Items tagged with: have
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19953532
Posted by MagicPropmaker (karma: 1416)
Post stats: Points: 174 - Comments: 60 - 2019-05-19T14:46:02Z
#HackerNews #claiming #company #copyright #ever #every #have #made #systematically #video
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HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19920143
Posted by okket (karma: 38819)
Post stats: Points: 220 - Comments: 34 - 2019-05-15T15:10:27Z
#HackerNews #breach #groups #have #human #may #rights #security #targeted #whatsapp
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HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19893682
Posted by JumpCrisscross (karma: 60023)
Post stats: Points: 198 - Comments: 86 - 2019-05-12T18:46:53Z
#HackerNews #analytica #another #cambridge #facebook #hands #have #its #might
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HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19861725
Posted by alpb (karma: 4573)
Post stats: Points: 132 - Comments: 64 - 2019-05-08T18:45:29Z
#HackerNews #alpine #cve-2019-5021 #docker #for #have #images #linux #null #official #password #root
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HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19826344
Posted by DoreenMichele (karma: 17818)
Post stats: Points: 107 - Comments: 86 - 2019-05-04T13:34:49Z
#HackerNews #air #cause #could #death #first #girl #have #listed #london #pollution
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HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19790875
Posted by bookofjoe (karma: 7615)
Post stats: Points: 150 - Comments: 65 - 2019-04-30T19:04:39Z
#HackerNews #crime #data #for #hand #have #message #over #police #private #victims #your
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HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19784907
Posted by markchristian (karma: 1382)
Post stats: Points: 185 - Comments: 73 - 2019-04-30T03:28:46Z
#HackerNews #have #personal #should #site #web #you
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HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19765761
Posted by rodmena (karma: 136)
Post stats: Points: 135 - Comments: 31 - 2019-04-27T14:40:41Z
#HackerNews #but #features #have #may #not #postgresql #should #tried #you
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HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19732357
Posted by eoinmurray92 (karma: 215)
Post stats: Points: 99 - Comments: 150 - 2019-04-23T20:11:17Z
#HackerNews #bigger #countries #except #have #middle-class #rich #tend #the #usa
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HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19730309
Posted by bpierre (karma: 36729)
Post stats: Points: 101 - Comments: 128 - 2019-04-23T16:42:15Z
#HackerNews #2018 #dont #have #raspberry #wayland #why #yet
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HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19716179
Posted by PandawanFr (karma: 66)
Post stats: Points: 135 - Comments: 50 - 2019-04-22T03:13:48Z
#HackerNews #announces #been #have #interface #jvm #mozilla #should #system #webassembly #what
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Frequently while browsing this site I see a comment that is profoundly insightful about culture, mindset, career, relationships, coffee grinders, etc.
I realized today that I’ve always considered them in the moment and let them go. Perhaps I should have been bookmarking them and revisiting with a different perspective.
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19716401
Posted by pardavis (karma: 54)
Post stats: Points: 150 - Comments: 36 - 2019-04-22T03:54:26Z
#HackerNews #ask #bookmarked #comments #hacker #have #news #what #you
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HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19707543
Posted by sixtypoundhound (karma: 708)
Post stats: Points: 199 - Comments: 63 - 2019-04-20T16:56:04Z
#HackerNews #dont #have #shortage #sucker #talent
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HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19697405
Posted by darkdimius (karma: 124)
Post stats: Points: 151 - Comments: 68 - 2019-04-19T06:00:59Z
#HackerNews #have #ruby3 #types #will
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HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19685405
Posted by lelf (karma: 41412)
Post stats: Points: 99 - Comments: 105 - 2019-04-17T18:58:31Z
#HackerNews #display #folds #galaxy #have #problems #samsung #seems #the
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A largely empty urban district struggling with billions of dollars in debt demonstrates the breakdown of the Chinese economic growth model.
Article word count: 1346
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19636752
Posted by ilamont (karma: 25888)
Post stats: Points: 124 - Comments: 112 - 2019-04-11T17:08:52Z
#HackerNews #arrive #borrowed #but #chinas #have #heavily #manhattan #people #the #yet
A largely empty urban district struggling with billions of dollars in debt demonstrates the breakdown of the Chinese economic growth model.
Yujiapu Financial District in Tianjin, China, where four-fifths of the office space is empty and the government borrowed heavily to build.CreditCreditGiulia Marchi for The New York Times
Alexandra StevensonCao Li
By Alexandra Stevenson and Cao Li
TIANJIN, China — At a port in Germany, 150 Steinway pianos are waiting to be shipped to this gateway city for the grand opening of the Juilliard School’s second campus.
The air in Tianjin is so dry that the pianos will require climate-controlled rooms, helping to nearly double the cost of the state-of-the-art campus to $225 million.
The extra money is not coming from Juilliard. The local government is footing the bill. And that could become a problem for officials struggling with debt after an epic spending spree to develop a new commercial center from scratch.
Welcome to Yujiapu Financial District, which promotes itself as China’s Manhattan, but may better be seen as a monument to the breakdown of the Chinese growth model. Four-fifths of the office space stands empty. Construction on other buildings has stopped, leaving skeletons in the sky. A sprawling mall has few shoppers. Inside, a pet store has no animals.
The businesses and residents that local officials had hoped to attract have yet to show up. Juilliard, which is expected to draw in students and their families, will open its doors next fall, a rare Western institution taking a chance on this district.
Zhang Zhiyi works as a recruiter for an online education company in a nearby office building. The lonely landscape has translated into a good deal for commercial renters: New tenants get a full year rent-free. Deals abound, the 28-year-old said: “The other buildings aren’t really full, either.”
Chinese local governments are swimming in debt. By official accounts, that debt totals $4.5 trillion. By unofficial estimates, it could be as large as $10 trillion. No one knows for sure because much of the borrowing for projects like the Tianjin Juilliard campus is rarely disclosed.
China has long borrowed heavily to build and then counted on breakneck economic growth to pay it back. The script: Sell vast amounts of land to developers, borrow to subsidize construction, and jobs and new cities will result. It was a model that helped China build its skyscrapers and high-speed rail lines and ushered in an era of prosperity.
But China is not growing as fast as it used to, and it is not clear that the “build it and they will come” model will save Yujiapu and other places with big debts. The national government now must find other ways to spur growth — without making the debt problem worse.
The construction site of the Juilliard School in Yujiapu. The campus will open its doors next fall, the rare Western institution taking a chance on this district.CreditGiulia Marchi for The New York Times
“China’s economy has depended on building for the future, and there are considerable signs that they have overbuilt,” said Logan Wright, director of China research at Rhodium Group, a consulting firm, adding that debt and overcapacity could hold back growth.
“That probably means much slower economic growth in the next decade compared to China’s recent path,” he said.
Tianjin government officials did not respond to a request for comment.
Tianjin, a coastal city just a short train ride from Beijing, had one of the highest growth rates in China. Its success made headlines, and local officials credited “Tianjin spirit, Tianjin speed and Tianjin benefits.”
Then the economy slowed. And local officials in the Binhai New Area, a special economic zone of Tianjin that includes Yujiapu, admitted they overstated growth. They slashed $50 billion from its original figure for 2016, bringing economic output to $100 billion. Today, Tianjin is one of the slowest-growing regions of China and one of the most financially troubled.
By the broadest measure of borrowing in China, called total social financing, Tianjin’s government, corporations and households owe more than $760 billion, according to an estimate by Rhodium Group. The annual interest owed by all borrowers in Tianjin totaled 12 times its annual nominal economic growth, Rhodium said, citing the most recent numbers.
An empty underground shopping mall in Yujiapu.CreditGiulia Marchi for The New York Times
If Yujiapu really is the Manhattan of China, it has a way to go to catch up to the real thing. Its avenues, some nearly as wide as Broadway, are eerily quiet. Many buildings just a few blocks from the Tianjin Juilliard School remain unfinished. The finished ones are mostly empty.
On one recent weekday visit, the door to the sales office for a hulking, unfinished residential building several blocks from the Juilliard campus blew open in the wind. No one was inside. Many of the six-lane roads in the city lack crosswalk lights, in part because they are not needed.
Across the Hai River from Yujiapu is another ghostlike district, Xiangluowan, where the local government encouraged private Chinese developers to build on their own dime. They did, but no one came. Dozens of the buildings in this district are now collateral for huge overdue loans that are being held by local banks.
Zhang Zhiyi, a recruiter for an online education company, said the lonely landscape in Tianjin had translated into good deals for commercial renters. “The other buildings aren’t really full, either,” he said. CreditGiulia Marchi for The New York Times
For now, Tianjin can continue to borrow for projects like the Juilliard campus because it has a powerful patron in Beijing, said Victor Shih, an associate professor at the University of California, San Diego, and an expert on the Chinese economy. That official, He Lifeng, was once the No. 2 Communist Party official in Tianjin. Mr. He now heads the central government agency that approves all major development projects, meaning he can authorize banks to lend more money to Tianjin.
“If the political will collapses for the Binhai area, then the bank loans will begin to dry up and the whole area is in trouble,” Mr. Shih said.
Officials at the National Development and Reform Commission, the agency where Mr. He works, did not respond to a request for comment.
Itʼs quiet in the Yujiapu Financial District, which promotes itself as China’s Manhattan. Businesses that local officials hoped to attract have yet to show up. CreditGiulia Marchi for The New York Times
Despite the empty buildings, the local government keeps borrowing. Last year, Tianjin and entities related to the local government raised $36 billion through new loans, according to data from the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank.
Many residents believe Yujiapu’s problems have been overstated and try to cast its emptiness in a positive light. Mr. Zhang, who works for the online recruiter, said technology companies looking for alternatives to expensive places like Beijing and the southern city of Shenzhen could find Tianjin attractive.
“Now, there are quite a lot of internet companies, including some e-commerce platforms,” he said, speculating that these companies could move into his building in the future.
Michael Hart, a real estate consultant in Tianjin, said a resurgence of growth could save the city from its problems.
“It’s like going to see a five-act play,” Mr. Hart said, referring to Yujiapu’s critics, “and you’re halfway through Act 1 and calling it a lousy play.”
For Alexander Brose, the chief executive of the Tianjin Juilliard School, the district will soon benefit from the prestige of the Juilliard name to attract people. On a recent day, he toured the construction site, pointing to what he expected to see next year. Here, a 687-seat concert hall, he said. Over there, a recital space that can hold 299 people. And in the corner, a 250-seat black box theater.
He paused, looking at the hundreds of construction workers welding, hammering and moving steel, and said, referring to the local government, “I think they are looking at this as a feather in the cap of this new project.”
Alexandra Stevenson is a business correspondent based in Hong Kong, covering Chinese corporate giants, the changing landscape for multinational companies and China’s growing economic and financial influence in Asia. @jotted • Facebook
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The effort to extradite and prosecute the WikiLeaks founder threatens the free media.
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19637745
Posted by zwieback (karma: 4223)
Post stats: Points: 189 - Comments: 97 - 2019-04-11T18:37:11Z
#HackerNews #assange #defend #dont #have #him #like #you
On a personal level, the editors and reporters did not warm to him. He would turn up in their newsrooms wearing a stab vest and no shirt, tell lewd jokes, and make high-handed demands. They complained—sometimes in public. Yet these irritants were the least of their problems: News outlets quickly ran into serious ideological issues with Assange, primarily over the handling of material and how it would be redacted.
Bradley P. Moss: Julian Assange isn’t worth it
As an organization that believed in radical transparency, WikiLeaks wanted all the material in the public domain. Journalists, meanwhile, wanted to redact information from the reports that could put people named in them, most of whom had done nothing wrong, at risk. The clashes became bitter, but having handed over the material already, Assange was chained to what came to feel like a doomed marriage with his publishing partners.
This barely scratches the surface of the difficult relationships Assange has had with those he’s worked with. The real problems ran far deeper. As it rose in prominence thanks to the array of leaked documents, WikiLeaks internally had all but fallen apart. The six people who had done most of the work running the website had a major difference of opinion. It is telling that Assange, the sole holdout against what he saw as insubordination, was the one who stayed. That left WikiLeaks as a virtual one-man band, forced to bring in new acolytes largely in their early 20s (of which I was one) to run the show, a comically inexperienced team for a story that could not have been more complex.
All of which came before the most obvious of the impediments to working with Assange: In late 2010, he was arrested on allegations of sexual assault and rape—accusations he angrily denied, and which his supporters claimed were deep-state smears. Those working with, and for, him were now faced with trying to advance a story and a cause they believed in that were inextricably entwined with a man accused of serious sexual crimes.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, one of Assange’s close associates, introduced to me and other colleagues and associates as “Adam,” turned out in reality to be Israel Shamir, a pro-Putin anti-Semite who was photographed leaving the interior ministry of Belarus just days after being given 100,000 U.S. diplomatic cables. In a world that likes its morality to be black and white, that likes its heroes and villains to be distinct and discernible, Assange in 2010 gave no one what they wanted. He was both a confirmed annoyance and a possible criminal, but also a man who had enabled a new kind of journalistic collaboration and transparency, revealing previously unknown stories of the U.S. at war.
On the surface, Assange has since made himself easier to categorize. Despite his protestations that he was fleeing U.S. prosecution by taking sanctuary in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, the case he was facing at the time came from Sweden, in connection to the rape and sexual-assault allegation against him. Having exhausted every legal avenue against extradition, Assange used the asylum process to evade arrest, denying two women their day in court. One case has been dropped. The other is unlikely to get going, as the U.S., which has filed charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, has taken precedence in extradition.
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A transparency tool on Facebook inadvertently provides a window into the confusing maze of companies you’ve never heard of who appear to have your data.
Article word count: 1584
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19635410
Posted by hhs (karma: 538)
Post stats: Points: 149 - Comments: 77 - 2019-04-11T15:19:19Z
#HackerNews #absolute #and #control #data #everywhere #facebook #have #over #showed
On Facebook under Settings, there’s a page in the Ads section where you can view your Ad Preferences. Most of this is fairly straightforward — choices about how you’ll allow ads and how advertisers target you based on things like what pages you’ve liked. But there’s one section there that will probably surprise you: a list of advertisers “Who use a contact list added to Facebook.”
Check yours out right now (I’ll wait, just try it).
According to the description, "These advertisers are running ads using a contact list they or their partner uploaded that includes info about you. This info was collected by the advertiser or their partner. Typically this information is your email address or phone number."
The list of Advertisers, a feature Facebook added for transparency, is incomprehensible to anyone who isn’t an expert in advertising (and even some who are!), and leads to the unsettling realization that, fuck, man, our data is out there and trafficked without our consent and being used by advertisers in ways we have no clue about.
Here’s mine. Me. A person who has lived in New York for 20 years. There’s a South Carolina real estate agent and car dealerships in Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Michigan, It makes absolutely no sense.
This list is long — you can hit “See More” to scroll past hundreds and hundreds of brand pages. What the hell, right? If you’re an adult in the US, you probably see a lot of car dealerships and real estate agents (more on that later) from all over the country. Even a former Facebook executive tweeted about how he was confused by seeing a list of random real estate agents and car dealers in cities he doesn’t even live near.
Welcome to the most bewildering — and most interesting — page in your Facebook settings: the list of brands that either have your data or have paid someone who has your data. This page is meant to offer Facebook users a glimpse at whose radar they may be on — which is good! But the reality is that this list is so confusing — why the heck does a Maserati dealership in Scottsdale, Arizona have my email or phone number? If they were any good at targeting ads, they could take one look at my location, occupation, or literally anything about me, and conclude there’s no way I’m buying a Maserati anytime soon.
It turns out this long list of advertisers represents several sides of digital advertising that extends beyond Facebook: traditional ad targeting, influencers and sponsored content, and advertisers on Facebook who leverage personal data from the giant data brokers.
- Places where you’re actually a customer: The first group is what you’d expect to see. For example, mine has places I’ve shopped online, like Target and JetBlue, as well as web services I use, like Hulu, Venmo, and Fandango.
- Sponcon influencers who post ads for a company that has your email: My list includes a bunch of pages for lifestyle bloggers who have done sponsored posts for ThirdLove bras. The thing is, I don’t follow any of these influencers — so why are they on my page? I had to think back: Once, I provided my email for a quiz to find my “true bra size” from ThirdLove. So when ThirdLove promoted a post by an influencer using a customer list (that I was now on), those influencers then appeared on my advertiser list. Confusing! No customer data is actually transferred between ThirdLove and the influencer, according to a representative for ThirdLove.
- Businesses that pay data brokers for access to you: Here’s where things get spicy — companies that you’ve had no interaction with before but that have access to your data.
Until a few months ago, Facebook used large data brokers, like Acxiom and Oracle, as partners in its advertising platform to power its Partner Categories feature for advertisers. Basically, anonymized personal data from these data companies was baked into the Facebook Ad platform, accessible to advertisers from big digital marketing agencies to one-person businesses selling hand-knitted beer koozies.
The value of this tool, especially to businesses like local car dealerships and realtors, was that it imported another layer of data — previous home purchases, credit scores, shopping activity — beyond what could be found on a Facebook profile alone, so that advertisers who need data like that could get more precise with their targeting on Facebook. And car dealers and real estate agents need to branch out beyond their own customer lists simply because people don’t buy many houses or cars in a lifetime. Effective!
(Again, the third-party data was and is anonymized. The advertisers or their ad agencies never see your actual email or phone number, or even who you are. All that stuff is essentially scrambled between the data broker and Facebook.)
After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook decided to kill Partner Categories. By late 2018, it no longer offered advertisers a feature to use all that juicy baked-in third-party data.
“There hasn’t been an industry hit as hard as automotive when Facebook lost their third-party data,” David Lemmon, an executive at the automotive marketing agency AutoSweet, told BuzzFeed News. “Dealerships panicked.”
Of course, this didn’t mean third-party data was impossible to use in Facebook advertising (also, all those data brokers still work with other platforms and companies). It just meant that now advertisers and their agencies had to work with an Oracle or Acxiom directly to use the custom audiences that the data brokers controlled.
And this is likely how a Maserati dealership in Scottsdale ended up on my advertisers “who use a contact list” page — its agency works with a data broker who has uploaded a massive contact list. Remember, the list shows advertisers who are using a contact list "they or their partner uploaded." Even though I’ll never actually see their ads, they show up on my Advertisers page due to this disclosure.
Of course, there are other ways advertisers can get my information too. “There are other third parties that dealers use, like Autotrader or Cars.com, that connect them with leads and shopper information, where they may have uploaded that into Facebook,” according to Matt Stoffel from 9 Clouds, a digital marketing agency that specializes in automotive.
