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Comment Impossibility of access (Score 1) 104

Before encrypted electronic communications, criminals and terrorists had to use things like in-person meetings or unsecure communications methods (like analog telephony) to communicate. These were obviously vulnerable to being listened to for a determined party, but that was simply how it was, there was no other option. Law enforcement could use various human-powered means to target specific individuals or organizations, like tapping a particular phone line and having a human listen to it when it went active, or maybe stake out a particular meeting place with some high-power microphones. For the general non-criminal population, while it was technically possible for the government to listen to everyone all the time, it was realistically impractical because of the vast amount of manpower it would require.

Today we're in the opposite situation. Law enforcement can now get ahold of all electronic communications through various taps, but if criminals and terrorists use the proper technology and best practices, it is *impossible* for law enforcement to know what is being said. (Yes, deep-cover operatives are still possible but are impractical for all but the absolute highest-priority things for reasons of time, risk, and the same old manpower problem).

I don't have a great answer. Anything is either too insecure or seems too vulnerable to corruption. The only thing I've come up with is third-party escrow of encryption keys, but who is the third party and how do we know they aren't corrupt?

Cellphones

FCC Kills Plan To Allow Mobile Phone Conversations On Flights (pcworld.com) 99

An anonymous reader quotes a report from PCWorld: On Monday, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission killed a plan to allow mobile phone calls during commercial airline flights. Since 2013, the FCC and the Federal Aviation Administration have considered allowing airline passengers to talk on the phones during flights, although the FAA also proposed rules requiring airlines to give passengers notice if they planned to allow phone calls. The plan to allow mobile phone calls on flights drew sharp objections from some passengers and flight attendants who had visions of dozens of passengers trying to talk over each other for entire flights. But FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Monday killed his agency's 2013 proceeding that sought to relax rules governing the use of mobile phones on airplanes. Under the FCC proposal, airlines would have decided if they allowed mobile phone conversations during flights.

Comment Re:Supply and Demand (Score 1) 69

The app is nice, but the other really big thing that Uber brings to the table is surge pricing. A surge really does what it is designed to do: gets many more drivers out on the road to match the large demand with more supply. Taxis don't have anything like that. If there aren't enough taxis, you just have to wait.

Comment Re:ITT: Idiots (Score 1) 253

I mean, I guess. Although maybe I'm the one who is being trolled by all the commenters who said that the article had to be bullshit because the rent numbers couldn't possibly be accurate, without reading the title of the graph that indicated that the rent amount was weekly, not monthly.

Comment Re:The cold is already cured (Score 1) 193

False.

From a study dated 2015 Feb 25:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4359576/

"Zinc acetate lozenges shortened the duration of nasal discharge by 34% (95% CI: 17% to 51%), nasal congestion by 37% (15% to 58%), sneezing by 22% (1% to 45%), scratchy throat by 33% (8% to 59%), sore throat by 18% (10% to 46%), hoarseness by 43% (3% to 83%), and cough by 46% (28% to 64%). Zinc lozenges shortened the duration of muscle ache by 54% (18% to 89%), but there was no difference in the duration of headache and fever."

"Given that the adverse effects of zinc in the three trials were minor, zinc acetate lozenges releasing zinc ions at doses of about 80mg/day may be a useful treatment for the common cold, started within 24hours, for a time period of less than two weeks."

Comment Re:The cold is already cured (Score 1) 193

From the most recent study from that Wikipedia page, dated 2015 Feb 25:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4359576/

"Zinc acetate lozenges shortened the duration of nasal discharge by 34% (95% CI: 17% to 51%), nasal congestion by 37% (15% to 58%), sneezing by 22% (1% to 45%), scratchy throat by 33% (8% to 59%), sore throat by 18% (10% to 46%), hoarseness by 43% (3% to 83%), and cough by 46% (28% to 64%). Zinc lozenges shortened the duration of muscle ache by 54% (18% to 89%), but there was no difference in the duration of headache and fever."

"Given that the adverse effects of zinc in the three trials were minor, zinc acetate lozenges releasing zinc ions at doses of about 80mg/day may be a useful treatment for the common cold, started within 24hours, for a time period of less than two weeks."

