By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department
Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia who first coined the term "net neutrality," writes for the New York Times: Allowing such censorship is anathema to the internet's (and America's) founding spirit. And by going this far, the F.C.C. may also have overplayed its legal hand. So drastic is the reversal of policy (if, as expected, the commission approves Mr. Pai's proposal next month), and so weak is the evidence to support the change, that it seems destined to be struck down in court. The problem for Mr. Pai is that government agencies are not free to abruptly reverse longstanding rules on which many have relied without a good reason (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled), such as a change in factual circumstances. A mere change in F.C.C. ideology isn't enough. As the Supreme Court has said, a federal agency must "examine the relevant data and articulate a satisfactory explanation for its action." Given that net neutrality rules have been a huge success by most measures, the justification for killing them would have to be very strong. It isn't. In fact, it's very weak. From what we know so far, Mr. Pai's rationale for eliminating the rules is that cable and phone companies, despite years of healthy profit, need to earn even more money than they already do -- that is, that the current rates of return do not yield adequate investment incentives. More specifically, Mr. Pai claims that industry investments have gone down since 2015, the year the Obama administration last strengthened the net neutrality rules.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's speaking-of-repealing-things department
Long-time Slashdot reader speedplane writes:
Yes, we've all heard that net neutrality is on its way out, and it seems NPR was able to snag one of the few (the only?) interview's of Ajit Pai on its effect. Sadly, NPR's Rachel Martin stuck to very broad and basic questions, and failed to press Pai on the change of policy. That said, it's worth a listen.
Pai insists that "We saw companies like Facebook, and Amazon and Google become global powerhouses precisely because we had light-touch rules that applied to this Internet. The Internet wasn't broken in 2015 when these heavy-handed regulations were adopted, and once we remove them, I think we'll continue to see the infrastructure investment that will benefit digital consumers and entrepreneurs alike... I've talked to a lot of companies that say, look, we want to be able to invest in these networks, especially in rural and low-income urban areas, but the more heavy-handed the regulations are, the less likely we can build a business case for doing it."
But New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says he's spent six months investigating "a massive scheme to corrupt the FCC's notice and comment process" for net neutrality, adding that "the FCC has refused multiple requests for crucial evidence." (Nine requests over five months were ignored.) And now over 65,000 people have signed a new online petition at WhiteHouse.gov calling for the immediate removal of Ajit Pai as the FCC's chairman, calling him "a threat to our freedoms."
Meanwhile, The Verge has compiled "a list of the lawmakers who voted to betray you," with each listing also including "how much money they received from the telecom industry in their most recent election cycle."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's managing-memories department
Open source guru Eric S. Raymond followed up his post on alternatives to C by explaining why he won't touch C++ any more, calling the story "a launch point for a disquisition on the economics of computer-language design, why some truly unfortunate choices got made and baked into our infrastructure, and how we're probably going to fix them."
My problem with [C++] is that it piles complexity on complexity upon chrome upon gingerbread in an attempt to address problems that cannot actually be solved because the foundational abstractions are leaky. It's all very well to say "well, don't do that" about things like bare pointers, and for small-scale single-developer projects (like my eqn upgrade) it is realistic to expect the discipline can be enforced. Not so on projects with larger scale or multiple devs at varying skill levels (the case I normally deal with)... C is flawed, but it does have one immensely valuable property that C++ didn't keep -- if you can mentally model the hardware it's running on, you can easily see all the way down. If C++ had actually eliminated C's flaws (that is, been type-safe and memory-safe) giving away that transparency might be a trade worth making. As it is, nope.
He calls Java a better attempt at fixing C's leaky abstractions, but believes it "left a huge hole in the options for systems programming that wouldn't be properly addressed for another 15 years, until Rust and Go." He delves into a history of programming languages, touching on Lisp, Python, and programmer-centric languages (versus machine-centric languages), identifying one of the biggest differentiators as "the presence or absence of automatic memory management." Falling machine-resource costs led to the rise of scripting languages and Node.js, but Raymond still sees Rust and Go as a response to the increasing scale of projects.
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's ice-apocalypse department
"We may be headed for an ice apocalypse which could result in the flooding of coastal cities before the end of this century," writes long-time Slashdot reader whoever57. Grist reports on two of the largest and fastest-melting glaciers in Antarctica which "hold human civilization hostage."