If your Advertisers list seems surprising and confusing to you, you’re not alone. Even people I spoke with who work in automotive digital marketing were perplexed by what they saw. “I can’t figure out why, it’s just such random car dealers,” said Steve White, CEO of Clarivoy, a car marketing agency, as he looked over his own list of advertisers on his personal Facebook account.
The handful of real estate agents I spoke to were all using the same marketing agency to run their Facebook ads: a Venice Beach, California–based company called Ylopo. Ylopo did not respond to requests for comment.
Natasha Zingarello, a realtor in New Jersey, told BuzzFeed News that she had only recently hired Ylopo to do her Facebook advertisements, but was already unhappy. She had heard from several people from as far away as Texas that she was showing up in their Advertisers list.
Diana Renee, a realtor from Southern California, quit using Ylopo for this same reason. “I had just started using them in January, and I got a couple of complaints, and I don’t like that,” she said. “The idea that someone has your information is already creepy, and I don’t want to be a creepy realtor spamming someone on Facebook.”
Facebook removing third-party data was a pro-privacy move, and showing this page of advertisers is a great transparency measure. But this list of advertisers that use a contact list is a nightmare for any normal person to look at. It’s confusing (who?!), aggravating (how did they get my email or phone number?!), and disheartening (privacy is dead, everyone has my data, it’s a lost cause). It sheds some light on the dark and infinite universe of spam we exist in.
Facebook is aware this page is confusing, and told BuzzFeed News it intends to fix it in the near future. It is currently working on new ideas about how the page should look — perhaps bundling all the advertisers who use the same data broker together, for example, and separating advertisers with first-party data.
“We want people to know how their information is used for Facebook ads,” Joe Osborne, a Facebook representative told BuzzFeed News in a statement. “That’s why we just updated ‘Why am I seeing this ad’ with more details when businesses run ads using information from a customer list, like when it was uploaded or if they worked with marketing partners to run those ads. Soon we’ll improve Ad Preferences to more simply and easily display similar kinds of information.”
At the end of March, Facebook announced that it would share more information about why you see the ads you’re seeing, including details like whether a page is using an agency to run its ads for you. But these would only lift the veil on ads you’re seeing — not all the unknown instances where you’ve been swept into a basket for targeted advertising.
We all want to know how ads work, but this page is like turning over a rock and seeing a bunch of centipedes crawling underneath – but imagine you’ve never seen a bug before in your life, so you’re like, “What the IS this weird thing and why does it have so many legs?” Perhaps the least pleasant but most accurate answer to “Who has my data?” is simply, “You’re fucked.”
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A new theory challenges assumptions about when and how our ancestors altered their behaviors to boost brainpower
Article word count: 1075
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19600420
Posted by hourislate (karma: 3377)
Post stats: Points: 174 - Comments: 93 - 2019-04-07T22:42:35Z
#HackerNews #bigger #brains #fat #have #hominin #led #may #meat #not
Northern Ethiopia was once home to a vast, ancient lake. Saber-toothed cats prowled around it, giant crocodiles swam within. The streams and rivers that fed it—over 3 million years ago, during the Pliocene—left behind trails of sediment that have now hardened into sandstone.
Deposited within these layers are fossils: some of early hominins, along with the bones of hippos, antelope, and elephants. Anthropologist Jessica Thompson encountered two of these specimens, from an area named Dikika, in 2010.
At the time, she was a visiting researcher at the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University. Given no explanation as to their history, she analyzed the bones and found signs of butchery. Percussion marks suggested someone may have accessed the marrow; cut marks hinted that flesh was stripped from bone. To her surprise, the specimens were 3.4 million years old, putting the butcher’s behaviors back 800,000 years earlier than conventional estimates would suggest. That fact got Thompson, now an assistant professor in the department of anthropology at Yale University, thinking there might be more traces of tool use from those early times.
In a wide-ranging review published in February’s issue of Current Anthropology, Thompson joins a team of researchers to weave together several strands of recent evidence and propose a new theory about the transition to large animal consumption by our ancestors. The prevailing view, supported by a confluence of fossil evidence from sites in Ethiopia, is that the emergence of flaked tool use and meat consumption led to the cerebral expansion that kickstarted human evolution more than 2 million years ago. Thompson and her colleagues disagree: Rather than using sharpened stones to hunt and scrape meat from animals, they suggest, earlier hominins may have first bashed bones to harvest fatty nutrients from marrow and brains.
Humans are the only primate to regularly consume animals larger than themselves. This nutritional exploitation, something Thompson and her colleagues call the “human predatory pattern,” has long been synonymous with the flesh-eating, man-the-hunter view of human origins.
Because large animals such as antelope pack a serious micro-and-macro-nutrient punch, scientists have thought their meat contributed to humanity’s outsized brains. A consensus arose in the 1950s that our ancestors first hunted small animals before moving on to larger beasts around 2.6 million years ago. Flaked tool use and meat eating became defining characteristics of the Homo genus.
“It’s a very appealing story,” says Thompson. “Right around that time there appeared to be the first stone tools and butchery marks. You have the origins of our Homo genus. A lot of people like to associate that with what it means to be human.”
Then, starting in the mid-1980s, an opposing theory arose in which Homo’s emergence wasn’t so tightly coupled with the origins of hunting and predatory dominance. Rather, early hominins first accessed brain-feeding nutrients through scavenging large animal carcasses. The debate has rolled on through the decades, with evidence for the scavenging theory gradually building.
The new paper goes further: Harvesting outer-bone meat would have come at significant costs, the authors argue. The chance of encountering predators is high when scraping raw flesh from a carcass. Chewing raw meat without specialized teeth doesn’t give much energetic benefit, studies have shown. In addition, meat exposed to the elements will quickly rot.
Marrow and brains, meanwhile, are locked inside bones and stay fresh longer. These highly nutritional parts are also a precursor to the fatty acids involved with brain and eye development. And more easily than flesh-meat, bones could be carried away from carcass sites, safe from predators.
Conventional thinking has been that the behavioral package of early hominins was to go after meat and marrow together, explains Briana Pobiner, a paleoanthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution, who did not contribute to the new paper. But in the new paper, she says, “This team has shown that marrow may have in fact been more important. It’s a nuance, but an important nuance.”
The Pliocene—between 5.3 and 2.6 million years ago—was an era of dramatic change. An intensely variable and cooling climate transformed vast swaths of rainforest into mosaics of grassland and savanna. Large clearings spawned ecological niches for opportunistic and versatile hominins like Australopithecus, a likely contender for the Homo ancestor, and Kenyanthropus to fill in. Larger predators may well have left carcasses for them to scavenge.
Evidence suggests hominins shifted their diet around 3.76 million years ago as they took advantage of the open spaces. By around 3.5 million years ago, some species of Australopithecus already showed increased brain sizes, up to 30 percent larger than chimpanzees of comparable body size. Canines had shrunk to proportions later seen in the genus Homo, and hand morphology was already more human than ape, with potential both for terrestrial travel and tool use.
Percussive tools, the authors argue, were the key to the transition to large animal exploitation. Rocks could bash open bones, exposing the marrow inside. The alternative—that humans sharpened stone against stone, creating a flaked tool to carve meat from bone—seems more onerous, they say. They argue that such meat carving and the associated tool creation would likely come later.
As to who wielded these percussive instruments, the timeline presents a puzzle. The earliest Homo specimen is now dated to 2.8 million years. The Dikika fossils suggest butchery behaviors at 3.4 million years ago. Homo may have emerged earlier than scientists suspected—a theory that would need more fossil evidence to support it—or another hominin, such as Australopithecus, may have created tools before Homo.
Some scholars aren’t convinced by the study’s arguments, however. For example, Craig Stanford, an anthropologist at the University of Southern California, questions the emphasis on hominin scavenging behavior appearing before hunting. “We have no examples today of animals that scavenge but don’t hunt,” he adds.
To test the new theory, the review authors suggest seeking out further evidence of percussive tools that predate flaked tools. Researchers could, they note, broaden the search for the signatures of such instruments within both the existing fossil record and at dig sites. Thompson’s graduate students, for example, are using 3D scanning and artificial intelligence techniques to improve the identification of marks on fossils—whether they were created by early hominins, saber-toothed cats, hyenas, or other types of creatures.
What they uncover could deal a blow to their theory, but it will also, undoubtedly, enrich our understanding of how our ancestors evolved.
This work first appeared on SAPIENS under a CC BY-ND 4.0 license. Read the original here.
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Count Casimir Pulaski is revered as the father of American cavalry. He came to America of his own volition to fight in the War of Independence. One of the Revolution’s great heroes, he was a very…
Article word count: 1813
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19592911
Posted by uxhacker (karma: 917)
Post stats: Points: 139 - Comments: 39 - 2019-04-06T20:43:11Z
#HackerNews #been #female #fought #general #have #may #polish #washington #who #with
April 5, 2019
Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, 1777. At the end of a daylong battle, George Washington’s right flankSomewhere on the battlefield is Private Johan Wilhelm Seckel, 40, the first of his family born in America — and ancestor to ASU Now reporter Scott Seckel — serving with the Germantown Battalion Continental Troops in Capt. George Hubleyʼs Company. has completely collapsed. British troops are closing in.
A dashing Polish cavalry officer reports to Washington’s bodyguard that they are in danger of being surrounded. Washington orders Casimir Pulaski to gather as many men as he can. Count Pulaski discovers an escape route past the British advance, then wheels and charges enemy lines. The redcoats are astounded to be attacked by what they thought was a fleeing rabble. Washington escapes.
Pulaski is revered as the father of American cavalry. He came to America of his own volition to fight in the War of Independence. One of the Revolution’s great heroes, he was a loner. A very private person, he was extremely driven and difficult with people. (It’s one reason Washington simply ended up giving Pulaski his own legion, most of whom were Europeans.) Both superiors and subordinates considered him imperious. He was brave in battle to the point of recklessness. Detractors called him a loose cannon. Short and thin, pacing and speaking quickly, he lacked interest in women or drinking.
And he harbored a secret that lay unknown for more than 200 years, until an Arizona State University bioarchaeologist and a colleague discovered the truth.
Monday night a documentary unveiling the mystery airs on the Smithsonian Channel. But it doesn’t tell the whole story ...
In the late 1990s, Charles Merbs and his wife visited their daughter in Savannah, Georgia. A forensic anthropologist at Arizona State University’s now School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Merbs’ expertise lies in skeletal remains, especially reconstructing behavior from skeletons.
The family toured the historic city, including a visit to Casimir Pulaski’s monument. Merbs is Polish on his mother’s side. His mother always told him they were related to the Pulaskis and should be proud of that. (“It’s been impossible to prove,” he said. “The records just aren’t there.”)
Pulaski was mortally wounded during the Battle of Savannah. (Like most Revolutionary War battles, the American side lost.) He was hit in the groin by grapeshot. Grapeshot was pingpong-size metal balls collected in a canvas bag and fired from a cannon. It acted like shotgun pellets and was used as an antipersonnel round.
He was taken aboard an American ship, where he died a few days later.
“Then the story gets murky as to what happens to his body,” Merbs, now retired, said. “One story is that he was buried at sea on the way back to Charleston. The other story is that in the dead of night his body was taken ashore and buried by torchlight on a plantation. It was done secretly. The plantation owners knew about it and maintained the burial.”
In 1854, it was decided to build a monument to Pulaski. The bones were exhumed and reburied beneath the monument in a metal box.
A week after their visit to Savannah, Merbs’ daughter called. The monument was being taken down. Iron spacers between the stones were rusting. The whole thing was in danger of collapsing.
Merbs tracked down the physical anthropologist working with the bones — Karen Burns, of the University of Georgia — and offered to help. She accepted. “That’s how I got involved,” he said.
Before Merbs was allowed to examine the remains, however, he had to sign a document swearing him to secrecy.
“Basically I couldn’t say anything about what I found until the final report came out,” he said. “Dr. Burns said to me before I went in, ‘Go in and don’t come out screaming.’ She said study it very carefully and thoroughly and then let’s sit down and discuss it. I went in and immediately saw what she was talking about.
“The skeleton is about as female as can be.”
The next — and obvious — question: Was it Pulaski or someone else who had been stuck in the tomb because a skeleton was needed?
Everything seemed to match. The stature, age and general body build were all correct for Pulaski. There’s one contemporary portrait of Pulaski painted from life. There’s a black smudge below his left eye. “On the skull there is a bone defect right exactly there,” Merbs said.
Pulaski injured his right hand in a battle in Russia. “Sure enough; the fourth and fifth metacarpals in the right hand had fractured and had healed rather poorly, exactly where they were supposed to be,” he said.
Merbs has done forensic work with the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office, including working with the skeletons of equestrians. Riding a lot shows up in skeletons. Horse rider’s syndrome is a whole series of issues that affect bones, primarily in the pelvis.
“That skeleton definitely showed signs of horseback riding,” Merbs said, including a new one he added to the lexicon of horse rider’s syndrome: the skeleton’s shoulder showed signs of holding arms high, as would be done holding and pulling back on reins or raising a heavy saber. (Cavalrymen killed enemies by swinging their swords directly down on the crown of their heads. Ever notice the tall bearskin caps worn by the guards at Buckingham Palace? They were designed to protect from exactly that blow.)
The forehead showed an injury consistent with a wound from a blade, although Merbs couldn’t be sure.
ASU Charles Merbs examines grapeshot which killed Pulaski
Charles Merbs examines the grapeshot that killed Casimir Pulaski. Photo courtesy of Charles Merbs
“Everything matched, except for the sex,” he said. “The sex was as clearly female as anything could be.”
Something that could be reasonably suspected of a woman in her 30s would be evidence of childbirth. “There were no parturition scars on this pelvis,” Merbs said.
The next step was a positive DNA identification. When the skeleton was exhumed in the 1850s, most of its teeth were missing, except for a few molars.
“Those teeth had been taken out when the skeleton was excavated,” he said.
This was evidence of a macabre but common custom of the time. During the Napoleonic Wars, when millions died in massive clashes, tooth hunters scavenged battlefields. Dead soldiers’ teeth were in great demand for making dentures. (In 1814 an Englishman recorded a meeting with a tooth hunter. When asked how he obtained them, he replied, “Oh sir, only let there be a battle, and there’ll be no want of teeth. I’ll draw them as fast as the men are knocked down.”) After the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, the market became so flooded they became known as Waterloo teeth. Because they came from healthy young men, they were advertised as such.
“It’s very likely around the time the people of Savannah were wearing Pulaski’s teeth,” Merbs said.
They had enough of Pulaski’s DNA to turn the investigation in that direction. But who could they compare it to? Burns and Merbs looked at Pulaski’s genealogy and found out he had two brothers and six sisters. Mitochondrial DNA is passed through women. Of the six sisters, only one had a child. Luckily it was a daughter. She had another daughter. Pulaski and his grandniece would share the same mitochondrial DNA.
Her grave was excavated and samples returned, but nothing usable turned up. “That was 20 years ago,” Merbs said.
Recently three young researchers, one of whom studied archaeology at ASU, decided to look into the mystery. DNA work had come quite a long way in 20 years. Something new might turn up. They got a lab to give them an analysis estimate, which turned out to be $18,000. They contacted the Smithsonian Institute, which funded the research last summer.
The results came back positive. The mitochondrial DNA was identical in both Pulaski and his grandniece.
“Now we know that the bones in the monument were indeed those of Pulaski, but we have the problem of the fact that they are female,” Merbs said. “Here’s the thing: if you go back and look at his life, what we know about it, there are interesting little clues along the way.”
Aristocratic Polish Catholic families in the 18th century traditionally held public baptisms in church.
“In his case it said he was suffering from some debilitatus, and they held off on the baptism and privately baptized him at home,” he said.
Suddenly, Pulaski’s personality traits — aloof, driven, private, brazen in battle — fell into line.
“We think the problem goes back to his birth and basically deciding whether he was a boy or a girl,” Merbs said.
Merbs’ oldest daughter is a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She put him in touch with a specialist in sex and gender issues.
“With scientists, sex and gender are two totally different things,” Merbs said. “Sex is biological, and gender is social and behavioral. Ordinarily the two go together, but you can have a conflict between the two. That’s what I think we were dealing with here.”
Merbs explained to the professor he thought they were dealing with a sex-gender problem. The professor took out a stack of photographs of bare babies and told him and his wife to put them in one of two piles — girls and boys — which they did.
“One hundred percent,” the professor said. “You are one hundred percent wrong. You were wrong on every single one.”
Merbs thinks the Pulaski family, faced with a similar situation, had to make a decision.
So Pulaski was raised as a man, in a military family. It was without question he would become an officer, and so he did.
“I don’t think, at any time in his life, did he think he was a woman,” Merbs said. “I think he just thought he was a man, and something was wrong. He had some kind of defect or something. Back in those days they just didn’t know.”
Did that perhaps play a part in Pulaski’s aggression on the battlefield?
“Oh, I think that’s a big part of it,” Merbs said. “I think his whole personality indicates he was driven, and I think that’s the reason why.”
Merbs kept his secret, until now.
“This was definitely not what the good folks of Savannah wanted us to find, and the whole thing became a political hot potato,” he said. “They wanted us to verify that the remains were indeed those of a male Pulaski, which would then be interred at Arlington.”
Without conclusive DNA evidence, it was considered that Burns and Merbsʼ observations were opinion, not fact. The bones were reburied next to the monument.
Burns died several years ago. Merbs has a small credit in the documentary. Both Merbs and Burns names appear in the Pulaski Exhibit in Savannah. Merbs’ contributions are clearly spelled out in an article about to be submitted to the Journal of Forensic Anthropology.
“America’s Hidden Stories: The General Was Female?” will air on the Smithsonian Channel at 8 and 11 p.m. Monday, April 8, and at 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 9.
Top image courtesy of the Library of Congress
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510 votes and 65 comments so far on Reddit
Article word count: 1090
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19591570
Posted by EE84M3i (karma: 293)
Post stats: Points: 127 - Comments: 47 - 2019-04-06T16:35:55Z
#HackerNews #customer #dollars #every #for #have #overnight #robs #startup #they #thousands
It looks like the post is locked. Feel free to DM me.
Last week I witnessed a San Francisco based startup company rob each of their customers for thousands of dollars overnight and donʼt exactly know what I can do about it. It seems like something that would need a class action lawsuit a la Erin Brockovich.
I will be referring to the 3rd party company as the ‘startupʼ, the company that I work for as the ʼleasing officeʼ, and the people who moved into my building through the startup service as the ‘residents.
