the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2022-May-13 today archive


  1. Hackers Are Using SEO To Rank Malicious PDFs On Search Engines, Research Finds
  2. San Francisco Police Are Using Driverless Cars As Mobile Surveillance Cameras
  3. AT&T Is About To Get Away With Its Bogus $1.99 'Administrative Fee'
  4. Samsung Is Reportedly Planning To Raise Chip Prices By 20%
  5. Ex-eBay Exec Pleads Guilty To Terrorizing Couple With Spiders, Funeral Wreaths
  6. Startup Raises $17 Million To Develop Smart Gun
  7. Google Announces Flutter 3, Now With macOS and Linux Desktop Support
  8. How Much Will It Cost To Secure Open-Source Software? OpenSSF Says $147.9 Million
  9. Calling a Man Bald Counts as Sexual Harassment, UK Judge Rules
  10. Elon Musk Says Twitter Deal 'Temporarily On Hold Over Spam'
  11. Facebook-Owner Meta Tells Hardware Staffers To Prepare for Cutbacks
  12. PC and Laptop Displays Are Working Toward 480 Hz
  13. Samsung 'Expert' Fired After Speaking Up About Working For Free
  14. US Warns of Discrimination in Using AI To Screen Job Candidates
  15. Apple Testing iPhones That Ditch Lightning Ports in Favor of USB-C
  16. Germany Affirms Crypto Sold After One Year Is Tax-free
  17. EU Governments, Lawmakers Agree on Tougher Cybersecurity Rules for Key Sectors
  18. Microsoft Considers Pay Raises To Stay Competitive
  19. DOJ Loses Bid To Sanction Google for Withholding Documents
  20. NSA Says 'No Backdoor' for Spies in New US Encryption Scheme
  21. A Colony of Blue-Green Algae Can Power a Computer For Six Months
  22. Promising Early Results From Largest-Ever Trial Testing LSD For Anxiety
  23. Virgin Orbit Is Assembling a Fleet of Boeing 747 Jets To Launch More Rockets Into Space

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.

Hackers Are Using SEO To Rank Malicious PDFs On Search Engines, Research Finds

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Today, researchers at security service edge provider, Netskope, published the Netskope Cloud and Threat Report: Global Cloud and Malware Trends, which found that phishing downloads rose 450% over the past 12 months, and highlighted that attackers are using search engine optimization (SEO) to rank malicious PDF files on search engines. The report's findings show that phishing attempts are constantly evolving, and attackers aren't just targeting employees through their email inboxes; they're also using popular search engines like Google and Bing. The increase in phishing attacks and the growing popularity of SEO techniques among cybercriminals highlights the need for enterprises to provide their employees with security awareness training so they're prepared to spot threats and not at risk of handing over sensitive information.

When it comes to defending against these SEO-driven attacks, [Ray Canzanese, director of Netskope's Threat Labs] highlights several methods that security teams can use to protect employees. One of the most effective is to use a solution that can decrypt and scan web traffic for malicious content. At the same time, security teams should encourage users to inspect all links they click on, and to exercise caution if the link takes them to an unfamiliar website. In the event an employee does click on a malicious PDF, they can expect to see a fake captcha at the top of the first page, followed by text on other pages. In these scenarios, users should close the file, delete it from the device and report it to the security team ASAP. Canzanese also notes that it's important for users to report malicious URLs that feature on popular search engines to help the provider unlist them from the site and prevent other users from falling victim to a scam.

Really? who wants this?

By oldgraybeard • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
"One of the most effective is to use a solution that can decrypt and scan web traffic for malicious content"

We used to have automatic immunity to this

By imidan • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Ah, for the good old days, when I would go to any length to avoid clicking a PDF link because launching Acrobat Reader took 5 minutes, by which time I'd've lost interest. (I actually used a script for my web browser at the time to decorate links to PDF files so I wouldn't accidentally click them.)

They lost 99% of users...

By rantrantrant • Score: 3 • Thread
...after they said, "...encourage users to inspect all links..." Seriously? That's their solution?

Re:Web browsers as document viewers

By dargaud • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

[...] It's probably easier to render it to an image and do OCR rather than try to extract text. And it's downhill from there [...]

In order to fight SEO I once suggested this method: render the page, screenshot the entire thing, OCR it, compare the resulting text with the text from a "Save as text" or a "grab as googlebot" of the original page. The more different they are, the more you downrank the page.

Re:Web browsers as document viewers

By gweihir • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

There are engineers and "engineers". The fake variant is unfortunately the prevalent one in the software space. A real engineer understands security, reliability and unintended consequences. The fake version does not.

As to PDF-viewers, it was pretty clear way back that eventually most documents need to be regarded as hostile. But the fake engineers never prepared for that because they simply did not see it. They instead added features, made things more interoperable and generally opened us up to attacks of all kinds. And that is the reason for the current mess we have.

San Francisco Police Are Using Driverless Cars As Mobile Surveillance Cameras

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
BeerFartMoron shares a report from Motherboard: For the last five years, driverless car companies have been testing their vehicles on public roads. These vehicles constantly roam neighborhoods while laden with a variety of sensors including video cameras capturing everything going on around them in order to operate safely and analyze instances where they don't. While the companies themselves, such as Alphabet's Waymo and General Motors' Cruise, tout the potential transportation benefits their services may one day offer, they don't publicize another use case, one that is far less hypothetical: Mobile surveillance cameras for police departments.

"Autonomous vehicles are recording their surroundings continuously and have the potential to help with investigative leads," says a San Francisco Police department training document obtained by Motherboard via a public records request. "Investigations has already done this several times."

Privacy advocates say the revelation that police are actively using AV footage is cause for alarm. "This is very concerning," Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) senior staff attorney Adam Schwartz told Motherboard. He said cars in general are troves of personal consumer data, but autonomous vehicles will have even more of that data from capturing the details of the world around them. "So when we see any police department identify AVs as a new source of evidence, that's very concerning."

As companies continue to make public roadways their testing grounds for these vehicles, everyone should understand them for what they are -- rolling surveillance devices that expand existing widespread spying technologies," said Chris Gilliard, Visiting Research Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center. "Law enforcement agencies already have access to automated license plate readers, geofence warrants, Ring Doorbell footage, as well as the ability to purchase location data. This practice will extend the reach of an already pervasive web of surveillance."


By Malays2 bowman • Score: 3 • Thread

So instead of sitting in patrol cars doing nothing, they can sit in a control room doing nothing.

SF and NYC aren't cities to be in if you are expecting police to protect and serve.

Cost savings

By Tailhook • Score: 3 • Thread

They can forego actual patrol cars while ignoring crimes and instead sit at surveillance consoles and ignore crimes.

Re:The devil is always in the details.

By mrwireless • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Not the "it's not new" argument again.

The tech itself is very rarely new. What IS new is the scale.

The difference between a holiday snapshot and Google streetview? scale
The difference between local CCTV and the NSA? scale

When surveillance scales up, it has new effects. Large scale chilling effects, for example.

"war is nothing new, we've always had murder"


By Pinky's Brain • Score: 3 • Thread

To me surveillance is when cameras are actively watched for transgression, not when after transgression camera images are requested.

Oh no, crimes are getting solved ... the fucking humanity.

Re:The privacy battle is lost

By mjwx • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Surveillance technologies are so pervasive and so broad that privacy against government and corporate spying is a lost battle. The public simply doesn't care enough about privacy to apply the needed political pressure. I wish this were not the case, but it appears to be the sad reality. Each additional surveillance technology does make it worse, but I believe we are already far beyond the point of no return.

Yes, it is possible though great effort to avoid surveillance, but as long as the great majority of the public doesn't make that effort, the battle is still lost. Soon, if not already, efforts to avoid surveillance will themselves be seen as suspicious.

Conversely, the amount of data collected is so great and vague, that you've little trouble blending into the noise.

