Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:Irony (Score 1) 78

Another Yahoo Apologist AI chat bot?

Well, you either accept the leak and reported stories as fact... which means anyone at Yahoo that knows about it really can't legally say anything about it publicly without going to jail or you don't accept the facts as they have been reported and it may not even have ever happened.

I choose to believe the facts that were reported and that Yahoo did likely cooperate with the government under a secret order which means exactly what I said. Yahoo isn't saying they don't have information they are saying they can't reveal that information and are asking the only authority they can ask to declassify the information so they can talk about it publicly.

Personally, I am not pulling any punches... if the story is true and Yahoo didn't legally object in court to the sort of untargeted keyword searches being alleged, then Yahoo was complicit in a criminal conspiracy to violate the constitutional rights of millions of Americans.

And by untargeted I mean they used keywords instead of having a constitutionally valid warrant for all the emails to or from specific individuals.

Comment Re:Irony (Score 1) 78

So Yahoo, a company that made its name as a search engine, can't search through its own corporate records.

"we find ourselves unable to respond in detail" doesn't necessarily mean they don't have any records about this, it most likely means they legally can't respond because it is either classified and only cleared individuals given access to the information have it or they are simply under threat of felony prosecution not to divulge that they were under orders. Also, it is very likely they would not have been given any copies of those orders. It would be sufficient to show them the orders without giving them a copy.

Comment Re: Alternative (Score 1) 877

Bingo! You nailed it. The Federal government can always "borrow" the money from the Federal Reserve and as long as it always borrows more than it has to pay back then it isn't a drain on taxpayers.

Really the net government borrowing is the only way to increase the money supply over the medium to long term, since money borrowed by banks does eventually need to be paid back to the Fed.

So lower rates are a temporary monetary stimulus followed by a contraction of the money supply when rates go up.

Give the money to the people. No way there is a level playing field without a base income at least. It used to be that land was so cheap it was the equivalent of a basic income since you could always go out and subsistence farm. That level of equality was what enabled Liberty to thrive for a time in America.

Comment Re:Fake *anonymous* defendant (Score 1) 146

What's happening here is fraud and perjury and its organized, making it organized racketeering. This is for the FBI to investigate.

And it really undermines the rule of law to have some lawyers conspiring to fundamentally defraud the courts in a systematic way. They are harming third parties right to free speech, probably without those individuals even being aware.

Comment Attribution is Geopolitical... and dumb (Score 1) 106

You could have *probably* named 5 or 6 different major state and non-state players in the cyber espionage/hacking business that are of equal or greater concern, but Russia is the convenient target these days.

Seems the cold war is back on, but to me it would be far better to maintain somewhat better relations with Russia as a hedge of China and Saudi(Sunni Islamist) influence in world affairs. Even the EU and India should be considered as a potential competitors that should be worked with as friends, while understanding that we may have divergent global interests in the future.

Pushing Russia further towards China, Iran and others does nothing other than set up stronger anti-American alliances just as our technological military edge further erodes and we face larger militaries with increasingly sophisticated weapons and communications and backed by large industrial capacity.

We are so interconnected and with larger and larger populations we are more vulnerable to major disruptions that nobody should be looking to pick a fight amongst the larger countries. Of course nobody should be looking to pick a fight at all between countries, but especially strong is the responsibility to avoid further acrimony among the major and even the regional powers.

Comment Re:If Alphabet doesn't want to do it, sell it off! (Score 2) 97

Why wouldn't Alphabet spin off a new company that they have a 40% stake in and let it fly?

It wouldn't be part of Alphabet, so the rules wouldn't apply.

If it fails, they can handle a little loss.

If it is a hit, they can make money from it without holding back on good ideas the world might be able to use.

That is why I clicked on this thread. There should be room in the Alphabet ecosystem to spin off R&D like this into a standalone business or to sell to other companies for further development if there is a viable business plan and a sizable enough market.

Otherwise they will get stuck in the mindset that befell Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center when it was at the forefront of computing R&D and ended up with other companies actually developing their concepts because the concepts for computing didn't appear to support their core business model. Xerox could have been a major player in the emerging PC market if they had seen their concepts as much more than niche products.

