Linux fréttir

Consumer Reports Restores 'Recommended' Ratings to Both Tesla's Model 3 and Model S

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-11-16 18:34
"Consumer Reports has restored its coveted 'recommended' rating to the Tesla Model S and Model 3, because Tesla has made its cars more reliable," reports CNN: "The Tesla Model 3 struggled last year as the company made frequent design changes and ramped up production to meet demand," said Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at CR. "But as the production stabilized, we have seen improvements to the reliability of the Model 3 and S that now allow us to recommend both models." Although Consumer Reports says the Models S and 3 need fewer repairs, it did have some bad news for Tesla, too: The Model X SUV continues to rank among the magazine's least reliable. The Model S had lost its recommended status last year, CNN notes. And while initially giving Tesla's Model 3 a "recommended" rating in 2018, further reliability survey data from more Tesla owners had prompted Consumer Reports to remove it from its recommended list in February of this year. The new ratings are just part of a good month for Tesla. Since reporting an unexpected profit last month, Tesla's stock price has shot up more than 40%.

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Something Strange Seems To Be Causing Distant Galaxies To Synchronize

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-11-16 17:34
pgmrdlm quotes Futurism: Massive StructuresGalaxies millions of light years away seem to be connected by an unseen network of massive intergalactic structures, which force them to synchronize in ways that can't be explained by existing astrophysics, Vice reports. The discoveries could force us to rethink our fundamental understanding of the universe. "The observed coherence must have some relationship with large-scale structures, because it is impossible that the galaxies separated by six megaparsecs [roughly 20 million light years] directly interact with each other," Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute astronomer Hyeop Lee told the site. There have been many instances of astronomers observing galaxies that seem to be connected and moving in sync with each other. A study by Lee, published in The Astrophysical Journal in October, found that hundreds of galaxies are rotating in exactly the same way, despite being millions of light years apart. And a separate study, published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics in 2014, found supermassive black holes aligning with each other, despite being billions of light years apart.

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How Google Interferes With Its Search Algorithms and Changes Your Results

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-11-16 16:34
Long-time Slashdot reader walterbyrd shared this report on "arguably the most powerful lines of computer code in the global economy," the Google algorithms that handle 3.8 million queries every single minute. But though Google claims its algorithms are objective and autonomous, the Wall Street Journal reports Google "has increasingly re-engineered and interfered with search results to a far greater degree than the company and its executives have acknowledged": More than 100 interviews and the Journal's own testing of Google's search results reveal: - Google made algorithmic changes to its search results that favor big businesses over smaller ones, and in at least one case made changes on behalf of a major advertiser, eBay Inc., contrary to its public position that it never takes that type of action. The company also boosts some major websites, such as Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc., according to people familiar with the matter. - Google engineers regularly make behind-the-scenes adjustments to other information the company is increasingly layering on top of its basic search results. These features include auto-complete suggestions, boxes called "knowledge panels" and "featured snippets," and news results, which aren't subject to the same company policies limiting what engineers can remove or change. - Despite publicly denying doing so, Google keeps blacklists to remove certain sites or prevent others from surfacing in certain types of results... Google employees and executives, including co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, have disagreed on how much to intervene on search results and to what extent. Employees can push for revisions in specific search results, including on topics such as vaccinations and autism. - To evaluate its search results, Google employs thousands of low-paid contractors whose purpose the company says is to assess the quality of the algorithms' rankings. Even so, contractors said Google gave feedback to these workers to convey what it considered to be the correct ranking of results, and they revised their assessments accordingly, according to contractors interviewed by the Journal. The contractors' collective evaluations are then used to adjust algorithms. The Journal's findings undercut one of Google's core defenses against global regulators worried about how it wields its immense power -- that the company doesn't exert editorial control over what it shows users.

