the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2022-Jan-15 today archive

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

The World Was Cooler In 2021 Than 2020. That's Not Good News.

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
2021 was actually cooler than 2020, points out Wired science journalist Matt Simon. So is that good news?

No. One reason for cooler temperatures in 2021 was likely La Niña, a band of cold water in the Pacific. It's the product of strong trade winds that scour the ocean, pushing the top layer of water toward Asia, causing deeper, colder waters to rush to the surface to fill the void. This in turn influences the atmosphere, for instance changing the jet stream above the United States and leading to more hurricanes in the Atlantic. The sea itself cools things off by absorbing heat from the atmosphere.

The Covid-19 pandemic may have had an additional influence, but not in the way you might think. As the world locked down in 2020, fewer emissions went into the sky, including aerosols that typically reflect some of the sun's energy back into space. "If you take them away, you make the air cleaner, then that's a slight warming impact on the climate," said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, during a Thursday press conference announcing the findings. But as economic activity ramped back up in 2021, so did aerosol pollution, contributing again to that cooling effect. The 2021 temperature drop "may be possibly due to a resumption of activity that produces aerosols in the atmosphere," Schmidt said...

Today's findings are all the more alarming precisely because 2021 managed to overcome these cooling effects and still tally the sixth-highest temperature. And while global temperatures were cooler in 2021 than the year before, last year 1.8 billion people lived in places that experienced their hottest temperatures ever recorded, according to a report released today by Berkeley Earth. This includes Asian countries like China and North and South Korea, African nations like Nigeria and Liberia, and in the Middle East places like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. "We talk a lot about global average temperatures, but no one lives in the global average," says Zeke Hausfather, a research scientist at Berkeley Earth. "In fact most of the globe, two-thirds of it, is ocean, and no one lives in the ocean — or very few people at least. And land areas, on average, are warming much faster than the rest of the world...."

Last summer in western Canada and the US Pacific Northwest, absurd temperatures of over 120 degrees Fahrenheit killed hundreds of people. According to Hausfather, the heat wave in Portland, Oregon, would have been effectively impossible without climate change, something like a once-every-150,000-year event.

It's a fascinating article, that looks at trouble spots like Antarctica's sea level-threatening " Doomsday Glacier" and a warming Gulf of Mexico, mapping the intensity of 2021's temperature anomalies along with trend graphs for both global temperatures and land-vs-ocean averages. It touches on how climate change is impacting weather — everything from rain and floods to wildfires and locusts — as Bridget Seegers, an oceanographer at NASA, points out that "Extremes are getting worse. People are losing their homes and their lives and air quality, because the wildfires are bad."

But Seegers somehow arrives at a positive thought. "There's just a lot going on, and I want people to also feel empowered that we understand the problem. It's just this other issue of deciding to take collective action....

"There's a lot of reasons for optimism. We're in charge. This would be a lot worse if we're like, 'Oh, it's warming because we're heading toward the sun, and we can't stop it.'"

(Thanks to Slashdot reader Sanja Pantic for sharing the article!)

Erruption of Hunga Tonga will cool the earth

By takochan • Score: 3 • Thread

The erruption of Hunga Tonga volcano this morning was absolutely massive, and on the scale of Mount Pinatubo in 1991. Like in 1991, so much ash has been blown into the air all the way up to the stratosphere.

This will likely result (like in 1991), cooler temperatures around the world for the next few years (folks in northern climates probably remember the year without a summer in 1993).

Also look to much more rain in California over the next few years (ending the drought) due to colder temperatures, like happened last time as well.

You'll also get airplane windows that are hard to see out of as they will all get scratched up again, like they did in 1992-1994 flying through all the ash in the upper atmosphere.

Re:Simpler Explanation: Statistics

By kot-begemot-uk • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Pity a comment cannot be +1-ed beyond 5.

In fact, in terms of climate even 10 or 20 years are nowhere near the scale on which you can make conclusions. Yes, we had an anomalously warm decade in 2010-2020. Yes, 2021 has dropped out of sequence. Is there a reason to beat drums in either direction? No. You do not extrapolate on the basis of one datapoint. Let's see how 2022 turns out. If normal weather patterns in the Northern Hemisphere apply, it should be cold. Why - it operates on a 10-11 year cycle. The previous minimum was 2011-2012. The years in between were supposed to be warm. Not as warm as they ended up, but warm none the less.

Going back to climate - can you make conclusions based on extrapolating data from 10 years in a system with a known 10 year cycle? Only if you are a clueless technoreligious idiot. By the way, there are a couple of more cycles ahoy. The big one is 90 years and its cold minimum was in the 50-es. It can be traced in the historical record all the way back to the late Roman empire. We are supposed to be passing the hot maximum of that one about now and going towards cold. Will we see it? Feck knows. Too early to say - by ~ 30 years. However, once again - extrapolating out of 50 years of data which is SUPPOSED to be "getting hotter" is not in any way scientific.

Re:heat waves happen

By gtall • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

"That happens. In order for it to be cool in one part of the country it has to be hot in another part."

I guess with a grade school education, this makes sense to you.

Confirmation [Re:Simpler Explanation: Statistics]

By XXongo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

...Going back to climate - can you make conclusions based on extrapolating data from 10 years in a system

The conclusions aren't based on extrapolating from ten years. The conclusions are based on measurements of the infrared properties of trace gasses in the atmosphere and well established principles of heat-transfer physics, physics which we use to understand the temperature of all of the planets with atmospheres, not just the Earth.

The measurements are just showing that the calculations are accurate.

