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Google Aids Scientology-Linked Group CCHR With Pay-Per-Click Ads

Animats It's all about the dosage level (106 comments)

Trouble from religion seems to be associated more with dosage level than theology. Once a week seems to be a safe dose for most people, while several times a day is an overdose. The nuttier religions tend towards the overdose end of the scale. Islam and the haredi branch of Judaism go for All Religion All the Time. Scientology goes in that direction, but more through intermittent intense experiences rather than constant daily obsession.

Fortunately, Scientology is stuck, by policy, with Hubbard's 1930s technology and their skin-resistance meter. If they were keeping up with technology, they'd have mobile apps tied to wristband sensors reporting to HQ in Clearwater, FL, auditing using functional MRI machines, and big data systems analyzing all member communications.

3 hours ago

Cody Wilson Interview at Reason: Happiness Is a 3D Printed Gun

Animats Re:Getting attention at the expense of 3D printing (129 comments)

I wish this clown would shut up instead of trying to get 3D printing regulated just so that he can be famous.

Agreed. 3D printing is a lousy way to make a gun. This guy is doing this to get attention.

(Google result for "gun dealers": "About 44,300,000 results.")

5 hours ago

Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

Animats Re:Not a problem for MGP (365 comments)

Here's Frank-Lin's list of products. It's alcohol, deionized water, and flavoring. That's what Frank-Lin does. These are just the brands Frank-Lin owns. They also do contract bottling for another 2,000 products. "With an annual production capability of 15 million cases and on-premise tank storage capacity in excess of 1,500,000 gallons, Frank-Lin has the facilities and expertise to efficiently handle any project".

Frank-Lin is noted for having one of the most flexible automated packaging lines in the world. They can switch from one bottle/ingredients combo to another without stopping the production line. Every product can have a unique bottle. They're next door to the bottle factory. This is what the booze industry is really like, minus the advertising hype.

  Brandy - American
        A R Morrow, Lejon, Potter's Finest Brand, Montanac Brandy

        Busnel Calvados - www.halbymarketing.com
        Menorval - www.halbymarketing.com

        1st Cru Collection
        Francious Voyer Napoleon - www.1stcru.com
        Maison Prunier
        Marthe Sepia - www.1stcru.com
        Menuet - www.1stcru.com
        Aubade & Cie.
        Francois De Lyon
        Jules Domet
        Maison Prunier

        Frank-Lin Farms

        Cafe Del Amor, Curacao Liqueur, Destinee Liqueur, Gran Citron, Grand Marquette, Holly Toddy, Jules Domet Orange Liqueur, Kona Gold Coffee Liqueur, Maraska Cherry & Pear Liqueurs, Potter's, Potter's Long Island Iced Tea, Potter's Sour Splash, Vice Rei - Portugal Passion Fruit

Cream Liqueur
        Duggan's Irish Cream, Laddy's Country Cream

Energy Drinks (Non Alcoholic)

        Barrett's London Dry, Bellringer (England), Cossack, Martini London Dry, Potter's London Dry

        Classik Grappa

Liqueurs - French
        Jules Domet Grand Orange

Liqueurs - Herbal
        Agwa, Arak Razzouk - Anise Liqueur, Par-D-Schatz

Liqueurs - Italian
        Ramazotti - www.hgcimports.com

Liqueurs - Lebanon
        Arak Razzouk - www.hgcimports.com

        Don Antonio Aguilar

(Non Alcoholic)
        Jero Cocktail mix, Puerto Vallarta, Vinnie's Bloody Mary Mix

        Pietra Santa Olive Oil - www.pietrasantawinery.com

(Ready to Drink)
        Pocket Shots - www.pocketshot.net
        John Daly Cocktails - www.johndalycocktail.com
        Puerto Vallarta Margarita

        Diamond Head, Hammock Bay, Havana Bay, Moraga Cay
        Potter's Specialty Rums, Potter's West Indies
        Prichard's - www.prichardsdistillery.com
        Tanduay - www.tanduay.net


Scotch Whiskey - Single Malts
        Glenalmond, Glen Ranoch, Muirheads Speyside

Scotch Whiskey - Pure Malt
        Angus Dundee, Tambowie

Scotch Whisky
        Blackburn's, Duggan's Dew, Lloyd & Haig, Potter's

        Maraska Kosher, Subovorska

        Defrost Schnapps - http://defrostschnapps.com/

        Baja Tequila Liqueur
        Don Diego Santa - www.dondiegosanta.com.mx
        El Tirador - www.mexcor.com
        Orendain Ollitas - www.tequila-orendain.com
        Gran Orendain - www.tequila-orendain.com
        Puente Grande Tequila
        Puerto Vallarta - www.puertovallartatequila.com
        Señor Rio - www.senorrio.com
        Sol De Mexico - www.uaimports.com

