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In The First Months of Trump Era, Facebook And Apple Spent More On Lobbying Than They Ever Have (buzzfeed.com) 52

An anonymous reader shares a report: According to federal lobbying disclosures filed Thursday, Facebook and Apple set their all-time record high for spending in a single quarter. Facebook spent $3.2 million lobbying the federal government in the first months of the Trump era. During the same period last year, Facebook spent $2.8 million (about 15% less). The company lobbied both chambers of Congress, the White House, and six federal agencies on issues including high-tech worker visas, network neutrality, internet privacy, encryption, and international taxation. Facebook was the 12th-highest spender out of any company and second-highest in tech. [...] Apple spent $1.4 million, which is just $50,000 more than during the final months of the Obama presidency, when it set its previous record, but the most it has ever spent in a single quarter. Apple lobbied on issues including government requests for data, the regulation of mobile health apps, and self-driving cars. Google, once again, outspent every other technology company. It was 10th overall, tallying $3.5 million.

Submission + - Cycling to Work Can Cut Cancer and Heart Disease (bbc.com)

randomErr writes: Want to live longer, reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease? Then cycle to work, say scientists. The five-year study of 250,000 UK commuters also showed walking had some benefits over sitting on public transport or taking the car. Published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) today, the University of Glasgow study compared those who had an ‘active’ commute with those who were mostly stationary on their journey to work. However, the effect was still there even after adjusting the statistics to remove the effects of other potential explanations like smoking, diet or how heavy people are.

Submission + - Operation Gotham Shield: U.S. Gov't To "Simulate Nuke Blast Over Manhattan" (infowars.com)

schwit1 writes: It is a tabletop, joint agency exercise during April 24-26th, involving FEMA, Homeland Security and a myriad of law enforcement and military agencies. WMD, chemical and biological units will all be on hand as a response is tested for a “simulated” nuclear detonation over the United States’ foremost urban center, in the iconic and densely populated island of Manhattan and nearby shores of New Jersey.

Submission + - Russia is better at encouraging women into tech?

randomErr writes: A new study from Microsoft based on interviews with 11,500 girls and young women across Europe finds their interest in engineering or technology subjects drops dramatically at age 15. The reason found are that girls follow gender stereotypes, have few female role models, peer pressure and a lack of encouragement from parents and teachers. Russia is different. According to Unesco, 29% of women worldwide are in science research, compared with 41% in Russia. In the UK, about 4% of inventors are women, whereas the figure is 15% in Russia. Russian girls view Stem far more positively, with their interest starting earlier and lasting longer, says Julian Lambertin, managing director at KRC Research, the firm that oversaw the Microsoft interviews.

Submission + - Light Sail propulsion could reach Sirius sooner than Alpha Centauri (arxiv.org)

RockDoctor writes: A recent proposition to launch probes to other star systems driven by lasers which remain in the Solar system has garnered considerable attention. But recently published work suggests that there are unexpected complexities to the system.

One would think that the closest star systems would be the easiest to reach. But unless you are content with a fly-by examination of the star system, with much reduced science returns, you will need to decelerate the probe at the far end, without any infrastructure to assist with the braking.

By combining both light-pressure braking and gravitational slingshots, a team of German, French and Chilean astronomers discover that the brightness of the destination star can significantly increase deceleration, and thus travel time (because higher flight velocities can be used. Sling-shotting around a companion star to lengthen deceleration times can help shed flight velocity to allow capture into a stable orbit.

The 4.37 light year distant binary stars Alpha Centauri A and B could be reached in 75 years from Earth. Covering the 0.24 light year distance to Proxima Centauri depends on arriving at the correct relative orientations of Alpha Centauri A and B in their mutual 80 year orbit for the sling shot to work. Without a companion star, Proxima Centauri can only absorb a final leg velocity of about 1280km/s, so that leg of the trip would take an additional 46 years.

Using the same performance characteristics for the light sail the corresponding duration for an approach to the Sirius system, almost twice as far away (8.58ly), is a mere 68.9 years, making it (and it's white dwarf companion) possibly a more attractive target.

Of course, none of this addresses the question of how to get any data from there to here. Or, indeed, how to manage a project that will last longer than a working lifetime. There are also issues of aiming — the motion of the Alpha Centauri system isn't well-enough known at the moment to achieve the precise manoeuvring needed without course corrections (and so, data transmission from there to here) en route.

Comment Re:Atari 2600 (Score 1) 856

it was actually before the 2600, I think it might have been the VCS.

2600/VCS are two different names for the same thing. VCS was the original name then they started calling it the 2600 the year the 5200 came out.

And my friend had a cartridge we could program basic. circa 79 - 80, but I can find no reference online that such a cartridge existed.

It exists, IIRC it actually uses the keypad accessory...TWO of them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Comment Re:Agreed, though may I suggest (Score 1) 149

Thanks. I like the look of those a lot. It's a good deal cheaper than a similar Netgate device (my go to since they own PFSense). Only real area it looks like it would have notably worse performance would be VPN since it lacks AES acceleration. But so long as that isn't being used it should be around the same speed as the 4 core atoms Netgate uses.