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Debian Project Drafts General Resolution on Init-System Diversity

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-11-16 15:34
Debian "is heading toward a new general resolution to decide at what level init systems other than systemd should be supported," reports LWN.net. "I'm absolutely convinced we've reached a point where in order to respect the people trying to get work done, we need to figure out where we are as a project," writes Debian project leader Sam Hartman. "We can either decide that this is work we want to facilitate, or work that we as a project decide is not important." LWN.net reports: The immediate motivation for a reconsideration would appear to be the proposed addition of elogind, a standalone fork of the systemd-logind daemon, to Debian. Elogind would provide support for systemd's D-Bus-based login mechanism -- needed to support small projects like the GNOME desktop -- without the need for systemd itself. The addition of elogind has been controversial; it is a difficult package to integrate for a number of reasons. Much of the discussion has evidently been carried out away from the mailing lists, but some context on the problem can be found in this bug report. In short: merging elogind appears to be complex enough that it would be hard to justify in the absence of a strong commitment to the support of non-systemd init systems. It seems possible that this commitment no longer exists across the distribution as a whole; the purpose of a general resolution would be to determine whether that is the case or not. Unsurprisingly, Debian developers have a variety of opinions on this issue. This response from Russ Allbery is worth reading in its entirety. He argues that the 2014 decision (of which he was a part) never really nailed down the project's position toward other init systems. That was a necessary compromise at the time, he said, but it is causing stress now: "while I feel somewhat vindicated by the fact that this didn't immediately fall apart and has sort of worked, I think it's becoming increasingly untenable".... Josh Triplett zeroed in on one of the issues that is testing the init-system peace now. There is, he said, an increasingly long list of features that are only available with systemd, and application developers want to use those features... The responses to this argument took a couple of different approaches. Ted Ts'o described those features as "the 'embrace, extend, and extinguish' phenomenon of systemd which caused so much fear and loathing." There's much more information in LWN.net's 1,600-word article -- but where do things stand now? Hartman posted a draft general resolution last week with three choices. Affirm init diversitySupport "exploring" alternatives to systemd, "but believing sysvinit is a distraction in achieving that." [Marco d'Itri later noted that less than 1% of new installs use sysvinit] "Systemd without diversity as a priority." There would be no requirement to support anything but systemd in Debian. "It should be noted, though, that this is explicitly a draft," concludes LWN.net. "It is likely to evolve considerably before it reaches the point where the project will vote on it."

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Pointless Work Meetings 'Really a Form of Therapy'

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-11-16 13:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: Meetings at work should be seen as a form of "therapy" rather than about decision-making, say researchers. Academics from the University of Malmo in Sweden say meetings provide an outlet for people at work to show off their status or to express frustration. Professor Patrik Hall says they are becoming increasingly frequent -- as more managerial and "strategy" jobs generate more meetings. But he says despite there being more meetings "few decisions are made." Prof Hall has investigated an apparent contradiction in how people can have a low opinion of work meetings, yet their numbers keep increasing. The political scientist says the rise in meetings reflects changes in the workforce -- with fewer people doing and making things and an increase in those involved in "meetings-intense" roles such as strategists, advisers, consultants and managers. "People don't do concrete things any more," he says. Instead he says there has been a rise of managerial roles, which are often not very well defined, and where "the hierarchy is not that clear." [...] Meetings can "arouse feelings of meaninglessness," he says. But he argues that is often missing their point. Once in a meeting -- particularly long ones -- their function can become "almost therapeutic." Prof Hall goes on to suggest booking rooms for shorter periods, as he says meetings will expand to fill whatever time is given to them. He also says that "equality" of participants is important, otherwise a "power struggle" will emerge when the meetings are dominated by different levels of status.

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Ancestry Taps AI To Sift Through Millions of Obituaries

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-11-16 11:45
Algorithms identified death notices in old newspaper pages, then another set of algorithms pulled names and other key details into a searchable database. From a report: Ancestry used artificial intelligence to extract obituary details hidden in a half-billion digitized newspaper pages dating back to 1690, data invaluable for customers building their family trees. The family history and consumer-genomics company, based in Lehi, Utah, began the project in late 2017 and introduced the new functionality last month. Through its subsidiary Newspapers.com, the company had a trove of newspaper pages, including obituaries -- but it said that manually finding and importing those death notices to Ancestry.com in a form that was usable for customers would likely have taken years. Instead, Ancestry tasked its 24-person data-science team with having technology pinpoint and make sense of the data. The team trained machine-learning algorithms to recognize obituary content in those 525 million newspaper pages. It then trained another set of algorithms to detect and index key facts from the obituaries, such as names of the deceased's spouse and children, birth dates, birthplaces and more. Ancestry, which has about 3.5 million subscribers, now offers about 262 million obituaries, up from roughly 40 million two years ago. Its database includes about a billion names associated with obituaries, including names of the deceased and their relatives. Besides analyzing the trove of old newspaper pages, the algorithms were also applied to online obituaries coming into Ancestry's database, making them more searchable. Before the AI overhaul, the roughly 40 million obituaries on Ancestry.com were searchable only by the name of the deceased. That meant a search for "Mary R. Smith," for instance, would yield obituaries only for people with that name -- not other obituaries that mentioned that name as a sibling or child.