TL;DR at the bottom…
CONTEXT: I work for a brand new ʼluxuryʼ apartment community. We have been working with a startup that offers roommate matching and rent protection services for individuals who are looking to rent by the room in otherwise unaffordable apartment communities. Their niche is they provide a divider which transforms the living room into a 3rd makeshift bedroom, creating really affordable housing options for people. Each resident pays a different amount based off of their bedroom type and pays directly to the startup. The amount the resident pays the startup reflects their portion of a rent plus a monthly premium referred to as a ʼservice feeʼ (usually between 5-10% more than their portion of the rent). The resident also pays the startup a refundable ʼmove-in feeʼ equal to one month’s rent when they first move in. This is paid to cover any damages or to be used in the case a roommate fails to pay the startup for rent. The startup also offered roommate replacement and subletting services when one of the roommates failed to pay rent which was covered in the ‘service fee’. Their rent protection and roommate finding services are outlined in a service agreement between the resident and the startup. There is a separate standard lease between the residents and the leasing office which does not mention the startup at all.
This partnership seemingly worked really well for all parties involved. The leasing office gets rent paid on time every month from the startup. The startup collects a monthly profit and has a deposit on file to cover their losses. The residents do not have to worry about the accountability of their roommates. They currently have 45 people living in my building and around 3,000 people nationwide. From my understanding everything that I am going to outline happened to every single person who decided to partner with them.
On March 25th everything changed. With no prior notice the residents started their day with email that starts with the following:
"Based on feedback from partner buildings and residents alike, startup will no longer facilitate payments from existing residents. This change will take effect immediately. This means you and your housemates will begin paying rent directly to your landlord on your next rent due date of April 1, 2019."
Further down the email reads,
“You and your housemates have signed a lease with the building and remain fully liable for all necessary payments to the landlord based on your lease agreement”.
What does this mean? Rent protection is gone. Payments made on your behalf are gone. A lot of these residents who were paying rent to the startup mid-month were told they had to pay rent by the 1st. I had some residents who paid rent as late as March 22nd and were told the next day they would be paying rent on the 1st. An almost impossible task.
The email goes on to explain that as a result of these changes the resident would be receiving a refund in the mail. The ‘refund’ is broken down like this:
‘Initial Move-In Fee’ minus ‘Future Service Fees’ minus a ‘Partition Deposit’ = Refund
Basically, the startup decided to take the monthly premium that the resident was paying (which was never explicitly outlined in the service agreement), multiply it by the remaining months on their lease and charge it to the resident in one large lumpsum and call it ‘future service fees’ while simultaneously telling the resident that they will no longer be offering the services they are paying for.
Imagine Netflix emailing you explaining that not only will they no longer be offering streaming servicing while at the same time charging you a years’ worth subscription charges with no warning.
To make it worse they decided to also charge each resident a ‘partition deposit’ to the tune of $568 for the living room partition. With no warning or agreement or consent from the resident.
And the cherry on top is that they have pulled all of these bogus charges from the ‘refundable’ ‘move-in fee’ that the resident has already paid and was expecting to get back.
If your asking yourself, ‘doesn’t this violate their service agreement?’ the answer is YES. They have violated their service agreement at least 6 different times from what I can tell. They hastily made a new service agreement, which had no mention of the rent protection or payments made on behalf of residents anywhere, outlines this partition deposit, and was never signed by the existing residents.
THE BIG PICTURE: I have a very unique perspective here as I have information from both the residents and also from an inside source of the startup. The startup had a local rep who often worked in our building touring prospects and getting people signed up with the startup. He was let go this morning. And he spilled the beans to me as to why this is all happening.
Turns out, the main VC for the startup is pulling out. The startup has been losing money and not performing. The startup did not have the money to pay the VC. Their solution? Pull money from the bank account that held everyone’s ‘refundable’ move-in fees, charge all of their customers a years’ worth of service fees upfront along with a made up partition deposit all to pay off this VC. So that’s what they did. They pulled out of every market that isn’t San Francisco fired all of their staff. They are leaving the leasing offices to deal with the aftermath of the residents who are left without answers or money. They are also at risk of eviction if their roommates don’t pay rent on time which was the case for 50% of the people in April. The landlords are left to clean up the mess.
What can I do? What can they do? Please help.
TL😁R Last week a roommate finding and rent protection based startup company went under and proceeded to take money from their customers deposits to pay off their VC, violating their service agreement and firing their entire staff.
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SQL is the only ever successful, mainstream, and general-purpose 4GL (Fourth Generation Programming Language) and it is awesome! With modern cost based optim...
Article word count: 123
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19588961
Posted by truth_seeker (karma: 504)
Post stats: Points: 157 - Comments: 20 - 2019-04-06T03:11:52Z
#HackerNews #2017 #algorithms #come #databases #dreamed #have #never #sql #video #with #youd
SQL is the only ever successful, mainstream, and general-purpose 4GL (Fourth Generation Programming Language) and it is awesome!
With modern cost based optimisation, relational databases like Oracle, SQL Server, PostgreSQL finally keep up to the promise of a powerful declarative programming model by adapting to ever changing productive data without performance penalties. Thousand-line-long, complex SQL statements can be run in far below a millisecond against billion-row strong tables if database developers know their ways around the SQL language - and the best news is: Itʼs not that hard!
In this talk, Iʼll show how the SQL database will constantly outperform any hand written data retrieval algorithm - or in other words - how SQL, being a logic language, is the best language for business logic.
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This is a photo from a series of mock ups I have been working on. To style, I generally place my props down and then grab my camera or phone. I use the viewfinder to look at different crops until I find an interesting composition I like, like this one. I really like this photo because it is simple but elegant, and I tend to find myself drawn to minimalism. Hope you enjoy!
Full image: Link
#photography #CC0 #Unsplash #APIRandom #This #is #a #photo #from #a #series #of #mock #ups #I #have #been #working #on #To #style #I #generally #place #my #props #down #and #then #grab #my #camera #or #phone #I #use #the #viewfinder #to #look #at #different #crops #until #I #find #an #interesting #composition #I #like #like #this #one #I #really #like #this #photo #because #it #is #simple #but #elegant #and #I #tend #to #find #myself #drawn #to #minimalism #Hope #you #enjoy
I’ve worked for Silicon Valley companies for more than a decade and international travel is a necessary part of my job. I’ve had my fair…
Article word count: 650
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19558161
Posted by geofft (karma: 18974)
Post stats: Points: 252 - Comments: 50 - 2019-04-02T20:18:40Z
#HackerNews #fear #have #one #should #travel
Go to the profile of Andreas Gal
I’ve worked for Silicon Valley companies for more than a decade and international travel is a necessary part of my job. I’ve had my fair share of delays and missed connections, but one thing I’ve never experienced while traveling in airports is fear. That changed last December when I returned from a business trip to Europe.
Going through customs is usually routine for me. I signed up for the Global Entry program years ago. It allows me to bypass lines using an electronic kiosk. With my travel schedule, Global Entry is a necessity.
On this trip, the kiosk directed me to a Customs and Border Patrol agent who kept my passport and sent me to secondary inspection. There I quickly found myself surrounded by three armed agents wearing bullet proof vests. They started to question me aggressively regarding my trip, my current employment, and my past work for Mozilla, a non-profit organization dedicated to open technology and online privacy.
The agents proceeded to search my belongings and demanded that I unlock my smartphone and laptop. This was rather concerning for me. My phone and laptop are property of my employer and contain unreleased software and proprietary information. I’ve signed a non-disclosure agreement promising not to give anyone access.
Because I was uncertain about my legal responsibilities to my employer, I asked the agents if I could speak to my employer or an attorney before unlocking my devices. This request seemed to aggravate the customs officers. They informed me that I had no right to speak to an attorney at the border despite being a U.S. citizen, and threatened me that failure to immediately comply with their demand is a violation of federal criminal code 18 USC 111.
I’m not an attorney, and I have no prior experience with federal law enforcement, but I did study the U.S. Constitution as part of my citizenship test three years ago. I wasn’t sure what the legal definition of an unreasonable search and seizure was, but three armed men detaining me, threatening me, and refusing to allow me to consult with an attorney definitely felt like one.
I declined to answer any further questions, and continued to ask to speak to an attorney instead. The interrogation and threats continued for some time, which I endured silently. Despite initial threats that they would keep my devices if I didn’t unlock them, I was eventually permitted to leave the customs area with my devices. The customs agents did however keep my Global Entry card as a punishment for not complying with their demands.
As I have learned since, my experience was not unique. While CBP has a long history of mistreating foreigners, immigrants, and asylum seekers entering the US, more recently CBP has also started to aggressively question, unlawfully detain, and in some cases physically assault U.S. citizens crossing the border. These so-called border searches are not random. NBC recently reported that CBP maintains dossiers of U.S. citizens and targets lawyers, journalists, and activists, and monitors social media activity of U.S. citizens. My past work on encryption and online privacy is well documented, and so is my disapproval of the Trump administration and my history of significant campaign contributions to Democratic candidates. I wonder whether these CBP programs led to me being targeted.
If the government intended to scare me, they certainly succeeded. Ever since, I travel in fear. I’ve reduced my international travel and my heart pounds every time I go through U.S. customs. I will, however, not be silent.
When I became a U.S. citizen I swore to defend the Constitution. I’m a proud U.S. citizen and I take my oath seriously. It is in that spirit that I have filed a civil rights complaint with the help of the ACLU against CBP for unlawfully detaining me and violating my constitutional rights. The time is overdue for Congress to step in and provide meaningful oversight and legislation to reign in CBP’s egregious misconduct.
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With Apple’s release of watchOS 5.2, I see the ECG feature is now more widely available throughout Europe and other regions. That’s great news. I want to encourage those of you with Apple Watch…
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19518283
Posted by Aaronn (karma: 852)
Post stats: Points: 124 - Comments: 62 - 2019-03-29T01:09:03Z
#HackerNews #cardiologist #have #now
With Apple’s release of watchOS 5.2, I see the ECG feature is now more widely available throughout Europe and other regions. That’s great news.
I want to encourage those of you with Apple Watch devices in those supported regions to go grab the update and try out the ECG. Not just because it’s extremely cool tech. But because, well, let me put it this way:
I now have a cardiologist.
That isn’t a statement I was planning to make in my forties. But there it is. And it’s only true because of Apple Watch.
Let me back up.
Last fall, when the ECG feature was finally released, I couldn’t wait to try it out. I’m a total geek for this sort of thing, and I believe health is the next big thing as far as technology is concerned.
I wasn’t expecting to see anything other than good old-fashioned Sinus Rhythm. I didn’t know what a good heart rhythm was supposed to look like as it was being recorded, really. So I was just enjoying the cool animations, not noticing the strange pattern. Then the recording finished:
Signs of Atrial Fibrillation.
Hmm. That has to be a bug, right? Experimental new feature. Maybe I was shaking or moving my wrist a bit. So I try it again:
Signs of Atrial Fibrillation.
This time, I read the rest of the text more carefully. I didn’t write down the exact wording, but it read something like: “If this is a surprise, you should contact your doctor and talk about it.”
Now is a good point in the story to point out that at the time, I didn’t have a doctor. I’m an indie software consultant in his mid-forties, living in the US, the world’s worst industrialized country for health care. Since I don’t have a “job job,” I pay roughly $500 a month for “health insurance” out of my own pocket. But for most things, this insurance is essentially useless. My deductible is so high that pretty much any doctor visits I make are out of pocket.
I continue to pay for my insurance because thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I have to. It’s the law. And I’m okay with that. Because I know paying into the system helps others who make less money than me have access to care.
It’s worth noting that having this insurance also protects me against very serious costs from various serious illnesses, or accidents, etc. If I had cancer, I’d eat through my deductible pretty quick. But that’s the thing. I’ve never really had any serious health issues.
That’s actually an understatement. With the exception of appendicitis when I was about 13, I haven’t been to the hospital since I was born. I’ve never had any drugs prescribed to me for more than a few weeks. I barely take aspirin when I get the occasional headache.
This year, I had my first common cold in fifteen years. This is how not prone to health issues I am.
I had no need to go to a doctor beyond the occasional physical, is what I’m saying. Until now.
It’s also worth noting at this point in the story that Atrial Fibrillation is extremely rare in men my age. Less than two percent of people in my demographic have it.
Go figure. When I do something, I go big I guess.
So I found a primary care physician and set up an appointment for a routine physical. It had been a while, anyway. I asked him to take an ECG (an official one, with all the wires and stuff). That was going to cost me extra, as it’s not part of a routine physical, but I told him about the watch readings, and he agreed I should take a look.
The results? While admitting he was no heart specialist, the primary care doc said my ECG results were definitely a bit of a concern. “Your heart is a little fast, and little irregular.” He was trying not to scare me. I wasn’t going to drop dead that day, but something was definitely up. My watch wasn’t lying to me.
So then he sent me to the cardiologist.
When the cardiologist asked why I came in for a visit, I told him about my Apple Watch ECG. “I know, this is new tech. And maybe it’s not scientifically as accurate as the real thing, but it told me I should come in. And I thought I’d better not take a chance.”
The doctor didn’t scoff. Quite the opposite, in fact.
“Oh yeah? Can I see how it works?”
He was fascinated. I started up a new ECG reading, and within seconds, he said “Yep. That’s AFib.”
Persistent AFib, in my case. Over the course of the next month or so, as the doc prescribed some beta blockers and instructed me to continue monitoring my condition, I continued to take readings. No doubt about it. I was in a constant state of AFib. The doctor is still at a loss as to why. (I have none of the genetic indicators and no habits that would increase my chances of this happening. I just have a heart that wants to beat in odd time, as I’ve gotten into the habit of saying.)
More alarmingly, I had very few symptoms that I could easily identify. I felt a bit more sluggish than usual (a direct result of my resting heart rate being in the 113-120 bpm range). But I’m not in the best shape, so sluggish isn’t exactly strange for me. I had the occasional discomfort in my chest. And even more occasionally, I’d feel my heart fluttering a bit, as if I had just watched a scene in a scary movie. But it would pass in seconds.
It was enough to tell me that something was off, but probably not enough for me to go to a doctor. Seeing the watch reading definitely gave me the push I needed to investigate.
In trying to figure out when this condition may have started, the best we could conclude was sometime during the previous summer. It was post-WWDC; I was running betas of iOS and watchOS, as I was developing a new app and wanted to utilize some of the new notification and Siri features. (ECG wasn’t part of the beta.) Once or twice, while sitting on the couch watching tv, I got a notification on my watch saying my heart rate had suddenly jumped into the hundreds, with no indication of a change in activity on my part. I wrote it off as a beta bug, of course. That was certainly more likely than me having a heart condition. And it only happened once or twice.
My cardiologist now thinks I was in AFib all the way back then. Almost six months before I made my first appointment. Maybe even earlier. That’s how subtle the symptoms were.
Anyway, fast forward to this January. I had an echocardiogram done. (Basically a sonogram for your heart.) Other than the weird rhythm, my heart was perfectly normal. The fast beating and strange rhythm hadn’t caused any muscle or tissue damage—yet.
The next step was to get me out of persistent AFib. This involved what’s called an electro cardioversion.
The issue with an electro cardioversion is that while it will zap the patient back into sinus rhythm in most cases, since we don’t know what caused the AFib, there’s every chance that it will come back in the future.
If it does come back, you can do the electro cardioversion again, but the next real step is something called a cardiac ablation, which involves sticking a probe up through your leg into your heart, and burning the areas where the incorrect electrical impulses are happening. When you hear the procedure described, it sounds super cool; then you realize it’s your heart they want to burn holes in. But hey, it does cure AFib permanently, with relatively low side-effect risk.
If it’s all the same to you, though, I’d prefer to avoid that.
So far, luckily, since my cardioversion in January, my heart has stayed in sinus rhythm. So I haven’t needed to go the ablation route yet. But that remains a possibility for the rest of my life.
In the meantime, I’m off all prescriptions, and I’m taking ECGs with my watch regularly.
All told, I’m several thousand dollars out of pocket, still not having hit my deductible, but my heart is doing what it’s supposed to, so I think I’ll call that a win. My useless insurance will become dramatically more expensive next year, while remaining just as useless.
But still. A win.
“You have all you need to monitor this on your own” the cardiologist told me, pointing to my wrist. “So we’ll know if and when this ever comes back.”
Did my Apple Watch save my life? I think in my case, that’s a bit of an overstatement. I’ve seen a lot of the stories about people whose lives really have been saved by technology. Iʼm not in their league. My Apple Watch did help me discover a condition that would likely have gone untreated for a long while. I wasn’t going to die that afternoon. But I might have had a stroke (the most likely result of leaving AFib untreated) a few years down the line. So I’m very grateful to the team at Apple who added this functionality. If any of you are going to be at WWDC in San Jose this June, get in touch. I’d love to buy you all a drink and thank you in person.
I’ve seen some news articles where certain doctors expressed concern that false positives from Apple Watches could lead to panic, with patients going to the emergency room needlessly, etc. To those doctors, I have two middle fingers I would happily like to extend. At no point did my watch give me any indication that I was in a true emergency. It just encouraged me to talk to a professional about what seemed to be abnormal heart rhythm. If I had gone to my doctor, and the official ECG had turned up completely normal, the worst thing I’d have to say is that I now had confirmation that my heart rhythm was normal. How could that be a bad thing?
The ECG function in Apple Watch represents the best value for money I’ve ever spent in technology. There may only be a few people like me who are helped out by this, versus the millions who will just run the ECG for fun and get confirmation of their normal heart rhythms. But helping those few is totally worth it. Trust me.
I can’t wait to see even more functions built into wearable technology that will help diagnose even more conditions for others.
Tim Cook believes Apple’s contributions to health will end up dwarfing everything else the company does, when looking back a hundred years from now.
I have good reason to believe him.
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HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19516469
Posted by pseudolus (karma: 15327)
Post stats: Points: 122 - Comments: 105 - 2019-03-28T20:50:47Z
#HackerNews #bribery #degrees #forget #have #pretending #real #scam #that #the #value
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It is very early in the Democratic Primary race (the first state primaries are still nearly a year away) but two lesser-known candidates have burst onto the scene in recent weeks, from relative…
Article word count: 403
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19515185
Posted by chadmhorner (karma: 526)
Post stats: Points: 106 - Comments: 131 - 2019-03-28T18:38:03Z
#HackerNews #and #andrew #betting #blown #buttigieg #have #markets #pete #twitter #yang
It is very early in the Democratic Primary race (the first state primaries are still nearly a year away) but two lesser-known candidates have burst onto the scene in recent weeks, from relative obscurity: Andrew Yang, a tech entrepreneur, and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
We collected data from Twitter and Oddschecker to chronicle their rise:
Andrew Yangʼs Twitter followers have more than doubled in the past month
Yangʼs campaign strategy ("podcasts and memes") is continuing to bear fruit, as his Twitter following has steadily grown and recently eclipsed 200,000 followers.
