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Anonymous Claims They Will Release "The Interview" Themselves

schnell Re:Marketing? (224 comments)

We're talking about the company that put a rootkit on its music CDs.

I can't believe I'm defending these guys, but...

The rootkit fiasco was Sony BMG Entertainment, not Sony Pictures. Yes, they are both parts of Sony corporation but they are separate business units with separate reporting structures inside a megagiant international conglomerate. Blaming SPE for Sony BMG actions is like blaming the Department of Agriculture for the NSA's warrantless wiretapping because they are both part of the US government.

yesterday
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Dish Pulls Fox News, Fox Business Network As Talks Break Down

schnell Re:Pulled Fox News ... (258 comments)

looks like someone is hurt

Who's hurt? I have no problem with Fox News per se and I have no problem with people who agree with Fox News. If that's what you like, that's fine, especially if you understand Fox News to be an editorial product. But it is clearly disingenuous at best when it claims to be "fair and balanced," and some people either trust Fox more than they should, or are not possessed of enough critical thinking skills to see if for what it is, which is bad for society.

fox news is number one in viewers and ratings for every 1 cnn hln etc viewer there is 100 to 10,000 watching fox news . if it was fud then other news networks would eat them alive

I think you are equating being "popular" with being "good," and that is a pretty serious mistake. I think it's also a mistake to recognize that it may well be popular entirely because it's FUD. Many, many people - conservative Fox viewers, liberal MSNBC viewers, whatever - want someone to pick all their news for them in advance so that they don't have to encounter any news in the world that doesn't agree with their beliefs. That's their right but I think we would be less of a toxically polarized society if we listened to more two-sided views, or at least acknowledged the biases that were driving us to want to only consume a politically slanted news message.

yesterday
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Dish Pulls Fox News, Fox Business Network As Talks Break Down

schnell Re:Pulled Fox News ... (258 comments)

Do differing viewpoints upset you?

There is nothing wrong with Fox News as a source for people who go looking to hear the news from a particular viewpoint. The problem with Fox News is that they pretend - smirkingly because they're smart enough to know the truth - that they are "fair and balanced." And some (many, actually) people who are naive or intellectually uncurious actually believe this is an even-handed depiction of reality instead of an editorialized view. This leads these people to think that everything in the world that is wrong is due to muslims, liberals or Obama (who is both). And that in turn leads to extremism and fosters ever more deep and toxic political divides.

I have no problem at all with differing viewpoints. I only have a problem with those - and this includes "news" sources across the spectrum from the New York Post to Adbusters - that are willing to actively mislead the reader in order to advance their particular editorial slant and agenda. While it may be fun as entertainment for the knowing, it is deadly poison for the health of the community as a whole for those who really believe it. Think about someone who has a 100 IQ... and then realize that half the country is dumber than that.

yesterday
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Massive Volcanic Eruptions Accompanied Dinosaur Extinction

schnell Re:Antipodal eruptions (65 comments)

I'd be more inclined to believe we don't have our dating methods perfected quite yet.

Wait: you talking about archaeologists or slashdot members here?

Either you are a creationist who believes humans and non-Avian dinosaurs coexisted or don't know the difference between an archaeologist and a paleontologist.

No, see, he was making a joke. "Dating" is a homonym, it can mean the act of establishing how old a thing is or it can mean the act of romantic courtship. And he's making a joke about how people on Slashdot might not be good at interacting with (typical) females since they tend to be so literal and have a hard time doing things like interpreting social meaning or context or...

You know what? Fuck it, you're right. He's a creationist.

2 days ago
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Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

schnell Re:Boycott (582 comments)

I'm boycotting any theatre that isn't showing this movie

How? By not going to see the movie that they aren't showing? NOMAD ERROR ERROR ERROR EXAMINE

4 days ago
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Google Strikes Deal With Verizon To Reduce Patent Troll Suits

schnell Re:Thus, they fully admit (20 comments)

Google Strikes Deal With Verizon To Reduce Patent Troll Suits

What I don't understand is that this is supposed to be a patent cross-licensing deal between Google and Verizon, which has nothing to do with anyone else. Per the headline, does that mean that Google is a patent troll? Or is that Verizon? Or both?

