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+ - Facebook Employees Can Access Your Account Without Your Password

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Earlier this week, Paavo Siljamäki, director at the record label Anjunabeats, told a very interesting story about an interaction with a Facebook engineer logging into his account without entering his account credentials. We got in touch with Facebook to learn when exactly the company’s employees can perform such actions. If you are among those Facebook employees whose job responsibilities require you to use this tool, you’re given a stern warning when you’re hired. In layman’s terms, the easiest way to get fired is to abuse this tool. Abuses of power are always possible, however, and that’s why Facebook says it keeps a tight lid on this tool."

Comment: Re:Almost impossible (Score 1) 309

by dpidcoe (#49166749) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware?

It doesn't matter who made the exploit or who their targets are. Once the exploit is out there, it's there for anyone to take control of. The NSA may very well only be interested in a few high value machines, and could even be the most trustworthy people on the planet (lol), but there's no reason someone else couldn't stumble across the NSAs backdoor (I'm sure that just like how we saw stuxnet infect thousands of non-target machines, it won't be limited to just the handful of targeted computers) and start using it for their own ends.

It's one of the reasons it's so annoying when people pull the "well what use is my data to [entity collecting it]? It's not like they're going to do anything nefarious with it". The problem isn't the trustworthiness of the people collecting it, the problem is that now you've effectively doubled the risk of that data being stolen by a random hacker

Comment: Re:cant lie (Score 1) 227

It seems sort of odd to me that that's even brought up as a negative. I mean, in the first instant of thinking about it sure, but my thought immediately after that was "nah, those places that do your taxes brag about how they hire former IRS employees, isn't this kind of like the same thing?".

+ - Unreal Engine 4 Is Now Free 1

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "In 2014, Epic Games took the step of making Unreal Engine 4 available to everyone by subscription for $19 per month. Today, this general-purpose game engine is available to everyone for free. This includes future updates, the full C++ source code of the engine, documentation, and all sorts of bonus material. You can download the engine and use it for everything from game development, education, architecture, and visualization to VR, film and animation. The business scheme that Epic set in the beginning, remains the same: when you ship a commercial game or application, you pay a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter. Epic strived to create a simple and fair arrangement in which they succeed only when your product succeeds."

Comment: Re:Not actually batteryless (Score 1) 109

by dpidcoe (#49165703) Attached to: Ultra-Low Power Radio Transceiver Enables Truly Wireless Earbuds

I'd be really curious to find out for sure where that TV antenna based energy harvesting circuit is actually harvesting the energy from. Power levels that low can be created through static charge, or even the difference between two ground points a few meters away from each other (e.g. if the antenna is on the roof and the clock is on your workbench).

Have you tried putting it inside a large faraday cage and seeing if the energy levels remain the same?

Comment: Re:Wrong conclusion (Score 1) 134

by dpidcoe (#49151413) Attached to: Adjusting To a Martian Day More Difficult Than Expected
Yeah, when I was a student my natural rhythm would slowly creep out to a 25 hour day. Especially in the winter when there wasn't as much pesky sun reminding me of what time it was. It would be fine for a while until eventually I rotated around such that my sleep schedule intersected with my class schedule and I'd have to spend a few days as a zombie resetting my sleep schedule again.

Comment: Uh... (Score 4, Insightful) 134

by dpidcoe (#49148871) Attached to: Adjusting To a Martian Day More Difficult Than Expected
These people were trying to adjust to a martian day while still living on earth and seeing the sun still operate on a 24 hour day, so of course they're going to have problems. I'd like to see this tried while keeping the people underground with the lights cycling to actually simulate a martian day.

Comment: Re:As a Developer of Heuristic AI ... (Score 1) 531

by dpidcoe (#49144115) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

Stop it. You're making it hard for us to make progress.

Maybe it's stupid. How is it hampering progress, though?

Because it's giving people false expectations about how an AI will actually work. It also turns the term AI into sensationalist marketingspeak very analogous to the way other concepts in technology have been abused (e.g. "the cloud"). This then makes it harder to get funding for an AI research project ("oh, you're one of those AI people? How do you know your robots aren't going to turn into skynet? And where's my flying car?").

Comment: Re:One thing for sure (Score 1) 531

by dpidcoe (#49144079) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

And you are that wealthy man! You are most likely well within the 1% circle of privileged individuals on this planet. Not to mention Jesus allegedly repeated this command over and over... for example Luke 12:33 and Luke 14:33 and via parables such as the Pearl of Great Price or the Lazarus and the Rich man.

Yep, which is why people who claim to be christians but who don't tithe and/or donate to charity and/or volunteer (10% was the biblical bare minimum!) kind of piss me off.

Comment: Re:One thing for sure (Score 1) 531

by dpidcoe (#49144055) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion
Either you're playing dumb or you lack critical reading skills. Lets add some context here.

"Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me" -- Mark 10:21

Cite the whole story, Mark 10:17 - 10:29. It becomes pretty clear that what you imply with your cherry picked single verse is inaccurate at best. In context, the person being talked to is a well off influential rich kid who sees the following that Jesus has and is trying to jump on the popularity bandwagon. Jesus recognizes this, and rather than say "lol no", he gives him a task that illustrates that the guy wants in for the wrong reasons. The guy was probably expecting to be asked to pay a "donation" or maybe introduce Jesus to some influential people in exchange for some lessons on charismatic speaking. Had Jesus given the guy some other task (e.g. "volunteer 100 hours at the soup kitchen" or "go knock on 100 doors and ask for donations"), the guy probably would have agreed and then sent an intern to do it for him or something and the lesson would have been lost on the crowd.

