the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2021-Sep-16 today archive


  1. Ozone Hole Over Antarctica Larger Than Usual, Scientists Say
  2. US Judge Sentences Crypto Hedge Fund Scammer To Over Seven Years In Prison
  3. Free REvil Ransomware Master Decrypter Released For Past Victims
  4. Lucid Air Electric Sedan Zips By Tesla With EPA-Rated 520-Mile Range
  5. China Intensifies Hunt For Cryptocurrency Miners In Hiding
  6. WhatsApp Reinvents the 'Yellow Pages'
  7. AMC Theaters Will Accept Cryptocurrencies Other Than Bitcoin
  8. Tech Giants Used 'Loopholes' To Duck Merger Reviews, FTC Says
  9. Home Computing Pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair Dies Aged 81
  10. New Microsoft Office Arrives Early Next Month, and Won't Require You To Pay For a Subscription
  11. Wikipedia Bans Seven Chinese Users Amid Concerns of 'Infiltration, Physical Harm'
  12. Instagram Boss Says Social Media is Like Cars: People Are Going To Die
  13. OpenSea's Product Chief is Out After Insider NFT Flipping Accusations
  14. Locast's Free TV Service Ordered To Shut Down Permanently After Copyright Loss
  15. New Tolling Systems Are Poised To Hit Highways
  16. AMD: We Stand Ready To Make Arm Chips
  17. Jay-Z's NFT Feud Spotlights Legal Peril in Hot Investment Trend
  18. China's Biggest Movie Star Was Erased From the Internet, and the Mystery Is Why
  19. FTC Warns Health Apps To Notify Consumers Impacted by Data Breaches
  20. Alphabet's Project Taara Laser Tech Beamed 700TB of Data Across Nearly 5km
  21. Walmart To Begin Driverless Deliveries With Ford and Argo AI
  22. Ransomware Encrypts South Africa's Entire Department of Justice Network
  23. NASA Confirms Thousands of Massive, Ancient Volcanic Eruptions On Mars

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.

Ozone Hole Over Antarctica Larger Than Usual, Scientists Say

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Scientists say the Southern Hemisphere ozone hole is larger than usual and already surpasses the size of Antarctica. The European Union's Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) said Thursday that the ozone hole, which appears every year during the Southern Hemisphere spring, has grown considerably in the past week following an average start. "Forecasts show that this year's hole has evolved into a rather larger than usual one," said Vincent-Henri Peuch, who heads the EU's satellite monitoring service. "We are looking at a quite big and potentially also deep ozone hole," he said. The Montreal Protocol, signed in 1987, led to a ban on a group of chemicals called halocarbons that were blamed for exacerbating the annual ozone hole. Experts say it's likely to take until the 2060s for ozone-depleting substances to be completely phased out. "[S]cientists have been closely monitoring the development of this year's ozone hole over the South Pole, which has now reached an extent larger than Antarctica," says the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service. "After a rather standard start, the 2021 ozone hole has considerably grown in the last two weeks and is now larger than 75% of ozone holes at that stage in the season since 1979."

Vincent-Henri Peuch, Director of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, adds: "This year, the ozone hole developed as expected at the start of the season. It seems pretty similar to last year's, which also wasn't really exceptional until early September, but then turned into one of the largest and longest-lasting ozone holes in our data record later in the season. Now our forecasts show that this year's hole has evolved into a rather larger than usual one. The vortex is quite stable and the stratospheric temperatures are even lower than last year, so it may continue to grow slightly over the next two or three weeks."

Slashdot story from 2019 ...

By Misagon • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Significantly Large New Emissions From Banned CFCs Traced To China, Say Scientists

Is it racist to point out the obvious?

By bjdevil66 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Just like older industrial, developed countries did in the past, China is taking its turn dropping a deuce on the entire planet. And they're doing it faster than other countries did 200 years ago.

At what point will those corrupt Chinese officials going to finally go after their own IP stealing, lead paint on toys spraying, coal burning, shark fin soup eating, plastic junk spewing assholes? Is it going to take a war with them to get them on the rest of the world's page? We can't keep putting off dealing with their pollution that offsets what the rest of the world tries to do.


By mamba-mamba • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I was not genius level intelligent at the age of 12 like you. But I just read the Wikipedia page on ozone depletion. It says that the ozone hole over the antarctic opens up in antarctic spring. It says that the spring sunlight actually accelerates the ozone depletion which is kind of the opposite of what you are saying. Late spring or early summer the "hole" closes up. This seems a bit different from what you are saying. You seem to be implying that the ozone level should be pretty much correspondent with sunlight level. But actually the ozone hole is closed all winter, and only opens in the early spring.

I agree with you that sunlight can't strike the polar region in the winter (for that pole). The sun is below the horizon for months on end. You don't even have to draw a picture. All you have to know is that polar winters are dark and the sun never comes up for months.

Re:Is it racist to point out the obvious?

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Corrupt Chinese officials have been having a crackdown, and it's apparently working.


A Chinese government crackdown on producers and buyers of illegal CFC gases is working, research has found.

Levels of the ozone-harming and planet-warming CFC-11 gas fell over east Asia in 2019, a study published in the scientific journal Nature on Wednesday concluded.

The study put this fall down to âoetimely reporting and subsequent action by industry and government in Chinaâ.

Avipsa Mahapatra, climate campaign lead at the NGO Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), said this was âoeabsolutely great news from our planetâ(TM)s perspective as well as from an ozone perspectiveâ.

Re:Confusing use of 'forecast' ....

By john83 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The graph is here: https://atmosphere.copernicus.... The forecast seems to be quite short term. In terms of the measured data, 2021 doesn't look dramatically different from 2020 to me, but both seem to have been close to the median until mid-September and then climb dramatically compared with the distribution fit to 1979-2018. November and December last year seem to have been especially aberrant. Interestingly, 2019 was dramatically lower, even though it was to early for industrial shutdowns due to the pandemic to be a cause. They also show examples of recent forecasts vs real data: https://atmosphere.copernicus....

US Judge Sentences Crypto Hedge Fund Scammer To Over Seven Years In Prison

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday that Stefan He Qin, the founder of two cryptocurrency-focused hedge funds who pled guilty to securities fraud in February, has been sentenced to 90 months in prison for his actions. Tom's Hardware reports: Qin's funds were called Virgil Sigma and VQR. Both were supposed to offer investors a way to profit off the crypto market that "was not exposed to any risk from the price of cryptocurrency moving up or down and therefore provided a relatively safe and liquid investment." Those claims didn't seem to attract much scrutiny; the DOJ noted that The Wall Street Journal actually profiled Qin in 2018 to celebrate his fund's apparent success. But U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement that Qin's funds were actually devoted to his personal gain rather than solid financial returns for investors: "Qin's investors soon discovered that his strategies [emphasis Strauss'] weren't much more than a disguised means for him to embezzle and make unauthorized investments with client funds. When faced with redemption requests he couldn't fulfill, Qin doubled down on his scheme by attempting to plunder funds from VQR to satisfy his victim investors' demands. Qin's brazen and wide-ranging scheme left his beleaguered investors in the lurch for over $54 million, and he has now been handed the appropriately lengthy sentence of over seven years in federal prison." The DOJ said that in addition to the 90-month prison sentence, Qin "was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, and ordered to forfeit $54,793,532" and that "the Virgil Sigma fund and VQR have ceased operations and the liquidation and distribution of assets is being handled by a court-appointed receiver."

An illustration

By Johnny Fusion • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
This illustrates the biggest problem with cryptocurrency right now. People treat it as an investment vehicle instead of spending it on goods and services like a currency.