I don't understand. Unless of course it's just terrible editing on Slashdot with a clickbait headline that is unrelated to the story at hand. That I would understand.

4 days ago
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Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

schnell Re:Verizon admits it's a "weakness" (166 comments)

I doubt it will be very long before third parties apart from government figure out how to access their backdoor.

No, because the "backdoor" is getting a judge to sign a warrant for the police to wiretap you, and the police submitting that request to Verizon through official channels so that Verizon uses the keys that they have to decrypt the communication and give it to the police.

How is a third party going to use that?

5 days ago
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Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

schnell Re:Depends... (166 comments)

An unconstitutional law is actually not a law at all.

What's unconstitutional about CALEA? It requires police to show probable cause and have a judge sign off on a request, just as if it were a warrant for arrest or any other search and seizure of personal records. Whether it does so in practice is a different question, but in theory the law itself is at least designed to be fully compatible with the Fourth Amendment.

NSA warrantless wiretapping? Almost certainly unconstitutional, by any reading other than Dick Cheney's. CALEA? Probably not so much.

And BTW an unconstitutional law is still a law. Not sure where you learned your legal theory. A law that's unconstitutional should in theory be overturned by the courts so that it's not a law anymore - that's how "checks and balances" work - but until such time, it is most definitely a law and entirely enforceable!

5 days ago
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Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

schnell Re:Depends... (166 comments)

Nobody is being "backdoored" here except as required by law. The linked story summary is a troll for mentioning the NSA - it has nothing to do with them, but either the writer doesn't know what they're talking about or they just figured that would get more clicks.

Telecom providers are required to make sure that any voice service they sell is compliant with CALEA. There is no direct CALEA equivalent today for data services, interestingly - this is how far behind the times the Feds can be. And yes everything in LTE is data but for the purposes of the law, anything where you are talking - for example VoIP - is considered a voice service.

CALEA basically means that if you (the telecom) get a wiretap order - signed by a judge - from a law enforcement agency, you need to wiretap and record that user's calls for the specified time period, decrypt them if necessary, and then turn them over to the law enforcement agency. Verizon had to make this service CALEA compliant, or they couldn't have offered it. And remember that CALEA is not about mass wireless surveillance a la NSA but is actually about targeted recordings of specific individuals where there is probable cause enough to get a judge to sign off on the wiretap order. Very different things. You can dislike CALEA but you can't blame Verizon for putting in some magical backdoor - that has absolutely zero to do with the NSA - which they are required by law to have.

However for the privacy-minded it should be noted that the way things work, CALEA only applies to telecom providers. If you bought the same software from a non-telecom source (e.g. the software OEM themselves) and put it on your phone, then CALEA won't help law enforcement because Verizon wouldn't have the key to decrypt your calls with and could only turn over the encrypted stream. So if you are worried about being wiretapped by the police, don't buy your encryption service from your phone company.

5 days ago
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Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work?

schnell Re:Opinion columnist? (190 comments)

Shame on you for making me remember the Jon Katz era of Slashdot. As I recall, it eventually got so bad that turning off Katz stories became an option for users built into the site.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Image Organization?

schnell Re:There's only one image organizing program (259 comments)

I'm genuinely curious - what does Lightroom do that iPhoto on OS X doesn't? I have extensive (non-professional) photo archives in iTunes for the easy import, automatic facial recognition, ease of posting to social media etc. but if Lightroom does really awesome stuff I would certainly consider switching.

about a week ago
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In Iowa, a Phone App Could Serve As Driver's License

schnell Re:transfer the ID information to the police (207 comments)

It seems reasonable that we could just eliminate having to carry around physical IDs altogether (at least as a requirement of the law) and have the police taking pictures and/or typing in a name to verify someone's identity.