...and, by the way, it's more than a ten year trend. Here's the graph in the article we're discussing, and for comparison, here's a a graph from a bbc article

By the way, there are a couple of more cycles ahoy.

A lot of people have tried to find cycles in temperature data, but they are very hard to substantiate in the actual data. In any case, though, the present temperature record is way above any historical cycles.

Re: history

By NagrothAgain • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Emissions per capita is sometimes useful but usually used to manipulate the narrative. China has a large "rural" population living in what is best described as abject poverty, which brings down their overall per capita numbers. In the more "modern" regions, the population tends to be packed into ultra-dense areas where efficiency of scale helps lower the numbers. When you look at the population which has a similar overall standard of living as compared to the US average, their numbers are similar or even higher.

Or put simply, China has lower per capita numbers because most of their population is treated like shit. And because they lie about their actual outputs.

Are We Getting Closer to the Year of the Linux Desktop?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Earlier this year TechRepublic argued that while 2021 wasn't the year of the Linux desktop, "there was no denying the continued dominance of Linux in the enterprise space and the very slow (and subtle) growth of Linux on the desktop. And in just about every space (minus the smartphone arena), Linux made some serious gains."

So would 2022 be the year of the Linux desktop? "Probably not."

But developer Tim Wells honestly believes we're getting closer: The idea of the year of the Linux desktop is that there would come a year that the free and open source operating system would reach a stage that the average user could install and use it on their pc without running into problems. Linus Sebastian from Linus Tech Tips recently did an experiment where he installed Linux on his home PC for one month to see if he could use it not only for everyday tasks, but for gaming and also streaming. Ultimately he concluded (in a video just released) that this year will not be the year of the Linux desktop and that while doing everyday stuff was reasonably okay, the state of gaming on Linux (despite Valves lofty goals) is to put it simply, a shit-show. (That's my word, not his)... The experiment done by Linus seems to show that while some games do indeed run well using [Valve's Windows compatibility layer] Proton, there are just as many that run with issues. Some of those issues can be game breaking. Such as the game running, but its multiplayer functionality not working at all. Some games just plain don't work at all due to dependencies on services such as Easy Anti Cheat...

In his video Linus mentions that the main problem preventing the "year of the Linux desktop" is the fragmentation. By fragmentation, he means the range of available distributions and the fact that each distribution has (potentially) different versions of libraries and drivers and software that makes the behind the scenes operate.... Flatpak and Snap as well as AppImage are making progress towards fixing this fragmentation issue, but those are not yet perfect either. Flatpak works by ensuring that the expected versions of libraries required for that software are installed along side it and independent of the existing library the distro may provide...

Valve have said that the Steamdeck will also use an immutable core operating system for the same reasons.

So while Linus is sure that 2022 isn't yet the year of the Linux desktop and that fragmentation is the biggest problem. I think maybe, just maybe, we're closer to solving those problems and closer perhaps to the year of the Linux desktop that some might realise.


By Calydor • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Well of course; the end goal is to not have windows anywhere, isn't it?

Closest it's ever been

By _0x0nyadesu • Score: 3 • Thread

I run Gentoo and I game on it. I use Ubuntu on AWS for work servers. My laptop is a MacBook Pro running MacOS. My phone is an Android 11 Sony. My TV is a Sony with Android TV. My NAS box / media center is Windows.

Those of us that game on Linux do it for the challenge but also for control. I never have to worry about windows update, malware, or performance degrading background services that Microsoft tends to inject into Windows whenever they so choose.

I've played a lot of games on Linux. Civ 5 and 6 work natively. So do many Total War series games. Most Valve titles as well. Do I care that League of Legends is broken when my game works fine? Not really. At this point the perspective changes. Now I have many games and the studios need to win me over with Linux support. When a game like Skyrim works perfectly fine and I bet 1000 hours of game play out of it why would I care about some other game that doesn't work on my machine?

Linux support is really not that difficult. You support certain minimum versions that were out even 3-4 years ago. Some base Ubuntu for example is perfectly fine. Most distros match that basic compatibility. I choose Gentoo because I can have the most recent version of anything hours after the code is committed. Or I can choose to lock a version and stay on it. I know I am an edge case but there are dozens of us.

It's important to also note that I regularly wrestled with game issues in Windows too so the idea that Windows is a hassle free environment is plainly untrue.

I think folks on /. should try to consider the perspective change that can occur once an open source platform becomes the new normal.

At work all our non technical staff is now using ChromeOS except for sales/marketing (cause they want native Excel). If that domino falls it would really be interesting.

Maybe stop trying to "disrupt" the desktop model

By kriston • Score: 3 • Thread

Maybe stop trying to "disrupt" the desktop model. I'm looking at you, GNOME 3.

Nobody wanted that to happen outside of the GNOME team and the Linux Desktop movement was damaged beyond repair because of that attitude.

In other words

By Teun • Score: 3 • Thread
In other words, Windows is a gaming platform.
In the discussion about usable computers wouldn't call that a positive distinction...

I installed a Linux Desktop OS yesterday

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I followed some simple instructions including how to update it after it was booted up. End result: multiple error messages about something something dependency unresolvable, vlc needing a new package incompatible with another package, and this media player suddenly prevented everything on the OS from updating. 10min later bashing around in the console and doing a few Googles I had a functioning system running through its update process.

I have other Linux instances, one recently said something about python major version upgrades causing dependency issues and some packages stopped working. A bit of Googling and some console work later...