The best defence against governmental abuse of personal data is a well informed populace who votes against abuse and holds its government to account. With a significant number of Americans supporting a well established criminal and a party that wants to introduce a religious theocracy, is it any surprise that these kinds of things are accepted and even welcomed as just being "tough on crime".

Also, maybe the money would be better spend on reducing the cause of crime, rather than attempting to stop crime after the fact.

AT&T Is About To Get Away With Its Bogus $1.99 'Administrative Fee'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Sean Hollister writes via The Verge: Since 2013, AT&T has quietly bilked customers out of hundreds of millions of dollars with a bogus "administrative fee," a fee it more than doubled to $1.99 a month in 2018. For a few years there, a California class-action lawsuit made it seem like AT&T might finally get taken to task. But this week, both sides told a judge they'd settle for just $14 million -- meaning customers may get less than 10 percent of what they paid AT&T, while AT&T gets to keep on charging them. According to the proposed settlement agreement in Vianu v. AT&T Mobility -- which still needs to be approved by a judge -- just about every AT&T Wireless postpaid customer in California since 2015 will be eligible for an estimated payment of between $15 and $29.

But again, that's only a fraction of what AT&T's own records show it charged: $180 per customer on average since 2015, according to documents. The settlement "represents a refund of approximately 6-11 months of the average fees," they read. Meanwhile, the lawyers are likely to get $3.5 million. "The estimated payment amount represents a strong result for the Settlement Class, particularly given the substantial risks, costs, and delay of continued litigation," reads the proposed settlement agreement, going on to list all the ways that the lawyers suing AT&T believe that AT&T might still win the case. [...]

Oh, and you won't even get a check in the mail if you're still an AT&T customer, assuming this version of the settlement is approved. The money will be credited back to your AT&T account, where AT&T can dip its hand right back in again for that $1.99 -- or more if it feels emboldened enough to increase the fee yet again. (Admittedly, the AT&T account could be a more reliable way to make sure customers get money back.)
The settlement websites can be found here.

An AT&T spokesperson issued the following response: "We deny the allegations in this lawsuit because we clearly disclose all fees that are charged to our customers. However, we have decided to settle this case to avoid lengthy, expensive litigation."

Just more proof that Mitt Romney is wrong.

By waspleg • Score: 3 • Thread

Corporations aren't people - they get better treatment.


By whoever57 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

What does it matter? The cost is the cost. As long as it is not hidden

I just went through the process of seeing what AT&T offer at my house. I went to the cart and see this at the bottom:
"* Except as otherwise indicated, quoted prices don't include taxes, fees, surcharges, shipping, or other charges where applicable."

So it appears that they are still hiding the real cost.

Be careful what you wish for

By Waffle Iron • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

OK, go ahead and ban the administrative fee.

But do you expect that anybody is going to administer your internet connection for free?

What happens the internet connection administrators all walk away because they're not getting compensated for their work? Do you think that the connection is going to administer itself?

You'll all eventually find out what happens to unadminstrated connections. And it won't be good.

Samsung Is Reportedly Planning To Raise Chip Prices By 20%

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Samsung is currently considering raising the cost of its semiconductor products by up to 20%, as well as those it manufactures for other companies, which would ultimately lead to consumers paying more for new devices. PC Magazine reports: As Bloomberg reports, the price hike consideration is in response to just about everything in the world getting more expensive, including the cost of raw materials and the logistics surrounding production pipelines. The final price increase is expected to be linked to sophistication of the components being manufactured, but that still means vendors will end up paying between 15-20% more for chips. Samsung is a huge player in the semiconductor industry, producing processors for a wide-range of industries, as well as memory products, storage solutions, and foundry solutions which allow other semiconductor products to be manufactured. Adding up to a 20% price rise across all those sectors will inevitably push up prices for any products that use Samsung components.

Re: Oil companies..

By ArchieBunker • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Yet oil companies announce record profits every quarter.

Ex-eBay Exec Pleads Guilty To Terrorizing Couple With Spiders, Funeral Wreaths

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: A former eBay executive pleaded guilty on Thursday to participating in a scheme to terrorize the creators of an online newsletter that included the delivery of live spiders and other disturbing items to their home. David Harville, eBay's former director of global resiliency, is the final onetime eBay employee charged in the case to plead guilty. Six others have admitted to their roles in the harassment campaign targeting a Massachusetts couple who publish the newsletter EcommerceBytes, which eBay executives viewed as critical of the company.

The scheme included sending items like a box of live cockroaches, a funeral wreath and books about surviving the loss of a spouse to the couple's home with the hopes of getting them to stop publishing negative articles about the company, prosecutors say. eBay employees also set up fake social media accounts to send threatening messages to the couple and posted the couple's home address online. Harville and others were charged in June 2020 over the plot, which authorities say was orchestrated by members of eBay's executive leadership team after the newsletter published an article about a lawsuit filed by eBay accusing Amazon of poaching its sellers, authorities said. Another former executive who pleaded guilty last month, James Baugh, held meetings to coordinate the harassment campaign and directed Harville to go with him to Boston to spy on the couple, prosecutors say.

Re:So, lemme get this straight...

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Punishing the company means punishing the shareholders, who were not involved in the criminal activities in any way whatsoever.

So many times, a corporation is fined for misbehavior, and the Slashdot-o-sphere complains that no one is held personally responsible. Then when individual accountability finally happens, you complain about the opposite.

A company can't order an employee to break the law. These idiots took these actions of their own volition. They should bear the full consequences.

Re:So, lemme get this straight...

By ArchieBunker • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

I believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.

Re:So, lemme get this straight...

By lister king of smeg • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Punishing the company means punishing the shareholders, who were not involved in the criminal activities in any way whatsoever.

So many times, a corporation is fined for misbehavior, and the Slashdot-o-sphere complains that no one is held personally responsible. Then when individual accountability finally happens, you complain about the opposite.

A company can't order an employee to break the law. These idiots took these actions of their own volition. They should bear the full consequences.

personally i think we need to do both punish the perpetrator personally and the company for either encouraging or at the very least not penalizing the behavior. both are culpable both share the responsibility. yes the shareholders are harmed, so maybe next time they will appoint board members that will insure such behavior is not not permitted.

Re:So, lemme get this straight...

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The shareholders should absolutely be punished. They own the damn company and have a voice in how it operates. What sort of a mind envisions a world where you can escape harm when you hire people to commit crimes on your behalf, for your benefit?

Fits the definition of terrorism to a T

By Malays2 bowman • Score: 3 • Thread

But because he didn't shout "Allah Akbar", they don't treat it as such.

Startup Raises $17 Million To Develop Smart Gun

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Biofire Technologies has raised $17 million in seed funding to further develop its smart gun, which uses a fingerprint sensor to unlock the trigger. Axios reports: Biofire's guns only can be fired by authorized users, which should exclude kids or teens from using guns that their parents didn't secure. Even if you're someone who decries firearms proliferation and supports stricter gun control, this is an innovation that should be welcomed. "I see firearm ownership continuing to be part of American culture for the foreseeable future," says Biofire founder and CEO Kai Kloepfer. "This issue has become so politicized that really nothing is being done, even for things that shouldn't be political in any way, like kids getting hold of guns ... A smart gun isn't a cure-all, but we do think that we can have an immediate and substantial impact."

Kloepfer, who dropped out of MIT to pursue Biofire, adds that the gun is being beta tested with law enforcement and firearms experts, and that it doesn't have any RFID or other wireless capabilities that could turn off prospective buyers A recent Morning Consult poll found that 55% of current gunowners would be comfortable using a smart gun.

Well that's just spiffy

By willoughby • Score: 3 • Thread

If I very much need my gun, and I have blood on my hands, I don't think I'd trust one of these.

Money flushed down the toilet.

By Chas • Score: 3 • Thread

The reason guns are as popular as they are (besides the obvious) is that there's been, literally CENTURIES of R&D invested into them.
There are LOTS of ways to build guns, and lots of ways to make them safe and ridiculously reliable.

