By EditorDavid from Slashdot's yellow-pages-of-the-internet department
"Reddit has been actively luring advertisers as it attempts to take advantage of its vast audience to build its business," reports CNBC, adding that Reddit "has indicated it wants to increase advertising across the site, including more display and mobile ads and sponsored opportunities."
An anonymous reader quotes their report:
The 13-year-old company is now trying to expand and is making an aggressive push to get advertisers on board... [R]epresentatives from a half-dozen ad agencies told CNBC they've been pitched by Reddit within the past year about the company's plans to help brands target users. CNBC also obtained a 28-page presentation that Reddit has been sharing with advertisers...
Reddit is taking proactive steps to help clients protect their brands. In addition to its system of volunteer moderators and upvoting as a way to police content, three agencies that spoke with CNBC about Reddit said the company has discussed investing in technology like natural language bots to find questionable posts and hiring more people to monitor the threads. Reddit's ad deck has a section dedicated to "brand safety," where it explains how it places advertiser content in "white-listed" categories that are safe and has a team that watches over it. "Our dedicated account team constantly monitors Your Reddit Ad to ensure engagement is relevant and positive -- creating a 'walled garden' of conversation you can moderate or ban as needed," the slide says.
The artilce points out that Reddit is the third most-trafficked site in the U.S., but has far less ad revenue than other tech giants.
Google: $95 billion in 2018Facebook: $40 billionAmazon: $2 billion (from advertising) in the last three monthsTwitter: $655 million in the first three months of 2018Reddit: Over $100 million projected for 2018Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's rich-man-poor-man department
Facebook's soaring stock price isn't the only reason 34-year-old Mark Zuckerberg is now richer than 87-year-old Warren Buffett. An anonymous reader quotes Inc:
There's another, more important reason that Zuckerberg is now worth more: Buffett has been doing a great job of giving his money away, something that he, Zuckerberg, Gates, and most of the world's most well-known billionaires have pledged to do.
Buffett has given Berkshire Hathaway stock now worth more than $50 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation alone. When it comes to giving, Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have a lot of catching up to do. They appear to have devoted well under $10 billion so far to philanthropy... On the other hand, Zuckerberg, is more than 50 years younger than Buffett, so they likely have a lot more time in which to do their giving.
Three years ago the couple pledged to give away 99% of their net worth within their lifetimes.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's power-up department
Digital Trends reports:
Tesla's largest-ever Powerpack installation may be coming to Northern California. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) applied to the California Public Utilities Commission for approval for a utility-owned 182.5 MW energy storage farm using Tesla Powerpacks at the company's energy storage site in Moss Landing... The Tesla project, however, would have an expansion capacity of 1.1 GW. The storage projects' purpose is to help keep electrical power levels even for PG&E customers. The storage facilities would feed power to the grid when consumption exceeds normal levels and during blackouts or other service interruptions.
Tesla's giant battery in Australia has already reduced grid service costs by 90%. And speaking of power sources, long-time Slasdot reader judgecorp writes:
A disused Stanley Black & Decker factory in New Britain, Hartford County.CT, will get a 20MW micro-grid powered by fuel cells, according to the first phase of a plan unveiled by the State Governor. It's a big deal because it will be the largest indoor micro-grid in the world, and will help provide a reliable power source for a data center in the old factory. Along with the other phases of the project, Governor Dannel Malloy hopes the deal will provide 3,000 jobs and lots of tax revenue.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's city-of-strangers department
Police officers have just begun testing facial recognition software in London. Slashdot reader Bruce66423 reports:
After all the concern about the [first] trial, it appears to have been a bust. "Police have admitted that no one was arrested during a trial of controversial facial recognition technology, which sparked privacy and human rights concerns," reports the Independent. On the other hand, this may lead us to get to get complacent about the threat that is out there.
Detective Superintendent Bernie Galopin, the force's lead for facial recognition technology, pointed out that "All alerts against the watchlist will be deleted after 30 days and faces in the database that did not generate an alert were deleted immediately." But an advocacy and policy officer from the National Council for Civil Liberties complains that pedestrians were never informed what was happening -- except for one man who was apparently stopped erroneously after a "false positive" match (which the officers failed to first confirm on their own).