By Aighearach • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Madoff was well-connected, and in fact hadn't spent or hidden the money but had deposited in bank accounts and so had the money readily available to pay out when investors pulled their money.

Charles Ponzi was a con-man in an age where people still had little access to information, and so was easily able to sell his scheme as arbitrage; which still often existed at that time.

This clown had the money (that he didn't personally spend) tied up in non-liquid investments and had no chance to avoid detection.

When Madoff was busted, he still had about 50% of the money that had been "invested." It was hard to catch him, because he could still pony up the money when people asked for it.

Free REvil Ransomware Master Decrypter Released For Past Victims

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A free master decryptor for the REvil ransomware operation has been released, allowing all victims encrypted before the gang disappeared to recover their files for free. BleepingComputer reports: The REvil master decryptor was created by cybersecurity firm Bitdefender in collaboration with a trusted law enforcement partner. While Bitdefender could not share details about how they obtained the master decryption key or the law enforcement agency involved, they told BleepingComputer that it works for all REvil victims encrypted before July 13th. "As per our blog post, we received the keys from a trusted law enforcement partner, and unfortunately, this is the only information we are at liberty to disclose right now," Bitdefender's Bogdan Botezatu, Director of Threat Research and Reporting, told BleepingComputer. "Once the investigation progresses and will come to an end, further details will be offered upon approval." REvil ransomware victims can download the master decryptor from Bitdefender (instructions) and decrypt entire computers at once or specify specific folders to decrypt.

"Master Decryptor" yeah nice try...

By theskipper • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

The boss wasn't happy the first five times I clicked on those brony.exe emails, this cowboy is too smart to get tricked for a sixth time.

Lucid Air Electric Sedan Zips By Tesla With EPA-Rated 520-Mile Range

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The EPA says the Lucid Air electric sedan will do 520 miles on a full charge, which is well over 100 miles more than the Tesla Model S Long Range, which delivers an estimated 405 miles. CNET reports: The 520-mile range estimate is specific to the Air Dream Edition Range with 19-inch wheels. Buyers should know the optional 21-inch wheels drop the range to an estimated 481 miles. Still, that's damned impressive. For those who select the Air Dream Edition Performance, they won't be penalized too much with a lower range. The car still comes in at an EPA-estimated 471 miles with 19-inch wheels and 451 miles with 21-inch wheels. The trade-off is there's 1,111 horsepower on tap with the Performance, compared to only 933 hp for the Range model.

The Dream Edition cars are two limited-edition choices Lucid sold out of a while ago, but don't fret, there are other options. For now, the EPA also got its hands on the Air Grand Touring trim, which returns 516 miles of range after the feds' tests. Even if you missed out on the Dream Edition Range, losing just four miles isn't the worst thing in the world. Opt for the larger 21-inch wheels on this model and the range figure drops to 469 miles. This particular configuration also provides a no-less-substantial 800 hp. If you ask me, there's nothing anyone's compromising on here. Production of the first customer cars is meant to start later this year, with prices for the Dream Editions starting at $169,000.

Re:Holy diminishing returns batman

By mattventura • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I don't think that's really a good way to look at it. If you pay 50% more for a gas car, you don't expect 50% more range. At some point, it's "enough" range, and the value comes from other aspects. After all, by that same logic, there's no reason to buy a model S, because it's only 15% more range than the model 3, despite costing 80% more.

Re:Good for Tesla

By dfghjk • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I think you've misinterpreted "engineer" here. The emphasis needs to be on "immigrant", the point being the veiled racism. The idea being that these people are cheap and poor because they are immigrants, thus the emphasis on "value" of a very expensive automobile, and a low quality one at that. A cost-conscious engineer isn't buying a Model 3, or even a Toyota. The OP is a racist Tesla Stan.

Re:So they should

By b0s0z0ku • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Larger TIRES are less bothered by potholes. But given a fixed tire outside diameter, as wheel size increases, the tire's ability to protect the wheel decreases. Most larger-wheel option packages don't increase the size of the unit, so they mean the tire is thinner. This is actually WORSE on bad roads.

Re:Good for Tesla

By ghoul • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Lol Dude I AM one of those immigrant Engineers with a Model 3. I had a nice laugh on the racism comment. Yes immigrants are carefull with their money. We dont have the bank of Mom and Dad to fall back on. Our stay is also dependent on our job. We lose our job and we need to sell everything and leave in 30 days. Helps to have a car which holds its resale value.

Re: Good for Tesla

By DanDD • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The batteries are full of lithium and are quite valuable. Recycling them, or the rest of the car, won't be a problem.

I recently had a catalytic converter stolen from an older Toyota. Repairing $3k of damage to an emissions system on a combustion engine vehicle makes everything about a model 3, including the interior, even more attractive.

China Intensifies Hunt For Cryptocurrency Miners In Hiding

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: China's campaign against the cryptocurrency industry is now targeting miners who tried to disguise themselves as data researchers and storage facilities to stay in business, according to people with knowledge of the situation. Inspections intensified this month in several Chinese provinces, targeting illegal mining activities in colleges, research institutions and data centers, said the people who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter. Concern over the country's power supplies for the upcoming winter season is one reason for the urgency, they said. The new round of scrutiny could further depress the amount of crypto mining occurring in China, which for years had been the dominant player and as recently as April had a 46% share of the global hash rate, a measure of computing power used in mining and processing, according to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index.

They care about the environment!

By systemd-anonymousd • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

They definitely just want to stop global warming. I'm sure this has absolutely nothing to do with their announcement of an official CCP cryptocurrency a few weeks ago.

Just hide it ...

By PPH • Score: 3 • Thread

... in a rare earth mining operation. It takes a lot of power to run one of those strip mine drag line shovels.


By gweihir • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This insanity has to stop for multiple reasons.

Re:Since forever

By gweihir • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Oh, I do not hate technology. In fact, I am a PhD-level engineer. I dislike _bad_ technology and misuse of technology. Crypto-"currencies" are both. I also dislike any kind of pyramid-schemes, Ponzi-variants and pump&dump scams, which crypto-"currencies" routinely are used for. These pray on the weak and that is just completely unacceptable to any halfway decent person.

Which means your strawman is pretty much a complete fail. Also, the implication of some religious angle farther up also leaves me completely unfazed. As an Atheist, I have had ample opportunity of the mindless followers of one religious delusions calling the mindless followers of another religious delusion "stupid". In fact, I find this demented activity highly entertaining.

That said, there are always plenty of morons that mindlessly love new tech just because it is new tech and not because they have any understanding of how it actually works or what it actually does or what its implications are.

WhatsApp Reinvents the 'Yellow Pages'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
WhatsApp is testing a new "Yellow Pages" like feature in Sao Paulo, Brazil, that will let users search for local shops. The Next Web reports: WhatsApp's head, Will Cathcart, announced this feature and said "we've built this in a private way." He claims that the company won't log your location or the businesses you're searching for. If you live in Sao Paulo, you'll be able to search for local shops using WhatsApp Business through the 'Businesses Nearby' menu in the new chat option. For years, Facebook and Instagram have been trying to connect you to businesses and make your shop through their platforms. While the WhatsApp Business app has been around, you couldn't really search for businesses using the app, unless you've interacted with them previously. The chat app doesn't have any ads, unlike Facebook and Instagram, so business interactions and transactions are one of the biggest ways for Facebook to earn some moolah out of it. Matt Idema, Facebook's vice president of business messaging, told Reuters that while the program is taking off in Brazil, India and Indonesia are the perfect next candidates for expansion.


By algaeman • Score: 3 • Thread
So if they won't log your location or the businesses you're searching for, how do they intend to monetize the service?

Cross between ...