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Welcome to cultured meat - not pigs reading Proust but a viable alternative to slaughter

TheRegister - Sat, 2019-11-16 10:03
The meatball that shook the world has investors salivating

At the second annual Cultured Meat Symposium in San Francisco on Friday, donuts featured prominently on the breakfast menu and lunch involved only plant-based options. Attendees the day before had the opportunity to sample mechanically prepared beef burgers, courtesy of robo-restaurateur Creator, but lab-fabbed meat didn't make an appearance. Give it about five years – that was a guestimate from one attendee.…

Categories: Linux fréttir

'Algorithms Are Like Convex Mirrors That Refract Human Biases'

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-11-16 09:01
Emil Protalinski, writing for VentureBeat: At the Movethedial Global Summit in Toronto yesterday, I listened intently to a talk titled "No polite fictions: What AI reveals about humanity." Kathryn Hume, Borealis AI's director of product, listed a bunch of AI and algorithmic failures -- we've seen plenty of that. But it was how Hume described algorithms that really stood out to me. "Algorithms are like convex mirrors that refract human biases, but do it in a pretty blunt way," Hume said. "They don't permit polite fictions like those that we often sustain our society with." I really like this analogy. It's probably the best one I've heard so far, because it doesn't end there. Later in her talk, Hume took it further, after discussing an algorithm biased against black people used to predict future criminals in the U.S. "These systems don't permit polite fictions," Hume said. "They're actually a mirror that can enable us to directly observe what might be wrong in society so that we can fix it. But we need to be careful, because if we don't design these systems well, all that they're going to do is encode what's in the data and potentially amplify the prejudices that exist in society today." If an algorithm is designed poorly or -- as almost anyone in AI will tell you nowadays -- if your data is inherently biased, the result will be too. Chances are you've heard this so often it's been hammered into your brain.

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Google Chrome Experiment Crashes Browser Tabs, Impacts Companies Worldwide

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-11-16 06:30
A Google Chrome experiment has gone horribly wrong this week and ended up crashing browsers on thousands, if not more, enterprise networks for nearly two days. From a report: The issue first appeared on Wednesday, November 13. It didn't impact all Chrome users, but only Chrome browsers running on Windows Server "terminal server" setups -- a very common setup in enterprise networks According to hundreds of reports, users said that Chrome tabs were going blank, all of a sudden, in what's called a "White Screen of Death" (WSOD) error. The issue was no joke. System administrators at many companies reported that hundreds and thousands of employees couldn't use Chrome to access the internet, as the active browser tab kept going blank while working. In tightly controlled enterprise environments, many employees didn't have the option to change browsers and were left unable to do their jobs. Similarly, system administrators couldn't just replace Chrome with another browser right away.

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Web Summit Cancels Next Year's Rise, One of Asia's Largest Tech Conferences, Over Tension in Hong Kong

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-11-16 04:00
The ongoing tension in Hong Kong between the government and pro-democracy protesters continues to spill into the tech domain. From a report: Rise, which is among the largest tech conferences in Asia, will not run next year as planned due to "the ongoing situation in Hong Kong," according to Web Summit, the Ireland-based company that organizes the show. The organizer said it is postponing the sixth edition of its annual conference, which is held in Hong Kong, to March 2021 from March 2020. Web Summit, which hosts similar large-scale conferences in other parts of the world, made the announcement today in an email to previous attendees. A spokesperson confirmed the veracity of the email to TechCrunch. "Over recent months, we have been monitoring the ongoing situation in Hong Kong. Our number one concern is the wellbeing, safety, and security of attendees at our events," it said in a statement. "Given the uncertainty of the situation by early 2020 and after consulting with experts and advisories, we have decided to postpone RISE until 2021."