"Opponents argue that the software currently being used by British police forces is 'staggeringly inaccurate' and has a chilling effect on society," reports the Independent, "while supporters see it as a powerful public protection tool with the ability to help track terrorists, wanted criminals and vulnerable people....
"The use of facial recognition is more prevalent in the U.S., where it was used to track down an alleged mass shooter following a massacre at a newspaper's office last week."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's drinks-from-dwarf-planets department
This week NASA's Dawn space probe swooped within 22 miles of the surface of Ceres, the dwarf planet that's the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. NASA's JPL reports:
In more than three years of orbiting Ceres, Dawn's lowest altitude before this month was 240 miles (385 kilometers), so the data from this current orbit bring the dwarf planet into much sharper focus... "[T]he results are better than we had ever hoped," said Dawn's chief engineer and project manager, Marc Rayman, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "Dawn is like a master artist, adding rich details to the otherworldly beauty in its intimate portrait of Ceres."
EarthSky reports NASA captured an up-close glimpse of those tantalizing bright spots on Ceres:
The spots, evaporate deposits composed of sodium carbonate, are thought to be left over from when water came up to the surface from deeper below and then evaporated in the extremely tenuous and sporadic water vapor "atmosphere." That water could be either from a shallow sub-surface reservoir or from a deeper reservoir of salty brines percolating upward through fractures. The deposits in Occator Crater are the largest and brightest of these deposits. As with many discoveries in planetary science, they were completely unexpected, and show that Ceres is not just an inert ball of rock and ice.
Slashdot reader thegameiam adds:
Ceres may have more fresh water than exists on Earth. Perhaps this would make colonization of the asteroid belt more of a possibility?Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's job-queue department
"The GNOME Foundation is pleased to be able to offer paid employment to exceptional people who have the drive to help us complete our mission," reads a new announcement. Gnome.org explains:
Today, July 6th 2018, the GNOME Foundation has announced a number of positions it is recruiting for to help drive the GNOME project and Free Software on the desktop. As previously announced, this has been made possible thanks to a generous grant that the Foundation has received, enabling us to accelerate this expansion. "These positions are key to ensuring that the Foundation remains sustainable and that we are able to support the community in key areas," said Neil McGovern, Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation.
The Foundation is currently recruiting for four posts:
Development Coordinator. This will ensure that we receive sufficient funds to continue our work delivering free software.
Program Coordinator. The Program Coordinator will free up time from those involved in organizational, administrative and logistical problems.
Devops/Sysadmin. The systems and services we run need proper maintenance and care. As Flathub [An app store and build service for Linux] continues to grow, more support is needed to achieve this.
GTK+ core developer. GTK+ is core to our entire platform. Investing in development and maintenance of this toolkit will benefit the whole GNU/Linux ecosystem.
"The Foundation is keen to hear from any person who is interested in applying for one of these posts."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Why do companies deploy open office layouts? A major justification is the idea that removing spatial boundaries between colleagues will generate increased collaboration and smarter collective intelligence. Cal Newport: As I learned in a fascinating new study, published earlier this week in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, there was good reason to believe that this might be true. As the study's authors, Ethan Bernstein and Stephen Turban, note" [T]he notion that propinquity, or proximity, predicts social interaction -- driving the formation of social ties and therefore information exchange and collaboration -- is one of the most robust findings in sociology." But when researchers turned their attention to the specific impact of open offices on interaction, the results were mixed. Perhaps troubled by this inconsistency, Bernstein and Turban decided to get to the bottom of this issue. Prior studies of open offices had relied on imprecise measures such as self-reported activity logs to quantify interactions before and after a shift to an open office plan. Bernstein and Turban tried something more accurate: they had subjects wear devices around their neck that directly measured every face-to-face encounter. They also used email and IM server logs to determine exactly how much the volume of electronic interactions changed. Here's a summary of what they found: Contrary to what's predicted by the sociological literature, the 52 participants studied spent 72% less time interacting face-to-face after the shift to an open office layout. To make these numbers concrete: In the 15 days before the office redesign, participants accumulated an average of around 5.8 hours of face-to-face interaction per person per day. After the switch to the open layout, the same participants dropped to around 1.7 hours of face-to-face interaction per day. At the same time, the shift to an open office significantly increased digital communication. After the redesign, participants sent 56% more emails (and were cc'd 41% more times), and the number of IM messages sent increased by 67%.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's legacy-systems department
Slashdot reader yeokm1 recently installed Linux on a 1993 PC. But in a new blog post he lists every keyboard he's owned over the last 12 years -- to explain why he's now typing on a 5.3-pound Model M keyboard from 1987 that's older than he is, "with its legendary buckling-spring switch."