There's no doubt this ice will melt as the world warms. The vital question is when... Together, they act as a plug holding back enough ice to pour 11 feet of sea-level rise into the world's oceans -- an amount that would submerge every coastal city on the planet... Each new iceberg that breaks away exposes taller and taller cliffs... In the past few years, scientists have identified marine ice-cliff instability as a feedback loop that could kickstart the disintegration of the entire West Antarctic ice sheet this century -- much more quickly than previously thought. Minute-by-minute, huge skyscraper-sized shards of ice cliffs would crumble into the sea, as tall as the Statue of Liberty and as deep underwater as the height of the Empire State Building. The result: a global catastrophe the likes of which we've never seen... When [land-based ice] falls into the ocean, it adds to the overall volume of liquid in the seas. Thus, sea-level rise.... All this could play out in a mere 20 to 50 years -- much too quickly for humanity to adapt...
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's free-shipping department
Vox reports on Amazon's recent push for "corporate sustainability":
It plans to have 15 rooftop solar systems, with a total capacity of around 41 MW, deployed atop fulfillment centers by the end of this year, with plans to have 50 such systems installed by 2020. Amazon was the lead corporate purchaser of green energy in 2016. That year, it also announced its largest wind energy project to date, the 253 MW Amazon Wind Farm Texas. Overall, the company says, it has "announced or commenced construction on wind and solar projects that will generate a total of 3.6 million megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy annually."
But here's the most interesting part. GeekWire reports:
Amazon is moving ahead with a unique plan to use heat generated from data centers in the nearby Westin Building to warm some of its new buildings downtown. The system transfers the heat from the data centers via water piped underground to the Amazon buildings. The water is then returned to the Westin Building once it's cooled down to help cool the data centers. The setup will be unusual. "Certainly there are other people using waste heat from server farms but you don't hear a lot about tying it in with buildings across the street from each other," said Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's don't-smoke-em-if-you-got-em department
An anonymous reader quotes NBC News:
Smoking kills 1,200 people a day. The tobacco companies worked to make them as addictive as possible. There is no such thing as a safer cigarette. Ads with these statements hit the major television networks and newspapers this weekend, but they are not being placed by the American Cancer Society or other health groups. They're being placed by major tobacco companies, under the orders of the federal courts. "The ads will finally run after 11 years of appeals by the tobacco companies aimed at delaying and weakening them," the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, National African American Tobacco Prevention Network and the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund said in a joint statement.
"It's a pretty significant moment," the American Cancer Society's Cliff Douglas said. "This is the first time they have had to âfess up and tell the whole truth." The Justice Department started its racketeering lawsuit against the tobacco companies in 1999, seeking to force them to make up for decades of deception. Federal district judge Gladys Kessler ruled in 2006 that they'd have to pay for and place the ads, but the companies kept tying things up with appeals. "Employing the highest paid lawyers in America, the tobacco companies used every tool at their disposal to delay and complicate this litigation to avoid their day of reckoning," Douglas added.
The ads will inform Americans TV viewers that "More people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes, and alcohol, combined," according to one of the ads." Besides $170 billion every year in medical costs -- plus another $156 billion in lost productivity -- roughly one in five deaths in America are smoking-related, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with cigarettes killing 480,000 Americans every year.Read Replies (0)
Did Elon Musk Create Bitcoin?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '17 at 02:44 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's secret-identities department
An anonymous reader quotes CryptoCoinsNews:
It should be no surprise that the elusive hunt for Satoshi, often referred to as the father of Bitcoin, has led to the theory that Elon Musk has been hiding a big secret from all of us. Sahil Gupta, a computer science student at Yale University and former intern at SpaceX, believes just this... Bitcoin was written by someone with mastery of C++, a language Musk has utilized heavily at SpaceX. Musk's 2013 Hyperloop paper also provided insight into his deep understanding of cryptography and economics...
One week before Gupta's Medium post on Musk, another Medium blog was published with a theory that Musk invented Bitcoin for future use on Mars. As radical as this may sounds, the point around Paypal in this article was relevant. Musk has already revolutionized digital currency with his founding role in Paypal, which he sold to eBay in 2002. The author claims Musk is under a non-compete from this deal, leaving him to secrecy about his role in Bitcoin.
Gupta's article cites other clues that suport his theory, including Musk's interest in solving global problems, his unusual silence on the topic of cryptocurrencies, and the fact that "Elon has said publicly he doesn't own any bitcoin, which is consistent with a 'Good Satoshi' who deleted his private keys. This means Satoshi's one million coins (worth about $8 billion) are gone for good." And of course, with a net worth of $19.7 billion, Elon Musk is one of the few people who wouldn't need the money.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's you-may-already-have-won department
An anonymous reader quotes the AP:
The FBI failed to notify scores of U.S. officials that Russian hackers were trying to break into their personal Gmail accounts despite having evidence for at least a year that the targets were in the Kremlin's crosshairs, The Associated Press has found. Nearly 80 interviews with Americans targeted by Fancy Bear, a Russian government-aligned cyberespionage group, turned up only two cases in which the FBI had provided a heads-up. Even senior policymakers discovered they were targets only when the AP told them, a situation some described as bizarre and dispiriting.
