By msmash from Slashdot's what's-in-a-name department
An anonymous reader shares a report: In 10 or 15 years, Dr. Brown, who is head of metrology at the National Physical Laboratory in the U.K., anticipates the amount of computerized data worldwide will exceed 1 yottabyte in size, and without expanding the list of prefixes, there will be no way to talk about the next great chunk of numbers. Even worse, dilettantes could fill the void by popularizing glib prefixes such as bronto or hella -- terms that have already won fans. Without professional intervention, Dr. Brown fears, the next numerical prefix could become the Boaty McBoatface of weights and measures.
[...] For the record, there is an argument to be made for adopting a prefix like bronto: giga and tera are based on the Greek words for "giant" and "monstrous." Why not make bronto, named for the brontosaurus, official, perhaps along with tyranno, stego, colosso or even yeti? Dr. Brown is sympathetic to the argument but unconvinced. Instead,
he proposes four prefixes that adhere to recent naming conventions [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; an alternative source was not available.]: ronna and quecca for octillion (27 zeros) and nonillion (30 zeros), along with ronto and quecto for their fractional counterparts, octillionth and nonillionth. Like the latest sanctioned prefixes, Dr. Brown's proposals are loosely related to Latin and Greek words for numbers (in this case, nine and 10). And like most of the prefixes, his suggestions end in "a" or "o." But the process of expanding, or even amending, the official measurements is lengthy.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's data-hungry department
By BeauHD from Slashdot's it's-show-time department
Apple is holding an event on March 25th where it's expected to announce its long-rumored TV streaming and Apple News subscription services. The invitation shows an animated countdown GIF with the caption "It's show time," hinting that the new TV service will play a big role. The Verge reports: Rumors of an event at the end of March began last month, saying that the company will reportedly focus exclusively on services. Although, there is always a chance that we could see the anticipated announcements of revamped AirPods, a new entry-level iPad, and the long-delayed AirPower wireless charging pad. This is not the first time that Apple has used this tagline for an event: the company first used it for a September 2006 event where it announced that it would start offering movies on iTunes, along with the first reveal of the iTV (which would be renamed Apple TV on release in 2007). It's certainly a fitting teaser for the upcoming event. Just like in 2006, we could see Apple's media offerings for its devices expand yet again.
Along with the TV service, which is rumored to launch later this spring, Apple is also expected to take the wraps off its Apple News subscription service. The Apple News service will reportedly look to offer a Netflix-style bundle for magazines and subscription newspapers all in one convenient place. An early report from The Wall Street Journal indicated that Apple was having trouble with negotiations, reportedly demanding a staggering 50 percent of revenue from the service.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's ripping-off department
LA Times reports: Charles Dahan knows from firsthand experience how badly people get ripped off when buying eyeglasses. He was once one of the leading suppliers of frames to LensCrafters, before the company was purchased by optical behemoth Luxottica. He also built machines that improved the lens-manufacturing process. In other words, Dahan, 70, knows the eyewear business from start to finish. And he doesn't like what's happened. "There is no competition in the industry, not anymore," he told me. "Luxottica bought everyone. They set whatever prices they please."
Both Butler and Dahan (former executives with LensCrafters) acknowledged what most consumers have long suspected: that the prices we pay for eyewear in no way reflect the actual cost of making frames and lenses. When he was in the business, in the 1980s and '90s, Dahan said it cost him between $10 and $16 to manufacture a pair of quality plastic or metal frames. Lenses, he said, might cost about $5 a pair to produce. With fancy coatings, that could boost the price all the way to $15.
