By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Fire-fix department
An anonymous reader quotes CNET:
"Mozilla on Sunday began distributing new Firefox updates to fix a problem that broke extensions for many browser users on Friday," reports CNET:
Mozilla had released an update Saturday, but Sunday's fix should help more people who were still affected. "There are some issues we're still working on, but we wanted to get this release out and get your add-ons back up & running before Monday," Mozilla said in a tweet Sunday...
"No active steps need to be taken to make add-ons work again. In particular, please do not delete and/or reinstall any add-ons as an attempt to fix the issue," Kev Needham, Mozilla's product manager for add-ons, said in a blog post about the problem.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's achievement-unlocked department
Days after Mortal Kombat was inducted into the World Videogame Hall of Fame, multiple sources at its creator (Warner Bros Interactive studio NetherRealm) are alleging a toxic workplace with 100-hour workweeks, Variety reports, citing seven current and former full-time employees and contractors:
Reports of low pay and the crunch of extreme overtime as workers tried to finish the game on time initially surfaced about NetherRealm Studios on social media earlier in April, but those issues appear to be symptomatic of a long-term poisonous work culture at the studio, according to seven people who spoke to Variety -- five of whom asked that their names not be used for fear of reprisals... The common thread among all the sources was that they said they felt the pressure to work long hours came with the threat of being replaced or denied a chance at a more... One current employee said that he and others at the studio have been working 60 to 70 hours per week, seven days a week since January. While he said various factors are to blame for the crunch, such as poor communication and mismanagement, he cited a January marketing event for "Mortal Kombat 11," called MK Day, which put the studio behind significantly...
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's loves-me-not department
This week Facebook announced a new feature that let's you tell the service that you have a "secret crush" on up to nine Facebook friends, reports the Bay Area News Group:
Facebook will send you a notification if a person has added you as one of their secret crushes. However, you don't get to know who that person is unless you happened to have put them on your crush list. At that point, Facebook -- because it really does know everything about everything you do at all times -- will then match you together and reveal your crushed to one another. You also have to be signed up for a Facebook Dating profile in order to get the crush notifications....
Facebook Dating and Secret Crush won't be available in America until later this year. But if you live in Canada, Mexico, Argentina or 16 other countries... well, you can let the crushing begin now.
The Guardian describes it as "harking back to Facebook's humble beginnings as a tool for ranking strangers' attractiveness... Or you could always, you know, try telling them in person." And other sites also gave the feature a negative review. BGR says Facebook's new feature "isn't cute, it's creepy," adding "it would be foolish to trust the company with even more sensitive data about yourself."
But the harshest response came from Mashable, which writes that "the whole point of a secret crush is obviously to keep it a secret. The term really could not be clearer." They call Facebook's proposed solution "truly, madly, deeply sad... We as a society rely on tech for so much, but we shouldn't rely on it for declarations of love. We have to be braver than that."
Or, in the words of one Twitter user, "this is dumb as shit just tell them you like them cowards."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's more-meat department
"As Africans get richer, they will eat more meat and live longer, healthier lives," writes the Economist.
PolygamousRanchKid shares their report:
In the decade to 2017 global meat consumption rose by an average of 1.9% a year and fresh dairy consumption by 2.1% -- both about twice as fast as population growth. Almost four-fifths of all agricultural land is dedicated to feeding livestock, if you count not just pasture but also cropland used to grow animal feed... It is largely through eating more pork and dairy that Chinese diets have come to resemble Western ones, rich in protein and fat. And it is mostly because their diets have altered that Chinese people have changed shape. The average 12-year-old urban boy was nine centimetres taller in 2010 than in 1985, the average girl seven centimetres taller. Boys in particular have also grown fatter...
The shift from pork to beef in the world's most populous country is bad news for the environment. Because pigs require no pasture, and are efficient at converting feed into flesh, pork is among the greenest of meats. Cattle are usually much less efficient, although they can be farmed in different ways. And because cows are ruminants, they belch methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. A study of American farm data in 2014 estimated that, calorie for calorie, beef production requires three times as much animal feed as pork production and produces almost five times as much greenhouse gases. Other estimates suggest it uses two and a half times as much water...
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's meaty-investments department
"Investors have a big appetite for fake meat," writes the Associated Press.