By PPH • Score: 3 • Thread

... WhatsApp and Yelp. They can call it Whelp.

AMC Theaters Will Accept Cryptocurrencies Other Than Bitcoin

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
In August, AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron said the company will start accepting bitcoin as payment for movie tickets and concessions at all of its U.S. theaters. Now, Aron says he expects the company to also accept Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. In a tweet, Aron said: "Cryptocurrency enthusiasts: you likely know @AMCTheatres has announced we will accept Bitcoin for online ticket and concession payments by year-end 2021. I can confirm today that when we do so, we also expect that we similarly will accept Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash."

popcorn 1 bitcoin!

By Joe_Dragon • Score: 3 • Thread

popcorn 1 bitcoin!

Giving back to the people that saved him.

By gurps_npc • Score: 3 • Thread

There is clearly a lot of overlap between people that use bitcoin and the crazy idiots that drove up his failing company's stock price to the point where the convertible bond owners converted all their bonds and sold at a high price.

Now that's honor and integrity.

Tech Giants Used 'Loopholes' To Duck Merger Reviews, FTC Says

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Hundreds of deals by U.S. technology giants flew under the radar of merger watchdogs, fueling the companies' unchecked growth in the digital economy, according to a Federal Trade Commission study (PDF). The data on acquisitions by Apple, Amazon, Alphabet's Google, and Microsoft show that antitrust enforcers must be more aggressive in making sure companies aren't taking advantage of "loopholes" to avoid reporting deals to regulators, FTC Chair Lina Khan said Wednesday. "This study highlights the systemic nature of their acquisition strategy," Khan said about the tech companies during an FTC public meeting. "Digital markets in particular reveal how smaller transactions invite vigilance." The findings could bolster arguments that competition cops need to step up scrutiny of acquisitions by tech platforms to curb their power.

The data comes from a study the FTC announced last year to examine deals between 2010 and 2019 by the five tech giants to better understand whether acquisitions occurring outside the view of antitrust enforcers could be undermining competition. The FTC issued orders to the five companies requiring them to provide information about past acquisitions that weren't reported to antitrust agencies. The companies identified 819 such transactions, including acquisitions of voting control of companies, partial investments, patent acquisitions, and what the FTC called "hiring events" in which a group of employees were hired from another company. Although the FTC didn't identify specific transactions by companies, one example is Facebook's acquisition last year of image library Giphy for about $400 million. Bloomberg News reported last month that before the takeover, Giphy paid a dividend to investors. While perfectly legal, the payment lowered the value of Giphy's assets so that antitrust officials didn't have to be notified of the deal under the reporting thresholds at the time.

"Loopholes" ...

By thrillseeker • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
... also known as *following the law*.


By shaitand • Score: 3 • Thread
Little late for this brilliant insight isn't it?


By Flexagon • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The operative words are:

While perfectly legal, ...

If legislators wanted something different, then they would have enacted different legislation. They didn't. If they don't like the results, then they can do their jobs and enact different legislation. But they, and their surrogates the administrative bodies that implement legislation, don't get to whine until they do so.

Re:"Loopholes" ...

By gurps_npc • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

you mean 'following the law their finance people wrote for their benefit.'


By jargonburn • Score: 3 • Thread
Strange. When Joe Blow structures his transactions to arbitrarily stay beneath some defined federal transaction level, he gets smacked with the PATRIOT act. /sarcasm

Home Computing Pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair Dies Aged 81

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
LoTonah writes: Sir Clive Sinclair, the man behind the Sinclair Spectrum and the first computer to retail for under a hundred dollars (the Sinclair ZX-81, A.K.A. The Timex/Sinclair 1000), died September 15 after battling a long illness. His daughter, Belinda, said he died at home in London on Thursday morning after a long illness.

Sinclair invented the pocket calculator but was best known for popularising the home computer, bringing it to British high-street stores at relatively affordable prices. Many modern-day titans of the games industry got their start on one of his ZX models. For a certain generation of gamer, the computer of choice was either the ZX Spectrum 48K or its rival, the Commodore 64. Belinda Sinclair, 57, told the Guardian: "He was a rather amazing person. Of course, he was so clever and he was always interested in everything. My daughter and her husband are engineers so he'd be chatting engineering with them." He left school at 17 and worked for four years as a technical journalist to raise funds to found Sinclair Radionics.

Didn't he also invent

By rossdee • Score: 3 • Thread

The C5 (a small electric car)

Re:Or just plain out of reach

By brantondaveperson • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I don't think I would have. It's no exaggeration to say that the ZX81 my parents bought me when I was like seven years old completely changed my life.

Later on, once it became apparent that the 1kb of RAM wasn't enough, they got me a ZX spectrum. And later still, an Amstrad CPC 6128. I'm not alone. That original computer, and Clive Sinclair's designs, changed a generation of kids lives just like mine.


By squiggleslash • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The Z80A was a reimplementation of the 8080 by one of the 4004's designers. But the 8080 and the 4004 have no relationship otherwise despite both being Intel CPUs.

Both were chips commissioned by third parties. The 4004 was commissioned by Busicom who wanted something to power a calculator. The 8080 was a rework of a CPU called the 8008, and the 8008 in turn was commissioned by a terminal manufacturer who had largely done the design work but wanted Intel to find a way to reduce the chip count because what they had was a mass of TTL chips.

Neither had any relationship to a mainframe, and the 4004 and 8080 are completely different families. The Z80 is only connected to both by being the creation of the designer of one, and by being compatible with the other.

Demo scene

By dromgodis • Score: 3 • Thread

I was mightily surprised to learn just recently that there is a demo scene on the ZX81 today, and would have been surprised back in the days if they had shown me what the machine is able to do.

For example:

Micro Men

By johnrpenner • Score: 3 • Thread

Micro Men

New Microsoft Office Arrives Early Next Month, and Won't Require You To Pay For a Subscription

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft's new, flat-price version of its Office productivity software will arrive on Oct. 5 -- the same day Windows 11 begins rolling out, according to a company blog post Thursday. From a report: Microsoft previously emphasized that while its main focus remains in its subscription offering, Microsoft 365, it will release the one-time purchase Office 2021 for those who aren't ready to move to the cloud. Office 2021 arrives in two versions: one for commercial users, called Office LTSC (which stands for Long Term Servicing Channel), and one for personal use. Office LTSC is generally available today, the post said, and includes enhanced accessibility features, performance improvements across Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and visual improvements, like dark mode support across apps. It's meant for specialty situations, as opposed to for an entire organization, such as process control devices on the manufacturing floor that are not connected to the internet. Meanwhile, Office 2021 for personal use will arrive on Oct. 5, though Microsoft has not yet announced pricing information.


By Ostracus • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Bill Gates is OK with piracy.

Re:Not in the cloud?

By Ol Olsoc • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

compared to most other vendors e.g. Apple and Adobe. Office is actually quite affordable, no matter how cheap it is people would complain it should be cheaper until it is free. Office 365 costs me about $70 a year for 6 people, I can barely get the storage they provide with those licenses for that price.

Apple's office suite comes with the Operating System.

I have Pages/AO/Office 365 (which is provided for me) 365 is what I use the least.

Who cares?

By BAReFO0t • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

When was the last time anyone needed any of the new features of a newer MS Office? Somewhere in the 90s?

The subscription is a good deal though...

By wernst • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Potentially Unpopular Opinion: the Office 365 Annual Subscription is a fantastic deal if you have a lot of family members, and devices, and could use a huge amount of online storage/backup/file syncing.