Neat idea but it misses a lot of practical problems.

Many police cars are equipped with cameras that can read via OCR your license plate (called "Automated License Plate Recognition" or ALPR) and check against a database to see if your car has been reported stolen, is reported in an Amber Alert, etc.

However, the person driving the car is a totally different issue. Let's assume that there's no requirement that you have a personal driver's license.

The officer pulls you over for speeding and he/she says, "name please?" You say "Oliver Klozoff." Without that government-issued ID you can make up any darn name you want to. That officer has no way to get you to produce your real name, even if it is Osama bin Laden and you're driving around the country touring Whataburger locations. Oliver Klozoff isn't an owner of that car? Well, your friend lent it to you for the afternoon, what's wrong with that? So without the fact that driving without a physical license is a crime, the cop has no way to figure out if you are a wanted person or not. Not a great thing for catching wanted people (see Timothy McVeigh and his traffic stop arrest after the Oklahoma City bombing for example).

On the flip side of civil liberties - the officer pulls you over for speeding and he/she takes your picture and runs it against a visual database stored by the DMV. Unfortunately, because it's nighttime and lit only by the officer's flashlight, and you grew a beard since you had your driver's license photo taken and put on some weight, you are no longer recognized as a valid driver in your state. Why not arrest you just to be sure?

You get the idea. Think of a driver's license like a form of two-factor authentication. It's not the physical card itself which is important so much as that it is a token which only you are supposed to have, which links you back to a known set of credentials at the state level which can be attached to a permission to drive, a known wants/warrants record, or so on and so forth. Just like how your physical passport isn't what is important when you enter the country - it's just a good way to get started when they scan it into a database where the real information is stored that can figure out who you are.

about two weeks ago
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Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier

schnell Re:What in the hell was he thinking? (388 comments)

What you say is fair, but did this guy agree right away or did they badger him repeatedly until he agreed?

To me, that's part of the point. There's no amount of badgering that should make you even consider doing it. In fact, if someone is badgering you about it an you aren't reporting it to the appropriate authorities then something is wrong with your moral compass.

about two weeks ago
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Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier

schnell Re:What in the hell was he thinking? (388 comments)

So this is basically and [sic] artificially generated crime, made by the FBI.

If you are given a US security clearance - after a significant background investigation and detailed indoctrination about exactly how important that it is that you do not tell anyone - not your wife, not your buddies, not your colleagues who don't have the same clearances - about classified material... and then someone claiming to represent a foreign power approaches you about providing classified information to them... and you even take more than half a second to say no, you should not have been in that job in the first place.

This isn't luring someone into adultery, or petty theft, or embezzling or even facilitating Marion Berry smoking crack. This is a dude straight up offering SENSITIVE US DEFENSE INFORMATION to a known frenemy (depending on who's in power this week) FOR MONEY. There is no scenario in which you are a Good Guy who just got entrapped into something you didn't really mean or didn't think was going to hurt anyone.

It's sorta like how I can be sympathetic to men whose jealous significant others hire PIs/escorts to hit on them and lure them into adultery to see if they're susceptible to cheating. But this is more like trying to bait someone into hiring a hit man to kill their wife to see if they would go for it... If you even consider it, buddy you are not a Good Guy and deserve what you get.

about two weeks ago
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Facebook Founder Presents Vision For The New Republic, Many Resign In Protest

schnell Re: yea no (346 comments)

No, this magazine actually is a public trust. It has never turned a profit in 100 years. But it has provided a forum for some of the best writers we've ever had.

That sounds awesome and all, but what you're describing is not a business, it's a charity. If they want to convert themselves to a 501(c)3 and take donations like NPR does (which serves a similar niche), then I think that's awesome. But it's not a business, it's a particular type of ego-driven charity bankrolled by the super-wealthy who are happy to lose money being associated with something that gets them invited to smart cocktail parties instead of losing money on something that does things like cure malaria or provide clean drinking water. (See also: "owning professional sports teams.")