I agree that it doesn't sound like this particular R&D fit the core Google business model, but if there was an opportunity to advance some area of technology with some promising new approaches and there was a market for the products then why not spin it off or seek outside capital if Alphabet itself didn't want to invest. I understand that even for Google/Alphabet there is a finite amount of capital. And of course they would want to retain key people and key patents so maybe it wouldn't have worked out as a spin off or new venture.

But if we as a society, as Google customers, are going to put so much capital into Google/Alphabet and put so much hope in their R&D then they really need to be going the extra mile to make sure all their promising tech gets out the door whenever possible and not just what is going to end up selling to a mass market.

Comment Re:Just let it fold and be done with it (Score 1) 254

So by your logic:

One US swimmer trashed a gas station and said he was robbed at gunpoint.
Does that mean everyone in America is a lying scumbag vandal?

That's ridiculous, just like it's ridiculous to claim BLM is a hate group just because there are a few members in the organization that are.

I didn't say it was right, just that it was equal treatment. And it isn't without some merit that a group is attacked for the actions of a few. The saying goes that a few bad apples spoil the bunch... as in if you don't exclude the bad apples, take them out, that they will spoil the rest. That goes for the police and BLM.

Comment Re:Just let it fold and be done with it (Score 1) 254

The point of BLM is equality, not racism. You can't piss on the whole movement because of a few asshats who align themselves with it.

It is not accurate to compare a white supremacy to blm.

Equality means people can indeed piss on the whole movement because of a few asshats who align themselves with it.

That is what mainstream politics and the press do to these sorts of political movements. That's what they did to the Tea Party, Occupy Movement, and now Black Lives Matter. Guilt by association is a pretty transparent tactic by parties aligned with various factions to undermine competing factions. And guilt by association in particular is the inherent weakness of populist movements because populist movements by their nature are going to include many many more people with a wider range of backgrounds including racists, criminals, gang members etc etc. There is simply no way to defend the integrity of a populist movement based on the integrity of all of its members.

It is also the weakness of BLM in particular because the movement has no simply stated achievable goals and relies on a shared sense of oppression and persecution for an ongoing sense of purpose. And there has been, a now exposed, cynical conspiracy by the democratic party elite to co-opt black lives matter into a vehicle to drive turnout on election day without actually delivering any achievable policy... Keep it supportive yet vague was the directive.

Again the cynical democratic party elite has tried to make sure BLM has no clear achievable agenda other than being a vehicle for discontent. The implication being that any actual policy agenda will either be too divisive within the democratic party or will be agreeable to all sides and won't allow for a contrast between parties that would help drive turnout.

It simply doesn't serve the party to achieve anything before election day other than black voter turnout. And then the next election is just two years away... It is up to BLM leaders to get some agenda on the table that most people can agree to and to stop being used for petty partisan politics. BLM itself needs to keep the focus on the things that can actually work to make things better.

Comment Re:WTF is the point of VR? (Score 1) 125

One of the challenges VR will have over the next year or so is the proliferation of terrible pseudo-VR experiences.

I don't think that is necessarily a problem. Plenty of cheap laggy poor quality smartphones out there and I don't think it is a problem for the "market" as a hole. It gives people options. The important thing is that there are quality options at a price point that people can reach.

Comment Re: LMFTFY (Score 1) 135

Muller has had computers he could fly since 1980.

Even the low powered mobile/embedded computers we had from ten years ago were not really fast enough to incorporate a lot of sensor data and perform extensive autonomous functions. We aren't talking about the small rack of computers you could put on a jumbo jet, or even in a car, or the small embedded computers you would put on a missile that could incorporate one sensor or two with simple instructions. What we have now is a capability to have small embedded or low power computers that can have millions of lines of code and do much more of the real time sensor processing needed to keep a small uav or small VTOL stable during dynamic near ground and cross wind conditions. And we also have an open source software community around autonomous drones and robotics that could be leveraged for control systems for small VTOL.

Comment Re:LMFTFY (Score 1) 135

Just as soon as the Moller Skycar is ready. It'll be real soon now, right? He's only been working on it for about 50 years.

Moller ran up against the problem of not wanting to get test pilots killed, and the FAA not wanting to get test pilots killed... but strap in a lightweight laptop that can autonomously stabilize the vehicle during testing while you have a pilot on the ground directing it where to go and you should be able to make faster progress than Moller ever could with periodic tethered flights from a crane and a human test pilot.