So they're going to insert some faulty electronic mechanism in there to make them LESS safe and reliable.

Yeah! Sounds like a good way to wipe your ass with $10,000 bills!

If you own a firearm for self-defense, if you need to use it, do you really want the damn thing deciding "NAHHH! Don't feel like it!"?

Yeah. Neither does anyone else.

These will be collector oddities. Nothing more.

And that's assuming they actually produce salable product and don't just snort that money up their noses.

And these won't stop criminals from shooting places up.

Criminals won't buy/steal them.
So they only exist to be problems for legitimate owners (aka SUCKERS).

Why not elaborate on the existing safety mechanism

By Jeremi • Score: 3 • Thread

Almost all guns today come with a safety mechanism -- essentially a combination lock, where if you don't know the combination, you can't pull the trigger.

The problem is that the combination lock that guns currently come with is extremely easy to guess -- there are only two possible settings ("safe" and "armed"), and the gun's combination is hard-coded to the latter at the factory.

Making that combination lock a bit more elaborate (e.g. three or four decimal digits) would provide a fair amount of safety -- people who don't know the gun's combination would have to spend at least a few hours guessing it before they could successfully fire the gun. The gun's owner, OTOH, could dial up the correct combination within a few seconds, which is comparable to the amount of time it would take to extract the gun from a gun safe. Or if they feel that's too long, they could trade away safety for speed by leaving some or all of the digits set to the right combination in advance.

Other benefits: no batteries or electronics to potentially fail or malfunction, and it's pretty simple and cheap to implement -- the technology has been widely used for bikes and storage lockers for decades.

Re: Working is the real problem

By Joce640k • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Try googling "tactical furniture".

Yep, they really are that batshit paranoid over there.

PS: Why would anybody use a handgun for home defense when shotguns exist?

Re:Working is the real problem

By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Perhaps the US joining Europe, Japan, and Venezuela with blanket gun bans outside of the military or police might do a bit to have a civilized society?

Europe is currently on pucker factor ten because they're having to beat Russia back again lest they start invading everyone. Japan is suicide central, and you can practically shoot from one end of their country to the other. Venezuela shares a border with Colombia. Sure, ban guns, see how that turns out. Don't improve education or safety nets or anything like that.

Google Announces Flutter 3, Now With macOS and Linux Desktop Support

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from XDA Developers: Google created Flutter a number of years ago, with the aim to make a cross-platform software framework. Flutter's biggest strength is that it can be used to build applications for Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, macOS, and even the web, and all from the same shared codebase. While building apps for Windows received stable support back in February, both macOS and Linux were still only in beta. Now that's changing, as Google has announced Flutter 3 at this year's Google I/O, complete with stable support for building apps for macOS and Linux.

Of course, cross-platform support for both of these new platforms requires more than just programs being able to run. They need to fit in with the rest of the experience, and they need to support specific features that may be unique, as well. That's why Google is highlighting two things: the first is that Linux support helped by Canonical (the publisher of Ubuntu) and Google collaborating in order to "offer a highly-integrated, best-of-breed option for development."

As Google puts it, Canonical is already developing with "Flutter for key shell experiences including installation and firmware updates." What's more, their Linux-specific packages "provide an idiomatic API for core operating system services including dbus, gsettings, networkmanager, Bluetooth and desktop notifications, as well as a comprehensive theme and widget set for Yaru, the Ubuntu look and feel." As for macOS, Google invested in supporting both Intel and Apple Silicon devices, with Universal Binary support that allows apps to package executables that run natively on both architectures.
Tim Sneath, Director of Product and UX for Flutter & Dart, highlights all the new improvements in a Medium post.


By Paradise Pete • Score: 3 • Thread
I would be a lot more interested in this if Google didn't have such a rich history of canceling things.

The programming language is 'Dart'...

By zephvark • Score: 3 • Thread

Dart appears to resemble C++, although strings are quoted using apostrophes instead of quotation marks, for some demented reason.

I am modestly interested but, this is the first I've heard of either Dart or Flutter (really? 'Flutter'?), which suggests it's still a weirdo niche language. Also, coming from Google, I expect the project to be canceled at any random time.

Flutter and particularly Dart are noteworthy.

By Qbertino • Score: 3 • Thread

I've been eyeing Dart ever since it came out. It sold itself as yet another language in the JS/V8/Node Space, because they launched straight with a transpiler for JS. However, it appears to be intended for its own VM that has some neat features. Concurrency f.i. is as trivial as it gets with Dart. IIRC there's a inner API function called compute(...). You pass a function and a callback into it and the Dart VM runs that on the core that currently has the least load. Nice. Simple and straightforward. Concurrency for those lazy asses that don't want to wreck their brain doing it. Like me. Staying pure functional seems to be a piece of cake too if that's your thing.

Flutter hat me curious for completely different reason right from the get-go: It stepped into my attention as one of those technologies that could potentially fill the gap that Flash/AS left. ... And, yes, Flash/AS did leave a gap, stop the jokes. Flutter didn't team up with Dart right away but somehow these two Google Teams found together and the Dart crew must've thought "OK, if no one else is using our PL we might aswell marry us to this promising rich client project and make it happen". It looked a little desperate when Flutter and Dart started appearing together but I have to say they did pull through in the 10 years they've been around now. Flutter and Dart have by now have overtaken every other cross-plattform client app solution out there and they're still picking up momentum!

This is nice to observe also because you get somewhat clueless web-hipsters diving into a notably academic and pure-functional capable modern PL and suddenly scraping territories like algebrahic software development ususally reserved for the old and smelly Scheme and LISP crowd. Interesting to observe.

I'm a *very* conservative web and rich client developer, by the standard of this band of crazy hippsters and clueless webdev puppies at least, but Flutter and Dart have made it into the top 3 of my very carefully vetted technologies that getting into seriously on a professional level might be justifiable. By now I'd bet money on this duo, they are here to stay for a while.

If you're looking for a new playground that touches bases with the flashy UI/UX camp and offers a feasible solution to develop total-cross-plattform development across mobile and desktop systems without lugging about any webview hacks or 10x GB V8/Chrome/Blink/Electron environments for each little app, do look into Dart & Flutter. Android Studio and the Flutter SDK fit like a glove and you can get into profession x-platform development within the hour

Highly recommended from yours truly.

How Much Will It Cost To Secure Open-Source Software? OpenSSF Says $147.9 Million

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Today at the Open Source Software Security Summit II in Washington, D.C., OpenSSF announced an ambitious, multipronged plan with 10 key goals to better secure the entire open-source software ecosystem. From a report: While open-source software itself can sometimes be freely available, securing it will have a price. OpenSSF has estimated that its plan will require $147.9 million in funding over a two-year period. In a press conference held after the summit, Brian Behlendorf, general manager of OpenSSF, said that $30 million has already been pledged by OpenSSF members including Amazon, Intel, VMware, Ericsson, Google and Microsoft.

Depends on what they mean

By jd • Score: 3 • Thread

If they mean a detailed, systematic analysis of every piece of significant OSS with the object of reducing the density of defects that could be used for malicious access or corruption of software or data to near-zero, I'm reckoning it would take nearer $2.4 billion.

The Linux kernel is somewhere around 30 million lines of code. GCC and GLibc combined add another 20 million lines. It takes, on average, 1 person 1 week to formally analyze 10 lines of code and establish correctness, although there are now theorem provers that accelerate the process somewhat, which is great when dealing with evolving code. Let's say that it speeds things up a hundred-fold. You also want to test lots of other software, so we're not hiring these people for a week but maybe a full year to audit and bugfix everything, then cycle round to make sure that subsequent updates didn't break anything.

In order to find bugs before any code has changed, you'd be looking to hire in the region of a thousand mathematicians/computer scientists full-time. If we assume $120k per person (as these sorts of people aren't cheap), just the wages for the front-line staff come to $120 million per year. You now need twice as many people again to handle the coding and testing of solutions. So $360 million a year for your 3,000 full-time frontline staff.