I have a Linux server here which between a dist-upgrade changed flags in a way which made virtual servers unreachable on boot. More Googling (won't blame the console though, there's no UI on this one).

I have a Linux laptop here which refuses to wake from sleep properly and when it does the wifi interface is normally gone. No amount of Google fixed this.

Linux has a major usability problem. Not for us, but for the 99.5% of us who are not computer nerds who can fix problems. A quadruple amputee can count on their fingers how many times my father has opened the command line on a windows machine.

People use Linux. People don't use Windows, they ignore Windows and use the software running on Windows instead which is precisely how a desktop OS should work.

GitHub Restores Account of Developer Who Intentionally Corrupted His Libraries

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
What happened after a developer intentionally corrupted two of their libraries which collectively had more than 20 million weekly downloads and thousands of dependent projects?

Mike Melanson's "This Week in Programming" column reports: In response to the corrupted libraries, Microsoft quickly suspended his GitHub access and reverted the projects on npm.... While this might seem like an open and shut case to some — the developer committed malicious code and GitHub and npm did what it had to do to protect its users — a debate broke out around a developer's rights to do what they wish with their code, no matter how many projects and dependencies it may have.

"GitHub suspending someone's account for modifying their own code in a project they own however they want spooks me a lot more than NPM reverting a package," [tweeted one company's Director of Engineering & Technology]. "I kind of love what Marak did to make a point and protest to be honest."

An article on iProgrammer further outlines the dilemma present in what might otherwise seem like a clear-cut case.... "Yes, it is open source in that you can fork it and can contribute to it but does this mean that GitHub is justified in denying you the right to change or even destroy your own code?"

As of last night, however, it would appear that the entire affair is merely one for intellectual debate, as GitHub has indeed lived up to what some might view as its end of the bargain: the developer's account is active, he has been allowed to remove his faker.js library on GitHub (depended upon as it might be), and has since offered an update that he does "not have Donkey Brains".

Re:The Elephant in the Room...

By gweihir • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I applaud his epic level of trolling. He just killed the many eyes argument.

That he actually did not. There is a delay to the eyes working and they did work nicely within that delay.

Re: Nope

By sjames • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

OTOH, if someone is giving away elevator friction brakes and disclaiming all certification, guarantee, fitness for purpose or that any sort of formal testing has taken place, what does it say if some company installs them without testing and QC of their own?

Main problem

By gweihir • Score: 3 • Thread

The main problem is not that he changed his code. The main problem is that he pointed out to many, many would-be emperors that they are naked, that their development practices are insane and that they are building houses of cards (or worse). Look at all the but-hurt comments here that want to place the blame solely in this guy, when shoddy, insecure and unprofessional practices made this possible in the first place. The people complaining about what he did are really the ones responsible for the problem in the first place because _they_ screwed up massively and continue to do so.

As to Github, they likely looked at the legal angle, found that this was entirely legal (came even with a major version increase) and that unless they want to police all software on their platform on this level, they better give him access back pronto.

By law, duty of reasonable care. Throwing rocks

By raymorris • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

In common law jurisdictions, the developer has either a duty of "reasonable care" or "slight care", depending on the jurisdiction.

Their legal obligation is to exercise either slight care or reasonable care to avoid actions that bring harm to others. In California, for example, it's "reasonable care". Some jurisdictions apply the lesser standard. Let's look at the definition of the lesser standard:

Slight care - The care a reasonable person exercises in unimportant matters, or the care used by a careless person in a similar situation.

Throwing rocks off an overpass would violate the duty of slight care.

The developer's legal duty is to be at least a little bit careful not to do things that cause harm. Instead, they actively, intentionally, caused harm. That's an actionable tort anywhere.

One might think "it's his code, he can change it in the wants to". That's true, the dev is allowed to change their code. In a similar way, if it's your rock you can throw it.

If I throw a rock as my way if trying to hurt you, your complaint isn't that I'm not allowed to throw that particular rock. You'd sue me for INTENTIONALLY HURTING YOU. My rock is just the tool I used to hurt you with.

Note, btw, you can sue me for throwing my rock off an overpass without looking to see if anyone was below. Even if I wasn't TRYING to hit anyone, I'd be liable for recklessly creating a situation that's likely to bring harm.

Same here. He intentionally took actions that he knew (and even intended) to cause harm. It makes no difference whether he used his rock or his code to try to bring harm. He or she is liable for intentional harm.

One might then ask "what about situations where you have a legitimate reason to harm, like business competition?" The law recognizes specific situations in which there is a sufficient public policy interest in allowing the harm. These specific instances are exceptions to the general duty of reasonable care.

One class of exceptions is that certain relationships have a higher standard of care. For example doctor-patient, parent-child. In a few jurisdictions, a lower standard is applied for trespassers vs invitees and licensees, so the dev would have an argument (though not a very good one) if the people were stealing the code.

If you're still thinking "but it's their code!"
Remember, it's my rock!

Because the rock is mine, I can throw it. I still have to be somewhat careful not to hurt others when I throw my rock.

Can't Complain About The Licensce You Choose

By logicnazi • Score: 3 • Thread

Look, I get that people have different views about the role of corporations in software development. Personally, I believe that in many cases it's beneficial to society to offer software under the MIT license because society benefits if software is cheaper to use and we adopt common standards while in other cases the GPL carrot/stick approach offers more benefit.

If this developer feels so strongly about corporations not benefiting from his work without paying he had a choice. He could have shared his code under a license that was a restrictive as he wanted. It could have been free for individual developers and small shops to use but require a paid license if a large corporation wanted to ship or even run.

