not the "Edge is faster" ads, but the "here's 3/4 of your screen covered with blinking bullshit spanking monkey, hot singles in your area, you need viagra, and you have viruses (yeah no shit) click here to clean them now" kind of ads.

People got sick of it. People complained. OS vendors listened and added protections to prevent the default browser being changed without human consent.

That's where we got to where we were today. The fact you're too young and don't remember a time where computers were a shitshow, and never had to clean multiple "fake" browsers off your parent's computer doesn't make you right, it makes you ignorant.

Sincerely - Slashdot users who remember.

Re:Microsoft's anti-hijacking protections?

By Spamalope • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Once upon a time a company made a browser that would auto download programs that'd run as admin on your PC with no restrictions. None. On the Internet!

They made it the default on the primary OS of non-technical users. On the Internet, the most hostile of networks.
Then they engaged in scandalous tactics to force users into keeping it. Really. I mean, who wouldn't want to let just anyone control their PC, right?
Eventually this company lost an anti-trust case. In part for doing anti-competitive things to competing web browsers. Remember?

Walmart Says Report That It Will Be Accepting Litecoin as Payment is False

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Major cryptocurrencies gave back their advances after Walmart denied having an agreement to use Litecoin for purchases. From a report: Litecoin -- which rose as much as 33% at one point -- erased all its gains. Bitcoin, the largest digital asset, was down 2.9% as of 10:24 a.m. in New York after earlier having advance roughly 4% on the news. Other digital assets also retreated, with Bitcoin Cash, Ether and EOS all declining. A Walmart spokesperson said the statement on Litecoin was "inauthentic." Meanwhile, a verified Litecoin Twitter account deleted a tweet that linked to a press release announcing the partnership.

The real question

By GrumpySteen • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Did the instigator manage to sell off their litecoin when the price was still pumped up or did they cause a bunch of trouble for nothing>

Money Launderers are getting despo

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 3 • Thread
The current banking system has developed some reasonable ways to deter money laundering. A 100$ bill in your pocket is worth the same as 100$ in a bank account. A million dollars in a bank account is a lot more valuable than a million dollars in a briefcase.

Typical money laundering is to use bent retailers to get them to deposit cash in small quantities. Need to pay them a commission and bear all the tax consequences. And there is a limit.

Some money laundering through smuggling gold is possible too, but again that is limited.

The dream of the politicians sitting black money in places like India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh or drug lords of South America or organized crime in USA is to somehow launder it.

Some state actors are getting into it, thinking may be they can get around sanctions from US govt. North Korea, Iran etc. Some cyber criminals are into to too, thinking of stealing wallet credentials.

And regular speculators are caught up in it too. And the small libertarian, we defy govt, people provide the very vocal facade to the general public.

Getting a large retailer or a small nation to use crypto will provide millions of transactions for money launderers to hide their transactions. Crime will be seriously incentivized if money laundering becomes more efficient.

How about Apple/Google/RFID pay?

By jellomizer • Score: 3 • Thread

I am able to go Shopping to all the other stores in my area with the exception of Walmart and Home Depot and be able to buy stuff with a touchless RFID based pay system. Which is more secure than the other methods, especially if you use your phone or watch, where the code can be different every time, preventing card scrapers from stealing your credit card, as easily.

It is 2021, this isn't new technology anymore, it is nearly 7 years old technology now. I feel like a caveman, having to take my wallet out of my pockets, find my card, and insert the chip in. Where I just push a button on my watch, and pay.

Taking crypto currency as payments seems like a jump missing some important steps.

Serial numbered...

By CRB9000 • Score: 3 • Thread
Walmart will be allowing people to pay using serial numbered pictures of tulips. Non-Fungible Tulips.

As 'Buy Now, Pay Later' Surges, a Third of US Users Fall Behind on Payments

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A third of U.S. consumers who used "buy now, pay later" services have fallen behind on one or more payments, and 72% of those said their credit score declined, a new study published by personal finance company Credit Karma showed. From a report: The study, conducted by software firm Qualtrics, surveyed 1,044 adult consumers in the United States last month to measure their interest in buy now pay later (BNPL) and found 44% had used these services before. The usage figure was slightly up from a similar survey conducted by Credit Karma for Reuters in December, while missed payments was down from 38%. The latest survey found younger consumers were more likely to miss payments. More than half of Gen Z or millennial respondents -- those born between the early 1980s and mid-to-late 1990s-- said they had missed at least one payment. That compares with 22% of Gen X, who were born in the early 1960s to early 1980s, and 10% of Baby Boomers, those born between the mid-1940s and 1980.

