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The Difficulty In Getting a Machine To Forget Anything 79

An anonymous reader writes: When personal information ends up in the analytical whirlpool of big data, it almost inevitably becomes orphaned from any permissions framework that the discloser granted for its original use; machine learning systems, commercial and otherwise, end up deriving properties and models from the data until the replication, duplication and derivation of that data can never hoped to be controlled or 'called back' by the originator. But researchers now propose a revision which can be imposed upon existing machine-learning frameworks, interposing a 'summation' layer between user data and the learning system, effectively tokenising the information without anonymising it, and providing an auditable path whereby withdrawal of the user information would ripple through all iterations of systems which have utilized it — genuine 'cancellation' of data.

Comment Re:Slashdot (Score 1) 226

Not for nothing, but when you joined up, there were only 3000-odd users. There have been plenty of stories in the recent past with thousands of comments. I joined in (I think) 1999, and I'd say that some of the most pervasive trolling (GNAA, goatse, etc) is at an all time low.

If you want your own slashdot with no anonymity, fire one up and run it. This one is still going surprisingly well.


Airline Begins Weighing Passengers For 'Safety' 373

New submitter Lopsemily writes to note that passengers on Uzbekistan Airways may face a new pre-flight check: In a recent statement, the country's flag carrier announced it will weigh passengers and their carry-on luggage prior to flights to determine how much weight they'll be adding to the plane. 'According to the rules of International Air Transport Association, airlines are obliged to carry out the regular procedures of preflight control passengers weighing with hand baggage to observe requirements for ensuring flight safety,' says the airline's statement.

Prosecutors Op-Ed: Phone Encryption Blocks Justice 392

New submitter DaDaDaaaaa writes: The New York Times features a joint op-ed piece by prosecutors from Manhattan, Paris, London and Spain, in which they decry the default use by Apple and Google of full disk encryption in their latest smartphone OSes (iOS 8 and Android Lollipop, respectively). They talk about the murder scene of a father of six, where an iPhone 6 and a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge were found.

"An Illinois state judge issued a warrant ordering Apple and Google to unlock the phones and share with authorities any data therein that could potentially solve the murder. Apple and Google replied, in essence, that they could not — because they did not know the user's passcode. The homicide remains unsolved. The killer remains at large."

They make a case for lawmakers to force Apple and Google to include backdoors into their smartphone operating systems. One has to wonder about the legitimate uses of full disk encryption, which can protect good people from harm, and them from having their privacy needlessly intruded upon.

There Is No "Next Great Copyright Act", Remain Calm 93

Lirodon writes: A YouTube video has gone viral, particularly around the art community (and the subsection of the art community populated by the same type of people who tend to spread these around to begin with), making bold claims that a revision to U.S. copyright law is being considered, with a particular focus on orphan works. Among other things, this video claims that it would require all works to be registered with a for-profit registry to be protected, that unregistered works would be "orphaned" and be usable by "good faith infringers" and allow others to make derivative works that they would own entirely. Thankfully, this is all just hyperbole proliferated by a misinterpretation of a report on orphan works by the U.S. Copyright Office, as Graphic Policy explains.

Scientists Develop Nutritious Seaweed That Tastes Like Bacon 174

cold fjord writes: According to a New Zealand Herald report, "Researchers at Oregon State University have patented a new strain of succulent red marine algae that tastes like bacon when it's cooked. The protein-packed algae sea vegetable called dulse grows extraordinarily fast and is wild along the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines. It has been sold for centuries in a dried form around northern Europe, used in cooking and as a nutritional supplement. ... Chris Langdon has created a new strain of the weed which looks like a translucent red lettuce. An excellent source of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, the "superfood" contains up to 16 per cent protein in dry weight. ... It has twice the nutritional value of kale." Langdon says, "When you fry it, which I have done, it tastes like bacon, not seaweed. And it's a pretty strong bacon flavor."

Facebook's New Chief Security Officer Wants To Set a Date To Kill Flash 283

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook's new chief security officer, Alex Stamos, has stated publicly that he wants to see Adobe end Flash. This weekend Stamos tweeted: "It is time for Adobe to announce the end-of-life date for Flash and to ask the browsers to set killbits on the same day. Even if 18 months from now, one set date is the only way to disentangle the dependencies and upgrade the whole ecosystem at once."

Comment Re:The Fuck? (Score 1) 175

Ok, thanks for the clarification.

NoSQL scenarios being what they are, there are obviously cases when they make sense and have advantages in terms of performance, but it's not always a win, especially if you don't know what you're doing or why.

I don't know anyone who believes that SQL can do everything either, especially when dealing with extremely large datasets, but analytics and search on huge datasets are not the scenario that your typical dev who doesn't know whether or why to use LAMP or MEAN in the first place are going to be handling in their first outing. The advice being given for those noobs who don't know the relative strengths of each stack, especially in regards to databases.

Comment Re:The Fuck? (Score 4, Insightful) 175

Not to be rude, but what the hell are you talking about?

SQL engines are often slower than what? In what scenario? Operating on what hypothetical database schema with how many records spread across how many tables?

SQL engines have problems with massive parallelism? Why? Which ones?

How well do you *really* know SQL in general and the capabilities of different database engines in particular? I suspect you may know less than some people who know SQL *really* well (as opposed to *pretty* well).

I apologize for the tenor of this post, but that portion off the article was ridiculous, and thus far all of the comments in support of it have demonstrated a similar lack of familiarity with actual databases, their operation, or performance tuning.

Comment Re:Face it America ... (Score 1) 479

...But to me, the fact that 42% (or even 30%) believe that Earth is 10,000 years old is already a major a catastrophe from an educational perspective, given that we're talking about a First World nation with mandatory education.

