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Comment: Re:Not France vs US (Score 1) 99

Big internet sites make the economy more efficient. But the problem is an efficient economy doesn't need workers. And if there are no workers, there's no one to purchase the goods.

"Workers" can find something else to do, possibly newer and more interesting kinds of work, or possibly less work on a four day week, etc.

Look, humanity is stuck on this rock, we aren't going anywhere unless someone figures out how to do the impossible and fly around the galaxy faster than light. So our society needs an eventual end goal, and it seems widely agreed that this end goal should be that we all live lives of leisure and can do/go/explore/build whatever the hell we like, whenever we like it. Obviously along the way that means we'll end up doing less and less work until hardly anyone is doing any real work at all and it's all done by robots a la the world of Manna which was discussed here on Slashdot not that long ago.

So if books get delivered by radio to a device with a battery that lasts for a month and gives me access to the whole world's library for a pittance, how is that not a giant step towards the kind of utopia I described above? Small local bookshops staffed by smart shop assistant girls with cute French accents are great until you realise they don't have the book you want and you had to haul your ass into town in order to discover this fact (assuming the shop was even open by the time you got there). It's not something I would trade progress for.

Comment: Re:Subject bait (Score 1) 232

And before _whatever_date_is_inconvenient_for_somebody_else Beersheba was a town of Jews. You can go back as far or as close as you want and find somebody living here. I mention that in my other posts.

Yes, but going back indefinitely is pointless. Memories have half-lives. What matters most for resolution of conflict is what people who are alive today remember and feel, not what some goat herder did a thousand years ago (maybe, assuming the historical texts are accurate).

Within living memory, Beersheba started out as being Palestinian. That's the start date that matters. If in 50-100 years or so when everyone who remembers that is dead, pointing this out will be as stale as the statement I quoted above. But not today.

Honestly, when ordinary people outside that place look at the state of Israel and Gaza it's hard not to conclude that Israel should never have been created at all. The Jews who were living around the world could have stayed there, or moved to places with no anti-semitic political forces.

Comment: Re:Why the assumption.... (Score 2) 99

Why the assumption that it is good for for-profit companies to find loopholes and avoid the will of democratically elected governments.

Democratically elected does not equal democratic.

The most democratic place I know of is Switzerland, where there is an absolutely constant stream of referendums on absolutely everything, mostly things that in other countries would be all be lumped under an umbrella vote for left or right. For example the Swiss recently voted on the question of whether to buy new Gripen fighter jets. The French, in contrast, have a system so undemocratic that the President doesn't even need the authority of parliament to start a war!

I think it's very corrosive to imply that people a huge bloc of people get a vote between two or three possibilities every four or five years, that somehow legitimises everything that government does in the meantime. It doesn't. The system of voting we have was decided on hundreds of years ago when most people couldn't even read and letters took days or weeks to cross countries. Representatives chosen locally every few years made total sense in such a world. It's now obsolete, much better possibilities can be imagined or even implemented. Western democracy is merely the least worst system tried so far, not the best.

In this case, there's no justification for the French government to be messing with Amazon. As pointed out in other replies to your comment, if the French people truly prefer their local bookshops over Amazon then they'll vote with their wallet, a far fairer and more democratic way of doing things than central government mandate. This idea isn't stupid, there are parts of the world that places big chain stores and brands don't make much progress in because of local culture. But times change and countries are very large. Take McDonalds in France. In 2013 we have this story about an anti-McDonalds protest and the local government attempting to block construction of a restaurant there. But then in 2014 we have another story where the French are protesting for a McDonald's, they're upset because it's been delayed and they want it to open.

These sorts of disputes are best left to ordinary people to work out economically.

Comment: Re:Not France vs US (Score 3, Interesting) 99

Yeah, and so what?

The underlying assumption behind this kind of move seems to be the belief that small local bookshops are inherently worth protecting. Why is that? It's not like if a bookshop closes the land it occupied is salted with radioactive waste. Something else, possibly something more useful will move in.