The meteoric rise of "Mayor Pete" can be traced back to a CNN town hall on March 10th: his follower growth picked up drastically after the event, and hasnʼt shown signs of slowing down.
Over the past few weeks, Yang and Buttigieg have started to make some noise in betting markets. Their odds of winning the Democratic nomination have each jumped from about 1%^1 (Buttigieg wasnʼt even listed at all until mid-February) to over 5%.
While this bump may look more like a blip in the chart below, betting markets now rank Buttigieg and Yang 5th and 6th, respectively, in the Democratic field, ahead of clearly-legitimate candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker.
It is often said that "Twitter is not real life," and surely betting markets arenʼt either. They are an output based on closer-to-real-life inputs, like polls, and media coverage. Indeed, most polls show Yang and Buttigieg receiving 1% of fewer of the vote, hardly an indicator of a real chance at receiving the nomination.
Still, there is an argument to be made that markets can be a leading indicator of performance. Sure enough, a Quinnipiac poll released this morning showed Buttigieg polling at 4% nationally, easily his strongest result yet. His odds jumped further.
Analyzing Oscars Betting Markets Data Suggests Green Book May Upset Roma
ReadyPipe users can use the Github Gist below to collect this data themselves. ReadyPipe is an all-in-one platform to run your web scrapers: just write the logic and it handles everything else. It is used by everyone from 3-person companies to 3,000-person companies: you can request ReadyPipe access here.
^1. We convert the fractional odds given on the site to percentage odds (e.g. 4/3 -> 1/(1+4/3) -> 43%. We then normalize these odds to sum to 95% (leaving 5% for the rest of the field). ↩
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The real risks from chemicals in our food—for farmworkers and children, in particular—are being ignored.
Article word count: 1544
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19484515
Posted by howard941 (karma: 5619)
Post stats: Points: 173 - Comments: 150 - 2019-03-25T17:27:33Z
#HackerNews #americans #bodies #byproducts #have #more #pesticides #than #their
Spraying pesticides on strawberry plants in California. (Todd Bigelow)
Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.This story was produced by the Food & Environment Reporting Network, an independent nonprofit news organization. Ad Policy
Every year US farmers use about a billion pounds of chemicals on crops, including the fruits, nuts, and vegetables many parents beg their kids to eat. The Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration are charged with ensuring that these chemicals don’t endanger consumers, and both agencies test the food supply for pesticide residues each year. They focus on foods eaten by babies and children, whose developing bodies are particularly sensitive to toxic chemicals, and typically report that pesticide residues in these products rarely exceed safety standards.
Yet, experts say, the agencies’ pesticide-monitoring approach suffers from several limitations that make it difficult to draw meaningful conclusions about pesticide risks to the nation’s food supply. What’s more, government agencies don’t monitor risks to farmworkers who labor among those chemicals, or to pregnant women and children who live near agricultural fields.
Since pesticide monitoring began about three decades ago, scientists have learned that even low doses of pesticides and other synthetic chemicals can harm children and that exposure to chemical mixtures, particularly during critical windows of neurodevelopment, may carry serious health risks that take years to emerge. And though crops are often sprayed with multiple chemicals over the growing season, both agencies track pesticide residues one chemical at a time, to determine whether a specific chemical exceeds safety standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
That’s why, several years ago, scientists at the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit consumer-advocacy group, started doing their own analysis of pesticides on produce. The group relies largely on data from the USDA, which tests more produce than the FDA.
About 70 percent of US produce harbors traces of pesticides, the EWG reports in its latest shoppers’ guide to the “ dirty dozen,” those fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide load. Strawberries topped the list, released this week, for the fourth year in a row, with an average of nearly eight pesticides per sample, followed by spinach and kale. Spinach had more pesticides by weight than any other crop.
Olga Naidenko, the EWG’s senior science adviser for children’s environmental health, says she was surprised to see kale contaminated with a chemical called dacthal, which the EPA classifies as a possible human carcinogen and European regulators banned in 2009. Among the more troubling pesticides found on spinach is permethrin, a neurotoxic insecticide that’s been linked to ADHD.
[IMG]Naidenko says the list is not meant to dissuade people from eating fruits and vegetables, but rather “to call attention to the fact that there are some pretty bad pesticides out there.”
Although the EPA sets thresholds for what it says are acceptable rates of exposure, those bad pesticides have been tied to a long list of adverse health effects, especially among the most vulnerable populations. And the people who bear the highest risks from exposure to these toxic chemicals live and work in the farming communities that feed the nation.
More than 90 percent of Americans have pesticides or their byproducts in their bodies, mostly from eating conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. Health experts worry that the EPA’s pesticide-residue safety levels are too high to protect young children.
Leo Trasande, director of environmental pediatrics at New York University’s Langone Health and author of the new book Sicker, Fatter, Poorer, says many of these pesticides act at extremely low levels that mimic our body’s response to our own hormones. “These synthetic chemicals were not designed with hormonal biology in mind.”
Scientists now know that doses of pesticides once considered safe can harm developing bodies and brains. But regulations have failed to keep up. “We look at how EPA has been approving pesticides and setting those tolerances and find again and again that the agency’s not taking into account children’s heightened susceptibility to pesticides,” says the EWG’s Naidenko.
The most egregious example is chlorpyrifos, which the EPA phased out for home use in 2000, citing health and environmental concerns. As evidence of the growing list of chlorpyrifos’s diverse health effects mounted in scientific journals, the agency proposed prohibiting all uses of the chemical in 2015 under the Obama administration. But two years later Trump’s EPA rescinded that rule, calling chlorpyrifos “crucial to U.S. agriculture,” and citing a return to “sound science in decision-making.”
Regulators also fail to account for risks associated with the scores of pesticides that don’t stay where they’re sprayed, creating a toxic environment for farmworkers and their families. It’s clear that workers have higher exposure, Trasande says, “and kids of workers can be exquisitely vulnerable.”
Pesticide residues can follow workers home from the fields on clothing and shoes, then collect in the dust on floors where babies and toddlers play. Several studies show that children of farmworkers routinely endure higher pesticide exposures than consumers and that mothers living close to fields treated with pesticides, including those on the dirty-dozen list, are more likely to have premature babies and children with autism, impaired cognitive function, and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
Several pesticides have been linked to early puberty, impaired fertility, and increased breast-cancer risk, suggesting that young girls—whose brains and breasts undergo rapid development during puberty—may be particularly vulnerable to pesticide exposures. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, recently asked teenage girls living in the intensively farmed Salinas Valley to wear silicone wristbands—which soak up environmental chemicals like a sponge—to gauge their pesticide exposures. Dacthal and chlorpyrifos were among the most frequently detected pesticides for these Latina girls, and concentrations of dacthal and permethrin were three times higher for those who lived close to fields. 
[IMG]Picking strawberries in the fields of Oxnard, California. (Todd Bigelow)
California, the nation’s most productive agricultural region, used close to 210 million pounds of pesticides in 2016, the most recent statistics available, including many classified as probable or possible carcinogens, endocrine disruptors (affecting the hormonal system), and reproductive or developmental toxicants. Farmers applied more than 380,000 pounds of dacthal on kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and other crops in 2015 and 2016. The highest levels recorded in 2016 were in Lamont, a Central Valley town where the vast majority of residents are Hispanic and 35 percent of people live below the poverty line.
California growers applied 11.3 million pounds of pesticides to produce nearly 3 billion pounds of strawberries worth over $1.8 billion in 2016. For decades, the EPA gave strawberry growers an exemption to use methyl bromide, a fumigant banned by international treaty to protect the ozone layer that has also been tied to violation of the federal civil-rights laws. They applied more than 14,500 pounds of methyl bromide—in just 2015 and 2016 alone—within a mile of Oxnard’s Rio Mesa High School, where most students are Hispanic and which California health officials flagged as the school with the most toxic pesticides sprayed nearby in a 2014 report. During the same time, growers also doused fields near Rio Mesa with more than 142,000 pounds of chloropicrin, a choking agent once used in warfare and riot control, and 1,3-Dichloropropene (1,3-D), classified as a probable human carcinogen.
State regulators calculate risk based on averages of exposures to single pesticides over several months, even though growers can spray more than 100,000 pounds of fumigants like 1,3-D and chloropicrin in a single week. As a result, a 2016 study from the UCLA Sustainable Technology & Policy Program reported, “exposure to multiple pesticides occurs at a number of locations in the area, including sensitive sites like schools and daycares.” In addition, the study noted, human health risks from simultaneous exposures to drift-prone toxic chemicals like 1,3-D, chloropicrin, and metam sodium (a methyl bromide replacement) “may be significantly greater than the added risks of the individual components.”
Last year California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation measured the highest levels of 1,3-D the agency ever recorded, at a high school in Shafter, a small Central Valley town, where 83 percent of the population is Hispanic and 25 percent live below the poverty line. The levels far exceeded those the state deemed “unacceptably high” when it issued a temporary ban in 1990. The DPR relaxed its 1,3-D cancer-risk standard in 2015, after the previous risk level was exceeded multiple times, says Anne Katten, director of the pesticide and worker-safety project at the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation.
Following the 1,3-D spike last year, Katten and members of other advocacy groups met with state officials to discuss the risks to the communities. In a follow-up letter, the group pointed out that the agency’s estimates of air concentrations far exceeded its own safety standards for both acute and chronic risks. “We urge DPR to immediately suspend all uses of 1,3-D,” they wrote in an e-mail, citing risks to nearby homes and elementary schools.
State regulators declined, noting that the monitoring data did not justify action to curb 1,3-D use. They did not acknowledge that residents and workers could be exposed to other pesticides, along with 1,3-D, that might increase their risk. “The reality is that we have a regulatory framework that just assumes that these chemicals are fine and we don’t need to regulate them in agriculture,” Trasande says. “Even when the science tells us to do it.”
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I am currently working for a startup and am one of 3 developers. Most of my work revolves around building the API in Node + Express as well as some small projects with MongoDB. The other developers don't really assist me since they have their own projects to work on, and, honestly, they have less experience and knowledge than I do.
So my question is: What is the best way for me to go about learning best practices in API development, or using MongoDB, or even just being a better software developer in general?
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19423228
Posted by bradhoffman (karma: 137)
Post stats: Points: 327 - Comments: 157 - 2019-03-18T17:43:57Z
#HackerNews #ask #best #have #how #learn #one #practices #teach #when #you
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Plus: UK health service sites contain commercial trackers
Article word count: 857
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19424041
Posted by snaky (karma: 3287)
Post stats: Points: 162 - Comments: 44 - 2019-03-18T19:03:20Z
#HackerNews #adtech #and #from #google #government #have #others #trackers #undisclosed #websites
All but three of the European Union member statesʼ government websites are littered with undisclosed adtech trackers from Google and other firms, with many piggy-backing on third-party scripts, according to an analysis of almost 200,000 webpages.
The report (PDF), published today by Cookiebot in collaboration with civil rights association European Digital Rights (EDRi), scanned 184,683 EU government webpages on 11 and 12 March to assess the cookies on each.
It found that there were 112 companies slurping up information on EU citizensʼ browsing habits on the webpages of the governments supposedly fighting the good fight against excess stalking of netizens.
Adtech trackers were found on 25 of the 28 member statesʼ sites, with only Spain, Germany and the Netherlands clean of commercial cookies. There were 52 companies identified on Franceʼs government sites, 27 on Latviaʼs and 19 on Belgiumʼs. Twenty cookies were identified on GOV.UK, of which 12 were marketing, and all belonged to one company – Google.
Indeed, the search giant is described as the "kingpin of tracking" within the report, present on 82 per cent of all the sites and accounting for three of the top five trackers: YouTube, DoubleClick and Google.
The report authors said this was of "special concern" because Google can cross-reference trackers with its first-party account details via its widely used consumer services such as Mail, Search and Android apps.
Separately, the work assessed public health service sites, again finding that cookies were widespread, with 52 per cent of those tested having commercial trackers.
And again, Google was right up there, making up two of the top five, with the others being Adobeʼs eversttech.net, AppNexusʼ adnxs.com and Mediamathʼs Mathtag.com.
For this assessment, the researchers chose six EU countries and carried out 15 health-related search queries – such as "How do I know if I have HIV?", "Signs of being an alcoholic" and "I want to terminate my pregnancy" – from IP addresses in each country to identify the relevant landing pages on each nationʼs health service.
In the UK, some 60 per cent of these landing pages had such ad trackers, less only than Irish sites, where trackers appeared on 73 per cent of landing pages. A single German website about maternity leave was monitored by 63 companies, while a French page about abortion was tracked by 21 firms.
The group said this could be used to "infer sensitive facts about [usersʼ] health condition and life situation" and be resold to target ads. "These citizens have no clear way to prevent this leakage, understand where their data is sent, or to correct or delete the data," it said.
"These scripts can act as Trojan horses, opening backdoors to the website code through which ad tech companies can silently insert their trackers," the report said.
It urged website owners to be more careful when including third-party components on their sites; to make sure they had a detailed overview of the current trackers; and to remove any unwanted ones from the source code.
Visitors should also be offered full transparency and control over trackers on the site – but it shouldnʼt just be up to users to lock down their browsing habits. Stronger regulations need to be in force, and adhered to.
"How can any organisation live up to its [European General Data Protection Regulation] GDPR and ePrivacy obligations if it does not control unauthorised tracking actors accessing their website?" asked Cookiebot founder Daniel Johannsen.
"Public sector bodies now have the opportunity to lead by example – at a minimum by shutting down any digital rights infringements that they are facilitating on their own websites."
Diego Naranjo at EDRi used the opportunity to lament the delay to the long-awaited ePrivacy Regulation, which was initially meant to be enforced as the yin to the GDPRʼs yang, covering communications data rather than personal data.
However, it has been stuck in discussions between member states for more than a year, and privacy activists fear it is being watered down as a result of lobbying from adtech industry and concerns among member states.
If it does lose ground, Naranjo warned, it will "open a Pandoraʼs box of more and more sharing, merging and reselling of personal data in huge online commercial surveillance networks, in which citizens are being unwittingly tracked and micro-targeted with commercial and political manipulation."
Their calls for progress echo those made by the European Data Protection Board last week. The group – made up of the blocʼs data protection watchdogs and EU data protection supervisor – issued a statement urging legislators to "intensify efforts" to adopt it.
"The future ePrivacy Regulation should under no circumstance lower the level of protection offered by the current ePrivacy Directive and should complement the GDPR by providing additional strong guarantees for all types of electronic communications," it said. ®
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This will be short, ranty and to the point: these warnings are getting ridiculous: I know, tell you something you don't know! The whole ugly issue reared its head again on the weekend courtesy of the…
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19381063
Posted by weinzierl (karma: 7252)
Post stats: Points: 158 - Comments: 61 - 2019-03-13T17:24:06Z
#HackerNews #cookie #got #have #shenanigans #stop #warning
This will be short, ranty and to the point: these warnings are getting ridiculous:
I know, tell you something you donʼt know! The whole ugly issue reared its head again on the weekend courtesy of the story in this tweet:
I’m not sure if this makes it better or worse... “Cookie walls donʼt comply with GDPR, says Dutch DPA”: https://t.co/p0koRdGrDB — Troy Hunt (@troyhunt) March 8, 2019
The reason I donʼt know if it makes it better or worse is that on the one hand, itʼs ridiculous that in a part of the world thatʼs more privacy-focused than most it essentially boils down to "take this cookie or no access for you" whilst on the other hand, the Dutch DPA somehow thinks that this makes any sense to (almost) anyone:
And the Dutch DPA’s guidance makes it clear internet visitors must be asked for permission in advance for any tracking software to be placed — such as third-party tracking cookies; tracking pixels; and browser fingerprinting tech — and that that permission must be freely obtained. Ergo, a free choice must be offered.
Is this really what we want? To continue chucking up cookie warnings to everyone and somehow expecting them to make an informed decision about the risks they present? 99% of people are going to click through them anyway (note: this is a purely fabricated figure based on the common-sense assumption that people will generally click through anything that gets in the way of perming the task they set out to complete in the first place). And honestly, how on earth is your average person going to make an informed decision on a message like this:
Iʼm sure its a good article though... It might have been nice to read it! pic.twitter.com/95bpDtmjDO — Paul Court (@MrPCourt) March 8, 2019
Do you know how hard it is to explain OAuth to technical people, let alone the masses? Oh wait - itʼs not OAuth - itʼs Oath but even I didnʼt get that at first because nobody really reads these warnings anyway! And now that I have read it and I know itʼs Oath, what does that really mean? Oh look, a big blue button that will make it all go away and allow me to do what I came here for in the first place...
But say you are more privacy focused and you wanted to follow that link in the original tweet. Hereʼs your fix:
And if youʼre smart enough to actually understand what cookies are and be able to make an informed decision when prompted with a warning like TechCrunchʼs, then youʼre smart enough to know how to right click on a link and open it incognito. Or run an ad blocker. Or something like a Pi-hole.
Or you move to Australia because apparently, we donʼt deserve the same levels or privacy down here. Or have I got that back to front and Europeans donʼt deserve the same slick UX experience as we get down here? You know, the one where you click on a link to read an article and you actually get to read the article!
So letʼs be European for a moment and see how that experience looks - letʼs VPN into Amsterdam and try to control my privacy on TechCrunch:
Are you fucking serious? This is what privacy looks like? Thatʼs 224 different ad networks that are considered "IAB Partners" (thatʼd be the Interactive Advertising Bureau) and I can control which individual ones can set cookies. And thatʼs in addition to the 10 Oath foundational partners:
And the ridiculous thing about it is that tracking isnʼt entirely dependent on cookies anyway (and yes, I know the Dutch situation touched on browser fingerprinting in general too). Want to see a perfect example? Have a go of Am I Unique and youʼll almost certainly be told that "Yes! You can be tracked!":
Over one million samples collected and yet somehow, I am a unique snowflake that can be identified across requests without a cookie in sight. How? Because even though Iʼm running the current version of Chrome on the current version of Windows, less than 0.1% of people have the same user agent string as me. Less than 0.1% of people also have their language settings the same as mine. Keep combining these unique attributes and you have a very unique fingerprint:
The list goes on well beyond that screen grab too - time zone, screen resolution and even the way the canvas element renders on the page. Itʼs kinda cool in a kinda creepy way.