But, what's not cool, is to share his code under a license that clearly gives corporations the right to use his code and then turn around and break it because, now that his code is popular, he regrets not cashing in on it. If he'd insisted on some weird restrictive license then people would have just shrugged and written an alternative.

This is the coding equivalent of quoting some cheap price to connect the big mansion on the hill to the new sewer system and then, once you've disconnected their septic system so they can't shower or shit until you finish, turning around and walking away on the grounds that rich people like that should pay plumbers more. Well, no one was forcing you to be their plumber.

To Study Navigation, Researchers Taught Six Goldfish How to Drive

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Long-time Slashdot reader cusco shares a fish story from the Guardian.

Apparently Israeli researchers created a robotic car and taught six fish to navigate it on land... First, the team, led by Prof Ronen Segev, created a watery tank on wheels that moved in response to the movements and orientation of the fish. Then they set about teaching the goldfish (Carassius auratus) how to drive it — much like humans learn to ride a bike or drive a car.

The fish first had to connect their own swimming movements to the movements of the vehicle so they could navigate it. Then they were given a destination: a pink target board in a foreign room that elicited a food reward when the vehicle touched it. A computerised camera system attached to this "fish operated vehicle" recorded and translated the fish's swimming directions.

After several days of training, the fish successfully navigated the vehicle to the target from different starting positions in the room — even if they faced obstacles like false targets or hitting a wall.

What about humans?

By quonset • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

After several days of training, the fish successfully navigated the vehicle to the target from different starting positions in the room

Considering the abysmal driving of the vast majority of people on the road, can we train them for several days instead of goldfish?

Researchers Taught Six Goldfish How to Drive

By NFN_NLN • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

> Researchers Taught Six Goldfish How to Drive

The real question is, can they teach them to parallel park. And if so, what is the secret. Asking for a friend.

Been ther, done that.

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

Researchers Taught Six Goldfish How to Drive

Pepperidge Farm did that a while ago ...

Were the goldfish sober . . . ?

By PolygamousRanchKid • Score: 3 • Thread

The next research step would be to get the goldfish drunk:

Drunken Goldfish and Other Irrelevant Scientific Research

Then the researchers would definitely win an IgNobel.

$1.7 Billion in Student Loan Debt Cancelled for 66,000 Borrowers

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Quartz reports: For years, the student loan servicing company Navient allegedly encouraged student loan borrowers to enter costly long-term forbearance programs that pushed them further into debt, as well as take on private loans they couldn't pay back, according to lawsuits filed by several states, and joined by 39 attorneys general.

Those claims were resolved through a settlement announced Thursday (January 13) affecting some 400,000 borrowers. Navient says it will cancel $1.7 billion in private student loan debt for 66,000 borrowers, as well as pay an additional $95 million in restitution to 350,000 people with federal loans. The former deal mostly focuses on students who took out loans to attend for-profit colleges between 2002 and 2014....

While Thursday's settlement is significant for private student loan borrowers in debt, it extends to just a fraction of the estimated 12 million student loan borrowers Navient has served since 2014. Borrowers eligible for debt cancellation include those who took out private subprime student loans between 2002 and 2014 through the company's predecessor, Sallie Mae.

Borrowers who were behind on payments for seven consecutive months prior to June 30, 2021 qualify to have their loans canceled, but those who are current on their loans do not.

Navient "expressly denies violating any law", according to a statement from the company, in which their chief legal officer insists "these matters" were "based on unfounded claims," but that settling them for $1.85 billion "allows us to avoid the additional burden, expense, time and distraction to prevail in court."

But Mike Pierce, executive director of the Student Borrower Protection Center, tells Quartz that "This is a really big day for people with student debt."

"Borrowers that are still struggling more than a decade later with loans, with the worst terms, after going to the worst schools, are finally debt free."

Did not break any law?

By 140Mandak262Jamuna • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
These vultures are parting with 1.7 billion they must fear they will lose in trial even bigger amount.

And they forgive loans only to those who were more than 7 months behind. All those who actually paid are out of luck. Courts should not allow this provision. In fact all lenders can file amicus briefs asking the court to disallow such a deal. If it goes through all the borrowers of all the loans will make the rational decision to be at least 7 months behind.

Re: Sadâ¦

By BytePusher • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Actually, if you correlate it with the passing of BPACPA(thanks Biden!) you see a hockey stick elbow there. Removing the possibility of students defaulting on their loans made the banks and universities more eager to increase the cost of education. Banks get a bigger piece of the interest pie, universities got a bigger piece of the principle. The issue wasn't regulations, it was the banking industry buying legislation that benefited them at the expense of their customers.

Re: Sadâ¦

By BytePusher • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
The BPACPA massively increased the monetary supply for education by removing the default risk. Demand for education alone wouldn't increase the price as there is more than sufficient supply of people willing to work as teachers and more than enough buildings to teach kids. Tuition went up because the demand is inelastic for most Americans. They're going to go to college no matter the cost, because not going to college generally is a life sentence of poverty. So as the monetary supply increased schools just raised prices at will, only limited by the political cost of raising tuition too fast. The pharma/healthcare industry has done the same. Martin Skrelli is only being punished, because he shined a spotlight on standard industry practice by doing the same thing too fast.

The bubble is bursting before your very eyes

By RogueWarrior65 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It won't be long now. Much of student loans out there are exactly the same as sub-prime mortgages 15 years ago. Loans were given willy nilly to people who could never possibly pay them off in order to affect the oxymoron that is social engineering. Somebody gets stuck with the bill for the bailout. That would be the people who pay the most in taxes who are smart enough and successful enough to earn that kind of money.