I'm not saying you're wrong to consider it a problem. That doesn't change the fact that it's a minority opinion, and that self-identified religious people are becoming rarer in the USA.

...Oh, they're bringing them all the time - just look at the regular bills related to abortion, for example...

Poor example, in my opinion. I think there's room there to see abortion at a certain gestational age as a human-rights issue, but I get what you're saying. The climate change issue is nonreligious.

Religious freedom laws (the right to refuse service to customers on the sole basis of their own personal beliefs) are something that's talked about, and that some more local governments have been trying to legislate, but without much success. It's also easy to see that such laws will face harsh criticism in federal court challenges to their constitutionality. Again, it's easy to point to the people doing outrageous things and scream about a problem, but don't mistake it for a country-wide one.

I'm sure you're aware of the many fine counter-arguments to the points you are attempting to make as to why the electoral college is bad. I'm not going to spend time listing them unless you really want me to, so I'll just say that there's plenty of disagreement there, and leave it at that. The populace is every bit as disinclined to vote as it ever has been (and the graph of voter participation is pretty flat across the past century), so we get who the most interested parties vote for, whether that's good or bad. That doesn't mean that legislators are running roughshod over the populace, it means that most of the populace can't be bothered to spend 10 minutes voting.


Microsoft's Skype Drops Modern App In Favour of Old-Fashioned Win32 App 186

mikejuk writes: Microsoft, after putting a lot of effort into persuading us that Universal Apps are the way of the future, pulls the plug on Skype modern app, to leave just the desktop version. Skype is one of Microsoft's flagship products and it has been available as a desktop Win32 app and as a Modern/Metro/WinRT app for some time. You would think that Skype would support Universal Apps, there are few enough of them — but no. According to the Skype blog: 'Starting on July 7, we're updating PC users of the Windows modern application to the Windows desktop application, and retiring the modern application.' Microsoft is pushing Windows 10 Universal Apps as the development platform for now and the future, but its Skype team have just disagreed big time. If Microsoft can't get behind the plan why should developers? (Also at Windows Central and VentureBeat.)

Comment Re:Face it America ... (Score 1) 479

As for question 1, yes. I'm reasonably sure that 42% is a minority, and I'm skeptical of that number being accurate. The sample size was 1028 people in all 50 states and the stated margin of error is +/- 4%. I do admit that I'm shocked that the number has remained at 40-47% since the question was first asked in 1987, especially with news of fewer and fewer people identifying as religious.

As for question 2, there's a reason that we aren't seeing legislators bring forth new laws regarding religion (though I agree that there have been some very disturbing statements by some officials in key positions), and that is because they serve at the will of the People, a majority of whom would not stand for it. Despite punditry to the contrary, *we* (well, those of us who vote, call, email, and protest) are in charge. So, yes, again, I'm pretty sure.

Comment Re:Face it America ... (Score 1) 479

...Those of you who give +Points to people like drakaan, I have to ask, why do you do it? Is it because your opinion agrees with his on evolution? I don't care about that. Just keep in mind that cheerleading the Federal Courts running roughshod over Christian ideas may seem cool right now. But if they were to succeed in totally suppressing religious thought and freedoms, you won't have any freedoms left either. At that point, they will also take away your marijuana rights and all those other things you think are important. At that point, it will be impossible to give + points to anyone not "approved".

I actually didn't give an opinion on evolution. I did make some comments about the USA not being populated by morons, and I pointed out that a previous law mandating that public schools teach Evolution was ruled unconstitutional by the federal courts, as it runs afoul of the First Amendment's establishment clause.

A subset of Christians expressing their beliefs in a Creator being responsible for designing life (as an alternative to the theory of evolution) by way of formal instruction in federally-funded schools is at odds with the protections the First Amendment reserves for the People.

If a private school (there are many of neighbor's son goes to a pretty exclusive Catholic one with ties to Notre Dame) wants to teach ID to students, then there's no problem. The problem only exists when we're talking about public education.

The federal courts aren't running roughshod over Christian ideas, in this case. One could argue that there are instances, specifically with regards to displaying religious symbols in public spaces, where they have done so, but this is not one of those cases. You are not being prohibited from expressing your religious beliefs by our government, and if you were, I'd fight like hell to prevent it, just as I would if any of your other constitutional rights were being infringed upon.

You *are* being prevented from using a government institution to spread your ideas, which is as it should be for any religion.

Comment Re:Face it America ... (Score 4, Insightful) 479

Entertaining, but incorrect.

There is a vocal minority of people with faith-based beliefs that override reasoned thought. They are not in charge. There are a few elected politicians who are morons, and a larger swath of electorate who share those beliefs, but that's still a minority of the population. The USA has more than 50 states, territories, and outlying areas, each with their own local government structure.

In Louisiana, a similar issue has been dealt with in the courts previously and the federal judiciary seems to have been reasonable enough in deciding that the law is unconstitutional.

This newer law seems to have the same goal as the 1981 law, and will likely face similar challenges. The nation is not made up of morons. It actively recognizes and points them out, which sometimes makes it appear that way, though.


There Is a Finite Limit On How Long Intelligence Can Exist In Our Universe 205

StartsWithABang writes: The heat death of the Universe is the idea that increasing entropy will eventually cause the Universe to arrive at a uniformly, maximally disordered state. Every piece of evidence we have points towards our unfortunate, inevitable trending towards that end, with every burning star, every gravitational merger, and even every breath we, ourselves, take. Yet even while we head towards this fate, it may be possible for intelligence in an artificial form to continue in the Universe for an extraordinarily long time: possibly for as long as a googol years, but not quite indefinitely. Eventually, it all must end.

In Nature there are neither rewards nor punishments, there are consequences. -- R.G. Ingersoll