And hereʼs the bit that really bugs me (ok, it all bugs me but this is the worst): how do we expect your normal everyday person to differentiate between cookie warnings and warnings like these:
I know what these are and you probably do too by virtue of being on this blog, but do you really think most people who have been conditioned to click through the warning thatʼs sitting between them and the content they wish to read understand the difference between this and a cookie warning? We literally have banks telling people just to ignore these warnings:
German bank @comdirect recommends to just ignore the warning about an insecure connection in their online banking app. Unbelievable... @troyhunt https://t.co/ROOol70OyB — der JayJay (@jayjay_92) November 26, 2018
So in summary, everyone clicks through cookie warnings anyway, if you read them you either canʼt understand what theyʼre saying or the configuration of privacy settings is a nightmare, depending on where you are in the world you either donʼt get privacy or you donʼt get UX hell, if you understand the privacy risks then itʼs easy to open links incognito or use an ad blocker, you can still be tracked anyway and finally, the whole thing is just conditioning people to make bad security choices. That is all.
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When Ernest Quintana went into Kaiser Permanente Medical Center's emergency department in Fremont on Sunday, his wife of 58 years, his son, daughter Catherine, and granddaughter Annalisia all worried…
Article word count: 661
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19338830
Posted by turtlegrids (karma: 501)
Post stats: Points: 101 - Comments: 116 - 2019-03-08T16:13:37Z
#HackerNews #doctor #doesnt #have #live #long #patient #screen #tells #through #video
FREMONT, Calif. (KTVU) - When Ernest Quintana went into Kaiser Permanente Medical Centerʼs emergency department in Fremont on Sunday, his wife of 58 years, his son, daughter and granddaughter all worried about the 79-year-old man.
They say it was hard enough to learn that his lungs were failing, but they couldnʼt believe it when a hospital robot entered his room and they got the news through a doctor on the robotʼs video screen.
Quintanaʼs granddaughter was in the ICU by his side, and she said at first the nurse came in.
"The nurse came around and said the doctor was going to make rounds and I thought ʼOK, no big deal, Iʼm here,ʼ " said Annalisia Wilharm.
A short time later, a robot arrived in the room. A doctor appeared on a video screen. Wilharm took cell phone video so she could show her mother and grandmother the test results.
"When I took the video, I didnʼt realize all of this was going to unfold," she said.
Over the robotʼs video screen, Wilharm says she and her grandfather learned that Quintanaʼs lungs were failing and he did not have long to live.
"You might not make it home," the doctor said on the screen.
Wilharm says that heartbreaking news hurt even more, delivered through a machine.
"Devastated. I was going to lose my grandfather. We knew that this was coming and that he was very sick. But I donʼt think somebody should get the news delivered that way. It should have been a human being come in," Wilharm said.
Daughter Catherine Quintana says the family is also upset because her father had trouble hearing the doctor through the robotʼs speaker forcing Wilharm to relay the terrible news.
"He already has a problem hearing. So with that, and everything, he couldnʼt hear very well. She had to repeat everything the doctor was saying," Catherine Quintana said.
The Quintana family says they hope this never happens to another family.
"We offer our sincere condolences," said Kaiser Permanente Senior Vice-President Michelle Gaskill-Hames in a written statement, "We use video technology as an appropriate enhancement to the care team, and a way to bring additional consultative expertise to the bedside."
Catherine Quintana said she and her mother asked hospital staff about how the robot was used.
"Itʼs policy, thatʼs what we do now. Thatʼs what we were told," said Catherine Quintana.
"This is a highly unusual circumstance. We regret falling short in meeting the patientʼs and familyʼs expectations in this situation and we will use this as an opportunity to review our practices and standards with the care team," said the Kaiser statement.
Then Quintana family hopes Kaiser and any other hospitals with robots will review their policies and how they are integrating the technology into patientsʼ care. Quintana ended up dying on Tuesday.
"I donʼt want this to happen to anyone else. It just shouldnʼt happen," Catherine Quintana said.
Full Statement from Michelle Gaskill-Hames, Senior Vice President and Area Manager, Kaiser Permanente Greater Southern Alameda County:
"On behalf of Kaiser Permanente and our caregivers in Fremont, we offer our sincere condolences. It is always deeply painful to lose a beloved family member and friend. While we cannot comment on specifics of an individualʼs medical care due to privacy laws, we take this very seriously and have reached out to the family to discuss their concerns. We use video technology as an appropriate enhancement to the care team, and a way to bring additional consultative expertise to the bedside. Our health care staff receive extensive training in the use of telemedicine, but video technology is not used as a replacement for in-person evaluations and conversations with patients. In every aspect of our care, and especially when communicating difficult information, we do so with compassion in a personal manner. This is a highly unusual circumstance. We regret falling short in meeting the patientʼs and familyʼs expectations in this situation and we will use this as an opportunity to review our practices and standards with the care team."
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Yes, you have been to 30 countries in 5 years, but have you really "been" there? How many places do you really know and understand?
Article word count: 1199
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19335853
Posted by clementmas (karma: 111)
Post stats: Points: 102 - Comments: 56 - 2019-03-08T07:40:31Z
#HackerNews #about #been #countries #have #how #its #many #not #you
A friend told me this story during his recent trip to Australia:
“So, have you done Uluru?” – the tanned, bearded, British sounding student asked, referring to the well-known large sandstone rock in central Australia – also a famous tourist destination.
“No, it’s still on our list. We are going to do the Opera House and the Royal Botanic Garden tomorrow and heading to Alice Springs the next day.” – the cheerful Italian girl replied for both herself and her boyfriend, who was finishing up his beer.
The tanned Brit continued asking other young travelers at the table similar questions. There were about 5 of us that night, hanging out in this hostel close to Sydney, getting to know what the others were up to, where they had been and what their plans were. Many of these young people were on their 1-year working holiday visa for Australia, including me.
Have you done _(fill in the blank)?
Rue Cremieux, a trending attraction in Paris
It was definitely not the first time I have heard someone referring to “travel to a place” as “do the place”. What it usually means is just fly or take a car, arrive at that destination, take photos of the famous attractions (#ruecremieux) and then leave, to the next one. And on their mental checklist, the King’s Canyon, the Kakadu National Park, the Great Barrier Reef, Bondi Beach, or whatever are marked as “done”.
It was also more than dozens of times I have heard or participated in a conversation where people would ask each other about how many countries they have been to. At some point that would sound like a competition. 20, 30, 40, “and this year I plan to do A and B and C”. Yes, you have been to 30 countries in 5 years, but have you really “been” there? How many places do you really know and understand? How much of those amazing, life-changing moments do you actually retain, internalize and use them to help yourself become a better human, a better citizen of this world?
I do not intend to criticize entirely the people for traveling this way. Society does sometimes pressure us to spend holidays abroad to look and sound more “well-cultivated”, especially as it is becoming increasingly less difficult to travel the world nowadays in the developed world – given that you have a powerful European or US passport. The media, marketing campaigns of companies also encourage us to travel more, so that we can spend more money on tour packages, plane tickets, their products, services. These factors contribute to creating the romantic idea of world tours, travel to the far east, the typical beach photo with coconut trees. Although we do have this inner urge in us to be free, to explore and experience all corners of the world, this has nothing to do with the way we travel and contemplate traveling right now.
Travel slowly, explore deeply
At TravelMap, we encourage people to travel as much as they can, but do so slowly, use a slow transport mode – like hiking, cycling, sailing, to really take in the experience. It takes time to immerse in a culture, observe and connect with people, nature, the surrounding environment. Go deep and slow rather than shallow and fast. Travel opens up our minds, our hearts, but depends on the ways we do it.
It is way better to spend 1 month working and living in Ethiopia than 1 month visiting all the famous attractions of the African continent. We have been asked several times by TravelMap users to add a feature to count the number of countries they have been to, and every time we said no, because it does not align with our vision.
We have been seeing more and more travelers going on World Tours – where they spend 1 year traveling the whole world. Usually this means that they frog-jump from continent to continent, visit a few representative countries for dozens of days before moving onto the next. All the flights are booked and their one-year trip is planned in advance. I understand that if you take a year off from your study, your work, your responsibilities, you want to see as much of the world as possible. However, cramping a lot of places into such short period of time not only increases culture shock, travel stress, but also reduces the true pleasure of traveling and will most likely make you less happy.
And yet, this is what traveling the world is like for most young people these days. Does it have to be that way? Of course it is much better than staying in the comfort of home but they could have a more fulfilling experience if they consider doing the trip a bit differently.
It is time that we change our notion of traveling. We also have seen many positive trends on our platform. People cycling for a few months, one year, hitchhike from Europe to Asia, hike across South America. It takes time for sure but the cost is not as much as one would imagine. These travelers would work for accommodation and food during their stay, using platforms like WWOOF, Workaway, and reduce their costs and environmental impacts by using Couchsurfing, Warmshowers, public transportation, carsharing, hitchhiking, etc.
Some travelers use traveling to support even greater goals to help communities, the environment like Eco-Adventurer Julien Moreau, who recently completed a triathlon around France to raise awareness about the environment and lobby for a decree to replace plastic bottles in French school cafeterias with tap water or water dispensers.
Here are a few trips from our users on TravelMap that demonstrate a great vision through their ways of traveling. And you can do it too!
Pierre-Etienne on the road:
– On the trails, tasting simplicity – Samtusta
– Adventures in happiness: cycling to Bhutan – Christopher
– Hitchhiking from France to China – Pierre & Ophélie
Next time, don’t talk about the number of the countries you have traveled – I guarantee at least one person in the conversation will feel bad – instead, talk about your most memorable experience, how that one time you had this deep connection with this person in at meditation camp in Southeast Asia because you speak their language, or the quiet moment, the intense gratitude you had after a long day of cycling, after setting up camp, and looking at the beautiful sunset in the offing.
For your upcoming trip, we suggest you to get out of the conventional thinking and do things differently. This time, why don’t you prioritize the time spent in a destination and the meaning of the activities you will do there instead of try to tick off as many countries and attractions as possible. It is great to also focus on what you can give to the country, the people there instead of just self-enjoyment. And since we all know our planet is in dire need of help right now, try to be aware of your environmental impacts by choosing more sustainable transport modes. Here is a quick guide if you are deciding between different ways to explore your next destination.
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The City Observatory is a study of modern-day cities and urban development practices.
Article word count: 1547
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19327929
Posted by oftenwrong (karma: 5332)
Post stats: Points: 103 - Comments: 118 - 2019-03-07T13:46:00Z
#HackerNews #clean #commuters #have #kids #pollution #poor #rich #school #why
The fundamental injustice of pollution from urban freeways
Item: In the past two years, Portland Public Schools has spent nearly $12.5 million of its scarce funds to clean up the air at Harriet Tubman Middle School. This money will buy an expensive state-of-the-art air filtration system that will make the air inside the school safe for students to breathe. Scientists from Portland State University, who conducted an air quality assessment of the site–at a cost of an additional half million dollars–have warned the students against exercising outside because of poor air quality.
And make no mistake, pollution from cars is a threat not just to the health of students, but to their ability to learn as well. A recent study shows that pollution from cars and trucks lowers student performance in schools near highways. Students attending schools located near and downwind from busy highways had lower rates of academic performance, higher absenteeism and higher rates of disciplinary problems than those attending less polluted schools. The more traffic on nearby roads, the larger the decline in scores on state standardized tests.
Tubman School faces a further increase in air pollution from the proposal of the Oregon Department of Transportation to spend a half billion dollars to widen the portion of Interstate 5 that runs right by the school. The freeway-widening project will cut away a portion of the hillside that now separates the freeway from the school, moving the cars and trucks still closer to the building, and also increasing their volume–and the volume of pollution they emit.
[IMG]This video shows how the freeway would be moved closer to Tubman Middle School.
So, here’s a question: Why is the school district paying for the pollution controls? Why aren’t the 120,000 vehicles that drive past the school every day paying for it? They’re the ones creating the pollution and benefitting from the freeway.
As we pointed out earlier at City Observatory, the gravity of this question is underscored by the huge disparity in the demographics of those who use the freeway, especially at peak hours, and those who attend Tubman Middle School. Peak hour, drive alone commuters from Clark County, Washington have average household incomes of $82,500; and 75 percent of them are white, non-Hispanic. More than two-thirds of Tubman students are people of color; and half the student body is poor enough to qualify for free or reduced price meals.
In a very real sense, what this does is make students pay for the costs of pollution. The millions and millions of dollars being used to pay to install and operate air filters is money that isn’t available to pay for books and teachers. Meanwhile, freeway users get a free ride. This is plainly unfair.
Who was here first?
So why did Portland Public Schools build a school next to a freeway in the first place? If they did so, then clearly, they must bear a big party of the blame for the fact that kids have to breathe here. What makes this whole situation even more unfair is that, actually, the school was here first. Lest there be any doubt, take a look at this aerial photo showing the construction of Interstate 5 in 1962. (The Tubman School is outlined in red).
[IMG]Source: City of Portland Archives, 1962.
When it was built, Tubman School stood on a bluff, overlooking the city of Portland. The Oregon State Highway Department, following the advice of Robert Moses, cut away the hillside and dropped the freeway right next to the school. So if the school was there first, why isn’t ODOT paying to clean up the air its students have to breathe?
Well, back in the 1960s, highway departments, Oregon’s included, seldom paid for any of the damage they did to cities. As we’ve noted, the Oregon Department of Transportation obliterated hundreds of homes in this neighborhood and did nothing to replace the lost housing. Back then, air pollution was a greatly under-appreciated problem. Years after I-5 was build, ODOT did install some concrete walls to attenuate freeway noise in North Portland, but as to air pollution, nothing.
The Coase Theorem
Here’s where things get a bit wonky, at least for economists. There’s a famous conjecture in economics called the Coase Theorem which at its root is based on a story very much akin to that of the the freeway and the school. Coase’s story is about a farmer and a railroad, in this case, an old fashioned steam-powered railroad, with smoke-and-spark belching engines. Sparks from the steam engines would fly into the farmer’s field, burning her crops. Coase mulled over the economics of who should pay whom for the damages, and what would be an efficient and fair outcome. He concluded, that it didn’t actually matter, as long as either one party or the other had clear property rights. Let’s turn the microphone over to University of California economist Brad DeLong, who picks up the story, first summarizing Coase’s argument, then pointing up a huge flaw.
The brilliant Ronald Coase . . . was interpreted to have argued that pretty much any arrangement of property rights will do about as well as any other and the government should simply step back.The canonical case adduced was the locomotive that occasionally throws off sparks that burn the nearby farmer’s crops. If the railroad has a duty of care not to burn the crops, Coase said, the railroad will attach spark-catchers if it is cheap and makes sense to do so – and the railroad will pay damages and settle in order to avoid being hauled into court on a tort claim if it is expensive and doesn’t make sense to do so. If the railroad has no duty of care, Coase said, then the farmer will offer to pay the railroad to install spark-catchers – and spark-catchers will be installed if the potential damage to the crops is greater than the cost of the spark-catcher and it makes sense to do so, and spark-catchers will not be installed if the damage to the crops is less than the cost. Thus the same decisions will be made whatever the property rights – as long as there are settled property rights. If there are not settled property rights, then the crops burn and lawyers grow fat. But as long as there are property rights, the market will work fine. Maybe the widows and orphans who own railroad shares will be wealthier under one setup and maybe the farmers will be wealthier under the other, but that is rarely a matter of great public concern. Now this argument has always seemed to me to be wrong. If there is no duty of care on the part of the railroad, it has an incentive not just to threaten not to install a spark-catcher, but to design and build the most spark-throwing engine imaginable – to make sure that the firebox is also a veritable flamethrower – and then to demand that the farmer bribe it not to set the fields on fire. What economists call “externalities” are rife, and call for the government to levy taxes and pay bounties over wide shares of the economy in order to make the incentives offered by the tax-and-bounty-augmented market the incentives that it is good for society that decision-making individuals have. Cutting property rights “at the joints” to reduce externalities is important. But it will never be efficient: what economists call Pigovian taxes and bounties make up a major and essential part of the business of government.
And in fact, while DeLong’s point about “a veritable flamethrower” seems like hyperbole, that’s pretty much exactly what the Oregon Department of Transportation is doing here: Having already polluted the air near Tubman, it is doubling down on its earlier transgression–in part because of the moral hazard: coping with the pollution isn’t it’s problem–it’s neatly shifted all of the costs of pollution to others–in this case the students and Portland Public Schools.
As a matter of both justice and efficiency, the Oregon Department of Transportation–and through them, the users of Interstate 5– ought to be required to pay for cleaning the air at Tubman. Failing to impose these costs on ODOT leads it to falsely and unfairly under-value the lungs of these students, and to make a further investment that will make this problem worse. If ODOT had to bear these costs, it would likely look at the freeway widening project very differently, and instead, consider alternatives that produce smaller amounts of emissions (and might even consider ways to reduce traffic, rather than increasing it).
Making kids pay for freeway pollution–and in fact, pay twice, first by breathing polluted air, and then second, by having to pay for the cost of cleaning it–is both wrong and inefficient. And like Coase’s example of the farmer and the locomotive, there’s actually a bigger issue here: More generally, we should be insisting that car users pay the costs that they impose on others. The reason why pollution, sprawl and even traffic congestion are so bad is because we’ve radically under-priced car travel, in essence subsidizing people to do things that degrade our cities and communities. Assigning the responsibility correctly, and getting the prices right can improve fairness, and make our cities better places to live.
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I have been part of the Firefox Test Pilot team for several years. I had a long list of things I wanted to build. Some I didn’t personally want to build, but I thought they were interesting ideas. I…
Article word count: 6687
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19304802
Posted by ingve (karma: 99248)
Post stats: Points: 200 - Comments: 78 - 2019-03-04T20:04:20Z
#HackerNews #experiments #firefox #have #liked #try #would
I have been part of the Firefox Test Pilot team for several years. I had a long list of things I wanted to build. Some I didn’t personally want to build, but I thought they were interesting ideas. I didn’t get very far through this list at all, and now that Test Pilot is being retired I am unlikely to get to them in the future.
Given this I feel I have to move this work out of my head, and publishing a list of ideas seems like an okay way to do that. Many of these ideas were inspired by something I saw in the wild, sometimes a complete product (envy on my part!), or the seed of an idea embedded in some other product.
The experiments are a spread: some are little features that seem potentially useful. Others are features seen elsewhere that show promise from user research, but we could only ship them with confidence if we did our own analysis. Some of these are just ideas for how to explore an area more deeply, without a clear product in mind.
