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Submission + - NASA Launching Super Pressure Balloon - Wanaka, New Zealand (nzherald.co.nz)

rupert.applin writes: The NZ Herald is reporting the launch of another super pressure balloon from Wanaka Airport in New Zealand.

"A stadium-sized balloon launch conducted by Nasa is going ahead in Wanaka after seven failed attempts.

Nasa will be conducting a super-pressure balloon test flight from Wanaka on a planned 100-day journey.

After launch the balloon will ascend to an altitude of 33.5 kilometres where the stratospheric winds will propel it at speeds of at least 100 knots through the heating and cooling of the day-night cycle on a weeks-long journey around the Southern Hemisphere, said Debbie Fairbrother, Nasa's Balloon Programme Office chief."

Submission + - Leaked NSA hacking tools will be weaponized for years to come (cyberscoop.com)

Patrick O'Neill writes: Over 200,000 machines have been infected with NSA tools leaked by the ShadowBrokers. Security researchers, seeing as many as 25,000 new infections per day, say the “reliable and easy to use” tools will be workable in the wild for the next decade. There's precedent to back this up: The most exploited vulnerability in both 2015 and 2016 was the software flaw, first discovered in 2010, that allowed the famous Stuxnet virus to spread.

Submission + - Whoi is behind "Arkansas" trying to execute two inmates on Monday evening? (reuters.com)

Elixon writes: The state of Arkansas plans to execute two inmates on Monday. It will be the first U.S. state in 17 years to put a pair of convicts to death on the same day. With the recent appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch in may really happen.

I have noticed that everywhere in news we read the names of convicts and the other party is just named "Arkansas". But we all know that there are government bureaucrats — real people — hiding behind that label "Arkansas".

I am European with very different views on this and I would be really interested in learning who really are those people behind "Arkansas" going extra mile to have somebody killed (because of some product's expiration) and what is their agenda — what are their convictions and motives. I just want to understand why somebody with a good job paid from people's taxes shows that much effort to kill somebody else.

Does anybody know who are they and what is their story?

Comment Slashdot comment shows one reaction to abuse: (Score 1) 214

Wow! Quotes from the parent comment:

"You're the laughingstock of the whole town."

"You're middle-aged now, alone and shunned."

"Your "call to arms" is a joke and we will laugh at it, as always."

"And you will end up with your pants pulled over your head and stuck heads-down in a trash can."

As I said in my comment that started this discussion of Slashdot reactions to abuse (+5), people who comment about abuse often don't respond in a manner guided by logic. Commenters often use these avoidances, and others:

1) Attack.

2) Change the subject. Respond to the new subject with an attack on that subject.

3) Give excuses.

4) Say that positive change is impossible.

Submission + - Reddit to deprecate custom stylesheets in upcoming redesign

An anonymous reader writes: Yesterday, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman announced that an upcoming redesign of the website will deprecae the use of custom stylesheets across all of its subreddits, in favor of limited customization options on a standardized template, and a new sidebar widget system. He argued CSS on Reddit was "difficult to learn", "error-prone", and "time consuming", made it harder to make changes to the site itself without risking breaking changes made by other subreddits, and were not compatible with the mobile version of Reddit,

Huffman stated that the site's staff planned to work with the community to "replicate as many of the existing uses that already exist, and to expand beyond as we evolve", and that the widget system would allow subreddits to add dynamic content to their sidebars more easily. However, said community is up in arms over the announced changes, as the moderators of many popular subreddits have created intricate stylesheets that add community-specific functionality and customizations that diversify the experience, and the exact level of customization that will be possible under the new system is still unclear.

Comment Common issue: Finding the most negative response (Score 1) 214

"So the proper response is to join the NRA and come out with all guns blazing?"

Why say something extremely negative and worthless, while ignoring suggested solutions? That's one of the ways Slashdot commenters don't handle abuse well.

Here are 2 solutions I mentioned in my grandparent comment:

1) One possible solution: All countries could support ReactOS so that the Windows OS can be eliminated.

2) No company should be allowed to have a virtual monopoly! Companies that are routinely abusive should be re-organized or eliminated.

See my comment below, Gov. leaders unsually have no technical knowledge, for initial ideas about how to cause the writing and adoption of new laws.

Comment Gov. leaders unsually have no technical knowledge. (Score 1) 214

"Not only have consumers ignored open source solutions, they've gone totally the other way."

The average person has no technical knowledge. Companies like Microsoft are using that ignorance to abuse their customers.

We have technical knowledge. We could teach government leaders what needs to be done. In general, almost all government leaders are extremely ignorant about technology. They need a lot of help.

"We've ranted. We've raged."

"Ranting" and "raging" is infantile behavior.

Instead, prepare a set of laws and regulations that we recommend. Get the process started. Ask hundreds of thousands of Slashdot readers to make their local government leaders aware of the laws and regulations we recommend.

Is there a Slashdot reader who has the ability to be a government leader? Would that person be interested in a government career? Support that person nationally.

