The Facebook Users Who Can't Get Their Accounts Back

“While many users are abandoning Facebook, fed up with what seems like a never-ending series of privacy violations, a small cohort find themselves in the opposite position,” reports New York Times enterprise reporter Kashmir Hill. [Alternate source here.] “They’ve been kicked off the platform, and no matter how hard they try — and they try really, really hard — they can’t get back on…”

In Facebook’s version of a justice system, users are told only that their accounts have been disabled for “suspicious activity.” If they appeal — via a terse form that will accept only a name, contact information and an image of an ID — a mysterious review process begins. The wait can be endless, and the inability to contact a Facebook employee maddening. Increasingly agitated, Facebook castaways turn for help to Twitter, Reddit, Quora, message boards and, well, me. Because I have a history of writing about (and sometimes solving) people’s troubles with the platform, profoundly addicted Facebook users have found their way to my inbox, emailing multiple times a day for updates about their cases, which I do not have…

With more than 2 billion active members, Facebook has long been criticized for allowing bad actors to proliferate on its platform, from violent extremists to identity thieves. In May, the company announced that it disabled more than 3 billion “fake accounts” over a six-month period. “Our intent is simple: find and remove as many as we can while removing as few authentic accounts as possible,” wrote Alex Schultz, Facebook’s vice president for analytics, in an accompanying post… But the number of people complaining about disabled Facebook accounts has been going up for years, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission, which tracked three such complaints in 2015, 12 in 2016, and more than 50 in each of the last two years.

Once Facebook disables an account, Mr. Schultz wrote, it keeps the person behind it from rejoining by deploying “advanced detection systems” that look for “patterns of using suspicious email addresses, suspicious actions, or other signals previously associated with other fake accounts we’ve removed….” When Facebook reviewed 14 disabled accounts belonging to users contacted by The New York Times, the company said that just five had been banned with cause. Facebook suggested that the others should simply go through the appeals process again; most did, but none of their accounts have been reactivated so far.

According to the article, Facebook’s voicemail system tells callers to press one for phone support — then plays a recording saying “Thank you for calling Facebook user operations. Unfortunately, we do not offer phone support at this time.” Then it hangs up.

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Source: Slashdot – The Facebook Users Who Can’t Get Their Accounts Back

VW Recalls 679K Cars With Faulty Micro Switch That 'May Roll Away'

“Volkswagen issued a recall Friday of 679,000 vehicles for risk that they may roll away,” reports the New York Daily News:

Models recalled include certain 2011 through 2019 Beetles and Beetle convertibles, GTIs, Golfs, Golf SportWagens and Jettas that have automatic transmissions, manual hand brakes and keyless entry.

“In affected vehicles, a micro switch which indicates the position of the shift lever may fail, allowing the key to be removed from the ignition switch without the shift lever being in the in the “P” Park position,” a spokesperson for the German automaker told the Daily News in an email. “If the ignition key is removed without the shift lever being in the “P” Park position, there is a risk the vehicle may roll away, resulting in a crash.”

The spokesperson added that the company “is not aware of any crashes, injuries or fatalities related to this recall.”

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Source: Slashdot – VW Recalls 679K Cars With Faulty Micro Switch That ‘May Roll Away’

'Cheating Volkswagen Diesels Have Become A Hot Commodity'

Remember the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal? “In the end, after paying huge fines and seeing key executives head to prison, VW agreed to buy back nearly 380,000 of the offending cars in the United States, to fix or scrap,” reports the New York Times.

But this week the director of industry analytics for online car marketplace CarGurus tells them that VW has now added more share in certified pre-owned sales than any other brand.
Jalopnik reports:
The resulting used VWs are surprisingly compelling, which is why — according to a report from the New York Times — people can’t get enough of them… That demand, the story says, is driven by the vehicles’ impressive fuel economy, the warranty that the government required VW to offer on all re-sold vehicles, and the dearth of other diesel car options on the market… It’s an interesting look at how these once vilified automobiles have once again fallen into favor thanks to what what made the vehicles popular in the first place: They are just impressively fuel efficient. Oh, and the government-mandated warranty, too. That helps.