I say this as a former professional journalist myself: if your publication is losing money, never get too comfortable and keep your LinkedIn up to date. Because your self-indulgent ownership today may change to an actual business person owner tomorrow, and if they ever do, shit is going to turn 180 degrees immediately in every way you care about. And don't be surprised or upset when it does.

about two weeks ago
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Is a "Wikipedia For News" Feasible?

schnell Re:I don't get it (167 comments)

A fair comment and I appreciate your civility (pretty rare on Slashdot these days).

My viewpoint is due to a specific bias of my own: I was a Journalism major in college and worked as a reporter at a couple "mainstream media" (EEEEEVIL!) newspapers before moving into technology. I'm not a deluded idealist viewing journalism from the outside with the "wool pulled over my eyes," I was a practicing reporter for several years.

And you know what? I was taught in college for four years to be above all else unbiased, and I damn well tried my hardest to do that once I got out into the professional journalism world. It's certainly possible that I didn't always succeed, but I always made a good faith effort to do so. No editor ever pressured me to add a slant to my stories, or favor some advertiser or some bullshit or something like that. My paper (the Richmond Times-Dispatch) had an Editorial department that was hard-core conservative, but that group had absolutely zero influence on the actual news reporters and how story ideas were declined/accepted and how those were ultimately presented. And from talking with my former colleagues and friends who continue to be practicing mainstream journalists, that continues to be true even to this day.

If you're a TV reporter for FOX News or a writer for the Huffington Post, then yes your editor will telegraph to you the conclusion that your story is supposed to come to. But there are LOTS of other US journalism outlets where I can say from first-hand experience that bias is NOT a desired outcome, even if you see it there.

No offense - and again I appreciate the civility of your comments even if I disagree with them - but this is one area that I think my several years of practical experience provides me with a little more direct insight than whatever "People's History of..." you have read that posits otherwise.

about two weeks ago
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Apple DRM Lawsuit Might Be Dismissed: Plaintiffs Didn't Own Affected iPods

schnell Re:Not unexpected. (141 comments)

I'll spend extra on a dependable product. Apple computers have shown to not be dependable

Perhaps not in your experience. For other people, including me, the opposite has shown to be true.

But you know what? Everyone has their own version of the plural of anecdote being data, so we will all work from our own individual experiences and be justified in doing so. But I wouldn't be so certain about identifying macro trends in your personal experience here.

about two weeks ago
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Apple DRM Lawsuit Might Be Dismissed: Plaintiffs Didn't Own Affected iPods

schnell Re:Not unexpected. (141 comments)

Well, to those people I'll say this: Welcome to Slashdot. The topic has been posted about to death a billion times before. See that search box next to the logo at the top left of the page? Click there, type the word "Apple" and hit enter. Then read until your heart is content. You're welcome.

Wow.

Just to recap here, you have basically: 1.) said Apple stuff sucks in the middle of a thread almost designed to be a flame war invitation; 2.) refused to explain why you think Apple sucks with any specificity; and 3.) given a follow-up response akin to "I don't have to tell you why I don't like New Zealanders. Just Google 'New Zealand' and read until your heart is content.'"

You, sir/madam either 1.) win the Internet brilliant troll of the year award; or 2.) should ask yourself why you bothered posting not just one comment but also two responses as of this writing where you could have just explained your problems with Apple in less text than it took to explain why it was beneath you to explain why you wouldn't explain what your problem with Apple was why you wouldn't NOMAD DOES NOT COMPUTE.

about two weeks ago
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Is a "Wikipedia For News" Feasible?

schnell Re:I don't get it (167 comments)

when journalism as a whole is essentially paid trolling for one agenda or another

If that's what you think, you are reading/watching/listening to the wrong news outlets. It's the same reaction I have when I hear people say "there's no good music anymore" - that's completely untrue. If the radio isn't playing the stuff you like, there are lots of other places you can find good stuff if you just invest the time to look.