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." -- Luke 14:26

How about you include the rest of the context? Keeping in mind that in the previous chapter he'd just fed 5000 people:

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

It should be pretty clear from that that this is a crowd of people hoping to see more miracles. They want to jump in on the popularity train, be entertained, and get some free food out of it. In this context, it's pretty clear that he's warning these people that life following him isn't going to be an all you can eat buffet of fish, bread, and inspirational speeches. In fact, it's going to really suck to the point that you'd have to hate your family to want to do it (which, if you follow the endings of the rest of the disciples, later turns out to be pretty true).

"Permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent." -- 1 Timothy 2:12

Look at the entire chapter (or even book, 1st timothy is shorter than some slashdot summaries). This is referring to roles within the church, and it assigns some equally important (though less public facing) roles to women.

"Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle, but also those who are harsh." -- 1 Peter 2:18

Good cherry picking and leaving out the passage in front of that:

Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

This is clearly talking about not running around telling the civil authority to go fuck themselves because god said so. In fact, I could make the argument that the spirit of this is basically attempting to separate matters of church from matters of government. e.g. if you want to go burn some people because you're pretty sure that they're a witch, but the government says no, you do what the government says.

Another thing you're either intentionally leaving out or otherwise ignorant of is what slavery looked like at that time in history. It was both ubiquitous and also about as far from the image that comes to most peoples minds when you say "slave" as you can get. A much better translation in modern language would be "servant" or "indentured servant".

Comment: Re:nice, now for the real fight (Score 1) 631

by dpidcoe (#49142665) Attached to: FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules

Given that this ideal world is completely imaginary, and the things that the free market is supposed to do in it never actually happen in the real world, why imagine a world where it's specifically free markets that have these magical powers?

Because it's often helpful to model the ideal behavior of a complex system first and see how well it lines up with what's being observed. That ideal model can then be used as a baseline to measure the real system and then changes made to either the model or the system in order to bring the operation closer in line with each other.

We do this in other fields all the time. Most engineering models assume a simple system (e.g. the standard frictionless vacuum in physics) first, and then begin adding in factors to account for other things until the model matches the observations to a close enough degree.

Comment: Re:Very informative article (Score 1) 71

by dpidcoe (#49141673) Attached to: Facebook AI Director Discusses Deep Learning, Hype, and the Singularity

I was going to post a big point by point rebuttal but it was getting too large. You're making several flawed assumptions though

Firstly, just throwing more processing power at it isn't going to generate an AI. There's a lot of work elsewhere from designing specialized hardware to maintaining the infrastructure to designing the software to making sure all of the individual components integrate with each other. Also keep in mind that as I said earlier, machine learning in general (and neural nets in particular) tends to be extremely non-linear in complexity.

This fits into my next point: once we have an AI that's as "smart" as a human, we now have one more human to think about the problem. Only this one cost billions of dollars in development, costs millions per day in upkeep, and has now attracted a small army of people protesting the ethics of the whole thing. Totally worth it right?

Assuming that despite all of this people decide that it's somehow worth having multiple AIs with the IQ of einstein and access to all current human knowledge, what happens when the knowledge they're given is wrong? Even the best peer reviewed journals are full of errors. Also, it takes time to search it. And assuming this AI doesn't have the magical power of loading a few textbooks into memory and instantly becoming an expert, it's going to take it time to process and comprehend (index) the material for access.

It took Einstein a lifetime to make the contributions he made. Cut that in half because the AIs don't need to sleep, we're still looking at 10's of years (and billions of dollars keeping the system up and running all that time) for them to come up with something that may or may not be directly useful.

As far as an AI being able to look at sensory data from everywhere, what makes you think it'll be able to do that? The best humans can split their attention between a handful of tasks at best before we start to hit limits in our own processing power. So now for every human brain equivalent you can cram into an AI (keeping in mind these are going to be entire power hungry buildings full of parallel processors no matter how you slice it), it can watch another 10 webcams and correlate them to weather data. You could have just hired a handful of interns to do that for a billionth of the cost.

In reality, I think what we'll see is the cost and complexity of making small fast computer clusters go down, and an increase in the number of people specializing in machine learning algorithms. Businesses will begin using these people along with plug n play style computing clusters (I'm talking like a handful of networked GPUs worth of power here) to solve niche problems such as "what part in this car needs replacing in order to make the funny noise go away". But it won't be some sort of magical AI solving it, it'll be a team of people who set up the IT infrastructure working with a team of people who programmed some learning algorithms working with a team of people who collected and massaged the data so that it was computer readable. It won't necessarily be faster or cheaper than having a good mechanic look at it, but it'll be extremely repeatable (at least until the next model car comes along) and work from anywhere in the world as long as you can give it a recording from a properly positioned microphone.

Comment: Re:1973... (Score 1) 72

by dpidcoe (#49131615) Attached to: Star Wars-Style "Bionic Hand' Fitted To First Patients

I think that cat5 analogy is exactly what I said wasn't it? If you move a cat5 from one server to another, the switch port associated with server1 is now associated with server2 and you're going to have confusion until the MAC table on the switch updates.

My understanding of how the brain works is that there's a spiral shaped region where most of the upper motor neurons run to and each location where one terminates is mapped to some location on the body. Without brain surgery, what was formerly the "toe" neurons would now be the ones operating the fingers after transplanting the nerve endings. Without enough biofeedback the brain would obviously come to recognize them as "fingers" instead of "toes", but I'd imagine the process is far slower than updating the MAC table on a network switch.

In case of injury notify your superior immediately. He'll kiss it and make it better.