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Comment Damn subsidies (Score 4, Informative) 112


A 2016 study estimated that global fossil fuel subsidies were $5.3 trillion in 2015, which represents 6.5% of global GDP.[3] The study found that "China was the biggest subsidizer in 2013 ($1.8 trillion), followed by the United States ($0.6 trillion), and Russia, the European Union, and India (each with about $0.3 trillion)."[3] The authors estimated that the elimination of "subsidies would have reduced global carbon emissions in 2013 by 21% and fossil fuel air pollution deaths 55%, while raising revenue of 4%, and social welfare by 2.2%, of global GDP."[3] According to the International Energy Agency, the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies worldwide would be the one of the most effective ways of reducing greenhouse gases and battling global warming.[4] In May 2016, the G7 nations set for the first time a deadline for ending most fossil fuel subsidies; saying government support for coal, oil and gas should end by 2025.[13]

Keep funding the middle east.

Comment Really? (Score 1) 150

I used to love hangouts. We used 'em at work (instead of whatever MS was pushing or webex or whatever that other 3rd party remote chat program was).

Work eventually got zoom, which works pretty well, and we finally bailed on hangouts. But it always seemed like a solid cross platform solution to me...

Comment Re:Obviously (Score 3, Insightful) 370

SInce this is very very similar to what my partner does, I feel like I'm a little qualified to speak on the subject at hand.

Yeah, pattern matching should nail this - but pattern matching only works if the patterns are reasonable/logical/consistent. Yes, I'm a little familiar with advanced pattern matching, filtering, etc.

Here's the thing: doctors are crappy input sources. At least in the US medical system. And in our system they are the ones that have to make diagnosis (in most cases). They are inconsistent from one doctor to the next. They are inconsistent from one day to the next. They are inconsistent from one patient to the next. They are inconsistent *within a patient* when the original diagnosis was wrong. And what's possibly worst of all: they disagree.

In the US we do the same kind of thing - base payouts on what the doctor diagnosed. They need to write specific magic words in the right way. So my partner looks at medical records and then confronts the doctor - somehow trying to suggest what they left out without making a diagnosis (because she's not a doctor, so she's not allowed to).

As you can imagine this is a delicate dance. Some doctors have egos. In any case, many of things she does are fixing errors [of omission, often], but others are a lot more complicated and sometimes very rare (some medical conditions just don't come up very often).

Finally, if you think having a person hound a doctor to get something corrected might be tricky - imagine having a machine try to do the same thing. Some doctors may be more resistant to that...

The easy answer to this is: that process is crap. Fix doctors/the system/whatever.

I agree.

Good luck with that.

Comment Re:They're not (Score 1) 766

Javascript is not a performance issue unless used horribly - and you really can't blame the browser for that. You might as well say that HTML is a problem - because horrible HTML certainly can destroy a browser's performance.
What's more, it's been expected behavior (to have it enabled) for more than a decade. If you want it off, turn it off.