So, what you're going to see going forward is inflation of hiring standards where having a degree is not enough and having a useless degree is worthless.


By ravenshrike • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

More people are going to college because when the government underwrote the loan system and also made school loans non-dischargable so more kids went to college because they could secure loans even though in the previous environment the banks and loan companies would never ever issue loans to prospects who under normal conditions couldn't pay them back and would be able to discharge them in bankruptcy. This dumped a shitpot more money and bodies into the mix for colleges to access, and they had to upgrade facilities to meet increased demand. Since they were upgrading facilities, and the primary reason many kids were going to college was not for a career after they finished their education but to get a higher education in whatever they felt like which would magically provide a career, the available facilities became the primary draw for many prospective students instead of a quaternary draw behind cost and school performance and program availability. Which means it became a rate race not for quality of education vs price, but who could boast the neatest facilities and college "culture". And it goes without saying the effectively free government money increased the graft in school administration exponentially.

After Gates Allegations, Microsoft Opens a Review of Its Sexual Harassment Policies

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft announced a review of its sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies "after shareholders raised alarms about how Microsoft and Bill Gates, one of its founders, had treated employees, especially women," reports the New York Times: Shareholders passed a resolution during the company's 2021 annual meeting to review the policies Microsoft has in place for its employees to protect them against abuse and unwanted sexual advances. The resolution passed with support from almost 78 percent of Microsoft's shareholders. It was the only of five proposals on ethical issues put forth by shareholders to succeed. Others, like a call for a report on race- and gender-based pay gaps at the company and a pledge to prohibit sales of facial recognition to government entities, failed.

"Microsoft is under intense public scrutiny due to numerous claims of sexual harassment and an alleged failure to address them adequately and transparently," the text of the resolution said. "Reports of Bill Gates's inappropriate relationships and sexual advances toward Microsoft employees have only exacerbated concerns, putting in question the culture set by top leadership and the board's role holding those culpable accountable."

Mr. Gates solicited at least two employees while he was running Microsoft, according to reports in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. In one incident, in 2007, Mr. Gates sat through a presentation by a Microsoft employee, then immediately emailed her to ask for a date. Microsoft leaders later warned Mr. Gates not to do things like that. In 2019, Microsoft's board received a letter from an engineer claiming to have had a sexual relationship with Mr. Gates in 2000. A spokeswoman for Mr. Gates confirmed that the two had had an affair that "ended amicably."

More on the story from CNBC...

Easy to solve...

By cayenne8 • Score: 3 • Thread
..everyone works from home, and no more problems with harassment...

Unless someone pulls a Toobin, on a video conference.

Gates convinced a real woman to marry him

By Rosco P. Coltrane • Score: 3 • Thread

If that's not psychological abuse, I don't know what is.

Sad times

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Microsoft's board received a letter from an engineer claiming to have had a sexual relationship with Mr. Gates in 2000. A spokeswoman for Mr. Gates confirmed that the two had had an affair that "ended amicably."

It is now "harassment" for two adults to consensually engage in a relationship, one that both adults agree was amicable.

Mr. Gates solicited at least two employees while he was running Microsoft, according to reports in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. In one incident, in 2007, Mr. Gates sat through a presentation by a Microsoft employee, then immediately emailed her to ask for a date. Microsoft leaders later warned Mr. Gates not to do things like that.

It is now "harassment" to ask someone out on a date, when the asker has no reason to assume the other person is or isn't interested. You can't know if they aren't interested without asking.

Q1) Is there actually a claim this woman said she wasn't interested BEFORE being asked?
That could be a problem, and if this was the case, the summary really should have included that important and critical detail.

Q2) Gates was told to not do that again. So... did he? Or was that the final time he asked?
If he didn't quit, that could be a problem. Yet once again that critical detail isn't mentioned.

If the entire issue is some random dummy mistakenly assuming *everyone* should be fully aware about all the different potential ways other people might interpret their "clout", then that dummy can fuck right off.
That is identical to claiming Gates is a perfect model of a human being.
That's so untrue that being called a dummy is being far too kind.
Gates like many of us have no clue built-in to our brains of how other people think of us.

So again, Gates was told that requests by him specifically may be seen as pressuring someone into it.
All that matters is from that moment forward. Because most of us only need told once to learn.
Did he learn? Did he stop? Nothing was mentioned of him trying the same thing after 2007 so it looks like the issue was solved.
If that's incorrect... again, critical missing details people!

You aren't going to gain sympathy when framing your complaint in a way that the complainer is clearly and solidly the unreasonable one.


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

Mr. Gates solicited at least two employees while he was running Microsoft, ... emailed her to ask for a date.

While technically correct -- "solicited" means "asked" -- it's generally a loaded word implying something illegal. And while it's generally considered inappropriate for a superior to date a (usually direct) subordinate at work, it's also how Bill and Melinda Gates met (after she started working a Microsoft) -- and they were together for 34 years (married for 27 years) ... I think using "solicited" instead of "asked" shows some bias on the part of the author(s).


By ShooterNeo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

So one woman at the office had an affair with him and he emailed another and asked for a date? This is the big ethical outrage here?

Giant Lasers Simulate Exoplanet Cores, Prove They're More Likely to Have Life

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Slashdot reader vikingo9 writes, "By smashing a piece of iron to insanely high pressures, using a laser the size of a football stadium, a team of scientists led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have discovered that exoplanets 4-6 times larger than Earth have an increase chance of harboring biological life."