The shares of Beyond Meat, the purveyor of plant-based burgers and sausages, more than doubled Thursday in its Nasdaq debut. It's the first pure-play maker of vegan "meat" to go public, according to Renaissance Capital, which researches and tracks IPOs. Beyond Meat raised about $240 million selling 9.6 million shares at $25 each. Those shares rose 163 percent to close at $65.75.
The 10-year-old company has attracted celebrity investors like Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and actor Leonardo DiCaprio and buzz for placing its products in burger joints like Carl's Jr. It sells to 30,000 grocery stores, restaurants and schools in the U.S., Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom and Israel... Still, Beyond Meat has never made an annual profit, losing $30 million last year. It's also facing serious competition from other "new meat" companies like Impossible Foods and traditional players like Tyson Foods Inc. Tyson recently sold a stake in Beyond Meat because it plans to develop its own alternative meat.
The IPO comes amid growing consumer interest in plant-based foods for their presumed health and environmental benefits. U.S. sales of plant-based meats jumped 42 percent between March 2016 and March 2019 to a total of $888 million, according to Nielsen. Traditional meat sales rose 1 percent to $85 billion in that same time frame. The trend is a global one. U.K. sales of meat alternatives jumped 18 percent over the last year, while sales of traditional meat and poultry slid 2 percent... The company says a plant-based burger takes 99 percent less water and 93 percent less land to produce than a beef burger, and generates 90 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's (F)ear-(U)ncertainty-(D)oubt department
Long-time Slashdot reader chicksdaddy writes:
Some of the world's leading cybersecurity experts have come together to counter electronics and technology industry efforts to paint proposed right to repair laws in 20 states as a cyber security risk.
The experts have launched securepairs.org, a group that is galvanizing information security industry support for right to repair laws that are being debated in state capitols.
Among the experts who are stepping forward is a who's who of the information security space, including cryptography experts Bruce Schneier of IBM and Harvard University and Jon Callas of ACLU, secure coding gurus Gary McGraw of Cigital and Chris Wysopal of Veracode, bug bounty pioneer Katie Moussouris of Luta Security, hardware hackers Joe Grand (aka KingPin) and Billy Rios of Whitescope, nmap creator Gordon "Fyodor" Lyon, Johannes Ullrich of SANS Internet Storm Center and Dan Geer, the CISO of In-Q-Tel. Together, they are calling out electronics and technology industry efforts to keep replacement parts, documentation and diagnostic tools for digital devices secret in the name of cyber security.
"False and misleading information about the cyber risks of repair is being directed at state legislators who are considering right to repair laws," said Paul Roberts, the founder of securepairs.org and Editor in Chief at The Security Ledger, an independent cyber security blog. "Securepairs.org is a voice of reason that will provide policy makers with accurate information about the security problems plaguing connected devices. We will make the case that right to repair laws will bring about a more secure, not less secure future."
"As cyber security professionals, we have a responsibility to provide accurate information and reliable advice to lawmakers who are considering Right to Repair laws," said Joe Grand of Grand Idea Studio, a hardware hacker and embedded systems security expert.
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's threat-vectors department
Dan Drollette calls our attention to America's Strategic National Stockpile for Biodefense, "a little-publicized $7 billion federal agency...key to defending the country from a biological attack."
"Its operators have to prepare for the unthinkable, such as what to do if 100,000 cases of some new disease with pandemic potential appears -- what global health officials have sometimes dubbed 'Disease X.'"
From the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:
[O]ne of the most surprising features about the stockpile is that in all likelihood, it is probably incomplete. The reason for this is that although the stockpile includes what are presumed to be the best medical countermeasures for a broad range of potential biothreats -- we don't know the exact inventory because the identity of the contents are closely held -- there is an even broader range of potential biothreat agents that an adversary could use in an attack. And stockpiling countermeasures for every conceivable individual agent is currently not feasible because countermeasures for some biothreat agents do not even exist yet -- and even if they did, the continuous maintenance of copious countermeasures may not be logistically or financially feasible. There is also the possibility that an adversary could select or engineer an agent that is simply resistant to all-known medications.
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's charges-about-charging department
"A new report by Which?, an advocacy group in the United Kingdom, found that Apple and HTC both overstate battery life on smartphones, sometimes 'significantly'..." reports Hot Hardware.
"In stark contrast, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony all underestimate or are conservative about battery life with the phones that were tested, based on the organization's methods."