"It's utterly confounding," said Philip Reiner, a former senior director at the National Security Council, who was notified by the AP that he was targeted in 2015. "You've got to tell your people. You've got to protect your people." The FBI declined to answer most questions from AP about how it had responded to the spying campaign... A senior FBI official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the hacking operation because of its sensitivity, declined to comment on timing but said that the bureau was overwhelmed by the sheer number of attempted hacks... A few more were contacted by the FBI after their emails were published in the torrent of leaks that coursed through last year's electoral contest. But to this day, some leak victims have not heard from the bureau at all.
Here's an interesting statistic from the AP's analysis. "Out of 312 U.S. military and government figures targeted by Fancy Bear, 131 clicked the links sent to them."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's hand-to-handset-combat department
An anonymous reader quotes BGR:
A few days after the iPhone X launched in stores, Samsung came out with an anti-iPhone campaign... I actually did not expect Samsung to pull off cheap tricks like that, but it sure looks like the iPhone X is a pretty scary device to fight against. But what probably nobody saw coming is Motorola trolling Samsung with an ad of its own... The "Up-upgrade to Motorola" ad offers the alternate ending to Samsung's ad, as Motorola explains on its Facebook page... Motorola doesn't even mention the iPhone X, so if you haven't seen Samsung's ad, you'd think it's just going after Galaxy handsets.
Elsewhere on Facebook, Motorola specifically referenced the attachable accessories available for their Moto Z when mocking the Galaxy Note 8.
"Why settle for edge-to-edge, when you could project your screen up to 70 inches?"Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's living-for-almost-a-century department
"Computer pioneer Geoff Tootill passed away in October," writes long-time Slashdot reader tigersha. Born in 1922, Tootill began his career troubleshooting airborne radar systems during World War II, leading him to some pioneering research in the late 1940s. "He worked on the first computer that stored a program in main memory, as opposed to a paper tape, and actually had the opportunity to teach Alan Turing and debug one of Turing's programs." The Guardian remembers:
The computer could store just 32 instructions or numbers using a single cathode ray tube. The machine first worked in June 1948, taking 52 minutes to find the highest factor of 262,144, involving about 3.5 million arithmetic operations. The following year, Tootill transferred to Ferranti, the Manchester-based electrical engineering company, to specify a full-scale computer...the world's first commercially available computer.
That was the Ferranti Mark I, first released in 1951.
Tootill passed away at the age of 95.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's bidding-on-bots department
schwit1 tells us that "Robby the Robot" -- a prop from the 1956 movie Forbidden Planet -- has just been auctioned for $5.3 million, making it the second most-expensive movie prop in history. New Atlas reports:
The complete Robby suit, control panel, his jeep, numerous spares, alternate original "claw" hands, and the original wooden stage shipping crates, were sold Tuesday by Bonhams in New York for US $5,375,000 including buyers premium. The only purpose-built movie prop to have ever sold for more is Marilyn Monroe's "subway dress" from The Seven Year Itch (1955) which was sold by Profiles in History for $5,520,000 (including buyers premium) in 2011.
After Forbidden Planet, Robby the Robot reappeared in a movie called The Invisible Boy, and later had a climactic showdown with the robot from Lost in Space. He also made appearances on other TV shows, including The Twilight Zone, Mork & Mindy, and The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. And he even appeared in commercials, including one warning about the dangers of depleting the ozone layer -- plus a commercial for Charmin bathroom tissue.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's death-by-lawyer department
New York Times has an article warning that the Patent Appeal and Trial Board is being challenged on the basis that patents represent real property and that a government agency is not empowered to take real property.
Here's a quotes from the Times article. (Non-paywalled version here):
In the five years since it began its work -- a result of the America Invents Act of 2011 -- the Patent Trial and Appeal Board has saved companies more than $2 billion in legal fees alone, according to Joshua Landau, patent counsel at the Computer and Communications Industry Association, offering an expeditious and relatively cheap avenue to challenge patents of doubtful validity. The benefits of stopping bad patents from snaking their way through the economy have been even greater. Companies no longer have to pay ransom so the threat of lawsuits over dubious royalty payments -- filed by aggressive litigants known as trolls -- will go away... But for all the benefits of culling faulty intellectual-property rights, the board is under existential threat. Next week, the Supreme Court will hear a challenge that the patent office's new procedure is unconstitutional...Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's bigger-Beowulf-clusters department
Slashdot reader overheardinpdx shares a video from the SC17 supercomputing conference where Bruce Tulloch from BitScope "describes a low-cost Rasberry Pi cluster that Los Alamos National Lab is using to simulate large-scale supercomputers." Slashdot reader mspohr describes them as "five rack-mount Bitscope Cluster Modules, each with 150 Raspberry Pi boards with integrated network switches."