Triple Sec Liqueur
        Potter's, Puerto Vallarta, Jules Perchard

        Beyond - www.beyondvodka.com
        Crown Czar
        Crown Superior
        Ed Hardy-France - www.edhardyvodka.com
        Monnema - www.agjab.com
        Purity-Sweden - www.purityvodka.com
        Royal Czar
        Spirit of Santa-Finland - www.atlantico-beverages.com
        Vampyre-Transylvania - www.vampire.com
        White Wolf

Whiskey - Bourbon
        Black Saddle
        Bourbon Age - Ky
        Bourbon Club
        Buck Bourbon
        Clyde Mays Conecuh Ridge Whisky - www.crwhiskey.com
        Joshua Brook
        Medley Bros.
        Old Medley

Whiskey - Blended
        Barret's Blend
        Glenwood Blend

Whiskey - Canadian
        8 Seconds - http://8secondswhisky.com/
        Campbell & Cooper
        Canadian Crown
        Potter's Crown


Google's New Camera App Simulates Shallow Depth of Field

Animats Re:Call me a rock wielding barbarian (111 comments)

Some movie directors are still bitching over the disappearance of film grain. There are companies putting unnecessary film grain in digital images.

We need to get to 48FPS or better, so slow pans over detailed backgrounds look right. No more strobing!

(Instead, we're getting 4K resolution, which is only useful if the screen is in front of your face and a meter wide.)


Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

Animats That's the Chevy Volt. (352 comments)

A pure electric first gear would marry the best torque range of electric motors would free the IC engine of its low end torque requirements. No battery, no regenerative braking or fancy nancy stuff.

That's the Chevy Volt. Modest engine and battery, good electric motor. The Honda FCX has electric drive, a fuel cell, and ultracapacitors for acceleration boost.

A pure electric transmission with an IC engine? That's a Diesel-electric locomotive. Works very well, especially with modern solid-state controls. Overkill for a car, where getting started isn't that hard and clutches are in slip for only a second or two. A huge win for trains, where getting all that mass moving is the hardest part of the job.


Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

Animats Not a problem for MGP (365 comments)

MGP Ingredients, which produces a sizeable fraction of the distilled spirits in the US, doesn't seem to have a problem with this. They're already running their distillery by-products through a dryer and turning out dried-grain animal feed. MGP, formerly Midwest Grain Products, takes in grain and turns out a broad range of food and beverage products. They're set up to make and ship food-grade products for humans, so complying with the rules for animal feed isn't a big deal for them.

The liquor industry is different than ads indicate. The "secret family recipe" hype is mostly bullshit. Huge plants in the Midwest produce bulk alcohol, which is then shipped by rail, in tank cars, to companies which perform further processing and bottling. The same ethyl alcohol is used for vodka, gin, rum, scotch, bourbon, brandy, tequila, Canadian whiskies, and liqueurs. MGP also sells some ethyl alcohol for fuel use, although for them it's a sideline, not their main business. They make more alcohol than the booze industry can use.

So, for the big plants, this isn't a problem.


Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

Animats Bullshit (365 comments)

Brewers get $30 a ton for the waste from beer manufacturing. Per can/bottle of beer, that's negligible.

Brewers can continue to sell this as animal feed. They just have to follow the same rules as everybody else who sells animal feed, like Purina Chows and Cargill. The big plants will have to do a little more processing and testing. The "craft brewers" don't produce that much waste, and it's biodegradable.


How Nest and FitBit Might Spy On You For Cash

Animats Overcollection (92 comments)

The trouble with these things is that they want to "phone home" too much. For energy conservation, Nest talks to a Nest, Inc. server and tells it too much. The info it needs (outside temp, power grid load status) is freely available from read-only web sites. (Given a ZIP code, the National Weather Service site will return info in XML.) But no, it has to talk to the "cloud" and give out personal information. That's totally unnecessary.

2 days ago

Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

Animats Teletype machines (674 comments)

I have several Teletype machines from the 1926 to 1940 period. All are in good working order. They're completely repairable; it's possible to take one apart down to the individual parts and put it back together. But they're high-maintenance. There are several hundred oiling points on a Model 15 Teletype. There are things that have to be adjusted occasionally, and manuals and tools for doing that. Every few years, the entire machine has to be soaked in solvent to clean off excess oil, then relubricated and adjusted. This is the price of building a complex machine good for a century or more.