The real problem here is not Amazon or books or even Google, it's the French mindset that things should never change, that the old ways are always the best ways. Perhaps France has an unusually elderly set of politicians or voters, but you see this in all its areas, most notoriously agriculture. Old ways of farming were put on a quasi-religious pedestal and vast amounts of EU policy and budget were redirected towards preserving them.

Fetishing bookshops doesn't have any emotional appeal to me - they're just buildings stacked with a small and limited selection of reading materials, which inefficiently deploy land and people. Given the rise of the e-book even large chain bookshops will likely disappear over the coming decades, and who will cry for them?

Perhaps the space the bookshops used up can be replaced by coffee shops - spaces for social interaction and work, where reading an e-book and then meeting a friend and having a nice conversation at ordinary volume is a perfectly acceptable way to spend your time.

Displays

Nano-Pixels Hold Potential For Screens Far Denser Than Today's Best 43

Posted by timothy
from the enhance-enhance-enhance dept.
Zothecula (1870348) writes "The Retina displays featured on Apple's iPhone 4 and 5 models pack a pixel density of 326 ppi, with individual pixels measuring 78 micrometers. That might seem plenty good enough given the average human eye is unable to differentiate between the individual pixels, but scientists in the UK have now developed technology that could lead to extremely high-resolution displays that put such pixel densities to shame."

+ - "Nano-Pixels" Hold Huge Potential For Flexible, Low-Power, High-Res Screens->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "The Retina displays featured on Apple's iPhone 4 and 5 models pack a pixel density of 326 ppi, with individual pixels measuring 78 micrometers. That might seem plenty good enough given the average human eye is unable to differentiate between the individual pixels, but scientists in the UK have now developed technology that could lead to extremely high-resolution displays that put such pixel densities to shame."
Link to Original Source
Books

The Least They Could Do: Amazon Charges 1 Cent To Meet French Free Shipping Ban 99

Posted by timothy
from the not-a-sou-more dept.
Last year, we mentioned that the French government was unhappy with Amazon for offering better prices than the French competition, and strongly limited the amount by which retailers can discount books. Last month, the French parliament also passed a law banning free delivery of books. Ars Technica reports that Amazon has responded with a one-penny shipping rate on the orders that would previously have shipped free. Says the article: This is by no means the first time France has tried to put a damper on major US tech companies dabbling in books or other reading materials. In 2011, the country updated an old law related to printed books that then allowed publishers to impose set e-book pricing on Apple and others. And in 2012, there was the very public dispute between French lawmakers and Google over the country's desire to see French media outlets paid for having their content pop up in search results. At least for now with this most recent situation, an online giant has found a relatively quick and easy way to regain the upperhand.
Crime

Source Code Leaked For Tinba Banking Trojan 48

Posted by timothy
from the small-can-be-potent dept.
msm1267 (2804139) writes "The source code for Tinba, known as the smallest banker Trojan in circulation, has been posted on an underground forum. Researchers say that the files turned out to be the source code for version one of Tinba, which was identified in 2012, and is the original, privately sold version of the crimeware kit. Tinba performs many of the same malicious functions as other banker Trojans, injecting itself into running processes on an infected machine, including the browser and explorer.exe. The malware is designed to steal financial information, including banking credentials and credit-card data and also makes each infected computer part of a botnet. Compromised machines communicate with command-and-control servers over encrypted channels. Tinba got its name from an abbreviation of "tiny banker," and researchers say that it's only about 20 KB in size."

+ - Source Code Leaked for Tinba Banking Trojan->

Submitted by msm1267
msm1267 (2804139) writes "The source code for Tinba, known as the smallest banker Trojan in circulation, has been posted on an underground forum. Researchers say that the files turned out to be the source code for version one of Tinba, which was identified in 2012, and is the original, privately sold version of the crimeware kit.