The thinking goes that a molten core " is probably required for life to develop on a planet," Popular Science points out — and this experiment suggests that molten cores of larger rocky exoplanets "should stay hot longer than those within small worlds." "We're finding so many planets, and [one of] the big questions people have are: are these planets potentially habitable?" says Rick Kraus, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who led the study... Kraus and his team wanted to find other ways to discern whether a planet is habitable. They explored a planet's ability to form a magnetosphere — a magnetic field that protects it from solar radiation, like the one around Earth does for us — as a window into habitability, Kraus says. Life as we know it wouldn't be possible without the Earth's magnetic field.

Magnetic fields are a result of molten planetary cores. Earth has a core composed mostly of iron, split into a solid inner core and a liquid outer core. Earth's magnetic field is caused by the convection of the liquid iron, meaning how it swirls: The cooler, denser liquid areas sink to the bottom, while the hotter ones rise like wax in a lava lamp. Studying an exoplanet's core in a laboratory is difficult because there are few ways to recreate such intense pressures and temperatures.

This is the first experiment to use iron under pressures that exceed those in Earth's core, Kraus says...

The team estimates that it will take a total of 6 billion years for Earth's core to solidify, whereas cores in large exoplanets of similar composition to Earth should take up to 30 percent longer.

Of course, the article ends with a few caveats: One issue with extrapolating these results to exoplanets is that those super-Earths can contain elements other than iron in their core, which would change their melting temperature by an unknown amount, Driscoll says. It will also be hard to predict how exoplanets cool because the mantle, the layer of hot rock surrounding the core, plays a huge role in how quickly the core can cool. And those exoplanet mantles could be made of "pretty much anything," he says.

California Judge Rules Google's Confidentiality Agreements Break the State's Labor Laws

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
"A California judge ruled this week that the confidentiality agreements Google requires its employees to sign are too broad and break the state's labor laws," reports the Washington Post, calling it "a decision that could make it easier for workers at famously secret Big Tech firms to speak openly about their companies." A Google employee identified as John Doe argued that the broad nondisclosure agreement the company asked him to sign barred him from speaking about his job to other potential employers, amounting to a non-compete clause, which are illegal in California. In a Thursday ruling in California Superior Court, a judge agreed with the employee, while declining to make a judgment on other allegations that Google's agreements blocked whistleblowing and sharing information about wages with other workers.

The ruling marks the latest victory for labor advocates who have sought to force Big Tech companies to relax the stringent confidentiality policies that compel employees to stay quiet about every aspect of their jobs, even after they quit....

The decision isn't final and could still be appealed by Google.... If Google doesn't appeal, or loses the appeal, it could have a real impact on how much power companies hold over employees, said Ramsey Hanafi, a partner with QH Law in San Francisco. "It would mean most of these Big Tech companies would have to rewrite their agreements," Hanafi said. "They all have this broad language that employees can't say anything about anything about their old companies...."

In its opinion, the California Courts of Appeal affirmed the importance of the state's labor laws that go further than federal laws in protecting employees' rights to free speech. Those laws give workers in California the right to "speak as they choose about their work lives," the court wrote. "In sum, these statutes establish as a minimum employment standard an employee anti-gag rule...."

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2016, the article points out, and has been responsible for exposing several internal Google documents (including one detailing a program where employees can report suspected leakers of Google information).

confidentiality agreements try to block unions

By Joe_Dragon • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

confidentiality agreements try to block unions as well

Zuckerberg and Pichai Allegedly Signed Off On Illegal Facebook-Google Ad Deal

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
BuzzFeed News reports: Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally signed off on a secret advertising deal that allegedly gave Facebook special privileges on Google's ad platform, according to newly unredacted court documents filed on Friday.

The allegation is from a complaint first filed in December 2020 by Texas and several other states against Google for engaging in "false, deceptive, or misleading acts" while operating its buy-and-sell auction system for digital ads. In the complaint, state attorneys general claim Google illegally teamed up with Facebook, its fiercest competitor in the digital advertising market, for a 2018 deal Google dubbed "Jedi Blue" in a reference to Star Wars. Prior to the alleged deal, Facebook appeared to threaten Google's dominance in the market by backing an ad-buying technique called "header bidding." "Google understood the severity of the threat to its position if Facebook were to enter the market and support header bidding," the complaint reads. "To diffuse this threat, Google made overtures to Facebook."

In the end, Facebook backed off after Google agreed to give the social network "information, speed, and other advantages" in auctions run by Google, the complaint says.

The newly unredacted version of the complaint shows that the deal was allegedly struck at the highest levels of the companies, a noteworthy level of cooperation from two of the most powerful companies in the world.

Punishble for up to 10 years in prison

By JoeyRox • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The penalties for violating the Sherman Act can be severe. Although most enforcement actions are civil, the Sherman Act is also a criminal law, and individuals and businesses that violate it may be prosecuted by the Department of Justice. Criminal prosecutions are typically limited to intentional and clear violations such as when competitors fix prices or rig bids. The Sherman Act imposes criminal penalties of up to $100 million for a corporation and $1 million for an individual, along with up to 10 years in prison. Under federal law, the maximum fine may be increased to twice the amount the conspirators gained from the illegal acts or twice the money lost by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is over $100 million.


No problem here,

By oldgraybeard • Score: 3 • Thread
they have not greased(paid off) the right government officials, judges and politicians lately. Once that is taken care of, we won't hear about this until next time. Regulate Big Tech yea sure they will!