With each of the 750 chips packing four cores, it offers a 3,000-core highly parallelizable platform that emulates an ARM-based supercomputer, allowing researchers to test development code without requiring a power-hungry machine at significant cost to the taxpayer. The full 750-node cluster, running 2-3 W per processor, runs at 1000W idle, 3000W at typical and 4000W at peak (with the switches) and is substantially cheaper, if also computationally a lot slower. After development using the Pi clusters, frameworks can then be ported to the larger scale supercomputers available at Los Alamos National Lab, such as Trinity and Crossroads.
BitScope's Tulloch points out the cluster is fully integrated with the network switching infrastructure at Los Alamos National Lab, and applauds the Raspberry Bi cluster as "affordable, scalable, highly parallel testbed for high-performance-computing system-software developers."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's surfing-on-SDNs department
Robert Cringely has a plan to ensure that internet providers will never profit from the end of net neutrality:
We are being depended upon to act like sheep -- Internet browsing sheep, if such exist -- and without a plan that's exactly what we'll be. The key to my plan is that this is a rare instance where consumers are not alone. There are just as many or more huge companies that would prefer to keep Net Neutrality as those that oppose it... Those companies in favor of Net Neutrality obviously include the big streamers like Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube and a bunch of others. They also includes nearly every big Internet concern including Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft. Those are some pretty big friends to have on your side -- our side...
So I suggest we all join ZeroTier (ZT), a thriving networking startup operating in Irvine, California. There are other companies like it but I just think ZeroTier is presently the best. ZeroTier is a very sophisticated Virtual Private Network (VPN) company that has created a Software Defined Network that goes beyond what normal VPNs are capable of. To your computer or almost any other networked device (even your smart phone), ZT looks like an Ethernet port, whether your device has Ethernet or not. Through that virtual Ethernet port you connect to a virtual IPv6 Local Area Network that's as big as the Internet itself, though the only users on this overlay network are ZT members.
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Mozilla-strikes-back department
Wired's senior staff writer David Pierce says Firefox Quantum "feels like a bunch of power users got together and built a browser that fixed all the little things that annoyed them about other browsers."
The new Firefox actually manages to evolve the entire browser experience, recognizing the multi-device, ultra-mobile lives we all lead and building a browser that plays along. It's a browser built with privacy in mind, automatically stopping invisible trackers and making your history available to you and no one else. It's better than Chrome, faster than Chrome, smarter than Chrome. It's my new go-to browser.
The speed thing is real, by the way. Mozilla did a lot of engineering work to allow its browser to take advantage of all the multi-core processing power on modern devices, and it shows... I routinely find myself with 30 or 40 tabs open while I'm researching a story, and at that point Chrome effectively drags my computer into quicksand. So far, I haven't been able to slow Firefox Quantum down at all, no matter how many tabs I use... [But] it's the little things, the things you do with and around the web pages themselves, that make Firefox really work. For instance: If you're looking at a page on your phone and want to load that same page on your laptop, you just tap "Send to Device," pick your laptop, and it opens and loads in the background as if it had always been there. You can save pages to a reading list, or to the great read-it-later service Pocket (which Mozilla owns), both with a single tap...
Mozilla has a huge library of add-ons, and if you use the Foxified extension, you can even run Chrome extensions in Firefox. Best I can tell, there's nothing you can do in Chrome that you can't in Firefox. And Firefox does them all faster.
I've noticed that when you open a new tab in Chrome's mobile version, it forces you to also see news headlines that Google picked out for you. But how about Slashdot's readers? Chrome, Firefox -- or undecided?Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's thankful-investors department
An anonymous reader quotes CNBC:
Bitcoin is getting a Black Friday boost. The digital currency climbed above $8,700 to a record high Saturday following increased investor interest around the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday and Black Friday shopping. Bitcoin rose more than 6 percent to a record high of $8,725.13, according to CoinDesk, trading around $8,674 midday on Saturday. [Bitcoin passed $8,000 for the first time just six days earlier]. Another digital currency, ethereum, also hit an all-time high of $485.18, according to CoinMarketCap [rising more than 50% from $300 as recently as mid-November]...
The largest bitcoin exchange in the U.S., Coinbase, added about 100,000 accounts between Wednesday and Friday -- just around Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday -- to a total of 13.1 million. That's according to public data available on Coinbase's website and historical records compiled by Alistair Milne, co-founder and chief investment officer of Altana Digital Currency Fund. Coinbase had about 4.9 million users last November, Milne's data showed... The world's largest futures exchange, CME, is planning to list bitcoin futures in the second week of December...another step in establishing bitcoin as a legitimate asset class.Read Replies (0)