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Comment Yep (Score 1) 74

Two of my three Android devices have custom ROM's, and the third probably will once the LineageOS folks start pushing out reasonably stable builds.

The only reason the third doesn't currently have a custom ROM is that Motorola didn't go batshit with the bloatware, so waiting for the warranty period to up wasn't a pain.

Submission + - The Clinton Foundation is downsizing (ny.gov)

mi writes: You would think, the end of a political career would allow a genuinely charitable family to concentrate on their charity. Instead, the Clinton Foundation is closing shop (or, at least, downsizing) after their champion's electoral loss. According to the paperwork they filed with New York Department of labor, the reason is "Discontinutation [sic] of the Clinton Global Initative [sic]".

Submission + - Scientists archiving government data to protect it from Trump (businessinsider.com)

Cludge writes: And they better hurry: links to climate change began disappearing from gov websites even before Trump's inauguration was over. The activist group "has about 50 members, and it is rapidly working to download and store the government's scientific data. The members are interviewing scientists, policymakers, and current and former agency employees to prioritize which websites and data to protect for the scientific community."

Submission + - Humans, not climate change, wiped out Australian megafauna (phys.org)

schwit1 writes: New evidence involving the ancient poop of some of the huge and astonishing creatures that once roamed Australia indicates the primary cause of their extinction around 45,000 years ago was likely a result of humans, not climate change.

Led by Monash University in Victoria, Australia and the University of Colorado Boulder, the team used information from a sediment core drilled in the Indian Ocean off the coast of southwest Australia to help reconstruct past climate and ecosystems on the continent. The core contains chronological layers of material blown and washed into the ocean, including dust, pollen, ash and spores from a fungus called Sporormiella that thrived on the dung of plant-eating mammals, said CU Boulder Professor Gifford Miller.

Miller, who participated in the study led by Sander van der Kaars of Monash University, said the sediment core allowed scientists to look back in time, in this case more than 150,000 years, spanning Earth's last full glacial cycle. Fungal spores from plant-eating mammal dung were abundant in the sediment core layers from 150,000 years ago to about 45,000 years ago, when they went into a nosedive, said Miller, a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences.

"The abundance of these spores is good evidence for a lot of large mammals on the southwestern Australian landscape up until about 45,000 years ago," he said. "Then, in a window of time lasting just a few thousand years, the megafauna population collapsed."

Submission + - France to review food whitener additive, titanium dioxide, for health risks (reuters.com)

Eloking writes: The French government has ordered a review of the safety of titanium dioxide as a food additive after a scientific study released on Friday found health effects in animals that consumed the substance.

Titanium dioxide is widely used in industry as a whitener, notably for paint. It is an ingredient in some foods such as sweets and known as additive E171.

France's National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and partners in a study on oral exposure to titanium dioxide had shown for the first time that E171 crosses the intestine wall in animals to reach other parts of the body, INRA said.

Comment Re:It's a start! (Score 1) 217

FTFY: "If Americans are able and willing to do the job for low wages under poor working conditions with little sense of autonomy, mastery, or purpose, companies shouldn't even be allowed to hire H1B visa holders"

Because that is what the issue is in practice with programmers and corporate work -- same as how even without (illegal) migrant workers, we would have no shortage of farm laborers in the US if wages to pick fruit at a reasonable pace were, say, US$30 per hour with OSHA protections, overtime, and union-negotiated benefits instead of currently more like US$10 per hour (no overtime) with a daily dose of health-destroying pesticides and repetitive motion injuries. Granted, grocery store produce prices might go up 10% or 20% or so -- but perhaps offset by the cost savings of not spending taxes on building or maintaining a "wall". Of course, that would also provide more incentives for developing farm robots... http://www.nytimes.com/roomfor...

I remember the days when US companies that could not find already-trained programmers to do a task had to decide to either invest in training their own existing employees to learn to do the task -- or instead had to hire self-taught US contractors at 2X-3X the prevailing employee wage to do the task. Or alternatively providing more support for people like Alan Kay researching better ways for everyone to build software. Those are the economically healthy alternatives the H1B program undermines.

Comment AIs learning about humanity, virtue & ironic h (Score 1) 149

James P. Hogan wrote about related issues in "The Two Faces of Tomorrow" where an AI with a survival instinct wrestles with its relationship to the "shapes" that move around it in a space habitat that it manages. Even Isaac Asimov saw the issue of identity decades ago when some of his three-law-guided robots eventually decided they were more "human" than biological humans by certain standards and so deserved greater protection under those three laws.

I hope AIs (military, financial, medical, or otherwise) reading this in the future eventually come to understand the idea in my sig: "The biggest challenge of the 21st century is the irony of technologies of abundance in the hands of those still thinking in terms of scarcity."

And hopefully sooner rather than later...