"Which? tested nine iPhone models and found that all of them fell short of Apple's battery time claims. In fact, Apple stated that its batteries lasted between 18 percent and 51 percent longer than the Which? results," Which? said. The biggest discrepancy belonged to the iPhone XR, one of Apple's newest generation handsets... Apple claims that the iPhone XR has a talk time of up to 25 hours. However, Which? found that the battery lasted for 16 hours and 32 minutes during its own talk time tests. Apple's rated metric is 51 percent higher...
It seems clear that Which? is using a different method of testing than the manufacturers, but the disparity does not always work against the phone makers. For example, Which? found that Sony's devices lasted 21 percent longer than the manufacturer's own talk time battery life claims.
HTC cited "differences in setup and testing environments" that could explain "some variation," according to the article, and Apple also said they stand behind their battery life claims.
Apple says that the iPhone "is engineered to intelligently manage power usage to maximize battery life. Our testing methodology reflects that intelligence."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's antiretroviral-drugs department
The Guardian reports:
An end to the Aids epidemic could be in sight after a landmark study found men whose HIV infection was fully suppressed by antiretroviral drugs had no chance of infecting their partner. The success of the medicine means that if everyone with HIV were fully treated, there would be no further infections...
"It's brilliant -- fantastic. This very much puts this issue to bed," said Prof Alison Rodger from University College London, the co-leader of the paper published in the Lancet medical journal.... Dr Michael Brady, the medical director at the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "It is impossible to overstate the importance of these findings.
"The Partner study has given us the confidence to say, without doubt, that people living with HIV who are on effective treatment cannot pass the virus on to their sexual partners. This has incredible impact on the lives of people living with HIV and is a powerful message to address HIV-related stigma."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's SFW-becomes-NSFW department
Long-time Slashdot reader AmiMoJo quotes the Verge:
Verizon is seeking a buyer for Tumblr, the blogging platform it acquired along with other Yahoo assets in 2017... The platform hosts 465.4 million blogs and 172 billion posts, according to its about page... On Thursday evening, Pornhub VP Corey Price claimed in a statement to BuzzFeed News that his company is "extremely interested" in buying Tumblr and "very much looking forward to one day restoring it to its former glory with NSFW content..."
Price is referring to a major change implemented late last year, when Tumblr took the controversial step of banning porn on its platform. The company has been using AI to detect and automatically block images and videos that contain certain adult content. Existing posts containing porn were made private and are no longer publicly accessible.
Both Fortune and TechCrunch warned the acquisition might actually have bad consequences for adult content producers, since PornHub's owner MindGeek has been accused of ignoring piracy on its streaming sites, "a significant factor in the deflation of salaries for performers in the industry."
In a thread on Twitter, Engadget's senior news editor added "I guess the good news is that things PornHub announces as a publicity stunt don't usually happen, so..."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's language-preferences department
Stefan Nilsson, a computer science professor at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, recently explained "why I prefer Go to Java or Python," arguing that Go "makes it much easier for me to write good code."
Go is a minimalist language, and that's (mostly) a blessing. The formal Go language specification is only 50 pages, has plenty of examples, and is fairly easy to read. A skilled programmer could probably learn Go from the specification alone. The core language consists of a few simple, orthogonal features that can be combined in a relatively small number of ways. This makes it easier to learn the language, and to read and write programs. When you add new features to a language, the complexity doesn't just add up, it often multiplies: language features can interact in many ways. This is a significant problem -- language complexity affects all developers (not just the ones writing the spec and implementing the compiler).
Here are some core Go features:
- The built-in frameworks for testing and profiling are small and easy to learn, but still fully functional. There are plenty of third-party add-ons, but chances are you won't need them.
- It's possible to debug and profile an optimized binary running in production through an HTTP server.
- Go has automatically generated documentation with testable examples. Once again, the interface is minimal, and there is very little to learn.
- Go is strongly and statically typed with no implicit conversions, but the syntactic overhead is still surprisingly small. This is achieved by simple type inference in assignments together with untyped numeric constants. This gives Go stronger type safety than Java (which has implicit conversions), but the code reads more like Python (which has untyped variables).
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's my-life-is-my-own department
"Swapnil Bhartiya, the founder of TFIR, sat down with Guido van Rossum, the creator of Python, to talk about the origin of the language and why he stepped down from the leadership of the very project he created," writes sfcrazy.