Aexecutive analyst at J.D. Power Valuation Services tells the Times that a used VW now costs about the same as a gas model.

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Source: Slashdot – ‘Cheating Volkswagen Diesels Have Become A Hot Commodity’

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Estimate the Cost of an Algorithm Turned Into an ASIC?

“Another coder and I are exploring the possibility of having a video-processing algorithm written in C turned into an ASIC (“Application Specific Integrated Circuit”) hardware chip that could go inside various consumer electronics devices,” writes Slashdot reader dryriver.

The problem? There seems to be very little good information on how much a 20Kb, or 50Kb or indeed a 150Kb algorithm written in the C language would cost to turn in an ASIC or “Custom Chip”.

We’ve been told that “the chip-design engineering fees alone would likely start at around $500,000.” We’ve been told “the cost per ASIC will fluctuate wildly depending on whether you are having 50,000 ASICS manufactured or 5 million ASICs manufactured.” Is there some rough way to calculate from the source code size of an algorithm — lets say 100 Kilobytes of C code, or 1000 lines of code — a rough per-unit estimate of how much the ASIC hardware equivalent might cost to make?

Why do we need this? Because we want to pitch our video processing tech to a company that makes consumer products, and they will likely ask us, “So… how many dollars of extra cost will this new video processing chip of yours add to our existing products?”

There were some interesting suggestions on the original submission, including the possibility of C to HDL converters or a system on a chip (SoC). But are there any other good alternatives? Leave your own thoughts here in the comments.

How do you estimate the cost of an algorithm turned into an ASIC?

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Source: Slashdot – Ask Slashdot: How Do You Estimate the Cost of an Algorithm Turned Into an ASIC?

UK Cybersecurity Agency Urges Devs To Drop Python 2

Python’s End-of-Life date is 129 days away, warns the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). “There will be no more bug fixes, or security updates, from Python’s core developers.”

An anonymous reader quotes ZDNet:

The UK’s cyber-security agency warned developers Thursday to consider moving Python 2.x codebases to the newer 3.x branch due to the looming end-of-life of Python 2, scheduled for January 1, 2020… “If you continue to use unsupported modules, you are risking the security of your organisation and data, as vulnerabilities will sooner or later appear which nobody is fixing.”

“If you maintain a library that other developers depend on, you may be preventing them from updating to 3,” the agency added. “By holding other developers back, you are indirectly and likely unintentionally increasing the security risks of others… If migrating your code base to Python 3 is not possible, another option is to pay a commercial company to support Python 2 for you,” the NCSC said.

The agency warns that companies who don’t invest in migrating their Python 2.x code might end up in the same position as Equifax or the WannaCry victims. “At the NCSC we are always stressing the importance of patching. It’s not always easy, but patching is one of the most fundamental things you can do to secure your technology,” the agency said. “The WannaCry ransomware provides a classic example of what can happen if you run unsupported software,” it said. “By making the decision to continue using Python 2 past its end of life, you are accepting all the risks that come with using unsupported software, while knowing that a secure version is available.”

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Source: Slashdot – UK Cybersecurity Agency Urges Devs To Drop Python 2

First Alleged Crime In Space?

bobstreo tipped us off to an interesting story. The BBC reports that NASA “is reported to be investigating a claim that an astronaut accessed the bank account of her estranged spouse from the International Space Station, in what may be the first allegation of a crime committed in space.”

Anne McClain acknowledges accessing the account from the ISS but denies any wrongdoing, the New York Times reports… The astronaut told the New York Times through a lawyer that she was merely making sure that the family’s finances were in order and there was enough money to pay bills and care for Ms Worden’s son — who they had been raising together prior to the split. “She strenuously denies that she did anything improper,” said her lawyer, Rusty Hardin, adding that Ms McClain was “totally co-operating…”

Her estranged spouse, Summer Worden, reportedly filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Ms McClain has since returned to Earth…

Ms McClain graduated from the prestigious West Point military academy and flew more than 800 combat hours over Iraq as an Army pilot. She went on to qualify as a test pilot and was chosen to fly for NASA in 2013.

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Source: Slashdot – First Alleged Crime In Space?