It'll probably last me the decades to the day that keyboards should become obsolete... It is sad that with all the advancements in computing, the one piece of equipment that we use the most to interact with our computers has regressed technologically in the name of costs. We don't usually expect to be using 30-year-old hardware on a daily productive basis but the IBM Model M keyboard is that exception.
Today, I don't really care about fancy features like great aesthetics, RGB backlights, media keys and extra USB ports. I just need something that gives me great tactile feedback, be durable, enable me to easily swap keys to fit my Programmer Dvorak layout. The Model M fits my needs perfectly.
"Really can use this as a weapon," the blog post jokes. There's even a video "to show clicky sound difference" between two different versions of the Model M -- and in true geek fashion, he even removes the casing screws to see whether the inside had rivets or bolts.
The original submission drew a tip from long-time Slashdot reader Spazmania based on his own experiences with the Model M. "The thing I most like? There are little plastic caps on the keys. When they get dirty I can pop them off and run them through the dishwasher."
Any other Slashdot readers want to share their own experiences with Model M keyboards?Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's software-gone-awry department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Earlier this week, an algorithm made an absurd choice. Google AdSense, Google's advertising program that makes up the bulk of the tech giant's advertising revenue, decided that a web page about a decades-old bill about sexual abuse was "adult content," and wasn't allowed to display ads anymore. The page, which is at least six years old and contains strictly legislative information about a bill called the "Child Sexual Abuse and Pornography Act of 1986" on free legislative research and tracking website GovTrack.us, tripped the AdSense algorithm that decides what pages are allowed to run ads. This single, very dry page being flagged as "adult content" is most likely a minor fluke in the AdSense algorithm, but it's a perfect example of how a tiny tweak in the way a platform uses automation to enforce policies can send a ripple through seemingly-unrelated parts of the internet. The page was flagged by Adsense as "policy non-compliant" on Monday, with Google citing the page's "violations" in a summary of the AdSense adult content policy. Here's what Google told GovTrack: "As stated in our program policies, we may not show Google ads on pages with content that is sexually suggestive or intended to sexually arouse. This includes, but is not limited to: pornographic images, videos, or games; sexually gratifying text, images, audio, or video; pages that provide links for or drive traffic to content that is sexually suggestive or intended to sexually arouse." The GovTrack page contains none of these, yet the page still can't run AdSense.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's high-tech-solutions department
Kenya will reportedly use Alphabet's system of internet balloons to connect its rural population to the web. The balloons, known as Project Loon, were developed by Alphabet's X, the company's innovation lab. It was recently used by U.S. telecom operators to provide connectivity to people in Puerto Rico after a hurricane last year. Reuters reports: Joe Mucheru, the information, communication and technology minister, told Reuters on Wednesday that project representatives were holding talks with local telecom operators on the deployment of the technology. "The Loon team are still working out contracts and hopefully once that is done, we can be able to see almost every part of the country covered," he said. With more than 45 million people, Kenya's major cities and towns are covered by operator networks, but vast swathes of rural Kenya are not covered. "Loon is another technology that is being introduced that the licensed operators hopefully can be able to use," Mucheru said, adding it would help the government meet its goal of reaching everyone. "Connectivity is critical. If you are not online, you are left out."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's kill-two-birds-with-one-stone department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: Professor Veena Sahajwalla's mine in Australia produces gold, silver and copper -- and there isn't a pick-axe in sight. Her "urban mine" at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) is extracting these materials not from rock, but from electronic gadgets. The Sydney-based expert in materials science reckons her operation will become efficient enough to be making a profit within a couple of years. "Economic modeling shows the cost of around $500,000 Australian dollars for a micro-factory pays off in two to three years, and can generate revenue and create jobs," she says. "That means there are environmental, social and economic benefits." In fact, research indicates that such facilities can actually be far more profitable than traditional mining.