For $100 a year, here's what your Office 365 license gets you:

- Full use of the installable versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Publisher, and Access, plus OneNote 2016 (although OneNote 2016 is now free for anyone to use, it integrates with the rest of Office 365).
- These installations work on ALL your devices: Windows PCs, Macintoshes, Android devices (phone/tablets/ChromeOS), iPhones, iPads. So in my case, I have Office installed on my Windows desktop, my laptop, my *other* desktop, my MacBook, my Android phone, my Android tablet, and my Chromebook. All for one license.
- One TB (!) of online storage (or backup) on Microsoft OneDrive for your documents, music, photos, or whatever, using a Dropbox-like syncing tool that works across devices if you like, so I can access all my files and photos across all my devices all the time from anywhere, or just use it as an off-site backup. Acronis charges about this much for 1TB of online storage just by itself. Carbonite is like $80 a year. iDrive is like $70 a year. If you were going to use an online backup tool for lots of stuff, then you might as well do Office 365 - it's like paying for the online storage you were looking for, and getting all the Office applications for free.
- Full access to the online versions of MS Office. So if I'm at someone else's PC or at a business center in a hotel, or using the PWA version on my Chromebook, or need to do some office work on my Linux box, I can open up (a semi-reduced feature version of) Word or Excel in a web browser, and if I'm using OneDrive (and I am), I can access all my files from that browser too.
- And then I can have 5 family members do all this too, all on the same license, because that $100 a year is for the whole family! So my wife each gets all these apps on all her devices, and she gets 1TB of device-syncing OneDrive storage too. So does my kid. So does my Mom. So does my Father in Law. So each person is getting all this stuff, including 1TB of online storage EACH, for about $20 a year.

Now don't get me wrong, I've used and recommended LibreOffice for years too, and I fully respect its capabilities, but Microsoft's pricing model for Office reminds me of Netflix vs. Torrents for movies: yes, Torrents are free, but Netflix is so much quality content for so little money, if you can swing a few bucks a month, it's worth it. So is Office 365.

Yes, yes, Hail Corporate.

Re: This just in: LibreOffice still free

By Ol Olsoc • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Unless you want to do something like move an image in a document. Then God have mercy on your soul, because libreoffice will have none for your document. :p

I like how MS office transfers perfectly between Mac and Windows. Not to mention that if you have to service Linux, it doesn't even exist - So I wouldn't go around trying to act like its the shitz to people that it doesn't even exist for.

My office spent a lot of time fixing up screwed up non identical Docs done in Windows to Mac, or Mac to Windows. Text didn't transfer correctly. Kerning and other details didn't work. Sometimes Images would show up as just a black box, or in the wrong place.

Wikipedia Bans Seven Chinese Users Amid Concerns of 'Infiltration, Physical Harm'

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Thelasko writes: The Wikimedia Foundation has revealed efforts to gather personal information on some Chinese Wikipedia editors by entities opposed to their activities on the platform and likely to threaten the targets' privacy or well-being. The foundation's response has been to ban seven users in mainland China, cancel sysop privileges for another dozen, and warn plenty more Wikipedia editors to modify their behaviour. The bans and warnings were revealed in a Monday letter from Maggie Dennis, the foundation's vice president of community resilience and sustainability. This move followed the detection of what Dennis described in a statement as "information about infiltration of Wikimedia systems, including positions with access to personally identifiable information and elected bodies of influence."

The foundation contracted a security firm, which assessed that the ongoing situation "placed multiple users at risk." Dennis's letter describes the exposure of personal information of Chinese editors, and states "we know that some users have been physically harmed as a result." The Wikimedia Foundation therefore decided some of the perpetrators had to be sanctioned. "We have banned seven users and desysopped a further 12 as a result of long and deep investigations into activities around some members of the unrecognized group Wikimedians of Mainland China," Dennis wrote. "We have also reached out to a number of other editors with explanations around canvassing guidelines and doxing policies and requests to modify their behaviors." The letter and statement don't explain the source of the conflict, but do mention "recent world events" as one catalyst.

Gentlemanly persuasion.

By Ostracus • Score: 3 • Thread

This move followed the detection of what Dennis described in a statement as "information about infiltration of Wikimedia systems, including positions with access to personally identifiable information and elected bodies of influence."

2021 seems to be the year of breaking into computers for the purposes of influence.

Back in my day it was a darkened room and a rubber hose.

Look closely everywhere

By Fuzi719 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
China is a pernicious, metastasizing cancer upon the rest of the world. Minimizing and overlooking the threat it poses everywhere is a serious mistake.

Re:Gentlemanly persuasion.

By systemd-anonymousd • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Hopefully 2021 is the year of NOTICING people breaking into computers for the purposes of influence.

But really, it's more like "using systems within their stated rules and guidelines, but creating political influence." And I wish Wikipedia would ban about ten thousand editors who are clearly doing this, but domestically.

It's depressing browsing deletionpedia. Or go to a page for a recently political topic and view history, and compare if from a few years ago to what it is now.

Re:Look closely everywhere

By Subsentient • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
This guy gets it. As awful and imperialistic and abusive as the USA can be, if China becomes the world's superpower, you will *all* be pining desperately for the days of Burgerland rule.

Instagram Boss Says Social Media is Like Cars: People Are Going To Die

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: Adam Mosseri isn't doing Facebook any favors. The head of Instagram was interviewed on the Recode Media podcast this week following a damning series of articles in the Wall Street Journal based on leaked internal Facebook documents. In the interview with host Peter Kafka, Mosseri attempted to defend the negative effects his platform has on its users by comparing social media to cars. The gist of his argument? Some people are just going to get run over, and that's the price we all pay. "We know that more people die than would otherwise because of car accidents, but by and large cars create way more value in the world than they destroy," argued Mosseri. "And I think social media is similar."

The Journal story in question explains how internal Facebook research (Facebook owns Instagram) found Instagram was making life worse for a segment of its users. "We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls," read one 2019 internal slide obtained by the paper. "Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression," read another. In response to Mosseri's car comments, Kafka rightly pointed out that automobiles are subject to intense safety regulation on a federal level, which Mosseri countered by pivoting between saying social media regulation is welcome and, well, that it's also potentially problematic. "We think you have to be careful," he said, "because regulation can cause more problems."


By timeOday • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
I should say - he did reference people dying in his car analogy, as an extreme example of what we will accept so long as the balance is positive. But he didn't say extend the analogy of people dying back to social media.

Stop and think what the negative slant is really proposing here - stopping people from communicating because other people sometimes make them feel sad and worthless? It's crazy talk.

We should treat Facebook/Instagram like cars

By thegarbz • Score: 3 • Thread

Let's put huge rules and regulations on what Facebook can and can't do. Let's give a basic competency test to everyone who wants to use Facebook, license its use, and revoke the privilege of using Facebook for stupid people like Anti-vaxers and pushers of the Big Lie. Let's also spend $500million a year in the USA alone just enforcing these rules.

Maybe when we're done there'll be less stupid people on Facebook. Certainly if we take this up there'll be one less stupid executive working there.

Re:Underlying problem is the scale of the competit

By DarkOx • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

In a way I think this is also the source of why our political discourse gets more and more extreme.

Every thing any candidate or office holder says gets posted on social media. Someone somewhere finds some aspect of it less than 'ideologically pure' and than infotainment media, picks up on it. So pols are forced to adopt either more extreme positions so nobody questions their conservative or progressive chops.

What social media does much of the time is turn private and semi-private conversations, exhibitions, and interactions into public spectacles where third parties for who have no business to weigh in on with recrimination and pile-ons. Social media is the gasoline on every fire. I forget who it was but someone said if you want to understand the corrosive phenomenon that is social media just think about the 90's rap feuds; social media is giving every Tom, Dick and Hairy the platform and sensationalism music media gave those big label rap stars.