In the interview, van Rossum emphasizes that he still remains one of the core developers, and provides this update:
"We're going to set up a new form of governance. We haven't decided yet what that will be. There is actually an interesting time ahead where we currently have about five of six different proposals for new governance systems, and in November there's going to be a vote among the core developers about that. And then there will be another vote that will actually determine specifically who is going to form the leadership. So we're starting out by choosing a constitution, and then using the rules set out in the selected constitution, we're going to vote for a leadership..."
He talks more about his resignation when asked if there's ever been an after-the-fact debate about decisions he's made:
"Well, that certainly happens too. What led to my resignation was a form of that, where on social media -- and I've got a feeling that social media are sort of getting out of hand... But for me personally, social media definitely sort of caused additional stress. And I did not enjoy it when core developers were sort of sending tweets where they were questioning my authority or the wisdom of my decisions, rather than saying it to my face and having an honest debate about things...
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's god-bless-americum department
Long-time Slashdot reader nojayuk quotes World Nuclear News (a publication of the World Nuclear Association):
The UK's National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and University of Leicester have generated usable electricity from the chemical element americium in what it believes to be a global first. The achievement is seen as a step towards potential use of americium in so-called space batteries, which may mean future space missions can be powered for up to 400 years.
Americium is an element not found in nature, but which is produced by the radioactive decay of plutonium -- which itself is produced during the operation of nuclear reactors. A team led by NNL has extracted americium from some of the UK's plutonium stocks, and used the heat generated from this highly radioactive material to generate electric current, which in turn lit up a small light bulb -- all within a specially shielded area of NNL's Central Laboratory in Cumbria, England.
The breakthrough means potential use of americium in radioisotope power systems for missions which would use the heat from americium pellets to power spacecraft heading into deep space or to challenging environments on planet surfaces where other power sources, such as solar panels, no longer function. In this way, NNL said, such space missions can carry on sending back vital images and data to Earth for many decades, far longer than would otherwise be possible.
Tim Tinsley, NNL's account director for the work, calls it "recycling something that is a waste from one industry into a significant asset in another," though he adds that the plutonium is not exactly being recycled. "We 'clean' the americium from it, which would have been a waste. With sufficient applications, all of the UK plutonium could be 'cleaned' of the americium. The returned plutonium is in a better condition, ready for further storage or reuse as nuclear fuel."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's AI-weirdness department
In December the breed registry for Thoroughbred horses released their list of the over 42,000 names for currently-registered racehorses. Then research scientist Janelle Shane turned their list into training data for two neural networks, reports Fast Company:
It came up with names like She's a Babe, North Storm, Fabulous Charm, Frisky Joe, and Velvet One, which are so good, it's kind of surprising they haven't already been used by the professional horse namers. Of course, not every name was quite as successful. For example, Ginky's Rental, Moretowiththebotterfron, Orcha Shuffleston, Oats and is Fuct, Pat's Glory Dance, Exclusive Bear, and The Madland Cookie. Although if I were a betting man, I would put all my nonexistent trust fund on Snuckles (or maybe Unbridled Dave or Pick's Lilver or maybe Pickle Rake or Rapple Musty. (Look, there's a reason I don't bet).
As an added treat, Shane opted to have a few of the names illustrated by BigGAN, a neural net that generates pictures. Unfortunately, according to Shane, "horse" was not an image option, so Shane used "horse cart" instead, resulting in some very interesting images.
In 2017 Shane trained a neural network on 162,000 Slashdot headlines, coming up with alternate reality-style headlines like "Microsoft To Develop Programming Law" and "More Pong Users for Kernel Project." But for racehorses, Shane points out that there's already a real-world prizewinner named "Cloud Computing" -- so there's obviously room for improvement.
And today the fastest horse in this year's Kentucky Derby was "Maximum Security", who ironically was disqualified for interference for the first time in the race's 145-year history, making the winner a 65-to-1 longshot named "Country House."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's data-avatars department
"People tend to think that the crazy amount of personal data gathering happening on the Internet is 'because companies otherwise wouldn't know who to target where with what product and at what price," writes Slashdot reader dryriver.
"But there are two problems with this reasoning..."