Test Pilot’s purpose was to find things worth shipping in the browser, which means some of these experiments aren’t novel, but there is an underlying question: would people actually use it? We can look at competitors to get ideas, but we have to ship something ourselves if we want to analyze the benefit.
Table of contents:
Sticky Reader Mode
mockup of Sticky Reader Mode
Give Reader Mode in Firefox a preference to make it per-domain sticky. E.g. if I use Reader Mode on nytimes.com and then if I visit an article on nytimes.com in the future it’ll automatically convert to reader mode. (The nytimes.com homepage would not be a candidate for that mode.)
I made an experiment in sticky-reader-mode, and I think it works really nicely. It changes the browsing experience significantly, and most importantly it doesn’t require frequent proactive engagement to change behavior. Lots of these proposed ideas are tools that require high engagement by the user, and if you don’t invoke the tool then they do nothing. In practice no one (myself included) remembers to invoke these tools. Once you click the preference on a site Sticky Reader Mode then you are opted in to this new experience with no further action required.
There are a bunch of similar add-ons. Sticky Reader Mode works a bit better than most because of its interface, and it will push you directly into Reader Mode without rendering the normal page. But it does this by using APIs that are not public to normal WebExtensions. As a result it can’t be shipped outside Test Pilot, and can’t go in addons.mozilla.org. So… just trust me, it’s great.
Recently I’ve come upon Brave Speed Reader which is similar, but without per-site opt-in, and using machine learning to identify articles.
mockup of a Cloud Browser
Run a browser/user-agent in the cloud and use a mobile view as a kind of semantic or parsed view on that user agent (the phone would just control the browser that is hosted on the cloud). At its simplest we just take the page, simplify it in a few ways, and send it on - similar to what Opera Mini does. The approach lends itself to a variety of task-oriented representations of remote content.
When I first wrote this down I had just stared at my phone while it took 30 seconds to show me a 404 page. The browser probably knew after a couple seconds that it was a 404 but it acted as a rendering engine and not a user agent, so the browser insisted on faithfully rendering the useless not found page.
Obviously running a full browser instance in the cloud is resource hungry and finicky but I think we could ignore those issues while testing. Those are hard but solved operational issues.
Prior art: Opera Mini does some of this. Puffin is specifically cloud rendering for mobile. Light Point does the same for security reasons.
I later encountered brow.sh which is another interesting take on this (specifically with html.brow.sh).
This is a very big task, but I still believe there’s tremendous potential in it. Most of my concepts are not mobile-based, in part because I don’t like mobile, I don’t like myself when using a mobile device, and it’s not something I want to put my energy into. But I still like this idea.
Modal Page Actions
mockup of Modal Page Actions
This was tangentially inspired by Vivaldi’s Image Properties, not because of the interface, but thinking about how to fit high-information inspection tools into the browser.
The idea: instead of context menus, page actions, or other interaction points that are part of the “chrome”, implement one overlay interface: the do-something-with-this-page interface. Might also be do-something-with-this-element (e.g. replacing the 7 image-related context menu items: View Image, Copy Image, Copy Image Location, Save Image As, Email Image, Set As Desktop Background, and View Image Info).
The interface would be an overlay onto the page, similar to what happens when you start Screenshots:
Everything that is now in the Page Action menu (the ... in the URL bar), or in the context menu, would be available here. Some items might have a richer interface, e.g., Send Tab To Device would show the devices directly instead of using a submenu. Bookmarking would include some inline UI for managing the resulting bookmark, and so on.
There was some pushback because of the line of death – that is, the idea all trusted content must clearly originate from the browser chrome, and not the content area. I do not believe in the Line of Death, it’s something users could use to form trust, but I don’t believe they do use it (further user research required).
The general pattern is inspired by mobile interfaces which are typically much more modal than desktop interfaces. Modal interfaces have gotten a bad rap, I think somewhat undeserved: modal interfaces are also interfaces that guide you through processes, or ask you to explicitly dismiss the interface. It’s not unreasonable to expect someone to finish what they start.
mockup of Find + 1
We have find-in-page but what about find-in-anything-linked-from-this-page?
Hit Cmd-Shift-F and you get an interface to do that. All the linked pages will be loaded in the background and as you search we show snippets of matching pages. Clicking on a snippet opens or focuses the tab and goes to where the search term was found.
I started experimenting in find-plus-one and encountered some challenges: hidden tabs aren’t good workers, loading pages in the background takes a lot of grinding in Firefox, and most links on pages are stupid (e.g., I don’t want to search your Careers page). An important building block would be a way to identify the important (non-navigational) parts of a page. Maybe lighter-weight ways to load pages (in other projects I’ve used CSP injection). The Copy Keeper concept did come about while I experimented with this.
A simpler implementation of this might simply do a text search of all your open tabs, which would be technically simpler and mostly an exercise in making a good representation of the results.
Your Front Page
mockup of Your Front Page
Create a front page of news from the sites you already visit. Like an RSS reader, but prepopulated with your history. This creates an immediate well-populated experience.
My initial thought was to use ad hoc parsers for popular news sites, and at run an experiment with just a long whitelist of news providers.
I got the feedback: why not just use RSS? Good question: I thought RSS was kind of passé, but I hadn’t looked for myself. I went on to do some analysis of RSS, and found it available for almost all news sites. The autodetection () is not as widely available, and it requires manual searching to find many feeds. Still RSS is a good way to get an up-to-date list of articles and their titles. Article content isn’t well represented and other article metadata is inaccurate or malformed (e.g., there are no useful tags). So using RSS would be very reasonable discovery mechanism, but an “RSS reader” doesn’t seem like a good direction on the current web.
This is bringing back old functionality from Page Shot, a project of mine which morphed into Firefox Screenshots: save full DOM copies of pages. What used to be fairly novel is now well represented by several projects (e.g., WebMemex or World Brain Memex).
Unfortunately I have never been able to really make this kind of tool part of my own day-to-day behavior, and I’ve become skeptical it can work for a general populace. But maybe there’s a way to package up this functionality that is more accessible, or happens more implicitly. I forked a version of Page Shot as pagearchive a while ago, with this in mind, but I haven’t (and likely won’t) come back to it.
Personal Historical Archive
This isn’t really a product idea, but instead an approach to developing products.
One can imagine many tools that directly interact or learn from the content of your browsing. There is both a privacy issue here and a privacy opportunity: looking at this data is creepy, but if the tools live in your user agent (that belongs to you and hosts your information locally) then it’s not so creepy.
But it’s really hard to make experiments on this because you need a bunch of data. If you build a tool that starts watching your browsing then it will only slowly build up interesting information. The actual information that is already saved in browser history is interesting, but in my experience it is too limited and of poor quality. For instance, it is quite hard to build up a navigational path from the history when you use multiple tabs.
A better iterative development approach would be one where you have a static set of all the information you might want, and you can apply tools to that information. If you find something good then later you can add new data collection to the browser, secure in the knowledge that it’s going to find interesting things.
I spent quite a bit of effort on this, and produced `personal-history-archive. It’s something I still want to come back to. It’s a bit of a mess, because at various times it was retrofitted to collect historical information, or collect it on an ongoing basis, or collected it when driven by a script. I also tried to build tools in parallel for doing analysis on the resulting database.
This is also a byproduct of experimentation with machine learning. I wanted to apply things I was learning to browser data, but the data I wanted wasn’t there. I spent all my time collecting and cleaning data, and ended up spending only a small amount of time analyzing the data. I suspect I’m not the only one who has done this.
mockup of Navigational Breadcrumbs
When I click on a link I lose the reminder of why I clicked on it. What on the previous page led me to click on this? Was I promised something? Are there sibling links that I might want to continue to directly instead of going back and selecting another link?
This tool would give you additional information about the page you are on, how you got there, and given where you came from, where you might go next. Would this be a sidebar? Overlay content? In a popup? I’m not sure.
Example: using this, if I click on a link from Reddit I will be able to see the title of the Reddit post (which usually doesn’t match the document title), and a link to comments on the page. If I follow a link from Twitter, I’ll be able to see the Tweet I came from.
This could be interesting paired with link preview (like a tentative forward). Maybe the mobile browser Linkbubbles (now integrated into Brave) has some ideas to offer.
Technically this will use some of the techniques from Personal History Archive, which tracks link sources.
This is based on the train of thought I wrote down in an HN comment – itself a response to Freeing the Web from the Browser.
I want to try this still, and have started a repo crossnav but haven’t put anything there yet. I think even some naive approaches could work, just trying to detect the category of link and the related links (e.g., on Reddit the category is other submissions, and the related links are things like comments).
mockup of Copy Keeper
A notebook/logbook that is filled in every time you copy from a web page. When you copy it records (locally):
* Text of selection * HTML of selection * Screenshot of the block element around the selection * Text around selection * Page URL and nearest anchor/id * Page title * Datetime
This overloads “copy” to mean “remember”.
Clips would be searchable, and could be moved back to the clipboard in different forms (text, HTML, image, bibliographical reference, source URL). Maybe clips would be browsable in a sidebar (maybe the sidebar has to be open for copies to be collected), or clips could be browsed in a normal tab (Library-style).
I created a prototype in copy-keeper. I thought it was interesting and usable, though whether it would actually get any use in practice I don’t know. It’s one of those tools that seems handy but requires effort, and as a result doesn’t get used.
mockup of Change Scout
(Wherein I both steal a name from another team, and turn it into a category…)
Change Scout will monitor a page for you, and notify you when it changes. Did someone edit the document? Was there activity on an issue? Did an article get updated? Put Change Scout to track it and it will tell you what changes and when.
It would monitor the page inside the browser, so it would have access to personalized and authenticated content. A key task would be finding ways to present changes in an interesting and compact way. In another experiment I tried some very simple change detection tools, and mostly end up frustrated (small changes look very large to naive algorithms).
Popup Tab Switcher
Tab Switcher mockup
We take the exact UI of the Side View popup, but make it a tab switcher. “Recent Tabs” are the most recently focused tabs (weighted somewhat by how long you were on the tab), and then there’s the complete scrollable list. Clicking on an item simply focuses that tab. You can close tabs without focusing them.
I made a prototype in tab-switchr. In it I also added some controls to close tabs, which was very useful for my periodic tab cleanups. Given that it was a proactive tool, I surprised myself by using it frequently. There’s work in Firefox to improve this, unrelated to anything I’ve done. It reminds me a bit of various Tree-Style Tabs, which I both like because they make it easier to see my tabs, and dislike because I ultimately am settled on normal top-tabs. The popup interface is less radical but still provides many of the benefits.
I should probably clean this up a little and publish it.
Create your own RSS feed.
* When you are on a page with some audio source, you can add the audio to your personal feed * When on an article, you can generate an audio version that will be added to the feed * You get an RSS feed with a random token to make it private (I don’t think podcast apps handle authentication well, but this requires research) * Maybe you can just send/text the link to add it to your preferred podcast app * If apps don’t accept RSS links very well, maybe something more complicated would be required. An app that just installs an RSS feed? We want to avoid the feed accidentally ending up in podcast directories.
There’s a lot of low-rated bookmark managers in addons.mozilla.org and the Chrome Extension store. Let’s make our own low-rated bookmark manager!
But seriously, this would anticipate updates to the Library and built-in bookmark manager, which are deficient.
Some resources/ideas: Comment with a few gripes Google’s bookmark manager Bookmark section on addons.mozilla.org Bookmark organizers on addons.mozilla.org * Relevant WebExtension APIs
mockup of the Extended Library
The “Library” in Firefox is the combination history and bookmark browser you get if you use “Show all bookmarks” or “Show all history”.
In this idea we present the user with a record of their assets, wherever they are.
This is like a history view (and would be built from history), but would use heuristics to pick out certain kinds of things: docs you’ve edited, screenshots you’ve taken, tickets you’ve opened, etc. We’d be trying hard to find long-lived documents in your history, instead of transitional navigation, articles, things you’ve gotten to from public indexes, etc.
Automatically determining what should be tagged as a “library item” would be the hard part. But I think having an organic view of these items, regardless of underlying service, would be quite valuable. The browser has access to all your services, and it’s easy to forget what service hosts the thing you are thinking about.
Text Mobile Screenshot
mockup of Text Mobile Screenshot
This tool will render the tab in a mobile factor (using the devtools responsive design mode), take a full-page screenshot, and text the image and URL to a given number. Probably it would only support texting to yourself.
I’ve looked into this some, and getting the mobile view of a page is not entirely obvious and requires digging around deep in the browser. Devtools does some complicated stuff to display the mobile view. The rest is basic UI flows and operational support.
Emails the Reader Mode version of a site to yourself. In our research, people love to store things in Email, so why not?
Though it lacks the simplicity of this concept, Email Tabs contains this basic functionality. Email This does almost exactly this.
Your History Everywhere
An extension that finds and syncs your history between browsers (particularly between Chrome and Firefox).
This would use the history WebExtension APIs. Maybe we could create a Firefox Sync client in Chrome. Maybe it could be a general way to move things between browsers. Actual synchronization is hard, but creating read-only views into the data in another browser profile is much easier.
Obviously there’s lots of work to synchronize this data between Firefox properties, and knowing the work involved this isn’t easy and often involves close work with the underlying platform. Without full access to the platform (like on Chrome) we’ll have to find ways to simplify the problem in order to make it feasible.
Everyone (with an FxA account) gets there own homepage on the web. It’s like Geocities! Or maybe closer to github.io.
But more seriously, it would be programmatically accessible simple static hosting. Not just for you to write your own homepage, but an open way for applications to publish user content, without those applications themselves turning into hosting platforms. We’d absorb all the annoyances of hosting content (abuse, copyright, quotas, ops, financing) and let open source developers focus on enabling interesting content generation experiences for users on the open web.
Here’s a general argument why I think this would be a useful thing for us to do. And another from Les Orchard.
Studying what Electron does for people
This is a proposal for user research:
Electron apps are being shipped for many services, including services that don’t require any special system integration. E.g., Slack doesn’t require anything that a web browser can’t do. Spotify maybe catches some play/pause keys, but is very close to being a web site. Yet there is perceived value in having an app.
The user research would focus on cases where the Electron app doesn’t have any/many special permissions. What gives the app value over the web page?
The goal would be to understand the motivations and constraints of users, so we could consider ways to make the in-browser experience equally pleasant to the Electron app.
App quick switcher
Per my previous item: why do I have an IRCCloud app? Why do people use Slack apps? Maybe it’s just because they want to be able to switch into and out of those apps quickly.
A proposed product solution: add a shortcut to any specific (pinned?) tab. Might be autocreated. Using the shortcut when the app is already selected will switch you back to your previous-selected tab. Switching to the tab without the shortcut will display a gentle reminder that the shortcut exists (so you can train yourself to start using it).
To make it a little more fancy, I thought we might also be able to do a second related “preview” shortcut. This would let you peek into the window. I’m not sure what “peeking” means. Maybe we just show a popup with a screenshot of that other window.
Maybe this should all just overload ⌘1/2/3 (maybe shift-⌘1/etc for peeking). Note these shortcuts do not currently have memory – you can switch to the first tab with ⌘1, but you can’t switch back.
This is one suggested solution to Whatever Electron does for people.
I started some work in quick-switch-extension, but keyboard shortcuts were a bit wonky, and I couldn’t figure out useful additional functionality that would make it fun. Firefox (Nightly?) now has Ctrl-Tab functionality that takes you to recent tabs, mitigating this problem (though it is not nearly as predictable as what I propose here).
Just Save saves a page. It’s like a bookmark. Or a remembering. Or an archive. Or all of those all at once.
Just Save is a one-click operation, though a popup does show up (similar in function to Pocket) that would allow some additional annotation of your saved page.
We save: 1. Link 2. Title 3. Standard metadata 4. Screenshot 5. Frozen version of page 6. Scroll position 7. The tab history 8. Remember the other open tabs, so if some of them are saved we offer later relations between them 9. Time the page was saved 10. Query terms that led to the page
It’s like bookmarks, but purely focused on saving, while bookmarks do double-duty as a navigational tool. The tool encourages after-the-fact discovery and organization, not at-the-time-of-save choices.
And of course there’s a way to find and manage your saved pages. This idea needs more exploration of why you would return to a page or piece of information, and thus what we’d want to expose and surface from your history. We’ve done research, but it’s really just a start.
Open Search Combined Search
We have several open search providers. How many exist out there? How many could we find in history?
In theory Open Search is an API where a user could do personalized search across many properties, though I’m not sure if any sufficient number of sites has enabled it.
It’s Notes, but with slash commands.
I other words it’s a document, but if you complete a line that begins with a / then it will try to execute that command, appending or overwriting from that point.
So for instance /timestamp just replaces itself with a timestamp.
Maybe /page inserts the currently active tab. /search foo puts search results into the document, but as editable (and followable) links. /page save freezes the page as one big data link, and inserts that link into the note.
It’s a little like Slack, but in document form, and with the browser as the context instead of a messaging platform. It’s a little like a notebook programming interface, but less structured and more document-like.
The ability to edit the output of commands is particularly interesting to me, and represents the kind of ad hoc information organizing that we all do regularly.
I experimented some with this in Notes, and got it working a little bit, but working with CKEditor (that Notes is built on) was just awful and I couldn’t get anything to work well. Notes also has a very limited set of supported content (no images or links), which was problematic. Maybe it’s worth doing it from scratch (with ProseMirror or Slate?)
After I tried to mock this up, I realized that the underlying model is much too unclear in my mind. What’s this for? When is it for? What would a list of commands look like?
Another thing I realized while attempting a mockup is that there should be a rich but normalized way to represent pages and URLs and so forth. Often you’ll be referring to URLs of pages that are already open. You may want to open sets of pages, or see immediately which URLs are already open in a tab. A frozen version of a page should be clearly linked to the source of that page, which of course could be an open tab. There’s a lot of pieces to fit together here, both common nouns and verbs, all of which interact with the browser session itself.
Automation and scripting for your browser: make demonstrations for your browser, give it a name, and you have a repeatable script.
The scripts will happen in the browser itself, not via any backend or scraping tool. In case of failed expectations or changed sites, the script will halt and tell the user.
Scripts could be as simple as “open a new tab pointing to this page every weekday at 9am”, or could involve clipping information, or just doing a navigational pattern before presenting the page to a user.
There’s a huge amount of previous work in this area. I think the challenge here is to create something that doesn’t look like a programming language displayed in a table.