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Most Americans Think They're Being Constantly Tracked, Study Finds

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-11-16 03:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: More than 60% of Americans think it's impossible to go through daily life without being tracked by companies or the government, according to a new Pew Research study. It's not just that Americans (correctly) think companies are collecting their data. They don't like it. About 69% of Americans are skeptical that companies will use their private information in a way they're comfortable with, while 79% don't believe that companies will come clean if they misuse the information. When it comes to who they trust, there are differences by race. About 73% of black Americans, for instance, are at least a little worried about what law enforcement knows about them, compared with 56% of white Americans. But among all respondents, more than 80% were concerned about what social-media sites and advertisers might know. Despite these concerns, more than 80% of Americans feel they have no control over how their information is collected.

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US Workers Show Little Improvement In 21st Century Skills

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-11-16 02:20
A new government agency report found that U.S. workers are failing to improve the skills needed to succeed in an increasingly global economy. Bloomberg reports: The National Center for Education Statistics asked 3,300 respondents ages 16-to-65 to read simple passages and solve basic math problems. What the researchers found is that literacy, numeracy and digital problem-solving ability in the U.S. have stagnated over the past few years. Some 19% of the test-takers ranked at the lowest of three levels for literacy and 24% lacked basic digital problem-solving abilities. Meanwhile, a shocking 29% performed at the lowest level for numeracy, the same as findings from the previous study conducted in 2012-2014. Almost one in three couldn't correctly answer "how much gas is in a 24-gallon tank if the gas gauge reads three-quarters full." There were a few bright spots among the research. Latino adults saw their overall scores improve in both literacy and digital problem solving. Some 35% ranked at the highest of three levels for the latter, up from 24% during the 2012-2014 survey period. In addition, high school graduation rates climbed 2 percentage-points to 14%, while the percentage of people with more than a high school diploma jumped 3 percentage-points to 48%.

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Ghost Ships, Crop Circles, and Soft Gold: A GPS Mystery in Shanghai

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-11-16 01:40
An anonymous reader shares a report: One night last summer, a ship called the MV Manukai arrived at the port of Shanghai. It would be the American container ship's last stop in China before making its long homeward journey to Long Beach, California. As the crew carefully maneuvered the 700-foot ship through the world's busiest port, its captain watched his navigation screens closely. They showed another ship steaming up the same channel at about seven knots (eight miles per hour). Suddenly, it disappeared from the display. Then it reappeared, then disappeared again. Eventually, mystified, the captain picked up his binoculars and scanned the dockside. The other ship had been stationary at the dock the entire time. When it came time for the Manukai to head for its own berth, the bridge began echoing to multiple alarms. Both of the ship's GPS units had lost their signals, and its transponder had failed. Even a last-ditch emergency distress system could not get a fix. Now, new research shows the Manukai and thousands of other vessels in Shanghai are falling victim to a mysterious new weapon that can spoof GPS systems. Who could be behind it? The Chinese state? Or could it be daring and sophisticated sand thieves? Read MIT Technology Review story to find out more.

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Fuel Cell Drone Makes An Epic Ocean Crossing

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-11-16 01:00
Earlier this week, a hydrogen-powered delivery drone managed to make a one-hour, 43-minute ocean crossing. New Atlas reports: The exercise was the result of a collaboration between Texas-based drone development company Guinn Partners, Georgia-based Skyfire Consulting, the U.S. Department of Health, and drone manufacturer Doosan Mobility Innovation -- the latter supplied the aircraft, a hydrogen fuel cell-powered DS30 octocopter. Utilizing its temperature-controlled payload system, the drone was used to transport live bacteria samples from a hospital on the Caribbean island of St. Croix to a testing facility on the neighboring island of St. Thomas. This involved crossing 43 miles (69 km) of open ocean. Upon successfully reaching its destination, the copter reportedly still had almost 30 minutes of flight time left on its fuel cell.

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5G SIM-swap attacks could be even worse for industrial IoT than now

TheRegister - Sat, 2019-11-16 00:21
Trust your hardware? Pah, you oughta trust nobody

Claims that 5G offers “better security” for IoT may not ring true – with the technology remaining vulnerable to SIM-jacking attacks within private Industry 4.0-style deployments, according to infosec biz Trend Micro.…

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Germany Forces Apple To Let Other Mobile Wallet Services Use iPhone's NFC Chip