If we're going to do this as a corporation, you'd need quite a lot of extra staff to keep all the administration, task distribution, liaising with the projects, making sure that rejected fixes got re-examined to meet objections, handle the finances and handle the catering. (Trust me, you do NOT want catering at Intel's standards, where the stench of rot from the bins and the decay in the food in the refectory were significant health hazards.) To keep teams reasonably small, maintain good lines of communication and avoid management becoming a deterrent to good practices, you need a lot of support staff.

The usual rule is that you want teams of size 4, to avoid communication overheads swamping actual work and to reduce the psychological harm of meetings and groupthink. If we do this at each level, we would need 750 managers at the first level, 188 at the second, 48 at the third, and 12 at the fourth, with 3 people at the top. 1001 staff to support and manage the teams. You've got to handle the feeding and financing of those 4,000, for convenience let's make it another 1,000 people. So a corporation of size 5,000. Plenty of corporations are much larger than that.

We've figured on a cost for the 3,000 front-liners. To make the maths simple, I'm going to say that you can match a manager against a caterer such that the average cost of the two is the same as for two software engineers. This would give us a cost of $600 million per year for all the staff needed.
You'd then need a building, equipment, and everything else needed. I can't find a figure for the typical fraction of employee cost to total company expenses, because nobody seems to regard that as a useful figure. The minimum seems to be 25%, so let's use that. Then the above total cost per year is $2.4 billion, considerably greater than their estimate.

It wouldn't give you total security, but it would mean that the defect density for OSS would, after some time, approach (although not reach) the sorts of levels you see in aviation software and that security risks through software defects, as opposed to operator error, would be minimal. In other words, we'd have a software singularity event. A complete reset to a secure, reliable baseline, from which to develop and grow.

I've also made this time-limited. It's too expensive to be ongoing. I would suggest one year, two tops, to get everything cleaned up without impacting how things are developed, how people experiment with software, or what people submit. All you'd do is use the existing processes to take on additional patches, letting people adjust their own approaches if they so wish.

Clearly, because their estimate is much much lower and they're not talking about remo

Calling a Man Bald Counts as Sexual Harassment, UK Judge Rules

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Calling a man bald can now be classed as sexual harassment, a U.K. employment tribunal judge has ruled. From a report: Three members of the tribunal who decided on the ruling, and alluded to their own experience of hair loss, said that baldness was more prevalent in men than women. Therefore, they argued that the use of the word "bald" as an insult related to a "protected characteristic of sex." The tribunal compared calling a man bald to commenting on the size of woman's breasts, based on a 1995 case. The ruling, published Wednesday, was made on a case where the insult was alleged to have been used against Tony Finn, while he worked as an electrician for the British Bung Manufacturing Company. Finn had worked at the company, which manufactures wooden cask closures for the brewing industry, in Yorkshire in the northeast of England, for nearly 24 years. He was fired last year and the circumstances around his dismissal were also part of the case. Finn claimed that he was called a "bald c---" and was also threatened by his shift supervisor, Jamie King, in a dispute in July 2019.

It just doesn't end...

By Gription • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
We used to tease people with "Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me".

Now we seem to be having a world wide contest to see who can be offended by the smallest possible imagined slight. (If you spend all your time trying to frame your position in terms of victim hood don't be surprised when you end up as a victim of life.)

Seriously though. Offense is something that you TAKE not GIVE. Stop taking offense and suddenly you are impervious to it all.

Ok, let m gt this straight:

By Dirk Becher • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The UK defines "sexual harassment" as "harassment involving sex/gender" and not "harassment by sexual behaviour" ?

Re:Fair enough

By Mal-2 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

It's the motto of Australia's Northern Territory. CU in the NT.

My turn

By sinij • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Finally, I get my day at the oppression Olympics.

Re:It just doesn't end...

By WaffleMonster • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

On the other hand, MRI shows that brain activity after being verbally insulted is equivalent to brain activity after being hit. In other words the two have subjectively comparable impact.

  (I'm sorry I can't cite this. I was told it in a neuroscience lecture about 15yrs ago and can't find my notes.)

Just when you think you've heard it all someone invents nonsense like this to justify inherently ridiculous positions. The only "brain activity" an MRI is even capable of detecting are changes in blood flow.

Sure I guess you can chose to train brain to desensitize itself on this, I guess like you can desensitize yourself to the shock of an ice bath or to seeing graphic videos of beheadings. But... (1) I don't think there's a clear answer yet as to whether such desensitizing has other effects, (2) I'd rather not live in a society where such desensitization is a useful skill.

What's next? Someone called me a bad name and now I have PTSD.

I'd rather not live in a society that is so intolerant, petty and thin skinned that offense renders people "physically ill".

Elon Musk Says Twitter Deal 'Temporarily On Hold Over Spam'

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Third Position shares a report from The Verge: Elon Musk says his deal to buy Twitter is "temporarily on hold" after the social network reported that false or spam accounts comprised less than 5 percent of its 226 million monetizable daily active users. The Tesla CEO, who offered to buy twitter for $44 billion, tweeted a link to a May 2nd Reuters report on Twitter's filing, saying he wants to see the company's calculations.

"Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users," Musk tweeted. However, in a follow-up tweet, he added that he's "still committed to [the] acquisition," suggesting that it'll proceed after Twitter provides satisfactory information on its numbers.
Slashdot reader Excelcia shared a similar report from the BBC, which cited analysts speculating "he could be seeking to renegotiate the price or even walk away from the takeover."

"One analyst, as quoted in the story, suggests that 'Many will view this as Musk using this Twitter filing/spam accounts as a way to get out of this deal in a vastly changing market,'" writes Excelcia. "Shares have dropped another 10% since the announcement."

I call bullshit

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Twitter has been caught multiple times overstating actual users. All of this should have been worked out before an offer was made and accept it. He's clearly trying to pull out. The only question is why? Is he trying to negotiate a better price because his financing fell through, or was this all just his usual showmanship crap.

Either way it affects our lives. Do you like having one man have that much control over your life? Does that fill you with confidence and a sense of ease? From my part it makes me nervous to think that at any moment one guy could triggered that much damage.

Re:Lower price is what he is after

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
The question is why is he trying to get a better price? If you look at how the deal was structured he wasn't really spending his own money. Also a lot of that money was coming from one of the crypto Bros. It's extremely likely that the crashing crypto market has wiped out so much value that the funding isn't there anymore. And if it's one thing I know about billionaires it's that they talk a big game about spending their own money but they never do.

He didn't get rich spending his own money he got rich using government contracts and subsidies. Heck if it wasn't for carbon credits from the other automotive manufacturers and the government program behind them Tesla would have long since gone tits up five times over. And SpaceX is basically NASA with about a 20% overhead going straight into that guy's pocket for no other reason than corruption

Re: Read the fine print

By tragedy • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Or he is angling for a break on the price.

I don't think he's angling for a break on the price. I think he's angling to back out of the deal altogether. The sticker shock finally caught up with him and he he's realizing that there's very little he can do to increase the value of company, which is probably past its all-time high in real dollars. Twitter was always a bad purchase for Musk. In the past, he's taken little companies and bought them, or a controlling interest, anyway, for literally thousands of times less than the Twitter deal and managed to grow them enormously. This time, he's paid a massive fortune up front, but does not really have anywhere to go with it. Twitter pretty much already does everything it's ever going to do. Cancelling some bans isn't going to do much. Laying off employees will probably just lower consumer satisfaction in the long run. The only thing he can really do with Twitter is branch them out into completely new products and, if he was planning that, he would have been better off creating a new company from scratch and pouring a fraction of the tens of billions he put into Twitter into marketing.

So, I'm pretty sure Musk has woken up from his drugged or drunken stupor (I'm being metaphorical here, but all the evidence is that it's quite possibly he did make this decision in a drugged stupor), noticed the wedding ring on his finger, then looked over at who is sharing his bed, and now he's made a frantic, but hushed call to his lawyer to look into annulments.