(The Model 33 of the minicomputer era is not one of the long-lived machines. This was by design. The Model 35 was the equivalent long-lived, high-maintenance product; the 33 required little mainenance but had a llimited life.)

2 days ago

Bug Bounties Don't Help If Bugs Never Run Out

Animats Eliminating buffer overflows (234 comments)

The problem is C. Programs in all the languages that understand array size, (Pascal, Modula, Ada, Go, Erlang, Eiffel, Haskell, and all the scripting languages) don't have buffer overflow problems.

It's not an overhead problem. That was solved decades ago; compilers can optimize out most subscript checks within inner loops.

I've proposed a way to retrofit array size info to C, but it's a big change to sell. There are many C programmers who think they're so good they don't need subscript checks. Experience demonstrates they are wrong.

2 days ago

Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

Animats Re:Mercedes, BMW engineers are dimwits. (352 comments)

They saw diesel electric locomotives replace steam engines in just one decade in 1950s.

The reason was different. Diesels cost about 3x as much as steam locomotives pre-WWII. But by the 1950s, diesel engine manufacturing was a production line process and the price had come down.

The real advantage of diesel over steam was that steam locomotives are incredible maintenance-intensive. Here's daily maintenance. That's what had to be done every day, by a whole crew. That's just daily. Here's 120,000 mile maintenance, done about once a year for a road locomotive. This isn't an oil change; this is a full teardown, boiler replacement, and rebuild.

Electric cars don't have that big an edge over IC engines at this point.

3 days ago

Kepler-186f: Most 'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered

Animats Should we say hello? (233 comments)

We could send radio signals that far, with the big dish at Arecibo. If they have intelligence, and radio, we can communicate with a 1000-year round trip time. Maybe we should transmit some of the proposed canned messages to other civilizations every month or so.

If there is other intelligent life out there, it looks like they're a very long way away. Too far to talk to round trip, even at light speed. None of the known extra-solar planets within a few light years look promising.

3 days ago

The Squishy Future of Robotics

Animats Re:Festo has been doing this for years. (36 comments)

Right. Traditional pneumatics is rather dumb - most of the time it's on/off, with air cylinders pushed up against hard limit stops. Positional control of pneumatic cylinders works fine, but it takes proportional valves, feedback sensors, and a fast control system. Until recently, industrial systems tended not to get that fancy.

I was interested in using pneumatics for running robots back in the 1990s, but the available proportional valves back then were big and expensive. One useful model of muscles is two opposed springs, and a double-ended pneumatic cylinder can do just that. You can change both position and stiffness, separately. You can simulate a spring, and recover energy. Someone did that at CWRU a decade ago, but the mechanics were clunky. Festo does that elegantly with their new kangaroo. Very nice mechanical engineering.

Shadow Robotics has a nice pneumatic robot hand. Shadow has been doing pneumatic flexible actuators for many years, but now they have good controllability.

3 days ago

The Squishy Future of Robotics

Animats Festo has been doing this for years. (36 comments)

Every year, Festo, the German robotics company, builds an exotic new kind of robot as a demo. Many of their robots have been "soft".

Here's their whole list of experimental projects. They've been doing "soft robots" since 2007. Others were doing "soft robots" before that, but the control usually wasn't that good. Festo builds soft robots with smooth, precise control. Festo's specialty is precise control of pneumatic systems, so they know how to do this.

3 days ago

Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?

Animats The Economist (284 comments)

The Economist. Still worth reading.

4 days ago

'Thermoelectrics' Could One Day Power Cars

Animats E = (T2-T1) / T1 (173 comments)

E = (T2-T1) / T1

Everyone with an engineering degree knows this. Trying to extract much energy from low-grade heat at the output end of an engine is inefficient. This was figured out a long time ago. Here it is in The Manual of the Steam Engine. It's possible to increase steam engine efficiency by compounding, where the exhaust from each cylinder feeds a larger, lower pressure cylinder. This is cost-effective up to about 3 cylinders ("triple expansion"). Engines up to quintuple-expansion have been built, but the additional power from the last two cylinders in the chain isn't worth the trouble.

4 days ago

San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

Animats Re:When will they gentrify the Tenderloin? (359 comments)

In 2005, this appeared in SF Weekly, about the gentrification of the Polk St. area of the Tenderloin:

Gay Shame calls the Lower Polk Neighbors Association a "brutal gentrification squad" of wealthy business owners, slumlords and bureaucrats.

"They are trying to transform Polk Street from the city's last remaining gathering place for marginalized queers and street culture into a hip destination for wealthy suburbanites," Mary said. "We want a safe place for marginalized people, and Polk Street has historically been that space.