Brazil Tries Deploying Its Military To Fight Fires in the Amazon

“As an ecological disaster in the Amazon escalated into a global political crisis, Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, took the rare step on Friday of mobilising the armed forces to help contain blazes of a scale not seen in nearly a decade,” reports the New York Times:

The sudden reversal, after days of dismissing growing concern over hundreds of fires raging across the Amazon, came as international outrage grew over the rising deforestation in the world’s largest tropical rainforest. European leaders threatened to cancel a major trade deal, protesters staged demonstrations outside Brazilian embassies and calls for a boycott of Brazilian products snowballed on social media. As a chorus of condemnation intensified, Brazil braced for the prospect of punitive measures that could severely damage an economy that is already sputtering…

“[E]xperts say the clearing of land during the months-long dry season to make way for crops or grazing has accelerated the deforestation,” reports AFP. “More than half of the fires are in the Amazon, and some 1,663 new fires were ignited between Thursday and Friday, according to the National Institute for Space Research.”

terrancem quotes the non-profit environmental news site Mongabay:
High-resolution images from satellite company Planet are revealing glimpses of some of the fires currently devastating the Amazon rainforest… Beyond dramatic snapshots, those images also provide data that can be mined for critical insights into what’s happening in the Amazon on a basin-wide scale, according to Greg Asner, the director of the Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science at Arizona State University, whose team is using Planet’s data to assess the impact of the fires on carbon emissions.

“If you took all of the carbon stored in every tropical forest on Earth and burned it up, you would emit about five times the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that is already there. The Amazon rainforest represents about half of this forest carbon to give you an idea of how serious this current situation is and the kind of impact it will have on climate change.”

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Source: Slashdot – Brazil Tries Deploying Its Military To Fight Fires in the Amazon

ITER: 'Where the Sun Will Be Re-Born on Earth'

Long-time Slashdot reader rinka shares an article about “the place where the Sun will be re-born on Earth”:

The world’s best scientists are trying to create a ‘miniature Sun’ on Earth to tap its fusion energy, costing over €20 billion… [G]lobally ITER is the most expensive science project on Earth ever to be undertaken in the 21st century. The total weight of the ITER reactor will be about 28,000 tonnes…

Being made collaboratively by USA, Russia, South Korea, China, Japan, European Union and India as equal partners or participating in this mega effort are countries that together hold 50% of the world’s population accounting for about 85% of the global GDP… Dr Mark Henderson, a scientist at ITER, said, “This place to me is the coolest place on Earth, because here in the near future we will have a little Sun on Earth and it will be a 150 million degrees Celsius so it will be the hottest place on Earth, ten times hotter than our Sun….”

The project is a herculean effort and operations are expected to start by 2025. Later a full scale electricity generating unit called the DEMO reactor is scheduled to be completed by 2040… On being asked how much carbon dioxide the main culprit for global warming would be released from the ITER project Dr Luce quips “only the carbon dioxide the scientists exhale”. The radioactive substances generated from reactions would be the sort that can die off in a hundred years.

Its ultimate goal is to create “an unlimited supply of clean energy.”

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Source: Slashdot – ITER: ‘Where the Sun Will Be Re-Born on Earth’

2019 Hugo Award Winners Include a Fan Fiction Site and 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse'

DevNull127 writes: The 77th World Science Fiction Convention announced the winners of the 2019 Hugo Awards at a ceremony Sunday night.

Here’s some of the highlights. At least two of these stories can be read (for free) online:

BEST NOVELETTE: “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again,” by Zen Cho. The entire text is availabe online in the B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, where it was published in November of 2018.

BEST SHORT STORY: “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies,” by Alix E. Harrow. The complete text is available online, published in Apex Magazine in February 2018.

BEST NOVEL: The Calculating Stars, which presents an alternate history in which a meteor “decimates the U.S. government and paves the way for a climate cataclysm that will eventually render the earth inhospitable to humanity. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated timeline in the earth’s efforts to colonize space…”

BEST NOVELLA: Artificial Condition: The Murderbot Diaries #2. (“it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more…”)


The Daily Dot reports that there was also one very unusual winner:
Archive of Our Own (AO3), the fan-run, nonprofit website that’s home to more than 5 million transformative works like fanfiction, fanart, and podfics, won one of science fiction’s most prestigious awards at Worldcon Sunday night.