Why do I spend so much time reading Slashdot? Because I often find knowledgeable, logical comments that are helpful to me. I've taught myself to navigate around the angry, crazy, and otherwise worthless comments.

Maybe the Slashdot readers who are knowledgeable and logical can take a stronger role in leading the world in a better direction.

Submission + - A battery made of molten metals (mit.edu) 1

Z00L00K writes: This story came out a while ago, but didn't seem to surface:

A novel rechargeable battery developed at MIT could one day play a critical role in the massive expansion of solar generation needed to mitigate climate change by midcentury. Designed to store energy on the electric grid, the high-capacity battery consists of molten metals that naturally separate to form two electrodes in layers on either side of the molten salt electrolyte between them. Tests with cells made of low-cost, Earth-abundant materials confirm that the liquid battery operates efficiently without losing significant capacity or mechanically degrading — common problems in today’s batteries with solid electrodes. The MIT researchers have already demonstrated a simple, low-cost process for manufacturing prototypes of their battery, and future plans call for field tests on small-scale power grids that include intermittent generating sources such as solar and wind.


Comment Why pay the Microsoft tax? (Score 4, Interesting) 214

SOON: The Windows OS will be rented, not sold, apparently. That would be one more abuse, of many.

This is being accepted: Windows 10 is possibly the worst spyware ever made. Quote: "Buried in the service agreement is permission to poke through everything on your PC."

So, I'm guessing Microsoft managers think, "That worked. We will try another abuse."

One thing I've learned over the years is that Slashdot commenters are generally not good at reacting to abuse. Slashdot commenters make excuses, or react to abuse weakly. Also, for many Slashdot commenters there is a conflict of interest: They make more money if Windows is more difficult to administer and use.

Slowly increasing the number and severity of abuses causes many people to make multiple excuses, effectively accepting Microsoft's abusiveness.

However, Microsoft managers seem to lack social ability. The abusiveness of many of the features of Windows 10 are like a multi-billion-dollar advertising campaign that very effectively says, "Dislike Microsoft products". One of the many examples: Trying to imitate Google and sell "Apps", but to business users that don't want employees distracted.

One possible solution: All countries could support ReactOS so that the Windows OS can be eliminated.

No company should be allowed to have a virtual monopoly! Companies that are routinely abusive should be re-organized or eliminated.

Quote from the parent comment: "I've been using a combination of Google Apps and LibreOffice for years, never looked back and don't miss MS at all. Several of the businesses I consult for have switched entirely to Google Apps..."

Several years ago, I spent several hours writing something in Microsoft Word. Later I discovered that Microsoft Word was not able to open its own file! Luckily, I could open the file in Libre Office.

The parent comment is correct. Let's find other methods of doing our work. Don't rely on a habitual abuser.

Let's have a multi-national effort to improve Libre Office, especially the somewhat sloppy and limited user interface.

Why should all the countries in the world pay the Microsoft tax? The United States was founded because of refusing to pay an abusive tax.

Submission + - A Terrible Decision by the Internet Archive May Lead to Widespread Blocking (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: We can stipulate at the outset that the venerable Internet Archive and its associated systems like Wayback Machine have done a lot of good for many years — for example by providing chronological archives of websites who have chosen to participate in their efforts. But now, it appears that the Internet Archive has joined the dark side of the Internet, by announcing that they will no longer honor the access control requests of any websites.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How Do You Explain "Don't Improve My Software Syndrome" or DIMSS? 7

dryriver writes: I am someone who likes to post improvement suggestions for different software tools I use on the internet. If I see a function in a software that doesn't work well for me or could work better for everyone else, I immediately post suggestions as to how that function could be improved and made to work better for everybody. A striking phenomenon I have come across in posting such suggestions is the sheer number of "why would you want that at all" or "nobody needs that" or "the software is fine as it is" type responses from software users. What is particularly puzzling is that its not the developers of the software rejecting the suggestions — its users of the software that often react sourly to improvement suggestions that could, if implemented well, benefit a lot of people using the software in question. I have observed this happening online for years even for really good software feature/function improvement ideas that actually wound up being implemented. My question is — what causes this behavior of software users on the internet? Why would a software user see a suggestion that would very likely benefit many other users of the software and object loudly to that suggestion, or even pretend that "the suggestion is a bad one"?

Submission + - 44% Of Americans Won't Pay Any Federal Income Tax (zerohedge.com)

schwit1 writes: More than four in 10 American households (44.3%) — or upwards of 76 million — didn't pay any income tax to the federal government last year, according to data for 2016 from the Tax Policy Center. This year that number is expected to be roughly the same, at 43.9%.

Most of these people aren't paying income taxes because they either don't have any income that is taxable (many fall below the poverty line), or because they get enough tax breaks and don't owe the government money. Common tax breaks include the child tax credit, the earned income tax credit (EITC), and the exclusion of some or all Social Security income, explains Roberton Williams of the Tax Policy Center.

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