According to a study published recently in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, a typical cathode-ray tube TV contains about 450g of copper and 227g of aluminum, as well as around 5.6g of gold. While a gold mine can generate five or six grammes of the metal per tonne of raw material, that figure rises to as much as 350g per tonne when the source is discarded electronics. The figures emerged in a joint study from Beijing's Tsinghua University and Macquarie University, in Sydney, where academics examined data from eight recycling companies in China to work out the cost for extracting these metals from electronic waste.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's turning-a-page department
Slashdot reader Dave Knott brings news:
Steve Ditko, the legendary comics artist best known for co-creating Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, has died at age 90. No cause of death was announced.
Neil Gaiman posted on Twitter, "I know I'm a different person because he was in the world." Entertainment Weekly reports:
Ditko's most enduring characters were created during his tenure at Marvel Comics, where he worked alongside editor-in-chief Stan Lee to develop the look of Spider-Man in 1961. Jack Kirby had previously taken a swing at the webslinger, but Lee was unconvinced by that artist's interpretation of the now-iconic character.
When Spider-Man -- whose red-and-blue costume, Spidey senses, and web-shooters all came directly from Ditko -- first appeared within the pages of Amazing Fantasy No. 15, the friendly neighborhood superhero proved a surprisingly massive hit for Marvel Comics, paving the way for a solo comic series titled The Amazing Spider-Man. Ditko's influence on Spider-Man was tremendous, his often dark sensibilities informing an at-the-time rare superhero whose life was often worsened and trauma-filled as a consequence of his good deeds. The artist additionally helped conceive many of the most memorable members of Spidey's rogues' gallery, including Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Vulture, and the Lizard...
Two years later, Ditko delivered another Marvel icon by creating Doctor Strange, the mystical Sorcerer Supreme who furthered the comic book empire's reach into more cosmic, even psychedelic realms... As a freelancer, he continued contributing to Marvel and created cult-favorite character Squirrel Girl for them in 1992.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's not-on-my-watch department
A recently discovered hole in Valve's API allowed observers to generate extremely precise and publicly accessible data for the total number of players for thousands of Steam games. While Valve has now closed this inadvertent data leak, Ars can still provide the data it revealed as a historical record of the aggregate popularity of a large portion of the Steam library. From the report: The new data derivation method, as ably explained in a Medium post from The End Is Nigh developer Tyler Glaiel, centers on the percentage of players who have accomplished developer-defined Achievements associated with many games on the service. On the Steam web site, that data appears rounded to two decimal places. In the Steam API, however, the Achievement percentages were, until recently, provided to an extremely precise 16 decimal places.
This added precision means that many Achievement percentages can only be factored into specific whole numbers. (This is useful since each game's player count must be a whole number.) With multiple Achievements to check against, it's possible to find a common denominator that works for all the percentages with high reliability. This process allows for extremely accurate reverse engineering of the denominator representing the total player base for an Achievement percentage. As Glaiel points out, for instance, an Achievement earned by 0.012782207690179348 percent of players on his game translates precisely to 8 players out of 62,587 without any rounding necessary (once some vagaries of floating point representation are ironed out). Ars has shared the Achievement-derived player numbers in their report; there's also a handy CSV file. Some of the titles with the most total unique players include Team Fortress 2 (50,191,347 player estimate), Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (46,305,966 player estimate), PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS (36,604,134 player estimate), Unturned (27,381,399 player estimate), and Left 4 Dead 2 (23,143,723 player estimate).Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's signed-into-law department
In early May, Hawaii lawmakers passed a bill that would prohibit the sale of over-the-counter sunscreens containing chemicals that contribute to the destruction of the state's coral reefs and other ocean life. Hawaii Governor David Ige signed the bill this week, making the ban official. Popular Mechanics reports: Hawaii is the first U.S. state to pass a legislation banning the sale of sunscreen containing [oxybenzone and octinoxate]. The bill will go into effect on January 1, 2021. "We are blessed in Hawaii to be home of some of the most beautiful natural resources on the planet," Ige said at the bill signing, according to The Huffington Post. "But our natural environment is fragile and our own interaction with the Earth can have everlasting impacts, and this bill is a small first step worldwide to really caring about our corals and our reefs in a way that no one else anywhere in the world has done."