Re:Why is this illegal?

By JoeyRox • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
The Sherman Act outlaws "every contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade," and any "monopolization, attempted monopolization, or conspiracy or combination to monopolize." Long ago, the Supreme Court decided that the Sherman Act does not prohibit every restraint of trade, only those that are unreasonable. For instance, in some sense, an agreement between two individuals to form a partnership restrains trade, but may not do so unreasonably, and thus may be lawful under the antitrust laws. On the other hand, certain acts are considered so harmful to competition that they are almost always illegal. These include plain arrangements among competing individuals or businesses to fix prices, divide markets, or rig bids. These acts are "per se" violations of the Sherman Act; in other words, no defense or justification is allowed.


This is disturbing

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

This is almost as if two of the largest, most prevalent tech companies in the world to whom billions entrust their most personal information - voluntarily, involuntarily or entirely against their will - are fundamentally immoral...

Despite Cannabinoids Study, 'Odds Aren't Fantastic' It Will Ever Treat Covid

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
While a recent study found that cannabinoids protected cells in a petri dish from SARS-CoV-2 infection, "working in a petri dish is a relatively low bar for a drug to clear," Slate points out.

"The conventional wisdom in pharmaceutical sciences holds that, of every 10,000 drugs that shows potential effectiveness, only one will make it to market." Dish experiments need to be followed up with animal studies, and then comes the rigorous gauntlet of human trials. And between cells and humans, there's a lot that can go wrong. In a dish, scientists can deliver a drug precisely to where it is needed, but it's difficult to know ahead of time how drugs will move through a body and whether they will reach their intended targets, such as the lungs and the upper respiratory tract. At this stage, it's impossible to know how CBDA and CBGA will fare, but the odds aren't fantastic.

Other drugs that showed similar early promise for treating COVID have since failed spectacularly, harming users and sowing political discord in the process. Ivermectin, azithromycin, and hydroxychloroquine all fought coronavirus infection in cells, but we now know that they do nothing to prevent or treat COVID in humans.

But at least cannabinoids are largely safe; humans have been guinea pigs in their Phase 1 trial for millennia.

Another important caveat: even the researcher's study was only proposing cannabinoids " as a complement to vaccines."

Re:TFA is misleading

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

Conspiracies being convienent for your narrative does not make them true. I could take any cheap generic drug, claim it does somethig and make the same exact statement.

There are more countries on Earth than the USA, if these things worked why would they care about American Pharma profits?

1 Study = Rigorous Anecdote

By Immerman • Score: 3 • Thread

Please everyone remember that even if this one study showed effectiveness in live human patients rather than in petri dishes, it'd probably still wrong. Just like the early studies that showed promise in Ivermectin, etc.

One published study is where scientific peer review begins. It's an invitation to the wider scientific community to prove you wrong - and statistically speaking, there's an incredibly good chance they will. *Especially* in medicine, which suffers from much lower repeatability than almost any other field. Presumably because of some combination of the fact that the human body is confoundingly complex, most doctors (even in research) have training that's heavy on being a "body mechanic", and light on a firm understanding of statistics and proper research methodology, and the fact that there's lots of money to be made from a "success" that doesn't actually work, but can get approved for usage anyway.

Re:This is going no where!

By sjames • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The vaccine does significantly reduce the chances that I'll catch COVID, and therefore the chances that I might spread it. It also greatly reduces the chances that I'll need hospitalization or end up with long COVID. That sounds quite nice.

But as I said, feel free to stick your finger up your ass.

Re:Never going to take mRNA jab.

By quonset • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Do rush off to your local university with your very scientific and provable reasearch study of "sample size 1".

Trump didn't die from it either. That's two...

The con artist had to take a mad dash to a taxpayer funded hospital and received emergency medical treatment as his blood oxygen levels were falling. He also received approval from the FDA to have Regeneron used PRIOR to the FDA's emergency use authorization for the drug to the public.

In other words, the con artist received treatment far above and beyond anything you or I would receive and had he not been taken to Walter Reed would most likely have died.

Re:Go live in the mountains, society has no use fo

By quonset • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

If the vaccines actually work, you wouldn't be worried about being infected from an unvaxxed person. Take a chill pill, bro.

If seat belts actually work you wouldn't be worried about being plowed into by a drunk driver.

New Study of 1980s Mars Meteorite Debunks Proof of Ancient Life On Planet

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: A four billion-year-old meteorite from Mars that caused a splash here on Earth decades ago contains no evidence of ancient, primitive Martian life after all, scientists have said. In 1996, a NASA-led team announced that organic compounds in the rock appeared to have been left by living creatures. Other scientists were skeptical and researchers chipped away at that premise over the decades, most recently by a team led by the Carnegie Institution for Science's Andrew Steele. Tiny samples from the meteorite show the carbon-rich compounds are actually the result of water -- most likely salty or briny water -- flowing over the rock for a prolonged period, Steele said. The findings appear in the Science journal.

During Mars' wet and early past, at least two impacts occurred near the rock, heating the planet's surrounding surface, before a third impact bounced it off the red planet and into space millions of years ago. The 4lb (2kg) rock was found in Antarctica in 1984. Groundwater moving through the cracks in the rock, while it was still on Mars, formed the tiny globs of carbon that are present, according to the researchers. The same thing can happen on Earth and could help explain the presence of methane in Mars' atmosphere, they said. But two scientists who took part in the original study took issue with these latest findings, calling them "disappointing." In a shared email, they said they stand by their 1996 observations.
"While the data presented incrementally adds to our knowledge of (the meteorite), the interpretation is hardly novel, nor is it supported by the research," wrote Kathie Thomas-Keprta and Simon Clemett, astromaterial researchers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "Unsupported speculation does nothing to resolve the conundrum surrounding the origin of organic matter" in the meteorite, they added.