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-11-16 00:20
A new German law passed yesterday requires Apple to allow other mobile payments services access to the iPhone's NFC chip for payments to allow them to fully compete with Apple Pay. 9to5Mac reports: Apple initially completely locked down the NFC chip so that it could be used only by Apple Pay. It later allowed some third-party apps to use the chip but has always refused to do so for other mobile payment apps. Reuters reports that the law doesn't name Apple specifically, but would apply to the tech giant. The piece somewhat confusingly refers to access to the NFC chip by third-party payment apps as Apple Pay. "A German parliamentary committee unexpectedly voted in a late-night session on Wednesday to force the tech giant to open up Apple Pay to rival providers in Germany," reports Reuters. "This came in the form of an amendment to an anti-money laundering law that was adopted late on Thursday by the full parliament and is set to come into effect early next year. The legislation, which did not name Apple specifically, will force operators of electronic money infrastructure to offer access to rivals for a reasonable fee." Apple says that the change would be harmful: "We are surprised at how suddenly this legislation was introduced. We fear that the draft law could be harmful to user friendliness, data protection and the security of financial information."

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Google Cancels Weekly All-Hands Meetings Amid Growing Workplace Tensions

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-11-15 23:40
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: Google is getting rid of one of its best-known workplace features: TGIF, its weekly all-hands meeting. The company confirmed to CNBC that it will instead hold monthly all-hands meetings that will be focused on business and strategy while holding separate town halls for "workplace issues." An email announcing the change was previously reported by The Verge. Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin started TGIFs in 1999 as a forum where employees could regularly express concerns and discuss topics open and freely with management. At that time, the company was small enough to fit in a meeting room, but the all-hands continued to grow as the employee base grew -- until recently, that is. Page and Brin stopped attending regularly in 2019. A company spokesperson said that the meetings had recently become a bi-weekly instead of weekly occurrence. The new model comes as the company cracks down on the open work culture that's long been part of its identity of holding free discussion. Employees have increasingly voiced their concerns about everything from the handling of sexual harassment to government hires and contracts. In recent months, employees have leaked meeting notes to the media, which have shown growing tension between executives and workers. "In other places -- like TGIF -- our scale is challenging us to evolve," Pichai said in a memo to employees this week. "TGIF has traditionally provided a place to come together, share progress, and ask questions, but it's not working in its current form." "We're unfortunately seeing a coordinated effort to share our conversations outside of the company after every TGIF," the note reportedly states. "I know this is new information to many of you, and it has affected our ability to use TGIF as a forum for candid conversations on important topics."

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White House Unveils Rules Requiring Online Disclosure of Hospital Prices

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-11-15 23:00
schwit1 shares a report from The Hill: The Trump administration on Friday unveiled new rules to require increased disclosure of health care prices, in a move officials said would drive down costs by increasing competition. One regulation would require hospitals to provide a consumer-friendly online page where prices are listed for 300 common procedures like X-rays and lab tests. A second regulation would require insurers to provide an online tool where people could compare their out-of-pocket costs at different medical providers before receiving treatment. The rule announced Friday affecting hospitals is a final rule, set to take effect Jan. 1, 2021. The rule for insurers is still a proposal that is not yet finalized. "Hospitals and insurers will fight this. The last thing they want is consumers price shopping," adds schwit1.

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Physicists are rather giddy after creating a rare type of laser using laughing gas

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-11-15 22:38
Tanks of nitrous oxide needed for, erm, science eh?

A team of researchers have built a terahertz laser that might one day see through clothes, book covers, and even skin, using laughing gas, according to a paper in Science.…

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MacBook Pro Teardown Confirms the New Keyboard Is Basically Just the Old, Good Keyboard

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-11-15 22:20
iFixit's teardown of the new 16-inch MacBook Pro confirms that the keyboard uses the more reliable scissor-style switches that Apple first introduced in its Magic Keyboards in 2015. The Verge reports: The switches on the 16-inch MacBook Pro are so similar to the standalone keyboard, in fact, that iFixit's report says that keys are interchangeable between the two products. The change comes after a long, multiyear debate between Apple and customers over the butterfly switches, causing Apple to revamp the mechanism multiple times to block debris and add extra strength. Apple was also forced to acknowledge that the keyboards were problematic, and offered an extended warranty program for those laptops. Per iFixit, the new keys also have more travel when you press them (about 0.5 mm more), and the keycaps themselves are about 0.2 mm thicker compared to the much-maligned butterfly switches. The teardown also notes that the clips that attach the keycaps to the switches appear to be more reinforced to make it easier to remove or replace them down the line.

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