The website (which is part of the Organization of Transformative Works) won the Hugo for best related works, a widespread category that sometimes encompasses making-of books, pieces of criticism, and biographies. Fellow nominees included a book on Ursula K. Le Guin’s writing, a Hugo Award retrospective, a website that campaigned to sponsor Worldcon memberships for Mexican creators, and Lindsay Ellis’ video series on The Hobbit…

The very existence of AO3’s nomination was a way of legitimizing fanfiction as a form of expression. But its win validates it even further, particularly in the science-fiction and fantasy community…

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Source: Slashdot – 2019 Hugo Award Winners Include a Fan Fiction Site and ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

Facebook Awards $100,000 Prize For New Code Isolation Technique

ZDNet reports:

Facebook has awarded a $100,000 prize to a team of academics from Germany for developing a new code isolation technique that can be used to safeguard sensitive data while it’s being processed inside a computer. The award is named the Internet Defense Prize, and is a $100,000 cash reward that Facebook has been giving out yearly since 2014 to the most innovative research presented at USENIX, a leading security conference that takes place every year in mid-August in the US.

An anonymous reader writes:

The new technique is called ERIM and leverages Intel’s memory protection keys (MPKs) and binary code inspection to achieve both hardware and software-based in-process data isolation. The novelty of ERIM is that it has an near-zero performance overhead (compared to other techniques that induce a big performance dip), can be applied with little effort to new and existing applications, doesn’t require compiler changes, and can run on a stock Linux kernel.

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Source: Slashdot – Facebook Awards 0,000 Prize For New Code Isolation Technique

India's Chandrayaan-2 Spacecraft Enters the Moon's Orbit

Long-time Slashdot reader William Robinson writes: An unmanned spacecraft, Chandrayaan 2, India launched last month has begun orbiting the moon before it lands on the far side to search for water. The spacecraft is in orbit of 114 km x 18072 km and will continue circling the moon in a tighter orbit until reaching a distance of about 100 km x 30 km from the moon’s surface. “The lander will then separate from the orbiter and use rocket fuel to brake as it attempts to land in the south polar region of the moon on Sept. 7 — an area where no moon landing has been attempted before,” reports CTV News. The mission is carrying a total of 14 payloads — 13 Indian and one passive payload from NASA — with special focus of the orbiter on mapping craters in the polar region, besides checking for water again. shares the first photo of the moon snapped by the spacecraft on Wednesday, noting that “If the lander safely touches down, India will become the fourth country to complete that feat, after the Soviet Union, the U.S. and China.

“The lander and rover would operate for one lunar day but are not designed to withstand the frigid lunar nights.”

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Source: Slashdot – India’s Chandrayaan-2 Spacecraft Enters the Moon’s Orbit

Three Smart Ovens Turned On Overnight, Then Preheated To 400 Degrees

AmiMoJo quote the Verge:

At least three smart June Ovens have turned on in the middle of the night and heated up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The ovens’ owners aren’t sure why this happened, and June tells The Verge that user error is at fault…

The June Oven debuted in 2015 as a $1,495 countertop oven that uses a camera and computer vision to identify food that’s been placed inside. The company raised nearly $30 million in funding and released its second-generation version in 2018 for $599. It’s billed as “seven appliances in one”: an air fryer, dehydrator, slow cooker, broiler, toaster, warming drawer, and convection countertop oven. It also pairs with an app that allows people to choose their temperature and cooking settings, as well as live stream their food as it cooks thanks to the built-in camera.

The company is planning an update that’ll hopefully remedy the situation and prevent it from happening again, but that change isn’t coming until next month.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Three Smart Ovens Turned On Overnight, Then Preheated To 400 Degrees

Why Are 'Supply Chain Attacks' on Open Source Libraries Getting Worse?

