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Comment Re:Good for them (Score 1, Insightful) 258

This is one possibility, but the "That way I wouldn't have to repurchase them again in the future" argument seems pretty weak, given that once most books have their day, circulation drops to zero for years (which is why it does make sense to purge books from smaller libraries). I think the more likely possibility is that it was a scheme to boost circulation numbers to protect their budget, as suggested in TFA.

Submission + - Weapons of Math Destruction Author: Models are Opinions Embedded in Math (

dangle writes: The LA Times has an interview with "Weapons of Math Destruction" author Cathy O'Neil discussing her concerns about the social consequences of ill-considered mathematical modeling. She discusses the example of a NYC Department of Education algorithm designed to grade school teachers that no one outside of the coders had access to. "The Department of Education did not know how to explain the scores that they were giving out to teachers," she observes. "...(T)he very teachers whose jobs are on the line don’t understand how they’re being evaluated. I think that’s a question of justice. Everyone should have the right to know how they’re being evaluated at their job," she argues. Another example discussed is a Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services risk-modeling algorithm developed by SAS to score children according to their risk of being abused so that social workers can better target their efforts. Depending on the ethical considerations, such an algorithm could intentionally overweight factors such as income or ethnicity in a way that could tip the balance between right to privacy and protection of abused minors one way or another. "I want to separate the moral conversations from the implementation of the data model that formalizes those decisions. I want to see algorithms as formal versions of conversations that have already taken place," she concludes.

Comment Re:Hot Housing Markets a Sign of Too Few Houses (Score 1) 84

I don't see how the situation will improve without more compact, denser housing either. Here in Portland, our formerly middle class neighborhood is being infilled with large, circa $1M homes, which are typically occupied by an average of 2.x people. We specifically bought our 1200 ft^2 home because we didn't want to have to take care of a big place full of stuff. I get concerned about the related social housing trends, too. For example, I bought our house in '11 from a retired firefighter's widow, whose (employed) son had kept the place buffed, but couldn't afford to take on the mortgage. So the social rarification process started with me 'swooping' in to buy the place when they had to put it on the market. And now the nice house across the street (next to the house where our neighborhood trash/recycling guy lives) has become a teardown to be replaced by a home that most people on our block couldn't afford.

Submission + - How Russia Recruited Elite Hackers for Its Cyberwar (

Lasrick writes: 'For more than three years, rather than rely on military officers working out of isolated bunkers, Russian government recruiters have scouted a wide range of programmers, placing prominent ads on social media sites, offering jobs to college students and professional coders, and even speaking openly about looking in Russia’s criminal underworld for potential talent.' Important read.

Submission + - Chinese rocket fails to put two satellites into correct orbits (

schwit1 writes: Tracking data suggests that two Earth-observation satellites launched today by China’s Long March 2D rocket were placed in the wrong orbits.

The two SuperView 1, or Gaojing 1, satellites are flying in egg-shaped orbits ranging from 133 miles (214 kilometers) to 325 miles (524 kilometers) in altitude at an inclination of 97.6 degrees. The satellites would likely re-enter Earth’s atmosphere within months in such a low orbit, and it was unclear late Wednesday whether the craft had enough propellant to raise their altitudes.

The high-resolution Earth-observing platforms were supposed to go into a near-circular orbit around 300 miles (500 kilometers) above the planet to begin their eight-year missions collecting imagery for Siwei Star Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., a government-owned entity.

Submission + - Watership Down author Richard Adams died on Xmas Eve, aged 96 (

haruchai writes: In addition to his much-beloved story about anthropomorphic rabbits, he penned 2 fantasy books set in the fictional Beklan Empire, first Shardik (1974) about a hunter pursuing a giant bear he believes to be imbued with divine power, and Maia (1984) , a peasant girl sold into slavery who becomes entangled in a war between neighboring countries

Submission + - Germany Considers Fining Facebook $522,000 Per Fake News Item (

schwit1 writes: The government of Germany is considering imposing a legal regime that would allow fining social networks such as Facebook up to 500,000 euros ($522,000) for each day the platform leaves a “fake news” story up without deleting it.

I would like the same enforced against US government officials.We would end up with a transparent government or no debt.

LBJ:None of our boys will die on foreign soil
Nixon:I am not a crook
GHW Bush: Read my lips – No New Taxes
WJ Clinton: I did not have sex with that woman Miss Lewinski
GW Bush: Iraq has weapons of mass destruction
I, Barrack Hussein Obama, pledge to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.

Submission + - Dashcam Footage Shows Tesla Autopilot Predicting Surprise Crash (

SonicSpike writes: Tesla’s autopilot might make you drive like a grandma, but that’s a small price to pay since it can also, apparently, see the future. A dashcam video seems to show the autopilot for a Tesla Model X predict that the two cars ahead of it were about to crash, even though the human driver would’ve had no way to see the collision coming.

