Oggi e' 23.02.2020
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  • Would Star Trek's Transporters Kill and Replace You?
    schwit1 quotes Syfy Wire: There is, admittedly, some ambiguity about precisely how Trek's transporters work. The events of some episodes subtly contradict events in others. The closest thing to an official word we have is the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, which states that when a person enters a transporter, they are scanned by molecular imaging scanners that convert a person into a subatomically deconstructed matter stream. That's all a fancy-pants way of saying it takes you apart, atom by atom, and converts your matter into energy. That energy can then be beamed to its destination, where it's reconstructed. According to Trek lore, we're meant to believe this is a continuous process. Despite being deconstructed and rebuilt on the other end, you never stop being "you...." [Alternately] the fact that you are scanned, deconstructed, and rebuilt almost immediately thereafter only creates the illusion of continuity. In reality, you are killed and then something exactly like you is born, elsewhere. If the person constructed on the other end is identical to you, down to the atomic level, is there any measurable difference from it being actually you? Those are questions we can't begin to answer. What seems clear — whatever the technical manual says — is you die when you enter a transporter, however briefly. The article also cites estimates that it would take three gigajoules of energy (about one bolt of lightning) to disassemble somebody's atoms, and 10 to the 28th power kilobytes to then hold all that information -- and 2.6 tredecillion bits of data to transmit it. "The estimated time to transmit, using the standard 30 GHz microwave band used by communications satellites, would take 350,000 times longer than the age of the universe."

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  • Safari Will Stop Trusting Certs Older Than 13 Months
    "Safari will, later this year, no longer accept new HTTPS certificates that expire more than 13 months from their creation date..." writes the Register. Long-time Slashdot reader nimbius shares their report: The policy was unveiled by the iGiant at a Certification Authority Browser Forum (CA/Browser) meeting on Wednesday. Specifically, according to those present at the confab, from September 1, any new website cert valid for more than 398 days will not be trusted by the Safari browser and instead rejected. Older certs, issued prior to the deadline, are unaffected by this rule. By implementing the policy in Safari, Apple will, by extension, enforce it on all iOS and macOS devices. This will put pressure on website admins and developers to make sure their certs meet Apple's requirements — or risk breaking pages on a billion-plus devices and computers... The aim of the move is to improve website security by making sure devs use certs with the latest cryptographic standards, and to reduce the number of old, neglected certificates that could potentially be stolen and re-used for phishing and drive-by malware attacks... We note Let's Encrypt issues free HTTPS certificates that expire after 90 days, and provides tools to automate renewals.

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  • Flat-Earth Daredevil Mad Mike Hughes Dies in Homemade Rocket Launch
    "He was working on a TV show, Homemade Astronauts, when his craft crashed in the California desert," reports NBC. Four different Slashdot readers shared the news. NBC News reports: Daredevil "Mad" Mike Hughes died Saturday when a homemade rocket he was attached to launched but quickly dove to earth in the California desert. The stunt was apparently part of a forthcoming television show, "Homemade Astronauts," that was scheduled to debut later this year on Discovery Inc.'s Science Channel. Discovery confirmed the 64-year-old's death in a statement. "It was always his dream to do this launch, and Science Channel was there to chronicle his journey," the company said... In 2018, he successfully launched himself about 1,875 feet into the sky above the Mojave desert via a garage-made rocket. His landing that year was softened when he deployed a parachute. In social media video of Saturday's accident, a parachute-like swath of fabric can be seen flying away from the rocket shortly after blast-off.