Nvidia's AI-Powered Scaling Makes Old Games Look Better Without a Huge Performance Hit

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Nvidia's latest game-ready driver includes a tool that could let you improve the image quality of games that your graphics card can easily run, alongside optimizations for the new God of War PC port. The Verge reports: The tech is called Deep Learning Dynamic Super Resolution, or DLDSR, and Nvidia says you can use it to make "most games" look sharper by running them at a higher resolution than your monitor natively supports. DLDSR builds on Nvidia's Dynamic Super Resolution tech, which has been around for years. Essentially, regular old DSR renders a game at a higher resolution than your monitor can handle and then downscales it to your monitor's native resolution. This leads to an image with better sharpness but usually comes with a dip in performance (you are asking your GPU to do more work, after all). So, for instance, if you had a graphics card capable of running a game at 4K but only had a 1440p monitor, you could use DSR to get a boost in clarity.

DLDSR takes the same concept and incorporates AI that can also work to enhance the image. According to Nvidia, this means you can upscale less (and therefore lose less performance) while still getting similar image quality improvements. In real numbers, Nvidia claims you'll get image quality similar to running at four times the resolution using DSR with only 2.25 times the resolution with DLDSR. Nvidia gives an example using 2017's Prey: Digital Deluxe running on a 1080p monitor: 4x DSR runs at 108 FPS, while 2.25x DLDSR is getting 143 FPS, only two frames per second slower than running at native 1080p.

Scramble time

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4 • Thread

AMD and Intel are both scrambling to catch up here. Nvidia developed AI cores for its GPUs early, when everyone thought it was just a fad and wouldn't produce anything useful. Now they have the best scaling in the industry buy a wide margin, and nobody else has the silicon to match it.


By thegarbz • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

What ad? Do you see a product named? A price? All I see is a discussion about a technology being introduced to help gaming visual quality and performance.

But if you insist I'll return you to your regular slashdot programming:
- The election was stolen.
- Biden is ruining America
- Ivermectin + VitaminD is the cure to COVID.

You happy now?


By Kokuyo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread what my GTX780 would do if it could read such news.

There are no GPUs in my budget. Until that changes, things like this are basically academic factoids and nothing more.


By MrL0G1C • Score: 3 • Thread

I'd be a lot more interested if they could do something like this: In real time (re-skins GTA using AI trained with real world imagery so that it looks real-ish). For anyone interested in what AI can do in the field of AI image manipulation and physics simulation I'd totally recommend subscribing to


By egr • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
DLSS from Nvidia was a huge disappointment for me. I had high hopes for technology, but unfortunately what looks good in promotional screenshots is totally unusable in real games due to visual artefacts and ghosting. Hopefully this works better.

Space Anemia Is Tied To Being In the Void and Can Stick Around Awhile

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
fahrbot-bot shares a report from Ars Technica: Space isn't easy on humans. Some aspects are avoidable -- the vacuum, of course, and the cold, as well as some of the radiation. Astronauts can also lose bone density, thanks to a lack of gravity. NASA has even created a fun acronym for the issues: RIDGE, which stands for space radiation, isolation and confinement, distance from Earth, gravity fields, and hostile and closed environments. New research adds to the worries by describing how being in space destroys your blood. Or rather, something about space -- and we don't know what just yet -- causes the human body to perform hemolysis at a higher rate than back on Earth.

This phenomenon, called space anemia, has been well-studied. It's part of a suite of problems that astronauts face when they come back to terra firma, which is how Guy Trudel -- one of the paper's authors and a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation at The Ottawa Hospital -- got involved. "[W]hen the astronauts return from space, they are very much like the patients we admit in rehab," he told Ars. Space anemia had been viewed as an adaptation to shifting fluids in the astronauts' upper bodies when they first arrive in space. They rapidly lose 10 percent of the liquid in their blood vessels, and it was expected that their bodies destroyed a matching 10 percent of red blood cells to get things back into balance. People also suspected that things went back to normal after 10 days. Trudel and his team found, however, that the hemolysis was a primary response to being in space. "Our results were a bit of a surprise," he said. [...]

Trudel's team isn't sure exactly why being in space would cause the human body to destroy blood cells at this faster rate. There are some potential culprits, however. Hemolysis can happen in four different parts of the body: the bone marrow (where red blood cells are made), the blood vessels, the liver, or the spleen. From this list, Trudel suspects that the bone marrow or the spleen are the most likely problem areas, and his team has plans to investigate the issue further in the future. "What causes the anemia is the hemolysis, but what causes the hemolysis is the next step," he said. It's also uncertain how long a person in space can continue to destroy 54 percent more red blood cells than their Earth-bound kin. "We don't have data beyond six months. There's a knowledge gap for longer missions, for one-year missions, or missions to the Moon or Mars or other bodies," he said.

Who would have guessed..

By Viol8 • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

... that a physiology evolved over a billion years in a 1G gravity field would have issues in long term zero G.

Its time to reign in the sci-fi dreaming beloved of Elon Musk et al of colonising the solar system never mind any further because even if we solve all other issues, the lack of gravity will always be a problem for the human body unless and until some form of artificial gravity system is created. And I don't mean spinning a space station because rotation causes issues with the ear as well as being useless on the surface of a planet.