There are plenty of high quality news organizations out there today which are dedicated to providing an even-handed, responsible professional journalism. It's true that, as was famously once said, "the only truly objective journalism is sports box scores." And you can - especially if you are looking for it - find some degree of bias in anything. But there's a 180 degree gap from the minor and inadvertent bias you may find in an Associated Press, BBC World, New York Times (or even Al Jazeera - the American not Qatari version) article versus the intentional bias you find in a FOX News or Huffington Post story.

To your previous point, though, I agree that bias-free reporting is not necessarily dull but is - by design - afraid to answer the "why" of the "Five W's" for fear of losing balance. I try to mix my news reading between (generally) unbiased news from NYT or BBC with biased but (from my viewpoint) more insightful sources like The Economist or Slate.

However, I am strongly opposed to the frequent Slashbot trope that "there is no professional journalism left, it's all biased" and hence there is in general no credibility gap between what the NY Times prints in its newspaper about the Ruble crisis vs. what "iwantputinsbaby07" posts to Twitter. Professional journalism is real, and it will always have a place of preferential credibility to unknown sources with unknown motivations. Meanwhile, slanted journalism will still probably generate the most clicks - but at least if you're picking your news sources to be pre-sorted to agree with your opinions, you know what you're buying.

about three weeks ago
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South Korea Bans Selfie-Stick Sales

schnell Re:Fuuuuuck (111 comments)

* "wer", adult male (survives in a few words like virile and werewolf)

(Puts on pedantic hat.) You are correct that the Germanic/Old English "were" survives in words like "werewolf" and, for Tolkien fans only, "weregild" (as in "This I will have as weregild for my father's death" from the Silmarillion).

"Virile," however, comes from the Latin "virilis" via French. They are kinda sorta related but not really.

This is a gross oversimplification as any language scholar can tell you, but a fun exercise for any English language speaker is to study the roots of common "vulgar" vs. "high-class" words and find that their roots map very closely to Latin vs. Germanic. Old English was - once the native Celts and Romano-Britons had been displaced - largely a relic of its "Germanic" (Angles, Saxons, Jutes) conquerors and the language of the people. After the Norman Conquest in 1066 (Normans "Nord-mann" being transplanted Vikings who learned French) the language of the nobility in England became French (which was based on Latin) for hundreds of years. While over time the two melded together, you can still (again, oversimplifying) in many cases tell the upper-class terms for things (derived from French/Latin) from the lower-class terms for things (derived from Old English/Germanic). For example:

  • Lower-class English term: shit (viz. German scheisse); upper-class English term: excrement (viz. French excrement)
  • Lower-class English term: house (viz. German haus); upper-class English term: mansion (viz. French maison)

It doesn't hold true in all cases but it is in general a pretty fascinating window into the evolution of the English language, FWIW.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Marissa Mayer's reinvention of Yahoo! stumbles

schnell schnell writes  |  5 days ago

schnell (163007) writes "The New York Times Magazine has an in-depth profile of Marissa Mayer's time at the helm of Yahoo!, detailing her bold plans to reinvent the company and spark a Jobs-ian turnaround through building great new products. But some investors are saying that her product focus (to the point of micromanaging) hasn't generated results, and that the company should give up on trying to create the next iPod, merge with AOL to cut costs and focus on the unglamorous core business that it has. Is it time for Yahoo! to "grow up" and set its sights lower?"
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How "big ideas" are actually hurting international development

schnell schnell writes  |  about a month ago

schnell (163007) writes "The New Yorker is running a fascinating article that analyzes the changing state of foreign development. Tech entrepreneurs and celebrities are increasingly realizing the inefficiencies of the old charitable NGO-based model of foreign aid, and shifting their support to "disruptive" new ideas that have been demonstrated in small experiments to deliver disproportionately beneficial results. But multiple studies now show that "game changing" ideas that prove revolutionary in limited studies fail to prove effective at scale, and are limited by a simple and disappointing fact: no matter how revolutionary your idea is, whether it works or not is wholly dependent on 1.) the local culture and circumstances, and 2.) who is implementing the program."
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US Rust Belt Manufacturing Rebounds Via Fracking Boom