Re:Lower price is what he is after

By tragedy • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I think that this Twitter deal is really stupid business-wise for Musk, but I take issue with a lot of:

He didn't get rich spending his own money he got rich using government contracts and subsidies. Heck if it wasn't for carbon credits from the other automotive manufacturers and the government program behind them Tesla would have long since gone tits up five times over. And SpaceX is basically NASA with about a 20% overhead going straight into that guy's pocket for no other reason than corruption

When you have a government contract, and the government pays you for services rendered, then it becomes your money. That's the way money works, it gets exchanged for goods and services. As far as subsidies go, his companies have not actually gotten a lot from government subsidies and, where they have gotten subsidies, it is generally where the government is promoting things that his companies have actually delivered. You can criticize subsidies as policy tools all you want, but it's hardly fair to say that, for example, if a state offers subsidies for a business to set up there and provide jobs and then a business does, that the business is somehow stealing by accepting the subsidies or something. Not if they deliver on their end of the bargain. Ditto for carbon credits. Questionable as a policy tool, but they do have a goal in mind and seem to have worked as intended with Tesla. As for your comparison with NASA, you've got it wrong. SpaceX is basically Boeing, but with the profit from NASA contracts going to Musk and his shareholders rather than to the executives and shareholders of Boeing. Once again, government contracts work by exchanging money for pre-arranged goods and services. That's what SpaceX has pretty consistently done, and at a much lower price than Boeing. It's hard to say if there is any actual corruption going on with SpaceX or not, but most of the evidence at least suggests that there was tons of it going on with old-school aerospace manufactures.

Re: Read the fine print

By saloomy • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Wouldnt matter. And sight unseen is not analogous to this offer. He made an offer with contingencies, which is why there is a due diligence period. Sight unseen, he would already own it for the $44b. Recent revelations about material metrics being worse than stated gives him grounds for renegotiation. Memorandums of understanding and offers for buyout are lengthy documents that have all kinds of clauses. He could argue that Twitter misrepresented their enterprise value by overstating monetizable user counts, which is practically a given for backing out of or renegotiating (enterprise value is the base on which the offer is fundamentally made). No judge would deny that, unless his offer is literally the tweet (it is not).

Facebook-Owner Meta Tells Hardware Staffers To Prepare for Cutbacks

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Facebook-owner Meta Platforms is preparing cutbacks in its Reality Labs division, a unit at the center of the company's strategy to refocus on hardware products and the "metaverse," a spokesperson confirmed to Reuters on Wednesday. From a report: Chief Technology Officer Andrew Bosworth told Reality Labs staffers during a weekly Q&A session on Tuesday to expect the changes to be announced within a week, according to a summary of his comments viewed by Reuters. The Meta spokesperson confirmed that Bosworth told staffers the division could not afford to do some projects anymore and would have to postpone others, without specifying which projects would be affected. She said Meta was not planning layoffs as part of the changes.


By RitchCraft • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Looks like Zuck's Meta is starting to metastasize.

Quelle Suprise

By Crashmarik • Score: 3 • Thread

For the past 30 years everyone in computer business has been trying to move up the value chain to software and IP in general, and these geniuses figure out hardware without absolute lock in is a nightmare. Far better to get other people to work themselves to death making the hardware to sell to the customer.

Wasted money on the wrong thing

By backslashdot • Score: 3 • Thread

They should have spent money on only two things instead
1. How to make a VR display that has over 80 pixels per degree and no perceivable blank space between pixels.
2. How to implement foveated rendering so that GPU would have to do very little work.

Instead, they have a crappy display with an obvious screen door effect, they wonâ(TM)t get an 80 ppd display until at best 2030, if not later.

The full moon shown in actual size on the quest 2 can only be 8 pixels across. Now think of how much detail the moon has when you see it in the sky, now imagine trying to show that much detail with 8 pixels width. Try out the Varjo 3 and see how far behind Meta is.

PC and Laptop Displays Are Working Toward 480 Hz

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: If you've ever looked at a 360 Hz monitor and thought, "This isn't fast enough," here's something to look forward to. While we've seen monitor prototypes surpass 360 Hz, the highest native refresh rate you'll find on a PC display these days, it seems that AU Optronics (AUO) is working on panels that'll be available with an even snappier 480 Hz refresh rate. Of course, not many would look at a screen updating with new information 360 times every second as lagging. But for very fast-paced action -- like in a competitive game where words and items whizz by in an instant or where a few milliseconds of a delay could be the difference between a win or a loss -- more speed may be imperative.


By Malays2 bowman • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

"If you've ever looked at a 360 Hz monitor and thought, "This isn't fast enough," here's something to look forward to."

Setting up an appintment with your local shrink to figure out why you are obsessive compulsive to this extreme. He may very well set you up with some meds to deal with this at little or no cost to you.

But why?

By Kobun • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
I have not heard of any advancements in gray to gray response times on LCDs. I was under the impression that this capped frames per second at around 120. Is this just some marketing goon jamming a higher frequency chip into a monitor to be able to print an impressive number on the box?

Ten bladed razor

By fluffernutter • Score: 3 • Thread
Do they make a ten blade razor yet? Always swore I would start shaving again when they get to it.

I'll believe ..

By PPH • Score: 3 • Thread

... that people can tell the difference at much beyond 100 Hz when they can't tolerate LED or fluorescent lamps or have to walk out of movie theaters suffering massive migraines.

There is an old anecdote about a new video card that came out featuring a 60 Hz refresh rate. When 30 or 45 Hz was the norm. All the autists ran out and bought one, claiming that the annoying flicker had finally went away. And just how marvelous the new cards were. But a few months later it was discovered that the Windows drivers had a bug which refused to actually set the card to anything faster than 45 Hz. Even when 60 was selected*. Suddenly, everyone who loved their new cards was crying "Muh headaches!" Just because someone told them that it was the same as the old hardware.

*I believe the bug was discovered when some Linux users ran the old display probe program necessary to fetch parameters and hand edit them into the old X config files.

Re: Decreasing returns

By Ormy • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Thanks for the reply. While I agree that extra spatial resolution beyond 4K is pretty pointless, I always welcome extra temporal resolution. Yes I said it, I like the soap opera effect, I realise I'm in the minority with this view but I know what I like.

Samsung 'Expert' Fired After Speaking Up About Working For Free

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: On April 14th, The Verge published a story about how Samsung's "Experts," who answer customer chats at, were being pushed by both Samsung and staffing agency Ibbu to do some customer support for free. While we spoke to a dozen experts during our reporting, only one was willing to be named in the story: Jennifer Larson. The day after our story was published, Larson received an email saying that she was being temporarily suspended and that she'd get an update in a week. Over four weeks later, Ibbu told her she'd been fired.


By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

No, she was fired from working for money because she wasn't willing to also work for free.

In many places this is wrongful termination. And since it's illegal to expect people to work for free when they have a job position with you, no NDA applies.

Samsung always abuses it’s employees

By i286NiNJA • Score: 3 • Thread

They used to use child labor and slaves for Christ sake.


By drinkypoo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It won't come back on Samsung but it might affect Ibbu. If she's a contractor that means there's a contract obligating them to pay a given rate for work done, so they're in breach of contract. Different, but still serious. In fact in many jurisdictions, much more serious.

Tech Support Where You Only Get Paid a Commission

By Jason Earl • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Samsung's experts do not receive a base salary. Instead, they are paid a commission on every sale. So if you aren't buying then you are costing the individual salesperson money. As someone that has worked for a company that added commissions to technical support representatives I can tell you first hand how damaging that is to tech support. Canny techs invariably learned that the fast way to big money was to simply wait for someone to call, sell the person something that they didn't need promising that it would resolve their issue, and then simply get off of the phone. Customer service then becomes the problem of the next tech that the unfortunate customer calls.