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  • American Lawmakers Launch Investigations Into Ring's Police Deals
    A U.S. Congressional subcommittee is now "pursuing a deeper understanding of how Ring's partnerships with local and state law enforcement agencies mesh with the constitutional protections Americans enjoy against unbridled police surveillance," reports Gizmodo: Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform subcommittee on economic and consumer policy, is seeking to learn why, in more than 700 jurisdictions, police have signed contracts that surrender control over what city officials can say publicly about the Amazon-owned company... "In one instance, Ring is reported to have edited a police department's press release to remove the word 'surveillance,'" the letter says, citing a Gizmodo report from last fall. But that's just the beginning, reports Ars Technica: Congress wants a list of every police deal Ring actually has, the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy wrote in a letter (PDF) dated February 19. After that, the Subcommittee wants to know... well, basically everything. The request for information asks for documentation relating to "all instances in which a law enforcement agency has requested video footage from Ring," as well as full lists of all third-party firms that get any access to Ring users' personal information or video footage. Ring is also asked to send over copies of every privacy notice, terms of service, and law enforcement guideline it has ever had, as well as materials relating to its marketing practices and any potential future use of facial recognition. And last but not least, the letter requests, "All documents that Ring or Amazon has produced to state attorneys general, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, or Congress in response to investigations into Ring...." The company in the fall pulled together a feel-good promotional video comprising images of children ringing Ring doorbells to trick-or-treat on Halloween. It is unclear if Ring sought consent to use any of the clearly visible images of the children or their parents shown in that video... Ring has also faced pressure to describe its plans for future integration of facial recognition systems into its devices. While the company has stated repeatedly that it has no such integration, documents and video promotional materials obtained by reporters in the past several months show that the company is strongly looking into it for future iterations of the system... The House letter gives Amazon a deadline of March 4 to respond with all the requested documentation. Amazon responded by cutting the price of a Ring doorbell camera by $31 -- and offering to also throw in one of Amazon's Alexa-enabled "Echo Dot" smart speakers for free.

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  • FizzBuzz 2.0: Pragmatic Programming Questions For Software Engineers
    A former YC partner co-founded a recruiting company for technical hiring, and one of its software engineers is long-time Slashdot reader compumike. He now writes: Like the decade-old Fizz Buzz Test, there are some questions that are trivial for anyone who can build software at a professional level, but are likely to stump anyone who can't hack it. I analyzed the data from over 100,000 programmers to reveal how five multiple-choice questions easily separate the real software engineers from the rest. The questions (and the data about correct answers) come from Triplebyte's own coder-recruiting quiz, and "98% of successful engineers answer at least 4 of 5 correctly," explains Mike's article. ("Successful" engineers are defined as those who went on to receive an inbound message from a company matching their preferences through Triplebyte's platform.) "I'm confident that if you're an engineering manager running an interview, you wouldn't give an offer to someone who performed below that line." Question 1: What kind of SQL statement retrieves data from a table? LOOKUPREADFETCHSELECT

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  • How Peloton Bricked the Screens On Flywheel's Stationary Bikes
    DevNull127 writes: Let me get this straight. Peloton's main product is a stationary bicycle costing over $2,000 with a built-in touchscreen for streaming exercise classes. ("A front facing camera and microphone mean you can interact with friends and encourage one another while you ride," explained the Kickstarter campaign which helped launch the company in 2013, with 297 backers pledging $307,332.) Soon after they went public last summer, Bloomberg began calling them "the unprofitable fitness company whose stock has been skidding," adding "The company is working on a new treadmill that will cost less than the current $4,000 model, as well as a rowing machine." Last March they were also sued for $150 million for using music in workout videos without proper licensing, according to the Verge — which notes that the company was then valued at $4 billion. And then this week Vice reported on what happened to one of their competitors. "Flywheel offered both in-studio and in-home stationary bike classes similar to Peloton. Peloton sued Flywheel for technology theft, claiming Flywheel's in-home bikes were too similar to Peloton's. Flywheel settled out of court and, as part of that settlement, it's pointing people to Peloton who is promising to replace the $2,000 Flywheel bikes with refurbished Pelotons... When Peloton delivers these replacement bikes, it'll also haul away the old Flywheels." The Verge reports that one Flywheel customer who'd been enjoying her bike since 2017 "received an email from Peloton, not Flywheel, informing her that her $1,999 bike would no longer function by the end of next month." "It wasn't like Flywheel gave us any option if you decide not to take the Peloton," she says. "Basically it was like: take it or lose your money. They didn't even attempt to fix it with their loyal riders. It felt like a sting."

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  • Signing Up With Amazon, Wal-Mart, Or Uber Forfeits Your Right To Sue Them
    Long-time Slashdot reader DogDude shared this article from CNN: Tucked into the sign-up process for many popular e-commerce sites and apps are dense terms-of-service agreements that legal experts say are changing the nature of consumer transactions, creating a veil of secrecy around how these companies function. The small print in these documents requires all signatories to agree to binding arbitration and to clauses that ban class actions. Just by signing up for these services, consumers give up their rights to sue companies like Amazon, Uber and Walmart before a jury of their peers, agreeing instead to undertake a private process overseen by a paid arbitrator... The proliferation of apps and e-commerce means that such clauses now cover millions of everyday commercial transactions, from buying groceries to getting to the airport... Consumers are "losing access to the courthouse," said Imre Szalai, a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans.

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