To make an omelet...

By JoeyRox • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
You have to murder a few unborn fetuses.

Re:Cars provide clear benefits. Instagram does not

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Human-driven cars kill 3000 people per day.

So taking a shortcut that kills one person but speeds up the introduction SDCs by even one day is a big win.

It is isomorphic to the Trolley Problem, except instead of five people on the alternative track, there are three thousand.

OpenSea's Product Chief is Out After Insider NFT Flipping Accusations

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
OpenSea head of product Nate Chastain, who was recently accused of a form of NFT insider trading, appears to no longer be working for the company. His Twitter bio now includes the phrase "Past: @opensea." From a report: OpenSea has not publicly named the employee involved in the incident, but CEO Devin Finzer says the NFT trading platform asked for and received their resignation. Yesterday, Finzer put up a blog post saying an employee used knowledge gained from working at the company to purchase NFTs that were about to be posted to the popular trading site's homepage (and would thus likely go up in value). While an investigation is apparently still ongoing, OpenSea does say that it's implemented clearer rules to prevent employees from doing this kind of thing in the future.

So what

By OverlordQ • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You wanted unregulated finance, this is what you get.

how can you steal something of no value?

By Virtucon • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Somebody decides to create a nebulous asset that you can trade, if it's not a recognized form of asset that a gov't will say "is an asset," how can it be stolen or advantage on purchasing said "assets" be wrong?

Anybody investing in this shit deserves to lose everything.

Locast's Free TV Service Ordered To Shut Down Permanently After Copyright Loss

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Locast has been ordered to shut down its online TV service forever in a permanent injunction issued yesterday by a federal judge. From a report: The order came two weeks after the judge gave major broadcast networks a big victory in their copyright case against Locast, a nonprofit organization that provided online access to broadcast TV stations. Locast will have to win on appeal in order to stream broadcast channels again. Locast already suspended operations after the September 1 ruling that said it does not qualify for a copyright-law exemption available to nonprofits, so the permanent injunction doesn't change the status quo. US District Judge Louis Stanton cited a December 2019 agreement between Locast and the networks that limited the scope of the litigation and said a permanent injunction should be entered if the court determines that Locast does not qualify for the copyright-law exemption.

The deal did not prohibit Locast "from applying for a stay of the permanent injunction pending appeal, nor to bar the broadcasters from opposing any such stay," the agreement said. ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC motioned for a permanent injunction after the September 1 ruling. The judge's order yesterday said the defendants "are permanently restrained and enjoined from operating Locast" but that "entry of an injunction will provide opportunity for appeal contemplated by the agreement."
Further reading: Locast, a Free App Streaming Network TV, Would Love To Get Sued (January 2019).

Looks like a roadmap for a do-over

By davidwr • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

From the article: ""[U]nder the statute, income made from charges to recipients can only be used to defray the actual and reasonable costs of maintaining and operating the service, not of expanding it into new markets,"

referring to Judge Stanton's ruling.

This sounds like a road map for another like-minded non-profit to "do it legally."

I see at least two ways to do this:

* Either get a huge up-front donation to "get things started" with a nation-wide footprint, making "expansion" moot, or

* Create a grant-making non-profit that provides seed funding for independently-run local or regional services, with the local versions not generating any more revenue than they need to operate.

New Tolling Systems Are Poised To Hit Highways

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Electric vehicles might be good for the environment, but they're terrible for state budgets, which depend on fuel taxes to pay for road maintenance. So states like Oregon and Utah are experimenting with new road user fees -- known as "vehicle mileage taxes" or VMTs -- that reflect changing mobility trends. From a report: By charging drivers for the miles they drive -- instead of taxing the gas they use -- states can ensure that everyone pays their fair share for public roads. But some drivers might wind up paying more than they do now, and the preliminary technology involved is raising privacy concerns.

In Utah and Oregon -- where EVs and increased fuel efficiency are blowing a hole in road repair budgets -- drivers are being asked to enroll in voluntary experiments in pay-as-you-go tolling. Under a VMT system, drivers report their mileage electronically, using a plug-in device in their cars or a smartphone app. Per the Deseret (Utah) News: "Users are given the option to pay 1.5 cents per mile traveled or an annual flat fee of $120 for electric vehicles or $20 for gas hybrids." Oregon is testing several potential funding models based on the time of day and other factors. Under one potential scenario, a driver could pay a statewide 1.8-cents-per-mile fee, plus a 20-cent metropolitan Portland surcharge, plus a virtual toll on Interstate 5 and another fee for entering downtown Portland.


By OzPeter • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Unless you take vehicle weight into account, it's all BS anyway

Solving a problem that doesn't exist

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

This is solving a problem that doesn't actually exist; there are not enough electric vehicles on the road that it affects highway budgets enough to notice. This is purely a publicity ploy by oil companies to attack electric vehicles.

It is also grimly stupid that the government is rebating taxes on people who buy electric vehicles, but then adding a tax because they say electric vehicles don't pay their share of taxes. If you want a simple solution, instead of offering a tax rebate for electric vehicles and also a new tax to get money from electric vehicles, the government could just pay into the highway fund of states proportional to the number of electric vehicles in the state, but only if the states don't have this complicated additional mileage tax.


By Gavagai80 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

How is a $1 per tire tax supposed to make up for gas tax? I pay a dollar in gas tax more than once a week (that's 2 gallons here in California), and I get a new tire every few years.


By Inglix the Mad • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
I always thought that song was a childish way of looking at things. I despise taxes as well, particularly because in America they often become nothing but vehicles to ensure the .1% keeps getting free infrastructure and defense of their foreign assets. However I've asked for workable alternatives from Libertarians and all the answers are (in the best light) childish. So I remind them that, despite not having a personal income tax, Texas is flat out one of the most expensive places in America to live.

I mean, if there is one thing that Republicans have down to a freaking science, especially in Texas, it's how to charge the plebes (but not the .1% because they get a special write off) for everything, twice. The most hilarious part is their idiot base cheers them while being fleeced because it isn't taxes. No, you idiots, it is a tax. Hell's Bells it's a tax that costs you more than the tax they replaced (this is doubly true in purple states like Wisconsin) with what they nominally call a fee.

Even when it comes to fees, there is no increase too high. We used to have relatively stable license plate costs in Wisconsin. They went up a few bucks every so many years, but it was to be expected because inflation and whatnot. Republicans got total control and all of a sudden everything went to Hell. They doubled the cost of vehicle registration, and of course there is a tax write off for the 1% that you don't qualify for plebe, along a half dozen other items. Their idiot base lapped it up because they cut taxes for them by (averaged across the Republican areas) $200, if the person was married with kids. Just the increase in fee costs was more than $200. Yet the morons cheered their negative value.

I just shake my head now and realize that most people don't care as long as they hear the words "tax cut" they'll be happy. As soon as the Democratic Party figures this out, Republicans are in trouble.


By Nugoo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'm not sure I see why road maintenance should be paid for by drivers. I don't own a car (or any other vehicle), but I benefit enormously from a public road network. Why not just pay for it out of the general tax fund?

Or, if we want to charge based on use, heavy trucks should be paying the lion's share, since road wear is so dependant on the weight of the vehicle.