Next thing you know you are handing out sales awards to your scummiest tech support specialist, and your customers hate you.

My current phone is a Samsung, and I have been pretty happy with it, even if it is getting a little old. My next phone will be something else though.

Last I heard

By Malays2 bowman • Score: 3 • Thread

Slavery is generally frowned upon worldwide.

US Warns of Discrimination in Using AI To Screen Job Candidates

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The federal government says that artificial intelligence technology to screen new job candidates or monitor worker productivity can unfairly discriminate against people with disabilities, sending a warning to employers that the commonly used hiring tools could violate civil rights laws. From a report: The U.S. Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission jointly issued guidance to employers to take care before using popular algorithmic tools meant to streamline the work of evaluating employees and job prospects -- but which could also potentially run afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act. "We are sounding an alarm regarding the dangers tied to blind reliance on AI and other technologies that we are seeing increasingly used by employers," Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the department's Civil Rights Division told reporters Thursday. "The use of AI is compounding the longstanding discrimination that jobseekers with disabilities face." Among the examples given of popular work-related AI tools were resume scanners, employee monitoring software that ranks workers based on keystrokes, game-like online tests to assess job skills and video interviewing software that measures a person's speech patterns or facial expressions.


By MBGMorden • Score: 4 • Thread

That's not the root of the issue. Honestly, AI pretty much does things completely NON-discriminately. What the real issue is is that the AI fails to properly discriminate in favor of the groups that they want to help.

In essence what they're saying is that an unbiased opinion isn't good enough.

If you were to suggest that people with disabilities are less capable you'd be accused of "ableism", whist at the same time if you write an algorithm that promotes or chooses solely on capabilities then you're discriminating against . . . people with disabilities.

training data

By Comboman • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

An AI is only as good as it's training data. If you feed it a bunch of resumes of "good" and "bad" job candidates, then it will sort any new resumes you give using the same criteria that the human trainer used to sort the training data (even if it doesn't know what those criteria were). Essentially it's just hiding the underlying biases in machine learning code.


By tlhIngan • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

That's not the root of the issue. Honestly, AI pretty much does things completely NON-discriminately. What the real issue is is that the AI fails to properly discriminate in favor of the groups that they want to help.

In essence what they're saying is that an unbiased opinion isn't good enough./blockquote

No, AI is just a pattern engine. It has been shown to be just as discriminatory because the input data is discriminatory. It's just using highly correlated proxies for the things. You can actually derive the gender, race and other things from candidates based on things like where they live and other factors.

People can't easily see the correlation but computers trained on thousands or millions of such things can.

In other words, it's only as good as the input data, and good input data doesn't exist - mostly because there's insufficient data to begin with (if you have a list of "good employees" you'll find that your candidates will still reflect your company hiring pretty well - if your employees are mostly white, your list of "good employees" to the AI filter will return mostly white people because there isn't enough non-white data to help offset the correlations.

Apple Testing iPhones That Ditch Lightning Ports in Favor of USB-C

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Apple is testing future iPhone models that replace the current Lightning charging port with the more prevalent USB-C connector, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing people with knowledge of the situation, a move that could help the company conform with looming European regulations. From the report: In addition to testing models with a USB-C port in recent months, Apple is working on an adapter that would let future iPhones work with accessories designed for the current Lightning connector, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. If the company proceeds with the change, it wouldn't occur until 2023 at the earliest. Apple is planning to retain the Lightning connector for this year's new models.

The devil you say!

By zuckie13 • Score: 3 • Thread

Holy cow. Apple looking to use a standard (granted it's by force really). Never would have though I'd see the day.

Is it April 1st again?

By mmell • Score: 3 • Thread
Apple accepting a standard which isn't theirs? This has to be a prank.

Makes sense

By aerogems • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

If a major bloc of countries is looking to impose a particular standard, the real news story would be if Apple planned on refusing to comply with the regulation and decided to just stop selling phones and other do-dads in the EU. This is just a story about Apple doing the rational thing.

Why not?

By PCM2 • Score: 3 • Thread

All the current MacBook Pros have USB-C.

Re:Is it April 1st again?

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The iPad has had USB C for a while now.

Germany Affirms Crypto Sold After One Year Is Tax-free

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Crypto investors in Germany won't pay tax on sales of digital assets such as bitcoin and ether -- as long as they're held for more than one year. From a report: Germany's Federal Ministry of Finance shared the ruling in a 24-page document, which formally defined blockchain concepts such as mining, staking, airdrops and masternodes within the context of the country's tax system. The decree marks the first time Germany has issued nationwide tax guidance on cryptocurrency. It was crafted in close consultation with the country's 16 federal states, as well as top financial institutions. Government ministers had held a hearing last summer to gauge sentiment among local crypto associations such as Bitkom and other market participants -- including individual investors. One of the most pressing questions related to whether lending or staking cryptocurrency extends the tax-free period on digital asset sales to 10 years, as is the case with buy-to-let properties.

Cryptos has nothing to do with investing..

By tekram • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
it is speculation, let everyone use the terminology correctly. Investment has underlying instruments that have yield, dividend, income statements, price earnings and bond ratings. Cryptos have none of that which doesn't mean somebody didn't make money off of it, but it was probably not you.

So much for it being a currency

By squiggleslash • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This is another nail in the coffin for the idea that Bitcoin et al will one day be a universal currency. If you're taxed for minor fluctuations between you receiving it and you spending it, but not taxed for hoarding it, you've created a taxation system that makes using it for its supposed intended purpose complicated.

Which in turn means it's not going to be much of an investment either, because the only thing propping it up will be a ponzi scheme mechanic rather than some supposed future where it'll be used to pay for things.

Why tax it at all?

By registrations_suck • Score: 3 • Thread

Why tax it at all? Must the government fucking tax EVERYTHING?

I don't know about Germany specifically, but government tax money when you make it, they tax money when you use it to buy something. Some of them tax you when you add value to something. Why isn't that enough?

Sure - you may make some profit buying and selling scam currencies. So fucking what? Why isn't the tax on virtually ALL OTHER forms of income and spending that enough? The profit someone may make on scam currencies doesn't help them much until they buy something with it. If you're taxing that sale, what's the problem?

Why is it considered some kind of tragedy for someone, somewhere, to have some money that somehow escaped the existing tax mechanisms?

Note well: I don't participate in the trading of "digital currency" and don't really care if it is taxed at 1%, 50% or 500000%. I just find it interesting that govt spends so much time trying to find new and novel ways to relieve people of their money.

Re:Cryptos has nothing to do with investing..

By tekram • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
To those who asked about safe investment with no fees that doesn't go bust never has- US Treasury Series I Savings Bonds Inflation Rate Earnings (May - October '22) 9.62% Interest (Annualized for 6 Months) (Limit $10K/Year Per Person).

EU Governments, Lawmakers Agree on Tougher Cybersecurity Rules for Key Sectors

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
EU countries and lawmakers agreed on Friday to tougher cybersecurity rules for large energy, transport and financial firms, digital providers and medical device makers amid concerns about cyber attacks by state actors and other malicious players. From a report: The European Commission two years ago proposed rules on the cybersecurity of network and information systems called NIS 2 Directive, in effect expanding the scope of the current rule known as NIS Directive.

The new rules cover all medium and large companies in essential sectors - energy, transport, banking, financial market infrastructure, health, vaccines and medical devices, drinking water, waste water, digital infrastructure, public administration and space. All medium and large firms in postal and courier services, waste management, chemicals, food manufacturing, medical devices, computers and electronics, machinery equipment, motor vehicles, and digital providers such as online market places, online search engines, and social networking service platforms will also fall under the rules.