The Wikipedia summary of this study is horribly worded and one could easily read it as the zinc lozenge having no effect, which is exactly the opposite of the study's conclusion (that zinc does has a positive effect on cold symptoms). The study's purpose was to determine if zinc lozenges only affect/improve symptoms in the pharyngeal region (the throat) since a lozenge is dissolved in the mouth and throat, or if the zinc has an improvement effect in the nasal region as well where it is not directly dissolved. The study showed that zinc *does* improve symptoms in the nasal region. The conclusion that the Wikipedia article is summarizing was that there was no difference in the effect of the zinc treatment depending on anatomical region - the zinc lozenge improved symptoms in both the throat and the nasal region.

Power

'Radioactive Boy Scout' Reportedly Passes Away At Age 39 (harpers.org) 182

A funeral notice quietly appeared on Tributes.com recently, announcing the death of David Charles Hahn. Though no cause of death was provided, when he was 17 Hahn "achieved some notoriety as a teenage Boy Scout with his attempt to build a nuclear reactor in his garden shed," remembers Slashdot reader braindrainbahrain: His "reactor" ended when the EPA declared his backyard as a Superfund cleanup site due to hazardous levels of radiation. His story was captured in a Harper's magazine article, and later the book "The Radioactive Boy Scout" by Ken Silverstein. It was also a Slashdot topic...
Hahn had used materials from household products like lithium batteries, smoke detectors, and old radium clocks, according to Wikipedia, which adds that shortly after Hahn's lab was dismantled, he became an Eagle Scout.
Facebook

Facebook Says Humans Won't Write Its Trending Topic Descriptions Anymore (recode.net) 76

Following a former Facebook journalist's report that the company's workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network's Trending Topics section, the company has been in damage control mode. First, the company announced it would tweak its Trending Topics section and revamp how editors find trending stories. Specifically, they will train the human editors who work on Facebook's trending section and abandon several automated tools it used to find and categorize trending news in the past. Most recently, Facebook added political scenarios to its orientation training following the concerns. Now, it appears that Facebook will "end its practice of writing editorial descriptions for topics, replacing them with snippets of text pulled from news stories." Kurt Wagner, writing for Recode: It's been more than three months since Gizmodo first published a story claiming Facebook's human editors were suppressing conservative news content on the site's Trending Topics section. Facebook vehemently denied the report, but has been dealing with the story's aftermath ever since. On Friday, Facebook announced another small but notable change to Trending Topics: Human editors will no longer write the short story descriptions that accompany a trending topic on the site. Instead, Facebook is going to use algorithms to "pull excerpts directly from stories." It is not, however, cutting out humans entirely. In fact, Facebook employees will still select which stories ultimately make it into the trending section. An algorithm will surface popular stories, but Facebook editors will weed out the inappropriate or fake ones. "There are still people involved in this process to ensure that the topics that appear in Trending remain high-quality," the company's blog reads.

Comment Re:This isn't a big deal, it's fucking huge. (Score 3, Interesting) 86

Have you seen what AMD is putting into its next server processors? http://amd-dev.wpengine.netdna... Tldr: It encrypts a guest's memory with a key that the hypervisor does not have. In theory, it should make a guest VM inaccessible to the hypervisor.

Comment Re:Fuck him (Score 1, Interesting) 182

I hate this argument. When terrorism happens, why is the Slashdot response to *immediately* declare that this is simply the brakes and we have to live with it?

There are obviously costs for any kind of safety. For example, products with more safety regulations cost more. But someone decided it was worth it for that product.

Of *course* you can't regulate things to be a "bubble wrap society" and you just have to live with a low percentage of problems. But many people on Slashdot see literally any story about terrorism and immediately throw up their hands and say "There's nothing that can be done, it's a low percentage, we have to just live with it.". I completely disagree. I think heinous, deliberate acts of evil are much worse than accidental deaths caused by cars for example, precisely because they are deliberately committed by a human. They are in a different category, and they *should* be fixable. I agree that trying to police bad actors pre-emptively is probably impossible and will lead to all sorts of surveillance, which is bad. But let's talk about fixing the bad ideology that leads people to commit terrorist acts. It's probably a more difficult problem, but I hate people throwing up their arms. It's bullshit.

Comment 16GB storage (Score 2, Interesting) 158

32GB is the sweet spot for phones right now, and because they can, Apple refuses to produce a 32GB model to force you to pay an extra $100 to get a reasonable amount of internal storage. $499 for the 64GB model is certainly cheaper than the current top-of-the-line iPhones, but a cheap Android with 32GB of storage can be had for well under $399 for truly budget-conscious buyers. If you're locked into Apple's ecosystem and are truly budget-conscious...well, tough luck.

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