Comment Re:The poor economics of flying cars (Score 1) 135

The biggest mistake people make, is thinking, if technology X was tested and it failed. that in 50 years with new technology and materials it will still fail.

The problem with making a flying car isn't really the technology. We've known how to make a VTOL aircraft for a long time now. The showstopper is the economics of it.

Yes, it is the technology... new technology is what makes the economics work or not work. Successful new technology has always been about making the economics work. Lighter stronger materials..... lighter more powerful engines and motors, denser energy storage in batteries, along with lighter more powerful and more energy efficient computers necessary for controlling all those systems in a more dynamic vertical take off flight mode. I am not saying the economics will work, or that it could be made affordable for large numbers of people, but it is certainly a lot closer to working than it was ten or twenty years ago.

And even if the economics only work for the wealthy, then that still could mean a better overall transportation system with less pressure on existing infrastructure if we take some people off the roads.

Certainly worth some speculative R&D and it is worth support from NASA and regulatory support from the FAA.

Comment Re:Totally. (Score 1) 122

If terrorists hack emails of White House Office staff and get such sensitive information we will see the fall of our country."

Yeah, I totally believe you're an American. Totally. Look, this is my not-being-sarcastic face.

Regardless, our national security is built on the stronger foundation of common purpose of Liberty and democracy and not merely the ability of our government officials to keep secrets from us and our enemies.

Sure there are some things that should be secret to keep people safer and which allows our government and military to operate without adversaries knowing their every move. But our national security must be stronger than secrets.

Comment Winning small is better than losing big. (Score 1) 438

I think they want to take it all the way up to the Supreme Court, no half-measures.

So they want to lose big and take our Liberty with them? Thanks a lot?

Better to at least establish through practice the right to distribute these technical plans to Americans with the least possible amount of red tape (a EULA checkbox before download that says you are a US Citizen or Resident and will not export to citizens of other countries) and then fight for reasonable regulations on export. They should do this now, on their website, right now if they are at all serious about this issue.

The courts are not going to accept a prior restraint argument if there is not even the slightest care or check on whether the files are being requested by foreign sources.

Encryption was hard enough and technically web browsers and other software with encryption could still be export controlled, but actual weapon plans and schematics are going to be a bridge too far. And at least with encryption software there was a letter of the law attempt to comply export regulations. The court is going to have little appetite to go into the degree of lethality of the weapons in question to establish some higher threshold for exporting weapon plans abroad.

This case is overreach with all risk with the only hope being that the courts rule against this case more narrowly to allow them to fall back on the methods and procedures for export control that I suggest be applied.

Instead of establishing a file sharing community where amateur gunsmiths were actually sharing plans and making improvements to weapon designs and making some responsible efforts to make sure that people posing as foreign nationals at a time of ISIS weren't given weapon designs, this entire effort has been an immature attempt to put the cart before the horse that has been destructive of efforts to maintain 2nd amendment rights.

Somebody else please set up a marketplace for pistol, rifle and shotgun designs and schematics, put up the EULA to keep out foreign nationals and let's give them attention and praise for actually furthering the science, art and engineering of pistol, shotgun, and rifle design. And if that new website is sent some cease and desist letters threatening them, then let's support them, because then at least we can possibly win and protect the essence of the 2nd amendment which protects Americans right to keep and bear arms, not the rights of people in other countries.

Comment Complying doesn't prevent distribution within US (Score 2) 438

Yes it is ridiculous, but it is also trivial to comply and legally make those plans available to 300 million Americans. Just label the files with the appropriate export control warnings and have down-loaders agree to the restrictions via the type of click through legal agreement that many software downloads have.

We went through this with encryption software and even web browsers that supported https... ITAR could have broken the Internet except people figured out how to comply and in their compliance show how silly the regulations actually were. The criminal act is in actually sending the files to a foreigner. So you just need to have someone state they are a US citizen and they agree not to export the files to a non-US citizen. Keep a log of downloads in case any downloader chooses to commit fraud and makes an unauthorized download.

Just comply with the bare requirements and then fight on the stronger grounds that the legal restrictions don't actually de facto prevent export, but that further restrictions on publication and distribution would indeed prevent the lawful distribution of the files to American citizens.

Slashdot Top Deals

"An entire fraternity of strapping Wall-Street-bound youth. Hell - this is going to be a blood bath!" -- Post Bros. Comics