I may think about one for home. I'll probably stick with my Edgerouter Lite since those Cavium chips just get lower latency than you can get in pure software at this point, but I am a bigger fan of PFSense than EdgeOS for sure.

Comment Agreed, though may I suggest (Score 1) 149

Moving to a better router? DD-WRT isn't as updated as it should be these days and has slow performance. Modern consumer routers are fast because they use packet acceleration tech built in to their chips. DD-WRT doesn't know how to do that (at least not that I've ever seen).

So what I recommend for geek types is go to three devices: Modem -> router -> wireless. You can repurpose your existing router as a WAP, or get a purpose built WAP. Either way, you don't do routing on it. Then get a purpose built router.

My top recommendation is a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite. About $100 for a little wired 3-port device that'll pass a gig of traffic with low latency since it has packet acceleration and knows how to use it. It's a bit on the complex side and you can't do all setup through the GUI (IPv6 requires commandline work) but it is powerful, and they are pretty good at updating it. Runs a customized version of VyOS and provides you with access to all the low level stuff. You can compile your own shit for it if you like (is MIPS64 though).

If that isn't to your taste my second choice is PFSense. You can run that on anything x86 but the devices they sell on their site, made by Netgate, are great choices. Its more expensive to hit a gigabit speed because it runs all in software, and that also means its latency is higher. However that said I like the interface better and it is an exceedingly powerful and flexible firewall. It's updated regularly, you can buy professional support, and since it is software you can run it on anything, including a VM. Runs BSD underneath and you can get access to the low level if you want to mess with it.

Third choice would be a something like a Cisco RV340 or maybe RV320. It's the same general hardware as the EdgrRouter Lite, a Cavium Octeon processor which is MIPS64+packet processing, but with Cisco's OS whacked on. Easier to use overall, though not as flexible. Cisco tends to be ok with security updates. They use a slower CPU and less RAM so you aren't going to get a full gig, but they are pretty fast and are nice and low latency. Not too bad price wise either, like $150 for the RV320.

Comment Re:People are more worried about jobs (Score 1) 416

I'm not sure if you're being deliberately contrarian or if you're legitimately dense.

Saying they "paid for lower QOS for Google" is misleading; they would actually have paid for higher QOS for themselves, which is perfectly reasonable.

It wouldn't have been of any benefit to Yahoo to increase their QOS with Google's remaining unchanged. I'm saying that they could have partnered with companies that owned large portions of the network to slow down Google's access. If Google couldn't crawl it, it couldn't index it. If they couldn't index it, their search results wouldn't have been as good.

Google won because they were better, and they were better because they won?

Pretty much, yeah.

That's rather circular reasoning.

Perhaps but it's not wrong.

In actual fact, Google's search engine business would never have been a viable business on its own; it simply didn't make enough revenue. Google's search engine only survived because it was cross-subsidized by Google's advertising revenue.

It's extraordinarily difficult to make a profit on a "Free" service without advertising.

Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't support the argument that it was "better".

No, more people choosing Google over Yahoo, Bing and AOL means that it is/was better.

Net neutrality, in the end, is an arrangement where companies like Google can push ads on you and monetize free content and have you pay for the privilege through your ISP fees.

Except that with Net Neutrality in place, you are free to choose one of their competitors without the network penalizing you.

A few big companies have come to completely dominate the market because of that particular arrangement.

In a market where all are given the same access, a few companies dominating it are just proof that the market chose them.

Even if the completely unrealistic worst-case scenario of ISPs all replacing Google and Facebook with their own private offerings

That's a strawman. I never argues that.

They wouldn't be able to directly replace them, they would be able to give preferential treatment to the traffic of their own competitor. They can't replace them but they can make them near unusable to their customers.

LK

Comment Re:Ya, it's called IPSec (Score 1) 67

Oh ok, gotcha. In that case, I'd go for Private Internet Access. Their privacy rules are very good (in all cases we have to take the company's own statement on it), price is good, performance seems to be good, and it uses open standards for VPN connections. It also isn't like some where they are located in some minor island nation you've never heard of, they are in the US.

It's what I use and what my instructor at SANS recommended to someone else this week who asked the same question.

If you wanted to filter all systems though it you'd just need a router/fw that did it, again PFSense would do. It uses OpenVPN by default (can do IPSec as well) and PFSense supports that. Your internal systems talk to PFSense, have PFSense VPN to PIA and then set your routing to do 0.0.0.0 over the VPN. Make sure outbound rules are properly configured so traffic is only allowed over VPN interface and you've got an automatic, transparent, system where all systems will communicate via the VPN. You can always change rules if needed to permit direct communication.

If you don't want a network box you can set up your OSes to auto-dial PIA on start. For Windows this is best accomplished with the inbuilt IPSec VPN client, on Linux OpenVPN works nicely (though either can do both). Again you set local firewall/routing rules to prohibit traffic over the local net and require the VPN to be up. Then just treat it like dialup from the old days.

So give PIA a look, they seem to do well.

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