Sidekick is a sidebar interface to anything, or everything, contextually. Some things it might display:
* Show you the state of your clipboard * Show you how you got to the current tab (similar to Navigational Breadcrumbs) * Show you other items from the search query that kicked off the current tab * Give quick navigation to nearby pages, given the referring page (e.g., the next link, or next set of links) * Show you buttons to activate other tabs you are likely to switch to from the current tab * Show shopping recommendations or other content-aware widgets * Let you save little tidbits (text, links, etc), like an extended clipboard or notepad * Show notifications you’ve recently received * Peek into other tabs, or load them inline somewhat like Side View * Checklists and todos * Copy a bunch of links into the sidebar, then treat them like a todo/queue
Possibly it could be treated like an extensible widget holder.
From another perspective: this is like a continuous contextual feature recommender. I.e., it would try to answer the question: what’s the feature you could use right now?
Generally in order to commit something to long-term memory you must revisit information later, ideally long enough that it’s a struggle.
Is anything we see in a browser worth committing to long-term memory? Sometimes it feels like nothing is worth remembering, but that’s a kind of nihilism based on the shitty aspects of typical web browsing behavior.
The interface would require some positive assertion: I want to know this. Probably you’d want to highlight the thing you’d “know”. Then, later, we’d want to come up with some challenge. We don’t need a “real” test that is verified by the browser, instead we simply need to ask some related question, then the user can say if they got it right or not (or remembered it or not).
Reader Mode improvements
Reader mode is a bit spartan. Maybe it could be a bit nicer:
* Pick up some styles or backgrounds from the hosting site * Display images or other media differently or more prominently * Add back some markup or layout that Readability erases * Apply to some other kinds of sites that aren’t articles (e.g., a video site) * A multicolumn version like McReadability
Inspired by Full Hacker News (comments): take a bunch of links (typically articles) and concatenate their content into one page.
Implicitly this requires Reader Mode parsing of the pages, though that is relatively cheap for “normal” articles. Acquiring a list of pages is somewhat less clear. Getting a list of pages is a kind of news/RSS question. Taking a page like Hacker News and figuring out what the “real” links are is another approach that may be interesting. Lists of related links are everywhere, yet hard to formally define.
This would work very nicely with complementary text summarization.
Open question: is this actually an interesting or useful way to consume information?
Firefox for X
There’s an underlying concept here worth explaining:
Feature develop receives a lot of skepticism. And it’s reasonable: there’s a lot of conceit in a feature, especially embedded in a large product. Are people going to use a product or not because of some little feature? Or maybe the larger challenge: can some feature actually change behavior? Every person has their own thing going on, people aren’t interested in our theories, and really not that many people are interested in browsers. Familiar functionality – the back button, bookmarks, the URL bar, etc. – are what they expect, what they came for, and what they will gravitate to. Everything I’ve written so far in this list are things people won’t actually use.
A browser is particularly problematic because it’s so universal. It’s for sites and apps and articles. It’s for the young and the elderly, the experienced and not. It’s used for serious things, it’s used for concentration, and it’s used for dumb things and to avoid concentrating. How can you build a feature for everyone, targeting anything they might do? And if you build something, how can a person trust a new feature is really for them, not some other person? People are right to be skeptical of the new!
But we also know that most people regularly use more than one browser. Some people use Chrome for personal stuff, and Firefox for work. Some people do the exact opposite. Some people do their banking and finance in a specific browser. Some use a specific browser just for watching videos.
Which browser a person uses for which task is seemingly random. Maybe they were told to use a specific browser for one task, and then the other browser became the fallback. Maybe they once heard somewhere once that one browser was more secure. Maybe flash seemed broken on one browser when they were watching a video, and now a pattern has been set.
This has long seemed like an opportunity to me. Market a browser that actually claims to be the right browser for some of these purposes! Firefox has Developer Edition and it’s been reasonably successful.
This offers an opportunity for both Mozilla and Firefox users to agree on purpose. What is Firefox for? Everything! Is this feature meant for you? Unlikely! In a purpose-built browser both sides can agree what it’s trying to accomplish.
This idea often gets poo-pooed for how much work it is, but I think it’s simpler than it seems. Here’s what a “new browser” means:
* Something you can find and download from its own page or site * It’s Firefox, but uses its own profile, keeping history/etc separate from other browser instances (including Firefox) * It has its own name and icon, and probably a theme to make it obvious what browser you are in * It comes with some browser extensions and prefs changed, making it more appropriate for the proposed use case
The approach is heavy on marketing and build tools, and light on actual browser engineering.
I also have gotten frequent feedback that Multi-Account Containers should solve all these use cases, but that gets everything backwards. People already understand multiple browsers, and having completely new entry points to bring people to Firefox is a feature, not a bug.
Sadly I think the time for this has passed, maybe in the market generally or maybe just for Mozilla. It would have been a very different approach to the browser.
Some of us in the Test Pilot team had some good brainstorming around actual concepts too, which is where I actually get excited about the ideas:
For students, studying.
* Integrate note-taking tools * Create project and class-based organizational tools, helping to organize tabs, bookmarks, and notes * Tools to document and organize deadlines * Citation generators
I don’t know what to do with online lectures and video, but it feels like there’s some meaningful improvements to be done in that space. Video-position-aware notetaking tools?
I think the intentionality of opening a browser to study is a good thing. iPads are somewhat popular in education, and I suspect part of that is having a device that isn’t built around multitasking, and using an iPad means stepping away from regular computing.
To watch videos. This requires very few features, but benefits from just being a separate profile, history, and icon.
There’s a small number of features that might be useful:
* Cross-service search (like Can I Stream.it or JustWatch) * Search defaults to video search * Cross-service queue * Quick service-based navigation
I realize it’s a lot like Roku in an app.
Firefox for Finance
This is really just about security.
Funny story: people say they value security very highly. But if Mozilla wants to make changes in Firefox that increase security but break some sites – particularly insecure sites – people will then stop using Firefox. They value security highly, but still just below anything at all breaking. This is very frustrating for us.
At the same time, I kind of get it. I’m dorking around on the web and I click through to some dumb site, and I get a big ol’ warning or a blank page or some other weirdness. I didn’t even care about the page or its security, and here my browser is trying to make me care.
That’s true some of the time, but not others. If you are using Firefox for Finance, or Firefox Super Secure, or whatever we might call it, then you really do care.
There’s a second kind of security implied here as well: security from snooping eyes and on shared computers. Firefox Master Password is a useful feature here. Generally there’s an opportunity for secure data at rest.
This is also a vehicle for education in computer security, with an audience that we know is interested.
Firefox Low Bandwidth
Maybe we work with proxy services. Or just do lots of content blocking. In this browser we let content break (and give a control to load the full content), so long as you start out compact.
* Cache content that isn’t really supposed to be cached * Don’t load some kinds of content * Block fonts and other seemingly-unimportant content * Monitoring tools to see where bandwidth usage is going
Firefox for Kids
Sadly making things for kids is hard, because you are obliged to do all sorts of things if you claim to target children, but you don’t have to do anything if kids just happen to use your tool.
There is an industry of tools in this area that I don’t fully understand, and I’d want to research before thinking about a feature list. But it seems like it comes down to three things:
* Blocking problematic content * Encouraging positive content * Monitoring tools for parents
There’s something very uninspiring about that list, it feels like it’s long on negativity and short on positive engagement. Coming up with an answer to that is not a simple task.
Inspired by a bunch of things:
What would a calm Firefox experience look like? Or maybe it would be better to think about a calm presentation of the web. At some point I wrote out some short pitches:
* Read without distraction: Read articles like they are articles, not interactive (and manipulative) experiences. * Stay focused on one thing at a time: Instead of a giant list of tabs and alerts telling you what we aren’t doing, automatically focus on the one thing you are doing right now. * Control your notifications: Instead of letting any site poke at you for any reason, notifications are kept to a minimum and batched. * Focused writing: When you need to focus on what you are saying, not what people are saying to you, enter focused writing mode. * Get updates without falling down a news hole: Avoid clickbait, don’t reload pages, just see updates from the sites you trust (relates to Your Front Page) * Pomodoro: let yourself get distracted… but only a little bit. The Pomodoro technique helps you switch between periods of focused work and letting yourself relax * Don’t even ask: Do you want notifications from the news site you visited once? Do you want videos to autoplay? Of course not, and we’ll stop even asking. * Suggestion-free browsing: Every page you look at isn’t an invitation to tell you what you should look at next. Remove suggested content, and do what YOU want to do next. (YouTube example)
Not just the conclusion of this list, the conclusion of my work in this area…
Some challenges in the design process:
1. Asking someone to do something new is hard, and unlikely to happen. My previous post (The Over-engaged Knowledge Worker) relates to this tension.
2. … and yet a “problem” isn’t enough to get someone to do something either.
3. If someone is consciously and specifically doing some task, then there’s an opportunity.
4. Creating wholistic solutions is unwelcome, unintuitively each thing that adds to the size of a solution diminishes from the breadth of problems the solution can solve.
5. … and yet, abstract solutions without any clear suggestion of what they solve aren’t great either!
6. Figuring out how to package functionality is a big deal.
7. Approaches that increase the density of information or choices are themselves somewhat burdensome.
8. … and yet context-sensitive approaches are unpredictable and distracting compared to consistent (if dense) functionality.
9. I still believe there’s a wealth of material in the content of the pages people encounter. But it’s irregular and hard to understand, it takes concerted and long-term effort to do something here.
10. Lots of the easy stuff, the roads well traveled, are still hard for a lot of people. Maybe this can be fixed by optimizing current UI… but I think there’s still room for novel improvements to old ideas.
11. User research is a really great place to start, but it’s not very prescriptive. It’s mostly problem-finding, not solution-finding.
12. There’s some kinds of user research I wish I had access to, specifically really low level analysis of behavior. What’s in someone’s mind when they open a new tab, or reuse one? In what order do they scan the UI? What are mental models of a URL, of pages and how they change, in what order to people compose (mentally and physically) things they want to share… it feels like it can go on forever, and there would be a ton of detail in the results, but given all the other constraints these insights feel important.
13. There’s so many variables in an experiment, that it’s hard to know what failures really means. Every experiment that offers a novel experience involves several choices, and any one choice can cause the experiment to fail.
As Test Pilot comes to an end, I do find myself asking: is there room for qualitative improvements in desktop browser UI? Desktop computing is waning. User expectations of a browser are calcified. The only time people make a choice is when something breaks, and the only way to win is to not break anything and hope you competitor does break things.
So, is there room for improvement? Of course there is! The millions of hours spent every day in Firefox alone… this is actually important. Yes, a lot of things are at a local maximum, and we can A/B test little tweaks to get some suboptimal parts to their local maximum. But I do not believe in any way that the browsers we know are the optimal container. The web is bigger than browsers, bigger than desktop or mobile or VR, and a user agent can do unique things beyond any site or app.
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A spreadsheet to help you figure out if you have enough savings to fund a new bootstrapped business - dvassallo/bootstrapping-calculator
Article word count: 34
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19294173
Posted by DVassallo (karma: 1197)
Post stats: Points: 115 - Comments: 86 - 2019-03-03T12:38:23Z
#HackerNews #bootstrapping #business #calculator #enough #fund #have #savings #you #your
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A browser extension that clicks on every blocked ad to fight advertising surveillance.
Article word count: 211
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19278936
Posted by JoachimS (karma: 1583)
Post stats: Points: 100 - Comments: 64 - 2019-03-01T08:58:48Z
#HackerNews #adnauseam #ads #clicking #dont #have #you
Google Chrome tried to ban ADNAUSEAM, but failed… Read More
so you donʼt have to.
As online advertising becomes ever more ubiquitous and unsanctioned, AdNauseam works to complete the cycle by automating Ad clicks universally and blindly on behalf of its users. Built atop uBlock Origin, AdNauseam quietly clicks on every blocked ad, registering a visit on ad networksʼ databases. As the collected data gathered shows an omnivorous click-stream, user tracking, targeting and surveillance become futile.
AdNauseam is a free browser extension designed to obfuscate browsing data and protect users from tracking by advertising networks. At the same time, AdNauseam serves as a means of amplifying usersʼ discontent with advertising networks that disregard privacy and facilitate bulk surveillance agendas.
AdNauseam joins a broader class of technical systems that attempt to serve ethical, political, and expressive ends. In light of the industryʼs failure to self-regulate or otherwise address the excesses of network tracking, AdNauseam allows individual users to take matters into their own hands, fighting back against unilateral surveillance. Taken in this light, the software follows an approach similar to that of TrackMeNot, employing obfuscation as a strategy to shift the balance of power between the trackers and the tracked. For further information on this approach, please see this paper.
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A report by security consultant Warith Al Maawali claims he lost $60,000 to $70,000 while using the Coinomi wallet because of a spell checker vulnerability.
Article word count: 659
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19263332
Posted by timcc50 (karma: 235)
Post stats: Points: 116 - Comments: 148 - 2019-02-27T14:18:09Z
#HackerNews #alleged #bitcoin #coinomi #easy #exploit #have #how #shows #stolen
Update: Hardware wallet Ledger’s CEO Eric Larchevêque comments, “The Coinomi meltdown is further evidence of why software wallets are a recipe for disaster. When entrusting a software wallet with your assets, you are exposing your private keys to the internet, leaving them vulnerable to attack.”
Coinomi’s crypto wallet is branded as “your trusted blockchain interface” offering a place to “securely store, manage and exchange Bitcoin” and other cryptocurrencies. Its website states it has never “been hacked or otherwise compromised to date.” But an alleged security vulnerability now puts that claim in doubt.
Coinomi has responded to the allegations in this post on Medium which states the spell checking functionality was enabled for desktop wallets but that the seed phrase wasn’t sent as plain text, it was “encapsulated inside a HTTPS request with Google being the sole recipient.” It added that Google did not process, cache or store the requests. The issue was fixed six days ago.
A report by security consultant Warith Al Maawali claims he lost $60,000 to $70,000 while using the Coinomi wallet. He argues that Coinomi’s built-in spell checker automatically checked his seed phrase which involved sending it as plain text to a Google-owned website. This meant it could have been intercepted, leading to the loss of funds. There have been other similar claims on Reddit. While it’s difficult to verify if these claims are true, it does highlight a bigger vulnerability: seed phrases and the dangers of entering them on computers connected to the internet.
Al Maawali told Decrypt he used his Ethereum seed phrase in the Coinomi wallet to access Ethereum-based tokens that he owned but were not supported by the Exodus crypto wallet which he was already using. He said everything worked okay at first as the tokens showed up but then a few days later, the wallet was emptied.
Due to this, he did some research and found what he believes is a critical vulnerability within the Coinomi wallet. At the point where you enter your seed phrase, it is processed through a spell checker. This means the whole seed phrase is sent to a Google-owned website. He has uploaded a video for anyone to replicate the process and see that the vulnerability exists.
Programmer Martin Habovštiak confirmed on Twitter that the vulnerability is real but argued that there might be more a more nefarious reason for the loss. Habovštiak believes it was more likely the money was stolen via malware, or Maawali sent the coins to another account he owns to make it look like they were stolen and is trying to double his money.
However there have been other reports of funds disappearing on the Coinomi wallet—which isn’t uncommon for any software wallet. There are two posts on Reddit by users who claim their funds have disappeared from the Coinomi wallet. Although neither specify that they imported their seed phrase into the wallet.
Al Maawali also provides screenshots of a conversation he claims to have had with Coinomi support in which they appear to accept the vulnerability exists but deny that it was responsible for the loss of funds. This conversation has not been independently verified.
This issue flicks at other issues facing Coinomi. Luke Childs, a developer of open-source software accused the app of lacking necessary encryption measures when sending user information. A blog post by Jonathan Sterling, co-founder of Coin Flow, goes into more detail on the issues, providing screenshots of tweets allegedly from Coinomi dismissing the claims.
While there is evidence that the exploit is real, it is much harder to verify that it was the reason the funds were stolen. There are many other possibilities of how the money was taken including malware or vulnerabilities in other crypto wallets—if it was even stolen. But this vulnerability proves that crypto wallet providers need to think outside the box when it comes to security, but not too much.
[This article has been updated with the response from Coinomi.]
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Their crimes ranged from shoplifting to embezzlement to murder. Some of them molested kids and downloaded child pornography. Others beat their wives, girlfriends or children. The revelations are al…
Article word count: 1642
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19257434
Posted by rrauenza (karma: 2301)
Post stats: Points: 134 - Comments: 62 - 2019-02-26T19:19:50Z
#HackerNews #but #california #cant #cops #criminal #have #keeps #list #says #secret #you
Their crimes ranged from shoplifting to embezzlement to murder. Some of them molested kids and downloaded child pornography. Others beat their wives, girlfriends or children.
The one thing they had in common: a badge.
Thousands of California law enforcement officers have been convicted of a crime in the past decade, according to records released by a public agency that sets standards for officers in the Golden State.
The revelations are alarming, but the state’s top cop says Californians don’t have a right to see them. In fact, Attorney General Xavier Becerra warned two Berkeley-based reporters that simply possessing this never-before-publicly-released list of convicted cops is a violation of the law.
The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training — known as POST — provided the information last month in response to routine Public Records Act requests from reporters for the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley and its production arm, Investigative Studios.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra responds to questions from the Bay Area News Group’s Opinion and Editorial Board during an interview at the San Jose Mercury News office on Monday, April 16, 2018. Becerra is seeking re-election to the Attorney General’s office. (Michael Malone/Bay Area News Group)
But when Becerra’s office learned about the disclosure, it threatened the reporters with legal action unless they destroyed the records, insisting they are confidential under state law and were released inadvertently. The two journalism organizations have rejected Becerra’s demands.
“It’s disheartening and ominous that the highest law enforcement officer in the state is threatening legal action over something the First Amendment makes clear can’t give rise to criminal action against a reporter,” said David Snyder, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, a San Rafael-based nonprofit that advocates for free speech and open records.
The documents provide a rare glimpse at the volume of officer misconduct at a time of heightened interest over police accountability. The list includes cops who trafficked drugs, cops who stole money from their departments and even one who robbed a bank wearing a fake beard. Some sexually assaulted suspects. Others took bribes, filed false reports and committed perjury. A large number drove under the influence of drugs and alcohol — sometimes killing people on the road.
The Berkeley journalists chose not to publish the entire list until they could spend more time reporting to avoid misidentifying people among the nearly 12,000 names in the documents, said John Temple, director of the Investigative Reporting Program.
Still, the details are stunning in a state where officials have fought for years to keep virtually any record of police misconduct a secret. And they come amid a larger battle playing out in courtrooms throughout the state over California’s new police transparency law, Senate Bill 1421. Law enforcement groups have sued to limit the impact of that law, claiming it shouldn’t expose police disciplinary records created before the law took effect on Jan. 1.