Microsoft Considers Pay Raises To Stay Competitive

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft is reportedly thinking about bumping many employees' pay, following similar moves from other tech giants, in a bid to stay competitive with its rivals. From a report: Citing two unnamed sources, Insider reported Wednesday that Microsoft may announce a change "as soon as Monday." Microsoft has reason to worry about retention, Insider reports. In Microsoft's most recent "Employee Signals" poll, which employees reportedly answered in March, only two-thirds of respondents said they're getting "a good deal" in terms of what they're giving the company and receiving in return. Microsoft is reportedly concerned about employees leaving for (or being poached by) Amazon specifically. The company more than doubled its base compensation cap from $160,000 to $350,000 earlier this year, and has reportedly been handing at a record amount of stock grants -- $6 billion, to be exact.


By Toth • Score: 3 • Thread

DOJ Loses Bid To Sanction Google for Withholding Documents

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Alphabet's Google dodged court sanctions after it was called out by the Justice Department for hiding documents from government lawyers. From a report: U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington said during a hearing Thursday that he wouldn't punish the company over its practice of having employees copy company lawyers on emails when discussing competition issues. The US government claims Google uses "silent attorney" emails as a ploy to avoid disclosing records in litigation. But Mehta ordered Google to ensure that all of the "silent-attorney" emails are reviewed anew to make sure the company has complied with disclosure obligations.

Google's defense:

By mmell • Score: 3 • Thread
That's because NSA used Bing to search for the documents. Not our fault. NSA should've used Google.

NSA Says 'No Backdoor' for Spies in New US Encryption Scheme

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
The US is readying new encryption standards that will be so ironclad that even the nation's top code-cracking agency says it won't be able to bypass them. From a report: The National Security Agency has been involved in parts of the process but insists it has no way of bypassing the new standards. "There are no backdoors," said Rob Joyce, the NSA's director of cybersecurity at the National Security Agency, in an interview. A backdoor enables someone to exploit a deliberate, hidden flaw to break encryption. An encryption algorithm developed by the NSA was dropped as a federal standard in 2014 amid concerns that it contained a backdoor. The new standards are intended to withstand quantum computing, a developing technology that is expected to be able to solve math problems that today's computers can't. But it's also one that the White House fears could allow the encrypted data that girds the U.S. economy -- and national security secrets -- to be hacked.

Re:Does that mean

By TechyImmigrant • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

>That the AES standard we all know and love does have a backdoor?

The block size limitation. Not a backdoor now (that I know of), but by limiting to 128 bits, they're setting it up to fail.
Take a look at the Simon and Speck paper from the NSA, they obviously left the 256 bit block size option out without explanation. There are six 3 LFSR based sequences in the key schedule and 6 total from XOR each with a repeating pattern. One sequence for each configuration of key and data size. They used 5. #6 is for the 256 bit block size. The hole is rather obvious when you look.

It was in the rules of the AES competition that it have a 128 bit block size. The winning entrant, even though it can support bigger blocks had that stuff pulled out for the standard.

It's not like people haven't been telling NIST that we want bigger block sizes. Anyone doing hardware crypto knows how it gets more efficient in terms of cycles/byte as you increase the block size. But NIST have been silent on the matter for years.

Re:I have a bridge to sell

By hey! • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

NSA = uber-nerds that work for the government.
Whether the government is controlled by political hacks is up to you.

Look at Russia. Russian people are no more monsters than anyone else. They just hate and despise politics. They do so because they have been *taught* to do so: by... politicians. Yes, there are a few people who truly believe the propaganda, but if you scratch the surface of most people what you get is kind of a resigned, apathetic resignation. They go along with what they know is wrong because they don't feel anything better is possible. But better is *always* possible.

Hannah Arendt nailed the way authoritarians emasculate the masses by promoting cheap cynicism: “The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.”

Re:What is its name?

By Entrope • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

NIST is running the competition largely in the open:

They started with a large set of candidate algorithms, and in 2020 narrowed the set a second time (the third round of the competition). All of the Third Round candidates are supposed to have both reference implementations and open definitions, although an implementation may be encumbered by patents. The project timeline says they expect to have draft standards sometime between now and 2024.

Re:yeh, right...

By SirSlud • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

if any powerful person or entity makes an absolute statement, it usually means the exact opposite

Such a belief makes you just as easy to manipulate as if you believed that any absolute statement they made usually meant it was true.

Re:What is its name?

By AcidFnTonic • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

NIST is complicit. Was during DualEC scandal too.

My buddy Dr Adam Young who presented/participated in the group essentially verified to me during conversations how stupid and unable to properly handle these tasks they really are.

I was walking around Manhattan bitching about the backdoor and how NIST didn't do shit to help us and he basically said they are a bunch of old understaffed out of touch folks who are "doing the best they can and had no clue they were being played by the government".

Yeah sure. Nothing but a bunch of hacks. I'm still toying with new cryptographic primitives in the hopes of finding something to *truly* give the people power.

Any claim on "best practices" usually means the backdoor is hidden in those instructions. Any bitsize should be assumed to be too weak. Any padding algorithm should be deemed to inject predictable garbage used to start cryptoanalyst work. Any claims that computationally it's secure, should be vetted against the speed of the current #1 supercomputer known to the public, then doubled in strength after that.

Don't trust anything "weakened" to work with mobile devices. They are so slow that basically supporting them means supporting a brute force search. Amazing people don't realize this.

One time pads were previously not workable in practice but now they are. Trading an 8TB harddrive with noise to a friend for use as pad basically means you have 8TB over the public internet of *100% safe security* before you burn through the pad. Synced clocks driving over the pad can fix the other issues such as 3rd party attempts to force reuse or MiTM.

I basically watch the supposed experts of the crypto world continue to lead us directly into the line of fire while claiming later on "no one could have known". Well I know and I'm trying to stop this crap.

A Colony of Blue-Green Algae Can Power a Computer For Six Months

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Interesting Engineering: Researchers from the University of Cambridge have managed to run a computer for six months, using blue-green algae as a power source. A type of cyanobacteria called Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 -- commonly known as "blue-green algae," which produces oxygen through photosynthesis when exposed to sunlight, was sealed in a small container, about the size of an AA battery, made of aluminum and clear plastic.

Christopher Howe from the University of Cambridge and colleagues claim that similar photosynthetic power generators could be the source of power for a range of small devices in the future, without the need for the rare and unsustainable materials used in batteries. The battery made of blue-green algae has provided a continuous current across its anode and cathode that ran a microprocessor. The computer ran in cycles of 45 minutes. It was used to calculate sums of consecutive integers to simulate a computational workload, which required 0.3 microwatts of power, and 15 minutes of standby, which required 0.24 microwatts. The microcontroller measured the device's current output and stored this data in the cloud for researchers to analyze.

Howe suggests that there are two potential theories for the power source. Either the bacteria itself produces electrons, which creates a current, or it creates conditions in which an aluminum anode in the container is corroded in a chemical reaction that produces electrons. The experiment ran without any significant degrading of the anode and because of that, the researchers believe that the bacteria is producing the bulk of the current. Howe says that the approach could be scaled up, but further research is needed to figure out how far.
The research was published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.

Complete bullshit

By gweihir • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

What is it with the bad headlines? A micropower microcontroller is not a "computer" in any reasonable sense.

Invest in Algae

By chipperdog • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
I'm going to invest in Algae to power Cryptocurrency mining


By ArchieBunker • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

That's nothing. I was building potato powered clocks years ago.

Re:Complete bullshit

By GoJays • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
I agree, this headline is very misleading. It gives the impression that a typical desktop computer can be run for 6 months on algae. When in reality it wouldn't even be able to power a raspberrry pi. This technology is decades away, if ever being able to provide enough power for realisitic application.

How well did it work at night?

By jfdavis668 • Score: 3 • Thread
Did the algae keep producing electricity in the dark?

Promising Early Results From Largest-Ever Trial Testing LSD For Anxiety

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Biopharmaceutical company MindMed has announced the first topline data from a novel Phase 2 trial testing high doses of LSD as a treatment for anxiety. The results indicate one to two LSD sessions can generate rapid and sustained reductions to anxiety, however, significantly larger trials will be needed to validate these findings. New Atlas reports: This new trial was conducted at University Hospital Basel in Switzerland. The trial was randomized, and placebo-controlled with a crossover design enrolling 46 participants. The participants completed two high-dose (200-microgram) LSD sessions, six weeks apart. The primary endpoint was a reduction in anxiety 16 weeks after the second LSD session, as measured on a scale called STAI (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory), a common test used to quantify anxiety.