“A rash of supply chain attacks hitting open source software over the past year shows few signs of abating, following the discovery this week of two separate backdoors slipped into a dozen libraries downloaded by hundreds of thousands of server administrators,” reports Ars Technica:

The compromises of Webmin and the RubyGems libraries are only the latest supply chain attacks to hit open source software. Most people don’t think twice about installing software or updates from the official site of a known developer. As developers continue to make software and websites harder to exploit, black hats over the past few years have increasingly exploited this trust to spread malicious wares by poisoning code at its source…

To be fair, closed-source software also falls prey to supply-side attacks — as evidenced by those that hit computer maker ASUS on two occasions, the malicious update to tax-accounting software M.E.Doc that seeded the NotPetya outbreak of 2017, and another backdoor that infected users of the CCleaner hard drive utility that same year. But the low-hanging fruit for supply chain attacks seems to be open source projects, in part because many don’t make multi-factor authentication and code signing mandatory among its large base of contributors.

“The recent discoveries make it clear that these issues are becoming more frequent and that the security ecosystem around package publication and management isn’t improving fast enough,” Atredis Partners Vice President of Research and Development HD Moore told Ars. “The scary part is that each of these instances likely resulted in even more developer accounts being compromised (through captured passwords, authorization tokens, API keys, and SSH keys). The attackers likely have enough credentials at hand to do this again, repeatedly, until all credentials are reset and appropriate MFA and signing is put in place.”

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Source: Slashdot – Why Are ‘Supply Chain Attacks’ on Open Source Libraries Getting Worse?

Quantum Radar Has Been Demonstrated For the First Time

An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: Shabir Barzanjeh at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria and a few colleagues have used entangled microwaves to create the world’s first quantum radar. Their device, which can detect objects at a distance using only a few photons, raises the prospect of stealthy radar systems that emit little detectable electromagnetic radiation. The device is simple in essence. The researchers create pairs of entangled microwave photons using a superconducting device called a Josephson parametric converter. They beam the first photon, called the signal photon, toward the object of interest and listen for the reflection. In the meantime, they store the second photon, called the idler photon. When the reflection arrives, it interferes with this idler photon, creating a signature that reveals how far the signal photon has traveled. Voila — quantum radar!

The researchers go on to compare their quantum radar with conventional systems operating with similarly low numbers of photons and say it significantly outperforms them, albeit only over relatively short distances. That’s interesting work revealing the significant potential of quantum radar and a first application of microwave-based entanglement. But it also shows the potential application of quantum illumination more generally. A big advantage is the low levels of electromagnetic radiation required. Then there is the obvious application as a stealthy radar that is difficult for adversaries to detect over background noise. The researchers say it could be useful for short-range low-power radar for security applications in closed and populated environments. The researchers detail their findings in a paper on

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Source: Slashdot – Quantum Radar Has Been Demonstrated For the First Time

Amazon Joins Walmart In Saying Tesla Solar Panels Caught Fire

Earlier today, it was reported that Tesla is working to resolve the lawsuit Walmart filed against the company earlier this week over defective solar panels. However, this story is far from over as Amazon has chimed in by saying it too has seen its Tesla solar panels catch fire. Bloomberg reports: On Friday, Inc. said a June 2018 blaze on the roof of one of its warehouses in Redlands, California, involved a solar panel system that Tesla’s SolarCity division had installed. The Seattle-based retail giant said by email that it has since taken steps to protect its facilities and has no plans to install more Tesla systems. Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but said earlier on Friday that it had discovered flaws in a part that the company had used in some of its systems. The part known as a “connector,” manufactured by Amphenol Corp., led to “failures and disconnections at a higher rate than our standards allow,” Tesla said in an emailed statement. The company has worked to replace it.

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Source: Slashdot – Amazon Joins Walmart In Saying Tesla Solar Panels Caught Fire

Netflix Tests 'Collections' That Are Curated By Humans Instead of Algorithms

Netflix is testing an all-new recommendation system called “Collections” that relies on humans instead of neural networks. TechCrunch reports: While Netflix today already offers thematic suggestions of things to watch, based on your Netflix viewing history, Collections aren’t only based on themes. According to Netflix, the titles are curated by experts on the company’s creative teams, and are organized into these collections based on similar factors — like genre, tone, story line and character traits.