schnell schnell writes  |  about 3 months ago

schnell (163007) writes "A New York Times article reports that Midwestern "Rust Belt" towns and their manufacturing economies in particular have rebounded greatly due to the US resurgence in fossil fuel production, driven by production of shale gas and natural gas from "fracking" and other new technologies that recover previously unavailable fuel but are more invasive than traditional techniques. “Both Youngstown and Canton are places which experienced nothing but disinvestment for 40 years" ... “[now] they’re not ghost towns anymore," according to the article. But while many have decried the loss of traditional US manufacturing jobs in a globalized world and the associated loss of high-wage blue collar jobs, do the associated environmental risks of new "tight oil" extraction techniques outweigh the benefits to these depressed economic regions?"
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When Beliefs and Facts Collide

schnell schnell writes  |  about 6 months ago

schnell (163007) writes "A New York Times article discusses a recent Yale study that shows that contrary to popular belief, increased scientific literacy does not correspond to increased belief in accepted scientific findings when it contradicts their religious or political views. The article notes that this is true across the political/religious spectrum and "factual and scientific evidence is often ineffective at reducing misperceptions and can even backfire on issues like weapons of mass destruction, health care reform and vaccines." So what is to be done? The article suggests that "we need to try to break the association between identity and factual beliefs on high-profile issues – for instance, by making clear that you can believe in human-induced climate change and still be a conservative Republican." But given the propensity of all humans towards cognitive bias and even magical thinking, should we just resign ourselves to the idea that democracies will never make their decisions based purely on science?"
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The Fall and Rise of Larry Page

schnell schnell writes  |  about 8 months ago

schnell (163007) writes "Slate's has a long, detailed story about how Larry Page founded Google, how he struggled with its growth, and ultimately how he came back to reinvigorate it. The story recounts fascinating details about Page's relationship to Sergey Brin, the combative culture Page fostered in the company's early years, his resistance to having engineers managed by non-engineers, the company's struggle through its rapid growth, and how Page once even wanted to hire Steve Jobs as Google's CEO."
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Ask Slashdot: What Online News Is Worth Paying For?

schnell schnell writes  |  about a year ago

schnell (163007) writes "The increasing prevalence of online news paywalls and "nag walls" (e.g. you can only read so many articles per month) has forced me to divide those websites into two categories: those that offer content that is unique or good enough to pay for vs. those that don't. Examples of the former for me included The Economist and Foreign Policy, while other previous favorite sites The New York Times and even my hometown Seattle Times have lost my online readership entirely. I also have a secret third category — sites that don't currently pay/nag wall, but I would pay for if I had to — Ars Technica and Long Form come to mind. What news/aggregation sites are other Slashdotters out there willing to pay for, and why? What sites that don't charge today would you pay for if you had to? Or, knowing this crowd, are the majority just opposed to paying for any web news content on principle?"
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It Pays To Be Pretty

schnell schnell writes  |  1 year,5 days

schnell (163007) writes "A new study from the University of Illinois in Chicago has quantified how being physically attractive is correlated with being rated as "intelligent" or "promising" and earning higher pay in the workplace, not just in adulthood but as far back as high school. It may not be as simple as rewarding people who are pretty to look at, as one of the study's authors noted that it may be more a result of "early successes and confidence boosters may create a self-fulfilling prophecy in which the attractive high school students end up being more successful in adulthood." Being attractive is also associated with some risks, since "more attractive teens also were more likely to drink heavily and have more sexual partners.""
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Stuxnet's "Secret Twin" Was Even More Damaging and Better Hidden