Self-Driving Cars Will Make Organ Shortages Even Worse (slate.com) 295

One of the many ways self-driving cars will impact the world is with organ shortages. It's a morbid thought, but the most reliable sources for healthy organs and tissues are the more than 35,000 people killed each year on American roads. According to the book "Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead," 1 in 5 organ donations comes from the victim of a vehicular accident. Since an estimated 94 percent of motor-vehicle accidents involve some kind of a driver error, it's easy to see how autonomous vehicles could make the streets and highways safer, while simultaneously making organ shortages even worse. Slate reports: As the number of vehicles with human operators falls, so too will the preventable fatalities. In June, Christopher A. Hart, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said, "Driverless cars could save many if not most of the 32,000 lives that are lost every year on our streets and highways." Even if self-driving cars only realize a fraction of their projected safety benefits, a decline in the number of available organs could begin as soon as the first wave of autonomous and semiautonomous vehicles hits the road -- threatening to compound our nation's already serious shortages. We're all for saving lives -- we aren't saying that we should stop self-driving cars so we can preserve a source of organ donation. But we also need to start thinking now about how to address this coming problem. The most straightforward fix would be to amend a federal law that prohibits the sale of most organs, which could allow for development of a limited organ market. Organ sales have been banned in the United States since 1984, when Congress passed the National Organ Transplant Act after a spike in demand (thanks to the introduction of the immunosuppressant cyclosporine, which improved transplant survival rates from 20-30 percent to 60-70 percent) raised concerns that people's vital appendages might be "treated like fenders in an auto junkyard." Others feared an organ market would exploit minorities and those living in poverty. But the ban hasn't completely protected those populations, either. The current system hasn't stopped organ harvesting -- the illegal removal of organs from the recently deceased without the consent of the person or family -- either in the United States or abroad. It is estimated that, worldwide, as many as 10,000 black market medical operations are performed each year that involve illegally purchased organs. So what would an ethical fix to our organ transplant shortage look like? To start, while there's certainly a place for organ donation markets in the United States, implementation will be understandably slow. There are, however, small steps that can get us closer to a just system. For one, the country could consider introducing a "presumed consent" rule. This would change state organ donation registries from affirmative opt-in systems (checking that box at the DMV that yes, you do want to be an organ donor) to an affirmative opt-out system where, unless you state otherwise, you're presumed to consent to be on the list.

Smart Electricity Meters Can Be Dangerously Insecure, Warns Expert (theguardian.com) 163

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Smart electricity meters, of which there are more than 100 million installed around the world, are frequently "dangerously insecure," a security expert has said. The lack of security in the smart utilities raises the prospect of a single line of malicious code cutting power to a home or even causing a catastrophic overload leading to exploding meters or house fires, according to Netanel Rubin, co-founder of the security firm Vaultra. If a hacker took control of a smart meter they would be able to know "exactly when and how much electricity you're using," Rubin told the 33rd Chaos Communications Congress in Hamburg. An attacker could also see whether a home had any expensive electronics. "He can do billing fraud, setting your bill to whatever he likes [...] The scary thing is if you think about the power they have over your electricity. He will have power over all of your smart devices connected to the electricity. This will have more severe consequences: imagine you woke up to find you'd been robbed by a burglar who didn't have to break in. "But even if you don't have smart devices, you are still at risk. An attacker who controls the meter also controls the meter's software, allowing him to cause it to literally explode." The problems at the heart of the insecurity stem from outdated protocols, half-hearted implementations and weak design principles. To communicate with the utility company, most smart meters use GSM, the 2G mobile standard. That has a fairly well-known weakness whereby an attacker with a fake mobile tower can cause devices to "hand over" to the fake version from the real tower, simply by providing a strong signal. In GSM, devices have to authenticate with towers, but not the other way round, allowing the fake mast to send its own commands to the meter. Worse still, said Rubin, all the meters from one utility used the same hardcoded credentials. "If an attacker gains access to one meter, it gains access to them all. It is the one key to rule them all."
The Internet

Has the Internet Killed Curly Quotes? (theatlantic.com) 207

Glenn Fleishman, writing for The Atlantic: Many aspects of website design have improved to the point that nuances and flourishes formerly reserved for the printed page are feasible and pleasing. But there's a seemingly contrary motion afoot with quotation marks: At an increasing number of publications, they've been ironed straight. This may stem from a lack of awareness on the part of website designers or from the difficulty in a content-management system (CMS) getting the curl direction correct every time. It may also be that curly quotes' time has come and gone. Major periodicals have fallen prey, including those with a long and continuing print edition. Not long ago, Rolling Stone had straight quotes in its news-item previews, but educated them for features; the "smart" quotes later returned. Fast Company opts generally for all "dumb" quotes online, while the newborn digital publication The Outline recently mixed straight and typographic in the same line of text at its launch. Even the fine publication you're currently reading has occasionally neglected to crook its pinky.(Via DaringFireball -- John's take on this is insightful.) At Slashdot, we also avoid curly quotes -- and when we miss, you see them as weird characters on the site!

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Truly simple systems... require infinite testing. -- Norman Augustine