AMD: We Stand Ready To Make Arm Chips

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AMD's CFO Devinder Kumar has commented that AMD stands ready to manufacture Arm chips if needed, noting that the company's customers want to work with AMD on Arm-based solutions. From a report: Kumar's remarks came during last week's Deutsche Bank Technology Conference, building on comments from AMD CEO Lisa Su earlier in the year that underscored the company's willingness to create custom silicon solutions for its customers, be they based on x86 or Arm architectures. Intel also intends to produce Arm and RISC-V chips, too, meaning that the rise of non-x86 architectures will be partially fueled by the stewards of the dominant x86 ecosystem. "But I'll tell you from my standpoint, when you look at compute solutions, whether it's x86 or ARM or even other areas, that is an area for our focus on investment for us," AMD CFO Devinder Kumar responded to a question about the company's view of competing Arm chips. "We know compute really well. Even ARM, as you referenced, we have a very good relationship with ARM. And we understand that our customers want to work with us with that particular product to deliver the solutions. We stand ready to go ahead and do that even though it's not x86, although we believe x86 is a dominant strength in that area."

Arms and the ARM

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

They were talking about Arm chips. These, presumably, are chips that you use to control your arm.

ARM chips, on the other hand, set your Adjustable Rate Mortgage.


So, when do we get an ARM linux laptop?

By dargaud • Score: 3 • Thread
So, when do we get a very low power but powerful ARM linux laptop with an open source BIOS ? It's way past about time, and being tired of x86 cruft.


By Zak3056 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I think that the enormous success of Apple's M1 has awoken some sentiment that x86 is an also-ran.

So it looks like Apple shipped about 5.4 million M1 PCs in the 2nd quarter of this year, out of a total worldwide market of 71.6 million units.

I mean, that's certainly a shift, but if x86 is outselling M1 by a factor of 13-to-1, that hardly makes x86 an "also ran" does it?

Re:I'd go straight to RISC-V

By OrangeTide • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I'm big enough that I can wait and see. Then acquire the small companies that win in the market.

I think switching over to RISC-V before the market is ready for it is perhaps worse than being too late to the market. Because like I said, you can just buy whoever took the gamble and won. Dumping capital in something that you can't turn into positive cash flow in a few years is problematic for investors and share holders.

Ultimately a mature company like AMD can make x86, ARM64, and RISC-V and push out a new chip in 18 months of any of those architectures. A fair bit of reuse of internal architecture is possible even with different processor designs, control plans, busses, etc. Look at Nvidia's Denver project, it started off as an x86 of the Transmeta style VLIW, but it ended up being one of the first few 64-bit ARMs to ship. Is it the best ARM on the market? Hard to say, it had some early problems with inconsistent CPU benchmarks. But it is on the market, and mostly because of the on-chip peripherals and software support, not necessarily because of the CPU architecture.


By Anubis IV • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

er, no. Hardly anyone has M1 chips. And Apple has only been making OSX more cumbersome [...]

You've entirely missed the point if you think that matters here. The OP was talking about what the M1 has demonstrated in terms of hardware capability, which is what it is regardless of how many people have the M1 in their hands or what anyone's opinions are on macOS. Your complaints may be valid, but they have nothing to do with the topic at hand.

The M1 is an entry-level chip that already outperforms nearly all of the entry-level and many of the mid-level x86 chips available today across a variety of metrics, despite Apple's choice to maintain tight constraints on its thermal performance and performance per watt. But there aren't any technical barriers keeping Apple from lifting those constraints—and, in fact, they've even announced their intent to do so over the next 1-2 years—which is terrifying to people heavily invested in x86. Apple has plenty of headroom left to move upmarket whenever it wants to: the architecture can easily support more cores, power budgets can easily be increased, and (better) cooling can easily be provided, a combination of which would easily put them ahead in most of the areas where x86 still maintains a lead (e.g. the M1 lags many mid-level chips in multi-core performance today, but in every case I've seen that's because it has fewer cores, which is an easy problem to solve). Meanwhile, AMD and Intel already lifted those constraints years ago, so they don't have the headroom left that Apple does.

"But wait!", a straw man says. "Apple doesn't compete with AMD or Intel, and even if the M1 was decent, it's still hamstrung by [macOS/iOS/Apple]." Again, those are missing the point. What the M1 has done is demonstrate what's possible with ARM. It shows that ARM is not a toy. It shows that ARM can be scaled up to a point where it competes with the incumbents. Apple may not compete against Intel or AMD, but others will, and when they do—not if—it is likely to result in a market disruption as the chips move upmarket over the course of several years, eventually displacing x86. Qualcomm's ARM designs are a few years behind Apple's and are trending in the same direction at about the same rate, so they're in a prime position to start competing against Intel and AMD in the not-too-distant future. Likewise, Samsung has deep experience designing ARM chips with its Exynos line. Now that they've been shown a path forward, they'll likely move in that direction as well.

If you're at the top of Intel or AMD and you don't have double-digit performance improvements planned for the next several years straight, this is when you tell the board that it may be prudent to start spinning up expertise lest a nascent competitor disrupt the entire market, leaving you a relic of a bygone age. And what would that look like to an outsider like you or me? Well, if I had to hazard a hypothesis, it might resemble AMD saying "we're willing to design ARM chips too!" or Intel announcing its willingness to work with designs that aren't their own.

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Jay-Z's NFT Feud Spotlights Legal Peril in Hot Investment Trend

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As a young rapper, Jay-Z once teamed up with Damon Dash to sell CDs of his music out of a car in the Brooklyn projects. Today, the co-founders of Roc-A-Fella Records are embroiled in a legal fight involving one of the most cutting-edge investments: non-fungible tokens. From a report: The lawsuit is among a flurry involving NFTs as U.S. courts begin to grapple with the novel legal issues surrounding ownership and regulation of the assets, which have recently exploded in value. More than half a dozen suits citing NFTs have been filed in federal courts alone since the start of 2020, as monthly trading volume in the world's biggest NFT marketplace, OpenSea, soared from $8 million six months ago to more than $1 billion in August.

The dispute began in June, when Roc-A-Fella sued Dash, seeking to stop him from auctioning off the copyright to Jay-Z's debut album, Reasonable Doubt, as an NFT, which represents ownership of a digital object on a blockchain. Roc-A-Fella says that while Dash holds a one-third stake in the company, it owns the album itself, and he has no legal right to sell the NFT. The Jay-Z suit should serve as a warning to buyers and sellers of NFTs to make sure both sides know exactly what's being sold, said Christopher A. Cole, a partner with Crowell & Moring LLP in Washington. "They need to be very careful up front, when the NFT is created, to ensure that it's a valid instrument and the creators had the rights they needed to what's being sold, so that it's not attacked down the road," Cole said. More litigation involving NFTs is likely, from lawsuits on behalf of consumers who didn't understand the nature of the rights they were acquiring to government enforcement actions to protect them, said Pratin Vallabhaneni, a partner with White & Case in Washington.

China's Biggest Movie Star Was Erased From the Internet, and the Mystery Is Why

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Zhao Wei was the Reese Witherspoon of China, then she was censored by the Communist Party amid a clampdown of the country's entertainment industry. WSJ: She directed award-winning films, sold millions of records as a pop singer and built a large following on social media, amassing 86 million fans on Weibo, China's Twitter -like microblogging site. She also made a fortune as an investor in Chinese technology and entertainment companies. Today, the 45-year-old star has been erased from the Chinese internet. Searches for her name on the country's biggest video-streaming sites come up blank. Her projects, including the wildly popular TV series "My Fair Princess," have been removed. Anyone looking up her acclaimed film "So Young" on China's equivalent of Wikipedia wouldn't know she was the director; the field now reads "---."