Electek reports that the crash took place on the Autobahn in the Netherlands. Hans Noordsij, a Dutch electric car enthusiast who first reported the incident, said that nobody in the crash was seriously injured, according to the driver of the Tesla. In the video, you can hear the Tesla’s Forward Collision Warning start pinging for seemingly no reason — then the car ahead of the Tesla slams into the SUV in front of it that had been hidden from view.

The Tesla was able to tell this was going to happen thanks to the September autopilot update, which added radar — a tried-and-true technology that Elon Musk said could cut accident rates in half. The radar aspect of the autopilot allowed the Model X to track two cars ahead of itself. Even though the SUV wasn’t visible, the radar knew where it was — and that it was about to get rear-ended.

Submission + - Creepy Website IknowWhatYouDownload Makes Your Torrenting History Open To All ( 2

dryriver writes: The highly invasive and possibly Russian owned and operated website immediately shows the bittorent download history for your IP address when you land on it. What's more, it also shows the torrenting history of any specific IP address you enter, and also of IP addresses similar to your's, so you can see what others near you — perhaps the nice neighbours in the house next door — have downloaded when they thought nobody was looking. Upon clicking on somebody else's IP link in my range, for example, I found that the person had downloaded a tremendous amount of Porn content of a certain rather embarrassing type in what they thought was the privacy of their own home. The website highlights XXX content in bright red on its download list, a feature that appears explicitly designed to embarrass people who torrent porn. There is also a nasty little "Track Downloads" feature that lets you send a "trick URL" to somebody else. When they click on the URL — thinking its something cool on Facebook, Twitter or the general internet — THEY see what they URL promised, but YOU get sent their entire torrenting history, including anything embarrassing or otherwise compromising content they may have downloaded in private. A website this malicious and invasive can only have been built by the big content producers to deter people from downloading piratedcontent methinks. The website appears to offer an API, customized download reports and more to interested parties in the hopes of generating big cash from making other people's torrenting activities public. I wonder how long it takes before some teenager commits suicide or similar because his school friends sent him a "trick URL" from this site that outed him/her as downloading gay porn or similar.

Submission + - Navy Coded Sea Animal Sounds for Communications

An anonymous reader writes: A 1980 report on the U.S. Government project called Project COMBO to study the use of coded marine animal sounds for covert underwater communication systems has just been declassified by ISCAP, a federal declassification appeals panel, overruling a previous Navy Department decision. The concept originated in 1949, and collection and analysis of sounds began in 1965. In 1970, DARPA sponsored analysis and duplication of sonogram patters of collected marine mammal sounds, and the Navy sponsored efforts to study communications applications. Project COMBO developed a coding technique that uses temporal and frequency patterns to convey messages, and recognizer/decoder equipment. Lab and sea tests used demonstration messages based on coded pilot whale sounds; the messages were received correctly underwater out to 50 nautical miles.

Submission + - Dutch regulators order T-Mobile to stop offering free music streaming over net n (

Shuvø Sarker writes: T-Mobile’s no-data-charge-music-streaming-thing has been going strong since 2014 here in the States, with the company adding services to the offering one by one.

The Netherlands version of the promotion ran into significant headwinds this week, however, as regulators at the Dutch Consumer and Markets (AFM) officially ordered the carrier to stop offering the “zero rating” feature over concerns that it constitutes a threat to net neutrality.

As with the version in the States, the service lets users play unlimited music through participating services, without contributing to their data costs (the US counterpart features a video version, as well). The “participating services” is the key part of the decision here, as promoting certain companies over others can aversely impact competition.

T-Mobile Netherlands, which introduced the service on October 10, will be hit with a $52,000 a day fine if it refuses to comply to yesterday’s ruling.

Here’s a key bit of the Un-Carrier’s response to the ruling, filtered through Google Translate,

        T-Mobile meets the European requirements and is therefore not agree with the decision of the ACM and will refer the matter to the courts. T-Mobile is waiting for the verdict of the court and until then Data Royalty Free Music remains available.

So, all that free streaming may end up costing T-Mobile quite a bit in the end.

Submission + - The recent changes in Earth's magnetic field (

schwit1 writes: New data from Europe’s Swarm constellation of satellites detail the recent bigger-than-expected changes that have been occurring in the Earth’s magnetic field.

Data from Swarm, combined with observations from the CHAMP and Ørsted satellites, show clearly that the field has weakened by about 3.5% at high latitudes over North America, while it has strengthened about 2% over Asia. The region where the field is at its weakest – the South Atlantic Anomaly – has moved steadily westward and weakened further by about 2%. These changes have occured over the relatively brief period between 1999 and mid-2016.

It was already known that the field has weakened globally by about 10% since the 19th century. These changes appear to be part of that generally weakening. Some scientists have proposed that this is the beginning of an overall flip of the magnetic field’s polarity, something that happens on average about every 300,000 years and last occurred 780,000 years ago. At the moment, however, we have no idea if this theory is correct.

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