There has been a surge in usage of BNPL services, which allow consumers to easily split payments for purchases into installments. The boom in volumes by providers such as Klarna, Affirm, AfterPay and PayPal, has been driven in part by online shopping growth during the coronavirus pandemic. The explosive growth has led to more dealmaking and competition. Earlier this week PayPal announced it would acquire Japanese buy now, pay later firm Paidy, while last month rival Square agreed to acquire AfterPay.

Distinct generational boundaries there

By sabt-pestnu • Score: 3 • Thread

So if I am born in 1970, am I a Baby Boomer or a Gen X-er? Both? Neither? Does it matter if I am born on Mars or in Sagittarius?

Re:The borrower is slave to the lender

By holophrastic • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"...without some convenience..." like having a house to live in, decades before you can afford to buy it out-right?

You might not have been thinking about a mortgage.

"...without some convenience..." like having a car to get to work, years before you can afford to bey it out-right"

Maybe you didn't mean financing, nor leasing.

Maybe you didn't mean renting either. You might not have meant hotel rooms, nor even paying your gardener only after the job is done -- that's a borrowing too, technically.

And that's the kind of borrowing that runs every business in the world. You can't pay suppliers and employees before selling the product to the customer. The money needs to exist first. Credit is time-travel. It allows products and services to happen in real-time, while payments for those products and services happen both before and after the products and services.

If revenue had to wait for cash-flow, you wouldn't have an economy at all. You'd have a barter-system with money.

There's a line somewhere. It's not where you've placed it.

Re:A question of definition

By DaveV1.0 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
It isn't a scam. You want it to be a scam because then it can be someone else's fault rather than the people who can't afford something but want it now. Rather than do without or saving up to afford some luxury, they choose to sign up for "buy now, pay later" without ever looking into if they can afford it later. It is basically a credit card that isn't a card.

Re:The borrower is slave to the lender

By squiggleslash • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

In fairness the GP said "if you can avoid it", and I'd suggest most people would put having a roof over your head is at least a good argument for a mortgage given the relative safety of mortgages), and a car in the US is a necessary item to own given the defacto bans on walkable cities.

The bigger argument against the GP is that debt drives economies. If it you're not going to buy a flat screen TV or PC with the latest technology until you can afford to pay cash, you're going to wait a long time and quite possibly never do it (for reasons that I'll explain shortly.) The result is less money in the economy, which means fewer jobs. Ironically, because of that you're more likely to live on a lower income, which means you're less likely to be able to ever buy the items you wanted in the first place. Debt, however ridiculous it sounds, creates wealth.

The issue is finding a balance, and being able to manage it. 99% of Americans are bombarded with predatory messages about loans, installments, subscriptions, and so on, that are making it harder for normal people to even keep up with what they have to pay, let alone being able to afford it. Things are made to look tiny that never are. And that, ultimately, is what drives bankruptcies, not people deciding to put a $1,000 TV on a credit card.

Re:I think it's more like

By smooth wombat • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
A third of Americans work in the gig economy.

Show your numbers. Also, if people can't tell the difference between a part-time, work when you can job such as the Uber and Lyft cab companies, and a real 9-5 job which pays significantly more plus benefits, that is on them. As we hear almost every day, companies are looking for people to fill jobs. Perhaps these people should stop whining about how they're being ripped off by these "gig" companies and go apply for a real job.

El Salvador's Bitcoin Rollout Marred by Technical Glitches in Digital Wallets

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Slashdot has been following El Salvador's pioneering adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender last week.

But by Friday Reuters was reporting that "For a fourth day in a row technical glitches have beset the Salvadoran government's bitcoin digital wallet Chivo, a setback that could discourage residents from signing up to the app promoted by President Nayib Bukele. Problems accessing the wallet, withdrawing money from ATMs, and data verification, as well as the government not depositing the $30 (€25) bonus Bukele promised all Chivo users were the most frequent issues, according to interviews with at least 10 users and user complaints posted on Twitter and Facebook.

Melvin Vasquez, a 30-year-old tattoo artist, downloaded Chivo on Tuesday, when the Bitcoin law went into effect, but has since been unable to use it... User complaints were also stacking up in Apple's App Store and Alphabet's Google Play...

[M]any of the very people sending or receiving dollars to El Salvador are mistrustful of Bitcoin. Some expressed fears of losing money, given the high volatility of the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin can't handle it.

By peragrin • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Bitcoin can't handle what El Salvador is about to throw at it. Even when they get this technically working the volitity of bitcoins means those with little will lose their funds just transfering money to someone.

Does it make sense in America to transfer funds to euros exchange money and the transfer back?

That is how you use Bitcoin.

Banks could kill Bitcoin by offering cheap readily accessible standard for digital fund transfers. No ACH doesn't count as it isn't always available.


By Joce640k • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

If they were given $30 last week it will be worth $25 by now. Now take away a transaction fee if they try to spend it and it's worth $20.

Who wouldn't want their wages paid like that every week? It's awesome!