Ms. Zhao's online disappearance on Aug. 26 came at the onset of a broader clampdown on the country's entertainment industry as the Communist Party attempts to halt what it sees as a rise in unhealthy celebrity culture. The Chinese government hasn't publicly stated what prompted this sudden change to her status, raising questions among fans and observers about how far it is willing to go against her and other celebrities, and why. The mystery also has sparked open speculation about what, if anything, she might have done wrong. "Zhao Wei is like a poster child for what the Communist Party sees as what's wrong with celebrity culture in China," said Stanley Rosen, a professor at the University of Southern California who specializes in Chinese films and politics. "It's a demonstration that no one, no matter how wealthy or popular, is too big to pursue." In Zhao Wei's case, he added, the lack of explanation "will certainly make other celebrities extremely cautious and proactive in embracing regime goals."

Re: Now the USA need to stop censoring movies for

By saloomy • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
The movie studios know that to maximize returns on their movie budget, millions of Chinese citizens will have to go to watch their movies. To get clearance for that, it seems they need to include a pro-China narrative. It was funny watching The Martian, and thinking to myself, here is NASA without a rocket it needs. Where is SpaceX, Blue Origin, or any of the other reality based (or movie mock up) version of the private industry? Also, Russia has far more experience putting rockets into space and sending things beyond LEO. Since like, the 70s. But China has something American private enterprise and Russia did not: a billion consumers under a protectionist evil regime that heavily regulates what they can see. Unless you can get movie studios to follow your fewer dollars than Chinese greater dollars, you will not find movies that portray China in a bad light. That is the nature of free markets. They have more consumers. Movie studios will appease them.

Re:Now the USA need to stop censoring movies for

By MBGMorden • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The USA (the government) can however impose restrictions on trading with foreign governments if their actions are seen as distasteful enough.

China has gotten so bad within the last 15-20 years that I wouldn't care if we full out halted all trade with them. They are a brutal dictatorship with an atrocious human rights record that is keen on expanding. We need to tackle this problem now before its too big to tackle.

Mark my words - we will be involved in a military conflict with China eventually - maybe in 10 years, maybe in 50. Hell maybe in 100, but its going in that direction. I don't feel it wise to continue to strengthen an inevitable opponent. Particularly with the offshoring of manufacturing. Thankfully American military manufacturing is still largely done within the country but if we actually get embroiled in a WW2 level conflict it would be crazy to be stuck with our enemy being the place where they make all your physical items.

Re: Now the USA need to stop censoring movies for

By OzoneLad • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

It was funny watching The Martian, and thinking to myself, here is NASA without a rocket it needs. Where is SpaceX, Blue Origin, or any of the other reality based (or movie mock up) version of the private industry?

You might want to try reading a book instead. The emergency rocket was Chinese in the source novel. But I'm sure Weir just did that to ensure he'd sell an extra billion books, right?

Re:Now the USA need to stop censoring movies for

By techno-vampire • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
We get to quickly see which of our stars have no principles.

Considering how many of our stars are highly vocal leftists, most of them are simply following their beliefs when they kowtow to Beijing.

Re:Now the USA need to stop censoring movies for

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Realistically if the US cut of all trade with China, well first it would tank the US economy, but quite likely it would force China to invade Taiwan. The US would doubtless try to force Taiwanese companies to stop doing business with China, and China needs Taiwan's factories, especially their silicon foundries.

Then we would have a big problem on our hands. China has a powerful military and nukes, can't really stop them. Everyone needs Taiwan for high end chips. We are seeing what happens when there is a shortage right now, but imagine if the US was banned completely from getting any made in Taiwan. No more iPhones.

FTC Warns Health Apps To Notify Consumers Impacted by Data Breaches

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted 3-2 Wednesday that a decade-old rule on health data breaches applies to apps that handle sensitive health information, warning these companies to comply. From a report: The new policy statement agreed to by the FTC was intended to clarify the agency's 2009 Health Breach Notification Rule, which requires vendors handling health records to notify consumers if the data is accessed through a breach or other means without the individual's authorization. The new policy states that the rule applies to health apps, such as those tracking fitness or menstrual cycles, which have been developed over the past decade.

"As many Americans turn to apps and other technologies to track diseases, diagnoses, treatment, medications, fitness, fertility, sleep, mental health, diet, and other vital areas, this Rule is more important than ever," the policy statement agreed to Wednesday reads. "Firms offering these services should take appropriate care to secure and protect consumer data." The FTC intends to enforce the new policy, with those in violation facing a financial penalty of over $43,000 per day.

Degrees of criticality?

By memory_register • Score: 3 • Thread
I get why this rule exists for tracking meds or vitals. However, my gym routine does not seem to be nearly as critical or personal. Am I wrong here?

Alphabet's Project Taara Laser Tech Beamed 700TB of Data Across Nearly 5km

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: In January, Google's parent company, Alphabet, shut down Project Loon, an initiative exploring using stratospheric helium balloons to distribute wireless internet (an attempt to use solar-powered drones folded in 2017). However, some technology developed as a part of the Loon project remained in development, specifically the Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) links that were originally meant to connect the high flying balloons -- and now that technology is actively in use providing a high-speed broadband link for people in Africa.

Sort of like fiber optic cables without the cable, FSOC can create a 20Gbps+ broadband link from two points that have a clear line of sight, and Alphabet's moonshot lab X has built up Project Taara to give it a shot. They started by setting up links in India a few years ago as well as a few pilots in Kenya, and today X revealed what it has achieved by using its wireless optical link to connect service across the Congo River from Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo and Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 20 days, Project Taara lead Baris Erkmen says the link transmitted nearly 700TB of data, augmenting fiber connections used by local telecom partner Econet and its subsidiaries.

clear line of sight? so wind / rain / dust / snow

By Joe_Dragon • Score: 3 • Thread

clear line of sight? so wind / rain / dust / snow / etc can block it? and in an big rain you can have rain fade outages?

Re: clear line of sight? so wind / rain / dust / s

By WoodstockJeff • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

If you use a powerful enough laser, those things don't matter.

Pity anyone who gets in the way, though.

Re: clear line of sight? so wind / rain / dust / s

By K. S. Kyosuke • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Upon failure to transmit a packet, increase power and try again.

So Time-to-Live is a double entendre in this system?

Where this would really shine

By RightwingNutjob • Score: 3 • Thread

(geddit?) is for indoor applications.

Think warehouse robots or other mobile equipment in an indoor setting.

There are few outdoor applications I can think of that can't be solved adequately using optical fiber or microwave links. A standard objection is that the latter two either cost money or require regulatory approval. And the standard answer is that fsoc also costs money and depending on jurisdiction may also require regulatory approval. If you're spending money on a facility anyway, you're likely going through permitting and construction costs already.

Re:In what time FFS ? USE USEFUL UNITS

By serviscope_minor • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

20 days apparently.

Which makes it an average of, er... 400 mbit/s.

I mean that's OK. But you can already buy COTS point to point microwave links that do somewhat better over rather longer links in the rain and fog. They do claim 20gbps, but you can already buy 10gpbs microwave links off the shelf today which have superior range and weather capabilities not to mention the lack of fancy motorised hardware. You can also get a lot converging on one point, by use of directional antennas and choosing the frequency band.

The laser one sounds useful for a balloon where you can massively save on antenna size and therefore weight compared to microwave links, but on the ground it sounds like google bragging about a complex solution to a problem that's already solved better.

Walmart To Begin Driverless Deliveries With Ford and Argo AI

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Our streets might not be overflowing with robotaxis as we were promised circa 2017, but here and there, AV companies are beginning commercial deployments. Argo AI, the AV startup heavily backed by Ford, Volkswagen, and others, is one of those companies. On Wednesday, Argo, Ford, and Walmart revealed that they will be working together to roll out last-mile deliveries from the retail giant's stores in Austin, Texas; Miami, Florida; and Washington, DC. "Our focus on the testing and development of self-driving technology that operates in urban areas where customer demand is high really comes to life with this collaboration," said Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO of Argo AI. "Working together with Walmart and Ford across three markets, we're showing the potential for autonomous vehicle delivery services at scale."