Tinba performs many of the same malicious functions as other banker Trojans, injecting itself into running processes on an infected machine, including the browser and explorer.exe. The malware is designed to steal financial information, including banking credentials and credit-card data and also makes each infected computer part of a botnet. Compromised machines communicate with command-and-control servers over encrypted channels. Tinba got its name from an abbreviation of “tiny banker”, and researchers say that it’s only about 20 KB in size."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Ted Postol very bias opinion. (Score 2) 232

by Rei (#47440615) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

Actually, the key thing for them is "cheap". They need to keep costing sub-$1k missiles in the ballpark of these Iron dome systems - the more, the better. They might as well just omit the warheads to save money and increase range. Every $50k shot Israel fires with those systems costs 25 Israelis' annual tax contribution to the IDF. Every $55m system they deploy costs 27.500 Israelis' IDF tax contributions.

Palestinians are poor, but they're not *that* poor that they can't leverage those kind of lopsided financial ratios.

+ - Want To Ensure Your Personal Android Data Is Truly Wiped? Turn On Encryption-> 1

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "We've been around the block enough times to know that outside of shredding a storage medium, all data is recoverable. It's just matter of time, money, and effort. However, it was still sobering to find out exactly how much data security firm Avast was able to recover from Android devices it purchased from eBay, which included everything from naked selfies to even a completed loan application. Does this mean we shouldn't ever sell the old handset? Luckily, the answer is no. Avast's self-serving study was to promote its Anti-Theft app available on Google Play. The free app comes with a wipe feature that overwrites all files, thereby making them invisible to casual recovery methods. That's one approach. There's another solution that's incredibly easy and doesn't require downloading and installing anything. Before you sell your Android phone on eBay, Craigslist, or wherever, enable encryption and wait for it to encrypt the on board storage. After that, perform a wipe and reset as normal, which will obliterate the encryption key and ensure the data on your device can't be read. This may not work on certain devices, which will ask you to decrypt data before wiping but most should follow this convention just fine."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Subject bait (Score 2) 232

by Rei (#47440537) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

No, in the case of Iron Dome, that's only PR too. They're shooting $50k+ missiles at $800 rockets. Even after factoring in that Israel's per-capita GDP is 20 times that of Palestine's, that's still a losing proposition, even *if* they had a 100% hit rate (which this article is suggesting it's anything-but) and assuming that you get the launcher, radar, etc for free instead of the actual $55 million per unit. It's in Palestine's best interests that Israel deploy as many of them as possible and try to shoot down every last rocket, because every shekel they spend on Iron Domes and missiles is a shekel they don't spend on jets, tanks, and bombs.

Medicine

CDC Closes Anthrax, Flu Labs After Potentially Deadly Mix-Ups Come to Light 63

Posted by timothy
from the try-the-new-super-vaccine dept.
In the wake of two potentially deadly accidents, the CDC yesterday announced the temporary closure of both the anthrax and flu research labs at the agency's Atlanta headquarters. The New York Times reports: In one episode last month, at least 62 C.D.C. employees may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria after potentially infectious samples were sent to laboratories unequipped to handle them. Employees not wearing protective gear worked with bacteria that were supposed to have been killed but may not have been. All were offered a vaccine and antibiotics, and the agency said it believed no one was in danger. “We have a high degree of confidence that no one was exposed,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, the C.D.C. director. Credit David Goldman/Associated Press In a second accident, disclosed Friday, a C.D.C. lab accidentally contaminated a relatively benign flu sample with a dangerous H5N1 bird flu strain that has killed 386 people since 2003. Fortunately, a United States Agriculture Department laboratory realized that the strain was more dangerous than expected and alerted the C.D.C. ... The anthrax and flu labs will remain closed until new procedures are imposed, Frieden said. For the flu lab, that will be finished in time for vaccine preparation for next winter’s flu season, he said.

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