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Submission + - SPAM: Why Your Dad's 30-Year-Old Stereo System Sounds Better Than Your New One

schwit1 writes: The receiver engineers have to devote the lion’s share of their design skills and budget to making the features work. Every year receiver manufacturers pay out more and more money (in the form of royalties and licensing fees) to Apple, Audyssey, Bluetooth, HD Radio, XM-Sirius, Dolby, DTS and other companies, and those dollars consume an ever bigger chunk of the design budget. The engineers have to make do with whatever is left to make the receiver sound good.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - The Cultural Purge Will Not Be Televised (rebootingcapitalism.com)

Stunt Pope writes: This was an article concerned primarily about people and companies' right to free speech and free association being limited by flash mobs and a witchhunt mentality: targeting somebody because of their associations not their actual positions. Very dangerous and threatening to our rights to free speech and free association that we take for granted.

Interestingly, the article itself has been inappropriately flagged in multiple forums, making the exact case outlined that it is becoming increasingly discouraged to even weigh in with a contrary opinion to the prevailing groupthink.

Submission + - SPAM: A.T.F. Filled Secret Bank Account With Millions From Shadowy Cigarette Sales

schwit1 writes: “Working from an office suite behind a Burger King in southern Virginia, operatives used a web of shadowy cigarette sales to funnel tens of millions of dollars into a secret bank account. They weren’t known smugglers, but rather agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The operation, not authorized under Justice Department rules, gave agents an off-the-books way to finance undercover investigations and pay informants without the usual cumbersome paperwork and close oversight, according to court records and people close to the operation.”

Laws and rules are for the little people.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Obama's Feds Tried to Hack Indiana's Election System While Pence Was Governor

EmmaStarc writes: Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials tried to hack Indiana’s state electoral system with at least 14,800 “scans” or hits between Nov. 1, 2016, to Dec. 16, 2016, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.

The attacks are the second confirmed IT scanning assault by DHS officials against states that resisted then-President Barack Obama’s attempt to increase federal involvement in state and local election systems by designating them as “critical infrastructure” for national security. .Source

Submission + - At the End, Obama Administration Gave NSA Broad New Powers (pjmedia.com) 1

Tulsa_Time writes: This story, from the Jan. 12, 2017, edition of the New York Times, was little-remarked upon at the time, but suddenly has taken on far greater significance in light of current events:

In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.

Submission + - Trump's White House's favorite encrypted app is "marketing over substance" (cyberscoop.com)

Patrick O'Neill writes: "Paranoid" White House staffers now use Confide, an app promising encrypted and disappearing communications that protects against eavesdropping on all fronts. The app promises "military grade encryption" but delivers zero details on what that means. There is no white paper, no independent audit, and questions from cryptographers about possibly critical vulnerabilities. “It’s a triumph of marketing over substance,” Professor Alan Woodward said.

Submission + - One Woman's Brilliant "Fuck You" to Wikipedia Trolls (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: Now 22, Emily Temple-Wood has been editing Wikipedia for a decade, making her one of few young, female editors on the site. Along with that status has come a slew of harassment, including death and rape threats. To fight back, she's come up with a brilliant solution, which she's dubbed the "Fuck You" project: for every harassing email, death threat, or request for nude photos that she receives, she creates a Wikipedia biography on a notable woman scientist who was previously unknown to the free online encyclopedia. She may not be able to silence the trolls, but she can taunt them with what misogynists hate the most—successful women.

Submission + - Trump Is Right:Silicon Valley Is Using H-1B Visas To Pay Low Wages To Immigrants (huffingtonpost.com)

schwit1 writes: the Trump administration has drafted a new executive order that could actually mean higher wages for both foreign workers and Americans working in Silicon Valley. The Silicon Valley companies, of course, will not be happy if it goes into effect.

The order aims to overhaul and limit work visas, notably the H-1B visa program. Tech companies rely on these to bring in foreign talent. Their lobbyists claim there is a “talent shortage” among Americans and thus that the industry needs more of such work visas. This is patently false. The truth is that they want an expansion of the H-1B work visa program because they want to hire cheap, immobile labor — i.e., foreign workers.

To see how this works, note that most Silicon Valley firms sponsor their H-1B workers, who hold a temporary visa, for U.S. permanent residency (green card) under the employment-based program in immigration law. EB sponsorship renders the workers de facto indentured servants; though they have the right to move to another employer, they do not dare do so, as it would mean starting the lengthy green card process all over again.

Submission + - 85% of the world's governments are corrupt (newatlas.com)

schwit1 writes: According to one think tank that studies corruption in government, 85% of the world lives under governments that are essentially corrupt.

“Corruption” is defined by Transparency International (TI) as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.” Each year since 1995, TI has published a Corruption Perceptions Index that scores the world’s nations out of 100 for their public sector honesty and the just-released 2016 report paints the same bleak picture we’ve been seeing now for two decades except it’s getting worse.