Singapore Police Deploy Snitch Bots To Test Searching for 'Undesirable Social Behaviors'

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"If you're wandering around Singapore anytime soon, take some time to wave hi to your friendly neighborhood snitch bot," writes Gizmodo: Singapore's Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) will be deploying two robots named "Xavier" that the agency says use cameras with a 360-degree field of vision and analytics software to detect "undesirable social behaviors" in real time.

First reported by Business Insider, the robots are designed to detect activities such as public smoking, violation of pandemic restrictions (i.e., groups of more than five people), and illegally selling goods on the street. Other behaviors the agency said the robots can snitch on include the use of motorized vehicles or motorcycles on pedestrian walkways and "improperly parked bicycles." The Xavier robots roll around on a "patrol route pre-configured in advance by public officers," though they can deviate as necessary to avoid slamming into pedestrians or other obstacles. The plan is for the two robots to relay reports of such activity to a central police hub as well as confront violators directly with warning messages, with the first three weeks of deployment starting on Sept. 5 in Toa Payoh Central.

The three weeks are a "trial period," reports ZDNet. But they also note that the program includes "an interactive dashboard where public officers can receive real-time information from and be able to monitor and control multiple robots simultaneously."

One official said in a public statement that "The deployment of ground robots will help to augment our surveillance and enforcement resources."

ZDNet offers some context: Seeing robots being used in Singapore is not uncommon. Last year, Singapore deployed Boston Dynamics' four-legged droids, dubbed Spot, to its parks, garden, and nature reserves to remind people about social distancing. A fleet of Lightstrike robots was then rolled out at one of Singapore's general hospitals in a bid to thoroughly disinfect hospital rooms of pathogens. More recently in May, the Singapore government launched a one-year trial of using autonomous robots to facilitate on-demand food and grocery deliveries.

Snitches get stiches

By Carewolf • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I assume stabbing snitch bots would be considered undesirable social behavior?


By The Evil Atheist • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
They don't have to care about gun bans. Gun bans reduce the guns in circulation, and greater tracking of registered firearms reduces illegal sales.

On the other hand, I'd like to know which fantasy country of yours has eliminated criminals.

And I like to know which fantasy country of yours that can detect when someone decides to become a criminal by shooting up a church or a school.

How many kids have to die in school shootings before you stop being a psychopath?

Drones for good

By The Evil Atheist • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
I've just finished a demo to investors of a drone that rescues people stuck down holes.

It went down well.

There are two kinds of people in the world...

By nightfire-unique • Score: 3 • Thread

... those who want to control others, and those who want to be left alone.

Privacy is this magical sauce that allows everyone to get their way well enough that we can all get along.

Lawmakers make laws. People demand it. There are literally millions of laws on books around the world, and everyone commits crimes every day according to the laws of some nation (and often even their own).

Privacy lets us get away with victimless crimes so that we have the sensation of freedom while the lawmakers and busybodies have the sensation of control. Joe can have his secret backyard firepit, Sue can sneak a beer on the beach, Phil can take a leak in the forest, Mohamed can abandon religion, Pete can decrypt an old unsupported DVD, and Greg can smoke a joint. All the while, Karen can yell at the government to do something about all the evil music and video games ruining society, and lawmakers can give it their all.

Tip that scale, and you end up with conflict. Tip it far enough and you end up in a police state, or civil war. Privacy is important.

Perseverance's New Rock Samples Reveal Water Was Present on Mars For a Long Time

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
NASA's Mars rover Perseverance collected its second rock sample this week — and Friday Caltech's Ken Farley, a project scientist for the mission, announced that they've learned something.

"It's a big deal that the water was there a long time." The Perseverance science team already knew a lake once filled the crater; for how long has been more uncertain. The scientists couldn't dismiss the possibility that Jezero's lake was a "flash in the pan": floodwaters could have rapidly filled the impact crater and dried up in the space of 50 years, for example. But the level of alteration that scientists see in the rock that provided the core samples — as well as in the rock the team targeted on their first sample-acquisition attempt — suggests that groundwater was present for a long time.

This groundwater could have been related to the lake that was once in Jezero, or it could have traveled through the rocks long after the lake had dried up. Though scientists still can't say whether any of the water that altered these rocks was present for tens of thousands or for millions of years, they feel more certain that it was there for long enough to make the area more welcoming to microscopic life in the past.

And they discovered something interesting in the rock samples: salts. These salts may have formed when groundwater flowed through and altered the original minerals in the rock, or more likely when liquid water evaporated, leaving the salts. The salt minerals in these first two rock cores may also have trapped tiny bubbles of ancient Martian water. If present, they could serve as microscopic time capsules, offering clues about the ancient climate and habitability of Mars.

Salt minerals are also well-known on Earth for their ability to preserve signs of ancient life.