schnell schnell writes  |  about a year ago

schnell (163007) writes "Cyberdefense analyst Ralph Langner reports the results of a lengthy investigation into Stuxnet in Foreign Affairs, revealing that the Stuxnet we know was only the later and more obvious part of a sophisticated cyber attack on Iran's nuclear enrichment program. Two years before the release of the better-known Stuxnet variant, an original version was launched with a more subtle and stealthy mission — wearing down centrifuges gradually through improper overuse. While it couldn't spread itself as easily as the later Stuxnet, it was deliberately designed to degrade centrifuges slowly and remain invisible. The author also speculates that the discovery of the later Stuxnet version was actually beneficial to the US, since if another country was outed first as having engaged in cyberwarfare, it would seem a "Pearl Harbor" that made the US look weak in terms of its cyberwar capabilities."
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How Blockbuster Could Have Owned Netflix

schnell schnell writes  |  about a year ago

schnell (163007) writes "Your age probably determines whether you think of Blockbuster Video as a fond memory or a dinosaur predestined for extinction. While the last Blockbuster rental at the last remaining Blockbuster video store took place last week, Variety retells a now-classic story of how Blockbuster could have bought Netflix for a song, but didn't because it failed to take the new DVD-by-mail and video streaming markets seriously. Who is next to join Blockbuster, Polaroid, Borders and Best Buy on the ash heap of superseded retail business models?"
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How BlackBerry Blew It

schnell schnell writes  |  about a year ago

schnell (163007) writes "The Globe and Mail is running a fascinating in-depth report on how BlackBerry went from the world leader in smartphones to a company on the brink of collapse. It paints a picture of a company with deep engineering talent but hamstrung by arrogance, indecision, slowness to embrace change, and a lack of internal accountability. From the story: "'The problem wasn’t that we stopped listening to customers,' said one former RIM insider. 'We believed we knew better what customers needed long term than they did.'""
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The Techie General Who Made the NSA What It Is Today

schnell schnell writes  |  about a year ago

schnell (163007) writes "Foreign Policy magazine is running a fascinating portrait of Gen. Keith Alexander, the "techie general" who leads both the NSA and US Cyber Command. It paints a picture of a leader with both a career-long background of SIGINT engineering skills and exceptional political savvy, expanding the NSA's scope to fulfill his "big data" vision and its ability to map far-flung connections into a picture of intelligent threat analysis. While some of the anonymous intelligence officials quoted in the story call into question the results of Alexander's big data approach (including impressive-looking "contact maps" for suspected terrorists that included unrelated points like pizza shops), Alexander's techie vision for the NSA has transformed its mission into one of potentially much greater usefulness ... but also one with the potential for much greater abuse."
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"Into Darkness" Really the Worst "Star Trek" Movie Ever?

schnell schnell writes  |  about a year ago

schnell (163007) writes "Despite maintaining an 87% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the Star Trek faithful at a recent convention have spoken and rated "Star Trek Into Darkness" the worst movie in the franchise. So bad, in fact, that it came in 13th in a list of 12 Star Trek films — the extra slot coming because 1999's brilliant Galaxy Quest was considered in the voting. But was the movie really that bad? Simon Pegg thinks not and has a f-bomb to share with its critics, but how about you?"
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Snowden Masqueraded As Top Officials To Mine NSA's Deepest Secrets

schnell schnell writes  |  about a year ago

schnell (163007) writes "As government investigators continue to try to figure out just how much data whistleblower Edward Snowden had access to, MSNBC is reporting that Snowden used his sysadmin privileges to assume the user profiles of top NSA officials in order to gain access to the most sensitive files. His sysadmin privileges also enabled him to do something other NSA users can't — download classified files from NSAnet onto a thumb drive. “Every day, they are learning how brilliant [Snowden] was,” said a former U.S. official with knowledge of the case. “This is why you don’t hire brilliant people for jobs like this. You hire smart people. Brilliant people get you in trouble.”"
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Area 51 No Longer (Officially) a Secret

