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Submission + - Mozilla sets out its proposed principles for content blocking (

Mark Wilson writes: With Apple embracing ad blocking and the likes of AdBlock Plus proving more popular than ever, content blocking is making the headlines at the moment. There are many sides to the debate about blocking ads — revenue for sites, privacy concerns for visitors, speeding up page loads times (Google even allows for the display of ads with its AMP Project), and so on — but there are no signs that it is going to go away.

Getting in on the action, Mozilla has set out what it believes are some reasonable principles for content blocking that will benefit everyone involved. Three cornerstones have been devised with a view to ensuring that content providers and content consumers get a fair deal, and you can help to shape how they develop.

Comment Opinions: Many problems in Seattle and Portland (Score 3, Informative) 202

Seattle: Huge problems with traffic. Amazingly, amazingly, Seattle residents often mention that there are areas with poor internet service!

Portland: Unlivable. The traffic is 10 times worse than 2 years ago. The slowly, slowly moving cars make the pollution far worse. The Portland city government has been allowing the construction of huge apartment buildings with no parking. The parking problem lowers the value of all the buildings in the area.

There are many other areas of corruption. Here is just one: The Portland law against plastic bags favors a nearby company that makes paper bags. Paper bags are far worse for the environment because someone has to cut trees, trucks then bring the trees to a plant where they are processed with chemicals that also cause pollution. The paper bags cost grocery stores 10 times more than plastic bags and are so weak they often cannot be fully packed. Paper bags become weak when wet in the frequent rain. People who don't want the problems shop outside of Portland; Portland is a small city of 609,456 people (2013).

Often humans are not good at taking care of themselves.

Comment Re:Subpoena the change management records (Score 1) 315

If a manager gives me a verbal instruction and won't put it in writing/email, I simply follow up with an email to him saying "Here's what I understood you to be verbally instructing me to do at such-and-such a date and time. Please confirm whether my understanding is correct, and please clarify any points where it's incorrect. Thank you.". The boss trying to avoid a paper trail is a big red flag to me saying that I'm going to need that paper trail at some point.

Comment Been there, done that (Score 1) 315

Had the CTO claim he ordered one thing when he actually ordered exactly the opposite. He was counting on the "document retention" system to have long since deleted any emails documenting his original order. Pity that, as a properly paranoid software engineer, I had archive folders with retention settings of "retain forever" with copies of all relevant emails for any project I worked on (so I wouldn't lose the context of technical decisions or relevant requirement/spec changes) and could produce copies of his own emails with his actual instructions in them.

I hope the VW engineers had the foresight to do something similar, because this smells to me of management looking to find a scapegoat so they don't have to face the consequences of their decisions.

Comment Re:Won't fly with companies (Score 1) 88

No, in point #2 I'm not talking about placeholders. I'm talking about eg. using an image for a header so you can put the site's name in it's brand-specific font as opposed to simple setting the background color and using text for the name. Or using images to create a separator between headline and content so you can have one that looks exactly like what you use on your TV shows or in print.

As for the third point, it only breaks things if you set the size to something other than the image size (which your server ought to know since it's the one sending the image). And if you're doing dynamic resizing to fit screens, you're probably one of the people I hate when I start scrolling to see the text on your website and suddenly everything jumps around as your page finishes loading and your JS starts resizing images causing reflows and rerendering of the page. It's not so obvious on a desktop system because things tend to load fast, but on mobile devices it makes people tear their hair out. Which is why I said to test your site on a machine with a deliberately-choked-off network connection: to see how it'll render as it loads through a relatively slow, heavily congested link. I suspect a lot of designers test mobile sites on either emulators or using devices connected through fast WiFi links to fast local servers and never test what happens when it takes 30+ seconds to get all the content through the pipe.

Comment Re:A remarkable number of people are idiots (Score 1) 312

I know this is off topic, but now I'm curious. Do people who are incapable of taking the test still impact the scores? Does a 100 IQ indicate the median score of the set of "successful" test takers, or of the set of "functional humans", or of the entire population of all humans?

I believe you're saying that IQ 48 is approximately the minimum required level of functionality required to successfully take the test, but there is obviously a set of people who can't achieve that. And while 48 may be the lowest point on the curve that can be measured, the continuation of the curve is still implied below that point. People below 48 will still fall along some spectrum of abilities, but they're not measurable using the current test. So there may very well be someone with an "equivalent IQ" of 14; it's just the current IQ test lacks the resolution needed to identify that person.

And I'm not saying we should expend any effort to alter the test to measure lower IQs. I doubt that would add any value to society, nor would it be likely to benefit the people who can't take the test today. Such people are already identifiable as requiring a certain level of care, and most of the disabilities at that point are so profound you probably couldn't even use the scores to predict the costs of caring for them.