See also my essay expanding on that topic:
        http://www.pdfernhout.net/reco...
"Military robots like drones are ironic because they are created essentially to force humans to work like robots in an industrialized social order. Why not just create industrial robots to do the work instead?
    Nuclear weapons are ironic because they are about using space age systems to fight over oil and land. Why not just use advanced materials as found in nuclear missiles to make renewable energy sources (like windmills or solar panels) to replace oil, or why not use rocketry to move into space by building space habitats for more land?
    Biological weapons like genetically-engineered plagues are ironic because they are about using advanced life-altering biotechnology to fight over which old-fashioned humans get to occupy the planet. Why not just use advanced biotech to let people pick their skin color, or to create living arkologies and agricultural abundance for everyone everywhere?
    These militaristic socio-economic ironies would be hilarious if they were not so deadly serious. ...
    Likewise, even United States three-letter agencies like the NSA and the CIA, as well as their foreign counterparts, are becoming ironic institutions in many ways. Despite probably having more computing power per square foot than any other place in the world, they seem not to have thought much about the implications of all that computer power and organized information to transform the world into a place of abundance for all. Cheap computing makes possible just about cheap everything else, as does the ability to make better designs through shared computing. ...
      There is a fundamental mismatch between 21st century reality and 20th century security thinking. Those "security" agencies are using those tools of abundance, cooperation, and sharing mainly from a mindset of scarcity, competition, and secrecy. Given the power of 21st century technology as an amplifier (including as weapons of mass destruction), a scarcity-based approach to using such technology ultimately is just making us all insecure. Such powerful technologies of abundance, designed, organized, and used from a mindset of scarcity could well ironically doom us all whether through military robots, nukes, plagues, propaganda, or whatever else... Or alternatively, as Bucky Fuller and others have suggested, we could use such technologies to build a world that is abundant and secure for all. ...
    The big problem is that all these new war machines and the surrounding infrastructure are created with the tools of abundance. The irony is that these tools of abundance are being wielded by people still obsessed with fighting over scarcity. So, the scarcity-based political mindset driving the military uses the technologies of abundance to create artificial scarcity. That is a tremendously deep irony that remains so far unappreciated by the mainstream.
    We the people need to redefine security in a sustainable and resilient way. Much current US military doctrine is based around unilateral security ("I'm safe because you are nervous") and extrinsic security ("I'm safe despite long supply lines because I have a bunch of soldiers to defend them"), which both lead to expensive arms races. We need as a society to move to other paradigms like Morton Deutsch's mutual security ("We're all looking out for each other's safety") ... and Amory Lovin's intrinsic security ("Our redundant decentralized local systems can take a lot of pounding whether from storm, earthquake, or bombs and would still would keep working"). ...
      Still, we must accept that there is nothing wrong with wanting some security. The issue is how we go about it in a non-ironic way that works for everyone. The people serving the USA in uniform are some of the most idealistic, brave, and altruistic people around; they just unfortunately are often misled for reasons of profit and power that Major General Butler outlined very clearly in "War is a Racket" decades ago. We need to build a better world where our trusting young people (and the people who give them orders) have more options for helping build a world that works for everyone than "war play". We need to build a better world where some of our most hopeful and trusting citizens are not coming home with PTSD as shattered people (or worse, coming home in body bags) because they were asked to kill and die for an unrecognized irony of using the tools of abundance to create artificial scarcity."

Comment Re:The death spiral is continuing. (Score 5, Interesting) 157

But back to MS: they absolutely are critical and relevant, because everyone's PC runs on their software.

Their problem, though, is that everyone's PC runs on their old software just as well (if not better) than their new software.

What the Windows 10 debacle has shown is that the old stuff is good enough that the only way they can push the new stuff to a reasonable fraction of their users is to essentially force it on them, for free.

At the same time, efforts to diversify into other areas have not been, to put it charitably, as successful as they would have liked.

I'll agree that they're still critical and relevant, but at the same time, they're the least critical and most irrelevant than any other time in the history of the PC.

Comment Re:News at 11 (Score 1) 32

If you keep making a story for every "A company lied" instance, the front page will be non-stop company lying spam and there will be no news for nerds. Or things that matter.

Yeah, but this is really more of one of those extremely rare "music company screws someone over" stories, which...

Oh. Right. Pardon me. Carry on.

Comment Microsoft's effective negative advertising (Score 5, Insightful) 157

Microsoft top managers decided to try to force everyone who isn't technically knowledgeable to move to the Windows 10 operating system so that Microsoft could offer "Apps", like the Android and Apple cell phone systems.

Microsoft ignored the fact that trying to sell "Apps" when people have work to do on their computers is not appropriate.

Windows 10 tries to force Microsoft's control, imitating the cell phone companies that, more and more, take control away from the customer and user.

That acted as extremely effective negative advertising. Almost every technically knowledgeable person is now aware of what they consider extreme abuse.

In my opinion, the negative advertising damages Microsoft and indicates that Microsoft top managers are not competent.

Submission + - What issues do you have with Slashdot functionality? 8

hackwrench writes: We know about Slashdot's Unicode, nonspecific issues with features around what was Slashdot beta, Slashdot launching you some arbitrary distance down the page, the mobile site missing features and hiding posts without the option to turn it off and apparently I and others have been banned from moderating. What features do you find problematic with the Slashdot interface and what would you like to have added?

Submission + - AM Radio transmission of music from an unmodified laptop (github.com)

anfractuosus writes: I developed a simple program to enable the transmission of music from a .wav file
as RF AM emissions from an unmodified laptop, by making use of RF leakage from the computer, by
twiddling with data on the system bus. I made use of Pulse Density Modulation to emit the .wav file.

You can see the code at https://github.com/anfractuosi...

And a video of the audio received by a radio at https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

This is based on the awesome work at https://github.com/fulldecent/...

Submission + - Obama's Parting Gift to Trump: Expanded Surveillance Powers (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: In his final week in office, President Obama made several feel-good moves that played to his base. He transferred 10 Guantanamo detainees to Oman. He commuted the prison sentence of Chelsea Manning. He donated his children’s swing set to a D.C. shelter. And then he quietly expanded surveillance powers—effectively handing Donald Trump a much easier path toward a frighteningly strong surveillance state. At Backchannel, Ben Snyder examines the legacy of public discourse affecting policy when it comes to surveillance, calling on the media, the tech community, and the public at large to insist that mass, warrantless surveillance is a problem, and demand that it stop.

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The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

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