The data revealed by MindMed indicates 65 percent (13 out of 20) patients in the LSD group demonstrated a clinically significant reduction in STAI scores of more than 30 percent. Only nine percent of the placebo group (two out of 22) showed similar clinical improvements. The results indicate the treatment was generally safe with only mild adverse effects reported by most subjects. The announcement did report one serious adverse treatment event during an LSD session described as "acute transient anxiety and delusions." This subject required sedatives but no long-term adverse effects were noted. [...] MindMed is now beginning a Phase 2b trial to expand on these findings and further explore LSD as a treatment for anxiety disorders.

Re: It's medicine now?

By Black Parrot • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

No, It was invented by a guy at Sandoz who had figured out how to synthesize the medically useful compounds in ergot. He started playing around, creating all kinds of variants in hope of finding some more medically useful compounds. That included LSD, which Sandoz decided was not medically useful. But he "had a feeling" about it, and started dosing himself.

Google sandoz lsd and read the Atlantic article that pops up


By markdavis • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

>"The trial was randomized, and placebo-controlled"

I have to ask- how do you placebo-control with "high doses of LSD"? I think it would be pretty obvious if you were in the control group, unless you have no idea what LSD is...


By MrKaos • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Anxiety: The confusion created when one's mind overrides the body's basic desire to choke the living shit out of some asshole who desperately deserves it.

This saying still holds true.


By jenningsthecat • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Given your username and your relatively low UID I just had to check on your posting history - I expected to find that the editors had made up a user and were pulling our legs. A comment from an apparently legit "Ellis D. Tripp" on an article about "LSD trips" - how cool is that?

Set and Setting

By BrendaEM • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Is not going be found at the doctors. The time-honored wisdom of being in an psychologically comfortable environment exists for a reason.

Virgin Orbit Is Assembling a Fleet of Boeing 747 Jets To Launch More Rockets Into Space

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Virgin Orbit is assembling a fleet of modified 747 jets, the company announced Tuesday, ordering two new modified cargo airframes to help launch more rockets into space. CNBC reports: The company is acquiring the two additional airframes through L3Harris, which will modify the jets to carry and launch Virgin Orbit's rockets. Virgin expects to take delivery of the first of the planes next year. Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said the delivery timing of the second plane will be "driven more by market demand" for launches. The deal "unleashes us in a few ways," he said. "It eliminates one of the key chokepoints that we have in the system," Hart told CNBC. It also will help the company keep launches going in case one of their aircraft is undergoing maintenance, which will open up "all sorts of possibilities for supporting different customers in different places," he added.

Virgin Orbit has a single aircraft, a customized Boeing 747-400 called "Cosmic Girl," which has flown four missions of Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rocket to date. Through a method known as air launch, the company's aircraft carries its rockets to about 45,000 feet of altitude and drops them just before they fire their engines and accelerate into space -- a method the company touts as more flexible than ground-based systems. [...] Virgin Orbit's new 747s will also feature an improved layout, with L3Harris modifying the aircraft to carry up to two LauncherOne rockets, as well as all of the company's ground support equipment, to a launch site.

Re:Bezos' money

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

On the one hand it's good that access to space is getting cheaper, but on the other hand we are already seeing problems with overcrowding.

Bezos going to that climate conference and talking about his trip to space was one of the most cringe inducing things I've seen in a long while.

Re:Bezos' money

By korgitser • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Well yeah, but what's your point?

Fanboys are going to fan, there's no news in that. No difference between e.g. Apple fanboys and Musk fanboys. But there is a difference in Bezos fanboys - the difference being that he has no fanboys. Nobody has anything good to say about Bezos.

Compare that to Musk, who is a mixed bag. Maybe you like him because he turned around the stagnant industries of electric vehicles and space launching. Maybe you hate him because you think he is a libtard because he's from SV; maybe you hate him because you think he is a deplorable because he has opinions about free speech. Maybe you fan him because you think he shits golden turds, maybe you simp him because he has memes. Maybe you hate him because he's a bit of an asspie and cannot put on a show like Steve Jobs did. Maybe you find the never-arriving FSD infinitely amusing.

But whatever floats your boat, stating the fact that Bezos is just cringe all the way down does not hint at one's opinion of Musk. Stating the fact that Musk is the big game in space launch right now does also not hint at one's opinion of Musk. There is no logic operation to start with fact statements and end up with value statements. What happens is the interpreter brings his own values to the table, and in this case, makes them public by reading them into the fact statements.

Limited use

By RogueWarrior65 • Score: 3 • Thread

IMHO, this approach and Rocket Lab using a helicopter to catch a their rocket illustrates a myopic view of space. Neither of these approaches can be used anywhere except on Earth which means that their goal isn't to go anywhere else. They won't be going to the moon or Mars or anywhere else. Same thing with Sierra Nevada. As such, their future is limited by disposable income and novelty, both of which will fade over time.

Re:You don't say

By Ol Olsoc • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

You mean you'll be impressed when they start refueling their spacecraft in space? Or are you asking for a human to change the laws of physics? I mean, the latter would be a ridiculous thing to ask for so I assume it's the former.

It's a statement of the ridiculous, because it's physics. I convinced a lot of his worshippers do not believe he is constrained by physics. It is not debatable that we've seen that many people are willing to believe in alternative physics in regards to space exploration and rockets. Witness the EM drive. Or would that be EM Drivel?

My point is that despite many people's belief, Musk is just another human, and is happy to act on his impulses.

This is not a bad thing in itself. But it does lead to failures. And that's the thing. Musk's fanatics have themselves a million strong on Mars in the next 30 years. Living, loving, and reproducing. All paid for by Starlink. Seriously? Yet they believe this stuff.

I dunno - maybe Musk will nuke the cellphone towers. There's gonna be competition. Meanwhile, I'll note that tiny little villages in PA are getting their own cell phone towers, and 5G rollout is already offering home internet use to customers. It isn't fiber but it's not bad at all. Musk's grand vision will need to get populated areas to go for his service as opposed to anyone else. It cannot rely on only those who have no other option other than other satellite internet systems. And competition is a bitch some times. Especially when your infrastructure has to be continually replaced. It would be like if all cell towers or fiber or cable had to be replaced every 5 years.

Maybe Musk will figure out how to pull a steady vacuum with no leaks across the entire country and have us going from New York to LA faster than jet travel. It'll be interesting. I wonder what will happen in those Musk transport vehicles. when a vacuum loss occurs? Gonna get hot in there while that thing is pushing against atmosphere, Or a part breaks and punches a hole in the Musk transport module.

Or that grifty tunnel under Las Vegas. To avoid surface traffic jams, you have traffic jams underground.

This is what I object to. Not a thing wrong with dreaming big. But when you step outside of business reality and physics and plain numbers reality, it starts approximating a religion when the fanatics refuse to accept that not everything that pops into his noggin is the greatest thing evah.

Back to the rockets. Those Musk rockets are really nothing new other than size. (although that big long transfer tube collapsing on Starship seems to be trying to bend physics a bit - Hah! see what I did there?) A scary weak point. Certainly a mix of oxidant and fuel inside the lower tank will be really exciting, though perhaps not what was wanted. I would suggest a 4th of July evening launch, might be very impressive.

As noted before, I think Musk is trying to do some good, and if he's willing to spend his money, something good might come out of it. What I find less impressive is his sycophants, and I daresay I get a bit of endorphin buzz out of tweaking them - followed by a bit of embarrassment for going after such low hanging fruit. But I forgive myself, because people need to understand that we are in the age of grift, and that blind obedience to fanatics doesn't end well.