This human-led curation is different from how Netflix typically makes its recommendations. The streaming service is famous for its advanced categorization system, where there are hundreds of niche categories that go beyond broad groupings like “Action,” “Drama,” “Sci-Fi,” “Romance” and the like. These narrower subcategories allow the streamer to make more specific and targeted recommendations. Netflix also tracks titles that are popular and trending across its service, so you can check in on what everyone else is watching, as well. The feature is currently in testing on iOS devices and can be found at the top right of the app’s homepage, if you’ve been opted in to the test.

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Source: Slashdot – Netflix Tests ‘Collections’ That Are Curated By Humans Instead of Algorithms

Complex Quantum Teleportation Achieved For the First Time

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: Researchers from the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the University of Vienna have experimentally demonstrated what was previously only a theoretical possibility. Together with quantum physicists from the University of Science and Technology of China, they have succeeded in teleporting complex high-dimensional quantum states. The research teams report this international first in the journal Physical Review Letters. In their study, the researchers teleported the quantum state of one photon (light particle) to another distant one. Previously, only two-level states (“qubits”) had been transmitted, i.e., information with values “0” or “1”. However, the scientists succeeded in teleporting a three-level state, a so-called “qutrit.” In quantum physics, unlike in classical computer science, “0” and “1” are not an ‘either/or’ — both simultaneously, or anything in between, is also possible. The Austrian-Chinese team has now demonstrated this in practice with a third possibility “2”.

The quantum state to be teleported is encoded in the possible paths a photon can take. One can picture these paths as three optical fibers. Most interestingly, in quantum physics a single photon can also be located in all three optical fibers at the same time. To teleport this three-dimensional quantum state, the researchers used a new experimental method. The core of quantum teleportation is the so-called Bell measurement. It is based on a multiport beam splitter, which directs photons through several inputs and outputs and connects all optical fibers together. In addition, the scientists used auxiliary photons — these are also sent into the multiple beam splitter and can interfere with the other photons. Through clever selection of certain interference patterns, the quantum information can be transferred to another photon far from the input photon, without the two ever physically interacting. The experimental concept is not limited to three dimensions, but can in principle be extended to any number of dimensions, as Erhard emphasizes.

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Source: Slashdot – Complex Quantum Teleportation Achieved For the First Time

Seattle Has Figured Out How To End the War On Drugs

Nicholas Kristof writes in an opinion piece for The New York Times about Seattle’s “bold approach to narcotics that should be a model for America.” Instead of being prosecuted for being caught with small amounts of drugs, that person is steered toward social services to get help. “In effect, Seattle is decriminalizing the use of hard drugs,” writes Kristof. “It is relying less on the criminal justice toolbox to deal with hard drugs and more on the public health toolbox.” From the report: This model is becoming the consensus preference among public health experts in the U.S. and abroad. Still, it shocks many Americans to see no criminal penalty for using drugs illegally, so it takes courage and vision to adopt this approach: a partial retreat in the war on drugs coupled with a stepped-up campaign against addiction. The number of opioid users has surged, and more Americans now die each year from overdoses than perished in the Vietnam, Afghan and Iraq wars combined. And that doesn’t account for the way drug addiction has ripped apart families and stunted children’s futures. More than two million children in America live with a parent suffering from an illicit-drug dependency.

So Seattle is undertaking what feels like the beginning of a historic course correction, with other cities discussing how to follow. This could be far more consequential than the legalization of pot: By some estimates, nearly half of Americans have a family member or close friend enmeshed in addiction, and if the experiment in Seattle succeeds, we’ll have a chance to rescue America from our own failed policies. Decriminalization is unfolding here in part because of Dan Satterberg, the prosecuting attorney for King County, which includes Seattle. It’s also arguably underway because of what happened to his little sister, Shelley Kay Satterberg. At the age of 14, Shelley ran away from home because her parents wouldn’t let her go to a concert on a school night. It was a rebellion that proved devastating. She was away for several months, was gang-raped by two men, was introduced to hard drugs and began to self-medicate with those drugs to deal with the trauma of rape. Dan told me that he was angry at Shelley — angry that she had made terrible choices, angry that she had hurt their parents. But over time he also concluded that his own approach of prosecuting drug users accomplished little, except that it isolated them from the family and friends who offered the best support system to escape addiction. The report mentions a program called Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) that appears to be working. It was started in 2011 by Satterberg and others and has spread across the country, with 59 localities now offering LEAD initiatives or rolling them out. “The idea is that instead of simply arresting drug users for narcotics or prostitution, police officers watch for those who are nonviolent and want help, and divert them to social service programs and intensive case management,” writes Kristof.