According to the data, despite the illusion of elected government in half the world’s countries, democracy is losing. Only two countries scored 90 out of 100 this year, and just 54 of the 176 countries (30%) assessed in the report scored better than 50. Fifty percent might have constituted a pass in a High School arithmetic test, but for an elected government to be so inept at carrying out the will of the electorate, it is a clear betrayal of the people. The average country score this year is a paltry 43, indicating endemic corruption in a country’s public sector is the norm.

Even more damning is that more countries declined than improved in this year’s results.

Not surprisingly, the countries at the bottom of the list are almost all Middle Eastern nations, all of whom are the source of most of the world’s terrorism and Islamic madness. The few others are those trying to become communist paradises, Venezuela and North Korea.

Submission + - Scientists create auto-focusing smart glasses that adjust to wearer's eyesight (ibtimes.co.uk)

drunkdrone writes: A team of engineers has developed a pair of eyeglasses that automatically adjust focal length based on what the wearer is looking at.

The so-called adaptive eyeglasses contain special liquid lenses and sensors that make them capable of focusing on both nearby and faraway objects, without the wearer having to switch frames.

The 'smart glasses' have been developed by a team of engineers at the University of Utah and could do away with the need for bifocals entirely. And, because the lenses continually adjust to the wearer's eyesight, there's no need to continually change prescriptions as eyesight deteriorates with age: all the wearer has to do is programme in their prescription using a smartphone companion app and they're set for life.

Submission + - EPA scientist findings face political control

murdocj writes: Under the Trump administration EPA science will be subjected to an unprecedented level of political control, according to this National Public Radio article.

Scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency who want to publish or present their scientific findings likely will need to have their work reviewed on a "case by case basis" before it can be disseminated..."We'll take a look at what's happening so that the voice coming from the EPA is one that's going to reflect the new administration," Ericksen told NPR.

This is particularly troubling since Scott Pruitt, Trump's nominee to head the EPA, has worked with petroleum companies to sue the EPA in the past and doesn't believe human activity causes climate change.

Submission + - Microsoft won't fix the most frustrating thing about Windows (cnet.com) 3

schwit1 writes: Maybe you're delivering a presentation to a huge audience. Maybe you're taking an online test. Maybe you just need to get some work done on a tight deadline.

Windows doesn't care.

Windows will take control of your computer, force-feed it updates, and flip the reset switch automatically — and there's not a damn thing you can do about it, once it gets started.

If you haven't saved your work, it's gone. Your browser tabs are toast. And don't expect to use your computer again soon; depending on the speed of your drive and the size of the update, it could be anywhere from 10 minutes to well over an hour before your PC is ready for work.

As far as I'm concerned, it's the single worst thing about Windows. It's only gotten worse in Windows 10. And when I poked around Microsoft, the overarching message I received was that Microsoft has no interest in fixing it.

Submission + - Require proof, or take as an article of faith: your choice (zerohedge.com)

DougDot writes: Round 2, this time a *25* page report from the "U.S. intelligence community" (nearly twice as big as last week's FBI/DHS joint 13 page report) claiming that the Russians hacked our election.
Oh, and it also contains *no* proof. Zero. None. Not even a little bit of proof. Nada. Zip.
But that's ok, we don't need no steekin' proof.
Right?

Submission + - WikiLeaks: 2017 will 'blow you away' and, no, Russia didn't hack the US election (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: The hatred WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange feels towards Hillary Clinton is far from being a secret. During the election campaign, the non-profit organization leaked Clinton emails in the hope that it would destroy her presidential hopes — and we all know the result of the election.

As we slide gently into 2017, the WikiLeaks Twitter account has turned on the ignition and is about to hit the accelerator. The tweet says: "If you thought 2016 was a big WikiLeaks year 2017 will blow you away". On top of this, Assange himself is due to appear in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, denying Russia's involvement in hacking DNC emails.

WikiLeak's tweet comes as part of a plea for donations, but it promises that this will be the year of a 'showdown'.

Submission + - Matt Taibbi: 'Washington Post' 'Blacklist' Story Is Shameful and Disgusting (rollingstone.com)

MyFirstNameIsPaul writes: From the article:

Most high school papers wouldn't touch sources like these. But in November 2016, both the president-elect of the United States and the Washington Post are equally at ease with this sort of sourcing.

Even worse, the Post apparently never contacted any of the outlets on the "list" before they ran their story. Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism says she was never contacted. Chris Hedges of Truthdig, who was part of a group that won the Pulitzer Prize for The New York Times once upon a time, said the same. "We were named," he tells me. "I was not contacted."

Hedges says the Post piece was an "updated form of Red-Baiting."

"This attack signals an open war on the independent press," he says. "Those who do not spew the official line will be increasingly demonized in corporate echo chambers such as the Post or CNN as useful idiots or fifth columnists."


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