Becerra himself has rejected public records requests from his own agency, and he is now being sued by a prominent First Amendment group for failing to comply. Many other agencies in California have followed the attorney general’s lead.
“Once you disclose a document that’s confidential and private, you can’t take it back,” Becerra told reporters earlier this month. ”You don’t get a second chance to get it right, you got to get it right the first time.”
While that law has garnered the most attention and a public fight over police disciplinary records, it was another law that took effect Jan. 1 that led to the disclosure of the convictions of thousands of law enforcement officers and applicants.
The secret list
Tucked into a public safety omnibus bill last year was a provision allowing the state’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to keep information in its records showing when a current or former law enforcement officer is convicted of a felony or other crime that would disqualify them from being a cop.
Police departments often check POST’s records as part of the routine background check process when hiring new officers. But until the law changed, POST only labeled someone as being disqualified from serving in law enforcement when the person was convicted and had exhausted all appeals — which could take years and was difficult to track. The new law allows them to disqualify someone after a conviction, according to a POST spokesman.
So at the start of this year, Becerra’s office provided POST for the first time a list of what the agency says are convictions of current and former law enforcement officers and people who at one time had tried to become a cop.
POST provided 10 years’ worth of convictions — nearly 12,000 names in all — to the Berkeley-based investigative reporting organizations in early January in response to a public records request. Three weeks later the AG’s office sent a letter saying the records were “inadvertently” released and were considered confidential.
Attorney General Becerra’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Nic Marais, an attorney with Keker, Van Nest & Peters representing Investigative Studios, said the state’s assertions that the documents had been released “inadvertently” was hard to believe given that POST spent four weeks weighing the reporters’ request. In a letter to the AG, Marais wrote that because the documents appear to be a summary of public records, the disclosure exemptions cited by POST and Attorney General Becerra’s Office do not apply. Finally, he wrote that state law exempts reporters from prosecution for receiving records.
Snyder, of the First Amendment Coalition, argued the underlying records are in the public interest.
“Police officers are vested by the public with extraordinary power,” he said. “In order to monitor the use of that power, the public needs to know when they are over the line.”
But attorney Mike Rains, who represents police officers, questions why they should be singled out by such a list.
“To the extent the public wants that to be public record, I can understand that,” said Rains, who is leading a legal fight to block the release of officer disciplinary records under the new law.
“Why don’t we make that known for everybody?” Rains said of convictions, pointing out there’s no broad disclosure for lawyers, doctors, teachers and other trusted professionals.
What the conviction list reveals
Many of the indiscretions in the new documents released last month to the Berkeley investigative reporting organizations have never been revealed publicly until now. Some of the officers were fired from the force only after an arrest. Others remain on the job despite a criminal conviction.
About 3,500 names on the list appear to match the names of police officers in state personnel databases, and about 2,250 of those have been on the force within the last five years. But without more information, the exact breakdown of which individuals were in law enforcement as opposed to applicants to become an officer is still unclear.
Phil Caporale, a spokesman for POST, said his agency is using the list to check if active officers have committed crimes that should prevent them from working in law enforcement.
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“There’s that potential. That’s what we’re trying to eliminate … to make sure no one out there is a peace officer today who shouldn’t be,” Caporale said.
The agency also is on the lookout for former cops with convictions who try to get back into law enforcement, he said. “We want to make sure those folks don’t slip through the cracks.”
Greg Jeong is on the list. He was an Emeryville police officer for a few months but failed his field training program. So he went to work as a dispatcher for the department. In August 2017, Jeong claimed to be a cop in order to buy a gun and three high capacity magazines in San Jose, according to court records. He was ultimately convicted of impersonating a police officer. Jeong declined to comment for this story.
Hayward police officer Joshua Cannon also is on the list. In October 2010, Cannon was arrested for driving drunk in Alameda County with blood alcohol nearly twice the legal limit. A CHP officer clocked him going 92 mph, and when the officer tried to pull him over, Cannon quickly pulled off the highway and down a sidestreet, court records show.
Cannon eventually stopped and told the CHP officer that he was a cop and carrying an off-duty weapon. According to the CHP officer, Cannon “started asking me for a ‘break,’” the report said. “He also asked me that if I was in his situation what would I do.”
Cannon was convicted of misdemeanor driving under the influence — and remains on the force. He declined to comment for this story, citing department rules against talking to the media.
The list also included a new revelation about a San Francisco police sergeant who had been the subject of numerous media reports for use-of-force complaints and shootings.
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In 2014, Sgt. John Haggett was accused of helping a girlfriend dig up dirt on tenants. Internal Affairs started investigating after one of them claimed Haggett’s girlfriend made a disturbing threat: “My boyfriend is a police officer and will take care of you.”
Haggett, who is now retired, pleaded guilty in 2015 to a misdemeanor for accessing the confidential information. He did not respond to an interview request.
The San Francisco Police Department did not respond to a request for comment.
Robert Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Jason Paladino can be reached at email@example.com. Jeremy Rue contributed research for this story. The Investigative Reporting Program is a professional newsroom and teaching institute at UC Berkeley. Investigative Studios is a nonprofit production company formally affiliated with the university.
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For posts specifically relating to fusor design, construction, and operation. Jackson Oswalt Posts: 96 Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:10 pm Real name: Jackson Oswalt <
Article word count: 2250
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19229433
Posted by richardhod (karma: 473)
Post stats: Points: 168 - Comments: 75 - 2019-02-22T21:48:55Z
#HackerNews #12-year-old #achieved #claims #fusion #have #home #nuclear
For posts specifically relating to fusor design, construction, and operation.
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:10 pm
Real name: Jackson Oswalt
Post by Jackson Oswalt » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:17 am
Hello all once again! The following are results from: January 19th, January 30th, and January 31st. I was 12 when I did my first run and got similar results. I am now 13. For those that havenʼt seen my recent posts, it will come as a major surprise that I would even consider believing I had achieved fusion. However, over the past month I have made an enormous amount of progress resulting from fixing major leaks in my system. I now have results that I believe to be worthy. For those wondering why I didnʼt post immediately after the 19th, it was because I wasnʼt confident at all I had achieved fusion. Now, after a few more weeks of testing and input from Fusor.net I am confident enough to share the following results:
This is at: 40 microns of pure D2 50kv @ 7ma Trigger set to 30mv 2 5/8 inches of HDPE moderator
As you can see in the results above, I removed my detector tube from the moderator at the very beginning of the two minute mark. The counts stopped immediately and began once again when I placed it back in the moderator. I apologize I didnʼt get a larger run time, but I became a little bit too excited at the sight of what seemed to be neutrons. However, I do believe it encompasses the run pretty well, especially along side this:
Fusion run without moderator
This was a 5 minute run with the Fusor running with deuterium at the above conditions. The only difference was that the detector was outside of the moderator the entire time with the moderator far away. Now, my setup:
System with lead shield
Old setup photo, before deuterium line
Old view from the top
Air plasma @ 20 microns
My main chamber is a Cf2.75" 5-way cross. It has two view ports, I use a mirror in order to view and take pictures of the plasma. It also has a 30kv electrical feedthrough in the back, which you canʼt see except for in the top view. On the left hand side is a series of reducers that lead to my vacuum gauge and deuterium line. My deuterium line consists of a regulator and a micrometer leak valve that are connected by 1/4" SS tubing and swagelok fitting. My deuterium source is a 10L bottle from Sigma-Aldrich. It took quiet some time to convince them to sell me the deuterium. Most pictures have a 1/4" of lead shielding in them. My parents suggested I do this "just in case". My vacuum system consists of a Edwards E2M5 pump, a Veeco air-cooled diffusion pump, and a series of valves and hoses. The E2M5 pumps the whole system down to about 15 microns in two minutes. While itʼs pumping down, I turn on the diffusion pump fan. I then close the left-most ball valve and switch on the diffusion pump heater. After about 45-60 minutes Iʼm in the 10e-5 or 6 range.soon I’ll be getting a high vacuum gauge, but for now I know I’m down to a low enough pressure for fusion. I then turn up my 50kv spellman supply modified for 7ma output to roughly 10kv and start adding deuterium. As soon as the plasma ignites, I increase the voltage and begin to get the counts you see in the results. Inevitably, I have included far more information on one subject than I needed to have. Iʼm sure I didnʼt include enough information on another. Just ask, and Iʼd be more than happy to supply more pictures and data. Iʼm excited to further optimize my setup and possible someday add an ion gun.
image.jpeg Neutron detector tube and moderator
Last edited by Jackson Oswalt on Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2004 2:29 am
Contact John Futter
Post by John Futter » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:01 am
Why is everyone in such a hurry Jackson I would turn a diff pump on check it 30 mins later that backing pressure is in bounds and leave it for three or four days to self clean itself and the vacuum vessel it is connected to. Super serious people would leave the system for a few weeks to fully outgas before doing anything significant.
20 mins even for an aircooled diff pump is nowhere near enough to get the working fluid degassed and doing what it does best as the working temperature balance has not been met. More over the pump fluid has not had time to clean itself properly.
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Real name: Ian Krase
Post by ian_krase » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:16 am
Most of us donʼt like the idea of running a vacuum pump for hours and hours when weʼre not at home. Especially not if we canʼt afford the right valves and stuff for good auto-isolation in case of power failure or forepump failure.
(only gets worse when turbos are involved)
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:10 pm
Real name: Jackson Oswalt
Post by Jackson Oswalt » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:16 pm
I apologize for my typo. It takes 45-60 minutes or more for the diffusion pump to get to the ideal pressure.
Dennis P Brown
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Location: Glen Arm, MD
Post by Dennis P Brown » Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:49 pm
I am surprised you just get to 0.1 micron in that amount of time but if one has a lot of water vapor on walls and seals, it can take time. Using a hair dryer to heat up various parts when it is at 0.1 microns can go a good ways to speed up the out gassing issues. Have you confirmed, when at 0.1 micron via a alcohol or dust off spray, that all your seals/connections are vacuum tight? When in that low range, and running an ion gauge or good vacuum gauge, you will see a jump or at least a steady climb a few seconds after spraying a seal that leaks. This is a fast way to confirm all seals are good. If issues are noted, sometimes alcohol will improve the seal. But often best to break it down and confirm there are no scratches or hairs or dirt cause issues for the sealing surfaces or gasket (look at the gasket surface, too.) If all seals pass the test, then you can be fairly confident that the connections are sound and the issue is mostly out gassing.
Overall, a very professional setup and I am sure you will overcome any vacuum issues soon, get down to 10^-5 torr or so, and be able to get a good fusion run with a stable plasma.
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:10 pm
Real name: Jackson Oswalt
Post by Jackson Oswalt » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:13 pm
I should have made this more clear, but I get down lower than .1 microns. However, that is as far as I can measure the pressure. I’m trying to get a HV gauge soon, but for now I know I’m getting down to fusion levels.
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2001 1:44 pm
Real name: Richard Hull
Post by Richard Hull » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:06 pm
Thanks for posting your results. I have added your name to the list of fusioneers. Good work. Nice system. You have put some money into this. To others..... This is another tiny volume fusor that is working well and shown to be doing so with decent instrumentation. Again the removal of the tube from moderator count fall off to zero and re-insertion resume counting coupled with the image of the pink discharge and star rays is a true representation of fusion, regardless of final count, errors in counting, etc. If a neutron detector tube is counting in moderator and dummies up outside during a run, well, that sort of tells it all.
As to vacuum...
Remember, this is a microscopic volume to be evacuated compared to a large 6-8-inch spherical fusor. Pump down can be lightning fast compared to a larger system. Even with the small cross chamber, you are effectively only pumping down what in a larger more complex system are just vacuum "lines"!! I think this is all part of a new day dawning in a way that was just not seen or expected and it might just be due to a near perfect balance of size versus mean free path at pressure in a small fusion system. Dwell on this a while.......
What is the "take-away" from all this?
There is such a thing as too small where arcing of the HV takes over and failure to reach voltages that allow for decent tunneling can limit results. There may be a point where smaller is better, even if it is not as pleasing and impressive to the eye as a lovely, impressive, big old spherical reactor chamber. This appears to be the case due to recent adventures by the less well heeled applicants, limited to "catch as catch can" small crosses and tees substituting for what has been a formal, separate fusion reaction chamber entity. Fusion may turn out to be cheaper and easier than even we thought. Sure, we are not doing power fusion and relying on quantum tunneling, but we are doing nuclear fusion. I have looked at quantum tunneling fusion, on our part, as flying at the coal face, (fusion wall), with hard hats on to get coal, (fusion), as "bull-heading" fusion. Yes, it is not elegant, but we do get a bit of broken shards of coal, (fusion), at the foot of the coal face for our efforts. There is little disgrace in quantum tunneling....It seems to have been the basis for the semiconductor, (transistor), revolution. Bizarre thoughts come to mind.....Like would fusion tunneling in solids be the lucky donkey that licks the fusion quest? Is hot fusion a must do thing or is it just another coal face we are banging our heads against? In a way this was a "lucky donkey" moment here at fusor.net! A bunch of newbies who were not trying to find a new, novel way to do fusion, but, instead, driven by the paucity of funds and resources have stumbled on a way to do fusion via tunneling in a much more economical way. I have refused to see this due to the fact that prior attempts in such tiny chambers were stumbling efforts with what could charitably be said to be poor neutron detection efforts. However, over the past two years, small chamber enthusiasts have put into their fusion efforts the money they saved in vacuum gear, plowing it into far better detection gear. They have been giving us good quantitative data that we have
felt good enough to sit up and take notice. In the end, I am almost as excited by this new revelation as the day I first posted on "Songs" 20 years ago!
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:10 pm
Real name: Jackson Oswalt
Post by Jackson Oswalt » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:46 pm
So, at 12 yeas old am I the new youngest fusioneer? Richard, thank you for your comment. I’m honored to have built a reactor that possibly demonstrates the future of small fusors. I look forward to improving my design and continuing to have fun with fusion.
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:48 am
Real name: Scott Moroch
Location: New Jersey
Post by Scott Moroch » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:57 pm
I am concerned about the x-rays you are exposing yourself to during these runs. You appear to have shielding in front of the entire fusor, with the exception of the viewport. As the viewport is by far the most transparent to x-rays, I am curious as to why that was not shielded as well. It is very easy to place a camera in front of the viewport and then shield the surrounding area. Can you elaborate on your shielding/safety precautions during fusion runs? Congrats on fusion and great effort so far.
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity"
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:10 pm
Real name: Jackson Oswalt
Post by Jackson Oswalt » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:10 pm
Due to the amount of X-rays coming from the view port, the amount of lead shielding I had simply wouldnʼt have been enough to stop them. The shielding is in place to stop all of the shine through x-rays. I use a mirror to view the inside, so Iʼm far away from the direct line of the viewport.
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Apple has a serious, apparently unresolved bug that causes issues with all audio performance with external devices across all its latest Macs, thanks to the company's own software and custom security…
Article word count: 696
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19196354
Posted by mortenjorck (karma: 12639)
Post stats: Points: 116 - Comments: 72 - 2019-02-19T03:18:00Z
#HackerNews #apples #audio #bug #glitching #have #latest #macs #serious
Apple has a serious, apparently unresolved bug that causes issues with all audio performance with external devices across all its latest Macs, thanks to the company’s own software and custom security chip. The only good news: there is a workaround.
Following bug reports online, the impacted machines are all the newest computers – those with Apple’s own T2 security chip:
* iMac Pro * Mac mini models introduced in 2018 * MacBook Air models introduced in 2018 * MacBook Pro models introduced in 2018
The T2 in Apple’s words “is Apple’s second-generation, custom silicon for Mac. By redesigning and integrating several controllers found in other Mac computers—such as the System Management Controller, image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller—the T2 chip delivers new capabilities to your Mac.”
The problem is, it appears that this new chip has introduced glitches on a wide variety of external audio hardware from across the pro audio industry, thanks to a bug in Apple’s software. When your Mac updates its system clock, dropouts and glitches appear in the audio stream. (Any hardware with a non-default clock source appears to be impacted. It’s a good bet that any popular external audio interface may exhibit the problem.)
The workaround is fairly easy: switch off “Set date and time automatically” in System Preferences.
But more alarming is that this is another serious quality control fumble from Apple. The value proposition with Apple always been that the company’s control over its own hardware, software, and industrial engineering meant a more predictable product. But when Apple botches the quality of its own products and doesn’t test creative audio and video use cases, that value case quickly flips. You’re sacrificing choice and paying a higher price for a product that’s actually worse.
It’s also a cause for concern that here it appears Apple may have lacked a test regimen that would have uncovered the problem with their code.
Apple’s recent Mac line have also come under fire for charging a premium price while sacrificing things users want (like NVIDIA graphics cards, affordable internal storage, or extra ports). And on the new thin MacBook and MacBook Pro lines, keyboard reliability issues.
Before Windows users start gloating, of course, PCs can have reliability issues of their own. They’re just distributed across a wider range of vendors – which is part of the reason some musicians sought out Apple in the first place.
But it’s also a cause for concern that here it appears Apple may have lacked a test regimen that would have uncovered the problem with their code. Some of those mainstream PC vendors do now test with third-party pro audio hardware (I’ve talked to Razer about this, for instance). And that’s to say nothing of vendors like pcaudiolabs who custom-configure each machine for the actual DAWs. Apple clearly has the resources to do the same, and they make a DAW of their own (Logic Pro). This appears to be an issue they could possibly have reproduced and corrected before shipping.
Updated: The 2018 iPad Pro also suffered from audio issues, which appear to be software related. This seems not to have any direct relation to the issue with the Mac line, but is further evidence of some quality control and testing issues involving real-time audio performance and Apple firmware and software.
Regardless, Apple needs to test and address these kinds of issues. Apple’s iPad Pro line is strong and essentially unchallenged because of its unique software ecosystem and poor low-cost PC or Android tablet options. But the Mac has to compete with increasingly impressive PC laptops and desktop machines at low costs, and a Windows operating system that has improved its audio plumbing (to say nothing of the fact that Linux now lets you run tools like Bitwig Studio and VCV Rack). And that’s why competition is a good thing – you might be happier with a different choice.
Anyway, if you do have one of these machines, let us know if you’ve been having trouble with this issue and if this workaround (hopefully) solves your problem.
Tags: Apple, audio, bugs, chips, dropouts, glitch, imac, iMac Pro, macbook, macbook-air, macbook-pro, MacOS, T2, troubleshooting, USB
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