A 2015 study conducted by scientists at the University of Central Florida found that oxybenzone, a common UV-filtering compound, kills the coral, causes DNA damage in the coral's adult stage, and deforms the DNA in the larval stage, hindering its development. A separate 2015 study, published in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology and conducted by biologist Craig Downs, also found that the chemicals produced water pollution and had damning effects on the coral reefs. In 2012, Women's Health reported that oxybenzone and octinoxate may actually be harmful to humans as well, not just coral reefs. According to the publication, when the skin absorbs oxybenzone, it can cause an eczema-like allergic reaction and disrupt hormone levels. Octinoxate may damage skin cells and lead to premature aging.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's pushing-the-limits department
Victorien Erussard, an experienced ocean racer from the city of Saint-Malo in the north of France, was halfway through a dash across the Atlantic when he lost all power. Never again, he thought. "I came up with the idea to create a ship that uses different sources of energy," he says. The plan was bolstered by the pollution-happy cargo ships he saw while crossing the oceans. "These are a threat to humanity because they use heavy fuel oil." Five years on, that idea has taken physical form in the Energy Observer, a catamaran that runs on renewables. From a report: In a mission reminiscent of the Solar Impulse 2, the solar-powered plane that Bertrand Picard and Andre Borschberg flew around the world a few years back, Erussard and teammate Jerome Delafosse are planning to sail around the planet, without using any fossil fuel. Instead, they'll make the fuel they need from sea water, the wind, and the sun. The Energy Observer started life as a racing boat but now would make a decent space battle cruiser prop in a movie. Almost every horizontal surface on the white catamaran is covered with solar panels (1,400 square feet of them in all), which curve gently to fit the aerodynamic contours. Some, on a suspended deck that extends to the sides of the vessel, are bi-facial panels, generating power from direct sunlight as well as light reflected off the water below. The rear is flanked by two vertical, egg whisk-style wind turbines, which add to the power production. Propulsion comes from two electric motors, driven by all that generated electrical energy, but it's the way that's stored that's clever. The Energy Observer uses just 106-kWh (about equivalent to a top-end Tesla) of batteries, for immediate, buffer, storage and energy demands. It stores the bulk of the excess electricity generated when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing as hydrogen gas.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's beginning-of-the-end department
HTC has been struggling to stay competitive for years now with its Android handsets and virtual-reality headsets, and it still can't seem to get any relief. As BGR reports, the latest ominous headline points to a nearly 68-percent sales slump in June, marking HTC's worst results in more than two years. From the report: Even beyond all that, the company has had a tough go of it lately. There have been a few rounds off layoffs this year alone, the most recent being the company's culling of 1,500 workers from its Taiwan manufacturing division. After HTC president of smartphone and connected devices Chialin Chang resigned in February, the company also gave pink slips to several U.S. workers in the wake of combining its smartphone and VR units. Those 1,500 workers being axed, it also should be noted, comprise almost a quarter of the company's worldwide workforce.
Reuters on Friday quoted an unnamed analyst at market research firm Trendforce who puts the blame for some of this at HTC's feet partly as a result of unexciting products. "In the high-end segment, the sales of their flagship phone this year has been lower than expected, leading to lower market share," the analyst notes. "As for HTC's middle-end and entry-level series, the new models feature neither new specs nor high performance-price ratio, influencing the sales."Read Replies (0)