Comment Re:Isn't it widely accepted... (Score 1) 121

It's not that simple. Mercury also has a magnetic field. Which is a real head-scratcher, as it's even smaller than Mars.

Internal planetary dynamics are complicated. To get a dynamo you need fluid flow. But whether something is liquid or solid depends on both temperature and pressure - temperature increasing melt, pressure decreasing it. So there's a very complicated interplay.

Comment Re:Can Verizon Stealth cookies be spoofed? (Score 1) 79

Browser fingerprinting is where it is at, and there is -no- browser that is resistant to this.

Au contraire. Apple iPhones are as common as houseflies, and as indistinguishable. Because Apple doesn't really let their users change anything about their browser configs, all the non-jailbroken Safari browsers for a given iOS version return the same fingerprint. So if you have one of those phones, you can hide in a very large crowd.

That implies the marketplace could actually use a common browser everyone can rely on to not share these details, but erasing fingerprints also means giving up useful functionality. Will people accept a browser that doesn't display a variety of fonts because they could be tracked? Will they be happy if the web sites can't deliver a page to fit their screen size? Are we looking for a tradeoff of not being tracked that only a few thousand privacy wonks will accept?

Submission + - Volkswagen Gate Rise Expectations For Electric Cars, Carsharing (

dkatana writes: One thing the recent Volkswagen emissions scandal has demonstrated is that diesel technology is not as clean as advertised, and cities — especially in Europe where more than 55 percent of passenger cars are diesel — need to address the huge pollution problem created by private vehicles.

The key to success is shifting “from car ownership to car experience,” Brigitte Courtehoux, director of the Connected Services Business Unit at PSA Peugeot Citroën, said recently at the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) World Congress in Bordeaux, France.

She expressed the manufacturer’s opinion that “car sharing [is for] those who can’t afford to own cars and those who don’t want to own cars.” She predicted that “a car company will become a mobility service provider.”

Submission + - bring your own device nightmare

HongoBelando writes: The company I contract for is pushing on to me a new "bring your own device" policy. It would not be bad if the mandatory requirements IMHO are braindamaged and push to a complete Windows environment. Windows 7 or 8 64bit, Pointesec or Bitlocker, Symantec or other similar stuff. IOS and Linux are not permitted, xBSD are not even mentioned. Some lines even mention TPM (yuck).

Until now I could happily use my dual boot Debian and FreeBSD that suites my job perfectly.

My only idea at the moment is to try installing a VirtualBox W7 client and hope one of the permitted disk encrypters works. I really would want to avoid repartitioning just to meet idiotic requirements of some bean counter. All ideas appreciated!

Submission + - Elephants don't get cancer. Here's why (

sciencehabit writes: The surprisingly low cancer rates in elephants and other hefty, long-lived animals such as whales—known as Peto’s paradox after one of the scientists who first described it—have nettled scientists since the mid-1970s. So far, researchers have made little progress in solving the mystery or determining how other long-lived species beat cancer. Now, a new study shows that the animals harbor dozens of extra copies of one of the most powerful cancer-preventing genes, p53. These bonus genes might enable elephants to weed out potentially cancerous cells before they can grow into tumors. The researchers say they are now trying to determine whether they can make human cells more elephantlike, for example by inserting additional copies of the p53 gene or by identifying compounds that duplicate the effects of the extra copies.

Comment Re:I guess they realised... (Score 4, Informative) 88

Well, it's funny how something with "the underpinnings of how X11 does it are actually decrepit and inefficient and compare poorly to other strategies that leverage different entry points that Wayland actually preserves" still manages to solve the problem, and Wayland doesn't.

X11 isn't perfect. Nobody's ever argued that. It's just nobody's really asking for a replacement, and if they were, they wouldn't be asking for Wayland. X11 is an extraordinary piece of technology, it takes some gal to claim everyone should just throw it out and replace it with a ground up rewrite that adds no new features and doesn't support the major features X11 is famous and loved for.

It's not like init/SystemD, where init really was a bug ridden piece of garbage that's needed replacing now since before Linux itself came on the scene, and SystemD implements everything init did but does it right.

Comment Re:Isn't it widely accepted... (Score 3, Informative) 121

Very little energy reaches the Venusian surface - Venus's albedo is twice that of Earth's, so most light gets reflected from the cloud deck, and what does enter gets quickly absorbed in the clouds and thick atmosphere. Also, the crust is not what drives a dynamo, the core does. Nuclear decay is what drives terrestrial planet cores, not solar input.

Also I don't know what you mean by "rapid crust recycling", unless you mean Venus's global resurfacing events. But those only happen once every several hundred million years. And they take about 100 million years to complete, they're not rapid.

A rock store eventually closed down; they were taking too much for granite.