One 2017 peer-reviewed study found that drug users assigned to the program “were 58 percent less likely to be rearrested, compared with a control group.” It also found that “participants were almost twice as likely to have housing as they had been before entering LEAD, and 46 percent more likely to be employed or getting job training.” And while it costs about $350 per month per participant to provide case managers, it is still cheaper than jail, courts and costs associated with homelessness.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Seattle Has Figured Out How To End the War On Drugs

YouTube Says It Will Now Remove 'Violent' and 'Mature' Videos Pretending To Be Kid-Friendly

YouTube announced it is changing its policy in regard to how it treats videos targeted toward minors and young children. “The video platform says it will now remove all content that contains ‘violent’ or ‘mature’ themes if it is targeted toward kids, either through the title of the video, its description, or the accompanying tags,” reports The Verge. From the report: Going forward, YouTube says this type of content “will no longer be allowed on the platform.” Prior to this change, YouTube was age-restricting such videos, but now it’s going a step further to help clean up the platform and make it a safer place for children amid intense regulatory scrutiny and nonstop criticism of its executive leadership. The policy change was announced two days ago, but it was done so on a YouTube Help community forum and appears to have gone largely unnoticed, with the post amassing only 20 replies and little news coverage. YouTube says it will begin ramping up enforcement of this new policy over the next 30 days, to give creators a chance to become familiar with the new rules.

As part of that process, YouTube says it will remove videos that violate the policy, but it won’t be giving strikes to channels until the 30-day period is up. YouTube says it won’t be handing out strikes to videos uploaded prior to the policy change, but it still reserves the right to remove those videos. YouTube advises creators check the YouTube Kids guidelines if they want to specifically reach children with their videos, and it also advises creators to make sure their descriptions and tags are targeting the right audience to avoid getting caught up in the ban. YouTube also says it will be age-restricting more content that could be confusingly viewed as kid-friendly, like adult cartoons.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – YouTube Says It Will Now Remove ‘Violent’ and ‘Mature’ Videos Pretending To Be Kid-Friendly

Google Agrees To Meet With YouTubers Union Right Before Deadline

Last month, FairTube — a collaboration between a group that calls itself the “YouTubers Union” and Europe’s largest trade union, IG Metall — sent Google a list of demands to achieve better working conditions. The letter gave YouTube with a deadline of August 23 to respond or else it would face “a shitstorm,” according to Jorg Sprave, the founder of the YouTubers Union. On the last day, hours before the deadline, Google Germany sent a formal letter back to FairTube that said it had “a strong interest in the success and satisfaction of Youtube Creators” and “for this reason, we appreciate the recently expressed interest of the trade unions in supporting YouTube Creators.” Motherboard reports: Sprave told Motherboard that Google wanted to “‘discuss some fundamental questions about the future of work and won’t negotiate our demands. Well, those demands will certainly play an important role anyway as they are designed to make sure that this ‘future of work’ will be transparent and fair for the workers.” Christiane Benner, IG Metall’s chairwoman, said in a statement “the pressure we have made together with the YouTubers Union on Google and YouTube, has paid off. We have succeeded to bring Google to the table.”

FairTube’s attempt to improve working conditions for YouTubers hinges on the GDPR, using the European Union regulation that ensures a person’s right to access their personal data. With the GDPR, FairTube hopes to shine a light on how YouTube chooses which videos to prioritize or demonetize, and change YouTube’s support system from an automated one to one staffed by humans. A Youtube spokesperson told Motherboard that “we explained to the union in great detail what YouTube is doing in terms of transparency and support for YouTubers. But we have also made clear that we are not going to negotiate their demands.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Google Agrees To Meet With YouTubers Union Right Before Deadline