"Argo and Ford are aggressively preparing for large-scale autonomous vehicle operations across a broad footprint of US cities," said Scott Griffith, the CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles and Mobility Businesses. "Pairing Walmart's retail and e-commerce leadership with Argo and Ford's self-driving operations across these multiple cities marks a significant step toward scaling a commercial goods delivery service that will ultimately power first-to-scale business efficiencies and enable a great consumer experience." Argo AI and Ford have been testing their AV systems in Miami and DC since 2018 and began testing in Austin the following year. The trio says that the first autonomous deliveries to Walmart customers will begin later this year. Around the same time, Ford and Argo will start deploying passenger-carrying robotaxis in Austin and Miami.

Ford is a bit behind.

By jellomizer • Score: 3 • Thread

I am not sure why Walmart would choose Ford.
Ford and GM with their Autonomous driving functions are well behind the likes of Tesla and Waymo. Ford and GM, use high definition GPS maps as an electric rail, while Tesla and Waymo better use the current environment to make its decisions with more advance predictive AI. The BlueCruse feature still freaks out if the road as more than the slightest bend.

and after the next Elaine Herzberg how long will t

By Joe_Dragon • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

and after the next Elaine Herzberg how long will the shutdown time be?

Re:"The Death of a Conservative"

By bkmoore • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

....TV hosts, most of Fox, and slowly, their voters.... all install cameras so we can watch them die of COVID!

Off topic. All the Fox News hosts are vaccinated. They don't even believe the stuff they're saying on the air. It's all about lying to a gullible audience, telling them what they want to hear, and making $$$. Fox News won a court case by arguing that, "No reasonable viewer takes Tucker Carlson seriously." In other words, officially at least, it's satire and entertainment.

Ransomware Encrypts South Africa's Entire Department of Justice Network

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The justice ministry of the South African government is working on restoring its operations after a recent ransomware attack encrypted all its systems, making all electronic services unavailable both internally and to the public. As a consequence of the attack, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development said that child maintenance payments are now on hold until systems are back online. BleepingComputer reports: The incident happened on September 6 and the department activated the contingency plan for such events to ensure the continuation of some activity in the country. Last week, [Steve Mahlangu, spokesperson for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development] said that court sittings continued after a switch into manual mode for recording the hearings. A manual process has also been adopted for issuing various legal documents. However, the ransomware attack impacted monthly child maintenance payments, which have been delayed until the systems are restored.

The department is still in the process of returning to regular operations but it is cannot say when the activity will become normal again. Part of this effort was setting up a new email system, to which some staff has already migrated. Coupled with the long time needed for network restoration, this is a sign that the hackers did not get paid. It is unclear who is behind this attack. Many ransomware gangs also steal data before encrypting it, to force the victim into paying the ransom under the pressure of a public leak. Mahlangu said last week that the Department's IT experts have found "no indication of data compromise." Until now, the attack has not been claimed by any of the gangs with a data leak site.

This would NOT have happened during the Apartheid!

By Rosco P. Coltrane • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

because the justice department wasn't online back then. And also, there was no justice.

Re:Ransomware by accident

By serafean • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Or they hit too big a target, and chicken out... Everybody loses in that case.


By Orlando • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Let me guess, a wild stab in the dark, was their infra based on Windows by any chance?

There's no justice now either

By Viol8 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

If you think successive ANC governments have been any better then you're deluded. All that happened is priviledge has moved from a small white clique to a small black clique and general corruption is far worse. So par for the course for your average african state.

NASA Confirms Thousands of Massive, Ancient Volcanic Eruptions On Mars

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Scientists found evidence that a region of northern Mars called Arabia Terra experienced thousands of "super eruptions," the biggest volcanic eruptions known, over a 500-million-year period. NASA reports the findings in a post: Some volcanoes can produce eruptions so powerful they release oceans of dust and toxic gases into the air, blocking out sunlight and changing a planet's climate for decades. By studying the topography and mineral composition of a portion of the Arabia Terra region in northern Mars, scientists recently found evidence for thousands of such eruptions, or "super eruptions," which are the most violent volcanic explosions known. Spewing water vapor, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide into the air, these explosions tore through the Martian surface over a 500-million-year period about 4 billion years ago. Scientists reported this estimate in a paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters in July 2021. "Each one of these eruptions would have had a significant climate impact -- maybe the released gas made the atmosphere thicker or blocked the Sun and made the atmosphere colder," said Patrick Whelley, a geologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who led the Arabia Terra analysis. "Modelers of the Martian climate will have some work to do to try to understand the impact of the volcanoes."
One remaining question is how a planet can have only one type of volcano littering a region. On Earth volcanoes capable of super eruptions -- the most recent erupted 76,000 years ago in Sumatra, Indonesia -- are dispersed around the globe and exist in the same areas as other volcano types. Mars, too, has many other types of volcanoes, including the biggest volcano in the solar system called Olympus Mons. Olympus Mons is 100 times larger by volume than Earth's largest volcano of Mauna Loa in Hawaii, and is known as a "shield volcano," which drains lava down a gently sloping mountain. Arabia Terra so far has the only evidence of explosive volcanoes on Mars. It's possible that super-eruptive volcanoes were concentrated in regions on Earth but have been eroded physically and chemically or moved around the globe as continents shifted due to plate tectonics. These types of explosive volcanoes also could exist in regions of Jupiter's moon Io or could have been clustered on Venus. Whatever the case may be, Richardson hopes Arabia Terra will teach scientists something new about geological processes that help shape planets and moons.

Oceans of poor scientific reporting

By Rosco P. Coltrane • Score: 3 • Thread

oceans of dust and toxic gases into the air

First of all, aren't oceans of stuff in the air called "clouds"? Or is it officially reserved to refer to shitty 21st century-style mainframe computing now?

Secondly, what air? Air is the name of the particular cocktail of gasses present in Earth's atmosphere if I'm not mistaken.

Absence of horizontal movement

By RockDoctor • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
My take is that they are commenting on the apparent absence of horizontal movements on the surface of Mars, compared to Earth. On Earth, a long-lived volcanic province would have spread out laterally, and probably resulted in a split in the plate on which it formed. On Mars, that doesn't seem to have happened, and the volcanic centre just sat in one place and built up.

So the fundamental question is, why does Earth have plate tectonics, and Mars have something different - to which we probably already have the answer : size. Earth is still radiating about equal amounts of it's "primordial" heat of formation (energy from impacting dust, asteroids, Mars-sized bodies) and "radiogenic" heat production (from nuclear decay of elements in the body of the Earth) ; Mars, OTOH, having about 1/10 of the mass of Earth, has long since radiated most of it's primordial heat (initially, about 1/10th of Earth's inventory) and is now mostly radiating it's radiogenic heat (again, about 1/10th of Earth's production rate). That reduced Martian heat flow is almost certainly why Mars has different tectonics to Earth, though connecting those two dots remains an incomplete task (to which this work is a contribution).

The heat flow experiment (HP^3) on NASA's recent InSight lander was intended to address this question precisely, but the probe's "self-drilling" feature doesn't seem to be working for reasons under investigation and experimentation.

Other planetary scientists are trying to understand Venus' geological history and it's style of tectonics - in which they are hampered considerably by the thick atmosphere. At 81% of the Earth's mass, it's evolution may suggest how finely balanced the conditions necessary for plate tectonics are. Of course, we do not know if a planet with plate tectonics is a necessary condition for the evolution of life.