schnell schnell writes  |  about a year ago

schnell (163007) writes "The first-ever declassified story of Area 51's origin is now available, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act filed years ago by George Washington University's National Security Archive. The (only lightly redacted) document is actually primarily a history of the U-2 and A-12 ("Oxcart") spy plane programs from the Cold War, but is remarkable for being the first-ever official unclassified acknowledgement of the Area 51's purpose and its role in the program. Interesting tidbits include that the U-2 program was kicked off with a CIA check mailed personally to Lockheed Skunk Works chief Kelly Johnson for $1.25M; a U-2 was launched off an aircraft carrier to spy on French nuclear tests; and the U-2 delivery program itself was actually done under budget, a rarity for secret government programs then or now."
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The paradox of Julian Assange and Wikileaks

schnell schnell writes  |  about 2 years ago

schnell writes "The New Statesman is publishing a new in-depth article that examines in detail the seemingly paradoxical nature of Wikileaks' brave mission of public transparency with the private opaqueness of Julian Assange's leadership. On one hand, Wikileaks created "a transparency mechanism to hold governments and corporations to account" when nobody else could or would. On the other hand, Wikileaks itself was "guilty of the same obfuscation and misinformation as those it sought to expose, while its supporters are expected to follow, unquestioningly, in blinkered, cultish devotion." If Wikileaks performs a public service exposing the secrets of others but censors its own secrets, does it really matter? Or are the ethics of the organization and its leader inseparable?"
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WW2 carrier pigeon's code may never be broken

schnell schnell writes  |  about 2 years ago

schnell writes "Earlier this month, a man cleaning out his fireplace in Surrey, England, found a 70-year-old carrier pigeon skeleton with a coded message strapped to its leg. Pigeons were widely used by the Allies in WW2 to carry messages between Britain and the continent, but since the message is short (27 five-character groups) and because the cipher books used at the time should all have been destroyed, it's unlikely modern cryptographers will ever be able to unravel its sender, intended recipient or message contents. “Without access to the relevant code books and details of any additional encryption used, it will remain impossible to decrypt,” a [GCHQ] spokesman said... might this become another 21st century challenge for amateur cryptographers like the Beale ciphers?"
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Are socially shared photos free?

schnell schnell writes  |  more than 3 years ago

schnell writes "Stefanie Gordon took a now-famous photo of Space Shuttle Endeavour out the window of her airplane seat and tweeted it to friends. By the time she was leaving the airport, she was barraged with media requests. The photo has been viewed nearly one million times on hundreds of websites, but Stephanie was paid for the photo by only five news organizations. Stephanie doesn't feel slighted, but a professional news photographer would have been paid many times what Stephanie received. In today's climate, are amateur photos shared on Twitter or Facebook basically free for all websites to use? Is re-tweeting or re-sharing automatically fair use?"
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Can apps really damage a cellular network?

schnell schnell writes  |  more than 4 years ago

schnell writes "In recent FCC filings, T-Mobile described how the behavior of one Android IM app nearly brought their cellular data network to a breakdown in one city. Even more interesting, the US carrier describes how just the 300,000 unlocked iPhones on their network caused massive spikes in data usage. T-Mobile is using these anecdotes as evidence that mobile carriers shuold be able to retain control over the applications and devices on their network to ensure quality of service for all users. Do they have a point?"
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Major GTA IV bug leaves PS3 users in a lurch

schnell schnell writes  |  more than 6 years ago

schnell writes "So it turns out that the PS3 version of Grand Theft Auto IV was shipped before being adequately tested. Upon starting my saved game tonight GTA froze up during gameplay. Even following the online suggestions that I uninstall the game and delete my saved games didn't fix the problem. Then I discovered that I wasn't alone with this issue. It seems this bug was initially discovered on the 60 GB (hardware backwards-compatible) PS3 but is also being seen on other models. I have already bought the game so Rockstar has my money — I just want them to step up to the plate and fix this so I can play the game I spent $60 for!"
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