"The neighborhood may soon be known more for green-apple mojitos and stretch Hummers than trannies and tweakers (methamphetamine users)."

That was back in 2005. Gentrification won.

4 days ago

San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

Animats Re:When will they gentrify the Tenderloin? (359 comments)

It's happening. First, take a look at a map of the Tenderloin, from "Areas to Avoid, San Francisco." Twitter HQ is in that area, between 9th and 10th on Market, and the long-standing "mid-Market area" around there is rapidly being rebuilt. In fact, just about everything south of McAlliister has been gentrified, except for parts of 6th St and a small section around 7th and the north side of Market. Rebuilding is underway along the Van Ness corridor too, and has more or less chopped a block off the Tenderloin on the west side. That's the old "Polk Gulch" area, once a gay rent-boy hangout.

So the SF Tenderloin is about half the size it was a few years ago. Progress continues.

4 days ago

San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

Animats Temporary problem (359 comments)

After the first dot-com boom collapsed, about half the twentysomethings in SF left. After this one collapses, that will probably happen again. Face it, most of the useful things in "social" have been done.

4 days ago



Facebook is down, again

Animats Animats writes  |  about 2 years ago

Animats writes "Not just the stock. The Facebook site itself is having problems this weekend.
Facebook has had intermittent outages since Friday, the Huffington Post reports. Right now, DownRightNow reports a "likely service disruption." The symptom is very slow, but valid responses from the site. So far, Facebook hasn't made any public statements."

Link to Original Source

Sprint discontinues phone camera support, loses pictures

Animats Animats writes  |  about 2 years ago

Animats (122034) writes "On April 30, Sprint discontinued their "Picture Mail" site, where pictures uploaded from Sprint phones are stored. Some users report the loss of years of pictures. Sprint didn't provide a bulk download feature that worked, so some users struggled during the last hours to get pictures off the site before it went down.

Sprint's plan was that users would switch from their system to Flickr, Facebook, or some other photo uploading site. Unfortunately, the tools for doing that were on the site they just took down. The main Sprint web site now has dead links. The old system was taken down before the new system came up. So they've left their non-smart phones in limbo.

There's a privacy issue. Pictures uploaded to Sprint's site were private. Pictures uploaded to "sharing" sites tend to get "shared"."

Link to Original Source

CPanel installs back door into Linux servers

Animats Animats writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Animats writes "I recently leased a new dedicated server from a well-known hosting company. The server came with CPanel, a popular system administration tool, installed, and on first log-in, I was presented with a CPanel EULA, something that wasn't present on older servers. The EULA indicates that CPanel, Inc. has a back door into the server for "authentication", and can not only "copy, access, store, disclose and use cPanel Data indefinitely in its sole discretion", but can disable the server remotely. This is like CarrierIQ's back door — something that has no business being there.

This is for a fully dedicated server, not shared, not virtual, and not managed by the hosting company. I'm leasing a bare CentOS machine in a rack here. This isn't something to give a hosting company access. It allows access by a third party company that just sells system administration software. They have no need for that access whatsoever.

Here are the actual EULA terms:

*Authentication System*. The Software contains technological measures that, working in conjunction with cPanel computer servers, are designed to prevent unlicensed or illegal use of the Software (collectively, the "Authentication System"). You acknowledge and agree that such Authentication System allows cPanel to (among other things) (a) monitor use of the Software by you and Third Party Users as set forth in Section 2.5.4 (cPanel Data); (b) verify that the Software is only used on the Licensed Server; (c) suspend or disable access to the Software in whole or in part in the event of a breach of this Agreement or in the event of a breach by a Third Party User of cPanel-related provisions of a Third Party Agreement; and (d) terminate use of the Software upon the expiration or termination of this Agreement. You agree not to thwart, interfere with, circumvent or block the operation of any aspect of the Authentication System, including any communications between the Software and cPanelâ's computer servers. For the avoidance of doubt, the Software will not operate unless cPanel from time to time verifies the Software using the Authentication System which requires the exchange of information between the Licensed Server and cPanel over the Internet.

*cPanel Data*. You agree that, without further notice to you or any Third Party User, cPanel may use technological means, including the Authentication System, to (a) monitor use of the Software as may be necessary to monitor for compliance with the terms of this Agreement; (b) collect language file modifications as provided in Section 3.6 (License to Language File Modifications); and (c) collect cPanel Data. cPanel reserves the right to copy, access, store, disclose and use cPanel Data indefinitely in its sole discretion; provided, however, that in the event that cPanel collects information concerning which features of the Software are most often used by you or Third Party Users, cPanel will remove personally identifiable information (if any) from such data and copy, access, store, disclose and use such data solely for the purpose of improving the Software.