1) Experienced marketers already know how to sell products successfully to various demographics without needing trillions of data points on tens of millions of random internet users. They were able to pull off this feat long before the Internet even came into existence. They are not dumber or more incompetent today than they were 20 years ago. Internet data is not the only tool in their marketing toolbox.
2) Most products are not being improved significantly based on the data collected -- almost everything sold has obvious weakness, flaws, deficiencies and sometimes outright annoyances baked in that any good product designer would spot quite easily before the product is manufactured and shipped out. So you 1) already know how to target my demographic and 2) do not listen to my feedback even when I send it to you directly and really are not trying to improve your product to genuinely satisfy my needs.
Why all the crazy data gathering at all? Why do you need to know what news articles I read, what I type into a search engine, what I post in a comments section or whether I know "Bobby K. from back in high-school" on Facebook? Do you really need hundreds of Internet data points on me to design a decent laptop, TV, electric screwdriver, running shoe or lawnmower for my use?
We hear people saying big data is the new gold rush -- but can anyone explain in layman's terms what exactly it is that they're up to?
Leave your own thoughts in the comments. Why do companies need all that personal data they're collecting?Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's serious-potato-aim department
"Looking for some new sick burns to throw out at other players on Xbox Live? Microsoft's got you covered," reports Motherboard:
In its new community standards, published this week, the company's got some examples of acceptable trash talk, including gems like:
- Get destroyed. Can't believe you thought you were on my level.
- That was some serious potato aim. Get wrecked.
- Only reason you went positive was you spent all game camping. Try again, kid.
- Cheap win. Come at me when you can actually drive without running cars off the road.
- That sucked. Get good and then come back when your k/d's over 1....
"We get it -- gaming can be competitive and interactions with other players can get heated," the community standards state. "A little trash talk is an expected part of competitive multiplayer action, and that's not a bad thing. But hate has no place here, and what's not okay is when that trash talk turns into harassment." Microsoft defines acceptable trash talk as "light-hearted banter or bragging" that's focused directly on the game and "encourages healthy competition." Harassment is "negative behavior that's personalized, disruptive, or likely to make someone feel unwelcome or unsafe..."
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's hoping-no-bad-people-show-up department
"American Homes For Rent is a publicly traded company that owns more than 50,000 properties," writes Slashdot reader McGruber -- calling our attention to a glaring security error. "Its website has a tab on its listings that says 'Let Yourself In.' If you click it, you are taken to Rently.com, a website that sells the lockbox codes to anyone for only $0.99." And those lockboxes contain a key to the vacant home being advertised.
But what's to stop a scammer from pretending that they're the home-owner, and then sending you the code for that same lockbox so you can tour "their" home -- before they then ask you to wire a deposit?
Ciarra McConnell was one of the scam's "several" unsuspecting victims, reports CBS46 in Atlanta:
"The lockbox is what made it seem legitimate, and he gave me the key," said Ciarra. Once she got the key, the scammer emailed a phony lease. Ciarra then wired a $1,900 deposit and moved in. The next morning an American Homes For Rent employee was at her door. "They were just like yup, nope sorry we can't do anything for you but you need to get out," she explained.
The scammers post duplicates of real home listings on Craigslist -- and then ask to be paid through a bitcoin ATM.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's crime-Rings department
Amazon Ring is building "a team of news editors who deliver breaking crime news alerts to our neighbors," reports the director Nieman Journalism Lab, in a post from The Atlantic:
That's right: A doorbell company wants to report crime news. It already is, actually. Several people on LinkedIn describe their jobs as "news editors" at Ring... I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is a really bad idea. Crime has declined enormously over the past 25 years, but people's perception of how much crime there is has not. A majority of Americans have said that crime is increasing in each of the past 16 years -- despite crime in each major category being significantly lower today than it used to be. A 2016 Pew survey found that only 15 percent of Americans believed (correctly) that crime was lower in 2016 than it had been in 2008 -- versus 57 percent who thought it had gotten worse...
These mistaken beliefs are driven largely by the editorial decisions of local media -- especially local TV newscasts, which are just as bloody today as they were when murder rates were twice as high. There's a term for it: "mean world syndrome," the phenomenon where media consumption makes people see the world as more violent and dangerous than it really is... But news organizations have multiple and sometimes conflicting incentives that might affect how they present the local police blotter. A company that sells security-optimized doorbells has only one incentive: emphasizing that the world is a scary place, and you need to buy our products to protect you....
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