He said LensCrafters would turn around and charge $99 for completed glasses that cost $20 or $30 to make -- and this was well below what many independent opticians charged. Nowadays, he said, those same glasses at LensCrafters might cost hundreds of dollars. Butler said he recently visited factories in China where many glasses for the U.S. market are manufactured. Improved technology has made prices even lower than what Dahan recalled. "You can get amazingly good frames, with a Warby Parker level of quality, for $4 to $8," Butler said. "For $15, you can get designer-quality frames, like what you'd get from Prada."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department
CSS, or the language that styles and arranges how page elements appear on a website, will soon get support for trigonometry functions such as sine, cosine, tangent, and others, ZDNet is reporting. From the report: The new trigonometry functions were approved at the end of February in a meeting of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) CSS Working Group. The new functions approved and set to join the CSS standard are: Sine - sin(), cosine - cos(), tangent - tan(), arccosine - acos(), arcsine - asin(), arctangent - atan(), arctangent (of two numbers x and y) - atan2(), square root - sqrt(), square root of the sum of squares of its arguments - hypot(), and power of - pow().Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
An anonymous reader shares a report: In March 2017, President Trump issued an executive order expediting the deployment of biometric verification of the identities of all travelers crossing its borders. That mandate stipulates facial recognition identification for "100 percent of all international passengers," including American citizens, in the top 20 US airports by 2021. Now, the United States Department of Homeland Security is rushing to get those systems up and running at airports across the country. But it's doing so in the absence of proper vetting, regulatory safeguards, and what some privacy advocates argue is in defiance of the law.
According to 346 pages of as-yet-unpublished documents obtained by the nonprofit research organization Electronic Privacy Information Center, US Customs and Border Protection is scrambling to implement this "biometric entry-exit system," with the goal of using facial recognition technology on travelers aboard 16,300 flights per week -- or more than 100 million passengers traveling on international flights out of the United States -- in as little as two years, to meet Trump's accelerated timeline for a biometric system that had initially been signed into law by the Obama administration. This, despite questionable biometric confirmation rates and few, if any, legal guardrails.
< article continued at Slashdot's closer-look department
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's real-fake-news department
"The Tennessee Star claims to be the 'most reliable' online local paper in the state," reports Salon. "In fact it's just a GOP front." An anonymous reader quotes their report:
An investigation by the fact-checking outlet Snopes found that several new local news websites are actually being launched by Republican consultants whose company is funded in part by the candidates the sites cover. Politico first reported last year that Tea Party-linked conservative activists Michael Patrick Leahy, Steve Gill and Christina Botteri were behind the "Tennessee Star," a website that purported to be a local news website but mostly posted content licensed from groups linked to big Republican donors. Snopes discovered that the trio has since launched similar sites in other battleground states ahead of the 2020 elections: the Ohio Star and the Minnesota Sun...
The group behind the sites does not appear content with just three outlets. According to Politico, Leahy has purchased domain names associated with Missouri, New England, the Dakotas, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, most of which are electoral battleground states that will be vital in 2020.
Kathleen Bartzen Culver, who heads the Center of Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, told Snopes that political operatives are free to launch their own news platforms, but it's a problem if they are trying to deceive readers into believing the sites are nonpartisan local news. "I have no problem with advocacy organizations creating content that reinforces the positions they take on public policy issues on the left, right or center. The issue comes in when they're not transparent about that advocacy," Culver said... "The information sphere is so polluted right now that the average citizen has trouble telling what is real and what is not," Culver told Snopes. "I find that very troubling within a democracy."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's man-in-the-muddle department
An anonymous reader quotes Bloomberg:
Russian internet trolls appear to be shifting strategy in their efforts to disrupt the 2020 U.S. elections, promoting politically divisive messages through phony social media accounts instead of creating propaganda themselves, cybersecurity experts say. The Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency may be among those trying to circumvent protections put in place by companies including Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. to find and remove fake content that hackers created to sow division among the American electorate in the 2016 presidential campaign. "Instead of creating content themselves, we see them amplifying content," said John Hultquist, the director of intelligence analysis at FireEye Inc. "Then it's not necessarily inauthentic, and that creates an opportunity for them to hide behind somebody else."
Other hackers are breaking into computing devices and using them to open large numbers of social media accounts, according to Candid Wueest, a senior threat researcher at Symantec Corp. The hacked devices are used to create many legitimate-looking users as well as believable followers and likes for those fake users... Wueest said he observed a decrease in the creation of new content by fake accounts from 2017 to 2018 and a shift toward building massive followings that could be used as platforms for divisive messages in 2020.
Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy responded that policing foreign influence campaigns is "an incredibly hard balance" between the need to slow down bad actors while maintaining "meaningful public discussion."Read Replies (0)