Link to Original Source

Facebook settles with FTC, admits privacy violatio

Animats Animats writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Animats writes "The social networking service Facebook has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public. The settlement is soft on Facebook; there are no fines or criminal penalties.

According to the FTC, in December 2009, Facebook changed its website so certain information that users may have designated as private – such as their Friends List – was made public. Facebook didn't warn users that this change was coming, or get their approval in advance.

Facebook represented that third-party apps that users' installed would have access only to user information that they needed to operate. In fact, the apps could access nearly all of users' personal data – data the apps didn't need.

        Facebook told users they could restrict sharing of data to limited audiences – for example with "Friends Only." In fact, selecting "Friends Only" did not prevent their information from being shared with third-party applications their friends used.

        Facebook had a "Verified Apps" program & claimed it certified the security of participating apps. It didn't.

        Facebook promised users that it would not share their personal information with advertisers. It did.

        Facebook claimed that when users deactivated or deleted their accounts, their photos and videos would be inaccessible. But Facebook allowed access to the content, even after users had deactivated or deleted their accounts.

        Facebook claimed that it complied with the U.S.- EU Safe Harbor Framework that governs data transfer between the U.S. and the European Union. It didn't."

Link to Original Source

John McCarthy, founder of AI, dead at 84

Animats Animats writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Animats writes "John McCarthy, who established artificial intelligence as a field and created the LISP programming language, died yesterday at age 84.

(I took his "Epistemological Problems in Artificial Intelligence" class at Stanford, almost 30 years ago.)"

Link to Original Source

Google fined $500 million over drug ads

Animats Animats writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Animats writes "The Wall Street Journal reports: "Google Inc. is close to settling a U.S. criminal investigation into allegations it made hundreds of millions of dollars by accepting ads from online pharmacies that break U.S. laws." Google's acceptance of ads from unlicensed "online pharmacies" is considered profiting from illegal activity. The Washington Post writes the inquiry could draw more attention to how vulnerable Google's automated system has been to the machinations of shady operators."
Link to Original Source

Major outage at Codero

Animats Animats writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Animats (122034) writes "Codero, which is a large dedicated hosting provider, is down today due to what they claim is a distributed denial of service attack against their routing. Their main IP block for their Phoenix data center has dropped out of routing.

Their phone system is dropping calls, and their support chat system is reporting "An online representative will be with you shortly. You are number 194 in queue. Your wait time will be approximately 806 minute(s). Thank you for waiting. ""

Link to Original Source

SourceForge down after attack

Animats Animats writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Animats (122034) writes "SourceForge, a hosting site for many open source projects is down today. management claims they were attacked: "We detected a direct targeted attack that resulted in an exploit of several SourceForge.net servers, and have proactively shut down a handful of developer centric services to safeguard data and protect the majority of our services." Currently, CVS and SVN access to source code, even for reading, is unavailable, and there is no announced restoration time."
Link to Original Source

How Google uses Chrome to boost ad revenue

Animats Animats writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Animats (122034) writes "Harvard Business School professor Benjamin Edelman has published a paper, How Google and Its Partners Inflate Measured Conversion Rates and Increase Advertiser Costs. The trick is that Google has interactive URL completion in its URL input box, but, unlike Firefox, interactive completion doesn't take you to the real URL. It takes you through Google Search, and through Google's pay-per-click system.

As an example, Edelman typed "expedia" into Chrome. "Expedia.com" appears as a suggestion, and pressing "Enter" accepts that default. But that doesn't take you to Expedia.com directly. There's a side trip through Google Search and a Google ad. The advertiser is then charged for an unnecessary ad click.

As Edelman puts it, "As users type web addresses into Google's Chrome web browser, Chrome's "Omnibox" address bar suggests that users run searches instead of direct navigation. If a user accepts Chrome's suggestion — the user is taken to a page of Google search results for the specified term. ... As usual, Google's most prominent search result is an advertisement. If the user clicks the ad, the advertiser pays a pay-per-click fee — even though the user was nearly at the advertiser's site, for free, before Chrome interceded with its 'Search for...' suggestion."

Explosion at Scaled Composites kills 2, injures 4

Animats Animats writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Animats (122034) writes "Details are scant at this time, but a explosion at the Scaled Composites rocket test facility has killed two people and seriously injured four more. The Los Angeles Times reports that the explosion was "ignited by a tank of nitrous oxide".

This is Burt Rutan's facility, and the home of SpaceShip One and Virgin Galactic spacecraft development."

Link to Original Source


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